Know Your Role


This is a post about media in our capitalist society and the damaging impact it has done to the world in which we live.  I’m writing this as a person who resides on the far left of the spectrum.  If you believe that politics and policy reside on a two dimensional line.

Now it’s your choice if you wish to read on.

The media acts as if it’s America’s muse.  Delivering to it what it really wants to happen by thinly veiling their intentions as news.

The media sat down and read a book on how to play jedi mind tricks like Yoda, but isn’t really good at it.  Did Russia influence our elections?  We don’t know, but will examine the situation for the next four hours solid.

The media pretends as if they are the parents in the room, but refuse to admit that Santa is not real when confronted.

I don’t think any of this is really news to the people of this country.

This is why Trump has not lost the support he had a year ago.

This is exactly why all factions of politicians can take shots at the press.  This why virtually nobody but centrist thinkers are skeptical of reporting.

The media convinced America that Iraq was necessary.  The media didn’t warn America of the pending recession even though it was blatantly obvious what was going to happen.  They put Donald Trump on television constantly and gave him unlimited airtime.  The fact that the press was negative toward the orange wonder only gave Trump supporters the proof they needed.  The media continues to push this Russian story.

The media has not focused on jobs or DAPL or the continued dealings of an unchecked Wall Street.  They have tried to run the narrative by reporting on what they want you to hear.

And the people who are struggling day in and day out have lost all interest.  People, it turns out, just want to make ends meet.  They just want a job and health care and an occasional vacation.

You continue to tell us that each tooth means a quarter under the pillow in the morning, but we are like a teenager whose eyes glaze over with each and every statement which has happened.

The media is not the muse.

The media is not Obi-Wan Kenobi.

The media is the boy who cried wolf.

The media is Eddie Haskell.

America wants to know what the angle is with each and every story that runs.  Especially when it has been aired for months and nothing has happened.

No smoking gun.

Stop telling me that you’re reporting on my best interests when you’re not.

If anything, the constant negative coverage has actually empowered Trump and his base because the media is being proven to be the biased machine that has always been perceived they are.

I don’t like Trump’s agenda.  I think the Republicans are awful people.

I think the fact that the media reports the way they do is proof that capitalism is a dysfunctional system that needs better checks in order to be successful for the common person.

The media reports on the concerns of the wealthy and empowered.

The media runs cover when they are supposed to be exposing the truth.

Trump’s approval rating has gone down, but not really below the level of those who supported him in the first place.  The fact is that the media has strengthened the views of Trump supporters.

The fact is that the media and Congress are so out of touch with the common person and their needs that people have no choice but to rally against their own interests.

They are basically saying, I saw you hid the eggs, dad.

We all believe what we want to believe.  There are so many ways of getting exactly what we need to hear in order to justify our beliefs in today’s world.  And the only people to blame for some of the misinformation that is being spread by alternative news sources is the misdirection and misinformation being repeated on the television supported by large money on any given day.

I realize that corporations are now people.  But they really aren’t, so they need a face.  They need somebody to represent and present their views so that they can get what they want.

That’s why Sean Hannity, Joy Reid, Rachel Maddow, Wolf Blitzer, and all the rest even exist.  They were invented and propped up in order to push the agenda of the people who cut them checks.

Not to help the people who need help most.

If CNN really wanted to cut Trump down, they should go after policy.  They should report what happens.  They should report on jobs.  They should create a narrative conducive to helping the average person.  No sensationalism.

The centrists are licking their chops at an impeachment hearing.  Best ratings ever.

They should not weaken our system any more.

So I encourage you.

Find a reliable source.  Find news.

And to the media:  just fucking stop.  You’re turning the country against their own interests.

Noise of the World


As I sat there with the headphones pressed into my ear holes and the mist of the waterfall drifting over my face, thoughts passing through my head.  These hikes to someplace have become quite regular for me.  Pack the dog up with some food and ensure my camera and phone batteries are charged.

