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Friday, December 30, 2011

Part Man, Part Machine, all cop out

I had a friend talk to me about his beliefs of the way our government is run. This person is not the first person to tell me that we can not run the government like a business. It is not about a profit and loss statement. In that I would agree with them, however I would say that if you spend more then you make that money has to come from somewhere. So perhaps not run a P&L profile, but maybe a fiscal responsibility that we as a people are expected to have. So we spend the money we have, and no more. To simple in my eyes, and its not about profit, its about loss.

I am not expecting our government to provide services to our nation under the guise of being profitable. I would not want to live in a country were the police had to worry about the bottom line, or fire departments judged their placement of equipment based on the cost effective ability to provide protection of assets. Brings back images of OCP, for you kids out there look up Robocop. So in that yes, civil service should not be a for profit business. It also means that we as a people need to provide for those that provide those services. So instead of debt increase we allot for a budget increase when it is needed. Borrowing money from other countries is not the solution, because we have no intent of making a profit as a nation.

So how do we pay for wars, security, education and healthcare without borrowing money from other countries? We look to our own country. We look to our out dated over worked Internal Revenue Service, and we look to our over complicated tax codes. We stop looking to other people and we look to ourselves. Taxes are never popular, so our politicians do not want to raise them. The rich pay for their campaigns, so those same politicians do not want to bite the hand that feeds them. They still need to provide those services so what do they do? Well they go to China, or other countries with money and put their hands out. So they get into the same up side down mortgages they let the housing industry put us in. Debt that could never be paid back, that is just increased until they foreclose and take away our home. You do not pay those things back by staying the course. You do not get out of debt by living beyond your means and holding to old habits.

So what do we do? The answer is not to cut programs. The answer is not to take away those creature comforts that people feel they have a right too, or have grown dependent on. While I am not a fan of social security, cutting that, or medicare would not be the answer. The answer is to stop getting money from the loan shark. The answer is to revise our tax code in a way that is clear, simple, and fair. We need to put the smart people with the PHD's in a room together and bang out a workable tax code. Our system is broken and most people do not see how broken it is because they get what they want from it.

How many of you celebrate and look forward to that tax return in April? That is all the proof you need to understand waste and the systematic establishment of a culture that is being dragged around by the carrot. Why do you get a return? Because you over paid the government the amount of taxes you owed. So now those have to be processed, and that is not done for free. So each year we feed the bureaucratic machine and other companies have sprung up to support this action. Tax specialist, that work for a portion of your return. Now if they just had the system in place right to begin with, why would we have to do an annual audit? How about a small flat rate? Not that moronic nine nine nine shit that Cain proposed, but something as simple. A simple tax on wages and capitol gains, that is a percentage established regardless of marital status or amount of revenue generated? It can be stepped or progressive, so the poor are not actually carrying the burdens of the nation. So the first 40 k you make is taxed at 5%, the next 40k is 7%, and the brackets go up and you pay more. To simple, too easy, and probably would not happen because it is fair.

Big problem though, and simple sometimes is a better way to deal with things. Our trade relations are even screwy. Look at our tariffs with countries like China, and see how lopsided they are. Chinese good get into our country nearly free, while our goods are taxed to a point they are nearly unaffordable to the peoples republic. So we work out the money. We follow the money. We fix the shit where it is actually wrong, and we stop putting up with layers and layers being added to the cake. This is not the French revolution and Ms. Antoinette is not banging Uncle Sam. So you want to know how to fix this? This is another step. This is where I keep up that war on stupid.

The essence of this whole argument is the removal of money, corporate or larger personal donations in any form out of politics. With out that the inmates will continue to run the asylum, and they would never pass, support, or even breath on laws that would limit their insanity. So what do we do? How do we take our country back? How do we stop people from enjoying the spoon fed apathy designed to keep them in line as others continue to make money on their backs? Soylent green is people!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Keeping it real?

There is a bumper sticker out there talking about being nice to the troops, because we are gonna need them when the revolutions starts. I have seen many variations of this, and all of them make me giggle. You see there is a spot in the oath of enlistment we take that says we will defend the Constitution from enemies both foreign and domestic. So I am assuming that these creative souls are expecting a coup of shorts, with this current level of government turmoil. The trouble is that many of those that take their oath seriously would not enact a coup or rebel against their chain of command. How can you expect a those willing to defend the Constitution to act against it and establish control over a country that  so vigilantly stands against tyranny?

I mean sure its bad, and people are pissed. The economy got more people riled up then Getmo did. So apparently it is the pocketbook that pisses more people off then principle, but it is still not enough to justify the blood that would come with revolution. Yes I do think the current government is following a trend that continues to neuter our more sacred principles. Yes I do see legislation being pushed out that ignores our basic rights. I see liberty sacrificed in the name of security. However I do not see enough people bitching about it, or willing to do something about it to warrant the blood that would come with a military support action.

So let us get serious people, and stop talking shit that you would not or could not back up. I think we would have a collapse of government before we had a coup. I for one would not like shooting at Americans. Well maybe a few. I mean there are some bible thumping extremist, or some liberal fascist that I would not mind seeing come to harm, but I am not willing to express myself in such a visceral way in  own back yard. You don't shit where you eat right?

We can still enact change in our country, and put the power back in the hands of the people. We can do this with out people getting all stupid about war. Try voting, and not voting with your heart, but with your head. Stirring speeches are just talk. Look at the voting record of those you want to represent you, and if they are not representing you vote them out. Do this on all levels of government, from local to federal. It starts with your, not with me. It is about your ballot not my bullets. You want to be an American, then be a fucking American. Be innovative and industrial. Be all those things we claim to be, and do something with yourself.

I would normally be very supportive of the people and push this American ideal more and more; However the issue I am having with all of this is exactly what I said before. We have become a selfish lazy people looking for an easy ride. This is why I do not think a coup would be a great idea. You want to see why I think this way and look at the numbers that turned out for the Occupy movement, and then look at the numbers that protested actively in regards to the Patriot act, DOMA, or the myriad amount of other acts, bills or laws that have infringed on our rights. It makes me sick that people are willing to take to the streets when it effects their pocket book, but sat on the sidelines when the rights of others are being ignored or violated.

