Science: it explains physical nature, not spiritual

April 16, 2014

Image  I saw Chris Major’s extremely long letter, that should actually have been regarded as an op-ed.  His letter is far too long to transcribe, so I shall discuss it briefly, that he sought to debunk through religion, what a previous writer discussed by way of science.

What it actually comes down to again, you can religiously believe what ever you wish, but it is also poles apart from what you study in the physical world.  The study of the physical world is why we have science.  The study of the spiritual world is why we have religion.  Now, as long as Mr. Major wants to throw the weight of the bible into everything, God did not discuss gravity with the people who wrote Genesis.  Nor did he discuss anything beyond the sun, moon, and stars visible to anyone on this planet.  And that is, visible to the naked eye at a time, when the telescope wouldn’t be invented for many thousands of years.  It was only through science and technology that we would learn of other planets and their moons.   Further, to gain an understanding that Earth was actually part of a solar system.  The bible did not provide that information.  Which means one thing, men wrote the bible and fantasized, how the universe came into being.  Men wrote the bible and fantasized, how they and then existing animals came into being.  But not being present at the beginning of the universe, men could not have said for a fact, that this is how it was done.  Without the scientific knowledge that it would take, to discuss upon the evidence, how the universe came about, then the men who wrote the bible could only speculate about what must have happened.  Right after that, they formed a religion based upon that speculation.

God was supposed to have done everything in six days.  On the seventh, He rested.  That corresponds to six work days and a sabbath in accordance with Jewish religious law and tradition.  Well, the bible is religious text, right?  Religious laws and traditions must find a justification for why there will be a seven day week.  Why there must be six work days and then a day of rest.  But to try to replace science with a justification for religion, that is quite another matter.

I placed a photo of the moon going into an eclipse for a reason.  A moon in the eclipse is mentioned in Revelations.  A moon or sun in the eclipse, was supposed to cause extreme fear among the Japanese or Chinese, who then must raise a lot of noise in order to force the dragon to release the sun or moon.  Without scientific knowledge of why eclipses occur, there is a definite failure to see the wonder and beauty in such an event, and to make of it instead a thing of evil, fear, and loathing.

Then, there is the creation of man from what is basically mud.  How do you explain the formation of DNA, organs especially of sight, if you were initially created from soil, sand, and water?  I don’t think that you can.  Yet, with a mystical breath, God turns a statue into living tissue.  Many thousands of years later, and by the 19th century, then scientists, specifically biologists, present us with the facts of DNA.  The living building blocks of tissue that forms all organs, gender determination, race determination, etc. in our bodies.  And yes, actually, we are individual by way of color of eyes, skin, type of hair, height, weight, and so on.  If God created one race of men, the ancestors of the current Semites, why aren’t we all Semites?  We are not.  Well then, something random must have occurred, for us to be racially divided between Native American Indians, Egyptians, Semites, people of an African origin, Greek, Asian, Hispanic, again etcetera.  How do we explain such diversity, especially when the bible does not?  Then only biology, inclusive of evolution, could.

Mr.Major has to ignore a lot of inconvenient scripture to make his case.  So, I will ask this, how does a spiritual being create a physical something out of a material nothing?  Remember, the writers of the bible assumed much in their very vivid and wild fantasies. But they were not there to record the actual facts.  Scientists work from material evidence.  Mr. Major works from nothing else but his belief.

Latest news: Facebook and etc.

April 12, 2014

The Gail Gerlach case came to its conclusion by Thursday of last week.  Mr. Gerlach was found “not guilty” of manslaughter when shooting and killing a thief who drove away with his car.  Given what I know of the general crime situation in Spokane, Washington and the fact that the police budget for investigating property crimes was drastically slashed; I don’t figure that Mr. Gerlach had much choice in what he did next.  To me, it wouldn’t have mattered if Mr. Gerlach had done all the right things:  turning off his car engine, locking his car door, while going inside his home to get whatever else he might need before going to work.  If the thief wanted to steal his car, he’d do it anyway.

What happened that day, when the thief was shot and killed while driving off with Mr. Gerlach’s car, was effectively a crime of opportunity.  How people on Facebook or elsewhere chose to react, was quite another matter.  So, I will turn to Job and the fact that God made certain arrangements with Satan, to test the limits of Job’s belief and piety.  Job loses his health and wealth.  Job loses his children.  His wife turns on him.  Instead of his friends offering sympathy and support, they become his accusers.  “Stuff” mattered to Job too.  Without the “stuff” that gave Job some measure of meaning in his life, he didn’t want to live and further, did not wish to be born.

No one knows Mr. Gerlach’s financial circumstances.  Could he have afforded the insurance to replace a stolen car?  Would the insurance company have been prepared to replace a stolen car, upon reports that perhaps Mr. Gerlach was momentarily “careless?”  Regardless, I found myself appalled at seeing people defend a dead thief, and wanting to hold his victim accountable, for defending his household and property.  That somehow, he must be forced to bear more “guilt” for wanting to defend his “stuff,” even after the Jury’s decision was reached, than the Jury was willing to give him.  After all, he was declared “not guilty” in the eyes of the law. 

This has no comparison to the George Zimmerman case, where he shot and killed a teenage boy; he willfully chose to confront at the time and fought.  Regardless, on far more shaky grounds than was evident in the Gerlach case, Mr. Zimmerman was acquitted:  “not guilty” in the eyes of the law.  Mr. Zimmerman wasn’t defending “stuff,” because the teenager hadn’t stolen anything of Mr. Zimmerman’s. But Mr. Zimmerman had far more defenders, it would seem, than Mr. Gerlach does.  From what I can see, these two cases present the two sides of liberalism, at its worst!

