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Monopoly – Changing the Face of Crime Games

Monopoly – Changing the Face of Crime Games

 bandit monopoly

Monopoly has been changed by Hasbro to reflect the times:  Even in some ways that they may not have planned that are quite ironic.

To start with, the concept of a “monopoly” is a business concept that is illegal in the United States so although most of us have not spent much time thinking about it, the game is fundamentally based on the idea of going around the legal system and building so much money and power that you impoverish the other players thereby gaining more and more wealth and taking over the whole board.

There are the struggles of the traditional version of the game such as paying other players, paying taxes, and getting sent to jail for several rounds (in some cases you have some power to “get out of jail free”, to get lucky and get out early or possibly buy your way out of jail).

I never thought about it before, but what a training ground for exactly the kind of business practices that got us into a global financial crisis.  Do whatever you can to make so much money and power that you can dominate some section of the world (even if that means impoverishing everyone else involved) by seeking to do things that are illegal or at least legally questionable.  During all of this you try to avoid the evils of paying others, paying taxes or getting sent to jail.  If you get sent to jail, you try to use your saved up influence to get out of jail free, get out early or to buy your way out of it.

The change they should probably make for this game is to call it “The Wall Street and Mortgage Lenders Game of Life”.  

The new changes made to the game are even more ironic in light of the past few years.  The big change that has been made to the game is removal of the “Jail” and the concept of going to jail.  Much like the concept of punishment for the people responsible for financial collapse in recent years.  You do not have to worry about going to jail and you can still collect your two-hundred dollars much like the financial folks who avoided any consequences and still received huge bonuses in the wake of destroying the worldwide economy and millions of lives.

I was thinking of writing this all off as a silly observation I can ramble about with someone over coffee, but I was struck by the idea in our culture of being above the law or not having consequences (even if you knowingly are bending the rules or breaking the law). 

The reason for this change is apparently to speed up the game to only take twenty-five to thirty minutes.  The modern child has a shorter attention span and apparently a busier schedule so the game has to be faster and shorter.  

So why not take out any semblance of consequences for undertaking an illegal activity in a game that promotes this illegal activity as the focus?  Let’s take the game “Cops and Robbers” and tell all the kids that it’s more fun to be the robber and make all the kids robbers and have no cops. 

I may be over-thinking all of this and the truth is:  I LOVE PLAYING MONOPOLY (even though the game does take forever), but I think that this may unwittingly reflect one of the worst aspects of our culture and put it into practice with our children who are the key target audience.  

Maybe my once youthful and different views of the world have given way to becoming the mainstream, “old fashioned” values of the mid twenty-one teens, but I do think that if I am going to play a game where my focus is to be the best there is at undertaking illegal activity I have to negotiate my way through the maze of avoiding the consequences of my actions.  After all, what fun is it to play a game of doing something illegal if there are no actual consequences to avoid.

Maybe, if my morals were truly in the right place, I would not want to play a game like Monopoly on principle, simply because it is a game promoting such bad parts of our culture and what destroys us, but I must be honest and admit that I love the game.  I suppose it makes me feel like it is okay because there is a jail that I can be sent to for these actions and it makes it a little harder to justify if that possibility is not there.

I am not sure how I am supposed to feel about this new version and it’s absence of the “Jail” but on several levels, it does make me uncomfortable

High Times or Low Times

 

High Times or Low Times

Every one is now talking about the votes in Colorado and Washington to legalize marijuana for recreational use.  I am actually surprised at this conflict, but I am glad that someone else besides us Californians are finally the crazy hippies making up wild and unreasonable laws and being the nation’s crazy cousins.

Here is the deal (especially if you are not in the United States):  Federally speaking our government has declared Marijuana illegal, but some states have decided to declare I legal in their state and fly the proverbial “bird” at the federal regulators.

To start I will make it clear that I oppose this idea.

One reason is the idiotic idea that if the federal organizations that we put in place to regulate drugs, medicines etc. can be overrun by states at any given moment then we actually have no governing body or guidance for the chemicals that are introduced to people’s systems.  Either these governing bodies are the law or they are not.

Here in California (particularly during the daytime and ridiculously odd hours of the morning) we are inundated with commercials for drugs and chemical products that were once normal and available over the counter or by prescription that have now been deemed so unsafe that lawyers come on television to gather all the people who used these substances together to be a part of the massive lawsuit that is taking place.

