Double Standard

Diogenes lived about 3 centuries before the beginning of our modern calendar. He was a philosopher—one of the founders of cynicism. Apparently he was quite off-putting; he slept in a ceramic vessel, although it may have been a sewer. He’s reported to have traveled through town, during the day, with a lighted lamp, claiming to be “Searching for an honest man,” which was one of his more civilized activities.

A new congresswoman resigned because revenge-porn nude pictures of her spread through the internet.

Compare this to the current president bragging about grabbing women by their genitalia. And his wife du jour has explicit professionally produced nude photos on the internet. In fairness to her, she was a model and many believe the pictures were taken as a way for The Donald to show he has a hot wife (and believes that you don’t).

The congresswoman resigns.

The President digs in as the Republicans draw their wagons into a circle around him.

Will somebody please explain?

Latest Poles (Sorry, I meant Polls)

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The news is abuzz with the latest polls. A word of advice from Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain) is appropriate. He told us, “There are lies, damn lies, and statistics.”

At best, polls are lumped into statistics, although I believe they are somewhere between “Pipe dream” (as in, “Wow man, I can see it too! Far out!) and “Hallucination.”

Today the polls are not reporting the national standing of the candidates , but instead they are reporting on the first two states that will sorta, kinda have the first sorta, kinda primaries. Let’s put this into perspective.

Iowa has a caucus (February 3, 2020), which is different than a primary. It’s more like a block party than a political event.

New Hampshire, has the first actual primary (February 11, 2020).

The spotlight is tightly focused on these powerhouse states.

Just to put things into perspective–there are 538 votes in the electoral college.
Iowa’s power block? Six.
New Hampshire’s share? Four.

Between these two key states, together they represent not-quite two percent of the votes that actually are counted in a presidential election.

However, focusing on those two states definitely helps to sell television advertisements.

 

Which Side Is He On?

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As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve become pretty jaded over the millennia. The last few years have managed, somehow, to shock me at times.

Such as now.

Normally in the United States, the president informs Congress, or at least key members of Congress (regardless of political party) before a significant military event occurs.

President Trump, however, initiated the special forces military operation that led to the death of ISIS Caliph Abu Bakr al Baghdadi without informing key congressional leaders. He did, however, inform Russian President Vladimir Putin in advance.

If I were a suspicious person . . . .

At least, for as much as Trump admires Putin, he has not taken to Putin’s affinity for taking off his shirt at every opportunity. We should all be thankful for that.

 

Souls for Sale

 

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Over the past few millenia, I’ve seen many souls sold to the devil. Most–if not all–people made a terrible deal, selling their soul for pennies when it’s worth a king’s ransom. It should be evident to anyone what a soul is worth.

Christians, who sometimes need to be told things clearly (small words, short sentences, or parables) lest they misunderstand, should at least have a clue. If you believe that the Son of God died to redeem you, then what do you think your soul is worth?

I’ll wait while you find a calculator.

In any case, the current soul trade is definitely a buyer’s market. People are lining up to sell their souls. Buyers are only offering a smidge of a pittance. No one seems to care. If anything, the line of sellers keeps growing.

Now for the bad news–most people will have to wait until all of the politicians’ sales have been processed before they can even list their souls. Don’t expect too much, but–hey–its only your soul.

 

 

Do You Remember Integrity?

Politicians are well know for their willingness to do damn near anything to be elected or re-elected. As Richard Jordan said in Hunt for Red October, “I’m a politician, which means that when I’m not kissing babies, I’m stealing their candy.”

Today’s politicians make that attitude seem downright saintly. Specifically, the Republican Party, which used to prize personal responsibility and fiscal conservatism is now willing to compromise everything because they fear the far-far-far-right white supremacists who adore Donald Trump.

Apparently,  there is no line to cross. They’ve been bought, paid for, wrapped in gift paper, and delivered.

And it doesn’t seem to bother them at all.

This Seems Familiar

As near as I can tell, your President is verbally feuding–or more correctly, twitterpating–with a swimsuit model. Based on my millennia (NOT Melania) of experience and observation, a swimsuit model is like a dancing girl, except that she doesn’t dance.

I wish I had a drachma for every time I’ve seen a powerful man distracted by a woman followed by his downfall. There was Adam and Eve, although that is fairly allegorical. Marcus Antonius and Cleopatra, King David and Bathsheba are all famous cases that were devastating for all involved. Then there was the young dancer who suckered King Herod into having John the Baptist beheaded. Her mother told her to do it–I can tell you with confidence that the dancer didn’t really dream about having John’s bloody head on a silver platter as an objet d’art in her bedroom.

Powerful people seem to believe that they’re too smart; that they’ll win every time; that bad things will never happen to them.

If these people are really so smart, why don’t they pick their fights with philosophers, scientists, or college professors?

Good or Evil

I’ve heard philosophers and theologians, among others, debate whether humans are inherently good or evil. Some claim that we are inherently evil and it requires some outside influence, such as religion or cultural expectations, to do good. Others claim that within each of us, without external action, there is the desire to do good.

I think that the phrasing of the question is the problem. We should instead ask, “Are humans naturally self-centered or communal?” Do we value the good of others more than purely personal benefit?

I don’t believe that we’re born one way or the other, but the priority of self vs. others is learned. Some learn a sense of community from the community itself, whether that is family, a religious organization, or another inclusive group. The key is whether a person can see something as more important than him or herself.

One of the most highly trusted groups today is the US military. On one hand, this may seem surprising because the purpose of the military is to kill people and break things. On the other, the members of the military are willing to die for a purpose they perceive as greater than themselves. While each service member defines their own values, their service starts with an oath to the US Constitution.

On the other hand, there are people who view life in terms of “What’s in it for me?” They, too, learned this. Some learned from family, business, or others who valued self first. Others may have learned it from a society that rejected them and they feel no obligation to such a society.

What have you learned? What are you teaching others?