Dreamer’s World – Fear, Anyone?

Living in the DC area has it’s advantages and disadvantages. There is no shortage of things to do and places to see. This area is full of interesting people from all over the world, and it is always invigorating to find out all the things we have in common.
On the bad side, the traffic here is beyond awful. I am glad that we live “inside the Beltway” and have easy access to the Metro system that can take us almost anywhere in a short time and save us the hassle of driving. I am fortunate because we found a place where almost every necessity is within walking distance of our apartment here in Alexandria. Although we don’t go out as often as we used to, it is still important to Hal and I that the options are always available to us.
I have never understood the appeal of the suburbs, perhaps because I grew up in a small town where there was not a lot to do at the best of times. To live beyond the Beltway seems a waste to me. To get anywhere means dealing with the traffic and taking more time than usual for anything. It is my personal opinion, but I think that the “white flight” phenomenon has become so ingrained into the American consciousness that we deny that it even exists anymore.
Of course, being near the nation’s capital means that we are subjected to the drumbeats of FEAR that the media seems to enjoy inflicting on the population. This week is no exception due to the alleged threat following the terrorist attacks in Paris last Friday. My heart aches for those affected and for their families. After that phase of dealing with a tragedy has passed, we are left to deal with the question of how do we respond in the future? Sadly, we seem hell-bent on repeating the same failed policies that produced these terrorists in the first place.
The local media here cannot get enough of the FEAR stories. I truly despise the media on account of actions like this. These stories serve no purpose than to promote a failed agenda which will result in more tragedies in the future. I do not claim to be the smartest person in the world, but I do have my observations.
We have followed a failed policy of military intervention around the world and wrapped it up as “defending freedom”. I question the entire approach. When we invade a country, or bomb it, we always want to claim that we are doing this because we are the “friends” of the people and that our actions are designed to somehow help them.
I question how this can be valid. What does a person think when their country is invaded or bombed. Honestly, I don’t think that their first thought is that this is the action of a “friend”. The bloodshed and destruction that follows are the problem of those people to deal with, we are not affected and our own leaders tell us to live our lives as normally as possible. The implications of these messages are one of the root causes of terrorism, in my opinion.
We balk at sending troops into other countries now, because we seem to have finally learned that ideology and religious extremism cannot be fought with weapons. These are fought with ideas, sadly we seem to have run out of those. When the people try to escape from the hell that we helped to create, we then act as if the “friends” are our new enemies and attempt to have them in the country. Remember that these people are fleeing the terror that we helped to create.
And so, this evening I write this living in an area where so many people are obligated to feel afraid. Everywhere you turn are more reminders of what we have to look out for. Anyone who doesn’t look “American” is a suspect without any evidence necessary. Is this what we want this country to end up as? A paragon of paranoia and FEAR?

Dreamer’s World November 16 2015 – A Good Day With Hal

 

Today was a day off work for me. I had a dental appointment to get a permanent crown put in, and I had decided some time ago to just take the entire day off. I am very glad that I did because it enabled me to have the afternoon free to spend with Hal and to get out of the apartment.
I still go to my old dentist in Upper Marlboro, MD even though we moved to Alexandria 5 years ago. When you find a good dentist, you stick with them. I have never had any complaints about Dr. Sowell, and I will continue to go to her as long as my insurance is accepted. The trip was a nice diversion from things because the day was sunny and warm especially for November.
The procedure was quick and painless. The only thing that didn’t go according to plan was that the other dentist was out of the office so my dentist was having to shift quickly between myself and patients of the other dentist who had not been able to reschedule. Even with all that, I was still done within 2 hours. I enjoyed the trip back home and got here just after 1200.
Hal and I decided that we were going to spend the afternoon together. Since it was 70 degrees outside, we spent the entire afternoon out. We enjoyed a nice lunch at La Madeleine and then Hal looked around at all sorts of things that he was interested in. We didn’t make it to the Apple Store or Best Buy, which is probably just as well because I didn’t need the temptation.
Our final stop was at the grocery store. We got home just before sunset and I had a nice spaghetti dinner and sat down to recap the day. There is more to talk about, but it will be in another non-specific-day post. I hope that everyone has had a great day.