The Nevada rancher, whose name I don’t have here, has been grazing his herds of cattle on public land for several years.  Well, the operative phrase is, “public land,” and the Nevada rancher is a business owner.  As a business owner, he did not wish to pay the grazing fees for running his herds of cattle on public land, for the last two years.  I am quite sure that the fellow wanted to make some asinine political point out of it.  However, while he might be an “owner” of what is called public land; he isn’t the sole owner of that public land.  It is the rest of us paying the taxes, who subsidize his wanting to graze his cattle for free, on those very same public lands.  As this story developed, now BLM is rounding up the rancher’s cattle and the private militia groups gather, to provoke an armed confrontation.  Meanwhile, this Nevada rancher is enjoying his fifteen minutes of fame, by declaring that he is a victim of “tyranny.”  Maybe he should have just paid his grazing fees.

On Facebook, there was a fellow who had some yelping to do about the government.  Well, the government he only voted for to represent him.  Then he goes on to defend this radical Nevada rancher…  What is there to defend?  In effect, the John and Jane  Does of Facebook, are the people that this rancher is supposed to be paying the rent to.  He has refused to do so over the last two years.  So, the people who want to know why Mr. Rancher isn’t paying his dues, who finally insist that he needs to do so, find themselves facing an armed confrontation instead.  That is the real world, and the rancher is engaging in radical politics, to justify what ought to be criminal behavior.

Finally, the Hal Dixon letter in “The Inlander.”

Wealthy Conservatives Aren’t to Blame

In “Inside the donut” (4/3/14), Robert Herold paints with a very broad brush with his critique of wealthy conservatives and supply-side economics.  He mentions “Romney-world—where it is right and fair that much more goes to far fewer.”

Yet, Mr. Romney has not been our president for the past five years, while middle class income has dropped at its highest percentage ever.  This happened on Barack Obama’s watch, and he is not a supply-sider.  Supply-side economics worked for Kennedy, Reagan, and even for Clinton, but over the past five years throwing over a trillion dollars into our economy has provided us with the worst recovery from a recession in history.  Is it still Bush’s fault? 

Most knowledgeable people agree that the main reason our middle class is shrinking is due to jobs fleeing to other countries.  Is it greedy CEOs looking for more profits, or is it greedy unions striking for ridiculous wage and benefit packages, or is it that we cannot compete with countries like Vietnam and China?  Probably some of each, but don’t lay it all on wealthy  conservatives’ doorstep.  There’s enough blame to go around.  When’s the last time you went shopping for “made in America” goods only?

When Ronald Regan pushed “Supply-side economics,” because President Kennedy in his lifetime never did so, President Reagan had shifted his liberal Democrat focus from “the people” to the corporate office.  At the time he did so, he also moved to protect American companies from foreign competition.  In a word, Mr. Reagan saw the activist government he could very well love, as long as he could use it to defend deep pocketed special interests.  People, at the head of research and development, who could have fashioned the better widget, and preferred to use that money to buy influence at the federal level instead.

About a decade later, NAFTA became law at Clinton’s hand.  NAFTA came about because wealthy CEO’s didn’t want to spend the money to build a better widget.  They’d rather spend the money pushing laws like NAFTA, and later, CAFTA.  And while it is easy enough to “blame the greed of unions” for why American companies moved entire factories to Vietnam and China; I wouldn’t suggest that American CEO’s couldn’t have “competed” with China and Vietnam.  No, they didn’t want to pay for an American workforce, period.  And that was true from the time of Clinton through Bush 2.  Ultimately, what I call wanting the profits, without actually putting any effort into it.

Then there is the off-shore bank accounts where wealthy corporate CEOs keep their money, on a presumptively “tax free” basis.  Mr. Dixon of Spokane, Washington neglects to mention that.  Money that is put into off-shore accounts and kept there, isn’t being utilized in an American economy.  It isn’t being used to pay salaries or hourly wages, it isn’t being used to develop “made in America” widgets.  Under the circumstances, I would not call such people “conservative.”  Even further, they expect their profits to be further subsidized by the taxpaying citizens of this country.

The other liberalism:  when you make excuses for what isn’t right.

Book Review: Dark Horizons

April 6, 2014

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I don’t always review fictional novels, including crime novels.  However, Dan Smith’s “Dark Horizons” will be that exception.  I had already read this book entirely through, before I decided to make it a subject of my next blog post.  The reason being, Mr. Smith, a British Author is one hell of a writer.  I can see why he would have won new writer awards.  So, I had decided to spend a small amount of money at Hastings to pick up a couple of books as a present for my upcoming birthday.  I visited the last chance bargain rack in Hastings itself and found this book as well as a Gooseberry Patch cookbook.  Total cost for both, over $6.00 inclusive of tax.  I don’t know who may have originally purchased “Dark Horizons,” it was slightly used when I got it.  But as anyone can see, the book was at a greatly discounted price from what it originally cost in the United Kingdom, £12.99.  Yeah, originally it was published in the United Kingdom.

