Taxation without Realization

If you've read my blog in the past, then I am sure you're aware that I have no problems speaking my mind about any number of disparate subjects. Although, in the interests of full transparency, I have shown far more restraint than most people would assume. Nevertheless, I am occasionally obliged to say something when I think that a particular issue warrants my unsolicited opinion, which leads me to today's topic of discussion: taxes.

Throughout my life, I have seen hundreds of people display a general ignorance when it comes to paying taxes. To be clear, no one wants to pay taxes, and many people tend to complain incessantly about paying taxes. However, most of their arguments demonstrate a complete failure to understand why taxes are a necessary evil. With that in mind, when I saw the following image turn up in my news feed on social media, I couldn't help but think, "What a stupid thing to say."

Why Am I Paying Taxes

Wage taxes - both state and federal - are collected to pay for police services, fire departments, road construction and repairs, traffic lights, national and state parks, public health, military defense, and thousands of other necessary services that keep our society safe and protected. However, I freely admit that there are thousands of useless projects and salaries for useless public servants what we shouldn't be paying for, but I'll come back to that in a minute.

Nevertheless, the taxes to pay for all these public services and infrastructure costs are withheld from every paycheck in order to avoid forcing taxpayers to pay a lump sum in taxes at the end of every year. With that in mind, think of taxation on wages as a type of payment plan. However, if a taxpayer hasn't set up their withholding correctly, then they might wind up paying additional taxes during tax season to make up the difference between what they should have paid and what was withheld, or taxpayers might receive a refund if they have overpaid in their withholding.

Taxes on purchases are a somewhat ingenious/infamous concept that forces wealthier taxpayers to pay far more than those who earn less, because higher wage earners tend to spend more on unnecessary purchases, which increases the amount of taxes that they pay. Sales tax on property purchases follow suit, though there are additional property taxes that residents are required to pay after they've purchased their property, which are ostensibly used to provide services at the community level (e.g. local police, fire, etc.).

To summarize my feedback thus far: everything that is addressed in that meme illustrates the way that governments work around the globe - there are services that are needed to keep people safe and commerce flowing, and taxes provide for those services. If we briefly set aside the concepts of useless projects and useless public servants for a moment, objecting to the basic concept of taxation is akin to claiming that you can provide your own protection from crime, fire, invasion, disease, etc., while also creating your own means of transportation (e.g. building your own roads). At the end of the day, any notion of doing away with taxes is beyond ludicrous. You might as well wish for anarchy, which leads almost immediately to being conquered by another country that developed its superior military forces through... taxes.

All that being said, there are several things about taxes that I find equally ludicrous.

I have already mentioned thousands of useless projects and salaries for useless public servants what we shouldn't be paying for, and better public transparency from our government would help take care of that. However, better public transparency isn't in the best interests of the useless public servants that are wasting money, so the useless public servants tend to hide their useless expenditures from the public, and our only recourse is to vote those people out of office when they are discovered.

Unfortunately, as the saying goes, "It is difficult to free people from the chains they revere," and as we have seen in states like California, some useless public servants continue to spend themselves past bankruptcy by continuously adding unnecessary services and appointing unnecessary people to govern them, and yet their gullible constituents continue to vote these useless public servants into office year after year. Although as we have seen recently, residents of California have slowly awakened to the fact that their useless public servants have created an untenable "tax and spend" society, and hundreds of thousands of California's former residents have fled the state. However, as these California expats have begun to settle in states that have historically been more fiscally sound, these domestic political refugees are demonstrating their continued ignorance by voting in the same sorts of useless public servants that they were fleeing in their home states, and thereby destroying the rest of the country with the same level of apathetic stupidity that destroyed their previous locales.

Having said all of that, another form of taxation that I find morally reprehensible is taxes on Social Security. Wage earners have been forced to pay a lifetime's worth of income that has already been taxed into the Social Security program, on which they earn a pittance of interest for their involuntary participation; then insult is added to injury when their meager returns are taxed yet again. This is grossly insulting to everyone who is required to participate in Social Security.

