Tag Archives: opinion

A Fresh Look

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

We humans, we Americans are chock-full of opinions.  Most we’ve had for ages, decades, and we can’t actually identify when we came to adopt them, can’t support them with anything deeper than gut feel.  Mostly it doesn’t matter because nobody cares anyway.

But the opinions we choose reflect the health of our souls.  In a real sense our opinions are who we are.  Occasionally it’s worth distancing ourselves from them and the ego attachments we form to them.  Just to find out whether our opinions have any connection to anything inside the real world.

Old Jules

Why Can’t Americans See the Obvious Truth?

Jimmy Carter unveils truth about Israel

An honest Israeli Jew tells the Real Truth about Israel

Jews Against Zionism

Will Israel Assassinate Obama?

 

 

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Jeanne’s Bumper-Sticker Dearth/Plethora After-Action Report

This email was waiting for me when I logged on this morning, in part:

“The total bumper stickers on a 2000 mile trip was one Semper Fi, two Obama/Biden, one home made one that said Troginator or something, and one that said “ If religious groups want to get into politics they should pay taxes” which I’ll send to you re-sized sooner than the others if you want to use it. If there are certain subjects I might have taken that you’d like me to email the pic of, let me know and I’ll resize those first just to send along quickly.
 “Saw something in a comment that the new bumpers don’t do well with bumper stickers, and since almost all the cars I saw were new, I suspect people don’t want to mess their bumpers up with something that won’t come off. Just guessing.”

Jeanne might be right, of course, same as any of us might as easily be as being wrong at any given time, on any given issue we enjoy strong opinions about. 

I hate to think US drivers have become so sissy they’d quit spewing their certainties, hatreds, biases and half-baked simple solutions to complex phenomena just because of their paint-jobs.  I’d prefer to think they’ve become uneasy about what’s going on around them, sensed it enough to cause the hair on their necks bristle a bit.

The deliberate polarization of strong feelings in this country regarding politics, religion, environmentalism, ethnics, abortion, sexual preference and patriotism seem to me to have introduced the potential for having tires slit in the parking lot as a means of counter-expression.

The guy in the picture at the top today is Jack Swilling, founder of Phoenix, Arizona.  His hat was his bumper-sticker.  Someone shot a hole in it, ripped it in half so’s he had to sew it back together.

But in another sense, a person might figure, “Hell, if I’m going to be in Swilling’s neighborhood, I ain’t putting no bumper-sticker on my horse.”

The country’s jam-packed with people today who might be sneakier and more cunning than Jack Swilling, but have the same eyes developed listening to talk radio too much.  Or spending too much time in the slammer to love their fellow Americans.  Or snorting too much of this or that recreational drug

Jack Swilling’s still out there, but he’s wearing his hat backward most likely.  Instead of saying, “What the hell are YOU looking at?” most likely he’ll just drag his keys the length of your paintjob or slit your tires.  Unless he can catch you alone broken down on the highway.

Old Jules

Sunday morning thoughts December 18, 2011

Good morning readers.  I’m obliged you came for a visit and read.

I’m going to start this morning by telling you something you ought to know already, but mightn’t:

Sometimes I take myself a lot more seriously than is justified by my history of being ‘right’ compared to my history of being ‘wrong’.  People who’ve known me forever are acutely aware of this.  The terms, ‘alarmist‘ and ‘melodramatic‘ have occasionally been used with brutal accuracy by people in a position to arrive at informed judgements.

Keep in mind I’m the guy who dumped a second career within a couple of years of being able to draw a hefty retirement check because I believed so thoroughly Y2K was going to happen, leading eventually to my current situation.  Keep in mind I also spent a lot of years climbing and unclimbing mountains searching for a lost gold mine I believed I’d find.

And keep in mind I don’t regret any of it.

So with all that in mind, I think those of you who read my ‘indefinite detention’ posts of the past few days would be well advised to examine other opinions, even though I still believe I’m generally right.  My believing it shouldn’t carry any weight for you.

Here’s another viewpoint offering up a mitigated set of possibilities regarding the same situation and the activities leading to it:

Addicting Info – The Knowledge You Crave http://tinyurl.com/cjs4xav

The NDAA Is A Horrible Bill, And Why Obama Is Going To Sign It
December 17, 2011 By Wendy Gittleson

If you’ve formed any opinions based on anything I’ve said here I think you owe it to yourself to read it.   Wendy Gittleson is certainly a lot more qualified to have an opinion than I am, most likely.  Even though I don’t necessarily agree.

Old Jules

Mobs, Violent Protests, and Riots

I find my views about rioting to be possibly artificially drawn away from magnetic north by several personal experiences with them, as well as having been an adult during the giant city burning episodes around the time of the MLK killing. 

From personal observation and experience I feel a high level of certainty that every riot since the 1960s was and is heavily infiltrated by police or other government provocateurs, pushing, inflaming and instigating to direct events toward violence.  I’m not suggesting the riots wouldn’t have happened without them.  The riots would almost certainly have happened anyway.   I honestly don’t have a clue why they’re doing it.

But my first experience with it was Halloween, 1960, in Borger, Texas. During the days before Halloween the kids in high school were all gearing up for it, but I was a newbie in town, had no reason to anticipate what they saw as the normal way to celebrate Halloween. Wild and wooly oil-field worker traditions combined with a boys-will-be-boys tolerance on the part of adults left the options wide open.

The newspaper the next day described it as a quieter than usual Halloween with the main damage being someone starting a bulldozer at a construction site and driving it through a house, nobody hurt.