And.

Headphones.

That’s my topic.  Or at least the springboard to my topic.

When I was a kid, we had to get those ones with the foam covers and that little wire shaped to hold them over our head.  They are, as most things, much better today.  Much more flexible.  Much better sound.  Much more prevalent.

Let’s face it.  Nobody has to lug around a Walkman.  Nobody has to create mix tapes.  Nobody has to haul around all this equipment.  Or a boombox on their shoulder.

Go to the store.  Walk around and notice how many people of various ages have headphones in.  Connected with wires or Bluetooth, all these people are walking around listening to music or books or news or podcasts or probably nothing at all.  Depends on their reason for having the headphones in.

Thoughts lead me to believe there are two reasons for headphones.

I figure that there’s a good chunk of people who are trying to let the noise in.

I’m guessing there’s a bigger percentage of people who are trying to keep the noise out.  They want to be oblivious to everything and everybody.

Is that guy in line at the grocery store really captivated by his Facebook feed?  Or is it simply his way of avoiding having to create small talk or be friendly to the cashier?  Does he think it makes him look important?

We see it everywhere.  People trying to avoid the noise of the world.  Sucking themselves into their own little shell.

I’ve known people who told me they do not actually have any music on when they wear headphones.  They do not receive any calls.  They just want to be left alone.

I’m not going to lie.  I keep my headphones in when I go the store.  If I’m already wearing them.  If I’m already out on a walk.  But I’m letting the noise in.  Nothing brings me greater piece.

But there is a part of me that realizes me doing this is also to keep the noise out.  I know this.

I hate all the noise.

Static.

White noise.

Ear hole clutter.

We live in a world where the neighbor no longer has to look through the kitchen blinds in order to find out what is going on.  Bewitched would have a whole new set of plots these days.

Your neighbor is announcing everything.  Your neighbor is blasting it on every social media and your neighbor does not care who reads or hears it.

We all have leashes electronically tied to us.  Everybody thinks they should be able to get a hold of you at anytime.  For any reason.  All the time.

I don’t need that noise.

All that static.

That constant invasion of gossip and garbage.

This isn’t progress.

I changed my phone number over a year ago.  Didn’t give it to many people.

No static at all.

I stepped back and simplified.  And I didn’t care who it offended.  I didn’t care who got upset.

I’ve been happy about it.

I finished my walk this afternoon.  Me and the dog.  Headphones in.  I’ve been finding so much new music lately.  My drug of choice.

I took pictures of the landscape around me.  I tried to change the settings for a fluid waterfall.  I guess I need I need a stabilizer.  Add it to my list.

I never heard when somebody walked behind me on the trail.

It’s okay.

I was at peace.

And I’m not sacrificing any of this peace.

No matter how upset somebody may get.

fluidfall

What is the Deal with February?


I woke up this morning in a way that I often do.

Thinking about shit that doesn’t really matter.  At all.

But that’s the way the brain is designed.  I use the word “designed” loosely.  As if there is a designer.

If I truly believed there were a designer of the brain, I’d probably wake up trying to determine why such an engineering flaw was pushed through.  I mean, there had to be a a series of approvals and designs and redesigns which landed us with the model we are working with today.

Had a car been developed with all the flaws the human mind carries, a better model would have been introduced by now.  One with more safety features and more economical and with tinted windows.

Engineers can be an odd breed.

When I was quite young, I would query the meaning behind the calendar.  The Gregorian Calendar.  Why?  A word too many children dispose of as they get older.  We could use a few more why questions and far less blind acceptance, but we get beaten down.

It is what it is- the cop out of our time.

I had real issues with the calendar when I was a child.

Why are some months 31 days and some 30 and what is the deal with February?

As I got older I applied some math.  There are 365 days and if we divide seven into that, we learn that there are 52 weeks in a year.  And one day.

