Choppy Seas for the Ship-of-State

newsWatching today’s 24-hour TV news cycle is like booking a misguided ocean cruise to OVERLOAD ISLAND. Through some momentary weakness in escapist judgment, you find yourself captive to a 40-inch screen where a multi-level ship the size of a small metropolitan city sails choppy seas mid bouts of septic dysentery, toward some overrun tourist destination ripe with graft, seedy characters, and over-priced trinkets.  Life in the USA right now is truly a Dramamine-lovers adventure—all witnessed from the semi-comfort of your favorite recliner!cartoon ship.jpg

Daily reviewing our present ship-of-state’s nightmarish voyage in high-def pixels is not a pleasant experience, nor is it one from which we can easily escape. As with any “What was I thinking?” cruise, we’re stuck here for the duration of the journey—short of icebergs, Poseidon-tipping waves, or total engine failure (which could actually happen if Mueller is successful).

So I was thinking this morning after hearing the latest Trump and family escapades blaring from our flagship’s communications deck, that something about this particular time period in history feels too familiar and equally too uncomfortable. Yes, I did live through the Nixon impeachment but I was a very young adult and not as plugged into political concerns then, so that aspect is only vaguely similar to me.

nixon.jpgAnd back then, Mr. “I’m-not-a-crook!” actually was determined to be one, and eventually he was forced to resign. (One can only hope THAT part is similar.)

But reliving that long ago, disastrous, presidential situation is not the discomfort I’m feeling about this present-day news barrage. What seems the most unsettling to me is the inner anxiety level associated with the current presidency—a disturbing discomfort that I’ve also felt during some of the most horrendous times of my life—like the hopelessnessanxiety.jpg felt during a loved one’s terminal illness where you are constantly living with a deep sense of dread and foreboding at the eventual, heart-rending disaster you know will come.

And I’m not alone in feeling this way, because to me this feels more like a collective anxiety than personal one. I think we ALL are feeling overloaded with dread over the future we anticipate ahead.

breaking newsEvery day’s biggest news headlines strike warning gongs within us, but psychologically what may be even worse is the constancy of such negative press coverage. We are being desensitized daily to this rampant administrative insanity and incompetence. When chaos is ever-present wherever you look, then comparative, rational judgment is in short supply.

We are being numbed and lulled daily into the alternative realities expressed during White House press conferences and spokespeople explanations that bear little resemblance to known truthful accounts. But many administration-sympathetic people watching are simply accepting those blatant falsities like it is normal fare, because to do spicerotherwise is to admit their own initially poor judgment—that they had been duped by a conman. And admitting that key point is not going to happen because it counters basic human nature. It’s far easier to blame it on others rather than seeing the horror of the situation for what it really is.

Every morning I turn on the TV and hear the commentator’s same incredulous gasp on delivering the latest news on Russian ties to White House staff and family, or the childish, unscrupulous behaviors of a seventy-year-old, authoritarian, narcissistic, ego-maniac who controls the world’s largest arsenal of nuclear weapons.

instabilityThe main problem is that we at home, aren’t even surprised by anything he says or does any longer—we view the latest insults, attacks, and mindless rants as simply the perpetual ramblings of an unstable mind—who just happens to be our nation’s leader. The present standard of acceptance for his oratory skills is so low that if he can simply complete an unscripted, eight-word sentence without veering into non-coherency (or last fall’s election results), he gets a pass. The base measure for acting “Presidential” has been lowered to frat-house escapades of rich kids contemptuous of anyone who is not themselves.slapping his face

In effect he’s grabbing us all by our private parts, simply because he can, and no one is slapping his face at the assault (or better yet, breaking his wrist to prevent him from doing it again).  No one. Not yet anyway.

His perverted, chaotic, dictatorial rule has simply become “ho-hum” acceptable behavior for those in congress willing to deal for promised future rewards from him.acceptable.jpg

But this is NOT acceptable behavior!

So why are so many others accepting it?

That’s really the question I want answered. Why are his congress buildingcongressional party-members condoning his dangerous, erratic behavior with our allies and adversaries? Why are they allowing his malicious and vulgar crudities to continue without countering him; without punishing him vocally, if not in actual resolution?

It would appear that our ship’s navigational system has completely shorted out. Day after day, we keep circling the same stretch of ocean, hearing the same storm warnings, being tossed about on those ever more violent seas.

Congress needs to take control now and bring this captive-laden, nightmarish ship-of-state safely back to dock again, because being fellow crew members in collusion with the Captain’s treasonous intentions, is sanctioning a course to disaster for everyone.

Do they not see this?

ahab.jpgIf Captain Ahab wants to play harpoon-chucker with his Big White Whale (Kill the TRUTH!), then put him where he belongs: in a rubber dingy alone from which to do it.

Don’t bring the entire ship aground just so he can build sandcastles on the beach with Vlad.

duties of congressDo your jobs! Protect the nation—protect the constitution—protect the people you represent!

