Sunday, April 21, 2019

Thoughts on the life of Graciela Ramirez

(Dedicated to my wife Bibiana who carries on so many of the good qualities of her mother)

This past week my Colombian family suffered the loss of their matriarch, Graciela Ramirez, who passed at the ripe age of 93 years.

I have been honored to know Graciela for only the last 16 of those years since my marriage to her only daughter, Sonia Bibiana. I have learned a lot and am enriched by my relationships to my Colombian family.  It is by knowing the people of such a country for so many years that you get a true grasp of what the Republic of Colombia is truly all about.  As we experience the losses one by one of that whole generation who lived through World War 2 and the tremendous technology revolution of recent decades, it is increasingly understood what values and perspective our cultures are losing as we lose the remnants of these nonagenarians.

No one has or probably never will write the book of Graciela's life. I suspect that she was never much of a writer as she was too busy living and probably gave no great importance to reporting on the life that she lived. Yet, each of us truly has a book to write about our experiences, relationships, tragedies, failures and accomplishments over the decades we have lived.  For those of us re-cognizant of the value of history to explain where we are today, we sense the fading pulse of these elder generations more acutely than most. In these few lines I attempt remembering the basics of this unique woman of values and spunk.

Graciela lived a life full of challenges. Losing her mother at an early age, she and her siblings ended up having to survive being split up at times among extended family and overcoming an abusive step-mother who today would probably face charges of child abuse.  This made Graciela, a woman of relative small stature, a bit hardened in spirit as she grew up and escaped into a marriage that was probably not what she truly desired.  Yet, Graciela bore two sons and after just a few years she found herself abandoned by her husband.  She ended up largely raising her sons alone with some help from her father and extended family to help shape them.  When her estranged husband was killed in a car accident at a relatively young age, that truly ensured that Graciela and her boys would need to survive under challenging terms.

Years later via another relationship, she had a daughter, Sonia Bibiana, who would bring a whole other perspective and bond for life with Graciela.  Once again not finding much support  from Bibianas father, she determined to raise her daughter independently and protectively. She was both mother and father for her two sons and daughter and found ways to survive financially while pushing her kids through the best schools she could find and teaching them how to become successful and independent individuals with good careers and families.

Graciela was a hard taskmaster.  Her spirit and temperament were much bigger than her physical presence.  She had a sharp wit and never lost a beat mentally her entire life. Whatever she did in life to beat dementia or Alzheimers should be studied by medicine.  This quiet intelligence perhaps caused her greater duress in the last 18+ months when she suffered and fought cancer. She was not ready to accept the limitations of her physical condition and did not want to live without freedom and independence.  Yet, her investment in her grown children paid off in that they were there for her every step of the way in these last couple years as her health deteriorated.

She was honored, revered, and maybe even a little feared by all of us who knew her as she could be very direct and more honest about you or her feelings about you than the average person. She did not suffer fools kindly, and she established a protocol in her family where everyone takes care of their own.  She was not going to be used or manipulated to be heavily involved in the raising of her grandchildren. Her position on her children, and perhaps rightly so, was that she gave her all to raise her own children she expected her sons to raise and control their own families without significant involvement of hers. I doubt she ever "coo-cooed" or baby  talked to any of her grand or great grandchildren. Yet, I'm confident she cared greatly about their welfare and hoped they all would become independent, responsible adults with values.  She led by example more than talk.

Graciela always had her own way of thinking. She had her own individual perspectives on her traditional Catholic faith.  She had her own interpretations of the world and greater society and always had a quiet but strong opinion on people and events...yet she kept many of them to herself unless you asked her.  She was a unique mixture of traditional and non-traditional approaches to life. On one hand she always embraced the faith she grew up in, but she never wore it on her shoulder or preached with certainty to anyone that I know of anyways. She just lived quietly and resolutely based on mostly self-taught lessons from books and life experience itself.

