Happy Holidays, Merry Mass of Christ and Improbable Heights

‘When you strip everything away from Batman, you are left with someone who doesn’t want to see anyone die.’ — KINGDOM COME by Alex Ross and Mark Waid

When I think of humanity in general, and the holiday season in particular it strikes me that that should be our goal. The pursuit of a world, where nobody dies in vain.

But the reality, particularly in America, this time of year is that with the eyes of the media diverted; government sponsored mass-murders actually ramp up, bombings ramp up (now of the drone and unmanned variety, machines murdering men.. what an unholy road we walk), the terrorism of the rich… ramps up.

I’ll not forget the media celebrating the death of Bin Laden. Death and Murder and Torture are never things to celebrate, no matter the justification.

While I am savage enough to know that killing may be a necessary evil, I am human and moral enough to know it is never a joy, never a victory, never a cause for celebration.

Be the murdered Bin Laden, or Hitler or insert bogieman here, bringing murder to murderers is never anything less than a soiling, and a failure, necessary though it may be, it is a failure of reason. And as such is a solemn time, not a glorious one.

Because to do otherwise, to take joy from death, and celebration from degradation and horror… is to devoid you of moral high-ground, is to make you (in ways stark and true) worse than those you would revile, worse than your Hitlers and Bin-Ladens. It makes you a lynchmob, a coward, and an opportunist of carnage.

We must strive to be better than that, otherwise your protestations of Christianity, and Holy Nights, and piety are just lies, are hypocrisy and mendacity most foul, that you use to conceal your roman desire to see people bleed and suffer and die.

You become that lowest form of life, a gibbering coward among cowards, you become nothing more than a grasping claw, a rolling eye, and a screeching mouth… in the creature we call lynchmob. And there is no lower, and ultimately, more inhuman form of life.

Our goal therefore must be to reject that, to reject the easy lies and the easy hates, and work toward this wildly improbable world where no one dies in vain.

But humanity’s very existence is an improbability, so we can bend that already fanciful existence to either improbable heights of good, or improbable depths of evil. We just have to pick a direction.

‘We do these things not because they are easy, but because they are hard. ‘ — John Fitzgerald Kennedy when imploring men into space

Here, on this holiday season, more fiction than fact, ‘goodwill to all’; look into yourself and find what is hypocrisy, what is lies, and find it in yourself to make truths, and truly believe and act on this idea…. of a time of peace.

Here endeth the lesson.

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News You Can Use

Here are a couple articles that caught my eye:

NSA Surveillance Scandal: Snowden In Moscow, Asks Ecuador for Asylum

What occurs to me is Snowden is not the name we should be concentrating on, or the one that should be on the run. It’s the NSA names that signed off on the illegal spying that should be the names of the hour. Names to admonish and remember.

and lest the NSA have all the fun…

Confirmed: The FBI is Spying on the US with Drones

The interesting thing about drone technology is, quite like science fiction stories of yesteryear(fact being forged out of fiction), they are no longer restricted to the size of small robot controlled planes high in the sky. Increasingly they are the size and contour of innocuous things like insects.

Seriously. I would not joke you. Look it up, I’ll wait.

Hmm-hm-hmmmm-hmm …. duh-da-da da … Ah, you’re back. So looked it up have you? All proven? Good.

So, Take a close look at that next dragonfly buzzing around, it may just be time to say… cheese. :).

Civil Liberties? Human Rights? Privacy? Where or where have they gone. :).

Maybe there is a simple answer to the preservation of these endangered concepts like liberty … fighting for them. Every way we can… fighting for them. They must be preserved by seeing a wrong, acknowledging it as such, and acting against it.

Snowden, whatever his believed goals, did more right than wrong, in putting morality before money, and conscience before corporations and the corporate stranglehold on American policy. And before any of this gets better(this being our steep slide to totalitarianism and slavery) we must… all of us… make judgments about what we allow to be done in our name, by a largely hidden minority, who hide behind letters like… US.

United States.

Who the hell are they to hunt and kill and torture under that cloak? Under that mask, under that lie, of the United States. I am the United States as long as I pay taxes to the fiefdom. And I see the spying programs as illegal at best, and Snowden as a necessary byproduct of a culture of lies. As a man who sees the truth, and has the temerity… to believe the governed have a right to the reality of the machinations that govern them.

We must all of us judge what is done in our name, and if found wrong… resist it.

And whether that wrong be called Schutzstaffel or its progeny of the NSA, Darpa, Homeland Security, our response to it must be the same…

Resist it.

WEDNESDAYS WORDS

WEDNESDAYS WORDS is a new weekly installment that ranks the most interesting, intriguing books of the week (old, new, reissues, digital, etc). Contributors represent a variety of genres and sources. Each book includes Title and publisher blurb.


Fodor’s U.S. & British Virgin Islands (Full-color Travel Guide) [Paperback]
Full-color guide
• Make your trip to U.S. & British Virgin Islands unforgettable with illustrated features, 22 maps, and 125 color photos.

