Sunday, August 30, 2009

Confusing Texas Christian Conformity Act

That is what I call it. I have heard it labeled several times as a Bible Literacy Course forcing school districts to teach the old and new testament as some sort of cultural class to students.

Like most Texas state law from a 19th century style part time legislature and passed after the likely six pack of Pearl Beer on the back of the pickup truck in the Capital Building’s parking lot - a very confusing, state mandated, non-funded law on Bible Literacy is getting off to a slow start in this beginning of a new school year.

New Bible requirement hits Texas schools this fall
The Texas Education Agency told school districts that it would not provide the training and materials because the Legislature did not budget the $750,000 to do so.

And the curriculum standards approved by the State Board of Education, though constitutional, were vague and provided districts little direction for crafting a course on such a legally and culturally touchy topic.
Some school districts are dragging their feet, knowing that this forced quasi-religion in public schools law will likely be struck down in the Supreme Court.

It is perhaps to establish the Christian Faith as the one and only legitimate faith in the Republic of Texas before it secedes from the Union.

My guess is that many school districts are treating this required class like Music in its individual budgets and watering it down in order to avoid being the sample case the ACLU will likely target going to the Supreme Court. (Texas is not likely to fund legal fees for any targeted school district case – God, the Right is so cheap!!!)

Public high schools required to offer Bible course
A new state law requires public schools this year to teach the Bible. Under the new law, every Texas high school must offer an elective course covering the Old and New Testaments of the Bible.

However, Northside Independent School District schools will be doing it without bringing the Bible into the classroom. The district designed its own curriculum, focusing on multiple religions and on tolerance.

"You are not going to hear anything from the religious texts, said Clark High School teacher Heather Jones. “You are just going to hear what the religious texts are because this is not a class of religion but of the history of religion."
A city like EL Paso with a likely 80% Catholic population is dragging its feet in terms of teaching the Bible in school. Funny thing it was the Prots who forced the KJV of the bible to be used in public schools in the 1840s that caused the “know nothing” riots in east coast cities that led to the Catholic church building a separate and superior education system. But that was then and now is now.

El Paso ISD Looks Into Texas Law Calling For Bible Class
"I don't think that would be a good idea because everybody has different beliefs," said Rosalind Flores, of west El Paso. "And there would be issues about what they're being taught."

However, some instruction on religion is now required and can be incorporated in the current curriculum, but it will not be monitored by the Texas Education Agency…

El Paso ISD is not offering a Bible literacy class at this time. A district representative said their instruction and curriculum department is looking into it, but they would have to hire a teacher certified in theology. She said it's not in the budget.
Strange thing in this modern secular age. The monolithic plans of the WCP (white Christian party)/GOP don’t exactly goose-step to the front office dreams of a Christian nation. The back office education bureaucrats don’t want to do the required nitty-gritty dirty work of instituting, actualizing, making real, vague religious fanatic laws.

Fantasy and the lack of grip on reality that the GOP holds onto in these last dog days of summer are perhaps symbolic of the last days of that Party nationally and in Texas as well.

Red state turning into Blue state anytime soon???

Friday, August 28, 2009

Martino Out? Barres In?

Rumors of rumors about Bishop Martino of Scranton. Below the local newspaper quotes a highly placed Catholic blog article as source of the rumor for the impending retirement or semi-retirement of Bishop Martino.

Rumors suggest Martino may leave diocese
…published reports that Bishop Joseph Martino was planning to relocate from the Scranton rectory to the former St. Pius X Seminary in Dalton, a bucolic retreat outside of Scranton that boasts expanses of lawn, a large pond, and clusters of trees…

No longer a training ground for priests, the location serves as the Fatima Renewal Center for religious retreats. Its seclusion is reminiscent of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in suburban Philadelphia, where Martino was stationed prior to his appointment as bishop here, and where he has long been rumored to spend some weekends…

…the Vatican could handle the transition in several ways. A bishop from another diocese could add the Diocese of Scranton to his responsibilities until further action was taken, or an apostolic administrator could be appointed to run the diocese until a new bishop was named. A third alternative would be the appointment of a “coadjutor bishop,” who would share diocesan responsibility and authority with Martino.
I find it ironic that so many parishes have closed. Now are we seeing the possibility of consolidation of whole dioceses into one another? My article on July 29, 2009 "New Temporary Bishop - Allentown - John Barres" speculated that the diocese of Allentown might be absorbed into Scranton. Now I see the possibility of Bishop Barres possibly being in charge of the two dioceses but without any official consolidation until a lot of details are worked out. Rather convenient that John Barres and his NYU MBA training might come in handy in any organizational reshuffling.

I see this more as a semi-retirement thing for Martino. He has toed the party line. His fate was decided in some money changing office in the Vatican without regard to his absolute faith in the perfect faith. Now he must submit to the political, economic reality of things and obey.

I see this closed seminary in Scranton being reopened to coordinate with a greater Archdiocese of NE PENN (Northeast Pennsylvania). Perhaps Bishop Barres will be an archbishop much sooner than I would have guessed.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Mohammed's Sleep Apnea and Dreams

I caught an article in the Guardian UK website in which the religion reporter is toeing the Muslim party line and criticizing a non-Muslim because he doesn’t understand the Quran etc. Of course translations of the Quran into English cannot be trusted. Only if you read the book in God’s Arabic can you be close to the Muslim God etc.

Sorry Sebastian Faulks, you just don't understand the Qur'an
Author Sebastian Faulks has been bemoaning the literary and creative deficiencies of the Qur'an. He reportedly called the holy book of Islam "one-dimensional" and drew unfavourable comparisons with the "incredible stories" of the Old Testament.

The Qur'an was not written in English, nor is it normally read in English, so of course the scriptures lose something in translation.

One example is the tale of Isra and Mi'raj – a nocturnal journey referred to in the Qur'an. It sees Mohammed travelling on a flying horse from Mecca to Jerusalem, where he leads other prophets in prayer. He then tours the heavens, speaking with prophets who preceded him, before the angel Gabriel takes him to Allah. Allah tells Mohammed that Muslims must pray 50 times a day. On the advice of Moses, Mohammed returns to Allah, saying the figure is high and asks for a reduction. Eventually Allah whittles down the number of prayers to five a day.
The usual religious B.S.. I can remember when Jesus (God) only spoke Latin. Whatever.

I am distressed. As I usually do, I research some things further. Also be forewarned, I once tried to read parts of the Quran in English and I agree with author Sebastian Faulks, attacked in the Guardian article, that calling it “one dimentional” is an apt description.

The story that Guardian reporter Riazat Butt tells, in her own interpretation (?) of Mohammed’s “trip” to Heaven, seems rather flat in comparison to another interpretation in English below.

Isra wal Miraj – the Night Journey
Gabriel then did a curious thing. He cut open the Prophet’s chest from throat to navel, removed his heart and cleansed it with Zamzam water, and poured into it a substance that fortified Muhammad’s wisdom and faith. Gabriel next asked Muhammad to mount Burak, and they began what is known in the Islamic faith as “the Night Journey”.

… Only this time they arrived at a much more distant location. The Masjid-al-Aqsa, meaning “the farthest mosque” in all of Islam. The city of Jerusalem. Along the way he saw many sights, including the birthplace of the Prophet Jesus in Bethlehem. Gathered together in one place at the mosque in Jerusalem were the prophets from Adam to Jesus, and Muhammad led them all in prayer.

