Let's hope the number of shadowboxers in Congress who are interested in smart solutions outweighs those who are just looking for opportunities to justify their harmful haymakers with statements of belief.
A while back, two young Mormon missionaries stood at my front door; two very nice young Elders who'd stopped by to check on the previous occupant of my apartment, who evidently was a member of their church. Upon meeting me, they asked about my religious beliefs, and when I told them I'm an atheist, they politely informed me that I can't disprove God.
My answer to the "you can't disprove God" argument is this: Back up a step. We haven't gotten there yet.
See, there's a process. Disproving something before you've ascertained whether there's sufficient reason to even follow the process would render the whole thing - even the disproof - meaningless. The first step in the process is to ask the basic question. In this case, the question is this: Does God exist?
Next, we do some background research,and this is where we run into a little snag. If one wishes to support the eventual hypothesis that God does in fact exist, one is in trouble, because we find NO physical supporting evidence to support that hypothesis. The closest thing we can find to actual evidence of the existence of God is hearsay and feelings, as in, "I know God is real because I feel him in my heart."
And in the complete lack of physical evidence, are we justified in even continuing with the process? I say no. Anything beyond this point is pretending. We cannot support processing even to the stage of creating a hypothesis, much less conducting experiments to ascertain whether we have proof or "disproof" of that hypothesis. Not only do we not find evidence to support the existence of God, but we don't even find enough evidence to justify concerning ourselves with it.
I know, I couldn't believe it myself.
Well, actually I could. See, it's no secret that I'm not a huge Trump fan, or at least I wasn't during the campaign. He was a boorish ignoramus during the campaign, who inundated the American public with ignorance, bigotry, xenophobia and mysogeny from the first day of his campaign to the last. He said things that were outright racist, sexist, and even insensitive to people with disabilities. He said things - and repeated them over and over - that showed his complete ignorance of current world affairs, foreign relations, foreign and domestic policy, military strategy and military use policy. He proved over and over again that he wasn't even interested in learning about these things, in taking the time to study these important subjects at all.
But now that he's about to be President, I want to stand behind him. I've been yearning for a president I could support for a long time. I never thought it would be this boorish imbicile, this moronic, jerky troglodyte, but someone. And if it has to be Trump, then I guess it's Trump.
Something Tom Hanks said stuck with me (quote might not be exact): "I hope he does such a great job that in four years I can't wait to vote for his re-election." While Trump is clearly a huckster and a con man, he has already done three immensely positive things, each with its own downside. First, he effectively retired Hillary Clinton, and rendered the Clinton political machine a relic of the past - the deep, dark, collectivist past. Second, his election avoided the mass hysteria of panic gun-buying we were guaranteed to see in the event of a Clinton victory, and virtually guaranteed our continued second-amendment protections for a few years. And third, we're starting to see how he'll work toward keeping American jobs in America.
I love his efforts to keep Carrier jobs in America. Obviously, there are pitfalls to having the government (meaning, the president) get directly involved in offering tax incentives to companies on a case-by-case basis, but if it's keeping jobs here, it has my support. If his involvement really does keep a thousand Americans employed, whose jobs would otherwise have gone to Mexico, then I don't care if he's promising tax incentives to the company. I've been on the losing side of a layoff - more times than I want to talk about - and I know what it's like when your hard work isn't enough to keep your job, when mismanagement and corporate profit incentive outrank you and overpower your ability to keep putting food on your table. If some grandstanding politician had stepped in to save my job at the last moment, I'd have voted for that politician. Period. He can grab all the pussies he wants.