Once it is determined that these substances can cause catastrophically negative results, the federal government steps in and deems that substance illegal due to the lack of safety.  These organizations have deemed marijuana illegal and unsafe.

Some states have decided that the sovereignty of the state allows each state to override these laws and do whatever they want as part of a democracy.

The big misunderstanding here begins with the idea that we are a democracy.  In a true democracy, at least in concept, every person has a say in everything.  The founding fathers of the United States felt that allowing every person to have a say in every little thing the government does would make every decision incredibly slow and would be prone to the confusion of the crazy ends of various views.

They decided to have a representative democracy where everyone has a vote on who represents you in the various levels of government and then those people make the decisions (by vote) on these things.  This (in theory) makes the decisions faster and should limit the power of the crazy wings of society from gaining too much influence (they so underestimated the power of crazy people gathering together).

In this case the states are attempting to override the representatives they have at the federal level by basically saying that they refuse to listen to what they have to say.  In other words a few states (including my state, California) have decided to undermine the representative democracy that we have in place and the people those folks have put in place to protect our safety.

In a representative democracy, the fact a group of us disagree is not an acceptable reason to ignore what they say as a matter of fact, it is an expected norm.  The fact all things are done by vote implies that there will be groups of people in most (if not all) decisions who do not agree with the government.  Do those people get to do whatever they heck they want in every decision?  If so then there is no democracy pr representative democracy:  What we have then is a chaos of every man, woman and child for themselves.

This is not a war on drugs or against the war on drugs, this is not a fight against oversized government or for the rights of states, the passing of these laws is a war against our form of democracy and as such a war on our own government as an institution.

Moving on, another reason I oppose this law is the foolishness of the arguments that so many have been programmed to believe.  It is amazing to me how many people have been programmed with little quotes such as:

  • Marijuana is less dangerous than alcohol and kills less people so it should be legal
  • Marijuana is not really a drug, it comes from the ground (as if many of the different drugs on earth do not come from natural substances – should poison mushrooms be legalized because some group of people decide they are not dangerous)
  • Legalizing drugs will put drug dealers out of business and eliminate a large segment of the crime we experience in our cities.  Like legalizing alcohol eliminated all of the crime from prohibition.

Comparing marijuana to alcohol is not even as close as comparing apples to oranges, it is more like comparing apple juice to being beat up in your sleep.

Why do I believe that alcohol should be legal:  because it is simply a drink that can be abused.  Alcohol has become a major part of many cultures because of lack of access to good water etc. and has been used for centuries in some cultures at every meal often without any intoxication etc.  You can get drunk and can get addicted to it, yet you can sip a fine wine with a plate of pasta or Mediterranean food and never run any risk of intoxication (unless you are already an alcoholic I suppose).

In terms of the use of marijuana, the main reason people use it is always to be intoxicated.  I have had conversation after conversation about this with people and I always set them up the same way (for a large part of my life I was an avid pot smoker myself so I am not alien to the culture):  After the person has gone into a discourse about all of the other reasons he/she uses marijuana and how high is not the goal, I ask the question that requires a heart and mind check.  What if I had a virgin Marijuana that would have the exact same smell and taste as well as producing all of the same results, yet would not produce any “high” at all.  Would you still want to use it?

This is usually met with stumbles and confusion and in a few rare cases a person may try to convince themselves (which is usually painfully obvious) that this would make no difference.  The honest truth is however, that the real desired result is to be intoxicated and the other possible positive effects could be better produced by other substances in existence minus the high.

So, the truth is that the conflict is not one of if some awesome medicine is ripped out of the hands of those desperately in need by the evil federal morons based on one-hundred year old propaganda.  The conflict is about weather or not the government has the right to stop people from getting high or not.

On California, a few years ago, a law was put before us to allow the terminally ill and incredibly sick to use marijuana by prescription.  There were images of the desperately ill in commercials and discussions of depriving the dying from some level of peace.  I suppose I drank the Kool-Aid along with many others and I voted for this law.  I use the term law loosely because it turned out to be a Trojan horse.

As I stated previously, I have only been out of the culture of constant pot use for so long and at the time this was passed in California I got to see the insanity of the fallout.  Suddenly, a huge segment of my friend-base sought out information about what things you need to say to get a card that allows you to legally smoke marijuana and which doctors either were handing these “Cannabis Cards” out like candy at the receptionist’s desk or who you could pay a small fee to and they would write you a prescription.

