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This is dedicated to all of my nieces and nephews.  The road is long and always leads to another one.

When I was 5 years-old I was in first grade and fully energized by those of my age together in the playground where a hierarchy of order was made plain by class, color, and wealth.  It was the beginning of abuse by bullies who were stronger and lean compared my to husky size from my mother never allowing anyone leaving the table unless all the food was eaten, and she cooked for an army.  I learned that mass hysteria was easily accomplished on the playground. I watched a mentally retarded brother manipulate my adult parents with ease.  I learn the subtle art of psychology without even realizing it. There were three ‘Nicks’ within two houses next to each other.  We used to laugh when someone called and all of us answered.  Big Nick used to take us fishing.  My best friend Little Nick’s father, Big Nick’s daughter’s husband, died in a boating accident and it was kept from me.  I couldn’t understand the crying and sadness around me.

When I was 10 years-old I was beaten many times in the school yard and to and from home. My hormones kicked in early and I began to lift weights and body build.  A short time later those same bullies, who were expelled from the school system for beating me, wouldn’t come near me.  A few years later in Catholic school the pastor sexually abused me and many others, a long buried event that only came up when I was writing a novel and I used that experience when writing the key element of the main female character.  As an altar boy, I learned that praying was not a substitute for action to solve my problems.  I had to act or allow myself to become merely fodder for those who were sadistically stronger.  I learned to question all authority be it religious or otherwise. I watched as my intransigent brother was put into an institution for threatening my two infant brothers.  I watched as my mother blamed my father for it.  I grew up quickly because of their rift caused by pure manipulation.  I learned to hide fear well.

When I was 15 years-old I was a high school starter in football as a center, odd as I was the smallest guy on the team, and then attempted wrestling due to a coach’s pressure.  I hated it, and got out by exaggerating an injury.  I had become a bonafide athlete. I threw discus and ran track, and girls now became an attractive force of nature, but I knew there was danger in paradise.  I learned how to play drums.  I learned that although I had a far superior education in Catholic school, emotionally there was a vacuum inside.  I sought acceptance and allowed myself to be used for that purpose.  I felt like the poor boy at grand banquet and didn’t deserve to be there.  I learned that I had to begin an ongoing process, to rely on me, to love myself before I could go further.  I learned how hard that really was.  Big Nick passed away as did two of my father’s brother’s and I was in a state of denial for all of them.

When I was 20 years-old I drove a forklift, made a bunch of money, went to Jamaica by myself, didn’t come back when I supposed to and was fired by Scott Paper.  I then went back to college after dropping out after the first semester with the college being on the Boardwalk in Atlantic City due to a construction strike, and earned a degree in music two and a half years later. I gained strength from adversity.  I learned how to really play the guitar and piano.  I came from knowing nothing about music to graduating in Who’s Who in American Colleges in a very short time.  The immersion of myself into knowledge and technology at that time made it the most incredible part of my life.  I learned that I possessed incredible passion and  it made me go for the seemingly impossible as I truly began to believe in the spirituality of a force within me.  I studied the subject of religion voraciously, and cared not about what anyone else thought of me.   I learned I had the power within to do incredible things when I surrendered to that force and allowed the energy to flow through me.  I learned to be vulnerable and to accept failure as a temporary setback to success, and then realized that it was an inevitable part of it. I learned that listening was more important than talking, that being smart was being secure in being smart, without having to prove it or impress anyone else.

When I was 25-years-old and ready for a career after graduation in 1977 the recession and the “gas crisis” made for a harsh time and I shoveled coal at the local utility company and my rental home in the farm area of South Jersey was burglarized and we lost everything that my girlfriend and soon-to-be wife had owned.  We lived in a tent on a friend’s property for the summer.  My favorite Uncle was able to secure for us an old chauffeur’s quarters behind a former mansion that was now being used as an American Legion Hall for $90 a month in Pleasantville, N.J.  We began to play music in the clubs in and around Atlantic City.  I enjoyed the night life and playing great music for appreciative audiences the experience was soul satisfying but paid comparatively little.  I learned not to depend on anyone but myself in all matters and that certain old friends were best left as such when they become toxic.  I realized that the pain I went through as a child now made me better able to handle the bitter parts of life that I could not change.

When I was 30 years-old I was now working for a casino as an Audio Technician and learned my trade both from books and being on the job.  It was a new age of growth for the area with the incredible expansion of casinos, but like anything, greed begets greed and the corporate structure killed the golden goose. The political and corporate stupidity was constantly at work and I learned that what “appears to be” is much more important that “what is.”  I watched my father die over a few months. I learned to accept my mortality and cried for the time back. I saw what seemed so much time wasted and was bitter, I still hadn’t learned the understanding and enlightenment to be at peace with it.

When I was 35 years-old I was now married for some time and had bought a house in the country with way too much grass to cut and I developed severe allergies that would not be discovered or even checked until 5 years later. It was a time of false bliss, of thinking that possessions and money could bring happiness.  My move to the Taj Mahal nine months early to prepare for the opening was to be the beginning of both “The Donald’s” and my demise in that era of the 90’s.  Chasing corporate dollars was a pastime and not really a career that was fulfilling although it provided just enough comfort to not take a chance and remain safely in the corporate cradle.  I learned that physical pain is never understood by anyone but those who have been through similar pain. Headaches got worse and workloads were excessive.  I learned to have trust in but a few key fellow workers.  I learned that one must proactively terminate a threat before it cannot be overtaken regardless of the personal circumstances.  I learned brutal bloody coldness from the very best management that Donald Trump offered.

When I was 40 years-old my health worsened, the headaches went unabated and my high school football-worn knees could barely handle the constant humidity of the East Coast.  Without work I went into depression and then my left arm went numb from a C-4 nerve impingement that no one figured out for 8 months. By that time my marriage was asunder, I was out of a job and I went to Las Vegas with less than $1000 and searched for work while I knew my wife at the time would not go with me.  My divorce soon followed when Merv Griffin called and needed an Entertainment/Technical Director for his new place in Mesquite, NV.  Of course, greed got to those owners as well and they went belly-up.  It was when I moved to Las Vegas that I was diagnosed as having bubble-boy allergies.  The severe headaches and cysts were keeping me in misery, and I was put on allergy shots for the next six years…..this after two futile operations back East without even testing for allergies and two more operations in Las Vegas.  I worked both at the Sahara showroom AND the Stratosphere (pre-opening) full time and made bank to make up for the losses of those previous years.  I learned that the world when confronted by the truth always looked the other way and offered trite solutions to complex problems because they really didn’t want anyone to know anything that could take their corrupt advantage away.  I learned that living in the now was the most important thing to understand.   My past was unchangeable, the future not here yet.  I began to understand the wisdom of the past leading to what was the “now” and the inevitability of what could only be, based on choices that I made. 

