Gandalf Stormcrow

A bringer of news. A wielder of truth. If you wish to remain in the shadow of ignorance or delusion, this is not the place for you. Go back to the shadow! Those thoughts will not avail you here! YOU SHALL NOT PASS!

Archive for the month “November, 2012”

It’s Not Really About the Germs

You hear it all the time—someone being labeled a “germaphobe.”  Some, like Howie Mandel, wear the title almost proudly.  Good for him.  Others either ignore it, or are embarrassed by the name-calling—and it is name-calling.  But is it really about germs?

For some, it probably is—but not for all of us.  Personally, I don’t like touching certain things in public places either.  Not because I’m a so-called “germaphobe,” but because people can be well pretty nasty.  They pick their noses, sneeze all over their hands, and more people than you even want to know about don’t wash their hands after using the bathroom or changing their baby’s diaper.  It’s sad, but true.  As unique and wonderful as people can be, they are often well very unclean.  Nasty, even.  Spreaders of filth.

So it’s not really about the “germs.”  At least it’s not for me, and I have to believe that there are others out there who feel the same way.  Germs are part of life.  They are everywhere—on us, inside us, and on every surface.  There is literally no way to live apart from bacteria and viruses.  So except for taking ordinary precautions against exposing myself to sick people, I could care less about bacteria, for the most part.  For me, it’s the nasty stuff that people smear all over the place that grosses me out.  Seriously.  Stuff you probably wouldn’t even believe.

Until a few years ago, I never even thought about any of this stuff.  I went about my life like most people, and never gave a single thought to the things I was touching in public.  And then my oldest daughter wrote a paper in college about the dirtiest and germiest surfaces in public places.  When she shared it with me, I was appalled—disgusted—incredulous, at some of the stuff she had learned.  I was changed—immediately and forever.  Sure, there are germs on all surfaces, but the real problem—for me was the human filth that was to be found, literally everywhere!  Things like:

  • Human and animal fecal matter (That’s other people’s poop!)
  • Human blood
  • Urine
  • Mucus (You know, snot and boogers!)
  • Human vaginal secretions (Ugh!!!)
  • Ear wax, skin flakes, hairs, and other things

Sick!  Gross!  Disgusting!  Right?  And guess what… now it’s on your hands!  And then as you scratch a small itch, it’s on your face.  Other people’s poop and vaginal secretions are on your face!  And as you sweep your hair back behind your ear, it’s in your hair.  And then as you shake hands with your friend, you pass it to them.  And then as you comfort your child, it’s on your child’s face.  And then as you eat lunch with your friends, it’s in your mouth and in your digestive tract.  And then you get into your car and smear it in your car, and you go home and now it’s on your phone, your refrigerator handle, your door knobs, the milk carton…  Well, you get the idea.

According to what I’ve read, some of the most common public places you find this kind of nastiness smeared are:

  • Door knobs and handles.
  • Shopping cart handles (and the area where young children sit).
  • Gas pump nozzles.
  • Public bathrooms.
  • Escalator handrails.
  • Restaurant & food court tables and chairs.
  • ATM and store payment keypads.
  • Publically displayed computer keyboards, iPads/iPods, information kiosks, etc.
  • Publically used ink pens.
  • Child play equipment in parks (which has been found to be far worse than a public bathroom)

In fact, shopping cart handles are among the filthiest public surfaces around.  So, YES!  Every time you go shopping, actual human feces and vaginal secretions are on your shopping cart handlealong with most of the other disgusting things listed above.  And they are on the gas pump nozzle, and the door handle to your favorite restaurant or public hangout spot.  This may not bother some people, but to me it is way beyond disgusting.  And when I factor in all the secondary contamination to myself, my children, my home, etc., it’s no longer just about me.  Even if I didn’t mind it (which I obviously do), it seems extremely disrespectful for me to mindlessly expose my children and others to that sort of nastiness without their knowledge and consent.  So out of respect for myself and the others in my life, I avoid touching most things in public if I can.  I try not to go overboard about it, but the idea of putting that stuff in my mouth and on my face is just sickening to me.  So, as I said, I take certain precautions.  Here are some of the ways I try to eliminate my exposure to the (literally) “human waste” that is found in so many public places:

  • I put a plastic produce bag over the shopping cart handle in the grocery store.
  • I use a paper towel to hold the nozzle at the gas pump.
  • I open doors with a napkin or an old receipt from my pocket—and then throw it away.
  • I use my own pen to sign my name, rather than the publically available pen.
  • I don’t touch escalator handrails.
  • I use my pinky finger on ATM and store payment keypads and clean it with an antibacterial wipe when I get to the car, if they aren’t available in the store.

