The Call for Religious Reform

by Carl Atteniese

Prominent people around the world–not just I–have been calling for religious reform, so that religion may conform to the egalitarian values fought for and enshrined in our democratic societies.

It is not a strange or insulting idea to realize that some of the major religions are part of the educational problems which lead people to dangerous ideas that cause self-harm and harm to others. This is true in terms of understanding the world, personal freedom and how we look at others; it would be a gross understatement to say some religions and their doctrines have been a cause for violence in the world and continue to be–especially now–to this very day.

No serious and honest person would suggest that in most cases of religiously inspired violence that religion alone was the cause; the energy, political and military policies of governments play a big part in this violence as does the disenfranchisement of people, but it could also be argued that the centuries-old tradition of exceptionalism–inspired by some prominent religions–led to these policies and conditions and is a galvanizing force in its final implementation and in the violent backlash to it that we are seeing in the world today–which is on a staggering rise in frequency and numbers of locations across the globe. In addition, some religions–though the foundation of the the societies that were set upon by western powers in their need of oil–exact violence purely for the spread of their way of life and would continue to do so minus any outside interference–simply because these religions call for the conquer of the world.

Concerned with these issues, I have been talking for about a year of the need for reforming religions–to prevent them from being an inspiring or galvanizing force in world violence any longer–at least in places where law and democracy is already set up to do so.

In a thread about religious reform, someone asked how this could be achieved. Here is my answer:

After national debate and changes in laws, governments must inform religious leaders that they have to revise certain aspects of what their scriptures and clergy say; they must look into how they could print and proselytize only benevolent scriptures that conform to egalitarian justice and secular morality.

The new versions of The Torah, The Bible, The Hadith and Koran (and other revised holy books where necessary) which come out of this endeavor would be peer-reviewed by congressional, academic and ecumenical committee–with the final say resting with a government department wherein standards would have been developed.

It makes little sense to have fought civil, legal and world wars since the enlightenment to establish egalitarian democracies and enshrine religions–consciousness-forming doctrines and communities–some of whose principles and penalties run counter to democratic and egalitarian principles.

Once egalitarian versions of the religious doctrines were approved for printing and dissemination, they would be given a certain binding and precursory passages that had among other features, a stamp of approval and/or embossing–on a par with academic approval such as is afforded through government departments of education; this is what we are talking about, here: designing, approving and curbing what is taught in our western democratic societies as moral, good and pro-egalitarian democratic.

Basically, licenses would be granted, such as are granted via ministries and departments of government the world over for all law-abiding allowances of public authority. We do this now for education, health, welfare, medicine, food, agriculture, business, energy, aviation, maritime, transportation and trade concerns; why not for tax-exempted religious education that forms the foundation of the morality–and in some cases, the understanding of science–in our nations and in their communities.

Of course such progress in religious reformation would affect immigration and customs and that is only logical and just. Indeed, countries throughout Europe which have been lenient in allowing sub-cultural legal establishments based on the religious laws of some religious and ethnic groups have been experiencing serious social, political and criminal problems because of it.

Terrorism and subjugation–as well as anti-science–and anti-egalitarianism is an outgrowth of some religions and particularly of certain sects of them. They gather their ideology for this violence and anti-egalitarianism from their scriptures. There is no need to allow these scriptures to undermine what we teach in our schools and enforce with our laws and doing so has become injurious to western values and peace.

The time has come to remedy the problem of religiously-inspired or galvanized discrimination and violence with comprehensive legal and religious reform and the fairest and most effective way to accomplish this is through dialog and legal recourse–via our governments– for the purpose of ensuring “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” for all–not just for those who agree with that. This is the society we have made and this is the society we must preserve, for ourselves, our children, for their children and for civilization.

Sowers of The Seed, Reapers of The Fruit

Sowers of The Seed
Reapers of The Fruit
Doers of the deed
Branches of the root

More desperately terrified people
More childish-ly scared people
More riveted-with-fear people
Simpering, shy, and hyper-concerned people
So immobilized-with-worry they’re controled-people

Self-esteemless
Dreamless
Arrogationless
Love-memeless
Truly Love-less and blinded drone-people
Reasonless, mindless
Bronze-aged and straw-bind people

Horrified, twisted and very little-mind-people
Tragically sad lower-brained and delusioned-people

Raped-of-confidence and creation-less people
Victims of brainwashing-since-birth people
They have, today killed many others of
The human-family people, again

Sowers of the seed
Reapers of the fruit
Consumers of its nectar
Branches of its root

And yes they have done it once again
in name of their masters and their politics
in the name of El Shadai Yahweh Sabaoath Al’ ah
The dictator god of Abraham
Yes, they are all the same one
Yes, they are one in the same
Yes, they bear the same fruit
They ensure His reign

He is their root

In the name of that most violent-religion
of the three most violent religions,
Such scared people; they’ve massacred again

And again
And again
And again, people

Sowers of the seed
Reapers of the fruit
Doers of the deed
Branches of the root

So we are–over decades–becoming, people
people like these robitized soul-dead people
So used to it are we, we do as they do, people
Instead of erasing the way
Instead of erasing their way
Instead of erasing our way
from our reasonable lives

The crazy things we allow them to say
To their children
Most every day
In those temples of cognitive rape
Here, in our would-be egalitarian democracies
Of free conscience!

They make more-terrified people
Telling us it’s love
Telling us it’s peace, people

If I give you a cornicupia of fruit
Is it the same as such a gift
Tainted with a few succinctly and potently poisonous dates?

Sowers of the seed
Reapers of the fruit
Branches of the root
Doers of the deed
Deservers of the suit

 

Love and peace never end like this
This is how they became scared killers
The way you and I are becoming scared killers

Seed
Fruit
Branch
Root
Deed
Suit

Time to cut it
Or be completely like it
Adopting what we seek to end

Consumers of the nectar
Sowers of the seed
Reapers of the fruit
Doers of the deed
Wearers of the suit

Laced with fear and anger
Promised great reward
Consumers of the nectar
Branches of the root
Sowers of the seed
Reapers of the fruit
Doers of the deed
Branches of the root
Holders of the knife
Fingers on the button

Brothers in bronze-age justice
Killers
You and I
And them

Sowers of The Seed
Reapers of The Fruit
Doers of the deed
Branches of the root

Mando

If I Were to Appease John Cleese

I wish 2016 would be the year we remembered science is a method of investigation and not a belief system. – John Cleese

I’d find it no surprise
That in our present state–
in this day and age
we have to take
the intellectual,
spiritual
and the perceptual–

the wisdom cues

From those who speak
all manner of
informative,
political,
social
and artistic clues:

The comedians
and this one, too–
who could be seen as fatherly–
because he’s British, you

We’re but spoiled Yank kids,
and what he says is true.

I’d listen, shouldn’t you?

Mando

Don’t Become; Be–Better

Don’t become something
Grow in love of yourself and others
And be better at whom you already are

This doesn’t mean you cannot be a lawyer
This doesn’t mean you cannot be an astronaut
This doesn’t mean you cannot be a surgeon
But if you lose whom you are to be something else
This is failure

If you must metamorphose
Into a worse version of yourself
This is destruction

This should not be confused with growth
We can all grow to be more aware, more loving, kinder
But becoming the opposite of these
For material or personal gain
Is self-murder
And unloving of the world
It puts us below other animals

Mando Atteniese
_________________

© Mando Atteniese, All Rights Reserved.

Restrooms for Three

We Need restrooms for Multiple Persuasions. Experiences I had in South Korea and which are being dealt with now on the federal level with American public schools stand in testament to this idea.

This is a crucial issue that goes beyond public schools and should concern all public facilities of every type across the land. Thankfully, it is brought to national attention because of a Federal government decision, active members of an Illinois school board, students and parents there and NPR.

The solution could have global influence, so the people of the United States–as always–have the opportunity to do a great good in the world, and therefore should discuss this in a national forum–as all great and far-reaching issues of supreme importance to human rights should be. In the United States we enjoy a leadership roll and the unique cultural disposition of a liberal-minded nation open to great change. This is the recipe necessary for great compassion and the uncommon sense required to reduce pain and ensure fairness in all issues.

In this particular issue, I have personal feelings which I voiced a couple years ago.

When I lived in South Korea, I wasn’t the only foreign national to notice that when I used public restrooms, I sometimes experienced the distinct phenomenon of being indiscretely observed by other men. We expats used to wave this off as curiosity among the locals who we felt lived in a highly homogeneous culture. But I had another theory to add to this.

Please keep in mind that this essay is in no way an attempt to disparage South Korean. I am writing about phenomena in an attempt to look compassionately at them.

South Korea, like many countries in the world, is one with a culture that does not readily recognize the existence, reality, or rights of other persuasions beyond the heterosexual. Indeed, when I witnessed homosexual behavior in South Korea, I was often told–incredulously–that I had mistaken what I saw, and that in fact it didn’t exist there. Obviously, this was denial, ignorance, and of course–homophobia. And now that Christianity is taking a firmer hold in and on South Korean society, this prejudice and blindness to human rights and science is growing worse, even while LGBT rights are slowly being reconized. Inch by inch.

I began to connect the phenomena of homogeneity and reprepression: the men peeping at me in bathrooms out of apparent curiosity for another ethnicity and the suppression of different persuasions. Didn’t it seem likely that at least some of this non-polite or unconscious behavior in public restrooms might be due to large scale lack of an outlet to admire the same sex on the part of closeted homosexuals and bisexuals–frustration leading to neurotic tendencies being expressed by men who otherwise had little or no real or cognitive outlet for their feelings in a country where the average citizen would tell you homosexuality, bisexuality and transgender persons did not exist?

It is the logical pattern of behavior one witnesses when people are denied their natural inclinations: denial and “perversion.” This is especially true in cultures of high conformity–for a variety of survival issues, not just those of comfort. And of course the people afraid of the behavior in question are not the only ones in denial. The ones who cannot help what they are will deny who they are to fit in as well.

And so, having had somewhat uncomfortable experiences (not that I enjoyed them; I am a tolerant and forgiving man) with a phenomena that I think has something to do with not only gender-identity insensitivity in South Korea and elsewhere, but with a lack of privacy, I say this is the result of something we are now attempting to mitigate in the US–even if only for the most part in schools.

While I understand that transgender persons feel legitimately to be one or the other sex, and that suggesting bathrooms for them separate from those marked for heterosexual persons may seem discriminatory, I don’t think it is (at least at this point in my consideration of the issue).

Generally speaking, transgender persons form relationships with those of their kind or of a homosexual nature–if I am not mistaken. Therefore–seeing as the purpose of separate restrooms was devised to give comfort to people who might otherwise find interest from others at times of need uncomfortable–it stands to reason that heterosexual people should not have to share restrooms with homosexual people or even transgender people and vice versa–because, especially in the latter case (although the transgender people ostensibly identify with the sex of those in the restroom where they find themselves)–this is a discomfort to some–if not to many of the others utilizing such facilities, because they see the transgender person as of the opposite sex.

The obvious solution is to offer a third option: the option of the gender-less bathroom. This way, anyone could go there without fear of discomfort, outright shock, or confrontation.

In the case of the public school issue, an optional-use genderless locker room could be allowed as well, for those identifying as cross-gender and/or for homosexuals and heterosexuals who could use it as well if they want to be among friends of other persuasions–or simply to show solidarity.

The obvious backlash to what I just said will be ‘get over it,’ and I understand that in stripes, but it is an unfair attitude.

We are all at different levels in our social and intellectual development and evolution–as well as of our understanding. Moreover, some people will not “get it” fast enough in that instant when they find themselves confronting someone of the obvious “other” physical sex in a restroom catering to their own physical sex. Do we just ignore this, as I was forced to, among men who were always peeping at me in bathrooms in South Korea?

P R I D E

One cause
That is no surprise
A lack of freedom to decide

A specter option
One can’t hide
Society rigidly proscribed
Its prisoners willingly abide

Because they’re forced to volunteer
Like little Kamikaze boys
Stepping up to parents’ toys
In terrified willing concert sup
A sip sucked from the family cup

A life that bonds does proudly seal
From which escape is too unreal
Except by death from shame

Mando

©Mando (Carl Atteniese Jr.), All rights reserved.

________________________________________

This poem was read at a Poetry Performers Association reading at Sip This in New York on Friday, December 4th, 2015.

Protecting The Kingdom: Arming Everybody, Including Saudi Arabia

A look at why the United States does the apparently insane things it does in the Middle East by Mando Atteniese

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The United States attacked Iraq in 2003 for two reasons. One was to protect Saudi Arabia, the other was to free up Iraqi oil for the world economy.

Protecting Arab oil had three purposes, considered valid since the end of World War II. One purpose was and is to ensure Western military needs; the US wants enough fuel to supply her military in two war theaters at all times since that was what was required to defeat Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan–two conflicts we basically caused, but that’s another story.

The next purpose in protecting Arab oil was in ensuring the safeguard of the fuel source for our cars, factories, and petrochemical production–basically, our economy.

The final purpose–and this is the cruncher, as the Brits say–was to prevent another major military power from acquiring Saudi oil and dominating the world with it. A treaty was signed at the end of World War II to protect Ibn Saud’s kingdom in return for concessions on the oil. This concern and the plans it inspired before and under the the Bush team can be read about in James Mann’s The Rise of The Vulcans, an exposé on the thinking and personalities of the George W. Bush administration.

This ideology of protecting Saudi Arabia with war was not the Bush team’s invention, however. It was the brainchild of Pentagon research during the Ford Administration. The first time the Pentagon’s mission was focused on this was to deter one nation, until it collapsed, and that was the USSR. This gauntlet, thrown down with PNAC* urging at President Clinton’s feet and ignored, was picked up when the coven of Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, and Cheney were back in the White House under Geroge W. Bush.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the standard tendency for the Pentagon–in line with the chief operating principle of all military planning–to provide against another possible enemy was focused on Iraq.

Since the US and her Allies have since destroyed Iraq, and now Saudi Arabia could fall to IS, we are giving military aid to Saudi Arabia to defeat IS or Al Qaeda (it doesn’t matter whom) in Yemen.

The unequivocally horrendous and hands-down attrocious nature of the Saudi theocracy and its heinous daily human rights abuses per traditional Muslim governance don’t matter to Washington as we would be in a World of Hurt–meaning we would probably have to rename our planet that, were IS to gain a foothold on the Arabian peninsula. Could the Saudis alone defeat them, from their palace hot tubs? They would tend to trip over their robes and scimitars on the wet marble floors, I think–on the way to battle.

“The enemy of my enemy is my friend” motto has been the guiding principle in US military history and it is what got us in trouble beginning under Ronald Reagan when we armed the Mujaheddin in our proxy war against the USSR. Think: Afghanistan. Think: Next would have been Saudi (in Pentagon minds). Now Saudi is the friend in the war against the IS enemy.

We fell for these religious warriors a long time ago, and we never broke up with the lot of them, so the love triangles will burn on until every possible despicable lifestyle and religious group will be armed to the teeth by us–if that is not the reality already–and we will be facing “blowback” forever, perhaps until we are matched in power by a religious super power–but this time, I think the arming of Saudi Arabia is meant to prevent that.

The only two ways I know of to stop this cycle are:

1. The Cold Stop: (A) No more weapons sold or given to anyone; (B) Strengthen our and other western nations for a possible onslaught from an IS empire. I think if we left them alone–as difficult as that would be for our bleeding hearts–they would leave us alone, sort of.

Aside: I think as long as Israel abuses Palestinians, the implementation of the Cold Stop would possibly engender a set of conditions in which they would possibly be a target for a new wealth-driven IS jihad-in a big smoldering way, and so Israel would likely carpet bomb or nuc Saudi (and perhaps all of the Middle East outside her borders?)….

2. The Hot Stop: We employ the Cold Stop in not selling weapons and the Hot Stop, meaning we fight our own wars, never arming allies or letting them help with weapons. It sounds like a strategy from Star Trek, right? I know; we are hundreds of years away from being that smart.

Right now we are arming Saudi Arabia. The Hot Stop plan would mean we cease that and do what they are doing, alone, and we complete the mission ourselves. That is, if we deem it necessary to see the IS or Al Qaeda uprising in Yemen stopped, we stop it. If we deem it necessary to see the IS threat stopped in Iraq or Syria, we stop it. Again, alone. Or we allow them to assist, but they can’t touch the weapons. Not the Saudis, not the Yemenis.

We are the only ones capable, anyway. Part of the problem of arming others to do our dirty work is they are never up to the task, so we have to hold their hands, train them, and then say: “Go, Junior! No! You’re running the wrong way!” Americans are the best killers in the world, now. Everyone knows that.

Like all normal people, however, I despise military solutions and the capitalist greed, childish fear and amateur statecraft that leads to them, but if we have to fight, we should do it ourselves or let the situation alone. Because of US and British meddling beginning in the late nineteenth century, people who should not be trusted with complicated weaponry now hold the nations that defeated Nazism and Ninjas hostage and threaten peace on Earth. It’s worse than ridiculous. It’s pathetic.

We have let ancient and savage, childish and undeserving religious rivalries–along with a particularly idiot-like addiction to a panet-destroying fuel source–inflate our defense budgets, gut our Bill of Rights and ruin our economies. These ways have also maimed and killed millions of people, on both sides of the pond.

Proxy wars arm our future enemies. Al Qaeda and IS have weapons today, because we armed them accidentally and armed their predecessors deliberately. They also have weapons today, because we defeated Saddam Hussein, fired and banned his entire government (including civil servants, teachers, meter maids, etc.) and their well-trained soldiers; we left tons and tons of weapons out in the open for the taking. Then we left the country.

Sane American citizens don’t want to fight wars. I don’t blame them, but if we are going to fight wars, we had better do it ourselves or not do it at all; stay home, improve America and the lives of her people, and batten down the hatches.

Personally, I have always felt that the Arab nations (more so a few decades ago, but still, now) are not ready for democracy and we are not deserving of their oil–nor should we want this planet-killing source of energy they offer. Furthermore, notwithstanding the horrendously atrocious human rights nightmares that are the usual conditions in Arab countries, these people want to be left alone–so why not try that: stop meddling in their affairs and let them handle their own business. I think, then, they would leave us alone, mostly.

In the old days, Western powers could lay waste to entire countries across the ocean. Now, people from such countries injure and kill us in our own countries in retribution–and as a preventative measure in attempts to get us to stop meddling in their business. And since they have fanatical religion on their sides, unlike us, they don’t need aircraft carriers, battle ships, flying gunships, jets, and tanks to do it. They walk into public places and detonate themselves and shoot us with weapons our stupid gun laws and the dopey NRA allowed them to have.

The time has come to ask yourself, westerner: is it sadly better to have these people killing one anothers’ wives, parents and children in their own territories or ours in our own?

We don’t have to trade with the ones that don’t honor principles of human decency and we shouldn’t be buying their oil, anyway. Left alone, and for long enough, a nation will change. We would have a hard time getting nations like China and Russia to cooperate with this, but it would be morally preferable, and they wouldn’t be aiming jihad at us.

As with people, the same with nations: the right and smart and morally righteous deed to do is always harder than the ones of political and financial expediance, but it prevents you from becoming a marked man, a murderer, and an exceptionalist trouble-maker.
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*The Project for the New American Century was a think tank in the same building as the American Enterprise Institute, which publishes the journal Foreign Policy. It’s founders were William Kristol and Walter Kagen and its policy page was signed by future Bush administration staffers. Their journal, The Weekly Standard,” a neoconservative publication, was dropped off each week in the new Bush White House. Their charter was to lead America to challenge any nations that stood in the way of our interests and values, and to promote American world leadership. Members, or signers on, included Richard Pearle, the civilian Pentagon official who was on record for saying ‘America needed another Pearl Harbor’ to set the stage for ‘total war,’ in which the American people would back the President and we would ‘right the wrongs of the world and our grandchildren would sing anthems about us.’ Other illustrious members, or signers on, were Professor Francis Fukuyama, George W. Bush, Jeb Bush, and Elliot Abrams, of Iran-Contra scandal fame. They have been called Hegellians, believing democracy is the government form that represents the end of history, and Strausnians after a Chicago University professor who propounded such and similar views.

Aziz Ansari, You Are Wrong

Aziz Ansari doesn’t approve of people playing the parts of characters from other cultures. How ridiculous? Where would acting be if actors could only play the people from “their cultures” (whatever that means, anymore)? Here was my comment to him at the New York Times:

Mr. Ansari:

An actor taking on the role of an individual from another ethnicity is not inherently an insult and should not be taken as such; it is a challenge for an actor, period. Saying only the people from a group can play a personality from that group is an insult to all groups of people, especially actors. In fact, it’s a run-of-the-mill, hackneyed, boring, annoying, and knee-jerk PC-ism that represents one of the kinds of particularly pernicious attitudes destroying the cognitive art of perceiving and crafting essence in meaning–in our communication, intellectualism, language, visual art, prose, poetry, song, politics, and comedy–of which you should know something: impersonation in acting of any kind–when well done–is flattery and when not well-done due to stereotype, ethniphobia (my word and spelling for the term that should replace the obsolete, scientifically inaccurate and harmful concept of “racism”) is only then, an insult.

You, as a person from an Indian culture (I take it you nor all such groups are not the same?), should be flattered an actor would labor to acquire the mannerisms, body-language, speech patterns, and dialect of a particular person from a culture in India.

Finally, suggesting a person from a culture is necessary to tell a story about a person from that culture in a different culture is–well, sophomoric and ethnocentric (“racist”).

Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/15/arts/television/aziz-ansari-on-acting-race-and-hollywood.html?hp

Fifteen Years Teaching in Korea

Though I think many people the world over still might not understand viscerally and intuitively why Westerners still seem to enjoy going abroad to teach English in Asia and elsewhere, I don’t care. I want to talk about something different in regard to the subject.

I could speak reams on why it is a very enlightening thing to do (insofar as living in “an opposite culture” is so self-educational and awe-inspiring), but I want to share some feelings, ideas, and solutions for the painful side of it, because there is one, and it is not about cry-baby complaints in the area of culture shock (although that can be starkly maddening). It is about the system, itself, and how unfair, self-defeating, and stupid it can be. This is said with good intentions, as always.

If you come away from this thinking I am anti-Korean or worse (with an unforgivably ignorant notion and tool-thought, like:) ‘that writer is “racist,” you either didn’t read carefully or you’re dishonest and employing the offended-card tactic. Read carefully. I number and letter my points for ease of refference.

(A.) One thing desperately needed in Korea is a test that would qualify people to teach English, instead of the ubiquitously stupid required “degree,” which proves nothing.

In a country where the general desire among the average people and the wish for them on the part of corporate and educational authorities agrees with the benefits of mastering the lingua franca, it makes no sense for the main qualifying factor to be only a document proving simple attendance from a “university” for a prescribed amount of time.

(B.) Teaching conversational English–(C.) which is what Koreans need to learn more than grammar–because it incorporates a greater and necessary innate focus on style (in addition to a need for a basic comprehension of grammar) is something any literate and cognitively intelligent native speaker is technically capable of.

(D.) However, this is, in reality, best accomplished by one with abilities found specifically in all three of these areas, but with added skills thrown in… in abundance: in (1.) communications, (2.) public speaking, (3.) in personality, and (4.) In social acumen.

After almost eighteen years of teaching and tutoring English as a Second Language, I have found there to be very helpful additional skills in the endeavor–especially beneficial in teaching English to high-context language speakers, such as Koreans, including (5.) singing, (6.) drawing, (7.) painting, and other creative abilities that monumentally aid in the transference of ideas, especially those involving intellectual concepts and linguistic notions of phonemes (most-especially where teaching children is concerned). We could call this (8.) abstract intelligence.

Compensation
(E.) Only recently have Korean educational authorities and businesses begun to ask for degrees in English or linguistics (say in the last five years), yet the compensation, benefits, and conditions for these supposed professionals is abysmally small (and not much different from when I began teaching in Korea eighteen years ago), while the profits for the schools are relatively—and in many cases—very high.

How Can Korea Improve Its English Fluency?
My next point comes in the form of a question and a proposition, which is this:

(F.) If the Korean people sincerely desire fluency in English, why don’t they allow and offer holiday visas for foreigners and relax the restrictions on letting such people stay in the country?

(F.) This would vastly increase the amount, (G.) level and (H.) types of English heard, which contrary to closed-minded points of view, would (H.) take not only English fluency to new heights, but (I.) openness to foreign cultures, as well–which would help in students learning English and in understanding the world. Korean students come to America and are virtually comatose, socially, because of this lack of understanding. I know. I have taught them here and continue to associate with them.

(J.) Korea could also do as Singapore has done: make English a second ‘first language.’ This would incorporate it into the cultural lexicon as something “owned” and respected, instead of leaving it as something “scholastic,” and dreaded, academic and lofty, foreign and alien.

(K.) Language is a component of culture. English is a western-focused communication system. You cannot speak it well by shutting out western culture–or by simply paying lip-service to a cursory understanding of it–especially if you come from the Orient.

English is Occidental. At the risk of sounding a hundred years older than I am, I use these words for a reason. I am an Asiaphile, and as such I have come to know intimately and painfully that the cultures of the East–however similar to ours with their westernization–are really those of a veritable ‘other planet.’ (L.) So if people from Korea really want to master English in a “native” way, they must adopt western culture, from this, our veritable other planet–at least when learning and speaking the Western languages like English.

The same is true for we Occidentals who must adopt Eastern culture when attempting to learn or speak Korean, or Japanese, or Chinese. I know. My friends who attempt to speak Korean can never sufficiently pull it off as I can (and I speak Korean terribly, in my estimation); this is because they can’t “walk the walk.” They cannot “sound” and “act” Korean. It is the same with English for Koreans, generally.

How Do We Feel About How We Are Perceived?
(M.) It is a long-standing point of fact among foreign nationals that though Koreans appear generous toward people of other countries, they still seem to fear them like the plague and tolerate them like unsweetened cough medicine. (N.) I understand there are historical reasons for this, but (O.) these pale in importance next to the deleterious effects of parents and teachers perpetuating this ignorance-based phenomenon. (P.) This, and the degree requirement (instead of really ascertaining who can teach English), is a major impediment to improving English fluency on the peninsula, because it excludes many good teachers. I cannot be the ony one.

Who Was I As A Teacher? What I Did I Offer?
When I taught English in Korea, I had not yet completed my college degree. And I arrived when virtually no one cared. I never lied about it—and still everyone wanted to hire me, anyway.

Pardon my saying, I am told I am literate, interested, interesting, inspired, inspiring, educated, well-spoken, well-written and caring. I don’t do drugs, I hardly–if ever–drink alcohol, and I am a volunteer counselor. There is a point here; please read on through the self-congratulatory vein…

I taught myself English grammar, pronunciation and style. I even read Korean history. I answered the questions about grammar and style asked of me by foreign teachers who had degrees and visas in Korea, but who didn’t know these subjects and cared even less, apparently.

I was a favorite teacher everywhere I went, not only because I was said to be humorous, loving, dedicated, and able to convey the necessary points of learning English to my students, but because I learned enough of the local language to show I cared about the people; and I spoke it well enough to convey necessary meaning to Korean children–who often needed to hear their language for the seriousness of “the monkey” in the room to register in their minds.

Why would I not have carte blanche, teaching in Korea? Stupid laws, prejudices, and traditions. That’s why. We have the same stupid rules.

(Q.) The driving concept is that a college degree equates to a morally, upright, intelligent, educated, well-spoken, kind, and talented individual. Basically it is thought that if you graduated university, you are a gentleman or a lady. Especially in Asia, this is likely and largely due to the ancient concept of reverence held for the Mandarin system of China and the recognition of the educated status of the Yangban elite in Korea.

And Now? What Precipitated My Departure?
I left because a kindergarten I had worked for, two years prior, had been under investigation as part of a dragnet of teachers who had been hired by an agent who sourced too many teachers who didn’t have work visas. So one day I get a call from a friend (who was working legally, but who needed extra money and thus worked off-contract at the same kindergarten–because he was married and had a child). He says “Remember Samsung Yuchiwon…?”

It had been a great place to work. I had done a very good job there, too. (They betrayed me, in the end, in a manner of speaking, but that’s another story; the agent tried to run off with my money, too, and that’s another story, as well).

I left Korea in 2013, because I was concerned about being caught up in some investigation. I am no coward and am a fighter for justice (I have been an activist since I was eighteen), but I did not have the money for fines, nor did I want my ex-girlfriend to see me in possible trouble with the law (which never happened, actually). I also did not want to give my parents heart attacks (my mother doesn’t know China from Korea, legally-speaking).

Why would a much-loved teacher like me fear the law? Well, I had been working most of my time in Korea off-contract, and my luck seemed to be finally running out.

I worked Off-contract for Five Reasons:
1. The opportunity exists at every level of education in Korea–including at universities and with the government. I taught a judge’s children. They loved me in that family. I loved them, too. I taught at the Korea Deposit Insurance Agency. I narrated ten documentaries for Arirang TV, otherwise known as a division of the Korea National Broadcasting Federation. I made television recordings for national television contests and a comedy show–both of which went to Cannes.

No one should try denying teachers off-contract are in demand (or were, anyway). And teachers should not be penalized for it. (R.) Why should foreigners hired by citizens of a country be penalized for providing the service they were hired for.

Even immigration officials knew what I and thousands of others were doing. I could tell. One even gave me advice.

2. I wanted to be in Asia and was welcomed there by a good friend; I went with the best of loving and fair intentions, to be a kind guest, good teacher, and student of another culture. I did it and know people who did it. All educational entities try to satisfy the demand for teachers in Korea, and many prefer “illegals,” (or did). Most of the people hiring me were good people, too, but they all have to lie about it; and all have channels for hiring off the books, seamlessly. In many ways it is better; working undocumented for Korean employers as a foreign national–even in the best of situations–because working in Korea involves mountains of stress (Koreans themselves will tell you this) and often near-intolerable levels of compromise with one’s western cultural beliefs and cognitive programming in the areas of “common sense,” fairness, and tolerance.

3. Working for “Owners” in Korea is a Pain in The Ass (and in the head, and the heart)
There are often unfair and irregular changes to “the contract,” the provided living conditions, the schedule, the teaching method (per the day-to-day whims of parents—who are not teaching professionals), the pay, the taxes, the severance package, the working hours and days, the holiday schedule, the arrangements for foreign travel to obtain a visa, and the list goes on and on and on. It is the most talked about subject among foreigners in Korea. It is the subject of the comedy and songs and poems they write. It is what they fill blogs about and comment strings on social media sites. But the most aggravating issue is often just the fact that no matter how good-natured Koreans try to be and are (and I love them for this, sincerely—more than Americans at times!), they cannot seem to dilute the impression a foreigner gets that he is now a slave to new masters who are patently blind to his situation. It seems to stem from culture differences and differences in cognition; I felt it from girlfriends, even. It really rubs foreigners the wrong way—the the extent that many giving up working there, or give up working legally, and some even give up dating the locals.

This is not to say that living in Korea isn’t often nice, quaint, and quite “tolerable,” and I miss it because there are wonderful aspects of living there—and I am not talking about the girls or the money (despite what many locals think and say, we are the opposite of shallow, many of us… this is why we are there!).

4. With off-contract work, the pay is better and commensurate with the needs, expectations and stresses of living and teaching in Korea. It’s better for foreigners hoping to get a leg up in life, to afford compensation for being in such a vastly different and often antagonizing culture (some of us actually like that, but it is trying). This higher pay from part-time and private or otherwise additional work may afford the foreign teacher the opportunity to have greater “upward social mobility.” Female Korean nationals will tell foreign boyfriends ‘I could never marry you; you work at a hakwon (a private school) and live in a “one-room.’” This can change drastically for the good when one has more control over his or her own pay and the ability to earn more of it (Whether or not a guy still wants to marry into such a depressingly shallow situation is another matter). With the extra money, we could attempt more schooling, travel to see more of Korea and Asia (great for a teacher!), and perhaps pay off huge student loans.

5. The Boss owns your visa (unlike in Japan), and thus can control your life. For if you lose your job with him or her—or you want to change jobs—you lose your visa and thus your right to stay in the country. With off-contract work, one can have more than one job without much hoop-jumping. On a contract and with the visa it guarantees, one must keep only one job, or get permission to seek another one. And two is the limit. Private teaching is illegal. How communistic-ally and reprehensibly ridiculous. My uncle didn’t suffer through the war with the Japanese, freeing the Koreans, nor the war in Korea with the North Koreans and Chinese communists… for the South Koreans to be so controlling and “communist!” Laugh out loud.

