We’re all going to die, but some of us are a lot better at living than others. The world is headed to shit. We are running out of food. We are running out of water. We can’t get anything together because terrible storms are going to keep destroying all our progress. The storms are just going to get worse and more frequent. We did it to ourselves. We don’t care. We just want to make money. Less and less people have more and more money. Somehow the fewer people with more money have convinced the people they’re fucking over to support them. We hate ourselves. We think we deserve to have shit. There’s no middle class anymore. There’s only the super wealthy and the poor. Christians support financial inequality and are against universal healthcare. Jesus wouldn’t want people to be poor and not able to afford to get medical help. Jesus wouldn’t be okay with people who work honest jobs all the time and still can’t afford a place to live and food to eat. There’s so much resources on this earth and so many people can’t get it. For no reason other than there are a few people that are beyond greedy who are taking it all. Who would it hurt if employees got paid more? How can the majority of people be against that? It’s a lie that it would hurt the economy. If it hurt the economy it would just be because the super wealthy are being vindictive and purposely doing it. Oh no, instead of $100 million an executive makes $20 million so that 1,000 employees can make living wages. How horrible. How terrible. How much he will suffer. How much he won’t be able to create jobs anymore. Bullshit. You can create jobs, you just don’t want to because you’d have to make slightly less money and still live an incredibly over indulgent and excessive lifestyle. It’s all bullshit. There’s enough for everyone to live comfortable and happily. There’s even enough for everyone to live comfortable and happily and for the elite few to live excessively greedy hedonistic lifestyles. There’s no need for suffering. If you’re against welfare and social programs then support fair wages. Who would want to work when you can make more money being on welfare instead? If you can have an honest job and get paid enough to actually live, then guess what? PEOPLE WOULD WORK. And the few that don’t want to work, fuck them. Let them live on the streets. But if you actually work and are good, you deserve a home, you deserve food, you deserve even having days off where you can spend your money to make the super wealthy even wealthier. This is how economy works. This is why our economy isn’t working. A person with $100 million can only buy so many Ferraris and yachts and private airplanes. 100 people with a $1 million will buy more things, and therefore stimulate the economy more. Billionaires don’t help anybody or anything. A thousand millionaires is worth so much more to the economy than one billionaire. It stagnates, it sits, it does nothing. Money needs to flow and be exchanged and circulate. I’m not an economist, I never took a class on money. Yet I recognize this, because I’m not a fucking idiot who is stifled by idealism and politics. I don’t give a shit. I am a pure-blooded pragmatist. I am a pragmatic humanist. What does that mean? I support whatever works. I support whatever works to help people. I support whatever works to give the most amount of people the best possible life. I’m not a socialist. I’m not a capitalist. I am closer to a capitalist than a socialist. I don’t think there needs to be strict distinctions. There should be aspects of every type of economy. WHATEVER WORKS TO MAKE THE SYSTEM WORK FOR EVERYONE. I want people to work for money. I want people to work and get a fair amount of money. What’s a fair amount of money? An amount that allows you to live without suffering, an amount that allows you to have a safe and clean home. An amount that allows you to have a healthy diet. An amount that allows you to have extracurricular activities and hobbies. An amount that would allow you to not be a miserable human being that feels helpless everyday you are alive. We all want the same things out of life. We created this system we are in. Stop saying there is nothing we can do about it. There’s no intrinsic reason that the world needs to be the way it is. We did this to ourselves. Let’s stop imposing suffering on ourselves. Let’s start imposing freedom and happiness. Let’s start actually getting back to what America was supposed to be about, what it never really achieved. Let’s actually create the world that the bullshit Declaration of Independence failed to achieve. Let’s get closer to the post-World War II world where there was prosperity in this country and hope for the future. Let’s do it without rampant institutionalized racism and cancerous fear of Communism and others. Let’s actually be what we want to be and claim to be. This world is going to shit so quickly it’s startling. We can change it, though. We just need to realize what we actually want and why it’s not that way. We need to stop being so quick to label people as wrong and “others.” Let’s be pragmatic, let’s drop the labels. Just because someone doesn’t belong to your “party” doesn’t mean they don’t have good ideas. Who the fuck cares if your team isn’t the winning one? As long as we benefit who the fuck cares? Get over it. Stop supporting ideas that actually hurt yourself because you think it’s your “side” or “team.” Stop being against ideas that would benefit you because then the “other side” wins. Stop it. Let’s start doing things to benefit ourselves, let’s stop being self-destructive. The world can be better. We can be hopeful again. We’ve all become so dreadful of the future. Humanity and history has all been about a sincere belief that the future would be better than today and better than the past. The reason the world is so fucked is because we all are so sure the opposite is true now. As long as we think it, then it is. Let’s move forward. It won’t be bad, as long as we decide it’s not. I’m not liberal, I’m not conservative, I’m not a democrat, I’m not a republican. You can’t be for or against me because I’m on your “team” or not. I just have ideas. I just have observations. I’m a pragmatist. I don’t care what you are. If you have ideas that will actually help, then I’m all for it. Let’s do it. Drop the affiliations, lose the allegiances. The only thing you should be for, is for humans. When anyone does well, we all do better. Stop hating, start supporting. We’re all in this together. It’s not a bullshit abstract idea, it’s the truth. Where else do you have to run to? This is the only planet we have, this is the only life we have. It’s now or never. Do it for yourself, do it for your kids. We have nothing else to do while we’re here.