Other than that, I pretty much do things just like everyone else.  Sure my family and I get funny looks occasionally from people for taking the precautions that we do, and one can only imagine the judgmental things that go through their minds.  It doesn’t happen very often because we’re as discrete as possible, but you just know that they think you are the weird one for not wanting to put your hands in someone else’s poop—only they think it’s about germs.  And it’s not really their fault, so I don’t let it bother me.  They’ve just been taught to think that way and to judge others by their favorite celebrities and television gossip-mongers.

People are funny, though, in that they hate to be labeled or called names, but most love to label others, and are often quick to do so—and usually without the slightest idea of what they are talking about.  So I figure that people are going to want to label me (and those like me).  So let me help find the right label for them to use.  Hmm  If you must label me, maybe you could call me a “Poop-a-phobe.”  No, that’s not right, because it’s not really a -phobia.  I’m not afraid of it.  It just sickens me.  I am revolted by it.  A very important distinction.  Hmm  Let’s see  The suffix “-misia” (pronounced, “meez-ia”) is Greek for “disgust for, revulsion of” so I guess one could label me a “Filth-a-misiac” since I am quite disgusted and revolted by the thought of touching public surfaces smeared with other people’s body waste.  (Ugh!!)  Other forms of our newest label might be:

  • Filth-a-misia (the “condition” itself)
  • Filth-a-misiac (the afflicted person)
  • Filth-a-misiatic (when referring to a symptom of the “condition”)

So there you go.  Label away.  I can take it.

As you can see, for me at least it’s sooooo not about the germs.  It’s about the nasty, inconsiderate, disrespectful people out there who don’t wash their hands and then smear their bodily secretions and fluids all over the place!  I’d bet there are other “Filth-a-misiacs” like me out there, too—or there would be if they only knew.  So the next time you see someone taking precautions against touching surfaces in public, try not to be so quick to label them a “germaphobe” and think badly of them.  It just might not be about the germs after all.

Oh and please… don’t forget to wash your hands.  Thanks.

Happy shopping!   😀 

***  By the way, a nice secondary benefit is that I haven’t been sick in years—literally.

Advertisements

So President Bush “Lied” About the Existence of Saddam Hussein’s WMDs?

Yeah, I know… this is an old topic but it’s one that keeps coming up again, and again, and again in discussions.  People keep saying that he “lied” about Saddam’s WMDs,”so that” he could justify a war in Iraq—ostensibly for oil.  Really?  I think it’s time to put this baby to bed once and for all.

My recollection is that for several years leading up to the war in Iraq, pretty much the ENTIRE WORLD was saying that Saddam had these weapons and that he was actively seeking to gain more, and to obtain nuclear (or “nucular,” for President Bush) weapons capability as well.  Virtually every national intelligence agency in the world said that he possessed (chemical and biological) weapons of mass destruction and that he had no qualms about using them–even on his own people.  They said that he represented a dangerous threat to the Middle East and to the world at large.  EVERYONE was saying it.  How is, then, that President George W. Bush “lied” when he said the exact same thing?  Did the rest of world lie as well?  Did they do so in order to help President Bush bamboozle the citizens of his own country, or did they have their own reasons for saying that Saddam had these weapons—like maybe that their own national intelligence bureaus were telling them that Saddam had these weapons as well?  Oh, and the worldwide press was also stating it as well.

