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Thursday, September 10, 2015

Money Is Not the Goal

When I say that Money is NOT the Goal in today’s society, you may be thinking that I’m trying to transcend the idea that people don’t need money and life is about happiness and togetherness or something like that. But that is not the argument I am going for today. All that stuff may apply to life in some way but we all agree that money is necessary to survive, function, and flourish in modern society.
            With all the noise of the political parties and their drastic differences in their views combined with the constant drone of advertising and the idea that products and trips make people happy, it can be almost impossible for the average working person to not go crazy. The impact of money in our lives is so strong that we are constantly thinking about it. Either consciously or subconsciously, we are regularly evaluating our value as it relates to dollars. This psychosis starts to take over the natural thoughts and emotions that should drive our actions individually which therefore lay the social foundation of a society.  And without having to get into the political debates about systems of government and economics, let’s just understand that here we are in this system that needs help. I believe that all the tools of our society are here and we are using them. We are just using them in the wrong way. So, let’s talk about money’s role in our society versus how I think we can better use that tool to work for us.
            Right now, it seems that money is the end goal. People go to work to make money. They get promotions to make more money. We label success on those who find a job that pays them a lot of money. The richest people in the world have amassed wealth and keep it in locked vaults and hide it away offshore as if it is the most precious item in existence that needs to be protected and hoarded. But there’s a reason, right? People get stuff for that money. They can buy food, clothes, nice things, secrets, people, influence, power, politicians, and most importantly the ability to make people trade the truth for lies. It’s no wonder there is a lot of confusion, waste and inequality at all levels. We are all clamoring to collect as much cash money that we can imagine that we start to sacrifice bits of all other aspects of life. It appears that both individually and we as a society are working for money when it should be working for us. After all, money is just an inanimate object that we created. It should not be the most important thing in our lives. So, the <ahem> $64,000 question: What can we do about it?
            Well, unfortunately it’s not an easy answer, but there is an answer. First, it will take a mind shift on several fronts. We, as a people, need to confront this psychosis, and any psychologist will tell you that that is a time consuming and difficult process. We have to work on the idea that money is not the goal. We have to understand that money is really the catalyst to the goal. It is the life-blood of our economy. The goal is a better society. We get a better society by investing in it. We have to invest in schools to better education in our people; we have to invest in infrastructure to deliver the services and utilities to the people efficiently; we have to invest in people and businesses to continue to stimulate the economy and we can’t leave anyone behind. We have to aim for the lowest and most underprivileged and raise their potential. Which, unfortunately for the richest in our society, means that a lot of that money must come from them. The Republicans would be right about their view of lower taxes if the money were the goal. Again, money is the life-blood of our economy. And like any circulatory system, it works best when it’s healthy. All the currency locked away in vaults and over seas banks is making the body of our economy weak. Imagine your body operating with half the blood. You would be a sickly dying person with only responsibilities and no enjoyment out of your short life. Which ultimately means that evil word, “Taxes”, is actually a good thing for a society. Maybe we all bitch about it individually and somehow the loudest complainers make billions of dollars in profits, but for our society, it is key to progress. We should be circulating the money through our economy much faster than we are doing it now. We should be happy to spend money, have the government spend money, pay taxes, and as the generations grow, all the amenities that our society has to offer will get better. Processing food will become healthier and less impactful on the planet. Creating energy will be more efficient and less expensive and, also, less impactful on the planet. There will be fewer carcinogens from the lack of short cuts we take in manufacturing. We wouldn’t cut corners on spending for regulations that are actually needed, and therefore save ourselves from the setbacks of oil spills, explosions and disease. There would be less drive for war. Schools will get better. People will be better. Society will get better. The world will follow suit. That is the goal.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Religious Doctoring

This article is in response to the recent law in Indiana that incited a pizza place to lash out at the idea of a homosexual wedding. And as the Right-wing Conservatives say in politics (the ones overwhelmingly supported by Religious Fundamentalists), the free market will decide. Well, it did. Social media was ablaze with reactions from people responding to the bigoted statement of the pizza place owners. The actions of the owners has come full circle and started affecting their sales and profits. So what happens next? Religious fundamentalists across the country donate almost a million dollars to that family. This all in a time where food banks for the poor are begging for donations and have nothing to offer the actual people in need.

