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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Last Call- Fear and Loathing In America

I always loved Hunter Thompson. Who else could have written this?

“Journalism is not a profession or a trade. It is a cheap catch-all for fuckoffs and misfits -- a false doorway to the backside of life, a filthy piss-ridden little hole nailed off by the building inspector, but just deep enough for a wino to curl up from the sidewalk and masturbate like a chimp in a zoo-cage.” 
 Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream

There is some sort of journey taking place on this rock. Some sort of purpose to this madness we call life. And I'm not sure it's important that we understand what that purpose is.

In late 2007, my life changed dramatically. At about the same time that I was emerging from my life long coma, Eckhardt Tolle released his crown jewel, "A New Earth." I didn't just read "A New Earth", I absorbed it. And I came to believe as Tolle most assuredly does, that the world is completely unconscious and insane. Tolle calls it the insanity of the planet.

That book was the most "sane" thing I have ever read. I think Tolle thinks the planet's insanity might be curable with awareness. I don't think so. I don't think the designers wanted it that way.

There is no stopping insanity. It is a powerful force. Fear and human ego have no equal. Every negative emotion has it's roots in fear and ego. That's a fact. If you disagree- I will invite you to name any negative emotion that is not driven by some fear of yours. I have uttered that challenge many times- and as of yet- nobody has proven it otherwise. So it is, people obey those forces of fear as they go about their journey.

I see it every day. Crazy people forever wanting, thinking they will be happy with more money, a foreign sports car, or a bigger set of boobs. People making a living by running others down while pretending they are superior or sane. It's probably at it's worst here on the internet. Angry and suspicious people. Anonymous people. There is no shortage of haters. Calling attention to, labeling or judging the haters, will not make them less in number. In fact, it will do the opposite. Hatred is a truthful emotion- people never pretend to hate.

The conservatives hate the libs. The libs hate the conservatives. The Muslims hate the Christians, the atheists hate the religious, the Palestinians hate the Jews, and Wirecutter hates the cops. The libertarians hate uncontrolled government, we all hate cheaters and smart asses, and most of the world hates America.

We hate what we fear. But rather than recognize the simplicity of our own irrational problems- we run around hating and blaming everyone else as though our hatred is their fault. Trying to force people to change to allay our crazy fears- simply entrenches them even more. The insanity of the planet. In it's most simplistic form- we might call each other names. At it's most advanced stage- we kill each other.

Of course we believe in fear and hatred, this is not some opinion piece. We act on fear and hatred. We kidnap and kill. We bomb. We shoot. We do it all the time. We always have a good excuse. So fear and hatred are really prima facia truths.

And by those standards- America is top dog. So it stands to reason that we have a tremendous amount of insanity here. And up until 2007, I didn't realize that I was every bit as insane as the most unconscious person here. Recognizing all of those irrational fears was humbling. Realizing that I hurt others as a result of those fears was humiliating. Was I born insane? Probably.

Here's the best part. There is no solution in declaring anyone else insane. You cannot control, cure, or understand anyone else's insanity. You can only accept that folks like Adam Lanza are on some outrageous journey that required killing a bunch of innocent kids one day. Or that some nut job left shitty comments on your blog. These people are motivated first by fear and then by hatred. That's how it turns. Always.

Therefore, insanity is often a matter of degree. People practice varying degrees of sanity or insanity. In 2007, I was given a backstage pass to sanity. An invitation to drop out. I never fully took advantage of that offer- electing to stay online and write.

You want to look at something completely sane and rational? Watch your dog. He lives in the moment. He is completely happy and loving. He loves unconditionally and he is devoted. He doesn't worry about bombs, old age, money, or how he is going to die. He just lives in the moment- delighted at life, grateful and content, nose stuck out the window, participating. He does not sit around and brood about what he fears and hates. My dog is sane. I most certainly, am not. And all that separates me from the rest of the planet is that I am aware of my insanity.

Here's a simple test. If you think you are sane- you probably aren't. If you realize you are nuts- you are sane. That's how awareness works.

That has been my journey. Don't ask me why. I don't know.

