Archive for Government

The Assassin’s Creed, Part 2

Posted in All, Miscellaneous, Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 21, 2010 by marushiadark

“Hide in plain sight.” ~ Second tenant of the Assassin’s Creed.

It’s been said that the best place to hide something is in plain sight. It sounds so counter-intuitive, yet it happens all the time.

I’m sure we’ve all had experiences of losing something, only to find that it was right under our noses the entire time.  People who wear glasses have this problem all the time.  They can’t find their glasses, so they search the entire house, only to realize afterward that they were sitting on top of their head the entire time.

So why does this happen?

As near as I can figure, some part of our ego decides that we are too intelligent to lose something and that the object in question must be in some place that is less obvious – some place that only a crafty sort would think to search.  The reality is often that we simply had a momentary lapse in judgment, and we feel ashamed or embarrassed to admit our fallibility.  Some people prey on this arrogance and hide a great many things before our eyes.  The only reason we don’t see them is because we’re too afraid to admit that we might not have all the answers.  That our senses are flawed and imperfect.

The modern military employs camouflage, allowing them to effectively position themselves right next to an enemy without being detected.  But the Assassins don’t use paint and shrubbery.  Instead, they use a more illusive and universal form of concealment.

Green paint may be good when you’re out in the woods.  But when you have to get up close to people on the street, in buildings, or out in the open, you’ll stick out like a sore thumb.  So instead, you must learn how to disguise your persona, from the way you dress to the way you speak.  In the TV series Burn Notice, the main characters do this all the time, playing roles to get close to targets that would otherwise be out of reach.  It’s not always complicated, either.  Sometimes, the simplest of ruses can yield the biggest results.

“You know how to disappear.  We can teach you to become truly invisible.” ~ Raz Al-Ghul.

Not everyone is a spy or an assassin, of course, but that doesn’t mean the same techniques can’t be employed for other more mundane situations.

I can remember, as a child, going to the mall and feeling overwhelmed by the number of people that would walk by.  I would pretend that I was a fish and try to swim through the crowds as smoothly and stealthily as I could.  With this shift in attitude, I found that I could maneuver quite well through the mall with little to no attention being drawn to me at all.  On more than one occasion, I had managed to separate myself from my parents in this way and we had a hard time finding one another, even when actively searching.

In more recent times, I’ve been able to pop up behind someone without them realizing I’m there.  Often, I don’t intend to do this, either; it just sort of happens and the reaction I get is priceless.  I always joke about it afterward with the person, saying that it’s a good thing I’m not an assassin or they’d be dead.

I’d like to think that people have the capacity to be quite reasonable and understanding and that, if they knew better, they’d do better.

As children, we are pure, untainted, trustworthy, loving, ambitious, and willing to learn if the right person taught us.  The only reason we become anything less than that is because information is withheld from us, power is withheld from us, love is withheld from us.  In some way, we are lied to and the truth is kept locked away from our view.  So the idea that “a person is smart, people are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals” could be overturned in a generation with the right teachers, the right leaders in place.

Because people are inherently good and trustworthy and loving and reasonable, I think a lot more could be gained from greater openness and transparency.  It is only ignorance and arrogance and lust of control that causes the teacher to withhold information from the student.  If the teacher did their job properly, the student would become wiser than them.  That’s the definition of progress.

“No nation hiding behind closed doors is free, for it is imprisoned by its own fear.” ~ Bill Clinton.

Our governments are comprised of people who wield power over us on our behalf.  As such, we place great trust in them not to abuse that power or use it to harm us.  Government ought to work for its people, not the other way around.

Sadly, the reality is quite the opposite.

Much of that power over us comes from the withholding of information.  We are told that it is in our best interests that we not know what the government is doing to us and why.  We gave them the power to work for us.  Only Frankenstein monsters have power over their creators.

Our leaders withhold information out of fear of loss of power and thereby risk to their political and administrative survival.  True servants reveal information when requested by their masters.  Towards that end, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) was created, to serve as a balance of power.  Yet even such inquiries have been overridden under the guise of “National Security.”

“The very word ‘secrecy’ is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths, and to secret proceedings.” ~ John F. Kennedy.

There are certain things that ought to be kept secret and never revealed.  One’s bank account numbers, one’s personal computer passwords, the launch codes to nuclear weapons, etc.  Things that would cause massive damage if made known.  However, a great deal of that which is guarded ought not be kept secret, but should instead be brought to light.  The ingredients in mass-produced foods, the test results of pharmaceutical companies, the financial backgrounds of our public officials, the secret government files on 9-11, and so forth.

If we, the public, can be asked to submit to a pat-down and x-ray scan at the airport, I don’t think it’s too much to ask that those in positions of great power over us have a proportional level of transparency.  Wouldn’t that be in the interests of public, national security?

“People should not be afraid of their governments.  Governments should be afraid of their people.” ~ V for Vendetta.

In the animal kingdom, the scariest creatures are often the most afraid.  Rattlesnakes make noise with their tails because they are afraid of being eaten, so they create this persona of being really viscious.  Many animals make themselves look larger than they really are, or have designs of the eyes of large predators on their bodies.  But all this is an illusion.  It is out of fear that they create such personas.  And yet, it allows them to weild great power over their environment and hide in plain sight.