A few hundred teenagers drunk on main street armed with eggs, veggies, rocks, jars of gasoline, cornering police paddy wagon with barrage after barrage, following them back to the station house and setting fire to the lawn was just a beginning.  I never saw anything like it, even during the riots at the University of Texas I was a part of a decade later.

My point is, rioting is fun, it’s joyful, it’s seductive if the anonymity of a mob can be maintained and when there are no consequences. It doesn’t take much to get people rioting under those circumstances.

On the other hand, the day after Kent State and afterward throughout the remainder of the Vietnam War the temptation to riot was always there so long as it was someone else stepping off the curb into the street. The police and a lot of the rest of the country made it plain by word and attitude they felt tolerance for what happened at Kent State and wouldn’t mind seeing it again.

I recall what a letdown it was when I realized I wasn’t the gutsy hotshot I had people thinking I was, that I was just a loudmouth coward when it came to offering myself up for what I claimed I believed in by making myself a target for all those cops to practice on.

I don’t think things are much different now. My near-certainty about riots in the US is that the government response will determine whether there are riots, or won’t be.  I don’t give advice, but if I did I’d suggest anyone involved in a peaceful demonstration immediately remove himself/herself from the area as rapidly as possible at the first sign of violence.

I’d suggest carefully exploring the route and area of the demonstration on maps and on the ground beforehand.  Pre-arranged escape routes memorized to allow getting the hell out of dodge.  Cell phones set with standby text messages to friends and cohorts to get the message out immediately that things are going sour.  But I won’t suggest it.

But I don’t have a lot of reason to think having a riot going on and being in the center of it is a place I’d want to spend a lot of time.

Old Jules

 

Stereotyping by Pointy-Headed Psychologists


There’s something mildly annoying and intrusive about having ourselves tagged and numbered by some damned academian somewhere as a particular personality type.  But when my good friend, Rich, sent me this link along with the question, “Does this remind you of anyone you know?” I clicked it.

“INTJs are strong individualists who seek new angles or novel ways of looking at things. They enjoy coming to new understandings. They tend to be insightful and mentally quick; however, this mental quickness may not always be outwardly apparent to others since they keep a great deal to themselves. They are very determined people who trust their vision of the possibilities, regardless of what others think. They may even be considered the most independent of all of the sixteen personality types. INTJs are at their best in quietly and firmly developing their ideas, theories, and principles.”
  —Sandra Krebs Hirsch[15]

If I were the kind of person who allowed himself to get pissed off about things other people do and say this would really piss me off.  In the first place, I don’t even believe in psychologists and psychology.  What the hell do they know about anything?

Secondly, wrapping people up into a nice little package and putting a colorful bow on it, sending it out as though it were a gift for anyone who wants to claim he knows something about people and the way they think is an invitation for more of that sort of insufferable thinking-behavior disguised as learning.

Thirdly, the way institutional science is forever confusing itself with engineering without ever pondering the consequences, next thing you know there’ll be all manner of psychologists getting themselves government grants to devise ways to profile their homespun stereotypes so’s some branch of government with an opinion about a particular type can identify them for their own purposes.

For instance, every day you can read about physicists at CERN and other labs patting themselves on the back and saying, “Oh yeah, we’re creating baby black holes. They just vanish.  No danger of  one of them getting away and gulping up the planet earth.”    As though they know what the hell a microscopic black hole is doing, or likely to do in orbit.  Heck, maybe it was just in a slower orbit and got left behind until the next time earth comes around Old Sol to pass through and grow a little every pass.

Think about it.  Those Manhattan Project guys developing the atomic bomb consisted of a significant portion of whom thought testing that device might set fire to the atmosphere.  They got out-voted, not because anyone knew it wouldn’t, but because most believed it was a low probability.

How’s that for some exercise in risk-taking judgement?  “Hey, let’s put it to a vote.  How many think there’s a big chance if we detonate this thing it will destroy all life on the planet by setting fire to the atmosphere?”

40 PhD physicists raise their hands.

“Okay, how many don’t think there’s a very big chance it will?

60 PhD physicists raise their hands.

“Cool!  Let’s run with it!”

And the majority turned out to be right.  Whoopee!  Now, generations of scientists later all over the world consortium of pointee-heads in laboratories and behind desks at universities can hold that up as an example of how to measure risks they’re taking without ever getting outside their closed circles of wisdom and knowledge.

But I’ve digressed.  Back to these grant-prostitutes calling themselves psychologists.

You and everyone else can be assured there are graduate students somewhere creating a box to hold all your personality traits, figuring out the buttons to push to produce a particular behavior from you.  What words, images, sounds will inspire you to buy a particular type of product, vote a particular way, choose a direction for your life.  The grad students just do the work, but some hotshot pointee-headed prof will give a paper about it when the National Association of Prostitute Psychologists meets next spring and position himself for more grant money.

But you can be equally assured that cop shops and the ilk have hired them out to help them see what else is in the box they have you in.  Yeah, you’re all these things, so you’re also probably a serial killer, terrorist, baby-raper, or someone who just doesn’t have any damned use for authority figures.

You’ll be damned lucky if they don’t outlaw you sometime because some hired-hand grad student working for a grant-hack prof put the wrong thing in your box.

Here’s an example.  A gentle, harmless personality box.  But just listen to what else is in there to light up the eyes of the cop shops.  But I suppose old John Denver’s probably not concerned about it. 

Old Jules

The John Denver Show (BBC), 1973 – Poems, Prayers and Promises