Protect our democracy for ALL of our sake!

Because if you don’t, then WHO WILL?

Amendment 25

morning joe

Interesting morning on “Morning Joe”—the early-morning news show that I watch.

It’s kind of a-love/hate-relationship-with-politics show that praises/scours those who competently/incompetently play at politics.

This morning’s topic was the first I actually 25th amend.jpgheard the often verbacious commentators use the term, “Amendment 25” during a discussion on the latest lunacy sting of tweets from Trump (of which a couple more tweets came through during the show itself, which further made their point).

For myself, not knowing what Amendment 25 was (although I had a pretty good idea from what they were referring to), I had to look it up.

When these folks start talking “Amendment 25” you know things are serious.papers of pres

Amendment 25 is the “Presidential Disability and Succession” amendment to the Constitution.

Joe and others were saying it is now time to seriously consider this Amendment as the current President’s mental stability and competency are more frequently coming into question.  Here is the entire Amendment which speaks for itself:

25th Amendment to the US Constitution

(The 25th Amendment, proposed by Congress and ratified by the states in the aftermath of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, provides the procedures for replacing the president or vice president in the event of death, removal, resignation, or incapacitation.  The Watergate scandal of the 1970s saw the application of these procedures, first when Gerald Ford replaced Spiro Agnew as vice president, then when he replaced Richard Nixon as president, and then when Nelson Rockefeller filled the resulting vacancy to become the vice president.  Read more from the Congressional Research Service here….)

Amendment XXV

Section 1.

In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President.

Section 2.

Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.

nixon.jpgSection 3.

Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President.

Section 4.

Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.

Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.

Taken from Cornell University Law School (https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/amendmentxxv)

A Confluence of Events

Nothing invites chaos faster than proclaiming certainties.

No, the USA elections result isn’t because of a superstitious curse—the Cubs winningc-goat the World Series didn’t simply pass their “curse-goat” to the Democrats.

Last night (or early this morning), national news pundits began the election autopsy even before the critical battleground states were ceded. Something just wasn’t falling into line in every state’s rural-area voting totals; and all puzzled over what they were trump 2.jpgseeing until a deeper realization set in—Trump really was going to win.

The joke that we thought was his bid for the presidency, was actually on everyone else.

I can honestly say that this particular joke didn’t seem very funny last night—nor does it this morning.  But it is what it is. And you simply move forward from this day on just like I mentioned in my October 25th post. No matter who would be elected, it only mattered that it “makes life safer, better and happier for everyone.”

Time will tell, I guess.

Then I noticed that after listening to a few stunned morning-news people, I sighed and actually felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. Yes. I could now pull out and gwbreuse my old response to every whining criticism I ever heard about President George W. Bush’s antics and actions from 2000-2008:

“Don’t tell ME about it—I didn’t vote for him!”

There……  I feel better already.

Anger Only Breeds More Anger

Fshirt.jpgor me the message on the sweatshirt says what I’m honestly feeling right now: “I’m practicing mindfulness, compassion and loving kindness so don’t piss me off.”

The latest homicidal lunacy in San Bernardino, California, Dec 2, 2015, conducted by a few misguided and deeply unstable individuals who were trying to find some sense of meaning to their lives by killing others and themselves in the process, is both heart-sickening and totally stupid. I mean, when is homicidal-suicide ever meaningful?

And since I don’t handle intentional stupidity well; especially the malevolent stupidity that brings harm to others, I get angry. But like the shirt mentions: I’m also trying to be loving and compassionate and not allow my anger to consume me, so that inner incongruity creates tension within me over this sad and senseless replay of group-inspired insanity. I’m sure many of us are feeling this same thing.

I mentioned November 16th in the posting on Assessing Terrorism that “Most people fear and powerwho use this “fear” tool are banking on the flight response more than the fight response.”

Do they not yet understand that freedom-loving people everywhere do not flee when threatened? We fight!

When we (who love freedom and the right to make our own choices about our lives) are threatened, we react immediately with anger not fear: Angry words, angry gestures, and anger-based counter threats at those wishing to harm us. Didn’t wars in Afganistan and Iraq show assaulters anything about how nations with epic arsenals react to homicidal attacks?

However sometimes there are those who may over-react to threats of being assaulted and use a very broad rhetorical brush to paint ALL members of associated religions or races for the homicidal intentions of only a angerfew individuals. That is unfortunate and equally stupid, and because I don’t handle “stupid” well, THAT makes me angry—again, the shirt sentiment.

With political campaigns in full swing, there is no excuse when idiots on podiums in front of television cameras use these incidents to inflame their vocal audiences with unified hatred and spewed bigotry.

The problem is that idiots are idiots, no matter the national origin or the party affiliation. And audiences who buy into their political messages of hate are just as malleable as the misguided recruits for homicidal suicide—they only hear what fuels their fears and their anger, because anger makes them feel more powerful.