From there Muhammad and Gabriel began the final leg of their journey, up to the heavens. This is know as the Ascension of the Prophet.
Mohammed then gets to Paradise and does not meet God but rather the word of God – Kalam – which he uses to haggle prayer down from fifty times a day to five???

Forgive my ignorance. I like the above interpretation in English. It seems multi- dimentional. It also seems troubling.

For one thing the interpretation reminds me of the quality of the Book of Revelations, the least Christian and least cohesive book of the New Testament.

This whole dream sequence of Mohammed starts with Gabriel ripping open Mohammed’s chest and cleaning the heart in Zamzam, a legendary tonic water.

To be quite frank, I think Mohammed’s trip to heaven was the result of sleep apnea, possible congestive heart problems and a possible near death experience.

That World War Three over the Noble Sanctuary/Temple Mount real estate deal in Israel/Palestine and based on Mohammad’s possible sleep apnea does not sound religious but clinical as in medicine, science etc.

The Muslims better get on the stick with the way they look at God, the World and the Human Race. I have no doubt Mohammed had his dream. I just question how much weight should be put on such medieval “visions” not properly translated in the light of today and our modern secular age.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Kennedy Patriarch Dead - E.M.K. - Teddy

My first letter to Congress was a group effort of my seventh grade class in Philadelphia. The nun in charge of the seventh grade was a freaking Kennedyphile. We wrote individual letters of a few lines and they were addressed with a teacher’s cover letter to Senator Edward Kennedy in the hospital after his plane crash in 1964. Photo above related to his physical therapy thereafter. Tells you how old I am.

The reply came in a franked enveloped showing Kennedy’s signature and his privilege of free mail to the public on public business. The letter inside was a few lines thanking my class for its thoughts and well wishes and was signed in a signature that looked real.

The nun scotch taped the letter onto the chalkboard and it stayed there for several weeks until retired to the teacher's large archive and collection of Kennedy memorabilia. That was my first real civics lesson of memory.

When I saw that Ted Kennedy had died last night on the Internet News Summary, I did not feel anything. I suppose that is a good thing. He was there in the public eye for so long and involved in so many projects and political stands and well - he was just a bigger than life American Icon – bona fide.

There are those stages of grief depending on circumstances. If death is sudden, then grief is abundant out of shock more than anything else. If death is anticipated, then grief is short lived. People and the dying have time to reconcile feelings, emotions etc – to put life and its final days in proper perspective.

My next memory of Teddy was in 1972, at a George McGovern Rally on Broad Street in Philly in front of the Bellevue Stratford Hotel. I don’t remember the date but it was hot and summer. I don’t remember the words of the Ted's speech but it was a good one. The crowd loved it. George McGovern was there too I should mention.

I have lived all my life in the shadow of the Kennedys. I remember shoveling snow in front of our humble row house and going inside to catch the “Ask not what your country can do for you” line live on black and white TV on Inauguration Day 1960 with JFK.

President Kennedy was killed on my birthday. How can you forget that?

The Bobby thing was all too much like a nightmare following two months after Martin Luther King being gunned down. This in the midst of an insane Vietnam War – the sixties were indeed a violent time in American history – no doubt about it.

I felt nothing for Teddy today. I knew he was going away to eternity. It was better than bang, bang – you’re dead – like his brothers. Forgive my license or metaphor here – I lived through those terrible darks days of our country (flashbacks).

Teddy in many ways was the survivor of much family grief and history. He had his human faults. Don’t we all? In a way the Chappaquiddick incident, whereby a young woman was killed in car crash at night off an unsafe wooden bridge, was a blessing in disguise for Edward Moore Kennedy. If that incident had not happened, perhaps a President Ted Kennedy would have joined his brothers in tragic death.

As the fates and or karma worked out, Teddy the youngest became the Patriarch of an immense family legacy – of service to Massachusetts, the Democratic party and the nation in general for close to half a century.

I did not feel anything or cry at hearing of Teddy’s death. In my heart, far too many tears have been shed for that family. No more tears are necessarily.

The end of an era, a dynasty, dies with Teddy. When they bury him in a few days in Arlington, a big chuck of the granite of the Kennedy history is laid to rest in eternity.

The Lion of the United States Senate, Edward Moore Kennedy, is dead. With his passing, his legacy and the legacy of the whole Kennedy clan of his generation – means that “now (they) belong to the ages”.

No need to cry.

Sam Harris - Non-Belief - Bill Maher

Here is something a little different if not original. A Non-Believer who prefers not to use the word atheist. Sam Harris is the author of two books that address his beliefs which I have not read. He was not raised in any particular family faith and God was never talked about in his house as a child.

Harris addresses many things but what I find fascinating is his approach in a calm way to talk about his beliefs. He states in the video ‘that "atheism" is not a worldview or a philosophy, but the "destruction of bad ideas." ‘ (WikiP.).

He is not the bedraggled, sawtoothed Madalyn Murray O’Hair athiest stereotype that mothers used to scare their children with.

His approach to the idea of non-belief sounds balanced. Many other atheists seem to me to be anti-religion for the sake of being anti-religion and many try to make it a separate viable philosophy and or new religion.

His other statement in the video below talks about how at the core of most religions there is a “transformative” element but that centuries old “religious mumble jumble” and or “bullshit” hides that basic root of many faiths. That it is “taboo” to question the useless, irrelevant multi-layers of religious dogma added to the base root of faith. That inability to question elements of religious insanity is a factor in our present age where fundamentalism is potentially a major destructive force to the people and survival of the planet.

He is talking perhaps at the other end of a spectrum from me in terms of my wanting a minimalism in my religious beliefs in pursuit of a greater path to spirituality.

A sane voice, even one of a non-believer, towards a more tolerant understanding world is welcome in the discussion of the human condition that touches upon basic aspects of faith.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

ELCA Okays Gays for Clergy

Are they dominoes or are they bricks falling from walls of century’s old misunderstanding about human sexuality?

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has decided that gays in long term monogamous relationships can be ordained as clergy in their church.

The ELCA has permitted the ordination of women for decades. Now the other shoe has fallen so to speak. The restrictive interpretation of ancient sacred scripture has a few asterisks in its text today to deal with the reality of the modern age and in regards to the nature of the religion thing that so many want and need in their lives.

The ELCA is the largest and most liberal of several other Lutheran bodies in America. Talk about some congregations walking away or joining other more conservative sects is in the air.

Similar talk is in the air with the Episcopalians who recently approved a similar decision in Los Angeles last month.

'Monogamous' Gays Can Serve in ELCA
Previously, only celibate gays were permitted to serve as clergy in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, a denomination of 4.8 million members. But delegates to a church assembly voted 559-451 to allow gays in "life-long, monogamous" relationships to serve as clergy and professional lay leaders in the church…

"We live today with an understanding of homosexuality that did not exist in Jesus' time and culture," Tim Mumm, a lay delegate from Wisconsin and supporter of Lutherans Concerned, an gay-rights organization, said during the debate. "We are responding to something that the writers of Scripture could not have understood."