Now for the book itself, the book’s protagonist is known as “Alex.”  His is the first person narrative throughout.  Alex discusses a particularly painful period in his life, with the lingering death of his mother from cancer.  Once she has died, Alex as a 25 year old single male, then “runs away” to Indonesia.  He wishes to start life over again, to find himself, and very regrettably meets up with the wrong crowd.  It starts with a bus crash, with many injured, dying or dead people.  Alex is among the injured, and describes being robbed of his watch and clothes by a native child.  Fortunately, he still has his money and passport.  He is then assisted by a young Australian woman, known only as “Domino.”  Only Domino isn’t who she originally presented herself as being.  As the story continues on its own timeline, Domino is a cheat, a drug addict and a willing murderess.  Surprisingly enough, she manages to care enough about Alex, to save his life twice.

Because Alex has no other family, Domino encourages him to meet the others of her criminal gang, who reside in a hillside community overlooking lake Toba.  Mr. Smith describes this lake in great detail, inclusive of its scenic landscape.  He also describes Alex’s encounters with the rest of the group, that go from “on particularly shaky grounds” to steadily deteriorating after that.  There is no specific time of reference as to when Alex will suddenly quit the group.  But there is a defining moment when he does so.  The American, known as “Michael” beats the crap out of him over a woman.  And further, Michael is one very dangerous dude to be around.  Alex has no problem leaving the group after this, and makes his way across Lake Toba to Samosir, which is a mostly tourist destination.

In the last couple of chapters of this book, Mr. Smith incorporates the actual terrorist incident in Bali within his book.  Once Alex learns about the bombing of a nightclub and sees who has become one of the victims, he goes in search of the one woman who has come to mean something to him.  But it isn’t Domino, it is Helena, a young woman from Sweden.  He finds her.

Obviously, I am not going to do a blow-by-blow account of this book.  I am however, going to recommend it for anyone who’d like to read it.  It is a riveting and suspense-filled book.  There is unquestionably coarse language.  There is unquestionably lurid scenes of violence.  I was not disappointed in the book that I bought.

Generational warfare?

April 3, 2014

The AARP monthly bulletin arrived in the mail about two days ago.  Their main story was about “Generational Warfare” which the news media opined had to exist.  And where the news media created this opinion, then the people who don’t like to think for themselves, would accept what they heard without question.  So, AARP then did their own anecdotal questions with a multi-generational workforce  at various businesses, and concluded that an actual “generational warfare” did not exist.

Well, it does.  When the news media creates sensational stories, then it does.  When politics intrudes—takers versus makers—with the elderly the latest of “takers;” yes, it exists.  If the argument becomes, the elderly should just gracefully move aside and give up the jobs to the young; then yes, it exists.  It exists when Paul Ryan, wants to budget any consideration for the elderly, out of the equation.  Of course, Senator Ryan is one of those Republicans who quickly forget, that the elderly do pay the taxes that pays his annual income in the Senate.  That says a great deal about radical ideology, how much it shuts down thinking about the consequences of your actions. 

As for myself, I am nearing 60 and definitely do not care to be a burden on anyone.  I may be medically retired, but I work from home.  One of the types of work I do now is to write books: “Are You a Space Alien?” and have them published on line at Amazon.com  This is just the first book that I have written, I already have another one in the works:  “Aesgard Awakening.”  And yes, I can leave the workforce and hand off, what has become too stressful work, to younger and healthier people.  But that I have actually not quit working.  In my retirement years, I have a small business from which I do generate a certain amount of income.  It may be mostly seasonal, but it is still work that I can do; and pay taxes from it.  So in my way, I am still among the makers.

If anything is truly upsetting, the same people who want to “snarl at the elderly,” and then want to “snarl at the news media,” depend on the latter to engage in the former.  Right after that, you start hearing this real question about, this lack of respect and any sense of social or personal morality.  Well sure, because “morality” these days is particularly self-serving.  We only care about “unborn children” for example, if it will accomplish instituting a national religion.  We don’t care to take care of the children, who are born in this society.  Facebook, the various news feeds I subscribe to discussed the “abolitionists” at Coeur d’Alene High School.  Of one individual who was ranting away about the “immorality of abortion,” I asked her about what she thought of WIC, food stamps, and other essentials to support the child’s well being.  No answer.  You have to wonder why this “respect for life” ends at the birth canal.  Apparently, “respect for life” politically doesn’t extend as far as the elderly, either.

Altruism–is it?

March 28, 2014

The latest “Inlander” came out today on Thursday 28 March 2014.  The editorial and reporting staff discussed altruism and the making of civic heroes.  They also briefly discussed Ayn Rand’s politics of Selfishness, certainly in combination with her warped view of objectivity.  What it amounts to; should people help more out of some moral obligation, who do not assist anyone now?  In Spokane, Washington, even Republican Mayor Condon seems to think so.  Also, the fire/rescue people seem to think so, with the creation of a pulse point app in order to inform people, when someone is suffering a heart attack.  A very good idea, if it will save a life.

The grim news would seem to be, that to be altruistic or selfless, also doesn’t go well with some people.  “The Inlander” discussed that in brief as well.  But is actual altruism associated with “Communism?”  No, because it has moral and religious implications.  Jesus “the anointed one,” was such an altruist.  Addressing Ayn Rand’s books, inclusive of “The Fountainhead;” her views of altruism were associated with “socialism.”  But socialism is a political philosophy, regarding economic equality.  Altruism is based on the concept of compassion for others.  Of the choice to do something right toward the well being of others.  Something that we could all do voluntarily.  It doesn’t just have to be, rescuing someone from drowning, or saving someone from a fire.  How about donating good used clothing to Goodwill?  Of assisting with disaster relief through Red Cross?  Of dropping off food to the food bank to assist the needy?  I think there ought to be no problem with that.

