Category Archives: Thoughts

Contemplating Patriotism

(I wrote this a while back, so the political references might not be correct any more.)


I grew up in Germany after a time in history when the German people had lived through a very bad experience with patriotism.

The love for the Fatherland (not Homeland as it’s called in the US today) had been used to rally most of the German people to commit mass-murder and be mass-murdered. I was born when that experience was still very fresh and that means that I did not soak up any patriotism with my mother’s milk – just the opposite, patriotism was something to be despised. Especially when I was little, this was more a feeling than an intellectual understanding.

I never lost that gut-understanding and coming to America, one of the most patriotic countries on this planet, did not change that a bit. This must be the reason that at this time of the year, with the independence day looming, my toenails start to curl up a bit in anticipation of all the flag waving and land-of-the-free singing.

Though it appears that I am not alone with this uneasy feeling when confronted with the love for the fatherland.

Leo Tolstoy defines patriotism as the principle that will justify the training of wholesale murderers.

That actually, I have to admit, is a bit stronger than just the feeling of toenails curling up.

Gustave Herve, another anti-patriot, calls patriotism a superstition – one far more injurious, brutal, and inhumane than religion.

So, what is the problem here? A bigger part of the world’s population is patriotic, and what is wrong with loving one’s country? Don’t we all have fond memories of the house we grew up in, the neighborhood, the city? And should that not extend to the country? But why stop at the country border, should we not expand that out to the whole world, or, in a short time, after somebody finally invents the warp drive, the whole galaxy, the universe?

Maybe we will have to look a bit closer what this ‘country’ that many are so patriotic about, really is.

What happens at the border between two different countries?

One of the most guarded borders I know of is the one that, for so many years, existed between East and West Germany. I have crossed it several times and it was indeed the feeling of entering a different world. But the difference was not the language – German of one kind or the other on both sided. The land itself? No, because now, that this border is gone, you can cross that line without even noticing it any more. And it’s not culture either because these two Germanies  had been one culture before they became two countries.

The only thing I can see, that was really different, was the group of rulers. On the Western side it was Konrad Adenauer and on the Eastern side it was Walter Ulbricht, each with his gang.

It now appears to me that the only difference between somebody named Franz in East Germany and somebody named Hans in West Germany was the ruler they considered themselves to be a subject of.

Very similar to Jack in Oklahoma who claims to be a subject of Mr. Obama and Jim in Calgary who thinks he has to answer to M. Harper.

The display of patriotism here in the US of A, once the 4th of July roles in, if we really go down to the very basics, just means the pride to which dude that patriot is willing to give his money, life and children.

Let us look briefly at the ‘land of the free.’ That turns out to be a dud very quickly. If it were the land of the free, and I had decided that it is good and fair to give half of my money to somebody to do with, whatever he pleases, and on top of that allow this person to take my children and train them into potential soldier for his cause, then I should be able to choose who that person would be, right? Could you just send your 50% taxes over to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (that’s the dude over in Iran, in case you don’t have the current political scene at your direct disposal)? Or, to be a little bit less radical, send if over to Steven Harper?

See, the idea of the ‘land of the free’ is right out the window – we are subjects! – Just so well trained and indoctrinated that the very idea of being able to select the ruler to receive one’s contribution appears idiotic.

Now the question comes to bear if there is anything we can do to change this situation. First we have to investigate the idea of ‘being proud of’ something.

Can I really be proud of an accomplishment that is not mine? I had considered this question before when sitting in traffic. Unfailingly, once in a while you wait behind a ‘Proud Parent of Something or Another.’ Honor student, cheer-leader, etc. I had wondered on occasion what reason these parents have to be proud. I can understand that they are happy – but proud? Why? It’s something their children have accomplished. Then again, maybe not, perhaps there was a father sitting in the car in front of me who had always, dutifully, done the homework for his son. But I actually don’t think that was the case, I don’t believe they would have advertised that on the back of their car. Same for being a proud American – proud of what accomplishment? Making lots of money so that it can be collected by the tax man to build bombs with, which are then thrown on people the proud American has never met and who he has no quarrel with?

Would that really be something to be proud of – if it was actually true?

Can you be proud of making somebody so jealous, I mean so badly jealous, that he starts to fly airplanes into some bankers buildings? Wouldn’t it be something to be much prouder of, that, after you really created so much wealth, you would reach out and help those in need to get to where you are, as well? Wouldn’t that be something to be proud of, to do deeds that other will actually love you for?

