Monday, January 26, 2015

Angry Birds (crows) down for the count.

The weirdest things happened to me this morning.  As I was driving into the parking lot of a local high school I looked up in the sky through my front windshield and saw two huge, black crows dog fighting.   There massive wings folding and unfolding as they maneuvered through the air, narrowly missing the light poles and oncoming traffic, like my car, missing me within inches as they battled furiously over some furry object held fast within the talons of the primary bird.

I've seen birds war over food before.  I've seen seagulls swoop down and steal a sandwich out of the hands of my daughter and I've seen a pelican narrowly miss the tip of my son’s finger with its hooked beak but I have never seen such a display of desperation as I saw this morning. 
The two blackened creatures tumbled and rose, flying haphazardly in every conceivable direction, defying gravity as they fought, escaped and tangled with such furry that I was certain that both would perish, oblivious to the dangers that raced past and the obstacles that lined the highway.

Temporarily out of sight, I turned right and then right again into the parking lot of the school.  My car slowed while I prepared to park and out of my periphery those same gigantic birds swooped low over my windscreen, their wings actually touching the glass.  I could hear the soft scrape as their feathery wings wiped my window, the feathers cleaning a streak of glass of the dust that covered my car.

Just as fast as they had descended the two antagonists rose sharply into the air and with a final thrust of effort the attacking bird seemed to ram the defender causing it to drop its booty.   I watched it fall, the legs and tail spiraling haphazardly from side to side and up and down, the fur blown by the wind as it crashed, almost purposely on the very spot that was previously cleaned by the warring birds, now awash with the gooey remains, my windshield now needing a new cleaning.

I don’t know if you would describe these events as weird but they were unusual, the word weird means strange, eerie and even creepy.  The used and battered being that bombarded my windshield, had it been alive, would assuredly think the incident peculiar and scary and if it wasn't dead before the fall it would have been after the back and forth in the air and most definitely after the impact.

Seeing a strange event in and of itself is not the point of this story and as you know by now it seldom is; my ulterior motive is to bring to light the often futility of what humans do on a daily basis and the pointlessness of what has become common place.  We fight, we disagree, we argue and chastise, judge and attempt to censure the ideas and desires of others just so we can have some semblance of prominence over another.

Our philosophies may be different and those differences seem to be growing not only in numbers but in severity and with that severity the punishments for non-compliance.  I may think I’m right and I will defend my position but when did it become fashionable to degrade those that were different, who thought differently or acted a bit out of the norm?  Oh wait; it’s always been that way.  Man has never been tolerate.  Man has never been able to abide the differences that make up our world.  Just look at history and you will see the evidence of racism, bigotry, chauvinism and a level of an incipient hatred that has no teacher but is born and seems to be a natural tendency rather than a learned trait, hence the warning “that  the natural man is an enemy to God….”

And so it is that like those vicious and greedy birds, the struggle of man continues, Neighbor wanting what they don’t have, Countries plundering in the name of sovereignty, political parties postulating possessive power in order to sustain or retake position and the individuals of all races, creeds and stations forgetting the simple solution of their divine origins following instead the adversary and universal antagonist without regard to the eternal splendor of that forgotten golden rule. 

Perhaps it would do us good to stop, for just a few moments and reconsider our Natural selves and consider the effects of being more civil, more loving, more charitable and more divine.  Those two birds could have shared, stopped fighting and battling over that poor creature and had a meal together, but crows, I think, don’t have the capacity to understand, Humans, I think, do.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Liberals Vs Conservatives

Many have asked what it means to be a liberal.  As a liberal you may even ask yourself what you believe, what you espouse and what you stand for.  The definition of liberalism is in short the belief in the value of social and political change in order to achieve progress.  That sounds great, and who could possibly argue with these lofty goals and desires?

The Conservative believe in the value of established and traditional practices in politics and society.  Why would anyone want to change what works and in the same vain this level of belief has a lofty and laudable goal of establishing a pattern of success that can be replicated.