As I stated in this post about my ego, we as Americans are supposed to be better than our enemies. We are not supposed to let bad things happen to bad people, we are not supposed to silence people because we don';t agree with what they say. We are supposed to be a nation of solutions and invention. We are the white knights that have came into rescue Europe. We are supposed to wear the white hats and solve our issues not ask others to do it for us. So in that thank you for the cute stickers, but how about you do something to actually support your own actions and stop looking for a dramatic solution that somebody else does for you.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

When is a breast a breast or a titty?

Watching the news today (I know, I should not be doing that.) I saw a lady that put together a breast feeding rally to support female rights. Apparently this lady felt harassed when some of the store staff asked her to stop feeding her child. They asked if she would cover up or at the very least take a seat some where and not walk around shopping while she was feeding her child. Now I support breast feeding, and I love me some titties. I am even willing to get a pink ribbon tattooed on my body to show my support for breast. You could even call me a bra, I support them so much. I am also all about finding natural healthy ways to feed our children.  I do have issues with this though, as you would have guessed since I am taking the time to write about it.

So lets get this clear and said right up front. I am not against breast feeding. I am not against feminism. I am not against breast. I am not against a more natural approach to raising the little carpet crawlers of the world either. I will say though use your fucking peanut when flexing your rights as a human being. Cover your shit up. A blanket over you and your kid would be a traditional way to do things. Not because I don't like looking at titties, but because I don't chew with my mouth open and neither should your kid. Even if you want to say its not a big deal, it natural, so is taking a shit but I do that behind a door. Now you may like to watch me pee, or you might not even mind, but I do it out of respect for those that might not like to watch it.

You can choose your fights, but be smart about it lady. I am okay with you sitting in the plastic bench next to me as your kid gets his vittles, but cover it up. If you don't cover it up its disrespectful. How would you feel if I stared as you fed your kid? I am going to fight for my rights to not have your infringe on my rights to not see people pick their ass in public, or their nose for that matter. I do not want to see people eat with their mouths open. I don't want to watch people brush their teeth. I do not want to watch you change your kids diaper either. All natural things, but things you can do out of sight of other people. Last but not least you have the right to fart, but you do not need to do it in the elevator full of people.

So the purpose of this is for people to really think about what they are fighting about. Some things you really need to thing about how selfish you are being, and how stupid it really is. I am about each and every persons right to pursue happiness, but you have to think about how it will effect the rights of another to pursue happiness. If you are proud to be fat, that is cool, but don't expect me to want to see you naked. You may want to eat fat nasty processed foods, but I am not going to cover the cost of your heart transplant. You may like to beat off, hell that makes me happy too, but if you whip it out in public you are infringing on my happiness and my rights as a human being to not have your beliefs forced upon me. I feel the same way about public displays of affection, religion or what ever else you believe in that you think you need to share with me.

Really people choose your fights. If you take everything so damn personal you might be a self centered asshole that is not thinking about how the others around you are taking your actions personally. I do what I do, you do what you do, and that is the joy of being American. Just because something works for you, does not mean it works for me. So why not pick up an issue that really matters and make a stand on that. It is this misguided selfish bullshit that distracted us long enough for the banks to rob us. I can not wait for the zombie apocalypse, then people might figure out what really matters. So until then I say you pull your breast out in public and call it a right, I am going to flex my right to stare at them and hold up judgement cards. Don't get pissed if you only get a 2, not all boobs are created equal.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Cut an Onion.

So today I read an article that was posted on an Army Facebook page I go to often for a laugh. U.S. Army WTF! moments normally leaves me smiling, but today their link left me fuming. I was unsure if it was just something too personal, or if it was really that fucked up to a lot of people. The article in question was from the Onion and can be read here. It discusses or politicians pushing a bill forward to bring back the dead soldiers from the war. It was done very tongue in check, as they usually present information. However this is something I can't seem to find humor in. I am a sick fuck too. I mean I tell dead baby jokes, poke fun at dead enemies, ask amputees if they could use a hand, or other real sick dark crappy jokes, and I could not laugh about this. So it made me wonder if it was just to personal, or was it that screwed up that I could not laugh at it all.

I think the issue lies in the deep sacrifice of those that had that blank check cashed. You see I really do not care if you believe in or support the issues that brought our country too war, but you do not disrespect our dead. This to me was the issue behind filming the dead coming home. It was not about hiding the horrors of war, it is about giving them some privacy and respect. They died for you, even if you don't believe in the damn cause they died in service of. You do not lay their remains down in shallow unmarked graves. You do not disrespect their wishes because you do not share their religious views. You do not shame them or their families to get press like the Westborro Baptist Church assholes. You just should not do that if you understand even one bit what it means to be an American.

I have buried a few service members in my day. Hell I have been to more funerals for fallen service members then I have been for my own blood family. People put homage to their friends and family all the damn time, and yes it sucks that people die. It is part of life though. This though is different, because these Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, and Airmen died well before their natural time, and they died for a belief many people take for granted. They died for the ideas and principles of liberty that moved our founding fathers, and brought a colony to war. It was these very ideals that were paid for in blood at the very birth of our nation. It was this blood bond that is carried to this day by each one of them that puts a uniform on. It is this very real sacrifice that calls to me. I can not trifle with that.

So I am guessing that it was not just me that got pissed reading. I can guess that it was not an irrational personalization that made this offensive. I am gonna go out on a limb and say it is justified, and not me hypocritically reacting to an off color joke that strikes close to home. I will joke about death. I will joke about cancer. I will joke about things because it helps me cope with them. I deal with them everyday. I can not however laugh at this. I can say that it went to far and it was really in poor taste. So in closing I say FUCK YOU Onion. I say that without regret or the compulsion to feel guilty or two faced. I feel justified.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Tick, tick, tick, tick.

