Jesus, baby! :)

I’m going to preach a little bit I think. I didn’t want to because it’s not cool or whatever but I think I bring a different perspective.

In the New Testament there is internal evidence that parts of it have proceeded from an extraordinary man; and that other parts are of the fabric of very inferior minds. It is as easy to separate those parts, as to pick out diamonds from dunghills. – Thomas Jefferson writing to John Adams, October 12, 1813.

Exactly how I feel about Christianity. Jesus of Nazareth and his extraordinary philosophy is what I love about church. The rest can be swept into the garbage where it belongs.

Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11: 28

I love that verse because whatever you believe in or however you find comfort you can always go there for refuge. It is important to remember this every day.

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There’s probably more than one person out there for you.

Disclaimer. This whole piece is a concept. It’s a thought exercise I roll around in my head. I’m not going to leave my wife. I’m not going to cheat on my wife. I made a commitment and I’m going to honour it. I do enjoy cultural fiction though.

Any person is stronger in a team. Our ability to communicate and function in groups is our evolutionary advantage over every other animal on this planet. Why then do we limit ourselves to one person? Worse, we set expectations that this one person will ‘complete us’, ‘make us happy’, or simply ‘be enough’. Sadly though, no matter who you decide to team up with they’ll be lacking. Things about them will drive you crazy and things about you will drive them crazy.

Sharing income and household responsibilities is necessary in 2016 to keep up with the Jones’ and there is definite value, security, trust, and belonging in a committed relationship. I think there is excitement and personal satisfaction from having multiple partners as well. Most times though the single-life results in loneliness. Are you with me so far?

I think things like infidelity, 50% of marriages ending in divorce, threesomes within a marriage, or swinging are cultural indications that the idea of one person for the rest of our lives is not universally accepted. We love the idea of marriage, monogamy, and commitment in theory but in practice it fails.

Marriage has historically been between a man and a woman (I’m all for gay marriage, just stating a fact.) because there was cultural incentive to have children. Birth rates were very important in the pre-globalization, pre-immigration world. There is security in numbers. Modern technology reduces our dependence on children for labour on farms. Modern medicine makes having many children unnecessary as the chances of survival for fewer are much higher. We still have sex but we do so for fun and our culture is a reflection of that. We have birth control so unwanted children is not a concern in our newly and proudly promiscuous lifestyles.

The construct of marriage has survived the test of time because it is so deeply rooted in the church, government, and family. It has changed a lot as well. We marry for love and choose our own partners now. Women are not seen as property of their husbands so much anymore although men still slap their names on women (myself included) like they put their names in their hockey pads. Since 19783 women are no longer able to be raped by their husbands in Canada. That’s awesome.

I think culturally we keep marriage simple because it gets very complicated very fast when a third person is added to the relationship, and exponentially more complicated with a fourth or fifth person. With two there’s always resentment and secrecy but it is only in one place, the safest place in the world; your head. As long as you suffer silently no one is betrayed. No one can get jealous.

What is betrayal? What is jealousy? Betrayal is the feeling you get when someone breaks a promise, contract, or obligation in favour of another person. A person cannot betray someone without the third party. Jealousy is a bit weirder. It exists in the grey area between “envy of someone else’s possessions or achievements” and being “fiercely protective or vigilant of one’s rights or possessions”. Wife feels betrayed when husband breaks marital promise and sticks penis inside of another woman’s vagina. Jealous wife is protective of her husband and envious of whore who gets time with him that she does not. i.e. That’s her penis!

Wherever there are jealousy and ambition, there are also disharmony and wickedness of every kind; James 3:16

Can’t emotions be mitigated if we change our expectations? Yes, they can. The little bit of Buddhism I’ve picked up so far has shown me I can change my desires. I focus a lot of mental energy on purging myself of desire. When I see something that I want or feel like I want to have sex with someone else I remind myself that I don’t want those things, what I actually want is peace of mind. What I actually want is happiness. In practicing this thought exercise I show myself that those shallow desires are not the path to what I truly desire. The feeling of calm that comes over me when I practice this exercise is tangible.

Lets pretend for a minute that we can all easily control our emotions and expectations in our relationships and talk about how the Denobulans do it.

Denobulans are a fictional species in the Star Trek universe. They’re on the liberal extreme of marriage. They are allowed to choose three mates each. Each male has three wives and each wife has three husbands. Their sexual networks are exponential. So obviously the first problem would be STD. Disease would travel through an arrangement like this like wildfire. It’s Star Trek though so every STD has been cured! At this extreme you start to question what the value is in marriage at all.