She had her adventures, romances, liked to dance and drink a little "roncito" at the appropriate time...but she had little tolerance for drunks or "slouches".  Because of this, she was always pressuring her children to act responsibly pushing them to get the educations she herself was somewhat denied.

While I choose to live without much religion, I do believe in the uniqueness of human spirit. I don't believe in heaven or hell though in cases like this it would be nice to believe and hope to be reunited one day with departed heroes such as Graciela.  Now that she is gone, there are so many questions one can think to ask her.  There are so many sentiments we wished we could have better expressed to her.  I never got to personally play music for her which has been such a big part of my life that I typically like to share. I wish I had.

With her passing has gone so much knowledge and perspective from her unique life.  Yet, I still see her in the face and character of my wife, Bibiana.  I still sense her spirit and see some of her expressions in the lives of my brother-in-laws, Guillermo and Fernando.  I see her continued imprint on the faces and spirits of her grand and great grandchildren.

She may be gone physically from this world, but her spirit and energy lives on in each of us that knew and were influenced by her.  We will always remember Graciela fondly and with respect for a life lived in dignity and honesty while overcoming adversity.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

In the Spirit of "Brexit"

In the spirit of Brexit where recently the UK surprisingly voted to withdraw from the controls of the European Union, the American people by a slim majority have elected to withdraw from liberal political elite doctrines of recent executive administrations of the United States government.
In an obvious reaction to the USA government's swing to liberal globalism and what many see as its obsession with global affairs versus attention to the many problems at home, the majority of voters have handed President-elect Trump the opportunity to work out his plan for "making America great again".
We see this as basically a slap in the face to the "ho-hum" liberalism of the last eight years by the Obama administration where generally the "yes we can" motto has turned into "no we can't" on a majority of Obama's platform initiatives. The focus on "Black lives matter" over the demand for law and order in our society and the continued push to include Islam into the fabric of American society and culture has obviously backfired in a big way. While many of us had great hopes for America's first "black" president, we now believe his 8 years in office will go down as one of the least effective administrations of the past 40 years. This is another case where, like the election of Jimmy Carter, another decent but inexperienced man in politics was ineffectual in uniting Americans behind their objectives. Carter nor Obama ever really got their own party behind them in a unified way and they were ineffectual in reaching across the political aisle to gain momentum behind their political objectives.  Whether Hillary Clinton would have been any better at this with the Democrats, we now will never know.  Her political life is basically over.
Like the narrow majority who voted for the UK to withdraw from an international foreign governance over their country's sovereignty, President-elect Trump now has the challenge of realigning American politics both at home and abroad.  There will surely be conflict and pushback at home if he continues his racial profiling of Latinos and Islamists. In this regard we hope he will find a softer, more inclusive rhetoric than he expressed from the extremes of his race against Clinton. We think there needs to be a middle ground between the two positions for there to be peaceful progress within the borders of the USA.
When it comes to foreign affairs, this is probably the biggest question mark as to what effect Trump will have on the tremendous insecurity currently felt around the world regarding USA foreign policy.  Will Trump be able to curb the Pentagon and corporate elite's appetite for war and meddling in the middle east and elsewhere?  Will he be able to restore strength and respect for American foreign policy including a realignment of relations with other superpowers such as Russia and China that has obviously been weakened during the Obama administration?  Will he have the power and support at home to renegotiate or even obliterate global trade agreements that he has called unfair and imbalanced?  Maybe more importantly, will he be bound by the constitutional limits to his authority and acknowledge the roles of congress and the judiciary to advise him as to what he can and cannot do in his position?
It is interesting to note today how financial and currency markets have reacted to his surprise election. Overnight futures markets were down between 3-5% almost across the board, and it will be interesting to see where the DOW and other local financial barometers end up at the end of this first post-election day. One would think that markets would be encouraged to have a "business man" finally at the helm of the executive office.  Yet, it is obvious that many of Donald Trump's statements and close examinations of his past business dealings have shown him to be less steady in business than his books might suggest.
Along with the age-old saying that "a house divided cannot stand", the biggest challenge we see for Donald Trump is pulling together a leadership team around him that can help him unite the various political and military-industrial complex entities behind his leadership. He will not have the autonomy in leadership that he has espoused during his campaign.  Even though it appears he has a Republican controlled house and senate in congress at least for the next two years, it remains to be seen whether he can get enough of his own party behind him to get changes made legitimately and legally in the legislature.  It will actually be up to the American people to pressure their representatives to work together in hammering out progressive and unified legislation. Nobody will get everything they want in today's political environment...including the President-elect.
We predict that the new Trump era of independent politics will be met with some fierce realities of pushback.  The courts and congress are still chock-full of tainted, career politicians who know more than Trump about how to hold up political progress.  Just like the UK and Europe, new agreements and alignments are going to take time and there are going to be many forces behind the scenes that want to make worse of the situation in order to foment chaos and failure for their own political gains. As usual, the liberal media will be there kicking and screaming about change like a spoiled child used to getting its own way for so long.  It will be most interesting to see if and how Trump can get some media behind him that has for so long completely hounded his person and his ideas.
As in Europe, it will be interesting to see if a return to independent sovereignty over the economy and government programs can be accomplished by a Trump administration. We predict that like the Obama win 8 years ago, Mr. Trump will have 100 days to show us what he has got.  If he does not succeed in getting the federal government behind his plans and positions...he could just as easily be relegated to an immediate "lame duck" presidency where Washington DC remains in total gridlock and the strings continue to be pulled by the dark forces in our Pentagon and Federal Reserve.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