Now, I'm reading that Sarah Palin might not like it, because it sets a precedent that doesn't sit comfortably with a lot of people on either side of the aisle. I like Sarah Palin (aside from her crazy-ass religion), and I completely understand her point here. Her concerns are mainly with the appearance of what they like to call "crony capitalism", which is a polite way of saying crooked politicians, helping out their corporate buddies. As it's being reported, the Carrier Corporation is due to receive fat tax incentives and other benefits from this deal. Remember, though, that Palin herself has been accused of crony capitalism, after a freeway bridge contract award in Alaska that went to someone in her family's inner circle, or some shit. I was always sure that the charge against her was bullshit - just more political attacks from the left, against an immensely popular governor - and I'd imagine that she'd be reticent to just throw that kind of accusation at Trump in this case.
Politically, though, she may have a point. For me, it's all a whitewash anyway. A thousand people keep their jobs - that beats anything anyone can throw at it. A thousand families who get to buy unnecessary shit for their kids this Christmas because they're not going on Unemployment. Trump didn't save every job at the plant, and some people will still be laid off, but this is a success, and it's a yuge step in the right direction.
After much deliberation, I've decided that Tengu House will NOT receive a name change after all. I originally considered changing the name of my oldest blog because, although when I'd chosen the name in the first place, it was completely virgin and unused, several other entities later adopted the name for their own establishments or whatever. I don't mean to imply that they got the name from my blog - quite the contrary, there's little evidence that ANYONE reads this. But, after a great deal of soul-searching, meditation and mindfulness exercises, I've come to the conclusion that anyone who doesn't like the name can go fuck themselves.
I chose Tengu House because a Tengu is a character in Japanese lore, a yamabushi - a wandering warrior, a mendicant fighting his way through a difficult life in the mountains. Sometimes described as half man and half bird, the Tengu remained unseen and taught secret martial arts to the Ninja.
Happy birthday to the United States Marines! From the Halls of Montezuma to the shit hole of Fallujah and beyond into the future. I've always admired the USMC, ever since I was little shit and my uncle (a much bigger shit) was both a career Marine and my hero. When it was my turn to enlist, I joined the Army (the Marines didn't have a Ranger Regiment), and I never regretted that decision. But I still have an admiration for the Marine Corps and its traditions.
One thing I learned during my service: The Air Force has its technology and its ability to control the skies; The Navy has its ships and the ability to project its force around the world by sea. If you're in the Army, you have your unit, like the Ranger Regiment or the 501st PIR, the 82nd Airborne Division or whatever your unit is (if you're in some pogue ass unit, then you have your ETS to look forward to). But the Marines have their Corps, which is something the rest of us never had. Marines are truly a cohesive group, and that cohesion lasts for life - not just words, not just a group of friends for a few years after they get out.
I've always admired the Marines, even though it is my solemn duty to make fun of them when I can. So tonight I'll lift whatever I'm drinking to the United States Marine Corps and their 241 years of faithful service to the Republic.
If you're just joining us, welcome to the Trump era. The next four years, assuming he makes it that far, will either be a soaring triumph for the American People, or a boon for late-night comedians. There are some very good things about Trump's election and some very bad things.
One good thing is that this effectively retires Hillary Clinton from public life. Bye, Felicia.
Another good thing is that, with the White House and both houses of Congress in Republican hands, Obamacare would be shaking in its boots right now. You know, if it was a person and had boots. This little experiment in the new American socialism was a clusterfuck from day one, and the American People desperately need to be free of it.
The Second Amendment - a cause near and dear to me, and to millions of other Americans - is safe for a while. That is, unless you live in the Peoples Republic of California, where they just voted to impose background checks to buy ammo.
Trump's victory also means that the anticipated gun rush we all thought would accompany Clinton's win isn't going to happen. Many gun stores around the US stocked up on product in anticipation of this event, and now are holding MASSIVE gun sales. Ammo prices are expected to drop for a while.
There are other good points, but I'm still too groggy to remember them. Some of the bad points are:
The next President of the United States is a man who routinely brags about groping women against their will, then calls it "locker room talk". He refers to women as "a six, at best" or "a two."
