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Profile Information

Name: Hunter
Gender: Male
Current location: California
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 21,638

About Me

I'm a very dangerous fellow when I don't know what I'm doing.

Journal Archives

I'm a Socialist and my economics are radical.

I understand our current economic system very well, thank you, and I abhor it.

What our economists today call "productivity" and "profit" is directly proportional to the damage we are doing to both earth's natural environment and the human spirit.

Large transfers of money should only occur with a focus on potential benefits for ALL PEOPLE and then only to projects that are sustainable and improve the overall environment for our own descendants, and the descendants of the other sentient life forms we share this planet with.

I've got no problem with private property or private investment, but I do think taxes ought to be steeply progressive on both income and wealth, such that it's impossible for an uber-wealthy class of people to arise; a class of people capable of buying and otherwise corrupting democratically elected government.

If there was such a thing as a "reasonable" fundamentalist Christian...

... and she didn't approve of Planet Fitness or it's policies, she would have left the place quietly and never returned.

And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. -- Matthew 10:14

Instead she's out there on the street corner like a hooker for God, flashing her goods, and loudly trumpeting her "Christian" values to all who pass by.

My father-in-law was a medic. He told the Navy flat out he'd never shoot anyone.

He wouldn't hold a gun.

He missed out on active duty in Korea by strange fortune. Instead they used him in atomic bomb experiments. He's one of the few people I've met who has witnessed atomic bomb explosions up close and once walked into ground zero while things were still on fire. Afterwards, him and all the guys he was with discarded their clothing and scrubbed the fallout off themselves until the radiation detectors said they were "safe." It wasn't a safe level for many people. My father-in-law was lucky.

My dad's eyes weren't good, so the Army made him a clerk. He'd probably have been a M.A.S.H. "Radar" sort of character if they'd sent him to Korea. He's an artist and a lover and a gardener among his many talents, not a warrior.

My dad's dad was an Army Air Force officer in World War II. He was obsessed with airplanes, in what we now know as an "autistic spectrum" kind of way. He wanted to fly, really really very badly, but his physical coordination and sense of balance were not adequate. He was a bit of a klutz. Hell, I can say it now, many years after his passing, he was frightened by bicycles. How do those things stay up? He couldn't do the math in his head fast enough. But otherwise he was very gifted with mechanical things.

He was later one of the many engineers who worked on the Apollo Project. Somewhere in his military service he'd acquired a familiarity with titanium. My grandfather never ever talked about his military service, I think some of it may have been dirty and abhorrent, but I got my enthusiasm for science and engineering and space exploration from him. His contributions to the moon landing were his proudest achievement.

My mom's dad was a Conscientious Objector during World War II. My mom's family were religious dissidents and pacifists, which is why they left Europe in the 1800's and ran as fast as they could into America's Wild West, later to find themselves in the heart of Mormon country, where they could make a living raising cattle, procuring booze, and mediating unseemly disputes between Mormons, very, very discreetly. The U.S.A. military gave my mom's dad a choice: prison or building Liberty and Victory ships. He chose to build ships. During the war he once got beaten bloody by the cops for protesting the Japanese Internment. They were taking away his neighbors.

My mom has a friend who was coincidently protected by a Mormon family. They "bought" the family's California property and invited them to work for them in Utah. When the war was over they "sold" the property back to the Japanese family, honest dealings all around, all profit to the original Japanese owners, enough to get them back on their feet again. Unfortunately that was not the norm in such dealings. Many very valuable Pacific Coast properties were lost to Japanese-American families by false promises.

My parents raised me and all my siblings as pacifists. When the war in Vietnam ended we were all thoroughly Quaker, and I was not yet quite old enough to be drafted. Had I been, I'm pretty sure they'd have bought me safe passage to someplace beyond the U.S.A. draft boards' reach.

So long as I'm here, it's okay.

I've been on the internet a long time. I always wear protection.

But I'm so geekishly cool, I probably don't need it.

News is bad for you.

News is bad for your health. It leads to fear and aggression, and hinders your creativity and ability to think deeply. The solution? Stop consuming it altogether

Rolf Dobelli
Friday 12 April 2013 15.00 EDT


In the past few decades, the fortunate among us have recognised the hazards of living with an overabundance of food (obesity, diabetes) and have started to change our diets. But most of us do not yet understand that news is to the mind what sugar is to the body. News is easy to digest. The media feeds us small bites of trivial matter, tidbits that don't really concern our lives and don't require thinking. That's why we experience almost no saturation. Unlike reading books and long magazine articles (which require thinking), we can swallow limitless quantities of news flashes, which are bright-coloured candies for the mind. Today, we have reached the same point in relation to information that we faced 20 years ago in regard to food. We are beginning to recognise how toxic news can be.

I quit television altogether, and I only read the local paper. I've been much happier, and I don't feel disconnected at all.

Seeing the television and mass media generated storms blowing through DU gives me a greater awareness of how much news is pure propaganda, fog, and utter bullshit.

Hillary's emails? Please...

I think everyone should be considered shareholders in overall economy.

We all ought to be "trust fund" kids, even if it's just a small safe studio apartment, good food, free education, appropriate medical care, and a few generous mugs of beer or glasses of wine with dinner, or cannabis deserts.

Build mindless robots to do the crappiest most dangerous jobs, and make certain every human job pays beyond any "living wage" and is a satisfying job worth doing.

Internal refugee migration within the U.S.A. does not have a positive history.

I live in a place in a place in California where a few of the roads have family names.

My least favorite ancestors and their relatives were intolerant of "white trash" and Okies. Even my fairly tolerant grandfather freaked out when I decided to marry, in his words, "a Mexican girl." He did not attend our Big Catholic Wedding. Much to his credit he got over that, but I'm still a little suspicious he'd suffered some small stroke and forgotten whiteness made any difference to his Wild West pseudo-WASP family honor.

