Sunday, March 5, 2017

Violence Justified

Image result for berkeley trump riot cartoonWhen I was 16, I got into a fight.  A friend of mine and I were putting gas in my car, it was around 8:00 in the evening when a couple of other 16 year old’s, past friends of mine, started to hassle my friend.  I stepped into the middle of the frey and when I was pushed, I pushed back, harder and with more purpose, the other guy fell down and moved away, ending the problem.

Three hours later I was jumped.  Three guys, one of them the past friend, had hidden in the bushes that lined are long driveway and jumped out, hitting me from behind.  The blow to my head was hardened and heavy, sending me reeling and wobbly.   The other two quickly joined in and started to thrash me with their fists.  

The odds were not in my favor and yet I remained standing and was able to move toward my house.  The porch light was on and with every step toward that light the blows to my body and head diminished.  The thought ran through my addled brain at the time “run toward the light”, so I ran.

When I got to the porch I looked back and the three assailants had gone, back into the darkness and the bushes, or back to their car and a quick getaway.  I was in no shape to track them down, I knew who they were, I knew where two of them lived and I also knew it would be my word against theirs, so I leaned against the old spanish stucco, letting my head drop, my adrenaline to subside and my emotions to resort back to normal.  

I don’t like to admit this but I liked the rush of adrenaline and I like the feeling of getting into fights, it was exhilarating and exciting. I did not like the headache that I was having and would be experiencing for some time, nor did I like the fact that I had been jumped and it took me several hours to get over the desire to get in my car and confront each and every one of those cowards.  Remember I was 16 years old, had been in Judo for three years and I was pretty much ignorant at understanding the cause and effect of one’s actions.

Just to end this tale, I did get some justice when the same, past friend, tried to steal a pair of moccasins from my PE locker.  He didn’t succeed and he found himself on the ground again, but this time there were witnesses.

I was reminded of those events when I watched a pro Trump Rally, without Trump, at Berkeley, the liberal university, yes the same Berkeley that rioted to stop the visit of Milo Yiannopoulos.  This rally was a bit more peaceful but mostly due to a large contingent of police.  But even with a police presence the anti Trump crowd over shouted the peaceful demonstrators for Trump, using foul language and racial slurs.  The promise of violence however, was the tipping point for the Trump supporters to disband and this brings me to the point of this Blog.

Violence is a behavior involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something.  The left is not afraid to use violence to further their cause; the right is more afraid of the consequences of using violence.  

When is violence appropriate?  For those with morals, I am not being judgemental here but the true difference between those who are easily provoked toward anger and violence are those with less morality, less distinction between right and wrong, having a less principled life and therefore more prone to violence.  These are the same individuals who favor anarchy and lawlessness and have attached themselves to this country's liberal political parties.

This division of belief causes a serious separation within the basic rights of all, with those who want law and order in direct conflict with those who want anarchy and incorrectly believe that freedom is defined as no rules and no laws.  How you define freedom will in essence place you on the scale of Anarchist or harmony, order and peace.  

In our educational system we promote a level of order and peace but do so without the reality of life as it’s foundation.  Life is not equal, fair nor filled with opportunity.  Life can be harsh and does not offer free services.  Life must be earned if you want to move beyond mere existence and into life.  The demonstrators across this country have failed to learn those basic life skills and our educational system has failed to assist in that learning, leaving millions of students unprepared, unwilling and incapable of acting rationally.  

This same group makes claims toward free speech but fail to understand the concepts of allowing all that same privilege.  What good is free speech if your speech is stopped by violence or rioting?  This same group demands equality but fails to understand that equality is a God given right within our constitution (yes we’ve had problems in our past) and have failed to comprehend that ...We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

This group is also the most entitled but the least deserving of all who came before.  Their demands on society, on their parents and on government is unprecedented.  For the first time in this countries history there are times when those who are unemployed outnumber those employed, depending on how those statistics are manipulated.  Currently there are approximately 120 millions working full time.  There are nearly 350 million people in the US. this means that for every worker there are 2.9 non workers.  

