The Dangers of Subversive Propoganda from… Disney Movies?

I have a daughter who is now eight years old. Given that I have an inherent bias, just going by the endless and consistent comments from when she was just a baby, she is a beautiful  Young girl and always has been.  Like most girls, she fell in love with the Disney princesses and very quickly had all of them at both her mom’s and my house, along with the requisite Disney castles.  We have enjoyed them all, with her naturally having favorites, but she really did like Disney’s Mulan movie.  She didn’t seem to like to play with the Mulan doll as much as Arial or Cinderella, but there’s no doubt she enjoyed the movie. As kids are known to do, she’s watched it many, many times.

But for  current Vice President, Mike Pence, Disney is up to something far more nefarious than just entertaining and highly profitable children sounds. in fact, Disney is subversive Propaganda for your children, says Christian extremist, Mike Pence. He wants to convince you women should not be in the military & that Disney’s “Mulan” is propaganda to teach young girls it’s okay to be in the military. In fact, she can succeed and even achieve glory in battle.

Here is the piece Mr. Pence wrote on the dangers of Disney’s “Mulan.”  I have always been uncomfortable with the impossible physical attributes given to Disney’s female characters. It’s impossible for a woman to have a waist as thin as any of them. If you read the short Op-Ed from Mr. Pence, you will see his interpretation is very different from mine.

As a parent of a daughter just eight years old, who has already made comments about her waist size, which I assure you is anything but perfectly normal,  One has to wonder if she grows out of it or be detrimentally affected by this ‘body image’ issue that girls & women never really escape all her life? Just look at the magazine covers in the checkout line – nearly all unrealistic unless you happen to be a hard-core athlete, work out like a champion, have the right genetics, and/or are extremely cognizant of proper nutrition.

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But with the completely unrealistic body’s on most cartoons and Disney Channel shows with child actors, all of whom seemingly have ultra thin figures, and the dolls themselves especially, it is very easy to see how body image problems develop. These mostly unrealistic figures given to all Disney princesses can be confusing to a young girl and as they grow older.  It would seem natural to ask, why doesn’t my body look like that?

Continue reading The Dangers of Subversive Propoganda from… Disney Movies?

Human Rights v. Human Obligations

Have you ever considered the notion of “human obligations” as a corollary to the term human rights? Not to suggest one is dependent upon the other by I cannot help but wonder how things may be different if certain human obligations were dealt with in the same manner as human rights have historically been addressed. This would obviously require careful monitoring, but imagine if every Citizen was obligated to prove he or she knows the basics of how our government works in order to vote. I know this brings up thoughts of the poll tax or IQ test to those that was only applicable to African-Americans, but this is different. Let’s use the basic civics test we require those attempting to become Naturalized citizens of this country who are naturalized are required to know and .are tested upon. If we require it of those we grant citizenship to, it is not unreasonable to demand that same basic knowledge from our citizens.

How delightful would it be if all those seeking to serve Public Office be required to have a certain level of education, degree, certificate or whatever we decide to call it in Political Science and the Art of Statesmanship & Governing before they are eligible to run for elected office? In fact let’s do the reverse, every person that has completed such training is automatically eligible for election process (if they announce an intention to Run). Wouldn’t provide a basic level of competence. We require training of lawyers, doctors, professors, mechanics, plumbers, electricians, etc. so why not those in charge of our own government?

Once they have successfully completed the appropriate education from an accredited Political Science department (like accredited law schools), all they need do is announce their candidacy for lower office. And then they must first have held a lower office and demonstrated an ability to fulfill those duties that in a way that warrants their eligibility for higher office. These need not even alter the existing constitutional age requirements for the certain offices in Congress & the presidency.

Is it mere utopianism to hope for an elected official feels a “Human Obligation” to have in mind the best interests of the People he or she represents? At this stage, it is so blatantly obvious our elected officials no longer even try to hide the fact that they spend up to 70% of the time fund-raising.