So lehold angert’s all get a better handle on our OWN anger and let’s make positive changes in our lives and in the world around us. As I mentioned previously, I am far from a pacifist and I tame myself down daily in search of a solid, positive solution to the festering wounds of wide-spread racial tensions, religious intolerance, and opportunity inequality.

My premise is pretty simple: I know that I can’t help spread peace if I can’t hold it within myself, so it is extremely important for all of us to acknowledge our own anger at these senseless and misguided actions of individuals and groups bent on creating chaos and social anarchy.

Don’t allow it. Take a deep breath, and then another one, and say aloud:light

“I am love, I am light that outshines any darkness, and I am deeply at peace within myself as I spread this inner peace throughout the world now. And so it is.”

Don’t give in to your own anger, and for certain never allow fear to cloud your thoughts, but foremost above all else, recognize that only you can decide how you wish to react to any challenge you may face.

peace.jpgMy suggestion is to face it with grace and determination to make this a better and more loving world for everyone. That really is the only rational choice that we have here.

Assessing Terrorism: Homegrown and Elsewhere

paris peace signPretty hard not to be affected by the degree of homicidal mania throughout the world right now.

First and foremost, I want to offer my condolences to all involved in these violent acts everywhere in the world, and to pray that Divine Light and Love flows effortlessly into every affected heart lightening the pain and healing the gaping wounds left in the wake of such senseless destruction.

Secondly, my opinions on the matter are pretty inconsequential to any aftermath outcome, but I think there is something that needs to be said on it because this is not a subject I would normally write about, so I’m feeling Spirit-nudged to put my two-cents into this for what it’s worth.

Three words that come immediately into my humble mind to now address this terrorism assessment are: perspective, context, and overview. So I’ll address them one at a time.

  • PERSPECTIVE on the “WHY?”

Acts of violence and barbarism are initiated to create widespread fear in the populace because FEAR is a tool for controlling others. FEAR is the adrenal gland’s natural fight or flight trigger. We tend to simply react one way or the other when we feel fear.

Most people who use this “fear” tool are banking on the flight response more than the fight response. fear and powerIt is also likely that those who feel the need to use FEAR as a tool are the ones who would otherwise feel the most impotent and powerless without using it.

The IMPOTENT and POWERLESS category can be a large one and include people who feel isolated, disenfranchised, unappreciated, unsure, and generally hopeless about their lives changing for the better anytime soon.

So to counter their feeling of impotence they force a change, and they use FORCE to make that change happen. These are not really powerful people—they are people who want to FEEL powerful in some way by creating that same powerless feeling in others.

  • CONTEXT on the “WHO?”

Rosse quoteAttributing widespread acts of terrorism and genocide to any particular group of combatants is to trace the “fear” tool back to the earliest forms of human competition for limited resources and community security. It can be tracked century by century through the annals of recorded history as the means that any conquering group used to eliminate their competition in the region.

Add some ideology and religious fervor to it, and you’ve got that ignominious term “religious war.” Lots of those have and still are occurring in various places throughout the world.

Or in large metropolises it can be gang-waged wars for the same basic principles of competition for resources and security. A year of drive-by shootings can be just as deadly as one-time staged assaults on what security analysts call “soft targets” of gathered citizenry.

  • OVERVIEW on the “Aftereffects of Terrorism”memorial

Terrorist assaults can occur anywhere in the world whether by a mentally ill sociopath locally in a movie theater or a grade school, or by two or more individuals who claim a unified common-cause but kill others and themselves more so because they feel no sense of purpose to their lives and are easily manipulated by charismatic leaders who appeal to the lesser person’s festering humiliation and anger toward others.

The aftereffect of terrorism is the same: Other people take notice of those offending individuals and provide them with exactly what they want the most: attention and false feelings of momentary power—created by the best tool they have in their arsenal—FEAR.

fearlessBut do you know what is most discouraging and disheartening to those homicidal individuals we commonly refer to as “terrorists”?

What returns that offender’s momentary feeling of power back to his original feeling of impotence is when the community and society that has been so maniacally assaulted by him don’t give in to the FEAR that he tried so hard to create. His efforts were in vain. He was simply ineffective again.

When the community and society adopts that “refusal to be fearful” to barbarism and violence, then these so-called “terrorists” have lost their main weapon.

* * *

Personally I am far from a pacifist. I wish I were more loving and forgiving about the abhorrent actions of a few deranged or maladjusted individuals trying their best to destabilize communities and regions. But it doesn’t matter what my personal feelings are on this matter. What matters is that:

  • we never give in to fear.
  • We do what is necessary to defend ourselves and our families/communities, and
  • we work toward a better world where violence is never the answer to anything—where people actively engage in creating peaceful co-existence with their neighbors after finally realizing that basically we are all the same—
  • we are ONE PEOPLE—ONE WORLD.one love

In truth, fear is a weak motivational substitute for the overwhelming POWER of LOVE.