Gone to Ukraine in My Mind

Wow, can’t believe it’s been over a month with this Ukraine bullshit. I’m glad I wrote down my predictions for what would end up happening. Seems like I was partially correct, partially wrong. 

I’m pretty shocked that Russia was able to annex Crimea seemingly without any sort of repercussions. Sure there are a few economic penalties, but pretty paltry for what they gained. Overall, though, I think Russia has lost more than it has gained. Its standing in the world has been severely tarnished and as a real positive sidenote, I can imagine this conflict leading to even more impetus for getting off our addiction for gas and oil. Pretty much anyone we buy our fuel from is our enemy. It’s getting ridiculous to be funding our enemies. 

So, prediction time. This is where being a fan of history really gets exciting, watching history happen in front of us. When you study history often and long enough, you start to see things as they’re happening from a future vantage point. I can already see where this is lining up in the long story of humanity. But, anyway. Crimea is now part of Russia and I can’t see that ever going back to Ukraine unless A) a war was fought, defeating Russia B) years from now a much more sympathetic and reasonable government takes over in Russia C) Russia installs a Pro-Russian government in Ukraine and then gives it back to them. I don’t really see any of those happening, so get used to the fact that Crimea is part of Russia. Congrats, your centuries old obsession is yours once again. 

So, what’s left to predict? Well, the same playbook that was used to get Crimea seems to be happening in eastern Ukraine. In my original post I posited that Ukraine could end up becoming two separate countries or the eastern half being absorbed into Russia. It seems like Russia is doing everything within its power to get the eastern part of Ukraine into their country. They are inciting bogus incidents in the hopes that the Ukrainians will react and create just cause for a Russian intervention. It’s amazing the amount of restraint that Ukraine has shown in not doing anything to spark a real war. I really wonder how the people of Ukraine feel about all this. Their country is being encroached upon by the Russians, it must be very demoralizing and violating feeling. 

As for what I think will happen…I really sincerely hope that this does not erupt into an actual conflict. Although, if it did, I honestly think that the rest of the world would stay out of it. No one really wants or is interested in getting embroiled in another conflict. I think the Russians know this and feel confident that they can take the eastern part of Ukraine without much resistance. They would easily defeat Ukrainian forces and then probably play into the fact that the West did nothing to help them, in order to draw them closer. Again, I hope this does not happen, but it seems almost inevitable at this point. Russia, or Putin more accurately, are deadset on gaining more of Ukraine. I hesitate to think they’d take all of it, but I don’t think they’re done carving it up. The Russians are pretty confident that there won’t be military repercussions against them from the rest of the world and even more confident that there won’t be economic repercussions because they know that that would hurt the West as well as Russia at the same time. Our hands are pretty much tied in this situation and I think Russia will be able to do whatever it wants. The real question is more what will they do after they get what they want here? And can we stand idly by as they do the same thing to other neighbors?

