Matt and his Naked Thoughts

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The old and the new..which one are you?

I am watching with rapt attention to see which manifestation of the Grand Old Party (did you know that’s what it stood for?) comes to the fore. I think we all should be. A battle is brewing for supremacy between those like Charley Crist who want to lead the party towards a more centrist position with inclusivity and modern views, and those represented by the political ideologies and Phyrric values of Rush Limbaugh, Mr “I want him to fail.” Even if the “him” he’s talking about includes all of “us”.

I think by any standards, and certainly by the ones of the most recent occupant of the White House, President Obama is trying to include the Republicans in Congress in his plans. He recognizes correctly that those who are suffering in this global crisis that’s been left to us by Mr. Bush are not only Democrats and Liberals but also Republicans. He has repeatedly reached out with the olive branch to the other side of the aisle and in many cases has been met with a handshake, albeit a somewhat unsure one. In other case (see the Senate Republican buffoons) he’s gotten finger wagging and pontificating and (unbelievably) lectures on fiscal responsibility. This crap (for that’s all it can be called) is simply Republicans searching for relevance. I won’t go into questioning where the “fiscal responsibility” folks were when the Bushies were tanking our country. They’ll have to answer those questions to posterity, the sanctimonious twits. All I can say is that all of you Republican lawmakers who are standing on your soapboxes screaming about a morality that for eight years you have ALL failed to exibit look like the biggest bunch of crying hypocritical losers the world has ever known.

But welcome to the new world, losers because America has taken the left-hand offramp and your core philosophy is sitting by the side of the road like a forgotten hubcap. To borrow a well-used phrase, the train is definately leaving the station and the only question you have to answer is, WILL YOU BE ON IT?

Frankly my dear, I don’t give a shit, but President Obama does and that’s what counts here. He’d like to include the Republican opposition in the process but (and this is an important point, ladies and gentlemen, so pay attention) HE DOESN’T HAVE TO. He WON the election and isn’t afraid to exercise that little piece of fact. He has the votes and the ability to shove the castor oil laden medicine down your throats. He’s a much better man than that, however, and you should have the grace to acknowledge it. He wants 80 votes on his proposals (mainly the stimulus package ) because he knows that the entire population of the country, present and future, will have to pay the bill. So he’d like to include the representatives of as many Americans as possible in the decision making process. This is a sign of magnanimity that has very, very rarely been seen and frankly, the way some of your party members have been acting like arrogant children who’ve lost the game and now want to scream about it, is disgusting.

News flash! America is in trouble and those who seek to obstruct Obama’s initiatives are acting against the express wishes of the voters of the United States. You are disloyal, childish scum who don’t want to contribute (like Limbaugh, the scummiest of the scum) to a solution even when practically being begged to, but instead want to make your fame as people who stood upon your fictitious, discredited ideology even though for eight years your so-called “conservative foundations” meant ZERO to you. So, stow it. You’re meaningless unless you change. Obama won and America rejected you and this is going to be done whether you like it or not.

My advice? Work with the President and represent your constituencies by being a part of the plan. It may fail but better to have tried and lost than to never have tried at all.

The train is tooting it’s horn. You coming?

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January 25, 2009 Posted by | Political Muttering | Leave a comment

Thoughts on Israel and Palestine…

This is an open letter to a Palestinian friend who, after reading it, I hope will remain my friend. I made it a blog because it was so large but also because it’s pretty much how I feel and I want to save it. There are three links to some information at the bottom to cover for some of the numbers I’ve used. I suppose there are other numbers by other sources but one has to pitch his tent somewhere, right? The point to the whole thing is that while I obviously have beliefs there are no absolute right or wrongs and never will be. As the computer said in that Matthew Broderick movie..”War Games”, “The only way to win, is not to play.”

1,154 people have been killed in Israel by Palestinian terrorists since September 2000. The link below, from scribd.com lists every single one of them and the circumstances of their deaths as well as their names.

In it’s charter Hamas makes it quite clear that it does not regard any agreement made with Israel, no matter who makes it, as being valid. Israel must be destroyed until even the rocks and trees say “There’s a Jew hiding behind me!”. This information is linked through the palestinecenter.org.

