Archive for June, 2014

Is there a single American citizen that wants drones in our skys?

June 27, 2014

I mean, these things have essentially two purposes only: to spy and surveil…and to kill people.

So, what in the name of god does this administration have in mind that could conceivably justify the risk of having unmanned spying and killing machines being controlled by a bunch of teen age psychopathic delta force nerd game players…swarming around our communal airspace endangering our families lives and invading our privacy.  Or killing us for god’s sake.

Why are we getting these unwanted drones stuffed up our ass? Two weeks ago, right out of left field – over known unilateral citizen resistance – with absolutely no discussion…the FAA slam dunks authorization for something that is unwanted, not needed, is invasive as hell…and is flat out dangerous. Done. Over. No discussion. STFU.

Could it possibly be that our increasingly creepy, and increasingly militarized, Homeland Secret Police wants to complete it’s “Total Control of the American People — Tool Kit” by adding an untold number of big (wedding party size) and little tiny (personalized) flying “citizen snuffers” that can shut down budding young anarchists…and people who protest to much over lost freedoms and privacy rights, invasive surveillance systems, complete information collection and data base management, and governmentally sanctioned impoverishment. Or, who are getting married (as we’ve come to learn from our Afghanistan experiences with these damned things).

I still have the same question. Why are these bastards doing this to us? What’s the goddamn urgency? What do they know that we don’t know? What are these people intending to do to us?

Is America the once beautiful becoming the Fourth Fucking Reich or something?  Is this all some kind of a new fangled digital concentration camp?

This all feels really bad to me…

 

J.M.Burke — June 27, 2014

 

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This much I know is true.  Dying erases your screen. 

June 23, 2014

The magnificent tension between seeing ones self as a spec in an indifferent universe — and as a dynamic element in the infinitely connected social network of mankind. And how we fail horribly at dealing with both perspectives.  Missing the point: Self importance and isolation…and delusion.

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Memories of you may last a while longer. Not yours of course, but other people’s memories that include you or that are about you.  Until they fade to a not far distant vanishing point…as the keepers of these recollections fade and then disappear as well.

The fact that I walked in the dark, under a star studded sky…all alone when I was seven – on the way to Robby Knox’s house is real only in my head. As was the fact that it was also important. At least to me it was. Maybe only to me.

It was the very first time I was aware I was totally alone. I saw every single star because there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. There were no ground lights from houses and cars. It was a cool and crisply clear night, just a day or two after our little town on the North Shore or Long Island had succeeded in getting the Fall leaves picked up into piles and burned (yeah, I know).

No moon just stars. I was a little afraid at first but I had never seen anything in the whole town that I had ever been afraid of. Afraid of things I couldn’t see I guess. Things that mostly kept little boys from going outside alone on dark moonless starry nights. But after a bit, all those little boy fears and scary thoughts disappeared and I, at the ripe old age of seven, became aware of how utterly alone I was that very moment — and it crossed my mind, that in all likelihood I wasn’t even being thought of by my mom – or by anybody. I was just me – out there in the dark.

And once I settled down a bit, I became transfixed by the notion of my aloneness and complete separateness from others — and about the size of the universe and the spectacular-ness of space, and seeing it with unlimited vision — and how crystal clear it all was, all the way to the absolute edges of my ability to even imagine.  And that it was all moving. Almost imperceptibly, but moving at a pace and a purpose I could not fathom at seven.

And for the very first time in my life I saw a little tiny bit about how it was that I fit into a world that just was – that didn’t care if I was there or not.

Which was very different from the space I had always seen myself in. The everyday space where I was connected to everyone around me – at least to some degree or another…where living and being alive in the presence of, and in relationship with others, provided space and time social connection anchors and psychic reference points…and that provided constant and real time feedback of not only my existence but how relatively successful I was doing as an existent.

“I interact with others, therefore I exist”. Or something like that (I was only a kid for god’s sake).

The fact of being a part of a social unit and of being aware of, and completely involved in, the development and nurturing of relationships leaves feelings and impressions and emotional imprints all over everything and everybody, as tacit evidence of existence.  The true importance of what relationships and connectedness to key others means to us as individuals only becomes apparent when seen against the backdrop of how insignificant and tiny we are as specs in a universe that really doesn’t care if we are there at all. The perspective makes everything make sense.

This huge and massively important learning and defining moment of my life disappears forever when the game is over. When I’m no longer around to think of it anymore. Defining thoughts lost, along with all the other subsequent ones that followed along with the movement of my life through time…that defined who I was – or at least who I had been, or better yet, what I had done — that I desperately used to create a measurement of personal value, and a “life time” worthiness scorecard.

Point is at the end of the trail,  most of us don’t have a whole lot that will ever get chronicled or put in a book or will become lore for future generations to wonder about. And it makes no difference anyway. Only to us.

What counts at the end of the game is how you see yourself. How you lived in the universe that hosted your spec like existence…and how you lived and how you have deported yourself with the people whose lives and social system your existence depended upon…and impacted.

Plus or minus. Did I treat the universe and the forces that create balances and flow and metes and bounds with proper respect and reverence…and appropriate humility and responsible care and guardianship.  And did I recognize the huge and ‘existence defining’ importance of being a person committed to honoring the lives – and presence an omnipresent higher power in all those who are inexorably connected in the social network of mankind.