Like he should talk, he had Irish Catholic ancestors too, and my artist dad had married a Catholic heretic/dissident, corrupted from her dreams of being a celibate nun to becoming someone who liked to have much wild unprotected sex and many babies.

As a ten year old I knew how to change a diaper. Not me nor any one of my siblings had babies before we were certain we could support them. My "choose life" mom always offered to support our babies if by some accident we had them, but thoughts of having more siblings in the household, biological random genetic combinations or otherwise, just more diapers to change, greatly inhibited us. Just think of the diaper pail and embrace birth control. That stinky diaper pail is much scarier than any confession to God's man on earth, condoms, pills, or even slight friction at the pharmacy counter. I own these pills and condoms, I own my sexuality.

Very fortunately for me, my WASP ancestors got beaten down hard in the Great Depression. The worst of them are long dead. The more flexible among them, my most direct ancestors, learned a little humility.

They'd owned large chunks of San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego, but they lost it all playing highly leveraged money games.

I'm a very lucky human being. I might have been Mitt Romney insufferable as a wealthy autistic spectrum trust fund kid.

Instead I've experienced the glory of being an indigent U.S. American kid living in a French public park, and a few years later, as a semi-homeless dude living in my car.

Life is an adventure that kills us all eventually. What we can celebrate here on earth are the stories.

You can't eat gold.

But it's an excellent conductor of heat and electricity, makes pretty jewelry, and is also a superb lower toxicity heavy metal for making ammunition.

If it was up to me I'd outlaw all forms of ammunition but plastic, steel, copper, silver, and gold. (I've been boycotting lead ammunition since I was a kid. It's bad for vultures, condors, and many other birds. Vultures and condors are among my favorite animals; they are humorous and playful birds, even though their food preferences are a little unappetizing. Condors and vultures will eat things our most disgusting dogs wouldn't roll in.)

Police departments would only be allowed to use gold and plastic ammunition. Cops caught with any other sort of ammunition, even at the firing range, would face a mandatory five year prison sentences, preferably sharing a cell with someone from a community they've abused.

A pleasant consequence of these regulations would be that all the rotten police departments would never have any metal ammunition as it would be stolen by rotten cops, and the more honest police departments would be reluctant to spray off multiple rounds of expensive gold bullets in situations that really didn't demand it. Even here in the trigger-happy U.S.A., such demanding situations are incredibly rare, no more than zero, one, or two annually, against bad guys who are very clearly and indisputably bad.

A more generous welfare system makes it more difficult to abuse workers.

I'd guess more than half of all businesses use bullying, harassment, and physical abuse as "management" techniques. If low income workers didn't fear homelessness and starvation they would not tolerate that. This is the most overt form of wage slavery.

We ought to have a generous welfare system that not only provides for the unemployed and the unemployable, but also competes directly with the crappiest jobs and crappiest employers. Businesses that practice wage slavery ought to be severely punished, both directly by enhanced labor protections, regulations, and enforcement, and indirectly by creating an economic environment in which it is impossible to find workers who will tolerate sub-living wages and abuse.

It's not just science. It's every form of creative thinking that could possibly undermine...

... empire and oligarchy.

As a former science teacher I'm appalled that adolescents are chained to their seats by threats of punishment and failure as they are force-fed "facts" so they can pass bubble tests. The artists, authors, musicians, mathematicians and scientists who continue on to college and success seem to do so in spite of this rote training as adolescents, not because of it.

Self-discipline is obviously a required skill in any sort of education, but highly energetic adolescents really ought to be doing most of their geology and biology out in the field, their math and physics in robust well-equipped laboratories, and their art in messy well supplied studios.

Every field of human endeavor requires math, reading, and writing skills. Learning these skills ought to be encouraged by the natural curiosity of a child in whatever field of arts and sciences they are drawn to.

Actual physical accomplishment -- making things -- is an important part of the process. Building robots, painting pictures, writing and performing music, restoring wetlands, cooking, gardening... most anything.

I was a lucky kid. My parents are both artists who had day jobs that adequately supported their family. Our household was a very rich environment full of books and magazines, and plenty of interesting, unprogrammed things to do. I got decent grades in middle and high school, but I hated it so much I quit high school.

Curiously, of all my siblings, it's my sister and I, the two who quit high school, who went on to graduate from top-tier universities. Our other siblings went into business. Yes, they've made more money than us, but there were times they were extremely miserable too.

One of my siblings quit a high paying corporate executive position because the corporation was flying him all over North America but not leaving him any spare time to explore. They probably knew he'd be resigning when he started answering phone calls at two in the morning with, "Is anybody going to die? No? Call me in the morning." Sad to say, he probably got that from me and my wife. We both had jobs at the time where people could potentially die if we didn't leap right up out of bed. My wife still has a job like that. Our dogs freak out when she's on-call and her pager goes off. They can smell the stress.

My wife and I provided a rich environment for our own kids (minus most of the religious insanity I suffered as a kid) and they were straight-A students throughout high school, and accepted to excellent colleges. Our youngest will be graduating this year. But overall, I don't think their K-12 school education was optimal. But we did shield them from the worst of it, and thank goodness, schoolyard bullying is not tolerated the way it was when I was in school. No teacher or administrator ever told my kids to "man up," fight back, or that they were somehow attracting harassment and physical assaults. That happened to me almost every time I complained about bullying. All I really learned from it was not to complain and be invisible as I could. These "life-skills" were never beneficial to me, but possibly useful to a handful of soul-sucking and abusive employers I've suffered.
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