Happy 4th of July all you US readers. “Remembrance Day”

tattered US flagI call this “Remembrance Day”. To me this day celebrates this nation’s independence from tyranny, oppression, and the beginning of an experiment unequaled in the history of mankind. What have we, the descendants who have inherited this gift beyond price, done with this glorious legacy?

We figured out how to vote for the lock box. The treasury. The goodies. We have voted willingly for shysters and scumbags who in another life would have been chased off a used car lot for being too dishonest. We have traded freedom for perceived comfort. We live under the burden of an unending stream of taxes, regulations and laws that make all of us criminals. We live at the sufferance of our government, instead of the way it should be, the government at our mercy.

In this nation, one of our states yesterday put a gag order on a couple to prevent them from commenting on the case they lost for refusing to do something based upon their religious beliefs.

THE GOVERNMENT TOLD THEM TO SHUT UP OR ELSE.

I’ll say it again…A gag order was imposed.

In an ongoing investigation where there could be harm committed by blabbing, I get it. But this is AFTER THE FACT.

I hope we all have a great time watching the fireworks. But in the scheme of things, we are no longer free, nor have we been for a very long time.

I’ll leave this post with a few quotes from a far seeing man who lived a long time ago, but was nearly prescient in his observations:

1.  The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.

2.  Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word, equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude.

3.  In America the majority raises formidable barriers around the liberty of opinion; within these barriers an author may write what he pleases, but woe to him if he goes beyond them.

—Alexis de Tocqueville

46 years have come and gone.

1995 - APOLLO 13 - 1995

1. Every year or two, I fire up this film. And even knowing ahead of time the story and the outcome, by the end of this movie I am literally choked up. Nowadays the sadness comes from knowing what we as a species COULD DO, versus what we as a species are NOT DOING. Don’t even start with me about the ISS. Great big freakin’ deal. 200 some miles above the surface, and not even out of the actual atmosphere…46 YEARS after our species reached out and walked on another world. It is at times like these I become depressed, and I’m almost never depressed.

I see all of the cute little toys we think nothing of using day to day to spout utter idiotic nonsense across the ether, and first I know that almost ALL of these technological wonders are either directly or indirectly attributable to that decade where real STEELY EYED MISSILE MEN doing the impossible with technology that wouldn’t get a facebook post accomplished…shook the pillars of heaven.

We weren’t perfect even then. Our government was lying to its people about why we were overseas killing people, and setting up a system of entitlements to enslave our own people by giving them whatever they wanted with no responsibility to earn it, or pay it back. Enslavement because it gives the impression that nothing need be earned, that the government will provide, and after generations of this nonsense, the people who grew up with this system know of no other way to exist. Their freedom has been sucked away by the promise of bread and circuses, while those who pay the piper are slowly ground down under more and more taxation to pay for it all.

(Sounds kinda’ familiar…same stuff only worse going on now without the redeeming bits of those lost years.)

But even with all of that, humanity reached out and touched the sky, and for a short while, it appeared that we WOULD continue on a course that would lead to that famous quote:

“To boldly go where no one has gone before…”

Of course that isn’t what happened.

1b. I was a small child watching Neil Armstrong take that first step on a television in my 2nd grade class. I grew up having witnessed greatness. I look around and see what a flipping mess is being made by people who have no understanding just how fragile and precious our existence is, and realize that as a species we have lost that wonder and awe of our place in the cosmos and are now firmly in the process of navel gazing.

Oh for sure there are those who are still looking at the high frontier, and I salute them. But when an ignorant fool who’s greatest accomplishment has been to bed and marry a Kardashian becomes a member of the top 100 most influential people IN THE WORLD, I feel a profound sense of loss.

Loss at what we could have done in those 46 years, and loss at what we as a civilization have become.

2. This originally was going to be a Last Bits post…but its just one subject, and while dear to my heart, it is a bit of a depressing read.

Tora! Tora! Tora!

tora-tora-tora-1970-001-poster-00n-919

I hit the “intermission” of this fantastic film and figured I’d pop something up here about it that really hit me while watching the first half.

(Intermissions, by the way, for you young pups in the audience, was something that was done to allow bathroom breaks, snack runs and such during longer films back in the old days. heh.)

I finally got a blu-ray cut of Tora! Tora! Tora!, one of my all time favorite movies, and it occurs to me as I watch it just how badly governments STILL operate. (Read: bumble and flail about like a bunch of idiots who have agendas that trump reality.)

This film, on the Rottentomatoes site, is an interesting read (critics vs. viewers). A lot of the listed critics(tm) dismiss it, call it names, call it boring.  86% of the audience reviews call it amazing, truthful, historical, intense and a great film.

When watching something that doesn’t go along with the “mainstream” it is a good thing to keep in mind that there are biases coloring the feedback, and I can think of no better film than this one to illustrate just that point.