In 1993, at the Oslo summit, the PLO agreed to remove it’s objection to Israel’s existance from it’s charter. It has not done so. (palestinefact.org link).

Israel agreed to ARM (to actually give guns) to the PLO for a police force. They did this.

Israel promised to recognize the PLO as the legimate goverment of the Palestinian people. It did so, as you know, because Arafat became the President of the newly created Palestinian Authority. The video I sent you (it’s long, I know..but it had information in it) explains about the agreements made and the fact, the FACT, that the PLO broke those agreements. No, not every agreement was broken nor did Israel do everything it said it would, but if you are arguing that Hamas was justified in rocketing Israel because of broken agreements, you are being intellectually dishonest (a bad thing for a scholar). One- Hamas in it’s charter recognized no agreement to begin with and two, a party cannot attack another by claiming that a pact was broken when that party isn’t keeping the deal either.

You claim that Palestinians own the land of Israel and it’s rightfully theirs. This is an argument that is both worthless, and impossible to verify. Jews have been in Jerusalem almost constantly for thousands of years. They were forceably exiled but always returned. They have been a part of the land, with the decendents of the Palestinians being another part, for centuries. Since there were no Mulsims at that time one has to assume that some of the various groups in the area were your ancestors, but some maybe not. The point is, the Jews WERE there. I don’t give them the right to take land from you based on this, but you can’t claim that right either.

A man in the video makes a point that cannot be argued with, and which shoots down your argument about Israelis wanting war. No country in history has ever been attacked (as in 1967 Israel was), defeated it’s enemies and then, in order to have peace, gave back the land it won in order to give a country to it’s sworn enemies (PLO). This act was the death sentence for Rabin, as you remember. He was killed by one of his own people.

This is what I think about the situation. I have seen dead people before, dead children included, and it’s disgusting and I cried. These kids weren’t Americans, or white or anything close to me but they were children and the site of any hurt child is horrible. I literally cannot describe what I feel. I feel that the responsibility for every single one of those deaths lies in the hands of Hamas and the people who voted Hamas into power. They voted in a group that they knew would continue to attack and provoke Israel, and knew that Israel would respond in kind. They knew that they’d provoke bombs and knew that they’d be receiving those bombs in their crowded streets. They knew that their children would be killed but they let it happen. The people of Palestine had a right to expect Hamas to care for their safety and they were failed. You should be mad, but not at the Israelis.

I watched Hamas rockets on Al Jazeera being shot right out of crowded streets that the commentator said was Gaza City. Hamas is using the city, and the women and children who live in that city, as human shields hoping, praying, to be able to draw return fire from Israel so they can march the children’s bodies through the streets in front of the cameras of the world and scream ‘See! See what the Jews did!”. Then people like you take those pictures and here you are. Or even better, you go to Gaza and put on a belt. But don’t doubt one thing. Hamas are the murderers of those children.

Hamas are cowards. Terrorists are cowards. Anyone, Arab, Jew..it doesn’t matter..who commits an act of terrorism is a coward who is unable to face his enemy but must attack from the shadows. If Hamas couldn’t fire their rockets from a place outside of the city because the Israelis would see them and attack they should have said “We must stop then”, but they didn’t. They moved them into the city where the children live.

I remember watching Al Jazeera and being outraged when I saw how the Palestinian people cheered upon learning of 9/11. Thousands of my people, innocent people, killed and the Palestinian people were cheering. I even saw the picture of the same fat women making the ululating noise to celebrate in the video I sent you. Don’t tell me Palestinians are peace loving people. Maybe most are, but the dancing in the streets sure wasn’t an isolated band of loonies who were soon arrested or chased away by the good people. That makes the silent ones culpable in my book. The only thing evil needs to thrive is for good people to say nothing, I think the quote goes.

