So I haven’t had much time to post to here and I’m sorry to the small but important readership that I have.  To substitute for musing from my brain about random things I’ll give you musings from my brain on specific things assigned from school.  The following is a report I had to do for my English class, I got and A on the paper, and it talks about the similiarities between our current President and a couple of political theorists. 

The original state of the union speech, by Bush, is found here

Nicolo Machiavelli wrote a influential piece of political theories in The Prince. My essay is based on chapters 15-18 found here.

Garrett Hardin wrote many interesting theories in his lifetime advocating for youthenasia and population control.  My essay addresses this essay.

 I would encourage you to read the above essays and come to your own conclusions, but here are some of mine. 

Old Ideas Renewed, Recent Theories Discarded    

       Political theorists have existed for as long as politics have been part of our everyday life. Some have advocated for more centralized power while others have heralded the advent of power to the people.  One of the better known, and possibly influential, theorists in the last 500 years is Niccolò Machiavelli.  He was a clerk and secretary in Florence in the 15th century and subsequently became infamous for writing The Prince.  This was Machiavelli’s attempt at explaining how a leader of a state, the prince, can and should retain power.  Another influential theorist of our time is Garrett Hardin who is known for his theories on immigration and ecology.  By looking at the State of the Union address for 2006 we can see how our current president has adopted some of Machiavelli’s ideals while rejecting Hardin’s philosophy.  The most noticeable viewpoint that Machiavelli and President Bush share is that of wanting to display a positive appearance.  Machiavelli tells his readers that the ruler of the state “should appear … to be all mercy, all faithfulness, all integrity, all kindness, all religion.” (pg. 254)  Throughout The Prince Machiavelli emphasizes the concept of a leader only needing to worry about how he looks to the people.  George W. Bush borrows heavily from this philosophy throughout his delivery of the State of the Union address.  He begins his speech to the nation by saying that he is “humbled by the privilege” of standing before Congress and delivering his future plans for the country.  This not only ingratiates him to the audience, but also shows his compassion or mercy.  Bush states that representatives from both parties “are working on reforms to strengthen the ethical standards of Washington.”  This statement reassures United States citizens of the integrity of their government.  Bush also displays his kindness by “giving special attention to children” with the Helping America’s Youth Initiative.  Clearly, Bush is following the common theme that can be seen in Machiavelli’s work which is the concept of a leader presenting himself as having “good qualities” to the people of a nation.  

        Another principle that Machiavelli advocates for is the concept of miserliness.  He tells his readers “that it would be good to be considered generous” (pg. 248), but he warns that to be actually generous can be ruinous to a ruler as it can lead to “excessive taxes.”(pg. 248)  He also states that it is more important that a ruler have enough money so that “he can defend himself from anyone who makes war against him.”(pg. 249)  George W. Bush follows this recommendation with his current tax plan.  The President has helped pass a tax relief that “has left $880 billion in the hands of American workers, investors, small businesses, and families.”  By doing this our president shows he is a generous man, and this action also suggests that he is not “overburdening his people” (pg. 249), as Machiavelli suggests, with taxes.  President Bush continues to show his miserliness by not only encouraging Congress to “make the tax cuts permanent”, but also highlighting that if his current tax cuts are passed it “will save the American taxpayers another $14 billion next year.”  Bush is considered “generous” by the people of America because they have more money in their pockets due to the tax cuts even though the country is currently waging a war in Iraq and
Afghanistan.  Once again George W. Bush follows Machiavelli’s ideas almost to the letter by not only having fewer taxes, thus not “overburdening his people” (pg.249), but also at the same time waging war.
 Even though Bush seems to follow Machiavelli’s recommendations as they are explained in The Prince, we can see how he takes Machiavelli’s theory on fear and completely changes it for his political agenda.  In this year’s State of the Union address we are told that the largest threat to freedom is “radical Islam,” and that these fanatics have chosen the “weapon of fear” as their main threat against America.  This tells us not only that we should be in fear, but also who to fear.  Our president goes on to tell us that our enemy is “brutal” and that if we don’t continue to deal with these terrorists they will “simply move the battlefield to our own shores.”  By using this image of war on American soil against a “brutal” enemy we are coaxed into a state of anxiety and fear of having our safe way of life endangered.  This is rather different from Machiavelli’s suggestion of, “A prince must nevertheless make himself feared in such a manner that he will avoid hatred.” (pg. 251)  Machiavelli only imagined that a ruler could have his country in a state of fear caused by the head of state himself; however, in our case the country has been put in a position to fear outside forces and not the head of state.  By having Americans in fear of terrorists President Bush has fulfilled the most important part of Machiavelli’s counsel, “that he avoid hatred.” (pg. 251)  Essentially, Americans do not fear Bush, but the terrorists; furthermore, the President tells us, “[t]he only alternative to American leadership is a dramatically more dangerous and anxious world.”   This leads us to believe that the only person that can protect us from the enemy is the president himself.  Bush is implying that without his leadership America would be besieged by terrorist attacks; this is a terrifying proposition for any citizen of any country.  Bush goes on to create a false sense of protection by implying that “American leadership” is the only way to avoid a “dangerous and anxious world”; therefore, he is the only one able to protect our world from terrorist.  Our president has not only updated Machiavelli’s philosophy but also vastly improved it.           