Our governments are no different.  They use such ruses to hide in plain sight, so why not learn to do the same and take that power back for ourselves?

Our truest political leaders are the ones who are open and honest with us, remembering that they serve the people, not control them.  Those that have nothing to hide, who welcome inquiries and investigations into anything that we might feel threatened by or insecure about.

A clear and clean sheet of glass often goes overlooked.  We tend to focus more on what’s just beyond the glass than the glass itself.

By far, the most effective way to hide in plain sight is to not have anything to hide in the first place.  To be a pane of glass unmarred by blotches on your soul.  Steel your heart and mind against human weakness and become a better person – a wiser, more compassionate, and more powerful person.  Work to serve your fellow man and become more transparent yourself and the world around you will follow suit.  Hide in plain sight.

M is for Money

Posted in All, Economics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 27, 2010 by marushiadark

“So you think that money is the root of all evil.  Have you ever asked what is the root of all money?” ~ Ayn Rand

At the time of my writing this, I’ve yet to read Atlas Shrugged.  I think I might already know a great deal of what’s in it, much like when I first read The Lost Symbol.  However, at the insistence of my mother, and many others, apparently, I’ve made Atlas Shrugged the very next book on my reading list.

Even still, Ayn Rand makes a very good point.  What is money?  Have you ever really thought about it?

For most people, when you mention the word “money,” a lot of things come to mind.  To some, it means little green pieces of paper or metal with pictures of dead presidents on them.  For others, it may call to mind an image of the mint printing vast rolls of the stuff.  On the one hand, money can be the source of great stress and grief if we don’t have it, or great opportunity and abundance if we do.  Pious people avoid it like the plague, while people that have it are willing to do anything to get it and can’t seem to get enough of it.

Most of these are probably incomplete observations, made by equally  ill-informed observers.  I know that, for most of my own life, I kept having the wrong impression about money, and only recently am I beginning to see money for what it actually is.

But what is that, exactly?

The Uniform Commercial Code is the Bible of commercial law.  UCC Article 1, Section 201b, Line 24 gives the definition of money as it’s used throughout most of the world today:

“Money means a medium of exchange currently authorized or adopted by a domestic or foreign government.  The term includes a monetary unit of account established by an intergovernmental organization or by agreement between two or more countries.”

In brief, money is simply a medium of exchange, an I.O.U.

When you play Monopoly, the paper is just there to help regulate how much you’re worth in comparison to the other players.  If you run out, the game even tells you to make more money out of regular paper, because it’s just a medium of exchange with no inherent value of its own.  Or if you play in digital form, it’s all done via electronic transfers and moving numbers around.  It’s Bookkeeping, the Game and boy do we love playing it!

If this were a barter system, we’d trade goods directly, like a camel for five bags of potatoes, or whatever we happened to agree was an equivalent exchange.

Money is just an indirect way of trading.  For instance, say I had a hat, but needed a pair of shoes.  I meet a man who needs a hat but has an extra pair of shoes.  So I trade him the hat for the shoes.  Now this man, some time later, needs to buy food.  He needs the food more than his hat, so he finds someone who will make the trade with him.  In that process, the hat was used as money because it was the medium that facilitated exchanges.

If we wanted, we could really use anything for money, as long as it was agreed upon by everyone involved; and in ancient times, that’s exactly what happened.

It used to be that money was more than just worthless paper.  When things like gold, silver, beads, shells, stones, and feathers were all used as money, the money itself had inherent value.  It could be used in trade, or kept by its possessor because it was worth something for its own merit.  Over time, certain things like copper, gold, and silver became more standardized as money because their value as a medium of exchange was more universally accepted among disparate cultures.  Eventually, people began to store, lend, and borrow coins and soon the first banks were formed.  From there, it was a short while before people started carrying around certificates that represented an amount of hard currency being kept in a vault somewhere.  And thus, we arrive at paper money.

The documentary Money as Debt elaborates more on this concept and gives a brief, allegorical history of the evolution of money.

“For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” ~ 1 Timothy 6:10

Money is a form of power.  So it follows that the love of money is the love of power and of control over one’s self and others.  What we do with that power, however, is the determining factor.

Greed and lack are just flaws in perception.  The world is nothing but abundant with wealth and resources for all, and then some, yet this misguided belief of never having enough to survive is what leads people to commit both great and terrible acts in an effort to get more money.  Rest assured, it’s not the paper or the numbers that they want, but the power and the goods that said money represents, as you will see later on.

The cure for greed and the cure for poverty are one in the same: recognize that there is more than enough to go around for everyone and find a way to satisfy everyone at the table.

It is important to note that money is not, itself, a bad thing.  It’s just a tool, like a hammer or a pencil, that facilitates a purpose.  In the case of money, that purpose is to act as a catalyst for the trade of goods and services.  Just as guns don’t kill people, neither does money create problems.  It is only people that kill people or create problems.  How can money create something?  It’s just a tool.  Only divine beings, living souls, can create anything.

Without getting into too much detail, there is a principle in law that states that the created cannot be higher than the creator.  Who is the creator in this case?  We are.

We humans are the creators of every organization and institution on this planet, and we are the creators of governments and money.  They are our tools, our creations.  They have only the power and authority and value that we say they do or that we give to them; and we alone have the ability to revoke that power, authority, and value.  Whether we choose to abdicate our role as creator and be overrun by these Frankenstein monsters or not is our choice.  But eventually, the human race will be pushed to the breaking point unless it wakes the fuck up and remembers that the power was ours all along.

