Climate change caused this post

If you think about it, climate change really did cause this post…

I don’t have any skin in the climate change debate. Being someone who cares about reason and holding informed opinions, I have no problem admitting that I possess neither adequate information nor the scientific knowledge to form an opinion on climate change that’s even slightly intelligent. I wish more people took this approach on a broad range of topics, but I wish for a lot of things that’ll never happen.

My lack of opinion doesn’t preclude me from stating observations about the climate change debate, rather than climate change itself. In fact, it might even make me one of the better people to do it because I’m essentially an objective third-party. So here is what I’ve observed.

Over the past year and with greatly increased frequency this summer, natural disasters are being blamed on climate change. I’m not talking about obvious stuff like flooding related to rising sea level (if that’s even happening). I’m talking any natural disaster: forest fires, hurricanes, hurricane triggered floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, droughts, Zika, plane crashes, Trump’s dumb comments, Hillary’s health problems, how bad Suicide Squad was, every time it’s too hot, too cold, too rainy, too sunny, or people just otherwise aren’t happy with something, some pro-climate change thumper like Bill Nye, Elizabeth Warren, Huffington Post, Salon, etc. never misses a beat to get all over social media screaming “climate change did it!”

Like I said, I have no skin in this game, so I’m saying this as an impartial observer (so don’t leave comments calling me a climate change denier)… get real. We’ve had natural disasters since the dawn of time. The American West has a wild-fire season EVERY year and has had one for as long as trees have existed on the continent. The Gulf area and East Coast have a hurricane season EVERY YEAR, and they’ve had far worse ones in the past. Tornado Ally is called Tornado Ally for a reason. These disasters are routine and predictable. I understand the desire to bring attention to climate change, but you do your movement no service by blindly blaming “climate change!!!” for every scary event from mass shootings to Hillary rallies. No one is buying it. You claim to be all about scientific process and facts, but keep throwing out this accusation with absolutely no corroborating evidence. Get your shit together or you’ll continue to sound as dumb and ill-informed as the deniers you hate so much.

Also, just to head off the inevitable retorts to this post which will go something like, “yea but they’re blaming it on climate change because XYZ event/season/happening is the ‘worst on record,'” I’m not any more impressed by that “evidence”. “Worst on record” in 100-200 years of records out of tens of billions of years of history is a sample size smaller than Trump’s hands and hardly powerful enough to matter statistically.

Back from the dead: a year in review

Much has changed in a year, including my desire to write, ease of flow of my writing, and the amount of free time I have to write. The amount of time that’s passed since a substantial post should be evidence enough of all that. I suppose a desire to write is actually always there, somewhere, but the difference between “I should probably write something” and meaningful content flowing freely to the e-paper is, well, the difference between a post actually getting written or me finding something else to do. Plus, there’s that whole issue of most of my writing previously taking place at work and now no longer having my own office. In fact, I still have a saved draft for what was supposed to be a play by play and analysis of how “#shutitdown” was quickly and effectively changed to “#blacklivematter” in order to stifle an uprising and flip it on its head into a way to further divide the populace.

That draft never made it past the title. This would seem to be a more fitting time than any to actually finish it, but then that would distract me from less important things, like this directionless rambling and lengthy reminiscing on what’s occurred while I’ve been MIA from the blogosphere for the past year. Anyway, I think most people have figured out the “black lives matter” farce on their own at this point. Except the liberals. They’re just getting worse. I like to follow people and pages on social media to keep a pulse on different groups, even though I’m not actually friends with most of these people. I follow the young, Christian couples married at 19 years old, people my age that failed to start and think they’re still in high school, doomsday prepping gun nuts, grads of good schools and bad slaving their lives away (some in real careers, some at Starbucks or equivalent) to pay back their student loans, social justice warriors, kids fresh out of college that think they know everything, military dependapotomouses, police apologists, and, my new favorite, 2016 liberals. I need to come up with a more catchy name for them. I’m open to suggestions. In spite of the lack of a catchy or meme-able name, you’ll still know them when you see them. They’re the people who talk about “safe spaces” (in a totally serious, non-mocking way). They voted for Bernie, but don’t think he’s anti-gun enough. They think whites are racist and ruining the world just by existing (yet, ironically, they’re almost all white themselves). They’re new-age feminists that think everything is rape – including guys saying “hello” to women they pass on the street and the simple existence of a male sex, that’s rape too. They’re the ones that can turn anything into a race issue and scream “RACIST!” at anyone that disagrees with them. Those people. You know the type I’m talking about. Mostly college age. Mostly jobless. Mostly clueless. Saving the planet by putting Caucasians down at every opportunity. Sorry if any of that triggers someone. I should have put a trigger warning. Those a big thing these days too. Anyway, so yeah, I follow some of those people too – just to keep tabs on how crazy they’re getting.