Ukrainian Nights (Like Ukrainian Days)

This is so exciting. It’s been so long since a war of white people vs. white people has happened. There’s nothing like it. Wars of white people vs. non-white people are so boring, not fun at all. The real shit goes down when it’s white on white violence. Let’s see what happens. Russia seems pretty intent on holding onto the Crimea. Ukraine is in no position to fight back against Russia, but if they could get an alliance going, then maybe it could be like WWI. Seems to me that Russia will occupy the Crimean Peninsula then demand there be some sort of negotiation. In the negotiations I can see Ukraine being divided into two countries. I can’t imagine Ukraine becoming part of Russia, but I could see the eastern half being turned into some sort of puppet government loyal to Russia. They’d probably grant control of Crimea to Russia, so it’d be part of Russia in everything but name. 

 

Let’s see if it turns out I’m right. Only time will tell. I can’t really see it devolving into an armed conflict, though. Ukraine isn’t going to open fire, they’d be annihilated. Russia is just going to hold its position as a bargaining chip. 

Why Am I Here (I Love America)

It’s a question not too many of ask, but it is so important. Do you ever wonder why you are where you find yourself right now? The answer is often intertwined with world events. Our personal histories are one in the same with world history, which is why the study of history is so interesting. When we learn about world history it is not some disconnected fairy tale, it is often our very own story. Think about it, I don’t mean it in the existential sense, but literally, why are you here? What brought you to be where you find yourself today? Not too many of us can claim that we’ve been Americans for generations (or any nationality, for that matter). The history of the world is the story of the movement of people. And the movement of people is the story of war, famine, religion, conquest, exploration and so on. Often times it is catastrophe that leads people to where they are now.

As an American Jew, the answer to this question is pretty simple for me: I’m in America simply because Jews were kicked out of every other place we lived. My family came here in the late 1800s, early 1900s, coinciding with the rise of anti-semitism in Eastern Europe, particularly the pogroms of Russia. As a Jew I am fortunate that I have a written account of my history through the Bible, which tells of the multiple diaspora of Jews from the Middle East. If I’m to believe the Bible, then the farthest back I can trace my ancestry is to Mesopotamia. The Roman and Babylonia diasporas led Jews to flee to Eastern Europe, which at that time was accepting of Jews. They lived there for centuries enduring various expulsions, until the Russian pogroms led my family to move to America, which by the end of the 19th century was of course very open to immigration and was the best option for minority groups. 

Why I landed in New York is fairly simple, it was the first stop for immigrants and offered the most comforts of home and job opportunities. Now I live in California and I wonder how and why most of the people here are here. What percentage came for the gold rush and where were they before then? 

Crazy to think that I am where I am and you are where you are because of world events, because of the actions and policies of specific people or groups of people. Those events seem so long ago and so disconnected from who we are, but it affects your life to this day. Your whole life is based on the events of the past. It isn’t something that has nothing to do with you. It’s your life, it’s your history. No one just appeared one day, we all have ancestors, we all are related to people throughout history. None of us are unaffected by the events of the past. So, why are you here? 

Wowy Zowy

Whoa, I totally forgot about this blog. Which is surprising, considering the last time I wrote in it was apparently less than a year ago. I suppose so much has changed since then, that I do not feel like the same person. Things that weren’t that long ago seem lifetimes ago. It’s also funny how this is not the first time in my life that I have felt like I am a completely different person than I was at a previous point in my life. I guess that is what is great about writing these “journal” things. You can look back and see an authentic chronicle of your life. A time capsule of your mentality at any given time in your history. Which is great for me, I love history in general, so why not my personal history? It is also funny (hilarious) that a theme in my writing seems to always be “oh no, I can’t write anymore, I wish I could write like I once did,” and yet, looking back at the things I wrote (some of which are on that very topic) I am again struck by the thought of “wow, I can’t believe I wrote that, I wish I still had that talent.” What I deduce from this is that it’s all in my head. Obviously, that’s the case regardless, but I mean, maybe the time period I keep referring back to of my “halcyon days of writing,” in which I could write uninhibited and free-flowing and brilliant, maybe I think of it as that, simply because I wasn’t comparing it to anything else. Maybe, back then, in my “golden years,” I simply just was allowing whatever thought came out of my head to be what I went with. I wasn’t second guessing everything I wrote. The reason it came out so effortlessly was simply because I was allowing myself to write whatever flowed out of me. Now I second guess everything and think “well, is that what my true, authentic self would say?” Why am I filtering myself? When I let it flow is when it comes out best. Maybe to write better, I need to simply stop thinking. 