Like what Glinda, the good witch, tells Dorothy at the end of the Wizard of Oz, you’ve had the power to go home all along.  It’s just that you weren’t in a position to accept or believe it, and so no one told you, but instead left you to figure it out for yourself.  Well, consider this your wake up call, with me giving you formal notice the power is yours.

“The man who has no money is poor, but one who has nothing but money is poorer.” ~ Orison Swett Marden, New Thought author

Return we now to the subject of paper money.  It’s really almost absurd how everyone knows that paper money is just worthless paper, and yet we still choose to rely on it for everything.  We covet it as though it were the secret of eternal life.  But why?  What makes paper money so valuable?

Recall that, in ancient times, people used mainly gold and silver as money in the form of bars or coins.  Bars and coins were used because they could be regulated in terms of weight and purity, but they were not without their flaws.  The most basic reason for switching to paper money was because it was lighter in weight and easier to carry around.  You could write up a certificate for really any amount of money that you wanted, so long as you had enough gold or silver somewhere to back it up.

For hundreds of years, it was the case that all certificates of this kind could be turned in any time the holder felt insecure and he would be given an amount of gold or silver equal to the amount that was written on the document.  What had value wasn’t so much the actual paper, but the confidence that it could be exchanged for something of worth.  And soon people began to trade these papers as though they were actual value.

If you look at the top of any American dollar bill, you will see the words “Federal Reserve Note” scrawled on it.  The word “note” in this case means a promissory note.  In other words, it’s a promise to pay.

If you’ve ever taken out a loan, you probably filled out a promissory note and gave it to your creditor or bank.  That promissory note is your promise to pay.  It’s your promise to them that they can redeem it for something of actual value.  With that confidence, the note can be exchanged as though it were actual currency.  They can trade it in for whatever it’s worth (which these days is just an extension of credit).

Things start to get interesting when you begin to realize that all cash is just a promissory note.  What we think of money is really just our promise that the holder will get something in return for it.

More interesting still is that, if you look at a dollar bill, it no longer says “redeemable in gold or silver.”  Prior to 1933, all dollars were promises of payment in either gold (which was standard) or silver to the holder.  So what happened in 1933?

“What difference does it make how much money you have?  What you do not have amounts to much more.” ~ Seneca

For a more in-depth history, I would recommend the documentary The Money Masters, but suffice to say that the history of America has really been one of banking and trying to avoid central banks, in particular.  The Founding Fathers resisted the Bank of England and wrote into the Constitution the power of Congress to coin money and to regulate its value.  And our country managed to survive well enough without a central bank for over a hundred years.  Since our inception, private international banks have tried to get Congress to give over that power to them and, in 1913, President Woodrow Wilson finally caved with the signing of the Federal Reserve Act.  From then on, the Federal Reserve (a private international bank) would be the sole creator of all the currency used to fund the government, which it lent to us at interest.

Prior to 1933, the United States was on a gold standard and most of its currency was backed by gold.  In 1933, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt ordered a seizure of all the gold held by private citizens in an effort to pay off the national debt.  With the signing of HJR 192 on June 5, 1933, the use of promissory notes backed by gold was ended and a new form of currency replaced it: the Federal Reserve Note.

Federal Reserve Notes (which replaced United States Notes) are what’s known as fiat currency.  Fiat means that is isn’t backed by a commodity (like gold), but has value because of government decree.  It has value because the government says it does and will force you to accept it if offered for the payment of any and all debts in the United States.

If you look in the corner of the dollar bill, it says as much.  The word “tender” in this case means “an offer of money.”  It’s an offer of money because it’s only a note, which is a promise of money, not actual money itself.  There is no money.  Roosevelt took it all from us to pay the debt, which we still have hanging over us to this very day.

Following World War I, Germany was in bankruptcy because a lot of its infrastructure was destroyed and it had no money to rebuild or to pay the war reparations that its enemies demanded as a condition for accepting German surrender.  As a result, Germany suffered massive inflation and the Deutsche Mark became incredibly devalued without anything to back it.  It is said that marks were used to wallpaper people’s houses, that’s how worthless they were.  It was only through the aid of private banks and corporations – some of them American – that the Nazis were able to rise to the levels they did, and we all know how that turned out.

Similarly, after the Great Depression, people began to hoard gold as the only valuable form of currency.  Without gold and value passing through the American economy, the government had no funds to operate with.  It couldn’t afford to maintain its military in wartime or repay the Federal Reserve and its other creditors.  So the United States was also forced to declare bankruptcy and stole all the gold of its citizens in an effort to pay off its debts.

While we may have gotten out of the Great Depression through a re-stimulating of the economy via Roosevelt’s New Deal, we continue to employ the Federal Reserve and its worthless paper.  So a rational person would have to conclude that it’s only a matter of time before we fall back into that same pit again.  Only next time, it’s liable to be a lot worse.  Remember, we brought the Fed into this world and we can certainly take it out.