Dreamer’s World November 14 2015 – Paris

Once again, the world is reeling from another tragedy that humanity just cannot rid itself of. The constant drumbeat of conflict has reared its ugly head again with the terrorist attacks in Paris. I am not interested in the motives of the terrorists, I am interested in what can be done to address the underlying causes of these events. Terrorists are only a handful of people on this planet, but they command huge influence by committing acts of violence.
The first thing that has to be addressed is religion. I am an Atheist so I want to make sure that is understood up front before I go any further. My perspective is that religion can be warped into a justification for anything that can be imagined. This is true regardless of the religion involved, in this instance they are all the same. Religion is dangerous in situations like these because it provides people with a culturally acceptable excuse to do the things that their own supposed beliefs clearly state are wrong. There is nothing more dangerous than a handful of people with a supposed inside knowledge of what god wants, no matter the name they give to god.
Religion provides these people with an excuse to commit acts of terrorism. Religion is used as their justification, and again, this is dangerous because it absolves the terrorists of actual guilt (in their eyes) for their acts. Being a warrior for god is a convenient excuse for people to use when they want to get their way. It eliminates the ability to reason with these individuals and convinces them of their own infallibility. There are no terrorists other than those we as humanity have

created. The concept of god is just a convenient shield for these people. 

With religion established as a shield for these actions, we now have to look for other motivating factors. Political oppression is one of the big ones. When people in parts of the world cannot live in peace, then violence becomes their norm against which they judge events. The Paris attackers will clearly use the situation in the Middle East as their justification for their actions. Without the religion aspect being thrown in, this is a political attack. When one country uses military force against another, it is called WAR. When the people who suffer from this war cannot respond in any other way, then terrorism becomes their preferred alternative since it basically their only alternative.
I always wonder about the mindset of someone who is willing to kill themselves for their cause. Is it any different to throw oneself against a military force while strapped with explosives or firing a gun than it is to do the same things against civilians in the country that sent those military forces? Obviously from the point of view in the West, it is. The problem is that people in the West have become so accustomed to fighting a war somewhere else that it loses the real impact that it should have on us. While we will bemoan the loss of innocent lives, what make that any different from the innocent lives that are lost every day in those countries where military force is being employed? From the perspective of the terrorist, there is no difference. In their minds, it is simply visiting violence upon others as it has been visited upon them. No amount of trying to complain about innocence will change that argument. Sitting in a cafe in Paris is no different than sitting in a cafe in Beirut or Baghdad or Kabul to them. Sadly, this is a very important point that we never want to address. If we spent the time to reason things out, we would be closer to finding a real solution to the problems that inspire terrorism.
The next item we should look at is the political oppression in these countries. When foreign interests dictate what type of leadership will be tolerated in other countries, is it any wonder why these leaders are not viewed as legitimate by their own people? When these leaders are seen as tools of the nations that would, or already have, use military force to get their way why should we expect them to be respected and viewed as legitimate by the people they allegedly lead? Trying to install a leader that is acceptable to us is not the answer. We cannot impose our values onto another country. This is not because our values are wrong, it is because they will not be viewed as legitimate by the people in the countries where this is attempted. It is a form of colonialism or imperialism in their eyes. We should lead by example within our own countries and not try to impose what we hold dear onto others unless they ask for help as a nation, and not as a leader who lacks legitimacy.
Next on the list of things that have to be addressed in hatred. This ties very closely to the religion aspect mentioned earlier. When one version of god is viewed as superior to another version of god, conflict is inevitable. The problem is once again that religion serves the purpose of absolving terrorists of the blame for their actions. This is true whether the terrorist is a bomber pilot of a suicide bomber. Acting in “god’s name” is a means of justifying oppression. It leads to the dehumanization of those who do not share the same belief system.

