Monday, July 15, 2013

Think before you act

Pick-Up Sticks the game

Life has gotten very, very complicated. And obviously everyone thinks it is very, very simple. Just change it.

Far easier said than done. We had an open range law in New Mexico at one time. And some legislature decided we were too populated for that and so they amended the law. We now only have open ranges on Bureau of Land Management holdings, Indian Land, and forest service property. Good luck with figuring out which of those you are on because they are not fenced necessarily. But to make matters worse when the well meaning lawmakers decided to change the law they forgot one of the little parts of the law about it being the landowners responsibility to fence out the cattle. Not the cattle owner's responsibility to fence them in.

Several following court cases that made it to state supreme court decided that fencing the cattle out only applied to immediate neighbors. So if the cattle got out of the owner's property and wandered merrily down the county or state or forest road to a more distant neighbor's roses then they were in violation of the closed range law and the owner of the roses was entitled to damages and could hold the cattle hostage and charge a grazing fee. Which makes that neighbor more equal than the immediate neighbor who cannot even get the owner of the offending cattle to fix the damaged fence.

All of this is just a small example of how complex our laws get. Rather like the game of pick up sticks I posted at the top of this page. When I played the game the sticks were not striped. You could see where the solid blue one ran under the solid yellow and over the top of the solid orange. Goal of the game is to remove a stick at a time. I was surprised they still made them. And even more surprised they had striped them.

But it is a perfect example of how complex our laws and issues have become. And changing one little thing can upset the whole pile. Yes, I am usually liberal. No, I do not want my right to defend myself from what I see as a threat taken away. Yes, I do not support assault weapons. No, I refuse to have my right to carry a gun infringed upon. Yes, I am for wild horses. No, I do not think they have the right to graze areas in a severe drought and ruin it for grazing forever (note wild horses are transplants from Spain). Yes, I am for re-introduction of wolves. No, I do not believe they should be restored to historic levels because there is no longer historic herds of their natural prey about. Yes, I think it is wrong a 17 year old died. No, I do not think he was innocent either. Yes, I am for a path to citizenship. No, I do not think we should make that path available for felons (and those that entered illegally are guilty of felonies).

Oh, and on the messed up closed range law? I think the owner of said maverick cow is libel for any and all damages even the immediate neighbor and he should be required to fence his livestock in. Now that in the wild west (if the wolf statement didn't) should get me fearing for my life. So think, as you protest the verdict that if you changed the laws so there was one Zimmerman was guilty of, what freedoms you now enjoy would you be giving up?

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Play by the House Rules

Mother thought I was too intelligent to be a woman. Translate that to "ever be married." Or as would sometimes add "to be happy."

At an extremely early age I saw that there were always at least two sides to every story and that is if there were only too people involved.

Maybe it was my very active and creative imagination but I immediately got that my reality was not necessarily your reality. College only made matters worse; specifically philosophy and debate. I understood Plato and Jean Paul Sartre and Kierkegaard. Dad thought I should have trained as a lawyer but it just seemed too black and white. But I worked as a court clerk for a while and came to understand the law.

But there is something wonderful about the logic of the law. But I do believe entirely too many people fail to understand it especially when it go against what they want. It does not matter who is right or wrong but who broke the law and can that be proved. And was their a clear and precise law to be broken. That can get rather muddled.

My father played poker and taught us kids the game. According to Hoyle and table rules were everyday phrases in my home. I was the kid at the neighbor's house that when the Monopoly game was pulled out I asked by what rules we were playing. If there are two people cheating in a three handed card game who is wrong if the non-cheater loses all his money. The one not cheating because he was too stupid to get up and leave.

I am one of those strange people that can see the argument from every side and defend it. Not like it. That is entirely something different. But if I take a side it is usually based on fairness. No one promised me fairness but does not prevent me from arguing for it. And fairness is not always equal or unchangeable. It can in fact be quite variable depending upon table rules if you will.

We are great at setting out table rules whether it is Hoyle for games or Roberts Rule of Order for meetings or the Constitution of the United States and the Supremes. We are a civilized country if we play by the rules as written down. Mob violence is not by the rules. Nor is it fair to try a person in the media either before or after the trial because it didn't go as you wanted it.

We have become a nation of whiners. Not a nation of laws. If our side loses we want the rules changed.

I think the Table Rules were followed in the Martin/Zimmerman case. I think the jury did a wonderful job even though they were picked for the belief that as mothers they would be biased. Now let's see who are whiners and who truly believe in the rule of law.

Remember Justice is blind. And so it does not always go the way us biased and illogical people want it to go.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

I have made up my mind

I have no interest in the truth. I have made up my mind, is a dogma that fits an alarming number of my former friends. I say former because I have no interest in closed minds. It is an open and shut case with me.

I love diversity. And since being forced into speech class in college love debate. Too bad I was not born a boy in the time of Plato because I would have thrived on discussions of the noise a tree makes if it falls in the forest.

And I find nothing sexier than intelligence. My idea of an ideal date? A museum or series of Ted Talks in Oxford. Two of my biggest turn off's? Rush Limbaugh and Nancy Grace. Both are too darn sure they are right. And with every major news story it seems the lines are drawn from day one. Not all the facts are available and even if they were they have not been read because nobody wants to be bothered by the facts. Their minds are already made up. Picking an impartial jury must be next to impossible these days.