At the end of the day marriage in our society remains the tax exempt baby production centre of the modern world. It creates a stable, long term construct for the raising of children and can easily be torn down by infidelity and feelings of betrayal and jealousy. This typically leaves children with abandonment and attachment issues. I assume this is why marriage endures.

I am always wondering what we as a species are thinking but not saying. I refuse to believe I am different or odd so I am forced to conclude that if I’m thinking it then other good, married men are too. I know damn well they are because of what I see in the world every day. We get caught. We get shamed. We get our asses handed to us in court. I imagine most of us still love our wives. The problem is that we change as we go through life. We develop new interests that our partner might not be interested in. We branch out on our own and we meet new people that are different and exciting. The standard argument is ‘you can have friends who are girls just don’t have sex with them.’ This is the thing in my life I am finding increasingly difficult to ignore.

This is all self justifying rhetoric so I can guilt free fuck someone who is not my wife. I’m a good bullshitter but sadly I’m not good enough to bullshit myself.

I have many friends who are girls. I don’t want to have sex with them all. I just want to have sex with the interesting, warm, smart, funny, caring, sexy ones… yeah. What’s wrong with that?! lOl I don’t want to spend money on them or think they’re so amazing I’ll run off with them. I’m attracted to them. They make my heart beat faster.

If Ann Marie starts banging a doctor when she becomes a nurse I’ll be pissed off that I didn’t cheat on her all these years.

The immortal corporation.

Pondering the piece I wrote on the death tax I wanted to touch on this subject too but it seemed too much to chew on at one time. So I am writing it now as an accompanying piece to the death tax piece.

Apple has $120 billion in net assets. That is a lot. As I’ve discussed before and as the supreme court has ruled in the USA, a person’s $1.00 is equal to Apple’s $120,000,000,000.00 as far as political influence goes. You, me, and anyone with half a brain can see that is not true. While the Justices were interpreting the constitutional merit-a document that originally stated that only white, male land owners could vote-I think they missed the reality of today’s world.

If the death tax is supposed to be an intentional dilution of financial power and influence, what then should we do about corporations with massive financial power and influence but also never die? Logic would tell us to tax every corporation’s net assets once every 100 years. This idea would be laughed out of any legislature but that doesn’t reduce its validity. The corporation in its current form has not been around long enough for us to see the long term societal implications.

When Augustus took control of Egypt after the battle of Actium he did not need the senate-though he did placate their egos-because he had the wealth of Egypt at his disposal and the entire Roman army at his command.

When King George III was insolvent after losing to US revolution forces he made a deal with parliament to give up control of his lands for an annual allowance. This fundamentally changed the power structure in the UK. The King’s lack of money allowed the people (Lords… but still!) to take more power for themselves.

So what will happen if the corporate trends of wealth hoarding, political influence, and tax evasion continue? Governments that can’t pay their bills and corporations that can. I predict that in the future corporations, or the corporate class, which already surpass the political class by wealth will be in full control of the planet with military forces of their own. It seems far fetched but I’m not talking about Starbucks tanks or Walmart fighter jets. Corporations like Exxon, Monsantos or Dupont who currently pay governments to do their fighting for them might need to take up their own weapons when governments can no longer afford military forces.

I don’t think it’s that far fetched. Politicians used to command armies from Cyrus to Napoleon. The richest citizens in circles of power organized and slowly siphoned power from individuals and placed it in the hands of the political class. Through revolution the political classes were forced to listen to the citizenry. Now our democracies are threatened by a new power. Corporations who can sue governments in international courts. I think this is only the beginning.

My solution is to tax corporations heavily. I think it would be wise to have different tax rates for foreign corporations as well. We have to tax them heavily enough to mitigate their current financial power but also enough to keep them subdued indefinitely. Perhaps a cap on net assets; i.e. setting a limit to how big a corporation can get and how much money a corporation can have.

Crazy.

Man-made American strife.

Do you remember when Yugoslavia broke apart into all the countries we know and love today;  Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Slovenia? Of course you do! Just in case you can read all about it here.

So these peoples, the Bosnians and Herzegovinians, Croatians, Kosovo…ians? You get it. They were ruled under empire… since forever! Being proud of who they were though they never gave up their ethnic and cultural heritage. Whether suffering under Yugoslavian, Austrio-Hungarian, Ottoman, Byzentine, or Roman empirical rule these peoples suffered together through the ages as separate and distinct groups. No one really understood this until those bonds were suddenly lifted. Almost immediately all these people went to war against each other. Shocked the hell out of the world but while they were holding onto their culture and their heritage they were also holding on to every slight against their people that had happened for a thousand years. They couldn’t act on them while they were under the thumb of empire but once the empire was gone the gloves were off!