When I was 45 years-old I had been working at the Tropicana in Las Vegas and ran audio for the Folies Bergere and then after 3 years completely revamped and operated their Convention Services Technical Department.  After much turmoil from the past, I would marry a woman that I knew for over 24 years and had her band booked many times in Atlantic City at the Taj Mahal and other places.  The irony was that her band would have played for my first wedding but they weren’t available, but I did book them for my brother’s first wedding……her family was from a place 20 minutes from my New Jersey childhood home….I met her in Las Vegas at the Riviera lounge one night..…so it is indeed a small world.  A few years later an emergency operation was done on my skull to stop infection from reaching my brain and holes were drilled into the area above my eyes to drain the poison, like I needed two holes in my head.  Obviously, it worked. I watched as my mother died at age 67.   I learned that the number of people I could really trust, I could count on one hand, as my father predicted and warned me 30 years earlier.  I never gave up on myself.

When I was 50 years-old I planned a big birthday bash and made out the invitations with a picture of a man in a wheel chair on an IV, and being tended to by a nurse.  Little did I know that I would be in a hospital fighting for my life because of an emergency operation for a spinal infection.  I did in fact flat line and die, but was given a choice to fight and come back to the pain and bittersweet experiences of life, and I took it, despite the painless beauty of that afterworld experience.  The nerve damage disabled me but I took this as just another challenge that life has doled out for me since I was that beaten-up child.  I learned that love does truly conquer all and the love I had for my wife brought me back to the land of the living so that I could tell her and others that I was alright on that “other side.”  Despite the best efforts of the doctors and the hospital, I survived and checked myself out after 5 weeks in intensive care.  I also learned “patient do thy own research” and don’t trust “practitioners.”  Irony upon irony was that I had already written a Near Death Experience in my novel 10 years earlier that paralleled my real experience.  I learned to laugh at death, to embrace life’s preciousness and I allowed the epiphany of living, in its own right, to saturate my every action.  I finally published my novel, I opened a restaurant with my brother, and I took chances without fear of the consequences.  I was finally free to be who I always was and dared to do things without fear and was supported by those who cared without judgment of success or failure.

 

Now I have now turned 55 years-old and I am happy to be alive despite the paralyzation and pain from the surgeries and I know that life itself is all that counts.  There is much more to my life than these highlights, there is no describing the passion, the intense work and rewarding outcomes, the dreams that became reality and the dreams that still live on.  It is the how that is much more important than the what I have done.  There is no great secret to how to live your life other than to survive and make lemonade from lemons.  Those of weak minds do not survive and cannot be stable unless they begin to realize- this is it, this is not a rehearsal.  You get one chance and only one chance, so why care about what anyone else thinks?   I have learned that relying on pure hope without the effort of one’s self is an invitation for disaster, but in the overall human existence, it is the singular most powerful emotion that brings us the strength to face another day, then another, and then another.

Now on the day of the First of November, I’ll raise a glass for my diabetic-ridden ass, to drink to the thoughts on my special birth-day of celebrating my life, my wife, and for my parent’s sacrifice to have brought me into this world, and lastly for the suffering and sacrifice to all those who are brave enough to have offspring in this world of unknowns. To my nieces and nephews and to all others, I leave you with this: Do what makes you happy and in the words of Joseph Campbell, “always follow your bliss.”  Anything less and you have no one else to blame for your misery.  Accept the pain and deal with inevitable and then rejoice for your existence every day.

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Original idea from Phil Proctor and the Firesign Theater’s 1969 album “How Can You Be Two Places at Once When You’re Not Anywhere At All.”

 
I did some research and re-read the following from over 35 years ago, as I remembered being told at that time, I would be considered a subversive for doing so, and that just egged me on to want to read it more so.  It’s another prediction by not only the following author, but the boys of Firesign Theater as well.  Their 1969 title aptly describes the placement of our government between Socialism/Communism and Capitalism/Democracy (How can you be in two places at once?  Well we are.)
Here it is……
 
WRITTEN 160 YEARS AGO IN 1848
 
LOOKS LIKE IT HAS ALL COME TO PASS………………………NOT SO ABSURD NOW READING THIS FORBIDDEN BOOK EXCERPT (my bolding of phrases):

………We see then: the means of production and of exchange, on whose foundation the bourgeoisie built itself up, were generated in feudal society. At a certain stage in the development of these means of production and of exchange, the conditions under which feudal society produced and exchanged, the feudal organization of agriculture and manufacturing industry, in one word, the feudal relations of property became no longer compatible with the already developed productive forces; they became so many fetters. They had to be burst asunder; they were burst asunder.

Into their place stepped free competition, accompanied by a social and political constitution adapted in it, and the economic and political sway of the bourgeois class.

A similar movement is going on before our own eyes. Modern bourgeois society, with its relations of production, of exchange and of property, a society that has conjured up such gigantic means of production and of exchange, is like the sorcerer who is no longer able to control the powers of the nether world whom he has called up by his spells. For many a decade past, the history of industry and commerce is but the history of the revolt of modern productive forces against modern conditions of production, against the property relations that are the conditions for the existence of the bourgeois and of its rule. It is enough to mention the commercial crises that, by their periodical return, put the existence of the entire bourgeois society on its trial, each time more threateningly. In these crises, a great part not only of the existing products, but also of the previously created productive forces, are periodically destroyed. In these crises, there breaks out an epidemic that, in all earlier epochs, would have seemed an absurdity — the epidemic of over-production. Society suddenly finds itself put back into a state of momentary barbarism; it appears as if a famine, a universal war of devastation, had cut off the supply of every means of subsistence; industry and commerce seem to be destroyed. And why? Because there is too much civilization, too much means of subsistence, too much industry, too much commerce. The productive forces at the disposal of society no longer tend to further the development of the conditions of bourgeois property; on the contrary, they have become too powerful for these conditions, by which they are fettered, and so soon as they overcome these fetters, they bring disorder into the whole of bourgeois society, endanger the existence of bourgeois property. The conditions of bourgeois society are too narrow to comprise the wealth created by them. And how does the bourgeoisie get over these crises? On the one hand, by enforced destruction of a mass of productive forces; on the other, by the conquest of new markets, and by the more thorough exploitation of the old ones. That is to say, by paving the way for more extensive and more destructive crises, and by diminishing the means whereby crises are prevented.