Never mind finding honest and open investigators. Let alone impartial reporters and media. Can you imagine what will happen if Zimmerman is found not guilty? Rioting in the streets no doubt. But the evidence on either side is so inconclusive. And  imagine what would have happened if O.J. Simpson had been found guilty even when the evidence said he was. There seems to be this collective unconsciousness which says THIS IS THE WAY I WANT IT and so it shall be. Certainly do not mess their minds up with any doubt or evidence or facts or, heaven forbid, truth.

All that said I think the title of this blog is wrong because there is no mindful thinking in this collective unconsciousness these days. They have not made up their minds because they have no minds. The title should be I HAVE MADE IT UP. And so shall it be.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Why should we mess up the west? Again

Mount Taylor by Dave Arnold

I lived and went to school in Albuquerque during the 1960's when the power brokers were beginning their destruction of the west with the building of the Glen Canyon Dam. They argued very few people went there and ergo who would miss it. And the greater good was to provide energy for the area and prevent the flooding of the Colorado River and build a great recreational reservoir. The fight to stop the Glen Canyon Dam and a proposed other three dams along the Grand Canyon was spear headed by Ansel Adams and the newly formed Sierra Club. It is Ansel's images which remind us of what is buried beneath the waters.

We did not stop Lake Powell, we personally get no power from it, and the Colorado never flooded below that point because the Grand Canyon controlled it naturally. But the environmental movement did stop the other dams proposed. I have heard rumblings on the net that the dam proposals are getting active again.

This is so wrong and so is the proposed largest US Uranium mine on Mt. Taylor. Thousands of people daily in Albuquerque watch the sun set behind this 11,000 foot peak which includes sacred lands for several First Americans. However, you hear the argument that nobody cares about the back side. I have seen the backside. My sister has off roaded on the back side. And it can be argued that the west central area of the state looks at dawn from its backside.

My sister took me to the San Mateo area behind Mt. Taylor in 2011. It is an area open to mining for coal and uranium even though much of it is government land. There are also huge ranches in the area and a sparse population.  It was formed by the same volcanic activity that made Mt. Taylor and is mineral rich. And it is beautiful! That seems to get lost in this whole argument about Canada and Japan needing our uranium. I cannot post pictures of the forests on the back of Mt. Taylor but I urge everyone that can to do so. Please link in a comment to this blog.

I can however personally post my photos of the mysterious and beautiful San Mateo landscape.

Goblins by J. Binford-Bell

Red formations by J. Binford-Bell

Sandstone cliffs by J. Binford-Bell
 This area held by the BLM is used for camping, hunting, grazing of cattle and protection of wildlife in the area. And photographers. It is abused only by geologists looking for mining areas. They obviously want to open new uranium mines even though we have not cleaned up the mess from the old ones mostly closed in 1990 and we still have not a clue what to do with spent uranium fuel rods, etc. It is relatively safe hidden in the earth so let's destroy the earth and dig it up.

Stock pond by J. Binford-Bell

Vista of the valley from one of the cliff walks

Another poly-chrome cliff by J. Binford-Bell

My sister recording the beauty of the area

It was so quiet the day were were there in October. It was the New Mexico of my youth when you could hear the ants crawl if you listened. And the sky was such a vivid clean blue. Mining roads up and down through here to the proposed biggest uranium mine in the world just across the valley would ruin that. And leave a patina of dust all over the beautiful rocks, choking the life out of vegetation that struggles with the arid environment.

Just because you have not been there do not let them destroy it. Or contaminate the aquifer for all the residents in the area and anywhere on the aquifer. The closed uranium mine near Milan just a few miles south is already doing that. And the uranium is not even for us.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The God Complex and the Jesus Scam

"Be humble, for you are made of earth, be noble, for you are made of stars." Serbian proverb.

My father used to say the only trouble with the word of God was how man interpretative it. And because of recent experiences I would have to add the only problem with Jesus is what people do in his name.

You probably have noticed all the WWJD - What Would Jesus Do - bumper stickers. Note they are on the back of the cars so you can ask yourself that question. I seriously doubt any of the drivers of those cars give it a single thought as they break all the rules of the road and risk your life. They think Jesus is on their side. And as a result of their prayer they get to do all they want to do. And if you do not pray to Jesus what they do to you is justified. 

Mother used to say you could not go wrong trusting in God faring people. I think you should definitely not trust them.  My last three tenants have thought they had Jesus Christ on their side. They used their respective churches to borrow money, enlist help, and beg forgiveness for their wrongs. But quite obviously they never asked God to make them an instrument of his peace. They do not know charity unless they are the beneficiaries. And they believe all they have to do is pray and everyone must forgive them. They work their Christianity as a scam while living a life that is anything but holy.

It used to be that this sort of behavior was limited to what Mother called the Sunday Christian. But now it seems to be all visible members of virtually any Christian sect though the fundamentalists are by far the worse. And they believe they are entitled to be spared from the floods, survive the fires, be forgiven for murders and thefts. They get to lie, cheat and steal and ask you WWJD.

The woman whose house was spared as a forest fire skipped through her neighborhood proudly announced to the world media that she was spared because Jesus answered HER prayers. The assumption being that anyone whose house burned to the ground was deserving of such disregard. Such a vengeful God Jesus has become. And Christianity is more like Zoroasterism these days.

Some years back I stopped using businesses that had the fish on their cards. I was always getting cheated by them. And now I am finding myself questioning applications for tenancy where a church is listed as a reference. Let your faith be known by your works. Not by your bumper stickers or words. Be humble and noble and charitable.