I never could understand why we could not do anything with that day.  Should be able to hide that day somewhere.  Or make it up at a later time.

Using deck of cards math, we know that there should be 13 months of four weeks each.  There should be 13 weeks of four seasons.  Start the year of with the season of spades and end with hearts.

And then do something with that one day.  We’ll call it a sandbag.

I looked up the calendar before I started writing this.  I decided not to learn anything.  Some people have really put some effort into their wikipedia entries.

I applaud them for this.  But it’s a slow clap that ends quickly.  We all have our things.

Here’s what I got:  Pope Gregory was finding a way to accommodate when Easter falls and on and on.

I’m guessing 13 was an unlucky number.

I’m guessing they all were trying to find a way to keep the number to the highly overrated number 12.  The Bible is full of magic 12 and seven stories.

History loves those numbers.  Even if we have to fit those numbers into the story.

History is full of so many superstitions.

Yet another design flaw had there ever been engineers.

And that’s what I woke up thinking about.  Not just some cheesy story about how I was curious why the calendar was designed as it was or how the foot was poorly designed or other engineering defects.

I was considering how one of the human mind’s greatest flaws is how we try to fit our expectations into the world we experience.

This is also the engineering flaw of religion.  There was expectation that humans are the center of the universe.  There is an expectation that there is something more for humans that there is for the common animal.  There was expectation that good things will come thanks to karma.  There was an expectation that we need to justify the events which happen to us- the book subtitled everything happens for a reason.

Engineering without analysis.

Also the design flaw of most governments.

Watch as every single politician does a little dance to create an argument which supports ideas which fit their little world and avoid walking out of their comfort zone.  They support ideas which are selfish and actually bad for the rest of society.  We demonize everything which we don’t understand.

Stories of Newton and how he struggled with his own observations of the world because they didn’t fit well with his Catholic raising.

Why wouldn’t we simply start each month with the full moon?

Why wouldn’t we measure it out in easy to understand concepts?

We does it bother me?

Our people and their ability to be apathetic is insanely frustrating.

By the way, another giant engineering flaw had I ever believed in an engineer.

After lying there in bed for a while on my day off, I took in very little Sunday morning programming.  A show and a half.  All I can take.  Each show filled with politicians and panelists all doing the same thing.  Waltzing their words in time and rhythm with a Billboard Top Twenty feel.  They’ve convinced themselves they are right even if they cannot possibly be.  Playing the hits of the day and trying to cash in on all the latest talking point trends.

And, meanwhile, nobody cares.  And everybody cares.  So the whole world distracts itself.  And convinces itself it’s correct.

Another engineering flaw.  The brain is so easily influenced.  So easily infiltrated.  So easily affected and corrupted.  The human brain is vulnerable.  And we are all so stubbornly rigid.

Because we grew too old to ask why.

It’s currently June.  Somebody decided to make June a 30 day month.  Once upon a time we needed a 12 month year.  Based on this 24 hour cycle, we knew that there were 365 days most years.  The seven days of the week named after the seven things we could see in the sky.  Named after the gods we named the sky after.

 

Because we engineered it all into a neat little package.  We had to.

It’s about the expectation and how well we can fit our needs toward them.

The thing is that it works.  It’s a successful strategy which will continue as long as these poorly engineered vehicles of life house the poorly engineered motors trying to justify the navigation of life.

We displaced the gods.  Not the days of the week.

Be good.

It’s a music and nature day.

When Will We All Stop Being So Angry With Each Other?


When I get out in the world, I like to watch.  I watch people and how they interact with one another or how they look at each other.  I like to watch presentation.  We all present ourselves a certain way on purpose.

I used to enjoy sitting in the back of class so I could watch the people in the classroom.  Watch how the other students present themselves.  How they wanted the teacher to notice them.  How they made faces at another student’s words.  How some completely avoided all interaction altogether.

I was mistaken as shy often.  I was just observing.

So let’s sit back and take in the world in which we live.