Of course we have children and dependents in that mix but the statistic is clear, we have less workers supporting more non workers than ever before.  Economics is a concern but within that excuse is the reality that our youth, that group, exists the lack of desire to push ahead, to be self motivating, be creative or in a more simple term are more lazy.  They want what they want and are willing to use violence to get it.

Violence should be a last resort and perhaps, should even be thought about when you think it’s a last resort. To use it to squelch free speech, just because you don’t like the speaker is 100% wrong.   B
Because of the way these children were raised, educated and coddled in life they truly believe they have the right to act as their acting.  Is it too late for them?  That’s hard to say but the solution to this growing problem is not more of the same.  They need rules, guidelines and structure, they need purpose and responsibility, they need to get a life worth living.  

They need to move toward the light, bath in it's motivation, it's enthusiasm and optimism, relish in the inspirational glow of its power. Maybe then and only then will they grow a backbone and develop a conscience and finely be willing to enter the life that they have been so blessed with. Or not ….

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Fascist Cognition

i want to be a man andor i want a man but cant have either so im gonna hate men psychology has a term for this cognitive dissonanceBill Nye, the Science Guy, was a pseudo hero of mine, especially when I was raising my kids and during the early years of teaching.  It was amazing to me how some nerdy guy could capture the attention by being odd and weird, but he did and for that I am grateful. 

He saved me hours of trying to figure out what to do and how to fill precious minutes with my school students and my own kids, so thank you, Bill Nye.

He’s not my hero now.  He has adopted the position similar to a religious zealot with his belief in science and his faith in global warming.  His position is clear and concise, you either believe like he does or you’re a denier, a heretic, a Global Warming Sinner.  

Science attempts to understand the natural and the physical world through observation and experimentation, a process that has no practical end unless you can prove, without question that all of your questions, future questions, past and present have been answered.  There will no longer be a debate because there is no reason to question what is now the truth.  

The position taken by Bill Nye is that Global Warming is a foregone conclusion and any further descent from the issue is akin to sacrilege or as he put it “cognitive dissonance” or in other words,  a conflict between cognitions or conflicting beliefs.  It should be mentioned here that this psychological issue does not claim to conflict with the truth but with belief.  I would also like to mention that the belief in science often has conflicting scenarios that cause scientist great concern, especially when their hypothesis has been threatened with extinction due to faulty, manufactured or just wrong information.  

When there is insufficient reward there is dissonance...there is a tendency to avoid information that would create cognitive dissonance because it is incompatible with their current beliefs. Inconsistencies between our beliefs and the facts that surround us create a cognitive discord. In order to balance that discord one of four things needs to occur:  

1.  Change one of the conflicting thoughts to restore your consistency.
2.  Change a behavior to restore balance.  
3.  Add new thoughts, justifications or excuses to reduce the cognitive dissonance or to more effectively rationalize the behaviors and or justify the decisions to maintain the dissonance.
4.  Trivialize the inconsistencies.

Peace within is the ultimate cure for cognitive dissonance.  Psychology suggests that the 4 points above are attempts toward restoring balance or peace.  When science encounters cognitive dissonance they simply change the parameters of their experiments or alter their theory but when the common man deals with conflicts of cognition they must come back into balance through one of the four prescribed methods.  There really isn’t that much difference between the common man and the sciences when it comes to creating a balanced view of our world but add a little Global Climate Change and all the rules are thrown out the window.  

Bill Nye is emphatic about the “settled science”.  Have you ever heard of a science that is settled? Mammograms was a settled science until they found that in a study of 90,000 women Mammograms did not affect the number of breast cancer incidents.  Settled to unsettled in just over 25 years.  If climate science is settled, why do its predictions keep changing?  Settled or unsettling?  