What We Don’t Come For
Foreigners do not leave the progressive, egalitarian comforts of their communities in the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, The UK and Ireland for “tolerable.” They don’t leave their families and neighbors and pets and friends for “tolerable.” Soldiers and “Doctors without Borders” go abroad to war zones and poverty-stricken African conflict regions for that. And that’s all admirable; one can go to the edge of civilization to teach English in “tolerable conditions.” We don’t go to Korea for that, and that is not what Korea advertises.

You see, the Korean government is not really worried about people learning English. It is worried about Korean won leaving the economy and it is worried about taxes, and the dilution of “Korean morals.” Go to Korea and figure out that last one…

I sent money home, only once—in fifteen years. It was about five-hundred dollars, sent–to my parents. I was really a migrant worker who made his life and living in Korea. So, I was a very helpful part of the economy. Korea lost nothing in me, and gained many times more.
And what about those who can teach in Korea, and probably shouldn’t be allowed to?

Who Teaches in Korea And Who Really Shouldn’t?
(R.) There are plenty of Philippine nationals and “Kyopos,” Koreans born and/or raised abroad, who speak broken English but who legally teach at institutes and in public schools in Korea, for which they have been granted a visa, apartments, health benefits, and salaries. (S.) And they work on the side, to boot, private tutoring, opening bars…. Why shouldn’t they? Everyone does. (T.) Work is a human right. But they are not a good example as teachers if they cannot speak perfect English. Don’t get me wrong; I am happy they have work. But why can I not teach in Korea, when I can do a better job of it than they can? (U.) If Korea is going to let them do it, why not let me? Several answers come to mind: Philippine nationals look something like Koreans. They are Asian, so have similar values—ostensibly. And, they blend in. It must be realized that there are still people in Korea who prefer to ignore the science (or are unaware of it), that says they (and other Asians) are not a different race, and these types would prefer Asians teach their children—unlike a few years ago, when it was discrimination against Korean, Japanese, and Chinese Americans which kept them from teaching English in Korea because it was felt that English should be taught from behind Caucasian skin and features. (V.) But in reality, I think xenophobia—though strong in Korea– is not the main factor contributing to non-native Asian people getting education jobs in Korea over people like me; (W.) I think it is just incompetence and (X.) convenience which are the culprits; (Y.) Philippine girls marry Korean boys, and so they can teach in Korea because they have a visa. The same is true for Americans, Irishmen, Britons, Canadians, etc., degree or no degree.

How is The Style of Teaching English in Korea Harmful?
Local Koreans (nationals) are the grammar teachers. Fine. (Z.) But they often wind up teaching conversation, incorrectly, in order to model the grammar. If I had ₩1,000 for every time I had to correct the incorrect speech I knew was coming from Korean teachers (or for every time I corrected the Korean teachers–and the “Kyopos”, too) I could have impressed some Korean parents enough to have married one of their daughters.

Someone like myself—who only has three years of college under his belt, but who is a fourth-generation American (yes, that makes me a better English speaker), a poet and a writer (however bad I am at poetry and writing), a speaker of accent-free standard north-east American English (that matters, too), who knows grammar and style, writes constantly, studies copy-editing and produces essays… who sings, dances, does voice acting, stand-up comedy, and draws… but cannot—however—teach English legally could be the poster-child for what’s wrong with the Korean ESL education system. So, no–it’s not about education. Hell, I even speak some Japanese and French; I exhibit perfect pitch (which also helps teach a language); I can mimic any accent, too. How am I not an asset? No one in power knows.

If things were set right, guys like me would not be running away or be getting kicked out (as the case was with other people); people don’t leave a good thing. Korea would be looking for us.

“Illegals” like myself, in point of fact, are more likely to appreciate Korea. We walked around with guilt and appreciation for being there.

What Do They Offer?
But Korea wants scholars to teach English in its parent and sheister-controlled “hakwons” for 2.2 million won a month, and for them to be happy in a one-room being managed by K-pop loving twenty-somethings? Have the planners of these little businesses ever been to the West? (Okay, by now, there are probably a handful of western teachers who like K-pop). They do not understand the people fueling their businesses at all–or didn’t when I was there–in most cases… in the best cases!

Why Not Get A Degree?
I tried to finish school while in Korea. I enrolled at the University of Maryland in Yongsan, at Eight Post (the US Army base), but I was also working and trying to rescue one of Korea’s forgotten and neglected daughters (not the first or last time): a girl who had gone to the illustrious Yeonsei University and who was an English teacher, herself (I saw her degree and teaching materials), but whose brother had committed suicide, and so she assumed the responsibility of supporting her parents. She had taken to working in Itaewon. Use your imagination. (No, I did not frequent such places as you are imagining). However, I succeeded. I got her out of it. She became a Buddhist and a teacher, again—leaving Itaewon. It was a hell-ride in the end, however, over which I ended up on medication for severe anxiety, and about which I lost a “good” job, in D’aechi dong working for a nice and tolerable self-professed miser and slave-driver. This affair took a toll on my concentration, not to have to mention, my job and life for years to come—because it affected other jobs and relationships.

There were other issues interfering with finishing school, some similar to the one above—in some ways (not dealing with the same things) –some about my often not being able to find a stable, fair place to work, where I wouldn’t be driven out (a lot of “hakwon” bosses were (still are?) more soft-hearted gangster and wash-up than educator). I had a run-in with gangsters in Korea, too.

Back to What’s Wrong with English Education in Korea
(Zz.) The foreign teachers are regulated in Korea. Heavily. Insanely so, as if they are criminals on a back-to-work-program, rather than educators (Yz.) who should be thanked for being so far from home and trying to help.

(Xx.) The institutes are NOT regulated. This, not “bad foreigners,” is why virtually every single teacher who has taught in Korea since 1995 has had a horror story about it, if not a string of them. Koreans, as kind tey can be, are generally in complete denial over this, mostly because they do not know.

(Ww.) The joke is, anyone can open a hakwon. (Vv.) Why is that, if it is so hard to teach at one legally?

(Vv.) My point is that Korea could do a lot better by its teachers (foreign and domestic) and its own citizens. Many who could do well by the Korean people, helping them enormously, are not allowed to teach in Korea legally, and it is ridiculous. (Uu.) It has more to do with xenophobia and money and being “respectful” than it does with anything else.

After all the effort I put in, I should not have had to run. Many students were deprived of a dedicated teacher when I left, and I was deprived of a life I struggled nearly two decades to grow accustomed to–and of people and a life I loved as well (despite the loneliness and hardship of the last few years–after my girlfriend’s father rejected me, because I was an American Catholic who turned Buddhist). It all has taken a terrible toll on my mind. But don’t worry, and don’t get defensive. This essay is a labor of love, and I am basically fine, hanging on–in New York. Human beings survive tragedy, injustice, and foolishness–somehow.

How Did I Teach?
I had written songs for every activity (it is a thing I do, because what I call “Periphery English” is often largely ignored in Korea–in a manner of speaking); I drew for the children, made them laugh, and taught them phonics in very original ways (I have invented an incredibly useful method that I have never seen before). I even taught them rudiments of grammar. I have done this for the students everywhere in Korea. Of course I did it for Pak Joong Hoon’s children. I did it at Korea University, at Hongik, at Hanyang, at Universal Student Center, at Weidei….

The Police?
Anyway, I was grilled for two hours at the police station, into which I had voluntarily walked at their request–by phone. My interpreter liked me. He learned of the year I had worked on contract, of all my methods, of the appreciation I earned from students young and old, and from parents–as well as from administrators–who thought I was the best teacher they’d ever had–in some cases). He learned of my having been married for a while, to a Korean, of my language skills, of my having become a Korean Zen Buddhist. We still, occasionally communicate.
It shouldn’t have had to have been like this–my fear, my final run to America. It shames me. It has made my life enormously difficult.

How Could it Have Been? What’s It Like Coming Home?
I came home and looked for work for nearly a year. I am out of work, again, and often wonder what would have happened had I not had to fear staying in Korea.

I had begun teaching more business classes. I had been a success with Carrot English (당근영어)–having been sent to Geoje Island, where I taught and coached a temporary and intensive class of engineering recruits–well enough so that one of my groups won the final speech and presentation contest out of fifty-five odd students…. in a major government program for one of the biggest container ship, submarine, and rig-building companies in the world. Some of them cried when I left. Why did I have to leave? I got sick with a terrible migraine one morning and so the company vetted me, thinking I was a drug addict. The excuse was, “the government is coming to inspect the school,” and, of course, I didn’t have a work visa. Well, Carrot doesn’t sponsor anyone. They hire teachers with visas provided by other companies.

How About The Rules in The US?
The same stupidity goes on in America. You need a degree where one should not be necessary–just like in Korea: ‘You have a photography degree, a chemistry degree? Come on in!’ This doesn’t mean a person has the talent, experience, or knowledge sufficient to teach English as a Second Language (Remember, we are not talking about literature, biology, or Chemistry).

I passed my teaching demo at Kaplan International, Empire State Building, in New York City with exploding stellar colors. Dr. Pangborne, the academic Director loved my presentation. I had taught–with song and drawing, conversation and humor–the two most difficult verbs in the English language. Convincingly. To American teachers. He wanted to hire me as a teacher right away. He couldn’t.

I was not permitted to teach English without a degree, so I was given an academic assistance position; I proctored exams, did one-on-one level tests, led student tours and corrected the poor grammar and style of teacher reports from people with college degrees. Imagine how that felt.
That job lasted six months, until I wasn’t needed any longer. The union (which represents Kaplan teachers and journalists at the Washington Post) told me that Kaplan is known for this; I had reached the number of hours necessary to qualify for health benefits, which they did not want to pay for.

And I cannot teach in Korea, legally–not until I finish college–which I finally continue at in January, online. When I do finish, do you think Koreans or the Japanese, for that matter, will hire me–at fifty years old, if i am not applying to a college in the countryside. Will they hire me without a Master’s? That’s a whole other problem in Korea (and in Japan–my favorite place in Asia): age discrimination.

Is There A Future in Asia for An Experienced Language Teacher of Twenty Years?
Additionally, they don’t really want to sponsor teachers in Korea, anymore–if they can avoid it; I was routinely asked–my last few years in country: ‘how old are you?’ and, ‘Would you happen to be married to a Korean?’

Carl “Mando” Atteniese

http://carlatteniese.org

#english-teachers, #esl, #foreigners, #hakwon, #hanguk, #illegals, #korea, #education, #linguistics, #midnight-run, #south-korea, #teaching, #teaching-in-korea, #tefl, #toefl, #toeic, #topic, #visa-run, #waygook, #younguh

What’s in Our Stars?

Happy Halloween. What a stupid (but fun) holiday.

I love it when people say the stars and planets don’t affect us. How do you know? They affect one another, so what do we have, galactic… or solar immunity? We are electrochemical beings on a planet swathed in an electromagnetic field which is so affected by gravitation from other stars and planets that we are speeding through the cosmos in no fewer than four directions at hypersonic speeds because of them and we’re heavily influenced by the weather that electromagntic forces and thermodynamism cause locally. And shall we begin to consider lunar tidal forces, asteroids, comets, stellar pulses, super novae, cosmic rays? Ever see the Northern lights? Do you know they can shut down the power grid? Ever feel the warmth of the sun? Consider ocean convection due to temperature fluctuations and salinity due to glacial melt? Life on Earth thanks to solar insolation? Remember the dinosaurs? Would they agree that celestial objects do not affect us?

The Prime Importance of Honesty in Everything

Honesty is the kernel of spirituality, all higher perception and related reason, self-knowledge, mental health, cognition, and relationships (including with the self).

If you lie to yourself about anything, especially about your observations, feelings, or beliefs, you will lie to others, which in the case of those who trust you amounts to a human rights abuse. People who trust you, in private life or in business, depend on your honesty to understand the world that you reveal to them. If you lie, you paint a false image where they depend on you for an accurate one; this is deception. It makes a fool of them in the worst way, because it makes a fool of them in such a way as it facilitates their making a fool of themselves–because they decided to trust you.

Honesty that is self-serving is a vice or a tool for self-aggrandizement; honesty for the benefit of others is a virtue.

In conclusion, dishonesty is the root of all problems as a factor in one’s not loving oneself and thus others. The only time lying is virtuous is when it saves lives and promotes righteous justice (which never, ever includes harm to anyone, for any reason (not even to facilitate punishment, which is primitive and which will one day be done away with) .

The Second Amendment and The English Language:

The Second Amendment And The English Language: You Can’t Have The Former Without The Latter

All one really needs in order to understand the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution is high school-level comprehension of standard English style (or college-level comprehension of standard English, depending on where one has gone to high school).

When English teachers and writers use the word “style,” they mean the generally agreed-upon conventions–or ways–that educated people use phraseology, punctuation, and paragraph formatting (In other words, “style” doesn’t really mean grammar–although if one doesn’t know grammar, his or her ability with style will not save the writing).

Let’s look at the Second Amendment:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

1. Right from the start we see in the first clause (before the first comma), what this writing is about: Militia(s); and, we see what kind of militias are being written about: “well regulated” ones.

2. After that first comma that follows ‘Militia’ there are qualifications explaining the “what and why” of the intended militias–explained with no correlating conjunctions (words like ‘and,’ ‘or,’ ‘but’ and ‘so’). To understand what this means, we have to understand English writing style;

If we see the following sentence, what does it tell us?

Yesterday, Jon went to the nursery, feeling sick, but ready to work–with his head hung low.

Well, it tells us four things, but the second, third, and fourth things it tells us are specifically not added to the sentence with the conjunction ‘and,’ because they are meant to modify the nature of the first thing. Let me explain:

We know four things about Jon;
1. He went to the nursery, yesterday;
2. He felt sick;
3. He was ready to work;
4. His head was hung low…

And we know more succinctly that all those things occurred (or that two things occurred [he went to the nursery and hung his head low] and that they happened under certain conditions [he was feeling sick, but was ready to work]) at the same time–because the second, third, and fourth conditions were added to the sentence with no use of the word ‘and,’ giving us a lot of information about Jon’s trip to the nursery–in one breath–relating them all to the idea that he went to the nursery, in a certain way of behavior.

The placement of all the information in one sentence, in clauses, separated by commas, clearly tells the reader that the clauses after the comma modify the clause before it–meaning they tell us about the first clause and are not meant to be isolated items of information–unrelated to it–in a series. This all means that everything in the sentence adds to the idea that Jon went to the nursery. Everything in the sentence is about that.

Back to the Second Amendment:

Taking what we learned from the sentence about Jon and applying it to the style in the Second Amendment, we will see that all the information in the Second Amendment is about one topic: militias.

We could explain what the Second Amendment’s style illustrates more easily by separating the clauses of the sentence with other markers, like parentheses and brackets, instead of with commas:

‘A well regulated Militia (being necessary to the security of a free State [the right of the people to keep and bear Arms]), shall not be infringed.’

The meaning in parentheses modifies–or clarifies ‘A well regulated militia,’ and the meaning in the brackets clarifies what is necessary for the condition expressed in the parentheses about that militia. If we take out the parenthetic part of the sentence (and the information set off by commas in the Second Amendment is parenthetic–which is why it is within commas), we get the basic meaning of the sentence–and a recap of what we already know from the first clause (what this is all about):

‘A well regulated Militia shall not be infringed.’

Or, we get:

‘A well regulated militia, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.’

In this version above (and as I said before), the idea and its meaning–bracketed by commas in the second clause–defines the idea in the clause before, such that ‘the right of the people to keep and bear arms’ is a definition quality, or qualification of ‘a well regulated Militia’ according to the framers. It means, “the people”, or a group organized into and called a militia will not have the right to maintain that militia infringed upon. It doesn’t talk about not infringing on private gun ownership–not at all.

Written more clearly for today’s level of American comprehension of English and less like poetry, the parenthetic clauses of the Second Amendment could have been written with a relative adjective–like ‘which’ and with a few more words like ‘meaning,’ as well as with a copula verb like ‘is,’ had the founding fathers known that the coming generations would be either challenged in educating themselves in standard English style and comprehension, or challenged in their scruples such that they twist the meaning in order to dupe ignorant citizens–and thus they could have protected against the craftiness and ignorance of our age like this:

A well regulated Militia, which is necessary to the security of a free State–meaning the right of the people to keep and bear Arms in such a militia–shall not be infringed.

This is what the Second amendment really means (if the founding fathers were literate–and they certainly were); it means the founding fathers felt a state militia was necessary–and that it had to be well-regulated (meaning gun possession should be well-regulated).

Next, so there would be no confusion, they explain why it is necessary: for the maintenance of a free state. And then they explain what a militia is composed of: “the people, meaning the group (the militia) having weapons. This is important: “the people” means, basically, “the masses,” for you cannot have a one-man militia.

The plural of ‘person’ is ‘persons’, and though we often use ‘people’ to mean the plural of ‘person,’ taken with the definite article ‘the,’ ‘people’ means a group, specifically a definite or defined group–as in a unit, as in a “Militia,” but even if the wording didn’t mean that… even if the founding fathers had intended for ‘the people’ to mean individuals, the style of the sentence making up the ideas of the Second Amendment–which we hear if we read it correctly and with the proper intonation and enunciation–shows parenthetic clauses in a sentence about a militia–not about private gun ownership as separate elemental items in a series or a list of related–but distinctly different issues to ‘not be infringed.’

Understanding and implementing the Second Amendment properly is thus a matter of education and honesty, not historical interpretation. The language is clear.

What I have been trying to say all along is:

The Second Amendment does not say:

‘A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free state and the right of people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.’

If you look, you see I added the conjunction ‘and’ to make the right of the establishment of a militia and private gun ownership separate elements in a series; this is how the NRA and unscrupulous (or illiterate) politicians and pundits interpret the Second Amendment–for their own benefit. And some feel they are not so ignorant about that, so must be fraudulent–as Justice Lawrence Berger accused.

Finally, and to clarify and be intellectually honest (the hallmark of good people and honorable statesmen), the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States does not say that individuals cannot own weapons–but it also absolutely does not–in any way, shape or form making the blanket statement (as the modern-day NRA and many citizens, congressmen, and senators assert) that citizens can have any kind of weapon, or that gun ownership cannot be regulated well. In fact, the Second Amendment clearly says–in high school-level standard English–the opposite. Anyone who disagrees with this is either a fabulist or ignorant.

Copyright Mando (Carl Atteniese Jr.), All rights reserved.

Reasons Not Talked About for Going to The Moon And Mars

I think to some Apollo astronauts one of the important reasons not talked about for going back to the moon or to Mars could be to validate our having gone to the moon in the first place.

If you only go to the moon seven times, landing five, it can be misinterpreted as the stages of a stunt. I am sure this contributes to why many do not believe we went at all.

However, if we respect the endeavor and its myriad benefits, and we go again to the moon, establishing a base and perhaps an energy station there, or we go to Mars, it all can be better interpreted as stages in a serious agenda, with the few moon missions we had being seen as the first parts of that agenda.

In a sense, we mock the men and women of the space program, and we mock ourselves–by  not building on what we’d started. Worst of all, we mock the memory of the men who went into deep space and on to the moon and who have passed on; and we mock the memory of those who died trying. Finally we do no honor and some dishonor, I would add, to astronauts and all the people behind them who reached the moon and are still living–for they likely thought they were the first in establishing a pioneer’s destination for further exploration. And then to their chagrin, we abandoned everything they sacrificed to achieve.

Was our monumentally historic achievement of walking on the moon, leaving experiment packages there, and returning home to the Earth a “small step” on a larger journey, or just one show-off “giant leap for mankind”?

I don’t think Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, or Michael Collins felt they were only going to the moon to plant a flag–though we know, as they did, that this was one of the main points of making the journey and was its impetus. Surely, as we continued the Apollo lunar missions the astronauts must have thought they were in preparation for continued programs and missions of the sort, and eventually the building of a base on the moon.

“I believe this nation should commit itself” formally, to continuing what it started, in honor of the president who inspired us, and in honor of the men who fulfilled the challenge, and we should make a proclamation of these intentions at the next State of The Union Address–in the voice of a Commander in Chief–for the sake of whom we are–and for the men who helped forge that reputation, risking their lives in the process.

Mando (Carl Charles Atteniese II)

Links:

The Apollo Missions, according to NASA

Moon Dust: a book about the surviving men who went to the moon

How Do We Treat Dr. Aldrin?

When I wrote this essay, I hadn’t finished reading the expose in GQ that inspired it. So when you come across the passage in which I refer to what we ask Buzz Aldrin–if you have read the GQ piece–you might think I got that from their article. I didn’t. I formed my opinion from how the writer treats Buzz. Thereafter, the GQ piece improves enormously, but instead of starting with a bang, it begins with a fizzle of a deliberately rude fart.

To be fair, the article is quite good: informative, light, well-written, entertaining, and like Buzz, honest, but it could do without a mocking, irreverent air in some passages.

We have to be honest. In a way, it is sad. I see Dr. Buzz Aldrin, the fighter pilot, MIT scientist, and astronaut as a man who is still passionate and craving attention for the good ideas he has.

Buzz-AldrinUnlike the other remaining Apollo astronauts, who are still acting like astronauts (I mean no discredit): cool and contented to be where they are, whether in a spacecraft hurtling along at 20,000 miles per hour peacefully, spinning out of control like a fighter pilot, or sipping a beer at a barbecue, Buzz Aldrin doesn’t have the strong, stable family life of the others. It is loving, apparently, but different. And he doesn’t seem to mind. But how would we know if he did? We keep asking him the same questions–apparently only interested in what he can do for us, such as describe for us his feelings on the moon–so we can live vicariously through his words.

buzz-aldrin-re-LHis personal life was marred by trauma (and like many of the other astronauts at the time of the dawn of the space age, divorce)–but he is resilient and not bogged down by all that; he is youthful, spiritual, a hipster (the stupid GQ writer makes jokes about Buzz’s jewelry and talismen). He is active and proactive and positive and churning out new ideas. If anyone has earned the ritual of wearing some bling, either for sentimental, celebratory, spiritual, or therapeutic reasons, its Buzz Aldrin! He’s Buzz Aldrin! He can do what he wants. A lot of apparent non-contributors are a lot more decorated. It harms no one that Buzz wears bling, and it validates all of us toward freedom and self-expression.

_78977141_78977302He wants to get us to Mars, invigorate the economy, and have serious discussions about orbital mechanics and space travel. He meets civic groups and children and is loving and alive.

Perhaps some of the problem is, people keep asking him the same damn questions and treating him like a talking character at Madame Tissauds wax museum. We keep treating Buzz Aldrin like the writer of the GQ article about him has (what do we expect; it’s a magazine for men more focused on their appearance than on their substance).

astronaut-twitter-buzz-aldrin-rocket-scientist1Why don’t more of us give him some substance? I know some do–like the other engineers, astronauts, and professors he meets.

If I were to meet Dr. Buzz Aldrin–the war hero, the scientist, the engineer, the astronaut and historical figure, and Buzz Aldrin the father–I would consider it an honor, and I would just say a few kind and admiring words and then listen to what he had to say, and if he didn’t want to talk about how he felt on or about the moon, I would just shut up about it.

Has anyone ever met Buzz and asked him how he feels that day? Has anyone ever asked him about his favorite food or sports? How about treating him like a human being? how about really giving him the floor on how to go to Mars? His innovations in EVA technique and hardware during the Gemini program and his PhD thesis on rendezvous methods actually helped get us to the moon.

Buzz Aldrin is not a relic. He is more dynamic, human, and worthwhile than many of us–certainly more so than many of the people in our government who hamstrung his industry and caused the death of seventeen of his comrades. They can’t hold a candle to his integrity. He got over the moon. Why can’t we, so we can treat him like a great man and a person?

Link: http://futurism.com/links/buzz-aldrin-is-working-on-a-master-plan-to-colonize-mars-by-2040/

‪#‎Buzz‬, ‪#‎BuzzAldrin‬

The Greatest Journey Misunderstood

What is telling, almost infinitely ironic and troubling to me is that from the eighteen-hundreds to the nineteen-forties, the best scientists, engineers, writers, artists, movie makers, dreamers and visionaries on our world had imagined big, powerful, safe, sleek and often beautiful ships that would one day take human beings to the Earth’s moon….

Vintage.Mars.PaintingThere was–by the time of the nineteen-sixties–no shortage of accumulated enthusiasm or thought devoted to the matter of venturing to the moon–and beyond, as evidenced by television programs and movies as well as scientific and technological interest shown in scholarship and popular reading.

Great inventors made rockets, missiles, and science fiction stories that we can all name; however, being as uneducated, disorganized, childish, and frightened as humanity yet was in that age (and still is)… the most beautiful industrial design was produced, as seen in big, powerful, safe, and sleek inventions: home appliances, architecture, boats, aeroplanes and automobiles were made strong and to last, in the most industrially advanced nation on our planet and in our history. This was an accomplishment partially achieved by the rush and ingenuity forged in the greatest cooperation and effort culminating from a most recent and horrifying world war–and in the preparations for the next one….

So what is ironic about finally going the moon, after Eisenhower created the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and Kennedy committed us to the accomplishment? The way we did it.

Fisheye view of the inside of the Lunar Lander on display in the National Air and Space MuseumWe sent our most talented, rugged, cool-headed, best and brightest citizens–smart minds, and soldiers of the air (the world’s very best jet pilots–in cramped, weak, cheap, dangerous and ugly “modules” instead of sleek, beautiful, safe ships; we catapulted them on top of virtual missiles that packed enough power to destroy an entire city–on that monumentally long and dangerous journey… off the planet… and through deep space… in an amazing explosion of national expedience that was at one point so fast, it killed three men before they could take off.

And with Apollo we went farther than anyone in human history, landing and living on Luna–that celestial location dreamed about for thousands of years by poets and philosophers and lovers alike.

Indeed, life couldn’t exist on this planet as it does, and we couldn’t do what we do ‘by the months’ or at night without this lonely orbiting neighbor and planet-illuminating ‘source’ of light. We went to explore it. Because that is important. One could say that aside from providing for ourselves, there’s nothing more to do–besides amusing ourselves, and going to the moon went a long way to doing those things, too.

And though human beings in many nations and many eras achieved great successes and made great strides through perseverance, sacrifice, and enormous ingenuity, this–Apollo, the United States of America’s NASA project, was arguably the most ambitious and potentially dangerous–albeit to small crews of men in the small picture–but internationally dangerous for the world at large–were these men and women to fail.

And yet, with education what it is, many of our own people do not understand the love, focus, ingenuity, talent, dedication, sacrifice, courage, heroism, and of course then, the benefits involved–such that they haven’t been transformed by it, and some don’t even believe we did it. Meanwhile we all payed for it–on a shoe-string, and many with their lives.

images_LMAS_in_Lunar_OrbitIf you ever want to see how serious we were, how dedicated NASA and her astronauts had to be, look not so much at the impressive monster of a skyscraper of a rocket that took these men off the Earth–though that is a monument to the greatness and potential of humanity; look at the small, frail, thin-walled craft they landed in, two hundred fifty odd thousand miles away, on the desolate, unforgiving, freezing windless moon, and ask yourself, ‘would I travel in that, in the vacuum of space, to a place from which I could never be rescued?’

Copyright Mando (Carl Carl Charles Atteniese II) 2015

Apologies and thanks to The Smithsonian Museum and NASA for the spacecraft images borrowed for this article.

It’s Better to Be Spiritual

THE SPIRITUAL, GOD, AND THE MYSTERIOUS

The truly spiritual person is better for the world than the non-spiritual; that is to say, for example, that a spiritual atheist is better than a non-spiritual Christian, or Jew, or Muslim–for him or herself and for the world. The spiritual can see truth more readily, whether it is in science, or in the Divine, or in the law, or in nature, or in Zen or theism, for that matter.

The spiritual can be righteous. The non-spiritual cannot. This will perturb the non-spiritual scientist, the non-spiritual Christian, Jew, and Muslim–the non-spiritual Buddhist and the Athiest… because they aren’t spiritual, either, and because they mistake the meaning of the word. It will especially perturb the non-spiritual Atheist, because he rails against spirituality.

John Lennon was right: “God is a concept,” but that does not mean God is not real; rather (and I add) it is the definitions of God that are unreal; God is a manlike form to many Christians; God is formless to Jews and Muslims (I could rather agree with that if i were to decide non-agnostic-ally that there is–in fact–a god). Christians were thrown by the ”in His image” bit. But God is a concept proven by the fact that everyone is touched by God, either by disagreeing with it (or believing in Him), or believing in it… or not.

“GOD IS A CONCEPT”

God is a concept because in each religion that describes God and/or gives God voice, He or She is interpreted different ways–and evolves, too. The Hebrew god was probably the Canaanite god.* He became a part of a trinity in Western Christianity. Before that, the early Christians were divided over who and what God was (until Constantine’s Council  at Nicaea settled the matter, and many other things taken for granted as “divine” today–unbeknownst to Christians); Jesus was a man who became God, a god who became man, an entity that was half-man, half-god and so on. The Muslims had a mysticism that was pagan before Muhammad Abdullah showed up, like the people who became the “Jews” had. Then, each of these religions split into denominations–all describing God differently.

The Japanese have Shinto gods (or spirits, really) in all the things of nature. The Koreans had Dangun and a “She-bear,’ and as with their Confucian Chinese neighbors, were animists (like most North and Southeast Asians), worshiping their parents and ancestors.

The American Natives have Mother Earth, The Greeks had gods in human likeness who like the Semite gods, right into the time of Abraham, mixed with humans. The Canaanites, Egyptians, Sumerians, Babylonians, pre-Hebrew Semites, American Indians, Europeans, and others had fertility or female gods. The central Asian Indians have many Hindu manifestations of one god.It’s all “higher power” and it’s all “God.”

Even Buddhists, who have no god, adopted from the Hindus, Dharma and Karma, the governing “cause and Effect” law of the Universe (which can be interpreted to be like a god).  It is a force in human consciousness, and an aspect of the human condition to see a “mana” or spirit where we cannot explain, and even where we can. Einstein steadfastly did not believe in a personal god (he formally explained this in writing), but spoke of “the mysterious.”

FUNDAMENTALISTS AND WHAT THEY DON’T KNOW

Only the fundamentalist worries about this, and is thereby injured and injures by it. All that is important is the reverence, the inquisitiveness, the struggle, the humble nature in the face of it, and how it brings us together.

Whether God exists or not, I submit that fundamentalists are the only ones who truly do not understand God. This is because these people, these poor souls, in their effort to do good and in there mortal fear and self-limited minds, don’t know three things, and they cower in fear of them:

1. The encompassing simultaneity of Honesty and its concomitant, Courage;
2. History
3. Science

The better one knows history and science, and the more one is honest, the more one sees, grows smarter (yes, smarter, because your changes), develops courage, and inspires confidence, love, intelligence, and freedom–all the things any good god wants (or should want) for its people.

SPIRITUAL PEOPLE

Spiritual people inherently build and embody these assets, or acquire them in earnest efforts to be righteous.

Unfortunately, the mentally challenged (and I don’t mean people formerly known as “retarded”, but simply those possessing cognitive barriers) and the imprisoned in ignorance by themselves or others, cannot escape the vulnerabilities that make them susceptible to fundamentalism.

In a sense, I digressed, but what I just said was important. Anyway, those who are spiritual can see God in the Dharma, Karma, El Shadai, Baal, Anat, Isis, Ishtar, Zoroaster, Zeus, Yahweh, Lao Tzu, Confucius, Buddha, Jesus, Ghandi, Darwin, Marx, Einstein, Curie, Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh… in the Earth, the Moon, the stars, the galaxies, the atoms… in love.

Only the the poor fundamentalist wants to do the opposite of the spiritual Buddhist, Zennist, Christian, Muslim, Jew or scientist–even of the Atheist…. The fundamentalist recreates God in his image, blaspheming against the mysterious and attempting to own God and use him as an omnipotent military general as Moses did with the early to-be Jews. The later Jews civilized their god. Jesus did so more.