The last form of taxation that I think is brainless beyond measure is paying taxes on military wages. Taxpayers are paying the costs for national defense, so the requirement for military personnel to pay taxes to themselves is just plain stupid. I think it would be a great incentive for military recruitment if military wages were tax free. Many enlisted personnel are earning far below the federal poverty line anyway, and I think that removing taxes from their wages would be extremely beneficial to them.

In closing, any general objections to paying taxes are ridiculous, and they typically do little more than to illustrate that the person who is complaining about taxes doesn't understand how to govern anything more than themselves. (Although I have known more than my fair share of people who objected to taxes that were incapable of balancing their checkbooks, but I digress.) Taxes are essential for the common good, and someone who fails to understand that simple concept should take a few basic economics courses.

At the end of the day, as the old saying goes, "Only two things in life are certain: death and taxes."

Unsolicited Thoughts about Tim Henson's New Guitar

I like the band Polyphia, and their piece "G.O.A.T" is nothing short of brilliant. I was completely blown away by that song when I first heard it a couple years ago. (And I loved Rick Beato's break down on that piece, but then I'm a huge fan of Rick Beato anyway.)

One of Polyphia's guitarists, Tim Henson, does some amazing things technically and musically that I've never heard before and never personally considered when playing the guitar. I have mentioned in other musings that I rate musicians on the TOAD scale, where TOAD is Talent, Originality, Affect, and Durability. Watching Henson play guitar, it's abundantly clear that he has Talent and Originality oozing out of every pore. While his Affect on other players remains to be seen, I think that Durability within the industry is quite likely.

With that in mind, I was interested when some of the musicians that I know posted a video from Henson that was titled "Playing my new guitar." Several people made comparisons to Jimi Hendrix, which I assumed was due to Henson's arsenal of innovative techniques. Without forcing you to suffer through more of my descriptive rhetoric, here is the video in question.

Regardless of my feelings for Polyphia, my final opinion for Henson's "playing my new guitar" video was... yawn. Don't get me wrong - for the first 30 seconds or so I was amazed, as I was the first time that I heard Polyphia. But let's be honest - after the first minute of Henson's "new guitar" video, you've heard pretty much everything you're going to hear. The rest of it is just the same thing, over and over, ad nauseum.

Yes - Henson's technique is amazing. Yes - his chops are off the map. And yes - I'm a guitar player who can't play what he plays, but to be clear - my comments are not coming from a position of "I can't do that so I'm just lashing out." On the contrary, Henson's "new guitar" video is almost nine minutes of unstructured, semi-repetitive guitar ramblings that wears itself out long before the conclusion of video.

In a way, Henson's video reminded me of why I dislike a lot of Yngwie Malmsteen's playing. Oh sure, Yngwie is one of the fastest guitar players alive, but that's precisely his problem - eventually an overabundance of self-aggrandizing displays of technical wizardry begin to devolve into a murky sludgefest of technically proficient ear slime. In that sense, I don't like some people's comparisons of Henson to Hendrix, because Hendrix wasn't just an innovator - he was a songwriter. (Though Hendrix often descended into his own pools of ear slime, too.) Henson's video, on the other hand, falls far short of "songwriting"; after the first few minutes, it starts to sound like... noise.

While I realize that art is always in the eye (or ear) of the beholder, in my opinion there's more to music than nine chaotic minutes of slapping the crap out of a guitar. To be clear, I listen to a lot of music that's all over the place from a structure point of view, but there should be SOME sense of where a piece going. And if there's no direction, then a piece has to evolve. I've seen Eddie Van Halen perform a 12-minute solo, and it was entertaining for every minute of it - because Eddie moved on from idea to idea.

Think of Jazz for a moment. I've heard some phenomenal Jazz soloists take off on tangents of technical brilliance that filled long passages of time, but those soloists are usually backed by something underneath that gives it meaning - and quite often one soloist passes off to another, but the underlying essence is there, however veiled it may be. As an example, consider Al Di Meola's "Mediterranean Sundance"; there are technical chops to spare, plenty of guitars getting slapped around, and no shortage of chaos when necessary. However, there's far more to see and hear than what you'll see in Henson's video.