Leeches were used universally years ago and are still used today for very specific cases.   But the settled science of bloodletting was considered a standard practice and was considered the order of the day, a day that lasted for over 2000 years.  If anything was considered settled one would have to include bloodletting.  That practice is almost completely abandoned now and has no place within our present day system of medicine.  Who knows what will change in the future.

Science that is settled is no longer science since science is the process of discovery through experimentation and observation.  Settled science is then an unmitigated fact with no need to experiment or observe for the purpose of discovery.  As it pertains to Global Climate change, settled science implies no need for argument or discussion, especially for those who don’t agree.  (A Pew study done in October of 2016 showed a stark contrast between what has been reported and what was recently observed.  Three-quarters of Americans have doubts about the effects of climate change due to human behavior.)

To me, that is not science but a form of fascism that would severely curtail the free speech of those who dissent from the governmental position.  The use of force to limit those voices is encouraged as is violence and abuse of those who disagree.  “Settled science” has taken up those fascist ideals and they claim they should be the only voices, the only solutions and theirs should be the only means to their ends, leaving the rest of the country to accept, willing or not.

There are numerous issues, not scientific in nature but controversial areas of belief that have galvanized this country.  Abortion, immigration, gun control, minimum wage, gender Identity, the death penalty and many others.  These issues are far from settled and still hold the country apart. Who is to say what is right or wrong? I would vote for myself to be the arbiter of what is right or wrong but that might cause even more issues than we already have.  

In order to solve these issues we need to solve the most basic problem of how we feel about each other, we need to love more, care more and serve more, then and only then can we be in a position to want to help those around us despite their political views, and only then will we be able to discuss those divisive topics without the overwhelming need to end the discussion with violence...You go first and I’ll see how you do...

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Parenting Faux Pas

Image result for petulant child cartoonAs a responsible parent, I am prepared to do what it takes to make sure my children can do what it takes to raise their children.  And then I look at my grandchildren and wonder where I went wrong.  My kids are not parenting like I did, some are not even close, making me wonder what I did wrong.

My first realization came when I learned that my ability to parent is contingent on my experiences, my perceptions and my personality, all now under review by my kids who are parenting.  In other words, they will have to learn for themselves how to parent and how not to parent, just like I did.

There are some common grounds that should be considered, to be considered a good parent, keeping in mind that a good parent is one who... GOOD PARENTING – A DEFINITION. Good parenting happens when a person creates for a child a stable, nurturing home environment, is a positive role model, and plays a positive and active part in a child's life. Good parents provide moral and spiritual guidance, set limits, and provide consequences for a child's behavior.

Having had 10 children I am either a master at parenting or a complete and utter fool for attempting to raise 10 totally different personalities, I tend to lean toward the "fool" part but I have learned a few things along the way.

  1. We do too much for our kids.  They need to learn to be self-sufficient and as we can see in our society today most of us have failed miserably in this regard.  We get them up in the morning, we make their breakfast, we do their homework or make excuses for why it’s not done.  We coddle them, support them and tie them up in knots so securely that they never have any room to really grow and develop.
  2. Treating them like friends.  If you want to be friends with your kids then perhaps you need to get out more among those of your age.  We can be friendly but I fail to see the need to be friends with our kids.  Being friends implies forsaking the parenting role and replacing it with something less structured, less educational and less loving, but go ahead be friends with your kids.
  3. Not demanding that they adhere to specific behaviors while in our home.  We must remember who’s home it is.  It is not their home, it is our home, even if we are only paying rent.  Our kids are not simply visiting but they need to understand that if they want to live there they have rules to live by.  You determine the rules and the consequences, not the kids.  

There are many more specific areas that could be mentioned but the three above seem to encapsulate the generalities of where our generation has failed our kids.  The issue with failing is the lack of foundational learning that has in the past ensured, to some extent, the furthering of those basic, foundational skills needed to promote from one generation to the next.

My perspective as a teacher and a parent is that those skills have been forgotten or set aside resulting in children and adults (all our children) who do not currently possess the ability to look beyond their self-interests.  Our children (not mine, yours, mine are perfect by the way, just in case you were wondering) are selfish, disconnected, entitled, lazy and worst of all liberal in their ideals and outlook.

