Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Is your news source really about news?

If you live in the USA then where you get your "news" from is most likely not really concerned with news but money and what sells.  So what sells?  Things that make you afraid of things that are different.  Fear mongering is rich among the major media outlets.  What you don't get is a true picture of what goes on in the world.  You normally hear how it is reasonable that Israel kills 4 times more innocent civilians then intended targets.  You hear how they give warning and ask Palestinians to leave before bombing You hear that Israel has no choice when they kill civilians.  You don't hear that the Gaza Strip is basically a large prison.  You don't hear that Palestinians can't really leave the Gaza strip.  You don't hear that Israel bombs civilians completely isolated from valid military targets like the a hospital or 4 kids playing ball on a empty beach.  I could go on but this post isn't about Palestine and Israel.  It is about news outlets and them not actually reporting news.

Do you know who this woman is? Some of you might but odds are most of you don't.  Her name is Shannon Guess Richardson.  I don't know about you but I think she's pretty but then I have a thing for red heads. Shannon is from Texas and she was an actress.  Don't feel bad if you still don't recognize her.  Even though you've probably seen her, she's been in Walking Dead, Vampire diaries, Twilight Breaking Dawn and a bunch of other tv shows.  Pretty much everything she's been in has been as an uncredited extra.  This isn't the news that you should have been told.  What you should have heard from your news sources is that she is a dangerous terrorist inside of the USA.  You might be thinking "WHAT!?!?!, She doesn't look at all like a Muslim!". She isn't.  She is much more dangerous.  She is an extreme right wing conservative who is part of a population that think it is her right to try to assassinate multiple politicians including the president.  She even tried to frame her innocent husband for it.  What did she do? She actually sent ricin to Obama, Bloomberg and Mark Glaze.  She's eventually pleaded guilty and will serve 18 years.  Now if she was Muslim she probably would have had a good chance of being shot while being taken into custody.

Think this isn't a big deal?  I can see some people I'm related to making the claim it wasn't that serious because the president was never in danger because of the security protocols around him.  For you that don't know how deadly ricin is think about 1 aspirin.  Now chop that pill into over 200 equal parts.  Now take just one of those portions and that is enough to kill a fully grown person.  Yes Obama was very safe.  He doesn't open his own mail and there is strict screening on any mail sent to him so even the staff in the white house were in no danger.  But what about Bloomberg and Glaze?  What about the postal worker that handled those letters.  What if on or more of the letters broke open and contaminated other mail.

But even the "liberal" media of the USA didn't really say anything about this.  Because she is a white female.  You can guarantee that if she was Muslim that you would have heard nothing but her story for weeks on end.  But your news doesn't want you to think critically.  They want you afraid of stuff you find hard to relate to, like Muslim terrorist.  That is what drives their profits and you come out the other end with a distorted view of reality.  You look at Shannon and you probably think something like "she looks like someone I'd be friends with."

How many right wing extremists have you heard about killing anyone?  Now how many times have your heard how dangerous Muslim terrorists are.  Do you know right wing extremists are over twice as deadly as Muslim terrorists in the USA?  Left wing extremists are really bad.  They haven't killed anyone in over a decade.  I often blame conservatives for not standing and speaking up against the radicals in their midst.  But truth is most of you don't know they are there.  Funny enough it is right wing extremists that always ask why Muslims don't condemn Muslim Terrorists.  This is what is called projection and isn't anywhere near reality.  The reality is that there are TONS of Muslim organisations that put out statements of condemnation after some terrorist attacks.  From the right you only hear how the actions of radicals in their own groups are some how justified.

So here is what I suggest you start doing if you want real news.  Try other sources.  Huffington Post is a good one. The BBC is pretty good.  Al Jazeera is actually excellent and much more independent from government pressure then the major networks in the USA.