Taking this discussion closer to Henson's "new guitar" video, I've gone to see some brilliant fingerstyle guitar players, and Leo Kottke initially comes to mind. I often think there's something wrong with the way Kottke thinks, because his pieces are underscored by a tumultuous maelstrom of mismatched time and key signatures with brilliant displays of technical prowess soaring over top. For that matter, I would find Antoine Dufour's "Déjà Vu" from several years ago or Andy McKee's "Drifting" from 15 years ago far more entertaining than Henson's video; both of those guitarists were using a lot of the same skills and ideas that Henson was manifesting, without managing to get on my nerves or bore me to tears.

So my apologies to my friends who posted the link to Henson's "playing my new guitar video" - I certainly didn't mean to rain on their parade. But Henson's video reminds me of what a music critic once said was wrong with Emerson, Lake and Palmer when they entered the studio: they desperately needed someone else to tell them when enough was enough. If Henson trimmed his "my new guitar" down to 60 seconds and dropped an intro & outro on it, I'd have been far more impressed.


PS - My sincere apologies to Tim Henson. If you ever read this, I still think you're great - even though I didn't like your "new guitar" video.

The Unfortunate Demise of the Basic Training Shark Attack

Earlier today, one of my fellow veterans shared the following video from Business Insider about the United States Army Infantry School’s decision to no longer conduct the unofficial ritual known as the Shark Attack during basic training. By way of definition, the Shark Attack has traditionally been the first experience that new recruits have in Basic Training, when Drill Sergeants descend on raw recruits and scream at them until they begin to understand who’s in charge.

 

Despite CSM Fortenberry’s comments in that video, the Shark Attack totally has it's place in today's Army, and the idiots who don't think so are... well, IDIOTS. The purpose of the Shark Attack is to mentally separate recruits from civilian life, and nothing does that better than having a Drill Sergeant screaming in your face. The Shark Attack also instills a sense of fear at the outset of training, which is absolutely necessary for some new recruits to create a foundation for discipline where they'll listen to their Drill Sergeant’s orders for the rest of their training. If you take away the Shark Attack, you take away one of the best tools for teaching recruits that their lives – as they knew them – are over. (For the next few weeks, anyway.)

Personally, I hate, hate, HATE the "kindler, gentler Army" approach that today's military leaders are trying to create. Combat is neither "kind" nor "gentle," and taking away the rough edges from military training creates soldiers who are ill-equipped to deal with the mental pressures that soldiers will experience after they leave training. It doesn’t matter if new recruits are volunteers or draftees – soldiers need to be tough enough to endure the rigors of combat life, and the Army is doing their soldiers a great injustice if they fail to prepare recruits for their new lives.

Quite frankly, this entire discussion is just one of many ways where the people who are "in charge" of the Army simply do not "get it" with regard to how the actual day-to-day business of the military is conducted.

I'm so glad I got out before this toxic cancer of stupidity infected the Army.

It Was the Most Something on Record

Science tells us that planet Earth is approximately 4,568,200,000 years old. Science also tells us that the fossil record shows that Earth goes through massive heat and cold fluctuations, which are often several magnitudes greater than what the doomsday prophets are predicting if CO2 levels skyrocket and everything falls apart. Science also tells us that we've only been making semi-accurate readings of the Earth's temperature and other weather-related information for the past 1½ centuries, which is a mere 0.000003% of the Earth's age. That is why climate alarmists like to use phrases like "This was the coldest/warmest year on record," which is designed to sound scary, but any single year only represents a period that is 0.00000002% of global history. In other words, whenever someone says "This was the coldest/warmest year on record," they are deliberately misleading you with junk science, because the "record" is little more than a statistical blip that is re-interpreted when necessary to back up a pre-existing point of view and to manipulate public opinion. (e.g. "Numbers never lie, but liars always use numbers.")