In order to wrap my head around this, I have to break down the elements. This all stems from an idea of a “Freedom of Religion”, which is a false understanding of our constitution. The First Amendment opens with, “The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion…”, it continues with freedom of speech and the press and so forth, but for the purposes of this article, let’s just stick with the sections about religion. So, Indiana’s law is unconstitutional, for it is a law respecting the establishment of religion. Period. There is nothing that impedes anyone’s freedom to exercise their religion by living with homosexuals… or does it?

This brings me to the next step in my argument. In response to the overwhelmingly high dollar amount of donations to the bigoted pizza owners, they stated, “God has blessed them for standing up for what they believe and not denying him”. This, I think, is the key to understanding religion in our modern culture. Here’s the hypothesis: our modern culture cannot understand religion. We are living in a world where we are learning to embrace all kinds of people and ideas. Sure, we are learning slowly. But some of us are trying to learn quicker, and trying to understand the things that are not easy to understand. Religion eliminates that journey to understand. It basically says, there is ONE way and all other ways are WRONG. Even when those ways are clearly observed and proven possible. So, they are only having conviction when it suits them or seems convenient. All while, stating superiority and starting conflict where there does not need to be one (something that God in the Bible has professed to hate ~ Proverbs 6:16-19). These are prehistoric mindsets where the idea that “My God is better than your God” is so simple and childish, and just not practical for dealing with real life. But the attitude is; ‘God has blessed them for standing up for their beliefs’. Does that imply that God is not looking out for those who don’t share those beliefs? In a time where the top three Gods from the top three faiths are all at odds with each other; is the idea that 'one of them is right and the others are wrong', an idea that should continue in this modern world? Because, If you have 100% conviction, you have to believe that.

I know that this article may be insulting to some for challenging faith, so this part may get worse. I have always found religious fundamentalism rather ridiculous. It doesn’t help you work through your real problems in everyday life; it does not strip away the barriers between people and really connect them to other human beings, unconditionally; and it is not teaching society to become better. In my opinion, history has shown it is doing the opposite. For instance, Louisiana doesn’t believe in sex education. It’s just abstinence-only education, which some can argue is not education, and they’d be right. Louisiana has the 6th highest teen pregnancy rate in the country. So it’s not about educating our children. Also, the environment does not seem to be an issue for Conservative Christians. If you are waiting for a better afterlife, then what’s to keep you caring for this one? War seems to be the go to answer for most religious politicians. And the way we treat animals?! By their own words, the Lord has given them dominion over the animal kingdom. We are supposed to be caretakers of this Earth. We should be ashamed to be a country that treats animals with such cruelty and lack of concern. Truly some of the most egregious standards, and in response, I see no picketing protests. Speaking of protests, In Las Vegas, on any given night you can see religious extremists spouting hate speech against the LGBT community because it’s their idea of a fun thing to do. Meanwhile, Las Vegas is one of the largest purveyors of shellfish in the area, yet no protests. The Bible mentions shellfish as a sin many more times than homosexuality. Also, there is adultery, divorce, and even pedophilia coming from the institution itself and it finds no wrong in that. There is no public stoning, money and religion are becoming synonymous, and no one cares for the poor. So where is the conviction? Answer… There isn’t any. If these institutions and the people who followed them had conviction, we would all see how ridiculous it all is. The only groups that act as their religion commands with no compromise are the Muslim Extremists terrorizing the whole Middle East. These groups are fundamentalist extremists that all rational people see as crazy, and are in fact following their thousand-year-old, archaic teachings. If the Christians of this country acted with the conviction they pretend to have, and without compromise, then the rest of us rational Americans would be able to see it and those that follow it as being equally ridiculous. And if we looked at all religious fundamentalists the way we look at those that follow ISIS, we may get some headway on educating our children, caring for the poor and elderly, and cleaning this earth so we can move on to the next stage of society that we are supposed to achieve as human beings.