The weapons with which the bourgeoisie felled feudalism to the ground are now turned against the bourgeoisie itself.

But not only has the bourgeoisie forged the weapons that bring death to itself; it has also called into existence the men who are to wield those weapons — the modern working class — the proletarians.

In proportion as the bourgeoisie, i.e., capital, is developed, in the same proportion is the proletariat, the modern working class, developed — a class of laborers, who live only so long as they find work, and who find work only so long as their labor increases capital. These laborers, who must sell themselves piecemeal, are a commodity, like every other article of commerce, and are consequently exposed to all the vicissitudes of competition, to all the fluctuations of the market.

Owing to the extensive use of machinery, and to the division of labor, the work of the proletarians has lost all individual character, and, consequently, all charm for the workman. He becomes an appendage of the machine, and it is only the most simple, most monotonous, and most easily acquired knack, that is required of him. Hence, the cost of production of a workman is restricted, almost entirely, to the means of subsistence that he requires for maintenance, and for the propagation of his race. But the price of a commodity, and therefore also of labor, is equal to its cost of production. In proportion, therefore, as the repulsiveness of the work increases, the wage decreases. What is more, in proportion as the use of machinery and division of labor increases, in the same proportion the burden of toil also increases, whether by prolongation of the working hours, by the increase of the work exacted in a given time, or by increased speed of machinery, etc…………………

…………………The less the skill and exertion of strength implied in manual labor, in other words, the more modern industry becomes developed, the more is the labor of men superseded by that of women. Differences of age and sex have no longer any distinctive social validity for the working class. All are instruments of labor, more or less expensive to use, according to their age and sex.

No sooner is the exploitation of the laborer by the manufacturer, so far at an end, that he receives his wages in cash, than he is set upon by the other portion of the bourgeoisie, the landlord, the shopkeeper, the pawnbroker, etc.

The lower strata of the middle class — the small tradespeople, shopkeepers, and retired tradesmen generally, the handicraftsmen and peasants — all these sink gradually into the proletariat, partly because their diminutive capital does not suffice for the scale on which Modern Industry is carried on, and is swamped in the competition with the large capitalists, partly because their specialized skill is rendered worthless by new methods of production. Thus, the proletariat is recruited from all classes of the population.

 

-EXCERPT FROM    THE COMMUNIST MANIFESTO

 BY KARL MARX (NOT GROUCHO)

HIS PREDICTIONS ARE SPOT ON AND WE ARE RIGHT NOW WHERE HE DESCRIBES PURE CAPITALISM TO BE AT IT’S ULTIMATE PROCESS, SO WE NOW WE VENTURE INTO GOVERNMENT OWNING THE MEANS OF PRODUCTION (COMMUNISM) AND BUSINESS SOCIALISM

YOU, THE READER, WILL DECIDE WHAT WILL BE THE OUTCOME.  I AM ONLY THE CHIRPING CANARY IN THE COAL MINE.  THE FUTURE’S UNCERTAIN AND ALWAYS WILL BE.

 MONEY, IT’S A HIT…………………

NOTE: I was originally going to sequel last week’s political blog with a solution.  This week’s financial meltdown has put that on hold.

This week an icon of rock music died of cancer.  Richard Wright the keyboardist, singer and songwriter from the sixties group Pink Floyd, a musical group that created the incredible album “Dark Side of the Moon” that stood at #1 for over 15 years on the pop charts; an album that probably ranks as one the all-time works of that era that still today stays as relevant and politically strong as when it was released in 1974.

I bring this up not as a eulogy, but as an introduction to the nation’s and world’s financial near-collapse and the things we take for granted that someday we lose without the ability to “fix” or avoid.

The illusion of control is control for most and they are secure with it.  We look to our governments to become mommy and daddy, to make the big bad boogie men go away.  We do not have a clue as to how fragile economies are, much like our lives on this planet.  We hand over control and trust politicians to guide us through life, even though politicians are the most untrustable creatures on the face of the earth.  The divisiveness of modern politics is so emotional and cruel that their campaigns focus on fear to drive you-the cattle-to herd to where they want you to go.  A cattle prod of fear and emotion is the best weapon ever devised as logic always takes a back seat to that ignorance and wrong-headed decisions made under the influence of fear.

We have allowed this “republic” to become far beyond the “military-industrial complex” of the Eisenhower age.  We are now a quasi-Fascist/industry-socialist/forcibly religious prisoners of our own fear.  The meltdown of the financial systems stems from the repeal of the Glass-Steagal Act with the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and the loosening and eliminating of regulation at a time when computer trading and incredible computer speed allowed derivatives and exotic financial instruments to seek and plunder pennies on dollars for millions per day. 

It gets worse. The current fiasco is not just Freddie and Fannie; it is the massive amount of CDO’s or mortgage-backed securities that were a derivative invented by Goldman Saks whose CEO at the time was Hank Paulson.  This is squarely what is causing the meltdown. It is the lack of being able to price these CDO’s that has caused the run on the investment banks that bought billions of dollars of them.  It is the deregulation (again Greenspan) that allowed these financial instruments that were based on ‘home values never going down’ that is the root cause.  Paul Volcker, the previous Fed Chairman warned of this deregulation at that time but no one listened.  Those CDO’s are now illiquid and the ‘shorts’ have gone after those investment banks that hold these securities to make massive amounts of money while they bring these institutions down.  I warned of this many months ago. This is not just about donkeys and elephants.

 (See- https://onlymoments.wordpress.com/2008/06/14/slaves-to-the-free-market/ )

CDO’s should have never been allowed to be created.  Remember Greenspan’s 1% interest rate meant investment banks needed more return on their money.  Goldman’s CDO’s allowed the high returns that made them millions until the builders jacked up prices (my wife worked for one and they raised a house that cost 275,000 to 500,000 and then to 750,000 as the rates went lower) and then when FUBAR Greenspan made a speech to Congress (I heard it at with my own ears at the time) telling everyone to buy into a 3-Year ARM, then 6 months later began to raise rates, the obvious happened.  People had bought too much house at too little interest. Speculative investors bought in to the ‘home values never going down’ myth and expected big dollars in flipping…….but I will tell you this much; I know of many families out in the street right now because they have lost jobs the same time as their mortgage rates doubled.  It is a crisis, and it’s not about minorities, these are middle class heart of America people that are homeless, broke, or moving into apartments because they lost their house.  You may not have sympathy for them, but for the grace of God there walks us all.