Now, what happens when government intervenes, say through civil rights issues?  If we as a people, showed an humanitarian good will toward our neighbors; we’d make no arguments against minorities having the same sort of rights, as the majority.  Well then, if we already possessed that genuine humanitarian concern toward our fellow man, then there would be little need for the government to have to intervene.  As it is, charitable donations are “tax deductible,” which means that the government has already intervened in some way.  An argument that doesn’t appear on the radar, of the more radical anti-government types.  You know those people, they like to fear the “government” (they actually do vote for) imposing its will on them.  Sure it does, street lights and stop signs is symbolic of a government that imposes its will through rules and regulations.  It also has a tendency to “thank people” for acting on the behalf of others, as “The Inlander” acknowledged more locally.

But what is not altruism?  Coeur d’Alene High School was recently visited by some rabid “abolitionists.”  Abolition is from the word to “abolish.”  Last used when a good percentage of the pre-Civil War United States was against legal slavery.  Now in this case, the “abolitionists” seem to think that they can abolish all forms of terminated pregnancies.  Well now, you can’t abolish miscarriage or premature delivery.  You can’t abolish still birth or fetal death in the uterus.  Even in the 21st century, medical science still doesn’t perform miracles.  Are the anti-aborticidists “altruistic?”  I don’t think so.  They use such an issue to judge and condemn, to demand government intervention, a desire to impose their will upon others.  On the flip side of the coin, the same kind of people can’t stand the idea of a little girl who wears short hair, denim jeans, etc. coming to their “Christian” school.  Her mom “chose life,” right?  Apparently you are only an acceptable “unique individual,” as long as you are still in the womb.

Not exactly a “do nothing” Congress

March 23, 2014

It was last Friday, the day after the next “Best Of…  Inlander” came out.  I was discussing my published novel, sort of with a neighbor who also lives on Marlborough Avenue.   And at some point, we also began discussing the role of government.  I offered this suggestion in brief, that if people within society accepted their obligations toward the welfare of their fellow man, then we wouldn’t require as much from government.  But as long as people are more interested in promoting a self-serving agenda, then government must step in to fulfill a greater role.

So, in the Robert Herold editorial column, he was complaining about the obstructionist and do nothing Republicans.  Well, they are certainly obstructionist, playing childish games with the Democratic President, Obama, because they are such sore losers.  But they haven’t exactly “done nothing.”  The Farm Bill that he spoke of, was high on welfare for agribusiness and low on assisting the truly needy. Or, they hyped political outrage over a non-scandal involving the IRS.  Or they spent some billions of taxpayers’ dollars constantly rehashing the “Benghazi saga.”  Or they spent millions of taxpayers’ dollars wanting to prematurely abort the Affordable Care Act.  Oh yes, and they also single-handedly drove down the poll numbers for the entire Congress.  What the Republicans did not do, was to define a role for government that they would be willing to accept.  What they instead did, was to argue that there could not be a role for government, as long as the Democrats were in charge.  What this blog post will now do is offer a challenge to the voters:  do you want a role for the Republicans in government? 

In Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, the anti-aborticide movement will be protesting at Coeur d’Alene High School.  What they will not say is, that some abortions are acts of God:  miscarriages, fetal death from natural causes, still births.  What they are also not likely to say, is what happens when a teenager gets pregnant?  The Republicans don’t want a WIC program for the teenager.  On social media, there are plenty of snarling radicals who say, that they don’t want to pay for the irresponsible behavior of other people.  Given these present social attitudes, narrowly focusing on certain kinds of elective terminations of pregnancies, would seem to be quite counterproductive.  They “want the child to be born,” but they don’t want to benefit the child at birth.  Seems to me, that the big government politically religious, just want to exploit a bad situation for their own purposes.

In the Coeur d’Alene Press, that Friday morning, 21 March 2014, there were a couple of letters regarding child porn.  Actually, the closest to “child porn” found in the bible, is that prohibition against a father seeing his daughter naked—Old Testament.  In the New Testament, Jesus judgmentally declares that anyone exploiting a child, should have a mill stone tied on his neck, and tossed into the sea.  And while child porn is clearly child exploitation, it isn’t the only form of it.  People like Mr. Hans Neumann have no problem exploiting a child.  He might oppose child porn, but at the same time, he can only scream and whine about the “abortion” that “harms the child.”  How about starvation, would that not harm a child?  How about the lack of good health care, would that not harm a child?  How about the lack of good wages, that prevents the parents from better taking care of their children; doesn’t that hurt the child?  Or the Republicans putting super-wealthy corporations on the dole at the expense of good education, and wouldn’t that hurt the child?  Mr. Neumann is one of those people who don’t think beyond the immediate goal, imposing a non-biblical religious canon on everyone else; regardless of what the actual costs would be.  Yes, I would have to say, that while child porn egregiously exploits, it is only one form of egregious exploitation.

Pastor Fred Phelps, of the Westboro Baptist Church, died a day or so ago.  On Facebook, “Mother Jones” showed a counter-protest group of people, confronting the first post–Phelps, Westboro Baptist Church protest of… what ever.  The sign the counter-protestors held up?  “Sorry for your loss.”  A sign that the people of Westboro Baptist, would never consider creating themselves.  Kindness and forgiveness, you can’t get any better than this.  Regrettably, that is kindness and forgiveness coming from the “left” side of political society.  Mr. Neumann wouldn’t consider making such words public.  He’d rather exploit and heap more shame on, unfortunate situations.  Why?  Because he considers himself the “right” side of political society.  I am sure that Jesus wouldn’t agree with many of his arguments.