Most people look at time with regret and rarely like to reflect on it. With the New Year around the corner though, it might be a good time to think about things. As we look into 2012 we look at a mere span of time. We see 12 months, 52 weeks, 365 days, 8,760 hours, 525,600 minutes, 31,536,000 seconds. Each tick of the clock holds a different meaning, and we have no idea what they are going to be. Time is a gift. It is possibility. Time is all the things that could be. 
This gift of time is not yours alone. It is a universal thing we are all given in equal sums. No matter what you have in your bank account, what car you drive, or the square footage of your house, you will get no more then twenty four hours in a day. There is sixty seconds in each minute if you have a trust fund or not. It is your measure that you did not pay for, you have not earned, yet you will receive regardless of your station in life. 
Another important thing about time is that you cannot stop it. There is no way to slow it down, turn it off, or adjust it. Time marches on. So you can look forward to what it has to offer you, or you can waste it counting gray hairs and wrinkles. You can spend it reflecting on regrets or you can spend your time with grace and wonder.

Once time is gone, it is gone. You can not get it back. So spend it wisely. The future is uncertain but the outcome will always be the same. Your time here will end, but what you take to the next chapter is how you spent your time. So you can be a wasteful miser and have nothing to show for your time, or you can go into your next life, that afterlife, with investments of time. Time is the currency of memory and character. You can't take a big screen with you, but you can take a story worth telling. You tell me what has a more lasting value. 
Time is one of our most valuable possession, yet we can waste it. We can worry over it. We can spend it on ourselves. Or, as good investors, we can endow it in our family, our friends, our memories and those things of real and substantial value. We need not waste a second wondering what we should have done, and just do what we know is right. We should not sit on the sidelines and watch the evil that men do, but rather spend our time to thwart their desires. We should spend our time wisely and think of how to make the world a better place, and not just for us, but for those we love, and those we are yet to love. 
It is your time, so spend as you will. You will get your measure regardless of how you budget, but spending it is entirely up to you. So spend it on worry and regret like so many others will, or spend it with purpose and meaning. The value you give it is your own. This is the real gift of life, a true measure of wealth. Do with it what you will. It will not wait for you either way.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Green is the old gold.

Why is we feel the need to bring the pine tree into our house this time of year? Tradition of the monotheistic faiths have no ties to the evergreen. There is nothing in the scripture that dictates the need to bring a whole tree into your house. There is no significance to it in metaphor, yet people cling to it and drive to the tree lot, the deep wood, or where ever they may to bring this symbolic gesture into their home and laden it with decoration. They feel the compulsion to spread gifts under its boughs. The wish to light it and let it shine for all to see is ingrained in a much deeper and ancient place. Where does this come from?

Well the tree is simple. Our ancestors spent time in the fields, working the land. This is how they got by. This is where their food came from. Then the winter comes. The lush fields of green turn brown and life leaves the land. The harvest is pulled and the bones of the earth lay exposed. The ground goes cold and does not take to plow. Seed will not sprout, nothing green a pure escapes the womb of the earth. The night grows longer and the sun warms the skin less and less. Then the snow blankets the earth, taking all the color from the world. Death and decay abound. There is something to be said for seasonal depression.

Yet in the world the evergreen deserves its name. Through the turmoil and change of season it remains full of color. It is the vigilant reminder that life goes on even after other life is lost. It reminds us the color can and will return. We bring the branches and wreath them on our doors and windows so we may see the green of the spring to come. We fell the whole tree and bring it into our house to show us that this season like all others will pass. Then we decorate it with ribbon and other colors of spring. Lights, or in old times candles, are placed about it to call to the long sun filled days of summer. The burning twinkle grace the long nights and ward of the enveloping darkness.

The gifts used to be favors to family that could not work the field when unable to be wretched by tool. One would offer their ability to mend a plow, a trusty set of boots, or perhaps fix another persons pants. These were there to prepare for the spring again. This is a time when you trade skills with each other to prepare to once again welcome life into the field. Children blessed with toys to teach them trade and pay for things with the bright laughter filled with life.

It was this time that families traveled long cold roads to gather at long houses with the greater family. To share the warmth of each other and a great fire. It was not about price tags and door busters. It was about community. It was about sharing the dream of warmer days. It was time to trade tales of the seasons spent in the dying year. News was traded of deaths, births, marriages, and all the joys of the life lived int he previous year. This is the real gift of the season. People together sharing the fruits of their labors, and the stories of their days.

So bless to those that know that family comes first. Bless those that know that life will return to the land, and to your fields. The animals will run trails again waiting to hung and quartered to be prepared for the table. Berries will wait for the children to gather them and stain their lips again. Let the laughter fill your hall, and then you will know the wealth of the land. This is the real reason we we bring that green tree into our home. This is why it is laid to sacrifice to remind us in spite of our misgivings that life will go on, and that we are not dead forever if we can find the life in laughter and the joys of breath. It is this time of family the we know the secret of life eternal. We are gifted through that simple tree, that sacred evergreen.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


In 2008 Moktada al-Sadr asked his followers to bring violence and retribution upon the soldiers of the west that decide to stay after the 2011 deadline. He happens to be a very influential anti-American Shiite cleric. In 2010 Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki only got reelected for his second term as Prime Minister of Iraq with Mr. Sadr's support. I am okay with a country that we conquered wanting us out, I understand that. However do not ask us for shit, and understand that we conquered you, we set the terms not you. This arrogance though is not uncommon. Now the people behind the conqueror, side with the poor people of this misunderstood nation and tell us that they want us to leave. Well we the soldiers wanted to leave too, but we understood there was more that needed to be done. The people didn't ask us though, they just let the people of the conquered nation dictate our foreign policy.

Do I think Iraq can be fixed? Sure, but it would take generations. Its a culture thing there. Do I think our withdrawal at a later date would have been better then this, yes. Let me explain why, and hopefully some of the lazy stupid masses looking to have their votes bought and paid for by the corporate sponsored politicians will understand. You see an election is coming up, and they pull the troops out, they take the credit, and you the grateful masses ignore the other facts of life and vote for them. Do not be surprised when you see this as a ticket point for those running. You will not see the unemployment, but you will hear the promise of jobs. You will not hear them talk of the banks robbing the country, but you will hear them talk about all the troops being home for the holidays. Hallmark moment bought and paid for with 4,487 lives of military service members serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Over 32,000 were wounded, so the visible reminders are all around you. So get in line, put your vote in, and support the status quo. Watch them take credit for getting the troops home, just like people took credit for the boys in Seal team six and the work of the CIA that started at day one of this current iteration displaying this mighty military machine we have.