Science also tells us that it is incapable of predicting weather patterns, which is why scientists here in Arizona couldn't tell us if we would have a Monsoon season last year (which we didn't), or if we would have a Monsoon season this year (which we did), or if we will have a Monsoon season next year (which is anybody's guess). In other words, most scientists - despite their years of study and academic accolades - are admittedly making nothing but educated guesses, and the only solid FACTS that we have are: the Earth is warming, as it has done in the past, and it will do in the future. After which the Earth will cool, as it has done in the past, and it will do in the future.

However, there is one additional point that I would like to make: I do not care whether climate change is real. From my perspective, someone would have to be a card-carrying idiot to disbelieve that humanity is leaving an indelible mark on the planet. There are currently 7 billion people on the planet, and we are consuming the Earth's resources faster than renewables can keep up, and that says nothing about the resources that are not renewable. Every day humanity discards millions of tons of garbage, pours millions of gallons of toxic filth into our water sources, and belches millions of pounds of toxic filth into the atmosphere. In short, we are killing the planet.

Let's say for the sake of argument that man-made climate change is real. In the grander scheme of things, it doesn't matter, because the planet is amazingly resilient and the climate will eventually bounce back from humanity's many transgressions. Our planet has survived asteroid impacts, global ice ages, super volcanoes, and mass extinctions. What we humans do or not do now is going to have little to no impact on where the Earth's temperature will be measured a century from now, and to disagree with that reality is pure folly.

However, there are regions of this planet that have already been rendered so toxic that life will NEVER grow there again, and there are several places where spending more than a few minutes in close proximity is fatal to anything that lives. With that in mind, climate change isn't the problem - pollution is. The earth can sustain a CO2 spike and a few extra degrees on the thermometer, but it CANNOT survive humanity poisoning everything out of existence.

Lester Holt is a Pompous Windbag with Delusions of Grandeur

As the title of this blog should indicate, I am no fan of Lester Holt, who has been the news anchor for NBC Nightly News and Dateline NBC for many years. However, recent events have reinforced my low opinion of him, and I would like to take this opportunity to elaborate on that subject.

Holt was recently presented with the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication Lifetime Achievement Award, and during the presentation ceremony Hold gave a keynote address that has raised a number of eyebrows across the globe. The reason why so many people took offense to Holt's comments were that he made it clear that he believes fairness in journalism isn't necessary, and how self-important he views himself, and what self-appointed role he believes he holds within our society.

I will include a rather lengthy quote from Holt's self-aggrandizing manifesto at the awards ceremony, but I want you to pay special attention to a few of the things that he is saying.

First of all, under the guise of separating 'truth' from 'misinformation,' Holt is giving himself unrestricted power to determine - by himself - what constitutes a 'fact,' and thereby granting himself the power to be as biased and subjective as he sees fit, instead of simply providing information to the public and letting the people choose for themselves what is newsworthy. Journalism is supposed to be unbiased and objective, which is the definition of 'fairness,' but Holt obviously doesn't see things that way; he believes that he is the arbiter of truth, and he has the power to withhold anything with which he disagrees. However, Holt isn't content with simply providing himself with tendentious superpowers, he takes one step further to insult his journalistic peers, whom Holt clearly views as far beneath him.

In other words, Holt sits in his ivory tower of voluminous wisdom that the ignorant masses and his foolish journalistic competitors do not possess, and he only reports on those things that his vastly superior intellect deems worthy of his merit.

Before I present Holt's comments, I should make one last thing very clear: when Holt refers to journalism as the "Fourth Estate," that is a concept that traces its roots back to the time before the French Revolution, when political power was shared between the "Three Estates" of the clergy, the nobility, and the commoners. When Holt uses the term the "Fourth Estate," make no mistake - he is stating unequivocally that he believes that the news media deserves a seat at the table of power to make political decisions; and THAT statement should scare everyone.

And with that, the following excerpt is Lester Holt in all of his raw, unbridled hubris. The text is from https://youtu.be/AWIbAKI9PSA?t=1067, which is several minutes into Holt's speech, but it contains the sections that reveal how he views himself as a journalist. That being said, I will include a link to the full speech below this quote.