What Would Jesus Do?


As we read these latest articles regarding increased military aid from the USA to Israel at $3.8 Billion per year for 10 years…I can’t help but see significant ironies in the claims of many of my fellow Americans that the USA is a “Christian nation”.

The United Nations is trying to force Israel and Palestine back to the bargaining table to iron out a peaceful resolution to this decades-old Palestinian conflict. Meantime, the USA, who has veto powers over the UN, continues to sell Israel the weapons to annihilate the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. Nice message to send the Palestinians you are preaching peace to who are basically living in small, barrier bound “reservations” in their own former country.  The average American has not seen through the media hype and controls that always side with Israel. In most cases, that is because we have been taught to believe that Israel is “God’s chosen people”…and that they are somehow entitled to repatriate land they hadn’t lived in for thousands of years.

While I disagree with many positions the  Obama administration have taken these past 8 years, I do support his putting strings attached to our continued levels of support to Israel and better yet, do not give military arms or cash.  One reason is…we can’t afford it. The main reason is the state of Israel has been the instigator in escalating apartheid against the Palestinians by literally backing them into small corners of the land that was once theirs just a few decades ago.

The reality is, Israel should at least be paying for these weapons!  They compete with the USA economically in so many areas, yet we GIVE THEM billions in arms? How stupid is this? And this is the American people’s money, not the government’s, to give. Our government has made Israel an extension of USA borders and sovereignty it appears since our constitution denies them the right to arm any other nations unilaterally.

The Palestinians have unfortunately been victims of their own leadership as well…from Arafat forward. They have allowed Hezbollah and other non-Palestinian revolutionaries to fight their battles for them…and that approach has not worked in bringing any resolution to their dire situation.

As a friend of mine recently blogged on this issue…

"AIPAC's effort (to block the UN resolution), apparently spurred by the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem and Israel's ambassador to the U.S., Ron Dermer, came amid fears that Obama will try and push a UNSC resolution on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict after the elections in November and before he leaves office on January 20."

Between the election and the inauguration for the last two US Presidential elections, the Israelis initiated slaughters of predominantly civilian Palestinians.

In 2008 Operation Cast Lead resulted in 1,417 Palestinian deaths and 10 Israeli.

In 2012 Operation Pillar of Defense resulted in 55 Palestinian deaths and 1 Israeli.

In 2014 Operation Protective Edge resulted in 2,310 Palestinian deaths (including more than 300 babies and children) and 73 Israelis of whom only a few were civilians.

