Donkey Punch

August 31, 2007

You’ve gotta start somewhere!

Filed under: Advice, Democracy Now, GWOT, iraq, people power, Politics, protest, war — t4toby @ 9:49 am

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Here is a place to start.

h/t to Clapso

Check out Clapso’s blog. He is angry, and rightly so. I’m angry too, but I often feel powerless to stop the runaway train that our political structure.

It’s like the Baby Steps. You have to start somewhere small to accomplish something big.

Even the tiniest grains of sand can stop a mighty machine if enough of them get in the works.

I heard this quote attributed to Gandhi, but cannot verify that attribution. This is the plan, the essence of how where going to get out of this mess.

Attrition: 3 : the act of weakening or exhausting by constant harassment, abuse, or attack

(Hanx, Merriam-Webster)

I would define attrition as the act of weakening by tiny but relentless action.

So the Iraq Moratorium seems like a good first step for those of us who are paralyzed with inaction. So if you see people wearing the armbands on the third Friday of the month, say hello to them. Reach out. Alone, we are a voice in the dark. Together…

August 30, 2007

Family Values

Filed under: Uncategorized — t4toby @ 3:13 pm

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I am hindered in my blogging by the fact that I have no home computer. So I am forced to fit it in at work. Sometimes I have a ton of time, and sometimes I have none. I apologize to my regular reader for being so unproductive lately.

I found this article very interesting. Seems the real family values are in the blue states. Who knew?

Also, the Japanese are just wacky. Seriously. Wacky.

And, I’ve been thinking about changing my blog name to ‘Disambiguation’. Let me know what you think about that in the comments.

Update: Read this post! I would love to hear more vets speaking out for what is right.

h/t to CHS over at Firedoglake

August 28, 2007

November 5th…

Filed under: Uncategorized — t4toby @ 12:54 pm

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August 24, 2007

The wheels keep turning…

Filed under: GWOT, Learning the Hard Way, Radical! — t4toby @ 10:39 am

This is going to hurt!
Oh, shit.

I like this picture for many reasons, the foremost being it is an illustration of my primary learning technique.

I never really learn anything important unless I can feel, viscerally, the impact it has. I don’t think I am alone.

Our Global War on Terror™ seems very similar. As the Defining Struggle of Our Times™, you’d think we would actually feel its effects more. Even the ‘police actions’ of Korea and Vietnam had the draft. Funds were raised by raising taxes. WWII had people coming together as never before to support the war effort. Factories were retrofitted to produce military equipment. Everything of value to the ‘effort’ was rationed. In short, Americans were more than vaguely aware that we were fighting for something for which sacrifice was necessary.

So where are we today? Well, to start out, even as the auto companies are cutting production, the Pentagon cannot deliver enough IED resistant vehicles. The president is cutting taxes, running up a horrendous debt. Our military is beyond stretched. And average Americans wouldn’t even know there was a war afoot if it weren’t for television coverage, which is vapid at best.

So why are we stuck in another dead end war, a quagmire, if you will? Simple. We don’t really have any visceral connection to the war. None at all. If you have a family member in the military you  certainly feel it, but the numbers are too low to generate any real effect on the public discourse.

So the picture above is a metaphor for the near future. We are the bystanders, watching the US huck itsself over another thrilling jump. But something has gone wrong, horribly wrong. And all we can do is stand there with varying expressions of horror, paralyzed by inaction.

But who can blame us? There’s no way we could have known that hurtling over a four foot high jump at high speed to a steep downhill landing could end up like this, is there?  Is there?

Bueller…Bueller…Bueller…

August 22, 2007

Hypocrites, Start Your Engines!

Filed under: Animal Rights, Pescatarian, Pets — t4toby @ 4:00 pm

So, where’s the outrage?

I was over at Firedoglake, reading a post about the Michael Vick case.

You know the one…major professional athlete flushes career down the tubes, all for the love of Dog Fighting

The story is as old as time, right?

Well, while I was reading the comment thread at this particular post, I wondered how many of these pet owners who were so aghast were, in fact, meat eaters.

So I guess I have never gone into my culinary habits. I am officially a Pescatarian. A vegetarian that eats fish. I am not vegan, and I am not puritanically strict. I think if you are capable of slaying the animal yourself, and dressing the animal yourself, and butchering the animal yourself, then you have the right to eat that animal.