Acting like that would require clear and logical thinking, something that cannot be expected in the presence of emotionally charged propaganda. One of the most emotionally charged areas in our lives are our children – we do anything to protect them and give them a better life.

Thus the easiest way to get somebody blindly lined up behind a cause is the statement "it’s for the children!" And how do we protect our children best? Sending them to war to fight for freedom – that is the true spirit of patriotism.

Yes, I am well aware that this does not make any sense. How about you?

Now we might make the mistake to blame those people who spread this propaganda and who manipulate in order to gain power. That would be the wrong target for our indignation. The correct target is the one looking back at you from the mirror when you brush your teeth.

There are always people around that want to cheat, who want to get something without actually creating a value that can be traded. They are easy to handle. You might fall for their schemes once or twice, but then you understand and you just don’t deal with them. If they don’t find new victims they will just wither away and the gene pool gets a little bit better. The problem is our conviction that there is any legitimacy to their action, even if their random rules are called ‘law’.

That these ‘laws’ are utterly random, without any basis in logic, becomes clear when you ask yourself why it is OK to smoke one kind of leaves, while you go to jail if you smoke another kind. I know, it is all there to ‘protect our children.’ But we already know where that comes from.

Breaking any of these so-called laws will expose you to a possible punishment, and following those laws to avoid the penalty makes sense.

But there is a different, much more sinister, element to our obedience to the ‘law’ beside the avoidance of punishment.

Imagine you are driving out in the countryside at three in the morning. Full moon, you can see far and wide and there really is not a soul around. Suddenly, totally out of place, there is a traffic light, and, as most, if not all, traffic lights do, it shows you a red light for you to stop.

Now, imagine further that you stop at that light and it is one of those lights that never seem to turn green. Finally, as there really is nobody within miles, neither a civilian, nor a cop, you decide to go and break the ‘law.’

How do you feel about that?

If you don’t have the slightest murmur of guilt, then there is hope for you. But, chances are, you feel that you have done something bad because you broke the ‘law.’ What you feel there is the conditioning of submitting to authorities. The mysterious quality that transforms mere mortals to god-like creatures.

I know, I exaggerate a bit here, but I want to make the point, that many of us carry the grain of belief, even faith, in authority itself. The conviction that something like authority does exist, that there is something that makes it OK for one person to tell another what to do.

But this belief is total and utter superstition.

Let us, for the moment, take that good old document, this country was based upon, even though we are not using it any more. One of the premises of that parchment is that ‘all men are created equal.’

Unlike many other cultures that evolved from monarchies, this country was built on the foundation that there are no different classes that would privilege some of the members. That was the theory, but unfortunately reality sometimes does not ‘get’ it. There were just too many immigrants that had such a deeply ingrained belief that there are people better than them, that this parchment did nothing in preventing those people to create their superiors again.

They were totally free not to do this, but they did it anyways. Fighting an authority is not the same as a complete conviction that it does not exist. The opposite actually – you can only fight something that you believe exist.

Once we succeed in a basic change of mind about this, there will be no need any more to fight city hall – city hall will just wither away. In the process there will be some collateral damage, but this will be so minor in comparison to the continued permission for city hall to do with us whatever it wants.

So, your homework for this glorious Forth-of-July weekend is to understand – and I mean a gut-understanding – that authority itself as a phenomenon, does not exist. Except in our mind!

If you give somebody the permission to tell you what you have to do and think, he will certainly take that offer. Many might not, but there are plenty of the politician/lawyer type of people around that will take your offer with a grateful nod of their head and then get out the whip and whip you into shape.

Just be aware that you can withdraw that permission at any time. It will be a bit harder than had you never given it in the first place, but it is definitely possible.