Today, we can finish the job, because we are the authors of our interpretations of the Divine–in whatever form it comes to us. The Muslims have work to do, too, because their loving religion was hijacked, too–by fundamentalists. It also has violent punitive Deuteronom-ous and Livitican overtones, still in effect–much to the chagrin of the liberal denial-ists (I am liberal, but not in denial).

How to Receive God or The Concept of The Divine, or “The Mysterious”

The important thing is the community of beings and things around the idea of the mystery inherent in all God’s manifestations–as one, and if you want to pray to that, listen to that, hear the wisdom in the words of that which your tradition crafted of that, then you are of the spirit. But where it describes violence (physical, mental, control-oriented, fiat-filled, fear-mongering, punitive, ex communicative…) you must know this is the work of ego, and not divinity. Where it describes Exceptional Election of one group over another (“chosen people”), this is vanity and exceptional-ism that was needed in a desperate age gone by. It’s xenophobic and military. Where it prescribes bondage or subjugation, this is greed and fear. And dominance over creatures different from us is purely primitive and cruel. These are proofs of the flaws if religion, not the Divine, the Dharma, the Mysterious, or even of us. But they do reveal us–whom we are, because humans invented all this.

Take the “miracles” of corporeal existence and sentience and thank the mysterious, or God, but leave the ego out of it. Why else, do you think the Hebrew and Muslim Word left God nameless and image-less?

Copyright 2015 Mando (Carl Atteniese Jr.) All rights reserved.

*See ‘A history of God: The 4,000 Year Quest for Judaism, Christianity, and Islam” by Karen Armstrong, MJF Books, New York, 1993 (or Oxford University Press)

World Pressure to Curb Gun Laws in the US

(from my Facespook, at Carl Charles Atteniese IIOctober 2 at 8:36pm)

‪#‎WorldPressure‬ to Bear on ‪#‎US‬ ‪#‎GunPandemic‬

In light of the ongoing daily and monthly tragedies involving citizen gun ownership in the US and the vast numbers of lives they are taking, I propose world citizens of other countries pressure their governments–or take it upon themselves–say through an international petition with such organizations as ‪#‎AmnestyInternational‬ or ‪#‎Avaaz‬ (as that would undoubtedly have a much higher chance of success)–to do the following:

Write the UN, asking them to do a human rights investigation into US mismanagement of its security in terms of betraying the public trust insofar as our government is failing to provide a safe place for international students, business people, holiday tourists, and medical tourists. It could be argued that these world citizens come to the US–a major international economic, historical, medical-service, and educational destination–out of necessity as well as enjoyment, and so have an interest in America being safe.

It is abundantly apparent to coherent observers, that on the whole, American citizens and their government (of which they are an integral part by representation)–cannot or will not remedy the gun violence issue, and it grows more and more heinous and more common all the time.

It is, I believe, time to call on the world of nations to bring moral pressure on us, before this unravels the fabric of our society’s sense of peace and prosperity any further.

It doesn’t take any great expanse of intelligence to imagine the probability of another American gun massacre, such as those that took place amoung the last thirty-four in number, in which a large number of foreign nationals will die.

Furthermore, the US is highly involved in the affairs of other countries in the interest of its own security; surely other countries then have the right to be so involved in our affairs for the benefit of their citizens in like manner.

It is time for world action when a nation as internationally involved as the US is suffering a pandemic of self-unraveling proprtions such that it will soon have international consequences if it doesn’t already. I suggest the world take action on behalf other nations, and for the restoration of peace and good sense in this great one as well.

Lunar Modules Are Not Like Spiders Anymore

LM3view
Click to Enlarge (It’s worth it).
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Lunar_Module_diagram
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I am officially voicing my support for asking space journalists to cease and desist from likening lunar landing craft to spiders. In the late fifties and early sixties they may have looked remotely like twisted versions of arachnids. Now, peeps, come on–they look like lunar-landers. Let’s look at why: first, it’s cultural and linguistic; lunar-landers have been on paper in sci-fi pulp magazines since the forties–and in blueprints & in the form of mock-ups since the fifties; and we had real ones from the sixties onward-which flew in space and went to the moon! Second, it’s mental: lunar-landers are a real fixture of the public mind and are so unique an artifact that they have earned their place in our cognition as a source item to be likened to, instead of being an oddity to have some other thing held up to identify them. They aren’t novel, anymore–so they don’t need the help of animal similarities. Finally–thirdly and furthermore, spiders have eight legs, not four or five, are oblong, and possess a low center of gravity. They are squat, not tall and ungainly, and they have legs that protrude from low center points–not from vertical attachment spots that look like ladders. The comparison was original and helpful, once; it’s not, any more. It’s silly, illogical, misleading, and cliche.

Who’s with me?

Americans on Democracy

The greatest evidence of mass delusion, ignorance–and perhaps even simple stupidity in America (I am very sorry to say) is in the fact that the majority of the average citizens of this democratic capitalist society are not tripping over themselves, racing to demand the end of private campaign, PAC, and political party finance–which basically make us the lapdogs, human slaves, and victims of the super rich. lack of action in this area is also the clearest form of self-loathing and disrespect.

We may be a legal and financial oligarchy, but we still have the power of association and referendum, however, we act as if the vote is the most important power tool in our democratic shed; it most certainly isn’t. It’s a false machine, a toy. The most powerful tool we have is our voice–in petition, assembly, and what we fund.

We could literally petition the law to real change, but we allow it to stay as is it is–and as is, private campaign finance is the hand with foreign fingers that is perpetually in our pockets. It is the gun to our heads. It is the knives at our back–but we keep watching TV and staring at our phones and tablets like zombies, or like a mental patient on a Thorazine drip. and as we stay medicated and inactive, politicians and reporters whispering lies or approximated stories into our ears, as the super rich funnel cash into their pockets and tighten their leashes. And ours.

These who won’t act on this don’t really want things to change. And they don’t understand that this is how they could change–massing together and expressing our discontent and solutions to end it. That’s why they won’t support publicly funded elections, political parties, and PACs; they don’t want democracy–not really–not true democracy, with totally fair and equal representation across the electorate and the society….

Sometimes I wonder, if privately (and unconsciously?), each middle to upper class group of citizens, each rich group; each ethnic or religious group… secretly doesn’t in fact want the option of buying politicians–because Americans are a group of people who have become so comfortable and complacent–able to stand the pressures of their discomfort and conscience–because their fears and prejudices are more powerful than their honor and their courage. And I wonder whether secretly they are terrified of true democracy, because it would prevent their respective group (ethnic, religious, academic, class-oriented) from having undue influence at their disposal–in an emergency. They secretly fear true democracy, for they could wind up with–for example–with a string of Latino, female, or black presidents, or Jewish or Chinese ones, or, whatever. They might end up living in a country with truly sensible and socialized governance that favors the poor and middle class, rather than the rich folk they are, or want be. It would mean inclusion for people they don’t desire, or a lack of favoritism toward their own group.

To me, this kind of holding on to the cards, the power, the favorites–all boils down to a lack of courage in the face of righteousness, justice, and logic about what would work in a way that leads to responsibly across the board in American society. To me, this is what keeps people down. Any way you examine it, it pares down to fear and prejudice, which depend on ignorance and lack of character. Or, as I have been learning in research online, it may also be attributed to their brains, but that is another aspect of the issue, for another essay.*

*If you would like to look into that, watch videos on Youtube in the Bomb in The Brian series (though these are not perfect since the narrator seems to be trying to get all this information into our heads to justify libertarian-ism). Also look into Sam Harris and Free will. The general idea is that most–if not all of us who have not changed this–are victims of childhood-traumatized brains, which are hard-wired to be either conservative or liberal–basically fearful or not.

The God of The Spiritual

The god a spiritual person talks about (if he or she can justify a god) doesn’t have any disqualifying prejudicial, limiting, or exclusionary qualities about it. The god a traditionally religious person talks about often does.

If we look at the types of people who followed Jesus, we see they were of the spiritual nature–that is, open-minded, living purely in “the now” and free of heart. They were common people: prostitutes, thieves, common fishermen, tax collectors, murderers, even (well, it seems murder was pretty common and justified in Biblical times)–quite different from those who merely tolerated or rejected Jesus, like members of the Roman government or the Pharisees. What is the significance of this realization, or can i call it an epiphany?

In my estimation, the Pharisees of today are the conservatives and fundamentalists–religious and rigid in their thinking–prejudiced and exclusionary in their actions. These people need to follow Jesus and the words of the Bible more or less to the letter, and are not flexible in their interpretation of the divine.

I have been gently admonished, sometimes criticized–and most egregiously–rejected in my life–for having adopted the Zen Buddhist practice, when really all I did was expand and purify my spiritual way.

The lessons I learned in knowing “God” and “Jesus”, the paternal figure and the man, as opposed to what I have done in incorporating the transcendental essence of what we might think or hope represents God and Jesus–their spirit, or message, if you will–into my heart and actions, is something the religious do not seem to understand–because they are not spiritual, in my view–otherwise they would know the difference between the superiority of the latter, and the limitations and violence of the former.

The point is, the rhetoric is for the closed-minded, “the scared,” the ones who would actually have been among the temple Pharisees condemning the man and essence of Jesus–out of mortal fear of the Roman government (of course, to be fair, they also rejected him because he was a textbook heretic according to the Hebrew law).

The freedom of transcendental understanding and divine transformation–in love and anything divine–is for the free, themselves… who do not get caught up in the rhetoric.

Be it through Al-la, Yahweh, Yeshua, Buddha… the transformation is inside you, not in a book or in a temple or church–not in following the words to the letter (which in the theisms can be quite limiting and dangerous, anyway).

The knowledge is joyous oneness. This is “God,” if there is one. The result is love. This is the Spirit.

Violence And Religion

This was my reaction to ISIS captors saying they could rape women because ‘it pleases God.’

(There have been some additions here and there to make my points more clear, understandable, compassionate, and just.)

This religion and all religions that justify, accept, or regulate prejudice, heinous and ridiculous punishments, genital mutilation, prejudicial discrimination, emotional, physical, or psychological violence, war, animal or human sacrifice–must go–or they must be reformed and revised. In the very least, they cannot be allowed to be taught in egalitarian democracies.

The basic problem here–of course–is that any religion based on a god–be it passive, benevolent or altruistic–or aggressive, belligerent, and harmful is that it is totalitarian in nature… because clerics, priests and monks of a theistic religion can tell adherents what to think and that they are interpreting the word of the religion, and saying that the adherents of the religion must do A, B and C–to be in the graces of an omnipotent god who rules over their lives.

What The  Theistic Interpretations Lead To
What it is doesn’t matter, because it tells them to obey. Take the best case scenario: a priest tells the followers of some religion that they must love one another, however, there are some simple-minded people in his flock and when presented with a situation that involves ‘killing for peace,’ a simple-minded adherent interprets this as a form of love or duty–so, he kills. He does so thinking he must do so. Of course the worst case scenario is one in which adherents are told outright that violence is in order (be it in the physical form or that of prejudice, agitation, harassment, subjugation, bondage, lies), but it isn’t called “violence,’ because the theisms originated in the bronze age.

Where We Draw the Line
Any doctrine with the totalitarian power of fiat–administered by human beings over its adherents is harmful and deleterious, because it supersedes human conscience and is vulnerable to the continued interpretation of its administrators. This is not spiritual; this is political.

What We Need to Do
As we will not outlaw theism, I am calling for a reformation–or the dis-allowance of violence to be disseminated in a scriptural form of any kind, in egalitarian democratic states–for the sake of the freedom of the human mind and corpus–and for the benefit of all human beings–and of course for the establishment of cognitive reinforcement that leads to true safety, justice, peace, love, compassion and good sense in society. This would certainly go a very long and effective way in degrading the possibly of cultivating minds amenable to terrorism.

Religions based on the written word that is elevated to the lofty designation of scripture, and which either justify, give beneficial examples of or can be interpreted as promoting violence are not safe, and so have no place in civilized society.

The Literature Question
Religions based on this kind of writing are different from fiction and fantasy, because they are not those things in the minds of the faithful; they are factual commandments and prescriptions for life coming from a dictator deity who sees all, rewards and punishes, and is the final arbiter of what is right and wrong in their minds. This makes followers of such doctrines–especially in politically and economically compromised regions of the world unequivocally and inherently unsafe–and most especially where the administrators of these religions can call their followers to resort to the violence in their faith.

But It’s A Small Number People
People who say a small number of the faithful commit acts of terror or that ‘only crazy people’ resort to the old ways are inaccurate and missing the point. For example, of the 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, between 23 and 25% of them proclaim to believe in the extreme aspects of their faith. Moreover, it doesn’t take all the people in a room to set a house on fire. Those who do not bear in mind these facts are extremely short-sighted, unimaginative and in-abstract in the least–while being unintelligent, ignorant, dangerous, and as evil as those who say “guns don’t kill people” in the worst case scenario. They apparently exhibit cognitive deficiency or betray a certain gross cognitive dissonance, for they do not face the fact that whether a religion is meant to be peaceful in essence or concept or not is irrelevant as long as it holds sacred words that can be and are used to promote violence in reality. Many of these apologists are probably being disingenuous, too.

Who Would Do This?
What we allow to be taught to children and to the vulnerable people of a society finds its way into that society in some way, to some degree, at some time–among the literal and fundamentalist and “extreme” … among the mentally ill, among the cognitively challenged, and among the intellectually deficient or mediocre of mind and spirit; it finds its way into the people who are justifiably over-stressed, disenfranchised, angry; it finds its way into minds of the otherwise mentally healthy people who are simply made ignorant and controlled (which is what most of the fundamentalists are–people born innocent and cognitively healthy, but made insane by doctrine and its precipitant behavior); this is unacceptable.

“Extreme Interpretations–Not Everyone Does This”
“Extreme interpretations” of religion are not so extreme, just literal; the killing they advocate is there… in the texts of Christians, Muslims, and Jews. This is no longer appropriate. If it were not there, it could not be interpreted literally, dangerously. And saying that many societies show examples of millions of people who do not interpret the scriptures violently is irrelevant; as long as the violence is there–like a gun–it will be used, and it is used; and these days that violence is used to devastating proportions–tearing apart whole nations.

Divine or Egalitarian?
We can no longer give a tolerant nod to the teaching or allowance of the teaching of religions that contain scriptures that are or can be dangerous, superstitious and plain refutations of observable reality, of science, or of scriptures that teach the opposite of egalitarian principles and compassion. And above all, we can no longer allow such to be called divine. It matters not what a “sacred” book is purported to say; it only matters what it does say and what its affect is on people. It also matters how it can be interpreted. Some religions cannot be twisted to become violent. that is the only good kind of religion.

Literature (Fiction) or Holy Commandment?
This is what separates religious works from literature: the former is holy dictum, said to be handed down from on high by the author of the universe–so if it has prescriptions or justifications of violence in it, you can’t get more pernicious than that; the latter (simple literature) is mere entertainment and the artful interpretation of the human condition. The former is a disaster waiting to happen under the right conditions. History is replete with such disasters–most of which were committed by people acting in the mindset of the theisms or in secular religious movements of the state… employing cult of personality adulation for supreme leaders. Theist apologists love to refer to Hitler and Stalin and Mao as atheists. Hitler was a Christian and he proclaimed his movement Christian. It was said to be–inscribed on every Nazi soldier’s belt; Stalin and Mao may have been atheists, but their movements were quasi-religious and not in the name of atheism.

The Superior And the Inferior, The Creation of Subjugation
The concept of a single god, separate form humanity creates the idea of superior and inferior in beings, sentience, people, and usually it’s men over women, and straight men over gays and bisexuals and over the other species. If we are going to respect the existence of these religions, they must be made safe, respectable and relevant for modern times; modern times no longer can tolerate this kind of prejudice; it is below us.

Theism And Violence Are Too Pernicious
People will defend religion on “holy” grounds, cultural grounds, and literary grounds, but this promotes their dangers and results in violence in many ways. Violence should not be part of any education system; theistic violence is the most dangerous, because it is believed to come from gods and so is about the most dangerous thing you can teach–as it reins supreme over the mind when justified. This can no longer be tolerated in modern civil culture.

In Particular

The violence of judgement, of fear and loathing of different innate sexual persuasions, of accepted slavery, of the subjugation of women, of the murder of people who leave the faith, or who make clothing of the wrong materials, of those who eat at the wrong times–or of the wrong foods… the violence of the persecution of non-believers, the violence of dismemberment and stoning for theft or infidelity, the violence of the out-casting of and killing of homosexuals… the violence of war against peoples not chosen by one’s chosen scripture and the violence of the perpetuation of ignorance and the dissemination of visceral fear… taught to children—in whose minds the seeds of neurosis are thus planted–all makes for pain and neurosis.

It’s Insane

All of this, by elevated standards of consciousness–is now deemed insane. Therefore, it is insane to allow it to be held up and defended as righteous lessons or of history worthy of continued edification in religious books; it must all come out of the books or the books must be disallowed in places of worship and learning in egalitarian democracies where the sanctity of the individual has been enshrined since the enlightenment and the French, British and American revolutions for democracy.

Review, Summation And Conclusion

To reiterate succinctly and make clear my point: in the very least—if we are not to outlaw or eradicate these religions for the sake of “respect,” tradition, cultural identity, and the good parts in their teachings, then we must either ask that they be thoroughly revised, or that their texts not be allowed in civilized, egalitarian states–but then we will hear that religious scripture is literature: ‘If we don’t ban violent literature, then why ban the words of violent religion?’

This defense of religion as mere literature is pale. You don’t defend something as mere literature when it is taught as coming from a deity and is used to set up societies, has the power to regulate human relations, marriage, law and civil punishments—when it dictates the origin of the universe, affects peoples’ health, and determines the direction of public policy. That’s politics and government and so is infinitely more powerful than literature—unjustly so.

Defending religion as literature is like saying the owner’s manual of a car is science fiction. Scripture is instructional authority from the highest agency. Allowing it to contain anti-egalitarianism, violence, slavery and rape is the definition of foolishness if not stupidity, cruelty and organized megalomania–to any thinking, honest, compassionate, and healthy human mind with a shred of self-esteem and intelligence.

Ban these words from egalitarian democratic societies and do not let people in to democratic and egalitarian societies who observe, protect, defend, or excuse them. Porn is porn; violence is violence. Stop allowing children to see it. Stop splitting hairs over culture and antiquity and that disease of the in-compassionate, the unthinking, and the militant: ‘PC-ism.’

This dark-age poison has to go. Get rid of it from the face of the planet or for anthropological significance, relegate it to two-foot-thick glass cases in maximum-security museums, and you will only see this inane, horrifying tragedy of wasted minds and torturous immorality where it is left–in countries using it as law… where it is left to rot the heart and mind–until the human souls in these lands get tired of being cut off from the civilized world and they change the ways of their people–of their own accord.

See to an eradication of violent religious passages from any books in Europe, The Americas, Asia, Africa–wherever thinking, compassionate, advanced egalitarian society exists or where the people would have it.

I guarantee that if we do this, America will also see a monumental decrease in its cold and cruel Republicanism, too–because all through this reading you might have been thinking I have been talking only of one theistic religion.  I have not been. If we were to apply this reformation to one theism that contains  prescriptions and allowances for violence, we would have to apply it to them all. And that would be a damned good thing.

Link: ISIS Enshrines a Theology of Rape http://nyti.ms/1TucUEA

Incessant Demmands for Unaccepted Apologies

A reaction to the details of an NPR News story- Japan’s Abe Notes Regret And Past Apologies In WWII Speech http://n.pr/1Ern78

I Am Supremely Discouraged by Wise Asian Nations whose leaders continue–year after year–to fan the flames of shame and pain and do not accept, decade after decade after decade–a multitude of deeply remorseful and annual state apologies from the Japanese for their wartime transgressions.

It particularly troubles me, because some of these nations have very spotty human rights records, themselves–in the current era since World War II. They act, in modern history, with exceptionalism, through foreign invasion, duplicitous technology-hacking, atrocious use of the death penalty, and with reputations for high levels of xenophobia, endemic societal enthniphobia, sexism, and providing poor opportunities for the aged and poor–exhibiting rampant ageism.

So how can these nations partake in finger-wagging at Japan– especially in modern times? To me it so plainly obvious that this is opportunism at work, with spiritual decrepitude in evidence–which amounts to a representation of a very low national character, indeed.

Some of these nations are the world’s human traffickers extraordinaire, with economies dependent in no small part, on economically entrenched prostitution, while they harbor a citizenry that is, in numbered cases, abusive to and discriminatory toward citizens of foreign countries who come to work in their lands–and to foreign soldiers who are there to protect them from one another.

If it weren’t shameful it would be comedic, how these Asian nations pick at the apologies of Japan and they blame Japan still–nation which paid torturously for its missteps–with fire-bombing and nuclear blasts that maimed, poisoned, and killed hundreds of thousands–if not millions; then Japan resurrected itself into one of the world’s most kind, civilized, and peaceful philanthropic nations.

To me, one who called his home twice and for fifteen years in total, this has more to do with the national characters of the nations in question; I found it very difficult, for example–in one of these countries–to observe both sincere apologies and sincere forgiveness among the otherwise genuine people, and I found it came after long periods of cold, if at all. It was very consistently curious–but this, is not. It seems indicative to me.

For shame, North Asian Mainland and peninsula–for shame. Put an end to this and clean up your own house. This behavior is beneath your greatness and kindness and subtracting from your world image, national potentials, and priorities. You are only hurting yourselves, making enemies of people who have come to love the Japanese fiercely, and damaging future relations with them and their friends–of which I am one.

Art’s Not Dead And Comedy is Its Heir

Whoever said art was dead had no god, no special powers, and no crystal ball–nor did he have an over-reaching intellect, because he could not foresee the future we live in now, where comedy has become the most relevant and powerful art form–more so than Hollywood or even Indie films, which cannot be said to be commenting on and affecting the body politic as effectively and in such a real-time fashion–more powerfully than any other form of creative expression.

Comedy, today, communicates and moves large numbers of the citizenry to political change by informing them without mincing words and worrying about some business or abstract and arcane dualistic agenda; comedians tell it like it is and are generally not bought off by corporations. They may have to tailor their message to a degree in order to conform to FCC regulations, but for the most part–with the advent of cable and online broadcasting–comedians can say virtually say whatever they wish.

Comedy, today, therefore is hyper-relevant–and not only happening only in expensive galleries and old museums–for profit and antiquity, fashion, or for mere entertainment; yes, comedy is born in talent, skill, and vison and it is expressed through a practiced craft (a collection of crafts, actually and multi-tasking observational and psychological, and journalistic skills), but comedy is not intended only for our amusement–though it amuses us wonderfully.

Comedy, today, is not shallow, as many other art forms are relegated to being minus a cultivated intellectual culture; it’s not simple decoration or intended for self-aggrandizing display; it’s certainly not for private journalistic creation in diary form. It is for the general public. It may be commercial, but it is above all, pure. In fact, it is my contention that comedy is the last refuge of free speech. It does not fall victim to over-liberalized or lying conservative political correctness, a force that is going down in history as possessing a greater dumbing-down effect on our society than that of prime-time television.

Indeed, comedians are at the forefront of the battle against PC militancy, saving intellectual discourse and nuance in communication.

Comedy is an art form that is a breathing social force built on truth, observation, and monologue that inspires dialog and thought about everything affecting individuals and society–everything that effects our nation–like Picaso’s Guernica affected the world or as agit prop in both the West and in the former Soviet & present Chinese and North Korean religious states of communism did and do–only, in American comedy, comedians are not lying.

This author is no communist, but permit me to use some terms that will show how powerful comedy has become, in order to make a point. Comedy has developed into a better source of inform-ation, news and social outreach on politics, big business, the environment, the growing police state, and foreign exceptionalism than our free press. In this way it has become a pillar of the movement of the masses and the proletariat (the poor, working, and middle classes)–against the evil, encroaching, careless, and destructive forces of capitalism that we have allowed through pathetic campaign finance laws to run our country and destroy equal representation, sensible banking, energy, environment, education, health, trade, and gun-control policy—as well as governance regulating the military industrial complex and foreign policy. Marx and Engels never saw this coming–nor did Ayn Rand–thank the Gods of Greece!

Comedy, in our era, is so powerful that governments around the world restrict its craftsmen, and comedy has answered the call of Jefferson, replacing–to some degree, journalism–as a necessary foundation requisite to the maintenance of democracy.

The reach of political comedy in our times (with a requisite nod to the internet and technology) is so effective, that very un-funny people have been all but forced to defend themselves against its penetration into their hypocrisy–such as we saw with George HW Bush and “W”, and as we observe regarding Fox News, today–to name only three examples.

Who was it that said art was dead? Was it Nietzsche? Well, let’s not go to hard on him. He was original, caring about his times, and creatively expressive & insightful. Actually, he had said God is dead. Well, maybe for him–and for those that abuse the gods, today.

Marcel Duchamp is actually the one that “Art is dead” is attributed to (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcel_Duchamp), but he and Nietzsche lived in a time when men like today’s Republicans, some Democrats, and many businessmen & despots were actually in control. In contrast, and proving art is not dead, we live in a time when men like George Carlin, Bill Maher, Stephen Colbert, Jon Oliver, Jon Stewart, and–to some extent–Jim Jeffries, Louie CK, Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld, and even Rachel Madow, are showing with humor whom the would-be emperors are and why they have no clothes–and they are shining a spotlight on those who prove goodness is certainly alive as well as in politicians like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

Art is very much alive, and has a punch line; the joke’s on the bad guys.

About “Kaaru No Eh”

“Kaaru-no-Eh” means “Carl’s Pictures” in Japanese. With this name I amuse myself, and I pay homage the Ukiyo-e print masters of seventeenth and eighteenth century Japan because of their gorgeous and original way of picture-making.

In the future I will feature an article here on Ukiyo-e and perhaps a video–as well as sample images of the traditional Japanese art-form.

About ‘Mando’

MandoWhat kind of name is Mando?

That’s what my mother said that my father asked her–about my new name.

I know that to many people it may seem pretentious to change one’s name. People like Prince and The Edge do it. And actors do it. Did you know that Japanese woodblock masters did it? It was done to protect one’s family name, among other reasons. Hokusai, I think, had something like thirty names. However, long before I received this name, I had thought it appropriate for a thoughtful person to change his or her name–to better suit how he or she sees him or herself. After all, my father changed his name, too!

Mando is my Dharma name. It’s pronounced “Mahn-doe” and written M-a-n-d-o. In Korean ‘Man-do’ literally means Ten-thousand Ways, with ‘Man’ (pronounced “mahn”) meaning ‘ten-thousand,’ or ‘many,’ and ‘Do’ (pronounced ‘doe’) meaning ‘way’ (which can also be written and pronounced “Gil”)–but as Man-do (the way it should be transliterated from Korean) was transmitted to me by my teacher, it was conveyed to mean ‘Many Paths of Change.’ In Korean, Mando looks like this: 만도.

The name in Chinese is “Wan Tao,” meaning basically the same thing —Ten Thousand Ways.

Please look at the red pictographs above. The Swastika (on top), is Sanskrit, and means, ‘Luck (or fortune) and Well-being.’ This symbol is under the eaves on all Buddhist temples in Korea.

The second character–on the bottom–is “Doe.” In Chinese, it is ‘Tao”, as in the Tao Te Ching’, or ‘Way of Virtue’ (the name of the collection of philosophical poems attributed to Lao Tzu). Two of my Dharma Brothers–who took their precepts the same day as I–have this word, “way,” in their Dharma names; there is Cheon Do (Way of Heaven) and Gil Do Way of Ways. My other Dharma Brother’s name is Seog Chon, meaning Upright Stone.

In Japanese, this name is “Manji no Michi,” or simply, Manji Michi, and the meaning is the same as described above.

A Dharma Name is a name given to a Buddhist practitioner. The Dharma is the law of the Universe–in other words, the natural order of things. The Dharma also is the teaching of The Buddha (the [most]  enlightened one). Buddha, whose real name was Siddhartha Gautama is a real historical figure who meditated until he realized the way of the Middle Path as the means to less suffering and enlightenment. This path is a way of living based on a detailed methodology and the notion that all is in our minds.

The assumption should not be made that says a Buddhist practitioner believes this or that, though there are some basic notions. Buddhism to some is a religion. To me it is a practice (to some that’s the same thing, but you will accept my meaning that a religion these days generally means a belief system requiring faith in unproven things). Some would say Buddhism is my religion, but it is not–not in the traditional, modern-day meaning of ‘religion,’ because I do not depend on something outside myself. I depend on my perception of what I am a part of, attempting to be as good a part of everything as I can–so it is responsible, inclusive, singular, and thus affords my part of the universal Mind quite a beautiful point of view, I feel. It is almost like saying I am part of what is Divine, rather than separate from it.

To me, Buddhism–and specifically Zen Buddhism–is a humble, honest, moral practice and a way of looking at the universe that says ‘all is one’, and suffering is in the mind and caused by the mind. It is caused by ego, or selfishness.

The practice of Buddhism involves meditation and a moral path of inflicting as little harm as possible. It also says that we must accept reality for what it is, not what we or some doctrine wants it to be. For me this is perfect, because I feel a religion or philosophy is only as good as far as it abides by reality and does not attempt to recast it in some self-serving image. To me, a good religion or philosophy also must not preach punishment or pain–only benevolence. To do otherwise is politic–a politics of retribution and dualism–what Buddhism seeks to eliminate.

Buddhism is a non-dogmatic way of looking at the universe–focusing on what is honestly and plainly perceived–or, on reality as it is.

The Buddhist attempts to perfect Right Mind, Right Action, Right Thought, and Right Speech.

Some reasons I chose this practice are:

  1. I was enamored with the peaceful, revalatory, and epiphanal ways of meditation.
  2. The more I read about it, the more I felt and learned that this way of being was more honest and pacifying–spiritually, scientifically, and socially–than anything I had heard of or witnessed.

For theists who feel this is “bad,” I suggest they look into it, and if they cannot part with their religions but still like Buddhist philosophy and practice, they can become Zen Christians, because:

3. The practice of Zen conflicts with nothing–most importantly, with science.*

4. There is no worship in true Buddhism–though there are those Buddhists who are devotional.

5. Buddhism can bring one peace like nothing else–in my opinion, because it is about being (and being peaceful, eliminating suffering) and it is about not doing as opposed to doing this or that–or not doing this or that.

6. There are pronouncements as to how live morally, but what is interesting is that the Buddha said to look at ideas–including his ideas–and testing them, seeing whether they were right for us. In this way–and most importantly in my opinion–Buddhism does not interfere with sentient conscience, a most superlatively necessary way of ensuring the primacy of freedom.

7. (*) It is true the Buddha suggested his followers not to depend on a god or gods, but rather on themselves. However, until one can reach a transcendental path, it is possible for theists to benefit from the Buddhist ways of Zen meditation and mindfulness. I have met several Zen Christians, and have heard of formal Zen Christian sects.

8. If one attempts to practice Zen Buddhism, specifically living a meditative life, she or he will be relieved of most–if not all–illusions and delusions, so that following religions based on faith in stories that have no proof likely become impossible. But remember, The Buddha told his followers not to follow what he said outright–and rather to investigate things for themselves.

Each of us creates his or own moral universe, so one could take the meditation of Zen and leave the Buddhist elements of wisdom out of it if one wishes. In fact, I think if more theists were at the same time Zennists, too–if they were Zen Christians, Zen Muslims, and Zen Jews–they might find much more peace, because…

9. Meditation and the Buddhist way–which are crucial to the practice–are about presence, awareness, listening and seeing clearly, and conducting oneself in such a way as to not contribute to violence in oneself–as we are considered all one–aiming to diminish ‘I’ and ego and not causing violence to anyone else.

Thank you for reading. I wish you and yours peace, love, joy, and enlightenment.

Mando

(Carl Atteniese Jr.)

 

 

Guns Do Kill People

A poster on Instagram defended guns with a double-image picture of a woman being abused in its first frame, and in the second, that same woman is defending herself with a pistol. The caption read “This prevents this.” I commented that the scenario depicted in the second image causes the scenario in the first, remarking that it is a chicken and egg situation. The person who had posted the picture said people can be killed with knives and that there is a difference between giving guns to children and arming responsible adults.