I can catch fish, and clean, and fillet, so I give myself a pass on the fishies. (I live in Seattle, so what can I do?) I have some glass blower friends up in Bellingham who bought a live pig for a 4/20 party a few years back. They hogtied it, shot it, gutted it, and roasted it. It was impressive. Those are the kind of people that deserve to eat meat.

This whole dog fighting issue has brought the hypocrisy of pet owners to the forefront for me. It has also made me realize that if the pet owners could be convinced that they love all animals, then we could really make some headway on this issue.

Much has been written on the practices of modern industrial farming. I won’t go into the specifics. I do know that there is something wrong with getting a tiny slice of cow leg on styrofoam, wrapped in plastic film. It is so detached from the source.

So do I get disgusted if someone plops down beside me with a bloody steak? No. I have bigger battles to wage. But don’t tell me about how outraged you are about dog fighting while eating said steak. Then we just may have a problem.

August 21, 2007

Why are the Abrahamic religions so violent?

Filed under: Abraham, Religious Violence — t4toby @ 3:33 pm

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As I was coming to work this morning, I had a thought (this never turns out well). Why are three of the world’s dominant religions all from such a violent place? Has it always been that violent? From the little I remember from the Bible, it has. So how come I’ve never heard it asked, “Why are the Abrahamic religions so violent?”

From Religious Tolerance.org:

There are striking parallels between the white supremacists and the religiously motivated Islamic Shi’a fanatics in the Middle East. Both groups transform abstract political ideologies and objectives into a religious imperative. Violence is not only sanctioned, it is divinely decreed. Hence, the killing of persons described as ‘infidels’ by the Shi’a or as ‘children of Satan’ by white supremacists becomes a sacramental act.

From Spiegel Online, Violence in the Name of God:

Throughout history, the Abrahamic religions’ claim of absolute authority has exerted an irresistible appeal on fanatics, encouraging them to impose their own faith on nonbelievers and dissidents alike – if need be by using fire and the sword. To this day, nearly all religions supply the kindling that fuels wars and acts of persecution, sparks torture and murder, and inflames ethnic hatred. Examples abound: the bloody wars between Hindus and Muslims in India, or the enmity between Muslims and Christians in Indonesia.

Author Bruce Feiler, from PBS’s Religion and Ethics Newsweekly:

But the point is that it’s about a father attempting to kill a son — it’s a violent act. Abraham is not only the legacy of peace and blessing, but also for violence. That you can fight wars over God, that you can run crusades, that you can fly planes into buildings, that you can kill yourself in the service of killing other people — everything that is going on the front page of the paper today, violence in the service of faith begins with Abraham.

And from Future Islam, a review of The Just War And Jihad: Violence in Judaism, Christianity and Islam

…monotheistic religions because of their uncompromising statement of faith have led to a legacy of intolerance towards those who do not adhere to these faiths.

and

…we tend to adapt certain parts of the text, out of the whole, without regard for the whole, and this is violence to the text itself. Any interpretation of the text that is not holistic, is violence to the text itself.

So do I have an answer? No. But I sure think the question is worth asking…

August 20, 2007

Republican Friends?

Filed under: Advice — t4toby @ 3:26 pm

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In my ongoing attempt to do something different, I’ll try to tackle another question posed to me:

How can I reconcile being someones friend that voted for George Bush two times?

I’ve had this question in mind for a week, without an idea of where to go with it.

I have a couple of guys on my soccer team who are between far right and raging neocon.  They are both nice guys who, besides our different political views, seem perfectly sane.  I have gotten into a few shouting matches with one of them, usually over the gulf that exists between our respective takes on reality (and after a couple of beers).  This has gotten us nowhere.  So I decided to agree to disagree.  We get along fine now.  We don’t discuss politics.

One of the smartest people I have ever met told me something that took me awhile to accept.  He told me that he was glad there were murderers and lunatics and rapists in the world.  His take on this is that when people get insulated from the full range of behavior that humans exhibit, they lose their moral compass.  Basically, he reasons, we need people defining the fringe of acceptable behavior, otherwise we lose sight of any limit to our behavior at all.