According to Steve Jobs

  1. Steve-MiniWe don’t get a chance to do that many things, and every one should be really excellent. Because this is our life. Life is brief, and then you die, you know? And we’ve all chosen to do this with our lives. So it better be damn good. It better be worth it.
  2. That’s been one of my mantras — focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex; you have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple.
  3. Your time is limited, don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living the result of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other opinions drown your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
  4. I think if you do something and it turns out pretty good, then you should go do something else wonderful, not dwell on it for too long. Just figure out what’s next.
  5. Quality is much better than quantity. One home run is much better than two doubles.
  6. Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.
  7. Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.
  8. When you’re a carpenter making a beautiful chest of drawers, you’re not going to use a piece of plywood on the back, even though it faces the wall and nobody will see it. You’ll know it’s there, so you’re going to use a beautiful piece of wood on the back. For you to sleep well at night, the aesthetic, the quality, has to be carried all the way through.
  9. Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while.
  10. My model for business is The Beatles. They were four guys who kept each other’s kind of negative tendencies in check. They balanced each other and the total was greater than the sum of the parts. That’s how I see business: great things in business are never done by one person, they’re done by a team of people.
  11. Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.
  12. What a computer is to me is the most remarkable tool that we have ever come up with. It’s the equivalent of a bicycle for our minds.
  13. Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… The ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… They push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
  14. It’s better to be a pirate than to join the navy.
  15. Stay hungry. Stay foolish.
  16. You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.
  17. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.
  18. Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.
  19. If you want to live your life in a creative way, as an artist, you have to not look back too much. You have to be willing to take whatever you’ve done and whoever you were and throw them away.
  20. Ultimately, it comes down to taste. It comes down to trying to expose yourself to the best things that humans have done and then try to bring those things into what you’re doing. Picasso had a saying: good artists copy, great artists steal. And we have always been shameless about stealing great ideas, and I think part of what made the Macintosh great was that the people working on it were musicians and poets and artists and zoologists and historians who also happened to be the best computer scientists in the world.

Expanding on “Computers with Consciousness”

halI always enjoy Jon Rappoport’s articles on NoMoreFakeNews. The latest post on the idea of computers developing consciousness prompted me to add a bit of a different viewpoint to it:

Jon, this article just screams to me for an answer. First of all, I do agree with you on pretty much all of your viewpoints and actually enjoy your “Escape From the Matrix”. But where I want to bring a bit of a different viewpoint is body v. computer – for me they are pretty much the same – they are machines. But why is it that we have developed consciousness, one may ask? – I actually don’t think we have – but instead we started to occupy those meat-machines once they became good enough to represent us. In the same way, I imagine, that computers will become attractive enough at some point of sophistication for a souls/spirits to occupy them.
I realized this – many, many years ago – when I saw a window mannequin, during a nightly walk and window shopping, with a being trapped inside. That being had been attracted by the beauty of the plastic body and got stuck in it believing it could not escape that matrix of plastic any more. It tried to communicate with me and maybe I was able to help a bit with conveying the idea that it is trapped only if it believes so – I sure hope.
My experience with computers is similar – sometimes I notice beings in there and if I work with them they usually work with me – that’s how I make a living with computers.
I agree that the sudden appearance of consciousness with more memory and TeraFlops is humbug – but once the filigree sophistication of computers gets to the same order of magnitude as our meat bodies I see a good chance that beings get trapped in there as well and make the computers/robots to appear to have developed consciousness. That will – obviously – lead those scientists further down the rabbit hole.

Your’s Truly – Sponsor of the Rose Parade

Happy to announce that I am a proud sponsor of the world-famous Rose Parade 2014 in Pasadena, California.

I admit that I was not involved to getting the nobility back that this country thought to have left behind some 200 years ago, but I guess some people just need to have somebody to worship – here is the  new queen and her royal court


But let me tell you how I became a sponsor of the Rose Parade.

A few years ago our federal government convinced me to make a considerable donation to their treasury in the amount of sixty kilo dollars. At that time they convinced me to make this donation otherwise they would, sadly, have to take our house.

And the reason they really needed that money was that they had to give it to Wells Fargo – and a few other banks. Now Wells Fargo turned around and used my money to pay for the opening act of the Rose Parade – so there you go – my first part of the sponsorship.

But no, I did not spend it all on that! The other half went to the outfitting of a marching band with active members of our armed forces. The announcer of the parade told the TV viewers that this band – or at least a part of if – had been on a tour in Iraq where they also had made this happy music that got out boys in the right mood to kill some people – I mean they were quite a few civilians amongst those ending up dead but they were not our boys, so who cares, right?

When I saw this marching band parading down Colorado Boulevard I was so proud that I was allowed to help them bring this nice and snappy music to the world.

To my shame I have to admit that after that I turned off the life feed from KTLA – I did not really wanted to get too mad – simple because I did not have enough money to also sponsor our brave police officers driving figure eights on their motor cycles. I am so happy that they could have a bit of fun there because the rest of the week they will have to do all those nasty privacy and liberty violations those bad politicians tell them to commit  – – – and what can they do, right?

They are just doing their job!

Paperless Living

I am getting better at living a life without paper.