Dreamer’s World November 11 2015 – Veteran’s Day

 

Veteran’s Day is here once again. I am a veteran. I served in the United States Navy. This means that I was never actually on a battlefield. I never heard bullets whizzing past me in search of a target, nor did I send bullets out in search of one. The Navy is a world unto itself when it comes to the military. I have the utmost respect for the Army and Marine Corps whose members are actually in the line of fire. I support them 100%.
Having said that, I also have to say that the military cannot solve every problem that our nation encounters. The military are the last ones to actually endorse war or military action as a means of national policy because they know all too well the price that will be paid. Being in the military means that you surrender some of your rights while you are under contract. You do NOT determine when and where you will be sent. You do NOT have the ability to question your orders.
This sounds harsh to those who have never served. I ask those people to remember that the freedoms that we all enjoy are here because there were people who did serve this country. It is OK to hate the war, but never hate the soldiers, marines, sailors, or airmen who fought in it. As I said, they do not make the policy decisions, politicians do. When politicians are too cowardly to explore every option short of military force, they have failed those in uniform.
Too often, the military is seen as the utility tool of US foreign policy. This is totally WRONG! Any politician who resorts to using the military unless every other avenue is closed is a disgrace to this country. I think that it is worth considering whether or not a politician has ever served when judging their decision to use the military. It seems to be a tragic trend that those who have never worn the uniform are among the first politicians to want to use the military. Politicians who have served seem less likely to want to instantly involve the military, although neither is an ironclad case.
I remember holidays spent at sea, both literally and figuratively, while I was in the Navy. To be separated from friends and family is never easy. Ask any veteran how many children’ birthdays they have missed, how many anniversaries, how many graduations? The military can be a thankless job and it is not for everyone.
Veterans don’t ask for special recognition, but they appreciate a Thank You every now and then.

Dreamer’s World November 10 2015 – The Price of Writing

 

I suddenly feel like I have lost an old friend. There is a writer who I have followed, or rather a blogger, for several years now that has decided it is time to stop their blog. I don’t know the reasons behind their decision, they indicated that they has lost anonymity and that was something very important to them. I will miss reading their blog, but I wish them well in whatever they decide to do next.
This got me to thinking about writing and why I write. When I first began writing my own blog I was, and still am, always careful to put only things I want in here. I realize that there is a line that divides what we all want to share with the world and what we wish to keep private. As other people have read and followed and commented on my blog I am very grateful, I have not reached that critical mass point. Writing remains an intensely personal experience for me. There are times when I am sorely tempted to write about things, but I hold back because I cannot bring myself to let every little detail of my life out for the world to see.
I suppose this is a dilemma that all bloggers face at one time or another. My friend seems to believe that they crossed that line and I am in no position to judge them on it. If they no longer find joy in writing their blog then it is the right time for them to stop writing. What does hit me though, is how they described their reaction to some people who chose to comment on their blog. I will have to assume that these posts were unwelcome because they were thinly veiled personal attacks on the writer. I don’t know if there were actual threats made, I certainly hope not.
We can all sit back and rattle away on our keyboards with anonymity. It is only when we begin to open ourselves up to others that we run the risk of being attacked in one form or another. Writing is a joy, it should never bring pain. Writing should be a way to help purge pain at times for all of us. It is at times like this that we find those who we are meant to find, and that is 99% positive. Sadly, there will always be those who cannot be anything but mean and destructive in their observations. How each of will face those times is a personal matter.
For myself, as mentioned earlier, I try to maintain the wall between my personal life and what I write about here. In a way this is limiting when I write, but I am seeing the results of what can happen when negative people decide to attack someone who is brave enough to share more than I would.
I wish that there was something that I could do to dissuade my friend from their decision. Then I realize that as a friend, my position is to support them in their decision. I will miss reading their posts, I wish that I had made even more positive comments than I already have. I wish that I could help them through this difficult time, but we are friends in the cloud only. It should be obvious by now that the name of the blog won’t be found here. That is out of respect to my friend. I hope that they find the strength to return again sometime in the future. Until then, I wish them nothing but Peace and Happiness.

