Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Saying No to Israel

Benjamin Netanyahu has to be the most politically tone def, annoying, aggressive shit on the world stage today.  He's like the annoying customer that a waiter can't please no matter what.  This guy has the balls to defend Israeli settlements at the same time that peace talks are scheduled.  Let's go ahead and take a shit on the same people we are supposed to be making peace with right before negotiations begin.

His hypocrisy is epic.  While Israel has a treasure trove of nuclear weapons and chemical weapons, this guy has the chutzpah to condemn Iran for developing nuclear weapons.  What makes Israel so fucking special?  If Israel isn't allowed to bully all nations around it, then it throws a fit.  Part of the reason for discord in the region is because Israel is already disproportionately powerful compared with its neighbors.  This creates insecurity amongst the other nations, and for good reason.  After all, the U.S. has already invaded Iraq and Afghanistan.  It has military bases surrounding Iran and troops in Saudi Arabia.  Iran would be insane not to be concerned about Israel given the American right wing and its lips being sown to the asses of the Israel government.

On the news, we keep hearing about the "Security of Israel."  Israel has enough money, weapons, and kick ass power to take care of itself.  In 1967 it kicked some serious ass.  They are fine.  It's practically a mantra in the U.S. that we have to worry about the "security of Israel."

Even if Iran were to get a nuclear bomb, the government there wouldn't actually use it.  The Supreme Leader has no problem treating its own citizens like shit, but he is not aggressive towards other countries.  If anything, it would balance the power in the Middle East sort of like the Cold War between the U.S. and Russia.  There's nothing like mutually assured destruction to make peace between enemies.

It's interesting how the right wing in America obsesses about Israel.  Why is that?  We don't see them worrying about the well being of Nairobi, East Timor, or other nations. 

The people who live in Israel are fine folks, but their government is run by assholes.  These are the same dickheads that joined forced with the Apartheid government of South Africa back in the day. 

We have been kissing Israeli ass for 60 years and there is still no peace.  Maybe it is time for a change in direction.  If Obama were to tell Netanyahu to go fuck himself, America and the Middle East would be far better off.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Toilet Seat Politics

Forget the health care debate.  The real issue of our time is that of the toilet seat.  Should it be left up or down?  That is the real question, one which affects all of us who live in mixed gender households.

Many men are admonished by the women in their lives to "put the seat back down" after using the toilet.  However, this declaration makes some presuppositions that shouldn't be considered automatic.  After all, what is the natural state of the toilet seat?  Does the design of the toilet seat lend it to being put down as opposed to being left up?  Are there safety considerations?  What about the convenience factor of the other members of the family?

Given the design of most toilet seats, they just as easily remain up as they do down.  The exception to this is the foam filled toilet seat.  These tend to fall down and pose a safety hazard to midgets, dwarfs, and three year old boys.  These seats are best left down for the benefit of all.

Some women make the argument that they might accidentally fall in the toilet while attempting to pee at night if the toilet seat is left up.  However, I have yet to hear about this actually happening to anyone.  Besides, this is a matter of conscientiousness--one should always be paying enough attention to one's surroundings that one doesn't fall into the toilet.  From a legal perspective, this would fall under the "open and obvious" hazard which would exempt one from legal liability.

Next we move to convenience.  From a utilitarian perspective, the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.  If there are more women than men in a household, there is naturally going to be more convenience for the many as opposed to the one by putting the seat down after use.  If you also consider in the fact that both sexes do number 2, then this argument is also "solidified," so to speak.

From a deontological point of view, leaving the seat up or down remains a question in itself that needs to be asked, not whether it is more practically beneficial for a greater number of people.  It doesn't seem to be morally useful in itself to consider the vertical status of the toilet seat.

Applying the Golden Rule after doing the golden sprinkle might make everyone happy.  Like the O'Henry story of the "Gift of the Magi," men would lift up the seat after peeing to please their wives while always finding it up after their wives sprinkle because their loved ones had done the same.  WWJD?  It depends on whether he was married or still living with male roommates.  My guess is that if he can walk on water, he can make the toilet seat do whatever he wants hands free.

While Freud might say that women become so angry about this issue because they have penis envy and the lowered seat is a reminder of this, I beg to differ.  Maybe we should be like Soloman and order the toilet seat be placed half up after every use to accommodate everyone.  Whoever decides to relent would then be the winner.

Monday, December 2, 2013

When We Die

One of these days you will be on your death bed.  When that time comes, you will have to look back on your life and see whether or not you are ashamed of who you were and what you did.  Did you spend your life spreading goodwill, generosity, and kindness?  Did you spend that time trying to build up treasure for yourself you won't be able to bring with you?  What sort of unethical things might you have done to build up those riches? 