      While George W. Bush shares many of the same ideals with Machiavelli, the President rejects Hardin’s philosophies.  Hardin is well known for his anti-immigration stance.  In his essay, “Lifeboat Ethics: The Case against Helping the Poor” (pg. 326), Hardin advocates against immigration into America by saying, “the primary selfish interest in unimpeded immigration is the desire of employers for cheap labor, particularly in industries and trades that offer degrading work.” (pg.334)  Hardin is implying new immigrants are not only being exploited by doing “degrading” work, but they are also replacing higher paid workers.  Hardin goes on to quote a Hawaiian government official, “[w]e can bring more people here from Japan only by giving away some of the land we hope to pass on to our grandchildren someday.” (pg. 335)  Hardin insinuates that immigration takes away from current resident’s resources and land, and from future generations.  On the other hand, the President sees immigrants as essential to the economy and our nation as he says, “this economy could not function without them.”  This is a completely different world view than Hardin as it makes immigrants an addition to our society rather than a drain.  Bush sees immigrants as a resource that stimulates and “serves the interest of our economy.”  Bush is at odds with Hardin’s concept of immigration being a drain on America, or a threat to current workers. 

            Another point on which Hardin and Bush disagree is the issue of helping the poor and less fortunate.  The subtitle to Hardin’s essay, “The Case against Helping the Poor” (pg.326), explicitly states Hardin’s view on international aid.   He speaks against the World Food Bank by saying that it subsidizes farmers and food manufacturers.  He also theorizes that by supporting the World Food Bank the richer nations of the world, which America is the richest, are only encouraging “slovenly rulers” (pg. 331) to not prepare for the “infrequent and sudden” (pg.330) emergency.  He goes on to say that if rich nations did not contribute to the World Food Bank the poorer nations would have their populations kept in check from lack of food.  George W. Bush, on the other hand, sees helping the poorer nations as a way of making our nation more secure.  He says, “We show compassion abroad because regions overwhelmed by poverty, corruption, and despair are source of terrorism, and organized crime.”  Our president clearly sees the disadvantages of not helping the poor and underserved.  He is aware that if the United States was to ignore those in need it will only foster resentment and hate toward America.  Hardin completely misses this crucial point.  