Suddenly, I had droves of friends with incessant headaches and back pain.  Some were thanking God for their cataracts and on and on.

Then there were trips to “Cannabis Clubs” which are sort of like warehouse stores for cannabis (sort cannabis Costco or Sam’s Club).  With various kinds, potencies and ways of delivery and lots of potheads sitting around in all day as if in the Starbucks of pot in their tie-dyed Bob Marley shirts and multicolored knit hats.

Face it; the people of California got hustled.  I remember seeing on the news the story of a politician in southern California describing how there needed to be a limit on the number of “pot clubs” in their city because their city had allowed there to be more pot clubs then there were Starbucks and McDonald’s combined.  If you are not familiar with the culture of the cities in California then you might not understand how ridiculous of a development that is.  I didn’t research the facts of that statement etc. but I have noticed the ridiculous number of these things that have surfaced.  If there were really that many terminally ill people in every city in California for the amount of years that many of these things have been open then the entire populations of these cities would have been wiped out years ago, pot and all.

The terminally ill argument is a Trojan horse to Universal Pot Care and is the road to getting our tax dollars or your medical insurance to pay for you to smoke as much and as strong as you want.

Then we get back to this only true motivation being to get high.  What does it mean to be high?  This idea that intoxication is somehow a healthy thing is foolishness.  That somehow the dizziness, painful coughing, distorted thinking and processing is somehow a benefit to the body is a reach at the level of the ridiculous.  These things are all the results of your body trying to reject something.

In the case of smoking it, you start with the idea of ingesting smoke.  That, in and of itself is an incredibly unhealthy thing to do and is poisonous to your system.  The human body is simply not designed for ingesting smoke.  Before the pot smokers reading this get into the whole “safer than cigarettes” thing, I also used to smoke a pack of cigarettes a day and quit due to the fact that it was unhealthy (as well as expensive).  This logic is like saying shooting yourself in the head is worse than stabbing yourself in the head so I should be allowed to stab myself.

As a general rule, one of the signs of smoking “good weed” is the coughing that accompanies inhaling it unless you smoke so much that you train your system, not to choke on it.  What I am getting at is not the idea that this choking somehow kills you or anything like that, but what that choking symbolizes.  If you were to use something else, let’s say eating a turkey.  If you were sitting at a turkey dinner with your family and the turkey made you choke to the point of not breathing for a few seconds and almost throwing up, would you say:  “Man!  That’s some good turkey?”

Absolutely not!  That’s because the choking is a sign of your body rejecting something for whatever reason.

If a good marijuana causes intoxication: altered awareness, mild to heavy changes in equilibrium and several different kinds of artificial emotions etc. then is it not doing something ultimately unhealthy.  Is it not altering (weather in a small or large way) your brain chemistry and killing brain cells.

In what universe do we legalize something that is self destructive (which is already illegal) for casual fun.  How do we not see how changing the way you think, changing your ability to balance, and artificially altering the way you interact with world is not a normal part of your body’s functioning but the effects of your body resisting a mild level of poisoning?  This is a poisoning that is self-induced and that feels (what we believe) to be good when our body tries to fight and reject this poison.

I have been okay with use by the seriously or terminally ill in the same way the I believe that chemotherapy should be legal.  If someone is at that is sick is advised to get chemotherapy, there is the assumption of some negative results that are outweighed by the positive results.  On the other hand, if a patient who is not seriously ill wants chemotherapy for some other effect, in this case we’ll say for the feeling of having other people feel sorry for him/her, then that person will not be allowed.  There is a perceived benefit in getting more attention which could make a person feel better about himself/herself, but the perceived benefits do not make the dangers worth it.

The truth is, this is all an elaborate scheme to make the government cosign the idea that it is okay to get high as much as you want (to poison your body as much as you want).

As I was writing this, at least for some people, I just discovered that all of this is a Trojan horse for the idea that all drugs should be legal.  I have the television on in the background and they started to have a discussion on this topic with that Sir Richard Branson fellow.  This Sir Richard Branson fellow, somehow an expert on American marijuana and drug policy moved from the passing of these laws to ending the war on drugs totally.

