Archive for July, 2005
Tolkien never told us his name; he reasoned that whoever first inhabited that soul, the Dark Lord had forever damaged beyond recognition. It’s spirit shattered, this nameless body now belongs wholly to Sauron – so much so that it has no need for a name, only to be associated with the attribute that renders it marginally useful: the Mouth of Sauron.
These days we have our own version in Scott McClellan. He who so dutifully speaks vacuous verbosity at the behest of our Favorite Shrubbery (or of whomever holds the puppet’s strings. You listening, Karl?) In both instances, it is an unenviable position, as the army of truth hammers at the gates:
As a mindless mouthpiece, he’s seen better days. The Heretik thinks he’s past the Point of No Return:
Scott McClellan has passed the point of no return. The press no longer attaches any credibility to his words. And if as McClellan says, he speaks for the White House, then the White House has no credibility on Rove, on Plame, on Wilson, on yellowcake, on Downing Street, on the run up to the war in Iraq and the lies that got us there. It all attaches the McClellan first, it attaches to Rove, and it attaches to Bush. What is it? It is hubris, the political rope by which once mighty men hang themselves and then hang around too long for people to see. Cut those bodies down please. You are frightening my children.
I think this is wishful thinking. The Dark, Rovian Lord still has uses for him. But the last Battle is near…
I keep seeing my old self in others. My old self – before the Dharma touched my life – was an angry self: a defiant, furious, bitter self of confusion and resentment. My old self lashed out at any perceived slight – and there were many – and focused on the perceived idiocy of almost everyone he met. This past Self, still trying now and again to regain his former power over my life, was a real basket case.
I see this self in others today; particularly in a coworker who lost his temper and his job in quick succession. This ex-coworker was never satisfied with his job, his boss (who had anger issues of his own and was recently let go for dishonesty), and the way our company does its business. Everything needed to work as he envisioned it, no other way was right; he thought no one had any idea what he or she were about. He talked just like my old self, and like Old Self, he was miserable and couldn’t understand why.
My old self was aging right along with me in many ways except the ones that mattered. The centerpiece of old-self-ness was an unwillingness to grow up. He refused to understand that he wasn’t the center of the cosmos, an idea that forms within everyone at about the age of three. The old guy never took responsibility for his own shortcomings, never accepted blame, nor could he accept another’s view, just like a bully in a schoolyard. You know the kind I speak of - every school has one.
Old Self wanted to be recognized, he craved recognition, but when it came his way he was too angry to see it for what it was so he shrugged it off, soon to be forgotten. Old Self never understood that hard work and a good attitude pays off, not just the hard work part; working furiously only made people avoid him. They wouldn’t pitch in so he just got angrier because no one would help. It never occurred to Old Self that the anger turned people off, and sometimes turn people against him, too. In this way, Old Self was well on his way to being one sorry old man.
I hope my ex-coworker doesn’t become one, too.
I have a confession to make. The fact that I am not the least remorseful about this speaks of the depth of my depravity. I am a lousy American.
It’s true! There is ample evidence to support this: America loves its president, I do not; America loves guns and weapons of all sorts - the bigger the better. I think they’re an extension of a subconscious, phallic-centric mentality of domination, items that are intended for all sorts of rude and violent penetrations of another’s body. Americans like to inflict damage on… well, just about anything from feral cats in Minnesota to harmless road signs everywhere to other people who like to live differently or believe differently than all good Americans should. I like cats, and I don’t walk the back roads with a .22 to sneak up upon wild road signs and shoot holes in them. As for other people, I have a quite un-American “hands-off” policy, as long as they leave me and mine alone in return.
Mostly America loves war - just a long as it’s not here at home. I think war is a poor excuse for murder on a industrial scale, and that chills my bones.
America likes to get “in your face,” and “up close and personal.” I just like to go home to my family and stay out of my neighbors business. Americans are brash and demanding. They are ornery and abusive of their families, their friends, and they swear too much. I like consensus when my family is concerned, I give my daughter freedom to make her own choices because I trust the kid. If after fourteen years my wife and I haven’t instilled proper values in her the fault is ours, not the school board’s or any of her teachers. I have opened my vocabulary largely due to writing this blog, and I actively exclude words usually heard in locker rooms and traffic jams.
