Monday, September 14, 2009

Death of Civility in America - MSM


The story goes that whenever then Vice President Cheney was traveling, the TV in his hotel suite was to already be tuned to Fox News.

The whole or a great part of the home school movement is to tune out modern 20th century influences and diversity from children in the name of an imperfect religion tuning out the real world for these children. In other words, it is channeling a false image of everyday reality to the young.

Little wonder “Joe” Wilson, Jim DeMint and Mark Sanford have abandoned old fashioned civility in order to score points with the mob. The South Carolina crowd with it Sons of the Confederacy and a few used white bed sheets have long wrapped themselves in a self deluding bubble.

Add the modern age, civil rights, and global real world pressures and the need to add layer upon layer to the bubble they enclose themselves in and you get the death of civility in America. If you only have to play to a similar home town, home state similarly bubble wrapped constituency, you can see where the friction begins when confronting a real other world than the world of their own fantasy making.

In a South Carolina world, or a Dick Cheney world, or a home schooling world, reinforcement from other than balanced sources of a MSM has to be a carefully crafted virtual version of the old fashioned American Town Square that does not exist anymore.

Indeed, the owner of Fox News – Rupert Murdock – has sculpted or authorized a white milky bubble wrap reality in the image of his own native Australia with its past trying to forget Aborigine genocide by the white race – in the Fox News image and likeness of RM (god) and a white man’s virtual partial town square to reinforce the present.

To understand America better from the beginning up until the present one has to look at a roll of bubble wrap used to send objects safely and unbroken through the mail or express mail services.

Everybody down to the individual is encased in a singular bubble of genes, culture, possibilities and probabilities.

America from the beginning has been a haven and a clean starting point free of religious intolerance or economic woes. America at one point in time had the space and resources to keep your neighbor in his bubble from getting too close to your new revamped dreams- your bubble – and the so-called pursuit of happiness.

The local town square and the town itself usually sprung up outside a church or a trading post built in a wilderness.

The old fashioned town square is obsolete in the modern virtual world of today. With so many things constantly happening in our secular world of change, that assurance of a real town square with a real hardcopy newspaper and real town people/neighbors sets off a wave of nostalgia for the past amidst the over 40 crowd.

Think about the old town square of the old west with Gary Cooper or John Wayne about to shoot it out with the bad guys on Main Street and you have the eternal image and myth of what many people carry around in their brain.

The modern age with a thousand streams of information coming at you does not match the old town square of desired image and memory. Your parents’ generation is almost dead, the local town paper is defunct, Walter Cronkite is gone, the local minister is a kid fresh out of school. Who or what do you turn to in the old MSM inventory to reinforce your present beliefs or questions regarding local and global events and new social trends?

Part of the reason for the death of civility in America is the fact that all of us in our singular or multi-wrapped bubble layers have not yet found common ground in a town square like place of common consensus and in an old fashioned, extinct, biased eastern liberal media type establishment. Communications are in flux.

As time goes on, and friction peaks and or is sought to be reduced, the new MSM whatever shape and scope it is to be will evolve and settle toward some common middle ground in the American culture.

Until then we will have to put up with rudeness from all sides until that middle ground consensus and marketing tool is achieved. Until then expect incoherent shouting from the mob, from the peanut gallery etc. along with little or no real truth from the official establishment.

As individual bubbles begin to pop, somewhere down the time line a new fabric of communication, hopefully a better user friendly for all form, will emerge on the American and Global landscape.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Mobs by Design - Glenn Beck & Co.


I suppose the march on Washington of 9/12ers, birthers, deathers, shiters, pissers, moaners, groaners and what have you deserves some comment. Sixty to Seventy thousand marchers?, protestors? – is worth a comment?

It is a growing mob moment. It is a mob by design with corporate sponsorship. I suppose the GOP needs bodies with a good set of lungs to shout and remind the party that living breathing human beings still cling to the party of Lincoln.

Of course Lincoln’s party was trying to prevent Civil War and not cause it. Whatever.

This 912 concept that Glenn Beck wants to visualize as a defining moment is the day after 911 when America and Americans came together in solidarity and communal love. That didn’t quite match the 80% of the placards of marchers showing President Obama in a negative light. Funny thing, I remember September 12, 2001 and Obama did not exist outside of Chicago and definitely did not own any of the solidarity and love thing except on his own personal level.