Mommy and Daddy are gone and we are left with who to blame.  Look in the mirror.  We let it happen, we allowed these greedy imaginative thieves to plunder us on the high seas of finance.  Bailout?  For who?  For the banks, not you. That would be socialism.  We are a nation of suffering a terminal emotional dysfunctional illusion.  Rallying around a flag proclaiming to be the best at everything, to be God’s chosen country is the last gasp of holding on by our fingernails.  This is far from over for the American Public.  The ramifications will be long-lasting and damaging for ‘Main Street.’

There is hope, but we will probably be much too afraid to take the chances.  If I could ‘short’ American attention span, I’d be a trillioniare…….Now you see how easy it can be done, if there was a market for it.

The sun will rise tomorrow, but the world will change with or without you. Control is an illusion we hold close …but as the storm hits…….

“I got mine Jack keep your hands off my stack……………………………but if you ask them for a rise it’s no surprise they’re giving none away, away, away, away”

 

   In my recollection, there has never been such a slew of misinformation (more than likely due to the ease of accessibility to misinform by the internet) in a Presidential election than this one.  I’ve must have sent out over 150 Snopes.com corrections of the same 2 items in less than 2 months.  Smearing is at an all time high, now.  And why is that?  We have a black candidate, we have a religious female on the other side and really the other two don’t matter.   Does that make sense?  Yes it does, if you look at what America really is and not what “it could be.”  Republicans have dominated the political halls for the majority of the last 200 years in both Congress and the Chief Executive posts.  I have heard hysterics from people with ethnicities of Russian, European, Irish, English, and that are now, whether rightfully or not as I don’t agree with it, classified as Caucasian, in regards to a black president.  (I love one particular man who in anger claims he’s Ukrainian not Russian and on top of that he is the biggest bigot and emailer of bogus information, and gets personal and nasty when he’s painted in a corner.  The irony is he and his family may end up in a Manzanar-like prison if we get into a war with Russia.) I am trying to keep this blog non-partisan for a reason, but for the subject that it explores, it is difficult as there is only one black candidate and those who hate him will accuse me of one-way opinion and those who are for him will accuse me of not backing him.  I can’t win so I don’t care.  Here’s the issue- Issues are not the issue-fear of Democrats, fear of the world ending, fear of a black uprising is all I hear.  I heard the same crap with Kerry, Gore, Clinton, Johnson, Kennedy, and every Democratic nominee there ever was.  I’m tired of it but it is to be expected when you understand the roots of the good old US of A.

The Mayflower Pilgrims were religious outcasts from England.  They were considered overzealous and “too religious” for England’s Protestant rulers. Imagine that-too zealous! Predominantly white settlers followed and formed present day New England, New York and adjacent areas.

The Dutch traders made slavery a lucrative business for the English, Spanish, and French pioneer settlers particularly of the South by purchasing prisoners of warring African tribes and selling them free labor for the cotton and tobacco fields.  (The beginning of outsourcing for Europe)  We fought a revolutionary war with England first helped by the French, and then 100 years later, the more devastating Civil War (or War Between the States) that to this day brands an imprint of discrimination that remains to this day in our Southern states, but not exclusively.   That war’s main impetus was to end slavery and merge the states into a Union.  Those roots run deep and as one knows, a paper being signed isn’t going to eradicate hate and disdain.

We are a country with a heritage of misfits, religious fanatics, psychotics, murderers, and our real founding of this country is based on mass genocide of the Native American.  So what else would one expect with a heritage like that?  Make no mistake; the majority of the emotion of this election is a black man becoming a leader of one of the most racist countries in the world.  Now, there are those who say, “No I’m a Republican, I vote for conservative Republicans.”   So then, why are you voting for a “Maverick” that wants to change the last eight years of conservatism at its finest?  If the Republican candidate was black, do you really think they would win?  I don’t.  I think it would be a Democratic landslide if the ticket was lily white. 

Obama anticipated this as he is a very smart human being, and registered over 11 million new voters, mostly young and unprejudiced.  It may or may not be enough.  Regardless, the “Great Divide” in this country is no longer the Rocky Mountains; it is the philosophical and racial differences that show the Civil War was never over.  It goes on in the minds of those who have, and those who have not, and those who have forgotten where they’ve come from and point fingers and talk about “free markets” and induce fear veiled by attacks on those “Democrats” but really mean, “The Sheriff is a Nig…” to quote the movie “Blazing Saddles.”  I’m tired of the shit flinging.  Stick to the issues and leave the fantasy for MILF’s for Desperate Housewives.  VP’s do practically nothing, so it’s supposed to be McCain vs Obama, the top of the ticket and if you have to precede everything you say with “I’ve always been honest” or “I am true patriot” then you’re lying according to the latest research on human nature so let’s get on with it and discuss issues.

Next Blog-I have a solution for all of this.

There are some people that think that writing is easy and effortless until they attempt to link thoughts, ideas, language, prose, and a pulse that is identifiable as “rhythm.” All of these things make up the “voice” of the writing as the words are merely abstracts that can mean different things if the writer is not precise in all aspects of the above. Even when those parameters are followed, creativity is required to make it interesting enough to read, but not too complex to be understood. It all sounds so easy doesn’t it?  Staring at a blank piece of paper and allowing the mind to congeal and spill forth contiguous and conjunctive thoughts that add up to some conclusion and/or moral of the story, if that is the writer’s intent and end result. I have some difficulties with a few people, and some young people in general that think when I present problems I am being negative and they don’t understand or comprehend what I am saying. One young site called Bright Future that I was posting my blogs on -without notice other than a matter-of-fact letter- pulled off over 8 blogs that you can read right here for yourself for supposed “negative attacks and general negative tone.”  The one they left “They Should Have Built It On the F…… Sun” was the most negative one I wrote, calling the last three generations at fault for allowing government to abandon alternative energy sources-that one they left…..go figure…..I cancelled that one myself because that was the best example of a negative tone of any I could see.  Here’s the list of censored blogs, if you can find those negative attacks, let me know:

The Road Taken (The Balance of Life Through Centuries)
A Life or Death Issue (Stem Cell Research book)
Mirror, Mirror, The Spirit is Nearer (The Science of Spirituality)
The Future Use of Digitization-Part I
The Future Use of Digitization-Part II Copyright and Issues
The Future Use of Digitization-Part III, Immortality
What is Really Hip? (Ecology)

“Please, Pay it Forward” was about doing things for people to help those in need. “What is Really Hip” was about the hippie generation initiating the groundswell of the environmental movement that I was a part of.  What was I, negatively attacking myself?  Absurd, and I had to really think this out as to how anyone could be that off-base.