His idea was to allow the citizens of the United States to use whatever drugs etc. they wish and then when each individual realizes the need for recovery having government sponsored programs (specifically with methadone as he mentioned) they will be admitted to these programs for care and somehow magically live happily ever after.  His logic is that these methadone clinics will cost less than prison and it would lessen the crime.

The problem with all of this is that, clearly he has not been around many people at the various levels of using and recovery and if he has, he clearly only understood an incredibly small part of the culture.

The question I have is are we so culturally drawn to the desire for people to be high that we lose all ability to use common sense.  Whole states have decided to try to override federal law.  People have lied and misled us to believe this had other, more noble motives when secretly the motive is just to get high.  The solution to the war on drugs has in effect become:  Just cancel the war and let everyone get high and magically they will get less high.  The war here is not on drugs; it is a war on our government systems and on good sense.  The strange part is that most of the country is on the side of the complete anarchy of every man, woman and child doing as they feel, and making it almost mandatory that everyone get high.

If there is some incredibly evil person (we’ll call this person “the man”) this divide and conquer focus of anarchy and undermining of our government system would be an awesome way to take apart everything that holds us together, particularly if we are all too high to do anything about it.

Perhaps the threat of this level of crazy is why our founding fathers decided on a representative democracy instead of a direct democracy as a defense.

 

Alethinos Paradoxos

 

Oh Shih-Tzu This Election is Dog Eat Dog!

Oh Shih-Tzu This Election is Dog Eat Dog

Okay this is an official WTH!  I’ve been catching bits and pieces of this and it is all just coming together in my mind, so bear with me as I sort it all out…!

So this Romney person took a family trip at some point in history and strapped his dog on the roof of the car…  WTH?!?!  This story hits the news and goes all viral.

Then someone finds some evidence that this Obama character ate dog as a small child…  (remember all that dog shopping they were doing when he first came into office, HMMM?).

I have been pretty busy the last few days and just decided to look this story up and I stumbled across what I presume to be the next viral trip in this really weird saga:  The Romney camp or someone is releasing a story that he once saved a dog from drowning using his jet ski.  I have to admit, my mind is having a really hard time making the jump from dude who strapped the family Irish Setter on the roof of the car in a cage for family vacation to cool super-hero, dog saving guy who is in his disguise as a mild mannered presidential candidate.

Here is my real question:  WTH!?!?  What are we talking about this for?  I suppose the strapping the dog on the roof in 1983 is a bit unnerving and disturbing, but I am not sure that alone would eliminate a person from being able to run for president.  (for those of us who remember the early eighties, just about any information that surfaces from that period should probably be ignored – what a weird time in history).

On the other hand the eating dog in another country as a child story is even less earth shattering to me.  The fact that as a child in another country someone had you eating something that you are probably now grossed out by really bears no impact on which way I vote at all.

Now that Romney super dog saver stuff starts to sound a bit desperate.  I suppose it would have had an impact on me if I had heard it prior to the strapping the dog on the roof story, but suddenly hearing it for the first time now cheapens the story a bit.

What’s next; Ron Paul is going to announce that he was raised in the wilderness by a pack of wild dogs?  Newt Gingrich is really a shaved down Shar-pei?

I am not actually as amazed at these three stories as I am at the energy that many outlets of the media and particularly the campaigns and the supporters are putting into all this dogfight stuff.  The internet is all abuzz with these serious sounding rants trying to really prove one candidate or another is completely disqualified for president because of some dog incident and now dog heroics make the better president.

 

I did however, while I was writing this stumble into new information in the saga (which I have not verified and could be totally fictitious) stating that this Romney character is listed two different national animal cruelty websites for other major animal cruelty incidents.  In light of that I might want to slow down and start taking some of this more seriously.  If this is a habit and not an old, isolated incident, we might have a real problem.

Let me help you catch up to my change. I stopped typing to get some good, all-American food (got some nuggets from under the golden arches) and stepped away for a minute.  I decided to look at some of the current waves of web dog fighting and stumbled across http://www.dogsagainstromney.com/ .

As I said, I just saw all of that and have yet to verify any of it, but if it does turn out to be true there really is a serious problem in the Romney camp.

Why my change of tone?  If a person is not qualified to lead a sports team due to animal cruelty and needs to spend time in prison to leave and have a terrible time finding the next job (even though that person is a star athlete) then a repeat offender that is running for president is going to be a hard sell.  