What I Wrote in Response:

What I said still stands as a reflection of the evidence and as a monumentally flawed and solution-less answer to the problematic questions of conflict, ethnic and political tensions, domestic disputes, religious intolerance, hunger, poverty, illness, and crime–exacerbating violence in the US.

Guns do kill people, in enormous numbers–and it is because people have them that they can kill (it is also because they empower us and inspire us in unnatural and almost narcotic ways; see my article: “What’s Wrong with Guns in America”).

If the guns were harder to come by, so would be the damage they inflict. If guns were difficult or impossible to obtain, people wanting to do harm would have to confront one another at close range, giving a greater opportunity for human contact, interaction, conflict resolution, even a chance at surviving through defense and escape; most murderous interactions might not even happen. Stabbing someone is too intimate and yields a greater possibility for failure, getting caught, and self-reflection.

Saying ‘people will get guns anyway’ doesn’t change the fact that their violence would be voluminously reduced if their acquisition were non-ubiquitous; it would be harder to get them, so fewer people would have them—therefore, their use would decrease exponentially. In addition, there would be a greater stigma attached to them, a greater need for concealment, and thus the greater possibility of perpetrators with guns being caught in suspicious behavior.

It is clinically insane that one can carry around a device in society that can render another miracle of thought, feeling, and life (a human being) inert. I lived in Korea fifteen years. I never heard of one murder by gun, there–because there are virtually no privately-owned guns in South Korea. Some Russian gangsters were rumored to have them. Gangsters kill gangsters. The police basically didn’t even have guns the first ten years I was there. Would you like to know why? The people didn’t have them. So, there was no need for the police to have them.

The kindergarten example I’ve written of is the best example, I can think of for illustrating the fundamental nature of the problem: if a boy has no gun, he has to get up the nerve to come close to you and hit you and spend a lot of time being intimate with you to beat you up. If he has a gun, he can kill you by mistake or intention, but both require only an action akin to pressing a button. It is perfect for success by error or insanity: virtually no skill is required. This is why guns are the weapons of choice among cowards and sociopaths; these personalities are indifferent to people and afraid of intimacy.

Perhaps the most sense offered on the gun problem in America is offered by resident Australian comedian, Jim Jeffries, who are points out the only reason Americans have guns is, ‘they like them.’

He says it’s not an issue of self-defense or home security: ‘You can’t go and retrieve your safely-stored gun to fight an intruder in your house. What are you going to say—dazed, and in your underwear, tripping out of bed—‘Wait, I’ll be right back’? Then you would go to your combination safe, unlock it, and assemble the gun or turn off the safety in the dark.’ It’s all nonsense. Sure it can be done, but with great difficulty. Jeffries then goes on to say that ‘in order for a gun to be useful in one’s defense, you have to keep it loaded and available.’ These are the guns killing people; ‘a person is seventy percent more likely to be injured by gun if he has one in his house.’

All the statistics (statistics are reflections of real life in numbers) show that where there are guns, there are more extremely violent crimes. It’s logical and sensical because it is natural, probable, and true. Guns are for crazy people, and so that’s why crazy people have the advantage, be they temporarily crazy or permanently—whether they are soldiers, police officers, criminals, or right-wingers—and the crazy people are the ones supplying children with guns—by mistake or on purpose—because, Dr. Poindexter, they are crazy. Now, who’s crazier; the crazy people, or the people following them?

Things I said Today: On That Stupid Word

You can’t have discord based on scientific ignorance and ignorance of ethnology based on fantasy and Victorian “science” driving inequality, tension, and violence if you are disabused of the fallacy that started it.

The problem is the word ‘_ace’, as applied to humans in issues of descrimination.

But hey, people seem to love that stupid, erroneous, misused, pernicious, and culpable word: ‘_ace,’ either because they are unaware of its bastard power, or because they want to believe they belong to another species (what the word actually means)!

If you want to help stop enthniphobia, inequality, and violence caused by ‘_ace’ in America get a brief scientific education in a few minutes on the internet, learn we are all one ‘_ace’ (one species)–literally, scientifically, actually… one-hundred percent matter of fact-ly–and…

Stop
Using
The
Word
‘_ace’

As

Applied

To

Humans

Unless

You’re

Referring

To

The

Human Race.

You will help create a paradigm shift in the language that will contribute to stopping the validation of ethniphobia*.

Think about it: you can’t be a species-ist against aliens from Mars because there are no aliens on Mars. Likewise, people can’t be ‘_acist’ toward other human beings because there are no other ‘_aces’ of human beings on this planet — in this geologic epoch besides — that of Homo Sapiens. Translation: there are no other races of humans besides the one you belong to. Period.

What people have a problem with–but are afraid or too stupid to admit–is culture. Some of us don’t like how others among us in certain ethnic and religious and class-oriented groups behave. But we are either misinformed to think it has to do with biology (‘_ace’), or we are too polite or frightened to admit it is about culture, because we don’t really want to take the time, nuance, intelligence, and courage to say that.

Mando

___________

*Ethniphobia – as far as I can tell, I have made this word.

Things I Said Today: On Yin & Yang

This is from a from a Discussion on Facebook

Hi, Friend:

With all due love, respect, and compassion, your understanding of yin and yang is all wrong.

‘Good’ and ‘bad’ are egotistical concepts taught in Middle-eastern religions and which are the cause of all our problems, because they give rise to a prejudicial mentality and the time-honored and pernicious concept of “us and them”.

In Taoism and Buddhism these concepts do not exist, because it is the core and principal idea that says all is one. And this is actually true if you look at the chemical and physical nature of all life and all that makes up the universe.

The Yin and yang represent “opposites” of nature, not “good” and “bad”. In nature there is no good and bad, only a continuum of cause and effect.

If you bring the Abrahamic god into this, or Jesus, or Allah, it all becomes heavily laden with right and wrong, which, yes, are important to society — but which are the main reasons for all the suffering in the world: judgements of good and bad. This is why people don’t forgive and why they punish; it’s why they fight. It’s why they believe in demons and angels and gods in the first place, and it all stems from dualism — the attempt to balance opposite inventions that serve the ego.

All is one or part of everything else. As soon as people accept this, all conflict stops.

Yes, Yin and Yang represent opposites, but even this is a product of ego. Nature has no ego. It is all flow. It certainly has no good or bad, just a continuum of cause and effect, and that is relative, too.

Things I Said Today: Dualism And Homophobia

This is from a discussion on Instagram:

It’s weird to ‘Down with Big Brother’ because he looks at the situation as he suggested: biologically. It is weird that a being has the anatomy necessary for it to reproduce with the complementary anatomy, yet its consciousness and hormonal system are attuned to the same anatomy, however, it isn’t wrong. It is natural and has been natural to a certain proportion of the species kingdoms since we can date back. Or at least it is in evidence in other species, including our cousin species of primates.

The challange is for us to look at life on the planet as a whole, instead of how Down with Big Brother tended to look at it — between only two subjects of Homan Sapian. In the species kingdoms it has been noticed that homosexuality benefits the social group, but people don’t tend to see the group as an issue or the tree of life as the unit to be concerned with.

Especially in Western culture, we think in terms of a fearful outlook that says, ‘if this happens over there, will it happen with me?’

You have heard this: ‘what if everyone did this?’ This is a product of insecurity, of the legal system, of moral laws, of religion, and specifically of dualism, which is a very West-centric or Western product very much fostered by the “us and them” aspects of individualism, “personal freedom”, and ego. The theisms play a huge part in this — unlike Eastern philosophies, which teach singularity — because the theisms succinctly teach good and bad, evil and virtue, Heaven and Hell, right and wrong, love and hate, forgiveness and punishment — all in the same book.

If one is raised in a mindset of oneness, energy-wise, biologically, cosmologically, interpersonally… dualism disappears and so does “us and them”. Homophobia can’t exist unless people are steeped in the illusions of dualism.

Banning Private Campaign Finance

Jefferson_Ban_for_Wordpress_essay

Me.onBan.Private.Campaign.FinanceDear Friends:

We now have eighty-nine (378) signatures supporting a ban on private campaign finance in America. Your signature–if you are an American citizen–is badly needed. When we attained fifty signatures, http://moveon.org wrote me a letter saying they would support me in sending me to my representatives to deliver this petition. I thanked Move On, but said that I would want at least a thousand signatures as a start to show Americans were serious about this issue. Indeed, we would need hundreds of thousands to move congress and the senate, if not millions. However, a thousand would show that is possible.

Thank you to signer #89: Ms. Dana N. of Provence from Alamosa, CO, who signed this petition on Nov 13, 2014. And, Thank you to signer #88: Mr. Gary Lamble from Escondido, CA, who signed this petition on Nov 13, 2014. Mr. Lamble had this to say: “The Seemingly Impossible Dream, but we need publicly funded campaigns and a ban on private contributions of any amount.”

Publicly-funded campaigns and a ban on private campaign finance will make all candidates equal in how much and when they speak to us. A system involving a set amount of funds for election–an equal amount for all candidates–would also take the corruption out of politics and out of our electoral system, ensuring that no corporation or individuals could curie favor with statesmen and thus undermine the electorate. Finally, it would put representation fairly in the hands of all constituents–unless a candidate wanted to favor an individual or group more than others–according to his or her conscience; then voters could decide whether to tolerate that or not–at the polls.

Right now we have an auction system, a system of bribery, and a system wherein even moral, good-natured, and honest statesmen must compromise their values to satisfy their financiers, so they wind up being bought by those sponsors and taking away our rights to have our voices heard and our wanted policies implemented.

Especially in a time of global climate change–to say nothing of issues related to healthcare, gun violence, education, infrastructure, banking, and foreign policy–we need a government that answers to all citizens, not just to wealthy oil and pharmaceutical companies.

Take back your dignity, take back fair elections, and restore democracy to America–for Americans and the world. We are one dangerous nation, to our own citizens, and the citizens of other nations, without it.

There is no place for oligarchy on Earth now. Sign to ban private campaign finance and put the power of the American people back in the hands of the  American people–where it belongs.

Thomas Jefferson said democracy would end when the government fell into the hands of moneyed institutions and corporations. That is what happened a long time ago. Is there any doubt in your mind that if we accomplished a majority of support for fair politics like this, that we would not be able to solve our problems, instead of spending decade after decade of just complaining about it?

Sign here, and tell your friends to sign, too: http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/establish-a-state-of-2

Thank you,

Carl Atteniese Jr.

Pick A Good Religion

I met a man on a mountain in Korea. He had this to say about Religion:

We all talk about what happens when we die. I met a wise man at the top of Bukhan Mountain in Korea, once, and this is what he told me about where the followers of different religions go:

The Christians go to a resort in the sky if they’re sorry for being jerks and profess to believe. If they’re not, they stay at a place something like the sun–forever. God makes them non-destructible at that point, but able to feel pain.

The Jews don’t go anywhere. They become their own advocates and litigate outside the gates of either place. The reason they don’t get muscled in is no one wants to cross them. They are good in a fight, make good movies and, you never know when you’re going to need a lawyer.

The Buddhists have unlimited lives, but if they’re pains in the ass, they come back as worms, or dogs, or North Koreans. Or  almost worse, they come back as dogs in traditional villages in South Korea, where they are a delicacy.

The Muslims have the best deal. They have to be good–which may include being involved in Mission Impossible-style military campaigns for political causes, which may include suicide, but the rewards are great for this. If they die during one, I hear they go to a place like the Playboy mansion in the sky. If they are bad, they have to hang out with infidels at Fox.

Taoists hitch a ride on a meteor, which mysteriously leaves the atmosphere without crashing, hitched to a flying dragon–who then takes them to some wine and opium-filled after-party in another galaxy.

Atheists just die.

Agnostics sort of die, sort of go to Heaven (where they are rewarded by God for being honest), and sort of go to Hell–on a rotating basis. I hear it’s like riding a merry-go-round through a segmented circle, with parts being like a sex shop, an inferno, and a Woody Allen movie.

Deists go to The God Buffet and have a membership card to all realms–which they can visit at will, but can never stay at permanently. They tend to hang out with the spirits of the Jihadist Muslims at the Playboy Mansion in the sky. Even the women.

Janeists own the whole shebang. Yeah, unbelievable, right? All the realms of the afterlife are concessions, owned by those vegetarian pacifists. I don’t know where they live after death. I think it is some big floating resort called “In Your Face, Nirvana,”  orbiting another star in the constellation, Virgo.

The Hindus are the limo drivers and the Sufis are the therapists and yoga instructors.

The Shintoists just go on tending those sublime shrines and go to sleep at night in the rocks, the trees and the creatures in the breeze.

Nobody knows what happens to American Indians. I think they just continue on as great spirits in the form of living peyote smoke or drum rhythms & chants–everywhere.

Mando

Copyright © 2015 Carl Atteniese Jr., AKA ‘Mando’, All rights reserved.

A Letter to Mayor DiBlasio on Public Smoking

Dear Mr. Mayor,

I sincerely hope this message finds you and your family and your staff and theirs’ in good health, happiness, and peace of mind.

What Decent, Healthy People Would Like–in New York City

People want to be free to be healthy. In New York, however, we are not free to be healthy, because of the ubiquity of smokers. But what is New York supposed by others to be about, if not individuality and individual freedom? What happens when the sick and inconsiderate are usurping those virtues of personal freedom and health–because they are addicted to a drug that harms not only themselves, but everyone, nearby and far away? Cigarettes–the burning type–which I shall refer from here on as ‘combustion-driven’, in the hands of people addicted to their vice and carcinogenic delivery systems, are doing this every moment of every day–in New York City. I and tens of thousands of others–if not millions–who care about their health, must hold our breath and bob and weave and dodge around smokers on crowded New York City streets, every day–and in vein–because we lose, every time; we still inhale cigarette smoke from others no matter what we do. It is not fair. It is not just. It is not sensible. It is insane. Furthermore, it is ‘un-New York’. I would go so far as to say it is un-American–not traditionally–of course, but philosophically. One man’s vice is not supposed to be a public health menace. Not in America.

America is supposed to be about fairness and freedom. It is bad enough we are shackled to faulty political practices, unfair banking and economic policies, environmental degradation due to corruption, poor infrastructure and foreign policy, terrorism and a host of other facets and factors of life we have little control over at the moment. Why should we also be forced to inhale cigarette-spewed nuclear radiation and Carbon Monoxide–on the streets?

I strongly advocate the banning of all combustion-driven tobacco products from New York City streets. Moreover, I think all of us who are healthy and sensible and in line with this should demand it!

What About in Other Western Democracies?

When I was in Japan, I saw that smoking on city streets was illegal. One cannot walk and smoke in Japan, and one must go into a smoking chamber or a smoking area separated from pedestrian traffic to abuse nicotine. Why are we less socially advanced than the Japanese?

When I was in Korea, I was forced to inhale cigarette refuse on the wind–all the time, and I thought, ‘I cannot wait to live in an American city, again, where this does not happen.’ Well, It does happen–because we are just as foolish to allow this. I inhale cigarette smoke every morning, noon, and night–on the wind–in our beloved city, and… against my wishes. Why must this be? It is tyrannical and clinical insanity.

The forced inhalation of cigarette pollution–is a human rights violation, a gross inconvenience, a corruption of a person’s peace of mind, his personal choice, and a distraction to his or her concentration.

But What About ‘Smokers Rights’?

Cigarette smokers exercising what I call their secondary right to relieve their emotional problems with nicotine products that harm others–whilst damaging their health–are violating what I call non-smokers’ primary rights to peace of mind, fresh air, and in the case of pedestrian traffic–free-locomotion in while in transit. However, I don’t want to be callous toward them–for they are human beings with needs, too–so let us suggest that they who are addicted to this  drug–use Electronic cigarettes, or vapor pens, which only produce the global warming gas, water vapor, and no other pollutants–such as are found in regular cigarettes, like nuclear radiation (Polonium), heavy metals (Cadmium), and the carbon-based greenhouse mitigants, Carbon Monoxide (car smoke); there’s no rat poisoning (Arsenic); nor any of the other 3,900+ chemicals we are forced to inhale found in combustion-driven nicotine products (regular cigarettes).

And finally, please consider this: billions of cigarettes are burning on this planet, every moment, twenty-four hours a day–pumping a tonnage of greenhouse gasses and radiation into our mutating atmosphere… in a time of severe global climate change–this is plainly stupid of us, and grossly irresponsible.

I wish you well.

Sincerely,

Carl Atteniese Jr.

Mando

Copyright © 2015 Carl Atteniese Jr., AKA ‘Mando’, All rights reserved.

How to Be A Nice Person

Albert Einstein said, “common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by the age of eighteen.” That means that what we automatically think of as sensible is only ‘automatically sensible’ to us because it derives not from experience, logical thought, or emotion but from prejudgments placed in our minds based on how we were raised. Keep that in mind as you read my essay, please…. 

Blame

Suggesting or alleging that someone is fully responsible for an outcome of negative qualities, or “blaming” others is like the air. No matter where you are, from time to time (if not every day) you will hear people saying ‘look at what I did for him’ or ‘look what was done for her’, followed by a reproach–because the person being spoken about apparently didn’t appreciated the good deed–or worse, did something wrong according to the speaker’s opinion. This has always bothered me, because it sounds like the person who received the favored treatment owes something to the party who was generous. My reaction to this, inside, is to feel like, ‘well, why did you do something for that person; was it to gain favor for yourself, or to be generous?’ Similarly, when a person is treated nicely or receives favorable treatment from the world, you can hear others saying something like ‘and look how she wasted that opportunity.’ Neither of these responses are nice; they reflect a lack of understanding, in some cases envy–or worse, jealousy. Keep in mind that people often–if not always–are doing the best that they can–even when they don’t know they could do better.

I feel and believe that being a nice person is not so much about doing nice deeds for others. Although helping and giving are beautiful aspects of friendship, more is required to qualify as “nice”.

Forgiveness

Forgoing blame, or offering “forgiveness”, is a great part of being nice. It shows that one is really interested in getting back to the normal state of affairs in a relationship—as long as it is sincere, and not mere appeasement. It shows understanding, and humanity, for you can understand people, you can be kind toward them even when they don’t do things that you think are smart of kind–the logical and empathic reaction because all people do stupid and unkind things from time to time, either by mistake or due to a confluence of events that came from misfortune and ignorance. In other words, blaming people is not only unkind, it is shows a real lack of understanding human beings and nature. So you might say that a big part pof being nice is about awareness and intelligence.

Listening

Paying attention deeply when someone is speaking  to us, or “listening”, is a requirement, and I don’t just mean allowing someone to talk. By listening, a nice person considers deeply—or at least, adequately—what is being said by another. It also means that baring some cognitive or emotional disorder, the nice person tries to implement behavior that reflects consideration for what the speaker has said. If s/he cannot, s/he at least acknowledges, or validates it—meaning the nice person recognizes that the speaker feels that way. Validation is very important in all relationships, from those of strangers on the street conversing for only a few moments, to those of lovers. It means the nice person says, in effect, ‘I see that you feel that way and that is okay.’ You can always tell when someone’s feelings have not been validated when you hear him or her complain, ‘my boyfriend/girlfriend/friend/mother/father (whomever) keeps doing that!’; in other words, the other person is not paying attention to what is liked or wished for—and doing the opposite.

Self-expression

Telling others how we feel and think, or “expressing ourselves”,  is how we learn about people about ourselves. So being a nice person—to me—requires giving and helping and forgiveness, but also requires listening and considerate behavior based on what was heard. And, of course, in order to be a good listener, one has to be involved with people who express themselves on the same level we are used to–or we have to spend extra time and effort trying to understand them. It helps no one if a person is the silent type—expecting others to “know” him or her so well that nothing is said about his or her feelings. This is especially a problem with taciturn people, or with people from other cultures whose ways of communication may involve expecting a lot of guesswork or reliance on assumptions built into cultural norms. However, we should waste no time in blaming taciturn folks; understanding them only helps the situation.

Respecting People’s Space

Showing mindfulness toward other peoples’ boundaries, or “respecting someone’s space” is something I didn’t intend to include here (though it is important), because it is automatic and fundamentally natural if one is listening to and honoring what another has said (which I mentioned above). You cannot respect a person’s space if you do not listen to him or her, nor if that person doesn’t communicate his or her boundaries. Of course some forms of respect are generally basic across many cultures, but some boundaries are different and unknown to us because they are personal, familial, regional, or relationship-specific. If one is communicating and another is listening–and then, finally, the other is behaving according to what was communicated—then, respect for space and boundaries is a given.

So, don’t expect people to think you are nice if you simply do nice things for them; you have to listen to people, understand people,  validate and honor what they say—within reason of course.

It was a big shock to me when a girlfriend once said ‘I don’t like a lot of messages’, partially because I was sending too many—however, this was also a result of her indulging me for quite some time, and even rewarding my loquaciousness. That is more a case of poor communication, than lack of consideration—because people interpret the meaning of things differently, and they cannot expect others to know that their feelings about things have changed without saying something about those changed feelings.

Honesty

Sharing your experiences and actions by telling the truth, or being “honest”, is important. It is the foundation upon which people may know one another—so therefore it is the most crucial element of friendship and therefore of being nice.  Dishonesty around people who trust you is a form of control, and control is not love or friendship; it’s manipulation—because when we do not know what is really happening, what friends and partners are really feeling and thinking, how can we treat them according to what they want, need, and experience? We are living in a false world of misunderstanding about them, and taken too long, we become their playthings—accidentally or deliberately. This is why people will say, ‘don’t play with me!’ It is also why people in America say, “keepin’ it real.” Real is honest. People don’t want to be manipulated. Manipulation is for things, not beings such as people. People must treat people as people. That makes them nice.

Mando

Copyright © 2015 Carl Atteniese Jr., AKA ‘Mando’, All rights reserved.

 

ISIS And US

I think the crisis in Iraq is terribly unfortunate and heartbreaking. I felt this way as soon as we attacked in 1991. The Crisis did not begin there, though. There was a war with Iran. We aided both sides.

But after Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait over the fact that Kuwait used to be part of his country, and over the fact that Kuwait was stealing his oil… and after we had told him we had no opinion on his border dispute with Kuwait… we wrecked his country beyond repair with eleven years of sanctions.

Think of the war we had there to remove his men from Kuwait. We bull-dozed them, with dirt-removal vehicles, in the sand. We carpet bombed them in bunkers–crushing and baking them. We used radioactive shells to encase the missiles we shot out of tanks. Cancer is much more common in Iraq as a result of our war there. We became the Nazis as they were over England: cruel and unusual.

Our sanctions ruined Iraq’s economy. We blocked medical supply shipments, shoe polish, even–electronics… from entering the country. On a flight from Korea I met a man who told me they couldn’t even get hospital equipment.

In 2003 we invaded again: “Shock and Awe”, we called the endeavor. And you can bet Satan’s evil, we gave ‘em hell on Earth.

Then we allowed the poor and angry citizens to loot the museums and the ammunition lockers. We didn’t guard the weapons. We didn’t patrol the streets. We really didn’t plan the rebuilding of the country well and didn’t get started right away, either. It’s almost as if the Bush boys let them at the weapons, to further justify their plans of inflating the military budget and prolonging the conflict–to guarantee a permanent presence and the building of infrastructure–on our dime. Just funnel that cash right to Cheney’s Halliburten, Carlyle, and Brown & Root. ‘Sheeeeeeeiiii. Thems some smart ‘n good ole boys!’ (slaps knee and tips brim of cowboy hat.)

But we fired all the government workers–the civil servants. So, you had thousands of people out of work in a country beaten to hell. No teachers, no postal workers, no office people, no meter maids, no sanitation, no police officers… and no army in a country of militant religious rivals.

This is not about George Bush being unintelligent; this is about his administration–composed of highly educated men and women not caring about the people of Iraq, because they had an agenda lain out for them a decade before. And it is about you and I–not doing our jobs with the local and state legislature.

Any guesses as to where the roadside bombs came from? Or why? Any guesses as to where ISIS came from–or why?

If you hellishly attack a country, lying about why you are doing it, break international law and squander your valiant World War II reputation in the tradition of the Vietanam and Nixon era–and it is historical fact that you lied to do it, do you think everyone in that country you flattened and burned down is going to respect you or trust you–least of all the ones out of favor? Will they honor the authority you vest in the new government or its soldiers?

To say the least, ISIS is not a nice group of people, but the difference between nice people and fanatical people in this world often three things (if they are are theocratic), a lack of a strong man to keep them from oppressing one another and others, a lack of opportunity, and the US attacking their country—telling them what to do.I am.in no way sticking up for ISIS, but we have to look at the root causes of conflict in the world, if we would eliminate those causes.

Saddam Hussein was not a nice man, but he wanted to be. He just had maniacal intentions, a government in a region whose philosophy allows jihad, and a population of people who were in religious warfare with one another–some of whom always wanted to kill him.

Theocratic philosophies do not democratic traditions make. They engender hierarchy and fiat. Put all the aforementioned ingredients together with that fact and you wind up needing one tough gangster to keep peace. What did we do? We removed Hussein from the equation when he was actually the one leader with a progressive secular society, unleashing centuries of theocratic tension–and after we destroyed his society–attempted to rebuild it under the leadership of a fool–with a get-rich-quick and democracy-in-a-box plan.

Then we left.

What’s interesting to me is, in April–when the Obama Administration was poised (or bluffing; that’s another theory of mine) to bomb Syria, there were those in the citizenry, including a former Kennedy staffer–saying that we really did not know whether Assad has used poison gas or the rebels had, and what’s more, that many of the rebels were radical Islamists who were not fighting Assad because he was a despot–but because they wanted a Caliphate and to run out of town or kill Aloites and other non-Muslims. Now we know this is where many members of ISIS came from.

Had we bombed Assad and possibly overthrown him, who do you think would be running Syria, now? And what kind of hell would McCain be catching for his boots on the ground, there? Whose boots would they be? The boy’s next store–until he either didn’t need one or both of them. And then we would rush them home. And Syria would be another Iraq–and Korea.

Look at South Korea. It is a nation divided since 1953. Iraq looks like a nation that will now be indefinitely divided (in more parts than two). Finally, had we bombed Syria….

In Inventing The axis of Evil, by Evrand Abrahamian, Moshe Ma’oz, and Bruce Cumings, the sober suggestion is made that the hawkish American agenda is actually to keep nations like Iran, Syria, and Korea divided. If these astute authors are correct, it’s now two down, and (not one, but…) two to go.

Oliver Stone said we lost in Vietnam because we were spiritually wrong from the beginning. Of course we were; when we aided the French–who were trying to maintain their imperial hold on the Vietnamese–we were too ashamed to give them funding outright, or to let them have lanes with our insignia on them–so the French had to repaint them. And, more egregiously, we invented the Gulf of Tonkin Incident to get into the war ourselves. We also killed a president over it (among other reasons). Our hearts were never in the effort of rebuilding Iraq. Now we are reaping the wrath of the fringe who think like we and the American Natives had in our own little culture war before the birth of our nation: ‘Kill and terrorize so they leave you alone’.

What do you think a disenfranchised group of Muslims who do not like the installed government are going to do when the peacekeepers leave?

Maybe it is time to stop doing this. No fixes, no “help” but that which is humanitarian, and no weapons… not even to the good guys, because no guys are good guys after atrocities are committed against them.

We are a bunch of clowns and fools for letting arms dealers in our “military industrial complex”–as President Dwight Eisenhower warned–and senators and congresspersons in our government drag us into wars wherein our citizens come home dead or in pieces (figuratively and literally) and we wind up broke—so they and private contractors can get rich.

Believe me, Saddam was no threat to Saudi oil–the real back-room reason for attacking Iraq on paper, but a ruse in practice to establish another beach-head in the Middle East where we could guarantee the flow of oil for Europe and Asia and inflate the defense budget whilst raising the ratings for a previously failing presidency, back home. And they sold it to you with three letters and a vial of nothing.

We should not only be ashamed, we should have our heads examined. Don’t coddle your little Facebook/SUV/iPhone head with delusions; we are the reason journalists are having theirs cut off.

You, yes, you—the one reading this, had better call your representative tomorrow and tell him or her that she or he had better not dare sanction more troops for Iraq; call Obama, too. Eliminating ISIS will only be the beginning.

Sanction any maneuvers necessary to get our journalists out and whomever else is there; then it’s game over. Or what happens all around the world is on your head and mine. Take some responsibility, this time–American.

Mando

Copyright © 2015 Carl Atteniese Jr., AKA ‘Mando’, All rights reserved.

______________________________

Source Material:

Inventing The Axis of Evil:

http://books.google.com/books/about/Inventing_the_Axis_of_Evil.html?id=FL6cQgAACAAJ

The PNAC:

The Rise of The Vulcans:

The Gulf of Tonkin Incident

What’s for The Professional? What’s Shiny Kid Stuff?

Windows, Apple, and Samsung

I just hooked up my giant DELL desktop keyboard and mouse to my Windows tablet. Why? Because I can! And you can, too, if you have the case/fold-out keyboard–which comes with a sleek and aerodynamically fattened rear-end, to accommodate two USB ports).

The Deets ‘N Perks of Many Wings…

On the Nokia/windows tablet, I can–if I want to, of course–use the tantalizingly soft-and virtually hidden-mouse-pad that is attached to the keyboard in the fold-out case, or, I can use the on-screen keyboard (which can display one of three versions–one featuring a segmented layout with left-hand and right-hand ergonomic displays for the letters–and which has the number-pad in the middle). And as another quick diversion, I will add that the amazing thing about the on-screen virtual keypad is that it is–tactile-wise–a huge pleasure to type on because of the size and design of the layout, as well as because of the fantastic bio-rhythm pulse we get at the touch of its virtual keys. But we know about this from using fancy smart-phones. I don’t want to talk about that, right now; we are familiar with such typewriter-replacing finger candy as we get it with virtual typing modes of all modern devises. It’s nice–but who cares? I’m talking about the pleasure and convenience of smart writing.

Laptop Convenience? Got Muscles ‘N Space?

The point is, real writers–who have to live at the keypad or keyboard–really appreciate size and the tactile experience that comes with using a full-size layout to type on. But for those of us who couldn’t resist the tech revolution and started working on phones and I Pads to get away from looking like World War II correspondents who had to carry around a Remington or an Underwood in a case–lugging our “laptops” (which we cannot really use on our laps, unless we want hot legs, over-heated computers, testicular cancer, a hunchback, carpel tunnel syndrome, and poorer eyesight than we already have)! I don’t care if you have the MacBook Air; yes, it’s nice; yes, it’s light, and yes it is solid state, so needs no fan (amazing, actually) but it is still a tank, no matter how small you pretend it is.

Uh Huh, You’re Different. Got Inconvenience?

So, we had to get used to Apple’s redesign of the keyboard! Who will admit that the Windows original is not the most logical and intuitive step away from the typewriter and word processor? Thankfully, it doesn’t cause us to scream in our heads, ‘look at me and how different I am because, I don’t have  a normal delete-button or a back-space key!’ In opting for the transporter room, Captain, you take the joy out of flying the shuttlecraft, and you screw up your body!

Nostalgic Comfort, Baby…

So right now, because I am not on the LIRR or at Starbucks, I can have my big old healthy keyboard, clicking away and telling my brain I can “punch the keys!” as Shawn Connery yelled in Finding Forrester! And it’s better for my brain, memory, and typing skills. Don’t know what I mean? Dust off your uncle’s old typewriter, word processor, or even your DELL keyboard. It’s a monster of a man of a thing, with bravado, character, style-behind-usefulness efficiency, is comfortable, human, and tells you aren’t texting–like a high-schooler in a Seoul café; It says: I AM WRITING…in NEW YORK, clown!

Options?

And not being a complete dinosaur, I AM using the Nokia/Windows 8 RT–top of the lie tech with many perks (I can watch Netflix, YouTube, and fly my flight-sims whilst getting messages from Facespook, Twitter, Linked In, and Insta, baby!) To boot, it is very light and the size is “sports coupe”, not “iPhone Terminator”.

Keystrokes. Got ‘Em?

I can touch the screen (I can touch if I want to) and make spell-check corrections because this is “a tablet”, all the while typing in the old conventional clickety-clack way (remember, I hooked up my desktop keyboard–try that with your I Paaaad!). It takes me back to the great dexterous and auditory pleasures of the original typewriters (without the workout)! And I can use my Control + C, X, and V, keystroke shortcuts, so I don’t have to be “reaching out” to the screen every other second (sometimes I like to keep my hands to myself); Something has to be said for speed, dude!