This seems true in cult situations.  The members of the cult are isolated from the outside world, thus ‘resetting’ their moral compass.  And then they think chasing comets, or drinking the kool aid, or turning a blind eye to your leaders serial obsession with 14 year-old girls is perfectly normal behavior.

So I think it is healthy to have friends that have opposite opinions.   When you think of opposing viewpoints, it helps to have a face to go with a belief.  We certainly aren’t going to solve our problems by only hanging out with people in our crowd.  I think we owe it to ourselves to deepen our understanding of the world by being more open minded and accepting.

So go for it!  It is a challenge to be sure, but worth the mental aerobics in the long run.

(To be clear, however, I don’t want this to be misconstrued as some kind of plea for bi-partisanship.  That pile of crap is currently overwhelming the political discourse.  When two groups of Economically Elite Socialites ‘Reach Across the Aisle’ to come up with plans that really only benefit the Economically Elite, that is not bipartisanship, it is good old fashioned oppression.)

August 16, 2007

Rockin’, Democracy Now Style

Filed under: Democracy Now, Struggle — t4toby @ 11:19 am

I caught just a little of Naomi Klein’s speech on Democracy Now last night.

Naomi Klein
ooh la la, I like em bookish!

Money quote:

We who say we believe in this other world need to know that we are not losers. We did not lose the battle of ideas. We were not outsmarted, and we were not out-argued. We lost because we were crushed. Sometimes we were crushed by army tanks, and sometimes we were crushed by think tanks. And by think tanks, I mean the people who are paid to think by the makers of tanks.

Here’s the whole thing.

I’m excited to see her new book.

We need to find a way to unite against the gathering storm. She seems to sense this.

August 15, 2007

Things You Should Know.

Filed under: Uncategorized — t4toby @ 1:34 pm

If I knew who created this, I’d credit them. IMHO, this is milk-out-the-nose funny.

Things You Should Know.

August 13, 2007

Oh, yeah, start off with the easy ones…

Filed under: Advice, Golden Rule, Morals — t4toby @ 1:23 pm

What do you do when you find out a friend is participating in something illegal? Do you ditch the friend? Are you now an accessory to a crime if you know something and don’t report it? Would love some advice. Thanks! Comment by Subversive — August 11, 2007 @ 3:56 am

Wow. My first question for advice. And its a doozy.

So I guess I’ll start by saying you have to distinguish between morals and laws.

Laws are made by men. Usually privileged men with a different set of values than the common person. So the answer to this question lies within your own set of values. And I don’t mean moral as a fixed point on a compass (like laws), but more personally. How does it make you feel, deep down? What is that tiny voice (you know, the one you never listen to…) saying?

The first question is, “Do you believe what your friend is doing is immoral?”

Resistance to unjust laws is as old as laws themselves. I tend to use the fairly libertarian guideline of: No Brakes, No Foul

Say I’m driving down the road, and another car pulls out in front of me. If said car can accelerate fast enough so I do not have to use my brakes, then I give them a pass. If I must apply pressure to my brake pedal, they incur my wrath, which usually involves chocolate sprinkles and camel dung.

Not really, but if it causes no harm to another, then why worry about it?

An alternate first question would involve the Golden Rule. You know, Do Unto Others As You Would Have Done Unto You. Put yourself in the other’s shoes, and I don’t mean your friend’s. How would you feel if you were on the receiving end of the crime and someone knew and wasn’t telling?

On the other hand, if it does morally offend you (Rape, Murder, and Molestation top my list of unpardonables) the you are obligated to let someone know. The guilt that you will have to carry around knowing what you know is not worth it.

But lets say it is something in the gray area: embezzlement from large corporations, insurance fraud, tax evasion , etc…

Now you have to ask yourself both the first question, and the second question: “How well do I know this person.” Combine the amount of moral outrage you feel about the illegal activity with what you know about this person. The answer should not be easy, but fairly obvious.

As far as being an accessory: You are an accessory if you know something and don’t report it (in the eyes of the law). So this may help you decide if the secret is worth keeping. I personally don’t think this should change the above two questions. Either it is worth it to bear your friend’s secret, or it isn’t.

As an aside, so often the hardest path is the correct one. Don’t be afraid to make the correct decision for you soul, heart and mind. In the long run, it will be worth the effort.

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