In several polls, the trend of our youth is decidedly conservative at least it is when those youth start to grow and develop.  The trend toward political acceptance is almost always more liberal until our children start to have to live on their own.  When I say on their own I don’t mean their rent is subsidized by mom or dad, they hold a job, pay their bills and in essence start to act like an adult or in other words “responsible”.

Look at the last election, those who voted for the democrats were between 18-39.  A dramatic shift occurs at age 40 and virtually every age group above 40 voted for Donald Trump and a more conservative model of government.  The issues, however, are not primarily about age and responsibility.  When you view the news and the disquiet of our country you soon realize that a preponderance of those who are demonstrating are also within the 18-39 age group.

It is also not just those who demonstrate but in how they demonstrate and tolerate that sheds light on the need for good parenting.  Unlike any time in this countries history, those who demonstrate are not doing so simply to advertise their dislike, they are actively demonstrating to quiet the opposition and stop their ability to govern.  They are acting like petulant children who have not been given that candy that they could not reach on their own and are now screaming and kicking in the store to get their way.

Prior “good” parenting could have resulted in a better outcome.  Establishing patterns are essential and that includes helping your kids (remember my kids are perfect) understand the consequences and the benefits of life, that means you need to impose those consequences and provide the benefits as far as you can that is.  

The bottom line is, we have to decide what kind of adults we want to have when we’re done raising our children.  We can see the results of what we’ve done, so we all know that doesn’t work.  We may have committed our society to a downward spiral of social suicide with our only hope being that age will have the effect it has always had in creating positive and responsible adults.  But with the mistakes of liberalism and the associated idea of moral relativism, our children may never grow up.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Presidents Day

Image result for presidents day cartoonsToday, this morning and this afternoon, and into the evening, is Presidents Day, or formally Washington’s Birthday.  The day was changed officially in 1971 by Richard Nixon and became Presidents Day in an attempt to create more three-day weekends corresponding with federal holidays.

I have mixed emotions about those changes.  In 1971 I was a sophomore in high school, not a particularly great student, I loved to ditch and go to the beach or mountains with friends.  The beach in Southern California during the winter months generally meant less crowds, more beach, choppy surf and most important it was a time to, just get away.  

The problem with the set holiday on the third Monday of February was that everyone else also had the same ideas of getting away as I did, and now had an extra day to do just that, get away.  The beaches were more crowded, the local ski resorts were packed and the amusement parks were inundated with families and friends just “getting away”.  

The other issues was in how this particular holiday seemed to minimize the previous holidays of President Washington and Lincoln.  Lincoln's Birthday used to be celebrated on his birthday, February 12th. Washington is officially recognized by the holiday we refer to as Presidents day, but there is no official Presidents day within in the United States.  February 20th is officially called “Washington’s Birthday”, It’s just not celebrated on his actual birthday February 22nd.  Lincoln's birthday has never really been an official Federal Holiday and was only celebrated at the state level with 1940 being the highest year for observance with over 20 states recognizing Lincoln's birthday.   

I love my three day weekends and as I teacher I am ecstatic about the prospect of not going into school during those Uniform Monday Holiday Act days, but it does bother me that we change the past by rewriting the present.  We change our important days into days we might enjoy but it looses its meaning.  

Especially in schools, where we have become very adept at speaking in a politically correct manner.  We changed Christmas to Winter Break.  Easter is now Spring Break with some schools changing the dates to accommodate some other criteria rather than the Christian holiday it used to represent.  

We never had a Lincoln's birthday federally, we did in California but now even that is gone.  We really don’t have a president’s day, that’s only it’s unofficial name.  Washington’s Birthday is still observed but only rarely does it correspond with the Uniform Monday Holiday Act.  The effects of these changes have been negative, for the most part, and especially in relation to our memories of why we celebrate and to who we are celebrating.  