I'm guessing that some entity somewhere has already begun looking into ways to build the Berlin Wall on our southern border, even though they have both ladders and shovels in Mexico, most illegal immigration occurs by air, and right now more people are leaving the US than entering it illegally.
The entire First Family have the personalities of villains from Gotham. Eric and Donald Jr. remind me of Uday and Qusay, and we're about a have a Ukrainian underwear model for a First Lady. Classy.
Anything that happens in the political life of the United States that makes the Russians happy is a bad thing, and our next president has already been caught lying about his relationship with Putin. This area of our foreign policy may become very scary at some point in the next four years.
The worst part of all of this, in my mind, is that we have just elected a man who obviously has no regard for the truth, and whose stories and lies shift regularly, depending on his mood. He was both for and against the war in Iraq, believes global warming is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese (but doesn't), accused the first African American President of the United States of being an illegal alien (but that was all Hillary), accused Ted Cruz's father of involvement in the JFK assassination (but didn't), and the list is quite literally several hundred items long.
Wherever you stand on political issues in America, the Trump era is going to be an interesting time.
"An elderly man was trying to find a place to sit and observe the Olympic Games, as he went to each section. All the other Greeks laughed as he tried to make his way through. Some ignored him. Upon
entering the Spartan section all the Spartans stood and offered the elderly man their seats. Suddenly the entire stadium applauded. All the Greeks knew what was the right thing to do, but the Spartans were the only ones who did it."
Xenophon 427-355 BC
Son of Gryllus, disciple of Socrates
Tengu House will be changing its name soon. As I become more interested in posting again, I find that some people feel it's confusing, because Tengu House is also a restaurant and a dojo and an acupuncture spa. I chose the name originally because I couldn't imagine anyone else using it, but I was wrong. Also, today's Tengu House blog is far less concerned with Asian philosophy and Asian religion than it was fifteen years ago. It's time for a change. I'll be working on a new name this week, and will probably post the new name over the weekend.
When I think about DLI (Defense Language Institute, the US Army's language school), it's hard to believe that was over 20 years ago. I have almost no concept of what that means. Some people have lived their whole lives in that time. I was at DLI when the Murrah Building was bombed in Oklahoma City. I was at DLI when Kurt Cobain died, and I'd just left DLI when OJ was acquitted of murdering his wife.
Let me take a moment to turn you on to the BEST THING about spending a year and a half at Monterey, studying at DLI: The Paprika Cafe. Seriously, I'd make the trip right now if I could.
When I was there, it was called Tabouli's. You can find it on Lighthouse Avenue on your way to Pacific Grove. Go in and see Khristoff and indulge yourself in genuine Lebanese hummos and shawarma Bakr with Turkish coffee and a Lebanese mango juice. We used to go every Thursday.
There's so much about this election that I just can't understand. In fact, I have trouble finding anything that makes any sense. This must be what happens when you ask an orange man a question, and the orange man replies with mind-boggling nonsense.
How does someone become a billionaire without being able to form a complete sentence? He repeats his original point, which is full of run-on sentences and sentence fragments, cobbled together to form something somewhere close to a cohesive thought, and then says, "Excuse me, excuse me," and then re-repeats his original point. It's as if he never fully learned his talking points, and is trying to remember them in tiny little bits throughout the interview, and then spews them out like half-eaten Cheerios as they occur to him.
I get that people want change. I want change too. But this guy? How is this guy what you want to run this country? This idiot who can't even express himself effectively, spends half his time refuting other things he's said, and thinks he knows more about military tactics than the generals at the War College (the founders of American military doctrine)? You want THIS GUY to be PRESIDENT?! Did you see how he scoffed at the War College?
Of course, the standard answers will be: He was taken out of context, the election is rigged, the "mainstream media" is against him, he never said that, that's not what he meant, it's blown out of proportion, or "I guess you support Hillary, then."
But just watch the video, all the way through, if you can, and tell me if, deep down inside, you REALLY like this guy, or it you're only voting for him because of the alternative.