Having put Lieberman (a far right extremist) in charge of the Israeli Defense Force, having negotiated another 10 year military aid deal and with congress pressing Obama to veto any UNSC resolution during the inter-presidential period I fully expect and predict that this year the Israelis will initiate another slaughter worse than any before destined to make the life of indigenous Palestinians even more unbearable and further the ultimate solution of complete ethnic cleansing.

As usual, the slaughter will start with some incident that may or may not have been perpetrated by a Palestinian - the Israelis are past masters at false flag attacks. It may even be a more substantial incident than previously to ostensibly justify an even greater slaughter than before.”

We will be watching Israel closely in these coming months.

While it seems obviously too late for Palestinians to reclaim all their lost lands (about as realistic as the American Indians reclaiming the USA continent or Mexicans to reclaim Texas)…it does seem to me that the UN and its major sponsor, the United States of America, have a moral obligation to force Israel and the Palestinians to a reasonable land settlement and some sovereign lands and self-governance for the Palestinians.  The past century’s empires of England and the USA are the primary sponsors of Zionism and all that has represented. Even a large portion of traditional Jews around the world do not support Israel’s Zionist positions as a state. It is now time to stand with the United Nations and push the moral responsibility of negotiation, forced if need be, between these two forever divergent political and cultural peoples.

It strikes us as very ironic that the “Christian” nation (USA) is supporting the tyranny and aggressions of Israel through military support…while President Obama and the liberals in congress seem to be the only ones in the USA government trying to hold Israel accountable for the many atrocities performed against the indigenous Palestinians. The religious right in America is leading the charge for blind support of the Israeli government at the cost of many thousands of non-militaristic, subjugated Palestinian lives.
Apparently, those religious leaders in America have conveniently forgotten the “Trail of Tears” and annihilation of Native Americans done in the name of God and country. It seems we Americans have never repented of that nor our blind racism against blacks and Hispanics.  Instead, we continue to support the domination and tyranny within the state of Israel.

The Christian bible quotes Jesus as saying…
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth”
“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.”
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.”


Monday, July 4, 2016

Independence Day...bah humbug! 
I believe I have blogged previous years on this date with similar sentiments...but this year I realize the validity of my thinking more acutely than ever.

The meaning of "independence" has totally lost its significance for most individuals in the world. Even the original experiment of democracy in the USA has gone terribly wrong now that rational people understand they are not truly free and independent anymore.

While the chasm between wealth and poverty continues to expand...the governments that control us are almost all bankrupt...meaning they owe more than they own. How this happened is easy to understand if you realize that governments don't "produce" anything and survive by charging taxes on the governed...yet they execute programs, entitlements, international loans and fund armed forces with weapons... all on limited tax dollars.  Most every government in the world is "upside down" on their financial balance sheets.  The US government hasn't balanced a budget since President Eisenhower in the late 1950s and we have the highest debt of any country in the world.  The federal government had about $76.4 trillion ($76,438,000,000,000) in debts, liabilities, and unfunded obligations at the close of its 2015 fiscal year. That's $237,284 for every person living in the U.S..

Who holds all the money then you may ask?  International bankers, corporations and non-government organizations (NGOs).  Sure, ownership is with wealthy individuals and their organizations...but the money itself is supposedly held on account in international banking positions through various financial institutions such as JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse and Barclays Capital (the top eight).

The prized independence of the USA, won repeatedly the last 240 years through bloodshed and revolutions against tyranny is unfortunately lost.  The USA is currently DEPENDENT on foreign powers for the oil that run our machines of war and domestic transportation, the manufacturing of cheap "things", and to export the overflow of what our country still produces.  Now that most major powers of the world are under so much debt to the bankers and corporations of the world...there is little security in any long-term financial planning internationally. There is little rhyme or reason to currency or stock valuations.  Most everything in the world is hyperinflated in value from our point of view.