Those in power like to tell us this is the most divisive that our human brains have ever allowed us to be.  While wholly untrue, they are not wrong.  The divisiveness begins with those in power, and that’s the magic.

They point the gun.  Society pulls the trigger.

Information is our friend.

I believe that when people look back at this world in which we reside, they’ll point out all the ridiculous amounts of propaganda and declare people too uninformed to generally make an educated decision about anything.

I’m not afraid of anger.

I’m a huge fan of that Rage Against the Machine line.

My anger is a gift.

Anger is necessary.  It’s what allows you to know something is wrong or that something must change.  But anger has to be toward the right people.  All that anger is like ammunition that gets shot out after the trigger is pulled.

Anger, if not aimed correctly, fans the flames of everything which is making this world so difficult to live in.  The crossfire can be devastating.

I’m not angry at people who voted for Trump.  I’m not even angry at the people who didn’t vote and allowed Trump to get elected.  Their skewed view of the world hasn’t been adjusted.  We all know people like that.

I’m not mad at people who vote anyway they vote.  They are honestly doing what they think is right.

I will, however, get angry if a person thinks it’s okay to be angry at me for simply believing what I believe.

There’s the breakdown.

You can be mad.  You can throw a fit.  Throw it the right direction.

While society is busy fighting against each other, those in power are finding more ways to do whatever they wanted in the first place.

This is a world of distraction and fighting in a world where reason has lost all place.  And instead of insisting on reason, we push the strange agenda of dividing even further.

Our anger should be toward a lack of education and compassion in this world.  Our anger should be toward the fact that the country which is supposed to be the leader of the free world carries narrow minded views without batting an eye.

Our anger should be at those who are in power using their power to get more power.

Our anger should not be directed at society.

All these little bullets shooting across the world are only making everybody fire back.  It’s counterproductive.

It’s an interesting little world in which we live.

But it’s only interesting if you’re allowed to watch from the back row as if it’s theater.  I’m afraid I’m not back there taking all this in.

Haters


There was a show I recorded about a year ago on ESPN called Haters: The Anatomy of a Rivalry.  The show focused on baseball rivalries and was very well produced.

In it, Dodger fans insulted the appearance of Giants fans and Red Sox fans questioned the intelligence of Yankees fans and on and on.  I saw it as much more than that though.

I viewed this as a decent look into the mentality of human beings.

We need a villain.  Always.  You want to activate people, get them to hate something or somebody or an idea or something so abstract as a baseball team.

Over 140 years of Major League Baseball and we are focused on a team of somebody else’s choosing.  We are focused on so much hate.  The Dodgers and Giants were once in other cities.  They once played when only white people could play.  Most of the players are not even representatives of the cities in which they play.  Today especially.  The teams moved and ensured the other would move as well in order to keep up the rivalry which got fans to engage with the game.

All sports try extremely hard to create a rivalry which will stimulate their fans and create excitement.

And revenue.

The local NFL team’s fans are more interested in railing on their rival and their rival’s fans instead of showing genuine support.

So here we are.  Moving on from sports, which serves as a fine distraction which I welcome.  Life is too hard to live without distraction.  Tell me I’m wrong.  It’s all about balance.

This post, however, is about villains.  It’s about hating.  It’s about having an enemy.

I see it more and more and it needs to be discussed.

People tend to vote against something instead of for.  People tend to argue against.  People tend to seek validation in rallying against.

This has been shown repeatedly over the years as we split off into rival groups and exasperated with social media.  See the term “libtard” and tell me what that was supposed to mean and if it’s a valuable argument ever.

Hillary Clinton lost because she ran a campaign which failed to show any clear vision.  Instead she ran against her opponent by dismissing them.  Sanders had “pie in the sky” ideas.  Later, she argued that a vote for her was a vote against Trump.  She never truly laid a clear foundation of ideas.

Remember those Deplorables and Basement Dwellers?