Symbols, Part 1: Introduction

Posted in All, Economics, Media, Miscellaneous, Politics, Psychology with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 18, 2010 by marushiadark

“I leave symbols to the symbol-minded.” ~ George Carlin

Chances are, the first things we think of when we think of symbols are logos and religious emblems.  All major corporations have their own specific form of branding with an enigmatic logo to identify them to the public.  Religions use symbols like crosses, stars, wheels, the sun, the earth, and a whole host of others as representations of their specific beliefs.  But these aren’t the only symbols.

A symbol is anything that stands for something else.  Every letter and number is a symbol and the words they comprise are just oral or written symbols for ideas.  A kiss can be a tactile symbol of love or betrayal, depending on its context.  Your own body is just a symbol for who you are, just like your signature or your avatar on a forum.  People (or more specifically their actions) can be symbols for specific ideals or modes of thought.  Certain buildings, banners, and flags are also symbols for the same.  Money can be a symbol of status and power or of greed and corruption, and its lack can be a symbol of either suffering or enlightenment.

Really anything can be a symbol, and symbols can be symbols of other symbols, even.  We are undoubtedly creators and users of symbols, all of us.  In fact, we are the only creatures on the planet that use them, and we use them for pretty much everything.

“Most people are unwilling to seek and create their own interpretations of these symbols.  Instead, they blindly submit to preconceived definitions and connotations given by sources unknown.  Because of this, many things have been predetermined in our understanding of life without our knowledge.” ~ The Esoteric Agenda

If I were to say the word “swastika” to you, what’s the first thought that comes to your mind?  Probably a Nazi banner or something else to do with Nazis or Nazism, right?  What if I said “red, white, and blue”?  Probably the American flag, if you’re an American, or something about patriotism and government if you’re from a nation whose flag is red, white, and blue, such as England, America, France, Australia, and many others (most of them use the same colors).  If I said “cross,” your first thought would probably be a Latin cross, with or without the image of Jesus’ body hanging from it.

That right there is proof that we are fixated on symbols that have predetermined definitions and connotations, and that we allow others to dictate for us what to think.  The swastika has its origins thousands of years before the Nazis ever existed, and it was largely a symbol of peace and power.  The cross has its origins thousands of years before Christianity ever arose.  And “red, white, and blue,” are just colors – frequencies of light waves.

Symbols have no meaning except what we give them, so why are our interpretations of these symbols so specific and so limited?  The only reason our thoughts would be so restricted is through deliberate social conditioning.  Symbols and their meanings are not something genetic, but rather they are learned and culturally specific.

Does that mean that everyone whose first thought when I said “swastika” was “Nazi” is a mind-slave?  No, not really.  It does if those are the only things you thought about, but those with more knowledge and awareness will not be limited to just one interpretation of such symbols.

To illustrate the difference, one of my teachers used the example of “gum” as a symbol.  A ditsy, bubble-gum chewing, Valley Girl cheerleader with no awareness or knowledge at all might only think of chewing gum; but someone else might think of chewing gum and think of other things, like a gum tree, gum arabic, or even gummy substances.  The point is that a person who’s not a mind-slave is in full control of their mind and is actively using it to make mental connections to as many things as possible, developing a neurological web instead of a linear, one-to-one association between symbol and idea.

When a corporation, religion, or government body creates a symbol, there is next to no leeway in what they want you to think with regards to that symbol.  Corporations want you to associate their company and their product with it.  They pay millions of dollars to develop logos that will hit deep psychological nerves in your subconscious and create nuerological links between those symbols and the desire for certain products.  Religions demand your focus and devotion to their symbols, which only serves to distract you from truly experiencing life the way it was meant to be lived.  This is why God made it a sin to worship such images.  And governments want your loyalty and your obedience and to keep you distracted with these symbols of pride and patriotism while they carry out large-scale violations against our rights, most-notably war.  In the pledge of allegiance, we’re told to pay homage to the flag and that burning a flag is illegal in many places, even though the flag is just a piece of cloth to which we add our own meaning.

Such symbols are most prolifically portrayed through the media, Hollywood, and through advertisements.  Many of them are variations of the same bastardizations of more spiritually enlightening icons: the sun, the moon, the all-seeing eye, the pentagram, the hexagram, the double-square, the cross, the pyramid, the torch, the eagle, the yin-yang, vesica piscis, skull and crossbones, and so on.  These symbols are not inherently good or bad, but are only good or bad in so far as the meanings and purposes we assign to them.  Look around sometime and see just how prolific these symbols really are.

A is for Agent

Posted in All, Economics, Media, Politics, Psychology, Spirituality with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 15, 2010 by marushiadark

“The Matrix is a system, Neo.  That system is our enemy … these people are still a part of that system and that makes them our enemy.  You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged.  And many of them are so inert, so helplessly dependent on the system that they will fight to protect it.” ~ Morpheus

When the Wachowski brothers first created The Matrix, they viewed the relationship between the humans and the machines as a metaphor for the relationship between individuals and the institutions that they created.  Many of our man-made institutions were initially created with the most noble of intentions, but I bet we can all name at least one that we’re aware of that has lost sight of its original purpose and gone on to become something far more malicious (for most people, if it’s not the Catholic Church or the opposing political party, it’s Scientology).

No creation can supersede its creator, and yet it would seem that most, if not all, of our religious and governmental and commercial institutions have grown to become quite the Frankenstein monsters and are threatening to choke the living daylights out of us.