Dreamer’s World November 10 2015

 

The day has started here without incident. I hope things stay quiet since tomorrow is a holiday. I plan to go to the Chiropractor tomorrow morning and then come home to relax with Hal and The Stooges unless Hal wants to do something. A lot will depend on the weather. Right now we are stuck in a cool and rainy pattern which means that the leaves are being stripped form the trees. It seems rather merciless after the recent warm weather, but the seasons are going to change whether we like it or not. I will not let the weather bring me down, because it is out of my control anyway.
I am looking forward to the end of this day. It is unusual that Veteran’s Day falls on Wednesday this year, but it makes a nice break in the week as far as I am concerned. I served in the US Navy and often look back at that time with fondness and anger. The military is not for everyone, but it is a worthwhile occupation if you understand that you willingly give up some rights to object about policies. I am a hard-core Liberal, but I never questioned the things I was asked to do because they were, rightly or wrongly, decided upon by our elected leadership. Remember that the military NEVER started a war, that is done by others.

Dreamer’s World November 9 2015 – Mizzou

 

 

 

 

I just saw that the President of the University of Missouri has resigned after a weekend of public protests regarding his failure to take action to curb blatant racism at the University. I am not surprised that this has happened, but I am surprised that it happened so quickly. I applaud the students who brought this to everyone’s attention and who organized the public actions to maintain focus on things. Believe it or not, these students just learned a valuable lesson in how to get things done through non-violent protests. This came from ACTION and not from a textbook. Well done, Mizzou!
The sad part to this tale is the totally predictable reaction from RWNJ around the country to the situation. I believe that they are trained to do noting more than take the first piece of shitty disinformation they hear and then parrot it loudly until people get tired of listening to them. The remarks made against the protestors were pure evidence of the racism that they protestors found so repulsive in the first place.
“Take away their scholarships” was the least offensively worded of these remarks. However, that implies that the football players served no purpose being at the University other than to play football in the first place. It further indicates that if these students were NOT playing football that they would NEVER have been accepted at the University. Therefore, according to RWNJ logic (or lack of), the football players are nothing but servants of the University as a whole. According to RWNJ, they have no rights to free speech or expression because they should be spending all of their time either playing or practicing their sports, or they should be on their knees thanking the overlords for the privilege of actually being at the University in the first place.
The same racist logic was more openly displayed on social media and I will never credit those people by reposting what I saw here. If you followed the story, you will have seen some of the hateful, racist, and idiotic things that were said. The football players became the lighting rods for the attention, and that is another reflection on our society for another post. However ,it was not until these young men took a stand that the issue gained national attention. I applaud them for the savvy of using their status to draw attention to the real situation at the University. Once again, another lesson learned in real life that could not be duplicated in a classroom.
Remember that there is a HUMAN BEING who has been on hunger strike that really began this. I hope that the attention can be directed at him, but I doubt that the infoporn merchants from the MSM will ever actually stoop to doing any work, so my hopes are faint. It doesn’t change the fact that the University students, faculty, and athletes decided that it was time to protest in support of this young man because they believe in what he is trying to accomplish, and that is to bring the problems at the University to public attention, and also the lack of response from the University president to the same level of attention.
While the immediate goal has been accomplished, there will still be a tremendous amount of work to do. Sadly ,RWNJ never lie to lose and I predict that there will be more difficulties due to this as things move forward. I will not be surprised by any incidents that are started by RWNJ lunatics who are upset that the status quo that benefitted them has been exposed as corrupt and rotten. I hope that the students at the University will handle these issues with the same determination and grace that they have shown thus far. Remember that the goal of RWNJ lunatics at this point will be to make things as difficult and unpleasant for everyone as possible. Sadly, I think that the students will have to be more on guard than ever now because RWNJ will stop at nothing to have their way. Please be careful and look out for one another as you have been doing.