Youtube interviews show happy students having fun but totally unaware of what they were celebrating.  Is it because of the changes in status of these holidays or some other reason but the bottom line is, if we don’t remember why we celebrate, then there really is no reason to celebrate.  

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Logger Blogger

Image result for logging cartoonBlogging, like other forms of communication, not related to face to face exchanges, has a tendency to wither your sense of perspective.  The blogger, and in this case me, could be swayed by the very dribble I pronounce, not that, that would ever happen, but it is a possibility.  Blogging like logging requires a singleness in motivation.  

Loggers see trees.   They see big trees and little trees, diseased and healthy trees. They see trees of all kinds.  But primarily they see trees that are on their list to be cut and hewn down, processed and shipped to homeowners like me, a simple blogger.  

If I were a logger and not a blogger, I would enjoy the outdoors, the smell of the great pines and various hardwoods that are grown to be cut down.  I would enjoy driving and bouncing on the rudimentary logging roads that snake through the backwoods and rural areas of America.  My life would be fairly simple in that my goal each day would be to check my saw, make sure it was filled with oil, check my chain to make sure it was up to the task and start cutting.  I’m sure there is more to it than that but I am not a logger, I’m a blogger.

As a blogger, I also enjoy the outdoors but while I’m blogging I am mostly indoors, wishing I could roam the great outdoors and smell the pines and various hardwoods, but alas, there are only a few trees in my neck of the woods, actually no woods at all really only urban sprawl.  I also enjoy snaking through the back roads of Wine country (yes we have a place called Wine country) but we have no logging roads only rabbit trails and their much too small to safely drive my Mercedes.

The real differences between a blogger and a logger are,  they have the ability to thin the forest by actually cutting down those trees that need to be cut.  As a blogger I can only hope that my words cut deep into the souls of men, helping them see the errors of their ways.  Loggers are able to see the results of their work at the end of each day.  Bloggers have to judge their effectiveness by the number of comments and readers generated, with no real discernable gauge of success.

One of the past issues with logging was their willingness to clear an entire mountainside, leaving nothing behind but forgotten stumps where the trees used to be.  This process of clear cutting has been mostly replaced with select cutting, where the loggers chose select trees to cut leaving about a third of the crop (yes it is a crop) alone to continue growing.  This process takes longer, is more costly and requires more time, raising the cost of lumber but environmentally it is preferable.  It also required more thought and more planning, with less waste and better wood supposedly.  But the last time I was was at large Box store all I noticed was marginal quality for a high price.

It’s too bad we cannot select cut our politicians.  Even better perhaps would be an ability to select cut the thousands upon thousands of bureaucrats that have been in place since the Clinton years.  These career politicians are not elected but because of their ideology, they create difficulties for the politicians, who are elected and accountable.  

Some would quantify these bureaucratic employees as working within a shadow government, still keenly devoted to past leaders, with no real intent to follow the admonitions of the new leader.   “President Donald Trump dismissed acting Attorney General Sally Yates on Monday night after she ordered government lawyers not to defend his executive order on refugees.”

An order that I wish to mention was 100% constitutional and legal.

Whether you agree or not, is not a consideration.  Yates was Trumps acting Attorney General and had the obligation to perform her duties or to quit, not to countermand the orders given by the President.  You may say that what she did was right and courageous but that was not a choice she should have made.  Her only choice was to quit or obey.  After quitting she could have held a press conference or done a number of things to show her displeasure but she was obligated, by virtue of her role in the government to do as she was instructed.  

It would be like a logger choosing not to cut down the selected trees because he or she (don't want to offend those that are easily offended by sexual innuendo) had recently decided to become an environmentalist and activist.  Sure he/she could easily not do as he/she was told but he/she would be fired, as Yates was because she had told her employees not to follow the rules set by her boss, the President, that is anarchy.