Look, I am NOT a fan of President George W. Bush’s—at all.  In fact, I would have MUCH preferred that President Clinton had been allowed to serve two more terms than to have had Old G.W. at the helm.  But I believe in telling the TRUTH.  For me, this was a dead issue a VERY long time ago.  Saddam ran an extremely secretive government, and the world at large could do little more than speculate (based on limited intel and the information they could obtain from U.N. weapons inspection reports, I imagine) about the nature and extent of Saddam’s weapons programs.  See?  The world at large–including President Bush thought Saddam had WMDs.  Personally, I just don’t see a lie here.  Not even a small deception.  Bush and his people were saying the SAME THING the rest of the world was saying.

So the ones who seem to be “lying” are those who keep insisting that the President lied about this.  So how about this… I’ll concede that President Bush lied, if those who continually accuse him of lying will FIRST concede that all the following people ALSO lied about Saddam’s WMDs (and please take note of the party affiliation of each):

  • One way or the other, we are determined to deny Iraq the capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction and the missiles to deliver them.  That is our bottom line.”  — (Democrat) President Bill Clinton, Feb. 4, 1998
  • If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear.  We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction program.”  — (DemocratPresident Bill Clinton, Feb. 17, 1998
  • Iraq is a long way from [here], but what happens there matters a great deal here.  For the risks that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face.”  — Madeline Albright, (Democrat) Feb 18, 1998
  • He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten times since 1983.”  — Sandy Berger, Clinton National Security Adviser, (Democrat) Feb, 18, 1998
  • [W]e urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the U.S. Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq’s refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs.”  — Letter to President Clinton, signed by: (Democrat) Senators Carl Levin, Tom Daschle, John Kerry, and others, Oct. 9, 1998
  • Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process.”  — Rep. Nancy Pelosi (Democrat, CA), Dec. 16, 1998
  • Hussein has chosen to spend his money on building weapons of mass destruction and palaces for his cronies.”  — Madeline Albright, Clinton Secretary of State, (Democrat) Nov. 10, 1999
  • There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein has reinvigorated his weapons programs.  Reports indicate that biological, chemical and nuclear programs continue apace and may be back to pre-Gulf War status.  In addition, Saddam continues to redefine delivery systems and is doubtless using the cover of a licit missile program to develop longer-range missiles that will threaten the United States and our allies.”  — Letter to President Bush, Signed by: Sen. Bob Graham (Democrat, FL), and others, Dec 5, 2001
  • We begin with the common belief that Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and a threat to the peace and stability of the region.  He has ignored the mandate of the United Nations and is building weapons of mass destruction and the means of delivering them.”  — Sen. Carl Levin (Democrat, MI), Sept. 19, 2002
  • We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country.”  — Former Vice President Al Gore, (Democrat) Sept. 23, 2002
  • Iraq’s search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power.”  — Former Vice President Al Gore, (Democrat) Sept. 23, 2002
  • We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction.”  — Sen. Ted Kennedy (Democrat, MA), Sept. 27, 2002
  • The last UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in October of 1998.  We are confident that Saddam Hussein retains some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical and biological warfare capabilities.  Intelligence reports indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons.”  — Sen. Robert Byrd (Democrat, WV), Oct. 3, 2002
  • I will be voting to give the President of the United States the authority to use force—if necessary—to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security.”  — Sen. John F. Kerry (Democrat, MA), Oct. 9, 2002
  • There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years.  We also should remember we have always underestimated the progress Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass destruction.”  — Sen. Jay Rockefeller (Democrat, WV), Oct 10, 2002
  • He has systematically violated, over the course of the past 11 years, every significant UN resolution that has demanded that he disarm and destroy his chemical and biological weapons, and any nuclear capacity.  This he has refused to do.”  — Rep. Henry Waxman (Democrat, CA), Oct. 10, 2002
  • In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program.  He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al-Qaeda members.  It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons.”  — Sen. Hillary Clinton (Democrat, NY), Oct 10, 2002
  • We are in possession of what I think to be compelling evidence that Saddam Hussein has, and has had for a number of years, a developing capacity for the production and storage of weapons of mass destruction.”  — Sen. Bob Graham (Democrat, FL), Dec. 8, 2002
  • Without question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein.  He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime.  He presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation.  And now he is miscalculating America’s response to his continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction.  So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real.”  — Sen. John F. Kerry (Democrat, MA), Jan. 23. 2003 (Only two months before the invasion of Iraq!)