The Supreme Court has somehow found it appropriate to give Corporations the same rights that we individuals have in our Constitution. Combined with other case law, they are now permitted to essentially give unlimited funds to campaigns, PACs & SuperPACs with almost no disclosure necessary – at least not before the election in question.

It’s so obviously wrong that there is a significant movement to change the law to undo the damage, which was to essentially put the entire government up for sale to the highest bidder. Between 2010-2012, during which the Supreme Court rendered its controversial Citizens United ruling, spending on campaigns, PACs & SuperPACs increased by something like 1900%. Does anyone in their right mind not believe the donors are expecting ROI – Return on Investment – which is a concept they are very familiar with in business? I certainly hope that level of naïveté does not exist.

I think it may take a constitutional amendment to fully eliminate the blatantly corruptive influence money currently has on our government, which explains why is it: 1) so bitterly divided and vitriolic; and 2) unable to accomplish anything, leading to the lowest approval rating Congress has ever seen.

The lawmakers have benefited so drastically from these rules and we cannot rationally expect they would change those rules themselves. They certainly have not done anything thus far. On the contrary, it’s gotten much worse. If you study campaign contributions, PAC & SuperPAC contributions as well as lobbying activity, Wall Street exceeds the other big players combined.

Which simply means Wall Street owns both parties and why there is currently a strong movement within the Democratic Party to get away from Secretary Clinton’s real & perceived ties to Wall Street and that of her husband. Of course, it was Pres. Bill Clinton that executed the plan to make sure Wall Street knew Democrats were as willing to play ball as the Republicans, as long as they kept the campaign money flowing. And boy did they ever.

It such a dominant influence in current politics that things the American people almost unanimously agree SHOULD get done will not get done. They won’t even come up for a vote because the industry watchdogs Big Corporations have purchased in Congress won’t allow it.

Take the controversial gun issue: over 80% of Americans are in favor of universal background checks for every sale. Though I’m not certain, I believe the statistics for closing the show loophole are similarly overwhelming. But the power of the NRA and the gun lobby is immense & they OWNER the GOP.

Let’s investigate how much money the industry has made under the current president because of the constant NRA campaign of lies like, they’re (Obama, Harry Reid, pelvis);; literally coming for your guns and they’re going to imprison you in FEMA Camps”. It might make for interesting fiction if a majority of Americans didn’t believe it to be so. You may recall the proposed invasion of the state of Texas under the guise of “wargames” that was supposedly leaked by the military or something of that nature – and, of course, didn’t happen. I still see people saying Pres. Obama has time and will declare martial law, confiscate all weapons and retain power.

Then again, there are those that will argue till they’re blue in the face with as much passion as if they were fighting for civil rights that there is all a massive conspiracy to cover up the fact that the world is flat. Even though it’s mathematically impossible as the extra gravity accumulated the closer you came to the “edge” of the earth would be something like 9G’s. The Internet is an amazing and wonderful place but it’s also given something to do to those people who have that little bit of knowledge we all know can be a dangerous thing. And now with the technology they can organize, groupthink sets in, and suddenly we have militias and the most creative conspiracy theories one can consider.

This stemmed from an interesting thought that occurred to me when I ran across this quote from Alexander Solzhenitsyn:

“It is time in the West’s to defend not so much human rights as human obligations.”

Now I acknowledge having no idea the context in which the quote was made. He may have been referring to obligations as burdensome while I’m looking at them as a way to force citizens to realize the government isn’t here just to protect your freedom and allow you to take, take, and take. This is what happened with the fossil fuels industry for the last 200 years.

Think about this way: you find something in the ground that doesn’t belong to you, but that you essentially pay the government for the rights to steal from the ground – from the ground owned by “The People”. And they pay absolutely nothing for the right to exploit the resources of our, which we know it took millions of years to get there.