"The democratization of journalism, made possible by smartphones and the internet, has opened a whole new hyperspeed network of raw and often unfiltered information.

In the meantime, traditional journalists spent the last four years being labeled 'enemies of the people,' blasted from the world's biggest megaphone. And it didn't come without a price. It's hurt the standing of journalism, and allowed misinformation, some of it dangerous, to gain critical mass. And it forced us down a path towards what at times was a toxic relationship between the executive branch and the fourth estate. That's not a healthy place for any of us.

The media's reliance on truth and facts was turned upside down and weaponized as evidence of lies. The more we try to separate fact from fiction, the easier it became to label us as partisan tools.

'Dog bites man' is not a story. It's common, happens all the time. But 'man bites dog' gets your attention, right? We don't see that, so it's news. Safe to say, we chased a lot of those stories the last several years, things we'd never seen before. Now, whether they were good or bad is irrelevant, but we couldn't look away because they were new and different and had to be reported.

I'm asked a lot now how the news media recovers from the damage. Let me first say the damage only goes so deep, as millions and millions of Americans still turn to news organizations - like mine - for trusted information. The unprecedented attacks on the press in this period I'm sure we'll fill plenty of books and be studied in classrooms, maybe even here. But I have a few early observations I'll share about where this moment brings us and what we can learn.

Number one is: I think it's become clear that 'fairness' is overrated. Whoa, before you run off and tweet that headline, let me explain a bit.

The idea that we should always give two sides equal weight and merit does not reflect the world we find ourselves in. That the sun sets in the west is a fact. Any contrary view does not deserve our time or attention. Now I know recent events assure that you won't have to look far to find more current and relevant examples; I think you get my point.

Decisions to not give unsupported arguments equal time are not a dereliction of journalistic responsibility or some kind of an agenda. In fact, it's just the opposite. Providing an open platform for misinformation, for anyone to come say whatever they want, especially when issues of public health and safety are at stake, can be quite dangerous.

Our duty is to be fair to the truth. Holding those in power accountable is at the core of our function and responsibility. We need to hear our leaders' views, their policies, and reasoning, it's really important. But we have to stand ready to push back and call out falsehoods.

Now I understand what I just said will only reinforce negative sentiments some hold to journalists. And that leads me to my second point. The need to be 'respected' versus the need to be 'liked.'

Let me be frank. Media companies proudly invest in promoting the quality of their journalism, and rightfully so, but they also invest in the faces of their organizations to help weave a relationship and identity with audiences and readers. While we all like to be liked, we don't let that stand in the way of calling out uncomfortable truths. That we have had to be more direct in our language in recent times only speaks to the volume and gravity of particular statements and claims.

Remember this: fact checking is not a vendetta or attack. We all have a stake in us getting it right.

And lastly, on where we go from here. We will need to take a hard look at our respective lanes and how we make sure we stay between the lines. The TV and media landscape can look very, very much the same. People are who are well-dressed sitting at plexiglass desks against giant video screens with lots of words on them. But the content can be very different.

Opinion oriented cable programming, featuring provocative and often partisan voices, is popular, and it has its place. But it should not be confused with mainstream newscasts, which have their place too. Informed, knowledgeable analysis is not the same as opinion. I think all media could benefit from greater transparency as to who we are and what our chosen lanes are."

The irony of Holt's comments is that he is clearly incapable of realizing that the damage that has been done to public opinion of journalism during recent years has not been the result of insults from the Executive Branch of our government; on the contrary, people distrust journalists for precisely the behavior that Holt is advocating. It is not the role of the press to decide what the people should believe; the press should simply report what happened and relegate their opinions to editorial columns.

Nevertheless, I promised to include the awards ceremony in its entirety, and here is that video.