      George W. Bush is also at odds with Garrett Hardin on how to deal with the environment and other natural resources.  The President focuses his attention on how the environment can better serve as a resource to keep “America competitive.”  His focus is primarily on developing “cleaner, cheaper, and more reliable alternative energy sources” by giving tax credits and increasing funding to research.  Bush views the environment as a resource to be used, with greater and greater efficiency, by America for economic advancement.  Hardin, in contrast, concentrates on the environment’s abstract values.  He states, “[e]very human born constitutes a draft on all aspects of the environment” (pg. 332) and if population is not controlled Hardin asks, “What about clean beaches, unspoiled forest, and solitude?” (pg. 333)  With this rhetorical question Hardin shows his belief on conserving the environment for the unquantifiable qualities of personal enjoyment and solitude.  Hardin realizes how these qualities can be more valuable to humans than money.  Bush does not call for the conservation of the environment, but rather in efficient use of it. 

         Political theorists have been discussing the different ways in which to run countries for centuries.  Some theories stand the test of time and are as effective today as they were hundreds of years ago.  President Bush has taken some of the ideals of Niccolò Machiavelli and updated them to work in our current political system.  Bush impersonates the ideal leader who presents himself only with the “good” qualities of generosity and good will.  He also uses fear to his advantage, although not in the exact way Machiavelli envisioned.  However, other hypotheses are inapplicable shortly after their inception.  President Bush ignores the ideals of Garrett Hardin only a couple of decades after they had been publicized.  Our president views the world from the perspective of a business man trying to make a profit or be philanthropic.  On the other hand, Hardin strongly believed that immigration and helping the poor were a drain on United States; furthermore, he believed the environment should be saved for the enjoyment and solitude of mankind.  Even though, most theorists never really know how well their theories work, as it takes decades to prove or disprove enacted theories, they can be comforted to know that there will always be students willing to compare their hypotheses to current politicians.

Thanks for reading and remember to think for yourself.

So it has been a while since my last post.  (Far to long for some, and to those out there I say: “Your life should be more interesting than mine.”)

 What has been going on in my life since the last time I posted? well I guess a good amount of stuff.

  1. Me and my love have been learning more and more about each other and enjoying every minute of it.  (yeah! for us)
  2. We went to Catalina for a vaction for with the Sierra Club.  We spent the a weekend at the boy’s scout camp which was nice for camping ; there was running water, bathrooms, and hot showers.  The weekend’s highlight was the scuba diving.  The wonderful colors and tremendous amount of fish were wonderously enjoyable.  We swam with small schools of anchovy which are silver and blue in apperance.  We also saw California’s state fish  the girabaldi.  Swimming out in the ocean, only a few hundred feet from shore, was a experience for me that took some getting used to, but once in the water and swimming around it was quite peaceful and relaxing. 
  3. I have returned to college.  I am taking two classes that will count tward my general education requirements.  At the current rate of two classes per semester I will have my degree by the time I retire.  Since I’m just doing this for my own satisfaciton I don’t have to be done by a certain time.  I’m taking debate and critical thinking.  It is interesting being a good ten years older than most of my class mates and seeing how they really don’t want to be there and the ones who do take it far to seriously.  The other day I mentioned to a classmate ‘that it is only school, it really doesn’t matter’ and was given quite the queer look.  I guess what I am refering to is that as I grow older I realize that most things aren’t that important unless you make them important, and that nobody cares what your gpa was in college.
  4. I have also bought a new stove that I love dearly.  I am a big fan of the cooking so it will come in handy.  I’m still getting used to it, but it has been nice to be able to simmer a sauce, cook rice, saute chicken, and bake a cake all at the same time. :)

For a preview of upcoming events I will be in Kern this month as well as going to the day of the dead in downtown la later this month.  I’m currently debating on buying a new camera as my old one had gone kablooie on me and I don’t feel like wasting another hundred bucks on having it fixed again.  So I think I will be buying a Canon s3 is in the near future.  Until next time stay safe, love alot, and laugh often.