Merriam-Webster defines Anarchy as a:  absence of government b:  a state of lawlessness or political disorder due to the absence of governmental authority c:  a utopian society of individuals who enjoy complete freedom without government. (good luck on that last one)

What kind of government would we have if all our shadow leaders did as Yates did?  The impending chaos would literally destroy the rule of law.  Good or bad laws are designed for our benefit.  I am the first to admit that many of our laws are counterproductive with some that are downright destructive to economic growth, health, and free enterprise, I will also admit that there needs to be a balance between the many voices that proclaim whatever they want to proclaim.

In the old days, there used to be individual loggers, there were no bloggers, except for the tavern storytellers, spinning a yarn or two for a free drink or food.  These loggers were on their own, quietly moving into the forest and cutting a tree or two to build a house or a fence.  Logging was, mostly an individual endeavor.  As society grew so did the demand for wood and wood products and so did the need for laws for those loggers.

We need laws, not all of them, however.  We need rules and we need people who define those rules.  We need government, not all of it, however.  We need people who define that government and who can be trusted to do as they are told to do.

Whether you're a logger or a blogger, we all live together and togetherness demands that we accept and live by certain laws.  If you don’t like the rules, you're welcome to change them but only within the rules that have been outlined to do so.   

Follow and Share Please, you don't even have to be a blogger or a logger to do so...

Sunday, February 12, 2017

The Politics of War

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Politics is really nothing more than war with words.  Carl von Clausewitz wrote a book, On War, where he said, War is the continuation of politics by other means.“  I would recommend this book but be prepared to read over 700 pages.  I have yet to finish the book, and often misplace it, on purpose.  That may be a subconscious choice to assist in my true measure of avoidance.  The topic, however, is of great interest to me, having read The Book of the Five Rings, by Miyamoto Musashi and the before mentioned The Art of War, by Sun Tzu, as well as the Prince by Machiavelli.

The topic of war and it's less violent cousin, politics, has always intrigued me.  War to some can be summed up as individual duals, all taking place at the same time.  Those thoughts were from Clausewitz, helping all of us to understand the progression toward war and hopefully giving us the means to scale back our political battles, that left unchecked would result in all out war.

I remember a fight I had with my older brother.  It’s hard now to remember what the fight was over but I do recall it had something to do with a Frisbee.  Either I was inept at my attempts to throw the toy or my brother was totally impatient with having to move to retrieve my errant throws.  Regardless of the reasons for the war, we were fully engaged in hand to hand combat.  

It started with words, politics, and soon exploded into war, me the younger and more agile and my brother, stronger and the more experienced fighter.  I somehow encircled his neck with my arm and put him in a vise-like headlock.  The vise-like comment is my attempt to make me look good.  But that’s how it ended, with me squeezing his neck, not choking, I understood the difference from a few years in Judo and really did not want to “choke him out”, I wanted to subdue him and take away his desire for war.

Just like politics, we started with words and those words turned to violence.  Our mutual goals were to subdue the other and I just happened to be able to prevent him from subduing me, a very good thing for me.  

Politics is not always an individual endeavor and its consequences are often just as disruptive as war, but without the physical destruction.   War, in like measure is not always a battle among armies and does not have to be destructive.  The great, ancient Captain Sun Tzu said,  The Supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting”.  This is all well and good but the objective of war is “The ultimate military purpose of war is the destruction of the enemy's ability to fight and will to fight”  As quoted from the United States objective on war.

When combined with other objectives, and I must point out that no one  agrees on what those objectives of war should be, but on reflection of why we go to war and why we send our men and women to die, that objective should be to minimize our enemies efforts to wage war against us and remove their ability to make war and sustain a war, not simply be subject to another's desire for power and control

As a country, you either protect your citizens or you do not.   Many countries sidestep this decision through the treaty process, relying upon larger, more influential countries to shoulder the burden of defense.  The United States is a perfect example of providing those services to smaller, less able countries like Japan, or South Korea and many others who are dependent on the resources of the US and its military might.  