How crazy are they getting? Pretty fucking crazy. The latest litter, fresh out of college (or still in), seems to be trying to one-up the fools before them. Grammar is now racist. Grammar. This was one of many items I’ve been able to check off my bucket list in the past year. I was hoping I’d live to see the day that something as objective, non-political, mundane, and harmless as grammar could successfully be labeled as racist. Life didn’t disappoint and we got there with freightening rapidity. This has resulted in the need for some adjustment though. I used to self-identify as “liberal”. This is no longer accurate or advisable (lest people think I get my entire worldview from Vice and/or Huffington Post). In the past year, the term “liberal” died. “Liberal” has ceased to mean “progressive” and now has become synonymous with being what is, for all practical purposes, a neo-con that loves gays and abortion and hates guns and white people. That’s not me. My IQ isn’t low enough for that kind of lack of independent thinking. So henceforth, my use of the term “liberal” will be in the same pejorative sense that conservatives use it.

Speaking of worldviews and delusional people, we’ve had some tragic, but amazingly landmark events in just the past few months. I’ve written in the past about the need Americans have for even the most complex of issues to be boiled down into black and white simplicity with easily remembered and repeated rhetoric. Of course, when you over-simplify complexity and substitute catchy rhetoric for critical thinking, what you end up with is usually a completely inaccurate representation of reality. But Americans have never been known to let facts and logic get in the way of their opinions. Subsequently, Americans of all political leanings have an obsession with fabricated narratives: “Islam is the religion of peace”, “mass shooters are crazy white people”, “gays aren’t criminals”, “only guns allow for mass killings”, “mass shootings only happen in America because we don’t have enough gun control”, “blacks are always victims”, etc. These narratives are then paraded around as facts and used to justify worldviews, political actions, etc. Within the past year, these narratives and more have been completely shattered. A gay, Muslim guy shot up a night club. Liberals were beside themselves and when the gay and Muslim came out, the story was swept under the rug as quickly as possible. Then a “black lives matter” activist decided he’d had enough and started gunning down police officers. Conservatives didn’t know how to react – call him a criminal thug because he’s black or cheer for him using the Second Amendment in exactly the way they always interpret it. I could see their heads exploding as I watched them try to make sense of it. In both cases, liberals didn’t waste one second before blaming the crimes on guns and demanding more gun control. Dems in Washington even staged an election season pandering fest “sit in” in congress to demand more gun control (then immediately voted down the proposed measures… but I digress). “This wouldn’t happen without ‘assault weapons’!!!” the liberals cried. “Yes it would,” conservatives retorted, “someone could just drive a truck into a crowd and kill just as many people.” “Impossible! That would never happen. You’re an ammosexual living in a fantasy world!” the liberals fired back. Then, whether by cosmic comedy, fate acting as some sick movie director acting perfectly on cue, or an unbelievably timed coincidence, someone drove a truck into a crowd and killed 80+ people. Conservatives seemed to almost celebrate. Liberals were completely silent. Life went on, no beats missed, for the rest of us. I wasn’t surprised. The small number of other people with brains weren’t surprised. It was as unsurprising as a population finally deciding to start shooting cops as retribution for cops shooting them… but alas that’s another issue and this post is already getting long-winded.