Guns Don't Kill People, Hollywood Kills People

In the wake of yet another tragic and senseless mass shooting, it is not surprising to see that - once again - the anti-gun crowds are up in arms. (Pun intended.) However, I would like to point out that the problem within our society is not guns, but the glorification of their misuse in popular media (e.g. Hollywood movies, video games, and music videos).

no-guns-allowed

The youth of today are constantly bombarded with the premise that guns are cool or a fast means to an end. Consider movie franchises like The Fast and the Furious, The Matrix, John Wick, Jason Bourne, and Die Hard, or video game franchises like Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty, and Counter-Strike. All of these franchises have depicted graphic violence throughout each series; and more often than not, violent crimes are portrayed favorably.

The ultimate irony is that this same entertainment industry that consistently portrays guns in the worst possible way is populated by people who are the quickest to proclaim that every legal gun owner must give up their guns whenever something bad happens. But it is not the legal gun owners who have caused these societal problems; it is the entertainment industry.

I was raised around guns, and I was taught to respect them and their proper use. I was a safe and skilled rifle shooter as a teenager, and when I joined the military I continued to fire a variety of weapons safely and securely. Throughout my life I have known hundreds of people who obtained and used their weapons lawfully and respectfully. These people should not be punished for legally owning their guns and committing no crimes.

On the contrary, it is Hollywood and the other glorifiers of brutality who are at fault, and not the millions of innocent, law-abiding citizens who own guns. It is the entertainment industry that has created a climate of senseless violence through its never-ending stream of homicidal and bloodthirsty drivel, and they should be held accountable.

All dogs should be on leashes in public places

My older brother posted the following news article from The Guardian in the UK: Freddie the Thames seal put down by vets after dog attack. The article describes the tragic death of a young seal pup that was living along the Thames river in London, and the story was was quickly accompanied by the following update from the Evening Standard: Barrister whose dog mauled Freddie Mercury the seal says she is ‘heartbroken’ over animal’s death.

My brother had accompanied the original article with the statement that the dog should be destroyed and its owner held accountable, and I agree. Dog owners are ultimately responsible for their dog's actions, but I would suggest that there's a bit more to consider here other than mere responsibility. The article in The Guardian only mentions that the dog involved was a "brown cross-breed" mix, and the photos from the article in the Evening Standard clearly show that we're not talking about a Yorkie/Chihuahua mix.

My wife and I were recently involved in helping to end a mauling that was happening in front of our house, where an off-leash Pit Bull attacked an on-leash Goldendoodle. The attack resulted in the Goldendoodle needing 80 stitches to repair the damage, although the Pit Bull would have killed the Goldendoodle if someone else hadn't happened to have a taser that my wife was able to use to get the Pit Bull to release it's grip. However, when the incident was reported to our Homeowners Association (HOA) group, the various owners of Pit Bulls in our neighborhood accused those who reported the attack of "breed shaming," despite the fact that the attack was simply being reported factually; regardless of anyone's personal emotions on the subject, what actually happened was that a Pit Bull attacked Goldendoodle. Breed shaming has nothing to do with it; facts are facts.

I mean no disrespect to people who love certain breeds, but it is a statistical fact that certain breeds are responsible for the majority of attacks and fatalities. The website at https://www.dogsbite.org/ states: "In the 15-year period of 2005 through 2019, canines killed 521 Americans. Pit bulls contributed to 66% (346) of these deaths. Combined, Pit Bulls and Rottweilers contributed to 76% of the total recorded deaths." Despite these numbers, within our neighborhood - where leashes are 100% mandatory - we have a large number of tenants who own "dangerous breeds" that insist on walking their dogs off-leash. Whenever this comes up for discussion within our HOA, these owners' consistent assertions are that their dogs are 'sweethearts' and 'wouldn't hurt a fly.' I am sure that the owner of the Pit Bull that I personally witnessed mauling the Goldendoodle thought the same thing, too. In the end, their protestations sound more and more like the interviews you hear with family members and neighbors of serial killers; e.g. "He was always such a nice, quiet boy."