 Another wanted a more “rounded” approach, that translates to “make it pretty for the reader.”  I got pretty depressed about for a day until someone whose opinion I greatly value said some very nice things and encouraged me to write for me and the hell with who wants what. This is what I wrote to her:  

I have become very discouraged and about to give up writing blogs completely, as all the efforts made seem to count up to nothing and I am so tired of fools that just don’t get it, much less those who just don’t care. …….  I was never looking for fame or fortune, just a small group of people that enjoyed what I’ve written to make it worthwhile.  I have tried to connect with a younger audience, but I have found that they think the world is just going to be a beautiful place with no pitfalls or reason to think about anything negative happening.  They haven’t experienced half their ass being chewed off as “life experience” yet, so without me writing it up as a “pretty” piece with truth and justice for all, including dessert-I get cast as writing negatively.  When I try to explain the Ying and Yang are what life is, that all decisions one makes can be cast either good or bad and can also be both “good” or “bad” at the same time if one can even classify what is good or bad- it just is, period.  Inevitably any decision anyone makes will have it’s drawbacks and successes, and they just don’t get it

And my friend commented:  “I don’t think you’re negative. Like I said, I think you are brilliant and I respect you.”  Of course, I could never take a compliment well, not that it didn’t make me feel better, so I wrote her back this short poem that came forth quickly and right from my heart:

Of what use is a song that isn’t heard
the sweet melody of a bird
The joy of painted scenes
where no one has ever been

Of course the artist’s art
comes from their inner heart
but no more grace does one know
when just one sees their show

for in the end, the artist…for all….it is indeed the ego.

Today is a new day, I feel better and who reads this, reads it; and who doesn’t-that is their loss.  My perspective is that of what is and to deny the bad things of this world is  pretending they don’t exist and the “Bright Future” website acts as if the world will all be wonderful with no suffering or struggling. Posing problems and solutions without including touchy- feely “happy” articles is not their forte.  Without questioning from whence the problems came deprives any reader of what is really behind the problem to begin with and is not in my opinion negative but is seeking the truth.  In situations where there are already obvious answers, posing questions is a moot point.  Why bother?  The detriment of denial is that the “solutions” become shallow and without deep reflection as to “why” the situation is what it is from the beginning to the problem’s present position.  A problem is there because decisions were made and the past adds up to what is now.  A solution requires the examination of the past to truthfully and definitively answer those questions without bias.  Good or bad is irrelevant, action and reaction are.

It is the questions that are not answered or not easily answered that pose the complexity of reality and allow stimulation of the human mind.  I am disappointed there are younger people whose intent is good but their focus is so narrow as to not allow the freedom of expression other than “happy” news with simple and/or obvious solutions.  The real mature thought process of science and the arts doesn’t just solve problems, it theorizes and postulates while stimulating others to question as well.  The Ying and Yang, the process of BOTH SIDES of life remain regardless of one’s personal wants and accompanying censorship to force their “un-negative” idea of what really is.  If there is any problem to be solved, someone or something has to be causing that problem.  To deny that, is to deny reality. To call history and events “negative” is childish.  On top of that every deed done, every action taken has both good and bad effects relatively for the human race, -always has, always will.

 While we look at the touchy-feely, the warm and fuzzy, there could be negative and/or evil standing right behind you and your touchy-feely, warm and fuzzy may be the damn cause of it.  You refuse to want to see for the sake of wanting the world the way you want it, sterilized of “bad” things.  For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.  This theorem just doesn’t apply in physics, but to all in the physical world.  Ignore it at your peril.

 Waves of Eternity (Photo by Author)

Dedicated to the late  William N. Hilderscheid (Billy)

There comes a point in one’s life when looking at obituaries and seeing your parent’s friends and acquaintances through the years changes gradually, and those names you are reading become your friends and acquaintances and the mild emotional twists in your gut become major ones.  You begin to hear the internal clocking ticking and your steps are more cautious, less risky as the body is not as lithe and the time for healing longer-and more painful in all aspects of life-financial, physical and mental.   

Jackson Browne’s lament “Running on Empty” from the early seventies seems a tad over-reactive worrying about such things at such a young age, but he was very aware of what the future held.  Unfortunately, no one expects the “salad days” of youth to disappear, even when one writes and sings about it.

“In sixty-five I was seventeen and running up one-o-one
I don’t know where I’m running now, I’m just running on….

In sixty-nine I was twenty-one and I called the road my own
I don’t know when that road turned onto the road I’m on…”

And then there’s the great lyricist Robert Hunter:

“The wheel is turning and you can’t slow down
You can’t let go and you can’t hold on
You can’t go back and you can’t stand still
If the thunder don’t get you then the lightning will”

Great artists see things that the general population does not.  They destroy their art to create new art.  They may be tortured souls with the information that they discover, that most have no time or inklings to ponder……..but sooner or later will have to deal with, as the ravages of time move forward and Mother Nature clears the forest for the younger saplings to survive.  The question is-Do you have any drive or wants to “pay it forward?”  Do you want to give something back to humanity to counter the greed, fear, avarice, and selfishness of the world and begin to sow seeds of kindness, confidence, selflessness, and the surrender to the forces of the fate and spirituality?  Do you want to even try and give something back before you dissipate and your temporal being vanishes from the planet?  If you do, then do it now.  Don’t wait to tell someone you care, don’t wait to lend a hand or give someone an unexpected positive boost.  What is it that you are you waiting for?  Is it because no one did for you?  Is it the bitterness and the rejection of youthful dreams because it “just didn’t work out?”  Time is short, don’t wait until you are alone in the world sitting or laying in a nursing home with a stranger wiping drool from your cheek.  DO IT NOW!   You might make a huge difference in someone’s life, even if you can’t make a damn difference in your children’s or your own.  The circle goes round, you can’t go back and you can’t stand still……………..best to give of yourself and whatever you can, while you can.  It will feel good to watch the change occur as the same investment you make takes hold, just don’t expect anything back and keep on, keepin’ on.  Give back in any way you can, be it holding a door open for someone to handing a sandwich to a starving homeless person.  No one’s asking you to open your bank account and clear it out, although those who have made more money than Croceus do for the most part set up foundations and trusts to help their fellow humans.  Do what you can, when you can.  It’s not hard and it’s contagious.

 The Greek God Narcissus who fell to his death by falling into the water to become closer to what he perceived was his essence. 

