Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Top of the Food Chain, Bottom of the Class

Top-of-the-Food-Chain-Asshole-Humans really piss me off. Especially when it comes to all of us assuming all the world’s lesser evolved inhabitants are ours to do with as we please. For centuries now we’ve been trudging all over this earth like a bull in a china shop, killing things, polluting the land and air, and taking whatever the hell we wanted –whether it was a rare species of animal or a precious natural resource. You would think, as time moves forward and our technology and knowledge advances, that we would be able to see the harm we’ve done –and continue to do- and, as an entire race, come together in an effort to halt or even reverse some of the barbaric practices that we consider normal in this day and age. Sadly, that’s not the case though. 

For instance, why do we STILL keep hundreds of thousands of animals in captivity in zoos, amusement parks, and –worst of all- circus shows? Don’t give me that argument about educating people about all the animals and how to ensure all species survive the next hundred years. That’s all bullshit. I’d buy that argument if we were talking a hundred years ago, but in today’s society zoos, animal parks, and circuses serve one main purpose: Entertainment for the Masses. That’s it, plain and simple. I think we know enough about lions and tigers and bears and zebras and every other widely exploited animal species to educate everyone without having to keep these animals in man-made enclosures and living conditions that are, many times, woefully inadequate. You want to work to preserve all species, then start by letting them be FREE. You want to learn about a specific animal, get on the Internet! No need to keep all these living samples just so folks can come and gawk at them. What kind of life is that?! It’s equivalent to me getting put in a jail cell under the guise of saving my life and being able to study me close up. C’mon, folks… we’re WAY past that. 

Every day around the world, people pay big bucks to sit and watch exotic and majestic animals perform stupid tricks in shows simply for our amusement. Dolphins, whales, sea lions, seals, elephants, horses, monkeys, apes… all imprisoned and exploited by humans posing as “animal experts” and “animal lovers” all for the sake of profit. Hey, why not, we’re all at the top of the food chain –we can do whatever the hell we want! It’s horrible the way we treat animals. 

Maybe some animals are content to be pets of humans. I have dogs and a cat and they both seem pretty content. But I really consider these animals members of our family. Can you say the same about a killer whale that you keep in a tiny tank of water at a water park? You think he’s happy about his living conditions? Ordered to do tricks and obey commands like some sort of slave. But yet everyone is shocked and appalled when a trainer or handler gets killed by one of these animals. Well, DUH! 

I’ve seen first-hand how the majority of race horses are treated. It’s sad. They’re just vehicles. Once they’ve served their purpose, a lot of them are discarded like an old sweater. You want to race? Get off your fat ass and RUN then… don’t make animals do the work for you. Do I even have to mention greyhounds? Same thing there. Profit and our own entertainment always seem to come before the freedom and rights of all livings things. Maybe one day we will become wiser... or just become the victims of our own stupidity.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

On the Cover of the Rolling Stone

Seeing the new cover of Rolling Stone magazine featuring Boston bomber Dzhokar Tsarnaev reminded me of the outrage I felt that day.  But it was directed at folks other than the two moron terrorists so I guess the title of this blog is a little bit misleading.  But I got your attention, right?

The Boston bombing was yet another needless tragedy caused by individuals who undoubtedly have a very flawed and misguided way of thinking and an absence of love in their heart.  It continually saddens me every time something like this happens.  I'm sad for all the innocent wounded and dead that get caught up in these senseless acts of hatred, violence, and terrorism.  And then I get even more sad when I realize this isn't the last time any of us will see something like this happen. 

My famous fall-back phrase is: "We are surrounded by idiots." -it's true.  Terrorists, psychopaths, and just plain stupid people are among our population every day and there's no 100%-effective way to stop one of these weirdos from detonating a bomb or going on a shooting or stabbing spree or driving their truck down the sidewalk of a busy city street, plowing down pedestrians.  This is the world we live in today.  And the best we can do is protect ourselves as best we can and learn to live in the shadow of this impending danger. 

Every time one of these senseless acts of violence occurs, everyone from common citizens to politicians to terrorism and security experts are quick to offer their best ideas and opinions on how to stop this from happening again.  I think it's our way of coping -fooling ourselves into a false sense of security.  Granted, we're probably a whole lot safer from radical Islamic terrorist today than we were 10 years ago, but there's no guarantee something on the scale of 9/11 won't ever happen again.  This world is too big and there's just too many people out there who are capable of and predisposed to doing evil.  But rather than viewing this as a hopeless situation, I'm going to try to view as just the way things are.  I can't waste a whole lot of time rearranging major aspects of my life worrying about whether I or my family will the the next victim of a senseless act of violence.  If it's one thing to take away from all this it's that life is fleeting and precious.  Don't spend too much time looking ahead... live in the now and cherish and enjoy every moment.  Because, if we learned anything from the past few tragedies it's that we're not 100% safe anywhere... not the grocery store, not at school, not at church, and not running a marathon in Boston.  That's why these things are almost always referred to as senseless acts.  They don't make any sense.