And because this is “a tablet”, I have the option of using “apps”, but it’s Windows, so while on the internet, I can use Control + N to open a new browser, which is actually much faster than switching screens, going to apps, and using the touch-interaction… and… waaaait combo, that we have to deal with on all the new and different tablets.

So Many Devices, So Little Time…

As the technology world has marketed to us new ways of computing, writing, playing, and communicating, it has slowed us down. Every time you have to learn the new aspects of a device and are forced to then wait until it becomes intuitive to you–you slow down the most mundane aspects of your twenty-first century brain, and you delay the completion of a lot of tasks that are really important. Typing should be like riding a bicycle: simple, standard, and learned once! It’s bad enough the evil companies controlling our purchases in phones, service, and computing force us to upgrade every year–we should not have to keep learning the ABCs. It’s a wonder we get anything done. Every add up the amount of time you have to be online learning how to use appliances (remember that world), these days? Not to mention all the time you spend shopping new ones–as well as for cases, chargers, wires, cables, routers, service plans, screen protectors, blah, blah, blah? This has taken over a good portion of the life and time it was all supposed to save us from!

One Stop Doccing…

If you are like me, utilizing “platforms” for document creation, photography, blogging, and the self-promotion of your ideas for comedy, poetry, essay-writing, job-search, and social networking, learning new hand-eye coordinative arrangements, along with passwords, password retrieval, “portal” ins and outs and so on–the hours add up, peeps!

With an I Pad and Samsung, you have to use “The Clouds”; true, with Samsung you can use Polaris to write with, which is in the dictionary under ‘the North Star’ but should also carry the definition, ‘cancerous nightmare disaster from hell’; Kingsoft is nice–and a thousand times a million times better–and almost gives Word a run for the money (actually, it does), but you cannot download a Word doc into it in your device (which you can do with Polaris, but Polaris doesn’t wash the dishes in any other way)!

Stop Playing, Start Writing, Yo…

Get a system that is most versatile, yes, but get a system that allows you to connect most easily to everything else, because–as Andrew Gerndt–my anatomy-drawing instructor at SVA once told me–“you can waste a lot of time.”  The Windows system on the Nokia tablet handles all your “PC” docs with no differences from your desktops, with no need for third-party apps, and it has all the other shiny perks  in a sleek, light-weight presentation package that comes with two (count ’em, baby–two) USB ports if you buy the fold-out keyboard/case). You can use ’em for whatever you want–and that means you can have your trusty pet mouse and keyboard from the writer’s trench with you–when you want! Of course you can also link up your smart phone with those ports, data sticks, whatever connects to a standard data cable with USB connector! The results are conclusive: I Pads and Samsung products are nice, but for kids. Windows is for the pro, yo. Goodbye Steve Jobs! You were a genius, but you were too stingy and “special”. I have work to do! Goodbye Samsung! You are versatile and make nice phones, but leave writing to the big boys.

Keys Aren’t Left in The Car

So Why Are The TV and Guns Available?

This was originally written to a mother who had contributed a post online about how being a parent of the female sex is frustrating and unappreciated, why her child watching TV programs not approved of by her was so annoying, and why her child was so bad in this regard. While I can appreciate her point of view, I felt that her penchant for rage at her child was due to poor parenting rather than the mischievous ways of children.

To Mothers Everywhere:

I am not a mother–and I offer all respect to them that’s due–but that is largely irrelevant. And not to discount outright your feelings or point of view, but generally speaking, people can truly love and emote if they want to and so can understand other human beings and provide comfort–personally. In this endeavor, they may also find the need to be critical. It is not necessary that we be the same sex as others, have the same experience, or even have the same feelings in order to emote–though I admit that this can help–in order to observe shortcomings and faults. This is an outcropping of empathy, and the understanding of humanity–which many people feel only incorporate agreement. That is not always necessary. This is compassion, and this is wisdom–and we are all capable of it. In fact–it is because others are usually not in our situation, and ‘always not us’, that they can offer a clear perspective.

Of course, were I a mother, I could commiserate with mothers to a greater extent and make them feel comfortable; I could draw on similar concerns borne out of similar or the same circumstances, and I could validate feelings better that way–especially to the satisfaction of the complainers and to that of popular culture–but I am not disallowed to comment, especially where grievances are aired publicly-and about issues affecting society–even if I do not meet the sameness criteria spoken about. After all, I am human.

Popular culture is your challenge, Mothers, not your ally, and I don’t want to get in the corner with you, frankly-speaking; I want to invite you out of it.

And so, being human–like you, being a child of a mother–like you, being one exposed to mothers tens of thousands of times–even having had the benefit of experiencing mother-child relationships as a teacher in another culture–I wish to give you my feelings, observations, and insights–so please take them with love:

Responsibility

Your adoption of popular notions is why you have a TV and why your children have access to it. It is thus your responsibility to decide how that TV brings the world into of your home and before your child’s eyes. The fact that it is not under lock and key and that most channels are not restricted by some mechanism is also your and your adult society’s issue–not your child’s.

Parental Fiat, The TV, and Normalcy

The fact that your child doesn’t pay heed to your commands is natural. The child was born out of you–but yaks Khalil Gibran said, you don’t own him or her like property and you cannot control his inclinations–but you may influence his or her behavior. Your restrictions on the freedom of his or her inquisitiveness are also limited–and are another aspect of how you mold him or her. Because you and your society have not found a way to keep the TV from being a source of tantalizing entertainment and knowledge–right at the child’s fingertips (which she or he sees you using with your husband and friends), naturally works against your desires of mind and behavior control. Being human and not seeing herself as a being less than you, she or he wants to explore and enjoy, in the same ways he or she sees you do the same; this is normal.

Some Parents And All Human Beings

As you may be able to tell by now, I disagree with parents treating their children as indentured subjects instead of as human–albeit younger and more needy–individuals. There are parents who teach their children from a very young age that they are human beings as worthy of the stirrings that come to their consciousness and their growing conscience as are those of the overlords who are supposed to guard those growing faculties and inalienable parts of their existence.  And if that is too much for other parents, they make things unseen that they don’t want their children to see. It is a matter of human sense and responsibility.

It would be far better for your child and for society if young people and your children were respected and not subjugated, from the earliest possible age. However, it is still the prevailing parental paradigm of thought that they must be under parental command and that they obey–like serfs or subjects under a monarch—instead of being treated as human students in the care of a loving professor. This is primitive.

How to Respectfully Deal with Young People

Where the children’s’ safety is at stake–or that of others–it can be explained to them in terms of not venturing into the use of things not theirs, and/or it can be taught that the consequences are big. If not, lock it all up; stove, sink, kitchen knives, cleaning chemicals, handgun, whatever. The keys are not left in the car, are they? So how stupid are parents who make all manner of dangerous things available to their children and who make use of those things in front of their children, then expect the children not to explore those things, themselves? I don’t know why society has not figured this out en masse and incorporated it en masse as well. It makes no sense at all to assume that because one tells a child not to utilize something that the child will comply—even with the threat of punishments—unless those punishments are non-violent and can create a common understanding of values.

The Dangers and Irrationality of Violent Punishment for Children

Violent punishments only show the hypocrisy and cruelty of a parent to the child, because the child is not mentally mature enough to grasp in agreement the notion that some people can have certain privileges and pleasures and others cannot–simply because of what appears to be size–an usually age—differences. And the physical punishment just indicates that the infliction of pain on a child (or a weaker person) is permissible—while it is not acceptable when meted out against adult or more powerful people. This serves as the child’s first lesson in the acceptance and politics of domination and unequal treatment.

Wanting Thanks

We are supposed to have children not as a rite of passage or to grow a work force, to plant seeds in the world reflecting our twisted religions and philosophies, or as accidents stemming from our passion; we are supposed—as civilized human beings—to give birth to new human life in order to spread and share our intense and healthy love with our partners and to the children we bear and raise with them. Therefore—though it is nice to hear appreciative words, and it is good to teach appreciation to young human beings—it is not part of the mental need of a parent who understands that it is a clear and undeniable duty, and it is healthy love that brings a parent to be necessarily working at raising his or her offspring. It is not favor we lavish on young human beings in caring for them; it is an undying desire to care for them until they can care completely for themselves, and it is the job itself that is the reward; parenting is a privilege as well as an unequivocal duty, to make healthy and free new human beings.

I sincerely hope you begin, with billions of other adults, to re-evaluate what it means to be human and what is natural and what is not—and therefore what is not really fair and sensible, and thus what is helpful and what is not.

If young human beings were treated as full human beings and not lesser than that, most of the problems people have raising them would go away; the job of guiding them would be harder in some respects, yes—but it would also be a lot less stressful and damaging, for sure—and society would be better off, as well.

Short of the employment of life-altering spiritual, intellectual, experiential and psycho-therapeutic alteration, everything an adult is… comes from his or her parental environment—and therefrom comes society.

New Love

When you awake

Most every day

Saddened by what’s gone

Feeling trapped in yesterday

Leaving you

Forlorn

When you arrive in mirthful climes

Feeling heart-felt pain

In beautiful places

Feeling it’s another stop

On a train

When you look happy outside

But’re rueful, deep within

And Lost because

That special time

Won’t begin again

With life eternally simple, now

You’re not want to care

And every step

Toward novelty

Fades from here

To There

Can you find

Some newness

Something that’s for you

Acting as a portal

To happiness that’s true?

And if you see such chances

As something all but real

Anchored in those

Blissful times

That tragedy did steal

Then this will be the hell

From which

You surely won’t escape

Where health and life

Will rob your self

As in the act of rape

Though you’re not want to

Letting go of dreams and things so true

and asking

Did it happen?

Is it gone, as it just seems?

Well then

Just don’t

Bury love

Stoke it fresh

And warm

While stepping into

New Love

Like hearing a new song

Revel in that time, then!

And live alive right now!

Lest you lose your mind man!

The common way known how

In heart remember memories

But don’t leave now behind

Lest your friends and family

And New love

Now be blind

Mando

Copyright © 2015 Carl Atteniese Jr., AKA ‘Mando’, All rights reserved.

Ferguson

I don’t see the moral connection

Between a tragic, misdeed in death

And mayhem in the streets

While one was a result

Of poor conditioning and fear

The other is of premeditation

And culpability quite clear

It is the corrupted mind

That answers mistakes

And responds to misdeeds

With conscious violence

Minus fear

So please

Tell me

What your message is

Rioters

As now your names you smear

Mando

Copyright © 2015 Carl Atteniese Jr., AKA ‘Mando’, All rights reserved.

Who Escapes?

What is wrong

if anything,

with family

and friends

and the self

and onlookers

that this happens

to us

or to one

What is right with one

that makes him see

all the more that is wrong

with us

so greatly

he can no longer be

Or is it plain to you

and is it okay

to me that

the only problem was

with the Robin

but we did not care

or could not see

We often ask this question

about God

and His defenders

We say it just has to be

Does that make God

like you and me

When a bird takes flight

we give her credit

but what made her fly

If a man is not frightened

but he’d rather die

who or what

was behind the wind

and who can remain

standing in it

And who has fancy names

for the gale

and why

Please trust me

We can turn

a gust into a breeze

if we whisper

Don’t be blown away

And fly to perches

whence ye can return

or talk to me

Carl Charles Carroll Atteniese

When Someone Blames You for Not Taking His Side

First of all, we try to ask someone to let go of an issue we can’t agree with him on. Ideally, we don’t ask someone to let go of an issue if it won’t let go of him or her, yet. We just listen until he or she works it out or gets stuck in a corner and needs us to pull him or her out of it. Though letting go is lauded, it often involves invalidating someone’s feelings. It is very hard to let go of feelings. It’s different from focusing cognitively on something; it’s visceral–and hurts, so we need to talk it out–to vent, sometimes.

Next, we don’t have to take sides. When someone asks for this he or she is insecure and when he or she expects it, that’s bordering on control. If a person wants your allegiance, he or she is asking for you to surrender your feelings and your mind and your freedom. Strong, healthy people who love one another don’t do this. Weak people in co-dependent relationships do. And, lots of people do it because, 1. they think friends are members of their armies, and, 2. they don’t understand love and friendship, which require people to be free and to be themselves–not what friends and lovers want them to be.

You do nothing wrong by disagreeing with someone. You can say you understand, or that you empathize. You can share in the pain, but to be a friend you shouldn’t fake agreement. This paints a false picture of who you are and will set up misunderstanding and co-dependence.

 

Get to Your Goals

Get to your goals

There is the reason we set up goals in our lives

There are plenty of obstacles to our goals and they appear every moment of everyday

In our attempts to do what we must you do from moment to moment, it is easy to become fatigued,

We are natural beings requiring rest and so this fatigue causes us to settle

So, before you know it, the obstacles have become your daily routine and you get no closer to your goals by settling into a life of obstacles

You can tell that you are settling by two main factors, and one is you are surrounded by things that you’re very interested in–but you’re really not taking a part in them

You see their traces on your walls

On your bookshelves

In your bag

But you’re really not doing anything about them–just carrying them around

This is why they become baggage

Sometimes we are so surrounded by the things we had intended to be a part of, we do not even recognize them until we go shopping–or until someone asks us what we want to do–and we see them apart from ourselves as new things, instead of as neglected fixtures in our cluttered lives

You know that you really care about something when it’s the first thing out of your mouth when someone asks you what you want, or like, or miss

You know that you really care about something when you go to the bookstore and that’s the subject that you unconsciously seek out before any other, whether it is “practical” or not

Or when you are in a waiting room and you pick up a magazine or allow your thoughts to center on a person, place, or subject

If our lives become a routine of surviving, doing chores, going to “work” (which is usually your effort in someone else’s work!), cleaning–the things we really wanted we may never get to, have, or do–unless we are doing chores and surviving on the path to what we want

Sometimes on the path to what we want, we decide the best way to get there is to do things the “smartest way” … but often the smartest way takes the longest and before we realize it, those things we want are just on the shelf, surrounding us on walls, or in our bags …

Worst is when they become unconscious obstacles to forward motion, and they show up only in our restless hearts, and visible in the cloudy vignettes of a dream, or a nightmare

If you are not satisfied with just surviving, with being in the wrong place, with dreaming about what you want… you should wake up every day with the intention of paying a little thought to what is really most important to you–and one of the first things on your mind should be where you are going and what you are doing that day–to get there

Think about what you are really doing, and recognize what you think you are doing, say you are doing pretend you are doing, and dream you are doing

And notice how close or far what you are doing will take you to your goals

Think about when you want to actually do what you want to do and how close you are to doing it

Setting goals or having dreams is not enough

Dreaming of someday doing something is dreaming

Saying it will happen at the right time is fantasy

And saying you will do it only in the best way is like saying it will never happen, unless you are taking the best steps to doing it, today

Mando

Copyright © 2015 Carl Atteniese Jr., AKA ‘Mando’, All rights reserved.

Facebook Supports Stalking?

FACEBOOK SUPPORTS STALKING?

For the first time I can remember, I looked at who is following me; Facespook says it is six people but shows only four. Why is that? Does Facespook support stalking?*

Stalking is following someone secretly

The Dictionary Definition:

stalk2 [stawk] Show IPA
verb (used without object)
1.
to pursue or approach prey, quarry, etc., stealthily.
2.
to walk with measured, stiff, or haughty strides: He was so angry he stalked away without saying goodbye.
3.
to proceed in a steady, deliberate, or sinister manner: Famine stalked through the nation.
4.
Obsolete . to walk or go stealthily along.
verb (used with object)
5.
to pursue (game, a person, etc.) stealthily.
6.
to proceed through (an area) in search of prey or quarry: to stalk the woods for game.
7.
to proceed or spread through in a steady or sinister manner: Disease stalked the land.
noun
8.
an act or course of stalking quarry, prey, or the like: We shot the mountain goat after a five-hour stalk.
9.
a slow, stiff stride or gait.
Origin:
1250–1300; Middle English stalken (v.), representing the base of Old English bestealcian to move stealthily, stealcung stalking (gerund); akin to steal

Fidelity and Flirting

A Letter to a recent Client

Hi there, Friend:

How are you? I hope you are well–though in the situation you’ve described, I see many problems–so I cannot imagine you are.

Realize that I can only judge your situation by what you have told me–and this isn’t therapy–so I have to make some assumptions. I’ll expect you to correct me, where I go wrong–based on the limited information I have, and if you want to revise your story at any time, please do. Okay, Friend, even though I know most stable, healthy relationships should require no extra-relationship flirting–many people do it on a harmless level. Personally, I never have, and I don’t think I have ever seen my friends or family members do it. I think it is a sign of strong relationships and healthy, mature people who have confident psyches–that they don’t have a tendency to flirt. On the other hand, the topic requires that we define flirting. Simply being friendly with people of the opposite sex (or the sex of our interest) in the same manner we are friendly with members of our own sex (or the sex of our disinterest) is not flirting.

Flirting is any behavior accidentally or consciously intended to create a possible sexual or love-oriented relationship with another person. It is also a way of making one’s partner jealous. Now–just for a moment, allow me to play devil’s advocate: Have you been overly sensitive? Does your fiance show you true love in all the healthy ways–listening to you, helping you, putting you and your needs first and looking out for your interests–and has he only been reasonably engaged in light conversation with other women–never taking any interaction to another level or developing strong feelings for those women? Is it possible this is a power play–whereby he resents your possibly having turned some innocuous interactions into his tendency to test you and play with you because you may actually be unnaturally jealous and insecure? You must think about these questions I have asked you–seriously.

All outcomes in a relationship of any kind are the results of two or more person’s input. Now, that said, I will say this: You deserve a relationship in which you are the focus, and only you–in sexual and romantic ways. You deserve a relationship from which you are able to leave, from time to time–even if only to go away and be alone for a while to explore your interests and feelings in a solitary fashion. And you deserve a relationship wherein you do not have to suffer the insecurities inherent in the discomfort of knowing your partner has a need to be attractive to other people in a romantic and/or sexual ways. Now, I cannot be sure–because I have not met him, but it sounds like your fiance does care about you–but in an immature way, and in a controlling way, and in an insufficient way. In fact–that is why you have written me. Isn’t it? What are your feelings on love? I ask all my clients to tell me; you might have noticed that on my profile page. Is this a satisfactory relationship–which you are in? I think it is not. Again, isn’t that why you have written me? Tell me; does your boyfriend make it clear to those he flirts with that he is spoken for? Are those people sure he loves you and that there is no chance of their success with him–because he loves you? If not–he is not just being friendly or polite. In such cases he would be cheating on you–because he is opening doors to new relationships with such flirtation. In a strong, normal, Western relationship, partners make it known they are spoken for when speaking to new people. When they don’t, a red flag should go up in their partner’s minds. This is something I didn’t like about dating in Asia. I often found partners there–even married people–who behaved in ways that were quite ambiguous–which caused me to feel that those doors were always open–in all directions–and it spoke to me of high insecurity and low fidelity.  It was not always the case, of course–but it was noticeable (and of course a certain amount of confusion could have been caused by the overly affectatious way women are expected to act in some Asian cultures); so, it can be cultural. But in a healthy relationship it certainly is not necessary.

Finally, one judgement I will make is that your fiance should not be doing things that make you uncomfortable–within reason. I mean, saying “hello” to women–or talking to them–in a polite, non-romantic, or flirtatious way–should be acceptable–even if it is with his ex, from time to time, but if there is some romantic need being met or fostered, that’s cheating. And he certainly should not be telling other women he misses them–unless he is not planning to be exclusive with you. I hope you’ll pardon me for saying this, but it sounds like you’re in a relationship with an “old boy”, and the image that comes to my mind is of people in their forties or fifties–from some sexist culture–wherein the men are chauvinists and can do what they want–and the women must abide by it. And when the women express protest, the men feign dedication, make excuses, and continue on doing what they had been doing before–with no alteration. Finally, when the women decide to leave, the men act like little boys–unable to be men about it, unable to make changes. Is that accurate? He sounds like an old-fashioned person.

This is the 21st century; people in love today don’t behave like that–unless they are immature… or playboys (which are immature men, anyway). Crying is okay, occasionally, but throwing tantrums is not. Controlling you and manipulating you are the worst things he can do–but don’t confuse control with influence. He has a right to influence you–in a loving way. You have to ask yourself if your relationship is strong enough so that you two can sit down and talk about your needs and then you have to ask yourself if you’re both willing to negotiate to create boundaries and rules for the relationship. When one or both partners cannot or will not do this–a healthy relationship is impossible.

Love is not just a feeling; it is a practice in which the partners engage to make one another comfortable, healthy, and happy, and when only one partner’s needs are met–that’s not a healthy love relationship. That’s a dysfunctional one. In fact–it’s not love. It’s usage. Someone’s being used and taken advantage of. Now, your boyfriend may not be making you feel this way on purpose, but he needs to be made to understand that you’re not happy and if this continues what kinds of uncomfortable situations and feelings will result. Actually–you’re already there–in a place of discomfort. Please let me know how you feel about what I’ve said and take good care; your health and happiness should be your most important concerns. Of course you should care about your boyfriend’s health and happiness, too, but he seems to be taking care of that quite well; he has multiple people–apparently–to make himself feel secure. I don’t want to paint a bad picture of your boyfriend, here; most times people are doing the best they can according to their own maturity and intellectual & spiritual achievements. Perhaps he would like to change, but is not able to see the seriousness of the situation. Maybe this is how he saw love whilst growing up.

Love requires originality and flexibility, to the extent that it enables partners who want to grow their love; to do whatever is reasonable to keep that love growing. You have to communicate reasonable needs, feelings, expectations, and boundaries, and those have to be understood, agreed upon, and practiced in a relationship in order for happiness, fulfillment, and respect to be maintained. When only one partner is achieving these elements, the relationship is unbalanced and unhealthy. When you accept such conditions, the relationship is dysfunctional–because it is not functioning in a balanced way. That kind of relationship eventually makes both partners unhappy–not just the partner being hurt, initially.

Lastly, when one party in a relationship has the need to be involved with people outside the relationship in order to fulfill that need–it means his or her needs are not being fulfilled within the relationship. Sometimes this is normal. A wife goes to her gynecologist because her husband is only a plumber, not a medical doctor. A husband plays baseball once a month with his buddies because they provide the male bonding his psyche requires for a balanced life of friendship that men get from their male friends and perhaps their wives cannot offer. However, the ego assuagement we get from possible sexual and romantic flirtation outside of our romantic relationships which perpetuates discomfort in our relationships is not healthy, nor is it fair. Sit down and have a sober, calm, understanding, and supportive discussion with your boyfriend–about the feelings both of you have. Only after you have decided what your feelings, needs, and expectations are–and you have both committed to fulfilling them as best you can–should you call him your fiance, again–because he is not acting like a fiance, now.

Will The Day Come?

Will The Day Will Come When “Republican” is Distanced From By All But Insane People?

I am aware of the fact that many following the Tea Party-line feel they are constitutionalists, but in my observation they are interested in the constitution in terms of freedom that excludes them from social responsibility; they are not constitutionalists in the sense Jefferson was, meaning they do not possess and admire a foundation thinking of humanitarian righteousness; they do not become inspired with a love for humanity. They are impassioned by isolationist self-interest and fierce individualism at the expense of community.

Tea Partiers and many Republicans are not altruists. Indeed, their political representatives worship Ayn Rand and fear mankind–especially those among us that express “weakness”, difference, or liberal values–even though they would not have a country such as we have today, without those liberal values. Moreover–where ‘liberal’ is concerned, conservatives have hijacked the word; ‘liberal’ means open-minded and flexible, progressive and innovative. Tea Partiers in particular and Republicans in the main, erroneously take ‘liberal’ to mean something akin to “communist”. Or, at least that is how they use the word.

Furthermore, Tea Partiers and Republicans in general suffer from a particular kind of idealism that is akin to totalitarian thinking–or it is, precisely, totalitarian thinking–meaning it is an irrational total-solution-state of mind; ie: ‘everyone can get a job that satisfies his or her needs.’ Not coincidentally, this is why the majority of them are Christians. Or rather, they are Republicans BECAUSE they are Christians.

With no disrespect to moderate and near-secular Christians, theists who follow the copied bible manuscripts literally are the ones so indoctrinated in totalitarian values (as are conservative Jews and Muslims); ie: they see issues as black and white, resulting in such erroneous ideas as those which say that LGBT people are not deserving of the same human rights as the rest of us, a state of mind akin to that in the simple-mindedness that says, ‘everyone can get a job and healthcare’.

What’s worse is, Tea Partiers and Republicans don’t care about–or are cognitively immune to–the consequences of their own across-the-board black and white thinking. And the kind of prejudicial discrimination it engenders, when levied against those different from them, is indicative of the their world-view which leads to their obvious and shameful selfishness, cold-heartedness, and rigidity. this is obvious in their denier status in the face of such challenges as the causes of poverty and global climate change and the self-evidentiary righteousness of  womens’ rights, labor issues, and more.

The rigidity and cognitive dissonance of pathologically conservative Americans is the reason they are ‘the party of guns’. They cannot see–or won’t–that ubiquitous gun ownership and lax laws on the acquisition of fire-arms is a major contributing factor to the high level of gun violence in America–because they think everyone can be responsible with a gun–or don’t care if the opposite is true… so long as THEY can have THEIR guns, the machismo attached to them, and the profits of their sales…per THEIR “constitutional rights” (at the expense of public welfare paid for by everyone).

I truly believe we are in a situation in America–with these people–that describes nothing less than a clash of civilizations; one enlightened and courageous–thus generous and progressive, and the other, frightened and ignorant–thus retrograde. I am not being the least bit flippant. And I am not alone in this observation, nor is my party small.

I guarantee the day will come in the future–if it is not already upon us now, when Republicans in general will be seen as a throw-back to primitive peoples and primitive times. Indeed, their ways remind me of what I imagine the mindset to be in the dark ages, what with their wanting to teach superstition in science class, their advocacy of legal discrimination, and their war-mongering. When that day comes, when their own ranks disavow themselves of their primitive and fearful ways, present-day Tea Partiers and Republicans will then deny their former party affiliations.

This new era will be ushered in with greater speed and certainty the more Americans grow accustomed to the rest of the civilized world and how greatly the conservatives here are different from they, out there–who have much purer egalitarian and compassionate values. Just look at how Canadians and Europeans laugh at our stewardship of our banking industry, education system, environment protection, and health laws. Everything in our country is ‘businessman first, citizen consumer last (if considered at all)’.

This new era is also being ushered in as science is daily disabusing the conservatives among us of ignorant ideas and superstitions–in the areas of genetics and “race”, evolution, cosmology, meteorology, and sexuality. These conservatives will also move away from their previous positions the more they are compared with conservative Muslims, Nazis, and other fascists–totalitarian-thinkers all. It is already happening; recently a Florida politician changed her party affiliation from Republican to Democrat, because she said she could no longer affiliate herself with the values of the party she was once a part of, any longer.

Mando

Copyright © 2015 Carl Atteniese Jr., AKA ‘Mando’, All rights reserved.

Why We Need A Publicly-funded Election System

Why America Needs a Publicly Funded Electoral System
by Carl Charles Atteniese Jr.

Dear Fellow American Citizen:

A recent study conducted in Britain resulted in the determination that the United States of America is an oligarchy–by virtue of the fact that statistics show the majority of the laws passed here favor the rich and their corporations. It is no longer a left-wing mantra; it’s a fact: We don’t have a democracy any more. And it is because of our election laws and party finance laws.

Think about it; right now, our health, happiness, and security in this country is decided largely by whomever has the most financial influence over a select few candidates who in turn are able to afford the ad campaigns necessary to run for office. They also decide what laws are passed. As it has been accurately said before, ‘that’s an auction’ for political power. Is that what we want?

When it comes to elections–we usually have so few candidates, and that’s why we have to funnel money to candidates who are usually not our first choice–but more are often the lesser of two evils.

Thomas Jefferson said two things were necessary for democracy to thrive–an educated electorate and a free press. That’s all we really need. However, we have a dumbed-down and disenfranchised electorate and a private press, which means the press (the media) is often influenced by who owns it. In addition–and most destructively–we allow money to control our politicians by allowing it to be funneled into campaigns and parties–from corporations and wealthy private citizens who then expect their bidding to be done in office–and it is–to the detriment of truth, our public health, happiness, and security.

Moneyed institutions and banks narrow the size of the political arena and the depth of the national debate by making it near impossible for average, intelligent, and moral citizens to enter politics in America–unless they can compete with the financial saturation of their opponents. And this is precisely how Thomas Jefferson said the American revolution and democracy here would fail and end. He said it would happen when our government fell under the control of banks and moneyed institutions. This is precisely what has happened.

According to Lawrence Lessig, Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, thirty to seventy percent of a congressperson’s time is spent raising money for re-election. Moreover, 0.5% of the population supplies 60% of the funds necessary to put people in government. This one-half of one percent of the people decides with their money who is going to be on the ballot. This means a large part of their time is not spent on us, but on them.

Maybe we have allowed money in politics because we haven’t imagined a more fair system being possible. Maybe we privately feel this wealthy small percentage–who choose our candidates for us–along with the Electoral College, which finally picks our presidents—are the only ones qualified for the job. Maybe we are afraid that if rich white men did not control our politics, we would not be able to run this country or that we would really be a truly multi-ethnic society. I am not afraid of these things. Are you?

Imagine if money weren’t such a factor in candidacy; there would likely be a multitude of candidates–probably so many that we wouldn’t have to worry so much about one or the other getting elected. The more candidates, the more congruent their views would tend to be, so we wouldn’t have to worry so much about whether one or the other person takes. The way things are now, candidates to pretend to have vastly different views to strike the illusion of contrast on controversial issues–to differentiate themselves from one another. When really they are not much different at all, except for maybe in the area of social policy and war-making.

We keep supporting a system of elections and policy-making that survives on bribery, which is why we don’t have the foreign or domestic social policy that the majority of us want, nor the energy, education, and civic policies we need, or the environmental ones–necessary to save the planet’s biosphere.

These days, candidates say they’ll advocate a particular policy before being elected and later, as elected representatives, they advocate the opposite. They may believe in the original views got them elected, but if money is not behind them, they have to abandon those views and values (in whole or in part). They consistently have to severely weaken their positions and propose policies supporting the money–instead of what’s best for the nation, and/or what is righteous, just, and reasonable.

People against publically-funded elections say money is free speech. It isn’t. Robert Reich, Bernie Sanders, and all the people against Citizens United & corporate manipulators like the Koch Brothers say it isn’t either. In politics, money is wealth–either enough or not enough–to influence people unnaturally. And it is bribery, when it is coming from a few billionaires and corporations, who actually often write the bills that become the laws—along with political action committees. The reason they get away with this is they pay off the politicians. It’s legal corruption, plain and simple. That’s not democracy. That’s plain chicanery. That’s oligarchy—rule by the rich. Noam Chomsky calls it polyarchy, because it is not democracy, but many rulers who are not us.

Unnatural political influence also creates ads in the media, and phony scientific studies. It’s hiring pundits, lawyers, and broadcasters, to say something over and over again, which we could hear ONCE in a public service announcement (but probably wouldn’t believe, anyway).

It drums ideas into our heads more frequently and more loudly–to bombard us and inculcate us (to program us) — and usually it is skewed messages, outright lies, or irrelevant information designed to distract us. And it is all possible because of private money. It is an insult to our intelligence and to those who have fought for this country and build it, too. It is un-American. It’s advertising–which is for commercial sales, not the running of a nation.

Let none of the money generated by the tax-based electoral system we advocate–in any way–come into contact with candidates or their parties in such a way that it corrupts them or their values. Let is only contribute to air-time and a few debates.

See what happens. I guarantee that after a short time (shorter than it took to get all members of Congress to obey the law on the Affordable Care Act), no one will take the ad campaigns of the then past system of electoral advertising seriously… over the new public service system of our proposed election and campaign process.

In the system we advocate, there would be an allowance given and press time provided for a set number of introductions to a candidate. So, the funds necessary for a few necessary public appearances by candidates would come from a couple cents on the dollar. That’s it.

We don’t worry about whether the police department is staffed with unskilled law enforcement professionals when we dial 911. That’s because we have a plethora of officers whose candidacy for a public service position on the police force is not determined by or predicated on vested wealth-based private interests. Police officers are hired after a test, a background check, and an interview…. That’s precisely how it should be for the most important jobs in the land: political jobs and the running of our nation!