I am tired of writing and engaging in the day to day insanity of the planet. I've got to be realistic about what I want to accomplish with a limited amount of time. I was given a once in a lifetime opportunity- it's time for me to take advantage of it.

I'm not going to change the world. I didn't do that in any large or significant way as a cop and I sure as hell didn't do that on FG. I'd rather entertain people and make them a little happier. Here's the weird part.

Maybe I don't want to change the world at all. Maybe it's fine just the way it is. Maybe everything is structured in a way or by a design that allows everyone else to take whatever journey that they need to take. Who am I to deny that?  I have to trust that the planet is- just as it's supposed to be.

I am gonna take a leave of absence, at least for a few weeks, maybe longer. It's been four years and nearly 2000 blogs ago that I landed here. It's time to drop out for a little while. I want to thank all of my friends and readers- many of whom take time out from their busy government jobs to swing by here and waste a little extra time each day. I will leave you with a fantastic little tune, about 3 minutes worth, and one last thought about the insanity of the planet.

Can you imagine how dull and boring this existence would be if we had nothing to learn? Without insanity- there'd be no Hunter Thompson. No fear and loathing. Nothing to accomplish.

With lyrics.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Navy Seals Need Collective Bargaining, Union Representation

I can't imagine breaking into somebody's home or compound and killing them. I have kicked a few doors in my day- but never with the intent of killing someone or being killed myself. I suppose that level of risk taking- kicking doors and killing folks- requires compensation commensurate with that level of risk. So...

The times they are a changin'.

Seems the Navy Seal that put two holes in Bin Laden's forehead is now whining because the military has abandoned him. He does not get medical benefits for life or even a pension. He quit four years short of the 20 year minimum retirement age- a requirement which has been in effect since Christ was a Corporal.

Maybe nobody explained the rules to him. was in the contract, buddy.

All of this risk taking, door kicking, and killing is worth more than 3 grand a month, isn't it?
Maybe it's time for some collective bargaining. I mean after all, doesn't our Commander in Chief support unions?

Can you imagine the possibilities had the Navy Seals formed their own public union prior to the Bin Laden raid? It might go something like this.

Seal Team Leader/Union Rep: Umm, Commander can I have a word with you?

CDR: Sure.

Team Leader: Commander, me and the guys were sitting around playing two card guts- night before last- and talking about this raid...

CDR: Yes..

Team Leader: Well it seems like a pretty risky thing to do... this flying in the middle of the night into a country who has not given us permission to be there, landing helicopters in a compound with armed Al Qaeda people running around and killing the world's greatest boogeyman. We're just not sure that 18 bucks an hour is adequate compensation for something like that. I'm not sure what the going rate is for killing the world's greatest boogeyman is... but it's gotta be worth something north of 18 bucks an hr, eh?

CDR: What's your point?

Team Leader: Well Commander, we want to be adequately compensated. So me and the boys drew up a little contract after Smitty lost three hundred in the guts game. We want 40 bucks an hr. from here on out, because this ain't some Somali pirate we're after. We want medical, dental, and vision insurance with no deductible.  We want a 5% shift differential because this shit is happening at night and it interferes with our sleep patterns and family life. All of us want to be able to retire as soon as the mission is complete. We also want new identities, paid for homes, and a million dollar bonus if we get Bin Laden. We also want the publishing and movie rights to the story. Oh yea, and some of those pastries with the cream cheese in them. That about covers it.

CDR: Are you out of your fucking minds?

Team Leader: No sir. We even drew up a contract, paid some dues, and hired a union attorney from Chicago. We want collective bargaining. We're prepared to strike if the Navy is unwilling to meet our demands.

CDR: We'll just get Seal Team Five to do the gig.

Team Leader: Nah, we called them last night. We told them you might try this shit, so Seal Team Five agreed to send us their union dues. They said they've got our backs. We're prepared to kill any scabs that cross our picket lines- Airborne Rangers or any of that bullshit- maybe instead of killing them we'll stick a few flashbangs up their asses.

CDR: Umm, let me get back to you.

Team Leader: Yes sir! Just remember, if we don't fly- Bin Laden won't die. Capiche?