Americans loves their Jesus, too. Now don’t get my wrong, I think Jesus was a great man - very wise - and his life is an interesting example of political tragedy writ large. But I just don’t see the “son of God” connection. As for this whole “Messiah” concept many Americans adhere to…well, we could use a savior. I doubt we’ll get ourselves out of this mess we’re in any time soon. I am a lousy American because I am a lousy at trying to be a Christian; and we all know how America is a Christian country. I’ve even changed my religion to something from Asia - and you can’t get less American than that!
I don’t drive an Esuvee; I don’t have cable TV. In fact I don’t watch TV at all, haven’t for two decades, now. I’m not planning on remaking my home into a McMansion. I don’t believe in floating a massive credit card debt until I’m buried; I believe in fiscal responsibility in my personal affairs and in my government. I’m not a fan of piss-yellow beers or golden arches, Wal-Mart or Wall Drug. I’ve never been to Cancun or to the Caribbean on vacation, either.
There: you now have my confession, and I feel much better. Thank you, Doctor.
The G8 conference was another chance for our administration to show the world what it’s made of. Unfortunately it did just that:
Sad to say, the foot-dragging of the United States, particularly on the issue of global warming but also on aid, was largely responsible for most of these shortcomings.
In addition to doubling the dollars committed to Africa, the conference members agreed to cancel the debts of many countries, to do more to fight diseases like AIDS and malaria, and, in terms that were regrettably vague, to reduce trade barriers. They also pledged as much as $3 billion a year to help the Palestinians after Israel withdraws later this summer from Gaza and parts of the West Bank - a gesture that could be enormously important as long as the United States and others make sure that both sides honor their commitments.
The conference fell well short, however, of ending the agricultural subsidies that help keep farmers in developing nations in poverty. And Mr. Blair was not successful in his broader effort to persuade the United States to set a timetable for increasing its overall foreign aid to a level equal to 0.7 percent of national income by 2015. That step would require a much larger contribution by the United States, which currently provides 0.16 percent, the smallest percentage of any of the Group of 8 countries. Europe agreed to a timetable, but Mr. Bush would not.
The summit meeting’s biggest disappointment involved global warming, an issue that Mr. Blair had elevated above all others except foreign aid. In what will stand as a testament to America’s influence but not, unfortunately, to its intelligence or courage, the White House succeeded in turning what might have been a powerful commitment by the industrialized nations to confront global warming into diplomatic mush.
More evidence of the defiant arrogance of the Bush Administration. He just doesn’t play well with others. He doesn’t care about the future of our environment. Too power-mad to reason with, GWB attended the summit for - apparently - the buffet. As the article states, Mr. Bush was “a wallflower at the dance, and apparently content to be one.”
Too bad its likely to be the “Last Waltz.”
Loose thoughts in a Demolition Derby of the mind; not safe at any speed…
The world in not safer than before 9/11…
George Bush lied to America to promote a war we cannot win…
Tony Blair bought the lies, and now his people are paying the price…
America is the aggressor in a global campaign of Imperialism…
Citizens of all nations will suffer for years to come because of policies in place today…
America has become a terrorist nation in the eyes of much of the world…
As we initiate a war on terror, we ignite a campaign of terror…
We have become our own enemy…
Thousands have died for a pack of lies…
We should be ashamed…
If there was a God, he’ be crying.
My friend, Badtux, the Flightless Bird, is seeing monkeys everywhere he goes. The monkeys he sees wear clothes, drive cars, and listen to right-wing radio. I’m reminded of a snatch of lyric from Alice Cooper: “ …there wasn’t a way/ down on Earth here to cool ‘em/ ‘cause they look just like humans/ at Kresge’s and Woolworth…”
The penguin also takes offence at my quoting Buddha, but I don’t mind. He’s right, Buddha was an optimist; and I’m an optimist, too. Too often I am disappointed at the monkeys for their behavior, just like Badtux. But I still have faith in humanity, for all the feces flinging. Don’t think me naïve because I quote an optimist. I, too, have spent many years disparaging the human condition – it’s awful. For many years my mind gleefully zoomed in on the stupidity, the vanity, the falsity of many of humanity’s follies. As a result I was miserable.