Here is what I know about Israelis, and this comes from my own observations and study (because I love to study). They believe the land is theirs as well, at least the more virulent amongst them do. There are ultra orthodox who deny the right of existance of Israel itself (go figure) and those called “settlers” who steal land and homes from decent Palestinian people because god supposedly said they could. These people make me sick. Always have. A book written by men 4000 years ago (or whatever) carries no weight for me because there’s as much chance that god wrote is as there is as my ancestors left Italy for America on a dinosaur puppy’s back. Dinosaur crap. The book was written by human beings. So was yours. You’ve no right to claim your book gives you the right to do anything to someone else, and neither do the Jews, or the Christians or the Mormons or anyone else. But most Israelis would prefer to be left alone in Israel, not go looking to fight you. I think in their hearts most Palestinians are the same. It’s people like you and your counterparts on the other side who scream and make people angry that are keeping anyone from seeing that the past can’t change, only the future.

So, where are we. I think this war should stop now and people should talk and work out a deal. I think the Palestinian people should stop supporting Hamas and demand a government that is commited to their safety and solutions, diplomatic solutions, to their problems with Israel. You may not get everything you want but neither will Israel and at least the children you’re screaming about will still be alive. The alternative is to fight and if you do I think you will lose and more people will suffer because frankly, the Jews of this world have been pissed on since for 2000 years and aren’t going to let it happen anymore. Your people haven’t had to face that. If you got past your hatred you’d see that. Get past it, my friend. There’s no future in hate and war and nothing is going to be solved by trying to place blame and call that justification. When the killing stops, all of it, then you’ve won.

 

http://www.palestinefacts.org/pf_1991to_now_plo_charter_revise.php

http://www.palestinecenter.org/cpap/documents/charter.html

 

January 7, 2009 Posted by | Political Muttering | Leave a comment

And may the spirit of Humanism bless and keep you.. and Merry Christmas too!

In the States it’s snowing and snowing and snowing. In the DR we had a small earthquake, a little rain and that’s about it. Guess you could say that this isn’t exactly a festive Christmas down here in the Caribbean but it’s very hard for me to feel jolly without all of the positive signs of the holiday visible around me. In fact, I see things that depress me more than fill me with the Christmas spirit.

Every other Friday it’s grocery day and the normal two places to go, PriceMart and Nacional. To get to them you need to force your way through homcidal, ignorant and utterly selfish drivers. You must me approached (and always end up giving money too) impoverished children who’s hair is going pale with malnutrition while the rich in their SUVs ignore them. Today I saw a young man wash a windshield and then watch as the car drove away without paying him. At another corner a mother sits under a tree at one corner of the intersection while he children, as young as my two little ones, beg at car windows. My wife sees the same kids at the interestion all the time. It’s gut wrenching and heart breaking and makes me want to scream at the rich in this country who use their positions to get richer and ignore the poor. What it most certain does most is make me think that Christmas without the Christmas spirit is just another day of injustice. Sounds Liberal as hell, doesn’t it. Good.

What was that Christmas song made back in the 80’s for aid to Africa? “Do they know it’s Christmas?”?? Well, at 6am a couple of mornings ago I sure as shit did. A marching band..an “in full uniform” marching fucking band, came down our residential street (residential except for the god shop across the way) pumping away at a Christmas tune. They weren’t that bad really, but the incongruity of them waking the world up at 6am just makes me shake my head and wonder what genius thought up doing such a thing. I mean, I realize that considering your fellow man in any way, shape or form disappears in this country as fast as it takes a person to step across the threshhold of their church and into the light of day but 6am??? Ridiculous but not, I will say, unbelievable here.

I love Christmas and don’t call it “Happy Holidays” for the simple reason that I don’t consider Christmas to be a religious holiday. For sure it never started out that way. The day was, in fact, a Turkish cult celebration day (considering that Jesus was a June baby I think we don’t have to really worry about the Christ sitting in heaven with a party hat every year but having to watch us idolize Santa Claus instead) and at the same time roughly celebrated alone with the Roman festival of Saturnalia. I think it’s pretty clear that the early church wanted to pre-empt the pagan holidays and chose December 25th as their day. I don’t particularly care, really. I think it’s a fine time of year to think of joy and being good to people and giving gifts. Without the baggage of religion attached I love how people feel good, feel the urge to be nicer, give gifts and celebrate the really, truly good things that the holiday season brings.

