Tuesday, September 20, 2011

DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL

A CULTURAL LANDMARK


As of midnight last night the law preventing gay men and women in the military from serving openly was repealed. Like the repeal of segregation this social change will take some time before all prejudice and resentment can be eradicated – and among southern, redneck, Christian fundamentalist and the Catholics Church in general the resentment and violence toward someone with a different lifestyle will never relinquish.

However, in the military it will soon be a non-starter. The military is a unique organization and conforming to regulations and orders is an accepted way of life.

Many don’t know that during the Viet Nam war there was high racial tension and there was often violence between black and white service men. It got to the point that mission readiness was affected. After the war racial tension still existed in many commands. In the Navy, the Chief of Naval Operations decreed that the any racial conflicts would be dealt with swiftly and firmly by commands and he established a training mission to bring about a better understanding between races. All active duty Navy personnel were required to attend a series of rights and responsibilities lectures and activities. There were those among the white sailors that tagged the training “Watermelon U.” I was a facilitator (instructor) for this training, which, along with the zero tolerance decreed by commanding officers of all Naval commands, brought about an end to both covert and overt displays of intolerance.

In a short time gay service in the military will be a non-issue for service personnel; however, outside the military the contention will continue – especially among military retirees continuing to live in their self-constructed past glories and among the far right Christian activist; and again, the Catholic Church.

The world moves on and many refuse to move with it.

the Ol’Buzzard

USN Ret.

Friday, September 16, 2011

DEATH AND FUNERALS

RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE 
-or I can't believe it's not butter-

This week I attended a funeral – this is the first religious service I have endured in decades.  The priest, in his long black robe, quoted from passages of the Bible that were suppose to give us solace and make us feel better about death.  Perhaps it did for the immediate family; but, not for the first time I marveled at the unbelievably of the premise: Christ died for you.   Christ goes before you to prepare a place for you in his father’s house?   He will meet you and welcome you into the kingdom of heaven?   And it continued …


OK – God created man in his own image and endowed him with this immortal soul.   At what point in the evolutionary process did God say “Ok – that’s me, here is your soul.”   Was it Australopithecus Afarensis (Lucy,) Homo Habilis, Homo Erectus; what about Neanderthal – he was very much like us – did he have a soul?   Or, do we designate it at some moot point that we call Homo Sapien?   Continuing on the thought process (though I know you are not supposed to think regarding religion.)    Did this magical soul transference just start at the time of Jesus?   Or, if not, do all the generations of man prior to Jesus get grandfathered in – and if so how far back?   What about all the non-Christians; do they have a soul?     Oh yeah, I forgot – they are going to HELL!


Earlier post

You die and find yourself in heaven. St Peter meats you at the gate, “Congratulations, you have made the cut; you are about to enter heaven.”


YOU, “There really is a heaven!”


SP, “Oh yes, it’s real. Now, before you go through the indoctrination do you have any questions I could answer?”


YOU, “Yes, I seem to be hungry, is there food up here?


SP, “Absolutely, we have milk and honey bars.”


YOU, “Any steaks or burgers – how about bacon and eggs or pork chops with fries and onion rings?”


SP, “No, just milk and honey.”


YOU, “Is there whisky, beer or cigarettes?”


SP, “Of course not. Just milk and honey.”


YOU, “That’s disappointing, what about women?”


SP. “Yes, yes – there are actually more women here then men.”


YOU, “Things are looking up. Is there any restrictions on how we spend our days?”


SP. “It is not exactly restriction, but your days are already planned for you; you sit in the presence of God and sing His praise all day…it’s like being in church all day, nothing can be greater.”


YOU, “But what about sex?”


SP, “No, no, no…none of that. You see, women have no vaginas – they are not necessary here.”


YOU, “That’s not good news; but there is always anal sex (any port in a storm)?”


SP, “None of those either – God doesn’t want to have to deal with sewerage disposal – so you have no anus.”


YOU, “But tits, women still have tits don’t they?”


SP, “Oh yes, but without nipples – dirty, dirty, dirty – God has never liked women’s nipples, so He removed them.”


YOU, “Well, actually oral sex is my preference – women do still have mouths?


SP, “Of course, but sex – no - you see you will have no penis.”


YOU, “THIS SUX. I’ve been a good Christian all this time and this is what I get for an afterlife?”