First of all, this exploitation of resources removes any doubt as to why fossil fuel companies have been among the most profitable the world has ever seen. Look at the business model! They get to extract as much of the resources mother Earth created over millions of years at virtually ZERO COST, and turn around and profit on it as if they created the chemical in their own laboratories and obtained the requisite patent. If that were the case, they have the right to have all of the profits (that’s the model of the pharmaceutical of big Pharma which is for another subject), but these guys take from the earth. Worse, what they take, and take and take from the earth has already done a great deal of damage in terms of the climate, and some will argue we are already too late without immediate & drastic measures that the fossil fuel industry will certainly oppose.

It’s happening right before our eyes as the developing countries (China, India & Brazil, etc.) are now fully developed and they unanimously realize how serious a threat climate change truly is. Of course they have no insane political party made up of politicians paid to deny the unambiguous science as we have here. Thankfully b/c it allowed them to take the bold steps (though not enough) that they took at the Paris Climate Agreement. The party that denies the science, also denies its beloved war making machine that has identified to climate change as a global threat. A real & true threat – a clearly defined strategic threat to the security of the United States of America. Despite this, half of our government refuses to even acknowledge it exists because they are so beholden to the Fossil fuel industry. They will protect that industry regardless of the cost to the American people and the environment we live in.

As I’ve said many times, the choice is ours. The only way in which we can exercise that choice is basically which party we vote for given the limited choice we really have. As always, would love to hear your thoughts, reactions or impressions.

Thanks and have a great day!

Do you think often enough? Plato wants to know.

Throughout Plato’s writings, often misinterpreted as the sayings of Socrates because, especially in the early dialogues, Plato used Socrates as his voice in the majority of the Platonic Dialogues. For the purpose of this post, I’ll refer to Plato because he was the author of Socrates’ words. Of course, it is well known that these Dialogues were written long after the actual conversation, or dialogue, actually occurred. It seems logical to conclude that they constitute Plato’s best use of the actual conversation he recalls to convey the desired philosophical message or lesson.

Think More!

One of the first things Plato suggests we do as part of living a good life is to Think More. I find it ironic how we put so much work into preparing for almost everything we do so that we do them well. And that is as it should be. However, perhaps sadly, we rarely devote the time to think about us. Time for thinking about whether our ideas are based on the sound application of reason or whether we simply are “going with the flow.” In this, Plato seems to be referring, if he were writing today, to those things society places in high regard like celebrities or high-profile athletes. Not to suggest these people cannot be excellent role models and there are many, many of them, but there are too many that are not. It may seem as if they represent the majority. It is merely what the mainstream media elects to show us for ratings, though the good examples are far more common.

Get to Know Thyself. How? Subject yourself to critical examination.

Rather than simply going with the flow Plato suggests that we must devote time to KNOW THYSELF. In order to get to know ourselves, as Plato suggests, we must spend time proactively thinking about the decisions we make in our daily lives. This will, dare I say it, require us to unplug and focus on ourselves. Analyze our decisions as one might analyze their big presentation at work. Being happy is more important than any presentation and knowing yourself will actually improve your work, but how many of us spend even a few moments to get to know ourselves? Much less spend the time and effort to do so.

Form the Habit – Make the Effort

If we proactively make the effort to strengthen our self-knowledge we are not easily influenced by what our current culture thrusts upon us, which is so often intended to be sensational and create an emotional pull on us. Rather, we must actually make a decision as an act of your will to stop and subject ourselves and our ideas to a critical self-examination. Of course this can be done with another person, but it is not necessary. We can have a Socratic discussion with ourselves. In order to truly “AND bold know thyself”, we must stop and think more.

No matter how it’s done, the important thing is that it is done. Like anything, to make a real difference and become a part of us we must make it a habit. Actually engage in self-examination to make sure to examine the ideas and ensure sound reasoning is behind the decisions we make; and do so on a consistent basis until you no longer even notice it any longer. Easier said than done, but I shall try and hope you will as well.

Happy thinking…