The point that I would like to make from all of this information is: all dogs should ALWAYS be kept on leashes in public, unless they are within a fenced-in, off-leash dog park. Leashes on private property are up to the owner's discretion, but once any dog leaves private property, they need to be on a leash 100% of the time, and thereby under the control of their owner. My wife and I own a Goldendoodle who is a trained and certified therapy dog that is allowed in hospitals to work with patients, and while I know that she is the calmest dog you could ever meet, I still have her on a leash EVERY TIME we walk in public.

At the end of the day, I do not care how 'sweet' or 'harmless' someone thinks their dog is, or how well they think they have trained their dog; once they enter any public setting, their dog needs to be on a leash. Bringing this full circle, I am certain that if the dog involved in the attack on the Thames seal had been on a leash, the fatal mauling would never have occurred.

🐶

Imagine there's no Lennon

I often see people quoting John Lennon's song "Imagine," but I have often wondered - have any of these people really listened to the lyrics to that song? Because it probably represents a worldview that they do not agree with.

Let me explain...

VERSE 1 LYRICS:

Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today

VERSE 1 MEANING:

When Lennon says, "Imagine there's no heaven," he is pushing for the abolition of religion because he was an outspoken atheist and HATED the church. He was infamous for pelting nuns in NYC with water balloons fashioned from condoms and preaching that he was more popular than Jesus.

When Lennon says, "No hell below us," he is dreaming of a life where he can do whatever he wants with no repercussions; e.g. there is no concept of "sin," which he reinforces by saying, "Imagine all the people living for today." This describes Lennon's life as a drug and alcohol addict who routinely cheated on his wife and ignored his children. The definition of hedonism is living for today, and Lennon lived in that mindset, regardless of who suffered for his selfishness.

VERSE 2 LYRICS:

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace

VERSE 2 MEANING:

There are a few things to consider here:

First of all, it's easy for Lennon to imagine what life would be like if all of the borders suddenly ceased to exist because he lived in a life of luxury surrounded by opulent wealth for which he didn't really have to work. Don't get me wrong, the Beatles were amazing songwriters, but still - consult the lyrics to the song "Money for Nothing" by Dire Straits to see what I mean.

Jumping past that, Lennon reiterates his call for the abolition of religion, which I am sure most of the world would disagree with.

Last, Lennon advocates for peace, but it's probably not your definition of "peace." Throughout his life Lennon shared his views on peace, which isn't just the absence of war, but a continuation of his hedonistic mindset; he wants everyone do lay down their arms and then live for themselves, which is selfish and immature, but that is who Lennon was. (For more on Lennon's warped views of peace, see my "Peace Sells, But Who's Buying?" blog.)

VERSE 3 LYRICS:

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people sharing all the world

VERSE 3 MEANING:

Once again, this is one of those verses that sounds palatable, until you examine Lennon's personal life. As I said earlier, it's easy for someone surrounded by opulent wealth to wax poetic about what a glorious world it would be if everyone shared everything, because he can afford to buy whatever he wants. If Lennon had set an example of philanthropic endeavors during his lifetime for others to emulate, then perhaps I would give him a little credit here, but he didn't; Lennon was a boorish, womanizing, selfish, drug addict.

That being said, Lennon was a Marxist, and Communism has demonstrated time and again that a society cannot share everything; it just doesn't work, because people are greedy at heart. There is no way that everyone on the planet can share everything because sooner or later someone will want something that someone else has, and then they'll fight. That is inevitable, and Lennon practiced this type of covetousness all the time by sleeping with whomever he pleased - even if it was other people's wives. What's more, Lennon was awful to his own family members; he couldn't even share with them, much less the rest of the world.

CHORUS LYRICS:

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope some day you'll join us
And the world will be as one

CHORUS MEANING:

So what is Lennon asking you to join? In no uncertain terms, Lennon is asking you to join a cult. His cult. In Lennon's cult of hedonism, everyone lives for themselves, religion is illegal, and he can continue to do whatever he wants and have whatever he wants while everyone else is forced to live by his standards and share everything that they worked hard to earn. While Lennon uses flowery words like "peace" and "brotherhood," make no mistake - Lennon's view of utopia is a heaven on earth for him that would be a living hell on earth for everyone else.