 

That should be my new method of practice of writing. To simply shut my (conscious) brain off and allow whatever comes out of my fingers to simply come out. I can envision it as literally something flowing out of my fingertips onto the screen. I need to stop filtering myself. Let’s just see what my subconscious has in store for me. 

 

Anyway, my life has changed completely since I’ve last written on here. It’s actually too upsetting for me to write about. Although, I know that is not helpful for my future self when I invariably look back on this. All I can say is that I now live in California, Orange County to be exact, ironic, I know. I can’t believe I am here. I’m just allowing myself to be and see what comes my way and what I get myself into. It’s been pretty interesting so far, I’m assuming it will only get even more so. When I think about my life before this part of my life I get incredibly upset. I am a completely different person. This is Josh 2.0, I have totally started a new life. We’ll see if it ends up being for my best interest, it seems so, so far. I will say this, I am taking the idea of me being a comedian/comedy writer more seriously and that is what all my focus has been so far. I am taking that to the next level and doing something about it. I just need to write more, but I am laying the groundwork for allowing myself to seriously be in that industry. That was just a note because I saw I wrote about that a lot while skimming through these old posts. Oh, I’m also happy to announce that I am on no drugs, though there are times I wouldn’t mind being on Adderall again, as I do enjoy the feeling it gives me and I do find myself being very depressed and lethargic. I’d like to have some (undue) confidence, just to get me over the hump. The ends justify the means, right? My insecurities and negativity gets in the way of me being successful often. Like I said, I just need to believe in myself and go with it. Stop second guessing everything. Just do it. Alright, goodnight. 

Gun Law Arguments

I want to preemptively attack the arguments that are going to come out today defending gun ownership in this great country of ours, after another senseless gun attack. 

1. “Criminals break laws, so making a law on gun ownership would be ignored by them, it’s pointless. They’re going to commit this act either way.” 

So, using that logic, why should there be any laws? You’ve identified the fact that criminals don’t care about what is legal or not, which I completely agree with. So let’s take the laws against rape and robbery off the books, rapists and robbers are going to commit their crimes regardless if it’s legal or not, it’s not stopping them. It comes down to your own moral compass, what you personally believe is wrong or right, in most cases will determine if you will commit a crime or not, not the legal ramifications. The reason there SHOULD be stricter gun control laws is pretty simple: the majority of people that commit these crimes, attain their guns through legal channels. They’re able to obtain these guns legally because they have no criminal record often until they go out, buy a gun and kill a bunch of people. Which brings me to the next argument that gun advocates make.

2. “If someone really wants a gun, they’re going to get it whether it’s legal or not.”

That’s probably true as well. The only thing is, I know of about literally a dozen places I can think of off the top of my head where I can go out and buy a gun TODAY. I literally know of NO place and NO one that I could go and try to buy a gun illegally. Again, this is just admitting defeat, “oh, well, they’re gonna get a gun, might as well make it as easy as possible for them.” No, let’s not make it as easy as possible to get a gun, sure they might eventually end up getting one, but if the process is MUCH harder it could actually deter people from trying, give up in the process, OR (and hopefully) get caught in the process of illegally trying to obtain weapons through various criminal channels. Gun control needs to start with the gun manufacturers. They should only be allowed to sell their weapons to law enforcement and military agencies, which are much more strict with who they give these weapons to and only in small cases get out to the public. Guns don’t just magically materialize in the public domain, they’re not easy to make in your own home (really viable and lethal guns, anyway). Gun manufacturers are to blame, they’re the ones providing the world with it. If we thought of it as drugs, we would see the gun manufacturers as the drug lords, producing the drugs. Cut off the supply and all the suppliers dry up. Kill it from the source. Regulate it right from the beginning, who gun manufacturers can and cannot sell their products to.