Customize your trip with simple planning tools
• Top experiences & attractions
• Island comparison charts
• Easy-to-read color maps

Explore the St. Thomas, St. John, Tortola, and beyond
• Discerning Fodor’s Choice picks for hotels, restaurants, sights, and more
• “Word of Mouth” tips from fellow Fodor’s travelers
• Illustrated features on Diving and Chartering a Yacht
• Best beachcombing, day sails, and shopping opportunities

Opinions from destination experts
• Fodor’s Virgin Islands-based writers reveal their favorite local haunts
Fodor’s U.S. & British Virgin Islands (Full-color Travel Guide)


Lonely Planet Caribbean Islands (Multi Country Travel Guide) [Paperback]
Ryan Ver Berkmoes (Author), Kevin Raub (Author)
Publication Date: December 1, 2011 | Series: Multi Country Travel Guide
“With amazing culture, beaches, activities and weather – not to mention the rum – the Caribbean is a joyous riot of islands offering the ultimate escape.” – Ryan Ver Berkmoes, Lonely Planet WriterOur PromiseYou can trust our travel information because Lonely Planet authors visit the places we write about, each and every edition. We never accept freebies for positive coverage, and you can rely on us to tell it like we see it.Inside This Book…65 islands covered13 expert authors500 days (and nights) of research874 gorgeous beachesInspirational photosClear, easy-to-use mapsCruising featureIn-depth backgroundComprehensive planning toolsEasy-to-read layout
Lonely Planet Caribbean Islands (Multi Country Travel Guide)


How to Retire Overseas: Everything You Need to Know to Live Well (for Less) Abroad [Paperback]

Publication Date: March 29, 2011
The definitive guide for anyone dreaming of a move to paradise.

Whether motivated by a desire for adventure, or the need to make the most of a diminished nest egg, more and more Americans are considering an overseas retirement. Drawing on her more than three decades of experience helping people relocate happily and successfully, Kathleen Peddicord shows how living in an unconventional retirement destination can cost less than a traditional home in Florida or Arizona. Peddicord addresses all of the essential issues, including:

? Death
? Taxes
? Health Care
? Bank Accounts

Whether readers are interested in relatively unknown havens like Nicaragua, well-traveled areas in Italy, or need some help deciding, How to Retire Overseas is the ultimate guide to making retirement dreams come true.

How to Retire Overseas: Everything You Need to Know to Live Well (for Less) Abroad


The WEDNESDAYS WORDS column is a new blog feature, appearing (you guessed it!) every Wednesday. Come back next week to see which books make the list!

If you’re a publisher, writer, or other creative representative looking to submit items for WEDNESDAYS WORDS, just leave a comment on this post with your email/contact info, comments don’t get posted they come right to me, and I’ll reach out to you with the snail mail details.

And as far as readers, if you see items on WEDNESDAYS WORDS you’re considering purchasing then, if you are able and would like to support this blog, please utilize the attached links.

Your helpful purchases through those links, generates much appreciated pennies to keep this blog running. Your feedback and support… just way cool, and way appreciated. Thanks!

Sponsored by Ebay Store: Deals of the Day!

WEDNESDAYS WORDS

“And if you heard I was celebrating… it’s a world wide lie!”
—Public Enemy

WEDNESDAYS WORDS is a new weekly installment that ranks the most interesting, intriguing books of the week (old, new, reissues, digital, etc). Contributors represent a variety of genres and sources. Each book includes Title and publisher blurb.


Declaration Of Independence, Constitution Of The United States Of America, Bill Of Rights And Constitutional Amendments [Paperback]
Book Description
Publication Date: June 24, 2012
A compilation of important American government documents including the Declaration of Independence, Constitution of the United States of America, the Bill of Rights and all amendments to the United States Constitution. An excellent educational reference tool to have on hand.
Declaration Of Independence, Constitution Of The United States Of America, Bill Of Rights And Constitutional Amendments


Civil Disobedience and Other Essays (Dover Thrift Editions) [Paperback]
Henry David Thoreau (Author)
Book Description

Publication Date: May 20, 1993 | ISBN-10: 0486275639 | ISBN-13: 978-0486275635
Thoreau has inspired generations of readers to think for themselves and to find meaning and beauty in nature. This sampling includes five of his most frequently read and cited essays: “On the Duty of Civil Disobedience” (1849), “Life without Principle” (1863), “Slavery in Massachusetts” (1854), “A Plea for Captain John Brown” (1869) and “Walking” (1862).
Civil Disobedience and Other Essays (Dover Thrift Editions)


Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (Signet Classics) [Mass Market Paperback]
Editorial Reviews
Book Description
Publication Date: June 7, 2005 | Series: Signet Classics

One of the most important documents in American history…In this wrenching, classic autobiography, Douglass describes himself as a man who became a slave—and, later, a slave who became a man. With an Introduction by Minister Peter J. Gomes of Harvard University.