At the end of the day, John Lennon was a deeply flawed and selfish individual who should not be emulated. In his Magnum Opus, "Imagine," Lennon is not really advocating for "peace" or "brotherhood" or any of the other noble ideals that people so often ascribe to him. Instead, Lennon is advocating for everyone on the planet to be just like him; to fill their lives with self-indulgent excesses and to ignore any possible ramifications from their bad lifestyle choices. The people who have followed Lennon's example have helped proliferate decades of drug and alcohol abuse, leaving broken families with emotionally damaged children, and lead to the astronomical rise in STDs and AIDs. All of this is probably why "Imagine" is so popular with Hollywood elites who consistently follow Lennon's example of living for themselves. Nevertheless, neither Lennon nor "Imagine" should be admired; it is a terrible song from a terrible person about a terrible world that was crushed and rebuilt according to Lennon's terrible worldview. I cannot imagine anything worse.

Arnold's Opinions are Terminated

I have mentioned in multiple places that the people who physically attacked our nation's Capitol this week were traitors and they need to be prosecuted as such. However, I would like to say a few words with regard to Mr. Schwarzenegger's comments in the following video.

There is a modern concept called Godwin's Law, which is generally defined as: "the longer that an Internet discussion continues, the probability of a comparison to Hitler or the Nazis increases proportionately." As soon as this comparison happens in most discussions, the person who makes the comparison is usually regarded as having lost the debate. The primary reason why this is assumed by all participants in the discussion is: if you cannot defend your position without resorting to ridiculous and implausible comparisons, then you're a poor communicator, and everyone SHOULD consider you a loser.

With that in mind, I'd like to state that Mr. Schwarzenegger needs to restudy his history, because his comparison to Kristallnacht was grossly inaccurate and utterly preposterous. For those who are unaware, Kristallnacht was the far-reaching destruction of thousands of Jewish businesses across Germany, resulting in the kidnapping of tens of thousands of Jews who were deported to concentration camps. Whereas during this week's traitorous activities, no one was carted off to concentration camps. No one lost their families, their livelihoods, or their property.

Please don't misunderstand, the traitors who broke into our Capitol are the wicked scum of the earth, but the events of this week and the events of Kristallnacht are so far apart that their comparison is beyond ludicrous. The actions of this week's traitors were shameful, but so were Mr. Schwarzenegger's comparisons to the Nazis. Therefore, in keeping with Godwin's Law, Mr. Schwarzenegger loses this debate.

Mr. Schwarzenegger may be correct in his assessment of Trump as a "failed leader," but then again - I seem to recall that Schwarzenegger's tenure as governor ended with him as as a "failed leader." Perhaps it takes one to know one, but either way - I'll end with this: Go home, Arnold. Your relevance in public politics is over.

An Open Letter to President Trump

Starting from one month before the election, I had made a personal vow to abstain from weighing in on the election - regardless of the outcome. Oh sure, I took potshots and anti-maskers and COVID-deniers, but for the most part I tried to say nothing about the actual election. However, in light of the anarchy that took place today in Washington DC, I think it's time to break my silence. And with that in mind, here goes:

 

Dear President Trump,

It's time for you to go. There was an election - and you lost. You filed protests - and you lost. You were given your days in court - and you lost.

You were given every opportunity to present concrete evidence to back your claims that the election was a fraud - and you have failed to do so.

You have spent several weeks fanning the flames of conspiracy theories that have ALL been debunked by multiple sources from both sides of the aisle, and now your reckless hubris has embarrassed our nation and endangered the lives of thousands of its citizens.

And so, I say again - just go.

It's over. You lost.

Please pull your head out of wherever it's been buried these past few weeks and go. And go quickly, before anyone else gets hurt.

 

Sincerely,

An American Veteran who solemnly swore to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, both foreign and domestic.

 

 


NOTE: This post is largely based off of a message that I had posted on social media, to which I had attached the following image, which seemed apropos at the time.

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