3. “We shouldn’t be making it harder to get guns for people, the world would be a safer place if EVERYONE had a gun on them at ALL times. People would be more hesitant to shoot others if they knew they were going to get shot.” 

I’ll take this argument in two parts, first sentence first. This might be the argument I take most offense toward. Try to imagine for a second, realistically, a world in which literally EVERYONE has a gun on them. Okay, so a gunman opens fire, say in a mall, now there are a hundred people surrounding him, all drawing their guns out. First problem, in these situations it’s incredibly chaotic, people don’t really know what’s going on, only a handful of people are going to know who actually opened fire first (who the bad guy is). Now you have the people who know who to shoot at shooting and then the people who aren’t sure, seeing those handful of people firing at the right guy. Now you have people firing at people that are firing at the right (bad) guy, thinking that THEY are the bad guy. In the process of all these people shooting from all directions, there is an incredible amount of crossfire, meaning people completely innocent are getting shot at from all directions being murdered. Basically, the more people that have guns, the more people that get killed, not the less. Next, as it stands, there is no training process to get guns. You know how when you want to drive a car, how you have to take a road test? It’s because we don’t want people driving on the road that have NO IDEA what they’re doing. With guns, for some reason, this doesn’t seem to matter. So, on top of having people shooting at random people from all directions, they also for the most part, will have NO training, this means they will be missing their target (even if it happens to be the “right” one) and even more innocent people will be getting killed. I, personally, don’t feel safer knowing ANYONE has a gun. Why should I feel safe that someone I have NEVER met, know NOTHING about, now has the ability to make the decision on whether to take my life or not? This goes back to the people shooting at the “bad” guy, they have to make a decision who “started” it. What if one day people mistakenly think I or you started shooting when we had nothing to do it? Oops, our bad, sorry, we shot you. I don’t even feel safe knowing the Police have guns, when I walk past an officer, I cringe, knowing that someone standing behind me has a gun and the potentiality to easily end my life. On top of this, EVERYONE should have a gun? Old people? Crazy people? Physically handicapped people? Children? I don’t even feel safe knowing those groups are driving vehicles, let alone packing weapons. (I don’t mean to disparage against handicapped, I mean those that are physically not able to steadily hold a weapon and aim correctly and so forth.) Also, have you ever been in a bad mood? Have you ever done something you regretted later while in that bad mood? Now imagine you had a gun on you, imagine what MIGHT have happened. Do we really want EVERYONE having a gun on them ALL THE TIME? A lot of people have a tendency to lose their cool and we’d probably be better off if they didn’t have a weapon on them when that happened. Plus, how I stated earlier how everyone is going to be shooting at them, one person shooting will turn into a hundred people shooting and dozens killed. 

Now to the other part of that argument: “People would be more hesitant to shoot others if they knew they were going to get shot.”

This is a complete and utter fallacy. You’re telling me that, even now, without everyone being armed, they’re not FAIRLY certain they’re going to get shot if they open fire on others? I think most people that go into a situation like this, maybe they are hoping they’ll be able to take out a bunch of people, but are aware that eventually the police are going to respond and are going to put an end to them as well. Yeah, maybe they won’t kill as many people before they themselves get shot, but they KNOW they are most likely going to get killed. In many cases, they probably WANT to get killed, but they’re so selfish they have a desire to take others down with them before they die. Suicide by police or something, I believe they call it, a person wants to die and provokes law enforcement to end their life for them. You look at the case of the Aurora shooting and that guy lived and is probably pretty upset that he did, probably did not expect to live and is probably horrified with the prospect of still being alive after what he has done. People that commit these crimes, 99% of the time I’m willing to guess, WANT to die as well. Often, if they themselves are not killed by others, they end up shooting themselves before capture. 

4. “Guns don’t kill people. People do. Should we outlaw knives and scissors and hammers, too?”