Now the USA is a much different situation. First, it’s only 238 years old–still a baby by independent state standards. Second, none of the original native population is left. Last, states have rights under the empirical rule of the federal government.

Every once in a while I get the feeling like there is enough people in the USA not getting their way or disagreeing with each other enough to cause some serious problems.

The media slices every issue into a two-sided, black and white debate and everyone is forced to choose a side. The only thing that comes of this is a very divided, very angry people. It helps to keep their two-party system alive though. Hey! That’s weird… every party stands for one or the other issue… huh.

Democrat or republican?
Liberal or conservative?
Secular education or God in school?
Pro choice or pro life?
War on drugs or more aggressive war on drugs?
Pro gun control or anti gun control?
War or more war?
Black lives matter or All lives matter?
Equal rights or biblical marriage?
Pollute the planet or pollute the planet faster?

While none of these issues are enough to start a war on their own it seems that everyone is forced to choose sides. What happens to a people that are forced to live with such intense divisions indefinitely? What happens when you’re intensely held beliefs are ignored or passed over over and over again? How long can we grate at the human psyche before it snaps?

Are we segregating comedy?

Nah, we’re probably not. Chris Rock does what works for him and Larry The Cable Guy does his thing… huh…

I’m thinking about Usain Bolt and Ellen Degeneres and the hundreds of people who commented on the recent meme. The Rio Olympics are in full swing and everyone is enthralled. Fear and wonder… Sports never did anything for me. Give me my movies!

Okay so I don’t know how this picture was captured but it’s amazing all on its own.

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Someone photoshopped Ellen onto it and we get this awesomeness from her twitter feed, no I don’t follow her.

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When I saw it I did not LOL, I actually laughed out loud! I don’t know Mr. Bolt (awesome name for a runner, right?!). I assume he took the time while dominating an olympic race to smile sideways for this shot because he’s got an amazing sense of humour. I don’t know Ms. Degeneres either but I’ve never heard of Ellen Degeneres being anything but a history making, trend setting, socially active, dancing, fun loving talk show host. So why would anyone see this as anything other than a fun joke?

Then the whole moment was soured by internet fuck heads calling it racist. I don’t care if you’re black and offended or white and scared of offending someone this was not meant to be offensive. It’s a joke made with good will by two people who are clearly fun loving.

It fucks with your head though. I immediately started to look internally.

  • Am I racist?
  • Why didn’t I see a problem with this?
  • Is it not ok for a white woman to insinuate she would ride the fastest man alive like horse because he’s black?
  • What is wrong with me?

I went around like this in my head for about ten seconds before I cast myself back into the light of day and said, “Relax. Jeez bud, simmer down.”

I used to think I was racist when I rode the number 2 bus in Ottawa. The number 2 goes through every borough in Ottawa; it came through North Gloucester where I lived, Vanier, Downtown, Bank St., Somerset, Chinatown, Little Italy, to Westboro where I got off. Every walk of life the city had to offer was on that bus. I would always sit in the back because I was cool and that’s where cool people sat. Every day one or two black dudes would get on the bus at the Rideau Centre in their big baggy pants, do rags, gold chains, gold teeth, what have you. They’d sit down around me and I’d always get a little frightened. I thought I was actually afraid because of the colour of their skin. One day a nice looking dude gets on the bus. His shoes are black and polished to a shine, his head is clean shaven with a razor, he was wearing a dark grey pin striped jacket and slacks and a lavender coloured button up shirt, no tie. Oh yeah and he was also black. Guy looked like a million bucks! I remember what he was wearing like it was yesterday because in that moment I realized: I am not racist, I am afraid of people who look like they are going to rob me. After that I started sitting at the front of the bus near the driver and had no further problems.

Racism comes in many forms but we have to remember that we’re all people. If we can’t include someone in a joke that has no ill will or intent to hurt because of the colour of their skin then we’re segregating humour and that’s not ok either.

Or we could just not tell women what to wear.

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Taking from the Toronto Star Wednesday, “Prime Minister Manuel Valls says Muslim swimwear represents provocation and ‘archaic vision’ not compatible with values of France.”

Many local French governments have or are trying to ban the ‘burkini’.

They’re making it illegal for these women to wear what they want under the banner of modern values… Their culture may be oppressive. Their sect of islam may be oppressive. France should not be oppressive!

If you aren’t seeing a problem with this bang your head against the wall.

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#feminism

The United States Office of Business Ethics

The United States Office of Government Ethics is a real thing. We need a branch of government to tell our government how they’re supposed to behave.