So… President Bush lied, huh?  Tricked us all, did he?  As I said, I’ll concede that nonsense as soon as the dishonest Bush-haters concede that all the Democrats listed above lied as well.  Besides, don’t the Bush-haters also call him “stupid?”  Well, you can’t have it both ways.  Either he is a dense country bumpkin, or he is uber-brilliant and deceived and manipulated all the intelligence agencies of the entire world to justify “his” war in Iraq.  Pa-leeeze!  The man can’t even pronounce nuclear!

It’s time to stop hating… and LYING!

Hopefully, that is enough said on this ridiculous topic!

Peace…

I am here to challenge your comfortable and familiar perceptions and paradigms—to help awaken you—to make you think. — AAJG

Hispanics to Obama: “We helped you, now you help us.”

A response to the article found here.

———————————————

“Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.”  My, how our nation has changed since the days of President John F. Kennedy.

So the Hispanics feel that they “helped” President Obama, and they now demand that he “help” them in return?  Wow.  Blatant political quid pro quo.  Conceptually, how is this any different from a professional lobbyist who makes a significant campaign contribution to a lawmaker, in exchange for a vote that will benefit those whom the lobbyist represents?  It just sounds sleazy and unethical—and it’s probably even illegal.  It’s one of the things that is most wrong with our country now.

We helped you, now you help us.”  It makes it sound as if it was either the illegal aliens who “helped” the president (by voting illegally?) and now they want amnesty for themselves and their families; or maybe the Hispanic U.S. citizens voted en masse for him and now are demanding amnesty for their illegal alien brethren—based solely on their ethnicity.  Neither of them sound very good for America.

John Kennedy’s words should apply just as powerfully to new immigrants and to prospective immigrants, as they do to American citizens.  There is far too much ME in America today.  It is very sad.  It is too bad we haven’t had a president who is a real leader, and a healer, and a much needed “Uniter-in-Chief” in a LONG, long time.  President Obama is not that man.  He has already proven that.  President Bush certainly wasn’t.  He proved it too. President Clinton was far closer than most, I think, but even he was a long way from what we really needed.

It certainly would be nice if the so-called experts” in our government would finally do the right thing and CLOSE ALL BORDERS, and then adopt a sensible immigration policy and guest-worker programs that are in the best interests of the U.S. and its citizens and just end this nightmare!  But they won’t.  Ever.  So in reality, this issue/debate/problem will never go away.

All the turmoil, and the anger, and the division, and the “racial” tensions are killing us as a nation; as is the “me-and-my-group-first-at-all-costs” selfishness that seems so prevalent these days.

I believe it is mostly governments and religions that create the feelings in people’s hearts that are often perceived by others to be “racist.”  These things don’t exist naturally in the hearts of the vast majority of human beings (of any race or ethnicity), I think—least of all Americans of the 21st century (among the most generous and welcoming people in the world).  In this case, our government has continued to grossly mishandle the border/immigration issue for decades (PURPOSEFULLY and for political gain for themselves and for their respective parties).  They are knowingly allowing a bad situation to exist and to continually worsen, and when IT (i.e., the situation that THEY created and allowed to continue) causes great tensions between the citizens of our country (and also with and for the peoples of the world who want to immigrate here), they simply allow it to continue (because it serves their strategic political purposes to do so) and they label the citizens “racist” (or allow them to be wrongly labeled so by those who support unfettered immigration) instead of looking at the truth of what is happening and taking responsibility for CAUSING and perpetuating the problem themselves, and then implementing a sensible and PERMANENT solution that ACTUALLY WORKS–and one which creates/restores peace, harmony, and unity among the citizenry—including the newly immigrated and those who are here as non-citizens on visas or work programs.