Review
“Having consistently used the book for almost a decade, I can say that it remains the most popular of my required books. The introduction places Douglass in a historical context comprehensible to undergraduates and offers students shrewd insights into how he drafted his autobiography.”
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (Signet Classics)


The Communist Manifesto and Other Revolutionary Writings: Marx, Marat, Paine, Mao Tse-Tung, Gandhi and Others (Dover Thrift Editions) [Paperback]

Book Description
Publication Date: January 15, 2003
Spanning 3 centuries, this works include such milestone documents as the Declaration of Independence (1776), the Declaration of the Rights of Man (1789), and The Communist Manifesto (1848). Also included are writings by the Russian revolutionaries Lenin and Trotsky, Marat and Danton of the French Revolution, Rousseau, Gandhi, Mao, other leading figures in revolutionary thought.
The Communist Manifesto and Other Revolutionary Writings: Marx, Marat, Paine, Mao Tse-Tung, Gandhi and Others (Dover Thrift Editions)


The WEDNESDAYS WORDS column is a new blog feature, appearing (you guessed it!) every Wednesday. Come back next week to see which books make the list!

If you’re a publisher, writer, or other creative representative looking to submit items for WEDNESDAYS WORDS, just leave a comment on this post with your email/contact info, comments don’t get posted they come right to me, and I’ll reach out to you with the snail mail details.

And as far as readers, if you see items on WEDNESDAYS WORDS you’re considering purchasing then, if you are able and would like to support this blog, please utilize the attached links.

Your helpful purchases through those links, generates much appreciated pennies to keep this blog running. Your feedback and support… just way cool, and way appreciated. Thanks!

Sponsored by Ebay Store: Deals of the Day!

News of the Day!

Confirmed: US and Israel created Stuxnet, lost control of itYeah, so those viruses you’re getting? Courtesy of your tax dollars at work. Nice.

Engineer Thinks We Could Build a Real Starship Enterprise In 20 YearsThis person maybe more than a bit over-ambitious and slightly insane. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. 🙂 . How about something simpler buddy, an effective and affordable alternative energy car so I can stop spending a fortune on petrol? 🙂

Google dealt blow in book scanning lawsuitI have this whole despise, defend, despise thing going on with Google. I think monopolistic companies are bad, and Google is a bit too omni-present and in everybody’s business for my liking. The bastard killed my favorite search engine! (See my rant on Scroogle).

That said I think Android and their defense and support of it, is one of the most hopeful pieces of news to come out in years. And I see Android as a defense against the entrenched proprietary monopolies of Microsoft and Apple. And as a public domain advocate, I think public domain books should be readily available, where Google is getting in hot water is they were perhaps overzealous in digitizing works no longer in public domain. And a few authors are seeking a payday. Should be an interesting case.

Between Microsoft, and Oracle, And Apple, and just about every other billion dollar company in the world suing Google, I’m actually starting to feel sorry for them. Mainly because I don’t want to see Android go away, or get crippled with licensing fees to alleged software patent holders. But yeah, end of the day, it will be interesting.

New concerns over safety of arsenic in drinking water First sign of a corrupt, despotic government… lack of trust in the utility companies. Namely local Water treatment plants for your municipality. Hence the boom in people buying bottled water, because we don’t trust our government to deliver safe, pure, clean drinking water to our taps.

That’s all the News you can use for now. 🙂

United States’ Budget Woes, Totalitarianism, Democracy, and Liberty for those who can pay

Here’s the thing if you or I can’t budget our income, in fact are negative $10 in our account, much less negative trillions of Dollars, we do not pass go, we go straight to the poor house, and as individuals head to jail… if you owe substantial money, and you owe it to the wrong people.

The solution to the economy woes is simple and has always been simple, a flat 13% tax across the board, for poor and rich, individual and corporation (for any revenue generated within/from the United States). With this model we would balance our deficit quickly, and as a nation be in the black.

But that would mean the well to do and the corporations would actually have to pay their fair share of taxes rather than lumping an inordinate amount of the financial burden of the republic (spelled most of it) on the mass of people least capable of dealing with the current (nearly 30%, for those making under a 100,000 sans loopholes) taxation rate (ie the dwindling middle class and the poor).

So Eff it. Let the US default, particularly if it means the congress and the senate no longer get paid. Democrats, Republicans it’s all such a loathsome game of good cop/bad cop with the American people as the hapless stooge/inmate and big business as the corrupt string puller.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, democracy will always be a sham as long as corporations are allowed to have a voice in the government.

Unchecked capitalism is anathema to the idea of democracy. It is totalitarianism by another name. So all these bought congressmen and senators, lobbying and barking like dogs for their corporate masters, is no different than the landowner, fiefdom, serf model that Democracy supposedly was instituted to do away with.

It is sickening to hear these traitors, and I use that word not lightly but with full understanding of its meaning, these traitors…put forward these budget plans, that are only designed to keep in bondage generations of American people, to corporate and transnational interests.

In the latter days of Rome, they were killing the senators in the streets. And what is America but that mistake of Rome… unlearned from.