So, whatever the hell you think Christmas is there for, I want to wish you all a Merry whateverthe fuck. Happy Holidays, Happy Chanukhah, Happy “I invented my own religion” (I’m looking at you Kwanzah-Klaus) or Winter Solstice. To all the Atheists out there I say this; don’t sweat the symbolism, dudes. It’s harmless as long as your ain’t near the church when it lets out and the days off are nice. Get your kids some presents, stuff their stockings and watch the cartoons, which are first class this time of year. I recommend “The Polar Express”.

Personally, as a non-religious person I plan on saying “Merry Christmas” to everyone this year because, quite frankly, I like the way it sounds. I’ve already played the big fat guy in the red suit twice this year and if you saw the kids smiling at Santa, singing songs with him and being so happy when they got presents, you’d realize that it isn’t religion that makes this holiday special.

It’s love.

December 20, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Some pie-crust promises for the New Year. Resolving to resolve.

Here’s a straightforward list of what I am thankful for this year, in no particular order.

1. The health and happiness of my wife and children.
2. The safe pregnancy, seeming good health and upcoming birth of Alistair George Taylor..the last of the line.
3. Being a Foreign Service Officer for the greatest country on the face of the planet. It’s the greatest job and the hardest job but the most rewarding.
4. Having a job, with promotions and raises, in uncertain times. I was poor when times were good and rich when times were bad.
5. My supervisors and colleagues. I have been very lucky. In a bad situation I have a Consul General, a Chief of Visa Operations and two supervisors (in ACS and IV) who are all fair, decent and exceptional people. I’m lucky, for them and for the fellow foot soldiers who make days bearable.
6. Barack Hussein Obama. Nothing more to say there.
7. A very few, but very dear, friends. They’re spread around the world, in Manila and Iloilo, in Washington, DC and the burbs therein, here in Santo Domingo and around the globe. I love you all and miss you terrible..unless you’re right here of course.
8. Being chosen to become the ACS Chief in Taipei. I still have some trouble believing that. With that comes two years of learning Mandarin Chinese, which I’ve already started and already find fascinating.
9. Last but of course not last, LOVE. I am blessed and cursed by it because I feel strongly about so many things. It’s love that is strong and because of that affects me strongly. It is also love that drives me forward, pushed me out of bed in the morning and puts tears of joy in my eyes to realize what I’ve been given in life. There’s much to love in this world and much to scorn, but I hope to have more to love as life goes on.

Next year I’ll publish my New Year’s Resolutions. That ought to be fun. I wonder how much the 1ǃᆝ list will resemble the 1ǃᆜ list. Funny how much copy and pasting I do with these things.

December 20, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Usually enjoy it…

I almost never feel the need to say I dislike my job, because for the most part I really don’t. It’s a great job, I earned it and fought for it and I am always happy I have it, especially nowadays. What I don’t like about it is rewarding people who commit crimes or acts of dishonesty, something I do all too often. I often catch myself thinking “If only my mother knew what I did for a living”, but thankfully she doesn’t get into details. I imagine I’d be disowned.

I won’t get into the details but I am counting the days before I can leave the Dominican Republic and refocus my career. I’ve even broken up the six months left into manageable, bite-sized pieces; January means a new year, February I go on paternity leave and afterwards comes the serious preparation for deparing post. It all seems like a dream.

My Domincan friends and colleagues should know that I value the friendships I’ve made here, but I’m just not fitting in well with the Caribbean island experience. Some people aren’t suited for it and I’m just one of those people. I’ve no regrets about coming here and surely the good experiences I’ve had will shine through while the negatives fade into the background clutter. I just can’t wait to leave, no offense.

Six months, two weeks and two days before I depart Post, if you’re counting.

December 15, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What Blogs May Come….and Indeed They Must.

What blog may come and why it must.
Welcome to day one of my blog. Like diets and quitting smoking who knows whether there’ll be a day TWO, but we can hope. I’ve been, and still am, unwilling to drop my trousers and show you everything I am and have ever been, but I will allow that perhaps its theraputic and perhaps I’m just ignoring the 21st century’s version of “Dear Diary”. The thing is, I always thought diaries were to be secret and for certain, were I to have one, it would be. (editorial note- the author is not denigrating the art of showing off one’s bottom by dropping trou but is only using a term to make a point. On the whole, the writer is a fan of and perpetrator therein of “trouser dropping” whenever the opportunity presents itself. Onward.)