The closer we bring the electoral system to an interview and job selection scenario and further away from its being an ‘auction and popularity contest’, the sooner we won’t have to be intent on one of two (or several) candidates we don’t totally agree with, and the sooner we will have more options in policy, greater commonality in sensible views, a deeper, more meaningful national debate, and astronomically less corruption.

Here is a recent bill that was introduced in the House, supporting public campaign finance and the politicians and celebrated public figures who have championed the cause of publicly funded elections (from Wikipedia):

US, SB 752, the Fair Elections Now Act, called for publicly funded elections in U.S. Senate campaigns. It was sponsored in the 111th Congress (2009–10) by Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Arlen Specter (D-PA). A companion bill, H.R. 1826, was introduced in the House, sponsored by John Larson (D-CT), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), and Walter Jones (R-NC). Neither bill moved out of Committee.

Barack Obama as an Illinois senator was the first co-sponsor of the 2007 version of the Durbin–Specter bill. (Obama chose not to participate in the public financing system in 2008)

John Bonifaz, founder of the National Voting Rights Institute
Bill Bradley (D-NJ), former U.S. Senator

John Edwards (D-NC), former U.S. Presidential Candidate and Senator
Adonal Foyle, NBA player, and founder of Democracy Matters

Cecil Heftel (D-HI), former U.S. Representative

Ned Lamont (D-CT), former U.S. Senate candidate

John McCain (R-AZ), U.S. Presidential Candidate and Senator (McCain has also expressed opposition to a national version of the system and has not endorsed or co-sponsored the bills introduced in the U.S. Senate.)

Ralph Nader of Connecticut, U.S. Presidential Candidate

Janet Napolitano (D-AZ), former Governor, former Secretary of Homeland Security

Bill Richardson (D-NM), U.S. Presidential Candidate and Governor

Eliot Spitzer (D-NY), former Governor

John Eder, Green Party leader who utilized Maine’s public financing to win office to the Maine State Legislature

Thank you,
And Peace, Love, Joy, and Prosperity to You and Yours,
Carl Charles Atteniese Jr.
_________________________

*In actuality, when it comes to corporate issues and the economy, right wing and left wing candidates do not differ very much on the issues. They appear to be different because of tax-issues, social issues, and their foreign policy stances–and both usually take huge contributions from BOTH SIDES of the political spectrum in the corporate sector (most top companies give money to both parties and the two primary candidates running for office), which is why all the other issues connected to the economy (environmental protection, labor, education, health, energy, and foreign policy) generally get compromised once candidates reach office. Politicians have to start raising money for their next election as soon as they sit down at their desks and they have to compromise their principles to take that money from otherwise hitherto ideologically political “enemies”. Money thus hamstrings our best intentions in this country and that is especially true for the well-intentioned politicians–most especially the good ones. The top sixty corporations generally donate to both parties. That makes you and I a complete back-seat concern, unless we are wealthy corporate officers who can have lobbyists rewrite the laws for us. Why not disallow this? What are we; slaves and second-class citizens? That is exactly what we are–under the present system.

American environmental, economic and national security policies have real international challenges; climate, health, education, and social policy are at critical emergency alert levels; now, more than ever, we the average American citizens must wrest control of our national direction and public policies away from the clutches of corporate and wealth-driven greed. It is essential to our survival as a nation and a species.

Join us on Facebook, at:

(Short Link) http://goo.gl/maFyff

Or at:
(Actual Link) https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ban-Private-Campaign-Finance/691017934250442

_____
LINKS:

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3xzVBe3hmOk

Link: http://www.moneyoutvotersin.org/

Guns in America

When we “anti-gun” people start rabble-rousing, there are pockets of responsible and sane gun owners who raise their voices, gently (not like angry NRA and automatic weapons-lovers)–like the ones who hunt and fish and don’t bring guns everywhere they go. These are the people who might even use bow and arrow in the woods. These are the people who see guns–out on the frontiers of big open spaces or in the deep woods–as dangerous tools–to be left locked up until needed for killing animals for their food. I do sympathize, to some extent, with these people who use guns to hunt–even though I am a vegetarian and look to a better, more advanced day–when most of us will no longer use animals for sustenance. We are undeniably part of the species food chain; we are not vegetarians by design. We are not carnivores by design, either. We are omnivores by natural selection.  

However–I disagree that ‘guns don’t kill people’  as much as I agree that drugs do kill people. Let me explain. Guns empower people who should not be empowered–with infinitely hostile and deadly force. A person under great duress and mental fatigue–from bullying, feelings of inadequacy, injustice, abuse, and neglect–and who perhaps is not usually physically violent, but who will see recourse in the use of a ballistic weapon (unconsciously, at first–perhaps)–especially if suffering feelings of overwhelming persecution–will resort to the means at his or her disposal–if his or her feelings are intense enough.

People under duress are more sensitive–and so when preyed upon, experience emotions of greater intensity and hostility. For this kind of person (or for a person in these circumstances), a gun reduces retribution to an extraordinarily simple and impersonal act, like in the use of a TV remote or video game. For this kind of person, pulling a trigger–notwithstanding the skills necessary to carry, aim and shoot a gun–complies with an inner, painful, and intensely self-preserving feeling and a wish that the source of pain go away–as easily as with the pressing of a button.  

The use of a gun doesn’t require years of martial arts practice, physical or mental stamina, mental concentration, or much study. Guns make killing simple and too easy–so easy that they allow the user to be amazingly impersonal—perhaps just as he or she has been treated. the gun-using assailant doesn’t even have to be close to his or her prey to cause pain… or death. For this reason–among others–guns can be (and I feel they usually are) very dishonorable weapons, which is why they are perfect for the temporarily or long-term mentally ill, the depraved, and the mediocre-minded.  So as you can see—and we might agree–not much mental health is necessary to use a gun–beyond the motor skills involved in its comportment and use.

Even a person with largely pacifistic tendencies, such as I, can notice a marked feeling of power when holding a gun (as well as fear, foreboding, disgust, revulsion and sadness). This is what I sensed when I held an unloaded ballistic weapon in my hand some years ago—which I was using as a prop for a drawing I was doing.  

Another time I felt the latent but real power of a gun when I held a pump-action pistol, which I had found in my late uncle’s drawer. (He was a World War II veteran, a New York City Fireman, and like some of his sons who were police officers, very responsible with his guns); a gun is so powerful that as I held this unloaded one, I imagined that were I alone in the house, and were an intruder to come in unannounced in a threatening manner–or were I to feel set upon in a strange place–on a train, in a plane, or on the road–I might at least lift the weapon and say, ‘stand back’. This almost innate reaction is capable because guns have become second-nature in our culture, and so have their power—which I feel is embedded in our psyches—even for those like myself who have not fired one.  

Let me say that I hate violence–but I felt this feeling pulse through me. And if I could feel it, all human beings—especially those raised in gun-cultures—can feel it, because (as the Roman philosopher said), I am human.  

People and who are not stable are going to feel that power magnified, and when desperate, they will fall prey to it–especially when they are preyed upon, neglected, and abused (or feel as such). That power is going to influence their feelings of powerlessness in a way that gives release to them–to empower them… and it will bring danger to the rest of us. This feeling of empowerment that guns offer is how guns do kill people, because people do not have the power, otherwise, to blow holes in one another–with “the push of a button”—until they hold a gun.  

The seductive power of guns in a society that legitimizes their use in our constitution, glorifies it in our entertainment, and recognizes its significance in our freedom in folklore and history–sits in a device that possesses enormous technological power. And it is too easily available to us.  

In the way just described, we have the reason behind the ‘why?’ — which we hear almost stupidly–every time we learn of a gun-related tragedy… be it in a convenience store, a shopping mall, a school, a kindergarten, a post office, a bell tower, a park, a parking lot, an office, a library, a playground, a work or school campus, a military facility, or on the road. So, I say… stop asking why…. The reasons and means are obvious. We have enabled and justified them. But what are the causes?   Before guns were so ubiquitous and available, families were tighter, games and toys were more innocent, TV was less insane, and school didn’t teach to the test—meaning there was far less stress acting on our children; we weren’t eating plastic and mountains of sugar—meaning we were healthier, had less ADD, ADHAD and other mental disorders (this is documented), and we weren’t pumped up on drugs to make us perform—like those that keep people going, help them sleep, help them relax, and help them relate; we didn’t have devices in our hands–much like the guns, themselves–that make instantaneous satisfaction a reality—justifying immediate gratification and alleviation from pain.  

Before Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq–before the government gutted the bill of rights and started watching us and our neighbors secretly; before they weren’t trying to take away social security, unemployment, and healthcare benefits–and our very dignity was ; before, when Nixon was the only liar; before oil and gas companies weren’t known to be poisoning us on our land, in our air, lakes, streams, and oceans–the American government, society, and life were not such a problem, were they? They are now, and that is why guns are, too.  

So today, when young people have their own intense problems and they think of how they are all the more compounded by the world around them—making them feel more helpless than adolescents usually do, they turn to ending it all… and calling attention to themselves when doing it–lashing out at that unforgiving world–attacking the ones they see as part of the madness; the ones who have hurt them. They resort to the fastest, easiest, most impersonal and graphic means of instantaneous power, revenge, and finality of purpose–the gun. Guns are available to them. They have been raised by a warring culture, a gun-gaming-culture, a hunting culture, a TV and movie culture that worships getting even—often with guns–and a culture that believes heavily in retribution.

Look at our conduct:   1. We are the last western democracy to continuing to kill our own citizens (the use of the death penalty). 2. We use capital punishment against child-offenders. 3. We use immoral, illegal, internationally condemned methods of invasion against other sovereign nations. 4. We secretly surveil both our own citizens and those of our allies. 5. We arrest, incarcerate, and detain suspects without charge. 6. We torture detainees (be it by proxy or not doesn’t matter; we instigate and finance this). 7. We secretly kill by remote-control plane in foreign sovereign nations (often innocents). 8. We secretly kill without due process those we deem a threat to the US government and are pushing for the right to do this in our own land.  These actions represent our true values. They run contrary to most decent peoples’ personal values, but these—nevertheless–are the values we have endorsed as a nation—either by our complicity or ineptitude. Why would we then expect young or old people in our country to not think they can act in the same ways—in non-egalitarian, non methodically just, and totalitarian ways–taking matters into their own hands, unilaterally and with finality?  

All the reasons I have just delineated are part of why guns are such a source of high violence in America and why they are simply too dangerous for our population in general. So many more of our people–especially the sensitive youth growing up in this nightmare landscape, are thinking and feeling(and perhaps saying to themselves) ‘I’ll fight back’ — the way they have been taught.  

Remember the responsible hunters we discussed at the start? It is ostensibly for their benefit, and for the benefit of defending ourselves against our government, that we make guns so avilable. But these responsible ones are the anomaly–the geniuses, if you will; they are the spiritually mature, the highly stable, the very strong–who keep their guns locked up until it is time to k food. They are not the issue, but what we allow for them is hurting us at the hands of others–others who by the logic of probablity and the conditions of our society–will always be among us!  

The youth raised in this fragmented cage of a culture that we have made in the last twenty-five to thirty years–are breaking out with a trigger in front of their fingers, killing–and sometimes killing themselves–because it is easy and because their world is insane–and worst of all, because it justifies this behavior in the culture. They can’t take it, anymore. And neither can you or I, just for the sake of ubiquitous gun ownership.  

I am willing to bet on scientific studies that given the feelings and conditions suffered by the mentally ill youth in our country–the average person furnished with a gun would shoot at other people, too. This is borne out in how easily we can turn a person into a killing soldier– by training him to disregard human life and filling him with the purpose and fear that military life and war require. On a related note, look at the systematic sexual abuse in the rank-and-file of the US military, which is further proof of the brutal nature of our culture. More relevant, this transition of innocent human-being, to cynical, fearful, unforgiving, controlling, and violent individual is borne out in how frequently gun violence occurs among the youth in this country–who are not military! What is it, now–once a month? (At the time of the most recent edit of this article, there were three gun-related violent acts in the same week–here in the United States.)  

The afore-mentioned proves we are simply not evolved enough–in this society–as it has been devolving—for the ubiquity of ballistic weapon ownership. For comparrison, consider that half all people in Sweden own guns. Sweden has the lowest levels of violence worldwide.   

We should not be able to buy guns at Walmart–given our situation–which is patently and clinically insane. We’re not in Norway, Denmark, or Greenland, either–nor are we South Korea or Japan. These are not perfect countries with perfect societies–but they are enormously more harmonious and thus far less violent. And when their societies do exhibit violence, it is usually not in the form of gun violence–in a school, post office, or park.  

This is America; “the land of the free and the home of the brave” — so brave that we take matters into our own hands and don’t seem to care how grave our reaction—meaning we are not terrified by ourselves–and we should be. We keep trying to eat our cake and keep it, too–and we are choking on it! What is the definition of insanity –the popular one?   We can’t afford to allow for ourselves ‘the ‘joy of killing’ for stable people in the woods—if we cannot change this set of circumstances; or at least we have to make gun acquisition as difficult as getting a pilot’s license.

Unstable people are all around us–as the cracks in our society grow, -due to its dehumanization, mean-spirited government policies, demoralizing and desensitizing entertainment, increasing school and employment pressures, and the stress and hopelessness this all creates among us.   Unstable people will always be among us–and in greater numbers now–perhaps (or fewer, now that millions en masse are acquiring healthcare?). And as long as we continue to sell and make weapons of this nature readily available, death of this kind will be a part of our lives: public shootings.  

We apparently don’t care enough. Once we do, we will all agree that the guns have to go–because we won’t transform the society over night, right? Or we need far stricter background checks. Isn’t that rational? But that line of thinking presupposes that life means so much to us that it can be weighed over this fantasy of gun ownership without consequences, of this desire to be constantly armed, this need for self-defense and protection against our own government. What insane paranoia. Humanize the society, integrate your involvement with government (instead of against it), and those fears will go away–but once again, not over night–and not as long as people are delusional and selfish.

It is really a question of mental health and intelligence, I fear–two aspects of humanity that America is showing the world it lacks in large proportion.   In order to get people to agree that guns are part of the problem, we have to become more rational, but how can we? We cannot even get half the nation to agree with the most talented scientists on Earth about the condition of the environment, the origins of the Earth and life on it, and until very recently–the importance of health care for the the non-wealthy aged, the under-privileged and the unable to work or capable unemployed. How will we get the majority to agree on the dehumanizing aspects of our society and its worsening by easy gun ownership? It is a much more abstract principle.   It seems we’re too proud–and we all want to be right. That’s not possible. Even if it were, there is no time for such selfishness. Just like with the climate: rational and unselfish minds know it is not time for more debate (and this is true regarding guns, as well). It is time for sweeping, solution and emergancy action. We have an almost contagious problem, it would seem.   

Not one more person–especially a child–should die in this country as a result of such stupidity, irrationality, selfishness, and inaction. What honorable, sane, and self-effacing citizen can stand for that? (Since the recent massacre in San Diego, California–this has become the slogan: “Not One More!”)  

Alas, too many Americans apparently love their guns. I don’t. I look upon a gun with embarrassment. As a member of the human species, which is conquering outer space, genetics, and micro-electronics, it is embarrassing to me that we still dependent on centuries-old primitive weapons technology, designed to maim and kill by having people bleed to death by puncture wounds–a revulsion and testament to our lack of civilization, sophistication, reason, and compassion.   Finally–with most people wanting at least stricter laws inhibiting gun purchase in the United States, the NRA, other PACs and politicians keep guns easily available against the will of that majority, and against good sense, decency, logic, morality–and the constitutional provision for the common defense–of individual citizens.   We had better stop asking ‘why’, as the killing continues. We have seen–and are surrounded by–the answers that have been under our noses since long before this all got out of hand. The question is, what are we going to do about it? We are sentient, aren’t we? Don’t we still live in a democracy? We love our children, don’t we? We love ourselves…. Or, do we love our guns more?   It’s high time we got busy solving the problem, or we should be resigned to its escalation–and get busy burying family members without complaints and stupid questions.  

Carl Charles Carroll Atteniese    

 

Blame And The Fantasy of Justice

The problem with attempting to lay blame on one corpus and cognitive identity for something unconscionable in a perfect world is it ignores that the perpetrator of the unconscionable act is human and part product of a paradigm, and that it takes away from the real causes of such certain tragedies–guaranteeing their continuance and giving us some inane sense of self-righteous justice. There is no justice, only suffering. The question is, are we adding to it or subtracting from it.

New Political Parties

Imagine we had to rename our political parties the ‘Pro-Human’ and ‘Anti-Human’ parties. And then, according to the record of positive and negative affects of each–not opinions and theories–the members from our existing parties had to enter the newly named parties. From which party would come most of the people that would have to enter the Anti Human party–according to their history of behavior, views, and policies? Would it be mostly the Republicans or the Democrats?

Why Women Are Not Treated Equally

There are ten reasons women are not treated equal to men:

1. The Quran & Hadith;
2. The Bible;
3. The Torah & Talmud;
4. There are historically provable errors in the books above;
5. Women expect men to take care of them;
6. Men want to take care of women;
8. Our media & populace are fascinated with medieval primitivism, thinking it is sexy;
9. We are inculcated with all of the above in childhood, school, church, and games;
10. We do not teach Love, Honor, & Science, but a pop-culture versions of them

Carl Carroll Atteniese

http://carlatteniese.org
http://twitter.com/carlatteniese
http://facebook.com/The-Precepts-of-Love
http://www.allexperts.com/ep/855-62147/Know-Really-in-Love/Carl-Atteniese-Jr.htm

Mean-spiritedness in America

I used to think America was kind; after all, when you get to know mentally healthy–even non-mentally healthy–Americans, you often can detect the kindness and basic affinity for egalitarianism–even under the shield of conservatism–but, I think there are far more mean-spirited conservatives in North America–in the USA, especially–than in Canada, Latin America, Europe or Asia-notwithstanding, of course, the mean-spiritedness you would expect to find among desperate people, like Kim Jung Un and his beleaguered population, the mean-spiritedness you find among gangsters all over the world (they are desperate people, too), and the mean-spiritedness you find among fundamentalists (they are more or less insane, or temporarily mentally ill–in my most compassionate estimate).

I cannot make excuses anymore. Too many Americans are heartless, careless, and mean–with the majority of them being conservatives, so how much longer can I pretend Americans are kind? Look at our Congress; look at the Tea-party. The very existence of it and the behavior of these people, their views, their actions, and their staying power means we are mean people in no small numbers–because mean-spiritedness is what keeps them in power. And if we are not mean, why are they and their supporters still there?

The people I am talking about are discriminatory, unforgiving, and pro-global warming that in their pretense of denying it, they support its degrading progression; yes, for the climate change we are already suffering from. Do you really think they don’t believe it is what science says it is? Honestly? I mean, let’s face it, if you are against the 97% of the scientists screaming at the top of their ingenious proverbial lungs that we are damaging the environment irreparably in terms of human comfort and survival, there is something seriously wrong with you–because you are in favor of risking that comfort and survival–at best and you think you know better than NASA. That’s insane, clinically, I would imagine.

Too many Americans are for killing people with remote-control planes, punitive and exorbitantly expensive capital punishments, and fighting against national health-care. They are for exempting the oil, gas, and petrochemical industry from environmental laws they are in favor of rolling back free speech in their gagging the public and keeping them from knowing about the damage they support in the name of profit); and they hate the poor. This is all proven by what they support.

Americans will pay insane prices for a military that has to control the world to maintain the dirty energy they crave, but cry and stomp their feet over social programs that cost a pittance in contrast. Oh, yes–and they are terrified of that same military government they have no problem paying for with huge taxes–so they fight for no gun laws in total disregard of the probabilities inherent in the human condition–paving the way for students to be killed in schools.

I don’t know whether to say our affliction is more stupidity than anything else. You tell me; are Americans not mean, or are they just ignorant of the pain they cause, the consequences they are setting in motion, and image we have in the world?

I have not found a job yet, since returning from Asia, and I am very uninterested in doing so–in certain respects–because, if I cannot get a job wherein I can address this insanity, I feel very uninspired in supporting this apparently mean and stupid nation.

And when I think of people from other nations–unless they are gangsters in Russia, or Kim Jung Un in North Korea, or fanatical Muslim clerics and other chauvinists starving their people of the chance for knowledge–I cannot imagine them being as mean and stupid as Americans seem to be.

I lived in Asia for fifteen years and encountered people from all over the world. I could tell that ninety-nine percent of those people I encountered were liberal-minded to the extent that given the choice, none of them would have voted for the kinds of laws that would make their countries like America, except perhaps in favor of increased open-mindedness and greater tolerance and equality–but we seem to be growing pale in thin those ways. I know they wouldn’t be against sustainable energy, fighting global warming, sensible gun laws, lower defense budgets, and universal health care. And only in the most primitive places to other people of the world resemble Conservative Christian Americans who discriminate against people for how they were born.

America, what in hell is wrong with you?

Denver Post, Stop Climate Deniers

Here is a crucial petition: http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/ban-private-campaign-2. It is a call for unity and action more important than any other, because the overwhelmingly monumental issue in our politics is how restrained and financially compromised our elections and representation is. Everything stems from there. After having a free press and an educated electorate, what else is important to democracy besides unfettered participation? Speaking of a free press, what good is it if it panders to non-sense that endangers the entire planet by promoting ignorance and slowing progressive policy that can save us? The Denver Post is rightly the target of a petition addressing this inanity, at http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/to-my-local-newspaper-14/, because this publication gives space to climate deniers. The global scientific consensus on climate change is that it is anthropomorphic. We are near a “tipping point”, beyond which human effort will be moot—taking climate mutation exponentially out-of-control—if we do not initiate sweeping and grossly prejudicial global policy changes immediately.

“Ike”

I watched Ike, starring Tom Selleck, tonight, and was humbled, saddened, and put in awe. The way his good natured discretion, strength, intelligence, leadership, and compassion came to bear should be an inspiration to all men in how to conduct themselves and approach life.

As was said by Churchill, Ike had more power than any man in history, and he certainly had it when the stakes for humanity were the highest.

When he reprimanded Patton on the over-zealous General’s statement that post-war, the world would be run by the Anglo Saxons, his straightforward, elegant, and precisely appropriate words prompted me to think that no one in the world today should think for a minute that she or he does anything less than spit on a World War II soldier’s grave when he embraces “racialism”.

If you can watch this film and remain dry all the way through, I hope it is because you are Spartan, not cold, not unable to appreciate that the monumental horror, risks, courage, and sacrifices afoot in the second world war were instrumental elements we should never forget–their towering significance never to be underestimated in the importance of our free societies, today, in the West, or the East.

Where Do Epiphany And Genius Come From

Comments on a Video That Defends Against The Fundamentalist Manipulations of Ray Comfort…

I am very impressed, Jaclyn, and I learned something from your video–the circular evolution phenomenon.

I understand why you feel this is important to do, and thank you for it, but I think that we have to feel bad for the Ray Comforts of the world; they make us angry, yes, because they spread disinformation, preying on vulnerable minds–which is immoral and dangerous. However, my honest feeling is that these people are more unenlightened, than evil.

Let me explain what I mean. There are cognitive processes that result from mental reasoning, calculation, and deep, almost–linear thought. Then there are moments and periods of what we can only call epiphany and dreaming. Whatever you may think about the origin of the latter, it matters not for what I am about to say, except for the fact that even scientific people have utilized it–not just poets, artists, and extemporaneous speakers.

Einstein said he began to work out his theories of relativity and the behavior of light in the universe, through daydreams. We have all been in meditation, or caught up in a mundane act, like staring out the window of a moving train, or washing the dishes, and suddenly, before we realize we are not actually in the process of conscious thought, we discover a realization, an intact idea–“a thought”–in images, sounds, or words. Some call this channeling. We didn’t “think” of it; ‘it came to us.’

I have no problem with any interpretation of what this is or where this comes from. I don’t even mind people saying it is God, as long as their actions that follow–either in belief or action, are harmless. In fact, it is because I believe that if there were a God, this “process” would be pure and not judged by God–that I know that there cannot be only one spiritual truth, because we are virtually helpless in controlling it–and I believe it is the most honest phenomenon that occurs in our conscious mind! The sad thing is, religious people most of all can not allow this honesty to take them where it would, which is why they are so compromised!

This is–to me–the source of our spirit, our truth, and the source of love.

Whatever it is, I believe it is part of the unconscious abstract functioning of the brain. We can call it our spirit, our heart-mind, spirit-mind, our imagination, and many more things, but what I believe it is…is the true nature of intelligence. Ray Comfort and most fundamentalists lack this. So, rather than get angry at them, I feel empathy. These people–all fundamentalists, lack this, or in the least, have not been able to release and foster this. After all, if it is not a lacking, but a suppression, it is the result of culture, inculcation, and self-denial. This, in an organized and totalitarian dogma, is the basis–or maligned principle phenomenon we find in organized Christianity, Islam, and Judaism (of the strict forms). It is dangerous, because it is completely counter-intuitive and anti-intelligent.

When I was younger, I felt it was unconscionable of the Chinese to outlaw religion, as it is an outcropping of the consciousness. But I am not so sure, anymore (notwithstanding the fact that centralized government is dependent on a state religion), because at least in the form of theistic and totalitarian religions, like Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, we are dealing with thought control and repression just as evil as Nazism and totalitarian Communism. And they are built on misinforming children–indoctrination, inculcation of the helpless unwitting youth.

For people who submit themselves to this willingly, I feel pity, not anger. Don’t be mad at Ray Comfort. He is a man who might have other forms of intelligence, other talents and blessings, but abstract intelligence (or it is fettered if he has it, by a mental block set up by dogma and so genius is not one of them, unless of course he is just suppressing it, to deal with a deep, inner pain, or a lie meant to uphold something he cannot escape, such as some relationship or great fear.

Great video.

Carl Atteniese

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0k9NyHh7TQ

Douglas Adams on Religious Taboos

Douglas Adams on Religion (and the taboos created around it/by it, which limit our rights):

Now, the invention of the scientific method and science is, I’m sure we’ll all agree, the most powerful intellectual idea, the most powerful framework for thinking and investigating and understanding and challenging the world around us that there is, and that it rests on the premise that any idea is there to be attacked and if it withstands the attack then it lives to fight another day and if it doesn’t withstand the attack then down it goes. Religion doesn’t seem to work like that; it has certain ideas at the heart of it which we call sacred or holy or whatever. That’s an idea we’re so familiar with, whether we subscribe to it or not, that it’s kind of odd to think what it actually means, because really what it means is ‘Here is an idea or a notion that you’re not allowed to say anything bad about; you’re just not. Why not? — because you’re not!’ If somebody votes for a party that you don’t agree with, you’re free to argue about it as much as you like; everybody will have an argument but nobody feels aggrieved by it. If somebody thinks taxes should go up or down you are free to have an argument about it, but on the other hand if somebody says ‘I mustn’t move a light switch on a Saturday’, you say, ‘Fine, I respect that’. 

The odd thing is, even as I am saying that I am thinking ‘Is there an Orthodox Jew here who is going to be offended by the fact that I just said that?’ but I wouldn’t have thought ‘Maybe there’s somebody from the left wing or somebody from the right wing or somebody who subscribes to this view or the other in economics’ when I was making the other points. I just think ‘Fine, we have different opinions’. But, the moment I say something that has something to do with somebody’s (I’m going to stick my neck out here and say irrational) beliefs, then we all become terribly protective and terribly defensive and say ‘No, we don’t attack that; that’s an irrational belief but no, we respect it’.

It’s rather like, if you think back in terms of animal evolution, an animal that’s grown an incredible carapace around it, such as a tortoise—that’s a great survival strategy because nothing can get through it; or maybe like a poisonous fish that nothing will come close to, which therefore thrives by keeping away any challenges to what it is it. In the case of an idea, if we think ‘Here is an idea that is protected by holiness or sanctity’, what does it mean? Why should it be that it’s perfectly legitimate to support the Labour party or the Conservative party, Republicans or Democrats, this model of economics versus that, Macintosh instead of Windows, but to have an opinion about how the Universe began, about who created the Universe, no, that’s holy? What does that mean? Why do we ring-fence that for any other reason other than that we’ve just got used to doing so? There’s no other reason at all, it’s just one of those things that crept into being and once that loop gets going it’s very, very powerful. So, we are used to not challenging religious ideas but it’s very interesting how much of a furore Richard creates when he does it! Everybody gets absolutely frantic about it because you’re not allowed to say these things. Yet when you look at it rationally there is no reason why those ideas shouldn’t be as open to debate as any other, except that we have agreed somehow between us that they shouldn’t be.

Illogical Logic

Bertrand Russell and Richard Dawkins: Brilliant vindication of Why People Are Hostile Toward Religion (from Wikipedia):

Russell’s Original Proposition

In an unpublished article entitled “Is There a God?”, commissioned in 1952 by Illustrated magazine, Russell suggested the following thought experiment to illustrate the burden of proof and falsifiability:
_________
(Russell:)
If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes.

But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is an intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense.

If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time.
_________

The existence of this teapot cannot be disproved. We can look and scan the skies almost for eternity, and it may always just be the case that it wasn’t in the place we looked; there may be another spot we’ve overlooked, or it may have moved while we were looking. However, given the absurd nature of the specific example, the teapot, we would rightly infer that absence of evidence is evidence of absence. Russell’s audacity in the thought experiment was to question why people don’t like to apply the same, sound, logic (remembering that formal logic is independent of the actual content of an argument) to the existence of any particular deity; there is no difference in the evidence base provided, therefore there is no reason to assume a God and not a celestial teapot.

Extension and use by Dawkins:

The Richard Dawkins Foundation professes its belief in the Almighty Celestial Teapot.

Richard Dawkins also used Russell’s teapot argument extensively in The God Delusion and A Devil’s Chaplain. He developed the argument further, to include many attitudes associated with the bad side of religion including fear, oppression and persecution.

(Dawkins):
The reason organized religion merits outright hostility is that, unlike belief in Russell’s teapot, religion is powerful, influential, tax-exempt and systematically passed on to children too young to defend themselves. Children are not compelled to spend their formative years memorizing loony books about teapots. Government-subsidized schools don’t exclude children whose parents prefer the wrong shape of teapot. Teapot-believers don’t stone teapot-unbelievers, teapot-apostates, teapot-heretics and teapot-blasphemers to death. Mothers don’t warn their sons off marrying teapot-shiksas whose parents believe in three teapots rather than one. People who put the milk in first don’t kneecap those who put the tea in first.

My Beliefs

YESTERDAY, I JOKED ABOUT WHAT I BELIEVE; HERE IS THE REAL ARTICLE:

Love is my Religion. But let me explain…

People who know me understand I am adamant about several things:

One thing I am adamant about is appreciation of the accomplishment of life and thus:

Having superlative respect for life; 

I am adamant about the respect that should be engendered by the infinitely fortunate condition of sentience.

Finally, given sentience, we humans should hold that humans and their thoughts & expression are sacred, and thus it should be considered the greatest crime to harm anyone. 

Included in my idea of ‘harm’ is the curtailing of anyone’s freedom, beginning with being dishonest with another person. Yes, being dishonest with someone is a curtailing of his or her freedom.

Being dishonest with another includes teaching children anything that is dogmatic; if a doctrine is dogmatic, it must go beyond theory and it must be provable to be true. If not, it should not be taught to them as true.

Therefore, based on this set of principles I find to be of the highest sense and self-evidence, I find the teaching of religious dogma to children, immoral. 

Anything that is predicated on dictates is maligned. Truths must be experienced, and honest–if not provable, not in conflict with reality–otherwise, how can they be universal and above reproach? 

If we want to teach children that love is the highest virtue and that hate is the sickness plaguing humanity–then we have to strike from their education all prejudice engendered by religion, all justification of violence in the lessons of religion, and all refutations of reality, which engender fantasy–completely pernicious and different from healthy and imaginative flights of fancy and dreams.

People offended by what I have just said should ask themselves these questions:

1. Do you believe what you believe because it was forced on you, or because you came to find it as true through your own enlightenment?

2. Do you believe in a religion that directly or indirectly justifies or justified violence of any kind?

Do you believe in a religion that requires you to gloss over violence in its prescriptions, with justifications or dishonesty?