This leads us to the reality that most Americans are NOT free and independent.  We are controlled by our bankers, our employers and regulations of our federal and state governments.  Most of the middle-class lives paycheck to paycheck with no more than 3 months of their overhead in savings.

Does this sound like FREE and INDEPENDENT living to you?  I have never valued money outside of its ability to afford freedom. We can work our whole lives in this country to amass a retirement...and have it all wiped out with one lawsuit or catastrophic illness in our family...especially if we don't have adequate insurance based on the mafioso healthcare system we fund. Most of us don't take care of our health and instead have multiple physicians and meds that we depend on to survive. Compared to our grandparent's generation, our elderly are in terrible shape and more dependent on various drugs, walkers and little carts than any other country in the world. everyone enjoys a short work week waving flags and celebrating "freedom"...let's not fool ourselves anymore.  We are NOT free.  Most of us work 4-6 months of the year to pay our various taxes.  What's left of the year goes to pay for our expensive toys and necessities such as $700 cell phones, car payments, mandatory insurances etc.  Recently the USA government even legislated mandatory health insurance for every citizen, and it is cheaper to pay the tax penalty for not being insured than to pay the government-mandated premiums.

I know, I know...freedom isn't free.  It comes with the responsibility to pay your share of community services and feeding the dependents you brought into this world. The problem is, you now have broken governments telling you who, where and how much to pay for such services with no option or choice to move elsewhere or use an INDEPENDENT solution.  More of your choices are taken away from you...what you can eat, what you can drink, what you can smoke, who can come visit you where you live, what drugs you can take or who you can buy them from.  Governments are more and more regulating your daily life while mounting huge deficits that somehow YOU, or your children, or THEIR children must eventually pay for.

So forgive me if I am a bit cynical this 4th of July.  I have always believed in small government, personal responsibility and freedom to believe, say and do what you want as long as you are not infringing on others rights to do the same.  Unfortunately, most people in our country and world at large are supporting and voting for representative governments who will continue these bad habits until our whole system collapses...which it must apparently do before we will relearn what freedom and independence REALLY mean.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

I am a "Humanitarian"

In these looney days of political correctness and pressures to fit into society based on defined religion, political party, race or "what you do for a living"...I have always felt uncomfortable using these labels to define who we are. While I understand the idea of wanting to understand and predict human behaviors in the most simplistic description possible, I just think many of these labels have lost their meaning.

I have studied history and comparative religions more than the average human. I have tried to do so with as open a mind as possible and the goal of being objective and unemotional about what I observe, think or feel. Emotion is a great human trait, but it definitely gets in the way of "reason" far too often.

Being in my sixth decade of existence and many people periodically challenging me to describe who I am and "what I believe in"...I think I may have found the best one word answer for now..."Humanitarian".

I have tried on many labels over my lifetime.  I grew up with some by association with my religious and cultural upbringing.  We grew up "Christian" and "Republican". Of course, I soon learned in life that being "white" had its expectations and exclusions as well. As I progressed in my lifelong education, I soon learned that all humans bleed red, most all religions believe in the same mystical fundamentals, and yesterdays Republican would be today's "Democrat". To define oneself by these institutional epitaphs has become quite limiting and confusing in my opinion.

In a recent conversation of substance, someone asked me that since I am no longer religious,does that make me a "humanist".  Once again, there's a word/label that could have many different meanings. For some people it means making "man" a "god" the center of all meaning and existence. I am not ready to declare homosapiens a "deity".  We do far too many evil things to our environment and each other to associate ourselves with "deity" we place too many limitations on ourselves to be a "god".

Yet, the humanist label is similar to another label that I can't really find any fault with. "Humanitarian" is a word that I have never heard used with a negative connotation. Everyone likes a
humanitarian. Humanitarians are "pro-human" without placing conditions or feigning deity. Humanitarians come from all walks of, white, red, democrat, republican, independent, liberal, conservative, libertarian...I have known humanitarians from all these persuasions.