At the end of the day if you want to stay ignorant then by all means keep watching Fox News, CNN, or even MSNBC.  You'll get right wing view, warped "balanced" news or Centre right "liberal" views.  What you will not get is the real story but something that makes them money and doesn't actually amount to anything remotely like journalism.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Pointing out disproportionate responses is not anti-semitic

Palestinian Rocket
1 Israeli dead, over 200 Palestinians dead and over 80% of them innocent civilians.  Make shift rockets fired from the Gaza strip are rendered harmless by American designed and funded technology.   Israel then uses sophisticated rockets and bombs for which the Palestinians have no defense against.   All the while Israel has occupied Palestine for over 44 years and refuses to allow them any sovereignty.  Israel says they want peace but, with America's support, won't allow Palestine to even have a voice in the UN to negotiate for peace.

Israeli Defensive Rockets
Now as American's we have no moral ground to stand upon with how many civilians we've killed in the past 2 decades.  But as American's we shouldn't let what is happening in and around the Gaza strip to continue without voicing objections.  There is wrong on both sides but Israel is not responding in kind.  A 200:1 ratio isn't a proportional response especially when the current reason the fighting is going on is because Israel refuses to stop occupying Palestine.

Just one of the Palestinian Children killed by the Israeli Navy
What would you do if this was your child?  This child was just one of 4 that where killed by the shelling of a beach by the Israeli Navy.  This kid was not a"human shield" for Hamas or any other group attempting to attack Israel.  This kid was playing on the beach with his friends. Some of his friends died with him.  Others are badly wounded and witnessed their young friends bodies get mutilated beyond  any ability to survive.  Avigdor Lieberman, Israeli foreign minister, said "To the best of my understanding, it is not possible to ensure summer vacation, a normal summer for our kids, without a ground operation in Gaza".  So this Palestinian child, and others like him, had to be brutally killed so that children in Israel can enjoy their summer vacation?  What kind of sick twisted logic is that?

For over 4 decades Israel has been the oppressor.  Perhaps they should try a different tactic especially when they are killing 200 times more people then their enemy.  Perhaps they should show some restraint when they are only, at best, 20% effective at targeting their enemy with the other 80% being innocent people like the child above.

We, as Americans, have to realize that many around the world that "hate us" don't hate us simply because they are jealous of us.  They hate us because we occupy them.  They hate us because we kill their children.  They hate us because we oppress them.  Here we occasionally ask for Israel to show restraint but never demand it.

What if that was your child?  What if some foreign nation occupied were you lived for almost your entire life?  What if you had to live in constant fear?  How would you react?  Do you know why Palestinians blow themselves up in a market?  Because they don't have F-16s supplied by the USA to deliver their bombs.  They aren't terrorists.  They are fighting for their freedom.  Just because Israel has more expensive weapons doesn't make them right.  Just like the USA using unmanned drones to kill innocent civilians doesn't make it right.  Just because I point out the reality doesn't mean I'm anti-semitic.

As American's we need to open our eyes up to the reality of the destruction we cause.  We need to open our eyes up to the destruction we condone.  Then and only then maybe we can halt the blood baths we create.  Then and only then will we be able to start to repair the damage WE have done to our own image.  Then and only then can we start saying we are part of the greatest nation the world has ever seen.  Until then we are just bullies of the world an Israel is just our side kick.  But instead of stealing lunches and punching a weaker kid we literally kill children that just want to be children.

Israel, like the USA, needs to realize that just because we can destroy our enemies with relatively few casualties of our own doesn't mean we should.  So when someone like Dick Cheney talks about defense spending and says "That ought to be our top priority for spending. Not food stamps, not highways or anything else,"  we shouldn't listen.  We already spend more then the next 11 countries combined.  Dick Cheney says we can't fight 2 wars at once.  Well our funding says we should be able to fight 11 wars at once and still have a little left over.

The reason that they don't want peace is 2 fold.  First it keeps them in power.  For Israel if their people are afraid then their government has more power.  The second reason is money.  This is trillions of dollars in play keeping the military industrial complex going.  Those corporations don't want peace because peace is bad for business.  Fuck the dead kids and fuck the average person.  Dick Cheney would rather your son or daughter have a gun in their hands made by these corporations then your child actually getting an education.  Because the education won't make Cheney and his friends money and an educated person is what the rich fear the most.  Keep your population dumb and poor to keep your power.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Double standards with touchy subjects. Did you ever have a crush on a teacher?