The most famous argument of them all. Right, just like cancer doesn’t kill people, your bodily functions failing and ceasing to be do. Or, bombs don’t kill people, the blast from them dismembering your body does. I get the point, anything can be used to kill someone if you want to. But, you have to admit, it’s A LOT easier to kill someone by using a gun. A lot more cowardly as well. There aren’t many other devices that I know of where you can take someones life without even being seen or heard by the person you are killing. With a knife you have to be within arm’s length of the person, while not a fair match, there is some level of protection that a victim can provide themselves with. Let’s be honest, guns are made to KILL things. There’s really no way to spin it, sure you can shoot targets, or just use them to make loud noises. But, what, really were guns even created for in the first place? To hunt animals and to be a new and deadlier weapon in warfare. All the other “weapons” actually have other uses and can be used in a harmful way. When someone kills someone with a gun, people say that is an inappropriate use of a tool, it’s not. That’s what it was designed for. It’s not someone using a carving knife to murder their spouse, it’s not someone using scissors to stab their neighbor. Those things ACTUALLY are designated for OTHER LEGITIMATE purposes. A gun is designed to kill, pure and simple. There’s no way you’re going to convince me that a machine gun with a hundred round clip that can fire 60 rounds per minute is somehow for duck hunting. It’s designed to kill people, a lot of people, in a short amount of time and there is ABSOLUTELY NO REASON that ANYBODY in this country or any country deserves or has a right to own one. Brings me to the next argument.

5. “The Constitution says we have the right to bear arms.”

Well, no, the Bill of Rights says that, not the Constitution, first of all. Secondly, the Constitution is a living document, one that was intended to be modified as times changed and necessities changed as well. The Constitution mentions slavery, but somehow we don’t strictly adhere to that anymore. The point is, the world of the times the Constitution was written in is COMPLETELY different than the times we live in now. In those times, most of our country was frontier, people truly lived on their own, off the land. There was serious risk of being attacked by “natives” and “outside” forces (British, French, etc). More importantly, hunting was an important and crucial part of life. Peoples’ lives depended on it. I know that some people still do hunt for food, but for the most part, if they didn’t catch anything, they’d probably still be able to survive by going to their local supermarket. In other words, the NEED for having guns, no longer exists. Also, and maybe even more importantly, try to imagine what the concept of “arms” were in 1787. The preponderance of weapons were muzzle loaded, 6-8 foot long muskets. These weapons fired one round at a time and then required close to a minute (by a skilled gunman) to then reload. On top of that, most did not even have rifling at this time, which meant they were incredibly inaccurate, on top of which, the projectile they were firing were so un-aerodynamic that it was close to impossible to hit even a large target from anything other than a few yards away. I believe that these sort of weapons should certainly be allowed to be owned by Americans, and the Bill of Rights supports that, go ahead. There is no need to own a pistol, there is no need to own a machine gun. If you want to own a rifle with a bolt action, then I can be okay with allowing that, I believe that that is for the most part something that is only very good for hunting (which is still killing) and is also incredibly hard to massacred tens and dozens of people at a time. No person should be allowed the right to singlehandedly murder scores of people and allowing these sorts of weapons to be legal completely lets that happen. Where do we draw the line? Should grenades be legal, too? Rocket launchers? Land mines? Why not surface to air missiles? Nuclear warheads? Battleships? Bombers? Allowing these WEAPONS to be owned by the public is giving them an “okay” to murder and I don’t trust just ANYONE being in possession of things that can so easily take my life and the lives of people I know and love. As stated before, I know realistically that bad people will still get their hands on weapons. But, why should we lie down and just make it as easy as possible for them? Why can’t we make some stand and some effort to try to curtail it in someway? To put up some roadblocks, to curb it somehow? As stated before, if that’s our mentality, then let’s make nothing illegal, stop the drug war, stop the war on terrorism, stop domestic abuse programs, let’s just let them walk all over us because “they’re going to do it anyway.” 

Sittin On the Dock of a Bay

I never realized before how immensely sad of a song it is. Sounds like a sweet little ditty, complete with whistlin’. But it’s about someone who can’t get along with anyone and has decided to just be completely alone. Nothing left to do with life but just stare out into nothing. He left his home in Georgia to go to San Francisco, for what? 2,000 miles he roamed just to make a dock his home. He’s done with trying, he can’t change, so he guesses he’ll just remain the same. And sit on the dock of a bay, just watching the tides roll away. He’s got nothing to live for, nothing’s gonna go his way. So, fuck it, he’ll just keep sitting on a dock in San Francisco Bay, the end.