I don’t want this to be all politics and world events though. Yet, in spite of my efforts to make a non-political post here and there, this blog always seem to sway back towards politics and economics (they are both in the main header, after all). Maybe because those things interest me and get me heated enough to take the time to write on them. Maybe because I feel there are so few voices of logic and reason out there talking about either. Maybe because that’s all I’m capable of writing about on a consistent basis. Hopefully it’s not that last reason. I originally wanted this blog to be about cycling adventures and industry events (like my venting about shit road disc brakes and how much Specialized sucks). That never really materialized because I figured no one but me cares about what I do on my bike, plus BikeSnobNYC already has that market cornered (though he’s losing his funny these days). I very recently (like, really really recently, while typing the previous sentence) thought about expanding this blog to discuss operations management and poor management induced workplace issues – maybe I still will. For awhile I’ve thought about making a blog written from my dog’s perspective – maybe I still will.  But first, back to what I originally wanted: a blog about outdoor adventures. Hopefully my move to Colorado provides for and facilitates the writing of stories and ramblings interesting enough to write about, maybe they’ll even be interesting enough to read too. Since I can’t keep this blog on topic, I made another one: here. Don’t be too disappointed that there’s currently nothing but a header and the default sample post from WordPress. That blog will hopefully, someday when I’m feeling it, chronicle the adventures and misadventures of my fiancé and I, plus be a place for me to vent and/or share words of wisdom about outdoor life. Of course, I don’t have any time or desire to do that right now though. I wasted it all writing this post.

 

 

 

 

Common Ground

It’s been entertaining, frustrating, disheartening, and at times disgusting to watch the responses to and analysis of this recent rash of shootings. I first got to watch people on the left jerk off to the Planned Parenthood shooting because it fit their narrative of extremist, right-wing gun owners as the “real threat” to America. Their elation was almost tangible – “We were right! We were right!”. Now, only a few days later, I’m watching people on the right jerk off just the same to the San Bernardino shooting because it is (so far) looking like it will fit their agenda of radical, evil Muslims attacking us on our home soil – “We were right! We were right!”

Whether you’re an anti-gun nut or an anti-Muslim nut, let it be known – you’re a fucking nut. You’re politicizing tragedies to push an agenda, all while accusing and condemning the other side for doing the same thing. You’re celebrating dead people because you see it as vindication of your beliefs.

“Oh that evil NRA is always using these events to fear monger more people into buying guns!” Yeah? You’re using the same event to paint all gun owners as evil people and fear monger your sheep into supporting more gun control.

“Oh those damn liberals are always using these events to take MY RIGHTS!!” Yeah? You’re using the same event to call for more discriminatory, xenophobic laws that take away other people’s rights.

The only real threat to America is people that will stop at nothing to force their illogical, emotion filled agendas on the country, including displays of gross hypocrisy. Both sides claiming their agendas stem from a love of rights and freedoms… just as long as those rights and freedoms happen to be the ones they want for themselves. Both sides blasting the opposing side for use of hyperbole and rhetoric, all while using their own to blast the other side. Neither side wanting to let a tragedy be a wasted opportunity to push their own breed of totalitarianism and self-centered policy.

So congratulations, we’ve finally done the impossible and found common ground between the self-identified “left” and “right”. You’re both a bunch of empathy-less fuck sticks that get excited over dead people if you feel their deaths somehow prove your narrative right.

Ebola will kill us all

And just like that, after nearly half a year hiatus, I’m back. This Ebola epidemic… no, wait, that was last year. This Syrian refugee epidemic… I mean… crisis… has finally forced me back to the keyboard.

I find it funny. Not the crisis, of course, but the very American, American reactions to the crisis. Remember when Ebola was going to kill us all?

KFUlkuT

Pepperidge Farm remembers

 

People were so sure that the handling of those Ebola victims was a life or death crossroads for America. I saw calls for revolution and assassinations. But a year later, here we all still stand. Well, much like last year when we needed to revolt against our evil government (lead by the Kenyan Satan himself) because King Obummer was trying to kill us all by helping those who were helping stop the spread of Ebola, the low-information sheeple of America have once again worked themselves up into a tizzy over issues they’re poorly informed on and lack historical perspective for. So let’s start unraveling the absurd rhetoric…

“We don’t have the room.”

The United States has been taking in refugees for as long as the United States has existed, and even before. Even the pilgrims were religious refugees. The US Refugee Resettlement program has existed since 1948. Annual refugee intakes average over 50,000, getting as high as 207,000 in 1980. In fact, we took in 70,000 refugees just last year… AND the year before. Where were all the naysayers and doomsdayers for the past 68 years – or even last year? Most likely they were (and still are) completely oblivious to the existence of this program.