I read two different articles this week that are at first glance not linked, but in my own warped thought process are integral to each other.  The first was sent to me by a old friend and was about how we perceive ourselves in a mirror. 

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/22/science/22angi.html?_r=2&th&emc=th&oref=slogin&oref=slogin

Essentially what it says is that what we “see” in the reflective image inside that mirror, the brain percieves as reality and that reality is shaped by our own perception of who we are.  Therefore “what” a person “sees” when they look into a mirror is not what is real, it is the perception of what the person that is seeing believes is real. To quote a pertinent paragraph:

How can we be so self-delusional when the truth stares back at us? “Although we do indeed see ourselves in the mirror every day, we don’t look exactly the same every time,” explained Dr. Epley, a professor of behavioral science at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business. There is the scruffy-morning you, the assembled-for-work you, the dressed-for-an-elegant-dinner you. “Which image is you?” he said. “Our research shows that people, on average, resolve that ambiguity in their favor, forming a representation of their image that is more attractive than they actually are.”

The second article was in Psychology Today and centered on the physical effect of seratonin on areas of the brain that emit “spirituality” which is not of the organized religion aspect, but the hope and connection to a metaphysical entity that exists in the mind, with no discrimination of that mind being atheist, religious, aboriginal, or ignorant of any organized faith.  http://psychologytoday.com/articles/index.php?term=pto-3252.html&fromMod=emailed

Here’s a quote:

Well, the researchers believe that it provides evidence that religiosity and spirituality are not defined necessarily or entirely by environmental or cultural factors, such as upbringing. Basically, those with a higher concentration of serotonin receptors will therefore most likely show a stronger inclination towards spiritual acceptance.

Now here’s where I get in trouble.  Since my own Near Death Experience, that had provided great credence to what I have always believed most of my adult life (this after being raised in a Catholic School, wanting to become a priest and then studying enough to know none of it added up by the age of 12) that the mind perceives what it wants and if we exist and therefore perceive what we want in the form that we want, then the perception is relative and has to be by the laws of nature uniquely our own and ultimately when we do not exist that perception is gone.  Believers of a common religion do not have the same perception of God, of Christ, of Allah, etc.  It must be of the mind and unique, there is no other way to perceive in the human species.  So where am I taking you to in this diatribe?  What is the answer to the age’s old question?  Do you really want to know?  Are you sure?

In the end, you have the choice to believe in the self and your ability to draw on the energy inside and that is the essence of the metaphysical and hence religion’s essence as well, it just that we externalize those wants and feelings to solidify our security factor in numbers and the manipulative power mongers and opportunists take advantage of it as they have throughout history.  Is there a God?  I think so, therefore there is.  Atheists may cringe at that thought but again, there is no absolute proof either way and to reduce the debate to the usual Spaghetti Monster tactic doesn’t prove or probe what is deep seated in our human psyche. God? In what form? The answer is the form I choose as I can only think for me.  Only I can live my life and die when the time comes. No matter what your choice, your brain decides what imagery you choose, it is the only thing you have, you are the only person that can be in your reality of life on earth to think. I have no use for man-made ditherings of belief so I believe in the energy of life (God) and myself as the two are inseparable. 

It takes conviction and the path is only for those who are strong, as it is the road not taken and it is the one path that gets the most abuse from both devout believers and atheists (believe me).  I don’t really care, my life is full and my worries few.  I’ve died and gone over and as beautiful as the experience was, it is much better to be alive than absorbed by eternity. 

Some of my favorite quotes:

The sole meaning, purpose, intention, and secret of Christ, my dears, is not to understand life, or mold it, or change it, or even to love it, but to drink of it’s undying essence.–Henry V. Miller

Dreams are the substance of reality–Henry V. Miller

“Causing the right amount of trouble is an art form.”  Judith Coche

One last question.  Does the lack of seratonin uptake biologically cause a human to gravitate to an organized religion in the place of natural spirituality?  Does depression and sadness lead to a hope outside the self? That’s an issue for another day and much more research than time allows today.

This article may be reproduced in all or part with permission as long the author credits are maintained.

I was recently asked to be a featured blogger by The Pakistani Spectator (“I hope you are fine and carrying on the great work you have been doing for the Internet surfers. I am Ghazala Khan from The Pakistani Spectator (TPS), We at TPS throw a candid look on everything happening in and for Pakistan in the world. We are trying to contribute our humble share in the webosphere. Our aim is to foster peace, progress and harmony with passion. We at TPS are carrying out a new series of interviews with the notable passionate bloggers, writers, and webmasters. In that regard, we would like to interview you, if you
don’t mind.”)
     -and the following is a post of that interview.  The person behind this blog on the other side of the world is:

Ghazala Khan-She has been roaming the corridors of Blogistan for the last two years, and herself started blogging from March, 2007 because she wanted to let the world know her passionate views about the judiciary who started struggling to gain freedom. The movement of lawyers for judiciary carried on and so is the blogging streak of her. You can reach her at ghazala.khi@gmail.com.

The original published interview with translation errors in punctuation and grammar (hey, it’s tough tranlating languages) is at: http://www.pakspectator.com/interview-with-blogger-nick-oliva/

I am honored to be allowed access to another culture and the interest in my opinions and I thank Ghazala Khan and all others at the Pakistani Spectator for publishing them.

Here is the interview with the corrections:

Interview with Blogger Nick Oliva

By The Pakistani Spectator • Jul 18th, 2008

Nick Oliva (O-lee-va) has been a musician, composer, photographer, an audio engineer, an Entertainment Director and Technical Director for over twenty-five years and is a successful self-made money manager.  He lives in the mountains outside of Las Vegas.

Would you please tell us something about you and your site?

The site is about my book “Only Moments” that was published recently.  On the site you can look at my autobiography, the backstory to the book, and the link to my ongoing blog also called “Only Moments.”  www.onlymomentsbook.com and the blog www.onlymoments.wordpress.com

Do you feel that you continue to grow in your writing the longer you write? Why is that important to you?

The evolution of any being is continuing to do things either better or differently than in the past and as the saying goes “practice makes (near)perfect”..perfection is rare.  Self-satisfaction is a wonderful thing.

 

I’m wondering what some of your memorable experiences are with blogging?

I have met many wonderful people all over the world that think and don’t just accept the quantified norm of a outlook that “the powers that are” impose to protect their collective asses.

 

What do you do in order to keep up your communication with other bloggers?

I have personal letters that I send to keep in touch along with the blogs.

What do you think is the most exciting or most innovative use of technology in politics right now?