4. Do you believe in a religion that can be easily used to harm others?

5. Does your religion refute science, putting you against the most honest system of exploration devised by humanity?

7. Does your religion cause you to go against what is best for humanity, whether it is human and compassionate use of technology to reduce suffering, or repair of our environment?

8. Does your religion cause you to be focused on prophesy–a method of selling the religion–rather than on love and forgiveness?

9. Does your religion cause you to create heartbreak, with mental and spiritual rigidity and intolerance?

10. Does your religion promote independent thought and spiritual exploration, or does it promote martial adherence protected by fear and punishment?

The worth of a religion is in its promotion of love, truth, independent spiritual growth and freedom. A religion that promotes the opposite of these virtues, necessary elements for peace, science, and happiness, is a danger to humanity.

These are my religious beliefs.

My religious practice is different: 

1. I love all humanity;

2. I meditate for awareness and the escape of the animal ego;

3. I “pray” without begging, words, or doctrine, by trying to imagine with sincerity communion with righteousness and loving intentions. Any true god or representative of the divine surely requires no language, no worship, no petty use of punishment. Once we eliminate these pernicious elements of ego, we shall all be in heaven.

Carl Charles Carroll Atteniese

Tax by Choice

What if we paid tax by interest and conviction?

In other words, we all decide we have to pay a certain amount of tax to run the government and infrastructure, but we would choose where the bulk of our contribution would go, and how to divide the balance among the other necessary outlays; 

For example, I am steadfastly against killing people with Fly by Wire Planes (“drones”), so I would contribute least to that and the balance of my drone tax would go to my apportionment set up for healthcare, human services, education, public works, the electoral system, foreign aid, and NASA–morally necessary things. The other people who agree with drones or execution, for example–would send more tax money to those outlays and less to education, healthcare, etc.?

The Candle

It took thirteen billion years for the human race to arrive, and here we are on a planet that occupies a “Goldilocks Zone” of miraculous perfection–a planet that has no habitable neighbors for light years.

We are, quite simply, the greatest accomplishment known to us in the universe, and we achieved enlightenment and industry in only the last several thousand years. However, we are steady on a violent and irresponsible course of self-destruction, and causing great pain and suffering along the way.

We inhabit a world that shows a ‘universe-defying’ diversity of life, in a solar system devoid of such. We are just beginning –as a space faring species, but space travel should be for knowledge… however–more and more, it seems it is going to have to be for survival–which is a shame of epochal proportions.

We must save our species and as many others as we can. We must dramatically alert more of the world–China, India, and the already biosphere-tanking mega-polluters: America, Europe, and Australia… to the urgency of this cause, not just its fact of being.

We must garner a level of ubiquitous agreement on the awareness of what I call the Veritas Maximus, or Maximum Truth, and we must dispel the misinformation obscuring it.

 

 

We must make it common in most minds–if not all–the inconvenient and devastating reality now apparent to those angels of humanity among us–the honest and ingenious scientists slaving over the data and research; we and our civilization are in grave danger, through over-consumption, over-production, and the production & consumption of the wrong things; and we are fast focused on minutia that is distracting us from our own survival, as the sustenance of that survival is literally going up in smoke.

 

 

In fifty years of SETI, no one has reached out to us. In thirteen and a half billion years of universal existence, no race has found the ability and/or interest to be able to travel to this part of the universe, or–they are unknown to us. For all we know, we are alone, however improbable that may seem. Alone, yet magnificent… a brilliant candle in a vast ocean of darkness, and alas, we are about to be snuffed out.

Desk Pilot Killers And Jihadis

A man doesn’t attack his rivals
He does a better job for support

A jealous child attacks his rivals
Feeling small and impotent

Imagine if these people
Strapping bombs to themselves

Had not been raped to believe
That they are heroes

Imagine if they knew the truth
That they are the real cowards
Deluded into believing their rape of others is justified
And that some homicidal god will reward their patent insanity

Imagine we were better, with
Our Fly-by-Wire Death
Nerds in little control rooms
Pressing buttons on a desk

Imagine you, America — were
fair enough to see
You are worse than fanatics
Who kill indiscriminately

For when you send your demons
Buzzing in the sky
Killing women, children, and men

You should wonder why
You are better

Mando

Copyright © 2015 Carl Atteniese Jr., AKA ‘Mando’, All rights reserved.

Bad Words

Erroneous, facetious words

They conjure incorrect meaning
They mislead and legitimize falsehoods

‘Race’ is meaningless
And pernicious

We grow up to stop saying ‘doo-doo’
Why use other, childish words
‘Prejudice’ means a non-thinking state
A state of mindless ignorance

‘Nazi’ holds useful literary power, but
It devalues more pernicious fascism
Like the type ruining America

Words used as cloaks, like
‘Christian’, ‘God’, ‘race’
Conceal real meaning
Perpetuating falsehood
Legitimizing ignorance
Hiding real issues

Mando

Copyright © 2015 Carl Atteniese Jr., AKA ‘Mando’, All rights reserved.

Non-NASA Evidence of The Moon Landings

Non-NASA Evidence of The Moon Landings

Several months ago I had written an essay entitled Yes, We went to The Moon (I will create a link to this article, right here in the title, when I have more time). You can find it by search, or by looking below at my list of recent publications, on the right, under my flash galleries.

I discovered writing on this additional evidence whilst exploring another aspect of the lunar missions at Wikipedia (an absolutely fascinating and perception-shattering and highly news-worthy element of the moon missions beginning with Apollo 12 that I was previously ignorant of, known as SEVAs).

The Wiki link I am providing here shows how photo-imagery from Japanese and Chinese spacecraft  details the changes in lunar regolith reflectivity that matches the lurain data of where our astronauts landed on the moon. In simple terms, this means that the rocket engines of the craft we took to the moon were responsible for kicking up enormous amounts of moon dust which changed the features of the moon, and thus how sunlight is reflected into space in the places where the astronauts landed on the moon. Japanese and Chinese crafts have shown this with their photography. (American craft  show the actual landers and I will provide a link to that, but the point of this article is to show the non-American, non-NASA proof, thereby dispelling the notions of a hoax.)

I will write more about this in the future and of course start a link list with important data like this at Yes, We went to The Moon.

Thank you for reading.

Never stop exploring, questioning, and trusting the right sources.

Carl Atteniese

“THE EYES of THE WORLD…”

DSC_2716
Carl Atteniese by Jonathan Conklin Photography

WHAT IS REALLY PRECISELY RIGHT & WRONG with HUMANITY

Instantly, upon waking this morning, I realized that the most frustrating aspect of human society is not inability; it’s inanity.

Humanity is not without high compassion, intelligence, vast creativity, and endless resources (if you choose the right ones!)… on this planet or in our part of the solar system; we don’t have a personal or species-wide death-wish… not consciously, anyway–but we certainly act like it!

Our problem is… we do almost everything… conflict resolution, education, industry, economics, and environmental management; energy procurement & usage… food production, recycling, waste-management and governance; infrastructure, and health & human services, even love and recreation… in inefficient, dangerous, unfair, and plainly stupid ways.

We mean well–but we act unwell. The human race is not collectively working in its own best interest.

We aren’t stupid; we aren’t intentionally cruel (most of us, any way); we are–practically speaking–ignorant, lazy, reckless, selfish, unconsciously unkind… and in a dream world.

As Elon Musk put it whilst  talking about the ways we power the planet and our transportation: ‘Why are we even doing the experiment?’, and by ‘the experiment’, he’d meant the enormously foolish, uncertain, and dangerous practice of taking ‘what was buried deep in the Earth for millions of years and putting it into the atmosphere.’ He is an enormously polite gentleman genius, so he didn’t say it, but he meant, ‘we are really stupid for doing it!’ And he is superlatively correct. He knows the biosphere is not a liberal agenda. It is our space suit. And we are smoking in it and doing doo-doo in it.

Of all the elements.. in our dis-ease… that I just referred to, the most problematic is one I didn’t mention, and it is both what keeps us going and what is killing us. It is belief.

Too many people are kept–and keep themselves–selfish, ignorant, inactive, unproductive and doing the wrong things–things which are literally destroying us (something most of the scientists, poets, and artists have known for a long time), because of their erroneous faith-based notion that “everything is going to be all right”. I and tens of thousands of scientists have got news for you: No, it isn’t. The tsunamis, hurricanes, growing deserts, increasing droughts, melting ice sheets, acidification and deadening of the ocean, over-greenhousing of the atmosphere, advancing evolution of virus mutations resistant to antibiotics, and the petrochemical induced mutations in sea and animal life is the cataclysmic and horrifying proof of that. And those sensationalized, near-pop-culture-level aspects of the environmental crisis which do not comprise the whole list of issues by far…all have interlocking, exponentially digressive and out of control degenerative effects of their own, and so on, adinfinitum. Everything’s connected, dude.

And in the face of the manageable challenges of daily, private, and public life, many people can be heard proving the hopelessness that Dr. Chomsky says the average man feels politically…when he says, ‘there’s nothing you can do about it.’ And need we be reminded that in the most capable nation on Earth, half the government is in active revolution against anything progressive, to the extent that they shut down that government.

Those two obvious fallacies–‘everything is going to be all right’, and ‘there’s nothing you can do about it’, are our enormous hurdles to overcome, and more than anything else, they are made almost monumental next to the problem of over-paid government which is standing in the way of solutions and actively trying to make it worse, because they are afraid of “socialism” and a progressive president.

Some of the richest and most comfortable among us, and some of those in government they influence, have a vested interest in keeping the conversation from commencing, let alone inspiring solutions. Look at the US Congress. Look at your neighbor who buys an SUV, a jet ski, a large car for joy-riding….

These factors–if anything–will contribute more to the very real possibility of ending our species (or at least society in a decent, livable world) more than the biosphere-related challenges we face and must solve if we don’t want to be racing to find another planet to live on before five hundred years passes.

And so, the environmental challenges and these hurdles of ignorance, laziness, fantasy, and obfuscation making them more difficult –will possibly make it so we must seek refuge on other worlds–not out of a sense of exploration, beauty, and righteous curiosity, but to continue our progeny, to survive! Dr. Stephen Hawking thinks so, too! That’s no small-minded or insignificant opinion.

The solution is, we have to get most everyone on the same page in– certain areas of scientific understanding, human potential, compassion, and responsibility… and most of us who are thinking and compassionate know precisely what the titles of those pages are, and the scientists know what’s on them.

The tragic element in all this is, too many people and groups of people either ‘aren’t reading’, or they are spending too much time reading the wrong things (out of fear and ego), or they don’t want to know what the real score is.

And the shame is, many of us who do know what is really critical right now are too afraid to break the truth to those we love or to strangers. We don’t want to look worried, disharmonious, socially disquiet, or rude. As Alain de Botton suggests, ‘we don’t talk to each other’, at least not about what matters. The house is on fire, but we’d rather talk about the drapes. We are too afraid.

When was the last time, upon making a new acquaintance and getting through the small-talk, you asked something like, ‘what do you think of the president’s health care initiative?’, or ‘how do you feel about global climate change?’

In the least, if you don’t want to disturb the decorum (why should such talk do that, anyway?), or the delirium with new acquaintances, can you discuss what matters with friends? You may think, ‘who am I to think about, let alone, discuss such big issues?’ Well, who are you not to?

You are a human being, a member of the most capable species on the planet, that’s who you are, and you have a huge effect–when measured with your fellows–on the planet and other people.

You are a human soul, with a conscious mind. Nelson Mandela pointed out that we must not be small. ‘Who are you not to be great?’ he asked, encouraging us to realize that The Divine did not make us to be small and saying that we validate and encourage no one by doing so. We inspire others to be great in being great ourselves.

I ask you, my dear reader, ‘what are you going to do about it?’ Are you going to finish this article by thinking, ‘this writer is just angry, a complainer, someone who isn’t happy in his life?’ You’d be wrong…

In the words of Peter Gabriel, in the anthem, “Biko”, about assassinated South African anti-apartheid activist Steven Biko, “And the eyes of the world are watching now… watching now.” And now they are the eyes of those suffering, in our time-suffering the ravages of hunger, disease, poverty, war, climate change–and inaction;

They are the  eyes of the children of tomorrow–the eyes of your children and grandchildren.

Take care, and for humanity’s sake, use your imagination, think, and take action, now.

Carl Carroll Atteniese

Link:

What Some Prominent People Are Saying to The Children of The Future

WEIGH IN on “OBAMA CARE” (The Affordable-care Act)

Give me the 1s, 2s, 3s, and the The ABCs!

I N S T R U C T I O N S :

  Answer this post ONLY…

  1. if you answer these three questions and their sub-questions.
  2. You can write whatever else you like after the answers.
  3. If you do not answer the three questions and sub-questions, I will delete your comments:

Simple enough? Let’s Begin:

1. If your health care costs have increased, (A) tell me WHY (was it the Insurance claim or your actual premiums that caused it)?

2. Watch the video and tell me (B) if you think these features of the ACA, AKA “Obama Care” are good or bad and (C) tell me why.

3. If you do not support Obama Care, you must give an alternate proposal that conforms with the constitutional mission statement “provide for the general welfare” in terms of health care coverage for all. Keep in mind that under the system we had before Obama Care, Insurance Companies controlled the health care system in America and actively employed people to deny your benefits and health care for a multitude of reasons.

Open The JFK Files (Petition)

 

John F. Kennedy was a brilliant mix of genius, charisma, poet, statesman, and courageous visionary–tempered by war, a philosopher-king’s wisdom, and a Zen monk’s compassion & cool. He was what we needed in a moral leader, a real man…not afraid to fight, but man enough to resist and intelligent enough to lead the world to peace. He was a senator, an orator, educated, perceptive, feeling, and humane; a man who could motivate masses of human spirits, and he wanted to stop the secret societies, the military-industrial complex’s hold on our economy, and the unfair control of our monetary system by the Fed; He wanted an end to international intervention–to end all foreign wars and foreign armies–including ours. He was a man ahead of his time and deeply embedded in the real issues of his own. He saved us from nuclear holocaust in the Cuban Missile Crisis, and knew the CIA had to be ‘splintered into a thousand pieces and scattered to the wind’, along with the military advisors who wanted him to bomb Russia–after they hid in a bunker–those Dr. Srangelove maniacs–lest we have…well…what we have today–a fascist state (in the precise technical, textbook meaning of the term). And the people who killed him did it so we could have what THEY have today… America by the scruff: George Bush, Allen Dulles, E. Howard Hunt, Nixon… They ruined us, and shat upon what our founding fathers made for us, spat upon what my family fought for in the wars that were supposed to free us of Nazism; and we are still doing what Eisenhower warned against, hauling ourselves off to war, for their profit–slaves to a military economy that pretends to the virtues of democracy whilst creating instability in the Koreas, Iraq, and soon, Iran and Pakistan…with limited historical vision; their terrified Republican school-boy dreams of Big Daddy’s Sweaty Pocketful of fear and jingling coins… for their benefactors…the one percent.

Let us not forget that John Fitzgerald Kennedy launched us on a peaceful mission to the stars–which not only brought vision, peaceful scientific and technological progress and endeavor, but a means for international cooperation that binds us in peace to former rivals and enemies. And that is why he did it. And that mission to the stars may save us in more ways than one. Ask me about this, if you do not understand how.

So, we need to know the truth, even if only to set these characters free of the suspicion that most Americans level at them, wouldn’t you say? Or maybe so we can grow up. Yes; the truth will allow us to grow up. And stop being the bastards of the human race.

Please sign, for your children, those you love, and for yourselves. For the blood, sweat, and tears shed in the name of a nation that was once the shining beacon of freedom in the world. And for Jack, because he was there for all of us, until he was taken from us by those who absconded with a better destiny for America and the world.

Peace, Love, Joy, and Honest Imagination to you and yours,

Carl Carroll Atteniese

http://carlatteniese.org/
http://jfkinfo.org/

 

Free the JFK Files – Sign the Petition!

Carl just signed this petition on Change.org.

2234 signatures are still needed!

 

Upon The Anniversary of This Giant’s Death

ImageA MESSAGE OF MONUMENTAL IMPORTANCE AND PROPHESY THAT GOES BEYOND THE GREATNESS OF MANNED SPACE FLIGHT… Listen VERY Carefully to His Words

This Great President and Patriot, Peace Hero, War Veteran, Poet, And Orator… inspired us and committed us with eloquence, courage, integrity and passion… to the ultimate challenge, which brought Americans and humanity… to not only contemplate the need to escape secret societies & the grip of the military industrial complex and the militarization of space; not only to embrace civil rights; not only to prevent war, discrimination, and poverty… but to take on an adventure… as leaders… to reach into outer space, beginning with his intrepid challenge for us to take the world, into “this new sea of peace”, as a space faring nation… first to the moon…. Lest we not remember this great man, his warnings, inspirations, and passion, please watch… and REMEMBER.

And Directors at NASA, It is time to name a spacecraft after this man….

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TuW4oGKzVKc

Buddha Mind to The Rescue!

When you don’t know what’s going to happen, it’s okay to experience fear, but panicking can only make things worse.

My landlady’s daughter just called up the stairs in emphatic distress for me to come down and investigate a sinister and ‘soon-to-explode-like’ repetitive sound coming from the boiler room. She was terrified. I went down and was not too at ease, myself.

I ventured into the dark labyrinth of pipes playing “man-of-the-house” and was wondering, now–myself.. in my ignorance… if in fact the mysterious contraption wasn’t going to explode and blow my innards all over the basement. Several times I walked in, looked for a switch or water gauge, and in quiet, disguised and concealed concern, walked out to talk to ‘Carol’. Most of the conversation centered around my telling her to be calm.

In the absence of any technical knowledge, I advised Carol and my mother–who was now on the scene–to coil a boiler repair man, and to return to the relative safety of the first floor. I went up to the second, where our family lives, and went and used the bathroom. Standing there, I could hear the rattling, patterned sound coming up through the bathroom radiator and it reminded me of when the boiler in our former house needed water. So, I returned to the basement and looked again for a gauge and a valve in that little, noise-filled chamber of a room. Once again, I wondered if
the boiler wasn’t experiencing a gas-pressure problem, and whether I wasn’t going to be blown to bits. I suspended my fear once again.

When I emerged not having solved the problem, and the noise still ominously reverberating throughout the house, I went up and asked Carol where the boiler switch was. My mother chimed in after having called Carol’s mother and my dad, saying in effect, ‘Yes, there is a switch, over there.’ I looked in the stairway and saw the same kind of ‘EMERGENCY’ switch as was in our old house in Lynbrook. I pressed it into the off position. The noise stopped.

After, when we all started breathing more normally (I had really experienced any emotional effects at all, to be honest), Carol said to my mother, ‘Carl is just like my son; nothing bothers him.’

I told Carol what Melanie Beatie once said: ‘There is nothing we cannot do better by being calm’, and I realized something as I climbed the stairs to return to our apartment: Every town could benefit from having a Buddhist monk on a hotline, a balanced human being who knows the value of ‘being here (calmly), NOW.’

People descend into panic all the time, and do not realize that it only makes things worse. The reason they do this is they do not reside in the present moment, where solutions are found.

When an apparent problem arises that may involve some loss–of money, time, health, or worse… even life–people elevate the challenge to crisis level by launching their minds into a future fantasy-scenario. This is like putting a crying baby into a catapult and sending it aloft. What’s that going to accomplish?

If you find yourself losing presence of mind, –when a challenge arises–and you don’t have the benefit of a Monk in town or on a hotline, say to yourself, and other worriers around you the words of Thich Nhat Hanh:

‘If I do not have a problem in this moment
I do not have a problem’

And remember, A problem is disaster; A challenge is an issue you can solve if you are calm, to avoid disaster!

Why ‘Gansta’?

20130403-141748.jpgPublished on Facebook as, ‘A DUMB WHITE GUY’s SERIOUS QUESTION’

I don’t mean to be rude, disrespectful, or stupid, but, is being a gangster a good thing? In the American “inner-city”, in the Philippines, in the young Korean pop culture community, and elsewhere, does ‘gangster’ have another meaning?

In American English, a gangster is a person from an intellectually and financially impoverished family, or a person from a rich crime family. Often s/he has been abused, neglected, and has mental issues;

A gangster–by dint of definition, if not by behavior alone–forces other people to do things they do not want to do; he is not merely involved in corruption, he is an organizer of it–or at least one of its protectors and facilitators. Often s/he is called a mafia (crime family) soldier. S/He will verbally, mentally, and physically abuse people–even kill them. Often, murder is his total job responsibility. In this case, s/he is called a “hitman”. Gangsters are responsible for drug-pushing, extortion, prostitution, slavery, and often human trafficking.

A gangster is a criminal. Sometimes s/he is a politician. Many Republican politicians in America–by evidence of their behavior, not their clothes and demeanor, per se–are gangsters. Some political gangsters in American history are quite famous for their illegal behavior, lies, corruption, and murder. A few infamous ones around the world are Reagan, The Bushes, Nixon, Kissinger, Cheney…. We need not mention the names of out-and-out (non-politician) gangsters–they are celebrated by people who do not understand why serious directors have made movies about their lives. Indeed, if one goes into a pizzeria anywhere in America, one might get the distinct–albeit sadly hilarious and embarrassing impression–that most Italian restaurant owners think that Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, James Caan, and Frank Sinatra are in the mafia and condone gangsterism; they aren’t and weren’t, and don’t and didn’t. They were and are performers. They are playing tragic characters in their movies. If My Way is about a gangster meeting his end, it is a sad epitaph, not a celebration of being a professional rebel.

Many of these people who knowingly or unknowingly celebrate the life and behavior of gangsters, perhaps do not realize that Hollywood movies about the Mafia, when done well–are serious art and social commentary, not validation, admiration, and approval of untreated sociopathic and criminal behavior.

Most terrorists are gangsters. Gangsters are a menace. Is this the same type of gangster being admired among young people, today, including rappers, Korean pop music performers & their fans, and in the Philippines and elsewhere? I am just curious.

Yes, We Went to The Moon

gemini-program-space-photos-scanned-pilot-thomas-stafford-window_47266_600x450

The evidence for the moon landings by American astronauts is in mountainous abundance. The astronauts preparations, prior missions, the documentation of their missions to the moon, the evidence left there and brought back, and the explorer’s debriefing–as well as the journalistic & scientific reporting on the accomplishment—cannot be diluted by the handful of conspiratorial accusations in the areas of optics and physics.

 

All aspects of the journeys are described in great technical detail (about which physicists and engineers can explain the apparent “anomalies” claimed to be in existence–showing how misconceptions come from ill-informed assumptions. If this were not the case–if the moon missions were a hoax, ignorance of everything being discussed herein and elsewhere, would be obvious, The evidence and erudition therefrom, would not be.

 

When I was a young boy, my father called the Johnson Space Center and had materials sent to me: the scientific experiments and their results (in the form of fist-thick texts) about the moon missions—because I had said I was interested in the space program; The heavy books, which explicitly review in painstaking point-by-point detail (in written, graphic, and equation form) the entire body of work done on the lunar surface by the Apollo 16 and 17 astronauts, make it clear—along with data at the NASA websites, at museums, and in countless books—that America did in fact go to the Earth’s closest neighbor, Luna—in the late nineteen-sixties and seventies.gemini-program-space-photos-scanned-michael-collins-blurry_47265_600x450We have moon rocks. We have the testimonies of these (Apollo 11 Astronauts in the post flight debriefing on You Tube) and we have their documented historical, medical, and municipal public and–medical histories and the testimonies of 10 other men who walked on the moon (not discounting the seven Command Module pilots who went to the moon–which could be included as well).

We have movies of phenomena occurring on the moon—such as the pendulum-swing video, taken of a restraining cord that swung in such a way on the moon—suspended from a scientific experiment deployment bay on the lunar excursion module (LEM)—such as it cannot… on Earth. Look it up.Finally, we have thousands of photographs and movies of astronauts on the moon, not containing anomalies, and of the moon, itself–the features of which match the geography of the moon as documented by satellite photography and probes we have sent there.

 

gemini-program-space-photos-scanned-ed-white-above-hawaii_47256_600x450And let us not forget many photographs can and have been taken of Earth from the moon and of the moon from Earth. Orbiting devices in lunar orbit now, show the artifacts our astronauts left on the moon: flags, experiment packages (which by the way still send data to Earth), life-support systems (“backpacks”), the decent stages of six LEMs (Lunar Excursion Modules, or Lunar Modules [LM]), lunar rovers, and the like. The evidence is clear. And men (one of whom I know) are writing laws to protect these historical objects and where they are. Would that be part of “the hoax”, too?If you are interested in manned spaceflight, of course you are looking at a source that has endless references and information: the internet. Books I would recommend include, Carrying the Fire, by astronaut Michael Collins (geared toward children, actually) as well as other publications by astronauts, engineers, and science writers (sorry, I read piles of books on the subject as a boy and as a young man, but have to do research to find those titles — and I will, posting them here).I also recommend the Netflixs series, When We Left Earth, which briefly but thoroughly and originally describes the topic from the Mercury program through the moon landings, to the international space station, with a very relevant theme of acquiring skills necessary to go to the moon. Of course, the classic film, The Right Stuff is a very exciting and realistic portrayal of the beginning of the American space program and Apollo 13 is also quite a thriller and an accurate depiction of history as well.

gemini-program-space-photos-scanned-buzz-aldrin-self-portrait_47262_600x450

Happy learning, and keep dreaming, and if you are a young man or woman and would like to be part of the missions to the moon, Mars, and Asteroids, I recommend a steady diet of unfettered learning, dreaming, and strict goal – setting. After all, mankind is star-bound, determined to continue the human journey deeper into space begun not even sixty years ago — regardless of who disbelieves it. They are going — with or without you.

 

Carl Carroll Atteniese

Lakewood, Colorado,

September 21st, 2013

Photos (from the top): Tom Stafford, Michael Collins, Ed White, Buzz Aldrin; These are from the Gemini Program. I will add Apollo Program photos in the future.  Photos: NASA

The Conscience You Cultivate Requires Action

The Conscience You Cultivate Requires Action

I just watched The Trials of Henry Kissinger. It should be really hard for a decent human being to not feel outrage, shame, disgust, embarrassment, and supreme amounts of remorse and guilt–as an American watching this, seeing what we did under this man and under Nixon and Ford–to South Vietnam, North Vietnam, and East Timor & their people, and to Salvador Allende.

However, one realizes that men like Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon, Alexander Haig, Gerald Ford, and others like them (Bush,

mqdefault (1)Reagan, etc.) have succeeded in their undeniably clinical insanity and maniacal treachery by lying to the American people. This may afford consolation–short, temporary, abstract respites of reprieve from guilt; but being American, and members of a citizens’ representative democracy–we are bound by culpability that is certain, for we have let these men walk free, and we have continued to allow them and men like them…after them–in the same positions–to continue on, to wield and abuse the same power they abused in the sixties and seventies–to be butchers in our name. And in fear, we have even gone into the same or similar activities again for them, duped and duplicitous….

I can see why friends of mine do not want to pay taxes when they know our taxes are paying for treachery like this. And for whom? In the past it was United Fruit, Dole, Pepsi, ITT, Bell Helicopter–for agribusiness, telecom, coal, rubber, and aero-military. Now it is for Carlyle, Brown & Root, Halliburton…for oil, gas, and contractors.

I can see why Dr. Chomsky wanted a tax revolt during Vietnam. What is America’s excuse, today? Same as it was then. Too many Americans are god damned oblivious. And most of us are not involved in our democracy.

Go ahead, watch another dumb sitcom. Post about how much you love your daughter or your son, or your pet. These are nice, even necessary, sometimes. But how many of you will will actually give a damn, educate yourselves, and do something about it. Like change the way you vote or sign a petition?

Perhaps the scariest aspect of all this now, is, we have fewer civil liberties with which to defend our rights, should clinically verifiable sociopathic maniacs such as these infest our halls of government, again, and we wish to divert them. Worse, still, we have allowed ourselves to fall for the second Pearl Harbor that virtually guarantees our perpetual fear a terrorism we are largely responsible for, so they can embroil us next time with far greater ease. Watch this, as a duty to America, so you fail to fall for for it any longer.

http://movies.netflix.com/WiPlayer?movieid=60029848&trkid=13462100&t=The%2BTrials%2Bof%2BHenry%2BKissinger&tctx=-99%2C-99%2Cf58e377c-5a2d-4437-8140-2923643e6b4a-108111953

Expedition 37: Astronauts Land

International Space Station (ISS) Expedition 37: Crew members landed in the steppe of Kazakhstan at 9:49 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Sunday. They completed 166 days in space and more than 2,600 orbits. So that’s how many breathtaking sunrises they were treated to.

They returned in the Russian Soyuz spacecraft pictured here (the same type of craft used since the beginning of the Russian space program and also the craft featured in “Gravity”). This is the workhorse for space travel for American astronauts who learn Russian to fly with their counterpart cosmonauts. We have to fly with our friends from Russia to reach orbit because we no longer use the space shuttle and at present have no launch vehicle in operation to take its place. Though I miss seeing American spacecraft take off from cape Kennedy, I like the idea of “car-pooling” to orbit for environmental and budgetary reasons, and I think it is fantastic that we are so close now with our former cold-war rivals.

The Soyuz was carrying Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and Flight Engineers Karen Nyberg and Luca Parmitano. For more on the important cultural, scientific, and international relations oriented benefits of the space program, go to http://nasa.gov/.

Anyone curious about space travel, feel free to contact me with questions–or, of course, you can go to the NASA website, youtube, or Wikipedia. This has been a topic of supreme interest to me since I was a boy (as many of my childhood school-mates may remember; my nick-name was “Spaceman”). Have great moments, Friends.

A TALE OF TWO SLUMBER ZONES…

Originally published here on Tuesday, October 22, 2013

East Rockaway is like Korea: no alarm clocks required. We have garbage men. They don’t holler, like the sudden parkside drunks in Kyounggi doe who in their melancholy suddenly rocket your heart into your throat with their middle-of-the-night blood curdling shotgun screams of anguish, but they have elephant-like whining hydraulic trash compactors on their monster garbage trucks.

There are no break-of-dawn jack hammers that sound like a parade of angry elephants, and no platoons of Samsung employees shouting out their numbered calisthenics in marine corps fashion, like in Suwon, but there are interstate-ready, stereophonic, heart-attack-inducing fire sirens that sound like Godzilla. And there are buzzers that sound like what I imagine the ones sound blasting their warnings before rockets take off at the launch sites round Cape Canaveral.

And, there are no people making as much noise as possible with banging heels and slamming doors — such as I experienced in almost every building I tried to sleep in in “The Land of The Morning Calm”, but of course, there are the (usually charming, but not at six AM) backyard railroad trains that sound like 747s erupting through the morning quiet ‘back of the house, complete with their bells, and whistles. And there is the explosive morning sunshine.

But it’s all right. I’m home. For now, anyway….

The State is Not Responsible for Your Relationship

I am responding to this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=bvM97_Z9g50

Basically the video presents the statistical analysis that proves beyond a shadow of a doubt, a correlation between children developing emotional and physical ailments, committing rape and suicide, dropping out of school, abusing drugs, getting involved in teenage pregnancy, becoming obese and a general decline in all areas of life-success–coming from single-parent homes and unmarried-parent homes. Great information, tragic reality.

Brilliant. One flaw: Break-ups or; a man leaving a woman/ a woman leaving a man (or two same-sex partners, one female-role-modeling, the other male-role-modeling breaking up) is not the fault of the state and has everything to do with how we teach [and usually do not teach} love, how we inundate ourselves with open-relationship-oriented media and role-modeling in peer groups and with elders, and everything to do with how (you saw this in Korea most heavily) parents and other peer-group-influenced parroting guardians equate marriage with shopping for a provider, thus often interrupting the passionate bond that holds people together, inspiring the excuse and habit-forming practice of moving to partner to partner. I cannot tell you how many request-for-counseling-letters I received from young adults exhibiting concerns that they should be dating around, despite the fact that they were madly in love and devoted to someone–BECAUSE the culture says they are a certain age and should not be feeling these feelings and should not be devoted to another young adult. In my opinion, this is the habit-energy producing behavior that takes them into infidelity, poor relationships, and divorce. People often wind up marrying whom they think they should marry, instead of whom they want to marry; thus we often hear the pitifully ridiculous phrase known to everyone not living on Mars– “I can do better.” So, the evidence is clear, that people fare better coming from a two parent home, but there is no evidence they are not in a two parent home because of the state. In this report, it is assumed. It is called social engineering. If you break up with your partner, it is your behavioral issue, not the issue of the state.

f the state.