Did I accept the responsibly implicit in being a spec in an indifferent vast universe…did I accept my obligations and responsibility as a human being whose collective entire existence is to pulling our weight to keep the social fabric intact and sustainable.

Did I live my life deliberately and on purpose…and with integrity consistent with my obligations as a member of the human social network.

Did I ever even consider those responsibilities and obligations I had assumed as a member of the human race to actively participate in the betterment and improvement of peoples lives and the various levels of social networks that supported my life and theirs. Let alone, incorporating even a small part of these responsibilities and obligations into my personal beliefs and values?

Of course, these are dreaded questions most of us contrive entire lifetimes to avoid — that we end up coming to grips with at the end. The questions we are finally forced to answer…after all this time — after all the posturing and self delusion and revisionist reconstruction…when the grand illusion of who you are and what you were no longer means anything anymore.

The last questions humans are left with are the ones that are only important to us as individuals: “Who am I?” What is my purpose? What’s important to me? What do I truly care about? What do I believe in? How much do I believe…how much do I care…how important are these things to me and to others? Do I care enough to act out of my beliefs, and concerns and their relative importance to me? Or do I just let it all continue to slide…pretending I don’t care. Pretending that none of these things are important to me. When at the end of the day, they are the only things that are important.

J.M.Burke — June 2014

 

 

 

Tiananmen Square. The picture.

June 4, 2014

It was all about civil rights and freedoms. The Chinese students were protesting for more…and were willing to die for what they believed in. We, on the other hand, protested not-at-all when we allowed them to be taken away.

                               

Picking your hill to die on…

Victims of all stripes identify strongly with the powerful picture of defiance. A young man challenging a Chinese tank to run over him on a wind swept parade ground — where Chinese students openly and bravely let a brooding and oppressive leadership know that enough was enough.

Tiananmen Square was about citizen protest over governmental oppression and repression. It was about freedom and democracy. The Chinese people (esp. students) wanting more…government fearful that granting/allowing more would lead to anarchy and the overthrow of the oppressive leadership they represented.

Somewhere between 100 and 1000 people were killed in Tiananmen Square that day. The Chinese government has never come clean on the extent of their attempt to crush the people’s protest and dissent and resistance. The government’s attempts to “erase” the incident from history in the time-honored Chinese way of dealing with these sorts of things…worked to some degree – but the memory of what had happened – and the brutality of the government attempts to shut down the protest, were not forgotten at all.

In no small way the “picture” helped keep the “intent” of the protest, and the willingness of the protestors to challenge the government no matter what – alive and powerful for 25 years. Civil rights changes and changes towards expansion of freedom and democracy have occurred in China. In part, changes have flowed as a result of the ‘revulsion’ to the in-human and ruthless acts committed on the country’s citizens seeking relief form civil rights oppression on a very public world stage…and in part, the result of the necessity of making civil rights related political accommodations to corporations to secure financial opportunities accruing from the outsourcing of the US economy.

In the 25 years leading to today, the picture has become a symbol of bravery in protest against determined oppression. The determination and willingness to risk it all…”hope before oppression”…knowing in high probability the act of defiance would be crushed by overwhelming force.

In our country, and I’m confident in many others as well, the picture has become the symbol of what “we should have done…” if only we had had the courage and resolve to stand up in defiance of power. To speak the truth. To let those who collect our data and who read our mail, and who strip our freedoms, and diminish our lives…and who rig the election process, know – in no uncertain terms – how we feel about our new “secret police” and their surveillance and monitoring controls, and tracking of communications and physical movement ability, and the diminishment of constitutional freedoms that they, and our elected leaders, have deliberately and methodically put in place to monitor and control the citizens of this once great country.

The picture of the young man standing before the tank is a powerful image of the “idea” of defiance. A proxy. A symbol of resistance that we wish our own bought up legislator oppressors would use to get a sense of how strongly we feel about what has been happening since Bush 2 hijacked the country for the oligarchs — without us ever having to risk putting a daisy in the gun barrel of a robo-cop.

The ‘idea’ of protest and defiance has became the proxy for the ‘reality’ of physical protest and defiance…largely because we are already fearful of the implicit consequence to protest – that we will be shut down if we even make a sound out loud.  And by acquiescing, we silent victims are letting our oppressors getting away with it.

Making believe people who might give a damn are hearing our silent thoughts and mumbled threats of action, is ludicrous.  It’s worse than whining at a bully. The bully doesn’t give a shit.  It’s almost as bad as holding on to the delusion that somebody’s mom is going to jump out of an SUV – or that the Calvary is going to magically arrive at the last minute – to save our sorry asses.

No way.  The lesson of Tiananmen Square is that we’re going to have to fight our own fight if we don’t like what’s going on…despite the real or imagined consequences. Or, we need to get used to the idea that we failed our selves and our future generation, and accept and the reality that that’s the way it’s going to be for the foreseeable future.

It’s called “picking your hill to die on”.  The hijacking of our country by those who would destroy it (in their minds, to “secure” it) seems like a worthy hill.

So pick something worthy that makes a difference, and do it for god’s sake.  Helping to overturn the Supreme Court Citizens United decision wouldn’t be a bad start.

 

JMBurke – June 4, 2014