“My broke-ass state can’t afford it.”

Well then it’s a damn good thing the federal government funds this program.

“They’re dangerous.”/”It’s too risky”

These two are basically the same and seem to be the most common. When faced with this statement, the best course of action is to ask the simple question: why? The answers usually go like this…

“Because they’re Muslims”

Putting aside all the absurd and xenophobic notions implicit in this question, there are over two million Muslims already living in the US. If you think all Muslims are terrorists and you want to keep them out, I hate to break it to you, but you’ve already missed the boat.

“Look what happened in Paris!”

An attack perpetrated by EU citizens, the majority of whom were actually French nationals. Maybe it’s Europeans that should be banned from moving to the US. Next!

“What if there are ISIS members hiding amongst them?”

This one is a good way to spot a really out-of-touch person that thinks we live in some kind of bubble or fortress. Unfortunately, they’re partly right: ISIS could be hiding terrorist plants in the refugee pool. The part these people are missing is that ISIS could also be hiding terrorist plants on any normal airline flight entering this country, either coming here temporarily or moving here permanently – you know, like how every other terrorist that perpetrated every other major attack got here. We don’t live in a fortress or high security enclosure. Hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world come and go to this country daily, as they please, with only a passport. Any security measures that would stop someone from normally traveling to this country will also have them getting caught out when vetting these refugees. Anyone capable of getting through the refugee vetting process because of lack of terrorist history or intel would also be capable of securing a passport and visiting and/or moving here unhindered. If ISIS wants in, they can get in without pretending to be refugees. In all likelihood, they’re already here – the FBI even agrees. There’s absolutely no reason or need for ISIS or any other terrorist group to go through the hassle and risk of trying to sneak operatives in through a highly scrutinized group of refugees. If anything, a group of vetted refugees is safer than any random group of people getting off an international flight.

“I don’t know man, it just seems dangerous.”

Your odds of dying in a terrorist attack are 1 in 20 million. Your odds of dying in a plane crash are 1 in 11 million. Your odds of being killed by flesh-eating bacteria are 1 in 1 million. Your odds of being killed by a cop are 1 in 363,000. Your odds of being murdered are 1 in 18,000. Go worry about stuff that matters.

“The US can’t afford it/We need to take care of our own ____ (insert: poor, homeless, veterans, etc) first.”

This is my absolute favorite, by far. It’s my favorite because of the people it always comes from. They’re the same people that, one whole week ago, were railing against any and every social program under the sun. Now suddenly these Trump supporter, poor person haters have become socialist philanthropists. We need to “take care of our own”. These “our own” happen to include disabled people trying to find work. The exact same people that billions of your tax dollars were supposed to go to help, but instead were fraudulently funneled to Lockheed-Martin and other defense contractors by BOTH the Obama and Bush administrations – a scandal that broke the same week as the Paris attacks. How many people do I see raging out of control about this fraud, wasted tax dollars, “can’t afford it”, etc. and threatening to storm the steps of the White House? Zero. Show me something you’ve actually done or even come out in favor of to support our own poor or homeless, or get out of here with this hypocritical bullshit.

“None of that matters, this event is unprecedented.”

Unfortunately, all events are unprecedented to the average American with a fifteen minute memory. This event is not only NOT unprecedented, it’s almost deja vu. After WWII, the same type of clueless people made the exact same arguments against taking in Jewish refugees – “OMG, what if there’s Nazis hiding with them!”

So that’s it, myths debunked with just a tiny bit of critical thinking and facts – things sorely lacking in US public discourse. See you at the next pivotal moment of crisis that will surely destroy us all if we do not immediately revolt against our communist, fascist, Kenyan government.

Wag the dog – when only guns matter

I’m glad I’m not the only one that recognizes the absurd hypocrisy gripping the gun control debate.

What I do know is that the gun debate in general is crazy. In this current round of screeching, I’m guessing that most of the folks who are normally the rock-ribbed, law-and-order types who have remained pro-police throughout the awfulness in Ferguson are now completely unmoved by this potential threat to police lives. Meanwhile, their opponents in the gun-control movement probably count among their number a huge contingent of people who don’t give a good goddamn about cops — unless they’re hurling abuse at them — but have now suddenly found police safety an issue of paramount concern.