I am of course describing quarterback Michael Vick.  Especially with all of this racial tension or whatever it is that weaves its way in and out of all things political lately, the idea that a rich Caucasian gentleman can get caught for animal cruelty and run for president no problem while an African American athlete who gets caught for animal cruelty gets the book and the kitchen sink thrown at him will not go over well.

I actually do find that the dog-fighting was probably considerably more egregious, but it’s not just about what I think. 

I am however quite concerned that there may be this tendency and this particular site says that he is not allowed to adopt pets because of these animal cruelty entries.  I suppose I will keep an eye on this for a few weeks before I deem it to be just silliness.  If he turns out to be a serial offender, there could be major fallout.   COULD RON PAUL END UP AS THE REPUBLICAN NOMINEE?

And yes my nuggets were made of chicken (as far as I know 100% white meat)

 

Til next time

Your Dawg, Alethinos

Distracting From The Real Issue

Distracting From The Real Issue

 

I’ve been thinking over this Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman thing (as it is all the rage in the news these days) and a sudden thought hit me today.  Why is the discussion only about race?  WTH!? (What the Heck!?)  There is a much bigger issue here and it is crazy!

So as I pondered all the racial questions, the motive behind this, the whole hoodie and Skittles thing, the right to bear arms thing, listened to the police call over and over again etc. I missed one glaring thing that is the overarching key issue here. 

Let me slow down and get you to where this all came from:

A guy, who is supposed to be a neighborhood watch guy is neighborhood watching (not neighborhood defending because that is the job of the police).  This guy has a gun he has legally.  He sees somebody he perceives to be a threat or dangerous or suspicious or whatever.  This person looks at him and (I guess) heads in his direction then walks briskly away.  This neighborhood watch person then follows this person (apparently even going so far as to drive after the person and then a ways down the road getting out of the car near this person.  Then this neighborhood watch person is so scared of this person that he walks this scary person down, pulls a gun on this young man (who is apparently armed with a bag of Skittles) and shoots him out of fear.

The real question at hand is:

Is there a law someplace in the United States that says a person can feel intimidated by a person he/she sees on the street, chase the (potentially unarmed person) down the street, run up on this person, and shoot this unarmed person in cold blood and be perfectly within the law because he or she found that person to scary, intimidating or to look shady.

If there is such a law, there is a list of people I need to be scared of in the next couple of days.

This is without even considering the police officer on the phone trying to talk this guy out of following Trayvon or even considering what made this young man armed with Skittles seem so dangerous to Mr. Zimmerman.

Government agents, law enforcement, military personnel, armed security guards, armored car drivers etc. none of these can chase down people simply because the are intimidating or look suspicious and shoot them in cold blood.

As a matter of fact, an armed person (who does not have a badge on) following an unarmed citizen of the United States is not only an aggressor, but if the police showed up, I have to ask myself which one should their guns be pointed at? 

In other words, if Treyvon had hit this strange man with a gun that was following him all over Florida with a brick or a bat, I think he would have been the innocent one.

The other big question is: How is this even a case?  This should be automatic.  This guy chased down and murdered a kid.  The race thing is a secondary issue.

A real shocking thing for me is the people who protest against this guy being charged and want this guy to be set free with no charges.  Who are you and what country do you live in (or planet do you live on).  Are you sure you want to set a precedent that a parson can say that a person looks suspicious, follow them down the street, shoot them in cold blood with no real reason and not even be charged with anything.  That can’t possibly end well.

I am a firm believer in the right to bear arms.  I also believe in the right for people to get drivers licenses.  I don’t believe in the right to cold blooded, unprovoked murder and more than I believe in the right for a person to drive on the curb and run someone over that they are scared of or looks suspicious.

If we get past all of the hype, this is just common sense.  This Zimmerman guy has a real problem.  He, as a private citizen, chased down a young, unarmed man, shot and killed him.  Black, white, Chinese, Latino, or whatever; it is a crime.  A very serious one.  This man, did a premeditated murder.  I am not convinced that I have evidence that he didn’t really believe this guy might have done some crime or that his intentions were to kill a black person or anything of that nature.  What I do know is that he followed a young man that turned out to be unarmed , shot and killed him.  He was willing to risk prison and the death penalty to seriously harm or kill another person and has earned that.

All of the racial profiling talk, right to bear arms talk etc. are discussions for after this guy is in prison for such an egregious crime. 

 

Some thoughts…

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