A few weeks ago I have started again to read a pulp science fiction series that I started to enjoy when I was at the tender age of 16. It is still available in print but hard (speak expensive) for me to come by. So, I found a real application for my tablet and am reading these novellas now on a screen.

But beside the entertainment part of my life, I  have also started to get rid of any receipt and other need-to-keep papers. There is a short decision when something comes across my desk if I will ever have to look at or refer to this piece again. If so, it get’s scanned and the  hard copy goes in the trash – or shredder.

This is also true for manuals. Fortunately most devices already come with electronic manuals or you can find them online. But unfortunately not always. Today I looked for the manual of the thermostat at our new house. There was one tucked right behind the wall unit, but obviously I will not leave it there. But I also did not want to start a new shoe box with manuals of things we have around the house, so the decision was made to scan it. But wait, maybe somebody else did this already and I can save the work.

Somebody did, but it was hidden behind having to jump through who knows how many hoops to get it free. Create a free account first. I still did that, but when I then was asked to try this subscription or sign for a trial membership on that other thing, I canceled out of that and did the scanning myself.

Hopefully Google will properly make it known that I did that, so, in case you need that particular manual you don’t have to sign up for any stinking free account – instead you get it right here…

DoIt Model No. 474045 5/2 Day Programmable Thermostat


German Seeking Political Asylum in the US

When I went to school in Germany, there was no real choice where to go. If you were Catholic you went to the Catholic school, and to the Protestant school when you were anything else – like Protestant.

That was the first four years. Then you could either stay and prepare for a life in trade or craft, go to middle school and plan to become a middle manager, or go to high school and aim for an academic career.

home schoolingWe heard it through the grapevines that there was something like private schools but that was for the very rich and weird and I never knew anybody who went that route.

Homeschooling was not even a consideration.

Apparently there are some parents now in Germany who don’t want to get their kids to be state-indoctrinated.Uwe and Hannelore Romeike are such parents and they tried to homeschool their kids but the government said ‘No!’ and the battle ensued. They, eventually,  fled from Germany to the United States after their family was vigorously prosecuted (fines, forcible removal of their children, threats of jail and more) for homeschooling. Initially, the Romeikes were granted political asylum, but the U.S. government appealed that decision to the Board of Immigration Appeals. That Board sided with the government. The HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association, a group defending homeschoolers in the US) took their case and appealed to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

First of all I wonder why the US government would try to deny this family to stay in the US. I can only imagine that they want to stay friends with the Germany government which tries everything to avoid creating a precedence. Imagine the PR flop if a German family is granted political asylum in the US!

In addition, those domestic homeschoolers are already a thorn in the government’s flesh, daring to doubt their benevolence. The arguments brought by the government why this German family should be sent back to Germany to be torn apart and fined into oblivion are very revealing and indicate what might be in store for American homeschoolers.

Read the full story at the HSLDA web site…

The Myth of Germany Conquering the World

german prisonersIf we believe Hollywood, Germany was a danger to the world during World War II and needed to be stopped. There was nothing that could be done by the US, but to enter the war and help defeat this dangerous foe.

As much as I like to believe in this German superiority (being one of them), historical facts, as they become more and more known, do not support this notion.

Starting with the fact that all Europe and Asia had been at war pretty much most of the time, so it was to no surprise that this newcomer among the war lords wanted to play and get a piece of the empire cake. But this young and inexperienced new kid on town – compared to the old masters like Britain which owned about a quarter of the world as well as Russia with another quarter – was no match.

Especially after it had been beaten into submission by the Treaty of Versailles at the end of WW I. It sure made them mad which was fertile grounds for WW II, but the fact remains that they had to start from scratch while their adversaries still had plenty of left-overs and the resources of half of the world.

Looking at the economics of war it becomes painfully obvious that the one who runs out of bullets and beans looses the war. This small Germany depended upon raw material from the rest of the world and as long as that world was not yet conquered, the flow of those materials could easily be stopped – and indeed were.

German innovation and creativity reared its ugly head when the initial surprise attacks were over and the war started to draw out. German stubbornness of improving and innovating war machines came at a huge cost. Hitler wanted only the best but research is expensive. This created a financial and resource shortage which in turn reduced the production of proven and reliable war equipment. It came to great surprise to me that, beside the Hollywood version of the well equipped German soldier, in reality the great majority of the German soldier was a foot soldier with wagons drawn by – yes – horses.

Why was the German soldier so completely mischaracterized by Hollywood and in the schools’ history books?