In this particular case, millions upon millions of Americans are angry over the illegal and disrespectful WAY millions of citizens of other countries are coming here, and the disrespect that they show once here.  My wife is a first-generation Mexican-American and she literally can’t stand what she calls “the arrogant and disrespectful way they come here.”  She says it embarrasses her and it angers her, as a Mexican-American.  Millions of Americans (of all races and ethnicities) agree with her, and they are no more racist than she is, though that label will continue to be purposefully misapplied—because it is an effective way to shut people up and win debates.  (BTW, my wife’s parents immigrated here legally in the 1950’s, and have become proud U.S. citizens.)

And now, President Obama, as Samwise Gamgee said to Faramir of Gondor in the caves of Henneth Annûn in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, “Now’s a chance to show your quality.”  SOLVE the problem and help heal our nation!  Show us some change we can ALL believe in.  BEGIN with CLOSING DOWN both borders, or anything else you do is a total joke!  If you permanently sealed off both borders FIRST, I think all Americans would be drawn to your intelligent leadership and would be okay with any sort of amnesty program you want to implement (even those who might otherwise oppose it), because they would be assured that this is the LAST time America will have to go through this!  Then, I think all concerned would be mostly satisfied, and some pretty significant national divisions could finally be healed.  It’s time to show your quality, Sir!

It’s Time to End the Tax-Exempt Status for churches and other religious organizations!

Our economy is in deep trouble.  We all know that.  We are deeper in debt than ever before in American history, and this problem grows continually worse by the day.  American families are being squeezed between rising prices, lowering wages, and the constant threat of new taxation to generate more revenue for the federal government.

Meanwhile, churches and religious organizations of all faiths enjoy tax-free 501(c)3 status.  They pay NO taxes, and apparently they have special sections written into the tax code that exempt them from oversight–even by the IRS!

So while many ordinary American citizens are barely making it AND are responsible for most of the tax burden that sustains this nations governmental operations, mega-churches and religious organizations all over America deal in untold BILLIONS of dollars in revenue/monies each year (collectively) but they are exempt from paying taxes!  The also get many other perks as a result of their tax-exempt status.  It seems manifestly unfair for the vast religious community to enjoy such a special status, especially in times such as these, and to force a greater tax burden onto the strained backs of the American public as a result.

Many of the leaders of these mega-churches live like kings and queens compared to the rest of us, and they wield great wealth.  For example, Joel Osteen bought the former Compaq Center (the previous home stadium of the NBA’s Houston Rockets) to serve as his church building!!!!  The links at the bottom will allow you to see the shocking way many of these people live.  I strongly encourage you to review them.  Do these people really need tax-exempt status?!  I’m sure the rest of us could maybe “prosper” too, if we could enjoy such tax-exempt status for awhile.

You know, there is already something kind of sleazy-feeling in the way these people raise money for themselves, and their palaces, and their special projects.  Really.  Buy the “miracle water” and we can be healed or blessed?  Buy a “prayer shawl” to become closer to the lord?  Purchasing a “miracle manna loaf” will help us understand the principles of prosperity?  ANOTHER set of DVDs that we “need?”  ANOTHER book?  You need ANOTHER “love gift” from everyone in order to renovate your mansion… er… I mean… in order to keep doing the lord’s important work?  (A desperate, captive audience, being manipulated and slowly drained of money and hope.)  But on top of all the (literally) unfettered sleaze and manipulation, they enjoy tax-exempt status and freedom from government oversight as well?!  Something is very wrong here!  It is time for a change.  “Change we can believe in.”

I agree with President Obama that richer Americans should pay a bit more in taxes–especially now.  I also think it is time the government reconsiders its policy of tax-exempting religious organizations (of ALL faiths) and changes the tax code so that they PAY THEIR FAIR SHARE too!  After all, if we are all in this together–it should include us ALL.

To that end, I have just started a petition through the White House’s web site.  If you agree with me that it is time to end this “religious welfare,” especially at a time when we need our whole team on the field (ALL people and organizations paying their fair share and doing their part), then I hope that you will sign this petition.  If 25,000 people visit the petition site and sign by Dec 10th, then the White House staff will officially review it and consider it.  I hope you will help.

Please click HERE to view and sign the official petition.  Thanks very much!

———————————————————————

Here are just a few sites that provide some eye-opening information on how these people live. You will be SHOCKED:

Post Navigation