BUT, I have noticed a decided urge to write more than can be posted easily on my Facebook page and noticed that particularly exceptional person of my aquaintance writes alot using this very blog engine (term check…did I use the write expression here?) so here I am. This person may find it amusing after some comments of mine to find me here but perhaps my above reasoning will answer why the change. There’s also the fact that I’ll never populate my blog to the equal of this particular person so there’s no competition in process.

I will not fail to write down what’s interesting to me here and some of it will likely be offensive to a portion of my friends, I’m sorry to say. The problem with writing, however, is that you are forever associated with the words you’ve put down even if those words are forgotten soon after reading and then regurgitated again 100yrs later, or perhaps a thousand or two thousand. There’s an urgent responsibility to write the truth as it appears in one’s soul, in one’s heart, and not skimp. This may not be YOUR truth but it is A truth and to lie, to write down something that isn’t felt in one’s heart and believed unequivocally, is a crime on par with murder and a detriment to society. “”To one’s self be true”, etc..etc. Quite right, that.

That being said, I won’t want to embarrass people so limitations will occur. Even orgies have rules, you know. Never fear, I am still sure that some members of my family who read this will take issue and label me **gasp** a “Liberal” , “Socialist”, “Communist”, “Traitor” or even worse. The first I accept willingly, the second I accept in principal but not in practice..yet, and the rest are bullshit but since Barack Obama was called the same things (and still is) I revel in the incomparable association. What I’m trying to say in these above paragraphs is that whatever happens I will not LIE to you and isn’t that all one can really hope for from a friend?

In this blog (and why “blog”, I ask?) I will use naughty language and innuendos and try to be myself. I may comment on religion and politics (certainly politics) and make some people mad, or even try to make people mad. In a peak of honesty I may open my mouth when it shouldn’t be opened but hopefully I’ll put some breathing time between my poison and my pen. I will also document the trials and travails of my quest to learn Mandarin prior to my assignment as American Citizen Services Chief at the American Institute of Taiwan where I will be spending time as an unofficial advisor (yes, this is an approved term whereas “Diplomat” is not). At the end of February a new son (his name is Allistair George Taylor and he’ll look like me I suspect, poor bugger) will enter the family and add to the possibility of me having a better home at my next assignment (and isn’t that why YOU have sex???) so I’ll certainly write about that too. Finally, I will move back to Wisconsin where we’ve purchased a home and spend the entire summer, from July to September, working on it and being a domesticated animal before returning to my diplomatic alter-ego and the exotic, sexy, orally challenging and entirely daunting language that is Mandarin after which, I promise, I will never look at those tiny oranges the same again.

I will probably also include pieces of fiction that I start writing with the hopes of making something stick, in a literary way. If you chose to read it and comment please use the words “excellent” and “fresh” often but refrain from “ambitious” (which means “nice try..BUT”) and “horseshit” (lets not bring Sarah Palin into this, shall we?). I consider “awesome” an acceptable but overused term and will view any adjective ending with “vomit” to be negative no matter what the author tells me he/she REALLY meant.

In closing I dedicate this to my family as they are the engine that makes this little train (with it’s fat caboose) go up the hill every morning and the home to which he returns every night. A portion must also has to go to that unnamed (a gentlemen never tells) friend who’s labors always kept me wondering if I should start blogging too. Well, I decided I must so let the consequences be damned. Finally, I dedicate this page to curiosity and the willingness to take one’s most trusted beliefs and ideas and subject them to the light of study. I applaud all who do not allow their most core beliefs to go unscanned and, once facts and uncovered than make old ideas untenable, reject those beliefs in the ever evolving quest for truth. Nothing is too cherished for examination, my friends. Nothing. Honesty demands it. Life demands it. Our existence demands it.

This page is a virgin but like all for almost all virgins the end has arrived and a beginning is made. Also like a virgin (alas, a Madonna reference..the first and last) it will evolve from simplicity (missionary) to complexity (tantric anyone?) and I hope you enjoy it.

As always, I send you peace, love and a hope for a better tomorrow.

December 14, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment