Eden Hill Journal

Comments, dreams, stories, and rantings from a middle-aged native of Maine living on a shoestring and a prayer in the woods of Maine. My portion of the family farm is to be known as Eden Hill Farm just because I want to call it that and because that's the closest thing to the truth that I could come up with. If you enjoy what I write, email me or make a comment. If you enjoy Eden Hill, come visit.

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Saturday, January 28, 2017

Al Jazeera Relocates Cuba

I woke this morning to a Google-featured news article in Al Jazeera with an unusual tilt:
Hassan Rouhani: Now is not the time to build walls

Aside from being the most Orwellian news article I have ever come across, leaders in Iran calling for more respect for free trade by America, part of the new propaganda campaign against Caucasian males, there was an unusual component in the map this article included which shows the path of the projected US/Mexico border wall that President Trump wants to get started on.

It appears to me that Al Jazeera (whose logo clearly appears in the lower right just beneath the island of Cuba) has repositioned said island of Cuba westward by hundreds of miles, just to get it into the picture.

Oh and since when did Middle-Eastern Islam become a race?

As an aside...
I keep coming across tiny little errors in grammar in many of the false news propaganda articles recently published on the Internet. They are the sort of errors that you normally would never see in professional writing because they are so easily caught by a skilled editor's proofreading. Maybe it's just that so much of what we read now is composed in microtext on smartphones, but even so, why are the errors not caught before publishing?

Here's the error found this morning in the text of this article. Quoting the article:

On Thursday, one of Iran's most popular actresses said she would boycott next month's Academy Awards in protest at the ban.

Protest of the ban perhaps, or protest against, but protest at? How often do you see that in professional writing? For me at least it interrupts the flow of thought.

Since nearly all glitches like this one seem to appear in anti-Trump propaganda I'm beginning to think this is a good way to spot propaganda. It bypasses the editor's desk.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Once Upon a Time I Had Faith in Women

Watch this all the way through

The Demon of Relentless Righteousness

The greatest threat to Peace on Earth is war, wouldn't you agree?

I've spent most of my adult life believing that. I graduated from high school in 1967, just before "high" school took on a whole new meaning. The war in Vietnam was ramping up. I remember notices on bulletin boards in school informing us up-and-coming adults that when we turn 18 we were required by law under the threat of severe punishment to register for the draft - the Selective Service. I felt frightened by the whole prospect, needless to say. Either I register and risk death in Vietnam or I don't and face certain prison - in a "free" country no less!
I had already made my choice not to attend college, not only for financial reasons although those loomed huge, but also because I felt unprepared. I was an especially slow reader. I turned 18 in my senior year and obediently registered for the draft. After working through the summer I realized that I needed to do something if I didn't want to be an infantryman risking my own death in Vietnam killing and maiming people I was programmed to believe were enemies of American freedom.

Little did I realize at the time that I was being choked by righteousness, or rather by American self-righteousness, but that's exactly what was happening.

My solution was to enlist in the US Air Force so that's what I did.
That's not something I look back at with pride. I consider myself to be incredibly fortunate to have been born in the United States of America, but that was a dark time in American history, a permanent stain that will never be erased, will never fade away, will not be forgotten by me until my brain has ceased functioning rationally.

My own self-righteous American pride took a deep hit in the four years I remained on active duty. It wasn't that I lost my American pride, my pride in our nation. It was the realization that I was making a sacrifice for a cause in which I had no say whatsoever other than disobedience which, just as with the draft, would bring me certain severe punishment, possible even the lifelong stain of prison time and a dishonorable discharge from the military if I failed to submit. For over three and a half years I counted the days remaining before I could be free again.

Shortly after my "honorable" discharge in a time of deep post-military depression I became what was then openly and proudly referred to as a "born again" Christian falling into the hands of what was then called Fundamentalist Christianity. I was raised as a Christian, just not as a "saved" and "fundamentalist" and "born again" Christian.
Little did I realize at the time that just as I had been raised to believe in the righteousness of America, I was submitting myself to being groomed to the righteousness of right-wing religion. It took twenty years for me to come to that realization. Well that's stretching it a bit. My conscience kept reminding me that something about all that religion was - let's say for simplicity - fishy?

My Christian experience programmed me to believe that self-righteousness is a sin, an affront to God.
I couldn't agree more.
But my conscience wouldn't let me escape the unresolvable conflict between the sinfulness of self-righteous belief and the Godliness of Christian righteousness itself. I mean, think about this, is it even possible to believe in righteousness without actually being self-righteous? I DON'T THINK SO!

Being righteous means being right or moral. Being self-righteous means thinking you are more right or more moral than someone else. Is there any difference there at all without fudging reality? I mean to be righteous you need to submit to some authority whether it be God or Allah or Humanism or any of a dozen other moral belief systems.

To not submit is to be "free".

For someone living in a free country such as the United States to submit to an undefined or loosely defined authority is pure Orwellian. Be honest now but what authority is not either undefined or loosely defined? What authority is so pure as to not be subject to skepticism by a mind seeking freedom?
What belief system delivers freedom from error?
Islam?
Christianity?
Judaism?
Buddhism?
Secular Humanism?
The music system?
Rolling Stone magazine?
Science?
Politics?