..."As Luther taught us, Scripture does not have a wax nose," said the Rev. Ryan Mills, a delegate representing Texas and Louisana. "It cannot be twisted into anything we want it to say. But that's just what we're doing with these following recommendations."
Homosexuality, as defined and thought of in the past few centuries, is breaking some new grounds in terms of understanding, tolerance and acceptance in some church circles.

It has been sixty years since the first Kinsey Report in America on male sexuality, followed by another report on female sexuality, that has perhaps paved part of the way for the present understanding of homosexuality. Some of the methodology of that original scientific research is questioned but the strange thing is that it established a mark in the sand. Before Kinsey was the dark ages. After Kinsey, humanity could focus on itself and define and or even rediscover what it means to be human in a sexual context.

America and its independence and “can do” attitude toward church structuring seems to be a little bit more free and fragrant than it has been in the recent past.

I think that locally controlled religious bodies here in America see the empty pews on Sunday and rather than eliminate whole portions of the population through gender or sexual orientation, the right thing to do is to be inclusive to all humanity. It is something we can visualize Jesus doing if he were with us in the flesh today instead of in spirit. The church of Jesus and the people of God move forward.

Europe seems forever trapped in the past. Too many palaces and rococo churches and not enough farmer’s horse sense in the day to day living of the human race adds measure to that thought. Rigidity in the old ways of religion seem to turn into stone like so many gargoyles adorning old buildings over there.

It is refreshing to see America at the forethought on matters progressive in religious thinking. Even if we have become something of an evil empire with our illegal immoral corporate war in Iraq, some of us still have moral fiber and religious conviction. We also have our humanity which is inclusive and projected toward all humanity and not just some of it.

There is a long way to go in terms of the human condition to change and understand itself as a whole and in perspective from many angles of history, culture and human nature. Another small step forward in that process just took place in Minneapolis.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Michael Jackson's Funeral delayed by Religious Superstition

I see a lot of lame MSM excuses about why Michael Jackson’s funeral of August 29, 2009 have been pushed back to September 3, 2009.

The real reason IMHO is that the burial date August 29 was heralded as Michael’s 51st Birthday and therefore the brain dead reality denying Jehovah Witness branch of his family do not want him buried on a date associated with a holiday – birthday – concept - which ain’t in the Bible and cannot therefore be celebrated.

My favortie joke about Jehovah Witnesses is why do they use underarm deodorant - Jesus never used underarm deodorant - I am so evil - I am hoping the concept works its way into their mainstream gossip/theology network - then you will be able to smell them before they ring your doorbell.

God knows Michael was f**ked up in life by having to submit to this brainwashing crazy theology that changes its focus every decade or so. He won’t be at rest even if they plaster him into the wall at Forest Lawn and disturb the likes of Clark Gable and Carol Lombard with all the goo-goo, drooling, teary eyed fans traipsing through the big marble lined warehouse sized celebrity mausoleum.

He will no doubt get disinterred as soon as they can negotiate an Elvis type spot at the planned amusement park - Neverland tourist trap - after the off ramps from the freeways have been okayed and paid for by a bankrupt California state government.

This denial about birthdays, holidays, blood transfusions, not saluting the flag is all protected for this loser’s religion under the First Amendment to the US Constitution.

I know some Jehovah Witness types. They show up at their non-Jehovah Witness relative’s house on Thanksgiving and Christmas – “just popped in to say hello” – at dinner time – and they bring an appetite like they haven’t eaten for four days. I once saw a thirty pound roast turkey disappear in one hour one Thanksgiving – not even a few bones left for soup. Whatever.

Sorry you can’t rest in peace Michael Jackson. You are too valuable a commodity to be left alone to history – you unfortunately have too many untalented, greedy, hungry Jehovah Witness relatives to support in your life after death.

Rick Santorum Tin Hat Award to Jim DeMint

Earth to Senator DeMint! Earth to Jim DeMint!

Talk to any Aliens lately!?

Senator Jim DeMint, of South Carolina, and “C” Street Church and occasional Brothel Club has his high moral hat on recently. Aside from wanting Obama to fail and in essence send the US into more chaos than the American Empire can handle, he now talks to “immigrants from Iran and Germany” who agree with him that America is going to hell in a hand basket. You have to talk to outsiders to get that opinion? Ever bother talking to your own citizens in the South Carolina?

GOP Sen. De Mint: America Under Obama ‘Headed’ to Regime Like Iran
DeMint previously announced that the Republicans would “break” President Obama by defeating health care reform and he promised it would be Obama’s “Waterloo”

On Hewitt’s show, he described Obama’s response to his attacks, as the President picking on a “junior senator.” He then claimed that immigrants from Iran and Germany told him that the U.S. is headed into the type of totalitarian regimes of the countries that they left.

DeMint said:
“And we’ve seen a lot of countries over the years collapse when they’ve gone down the road that we’re going down. Probably the most heart-wrenching experiences I’ve had over the last several days is when naturalized American citizens who have immigrated here from Germany, Iran and other countries, they come up to me and they say why are we doing what so many have fled from? Why don’t Americans see what we’re doing? And I’ve realized that these people who’ve lived under socialist type economies, and totalitarianism, they know where we’re headed if we don’t turn things around.”
This is the best South Carolina can send to the Senate? Christ! Who do they got as Governor? Jim is a man who can only afford a six hundred dollar a month furnished room in Washington owned by some rather seedy quasi religious group? Let us also not forget that South Carolina believes in creationism where there is no such thing as evolution or monkeys but there your cousin could be your aunt could be your grandmother kind of thing etc. Jim is their man in that big evil capital city. "C" street offers an innocent out of town southern boy a safe "christian" haven and insulation from the evil secular world outside its front door.

From such a diverse cultural and intellectual climate, the Senator from South Carolina Jim DeMint, is also listening to the advice of immigrants from Iran and Germany to deal with and improve our domestic agenda.

My guess having read some of the facts of “C”Street and the Christian Mafia in Jeff Sharlet’s book “The Family” – that who besides non-Doug Coe higher-ups does Jim DeMint talk to except maybe the lowly Doug Coe missionary novices imported from other countries, on work permits?, for a round of the new Coe religion training and who in the name of Jesus clean the toilets at “C” Street. That in the factoid GOP handbook, alien/immigrant/contracted cult labor sounds better if you say they are naturalized citizens for that better sound bite.

My questions to Senator Jim DeMint:
When you are having these aliens/immigrants talking to you? Are these Wilberforce (Money Laundering?) Foundation sponsored cult laborers – are you on or off the toilet as they are cleaning it?

Are these brief encounters with aliens the only people you are allowed to speak to while in residence in your “C" Street crib or while in Washington?

I hereby award the Rick Santorum Tin Hat award to Senator Jim DeMint!

For uniquely unbalanced logic, political analysis, and strangely bizarre off the wall American Conservatism.

Keep up the good work Senator and please remember to flush!

Friday, August 21, 2009

God and Grits

There is a story the late southern author Truman Capote told about the ingrained nature of southern American culture and his ordering bacon and eggs at a Mississippi diner. The waitress said “we’re out” meaning that the requested order could not be served for lack of the products mentioned. Capote asked if they had eggs ? bacon ? – to which the waitress shook her head in the positive. “Then why can’t I get my bacon and eggs?” - to which the waitress responded “cause we’re all out of grits”.

The story speaks of a mindset of that culture whereby breakfast is not breakfast unless it is accompanied by that local delicacy – grits.

The mindset of a lot of religious bureaucrats dealing with the same Jesus story and message is that they are unable to cater to the spiritual needs of somebody that walks in off the street into their church or sacred place. You have to order Jesus off that menu and you have to like grits – which is metaphoric for a whole litany of possible items, prayers, dress, ritual, literal as opposed to open to interpretation dogma etc.

Having been raised in the RC church and in spite of that fact I want to be in someway Christian and follow the teachings of Jesus in my daily life because quite frankly it seems the right thing to do along that line. It also has to do with tradition and wanting to carry on something of the culture that preceded myself.

In the glaring lights of so many demands on our attention and psyche in this modern age, in this global age, the old religion has not translated well for me and others - does not transcend into the modern age with the right feel or right taste of “grits” in a metaphoric sense.

I was not raised in the tent, revival atmosphere of fundamentalist Christianity. No matter how they cut that mustard, it is not grits to me. And there is that hostility thing from people who have never moved more than a hundred miles from their birthplaces and they seem to think they have the perfect spiritual grits whether you like them or not.

Having traveled in the south, the one thing you don’t tell a waitress is that you don’t want grits. That is a first red flag signal to them that “you are not from around here heh?”

This is not a criticism of southern culture. In fact I love grits and many other things you can only get on your plate when you are in that part of the country. I do use the one size fits all mentally or there is something wrong if you don’t like or want grits to illustrate the point.

The most you can want and the least that the God bureaucrats might be willing to concede, but won’t - is to let you order a non-menu item – no special requests and no daily specials served in the church.

In religion, you cannot choose what ancient rituals or dogmas you want to leave off your plate. Religion in the west has settled into that hometown losing sports team mode. Nobody wants to get new players or fire the coach. Fewer and fewer people attend the home game. Revenues are down. The club folds. Only after a few empty seasons does anybody notice or become nostalgic for the “good old days”.

Somewhere along the timeline the idea of service to others, of serving what the person can or cannot eat in terms of a spiritual diet, has gone out of vogue. The restaurant can be almost empty and the chef will only serve tripe the night you show up and want to order grits.

Where are the spiritual menus and flavors and wonders of a modern age to be served off the universal Jesus menu of love and service to others?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Belly Botton Fuzz and the American Right

Just because the monkeys escaped from the Philadelphia Zoo Primate House and are walking around on two legs – is no reason to mistake them for human.

There is this queer touchy feely thing on the American right and particularly in the GOP but it also translates to fleas on and infecting blue dog democrats -

– that if your constituency is permanently out to lunch that you can exist on a pedestal and vote according to the whims of your pimp lobbyists and their re-election contributions – that you are somehow a viable human being – or a viable party.

Has Jon Kyl ever touched a real human being making minimum wage ? – people he supposedly represents (without healthcare) - it does not matter – his vote from an under populated American state has the power of millions in an east or west coast state.

There are two Americas. There are the rich and the poor. There are also the real and the unreal.

Once upon a timeline, Republicans represented real people in small towns and with small town beliefs. These people once believed in many things – hard work, ethics, a grounded moral life.

Now in the global economy thing, whores and pimps and lobbyists are the most important people on many Republican Senators’ agendas.

Once upon a time there was reality in America.

Now there is only the Belly Button Fuzz of the Republican big buck ethics and the feel good of the Spitzer priced hooker on call to top leaders of the GOP – paid for by big corporation lobbyists!

Where is the Green Party, Progressive Conservative, or Centrist Independent Parties to inherit the second party status in the American Political Forum??? – once the GOP finally gives up the breath and falls over??? – from lack of real human breath or real human values?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Amendment 28 - Tax or Don't Spend!

Anger in America is real!

Americans as statistical numbers or as commodities do not like being used by their betters whether in corporate America or by the moneyed elites that rule the Capital.

Frustration with a government that can start a War in Iraq over whatever and use deficit spending to fund outsourced phantom contractors or phantom services is starting to take its toll.

The basic fact is that the USA is not GOD - or a GOD BLESSED PRODUCT which seems to be the sole basis of all White Christian Propaganda these days.

The French Revolution is remembered by the infamous quote (probably not true) of Queen Marie Antoinette - “If the people don’t have bread…let them eat cake!”

In the decades of chaos about to envelope the planet because of American deregulated, unregulated Reagan God Blessed voodoo economics, one quote will be remembered more than another.

Cheney to Bush (2001) : –
"We don’t have to worry about deficits."
I don’t care about virtual economies and spreadsheet mumble jumble – the classic way to do government is to balance the budget. If you need a war, you raise taxes to support it. If the people do not want more taxes – you don’t wage the war(s). Period. Exclamation point!

You cut budgets or you raise taxes. NO MORE DEFICITS.!

Rule in a competent manner or don't bother to rule at all!

Proposed constitutional amendment 28:
When expenditures of the Federal Government exceed revenues for 180 days, the Congress and the Executive Branch are dissolved and elections shall take place in 6 weeks for said entities. The term of Executive Branch is to extend as an interim government 6 weeks until the elections and 6 weeks thereafter in transition to the swearing in of the newly elected Legislative body and Executive branch.

Monday, August 17, 2009

HMO Co-op, a World Class Memory

In the current Healthcare debate, Co-op is now the sound bite of the moment.

Public Option seems perhaps to be too much of a big government idea. The theory, if I am correct in deciphering all this political and paid for advertising rhetoric, is that the Public Option would operate like Medicare, Medicaid or the VA and as a basic not for profit system, it would set standards and drive down prices in competition with the for profit health insurance industry.

Here goes my Arizona HMO story. I have worked in two HMO setups in the boom and bust economy of Arizona of a little over a decade ago. The first HMO was a slick local, for profit entity that advertised on TV a lot and didn’t ruffle too many customers’ feathers.

What I saw in healthcare generally in Arizona with the big wide open spaces where you drive everywhere a unique setup for getting healthcare. Most competing HMOs had cluster offices. In some large office building or mall setting, your doctor had offices and he or she could refer you to a specialist etc with a doctor in the same complex and with the same HMO. So far so good.

There was also a thing for saving money with emergency care. With a small child and ear infections and fevers in the night, you call your HMO number and you get directed to an emergency care center in the middle of night rotated from day to day from the various cluster office centers and from HMO to HMO. HMOs co-operated and shared the emergency health thing. During the day you went to your individual HMO Cluster Office setting and at night you got immediate care at rotating centers. The hospital emergency room was the last place the HMO would send you unless the medical situation was critical.

The first for profit HMO I worked for got gobbled up by some mega-California HMO monster. The old quality disappeared overnight and people started switching to other HMOs still local to Arizona.

The second HMO I worked for was I think a not for profit Co-op HMO setup. I say this in retrospect because nobody at the time was calling it a co-op but going over my mental notes and the current MSM sound bites, that is what it was, a co-op.

A regional hospital was at the core of this co-op setup. Some doctors and their corporations were the driving forces in the gathering together of a HMO bureaucracy where I worked. These doctors worked as for profit corporations. They used the not for profit HMO bureaucratic setup to process the billing, Medicare, prescription co-pay items etc. In many ways it was not different than the for profit HMO. The one thing was that we the employees did not get bonuses or perks. We had basic salary, cheap co-pay HMO benefits and a 401K.

Putting that all aside, the co-op grew in a decade from several thousand to several hundred thousand members. I think this co-op thing worked from year to year. In the end, the not for profit thing was falling through the cracks and the regional hospital and the for profit doctor corporations supporting the membership started to experience losses which got written off by several of these for profit and not for profit entities. I will not say that bad management was the ultimate failure of this co-op HMO entity. The demands of new pharmaceuticals, new technology and slow, very slow payments from the state and federal governments were a contributing factor to the ultimate selling off – buyout of the not for profit HMO co-op to the monster national for profit HMO entity.

Overnight, local, personal, affordable, recognizable HMO services disappeared and with it a toll free number for members to talk to in need of referrals, prescriptions etc. As a result a lot of chaos for many individuals who had gotten comfortable with a user-friendly medical care situation. No more personal touch or local offices to walk into and fix your HMO billing and service problems. Just a toll free number!

Changing demographics and of course Arizona as a retirement state, pushed the cost of health care for Seniors through the roof with the HMOs. The federal government promised many tiered payment plans to the HMOs for Senior (Medicare) HMO coverage. But the federal government at its worst and slowest and dumbest way ended up reneging on promised payments for seniors and cited bureaucratic technicalities that tied up and delayed fair payments to the HMOs. In the end I think it was the Fed Government and its failed delivery of cash for services rendered that broke the back of this HMO co-op.

I have worked for about three world class companies in my life. One was a bank. One was a mortgage company. The third was a now defunct Co-op HMO in Arizona.

I wish good healthcare to all Americans. I wish innovation and creative management to cut costs but not services to the insured public. I fear the arm of the Fed government to destroy a well run, well oiled HMO co-op, by merely changing a few rules as means to provide road kill and easy profits for corporations to gobble up the co-ops after they have built and maintained lean, mean, streamlined healthcare machines.

I hope the future in American healthcare is better than the past.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Global vs. Local Banking and Investment

I mentioned somewhere earlier in this blog how as the new bright global thing comes into shape that certain things would or should remain local.

Local beliefs, customs, religions are not going to change in the next century. Everyone’s attitude about the sacredness or the respect of local items is going to have to be made adjustment wise by everybody on the planet. Local control should also extend to economics and finance.

The one thing now in the present economic turmoil that the MSM is ignoring is the housing situation.

Somewhere along the timeline, human rights in the form of housing and health care got turned into some sort of commodity to be bought and sold on the global exchange. A slave exchange in a metaphoric sense got created because there was no experience or precedent or laws in dealing with the new financial thingy. Bastard institutions and irrational bad economic thinking sprang up and nobody noticed or cared.

Everyone somehow got caught up in the financial thingy because of two things, pensions and 401Ks. Very few corporations do the pension thing anymore. Only municipal and state governments do much investing of their pension fund things these days. The 401K and IRAs at first sounded like a good thing, like HMOs, in the eighties.

It was a means to create money, stimulate the economy and invest in new enterprises. Sounded good. Only instead of loaning money locally to build or retread old factories, the money got loaned overseas. Why? A greater rate of return on the money.

When I was younger, a six percent return on capital was a classic standard that stood for decades. You didn’t get rich overnight but your principal grew over time and in the end your nest egg was relatively secure. You had local control of the money. You saw the local home builder’s fund build new houses. You saw the addition being put on the local factory. You knew who you were investing with and what they were investing in through your local banks.

While I have done some commenting on the health care in recent articles, let me deal here only with just the housing thing.

Housing, shelter should be affordable. It should not be ten times what it is worth or was worth a decade or so ago. Taking local control away from local business and or banking and putting it in the hands of global interests has been a disaster. Why? Because you don’t know the particulars of the local market.

The current housing bubble crash and toxic asset waste dump in America had it start at the end of the eighties. The stock exchange starting selling “junk bonds”, meaning “air”, as if the risk or the investment was somehow justified merely by the “for sale” sign by the "legitimate” exchanges and “traditionally conservative” brokerage houses.

Junk bonds led to speculation and became the backbone of a boom and bust housing speculation market. This more so out west I think than in the east. Local capital was not so readily available there before this time.

The Savings and Loan Scandal of the eighties and how it was mismanaged by the Federal government in its mopping up actions is a primary cause of the present economic collapse worldwide.

The Savings and Loans took global money, junk bonds, and inflated local values and in the short term, the ponzi term, the rate of return seemed too good to be true.

The federal government stepped into the S & L mess and covered up the mistakes of major political players in the Senate who helped rewrite the laws to allow crooks to operate as legitimate bankers out west in Arizona, Nevada and California. The Feds poured hundreds of billions into the patch up after the collapse of that housing bubble in the late eighties. Instead of sending hundreds of people to jail to set an example, the criminals were out on the street and waiting for the next opportunity to come along in deregulated, unregulated banking/financial/mortgage markets. Charles Keating became the Bernie Madoff singular scapegoat of that era.

The Savings and Loan bubble collapse had been good practice for novice crooks, working off commission, who now would run amuck in the nineties and up until 2008.

When the Fed took over the toxic waste loans of the Savings and Loans, they came up with a national, not a local, formula to regulate further mortgage loan scenarios.

By standardizing some aspects of the mortgage business to streamline and package loans globally, they left out the naturally occurring check and balance of local markets.

In the past, growth was slow out west based on real demand. With a global scale of investment, short term housing speculation began to pump up the local economy on air. Home equity loans on temporary ponzi wealth fueled the belief that this was a real economy and growing on real growth demands. In fact, buying a home, turning it over after six months for profit, was not about housing but creating artificial or fictional wealth. The Fed scheme to let any illegal with a phony SS card to get home ownership only pushed demand into further artificial regions.

While I see the need for some global investing in real estate locally, where are the old fashioned local guys who used to sit around the cracker barrel and decide how many houses to build on a real demand from quarter to quarter and based on local bank assets? Local control from local banks and without access to junk bond like investment capital used to work very well – very well indeed.

The states worst hit by the current foreclosure melt down out west, Arizona, Nevada and California currently are the same states that did not learn from the Savings and Loan disaster.

The Fed, the global factor, has to be scaled down in the future. Let local markets in housing be determined by local available capital. Otherwise this bullshit bubble in housing will never end and nobody will ever be able to afford a house again.

Instead of encouraging fewer and fewer big banks with Gov’t money, they should be chartering new regional and new local banks to exclusively manage and untangle the current housing toxic waste pile – and to monitor future housing investments locally.

Friday, August 14, 2009

White Christian Nation - Half Slave - Half Free

A picture is worth a thousand words. I briefly encountered the live broadcast the other day of President Obama awarding the Presidential Medal of Freedom to a very diverse crowd of domestic and international personalities : Sandra Day O’Connor, Desmond Tutu, Billie Jean King, Stephen Hawking to name a few. It was in searching the Internet that I came upon the very interesting photo above in conjunction with Sidney Poitier who also received the Freedom Medal the other day.

I knew of Charleton Heston in later years as a pillar of the GOP, NRA. I did not know of his brief shining moment in 1963 when his mere presence stood for the right thing at the right time in American history – civil rights. Where have Republicans like Charleton Heston gone in this strangely angry America of these days?