We are the ones that created these institutions and breathed life into them.  Like anything else, they can only do what we empower them to do.  Our own Constitution, for instance, declares that the American government is meant to be a government “of the people, by the people, for the people.”  The Founding Fathers wrote the power into the hands of the people, so why is it that we, the people, are utterly incapable of stopping these machines, these now-self-aware monstrosities?

The fact of the matter is that our institutions have become sentient programs with lives and minds of their own that are struggling desperately to survive, even if it means destroying or enslaving a few minds, a few lives, in the process.  But just as the machines of The Matrix need humans for fuel, so too is the lifeblood of our modern institutions a fuel comprised of human beings.

An agent is a sentient program that does the bidding of the machines.  A sentient program is self-aware like a human being, but is different from us in that it only ever does what it is ordered or commanded or pre-programed to do.  It doesn’t think for itself.  It doesn’t act for itself.  It is merely the arm of the machine.  The word “tool” would not be inappropriate in deference to them.

Many people that would call themselves free human beings are, in fact, merely agents of the system – the system being any institution that seeks to enslave all mankind and convert us to its way of thinking.  Think about it.  A church cannot survive without members of its congregation actively recruiting new converts.  A business cannot survive without expanding its profits, even if that means using subliminal mind-control techniques (also known as advertisements) to get human beings to become agents and buy crap they don’t need.  A government most certainly can’t survive for long without the will of the people, since the people are the ones that vote the politicians out of office.

As Confucius said, the three things needed for good government are: enough food, enough arms, and the will of the people.  If you were forced to give up one of those, then arms should go first. People can still fight without arms, but will not have the will to fight if they have no food.  If you are forced to give up another thing, then it is food.  During The Long March, Mao Zedong led his army across the mountains of China.  His men were cold and starving, but they developed a fierce loyalty to him by the end of it because he was with them, encouraging them to press forward the entire time.  But without the will and support of its people, a government, or any other institution for that matter, can do nothing at all.

If we are unhappy with a particularly malevolent institution, then the way we stop it is by removing the fuel of the machine: its agents.

“The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who haven’t got it.” ~ George Bernard Shaw

How do we identify an agent?  Are there any tell-tale signs?  Agents come in many forms and some are more entranced than others.

One way to tell them apart is their level of denial.  The world is full of shit and hardship and anyone that tells you differently is either an enlightened master – who fully accepts the world around him and is at peace with it – or an agent.

When you come across an enlightened master, you may not realize it at first.  Are they a simple and humble and bitter old man or an outspoken, eloquent, and enthusiastic woman.  They may be cynical or happy, but if you ask them about the state of the world, they will give you the facts of the matter and are open to new ways of thinking about what they already know.  They will not judge you, but instead accept you and your beliefs and will offer to teach you and help you grow in your own way instead of forcing you or coercing you to conform to some other way against your will.

On the other hand, an agent will use defense mechanisms to try and justify their lies and avoid confronting the truth.  If you tell them the world is round, they will show you a diagram of the world as a disk that spins counterclockwise and tell you that the resultant upward force is what really causes gravity.  They will defend the lie with blissful ignorance and apologetic threats.  They are like the addict that will attempt to get you hooked on their stupidity and lies.

Use your own powers of observation.  If something appears false to you, then it very well might be.  Use your rational, analytical mind and make a case for why things are the way they are.  Any reasonably sane individual may or may not agree with your conclusions, but they should at least be open to hearing you out and consider what you have to say.  If they agree, it’ll be because of your facts and your logic, not the promises of benefits and the avoidance of punishment.  Anyone who threatens you or promises you candy if you just get in the van is not your friend.

“Are you at liberty to play for that, Sctanley?  Or would you prefer to play for smiles?” ~ Dave, Couples Retreat

In some cases, usually the more indoctrinated cases, an agent will take on a phony persona.  These people are not really people, but are mere shells of persons who are trying to get you to volunteer for slavery.  The 13th Amendment banned slavery and involuntary servitude, but voluntary servitude is still perfectly legal. If you buy into the false images of these agents, you will have committed yourself to be bound in servitude.

Such persons you can usually identify right away.  They will have big stupid grins, wide Bambi eyes, and doll-like faces.  Whenever I see someone like this, I shutter and avert my eyes because of how creepy they are.  They’re like the bottom of the uncanny valley: not really living and not really dead, but somewhere in-between.  A real-life zombie or vampire.  If you need a visual example, here’s what one looks like:

Paula Deen - Creepy, Agent

God, that woman creeps me out so much.

I’m sure you’ve seen that type of face before (especially if you watch Lie to Me).  Kitty Farmer and Jim Cunningham from Donnie Darko, the Todds from Bubble Boy, the Enzyte Guy, and Joo Dee from Avatar: The Last Airbender are all examples of this.  Many extremely devout religious practitioners, politicians, advertisers, and government and corporate spokespersons have this same face.  That same cold, lifeless stare in their eyes that says, “Everything’s fine, you’ve nothing to worry about.”  But what they really mean is “I’m a brain-washed tool.  Beware of me and my machine.”

I’m sure you can find many more examples of this face showing up.  It’s not that free people can’t be happy, just that theirs is a more genuine and less phony kind of happiness.  Their eyes are deep wells and they radiate warmth and compassion when they are happy, instead of giving off the stink of robotic emotions.