This is why Mr. Herold deems government so necessary.  The government that can “be there” to pick up the slack for society, when the people within their respective communities, don’t want to be bothered.  He also can back his argument on the last clause of the first amendment:  the people can have their grievances redressed before government.  Well then, unemployment is such a grievance, as is unaffordable health care.  Poverty is also a grievance, as is packaging bad food products.  Not producing quality medications, that cause the patients who take them, to sicken and die is definitely a grievance.  Producing cars with fatality causing defects, is equally a grievance.  The lack of good education that can produce good paying jobs, would definitely be a grievance.  Environmental health hazards from polluting industries, are definitely a grievance.  My readers should definitely have a full understanding for why much is now expected from government.

If the business interests worked toward reducing unemployment levels, what role would there be for government and unemployment insurance?  If churches worked within their communities to reduce poverty, what need would there be for welfare and the food stamp program?  If industries from food, to medication, to the production of durable goods (of any kind), worked from the point of quality standards, would there be as much need for federal or state regulations?  If state level governments in particular, saw good education as being not only in their best interests and therefore, the highest priority; would we not see more kids graduating high school, college, a university; and not dropping out?  By graduating with honors and being able to hold down a good job besides.  If polluting industries were to voluntarily reduce toxic emissions, would there be as much need for the EPA?  In short, the moral requirement to care for people:  employees, customers, and neighbors.  If this society understood such a moral obligation and exercised it; then yes, the role of government would be greatly reduced.

The Republicans, my party, do not advocate such a moral requirement.  They legislatively and politically want to make excuses, for why this society doesn’t have such a moral underpinning today.  Or they figure that putting up in a public park, a graven image of the Ten Commandments, is all the reminder of “moral requirements” that anyone should ever need.  Is it?  You won’t find, “business owners should not cheat their customers or employees” anywhere in the Ten Commandments.  It is elsewhere in the Old Testament.  You won’t find the Godly argument of “burying your waste,” in the Ten Commandments either.  But this primitive form of pollution, fecal waste and etc., “that offends God,” is found in scriptures following the commandments themselves.  In short, there is a lot more to the bible than a set of out-of-context commandments.  These scriptures are also routinely ignored when financially and politically expedient.  Under the circumstances, government must assume a greater role.

George Nethercutt’s lack of relevance

March 14, 2014

Mr. Nethercutt is featured monthly in “The Inlander.”  Very rarely does he actually say something that I’d find a reason to agree with.  No, it is not because he is “politically conservative,” as a Republican, or I must be “politically liberal” as a person who is also a Republican.  Rather, I have a bit more understanding of history than he seems to.  And that is because, I read actual history with its warts and not just those parts of it that I am most politically inclined to read.  So to begin with, did Americans trust in this country’s essential goodness?  Let us look at a few concrete situations such as the American Civil War over slavery.  If America’s essential goodness was on full display from the founding of the colonies up to the 1860s, I highly doubt that slavery would have been a subject either for discussion or war.  An essentially good people would never have desired human property to begin with.  Or when the actual American Socialists got deeply involved in the labor wars.  If the owners of factories, mines, railroads, and etc. had displayed an essential goodness, there would have been minimal possibility for American Socialists or foreign anarchists to come in and stir up trouble.  The whole idea of an essential goodness as the foundation of this country, began with the Puritans and essentially ended with the utopianism of the founding fathers.  For everyone else, the United States would become an economic land of opportunity, but not everyone would be invited to participate in it.  Thus, between such historical works as “Manufacturing Hysteria,” and “The Day Wall Street Exploded,” that would tell you immediately just how wrong Nethercutt would happen to be.  “1861″ is another essential book as well as “Every Knee shall Bow,” the Randy Weaver story, “Under the Banner of Heaven,” the American conflict between the Mormons and mainstream Christianity.  America’s essential goodness can only be possible if Americans are essentially good.  In the actual absence of that, you get the “Teapot Dome Scandal,” the Army McCarthy hearings, Watergate, and other nation changing scandals.  Thus, there have been plenty of times throughout this nation’s history, where Americans found much to question about the nature of the country, government, and fellow citizens.  The rationale for such questions might change, but the questions themselves have been enduring since the creation of the U.S. Constitution.

So, Mr. Nethercutt then wants to tell the GOP how they can win in the fall.  Unemployment is a top priority for the ordinary citizen.  It is not on the radar of the GOP.  Instead, the GOP want to satisfy such people as the Koch Brothers, or the NRA, or the politically religious, or the business interests.  Why should they pay any attention to people who want the jobs, who don’t want to be on food stamps, and are heavily attacked by the Fox News people for being poor at all.  If the GOP want to win in the fall, they should be the first people to tell Fox News to just report the news, and don’t go around pillorying the people the GOP have to count on as voters.  Or, shut up.  I’d quite frankly be surprised if that ever happened.  Or Mr. Nethercutt thinks that the GOP should advance the government policies that rewards ambition.  Fox News has also fully informed its viewership what sort of ambition actually does get rewarded, tax breaks and subsidies as well as refunds that the deep pocketed very ambitious among the business interests took full advantage of.  Oh yes, between Fox News and the GOP, government policies were advanced to help them out.  I read plenty of discontent about who and what the GOP have defined themselves as being, on no less than Facebook.  Of the GOP themselves, they aren’t capable of defending what amounts to GOP policies, so they attack instead.  Or choose to engage in childish name calling, because they have no legitimate arguments to present.  Because of the universality of Facebook, it can amplify greatly the political divide and create trouble for the party that wants to regain power in Congress, and the run up to the 2016 presidential election.  Mr. Nethercutt should be forced to read what I do, then he would have a clearer understanding about the kind of trouble the GOP truly face.