Beck also has a bunch of principals and commandments that only a jack rabbit Mormon would feel forced to make up as he goes along. This is where I see the 912 cover for tea bagging and some concern for the economy overshadowed by the many fringe groups participating yesterday in the national capital.

Rhetoric about wishful thinking for another terrorist attack, secession or a much hoped for coup adds to the nostalgia for Sept. 12, 2001 when the GOP in power could have had war, a balanced budget, ice cream and condoms too and still be in power with (white) people in charge if it had managed 911 in a totally professional manner. (Did I mention race? Sorry. The new racism does not mention race. It mentions everything else including the kitchen sink – wink, nod.)

Instead of wishing for the past –woulda, coulda shoulda, GOP nostalgia cannot be saved by Beck’s new rules and values from his little red book just like Newt Gingrich’s many failed fantasies about government mentioned in his Contract on America and are as irrelevant now in time with Woodrow Wilson’s 14 points, whatever they were.

This whole mob movement keeps changing its name every other week. It’s corporate backed strategy would seem to be to evolve into organized chaos especially around elections and mention a hundred different items under the umbrella of solidarity and communal love to confuse all debate on all issues. Are we to become a Shout-Down Nation? Beck is harmless until he seizes power, so to speak.

Aside from a government’s spending run amuck starting with the GOP in charge of lower taxes and spend, spend, spend 2001-2006, this mob movement might have some legitimacy if it were organized around debate and passing a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.

As such, a day out with grandmom and granddad like Saturday is perhaps a good thing. Nobody over forty should be alone which is what I think the crowds were – 40+. Nobody should drink their wine from a box or clean their guns while alone.

As for a younger generation who will have to manage and pay for this GRAND BOOMER failure in American Government and American Capitalism, I think they were reaching for a new level yesterday and did not notice a thing.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Memory - Tree of Life - WTC


I am still looking for the title and artist’s name of some lost artwork at the World Trade Center.

The eighth anniversary of 911 is upon us and I want to let go of some memories. A lingering thought of some lost artwork that touched the artist in my soul years ago lives on in my memory. As I have written here and elsewhere I did not directly lose a loved one on September 11, 2001.

Like a lot of us shell shocked New Yorkers from 911, whether we knew someone who died or not, there are memories that take a little longer than others to resurface to the forefront of our attention.

Before I try to put my pen down on this subject of 911, let me share something of the human spirit and expressed in art and lost on that fateful day eight years ago.

I remember walking up West Broadway from Vesey Street behind the Post Office there before 911. I walked there back in the eighties to swing past some large decorative artwork that adorned the east, street level, facade of the former 7 World Trade Center. This red granite facade or bas-relief was a cover for a downward driveway into the building from the rear on Barclay Street. (See above.)

For the longest time I would use the Internet and try to find an accurate listing of all lost artwork in connection with the destruction of the World Trade Center by terrorists. There are not many lists and they all seemed to be connected with some other tangent besides the WTC such as corporate ownership, or individual placement within the complex and so on.

I kept looking for the listing and name of the artwork noted above at 7 WTC. I could not remember if the decoration had a name and an artist.

What I had done was give the artwork a name in my head. Since it looked like a abstract Tree of Life, I gave it an exotic name that the tree of life is called by some primitive and possibly extinct tribe in Borneo – they called their Tree of Life by the name of “Aping”.

So into my brain went the reference to a dead work of art called “Aping”.

A tree of life, the WTC, a major artery of life in lower Manhattan got taken out, roots and all, that day eight years ago.

I find it ironic that there is not an easily accessed list of lost artwork at the old WTC. Whereas I am certain there are statistics down to the last square and cubic inch of the present real estate development thing going on now at the site of the old World Trade Center.

Art touches the soul of mankind. I hope some suitable artwork that touches upon the interdependence of all nations in this new global economy and global culture will be represented amid the profit plums and skyscrapers going up at the new WTC - to replace lost works of art from that infamous day.

- Hopefully this universal themed artwork, like the theme of the Tree of Life, will be near the planned memorial to the dead of 911.

The Tree of Life is at the base of legends and mythologies all over our planetary histories, cultures and geographies. The Tree of Life myth symbolizes fertility, growth, endurance and immortality.

The old WTC lives in my memory. Memory is the most important place for any living memorial to the dead and lost on that day eight years ago.

For more of my memories on 911 - Ghosts-of-911

“Joe” Wilson’s War on Illegals w/o Health Care – WWJD?