A little anger is healthy, but too much can cloud the mind; this fact I learned first-hand. What changed for me were Buddha’s teachings, but for everyone else the catalyst will be unique to their nature. I quote Buddha for several reasons: As the Dharma helps me, so the sharing of it may help another; a blog devoted to my twisted mind cannot be complete without mention of the Dharma; to express the foundation of my personal philosophy, and why I remain so damned liberal despite is unpopularity.
My friend, I worry that your fine, feathered head is too full of right-wing radio. Perhaps you should widen you sampling of humanity, your data sets are too limited to produce good results. What passes for intellect on talk radio is indeed tragic; there is much more for you to experience of the human condition than that. I see it, and many others do, too.
Amidst the boisterous warmongering and patriotic posturing endemic to conservative radio is fear. The monkeys screech and threaten because they’re afraid. What the right-wing is selling the public is fear, and by doing so they can control the fearful. All their baboon behavior is aimed at this goal. But while they shout and stamp, a quiet revolution is taking place; one based on higher human attainment. Logic reason will prevail because that is the destiny of humans; that is what raises the species above their jungle brethren. Compassion will win out because all the uncompassionate will destroy themselves; it’s happening already, isn’t it?
Take heart, friend penguin. Somewhere in the seething dark mass of humanity fighting itself, a few lights are being switched on as individuals begin making changes that matter. If you look you can see them, too When all the feces-flingers destroy themselves, the wise few who stayed out of the way will emerge to regain humanity from the monkeys.
To quote Gandalf: “And that is an encouraging thought.”
This weeks offering from Lama Suryas Das reminds us that we already have all we need to achieve perfection.
The Buddha said that all sentient beings possess Buddha Nature. Because of that we have this natural purity, peacefulness and power. We can rest the mind naturally because we are already in possession of these qualities. If one can rest the mind naturally, that’s the best meditation. Non-meditation is the supreme meditation.
~ Mingyur Rinpoche
What I like best about this thought is that it empowers us to strive to improve ourselves. If we already have all we need to become great, why wait to try it out? We don’t need to look for outside conditions or forces to manifest. We can change ourselves now, thereby changing our world and the worlds of those around us. As Mahatma Ghandi said: Be the change you want to see in the world.
I like it when Dr. Demento Dobson gets refuted. That man wraps more hatred in jesus-speak than almost anyone. I know, the list of likely candidates is long, but his Focus on the Family group takes anti-gay hatred too far.
I’m not a strong proponent of Gay rights. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m rather ambivilent on the issue, but any group who has to take as much abuse as the alternate lifestyle crowd deserves some respect, I think. Conversely any group that spews as much poisonous bias as Focus on the Family is fair game.
In today’s NY Times, Stephanie Coontz writes:
Traditional marriage, with its 5,000-year history, has already been upended. Gays and lesbians, however, didn’t spearhead that revolution: heterosexuals did.
Heterosexuals were the upstarts who turned marriage into a voluntary love relationship rather than a mandatory economic and political institution. Heterosexuals were the ones who made procreation voluntary, so that some couples could choose childlessness, and who adopted assisted reproduction so that even couples who could not conceive could become parents. And heterosexuals subverted the long-standing rule that every marriage had to have a husband who played one role in the family and a wife who played a completely different one. Gays and lesbians simply looked at the revolution heterosexuals had wrought and noticed that with its new norms, marriage could work for them, too.
The rest of the article provides a much needed historical refresher on the institute of marriage. We need more of this historical refutation of modern malfeasence, to undermine the spread of hatred.
But for me the snubbing of the Bad Doctor is the best part. His kind needs to be de-fanged. I’ll go meditate now on my intolerance of the intolerant.
As I stay our of my family’s way this Independence Day while my wife and duaghter paint my dauther’s room and furniture, I find myself with too much free time in which to ponder. An Idle Mind, and all that…
Today I think upon the Myth of Independence, which grew out of a play on words and into an essay. Too long for a blog, I posted it on my essay site, the Tannish Page. Read it here. And have a safe holiday.
(cross-posted on Left of Center:)