This film, by the way, is about the most historically accurate presentation that Hollywood has ever put out…ever. In fact, just about the ONLY thing that is “fiction” is the Admiral Yamamoto quote about “waking the sleeping giant” at the very end of the film, which was something he never said, yet became legend after the film was made. Yamamoto might not have uttered these words, but he knew the truth of them, and other things he said back up the veracity of this legendary statement. So even something not factual in this film portrayed reality quite nicely. (Hollywood from another dimension I suppose. heh.)

p.s. This film makes Michael Bay’s trash (Pearl Harbor) look like the piece of fecal matter it truly was.

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Sad Puppies, GRRM…and the whole HUGO Awards mess

SadPuppies_Main

A response to George R. R. Martin from the author who started Sad Puppies | Monster Hunter Nation.

…AND an excellent response to this whole Sad Puppies Hugo Award mess from the guy who started the whole ball rolling. As a mostly libertarian (objectivist) type person, you probably can guess which side I’m on. I still think the awards are buggered up…but not BECAUSE of the Sad Puppy movement, rather they have been a mess for quite a long time, for reasons that the blog post author enumerates far more eloquently than I could have done (or would want to).

Also, GRRM is a god in my eyes as far as writing goes, but I have never thought 2cents about the guy’s politics…and actually told him that in a response to a post he made several years ago…the comment of which he deleted.  😀

The Hugo awards shouldn’t BE about politics, or which way a writer puts on his/her pants/dress or votes, or believes in Xenu or not or golden tablets or Vishnu…it SHOULD be about the writing and the stories…and sadly it hasn’t been THAT for ages.

Are we not Entertained?

Film "Gladiator" In United States In May 2000-

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed participating and watching sports and entertainment since I was a kid.

That said, about a year or so after 9/11, I started to notice something in our (American) culture that began to disturb me. What enraged a nation to war just a short sixty years before  (not just the politicians in government, but the people on the farms and in the cities throughout the nation) now gets forgotten, or becomes nothing more than a meme to give lip service to before promptly going on to the next “circus” in a relative blink of an eye.

These are very close parallels…scary ones…with the late Roman Empire. The games became the important thing. The important things began to get pushed to the side, or delegated to a bloated, wasteful regulatory nightmare of a “government” who would take care of the people. People became MORE disinterested in the world around them and completely engrossed in what, in reality were nothing more than distractions that meant…nothing.

I completely understand that people by and large don’t care about the big things all that much. What is happening close to home is, of course, common sense, and sometimes the big things are just too big to easily digest mentally.

But to completely forget the bigger things…or better yet, IGNORE the the bigger issues in place of vacuous idiots on television, sporting idols who couldn’t survive a week on a construction job due to the lack of braincells and the latest scandals that are blown so far out of proportion to make one wonder just WHY the stuff is news in the first place…well at that point one has to wonder how much longer before the “tipping point” is reached.

As time has progressed, what is important has evolved more and more into Entertainment FIRST, and important things only if we have time or inclination…or if an ice water bucket is available.

As I observed these things, the result was that I began to lose interest in a lot of the circuses that fill people’s thoughts and time.

Call it a change in mindset, but I care far less about ‘games’, celebrity, and entertainment. I still enjoy these distractions, but they occupy a much smaller portion of my life.

As a writer of fiction, I AM in the entertainment business. BUT, understanding the difference between “fun/leisure” and “things that truly matter” is far more important.

I’ll leave this entry with something I came across recently while searching for pictures for another post. Pretty much sums it up for me:

bread-and-circuises

Remembering their bitter end

First off, I’m a vet. I enlisted in the US Navy in 1979, and served honorably until 1986.

This is the day to remember those who fell in service to our country.

On this day,  I see this: “they died so you can be free“(tm)…repeated ad nauseam.  If we are remembering 1776, 1861 and 1941, then that is more or less true.

AFTER THAT, they died supporting political causes by suited men in halls far from the blood and guts and bullets to assert political agendas.

The threats, directly, to our nation? That was the cold war, and if we are to remember the fallen, they would be our foreign service agents who are not remembered…by anyone.

Instead, remember those whose lives were cut short, not defending America, but sent to their bitter ends by evil men furthering their own power while reducing this country’s freedom.

Mourn the lives cut short.

Don’t confuse remembering fallen heroes with patriotism or DEFENDING OUR FREEDOM(tm). This nation hasn’t the first clue about that anymore, hasn’t for a very long time, and THAT realization makes this day a very sad one for me.

The picture in this post infuriates me.  A life cut short for what? A son/daughter left alone without a Father, a wife without her Beloved, Parents outliving their children…for what?

It is a helpless fury, as there is almost zero I can do to change anything.

But, hey….”happy memorial day!(tm)”

Earth Day–a Rant.

Earth day.

Let’s see. What did I do to celebrate? Well I walked on it a bit. I breathed in some of its atmosphere.  I drove via a fossil fuel powered car to get and then eat some well seasoned dead animal flesh and some well seasoned plant life that grew in the Earth’s dirt that was cooked using some more fossil fuels which of course COME from the Earth. I used some electricity (more of those well mucked up fossils again) to surf the net, watch some videos, write some words, edit some others.