Beware of the agents of evil, for they are the true enemies of humanity and are in most need of rescuing.

Pride and Prejudice

Posted in All, Politics, Science, Spirituality with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 11, 2010 by marushiadark

“The folks who conducted to act on our country on September 11th made a big mistake … they misunderestimated the fact that we love a neighbor in need.  They misunderestimated the compassion of our country.  I think they misunderestimated the will and determination of the Commander-in-Chief, too.” ~ George W. Bush

Today is the ninth anniversary of September 11th 2001, a day that means a great many things for a great many people.  It evokes anger and sadness and feelings of pride in our nation and hatred of its enemies (whether you believe those enemies to be foreign or domestic).  It’s a day that is burned into the memories of everyone who was alive to remember what happened.  It’s one of those days, like Pearl Harbor or the Kennedy Assassination, that changed the course of history forever.  But that doesn’t mean we should let it change us forever.

My heart goes out to the victims and their families and to the people of this country as a whole.  Mostly because I believe that 9-11 was nothing more than an excuse made by the Bush Administration and the economic puppetmasters behind them to drag us all down to hell.  I know there are many who disagree with that sentiment, but that’s rather irrelevant at this point.  What matters is what effect that great tragedy has had on the American people and what legacy it’s left behind.

Here are nine thoughts for 9-11:

  1. I Share Your Pain – Today I learned a very sobering truth: that my favorite uncle was in Building 7 nine years ago to the day.  From what I can gather, he was in the building for some sort of meeting.  When the planes hit, the meeting was adjourned and he intuitively got as far away from there as he possibly could.  He hailed a cab and crossed back over to the Jersey side within a short period of the bridges being closed.  He’s still alive, thank God, but it’s apparent to me and my family that he had someone watching out for him (and us) on that day.  For the past few years, I was told he was either a few blocks away or across the street from the buildings when it happened.  I had no idea that’s where he actually was.  I don’t know what kind of shape our family would be in if he’d died that day, as he’s more or less the humorous one in our family.
  2. Who Dunnit? – If you were in the buildings and got out before they went down, or knew someone who did, or knew someone who didn’t, or had a loved one that was involved in the aftermath or the rescues … wouldn’t you wanna know what REALLY happened on that day and why the towers REALLY fell?  For all our talk about honoring the victims and their families, wouldn’t the greatest honor be to get to the bottom of the dirt with a bulletproof, watertight, beyond any reasonable doubt investigation?  If the Bush Administration wasn’t the group that caused it, they most certainly knew about it in advance and did nothing to prevent or deter it.  Yet we gave them an eight-year pass, carte blanche, to wreck havoc and destruction on America.  Don’t the victims deserve a little more than that?  I think they do, considering I was very nearly a victim of it myself.
  3. Rescue Remedy – There’s no question that the men and women who risked their lives to rescue people caught in the 9-11 tragedy are heroic and deserving of the highest rewards we can bestow upon them.  Unfortunately, our own government doesn’t think so.  Many of the rescue workers contracted fatal lung diseases from the asbestos fireproofing that was used in the WTC buildings, along with other diseases.  Michael Moore, in his movie Sicko, invited them to travel to Cuba to receive medical treatment, but when it came time for the United States government to offer its own support, it turned them down for the sake of political expediency.
  4. You Mosque Be Joking – A great deal of controversy has arisen over the conversion of an old Bloomingdales in Manhattan into an Islamic community center.  Opponents claim that the mosque is too close to Ground Zero and that this is disrespectful to the victims.  Opponents say they’d be happy if it was moved five or six blocks away, yet Masjid Manhattan has been four blocks from Ground Zero since 1970 and no one seemed to have a problem with that.  Furthermore, New York mayor Michael Bloomberg is on record as having said that both he and a number of the victims’ families support the right for Muslims to build their Islamic Center in lower Manhattan within two blocks of Ground Zero.  Anyone that believes in American freedom would have to go back and reread the First Amendment, which states that no law shall be passed that prohibits the free exercise of religion.  Of course, any person of faith takes actions that infringe upon the rights of others is not protected.  This brings up the second major objection to the building of the mosque, which is the belief that it is funding and/or funded by terrorism.  However, as Jon Stuart points out, Alwaleed bin Talal, the same person accused of linking the mosque with terrorism, is also the majority owner of Fox News.  Point being, not all Muslims are terrorists.  Let them build their fucking mosque!
  5. Engineering Disaster – America claims to be a bastion of freedom, but we’re also well-known for our ability to overgeneralize.  Sadly, many people presume that all Middle Easterners are terrorists and all Hispanics are illegal immigrants.  Now it seems we’ve found a new demographic to link with terror: engineers.  Why are so many terrorists engineers?  Good question.  Could it possibly be because engineers have the technical capacity to, I don’t know, MAKE BOMBS?  Currently, there’s a debate about which came first: the engineering degree or the radical belief.  Personally, I don’t think it’s as cut and dry as that.  Some people probably had radical beliefs and then figured they could best apply those beliefs by studying engineering to learn how to make bombs, hack data, and take down buildings.  Others probably became engineers and then were targeted by radical groups for their unique skills.  Probability states that at least a few of them would turn under pressure.  Just watch the movie Traitor for an example.
  6. What’s in a Name? – In the category of things that are disrespectful to the victims of 9-11, few people seem to be talking about the so-called Freedom Tower, whose name is reminiscent of things like Freedom Fries and Freedom Toast.  Such childish tags arose in protest of all things French.  Even Congress took up that banner in an effort to appear more politically “correct” in a post-9/11 world.  Why did we do that again?  Oh, right.  Because France expressed strong opposition to the invasion of Iraq in 2003 – the invasion that kicked off a war that many Americans now believe was both illegal and immoral.
  7. Extenuating Circumstances – In the past few years, most of us have had terrible experiences in airports.  From unbearable wait times, to unwarranted searches and seizures, to limitations on baggage, to moms being forced to drink bottles of breast milk because of suspicions that it might be a combustible liquid, to increased air fare costs to pay for it all, air travel has become one of the least enjoyable forms of travel.  Rather than actually check all these things at the door before entering the airport, travelers are forced to go through a maze of hoops and bullshit protocols that don’t really prevent anything from happening.  All of these inconveniences are the result of measures implemented in a reactionary, band-aid approach to dealing with lapses in security.  It’s only a matter of time before someone finds a new way around current airport security and then even tighter measures are imposed upon the millions of passengers that have no intentions of harming anyone.
  8. Serve and Protect – As a result of September 11, the Bush Administration enacted many new policies including the USA PATRIOT ACT, illegal wiretaps, detainment and torture of non-hostile American citizens, closure of the borders, and engaging in a very costly war.  All of this was done under the guise of protecting the American people, but all we really did was trade a foreign enemy for a domestic one.  We were angry and scared and looking for vengeance when cooler heads should have prevailed; and that energy and drive and unwaivering pride and patriotism, along with the lives of many young men and women who volunteered for armed service after 9-11, was all used to advance what amounted to nothing more than an economic and political agenda.
  9. How Long Will We Sing This Song? – The attacks of September 11, 2001 and the events that followed were by no means the first of their kind and I very much doubt they will be the last.  Though it’s a day that changed the course of history, we cannot let our fear and grief and anger get the better of us.  Tragedy happens and life will go on.  And at some point, we will each have to decide for ourselves what the appropriate point in time will be when we stop living in the past and start living in the moment.  Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it, but those who continue to live in the past are already repeating it.  Let us take what we have learned and move on with our lives as best we can.