GOVERNMENT OVERSIGHT WITH HYPER-VIGILANT PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT

WITHOUT HYPER-VIGILANT PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT, GOVERNMENT RUNS AMOK:

This is from a discussion with a friend who feels government is morally groundless and should not have authority over what we do:Friend, I am not saying you’re stupid; you quite obviously aren’t. I don’t think you are, either. Smart People can say and do stupid things, however–but I’m not even saying that about you; what I am saying is we need people sent to examine what we do with the physical world–in business related to food, medicine, and energy production, otherwise we get Tylenol that poisons people, chemotherapy that increases cancer growth, cigarettes with polonium 210 in them, as well as arsenic, and other harmful poisons in them, faulty nuclear reactor constructions, oil spills, oil-over-use, wind, geothermal, solar, and hydroelectric UNDER-use, no emissions controls, etc., etc. This means oversight and regulation; WE decide on the parameters of that oversight and regulation, and we have our representatives pass the laws related to it–to protect us(!).
Look at fracking (!). It’s insane. Look at coal-production (which bleeds more nuclear radiation into the environment than nuclear power); Look at oil-procurement (and the wars necessary for it!); Look at nuclear power; It is said that given the conditions of the damaged Tepco reactors in Japan, right now, if they have a Richter 7-earthquake in the next two years–and the chances of that are above 95%–Japan may be finished (!). I read yesterday that the contamination of the Fukushima reactors could end life on the planet–or in the northern hemisphere. This is corporate (and government) failure (but without government regulation, I don’t think we would even be here, right now).
We can’t wait for years and years–decades even, to see the harmful results of greed, ignorance, and stupidity in business, any more–waiting for consumer-awareness to remedy the problems that stem from business manipulating the environment and what we drink, eat, and breathe doesn’t help.
 The average person is too busy, not expert enough in the sciences, and has a pseudo-religious, and fantastical cum delusional outlook: ‘Nothing really bad is going to happen (to me).’ THAT’S A BIG PART OF WHAT GOT US WHERE WE ARE.We have DESTROYED the healthy progression of the biosphere and our health and evolution within it, letting business do what it wants (!); government, too, actually. However, government still has the power to regulate business, and we are a part of that.
 Despite government’s failures, the answer is not to scrap government. Bush & Reaganomics, Deregulation… these are why we are where we are economically and environmentally. We need to reform government. But getting rid of it means every money-hungry fool with capital can do what he wants to us and the planet. We must be aware of the issues associated with what we learn from good scientists, and we must be telling our servants in government what they need to be doing to keep our species and other species thriving. Those other species (and the natural meteorological and geological processes they are a part of) are our biosphere. And it takes regulations to keep our biosphere and our food supplies healthy–because the average person is not yet cognitively advanced enough to care about that, especially when s/he can benefit enormously–financially–bu ignoring that.Friend, you lived in Korea. You saw what an ignorant population does to itself with little or no regulations (Ours is no different, but regarding different issues): At virtually every construction site I passed in Korea, workers burned trash–more as a tradition and a way to save on waste-removal–and that trash included plastics; I smelled burning plastics all the time. That is one example, only one.
IT IS MAN’s TENDENCY TO BE LAZY, on top of his hurry to do right in order to survive (and now to survive exceedingly well); it is man’s tendency to be ignorant and naturally greedy–especially in this age. Unchecked, man will–as is abundantly obvious with global climate change–destroy his environment and everything in it. And yes, it is government that has been a part of this, due to the slow growth of our understanding of the natural world, but yes, also due to our inaction on the issue, the corruption of the political process, and because of corporate corruption and bigger concerns over economics than over human and planetary health.

 

But no regulations, no oversight, and no penalties for abuse and we would have a situation ten times worse than what we have. Do you remember leaded gasoline? I do! It’s illegal now. If it weren’t, do you think you would not be inhaling its deadly derivative vapors in a country where the average conservative doesn’t care about health-care? Where there is still a fight against agreeing on a decent hourly wage? Where, without legislation, children would still be working in sweatshops and there would be no labor standards, health standards, and non-discrimination laws?And people need to start understanding science. That’s partially what’s been wrong too; people are too ignorant or too busy (or both) to know their foods, cigarettes, and power sources are killing not only themselves, but everyone else.Cigarettes, nuclear power, hydrogenated oils, harmful additives, and pesticides in foods, fossil fuels, the over-production and unsafe disposal of plastics, and other deleterious products and practices of business need to be outlawed–outright. And stupid, immoral, and/or ignorant business isn’t the only culprit;Our government and other nation-state governments completely irradiated all of us and the entire planet with upwards of 800 nuclear bomb tests; you, the reader have radioactive strontium 90 in your body because of it.The choice is ours; we must be more involved in our government, and when it doesn’t do what’s healthy and good for us & future generations, we must bar the members in it who are responsible from ever seeking office again, perhaps even jail them.The problem is you, the reader, if you think the government is your daddy; It isn’t; The government is the staff, and you are the management. If you don’t want that job, you don’t deserve democracy and you don’t deserve anything better than what you get.

 

To Love A Foreigner in Korea

The Deleterious Experiences of an Expat in Korea, and Their Causes:  An Essay in Seven Parts 

You are in a foreign country, culturally almost diametrically opposite your own. You struggle to fit in and do your work well, serving as a teacher and never giving up in the face of a great many health and comfort-related inconveniences. You deal with guilt of having been racially selected. You deal with incredible amounts of pollution. One day you meet someone and you change one another’s lives. You love one another, but this person is not allowed to be with you… because you are different…

Part 1

I Just Want To Be Helpful
This essay will describe judgements I have made, based on feelings, observations, and wounds I have suffered, of an intellectual and emotional–perhaps even a spiritual in nature. I wish to make it clear to you, the reader, that these judgements are based on seventeen years of experiences dealing intimately with a wonderful group of people, but to be  sure, a group of people who by their own proud and often sad admission–have a distinct way of life that is not only difficult for others coming in contact with them, but for themselves. My only intention is to shed light on what I have learned and on the pain I and others have suffered, so these wonderful people and others interacting with them can perhaps be the wiser, and so that progressive change may occur in their lives and the lives of others like myself. My goal is for people to be allowed by one another to pursue happiness–specifically in that most important and soul-uplifting area of human life we call true love.

Someone very special to me in Korea once said that I was going to be alone. Well, I am, now–though it is largely by choice. Probably in her view, at the time, it was because I tended to make ‘trouble’ wherever I went. How so?  By gently,  (and sometimes not-so-gently) and firmly standing up to manipulation, neglect, poor management, disrespect, ignorance, and lack of consideration. But to be fair to myself, I must say that it is far easier to be socially inappropriate in this manner–in Korea–than in other places, because in Korea people are known to hold their tongues. In fact, they are supposed to do this. They suffer in silence. This is very different from life in many places in the West. In Western countries, we are expected to say something when treated unfairly. We don’t have to be rude about it, but we are encouraged to seek justice. 

Losing Your Cool
This was an issue in public, and in private. It wasn’t just me. Foreigners get the impression that in Korea, locals will say one thing and do another, whether it is due to some kind of “auto-pilot”, fear, cunning, carelessness, a lack of respect, or incompetence. After a while, many of us wind up losing our cool because of this. Losing one’s cool is not cool in Korea, like in most Asian countries–but perhaps there more than elsewhere. To be fair to Koreans, when you do lose your cool, Koreans are enormously forgiving–after all, they often do it themselves. 

Opposites
In fact, one can eventually get into hot water with one’s Korean girlfriend for exhibiting what we in West see as chivalry. For example, having a waiter take something away that was not served correctly, or requesting that a bus driver drive more safely, that he turn down the heat in the advent of summer, the air conditioner in the fall, and so on–can bring gentle scorn from a Korean. Or, she won’t say anything at all–or not for a long time–but you may find out later that you have erred for doing what in our culture is a no brainer and correct. Koreans believe in enduring, which I admire about them enormously. However, as much as this endurance can be attributed to Korean virtues, it can as likely be attributed to fear–because the Korean society is not only based on the virtues of harmony, but heavily on hierarchy and maintaining face. So, when you do not endure–and you express displeasure–it can be embarrassing for them. 


Koreans hold their tongues so often, that a Korean may help you raise an issue–as many Koreans, like the Japanese, feel a near obligation to be helpful–and then, in private, they may tell you how embarrassing it was to have seen you do it–even if you had done it very politely and quietly, and in the interest of everyone. I had this very same thing happen with the woman I loved dearly.


Of course, like all of us in the human species, I had my own issues that were not related to others we encountered in our relationship, as did my wonderful girlfriend–but usually our issues resulted from dilemmas over family involvement, our attempts to avoid it, or culture shock–which any honest expat living in Korea will tell you is enormously frustrating on a daily basis–to the point that it causes most people who leave Korea to leave because of it. 


Good Intentions

We aren’t idiots. We know Korea is another country with its own ways of doing things, and we willingly came to Korea to experience another culture. The problem is that Westerners are rooted in a diametrically opposite culture from that which Koreans are rooted in, and it invariably comes down to values about the individual, comfort, logic, justice, and respect. And on these points there is conflict every single day in Korea–whether you keep silent about it – or you say something about it. And if you are a thinking Westerner, one who is a Westerner because of your views of these ideas–it tortures you.

Part 2

The Greatest Injustice

I have always been adaptable. This comes from my sense of compassion for others. Where that breaks down–however–is where I find injustice. No matter how indignant we may become over the injustice we see beyond ourselves, the hardest injustice to brook is that which is leveled upon us, personally. The greatest injustice I felt in Korea was not being cheated for work I had done, not being pushed or passed over in public settings, not being excluded from public places because of my skin color and “race” (I couldn’t care less; whilst my friends, some of them famous, wanted to do something about it, I felt, ‘let more of these places crop up, showing the true racist nature of the Korean psyche.’), and not even being compared to a monkey for the hair on my arms. The greatest injustice I felt in Korea was being rejected by the “Christian” parents of the girl I had fallen in love with–and who loved me–before they had met me. I cannot express to you without a long diatribe or screed how fundamentally and humanly wrong I feel this is. And I will never forget it for the rest of my life. After all, we were perfect for one another, had everything in common, were very attracted to each other, and I treated her like a princess–taking her to the hospital when she was ill (even when we were not together), paying for a procedure that identified her health issue, even saving her family by helping her get a great job (all unbeknownst to her father).


Meet The Parents and Criticize with Love

About her parents, who never met me formally, but disapproved of me and barred me from their church and from seeing their daughter–I imagine that within the context of Korean society, they were nice people. After all, they raised the most kind, caring, considerate, and wonderful human being I have ever met, and one who was a great artist and intellect, too. However, as politically incorrect as it may be in polite company to criticize another culture–it is more than proper to do it in an essay, especially when the structure of that culture causes unnecessary pain for people who don’t deserve it, and most especially when that pain is something that results from institutionalized unfairness that only benefits those doling that unfairness out. Finally, it is the parents in Korea–and the children who won’t politely but firmly stand up to them which perpetuates this antique system of sets of discrimination. Indeed, in certain ways, this discriminatory society actually sets up many situations wherein its citizens can and do benefit for their discriminatory practices, to the tune of using people–in labor and personal situations. 


When one can learn English by spending time with a foreigner (enormously important in Korean society), a foreigner whom you do not really have to introduce to anyone; when you can gain sexual experience with a foreigner you do not have to actually continue a serious relationship with; when you can date, receive gifts, and acquire cultural experience from someone you are likely going to have to break up with once your relationship is known to your parents; when you can let your hair down, escaping the strict judgments of your home culture (a Confucian one)–an escape-oriented relationship (or a string of them) can become hard to resist, and so becomes your unconscious goal and MO for achievement through dating. 


Indeed, it is a well-known fact and feature of the Korean society that there are boys for dating and boys for marrying. Korean girls are raised to be in one mode or the other. This is not something geared only toward avoiding foreign men; it is practiced with their own kind. 


More About The Ubiquity of Unscrupulous Behavior

If you are an employer, the in-place prejudices about foreigners can be your way around abusing them and your excuse for not following the agreed upon elements of labor contracts. Korea is a place that is a weird amalgam of strictures and laxness which come together to endemically and passively (as well as actively) encourage corruption — familial-ly, personally, academically, professionally, and governmentally–down to the graces and prejudices that underlie the national philosophy.

Part 3

The “Bad Foreigner” Many Korean Women Secretly Love
Now, of course, for the foreigner who just wants to sleep around in Korea, a situation wherein the girls do not want or are not allowed to have serious relationships is quite conducive to that. Indeed, the argument can be made that many, if not all people–at one time or another–just want “a little warmth”, as my ex described it. And of course there are those who might describe themselves as the non-monogamous types in any culture. I am not here to judge them per se, or those times when people find themselves between points where serious relationships are wanted. However, I am trying to create awareness about the circumstances in a country where people go with open hearts, only to have their hearts and minds broken–largely because of the “racism”, nationalism, xenophobia, and religious intolerance of Korean parents and elder friends and family members, making Korea one of the most racist countries in the world–which is, unfortunately, the proof of gross ignorance and spiritual decrepitude on the part of otherwise well-meaning people who are (in international terms) quite unaware of themselves and how they are perceived. Remember, there is,scientifically-speaking, no such thing as race. Look it up.


In the end–if you are dating a girl in Korea who comes from a traditional Korean Confucian family–the responsibility rests with you as to whether you will adapt and remain, fighting on in chivalry and loving dedication (as I tried to do) or you leave that beguiling, charming (and as I am apt to say) “knuckle-whitening” country. Being a man from the West, I decided to stick it out. I was smitten with the girl I loved, and I was willing to do anything to be a good man for her, but perhaps, knowing the odds I was up against, my attempts at showering her with gifts, love, poetry, kindness, and dedication… were a bit too much. I over-compensated. However, it might not have mattered, even had I gone a lot more easily. Here is why:


How it Starts

I have met many Korean women in their thirties and forties; unmarried, divorced, or unhappily married. They speak English. Perhaps they work in the ESL industry. Perhaps they are just parents who love their husbands, but whose lives lack any excitement or romance (which is changing, as affairs and “secret boyfriends” and even remaining single indefinitely have become all the rave in Korea). They know something about Western culture… and they are enamored by it; its exotic nature, its freedoms, the beauty of Western countries, their expansiveness — and of course, their egalitarianism and open-minded multi-culturalism. 

Korean women like the chivalry of Western culture, and the freedoms won by women in the Western civil rights movements. And so, they are caught dreaming of these virtues, attributes, freedoms, and characteristics of the Western world, and endlessly dating Western men (many of them “high society women” with six-figure husbands).


Working against this affection, there is an ever-present bulwark against it that is the national attitude that marrying Korean is better. Parents tell their children outright that marrying foreigners is forbidden. Korea was dominated by China, then Japan, who brutally de-acculturated Korea as much as possible; then Korea was occupied by the former Soviet  Union and Union United States, with the latter of the two nations now being her military protector since 1953. A lot of terrible things happened whilst we helped the Koreans attain democracy, which we Americans were responsible for. This has engendered some deep-seated resentment. I understand that, and so do most educated foreigners. However, we are no evil occupiers, and many tens of thousands of Americans died and many hundreds of thousands were injured defending Korea in her terrible civil war. 


Part 4

There is this ridiculous notion among “conservative” Koreans–only now beginning to be distanced from–that says that Koreans should aim for a “Pure Blood” society. Apparently, the idea in genetics that says the mixing of DNA types (“races”) is beneficial to the human species is little-known in Korea — or it is side-stepped in favor of exclusionist ideologies that border on racism and xenophobia. This notion of Pure Blood arose among Koreans in Japan, when Korea had been annexed by the Japanese (1910-1945), and those Koreans who were abducted to build the Japanese war machine sought to create an ideology that would unify them and augment their efforts to galvanize pride and survival among them–as they struggled in the face of Japanese domination. 


So, “Koreans”–as one of my best friends, a professor of political science and a former lecturer at Korea University, has said–“have a national identity crisis.” Like the small number of discriminating Japanese conservatives in Japan who are afraid of having their culture diluted by Korean immigrants in the present day, Koreans are afraid of disappearing as a culture and a “race” as well, which many of them believe they are (a distinct race). This fuels an anti-foreign agenda (along with the burgeoning–albeit immature varieties of–Christianity, which has, to some degree, become a movement to downplay, discredit, and even destroy Buddhism in Korea, a religion that is probably most socially responsible, historically, for the better part of the grace and restraint in Korean people). 

I also firmly believe there is a great deal of penis-envy in the Korean male population, leveled at the anatomically more-endowed Caucasian and Negroid social groups, evident in the Korean male populations’ attempt to be more “gentle”, and in their mad rush for phallus surgery. 

 

The “Good Girls”
Unlike the expats with “yellow fever”, who often look at Korean women as if those women are a box of chocolates to be endlessly sampled (in some cases because it seems hopeless to try to be serious with them–both because of their racist parents and friends, and because Korean dating scenarios when serious are often–if not always–quite childish and enormously frustrating, by Western standards) some of these Korean women are caught up trying to figure out why they keep choosing “the wrong ones” from The West. Sometimes, these women are not even able to admit what they are doing. I could get into the social, gender-related, and cultural reasons for this, but it’s for another piece of writing, another essay. The general simple reason why Korean women dating foreigners are unhappy is, akin to the reason which befalls Kyopos: they are caught between two worlds. 


Part 5

Why is She Giving You A Hard Time?
And when they do love their boyfriends–but face the difficult issue of “convincing” their parents to let them love whom they wish, many Korean women (and men) are too polite, afraid, attached, and not grown up enough to face their parents, and are too afraid to choose the man they really want. Indeed, the reward for giving up the taboo of dating a foreign man is nothing less than credit for the restoration of normal relations with Mother and Father, and a return to being in their graces. 


Koreans are raised to not only honor “thy father and mother”, but to virtually worship them, and to nary go against their dictates, at pain of “disappointing” them — something anathema to the culture. And of course — no strange fact to any expat with a few months experience in Korea (as Koreans will unabashedly tell you themselves — as if it is acceptable and normal elsewhere in Westernized democracies): ‘well, you know, our parents don’t want us marrying foreigners.’ This is said in the most matter-of fact way, with no shame at all.


How Do They Look at Us?

Korean women also tend to judge the Western man by Korean standards; This is a big mistake, if you are a Korean woman who would like to keep your Western boyfriend. Their criteria is based on a lot of idiosyncrasy particular and relevant to Korean men and Korean society, not to Western men. What’s worse, they are raised to see foreigners as morally inferior, unclean, diseased, and maligned. National broadcasting stations actually regularly produce “documentaries” teaching these ideas, and they add the notion that Korean women are doing something wrong, unpatriotic, and racially impure when dating foreigners. 


An added problem is, the old expression, “When in Rome…” is not a cute platitude in Korea, but ‘a correct’ belief bandied about as a defense in Korea — in a serious way, and with serious intent — for example, when a teacher tells his managers that something they are doing is ineffective, unfair, or against the contract already agreed upon. 


Koreans en masse are simply not taught yet — although this is slowly changing — that people have a right to maintain their own values and culture, when visiting Korea — and that most contractual labor language is universal in its fairness and should be followed. Certainly, they see this concept as understandable, but quaint–not something worthy of support and worthy of what I would call “maxim status”. And to this end, I feel, many Koreans–in their pride–find it hard to accept that many foreigners coming to Korea are not actually in Korea trying to assimilate completely (which immigrants are not expected to do in their home countries, except by the most jingoistic members of Western society). Many Koreans–I suppose the younger ones, most of all–seem to have the attitude that foreigners have come to Korea to immigrate, not to help, make money, or simply “find themselves”. 


Part 6

Simply put, Korean women don’t know enough about the West to do what they should do, if they would like to succeed in love with their foreign boyfriends; look at Western men–who are raised to be tolerant and supportive of other modes of thinking, recreating, loving, working, believing, and living — in terms of their own Western individuality and culture, which is to say, Korean women need to judge Western men by Western ideals, instead of judging Western men by Korean ideals. Indeed, those of us from the West who believe in egalitarianism and in our civilization’s ancient Greek roots, feel this is the hallmark of our society; diversity of thought, action, and lifestyle! These women have spent little or no time abroad, and worse, are not raised in egalitarian ways; they are raised in soft totalitarian values–being told what to do and when to do it by everyone older than they are. That’s why they often cannot even begin to understand the freedoms of the mind and body–possessed by the Westerner, and instead… often see the Westerner as “a hippy”, or someone who does not have respect or love for his parents. The Westerner in Korea–at first–finds this innocence, this ignorance, and this prejudice to be a kind of naiveté, and often finds out far too late just how endemic and serious it is — and that it is worse than naiveté, because it is rarely outgrown and often passed on.


Doesn’t it Go The Other Way? (And, Why It Often Cannot)

If you are reading this and thinking as I am–as I write it–that a defense could be brought up, for Koreans… using my own logic, congratulations. I will address it: Why shouldn’t “foreigners”, as we are annoyingly called no matter how long we are in Korea, judge Koreans by their standards. We do. That is precisely why we forgive them and do not give up on them when they present us with a patronizing and false front (even when trying their best), racism, and dysfunctional behavior; lies, taciturn personalities, mundane sameness in their points of view, evasion, tantrums, manipulation, childish modes of speech, infidelity, off-the charts jealousy, invasions of privacy, and even violence. All these behaviors are, by the way, what one should expect from a culture that is hierarchical, ageist, sexist, chauvinist, racist, and in high admiration of a part of history called “The Three Kingdoms Period”.

I’ve never seen such obsessive focus on princes and princesses in the West, The Philippines, Japan, or even in England (because we fought this and outgrew it, creating modern-day democracy–something that was virtually handed to the Koreans; Democracy is simply not a high value, there–or, at least, it is taken for granted… not having been earned in such a way as would enable Koreans to see the clear difference between democracy and ‘relative freedom’ under a king pretending toward it; Korean society can give the Westerner the feeling that democracy is a broom in the closet, taken out for utilitarian purposes–from time to time.  


Koreans do not give a foreign citizen the impression their society is imbued at all levels with at least the fundamental essence of Democracy and democratic principles–or the egalitarian ones that are its underpinnings. On the contrary, one gets the impression that virtually every element of the Koreans’ lives is proscribed. Every ritual–and there is a ritual, often a quaint and cozy one–for almost every aspect of their lives. Indeed, I never heard ‘it can’t be helped’, or the equivalent of ‘there’s nothing (I/we) can do about it’ more than in dealing with Koreans presented with a dilemma. 


In Korea, it seems everyone is intent on wealth and kingly power; that is what’s valued–apparently–in what the West has won them). Now I know Koreans fought the North to avoid Communism–alongside the US, Canada, Ireland, Aussies… nineteen nations, as I learned it, but their society does not seem to celebrate democracy. It seems to use it, and value… totalitarian principles, more. Westerners in good conscience cannot adopt these modes of behavior, nor even admire them in a nostalgic way, without destroying what we were raised to be: brave, tolerant, op open-minded, and free! To be otherwise is unconscionable to us. I am not trying to scare anyone away from Korea– indeed, part of why I stayed there so long was I possessed a love for the hearts of the people, a love for their kindness, and a love for helping my students embrace more than tradition; I was there to help usher in the new age, and of course, I was in love with my beloved and am a man of enormous steadfastness in love. I am also not here attempting insult anyone over sour grapes, spilled milk, or missed kimchi. I want you to know what I feel, what I felt, and what I saw and learned in seventeen years of dealing with Korean people, for their benefit and yours. Korea taught me a lot, but in the end, she broke my heart–perhaps irreparably. I don’t want that happening to others, to Koreans or to visitors in Korea.


Love in Korea, Out of Korea, and in The Heart

Remember, when in love, this is your greatest hour of certainty, confidence, and courage. That’s “why” love is “given” to us, or why we have love in our lives; to be inspired by that confidence to do the impossible that love empowers us to go: to grow as people, to achieve, to say ‘I love you’ in circumstances we normally cannot, and to make a difference in our lives and the lives of others. And this is never achieved by logic. It is all driven by sentiment–and when we are blessed with that all-empowering sentiment and emotion, we should never squander it, nor should we let others sabotage our attempts to. We have to follow the heart, because the mind is like a pie. Everyone wants a piece and everything in the world is unstable–from the climate, to the economies we make, to the politics, to your job. However, our hearts–usually belong to one person. If you keep it that way, you can dedicate it to one person. This makes all the difference in making life simple, beautiful, and easy.

 

Part 7

Many Koreans see love as a luxury, a fantasy, a chemical reaction that lasts about three years. They are unaware that in the West, where “the love marriage” (as opposed to the marriage decided by logic, family-wealth & status, and “compatibility”) is the standard–we have a love that has evolved beyond the “love” of the imperial age and its fiat, estate and kingly concerns, economics, and greed–perhaps the survival of a daughter, or a family. I call this ‘peasant love’, or, ‘squirrel love’. Modern love, or true love is an art, a process, a way of practicing self-care, the care of others. It is the perpetuation of romantic relationships and marriage itself. I have heard many Koreans say they do not believe in love, or when they do, it is easy to see the betrayal of a belief as I just described–to them, love is often a sort of pre-marriage ideal–meant for fantasy. 


How it Ends

If you want an easy time of understanding things and people of a Western nature, if you want to succeed in having a life-long love with a Western person, either truly listen to that Western man (or woman) who loves you, and as soon as you can get on a plane and go see his or her country for at least five years. No Korean , born in Korea or born abroad, can ever solve the mysteries of your heart, nor can he tell you the truth about this person in your life or about his culture–ever. 


And you cannot love this person until you understand that, deeply. So follow your heart and find what you need to know. Love depends on knowing someone. Or fail at love and be obedient, and contribute to Korea staying the way it is.

In closing, I would like my brethren in Korea to consider what a fair employment looks like for people in the West. This was taken from Craig’s List. It is an add for teachers to come and work I n California. This is what you should aspire to:


“We encourage applicants of diverse backgrounds to apply for any open position in which they feel qualified. We are committed to embracing diversity and consider all applicants for all positions without regard to color, ethnic background, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, or any other legally protected class. Cal/West is committed to providing inclusive opportunities for all prospective candidates.” 


That’s the way good people consider others for all opportunities, including friendship, love, club and community organization, and sports… not just those relationships involving work. 


Peace, Love, Joy, and Imagination,

Carl Carroll Atteniese

 

Help Ban Animal Tested Products Imports

India has banned animal testing. Join in asking India to ban animal tested product imports:

http://action.hsi.org/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=104&ea.campaign.id=21328&ea.tracking.id=global_email&ea.url.id=152349&ea.campaigner.email=xGrUMiG2ENoV2Rf3qWibw6Sy3fY%2Fl6hn2t8RM2eLScw=&ea_broadcast_target_id=0

Why Proper English is Important

Today, I saw–not on a T-shirt or sign-board in Korea or Japan–but on Facebook, an image with the concept of ‘a lot’, spelled, a-l-o-t.

You may think this is harmless. It isn’t. I find errors in English–not only all around Korea and Japan; not just as cute marketing–but in textbooks and even in Western newspapers.

Human error is nothing to make great bones about when it is to be expected, but perpetuated ignorance is a different and egregious issue–not only in situations of say, public safety, but in language use, too. Here is why. Indulge me, please:

First, there is no word in the English language spelled, a-l-o-t, which means ‘a lot’. However, ‘allot’ means to set something aside for a predetermined purpose.

‘A lot’ refers to an undefined “large” quantity, after the amount of ‘one lot’, which is a defined quantity.

The ‘a’ in ‘a lot’ is an indefinite article denoting–in this case–the numerical value of one, and signifies that the lot in question is (in the case of space) not a special lot.

Second, the reason all this matters is, there are now more non-native English language speakers in the world than native-speakers. In fact, there are more people learning English in China than speak it in the U.S.

Assuming the spelling error in question was made by a native English speaker, you can see that native speakers don’t speak (or write) their language properly, all the time. The non-native speakers in the world both learn from what they see and hear, and are actually diluting and bastardizing Standard English as well, so how native speakers use English really matters.

Many people–including teachers of English–feel this doesn’t matter, saying that language is a flexible element of culture and that cultures are blending, so language is evolving. True, but the English language is also devolving.

A linguist I know has told me that he feels, for example, that due to second-language usage (and I might add, ignorance among native-speakers) in ten years, the singular, present-tense of verbs in the third-person, will no longer employ–or take–an ‘s’ to signify the ‘number of person’.

In other words, like the Chinese, we’ll soon be saying, things like ‘She go to the store on Saturdays’, instead of ‘She goes….’ This may not sound important. After all, certain, very poetic ethnic groups and others adopting their speech habits in our American population, have adopted this and similar grammar and style; or they created it… or popularized it in the inner cities… and in the ubiquity of rap music the world over. It likely began in the country, due to the educational repression during the era of slavery. Who knows? Maybe it was started by an ill-educated slave-owner.

This and other forms of broken English (now dialect?) are understood, and their meaning comprehensible in what is meant–in most situations of conveyed context, however–meaning is lost in this way of speaking English, and it will be lost to greater degrees with limited contextual conveyance, or where context is missing… and that’s a bad thing.

‘Context’ refers to the situation and surrounding ideas and expressed language components in a communication scenario.

English is one of the most precise and accurate languages known to humanity, affording its users the intricate, detailed, and accurate conveyance of ideas and nuances of meaning with a high degree of understanding afforded to the listener who understands how the language functions best–and here’s the kicker–in low context situations. That is a major accomplishment in linguistics.

In some language–North Asian ones being those I am most familiar with in this case–it is ingeniously easy–due to the use of simple grammar and style–to convey meaning with very few words. This can be augmented by the use of honorifics, qualifiers, and quantifiers, different word-endings, phrases, and special words–that signify the social status of the speakers, the listeners, and the subjects, as well as indicating conditions, number, and even shapes. This is an achievement, too, linguistically.

Korean, Japanese, and Chinese (the latter of the three, when compared to English, has an amazingly similar syntax, but very few tenses) require a lot of meaning negotiation, because these languages require high-context information transference. That means it’s often harder, at times–even for native speakers of these languages–to understand one another, without their having to inject added information into a conversation component–than it is for speakers of English. That’s why English is called low-context and Korean, Chinese, and Japanese are called high-context–by linguists.

Simply put, you need to talk more in some situations–adding more context, or information–to convey meaning in Korean and these other languages.

All languages–being components of their cultures–are beautiful, artful systems of expression.

English is the language of maritime, aerospace, and medical professions the world-over, in my opinion, not because it is more beautiful, or simply because of historical imperialism; English is the language of these intricate endeavors for its accuracy and benefits in meaning-conveyance.

English is also, like all languages, a mother and tool for poetry and preserves in modern times–the Western cultural ideals of democracy, Greek logic, equality, and freedom.

Keep the English language as it is. Keep it right, so it can keep our ideas clear and free, too. Learn, teach, speak, and write proper, standard English.

Steven Hawking Says He Doubts We’ll Survive

Steven Hawking Says He Doubts We’ll Survive…The Next Thousand Years Without having to escape the fragility of our world.

I read today that “every science academy in the world ‘accepts the mainstream view of man-made global warming.’ Next, ‘Every government recognizes the danger of tampering with the climate that allowed human society to thrive. They’ve agreed we must limit the global temperature increase to 2C – “a level which isn’t by any means “safe” but which may be enough to avoid the worst impacts.” Then, “The amount of warming we will experience goes up roughly in proportion to the total amount of carbon that the global society emits – cumulatively.”

Read the article (http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/apr/17/why-cant-we-give-up-fossil-fuels) I took these quotes and paraphrased from. It is much worse than you think. It is not a matter of whether we hae a disaster, now, it is a matter of how devastating it will be, even if we stop taking fossil fuels from the Earth and only burn what we have extracted, we are going to put 3tn tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and it is “overwhelmingly likely that we would shoot well past 2C and towards 3C or even 4C of warming.”

Words, Pictures, and Voice

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