Meanwhile, Trump chose to run a campaign which at least had vision, but was still a campaign against.  Make America Great Again is a complete attack on those who were or had been in charge.  It was villainizing (I have a red line under that word, but I’m leaving it) the current system.  Completely running against Obama by declaring he made America anything but great, it was a campaign driven on fears and hatred.

Today they argued the travel ban.  Trump repeated his disdain for Muslims during the campaign trail.  He has made them the enemy and people eat it up.

I don’t care for the religion myself.  I don’t care for Christianity either.  I don’t hate the people.  I hate the actions.  Religion can be seen as a problem, but the solution is not intolerance.

We love to compartmentalize.  We love to create enemies out of people who are really seeking the same freedom of life as any of us.  We love to hate.

Trump wears the idea he has “haters” as a badge of honor.

Watch the discourse from slightly left of center.  There is a battle to demonize both the extreme left and the right.  This isn’t healthy.  But they are creating rivalries on two fronts.  They are creating an entire universe in which their philosophy is being attacked from every angle.

As if they are Batman, Trump is The Joker, and progressives are The Riddler.

I believe that people want a superhero, but their heroes cannot be “super” without making somebody else out as a super villain.

The more super the enemy, the more super the hero

In reality, the world is full of mediocre bad guys and the discourse is run by those people almost entirely.

Here’s what needs to happen.

People need to start determining where their needs overlap.  Tolerance needs to be exercised.

We have decided that politics is similar to sports.  We have taken the bait and determined that regular everyday humans are the enemy.  We have decided to fight this battle on a weird level and nobody is fighting for the needs of the common everyday human being who is struggling to live and pay bills and take a vacation and hold a job.  Good luck retiring.

Our enemy should be common.  Our enemy should be that which keeps us from a humane quality of life.

We need to take an honest look at ourselves.

The Hatfields and the McCoys never learned their lesson.

If I go back to the show I lead this post with, it ended with a Red Sox fan watching a game in person with a Yankees fan.  A very humanizing thing to do.

We are likely to never completely agree on much, but we need to at least start focusing our intent better.

We’ve created villains and haters where they don’t really exist and that’s just simply bad energy for everything.

First Nice Spring Day


I always look forward to that first really nice spring day.  That first day over 70.  Clear skies.

Today was that.  After an overnight rain, I was up early and had to take the dog outside.  All the plants are blooming.

So I pulled out the camera.

It was that day.  Can’t all be deep thoughts and brain strain.

As the sun began to dry up the ground, I decided to take the dog for a walk.

I plugged the new Mark Lanegan album, Gargoyle, into my ears and we started.

The road to the river has a line of cherry blossom trees all in bloom.

We got down to the river where I let the dog off his leash.

We headed north under the bridge.

Bridges are where people like to get noticed.  Leave their opinions.  Show off their artistic talents.

I let this guy run around the trail.  Splash in the river.  Work up a thirst.

Then we headed home.  Greeted in our backyard by this guy.

Simple post today I know, but I do enjoy taking photographs on occasion.

And tomorrow promises to be challenging to all those who enjoy simple freedoms.

March of the Orange King


Quick note- I started this a few days ago.  I felt I should finish it.

It seems that being President of these here United States for 100 days is a big deal.  It has to be.  The media has been counting down to 100 days for 101 days now.

I would agree that it would be a big deal if it were similar to a 90 day probationary period.  I mean, I just signed an offer letter for a job which made it very clear that my first 90 days were exactly that.  If I don’t do a good job, they’ll kick me to the curb.

Of course the very next paragraph outlined that my employment is “at will” and I can be excused from the position at any point for no reason.

Yes, let’s discuss the 100 days if we get to take it back.  Go get a new fish.  Probationary period is over, Mr. President, and you’re fired.  See, we didn’t hire you to simply sign executive orders and play golf.

But that’s not how it operates.