  Well another female teacher sleeping with a male student of hers.  29 year old Kathryn Ronk has been charged with multiple counts of first degree sexual misconduct, one count of child pornography (presumably a picture of the boy, and one count of providing a minor alcohol.  The boy is 15 years old.  So I'm going to go some of the things many people think but few will openly discuss.  It may make you feel uncomfortable but stepping outside your comfort zone can very often be a good thing.  Some times doing it is a necessity to really start to make change that is needed within our society.  If you don't care about making change then feel free to click "x" now.

   First off it is inappropriate for multiple reasons in my view.  The age being the first.  The position of authority being the second.  There are some interesting issues we, as society, need to look at these types of things.

  I've seen arguments, in the past, how something like this isn't that bad.  Honestly there is running jokes about hooking up with hot teachers while you are in high school.  It is a huge fantasy of a large number of students of both sexes.  Our culture both demonizes and glamorizes it.  The list of movies and songs that show how it is just normal "young love" is very long.  From movies like Blame it on Rio, American Beauty, Private Lessons, My Teacher's Wife, Circle of Two and many more.  Sting wrote the song "Don't stand so close to me" in the late 1970s and won a Grammy in 1981 for the song. Re-released in 1986 right when I was just 16.  Sting reportedly says the song is not autobiographical but he was a teacher and it really isn't a stretch now is it.

  These days we seem to have more views of predatory pedophiles lying and manipulating "grooming" young people on-line.  Before the internet such grooming was much more personal.  Actual pedophiles had to put themselves in roles where they would be around young people constantly but that is for another blog post.  I'm not sure I'd class Kathryn as a predator or a pedophile but is that because of culture I grew up in?  It reminds me of this episode 10 from season 10 of South Park.  I've got a clip here for you. Basically Kyle's little brother, Ike, who can barely talk, is having an affair with his kindergarten teacher.

  You might not find South Park funny but the sentiment isn't really far off the mark if Ike was 10-11 years older.

  When I was in high school  there were 2 young female teachers I had a crush on and would have been ecstatic if I hooked up with either of them.  Lets be honest, like most young men, I probably would have been over joyed if I hooked up with almost any of the young women in the whole student body back then.  The attitude is boys are boys and, well, as young men we are naturally horny little bastards.  So when I was 15 if I had a teacher like Kathryn that I had an affair with I can say that I'd have come out of the whole ordeal with very minimal metal scaring.  I'm sure it would not last and would be very sad when it ended.  At the time it would be very hard emotionally but hormones would have kicked in and some other girl would have caught my eye.  I'm sure I wouldn't have been scarred for life.  I'd wager that probably 95% of the guys I went to high school with wouldn't have ended up any worse for the wear if it happened to one of them either.

  We, as a society, don't like to think of young women in the same light.  We hold them in a better light for the most part.  In a way everyone just accepts the way young men will act.  But females...they aren't controlled by hormones like boys aren't they?.  They are looking for long term love!  Their crushes on a teacher are motivated differently in our eyes as society.  But I wonder how many of the women I know had such crushes and what was honestly going through their heads.  My experience is that young women are not all that different then young men.  Young men are controlled by hormones but most guys I know at 16 were not out to play the field.  We were, for the most part, happy to try to latch on to one girl for as long as we could.  Bird in the hand mentality.  Tho the 2 in the bush would get us in trouble even if we never got close to them.  Males and Females have our differences for sure but girls aren't the princesses we expect them to be.  That is fine too.  Because once we stop trying to hold them to unrealistic expectations they'll have less pressure and can  be who they want to be.  A young woman that does have sex shouldn't be looked down upon and called a 'slut' while young men get a pat on the back and a 'that's my boy!'