SP, “Don’t complain, you could be down in hell. Look at the TV monitor. In hell everyone is necked – they are all fornicating – there is drunkenness and gang bangs and fetishes. All the whores and sluts and adulterers and bikers are down there – it is one continuous drunken orgy – I know it is hard to make out with all that loud rock-and-roll music and the tobacco and pot smoke around the camera, but you are fortunate you have come to heaven. This is your reward as a pious Christian.”


YOU, “No, this is hell!”


SP, “No, this is heaven.


YOU, “No, this is hell!


SP. “You know this is heaven. You were never made to believe otherwise.”




Let’s call it like it is: all of these God myths are, and have always been, fairy tales. Humans have a hard time dealing with the fact that there will come a time when they are no more… like the dog, the cat the rat and the cockroach, so they make up these continuation myths for solace; and religious hucksters take advantage of this fear to sell you their brand of “follow me.”



Death is the final debt we owe to nature for our time alive and conscious on this earth.   And beside that, heaven without cats - fuck it, I don't want to go.




the Ol’Buzzard

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

ENHANCED INTERROGATION

THE GREATER GOOD




Dick Cheney has been all over the news lately justifying the atrocities committed during the Bush administration: Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, enhanced interrogation and the death of thousands due to an unnecessary rush to war. He keeps posing the administrations action as for the greater good. Unfortunately many conservatives blindly buy into this philosophy.

The problem is that propounding the greater good of a society always leads to the sacrifice of rights and liberties of a few. Using the argument of the greater good we could justify slavery: a situation where a few slaves are worked for the pleasure and well being of the rest.

Deductive reasoning is an essential component of logical argument. Deductive reasoning simplified states: A is greater than B, and B is greater than C, therefore A is greater than C.

An argument can be logically valid but unsound if it contains false premises; in such a case it will lead to a false conclusion.

Republicans are masters of false premise: their political arguments have always been premised by the manipulation of facts: half truths, false statements, innuendoes and appeals to patriotism. They spin every situation with sound bites meant to enrage their uninformed base to illogical protest. (We have witnessed that the whole purpose of the tea party was to be outraged.)

Morality is a complicated issue: it boils down to how we treat each other. Cheney argues that the ends justify the means. He constantly poses the quandary of the terrorist bomb set to explode as justification for enhanced interrogation. However, it has been documented that there was no eminent attack concerned with the water boarded victims – it was a fishing expedition to confirm information already in CIA possession.

Cheney hides the dirty secret of U.S. torture with the noble sounding phrase “enhanced interrogation.” But, once you cross the line into torture of prisoners where do you draw the line? The progression is unimaginable for most civilians: isolation, white noise, sleep deprivation, stress positions, beatings, water boarding, psychotic drugs, rape, electric shock, surgery, amputations, burning…












Using deductive reasoning, if we can justify enhanced interrogation techniques in one case we can logically carry that scenario further: enhanced interrogation techniques could be used by police on criminal suspects and anyone suspected of contemplating or having knowledge of a crime (the optimum word here is suspect.) Once a government justifies this type of action it tends to become normal ops.


A post script by the Ol’Buzzard


For eight years of my military career I was a U.S. Navy S.E.R.E instructor; so, I am familiar with enhanced interrogation techniques (torture) of which all are outlawed by the Geneva Convention.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

ORWELLIAN PARALLEL

IS IT ME OR AM I JUST PARANOID



The're coming to get you Barbara!



On the whole, I am not a conspiracy theorist; I don’t look for underlying contrivances beyond the overt insanity of government and the human race in general. However, the Republican house has proposed a bill requiring internet providers to maintain records of all activity by subscribers for one year. This, along with other information we are required to give to participate in on-line activities lays us more vulnerable to a lot of information gathering.


As bloggers, Face Book, twitter etc. users we often voluntarily publish too much of our personal information.

I have had a friend advise me to use an online storage sight for my computer instead of purchasing a separate hard drive to safely back up my computer. Now I am wondering who controls the information I would be downloading.

We know the government has extended their right to wire tap citizens through the Patriot Act; that the NSA regularly collects information and the laws of search and seizure have been relaxed in the name of terrorism prevention. Parents are encouraged to have their children fingerprinted, DNA collection is and has been done without consent and people can be arrested and detained without due process.

There are already so many similarities to George Orwell’s 1984; what if these online sites that store your personal pictures and information were actually fronted to collect information on citizens by Homeland Security?

I’m just asking.
the Ol'Buzzard