YouTube without a doubt is very innovative, but it is also a lazy way to skip the art of writing and reading.  I’m afraid that the instant gratification of today’s youth will allow them to grow up illiterate as part of a new online “boob tube” generation.

Do you think that these new technologies are effective in making people more responsive?

They are timely, they are effective, they are fast, but beware they may be bullshit planted for whatever motivations a commercial company or political body wants you to believe.   Look at all the internet lies about Barack Obama that people truly believe because they read it on the internet. There is much disinformation daily and it is purposely put out there to slander people without having to be tracked and found out.  Evil makes it way to every form of communication and technology cannot take the place of the human heart.  That’s one of the themes of my book “Only Moments.”

What do you think sets Your site apart from others?

Most bloggers have not written a book that ties directly into the gestalt of the blog and vice versa.  I have no commercial ads or google adsense boxes and keep the blog commercial-free so I do not have to answer to anyone, or be beholden to a sponsor.

If you could choose one characteristic you have that brought you success in life, what would it be?

Passion, passion, passion

What was the happiest and gloomiest moment of your life?

When my book was published and the gloomiest when my mother died.

If you could pick a travel destination, anywhere in the world, with no worries about how it’s paid for – what would your top 3 choices be?

Greece, Nepal, and The Temples of Ankgor Wat in Cambodia

 

What is your favorite book and why?

Siddhartha by Herman Hesse
It is a timeless story of humankind searching for the answer why and the generational suffering of the coming of age between a father and son.

 What’s the first thing you notice about a person (whether you know them or not)?

Their aura of being.  The eyes are the windows to the soul.

 Is there anyone from your past that once told you you couldn’t write?

No, but I never thought this would be what I would be doing when I was very young. I’m 54 and still wondering what I will be doing when I grow up.

How bloggers can benefit from blogs financially?

I’m not the person to answer that one.

Is it true that who has a successful blog has an awful lot of time on their hands?

No, the successful blog or blogger has passion and the writing skills to create universes that implant the ideas that they wish to trigger emotional responses in other human beings whether to ponder, motivate, emote sympathy, excitement, or sadness.

What role can bloggers of the world play to make this world more friendlier and less hostile?

One can only affect those with whom they have touched, and that is why writing is so important.  The Guttenberg press changed the world and brought enlightenment and the Romantic Age into being. Unfortunately we may be living in the dark ages if our youth does not carry on and take the baton to keep this important human tool alive despite technology that makes video so accessible.

What is your perception about Pakistan and its people?

People in general are not like the government that they are subject to follow.  I see the youth of the world coming together electronically to overcome the tyranny of censorship and that’s the first step to freedom, as there are degrees to freedom, it does come slowly as those in power die out. The outlander tribes must be educated, and not supplied with weapons to stop the age-old fighting amongst themselves.

Have you ever become stunned by the uniqueness of any blogger?

I really admire Charles Eisenstein and this one blog in particular as I have studied worldwide religions.  http://www.realitysandwich.com/original_religion

What is the most striking difference between a developed country and a developing country?

Education, awareness of the diversity of people, the realization of not just different ethnic but moral and ethical standards as well, and the acceptance and appreciation of those that provide not just diversity but controversy.

What is the future of blogging?

I don’t have a clue, but I’ll still keep doing it.

You have also got a blogging life, how has it directly affected both your personal and professional life?

It keeps me sharp and on point in my verbal skills.

What are your future plans?

I will be writing another book on my near death experience along with stories of celebrities that I have dealt with in my life as an Entertainment professional

Any Message you want to give to the readers of The Pakistani Spectator?
Keep positive and true to yourself.  Follow your bliss and if you are young and looking for direction, any road will take you there, so just do something instead of looking for the perfect path.  All roads lead to self-enlightenment if you let them.

We live in America, fostered by the ideals of fairplay, honesty, and all things good, wholesome, apple-pied with a dollop of fresh white cream on the top.  At least that’s the spin put on our country by politicians looking for your votes so they can stuff their pockets full of fancy little deals that enrich their families at the expense of yours.  Let’s start with one subject, American Business-the Small Businessman.

When one thinks of a family business one usually envisions a mother and father slaving away trying to make ends meet with their children at their side learning the business as they grow, hopefully to take it over and prosper.  The reality is that most “small businesses” are not really that small (exempting the restaurant business) and are capitalized by very wealthy people.  Most do not provide benefits to their employees, many violate state and federal labor laws every day.  How do I know this?  Let’s just say I have “friends” as the commercial for tax preparation drones about, as if your “friends” have an illegal inside track to save you money underreporting your income-just like the big boys do-nudge nudge, know what I mean?

Take a look at a local harbor to see who owns those lovely yachts.  There written off as an entertainment expense by “small” businesses.  The automobile write-off was capped a few years back so anything over $50,000 can’t be taken as an expense for a car, but a million dollar Prevost luxury motorhome can still be amortized over 5 years in the companies’ name for entertaining.  These are but a few of the ways the tax structure has brought this country down to its knees for the little guy.  There are many more but let me move on to tackle the other side of this drama and get to my point without listing 50 ways to screw your country.

It is these same “small” businesses that force employees to work overtime without compensation, by use of fear or pressure tactics and enact pay periods that allow them to be paid only 48 weeks out of 52 by illegally setting the first and fifteenth of each month as paydays instead of floating the pay period to coincide with the real calendar where 4.2 weeks are equivalent to a month not 28 days.  Larger corporations know that can’t get away with that, so they stay on the side of the law.  The small-minded business owner and larger corporations do however browbeat and squeeze every nickel of labor they can and stand behind a corporate structure so that their front line employees have to deal with an underserviced, unsatisfied customer or client that is not being treated fairly because the money being raked in by the corporate owner is never enough, so he buys the cheapest parts, doesn’t pay contractors, lets his bills pile up until he is threatened with litigation, doesn’t trust anyone because he or she themselves are not trustworthy, and then hides behind any legal interpretation they can screw their employees and their customers.  (I’m sure there are good people and great companies to work for here in America, but they are far and few between) Now that sounds harsh doesn’t it?  Now multiply the intensity of that with a large corporation.

Guess what?  It’s normal, and if it is normal here, imagine what it is like in China and India.  We buy billions of dollars of all this crap-clothing so shoddy that colors streak completely after being washed once, mechanical things that fall apart after one use, and all of the stuff is probably is loaded with lead if not anything more dangerous (wait until they start making medicines)-and all while they are polluting the shit out of their land and air-just like we did from 1870-1976.  Not that we don’t still do it, but it has been addressed to a large extent by those dreadful liberal environmentalists who do at times go way too far, but at this point without them we would be the world’s biggest polluter….ahh….wait, I think we still are!