Here is my Humanitarian case someone wants to make a "religion" out of this:

  • Humanitarians are about live and let live...very accommodating of individualism.
  • Humanitarians are non-judgmental (accept in cases of violence or self defence)
  • Humanitarians don't need a "holy book" to tell them right from wrong or how to treat others.
  • Humanitarians don't rely on others for accolades or need affirmation for the meaning of their existence
  • Humanitarians don't need to be rewarded for their good works, but they do tend to believe "what goes around comes around".
  • Humanitarians live for today and are positive about the future because they believe in the best of people.
  • Humanitarians don't carry negative grudges or bitterness.  They have learned to lower their expectations of other humans.
  • Humanitarians make peace, not war
  • Humanitarians believe THIS is the life that counts. Not an afterlife or previous one...
  • Humanitarians were the originators of the motto "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you"

I have decided I can think of no disagreement or conflict with this label.  The only challenge I have is living up to it...but since most people don't live up to their "religions" either, I won't let guilt stop me from trying to be...a "Humanitarian".

Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Pope and Religious Freedom

After days of having a monopoly over the USA and global news medias, the 
Pope and Catholic Church have once again usurped its guilt tripping, history warped global manifesto to the masses. What a "coup" for fundamentalist religions overall, many of which seem to be supportive of this engorged media circus even if it was sourced "catholic".

While I agree with many positions taken by this newly popular Pope Francis and his efforts to "humanize" his authoritative position to the masses...I am threatened by the "reasons" or underlying purposes for which these positions are taken.  I also am not taken in by efforts to make moderate the historic views of this religion. Many of today's religions are trying to "re-invent" themselves to keep their membership happy (and contributing) versus stay true to the fundamentals of their world order and views.

The USA constitution's first amendment states ""Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Modern day America was built on a strange combination of attributes pertaining to religion. Some of the first "immigrants" came here escaping the state religion of the "Crown"...both British and Spanish (Protestant AND Catholic). Some groups...many called "Pilgrims"...came to found their own new fundamentalist religions based on “new revelations" that were not going over so well in the "new world order" of Europe's enlightenment. And of course many of the early settlers were poor criminal elements back in Europe and elsewhere who were escaping prison sentences in a new "free world".

It should be strongly underlined that these first "immigrants" to America had little or no respect for the American Indians who inhabited most of the continent. Historical writ is rife with the attitude of early religionists that arrived to the "new world" toting their Bibles, crosses and guns. If you can't convert and clothe the savages or keep them from smoking "peyote" in their pipes, put them on reservations or kill them if they won't submit to our way of life and faith. 

When I grew up in the American public school system, we didn't learn about the "trail of tears". We didn't hear about "manifest destiny" until high school (and most kids today have no clue what that means), and even then we were not encouraged to explore the philosophical, legal or rational ramifications of this in American history. It’s as though the killing or subjugation of "heathens" was "God's will". This is nothing new in the few thousand years of today's fundamentalist religions and didn't start in "America".

Now we have a new era of "immigrants" coming to America. Most of these hoards are NOT white, NOT rich, and NOT Christian. Yet we have an ironical combination of American liberals and the Catholic pope telling us that the USA should be more inclusive of these diverse masses within our borders and our dwindling social resources. Somehow the Statute of Liberty has become the symbol of freedom for every religious zealot from anywhere in the world to come and practice/promote their particular religion in "freedom".  At the same time, most of these religions enslave the minds of men, women and children (mostly the children) with irrational, patriarchal, mystical philosophies of life based on thousand year old books of questionable origin...and now we have liberals and fundamentalists alike calling for more inclusion of these dividing factions. How absurd.

Unfortunately, the USA constitution has now been bastardized so much by interpretation where its application to a country with the size and diversity of the USA is almost impossible. You have more and more religious divisions taking exception to "personal freedoms". You have government and church leaders hand in hand trying to legislate every bit of morality you can imagine. "They" want to control every aspect of your life.  They want to define legal marriage while excluding gays. They want to tell us which organic weeds we can or can't grow on our back porch. They want to legislate to women what they can/can't do with their bodies or unborn babies. They want to limit sex to "marriage and procreation" and outlaw the use of contraceptives and abortion...even in the case of rape or endangerment to the mother's life. They also want their rules and regulations written on every public wall or entrance possible acknowledging their religious origins in this country.