When compared to the definition of liberalism, conservatism is not necessarily opposed to change and I don’t think that liberalism disagrees with standards of behavior and only wants change for change sake but the reality of political rhetoric you are almost forced to come away with the opinion that both are evil and both create the assumption that by believing in one you are incapable of accepting or even appreciating the other.

The reason this is a must read for Liberals and not for conservatives is due primarily in the definition that requires change in order to achieve social and political progress.  The first question has to be:  is change imperative in order to progress?  The answer is yes but one has to ask what kind of change and when?

Let’s look at the educational field and the past forty years.  Education has become a poster child of the liberal ideal of change with changes that have gone full circle in such a degree that the only viable visual would be a spinning yoyo moving forever up and down, revolving on its string, up and down but never changing its relative position to the hand that wields it.

I have been a special education teacher for many years and have seen the pendulum not only swing from side to side but up and down and all around, just to find the entire process starting over again with no progress in scores, student preparedness or value for dollars spent, which has to be considered as a gauge of effectiveness.  Our educational system has increased it’s spending fairly steadily starting with statistics of about 1% of GDP at the turn of the century and ending with current spending of nearly 7% of GDP.

That is a lot of money. For 2014 the total GDP was 16,768,100,000,000 that equals 1,173,767,000,000 education dollars or that equals 3,354 dollars per person not students, everyone.  With 120 million students those same dollars if only spent on the students would equate to nearly 10,000 dollars per child per year.  Where does all that money go?  I wonder what I would do with an extra 30,000 per year…

Evan though the face of education has changed dramatically over the years and spending increased by trillions the overall outcome has not changed significantly and in some circles has declined not only in US standards but in comparison to world standards to the lowest level since the Second World War with student preparedness in relation to societal needs at an historical low. 

From a conservative viewpoint the idea of changing for change sake works only rarely and is about as effective as throwing darts blindfolded at the stocks list to determine what to buy.   Could we have saved trillions over the years by simply staying an educational course and still had the same results as we have now? 

The reason that education is used as a model to represent liberalism is the concept of change just to change and the opposing view of “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it” is so well exemplified within the educational world.

Let’s all just agree that we’re not perfect and that change is needed in many fundamental areas.  Changing however just to change creates just as many problems as those who fail to face their fears and decide to run away thinking that by running away their problems won’t follow. 

Conservatism like liberalism is not perfect nor does it provide the end all philosophy that will ensure security and happiness for all, but when comparing the two and in relation to the old saying “teach a man to fish….” The overall outcome from a “proper” education speaks volumes in relation to the end game of what society is and where it’s going. 

I am a conservative but the reason I stay with certain ideals is for the simple reason that they work.  The reason I stay with certain moralities is because I see the long term value of living my life according to principles that have proven effective and disdain those fly by night philosophies that make claims of freedom or peace without the requisite costs of sacrifice.  Nothing is free and nothing earned without work has any real value.

Liberals would take from me to give to another, what right do they have to take what I’ve earned (I haven’t earned that much but I like to think I deserve to keep what I’ve earned, especially when it’s given to those who do not know the value of work).

Liberalism would take from those who are “rich” thinking that because of their success they should be compelled to give to those who are not.  When put into the following context perhaps those liberal desires can be minimized:

Take an individual who takes his money and invests in a start up company.  He has no idea of its future wealth and that initial investment in most cases came from his previous hard work (most of the Wealthy in our country earned that wealth).  That investment skyrocketed and he became a billionaire.   What poor person is worse off because of his investment?  What homeless person is homeless because of his initial investment? And what neighborhood is considered poor because that one man decided to invest his money in a company rather than simply saving those dollars or giving those initial investment dollars away prior to investing.

The simple answer is none…

Then why does the liberal think it’s OK to make changes, for change sake without the requisite understanding of the end result?  Change is good, necessary and an important aspect of everyone’s lives.  Without change we stagnate and eventually die from atrophy, but the road to change should be subtle and planned not sporadic and haphazard just so those who initiate those changes can be seen as revolutionaries. 