What struck me about John McCain in 2008 as standard bearer of the GOP was that he has never held a private sector job. Little wonder he panicked when Wall Street’s Ponzi tanked. Nothing wrong with a lifetime of government or military service. But what does one learn or know about of the other people, the people in the real world and about conditional employment and optional health care in the capitalist economy?

U.S. Representative Addison “Joe” Wilson of South Carolina as retired military did a great act of disrespect and insubordination with his outburst during President Obama’s speech during a Joint Session of Congress the other night.

In our republic, when you have the Chief Executive, the Supreme Court, members of the Cabinet and members of both Houses of Congress present – you have the whole of Government – the sacred - of the secular – and in this very solemn moment of Democracy, Colonel Wilson of the South Carolina National Guard has a GOP hissy fit.

His “You Lie!” outburst was about his concern that no illegal immigrants could get government paid health care under proposed health care reform legislation.

I know that Rep. Wilson’s sons are on the military dole with free healthcare like the retired colonel.

Joe Wilson's Dirty Health-Care Secret
Except that he's not─at least not when it comes to his, and his family's, government-run health care. As a retired Army National Guard colonel, Wilson gets a lot of benefits (one of which, apparently, was not a full appreciation of the customs, traditions, and courtesies that mandate respect for one's commander in chief). And with four sons in the armed services, the entire Wilson brood has enjoyed multiple generations of free military medical coverage, known as TRICARE.
What I don’t get is a man obsessed with illegal aliens getting any health care.

If a Mexican is in a car accident and arrives at the Hospital ER room – what should the admitting doctors do when they a) find out he has no health care coverage and or b) that he has no birth certificate proving U.S. citizenship – should they dump the bleeding mangled Mexican on the sidewalk and walk away. Such a vision does not seem to occur within or bother the military mind of Rep. Addison “Joe” Wilson Sr.. (Just some more collateral damage perhaps? Hire a no bid contractor to clean IT up?)

Let’s just hope that the world stays unsafe and Rep. Wilson’s four sons in the military have lifetime employment, pension entitlement and free healthcare while the rest of the other people in the economy continue to struggle for their daily bread.

WWJD? Have the Wilson boys get real jobs or stop fake wars overseas?

I don’t have any answers to this dilemma.

I ask you all to examine your own hearts in these trying days of bitter partisanship and the lack of civility and respect in public life and service – in this so-called Christian nation.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Rep. Joe Wilson - House Trash - South Carolina


Are there any sane people in South Carolina?

Representative Joe Wilson’s uncivil shouting of “You Lie!” outburst to President Barack Obama in his address to a joint session of Congress is without precedent.

Where was your “You Lie!” when George Bush lied about WMD and sent us into a war in Iraq?

Is Rep. Joe Wilson another one of these friendly fascist “prayer breakfast” Christians of the Doug Coe cult like Senator DeMint and Governor Sanford also of South Carolina.

It is easy to see why idiots with slippery trigger fingers in South Carolina started the Civil War that never seems to end.

The death of civility in America applies to all sides in this country, white and black, left and right alike. If the government pork for South Carolina is not enough, then kindly leave your bullshit parked at a Capital bar and grill or religiously sanctioned whore house. Don’t embarrass yourself and your constituency with your vulgar street rudeness!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Drone Wars - Afganistan


In the Star Wars set of movies you see the fascist helmeted troops of the Emperor running around decks of floating space platforms or doing the grunt work of harassing the local planetary populations. In reality most of those working stiff soldiers should be androids from a Pentagon cost basis analysis.

Our eternal war in Afganistan goes on if only to protect the drug crops and support the local economy. This is how the last days of Rome perhaps were with sticking your nose in somebody else’s business and having them pay for your military hardware and troops. Where is the bloody oil money from Iraq to pay for that war?

We went into Afganistan to wipe out a bunch of thugs who masterminded the 911 attacks on the World Trade Center. The Bin Laden guy has been living in luxury ever since and we “can’t find him”. What bullshit!.

The Russians could not conquer Afganistan and they were brutes. The Brits could not conquer Afganistan and they could be brutes. Hey, history tells us that Alexanger the Great made it to India. No. He stopped at Afganistan, his troops rebelled and he turned back to Greece.

The military heads at the Pentagon have these drone things to fly into, spy on, target and or blow up the “enemy” - its mix and match, old toy weapons or new in the evolving handbook of war.