I don't think I am alone in thinking that this new push for "religious freedom" is blinding the average mind to what this really means. The Pope and other religious leaders CLAIM that faith will "bind us all together". History has shown the direct opposite.  Even in our own families in America, fundamental religion of all types have divided and caused non-acceptance of individualism for centuries now.  I am comforted that the fastest growing faith in America is "secularism". Secularism in its shortest definition is that one believes in science, reason and the power of humans to advance humanity to a higher consciousness. We do not require holy books, "holy" men or wasting billions on religious tapestries such as huge cathedrals, golden ornaments, or a Vatican bank that has for decades washed billions of dollars for questionable transactions and sources to give us meaning in life. These religious coffers have come at the cost of the taxpayers in many countries including the USA. Why these religious "kingdom builders" such as we see on TV everyday asking for handouts should get tax exempt status is a travesty of the highest order. This is not separation of "Church and State". This is Church and State working together to control our country at many different levels via religion, and I for one do not want to participate in that...or be forced to.

Separation of Church and State should simply be that. There should be no financial support of any government fund to any church institution. The State should tax everyone equally...believers and non-believers alike. And non-taxed money going to political causes? GOODBYE. If churches or religious people want to give to charity and get a "write off" on should be social charities for all, not private religious foundations or political organizations based on promoting mystic leaders or writs...or for political gain. 

If religious orders of any kind want to practice some archaic, patriarchal belief systems based on mystic symbols or ancient figureheads who supposedly never died...they should do so in the privacy of their own homes or property.  I would limit "free speech" to that of political or social discourse, not "proselytizing" pronouncements of hell-fire and damnation in the public square. I would never agree to permit what we see all over Europe of the growing Muslim populations publicly demanding their Sharia law and communities.  I should have the freedom to NOT hear these detractors of common sense". Let their good WORKS speak for their beliefs, not tirades among normal citizens. 

Oh, and if a child or mother/wife wants to escape a fundamentalist, intolerant male leader in their home or "church", they should be allowed and protected by our social order to do so. That should be part of "separation of church and state". Right now there are millions of "captives" in the USA to various religious orders who do not have the right to live or think freely. Children also should have the right to not participate in fundamental religions, just as we protect them from all other forms of abuse. "Mental abuse" of children is a huge issue in our society with so many abhorrent sects and cults demanding freedom to exist under special privileges. Keep in mind those who still grow up in systems of "child brides" and polygamy.

Anyone who wants to be a "citizen" in a truly free society should not be allowed to duck service to that society. Anyone that cannot agree to our constitution or bill of rights in this country should NOT be allowed citizenship or voting rights. If you will not lift a hand to defend this country and its freedoms...GOODBYE. The immediate inclusion in our country based on birthright or passing a test should not be enough. If you cannot agree to our constitution and bill of cannot live indefinitely among us. If your religion is more important than these freedoms and rights we are supposed to have in America, then please go elsewhere that respects or agrees with your voodoo religion.

And finally, if you want to come lecture my nation's leaders and put on a media dog and pony show espousing fundamentalist religious should stand in line or pay for access just like anyone else. We also risk having to allow equal access and time to ALL fundamentalist leaders from the Mohammed clan to the Jewish one.  I for one am not interested...and I am appalled by the cost of this Pope's visit which funds COULD have been spent on better things than motorcades, plane fares for thousands, media manipulations and heavy security that was required for this pomp and circumstance.  I imagine I am in the minority, but I am sickened by this hypocritical hoopla. This parade could have helped hundreds of thousands of the displaced they were all TALKING about helping!