Let me also say, that there are many people who follow any given religion and are exceptional people. I am only calling out Christianity because many in this country seem to think that the United States is a Christian nation and that this country was founded on that faith. That could not be further from the truth, and it is a misconception I want to erase. Whatever you need to believe to be happy is your choice, but let’s not rob the freedom of other people, especially while you really don’t have 100% conviction. Religion or spirituality is something that you personally feel in your heart and something that no one can take that away. So let people find it in their heart for themselves, not from laws down or popular suggestion. If we move past all this, I believe we will be a happier Earth.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Can I just settle world peace, for now?

I know, that's a bold claim to make, and I just cant help myself.

So, half of America has been aching to go to war with Iran. I bet you think I'm going to talk about the 47 US Senators who, again, lowered the bar for dick moves, but you'd be wrong. Well, you'd be right since I just did, but that's not what I'm here to talk about.

Iran Sanctions! Come on, let's make it fun!

This complicated problem sounds very simple to me. On one hand, Iran wants to research and develop their nuclear capabilities, not for a bomb, but for energy.  Israel, and by extension, America, thinks they are lying and want to make a nuclear bomb to attack the west.  It's a classic case of "Liars Dice".  Somebody has to convince somebody of something.  See... Easy!

Now, I'll make it even easier. Why do we have to play this game? IF the goal in this situation to avoid a long and costly war, is that Iran wants energy development, why nuclear? Nuclear power is so 90's. It's on it's way out. The world experienced a recent disaster in Japan, the consequences of that have yet to be calculated or relayed to the rest of the world.  Nuclear power is so far beyond our understanding, in a sense. Its by product, even when things go well, is highly radio active for potentially Hundreds of Thousands of years. And we have no safe way to store it and plan for that future. Is that really something we should continue to play with? Moreover, what happens when things go wrong? That part of the world has not been exactly stable for the past thousand years, so the gamble goes up even more.

So, when there are so many other power sources available, why would nuclear be a good option for Iran even if we took them at their word?

The coalitions that are being developed to deploy sanctions, wag the finger, and then start wars could also come together to build one of the grandest solar or wind farms in the region. We could spend a fraction of the cost of war, spend 0 lives, and even make an ally or two in the process. Iran would then have unlimited, renewable power for as long as they maintain it.  They could grow as a nation as they wish to. We would be happy that their nuclear development has ceased. And the world may even learn from that lesson. The model for harnessing power could spread. We could start to change the way the whole developing world gets power, moving from fossil fuels to unlimited renewables. The world will be come cleaner and cooler. Droughts in that region would let up, easing more tensions. New industries would be created. Information would be spread. New technologies would be developed. The Earth would be saved. A new age in the palm of our hands.
...Or so it would seem.

Compared to war and people trying to convert everyone else to the same religion, this seems easier.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Perspective People!