Now for the books that put the GOP so far on the fringe as to have them precariously at the edge of the cliff.  “It is Dangerous to be Right when the Government is Wrong.”  “Suicide of a Superpower:  Will America Survive to 2025?”  “The Brief Against Obama:  The Rise, Fall, and Epic Fail of the Hope and Change Presidency.”  “The Secret Knowledge:  On the dismantling of American Culture.”  “Intellectuals and Society.”  “Demonic:  How the Liberal Mob is Endangering America.”  “The Communist—Frank Marshall Davis:  The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mentor.”  “Here Come the Black Helicopters! UN Global Governance and the Loss of Personal Freedom.”  “Obama’s Four Horsemen:  The Disasters Unleashed by Obama’s Reelection.”  “Never Trust a Liberal Over 3—Especially a Republican.”  I found all of the above titles in the Edward R. Hamilton Bookseller Company “Bargain Books” catalog.  So no, none of these titles were “invented” except by the authors.  To me, it doesn’t matter if Mr. Nethercutt thinks that President Obama’s being three times more popular than Congress is measly.  Mr. Obama’s popularity in his second term, is still far better than that of his predecessor, George W. Bush.  Nor does it matter if Mr. Nethercutt wants the rest of the GOP to get back in touch with their constituents in some way.  The shrieking hatred of our President and a good percentage of one’s fellow citizens, plus a deep questioning of our country and what it ought or should be, lies behind the books written here.  And the books were written by radicalized GOP.  This is the actual GOP baggage coming into the 2014 Congressional elections.  If there was an essential goodness within the American culture, such books would never have been written.  Now the GOP need to own what they have done.

What “faith” actually is

March 13, 2014

I bought many books from the Daedalus sales books catalog a few weeks ago.  Among them:  “Celtic Visions,” by Caitlin Matthews.  I saved this small book for last, and in about two days, I am already through the major part of it.  Basically, Ms. Matthews is bringing ancient pre-Christian beliefs into the modern era.  And through very old stories, she is trying to instruct anyone who is interested in recapturing what the ancient Celts or Gaels were capable of; especially the Druids and the Bards.  In this book then, I saw what pre-Christian Celts defined as “faith.”  Faith is “to see.”  A person of faith becomes a seer or prophet, and therefore a people who guide others without such an ability to what ever their future maybe.  The Old Testament and New discusses “men of faith” as well.  Having much the same kind of power or ability as also found in ancient Ireland, as an example.

I bring up this topic for discussion because I think it is an interesting facet of how people think or believe.  For example, Christians will by and large discuss their “faith.”  If “faith” is the ability to prophecy, to “see” future events and have them finally realized as factual, then no, Christians are not by and large prophets.  Which then lead to the ultimate conclusion that “faith” is not the same thing as “belief.”  Belief is to accept something that you are told without question.  Then there are three elements that must enter into a religion before it has a valid premise:  faith—that comes from the religious instructors.  Belief—that comes from the people who receive the religious instruction.  And finally, moral law that binds both the religious instructors and those who listen to their teachings.  Well, we can’t all be religious instructors.  And precisely, of all religious instructors, most would make no claim to the power of prophecy.  Certainly, not in this modern age.  Which would then argue, that religious instructors learn belief from others who also only teach from belief, but not by faith.  The difference between your every day priest or minister and a prophet.  No, I do not make a mockery out of this business at all.  Men of “no faith” must rely on the words of those who came before them.  And of course as well, subject the words of those who came before them, to their own interpretations.  Which, given the actual history, has not always led to a good end.  For the fact that, say differing interpretations of the same bible as an example, has often led to wars and other forms of social terrors.  Those social terrors have been described at length within a good many pages of various history books.  Not only in Europe, with its “Maleus Maleficarum,” but also through the various Christianized reigns of Great Britain’s kings.  And finally, the religious problems of colonial America.  Differing arguments about what ought to constitute a proper belief and what should constitute the most important instrument to impart such a belief, was to lead to much brutality and bloodshed.  If this were instead about “faith,” and men as well as women were taught to be visionaries, would there have been a far different outcome to all these religious based wars?  It is hard to say.

It seems that “we” had no use for prophets after the Old Testament, further, no use for people with remarkable powers after the Anointed Jesus could walk on water and raise the dead.  That is, if the prophets or miracle workers weren’t initially Christian, or had converted to Christendom, but who continued to follow many of the old ways.  I would suggest that it is a matter of unwelcome competition, that the powers that be in the Christian world had no love for.  But that it was certainly seen as a competition of two religions, the old ways of prophecy, divination, healing, etc. versus the Christian ways based solely on belief; what the bible teaches.  Of course, we ought not have non Christian prophets challenging the integrity of the “word of God.”  That is why it became so easy to proclaim the existence of demons, “the old ways” as being of Satan, and those caught in the act could be tried, convicted, and executed as witches.  However, as Ms. Matthews has since proven, Christianity did not win the final argument. 