Our NATO ally, the Germans, the other day got caught in a tight spot, did not want to do the dirty hand to hand combat thing, and pushed the “easy” button on one of the shiny new Pentagon toys, in that instance ordering a strike by jet, and dozens of the “enemy” mixed with innocent civilians got vaporized.

As technology takes us further and further away from the human factor, our military princes delude themselves that they are fighting a winnable war with “droids”.

Aside from it being impossible to fight a land war and win on foreign mountainous terrain, we have to prop up a corrupt dictator who can’t even steal a “democratic” election with finesse.

The real horror of all this is the questionable morality of using technology on the stone age. It is not much different than the Cowboy and Indian days of our far west in the nineteenth century. That was technology against a stone age culture. Technology won.

Now it is technology against a stone culture – a stone culture of mountains, and mountain valleys and caves and an eternal number of hiding places all over the map and overlapping with the geographic boundaries of Pakistan etc. The stone culture wins.

Nobody puts morality or value on the killing of civilians as collateral damage in the Pentagon spreadsheets. American wars used to be fought by American boys knowing why they were fighting. Now we wait for the press releases to give us the lastest on body counts of us and “them”. That’s what Vietnam turned into – a body count, real and imagined – a quarterly spreadsheet report. Now our wars are fought by contractors and drones. Which bodies do you count?

It goes way beyond a so called Christian nation against a so called Muslim nation. If it is a religious Crusade, we will lose. We lose all crusades in the end especially when we become only temporary occupiers of a foreign land far from home

In the end, Rome had to withdraw its soldiers from the far ends of its empire to defend the city of Rome itself. Washington is the modern day Rome – Roma Nova – and America desperately needs its resources back home.

Obama may be a popular, slick Harvard educated, corporate lawyer and savvy politician. But in the end, along with the gold wasted and body counts mounting, he ain’t no Alexander the Great.

Bring our boys and girls home!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Prayer to (for) Collateral Damage


In my strive to offset middle age aches and pains and a guilty conscience, I thought of a prayer I might say to thank the Afgan people for doing their bit for democracy, Wall Street and Jesus. For taking it on the chin in the collateral damage department thing – testing out our drone stuff and new technology – doing their part – ya know.

But as sometimes happens I dose off, thoughts and dreams merge, and I am stuck talking to these hippie/beatnik like losers on a street corner. They are painted blue, and turn out to be real honest to goodness Martians.

Why are you blue?

It’s cold up there dude!

And why are you here?

Tourists man, the dollar ain’t worth shit and the Martian Gubla is now being traded on a few exchanges, (Mongolia etc.).

Any attraction in particular you interested in here in New York.

Glenn Beck man – he is the Dude! Yeah he can see through stone man! He’s got our number.

Number?

Yeah. Like he wants to interview us and put us on his entertainment show. Talk about Obamo or somebody.

I thought he was a newscaster.

Dude. What ain’t you smoking dude? The man is like a real Martian man. We Martians want entertainment, stories, first class B.S. and Glenn is like the man!

The man?

Well we really came to see Tom Delay do his dance thing but we find out that they film that stuff out of New York. Bummer. We are like reading some old tourist stuff from the fifties. Jive! Ya dig?

Okay.

And we read minds sometimes too. That’s how we got tuned into Glenn baby. We like tuned in on the Tom dude and we get the vibe that he would like Glenn to dance in a competition with him – not one on one – but with couples. Dancing is very popular on Mars.

I see.

The scene fades and I remember something.

Well the thoughts and dreams change. I know I cannot muster a prayer fitting for the slaughter in Afganistan and take comfort in the fact that entertainment can do more for the human soul than news – and it goes the same at least for some Martians. So it goes. Just like on Tralfamadore. That’s in Ohio? Right?

Live and learn. Or just pretend.

Amen?

Friday, September 4, 2009

Did Bernie Madoff Burn the Vatican Too?


Did Bernie Madoff burn the Vatican like a lot of other fat cats last year?

Someone sent the first article to me. I have waited to see if the MSM would like make comment or something professional like that on the unchallenged press release.

Why the net loss of somethings like $32 million dollars in one year? That’s a lot of solar panels on the Pope’s Rockstar Audience Hall – don’t you think?

Vatican City State reports $22M deficit, cites global crisis
The Vatican City State reported a deficit of $22 million for 2008…

The Vatican's annual profit and loss statements showed that the 108-acre sovereign territory, which includes St. Peter's Basilica and the Vatican Museums, fared much worse last year than in 2007, when it reported a profit of $10 million.