What would happen in the world if the US decided to not offer protection?  What would those countries enemies be able to do without the United States standing by their side?  The smaller, more vulnerable countries would be swallowed up and lost to the stronger and less scrupulous nations.  Remember the USSR? There is some controversy in how and who we protect and support and in the past poor decisions have resulted in disastrous results but the premise of protecting those who cannot is still a good one, despite those past issues.

There are those who maintain a view that all war is bad and all war should be avoided at all cost, never really considering the alternatives to being attacked or the need for someone to fill the role of protector for those who cannot protect themselves.  Often asked, “If not us, then who?”  Should we allow Russia or China to take its turn as the world's police, and If we were so naive, what results would be forthcoming?

Then there are those who espouse a life of lawlessness, the anarchist who seem to despise all laws, only willing to live by self-imposed rules.  They fail to understand the basic principle that freedom is a result of obeying specific laws.  The absence of law and order does not equate to freedom only a society devoid of laws, subjecting all to its tyranny and subjugation, with exception of those very few who through power, intimidation and terror control all the others….NO freedom, NO choices and NO justice.

Society should be balanced to support the rights and privileges of all, not just those who scream the loudest or cause the most damage.  When laws are devoid of equal justice they are without justice entirely, leaving those who are not deemed equal without the protection of those laws.

From politics to war and from injustice to anarchy, we, our society, is at the mercy of our unwillingness to establish societal standards that demand compliance.  Not unlike managing a classroom, when a teacher fails to demand respect the class becomes unmanageable and unruly.  Lessons prepared are ineffective, students are disruptive and the consequences of poor behavior are not enforced, further supporting that poor behavior.  Learning is lost.  

School districts are more concerned about how everyone feels, forsaking the needed role of educators and the need to teach proper behaviors and respect to the rule of law.  Students are allowed to rule the roost, destroying the academic opportunities within many of this country's schools.  School classes are at war with their teachers and teachers are at war with the districts.

As another example, President Trump has been forced to rethink his immigration ban, not because it was unconstitutional but because of the petulant outcry against that executive order, an order that was done in the past by multiple presidents to balance and protect this country.  Those demonstrators, those voices are nothing more than ill-mannered children looking to force their way, regardless of the rule of law, and in spite of the needs of the many.  For too long, like the example of the classroom, the government has failed to manage its affairs equitably and the result is inequitable behavior by large sections of our society.  

Who’s to blame?  Government to some degree.  Parents are also to blame,  But mostly the blame falls on the permissive society where everything is considered valid.  There are no truths, no standards, and no winners or losers.  War may be the result if politics continues to fail and the words of our politicians, most of them, continue to be nothing but self-serving, air filled fluff.  

Remember to share and follow.  

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Run with the Devil

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Seeing my youngest daughter atop a horse brought back many memories of my own pre-teen years.  I was not even close to being as beautiful or as graceful, but I loved to ride.  My horses of the past were mostly, mangy, middle-class stock, Quarter horses mostly.  They were raised for the brush and rock of middle Mexico but when I was riding my life took on an ethereal feel of peace and completeness.  I was a prince of some forgotten kingdom and I was riding the prized stallions of the realm.  Don't laugh I was 10, I think.

My Grandfather was a cattle rancher, deep in the interior of Mexico.  Durango in the 60’s was a rough and unforgiving place with many men carrying pistols and brandishing rifles.  Unlike my daughter's riding lessons, I was unceremoniously lifted on a horse named Diablo and told to hang on.  I wanted off this flea bitten, crazy-eyed monster but all I heard was “Estaras Bien hombrecito”  “you’ll be fine little man”.  

My daughter has the grace and lines of a true Dressage aficionado.  Her long legs, her straight back, and slender build only accentuate the beauty and functionality of the perfect lines of her steed below.  I was a slouch, a servant of ill repute in comparison.  But I rode and I rode well.  