That the GOP in its death throes is in an escalating battle royal for power only and not any real mission statement – is the source of much anger and fuss these days and with the Health Care Restructuring Reform issue on the plate before us on this hot humid August day.

I take one or two steps back in history. This country has never been a democracy. It has always been a country ruled by a private white men’s clubs throughout the states. We don’t elect the president. We merely elect the elites who vote on who should be president in the Electoral College. Members of the Electoral College are under no obligation what so ever to reflect the vote of the people in their states. This veto power of the elites is the hidden monarchy of our system. It is a bit of a royal bastard in which the nation is ruled. It is never the less, as royal bastard, a connection to the past.

The other step back has to do with the Transcontinental Railway issue of one hundred and fifty years ago. If the southern route won out in congress, the South could have held onto an obsolete economic thing like slavery well into the first half of the twentieth century and without need of a Civil War to restructure or realign the political and economic structures of mid nineteenth century America.

As it was, the White Christian Men’s Clubs of the South felt that with cotton and Britain, and a railroad, it, the ruling class could do okay if it seceded from the Union. Lincoln, who was a corporate lawyer, would have backed down, and let the South and slavery go on forever if the South wished to compromise in ways that they did not entirely feel comfortable with.

The one thing that irks me looking at the history of Confederacy and the Civil War was the fact that ninety five percent of the whites in the south did not own or could not afford slaves. They were fighting for a way of life. They were fighting for the illusion that maybe one day they could strike it rich and own slaves. The promise, the delusion of the old south perhaps had more to do in inbreeding of the white ruling classes than with any real common sense model to follow in that situation.

So from the beginning, America’s democracy has been on the Greek model of democracy which is a democracy for slave owners. Slavery per say has disappeared in America. Our owing our souls to credit cards, plastic dreams and subject to the whims and outsourcing of profit making corporations makes us subject in many ways, like slavery, to these moneyed institutions.

When I reduce the present tirade of screaming Dr. Goebbels like BIG LIE mouthpieces: Limbaugh, Palin, Beck and Grassley, I hear something differently than the immediate energy of the subject at hand. I am hearing the coded message of States’ Rights, the right to own slaves and most importantly I hear the Pagan message that it is alright that we remain half free/half slave – half covered/half not covered in healthcare. It is a not the truly Christian message. It is a white Christian message from the white Christian party – the GOP.

Every American citizen does have a right to Human Rights. Let me repeat that.

Every American citizen has a God given entitlement to Human Rights!

Britain has health care. Canada has health care. Even the Frenchies have health care. If Hitler had won world war two, all of Europe would today have health care. Stalin had health care even in that many gulag splendored world of totalitarianism. Cuba has health care etc. etc.

Why aren’t we as Americans worthy of Universal Health Care? What Original Sin are we being punished for?

It is not a White Christian Country. It is a Christian country. With many who do not know what Jesus’ message was about – or have an understanding of our entitlement from birth to human rights including Universal Health Care.

How long can this nation remain half slave and half free?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Death Panels - Death Squads - Code Pink

I see a common thread throughout all the current shouting and fuss over Health Care Reform legislation. The Birthers, Deathers, Town Hallers, exhibit a certain energy and strength and yet they are still delivering the same blob of whatever as they did during the recent campaign. The cause changes but the energy of it all speaks of some common roots – linguistic and primal.

What I see in looking at recent campaign tapes on You Tube and elsewhere is a sort of recycled five hundred year coded message that immigrants to America brought with them from religious persecution in Europe. And they, the insecure, the border line crazy, will not let go of it!

Indeed, the last bus stop from east to west was Los Angeles for many decades. The pioneers, the immigrants pushed westward to La La Land and carried with them some long festering fear and paranoia related to an imperfect freedom in America – imperfect because somehow someone or something will reach in and take freedom away. Once they got to the west coast there was no place to convert mental energy into travel – or to hide from your active fears and anxieties.

A blunderbuss at your door mirrored the real fear of attack by those natives on whose lands you were now in some European sense taking hold of. A need to carry arms mirrored the belief that no European country with its religious persecution was going to take away the American dream, whatever that is – it like the pursuit of happiness can be very elusive and from generation to generation takes on new meanings and nuances.

Listening to some key words in the current anger and fuss in Town Hall settings, I see different things. Many Americans feel out of touch with the bizarre way Washington rules itself and is not accountable to anybody, not even God. And not balancing a budget is just bad business and bad economic sense but it just goes on and on and on. Now that we have reached our credit limits with China, I see new overtures toward India and their potential lines of credit for the American consumer appetite – the modern day version of bread and circus to keep the mob under control.

Some key code words being tossed around right now in the streets and on talk radio are:

Big government – possibly the English Crown, Tudors and Stuarts, who perpetuated the religious persecution of commoners along with German princes.

Hitler – Satan – the prince of darkness used to be black until the nineteenth century and the invention of color lithography when he turns red.

Red - Satan

Nazis – devils

Swastika – twisted cross – (Crucifix – the pope)

Eupropean Socialist – European.

Birth Certificate – legitimacy – one hundred and fifty years of European religious wars all over who has the right religion and who is more legitimate than the next guy.

Death Panels – the Inquistion – and let’s not overlook Sarah’s possible Freudian slip of death panels meaning death squads, an acceptable way blessed by conservatives to rule by dictatorships in Central and South America.

Sarah Palin’s (I’m Okay – You’re okay) wink – the secret handshake. And of course Alaska is the ultimate sci-fi last bus stop of the shrinking world in the twenty first century. (She’s got to be one of us!) Code Pink!

Let us not deceive ourselves into thinking that in a coded subculture surviving to this day that used to suppress slaves and murders Indians, that the coded message going out now is a real message so much as very hot pressure point push words being manipulated by certain parties and that may go back to the Reformation.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

American Royal - Eunice Shriver - R.I.P.

Somewhere in the ethos of the American story came some immigrants from Ireland and then you have a saloon, politics, money, power and a dynasty is born – the Kennedy family.

Eunice Kennedy Shriver, sister of JFK and mother in law to the Governor of California has passed away. With her some of the glamour and tinsel and sparkle of an age more appropriate to a 1940s black and white Hollywood movie passes with her.

When I see the lives of that generation passing away, my parents’ generation, I have to examine the times and the circumstances of the things that made some people stand out more so than others in those rapidly fading bygone days.

The founder of the dynasty was Joe Kennedy Sr., son of a saloon keeper and therefore an arm of local democratic politics in Boston. He marries the daughter of the Boston mayor, makes a fortune the old fashioned way, through blood, guts and little glory so that his children can help fulfill his limited but obvious political goal of having one son become President of the United States.

In the movies they call it sexual tension between the male and female protagonists of the onscreen drama. In from the bogs of Ireland story to the landing on the American shore to take advantage of opportunity in the assets of a big wide open land, is a cultural tension - to not only make it and survive but to excel. In this manner the patriarch of the Kennedy tribe cast something indefinable into the mold of the lives of his children. His daughters, with trust funds, did more than what women of their generaton were supposed to do. They went far on their own and in their uniquely placed cultural manner. It was the boys, the princes Joe Jr., Jack, Bobby and Teddy who were destined to be thrust upon the world stage of potential greatness.