A Vatican statement attributed the shortfall to spending on telecommunications, Internet, and photovoltaic panels on the roof of the papal audience hall, as well as conservation and restoration work on the Vatican's art collections. The statement did not give a breakdown of expenses.
Council of cardinals blames Vatican budget deficit on economic crisis
The figures released by the Vatican were far less detailed than those provided each year since Pope John Paul II began publishing the figures in 1981. For example, the specific performance of Vatican investments was not mentioned.
Perhaps good old Bernie Madoff, through one of his many European partners, managed to lose his Vatican account too ??? Join the crowd guys.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Joseph Martino - Scranton - Failed CEO

This is by no means scientific. But when I was younger and when the American RC church was in its prime, I considered that if 15% of baptized catholics had fallen away through divorce or indifference, then the established church went on in its prime. This is in no way an exclusively catholic thing but for the sake of argument, I am quoting from memory and my own observation which is, dare I say it, “culturally catholic”.

These are lean days of RC church attendance even with the emergence of the medieval revivalists, extreme right. In the ranks of those left who give a crap about the RC church, I think that in this survival mode status of the RC church in America, that getting and keeping 15% of baptized catholics still in the church is the desired goal. What happened to 85% of the church now in the dark?

Well, I will not talk about female issues here, though it is a significant factor in the scheme of things. I think that what destroys the RC church a little bit, decade per decade, percentage point per percentage point is the fact that certain people, besides women, were factored out of the salvation equation centuries ago. The one body of people that comes to mind is the gay community.

I knew a relatively famous actress some decades ago, a friend of a distant relative. Myself being a very na├»ve person, it took some time for me to realize that she was a lesbian. Putting that aside, she went on a trip to Rome with her entourage and upon her return I asked questions about her trip. I was surprised that she did not visit the Vatican or the Vatican Museum. She replied rather disdainfully – something like why should she. She was boycotting an institution that not only discounted her humanity based on her sexual preferences but totally ignored the question of salvation for anybody of her persuasion.

After the retirement, good riddance, of Bishop Joseph Martino, of Scranton, I look back over many press items and one thing stands out in my perception of his failed administration and the destruction through mismanagement of the faith of many deserving souls in the RC community there.

Putting aside Bishop Martino’s rantings and ravings, almost exclusively through distant abstract press releases, the turning point in his inability to rule over a sixteenth century social model framed by the Council of Trent was the very liberal Misericordia University and its Diversity Institute. The old cracker went absolutely ballistic over a minor item dealt with by a diversity program. One invited speaker to that Institute, Keith Boykin, was smeared in the catholic blogosphere as a Gay Marriage Advocate. This was also framed as a reason to shut down the diversity program at that university.

While that may be one of pet advocacies of that guest speaker, other things got ignored. My personal opinion is that Bishop Martino hated Boykin, first as an African American, and second as a faggot. Pius IX supported the Confederacy and was therefore pro-slavery and anti-African. Since Pius IX was infallible in spiritual matters, his personal petty likes and dislikes, like that of Bishop Martino, gets thrown into the human mix of things. Is it sacred tradition or good old fashioned human hate?

There is a great deal of pain now as the once sacred world bleeds into the growing real global world of secularism. The French are currently starting a twelfth generation since their revolution and their ease and comfort and treating religion and the church with total ambivalence, almost like just another cheese course after dinner, you like this stinky cheese religion or you don’t.

The institutions in the Christian mainstream, COE, RC, etc. that have ignored the relevance of Women, Gays and other minorities are in their death throes.

Individuals who seek faith and spirituality must do so in private and without influence from these dying institutions that centuries ago lopped off this percentage or that of humanity. The tree of their Christ is a grafted contrivance.

The message of God to all people and all time will survive. The institutions we see today as religion will not all survive into a future age unless they search their hearts and seek and love all humanity and not just a small part of it.

Matthew 39 1/2 - Regarding Health Care

I get a bit tired of hearing the FYIGM (F U I got mine) party, the Hypocrites Party for short, as opposed to the spineless jellyfish party “in Power”, and their slow down “NO” rhetoric on Health Care Reform.

It is not good and or wise to put words in Jesus’ mouth but I somehow hear that mench not being silent while millions in the so called land of the free are screwed out of access to health care. Not silent and not forgetful of those who use power to abuse it.


37"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

39-1/2(When did we see to it that all were covered by Health Care like every other civilized industrial nation on earth?)

40"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'


45"He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'

46"Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

NIV

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.