I purposely AVOIDED the majority of media coverage surrounding this tragedy while everyone was busy speculating over who was responsible for such a barbaric act.  Then, when police did have suspects identified, there was another news media frenzy.  Because, let's face it, we like -need- to have someone or something to blame when things like this happen so we, as Americans, can take action and get revenge or put measures in place to guarantee it never happens again.  We end up with a lot of knee-jerk accusations and reactions from a whole lot of people. And we all end up paying for these barbaric acts of others. We indirectly get punished by having more restrictions placed upon our daily lives while giving the police and government more authority and leeway when it comes to searches and investigations.

I guess what really pisses me off is there are some obvious people to blame for the increase in the number of senseless terrorist-type attacks occurring on American soil perpetrated by both foreign and domestic evil-doers.  But no one seems to really direct much outrage towards these folks.  Who are they?

1. The American News Media. Rather than just reporting the news and the facts, the TV news stations have morphed into a form of variety talk show and whenever anything like this happens, you get around-the-clock coverage which goes well above and beyond reporting the news and the facts.  Instead, you get to hear every conceivable back-story and theory about who, why, how, and when.  You get to hear from a parade of subject matter experts giving their opinions and thoeries.  And you get to hear, over and over again in agonizing detail, the same basic facts of the incident.  So, basically, every time something like this happens, it becomes a nationally televised events for days and weeks.  Once the culprits were identified, every aspect of their life was discected and splashed across the news, making them a sort of media star.  And now we have one of them gracing the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.  Wow.  All this does is inspire others to commit similar senseless acts because they know if they succeed, it will become a nationally televised event -and they, or their cause, will be in the national spot light for a while.  Thanks American News Media!  The blood of thousands of Americans is on your collective hands.  Just shut the fuck up and report the news, the facts, and any important updates as they become available. Stop with the around-the-clock coverage... you're not after the truth, you're after the RATINGS!

2. The United States Government.  If you go around whacking enough bee hives with your big stick -no matter how big and bad and protected you think you are- eventually you're gonna get stung.  That, my friends, is what is happening now.  We barged into Afghanistan and Iraq, waving the flag and claiming we were protecting our way of life by erradicating terrorism from the globe.  Yeah... sure. First of all, you can't irradicate terrorism.  There's always going to be one or two BILLION people in the world that don't agree with you.  Hell, a lot of them may actually hate you.  You can't beat or bomb these people into your way of thinking and if you try to do so, all you're going to do is piss off more people in the process.  This is fucking common sense and it's been going on for decades.  We've lost hundreds of thousands of our soldiers fighting wars in Korea, Viet Nam, Afghanistan, and Iraq -wars that we really had NO BUSINESS sticking our nose in.  And yet we never seem to learn the lesson. 

Why don't we just get the hell out of the Middle East?!  Stop sending all our money to our so-called friends and allies in that part of the world who will turn on a dime and rally against us.  You don't like us? Fine! We don't like you either.  You stay on your side of the world and we'll stay on ours.  We've got enough shit to fix right here in our own country without worrying how Pakistan or Egypt are doing or whether the whole Middle East will be taken over by radical Muslims. Fine!  It's about time we stopped making a few hundred oil executives filthy rich and seriously switch to cleaner, more sustainable energy sources anyway.  Screw the entire Middle East and all their oil. They need us just as much as we need their oil.  There's obviously a very large chasm between our way of thinking and theirs.  Let's just accept that for what it is and stop trying to fix the entire world while our own country is spiralling downward into a massive shitball of poverty, debt, and human crisis.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Please put your race card back in your pocket.

The tendancy for Americans to immediately throw down the race card really pisses me off!  And, again, I place a large portion of the blame squarely on the US news media for continually stirring the pot and fueling the fire. 

We're a constantly evolving, progressive society of mixed races and ethnicities so how about we stop playing the race card every time a black person gets injured or killed by someone who has a different skin color.  Better yet, how about we do away with the "black" and the "white" labels that we Americans like to try to squeeze everyone into. Slavery was abolished here in 1865. Between 1955 and 1970, there were great strides forward in the advancement of equality for all in this country and, even though racism and bigotry can still be encountered in a percentage of the less-evolved, refined, and educated members of our society, a majority of us get the whole concept of equal rights, tolerance, and understanding.  Most of us, anyway.