Hello again.dog outside of retruarant

I’m sitting here on the beach just after watching my wonderful woman enter the ocean for a pier to pier swim.entering the water

There was a madhouse of people going for the swim.pier to pier start

Along the way I reflect on how wonderful it is to have a independent woman as the person I am in relationship with. It brings a wonderful dynamic to our interactions. We are able to have our own interests and activities that bring us joy (for her swimming, for me yoga) and then come back together more energized and ready to connect.me and my loved one She is a true blessing for me and I for her. We are experiencing the type of relationship that both of us has always wanted: connected, synergistic, affectionate, and open. I hope that all of you that are gracious with your time to read my blog have or are able to find this type of love for yourself in some way. After the two of us meet up at the pier, we go to brunch at a local Mexican restaurant. We indulge in wonderfully filling tamales and burritos. On our way home we stop by the local market to pick up some supplies for the evening. We are meeting friends good friends with sun at the beach for a free concert and some food. My beloved and myself make chicken marinated in mojitos (lime and rum), a large salad, and a bean salad. I finally get to have my beloved meet one of my best friends. I get to watch and experience as my, up until now separate, worlds of passion come together and mingle. Once again I feel so uplifted by the people in my life that I feel as though I could take off and fly away.The mix of food, friends, love, and music is intoxicating. It leaves me in a euphoric state that I relish, and I take in as much as I possibly can.

May your days be long and full of blessings.

So I’m going to my uncle’s house with my dad to help set up a storage shed for his scooter. Listening to my father talk about different things going on around his house, the neighbors being disrespectful or him having to deal with transients, makes me realize how little time I spend at home. The time I end up spending there I am either in my kitchen cooking, planning on cooking, or eating. I also spend an obscene amount of time in my room with the computer- surfing the internet, doing homework, listening to music, watching videos, etc. If I’m not doing those things I’m heading out the door to school, work, or play.It’s funny for me to hang out with my dad now that I’m older. It seems as though that the two of us can now have differing opinions on subjects and not take it to personal. Even though we still get on each other’s nerves we do have more respect than we did in the past. The differences we had during my teenage years were so great that for a long time I thought that we would never get along. I we still get impatient with each other and I guess in a way with ourselves. It is wonderful now to be able to communicate with him without yelling at him.My uncle bought a scooter for himself, my father, and my mother. So me and my father drove about an hour out to my uncle’s house to assemble a shed for his scooter scooter with shed. It took about a half hour to fully assemble it, it was really easy. I think it was harder to cut up the box it came in to fit it in the recycle bin. :P For me it’s really a reality check to hang out with my father dad smiling and his brother my uncle. Since both of them are aging and their health is waning, I reflect on my own mortality and health in the future. I am so thankful for my relative health, and now going regularly to yoga I feel so much better. One of my goals in life is to be elegant and in good health when I’m elderly. I think it looks so awesome to see somebody over sixty years of age running around with people half of their age.Until next time enjoy your day and be healthy.

my father and is brother and sister in law

So I know that I’ve been lagging on updating this thing.  I do have a couple of reasons: summer school has been in full swing, I finally went back to work about three week ago, and I have a new wonderful woman in my life.  With all of these things going on I have had wanted to post some things but instead have just journalled the old fashion way with pen and paper, I know that makes me a sinner against the digital age but what can I say sometimes it’s just easier.  As a sacrifice to the digital gods I went out and bought a laptop today and now I’m posting from it; furthermore, I would like to take this oppurtunity to curse Costco for carrying such a good deal on a great computer.

 lake under chocolate peakbishop sunset

view from chocolate mountainanother view from chocolate peak

view from my tent

So a couple weekends ago I was lucky enough to be able to go to Bishop and backpack up to the long lake area.  The hike up was amazing and well worth every heavy step.  As always I over packed,  so I ended up carrying more things on my back than I needed.  I always bring more food than I’ll ever eat.  I keep tellig myself that buying the lighter tent, sleeping pad, and stove will make my pack lighter, but I just end up with more food.  I premade a dish I like to call the ultimate hamburger helper its real name is picadillo and I had no problem getting rid of all of it.  S made quesidillas with chicken and chillies which were a big hit with everybody. 