Muslims would claim that submission to Islam, Allah, the Quran, and Sharia Law is the correct answer to that question.
Christians would claim (and then probably turn right around and immediately deny) that submission to God, Christ, and Jesus as well as to the Holy Bible is the answer.
Humanists would claim that submission to higher learning and science is the closest thing there is to the correct answer, that all other beliefs are anything but "right" because of the overwhelming evidence that belief in the supernatural is irrational, destructive, unproven, and self-defeating.

Each belief system requires the believer to submit to its chosen authority.

But consider this:
Who gets to do the choosing? Why of course the believer makes that choice. The believer gets to choose, whether freely or by coercion, which authority is right. Each "self" chooses its own form of "righteousness" and there lies the conflict. If the self gets to make that choice, how is it not self-righteousness?

So what am I saying. Am I saying it's just plain erroneous to be righteous in the first place?

ummmmmmm...
Yup.

It's never correct to believe that any belief is right. It's always correct to free your mind of belief and open your mind to seek a better understanding.

Think of righteousness as a demon plaguing mankind.

Freedom is freedom from the presumed authority of any belief system.

Suspend belief.
Suspend disbelief right along with it.
Then seek a better understanding.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

President Trump

Donald Trump, Republican, 45th President of the United States, now in his 5th day in office...

What's been keeping me from posting about Trump?
Cowardice?
Cognitive dissonance?
Both maybe?
Cowardice in the sense that Bernie and Hillary supporters seem to be so disconnected from what I generally think of as "truth" that it actually seems dangerous now to speak your mind if you believe the Donald.
Which I do...
At least I do way more than I have been able to believe any President since maybe JFK.

But why do the BS&HRC people seem so disconnected to me? Bernie Sanders's message this past political season had appeal. He was making a lot of sense to me but I've never really thought of myself as a Communist, never trusted Communists, so it troubled me that he was of that persuasion. Hillary Clinton on the other hand came across to me as a Neocon stooge, probably CIA. It seemed to me that every time she spoke to the voters she lied about one thing or another. That was long before the WikiLeaks email releases made it appear to me and to many others that she was corrupt to the core.

Find a Liberal who is willing to admit either of those realities? I dare you to go look!

This vast chasm between what is true and what the Left won't admit to leaves me sensing danger. It seems safer to not go public with my perspective rather than face the wrath of an irrational populace.
The existence of these two polar opposite realities triggers cognitive dissonance in my thinking, a high level of stress that leads me to think I should question my own reality even though I know that my perceptions are well-founded. The Left here in America last year decided they wanted a covert and seriously nasty woman as their President, as the so-called leader of the free world, rather than a Communist.
And that was before the conventions! Way before the election!

What has happened since the conventions is even worse.
If you don't know what I am talking about, it's probably because you rely on the "Mainstream Media" for your "facts"
In a recent Rolling Stone interview, President Obama made this comment:
***
Well, the most important thing that I'm focused on is how we create a common set of facts. That sounds kind of abstract. Another way of saying it is, how do we create a common story about where we are.
***
I mean, since when are facts abstract? What makes a story more acceptable than hearing and studying actual facts?
I'll tell you what.
Facts imply non-fiction.
Stories can be as fictional as the storyteller wants them to be.
When it comes to perceiving reality, this is the perfect example of what makes this political era so conducive to cognitive dissonance.
Nothing either needs to be or is expected to be true or real. It just needs to be something we hold in a common consensus and you just aren't American if you don't agree with the "curated journalism" (again Obama's words), the mainstream media's concocted story.
The  "curated journalism" version of who Donald Trump is, what he actually means when he speaks, is that Trump lies, lies, lies, lies. I hear it every time I tune in to "curated journalism". I especially hear it when I listen to NPR. Listening to NPR turns my stomach now just as much as Fox News did back in the George W. Bush Neocon era. Everything is spun to fit the biased narrative. No attempt is made to actually practice professional journalism where the point is not to tell a political story but rather the point is to give the audience as faithful an understanding as possible, you know, stick to the facts and give us a thorough understanding, not an editorial perspective or  "curated journalism" consensus. The way Mainstream Media reports the stories they tell now simply has to be intended to induce cognitive dissonance. It certainly isn't aimed at reporting the facts or helping us understand. Instead it's about making us believe the worst.
As long as we the people of the United States of America believe  "curated journalism", we will never understand our new President. I for one find it both challenging and rewarding to understand what he says without bias, suspend disbelief and just hear him from his own perspective.

Update 1/25/17
My goodness, no sooner do I point out NPR's ceaseless accusations against the President than I hear a refutation right on NPR. This morning, actually. A female correspondent was answering questions why she didn't call the President out as the liar he is and she explained that the definition of a lie infers intent and nobody knows what Trump's intent is. So she used other words instead in her reporting of the President's false claims. She did mention that there wasn't a consensus in her organization concerning the use of the word liar. Actually just before I heard this lady I had heard a Maine Public Radio news anchor use the term lie with reference to President Trump so what I said still stands. I still am hearing Public Radio call President Trump a liar.

Second Update Today! 1/25/17
Case in point...
Only recently have I become aware of Tucker Carlson's amazing ability to think on his seat, so to speak, with an admirable sense of humor but lacking the kind of vindictive faux superiority of - for instance - Jon Stewart. Here in this interview with a liberal writer Carlson skillfully points out what I am talking about. They discuss Kellyanne Conway whom I have come to admire as one of the straightest shooters in politics in recent decades, an honest and trustworthy person.

Here's a YouTube link for this interview