I think we can all agree that human beings are pretty awful as a whole. We are apt to do awful things because if we don’t someone else will. We will do cruel, torturous things because a superior tells us to. We will not risk our careers and progress in life to do the right thing. When doing the right thing is harmful to our own lives someone needs to step in and do the right thing for us.

Why then is there not a United States Office of Business Ethics? The idea scares capitalists who believe in the free market. The idea threatens the concept of liberty with frightening images of 1984’s Ministry of Love and Though Police. I seriously think unbridled capitalism is going to kill us all though and needs some sort of powerful oversight.

As I’m watching John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight on sub-prime auto loans I’m thinking to myself this sounds familiar. John Oliver goes onto explain that the exact same practices (NINJA loans being bundled together and sold as default swaps on the stock market) that caused the housing crash are being repeated with the auto loan industry. I shook my head… The housing crash cost the American taxpayers $700 Billion.

Lets do another one…

My problems with the meat industry I’ve already posted but another ethical question comes up that should be easily answered when it comes to meat. Antibiotics. Superbugs are here. They’re not a theory or myth. My aunt Janet has an MSRA infection right now. She’s had it for years and can’t kick it because it’s resistant to antibiotics. We knew that giving kids antibiotics for manageable infections like ear infections wasn’t smart. We did it anyway. (I was one of those kids.) We know now that preventative antibiotics in livestock is a terrible idea but we’re doing it anyway.

Another one…

Remember when Nestle baby formula scandal? Got thousands of poor African mother’s hooked on free baby formula and when their breasts were dry they started charging. We should stay out of Africa we could be there all day. *cough* tobacco companies *cough*

Another one…

What about Nevada? It’s a desert and California is suffering droughts like crazy. Does that stop places like Disneyland or Las Vegas from having some of the most lavish water fountain displays in the world? Nope!

I could go all day but you get the point. Ethical violations everywhere! First graders could tell you that all of these things are wrong. The violations are all flamboyant displays of wealth and excess. The violations are all executed under the guise of capitalism, tourism, and freedom. When and where do we draw the line?

When are corporations going to stop coming before the health and well being of people and the environment?

Never?

When it’s too late?

Aristocracy for the rich and indentured servitude for everyone else. (The Death Tax.)

The USA is fucked, we all know this. Eliminating the death tax would be a catastrophic mistake and I thought people knew this but it keeps coming up so I’m going to talk about it anyway.

Donald Trump stated that he will abolish the death tax. I thought he was fighting for the average citizen?

First, ‘death tax’ is a misnomer. Death just adds fear to a political issue. What’s the best way to make people do things that aren’t in their best interest? Scare them. What we’re actually discussing is called “the estate tax”. In Canada it’s called your final return. It’s a tax return that lets the government know how much money you’re transferring to an heir and how much money is returning to the state. If you file taxes you already know the government tracks your income and wealth annually. This is a part of any functioning government.

Do you have an estate? I certainly don’t. I have a house that I’m still paying for, a car, and some savings. Yes! I’m a lucky one with some savings.

When you die you’re allowed to leave your children a certain amount of your estate; $5,000,000 per child. That is $62,500 for every year of an 80 year life not including interest. That’s more money than most will ever have or make in their lifetime.

The reality is that the death tax doesn’t matter to 99.9% of the population. $5,000,000 is a lot of money! The people who want to eliminate the death tax are the .01%. The Donald Trumps of the world, billionaire-types who laugh at The Giving Pledge, want to pass on their wealth and influence to their next of kin.

Example time. I die and leave my kids a paid off house, a car, some vintage guitars, family heirlooms and a modest savings under $2,000,000. I’ll leave it all to my children in my will and the government won’t touch any of it.

A billionaire dies today worth $50 billion. He leaves his heir 5 million and the rest is taxed at 50%. They leaves their heir $25,002,500,000.

The billionaire still leaves an astronomical amount of money to their heir. An estate tax is an intentional dilution of financial power and influence. It is very important and very necessary.

It’s also worth noting banks, credit card companies, lenders, and collection agencies in the U.S.A. are continually lobbying to allow debt to transfer to next of kin. That’s a whole different piece of the same puzzle. In any other country in the world the worst case scenario for the next of kin is $0 inheritance. Debt is (and should always be) the problem of the irresponsible/uninsured lender.

If you don’t get it watch Downton Abbey. The Earl of Grantham had his title and lands passed to him tax free because that’s how monarchies controlled such large swaths of territory. Lord Grantham also had a seat in the house of Lords which was a part of his inheritance so he in-part controlled the country. Whenever you hear the words “eliminate the death tax” think aristocracy for the rich and indentured servitude for everyone else.