We need to remain vigilant against those members of our society that subscribe to the notion that any skin color, race, religion, or ethnicity is superior or inferior to any other.  To this day we have measures in place (affirmative action) to guard against such notions.  And we teach our children about tolerance and equality based on the hard and sometimes horrible lessons that history has taught us.  We've come a long way as a nation -and even as a civilization.  But here in this country, for as much as everyone is supposedly against racism, it is ALWAYS the first thing that comes up whenever a crime occurs involving different skin colors - especially if it involves a "black" person and a "white" person.  Black and white... where the hell did we ever come up with two such incredibly insufficient and misleading terms?! I am neither color -and I can't say that I've ever met a truly white or black person in all my years on this earth.  I guess we humans like to label everything so we can place it in a nice neat category... Black, white, yellow, Republican, Democrat, straight, gay, blue collar, white collar, liberal, conservative, progressive. As far as I'm concerned, I don't want any labels attached to me -and I think we'd all be a whole lot better off as a society if we did away with all these labels or at least stopped analyzing everything based on them. "Black people are 35% more likely to..." or "50% of white voters..." - Until we stop using colors and labels to group everyone in our society, we're doomed to keep falling back on the race card that is so easily played whenever something goes wrong in this country.

I get that some folks' ancestors were slaves -and others slave owners- in this country but I had nothing to do with that.  I learned all about it in school and determined right away that that was very wrong. Every day I run into people of every size and color that are WAY different than me but I try to at least tolerate them all -even if I don't understand why they are the way they are.  It's a challenge sometimes, sure.  But I know there's people looking at me with the same puzzled look and I'd hope they'd give me the same equal opportunity to coexist with them.

It all boils down to tolerance and understanding.  We have way too little of those two things in our society.  Instead, we fall back on fear and accusations.  Instead of trying to understand our differences, we fear them and, instead of tolerating each other and our differences, we accuse.  We're all so quick to judge and so quick to accuse.  It seems we're relying less on common sense, logic, compassion, and understanding as we quickly jump from conclusion to conclusion.

I don't expect us all to share the same opinions or views, but rather than vehemently fight against each other, can we find a way to Compromise?  It seems everything has to be black or white, yes or no, this way or that way ... there's never any movement toward a common ground.  Instead, we seem to be heading away in the wrong direction.  For all our technological advances and claims of highly advanced human intelligence we're still pretty dumb when it comes to being duped by the media and being sucked into this very unproductive "herd mentality".

Monday, July 15, 2013

Our New Judicial System: THE MEDIA

The news media really pisses me off.  And the fact that all of us seem to be content to draw our conclusions based on what we see and hear in the news really -REALLY- pisses me off.   It seems we don't really need a criminal justice system any more.  Why pay a judge and lawyers to gather facts and argue a case when we can just have a bunch of reporters gather hearsay and dubious facts about a case and twist them into 10-second sensationalized sound bites?  Suddenly we all know ALL the facts based on what we've been seeing and hearing the media.  Who needs a jury?  What do THEY know?!  We've got the media to give us unbiased and completely accurate facts.  Right?!

People, George Zimmerman was found INNOCENT in a court of law -after a lengthy trial where facts, information, and numerous people's testimony was presented by professionally trained lawyers.  Then a meticulously selected group of jurors who were all given specific guidelines and instructions on how to do their job were entrusted to decide -based on all the REAL evidence and ACTUAL testimony that all of us didn't have access to (but we somehow think we did thanks to the media!)- whether Mr. Zimmerman's actions were criminal. 

George Zimmerman was found INNOCENT -after all that.  Obviously all of Trayvon Martin's family and friends feel that justice was not served.  I can understand that.  But what about the rest of us?!  Why is everyone saying they're going to boycott Florida -that this was a serious miscarriage of justice.  How the HELL do YOU know this was a bad verdict?!  YOU weren't there the night that Zimmerman shot Martin and YOU weren't in court every day, YOU didn't hear actual testimony and see actual evidence and listen to expert testimony.  YOU didn't deliberate with 11 other people to come up with a verdict.  All YOU have to go on is what you heard and saw in the media -and the media's SOLE purpose is to get ratings and sell newspapers.  They purposely stir up controversy and public debate by putting out half-ass information and recycled sensationalized tag lines.  And now, suddenly, we're all experts on what happened that night.  Wow.  There's only two witnesses to what really happened that night -and one of them is dead. That's really, REALLY unfortunate and terrible and sad and frustrating.  But because that's the way things ended up, it's the job of the police (who initially obviously felt that there was NO crime committed since they didn't charge Zimmerman until 5 or 6 weeks later) and the DA and the jury to sort the whole thing out.  Which is what just happened, by the way.

Our judicial system is FAR from perfect.  Innocent people get locked away for years (or put to death in some cases) and guilty people get set free.  It's smart and prudent for us to analyze and question decisions like this.  But in order to make an informed decision on things like this, we need all of the complete facts -NOT- just what we get from the media. 

The case is closed now, so move on.  Stop watching whatever that is disguised as "news" these days and start educating yourself on the real problems facing this country - things that everyone should be ENRAGED about, but no one is.  Our spiraling national debt, a crooked and fixed political system, and companies like Monsanto (with help from the USDA), attempting to control the world's food supply.  Leave George Zimmerman alone.