“If you’re sad, then cry.  When there are no more tears to cry, you still have to live.” ~ Fearless (2006)

The events of September 11 came dangerously close to home for me.

Those who are old enough to have lived through the event say they know exactly where they were when Kennedy died.  For those who are old enough to remember the events of 9-11, I think the same principle applies.

To this day, I remember being in my freshman year of high school, having just gotten out of homeroom when the principle announced to everyone over the PA system that we were to have an emergency assembly.  I turned to one of my classmates who was sitting next to me in the auditorium and asked what this was about.  He had a set of headphones on and told me that someone had just flown a plane into the World Trade Center.  “Bullshit!” I said.  Imagine my surprise when the principle finally got up on stage and announced to the entire school the very thing my classmate had just told me.

We got let out immediately after our principle explain to us what was happening.  I remember standing in the living room of my childhood home watching the events unfold in real time on television.  I didn’t understand, back then, all that was going on, but something deep inside of me awoke that day and I took it all in with a sense of wonder and terror that most reserve for encounters with the divine.  Though it wasn’t the first instance of such things in my life, I think that day was the day my innocence was finally broken and I stopped being so naive to the world around me.

When President Bush finally announced his intention to go to war with Afghanistan, I intuitively wondered how in the hell they were able to pin this on Afghanistan so quickly after the event just happened.  At first, I only had questions.  Years later, I began to finally come to some definite answers and I didn’t always like what those answers were, but I’m starting to become more accepting of them because I found even more answers that gave context and peace to the scary ones.  And those answers began to become freedom for me from my negative emotions.  I just hope that everyone can find the same answers and peace and freedom that I found.

Thoughts for Labor Day

Posted in All, Economics, Humor, Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 6, 2010 by marushiadark

“… to celebrate work by being at play.” ~ Unknown

Today is Labor Day (not to be confused with Labour Day), a day commissioned to honor the social and economic achievements of the working class.  Sounds great, doesn’t it?  Having parades in honor of the hard-working, blue collar men and women of America.

How do you plan to celebrate this most American of holidays?  Take the day off?  Have a barbecue?  Watch a parade?  Go to a ball game?  Or maybe just sleep until noon?  After all, you probably haven’t had a Monday to yourself since Memorial Day.

Yes, Labor Day is a day dedicated to you, the L5 vertebra in the back-bone of our society … or at least that’s how they sell it to us.

If you were to look at the history of Labor Day, you’d see very quickly that it was actually the result of political expediency in an effort to placate the masses.  President Grover Cleveland, no doubt at the behest of railroad lobbyists, ordered the U.S. military to step in and put down a group of workers exercising their Constitutional right to peaceful protest against what they believed to be unfair working conditions.  Many workers were killed and the whole thing was a political disaster stacked on top of questionable authority, so the President hastened the approval of making Labor Day a national holiday in the hopes that people would be too distracted by the big fancy floats to remember what happened.

Talk about buying people off!