Precisely, that these old stories and what ever lessons they may impart, have survived to this day mostly intact.  Also, the fact that there are people, like Ms. Matthews, who are apparently dissatisfied with Christianity enough to want to relearn what those old ways once were.  Probably, because Christians feared “faith,” the power to see, and wanted to teach only what they would accept biblically in the way of belief.  Post Jesus, I’d suggest that Christianity is missing a singular tenet.  And that is precisely why they become a restive and angry lot.  They must anchor onto something material:  government that legislates their specific dogmas.  National holidays that are recognized as theirs alone.  A “war on…” something, if a department store (for instance) isn’t doing the specific holiday according to the complaining Christian’s particular dogma.  The need to tell other people how they should live their lives.  Literally, that Christianity is today a totally secular religion; as opposed to its founding when it was discerned as truly spiritual in nature.  No, it does not contain all three elements:  that of the spiritual, faith, visionary; from which inspired instruction and moral law may be set forth.  No, it rests entirely on belief; the visionaries are safely part of history, and are not around today to trouble us, as we argue over what their words might mean or not in current events.  If Christianity had actually retained its element of “faith” which leads to prophecy and other visionary elements, how much different might it have been.

Therefore, to the ancient Irish Celt; faÍth was the word denoting prophecy, the capabilities of the seer.

For everyone else, just call it “belief.”

Speaking of…

March 7, 2014

Ed Torrence had quite the letter to the editor in the Coeur d’Alene Press.  Seems “evil” is politically based.  If you are a Democrat, you must automatically be “of reprobate mind.”  Only if you are a Republican are you not known for “denying God.”  I think that I can disagree with that.  I never found in any passages of the bible, that God judged evil based on political parties.  Rather, his judgment of evil was based on individual as well as collective sin.  The bible makes very clear what those sins are:  Briefly summarized: the overall intentions to do harm against man and God.  From what I have seen on the Facebook news feeds, Republicans (inclusive of their “TEA Party” fellow travelers) do not vote on putatively moral grounds.  They vote only on the behalf of special pleaders, and decry any other act of government as “central planning,” if it acts on the behalf of the ordinary citizen.  I think that Mr. Torrence puts his political ideology ahead of any other consideration and has also put his own reprobate mind on full public display.

Further, I’ll make a brief comment about Mr. Ray Fink’s letter also published on 7 March 2014.  If the schools don’t teach cursive any longer, is there some kind of problem with the parents guaranteeing that their kids master the skill?  With all the political arguments made against the public schools, seems Mr. Fink wants to throw a claim for dependency entirely on the same system of education that he also wishes so much to condemn. That public education, the public school, fills in all the gaps that being a parent leaves out.  I also understand exactly why cursive may no longer be mandatory in the classroom.  It is called the age of the computer and the internet.  It is the age of the check card and of e books.  I am very sure that Mr. Fink’s grandson does know how to read and write.  Or he would have a real problem being able to pass a driving test.  No, Mr. Fink’s only issue was of grandson’s apparent inability to actually “sign his name.”  Technology dude.  The more it advances civilization, the more civilization changes with it.  That is to be expected.

Now onto the latest book reviews:  I did not have the occasion for ever reading Republican Senator Jim DeMint;s “Falling in love with America again.”  But he was on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” earlier this week, trying to tout his book and hauling out plenty of pithy platitudes and political bromides that went back as far as the Reagan era “culture wars.”  And further, besmirching the federal government as somehow “socialist” or “communistic” with “central planning” arguments.  But of course, that’s his particular argument against the Democrats, and I am sure, President Barack Obama.  What he would never care to say, is that any vote of his on the behalf of his own group of special pleaders, would have very similar “central planning” consequences.  Isn’t that only what must come as the result of asking so much of government?  If you are a well-heeled or otherwise powerful interest group, it seems you do want that “central planning” from government if it suits your material interests.  The NRA knows that very well.  As do various politicized religious activists and commercial interests.  They just aren’t honest enough to admit to it.  Thus, Senator DeMint spent his many minutes on “The Daily Show,” refusing to look in the mirror for much of the problems in government today.

I have an archeology book that I am still in the midst of reading, “The Lost Empire of Atlantis,” by Gavin Menzies a British archeologist.  He begins his story with a high level of skepticism about an actual “island called Atlantis.”  By the end of his journey of discovery, he leaves his readers with a discovered empire of Atlantis.  An empire founded by a people we now call the Minoans.

Archeology isn’t dependent on wishful thinking and old wives’ tales.  We learn the proofs of old stories by way of the discovery of human remains:  skeletal, pottery, weapons, jewelry, and other known artifacts.  Where Mr. Menzies could finally draw certain conclusions about an actual empire of Atlantis, was from ship building, actual bronze age trade routes; with the Minoans a central civilization in all of that.  Also, the American continent was part of their empire.   So far, it is proving to be a delightful book.  I am glad I purchased this.