Thanks Earth.  Oh wait a minute, the EARTH didn’t DO any of that.  People made it so I could do all of that taking advantage of what is available ON the thin crust of this tiny little blue ball floating in the vastness of the cosmos.

(Except the bits about air, but as that is a product of the very nature of how the universe works at this distance from our type of star in combination with ALL of the life upon said globe, I’m not going to give credit to natural processes that happen whether we celebrate it or not.)

I’d rather have “Productive People” day I’m thinking, because without them, its caves/n/bears/n/short brutish lives of woeful ignorance, worshipping whatever boogieman robe wearing sly con artists can gin up to lighten the wallets of others.

People who blindly follow whatever meme happens to tickle their “foolish follow” bones have very little understanding of just how magnificent the mind of humanity can be.  (Or how stupid…never forget that part.)

Earth day? How about Intelligent Life day? Celebrate our ability to comprehend the universe around us.

“Earth Day”…yet another feel good meme that doesn’t mean a hill of beans without an intellect to comprehend it. Also, with intellect, wisdom and technology, comes another natural progression…a cleaner better environment in which to live.

Some will say that “Earth Day” is about protecting it.  When we can stop earthquakes, or cap volcanos that spew more bad crap into the air in A SINGLE DAY than we have managed in 50,000 years, when we can stop asteroids from annihilating everything in a single earthshattering kaboom!, then maybe I’ll listen.  Until then its political crap from those same old con artists mentioned earlier, only this time they are wearing green cassocks instead of black ones.

HAPPY PRODUCTIVE PEOPLE DAY!  🙂

It’s NOT the money.

I keep seeing this statement around the internets and elsewhere anytime someone has an issue with XY or Z (usually the government or some powerful conglomerate plotting evil death for its customers):

” It’s about money and NOTHING else.”

This annoys me to no end.

This is one of those memes that has been said so often, by so many, that now it’s assumed to be truth…when it is actually complete and utter tosh.

Money is merely a measuring stick for value. THAT’S ALL IT IS. The more you have, the more value you possess/control. It is POWER and CONTROL that should be eyeballed. Use money as a barometer of those two things, yes, but without money, the measure of control and power would be bullets, rifles, tanks, guns, whips and chains.

With money as the measuring stick and limited governments reined in from excesses, we are spared a 5,000 year span of REAL “haves and have nots”, slavery and agonizing death at the hands of others.

This irritation of mine applies even more so when applied to governments…who already control every aspect of currency. The only concern about money for a government is how much they can take from the governed to further their power and control over said governed without being reined in.

If you are having heartburn over an issue, and you stop and focus on “money”, then you haven’t reached the root cause of the issue, whatever that issue may be.

We’ve been treaded…but good

Gadsden Flag

I wanted to save this. It was a response to yet another facebook meme photo of the gadsden flag. I do not knock the person who posted it, nor do I knock what that old flag/n/snake stood for, but I believe it is far too late for it to be meaningful anymore. The only way for our nation to regain what has been lost would be through a real revolution…and I seriously doubt that something like that is possible in this time without some sort of apocalypse or total economic collapse as most people are so completely inured to what is going on as to prevent any meaningful change to occur.

So the saved response. Take it as you will…or not. It is what I have come to realize after 5 decades in the land of U.S. Bizarro World. —-

…Too bad that is meaningless. In our lifetime, we have NEVER experienced true freedom. We are coerced at the point of the gun to assist in the theft of our income on a yearly basis, we pay even MORE in the form of taxation for EVERYTHING all of the time, to the point of losing up to 40% of our disposable income to it AFTER the primary taxation method… we allow our government to continue its current form and allow them to gerrymander the districts to keep the same evil people in positions of authority.

We have long since abdicated any responsibility. In fact, we are NOT a free nation at all, but rather a thinly disguised fascist state that pays mere lip service to “freedom”. Even those on the conservative side, when questioned about how to change things have said “we need to litigate”. a quote of Mark Levin when asked what should be done on his radio show.

Our nation was founded upon principles the founders KNEW couldn’t survive…and they were correct, as progressive thought and politics began a long quiet struggle in the late 1800’s and took center stage with Woodrow Wilson’s administration in the early 1900’s.

When “we the people” understand that we have been sold down the river…a LONG time ago, that will be the beginning of change…but I have no hope for this occuring in our lifetime…unless the nation collapses under the unsustainable weight of its debt burden…but remember the government is in control of the military and the law enforcement branches, so what comes after…will probably just shed the veneer of a republic.

Sorry for piling on here on your page, but the constant barage of facebook memes/photos/slogans angers me to my core, as it is lip service rather than reality. “Reality”…is police geared and equipped to appear exactly as soldiers breaking and entering supposed private residences hunting for a ‘terrorist’…and no one…NOONE blinks an eye, rather they cheer in the streets.

We’ve been firmly tread upon, and we cheer.

 

Quick quote from a smart guy that REALLY applies these days:

CS Lewis: “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”