I am not here saying that our current leaders and systems are working satisfactorily. Obviously they are not. But our future hope does not require MORE tolerance for religion and mysticism.  Our hope relies much more on rules and equality under secular laws, technology and scientific advancements that will make life easier and cheaper to live, clean up our environment, and yes, distribute food and sustenance to the poor who have no current ability to move out of the jungles, deserts and flooding river basins they are stuck in under rule of nefarious tyrants of political order.  We help the poor because it is the natural, reasonable and HUMANE thing to do...not because a god or the Pope demands us to.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Muslim Chapel in Orlando Airport

News comes to us a few days ago that the Orlando International Airport is opening a Muslim "prayer room" at a cost of $250,000.  I don't know ultimately who will pay for this...but it is probably the public since taxes pay for most developments such as airports.

It will be interesting to track who uses this "chapel" the most...people arriving from Dubai, thanking Allah for his deliverance from that desert oil oasis...or believers leaving America to go back with thankful deliverance from this wicked, "Satanist" land of McDonalds, Hollywood and Disneyland.

Now, apparently in all fairness, there has been a "Christian" chapel at the airport for a while, and they are planning to add ANOTHER interdenominational chapel at some location as well.  Does anyone else see irony in all of this?

First off, the fastest growing belief system in America is "secularism"...basically a form of Humanism which tends to be practiced by mostly intellectuals and highly educated or well read people.  For those of us who escaped fundamentalist religion as kids in our culture...this has been welcome news that we now have more unbelievers "out of the closet" with us.

Unfortunately, replacing the droves of Americans leaving dead religions...we now have this huge influx of Muslims immigrating to our country and establishing their own neighborhoods and mosques throughout most of our major cities.  While I have always believed in constitutional freedom of religion...I have never believed in government or state sponsorship of religion. I also don't recognize my country as a "Christian" nation since the colonies were not founded on fundamental religion.  They were founded on escape from tyrants in Europe who forced state sponsored religions along with the prohibition of others.

The separation of church and state is very simply that.  Churches should have nothing to do with politics...and the government should have no involvement with religion. INDIVIDUALS should be able to practice as they long as it does not inhibit others from NOT practicing religion or being affected by another persons beliefs. This is called being a "republic", and a majority democratic vote of "Christians" should not be able to change these constitutional rights.

This takes us back to the issue at hand...the Muslim religion growing faster in the USA than Christianity, Judaism or others. When our governments... federal, state and local...start mandating exceptions and imbalanced tolerance of religious fundamentalists, no matter what brand they are starting the makings of more civil strife in this "land of the free, home of the brave".

Islam AND fundamental Christianity are NOT tolerant, peace loving religions. They are full of judgement, hell-fire and damnation against "unbelievers".  This adds to the already difficult job of uniting Americans of all racial and economic backgrounds.  It is hard enough to get blacks, whites, Native Americans, Asians and Hispanics to get along in this country.  Now you add increased marks of demarcation between fundamental religions...and we all are going straight to "hell" in one big bundle of holy wars inside our own borders.

I for one now go on record as being against any government sponsorship of any religion, its emblems or icons. The state should be the state, religion should be practiced in ones home, church, synagogue or even mosques.  But I should not have to be confronted with these idiocies of sectarian worship in public places.  Its not that it threatens me, but I believe it sets up continued strife and division in our humanity by having these symbols of mysticism at every crossroad.

I personally see no difference between revolting public signs of "Jesus is Coming", "Jesus Saves", etc to Islamic signs of  "death to infidels".  They have all become repugnant, vacuous symbols of mans mental depravity and lack of education when it comes to meaning and history of human life.  It is alarming how much of this we have in the internet age.

So more publicly funded "chapels".  And while we are at it, lets do away with "tax exempt" religions of every persuasion.  These charlatan evangelists living like hedonists on tax free contributions need to go away.  If people want to broadcast religious views, they should pay for access the same way taxed institutions do.  If I don't have these advantages as a secular humanist...why should a religious person or organization have it?

The sheep need to get with the program. No religious "Koolaid" drinking on public funds or property.