Have you ever seen the movie, the Wizard of OZ, when Dorothy opens the door and the screen goes from black and white into magnificent sparkling color? That was how it was like when JFK became President. A young handsome witty man married to a chic wife stood on the American stage of politics. The dull gray of the lingering Victorian era, of the world wars and the cold war and dullness of Eisenhower and his pure wasp cabinet gave way to Camelot as Jackie would later tag this one brief shining moment in American history. It was an age of great possibilities and indeed the exploration of space and the landing of men on the moon were a direct result of a saloon keeper’s son and his dream for the lives of his children as part of the greater American dream/myth.

Eunice Shriver has passed on at age 88. She did not live in the shadows of her male siblings. She founded the Special Olympics for the mentally disabled over four decades ago. She helped redefine how people with intellectual disabilities and limited abilities are defined, looked at, perceived by the public in general - globally. If you define greatness as the ability to make the world look differently at something, then Eunice Kennedy Schriver was great, not because of her family blood line, but because she has contributed to the world’s perception and view of individuals with disabilities. Pretty good payoff from old Joe’s trust fund etc.

I do not agree with the myth that the Kennedy family is an American Royal Family. But their combined legacy along with the legacy of a family member such as Eunice make them damn near as close to a royal family that this republic can visualize or allow.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Finally - Moral Warriors - Health Care Reform!

Finally, some Moral Warriors to take on health care reform issues and the Clowns in the Health Care for Profit Industry.

Religious left wades into healthcare fight
Liberal religious groups announced on Monday they are teaming up with President Barack Obama in a national campaign to counter the surprisingly vehement conservative opposition to his plan for overhaul of the U.S. healthcare industry this year.

Organized by liberal-leaning evangelicals, some mainline Protestant clergy, and some Catholic groups, it will include Obama participating in a call-in program with religious leaders streamed on the Internet on August 19, prayer meetings and nationwide television ads.

"As a pastor I believe access to healthcare is a profoundly moral issue," Rev. Stevie Wakes of Olivet Institutional Baptist in Kansas City, said in a news teleconference announcing the "40 days for Health Reform" campaign.

Let’s see if the moral voice of the sixties can be raised in conjunction with the Obama team on health care reform. There is nothing like a good show and I know now that the clowns who run the Health Care Industry in this country are going to get a run for their hugh profits at the expense of patients’ money!

Sarah Palin is a Putz!

Sarah Palin is a Putz! She is an airhead who has never finished anything she has every started including raising a normal family.

Her recent comments in Facebook regarding the so called rationing of health care by Obama and Company in a national health care phenomenon is purely delusional.

We already have rationed health care under the private corporate system in case you don’t know it Sarah. If anything, Medicare and Medicaid, government health care, have cared for retarded children directly and indirectly for the past forty years when the private sector dropped the ball or more than likely tossed it over the wall into the government sphere.

The Rapture has arrived! The saved didn’t disappear and go to heaven. They are hanging around Facebook, Town Hall Meetings or hanging by their newly discovered tails as above in primate houses in Alaska! – among other places.

The rest of us poor mortals have come to the conclusion that a national health care plan will bankrupt us especially if it includes funds for the mental illness of Sarah Palin, Rush Doobie Limbaugh and Newt “wanna get married” Gingrich. Govement sugar like Govement cheese is addictive Sarah and also very difficult to swallow.

You are not a private citizen. Your treason is treason. I have had enough of lies and downright evil content being put into the American town square.

It is time for the people, the rest of America, to turn away from anger and hatred and to sit down and talk issues. Not just shout them!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

God Bless Obama and America Too!

Forgive me – the above image has appeared overnight with a strange mixed message as to what it really means. The image has come out of and is being used in the Birther/Deather (Know Nothing) political movement currently in vogue in the nation’s thought flow. The image in any case does not represent love or respect. In the political arena there are no rules.

It is strange but I follow a troubled soul meter regarding the state of the nation.

Whether it be coincidence or the heat in the political atmosphere, the number of people who seek out and read my Number of the Beast Article goes up in days of political unrest.

My article I wrote in a sort of religious stupor over ten years ago in quest of a more personal and perfect spirituality over and above the mere religions and the attempts by men to touch the Deity, in spirit or in words.

Revelation 13:18 - DCLXVI - The Number of the Beast

The Beast is indeed in Town Hall Meetings these days!

When people are searching for absolutes they look for absolutes in the Bible. I long ago concluded that the Bible is a man made book, sometimes inspired by the Deity. The revelation of God through the message of Jesus is something over and above the rest where that divine message is so crudely recorded in that faulty history book of the Bible.

Over and above it being a very poorly written history book, the only other function I can see in the Bible is one of a road map. It may lead you to points on the map literally or points in your individual journey where you may be closest to a spiritual awakening or even come close to step into the presence of God – transcendent – as in a Transfiguration of your life, spirit and spiritual direction toward eternity.

The bible does not predict anything. The bible only holds the predictions of men.

In times of political unrest, the bible will not tell you anything about the vetting process of a nation that at times seems to be half angel and half demon. We lived for centuries as half slave and half free. I knew that the vetting process of this Presidency might be difficult, I could not predict the weird ways, and particularly for people in the traditional South to accept reality in a real life setting after the 2008 election.

The shouts of anger in the crowds in town hall meetings are becoming more openly racist and evil in its content. Time cures everything. The young are more flexible. The old and much of their ingrained hatred is a decade or two away from the grave.

I pray for my nation to be the best it can be. Should be. I rarely get what I pray for.

God bless the nation. God bless the people right or wrong. God inspire and protect.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Our Lady of Nagasaki - Pray for us !

The whole purpose of the Cold War was to in some weird Dante like image way – to turn the planet into one big pile of bio-trash?

The August 6 anniversary of the dropping of the bomb on Hiroshima is upon and again the MSM gets a free minute or two of airtime showing archive footage and an historic footnote gets mentioned but not analyzed. The Mayor of Hiroshima this year has words to repeat from the American President and a bold new concept for the ban of nuclear weapons from the planet. An unusual word, “Obamajority” refers to and represents the sentiment of the majority of the planet who agree with the concept.

Hiroshima mayor backs Obama's call for an end to nuclear weapons

Are we crawling to Bethlehem as the poet Yeats describes our progress toward the future? Is that crawling a good thing? Are we to be reborn into a better more efficient monkey package in terms of our evolutionary capacity to change - and hopefully for the better?

The Image of Hiroshima, burn victims, salt shadows (evaporated people) on the sidewalks and the naked raw image of the burned landscape - are eternal in humanity’s personal and historic scrapbook.

I am for nuclear disarmament.

As an American, I stand by President Truman and his command decision to use the bombs to save a million American military casualties. I had relatives in the Pacific theatre of war who would have been in a likely physical invasion of the Japanese mainland.

Truman had been in the trenches in World War One. His was a hands on decision based on experience. Right, wrong or indifferent, Harry Truman used the device of war to end war – an old formula.

To Truman’s credit, his humanity, his possible regret, he had a brief discussion with his biographer Merle Miller in which the topic of discussion was whether he would or could visit Hiroshima to lay a wreath. The old cantankerous man responded that he might do that, he might go to Japan but that he would not kiss their ass. Harry did have a way with words. Men in previous generations of western culture have not been allowed to be emotionally honest in so many ways. Truman dropped the bomb and now we have to live with the consequences of proliferation.