Diablo was well named.  When they plopped me on his back and into an ill-fitting saddle they never told me he didn’t like the rain.  After a few nervous minutes waiting to be thrown the horse settled down and I was actually able to ride.  My stirrups were too short for my lengthy frame, the padding on the split, Mexican style, wood saddle was non-existent.  This particular saddle was mostly made of wood and sat high on the horse's back.  The blankets that protected the horse were course, smelly and tattered but apparently, the horse didn’t care, unless his mood was a result of the saddle and not his innate disposition.

The smiling Mexicans with their silver-lined teeth slapped the nag hard on its rump and laughed as he bolted away with me barely holding on, my hands gripping the overly large saddle horn for dear life.  The galloping was easy, and I soon fell into the natural rhythm of the horse's gate.  It was when Diablo started to trot that I became worried.

They taught my daughter to post, stepping into the stirrups, using her legs to minimize the ups and downs and save her butt and tailbone in the process.  I learned the hard way and that never included knowing how to mitigate those jarring motions atop the back of a slowly moving horse. I learned enough to understand that standing a little reduced the teeth chattering effects.  To this day I ride like a cowboy, loose and free, using my legs and ankles to absorb the shock generated by the horse's trot.  Each horse is different but the pattern is much the same.

Learning to post is great but what happens when you’re stuck on your horse all day?  Posting is tiring and impossible to maintain for long periods of time.  Cowboys stayed in their saddles from sun up to sun down and needed to ride with their horse not simply on it.  

Western riders have to accommodate the individual horse they are on and in essence become one with the horse.  English style demands that you negotiate your horse's gate by developing a gate of your own while attempting to look good.  

When the rain started it was just a sprinkle but to Diablo, any rain was too much rain.  Just when I thought I was getting a hang of the “riding” process a few drops hit his face and the whole world ended.  As quickly as we started, with the cowhands slapping his rump, Diablo stopped and for a split second, I was still, no movement.  

His first jump was only a small shudder but I didn’t understand so thought nothing of what was about to happen.  Within two seconds he was in full on buck, and I was literally holding on for my life.  He was vaulting and twisting, swaying his head violently and kicking his legs, arching his back and it seemed to me doing all at once.  I still had no idea why this was happening but there I was sitting atop this mad, possessed horse, desperately trying not to die.

I had been so enthralled with the galloping that I had no idea of the other riders presence, but I could hear their whooping and hollering as I managed to stay on.  With each swivel or twist, I could feel my body being pushed by the centrifugal force willing me to fly off.  Truth be told, I have no idea how I stayed on.

The rain never really came and it ended a few seconds after it started,  I never got wet and no I didn’t pee my pants.  Here I was maybe 10 or 12 sitting atop a crazed, possessed animal and all I can think about was not peeing my pants.  

Diablo quickly stopped bucking and returned to normal, standing quietly as if nothing had happened.  For me the entire world was on fire, my butt was killing me, my legs were raw from holding on and my brain hurt from being jarred and slammed against my skull.  I immediately jumped off the horse and did so in such a fantastic way that the other riders began whooping and hollering again.  For me I was infused with adrenalin, and the fight or flight reaction to stress caused me to run or in this case jump and I did, lifting my right leg over the front of the saddle and kind of falling off but when I was done I was still standing, making the others think I had done it on purpose.  

I did get back on Diablo, but only after the vaqueros grabbed their little Gringo, Me, and gave me a round of slaps on my back and somehow there I was again, sitting back on top of the insane horse.

My Grandfather did find out what had happened and asked me directly if I wanted those riders who obviously played a joke on the poor little white kid, fired or reprimanded, I didn’t know what reprimanded meant so I said no and that was that.  But every time I walked down to the slaughter house I was greeted with respect and kindness, again I didn’t really understand but I was happy and I had made friends who asked me to ride often in the days that followed, but never on Diablo who was by the way penned near a dog that was most assuredly rabid from rabies or was just as insane as the horse.

What has all this to do with Politics?  Nothing really, except that real life must go on, despite the issues that seem to overtake us and consume our every thought.  There is more to life than what the media would suggest, don’t you think?