If you invent a cure for a disease and make money while making the world a better place, then you deserve  it.  But if you spent your life deceiving and manipulating others to gain wealth, or simply acted as a parasite on the system, then shame on you.  The horror of horrors is the privilege of looking back and seeing that your life was wasted.

Studies have shown time and again that the rich believe themselves more entitled than others.  As a group, they give less to charity and report more willingness to lie and cheat to maintain their riches.  No wonder the Bible says "Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven.  Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God."  Matthew 19:23-24.

Our society celebrates the life of Steve Jobs, a man who used his genius to build a company which restricts its customers, manipulates people, and treats its overseas workers poorly.  Most people have never heard of Richard Stallman, the man who invented the GNU operating license, which gave us free and open source software.  This is the type of open and free software which is used in Android mobile phones, NASA satellites, Internet servers, and many other applications.  Stallman was considered a computer genius who instead of focusing on profits, spent his life giving back and trying to make the world a better place.  Jobs spent his life building walls to enslave people while Stallman spent his trying to tear down these walls.

American society is still infested with the stench of the Protestant work ethic and the insane notion that people who are rich are better people who deserve what they have.  While many rich people are deserving, there are some rich people who have become so by swindling others--think of Wall Street bankers who orchestrated the prime loan meltdown, corrupt executives, and politicians who enrich themselves through greed and corruption. 

America hates its poor.  If you are poor, the notion is that it is your fault because you are either lazy or stupid.  This means you deserve to be subject to all sorts of indignities to make sure you feel even more useless just for surviving--these include drug tests for welfare recipients, making children who receive free lunches work after school, and the like.  Corporate executives who received bailouts for the companies they bankrupted were spared such indignities.  The bonuses went out like usual. 

The system is set up to be diseased and incentivize the wrong things.  But individuals have their choices as well.  If you are extremely talented and you use your talent to do something harmful, even if you are well paid for it, you are better off never having used that talent.  Adolf Eichmann may have been an efficiency and planning virtuoso, but his use of these skills to organize the murder of millions on an industrial scale is no excuse.  He would have been better off being a janitor.  At least then he would have do no harm.  Those who are blessed with the most talent are expected to have more responsibility.  Privilege brings responsibility.

The trick is not entangling yourself with burdens you must meet.  Debt for luxury items is one example.  Once the credit card companies have their teeth stuck in you, you become a slave to your paymaster.  That means fudging ethics when necessary.  Live simply.  Need little so little can be expected of you by those with the purse strings.  Move through life trying to do as little harm as possible.  If you have gifts, use them for good, not evil.  If the world has never heard of you and thinks you are a loser, that means you are probably on the right track.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

We Make God In Our Own Image

It has been said that we are made in the image of God.  This may be objectively true, but it is not true subjectively.  The truth is that we make God in our own image.  If we are fearful, hateful, ignorant, obsessed with control, and filled with anger, then our image of God will have those qualities.  If we are filled with love, kindness, generosity and compassion, then our God will look like that.

Our notion of God has nothing to do with any real qualities God may possess.  God's qualities are quite apart from our imaginative projections.  The danger comes in when people create a golden calf like version of God and then use it to bludgeon others. 

God cannot do whatever He wants and still remain a being worthy of worship.  If God really does commit atrocities, he doesn't get a pass just because he has the power to condemn someone to hell.  Right is right and wrong is wrong.  If God does evil, he is no longer the ultimate being worthy of worship.  As such, God doing evil is a logical impossibility.  For the same reason, it is absurd to imagine God acting like a spiteful dickhead as described in many of the Old Testament stories. 

If you worship God because you fear hell, then you are only acting out of selfish interest.  True principals are not conditioned upon one using strength and intimidation to control another.  The truly righteous man would thus have no choice but to give God the middle finger and happily depart to hell.  For these reasons, I reject the image of God described as an almighty tyrant, demanding supplication and using fear to control people.  If God is not one of love, compassion, and persuasion instead of coercion, I have no use for Him and gladly open my arms to eternal hellfire.

Thankfully we see an image of God best represented in the life and death of Jesus Christ.  Jesus brought a fuller picture of God, one who suffers for us and who offers himself in sacrifice for others.  He was one of healing and compassion for the most sick and vulnerable.  Jesus made demands that were principled and required much.  Jesus shows us an image of God worthy of worship, one who goes beyond what humanity ordinarily offers.  It moves beyond our feeble projections to show an image of God that really matters.

True love drives out fear.