Combined with other historical facts, the only logical explanation was the FDR wanted to get in – he wanted to play with the other imperial leaders. Unfortunately the American people did not really want to, so he poked the Japanese so long that they had no other choice but to attack Perl Harbor. This so-called ‘unprovoked’ attack was used to change the mind of the American population, similar, by the way, to the ‘unprovoked’ attack on the twin towers which was used to get America behind Bush and his war.

Many facts have come to light since then that would indicate that an attempt had been made to minimize loss of material and life at Perl Harbor (again similar to the twin towers) but enough damage had to be done to enrage the population. The ships that had been destroyed were not even supposed to be in Hawaii and the fleet had been strategically weakened so that they would be beaten. An excuse was later made, when those facts came to light, that it was a necessary sacrifice in order to enter the war, and save the world. Hollywood was all behind it – apparently.

But America could have stayed neutral. Germany was more or less defeated when the US entered the war and Britain together with Russia would have been able to do the job easily. The biggest part of the war was the Eastern front and Germany had been beaten by a proven weapon – the Russian winter – something experienced by a previous imperialist – Napoleon.

How much different would the world be, had the US Government with Roosevelt at the top not entered the war? No, we would not all speak German now, but the cold war would probably never have happened as the German and Russian war machine would have annihilated each other. Russia would have never become a threat as quickly as it did.

Now imagine all that money that the military-industrial complex would not have made. I watched a documentary the other day describing the salvage of a Russian submarine during the height of the cold war. This was the Russian sub K-129 that had accidentally destroyed itself and had sunken in the Pacific. US military had better info on where that had happened and had been able to locate the ship without the Russians knowing. It was an engineering feat to get at least part of the sub raised from a depth of 17,000 feet in all secrecy – but this little bit of intell that had been extracted from the wreckage had cost the tax payer a whooping 350 Million Dollars – and that was 70s Dollars!

Imagine how many hungry children an Africa could have been fed with that!

So, are you still paying taxes without doing your utmost to drag your feet, making it as hard as possible to get anything out of you? Are you still quietly ‘in compliance’ – still not practicing civil disobedience?

(A very good run-down of the real events and economics can be found in Richard Maybury’s ‘Uncle Eric’ books – a ‘must-read’ for kids in public school to counter government indoctrination.)

Why do I love space so much?

I really wonder why I’m such a sucker for all things space.

From early teen-hood on I looooved science fiction, I still miss anything in this genre to this day and would really like to become one of those space tourists to the international space station, even though, looking over my finances, I’m a bit short at this time.

For quite some time I was sure the reason was simply experience – that I had lived all that space opera stuff in previous, long past, life times, but currently I am not so sure anymore. It might still be true, but I wonder if this explanation might have been a bit too easy and obvious.

Still, I enjoyed these two time lapse videos from the International Space Station, even though low earth orbit does not compare to some proper hyperspace travel or inertia free space drives (yes, I am re-reading Doc EE Smith’s Triplanetary right now.)

Emotional Stuff That Makes Me MAD

This emotional video of a 6-year-old boy with cerebral palsy walking to his homecoming marines-dad the first time made me raving mad…

Am I the only one wondering why this dad was away so long instead of being with his son during all these years?

What is so heart-warming about a mercenary for an imperial outfit to go out and miss his family to support the ‘interest’ of the owners of a country like the US?

Usually, in response to this, we hear that they are heroes defending our freedom and liberty.  Could not possibly be true if we look at the only country I know of that had no war for two centuries – Switzerland – a country smack in the middle of the bloodiest wars.

They have a militia – as suggested the US should have according to the constitution. Being in the militia is a part-time job, so they can be home with the family and they don’t go out to foreign lands to conquer. They are just all armed and ready to shoot any invading troops and are trained snipers to take out the highest officers – not troops – and that caused even Hitler to leave them alone.

No, marine-dad, there is no reason for you to wait years to see your son walk, if you would stop believing all this imperialistic propaganda, evaluate the ethics of what you are asked to do and find out that killing is simply killing, even if you are ordered to do so by a ‘law-maker’ – a glorified lawyer.

Just imagine – they gave a war – and nobody went…

To Protect and to Serve

Another hardened criminal bites the dust!

I am so glad we have the brave men in uniform to serve us and to protect us…

OK, I know that this photo is (most likely) a fake, but I have seen too many instances of hardened criminals in form of old ladies being pulled over, that I consider a scene like that impossible.

And, by the way, the primary goal for our men in uniform is to go home to the family safely – and not to protect us. That means all these cops flicks with Bruce Willis are just propaganda.