We had our Revolution and the changes made then worked, continue to work and will sustain us if we follow those same, proven precepts. Long live the US constitution. 



Thursday, January 15, 2015

It's Just a Little Lie

Generally speaking when an individual makes an excuse for behaviors not inline with the norm, everybody knows that the diatribe of lies and pretext is nothing more than an attempt to justify and excuse those very same actions.

Everybody, literally everybody has fallen prey to the ever so present trap of trying to excuse away the stupidity of our lives.

You would think by now, with all that we have accomplished and learned that humanity would stop making excuses and realize that they never work and the very attempt creates such a negative impression for those that have to endure listening that we would have replaced that activity with one of honesty and truthfulness. 

Quite a few years ago, I think it was on the TV show 20/20  they caught an appliance repair person (noticed the way I used person and not man, even though it was a man, I am so politically correct it hurts) denying that he had ripped off the client by saying he had replaced a part when he had not, it was recorded on camera.  Even after he was shown the video and the proof,  that was irrefutable, he continued to lie and deny any wrong doing.  It was so blatant it was funny.  Are we really that afraid of being caught doing something wrong that we will continue a lie even when it is undeniably undeniable? 

I can understand children lying and staying with that lie; they haven’t yet learned that truth can be discovered and have yet to learn of consequences or penalties but for those who are older and more experienced the resoluteness in holding to a “story” is beyond belief and shows an unreal level of selfishness and denial to the basic tenets of society. 

Along this same vain of thought are those who deny obvious truths for political, religious or other unknown reasons, staying with a belief that is so evidently flawed that any continuance belays their own level of sanity. The problem with that last sentence however is the perception of what constitutes truth and what is obvious to some is inky speculation at best to others, creating such a mess of contradictions that the word “truth” has no barring and no place within the languages of any who choose to speak.

The worst part, for me anyway, is the way others deny what is so obviously obvious and refrain through non action to intervene, actuate or interfere in anyway toward the mitigation of wrongs by others, and in so doing support, condone and then sustain those actions, giving credence in a substantial manner to those very actions they claim to abhor.  

Do I have to be more specific?  OK, in recent weeks the issue of ISIS has come again to the forefront of the news with bombings in France and just recently the almost bombings in Belgium, thankfully thwarted, but not one group or leader within any of the Muslim community has denounced those actions as EVIL.  Even more poignant is the lack of protests against those that terrorize the world.

Of the approximate 1.6 billions Muslims it is estimated that today one half of all Muslims are either radicalized or leaning toward radicalism.  Even with that huge number that leaves an additional 800 million that could be marching, could be speaking out, could be supporting the war on terror on the side of sanity, but nothing, not a word, not a whimper, except for those who complain that their religion is being attacked. 

The “Religion of Peace” is in no way peaceful if those who follow that religion do not subscribe to the very basic principles that govern peace.  If the statistic of population is correct and half of all Muslims are radicalized to some degree than their motivations are not for peace but terror only, and the overriding responsibility of those who subscribe to the peaceful tenets of Islam need to step up and admit to their culpability.

Like the appliance repairman (yes I reverted back to my politically incorrect but more truthful labeling and description) who continued to lie, even when caught red handed, which by the way refers to those who were caught with blood on their hands, they continue to lie and deny the very existence of truth, making truth, any truth a worthless and meaningless endeavor.

The real tragedy perhaps is the loss of our goodness and our morality and the loss of what used to be considered sacred, especially now that millions upon millions skirt the meaning of truth and replace it with whatever is convenient and expedient at the time just so they can continue to hate and terrorize.  This is truly a war, not just of ideology and belief but for the very soul of man.  We may not be fighting directly but each of us are engaged fully against an adversary that will do whatever it takes to destroy what little truths we have.