Finally, a short summary of my first ever book now on Amazon.com, as a Kindle e-book.  “Are You a Space Alien?  And other adventures” blends ancient biblical stories with modern scientific research into human DNA.  Right along with Eric Von Danakan’s questions about “were humanities’ Gods” from outer space?  If Ezekiel does his poor best to describe a factual space ship to his fellow countrymen, with God as the pilot, then Mr. Von Danakan might just have a point about that.  My take then, is that “God” is of the Ka’aern drauro.  A deep space humanoid people who are war-like in their aggression.  Further, they are a highly bigoted people.  If you don’t look like them, act like them, you are unsuited to go on living.  Their latest foes of choice are the Vracny.  In three parts of this book, the beginning ledes are of an invasive war and the Vracny struggle for survival before they fully destroy the Ka’aern drauro.  How the Ka’aern drauro created bio-engineering weaponry, by coming to Earth and making man from primitive ape like creatures.  Finally, what was done to their [especially] Vracny captives.  The rest of the story is of:  crime novel, people with remarkable alien DNA living supposedly normal human lives; that is until the “parent race” shows up with the intent to claim them.  Also, American politics and extremes in religion are parodied.  Of the last in particular, I think that it is essential to do this; to parody American politics and extremes in religion.  Just take a good close look at the “letters to the editors.”  Then take a look at the written records of history.  Roger Williams never once denied God.  But he did deny that governments should “impose their will,” or define how people of individual conscious ought to believe. 

Contentious arguments continue

February 26, 2014

I had finished reading the historical biography of Roger Williams.  In his life and times, he was unquestionably a Calvinist Puritan as were many of his fellow settlers in the New World.  But unlike the majority of the Puritans, Mr. Williams did not agree with civil government weighing in on matters of God.  The only actions that civil government had any right to do, involved criminal acts within society itself.  When Mr. Williams finally founded Rhode Island, it became the first state to recognize religious freedom for its majority citizens.  People incidentally, who had been outcast from increasingly rigid, factually totalitarian Puritan colonies.

Some four hundred years later, Roger Williams arguments are indeed still relevant.  I can think of what the prophet and priest Samuel ultimately heard from God.  Precisely, to set up a king (secular government) over men, was to displace God himself.  It wasn’t Samuel who would ever fear being out of a job.  So, what have churches done since the two books of Samuel were written?  Studiously ignored them. Samuel as an Old Testament argument, provides plenty of evidence of why you don’t create a symbiotic relationship between the spiritual and the secular.  Mr. Williams was quick to point out, that anything run by men was easily corruptible.  Thus to join the church to the state, could and would corrupt the church.  Biblically, Mr. Williams would have been right on target.  Also given the facts of the Puritan colonies:  personal ambitions, avarice, totalitarian hostility to differences of religious opinion, totalitarian hostility to new Christian sects; it would have to be Mr. Williams who would ultimately fight one heck of a battle, to guarantee that his Rhode Island colony would survive.  To be the first state, ultimately, that argued on the behalf of religious freedom.  No other Puritan colony would have cared to make an equal argument.

Which brings us to the 26th February edition of the Coeur d’Alene Press.  I think that I did not have much of an issue with the official editorial, “Freedom to put it in writing.” (also discussed on http://www.spokesman.com/blogs/hbo) for the 26th of February 2014.  The “religious freedom” argument to not serve “sinners” in one’s business establishment; actually sounds similar to the dredging up of a more Puritan era.  “Sin” by New Testament standards, even by post biblical standards, actually included heresy.  But of course, in this case, the reference is to openly gay and lesbian people.  Well, how about people who had been jailed for theft and murder?  People who faced various charges of vice?  They too are factual sinners, with arrest records and convictions to prove it.  Why not deny these other sinners an opportunity to do business with a company, operating on a “religious conscious?”  Otherwise, wouldn’t it become exceedingly hypocritical?  It must, of course.

Then there is the Larry Kettle letter following the editorial, “Muslims:  Obama wrong —again.”  It is Roger Williams who actually made the first (in the American colonies) argument for a separation of church and state.  If he had not won the argument on the behalf of Rhode Island, would a James Madison have fared much better by the 1770s to the 1780s?  It is highly doubtful.  The separation of church and state has religious freedom as its basis.  Mr. Williams had put it very well:  to be free to believe or not believe, in brief.  This applying to a variety of Christian sects, known to exist by the 17th century, would equally apply to any and all non Christian beliefs existing in this nation today.  By separating church and state, the state is duly informed that it can not judge the souls and minds of men.  No more than it can govern speech.  Mr. Williams would know that a little too well, he faced Puritan forms of tyranny that threatened his very life.

I don’t intend to transcribe Mr. Kettle’s letter, instead as a rebuttal, I’ll ask these questions:  What if Mr. Williams had not successfully fought for religious freedom?  What if Calvinist Puritanism had continued to the present era?  And then answer thusly, I wouldn’t know what Mr. Kettle’s religion actually is, but if say he were a Catholic, he’d not be allowed an opportunity to practice his belief openly. If his views were decidedly Quaker, he’d have no opportunity to worship openly.  And so it goes…  You can be sure that Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and etc. would not have been permitted entrance into what ever this country had become.  Mr. Kettle should actually thank these historical figures for what they did on his behalf.  After that, pass it on.

As an after thought, we all know about what “Communism/Socialism” has come to mean politically, in this country today.  What it would mean to refugees from such systems, seeking asylum in this nation today.  Well, people like Ayn Rand, for one.  But instead of pointing fingers at the usual suspects, such as Karl Marx for creating totalitarian think, try reading the various history books with respect to the Puritans.  The Puritans invented the collective plus an absolute need for conformity.  If Ms. Rand had known more about American history, she could have exchanged her “fear of socialism” with “her fear of Puritanism.”  That is seriously, not funny and fully intentional.  Karl Marx, Lenin, and etc,. had nothing on what people creating religious totalitarianism could do.  Mr. Kettle is free to speak, because of Roger Williams and James Madison.  Pass it on.


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