My point is that we talk the talk but can’t walk the walk and if we, American people had done the right thing in the 70’s and demanded to become self-sufficient, taken solar and alternative energy production seriously before Reagan came in and made everybody feel good about “our national right to excess in all things,” then these international bankers and our Federal Reserve couldn’t have hijacked the economy and promoted productivity, which is essentially more work done by less people- and encouraged national corporations to expand overseas with our manufacturing jobs for huge profits.  They were there to help them by funding the banks that have loaned them the money for that expansion.  Then the investment banks started gaming the system with arbitrage and fast computers while the SEC watched and let it happen.  Then the era of securitized mortgages, the fact that the uptick rule was banished for people who sold stock short, and then commodities became an asset allocation for as little as 5% margin; no delivery requirements, and wound into Exchange Traded Funds (ETF’s) like a stock-and not just a hedge for businesses, and bingo….the bubble breaks.  Who is to blame? We let it happen; we’re going to pay for it.  It has yet to really surface just how much of a loss we will sustain in determining our own future and that of our children.  We are just beginning to see the effects of our capital being spread too thin around the world while our sworn enemies laugh at us, counting the billions we have to send them like a junkie in a dark alley.  Global is good?  For who?  The international banks that’s who and don’t let anyone fool you, the big money is in a fixed game and the question is not who will profit and who will suffer, it is when. 

The expansion of globalization and reallocation of capital reminds me of grading on a curve or “no child left behind” that are attempts at socialistic concepts by the current administration to promote those countries that rank near the bottom to rise up further at the expense of those who are economically sound by using the tried and true method of cheap labor to make millionaires from racketeers with the power and money in these former “third world” areas. This Non-Darwinian methodology cannot succeed without someone getting the short end of the stick.

Fairplay, honesty, and all things good….Where have you gone “Common Principles” the nation turns it’s lonely eyes to you?  

    I posted this Associated Press picture along with the following header and sent it off to most people I correspond through email:

WE OWE THEM EVERYTHING AND YET OUR GOVERNMENT, US, WE THE PEOPLE, GIVE SO LITTLE BACK TO THEM IN RETURN.  BRING THEM BACK HOME TO LIVE THE LIVES THEY SO DESERVE.  THEY SUFFER AND DIE FOR BLOODY OIL MONEY!

I received many positive responses but one came from an old friend and he totally disagreed with my point of view and we went at it.  Here’s some excepts that are printable and suitable for public publishing from this debate.  Read them and please comment as to what you think on the issue.

Mr. G says- “The way that I see it is this….They enlist. They get a bonus of $20,000 for 30 months…$30,000 for 36 months & $40,000 for 48 months Plus an extra $20,000 if they join the National Guard after that time period. More than one family member in the service pays off the family house, in addition to a full tuition reimbursement for any college courses. They are in it for the money only, unless, of course,  they are foolish enough to believe that they are also protecting our freedom by being in Iraq or Afghanistan. If they get injured or lose their life in the process then that’s the price to pay for their foolishness. Hero’s?   Bullshit.” (My font bolding)

…and another excerpt……… “You like many others seem to miss the real point. Defense of our country with recruits is one matter that is timeless. It should be.
     There will never be enough of die-hard enlistees to fill the ranks that are needed in those perilous times. There will always be so called Heroes to defend the motherland. Most of today’s children of American adults NEED a kick in the ass. Most of them have been pampered so much that they have never even been in a car with the window rolled down… Candy-Ass pampered kids in this “new age” way of raising them. If this country was ever invaded we would not have many people, untrained, to defend it.
     When I was drafted for the Viet Nam “Conflict” I went against my will, but you know what, growing up on the streets of South Philadelphia, without much discipline & being drafted right out of high school & THEN going straight into Basic Training at Fort Bragg 100th Airborne Division & Special Forces along with AFRTS Broadcasting did me a world of good & something that I never knew that I needed. I learned discipline, respect & a strong desire to defend the United States so that others can enjoy the freedoms & liberty’s that we have here like no other place on earth. When I spent my time in Viet Nam I didn’t ask to be there. I was told to be there to protect the South Vietnamese from Communist invasion from the North. Now that’s a really good reason to die for, isn’t it? 
I learned to feel that, even though the North Vietnamese or the Russians or the Chinese were not a threat to our country. In Vietnam, politically, it was to defend the rubber plantations that France failed to defend & in Iraq, the oil fields . What the hell is the difference. War IS hell. It always was & will always be.
Loss of limb & life will always be the end result for some & others will always walk away unharmed…. 
      The military kids of today are there for what? Other than the money. Most enlistees come from families that have very little income. They are, in many situations, the breadwinners. With the weapons systems of today there are very little land battles that will take place. Not many Hum-Vees to drive around in  & get blown up in. Those enlistees CHOOSE that way of life & danger just as others that choose to be employed in enforcement jobs like Police, FBI, Border Patrol, Drug Enforcement, etc. They all play under the same game rules.”  (my font bolding here not his)

One of my replies that is printable- “No, you just don’t get it….a life is a life that is unique and cannot be replaced and has emotional ties to others and apparently you don’t value anybody’s life or their emotional connections and it is the main point of the act of giving one’s life for a reason besides the fucking money.  That’s the issue you skirt around with a very cold hard nihilist intransigent view.  The money is the money and that’s all you harp on.  The next time you need assistance from one of these “well-paid” parasites perhaps if they leave you to die in a car accident instead of helping you out of your car you might get it, but I doubt it.”
….and another
“I don’t care about being right, I care about doing the right thing and if honoring two soldiers in a picture drives you to this type of fierce insanity-(even Oliver North wouldn’t deny that the 9/11 deaths of fireman and police made them heros)-then all the articles in the world will not support your harsh opinion that people in all sorts of uniformed duty (do not) perform heroic acts.  By your spin, the Japanese were justified to bomb Pearl because we cut their oil off, so let’s see you stand up in front of a vet’s group this Veteran’s Day and tell them all that none of those who died performing acts to save one another (that day) are heroes.  You are using the old cliche’ that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.  One must take a stand at some point.”

So what do you think?  Are they in it for the money?  Are other uniformed positions in it for the money and therefore do not deserve “heroic” status if they save a life, if they run in a burning building?”  Am I so off base that “I just don’t get it?”  You tell me by commenting with your opinion.