Now back to Iraq. This is a cultural issue plain and simple. You have a people that have been told they are the greatest since the days of Hammurabi. The hubris and arrogance has seeped and brewed for millennial measurements. Now add into the mix two narrow view religions, Shiite and Sunni flavors of the same hate manual. Take a lower level of education, poor literacy, and previous decades under a controlling dictator. Now you have a people that have been told they are awesome just because of where they are from, and untouchable because of the God they worship. This arrogance is stronger then the truth. You tell them its bad that they dump their waste in their drinking water, and they say what do you know? They tell us how old their civilization is and how little we know because we have not been around long enough. Here in lies the rub. This arrogance is as big as ours, just older and a bit more seasoned. So now we leave on their terms and expect them to play nice? This is not over, and we will be back or we will get another black eye. Time will tell though. Watch the news and let me know when you need me to pack my bags to engage in the third version of this worn out war. Just do me a favor though, when we go back let us finish the damn job.

I am only saying this now because we are still committed to Afghanistan.  Do not let them wag the dog and spin you on there too. We can not back out until there is a stable, established government with the interest of the people in mind. The people need to trust us, and we can walk away when the time is right and they can stand on their own merit on the world stage. Watch the news though, and wait and see what happens in Iraq. See what happens to our influence there. Do not let our arrogance feed their mistakes. They will end up on our front porch. Please use wisdom and learn from the mistakes of others. Rolling into a country and giving them a bloody nose does not work anymore. It did not work for Germany, nor Japan. We occupied those countries for generations. We STILL have troops there. Almost seventy years later and we still have boots on the ground. Those countries we rebuilt, now Germany is the the corner stone of the European economy, and Japan blew by us in technological achievements and industry. Look at the countries we went into under the guise of stability, and pulled out. Iraq part one, Somalia, or any other African nation we hit the ground on. It takes time people.

You want to win. You build schools. You build infrastructure. You build national pride not religious or genetic superiority. You feed their children, and those children grow up grateful ready to run a new stable nation that does not have nearly as much hate in their eye for us. You run out the hate mongers and you provide them security to grow and learn. You do not kick them in the nuts and leave. That just gives them thoughts of coming back to kick us in the nuts. So have some damn resolve. Do not abandon the Afghan's. If we can continue to follow the Kardashians on  the Jersey shore, why can't we actually do some damn good.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Nuclear Tribe

In the FX Television show "Sons of Anarchy" we get a unique look of two types of family units portrayed in a media. Not only do we have the modern family of step parents, but a very tribal extended family. It is also in a very non traditional setting, being the family is based on or around an outlaw motorcycle club. To an outsider this is a gang, but the inner workings of the average American motorcycle club is the closest thing to family some of it's members will ever know. Understanding this you will see the roles of mentor, brother, friend, and disciplinarian played out in most every episode. The interactions between people in and out of the club are an easy way to judge the reverence that members hold for similar groups. We can also look at the family unit the main character, Jackson "Jax" Teller grew up in, and its affect on his own concept of immediate family as he takes on role of father and dutiful son. Jax (played by Charlie Hunnam) is raised by his mother, his step father and the MC. His step father is the clubs president, and Jax is the Vice President. This furthers his role as both a father and son. 
There is very little research showing the relationship based communications between traditional father and son roles. Most of the research reflects preadolescence and development with an adult father of birth. Step parents are rarely reflected in communication and delve deeper into the psychological. What little there is to offer in the aspects of communication does show similarities with normal father/son behavior. Parenting in general appears to be summed up in the aspect of interpersonal communication as a passing of values and beliefs to your young, in the hopes that they will continue to model their behavior and habits as you have.
In SOA you see Jax being raised by the MC, and receiving a large array of values from them. You also see Jax learning things from Clay (step father) and Gemma (Biological mother) and passing them onto his children. You see the behaviors transferred from one group to another. Every member of this male dominated outlaw motorcycle gang also talks of SAMCRO (Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club Redwood Originals) as a great mythical perfect family. They do things for the family, the club is worth more then their own freedom. This is a sense of family loyalty is taught through a regime of fear mixed with love in a very nontraditional sense of family communication. 
In a normal healthy relationship between a father and son, values are passed down through conversation, tutelage, and system of rewards of affection with a mild amount of discipline. Sometimes that discipline is brought on in the form of corporal punishment. In SAMCRO the values are brought on with the ideals of corporal punishment being first. The language is used in the upbringing is very "We" internally, very "I" externally, and punishment is dealt out with that I/we concept. Father figures like the President, and the Vice President deal out punishment to their fellow Sons. The whole group equally hand out punishment to non sons with impunity. Rewards are rarely external, and internally the value system of the rewards is based on very nontraditional values as well. While some receive rewards of affection, material things, or praise, the Sons find great value is something as simple as a patch. 
While in a traditional extended family you will see a heavier influence by the immediate family, in this MC though its the needs of the extended family that come first. It is a strange juxtaposition of the ideals of self based freedoms and the personal sacrifice of those freedoms. The openness expressed within the group is balanced with the external need for silent protection. It is when those roles are reversed that you see conflict in the club. Secrets are for others and not for this family. This is enforced by the perceived father figure the club itself represents. Not the president but the mob mentality of the club itself. Like a corporation the club is a person. It lives and breaths, and has the reach of all hands. 
"The proportion of children who live with only one parent at some time during their childhood years is expected to continue exceeding 50%" (Kelly, 2011) While this could be an issue as far as passing family values and providing life needs for the child, more providers take a smaller portion of the roles traditionally held by two parental units. When they need a decision made on a hard subject they go to "church", or hold a democratic vote on the direction of the club and every patched member is allowed a vote. Depending on the severity you could expect a different level of approval. The greatest risk does not always mean unanimous votes. These votes are the voice of the father that is the table. This is the role many of these men look for. Many of them on an individual basis did not have the ideal fatherly role. They did not have the order so the appeal of the outlaw gang is the father they never really had, and a father that was a part of a life of adventure.