The other city that got hammered with science in 1945 was Nagasaki on August 9 with the second bomb, in our new age of non-reason related to nuclear arms. People don’t visit that city or remember it as much. Hiroshima is the premiere icon of nuclear destruction. Nagasaki is more a local domestic thing while Hiroshima is the icon of international focus.

I believe that a very bubble wrapped Japanese government in total denial about surrender looked at Nagasaki and drew a horrible conclusion about its destruction. In the Japanese mindset of race and blood, Nagasaki was not considered to be Japanese but European. The Japanese allowed one port city, set aside in the sixteenth century, and in conjunction with trade from Portugal. While on Japanese soil this city was virtually walled off in access and psychological reference from mainstream Japanese culture up until 1945.

The photo above is of a burned wooden image of the Virgin Mary from the Cathedral there in the European colony port of Nagasaki. The Japanese saw the destruction of a European city by the Americans and they did not understand the concept. Were the Americans ignorant of history or was the nuclear genie a madness that could not be contained?

Nagasaki cathedral chapel – Virgin Mary

Is the nuclear genie a madness that cannot be contained?

That is what anniversaries are for. To remember and to consider, reconsider the facts of the day in focus - August 6, 1945.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Tea Baggers, Birthers, Deathers, Brown Shirted Clackers

I am watching Morning Joe and he is denying that this locust like blight of conspiracy theorists in the GOP party are from the GOP. Tea Baggers hate all tax. Birthers see conspiracy in everything. They (the locusts) are now stating that proposed health care reforms are designed to kill old people – Deathers.

Now you have all these retired people, presumably on Medicare, being bused around to thirty states according to the MSM to populate Town Meetings and shout down anybody who disagrees with them about whatever they think they believe. Not GOP? The charter buses are paid for by Health Insurance Industry lobbyists. In the tradition of hecklers in theatres I call these bused in actors as HMO/Pharma Clackers.

The clackers and their shouting down all opposition in town hall meetings that many times are conducted in sincerity by Congressmen in their home districts reminds me of the Brown Shirt tactics of the National Socialists in early 1930s Germany. Am I exaggerating? Well - non of these shipped in HMO/PHARMA Clackers are carrying or using billy clubs yet!

It is this corruption of something older than the republic itself – town hall meetings – where I draw the line in the sand of my tolerance for this fringe fascist outbreak trying to further erode civility from what little is left in the American town square.

Never the less, it seems like a hole has developed in the heart of the fabric of the GOP – like American Culture itself. These activists, borderline crazies, used to be good to get out the vote in past elections. It would seem that with the death of Jerry Falwell, the outing of Ted Haggard and a long, long string of sexual improprieties, perhaps more on the GOP side than the Dems – the old boundaries of morality and decency in the culture have eroded. But the GOP was supposed to be morally superior as the party of “Family Values” whatever that really means (wink, wink, nod).

Is this an army of nuts, of cast off downsized outsourced part-time political soldiers, no longer needed players in the phony GOP Morality Play? Are they adrift? Ready to latch on, hire on (per diem), to any current PR project? Are they the Oakies of this modern economic depression not spoken about by the MSM?

Some of this decay in the social fabric on the GOP side is part of the void, no man’s land, that the ongoing evolving culture is going through. Religion no longer anchors us. Some of us perhaps. Some of us take responsibility for our lives and our salvation. Ninety plus percent of the culture has been hooked on the materialistic god of consumerism of the past generation. Happiness has to do with things: houses, SUVs, Ivy League diplomas, iPods, clothes, plastic credit, etc.etc.etc. Heaven is on this material earth. No need for a spiritual heaven. Hell and Satan have retreated deep into the cultural background.

In the meanwhile, blue dog Dems are determined to earn the big lobby bucks and sabotage the health of all of the American Public. Obama, the corporate lawyer, will sign off on whatever and call it success.

These are the dog days of Summer and thinking about the situations mentioned above I am reminded of the words of the Irish poet Yeats. He, in the midst of the Irish Rebellion and the First World War felt the pain, the shouting of people who were not in control of technology ninety years ago and acting like soulless robots in response to that sad age – which blends into this sad age – “nothing is new under the sun” – when he wrote the following:

The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity…

The Second Coming - W.B. Yeats

Monday, August 3, 2009

"C" Street - Vatican - Wall Street

What do “C” Street, the Vatican, and Wall Street have in common?

They represent macro examples of the tangible corruption of our morality in this global secular society.

By corruption of morality I mean the lack of it. I have to wonder which of these three was the first working model but you can probably guess.

While many are writing about the wussie warriors of “C” Street – God’s anointed and not accountable to man for idolatry, adultery or rape, they are not the stuff of the King David they model themselves after. King David had to give King Saul 100 foreskins in good faith to get this first wife, one’s of Saul’s daughters. No doubt foreskins taken off your dead enemies’ private parts were currency in that ancient era. If you extrapolate and even if you are a minimalist, historically speaking, that means that King David in all likelihood killed a thousand warriors in his lifetime. That is a lot of blood, sweat, particularly blood in the creation of a three thousand year reality/concept called Israel.

“C” Street crowd are good on the sweat part taking a secretary to lunch and a quickie but where is like the blood and the foreskins and like the first temple of God oh great frat house dicks on “C” Street ?

I had to wonder over the years when I looked at the Jerry Falwell phenomenon of the fundamentalist movement. I said to myself they want the power of medieval popes over the American people. They want to be big brother, big government and a big stick all in one, tax free and above reproach – this in a supposed democratic setting.

Of course the pope would like to have powers of a medieval pope. When you can tell a whole continent, Africa, not to use condoms to prevent HIV you are not a moral leader but a fool! But given what I have seen of the Bishop of Rome, where on any given Sunday more tourists than natives seek out a church service in that diocese, the moral authority of the local bishop is as powerful as the apathy of the locals to ancient tired pagan rituals and beliefs.

The only thing that keeps the pope in front of the world stage is the big museum church and the MSM – (main stream media) – the Papacy like the bishop of Scranton is nothing more than PR releases – no touchy feeling with the public, just a PR statement and the illusion of past glory.

Bernie Madoff should be pardoned! He had the chutzpah to pull off the biggest ponzie scheme in American history that we know of. If his sons and associates split up his 150 year sentence all the more better – a touch of morality (very little) and the myth of justice.

The SEC could not tell a Ponzie scheme even if it stood up and stared it right in the face – for decades – all the king’s horses and all the king’s men – not worth jack shit.

The Congress is not going to investigate “C” Street. No moral warriors or true icons of morality left in either house to tackle such a job.

And the MSM gets its free lunch, free PR handouts from the myth of the Vatican and myth of real wealth creation on Wall Street. We have to live with the results – the fallout. “Caveat emptor” – let the buyer beware.

The people who should be in jail on Wall Street are still walking around looking for green college kids without an odious ethics class on the transcript, all the better. All the better to sell air to the public instead of real American things out of real factories, peopled by real workers and a real feel for reality, not virtualosity, and a possible real contributor to the global moral future for the human race.