The pro-gun crowd that is supposedly so afraid of tyranny and freedom loss that they’re preparing for a revolution just so happens to be rabidly pro-police state and the biggest supporters of living under the boot of out-of-control law enforcement. On the flip side, we have the Occupy type crowd that hates the police state and militarization of police, has directly experienced police violence, and recognizes that we’re headed rapidly towards fascism, but is ironically and fanatically anti every means of protection they might have had against it. I happen to be both pro-gun and pro-freedom (real freedom, the kind the left-wing folks stand for), so I’m able to see both the merits and the tremendous, mind-boggling contradictions of each side’s position. I also have plenty of interaction with people on both sides, so I know the arguments and group sentiment well.

The pro-gun crowd is so concerned about oppression that they are actively stockpiling arms for what they feel is an impending civil war for their “rights”. But if these people aren’t the least bit threatened by (and in fact are in support of) the rapidly expanding police and surveillance state as well as the unprecedented destruction of the Bill of Rights we’ve seen over the past fifteen years, then what oppression will they rise up against? They’re actually actively selling themselves down the exact path that they fear, but they don’t even realize it. These people have lost all sight of any rights and freedoms beyond guns. As long as they can keep their guns, then nothing else the state does matters. They need their guns to “defend our rights” yet there are no other rights they’re actually interested in defending. This group has taken one issue in a sea of issues and turned it into THE issue and the sole litmus test as to whether a person is pro-freedom or not. This  misdirection has been aided by the NRA, which has an uncanny knack for turning everything from healthcare to education into a gun rights issue. Make no mistake, when a self-identified conservative says “rights” they mean only gun rights. “That there Obumer is taking all our rats!! MY RATS!!!” So you ask them what “rats” Obama has taken… they can’t list any, but but but “he’s tryin to take mu guns!!!” This group that purports to be about ultimate freedom and rights, really doesn’t care about freedom or rights, only the single-minded purpose of clutching their guns for dear life. These people understand the history of populations that have regained their lost freedom through use of arms, but they’ve completely forgotten about the circumstances that lead up to that point and how those freedoms were lost in the first place.

No better and even more baffling is the Occupy/left-wing crowd that is so vehemently anti-gun. These people have literally been under the boot of police. They have seen the overstepping police state first hand. They acknowledge and oppose the destruction of (real) rights we’ve seen in recent years. They side with the victims in what have become nearly daily police murders of unarmed and unthreatening citizens. If anyone in this country should be pro-gun, they should. Yet, in spite of all this, they want a completely disarmed and at the mercy of the state populace, totally unable to stand up for itself should the circumstances arise. These people understand the history of how state encroachment and civil rights suppression works, yet they seem to completely draw blank (even in our own country’s history) on the parts where the populace required arms to regain its freedom. Don’t get me wrong – peaceful revolution and prevention of lost rights is always the best option, but when push comes to shove, history has shown that being completely unarmed is not in the proletariat’s best interest. Yet the group that prides itself on being educated, informed, and cognizant of history suddenly turns into the liberal equivalent of a Tea Party nutter as soon as you mention guns. Logic, reason, and subject knowledge suddenly become meaningless to these people when the gun control debate begins. I have been absolutely astounded at some of the things I have seen come out of their mouths in regards to gun control – showing total and utter lack of knowledge of the subject of firearms. These people are as easily whipped into a blind, ignorant frenzy by hyperbole and rhetoric like “cop killer bullets” and “assault rifle” as the Tea Party people they so detest are by phrases like “Muslim, Kenyan communist, socialist, fascist, dictator, from Africa” and “poor people are human too”.

These completely contradictory worldviews blow my mind. Is it an intentional construct of prepackaged opinion sets, designed as yet another “divide and conquer” tactic to keep society chasing its tail, or is this level of stunning ignorance displayed on both sides… natural human behavior? Are people really this foolish? I may never know the answer. What I do know is that both sides of this argument need to get their shit together and put forth logical, consistent arguments for their positions.