But that’s all in the past, right?  The U.S. government no longer treats workers like crap.  I mean, this isn’t Communist Russia where we have things like graduated income tax, confiscation of property, centralized credit systems, centralized communication and transportation systems, property taxes, state-sponsored schooling, disproportionate rights for immigrants and rebels, … oh wait.  I guess we do have all that stuff over here in America.

Just that we had our workers revolt a few years before the Russians did.  And here we were worried about them beating us at something.

“If hard work made you richditch diggers would be rich.” ~ Proverb on Work

You might have heard that quote before, perhaps even in a letter about starting a business from home.  I’m not here to tell you to go and do that, but it raises an interesting point that there’s a disparity between what we’ve been conditioned to believe about working to earn money and the truth.

We’re taught from an early age that having a job and working hard makes you a successful and upstanding member of society; yet for most of us, the reality is probably a lot different.  The truly sad part, though, is that we’re all aware of it to some extent, but we either ignore it or think we’re powerless to do anything about it.

For instance, have you ever wondered how it is that 1% of the population earns 95% of all the money and can get away without paying any taxes on it to boot?  If you haven’t, then consider this is your wake-up call.

That 1% owns 95% give or take a few percent.  So if there were a hundred people in a room with a million dollars between them, one person would have $950,000 and each of the other ninety-nine people would have little more than $500 each.  Does that not seem unfair to you?  I count myself among the 99% and I think that’s unfair.  I mean, there’s ninety-nine of us and only one of him.  Why don’t we all just get together and make him give us a bigger cut?  Maybe he’s a really great guy that contributes a lot to society, so he can get a slightly bigger slice than the rest of us and that’s fair, but I seriously doubt he’s ninety-five times better than any one of us.  As a matter of fact, in all likelihood, he’s probably about ninety-five times worse than any of us.

But I’m generalizing of course.  Not that you go out and murder every rich man on the planet, although in the long-run it might be a lot fewer bodies.

“All the measures of the government are directed to the purpose of making the rich richer and the poor poorer.” ~ William Henry Harrison

I once read that, in a single year, David Rockefeller made $16,000,000 and paid no taxes on any of it; yet in order for us to pay off the outstanding national debt, income taxes of every man and woman in America would have to be raised to something like 65% of their total income.  With the amount you pay on taxes now, do you think any of us could survive such a thing?  Maybe it’d be worth it if we got something in return for it.  But I bet most of you reading this article right now are probably struggling with what you already have, trying to make ends meet while busting your ass for forty, forty-five hours a week or working two jobs or something, with kids and rent and family medical expenses on top of all of that.

I should know, since I’ve seen my own family go through that very thing.  My mom works as a nurse – sometimes twelve hours a day – and my dad is a general contractor.  My first job was working for him over the course of several years for next to no pay at all.  For a while, my dad had no work during the most recent recession, so my mom was supporting us all by herself.  Ours is a family of four kids, two dogs, and a mortgage.  Thank God we’re all healthy and went to public schools or we’d be in even worse shape than we are now.

“There’s nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.” ~ Peter F. Drucker, Social Ecologist and Management Consultant

As Peter Joesph, creator of the movie Zeitgeist (linked in sidebar) put it, “Most people think of having a job as some form of basic instinct.”  Without much question on our part, we sell our time and labor out for money to some dictator we call “boss” for little pay and even less respect.  And the jobs we do are done solely because, if we don’t, we are going to lose our house or our health insurance or our vehicles or whatever.

Obviously, it’s not a totally unreasonable thing to do what you have to in order to survive, but working harder isn’t always a guarantee of fulfilling our needs, either.  And even then, we’re just taking care of our physiological needs.  We’re being kept alive to do … what, exactly?  Working hard to keep us alive just enough so that we can keep on working hard?  That’s what I thought.  What’s the point of laboring if you don’t get to enjoy the fruits of your labor once in a while?  Most people put off their enjoyment until they’re old enough to retire (which is usually some time in their sixties, if at all).  But even a poor orange grower gets to eat oranges one season out of every year.

It’s one thing to save for a rainy day, it’s another thing entirely to save every penny for a day that might never come.  If you aren’t living and enjoying life now, then you’re doing something wrong.

What that something is depends on your particular situation, but there are a few general things you can do.  For starters, I’d recommend reading the book The Richest Man in Babylon, as it has a lot of wisdom on earning money and making it work for you.  Wisdom that is really timeless.

Working hard will not be enough to get you what you want in life.  Trading your income for labor is something that a robot or a well-trained monkey can do and you’re not a robot or a monkey (not even a well-trained monkey), so you need to begin to work smarter, not harder.  Instead of working that dead-end job in retail or telemarketing (which is only helping to bring down the whole of society), figure out what it is you love doing and develop a plan around that.  You’ll be a lot happier for it.  And take some time out to enjoy life once in a while.  Otherwise, you’re little more than a cog in some great big corporate machine that churns out tools and bureaucrats by the barrel-full.

As I’ve often said, there’s a difference between work, a job, a career, and a hobby you get paid for.  Work is back-breaking labor, a job is a tedious task, a career is something you’re stuck doing for the rest of your life and a hobby you get paid for is just that: a hobby you get PAID for.  Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all do what we loved and then get paid for it?  If we did, I’m sure some robotics geek could build the machines to do all the other things we hate … and he would have fun while doing it, too.