     It seems to me that the negative coverage of the Affordable Healthcare Act a.k.a. Obamacare is a bit disproportionate to the scale of events that we have all experienced in recent history. Of course if you watch FOX "News" then it doesn't matter what's actually happening, the coverage of it and anything Obama does will be negative. Even if they have to make it up.  But the coverage on MSNBC has taken the talking points from FOX and I find it a little shocking. There is talk of what a debacle the website has been and the possible resignation of Kathleen Sebelius and how this proves that the whole law is a failure of some kind. My response to the website situation is, So What!?  This is hardly the worst thing our nation has traversed in the last 10-12 years. In fact, all this demagoguery is all surrounding one of the most positive strides our government has attempted in a long time. We just went through a nonsensical government shutdown over a temper-tantrum that had actual casualties, both human and economic, and somehow we're caught up on a website failure. Rookie senators are using fiery rhetoric denouncing all the positive things that a government should do, all the while claiming that it is what they were elected to do. Well, wasn't the President also elected to do the things he is doing and by a much larger portion of America?
     I find it weird that the talking points are fixated on what a failure all of this is. Rome wasn't built in a day people.  And again, we're talking about a website... to provide Healthcare! It is a movement that is strongly opposed by heavily invested interests that make ridiculous profits to keep things the way they are. All within the last 12 years, there were Terrorist Attacks such as 911 that still wreaks of political trickanery which no investigations have been conducted, no blame was assigned, and no fault was accepted. We were pulled into unnecessary wars that were the cause of immeasurable harm to the future of this country. Things that were done were potential War Crimes of which no justice was sought. Just following was the financial collapse of the country which intern affected the entire world. Also, no blame or responsibility was accepted by anyone, and was not nearly the subject of accusations to the scale of this website failure. All of these things were propagated by private interests to make profits over the pain and suffering of their own Americans and was allowed to happen by a half-witted president that everyone came to defend. Now when a black president wants to fill in some of the gaps that many of our politicians and much of our healthcare system is happy to allow continue, we're all up in arms that it's not perfect on the first day. I make the distinction of a "black" president, because I believe that is a big factor in all of this. People are turning politics personal, and Americans are getting swept up in the battle lines. And sure, it's not the first time.  But on this scale it is just ridiculous. Such raw hate should not be leading the charge and viewpoints of how we are going to build this country and fix some of the problems that are in desperate need of fixing. But in the end, I guess ratings and profits matter.
     At least this proves one thing...  MSNBC is more nuanced, fair and balanced than FOX will ever be. They have no problem attacking a democratic administration for things that go wrong, where as FOX would have defended to the death any white Republican president doing the same thing.  I just wish we devoted the same righteous grandstanding to the things that are of high moral value yielding little profit as we do to the horrible atrocities we commit for the sake of high profits.  All I'm asking for is a little perspective.

Monday, August 5, 2013


    I'm consistently confronted with the way we define our roles here in this country, and how our country defines roles in the world.  After a redefinition of the word Terrorist back in 2002, we were all on the look out for anyone that could harm America in any way possible.  We found ways to circumvent our laws by labeling people as Terrorists and then doing whatever we wanted.  Well, I ask, at what point can we start labeling members of our government as Terrorists, specifically a large portion of our US Congress?  Members like Rand Paul, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, and a host of others want nothing better than to shut this country down.  These are elected officials who don't believe in government.  That's like taking your car to a mechanic that doesn't believe in physics.
    They are perfectly content in cutting what makes America the outstanding country that it has always been.  If we were back in the 1700's, these people would be fighting for the British.  Of course, they have no problem receiving a ridiculous paycheck that dwarfs most Americans' as well as the health care they are denying to those same Americans.  They bicker and hold this country hostage with their juvenile tactics and not once are they labeled: Terrorists.  Osama Bin Laden could not have hoped to cripple this country as well as they are doing.  Not only that, they're proud of it and often boast of their lack of action and destructive intent.  And most Americans can see that they are doing what they are doing not because of some political belief, but because there is a black man in the white house.  They are against small businesses, against social spending, against schools, police stations, fire departments, union workers, minorities, women, homosexuals, children, the elderly, the poor, doctors, and farmers.  At what point are these elected officials seen for what they are?  I for one am labeling them Terrorists.  They are terrorizing this country and holding Americans hostage in order to preserve their way of life.  That way, of course, is protecting profits shared between the super rich and multinational corporations.  They hide behind religion and live in hypocrisy.  They couldn't care less for their fellow man, unless it is a fetus in the womb.  After it is countable by the census, they want nothing to do with it.
     There are clear cases of sexual harassment that result in America's forgiveness, when in every other business in this country those actions would result in termination.  I'm speaking of you, Bob Filner.  The entire state of Texas has denied rights to women, completely forgetting that they work for us. All elected officials work for us!  It's time, as their employers, that we send them packing.  The problem is, the only people who want to run for office are the corrupt.  They are teaching the world that the only way to get ahead is to cheat and steal.  Honesty, integrity, accountability; those are virtues that only suckers posses in this modern age.
    I understand that there are idiots, bigots, and haters in this world.  What I can't understand is why we enjoy their direction.  I also can't understand why members of the law enforcement, the military, our public education system, our small business owners, our healthcare providers, any minority, any young person, any old person, or why any one who is not a rich white male would vote Republican.  Do you really hate yourselves that much?