In the very first episode you see Jax as the young buck, the Beta male. Clay his step father is firm in his role as the Alpha male. He looks to Clay as his father, and looks for approval for all his moves. You see the need for that praise. You see that traditional role filled in a very traditional sense, even if by his step father. As the first season progress's you see that rebellion of youth. Jax is not sure why all the time, and he grows suspicious of Clay's motives and direction. The early acts of rebellion stack on each other, and the only thing that stops a more rapid escalation is desires and needs of the club. The club members even step on Jax's more then once to keep this order in place. Many of them have one issue or another with some of the actions that Clay initiates, however their love for the club (their father figure) supersedes logic in most cases.
By the second season you see the typical father/son rebellion come to a head with Clay and Jax fighting in jail. The rest of the boys prevent others from stepping in. Bobby Elvis even states clearly that they need this, and that the club needs it for them to work out their shit. The correctional officers break it up before a clear victor in the fisticuffs can be decided, but Clays arthritic were an obvious factor. If given time the old dog would have been replaced by the young dog before he was ready to lead. The same Bobby Elvis that supported the fight even offers Jax some personal advice. He tells him to settle his personal beef as it were. It is not good for the club, and Clay had earned the respect of age. It was not his place to bury it, he had earned that right while Jax hadn't. Here you can clearly see the hierarchy of value placed on shared risk. This giving Clay, the established older member, and great amount of social currency. 
In the third season you see a deeper pay of Jax's accepting his role as a father. Other then a few scenes before this you really do not see him step up as a dad in the previous seasons. He pays it the lip service it deserves, but little more then that. He puts down his dead fathers journal and shifts his focus from the club to his family. Granted it took a Belfast gunrunner kidnapping his son, but he makes it his focus. He still handles the business of the club, but he does it to serve him in his quest to get his son back. He sells prescription drugs on the black market, instigates a clearing a gang war, even participates in a few murders along the way. He gets his priorities straight in losing something he didn't even know had that much value to him to begin with. You see the shift on the personal perception for Jax here, and his identity becomes more of the role of the father, and less of the dutiful son. This also ties in deep with his shift to his immediate family from the extended family. 
By the fourth season starts you see Jax settle into the role as a father, husband, and trying to establish a more traditional family life. This shift in identity actually helps him assume his role as the new voice of the club. As he tries to run away from his responsibilities the role fits him better and demands his accession. It is the spirit of the father in the club that takes control of his destiny. Actions build and build preventing his and his families chance to escape the Sons. The development of body language in Jax shows this sorrow well. Watch the first episode, then watch the last episode of season four. The change is well acted. The shoulders are heavy with regret, his face lined with determination. It took time for him to understand his burden, and when he did, he no longer wanted to be the father figure. The burden is his though, and heavy is the head that wears the crown. 
The value system that is passed on through the club is summed up in a quote from John Teller, Jax's dead father. "A true outlaw finds the balance between the passion in his heart and the reason in his mind. The outcome is the balance of might and right." This is the very masculine outlook developed through years of study of beat poets, underground writers, and people from outside the social norms. It is this foundation that develops the norms for this tribal group that prides itself from being outside the norm. These male roles will develop into a serious gestalt that is an embrace of anarchist masculinity. The beliefs are enforced by a mutual need of survival and a sense of the only order they can understand. 
A strong moral establishment offers a sounding board of morality from which a family can draw on. Many people are coming from single parent households and most times this means a distinct lack of the father figure in their life. In this is is hard for a father to pass on his values to the children, and the image masculine behavior is watered down. There are an additional 36 million Americans who are divorced or widowed U.S. Census, 2007 (Gold, 2010) This is based on a population of 225 million, and an additional 35 million people that are remarried at the time. Based in this thirty five percent of children are not raised by their biological father in daily contact, if there is contact at all. Here the strong code, this draw or guide to the young men, this need for boundaries and understanding, is filled by the Motorcycle Club. Now instead of one father, these young men are being taught how to be a man by a pack of very masculine archetypes. Something other young men are lacking, having traditional masculine habits vilified or offered in satire. 
The appeal of this violent culture is apparent in the eyes of curious young men. A scruffy biker drives by on a thunderous machine surrounded by other like minded men, and you will see many children staring in awe. It is this life or death culture that appeals to the young man struggling with his identity in our watered down culture or male role models. Mom does not know what it means to be a man. She may have a great idea of what it takes to be a good person. She might even have an idea of what it does not mean to be a man. This leaves young boys searching for a strong male role model that can teach them the ins and outs of being a man. This is the appeal of this mass father offered by the MC, and portrayed rather well in "Sons of Anarchy". These are men who have embraced the positive and negative images of manhood. Life is give or take on the streets of Charming, CA. It is the men of value that survive, and it is the men of honor that are praised for their sacrifice. They protect their family, and their home. They offer an image of near mythical proportions, and how could this not be appealing to someone trying to come to terms with their own concepts of male identity?

In seeing this extreme dramatization of the male iconography, we can break down the evolution of masculine behavior and see the new social norms. If you look to the older concepts of a father son relationship, you see hunting trips, boy scout meetings, and the transfer of traditional masculine behaviors. Most of the behaviors are being brought to a shameful reflection now and it is not as socially acceptable to be a man or overtly masculine anymore. Boy scouts are played off as homophobic fundamentalist and hunting trips are considered barbaric. The things we pass down to our sons are no longer identified with being a man. Even automotive repairs are degraded to menial task and not associated with masculinity. It is no longer socially acceptable unless you are androgynous or overtly feminine. 
This is were the "Sons of Anarchy" come in. The appeal of the stereotypical masculine relationships are served through the grouping of the motorcycle club. You are raised up like a child as you prospect. You are taken hunting when you are on the road maneuvering against other motorcycle clubs. You are taught that violence is not done in your home, but it is a great way to defend your home. You get to see all the things that people vilified as manly behavior in the safe light of the dramatic outlaw biker gang. The appeal is that the social pendulum has swung away from the masculine, yet here you can see it in a way that is tolerated by society. Yes these are manly things, but they are in a fictitious group that also functions outside of the the law. The father son traditions are projected in the most negative manner so they can be absorbed safely and still feed the need for people to feel their masculinity.