And as the television is humming along yesterday, they focus on the latest of these seemingly weekly stream of marches that takes place.  This week was climate change.

There’s been a woman’s march, a science march, an LGBTQ march, and many others.

Song in my head as I write this… March of the Black Queen by Queen.

It is exciting to see people get so active and take a vested interest in the well being of our world.  It would feel like democracy in action if half the country didn’t stay home last November.

There have been so many marches covering every topic and group and whatever else they could drum up.  And I wonder why.  What are they going to accomplish?

The reporter talked to a protester yesterday while the television served as background noise.  She asked what he hopes to accomplish with this protest.

He told the reporter that he hoped to get the President to take note that people care about climate change and he will change his direction on this issue.

Really kind of silly.

Really.

Trump does not care what people think.  He will do what he wants.

I mean, it’s been a maddeningly head spinning week.  This guy desperate for the approval of anybody first said he thought that the 100 day mark was made up and then started forcing ideas and executive orders so that he could tell the media they are wrong.

Look how productive we’ve been.  I’ve signed 30 laws.

The only march which seems to matter is not the one that the people put together, but rather the march to undo progress.

Executive order to allow the protected lands from Monuments be available for drilling if the state wishes.  Utah sleaze Mike Lee and Orin Hatch were on hand for this signing.  They will start the unbeutification of Bear’s Ears.

Executive order to allow off shore drilling.

Executive order to allow states to defund Planned Parenthood.

A tax plan that gives Donald Trump and his family a huge tax break at the corporate level and allows for money to come back into the country at a one time low cost.

A health plan which will take away the preexisting condition protections if the states decide.

And the first president to speak to the NRA directly since Ronald Reagan.

Please, I ask you to take a stab at who some of Trump’s largest financial contributors were.

Most notably, I want you to look at the tax plan.  Because trickle down does not work.  If it did, we’d be reaping the benefits of 35 years of trickle down growth and expansion.  But we are not.  Businesses are.  The most wealthy in our country are getting wealthier because trickle down does not convince people to spend.  They put it in their pocket.

And Trump is wealthy.

He wants his kids to be wealthier.

You know what works?  Paying people a living wage so they can afford to go out and buy shit at a pace which will require businesses to hire people and grow.  A different post a different time.

But this week we may see the worst of all executive orders.  Trump has invited many faith leaders to the White House for the signing of a Religious Freedom Executive Order.

Anytime somebody puts the words religious and freedom together, they are generally pitching the exact opposite.

This is to take place on May 4th.  Also the National Day of Prayer.  Also Star Wars day.  I’m not interested in any of those.

This executive order is supposed to make it so that private corporations can discriminate against people if they do not think their lifestyle is in line with the corporation’s religious affiliation.  LGBT and Q will be frowned upon.  Premarital sex.  Do not invite any of your friends to follow you on Facebook or Instagram.  They may rat you out.

I have a disease.  I do not back down from conversations.  I better start.  Religious freedom could cover way more than I think.

I also believe that anybody who pitches religious freedom forgets that I have the right to freedom from religion.

So what do I see today?

TakeiTweet

That’s the answer?

Another march?

Trump does not care.  One bit.  He has little interest in you.  He has no interest in what people want.  This executive order, if he does sign it, will be a bone to Mike Pence.

Tolerance is not a strength of this administration.

And neither is listening to the population.

So I expect many more marches to take place.  In fact, I’ve already seen people discuss future events.  To be clear, I’m not suggesting people don’t try to get their voice heard.  Furthest thing from my mind.

But this president does not care.

He is doing only what he wants.

So call your representatives.  Write them.  Email them.  Take that stand.

Contact the ACLU.

I’m pretty sure a federal judge will strike down any religious freedom executive order and it won’t take long.  It’s a clear violation of everything this nation is supposed to stand for.

But be very clear that Trump doesn’t care what anybody outside of his immediate circle thinks.

Keep marching.  At least you’re getting out of the house.