The area surrounding our campsite was awesome.  We camped next to a stream connecting two lakes, I know only the name of the larger one which is Long Lake.  The water was clear as glass and just warmer than freezing.  A few people on the trip were able to catch a trout , rainbow I believe, right out of the lake. The air tempurature was a comfortabe 75 to 80 degrees during the day and at night it might have gotten down to 45 degrees.  The only draw back to the weekend was the mosquitos.  I left after two and a half days in the wilderness with probably over 150 bites, most of them were concentrated on my shoulder blades.  I imagine the mosquitos hanging out in between my pack and shoulders partying down with a full bar, disco ball, dance floor, and dj; I thought it was weird to hear Crosby Stills and Nash miles from any radio or cd player. 

Since that trip I have mostly been trying to keep up on homework.  My college essay class ends here in a day or two so I’ll get a break for three weeks before the winter fall semester starts up.  I think I’m losing my wits as I’m going to attempt to take three classes: English composition, arguemetation and debate, and retake precalculus.  It is a little strange for me to schedule so many things that will take me away from work.  Up until my accident work had always taken a priority for me and now I’m trying to shift that focus into other areas such as school, yoga, and hiking.  I know it will be better for me; it is going to take some getting used to doing both school and work. 

Another wonderful new focus of mine has been this woman:sanam at the zen center

Take a minute and check out her website .  She has been a real blessing for me.  I have a hard time putting into words all of the ways she makes me feel special.  She is inspirational and extremely supportive of me going back to school, especially since it is for my own self improvement.  We share the love of cooking and hiking.  There is nothing better than being able to share my passions with her, and have her be as excited about a new hiking spot or dish as I am.  And being able to create wonderful food with someone I am falling for is great!!!  She has been a awesome and refreshing in every way. 

S organized a sierra club trip to the Self-Realization Fellowship in Pacific Palisades.  It was an amazing place covered in beautiful flowers zen center flowers, swans zen center swan, koi fish, temples, and a shrine with Ghandi’s ashes in it.  Another amazing and wonderful day.

panarama of zen centerzen center panarama 2

So until next time enjoy your life and laugh freely.

I just got back from Kern river a few hours ago. I left early in the day only because the voice in my head told me that I was done being away from home and need to get home and journal, blog, and generally recharge before the week starts. I also went to Big Sur last weekend. I had the most amazing time. I saw beauty in all of it’s forms from natural to human to conversation. The universe is currently opening up new opportunities for me it all the time as long as I’m open to them. In the past I must have been missing it because since my accident there have been almost unlimited chances for me to grow and see the beauty of life. Thank goodness for a positve additude and good karma.

But anyway here are some of the things I’ve seen over the last week or so that I enjoyed.

pretty

Mother Nature at Her Best

seal yoga

Seal Yoga

spot

A man a work

Attached to greatness

Beauty in hand form.

Look what can a knife can doA food geek and her food

The results of food geeks working together.

A couple places to swim

Mother nature making a place to swim.

Not a bad profile 

A picture of me that I really like (one of the few)

Until next time enjoy your life and do with it as you dream!

So I got back from Big Sur  pretty  a few days ago and saw this prompt and the only thing I could think of is how awesome it is that all of us have the ability to create the “pod” or world that we experience.  I’ve been working on and with myself to have a more positive and creative outlook on life, so that my life will be as blessed as possible.  It was great to see that by just being myself and following my intuition on who to surround myself with I met people with like attitudes of empowerment and seeing life as a playground to be enjoyed and experienced.  So the analogy of the peas in the pod works well for me.  The “peas” that I surround myself with allow me to grow and flourish and be more connected to the world that I am creating, the “pod”. 

for other scribblings

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