Can we please make America great again?!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Arguments lead to Marriage

   So once again, our country is wrapped up in another nationwide debate all stemming from the religious right.  As the proposal for gay marriage (no pun intended) hits the Supreme Court today, cities across America have taken to the streets.  Voices on both sides are finding microphones to express their thoughts to an eager crowd.  They all wait for the decision from the court, and in my opinion, they all know the answer to this obvious civil rights case.
In my mind, there is no stopping it.  It is basic civil equality.  I’ve heard the argument against it where politicians or religious organizations repeat the statement that they believe that “Traditional marriage should be between a man and a woman”.  There are several things that strike me about that statement. 
   First, it is an obvious cover statement to hide the fact that those people simply do not like or approve of homosexuals.  It is the same mentality that children use on the playground.  They change the rules for people they don’t like.  I’m not sure why no one has publicly called them out for that once those words are uttered, but it seems that we are in a political culture where we give more rights and understanding to those who do not live in reality.  I am breaking subject matter a little bit by referring to those same organizations and politicians who push for “Creationism”, but the principle is the same.  We as a society are starting to adopt the mentality that people have the right to believe unjustly.  Unfortunately, that right has started to drag the lives of everyone else in that society to their incorrect and outdated dogma.  
   If you’ve read previous articles, you know that I think anyone should believe what they want to believe, as long as it doesn't cause harm to anyone else.  The founding fathers established a country supposedly free of religion and here in our modern day, the issues getting the most time and attention are the ones that right wing religious conservatives find to be important.  Our country is being highjacked by those who disregard the First Amendment.  
   The factions against gay marriage are strictly religious.  It has nothing to do with civics or biology.  Let’s face it; marriage has really no establishment in love or personal feelings.  Weddings from the beginning have always been a legal contract between families and the state.  They were set up by the head of the house hold and the "bride and groom" had no say at all.  It was America that led the charge to add emotion and love into that ceremony.   And we did that by change.  And the whole point of the US Constitution from the founding fathers point of view, was to make room for things they had not thought of.  They were to allow to society to evolve into a place that they could not conceive.  It is that spirit that makes marriage more than just a signature at the county clerk’s office.  It seems strange that we would want to limit what love and emotion private citizens can bring to their own marriage, and who each can choose.  And if we are all equal in the eyes of the law then, it is a simple to me: those who hide behind the words "marriage should be defined as between a man and a woman", reveals a lack of understanding of the principles of the Constitution and a lack of respect for the equality of people. 
   Moreover, the word “traditional” strikes me odd in this context.  “Traditional” is a funny word when it comes to politics and government, things that traditionally follow what the people demand and grow with how each generation evolves.  We as a species were not born into democracy, it developed over time.  And traditionally, those things that people prioritize, understand, and ultimately care about have constantly changed.  I mean, traditionally in this country we drank tea.  But we drink coffee now because we broke from tea when we broke from the British back in those revolutionary days.  Traditionally, the only property owners were White men, and we know what civil struggles it took to grow out of that.  Now our traditional breakfast drink is coffee.  At some point we can say “traditionally, all kinds of people can vote” (we’re still working on that one, apparently).  And I hope very soon we will say, “Traditional marriage is between any two people in love”.  Or even better, we wont have to qualify it to acknowledge that people are different than us.  