I enjoy watching this show based on all those issues. It allows us to secretly enjoy those parts of our social behavior in a guilt free way. We can ride on the back of the danger and socialize with rough characters. We see the honor code that is a huge part of this dark and violent world. It calls to a neglected social need, and lets us feel what is like to be men. We can live vicariously through Jax, Clay, Bobby, Tig, Halfsack, and even Gema. We get to experience all those things we are told we supposed to be ashamed of. Once a week we can be men without shame. We can enjoy a relationship with a father we never really had. Our fathers can watch this and feel the same way. It is the forbidden fruit of male social standards.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A break

I am going to be down and out for a few days as I lose my man card. I am getting a nose job. Yep, gonna have some saw bones try to fix my busted up mug. So here is to the government dime fixing my ability to breath. So in the interim, I would appreciate it if you guys went over my old material. I would also dig feedback or suggestions and all that jazz. So in the mean time you kids take care, and enjoy the break from my over masculine neanderthal ass. So lets see how this turns out, and if they can make this knuckle dragging man candy even sexier. 

Oh and I do not offer a lot of shameless plugs here, but today I will. A good friend of mine has recently designed and developed a great little game for the iphone. Yep this was headed up by a wonderful lady, a wonderful friend, a wonderful mom, and a damn fine talent. So instead of boosting some majorly huge companies profits this year, why not support a great amount of talent. She doesn't have to be home working, but she does so she can take care of her little man while her husband goes out and slaves in the corporate world. So fuck the angry birds, find some happy bee's. Support something positive, and if you are going to get a game ap for your iphone it best be this;

Friday, December 9, 2011


I am shutting my brain down for the weekend. I am going to stop thinking for a bit. I am not going to share any deep thoughts. I am not going to search my soul for the reasons why. I will tell you what I am going to do though. I am going to let go. I am going to watch grown men beat the crap out of each in a cage. I am going to embrace my primal nature. I will consume the substances I need to quiet my brain. Those loud brain cells shall be silenced. I will not worry about what I eat. I will not mind my caloric intake. I will not worry about the high fructose corn syrup. I will not worry about the mindful positions we jockey for. I will not concern myself with the addictions we hold so dear. I will let go.

 I will not run in the race, I will run in the field when it suits me. I will free myself from the concerns of labels, merchandising, market positions, images of the perfect body, programmed responses, I will have an experience. I am not going to have a near death, not a live changing experience, I am simply going to have an experience.

Letting go, enjoying the moment and nothing more. I will do things on my own time. I might just do nothing on my own time. I am going to do all the things that I need to do and understand that I really do not need to do anything. Oh this is going to be a weekend. I am glad I can shut my brain down. I am glad I can let my mind go. It needs a break, and I am tired of others telling me what I need to do. I know damn well what is right and wrong without getting it as a ticker feed on the bottom of my television. Somethings they say are wrong are not wrong, they are just counterproductive to their mission to keep the heard inline.

I am going to actually enjoy a weekend of freedom. Its been awhile since I have really truly tasted freedom. No restraint. No obligations. Just pure bliss and free thought. This is not chaos. It is not random acts of kindness, or violence. This is not me imposing my will on the world, or letting its will be imposed on me. It is not giving into or resisting any thought or idea. It is simply being free.

I am looking forward to dancing with my old friend. Do I have plans, sure I do. They are things I want to do, there is a schedule sure, but this is not about the schedule or baking a cake. It is not a recipe for life. This is just a weekend of dancing in the smoke. For the next 72 hours, I am just going to enjoy playing the game. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Smoke and mirrors,..

In my last day of class for the semester in English we watched part of a movie called "Smoke", which in turn was based a short story called "Auggie Wren's Christmas Story" by Paul Auster. Cute story, well written. Enjoy the link. The importance to me though was a part of the intro in the movie. The author, Paul, tells a story about smoke. He goes on to explain how Sir Walter Raleigh introduced tobacco to Queen Elizabeth in 1600, and a few years later he brags that he could measure smoke. He uses a balance scale to weigh a fresh cigar. Then he uses one pan to capture the ash, and puts the butt on the ash and measures again. He notes the difference as the weight of smoke.

Why does that matter? Well read the story about Auggie and pay attention to the picture album. The devil is in the details. You see that is smoke. Smoke is what we really want, but nobody wants to pay attention to. When you enjoy a cigar, it is the smoke that offers flavor. People talk about the leaf, the shape, the taste, but its the smoke that is the experience. It can be measured if you are smart enough to find a way. That is life. The best parts are in the smoke. Its not the wrapper. Its not the label. Its not leaf. It is the product of all those things. Those things are what give you the intangible after effect we call smoke. There is the story. 

I look at it like a game. People are so worried about who wins, and the end of the game that they do not notice the game itself. They lose focus on why we play the game to begin with. They stop thinking about the time they share around the table. They stop thinking about the actual event and focus on the end. They do not think about the points, the action, or the movements of the game. They try to finish first, or finish the strongest. The sad part is in the real game of life it ends with death and that is a prize we all get to collect regardless of who is first or has the most cash.

So measure the smoke and enjoy it. Don't get tied up in all the other trappings and forget the reason you lit the damn thing in the first place. There is substance in the smoke. The rest is just ash. You can feel the ash, but it is just what things were. Don't get wrapped up in the wrapper, that is just what is going to happen. So rather then being consumed by the future or the past so that you forget to enjoy what is happening now. Enjoy the smoke when you look in the mirror. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Point of View

Life is about change; some changes though, cling to you and alter your reality. One of these is that transition between military and civilian lifestyles. It is in the transitions that we find these thought processes in conflict. I saw this first hand when I went to boot camp so many years ago, then again when I got out of the Navy, and yet again when I returned from this last deployment. I was confronted with a change of thought in a dramatic fashion. It is in these moments that we see the difference of mindset between the civilian and the veteran. The first time this was apparent to me was when I acquired a job after eight years of service. The process of applying for the job held its own set of difficulties, and functioning in the role that I was hired for posed an even greater challenge.