  So looking at this situation I know I should look at this in the same manor that I'd look at it if it was a 29 year old male teacher and a 15 year old female teacher but it is hard to keep that in frame.  Maybe because I've got a strong protection instinct.  I've gone through so many phases looking at age differences between couples from different perspectives.  When I was 18 and based in Georgia I had a girl friend that turned 17 just a month after we. I also dated a 28 year old woman when I was barely 18. Was the fact that I was a Marine a reason people didn't look at that as a bit odd?  When I was just 22 in and stationed in Hawaii I met a 20 year old woman I fell head over heels for but I remember thinking when I first met her "Hold on! She's only 20...she's pretty young!" when in reality it was me that wasn't as mature as I would have liked to think.  Years later after getting married, leaving the Marine Corps, having a child and broken up with my ex I found myself 28 and in the same year I dated two women that were very different.  One woman that was 9 years older then me and one that was 9 years younger then me.  The younger woman was much more mature then the woman that was over twice her age.  In my mid 30s I once again found that I couldn't bring myself to date women that realistically where only 7-8 years younger then me.  In 26+ years of dating my views on age have changed.  The rule of 1/2 your age plus 7 years seems pretty safe but I still wouldn't want a relationship with a 29 year old.  Not because she'd be to immature but realistically the problem would be years down the line when the 15 year gap doesn't get smaller but actually bigger. I relate to people younger then me just fine these days but when I'm 85 and needing some care I'd hate to think I'd be hindering a partner just 70 and still very much in the game of life

  So I've had a roller coaster ride with my personal views on ages and relationships but I've realized a few things.  Age is often a poor factor when it comes to the emotional maturity of a person.  At the same time we have to have some lines.  Many courts are now starting to factor in age differences in situations where current laws are fairly stupid.  For example a 17 year old boy and his 15 year old girlfriend's relationship shouldn't suddenly become illegal because he turns 18.  The age difference didn't really change and he shouldn't face a sex offender charge because of it.  Was dating a 19-20 year old when I was 28 wrong?  Some might say so and if she wasn't the woman she was I would have agreed but it still wouldn't be illegal just like when I just turned 18 and dated a 28 year old while stationed near D.C.  So is 29 and 15 all that different then 28 and 18.  Realistically the difference between 28 and 29 is nothing.  The difference between 15 (probably almost 16) and 18 is just over 2 years.  Even going through boot camp I'm not sure I  was all that much more mature at 18 then I was at 16.

  So where does this leave my opinion of the matter.  Surprisingly enough I'm pretty clear in my head despite what I've said up to this point.  She's gone to far.  Most places the age of consent is 16 and we have it there for a reason.  She faces up to 15 years in prison because she couldn't seem to wait just a few months.  Do I think she deserves 15 years?  No.  Partly, I'm sure, because of how society has framed my view about this topic.  Partly because I think the current laws in many places need to be further reformed and some judgement should remain in the power of the Judge.  If Kathryn is convicted and there was no evidence that something more devious was going on then yes I think she needs to be rehabilitated but I think it should be more mental health treatment then hard core jail.  I'd have to say the same thing, and this is difficult, if it was a 29 year old male teacher and a 15-16 year old female student.  Hell, the student could be of the same sex as the teacher and I don't think it should matter.  If the teacher was found to have been grooming more then one student then the picture starts to drastically change from a bad indiscretion to predatory behavior. The liberal in me starts going out the window and I'd want the judge to throw the book at the teacher.  Our teachers need to be stronger morally because of the position they are in.

  Finally some random thoughts that I know are just not informed.  OK call me shallow but she's very attractive.  If she wanted a young guy she'd have an easy time with young men just in uni or the military.  First thought I think of is why?  Just go pick up an 18 year old. I'd like to think that she did fall for him.  I don't know what they are feeding some of these young men but they seem to look much older then anyone I went to high school with.  This is what an under 18 player in Australia looks like these days.  Would you look twice if you saw the woman above kissing this young man?

With young women we might try to say it is all the make up and that is partly true.  In reality it is our media that is changing our views and changing the outlook of our young men and women.  I'll wait and see if I can get a transcript of the court case when it happens but in reality I'll never know the real true story.  I hope she gets the help she needs and hopefully someone talks to the young man and puts the whole thing in perspective for him at least.  Hopefully the whole process of her going to trial doesn't traumatize the young man.