Monday, February 11, 2013

1 Beats 2

            If you’re anything like me, you’re tired of hearing about the second amendment and what the founding fathers must have meant by putting it in the Constitution.  When it was written, the power of the gun was the most powerful force one man could posses to conquer or defend.  They envisioned a world where the peaceful public could protect themselves and their free state from oppressive forces. 
            Many people believe that our government now is that oppressive force.  They are shouting so loud and with such tunnel vision that they have become an oppressive force themselves.  There is talk of all kinds, discussing the reasons why we should take a second look at our Second Amendment.  There are violent voices speaking out against our government using the Second Amendment as fodder for their rhetoric.  But the founding fathers left a whole constitution in which we should design this free state.  The Second Amendment is there for the average citizens to have the right to militia and protect it.  I ask: What good is the Second Amendment when we scrap all the rest. 
            After the many gun related deaths and tragedies that have befallen our nation in the recent months, many things have been blamed.  There was research done about violent movies and video games.  We talk of drug wars and race wars in the middle of this recessed economy, which members of congress are doing nothing to fix.  I have heard all sorts of moderate to extreme proposals for gun control solutions, for which the opposing side always says, “That will do no good”.  So we do nothing. 
            Another thing I’ve heard over and over is that “we need to get back to God” or some rhetoric of that nature.  People are pushing for prayer in schools and to establish this as a Christian nation.  Now, this goes against exactly why the First Amendment was written.  The founding fathers, though religious in their own right, were completely unwavering when it came to their thoughts on religion and a free state.  It was clear that the church and the state should be separate and not influence each other.  But in response to this Second Amendment argument, many have been overlooking that separation.  They claim that it is our state’s break with religion that has caused this social downturn. 
            Well, I have a different argument.  Again, we had no problem jumping in head first with the violent movies and video game angle of which the research proves that that is not the answer.  Conservatives looked for nations that subscribe to the same social norms as we do and draw a line signifying how they also kill each other.  But that wasn’t the case.  America stood out as the violent one, and all the pundits and politicians scratched their heads while pandering to their bases.  After making excuses to keep funding from education and well-needed social programs, no one can figure out what makes our nation so violent.  Many looked at everything they disagreed with and tried to write a narrative that fits, in hopes of abolishing that aspect of our culture.  However, there is one aspect that does tie us to all the extremely violent nations on this Earth.  That aspect is Religious Fanaticism.  No matter what religion you are talking about, it is the fanatics that make it spoil.
            I have no problem with a person’s faith.  Whatever someone needs to pull meaning out of life or make their day more positive and rewarding is their business.  I don’t care what book it comes from.  But it is that fanaticism that creates the problem.  Once it interferes with the affairs of the free state, it becomes a cancer that never goes away.  People stand behind our constitution when the things they like are being threatened, but they have no sense of irony when they want to trample the constitution to fulfill their individual beliefs.  That way of acting is selfish and just plain wrong.  It also demonstrates a profane understanding of faith and morality.  In our nation, “God” has been the go to argument as if it held a history of peace and understanding in the hands of man.  The products of religious fanaticism throughout history have always been fear, segregation, and violence.  But never once was Religious Fanaticism on trial here in the US.  Many stand by it and want to strengthen it.  Many want to push further and establish this country as a Christian nation.  According to the constitution we have already gone too far.  Our government has handicapped itself making laws respecting the establishment of religion.  The public is suffering and at war with themselves.  Our Nation is going through an identity crisis on many issues balancing faith versus ethics.  Some of the biggest topics that we fight about, such as Abortion and Gay rights are simple church and state issues in which religious fanatics use the government to the point of being unconstitutional.  Day by day, we are identifying ourselves more with the fanatics we are at war with and less with the pure drive that started this great nation.  It is destroying us from the inside.  So, instead of sacrificing our country to protect the Second Amendment, we should save our country by protecting the First.