My first civilian job was that of warehouse manager for a retail pet store. One night, while unloading a truck, one of the associates damaged a bag with his forklift and kibble was poured out on the warehouse floor. I calmly handed the young man a broom and instructed him to clean the mess up. I was greeted with a phrase I had not heard in years. "That's not my job." Needless to say, I lost my mind and the resulting conflict between me and this young man resulted in both of us losing our jobs, and though no charges were pursued, it ended in physical confrontation. This was a very direct example of those conflicts in mindsets.
First I want to explain that both mindsets have value, but that value is situational. I think we would be better served in understanding the baser motivations between the thought process that separates these two, and how they deal with a few key issues. The scenarios we are placed in are dealt with differently in a powerful contrast. Some things that vary are how work is dealt with, and how conflicts are resolved. Understanding those roles and relationships can assist in the metamorphosis from one path to the other. In understanding the needs and goals, it should help with a smoother assimilation of the life skills required to function under the particular mindset.

In the military, many scenarios you are put in require rapid decision making skills. Quite literally decisions are life and death. It is this simplistic approach to things that carry over to all aspects of the life of the soldier. You follow orders with as little question as possible because seconds of hesitation can be the difference between your life or the lives of your teammates. Identity is directly attached to a chain of command and your placement within that chain. Many develop a healthy mindset of resolving conflict by deferment in these situations. You defer to the judgment of those above you on the food chain. Your concerns are also focused and many distractions are removed. Basic needs are met by the military so that you can focus on one purpose, the mission. In most matters, your decisions are accepted rather then made because you do not have the luxury of time.

In the civilian world, you are afforded more worries and therefore have to consider more factors. There is more concern and you have to factor more into the construct of yourself rather then a team mentality. You have to provide for your own shelter, food, and entertainment. Your interactions with people are typically more of an exchange of information rather then direct guidance. While situations are not as extreme as life and death, choices you make can have a dramatic impact on your quality of life. Things need to be measured and considered with greater care, and with less urgency. At the end of the day, you are responsible for yourself on a deeper level. While you can draw on your community for guidance, they will rarely take responsibility for you and your needs.

In conflict resolution, the military looks to resolve things quickly and move on. In the civilian world, you can use more thought and seek diplomacy and compromise to find common ground. Threats to your well being could be more direct in the scenarios the soldier needs to deal with. If a guy has a gun, odds are he wants to kill you, so you kill him first. In that, the problem is solved. Even in a similar situation outside of the military, it would have to be dealt with greater thought and foresight. If a guy has a gun and is coming at you on the streets of Denver, you are not allowed to just shoot them. You have to think about the consequences to your job, home, family, and the perception of law. Even if resolution by violence is the solution, you will have many more issues to deal with afterward as the deeper issues behind the conflict are explored.

While both trains of thought have value, that value is situational and you need to think about the situation you are in and understand which process is applicable. When I engaged in a physical solution with the young warehouse worker, that was not acceptable in the civilian word. The results reflect on the negative view of the use of force in the normal community. While my actions would have been perfectly acceptable in the military world, they would have been implied rather then executed, though. In the military the subordinate would have just completed the task of sweeping because of the chain of command thought process and the implied punishment that would result from his rebellion. Those punishments could vary from additional task, jail time, or even a death sentence.

This paradigm shift can be summed up simply. When you are in the military, you need to think more of a group dynamic and with urgency. Conflict is to be removed as quickly as possible with thoughts focused more on ease for the group. In the accepted societal norms you are given a greater level of personal responsibility, therefor you have to look to your needs and not just the needs of the group. The differences are flipped in both mindsets in regards to the micro and the macro. In one you think of the big picture and look for mass reactions, and the internal view is limited to personal resolutions. While the majority of people reflect on the effects of the big picture on themselves. In the latter it is a more personal point of view and requires much more thought. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

The sky is crawling,,...

I see so many people shifting there misdirection and paranoia down a whole other path. I was recently given a link to an article discussing the donation of military grade vehicles to local police departments. Scary huh, tanks in the streets to quell the overly effective occupy movement. The ability of the military to detain and hold people without regard to Miranda rights, or indefinitely is apparently a new  issue that is tied to all of these recent attempts to crush the voice of reason that is just using their rights to peacefully assemble. Tents are apparently a part of that right as well, and when Best Buy allows them where the Governor does not is the reason we need to have a revolution now before the military/police state is better armed and in the streets enforcing the state of marital law that the evil crazy right wing conservatives are trying to instill on the nation so they can sell more Pizza and get oral favors from women looking for jobs. 

Look people the military thing is nothing new. They have been trading budget notes for military grade vehicles for long time. SWAT has been acquiring military equipment and vehicles long before it was a fashionable concern. The National Defense Authorization Act was enacted  in 2008 and its grandfather was the Clinger Cohen act way back in 1996. Another guise this great evil went under was the Information Technology Management Reform Act of 1996. This is no way brought on by the need of those on Capitol Hill to suppress the voice of those choosing to occupy their government. Yet people like to tie things up when they feel they are not being heard enough. 

The issue here is not that they are out to get them, but they are out to get theirs. That is the issue and has been the issue for a long time and most of the issues that those wanting to camp in public parks could have addressed if they had a bit of understanding. You see the travesty is not the false representation that government is trying to establish a police state so that the only persons that can speak are the tea party people in line with the fascist state of the right wing conservatives. Seriously not all the people on the right are about nine nine nine, or being a lobbyist without legally being a lobbyist. We are not all closed minded sexist bigots. I resent being called a bigot. I can be closed minded at times, but even then you can still squeeze a thought in there if it is presented with intelligence and resolve. I am not a sexist, but I am a believer in my roles as a man. 

So get over yourself learn the real issues. I would be more upset with the government ignoring my personal freedoms back in 1996, rather then the resurgence of them now. I would be more concerned with the safety of the streets when teams like SWAT are formed, rather then how they get their military grade equipment. I would be more concerned with all the decisions your government makes for you, and the choices they keep making for you over and over and taking away your need to make choices of your own. This is not a new thing, and its not a thing they brought on because of one event. This is not something that happened today, or even yesterday. This is something that has been happening for a long time in this country. 

Take back your sensibility. Read. Get involved. Take back your country. 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

My guides, not rules.

1) You come across something that don't make you miserable, enjoy it.

2) If you have to pry might not need to know.

3) If you put hands on someone make sure they come back clean.

4) You can beat more ass with love behind you, then anger in front of you.

5) Don't let any take your shit, don't take no one's shit.

6) Own your own shit, not just the shit you can hold.

7) Don't make a promise you can't keep, interest will crush you.

8) In the end all you got is what you got, work your life right to make sure its enough.

9) You can remember the past, but tomorrows all you got.

10) Dead is not gone, but they got no right to your life.

11) Freedom is a responsibility, not a right.

12) You can't accept what you can't give.

13) Just because you can do it on your own, doesn't mean you should.

14) The truth is easy to keep straight.

15) You can't back it, might be a good time to keep your mouth shut.

16) Don't threaten, promise. Refer to #7

17) Family is first.

18) Sometimes love means telling them they fucked up, or hearing you did.

19) Its not profit and loss, its life. Scores don't need to be settled all the time, but don't be black mark in some other ledger.

20) Smile when you need too.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Violence is not the answer, but it is part of the equation.

Today is a short one, its just a statement. You see blood can wash off your hands, but it never washes off your mind. There are things that once seen can not be unseen. There are things that are done that can't be undone. These burdens are what make a person who they are though. It is those moments you can't take back that temper the metal of the person. It strengthens the steel and makes it ready for more trials. It gives you a look that is not rose colored at all, its a deeper shade of red then the rose.

Pink and warm is how many see the world, but its not that light. There are bad things that are dealt with in worse ways. You see cops do not use hugs for a reason. Violence begets violence, or so I am told. I disagree on principle. Yeah yeah I have heard an eye for an eye and the world is blind, but at least that way they have no use for those damn rose colored glasses. You see I find solace in the fact that I can do violence better then most, and it stops those wishing violence on me and mine.

Good fences make good neighbors. Locks keep honest people honest. Well a twelve pack of whoop ass keeps the ass hats at bay. You see bully's like to attack the weak. They prey on those souls that will not stand up for themselves. So you let them know you are not a lay down and they move onto easier targets. Trouble is you have to make demonstrations from time to time to affirm their understanding.

I also do not take things well. So those bully's, con artist, asshats, and douchebags beware. I may not live the life many are comfy with. Hell more then a few look down on me and my train of thought. Many think its about destruction because I have no issues with beating the snot out of some shit bags stopping the progress of me building my shit. Its about building a better life with better people, and those trying to tear into it can go pound sand.

Life is good, and I really do not care if people are afraid. You see people that are part of this life I am building are the ones that are not afraid. They understand that you do right and life should be right, and if someone try to take the right from you, you take it back. In the end of it all, I just want to be left to my own shit, and in that I am happy to let others to their shit. It is the way life should be. Because someone else is happy, and I am not at the moment, does not mean I need make them not happy so we are even. It does not mean I have to take from others, that is not happiness. This also means not one single fucker is going to take my happy from me, or those I care about. Be the better person.

So don't drop your petty bullshit I hate people because they have what I want and I can't let shit go laundry on my porch and expect me to smile. Be the better person or don't talk to me at all. To many people around me have some wires crossed and can't seem to be the better person. It does not mean you get to nit pick and bitch about people. You have to make your own life better, and save the games for the field. Be the better person, but don't let anybody take your happiness. Just because somebody else is happy does not mean you can't be.  

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Bad day my ass.

So today I was having a less then productive day. I finally got a good nights sleep last night, with the help of chemistry. I wake up this morning to white washed world. I get up and slowly shake the sleep off and kiss my wife good by for work. Then I run for a bit, get some barbell work done. Then I go and shovel the walk. Shortly there after I get my butt wrapped up nice and warm and head out for the bus. I discovered that the RTD is not required to stop at supplemental stops if the driver does not feel that he will be able to get the bus out of the snow. It was not that bad, cold yes, but not that bad.  So I trudge back home. Pull off the wet clothes, and realize I am not going to get warm that quick. I go to the fridge and get some milk to make some hot cocoa. We are out of milk.

The morning progressively goes down hill. No bread. A nearly full roll of English Muffins got infiltrated with some green fuzzy invaders. VA still has not rated me. The GI bill is not paying out as well as people would think. The Army seems to be taking their sweet time paying out my reenlistment bonus. So my personal account does not have enough to pay for a cab, or much less pay for the rest of the work I need on my truck. Ex wife foiled my plans to improve my life with my current wife. Some times I feel like I am drowning in life. I do not reach out to my friends, because I do not want to drag them into the under tow. I do not reach out to my wife because I do not want to feed her anxiety.

I look at my friends and they have their own issues. I have friends that do not know how to let shit go and be the better person. I have friends that take everything personally. I have friends that have less money then we do. I have friends that have much less then me, but hold onto more bitterness. I have friends that see everything as a bad day. I have friends that can not be happy and it is not because they are bad people, but because they can not see the good stuff around them.

Sure I missed a day of school, but I got some writing and work done anyway. I did not have any milk, but I did have some HFC free beverages that gave me some energy. I was able to get warm by running a few more miles on the elliptical. I live in a great house, and it being to big is the biggest worry we have. My English muffins were moldy, but at least I had them in the first place. My wife is getting bread, milk and the essentials on her way home. So I will  not go hungry longer then a day, and life is pretty damn good. My ex wants to use my daughter as leverage, but in time my daughter will be able to make her own choices in life. I am not so worried about things in my life, so hard to say that I am having a bad day. Yeah I may have trouble keeping my head above water on some days, but at least I am still treading water to begin with. When I get overwhelmed I just think, my life is not to bad. I could be living in a mud hut some where worried about my next meal. I could be wondering if the water I found is safe, or if drinking it will kill me. I do not have people trying to control me by blowing up the schools in my neighborhood. Yeap, a bad day my ass.