How To Exclude…

I guess Mr. Gingrich is still trying to be the VP choice for the egomaniac  candidate. His words below are a total affront to the basic meaning of America.  It is equivalent to the witch hunts or at least the McCarthy years and taunts me as the primary dark side of politics and religion.  But before I get to that lets look at Gingrich’s statement:

2016-07-15_08-01-35“Every person here who is of a Muslim background” should be tested to determine whether he or she believes in Shariah, a legal code based on the Quran and other Islamic scriptures.Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich introduces Donald Trump during a rally at the Sharonville Convention Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, on July 6. Getty Images

If they do, he said, they should be deported — even if they’re U.S. citizens. Gingrich added that anyone who simply visits any website “favoring ISIS or al Qaeda or other terrorist groups” should be guilty of a felony, “and they should go to jail.

“The Council on American-Islamic Relations condemned Gingrich’s call to “test” Muslims in the U.S. as well as the truck attack.

“When former House Speaker Newt Gingrich suggests that American Muslims be subjected to an Inquisition-style religious test and then expelled from their homes and nation, he plays into the hands of terror recruiters and betrays the American values he purports to uphold,” CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said.

Source: Newt Gingrich Wants Tests for All U.S. Muslims After Nice Attack – NBC News

There are just too many politicians going as deep into the gutter of politics as possible today!  I wonder if Mr Gingrich would settle for making Muslims wear large cloth patches on their clothing so that everyone would know they are Muslims.  Maybe that is good enough for the “cafeteria Muslims”? What upsets me even more than his words is the lack of words against his thoughts by the rest of us.  This guy has gone completely off the rails so to speak!

Looking at this from a higher level brings out my disgust for the very concept of exclusion. It is happening far too often now in both politics and religion. America is the land of immigrants and Christianity is about inclusion. To turn both on their heads is shameful to say the least.

I know fear is a powerful emotion but it is just grabbing far to many of us in both realms. The current thoughts that drive exclusion are:

  • We need to only allow those who think, look, and behave like us in our midst….
  • Anyone who questions any of our personal principles must be avoided at all costs….
  • Our safety is much more important than our principles…

Too many in our religious circles have tunnel vision when it comes to what they they allow to challenge their fixed beliefs.  They want to exclude anyone who doesn’t tow the line.  They fear that if they allow differences of opinion that they will fall down a slippery slope into oblivian. Take out the word “religious” above and put in the the “political” and the same thing applies.

Jesus, if he was about nothing else, was about inclusion. The founding fathers of our nation were also about inclusion. To twist their words for a personal agenda is both dangerous to us as a society and deadly to our basic principles.

Race With The Machines….


Too many things in life now seem to just concentrate on the negative. Lost jobs, not enough healthcare, not enough of this or that.. On almost anything in life you can put either a positive or a negative spin on it. Why we choose the negative approach so often is beyond me. But then again don’t I do that too?

Maybe the real policy priority should be making sure that workers can do more of what robots can’t and a dynamic economy produces a never-ending supply of new jobs for the robots to try and steal. “Journalists and expert commentators overstate the extent of machine substitution for human labor and ignore the strong complementarities that increase productivity, raise earnings, and augment demand for skilled labor,” economist David Autor says. Mayb2016-06-02_08-43-08.pnge we should race with the machines as opposed to against them, in the metaphor of MIT’s Eric Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee. As for the weak 2000s job market, Autor thinks a series of one-off economic blows — the bursting of the dot-com and housing bubbles, the financial crisis, and China trade shock — are likelier culprits than automation….

A new analysis from the OECD — an advanced economy think tank — finds only 9 percent of U.S. jobs face “high automatability.” Instead of broadly looking at what occupations can be automated, the OECD researchers look at the “task-content” of jobs. Different jobs may contain a mix of tasks, each with varying levels of automation potential….

As with trade, not everyone is a winner with automation, even if it’s a net benefit to society. In particular, the OECD study notes that low-skill workers are likely to “bear the brunt” in terms of needing retraining.

SOURCE:  The overhyped fantasy of basic income vs. robots

For four summers while going to college in the 1960s I worked in a factory setting. It was a machine shop that made emergency exit doors. I’m sure all of those jobs are now being done by robots and rightly so.  They were mind numbing but then robots don’t mind that.

Most progress in this world, and there has certainly been much of that in my seventy year lifetime, is stressful to some.  When cars replaced the horse and buggy many lamented of all the noise and such and the loss of horse stable jobs. They fought cars tooth and nail so to speak.

Yes, robots are replacing many jobs previously done by people and that is a good thing as far as I am concerned. We humans are destined for greater things than sitting in a chair doing the same thing over and over and over again. The basic problem with this is that too many of us don’t have the encouragement to be confident that we can do things that require us to use our minds. Too many of us don’t think we are smart enough, or maybe we are just too lazy to do the work to make that happen.

We Don’t Really Need Their Votes…

Its about time the the Democratic Party quit even trying to pander to the racist southern white vote. They are going to hate Democrats until the day they die. It was heartening to see that the latest Democratic Party platform has nothing in it for them

Perhaps this new confidence comes from Democrats’ understanding that they have majority support in the country, and simultaneously realizing that there’s little they can do to win over the voters who despise them, particularly in the South. After years of approaching conservative white voters on their knees — Watch, I’ll go hunting! I’ll go to a NASCAR rally! Will that make you happy? — Democrats have decided that they don’t really need those voters, and they’d do better to serve the people who might actually vote for them….

At this point it’s hard to imagine how the GOP could get any more conservative unless it started advocating burning witches at the stake. Republicans’ growing ideological extremism may have freed Democrats up to be themselves without worrying about whether they might alienate some white guy from Alabama whose vote they were never going to win anyway. And the spreading understanding of the Democrats’ demographic advantage — where they have strong support among most of the groups whose proportion of the population is growing — serves to make them even more bold.

Source: How the Democratic Party quit being wimpy

Maybe Donald Trump will end up being a good thing for this country. It shows us that a significant portion of our population are out of the mainstream of 21st century American life so extremely that they should be ignored and eventually they will go away simply by attrition. The racist southern white vote still makes up a large percentage of the Republican party but most are greying and will soon leave the scene.

Given how easy it was for Trump to capture the Republican nomination for president I too find it hard to imagine the GOP could get any more conservative.  Their numbers are shrinking but not fast enough for me. I wish the moderates of that party, of which I was once one, would take back control but I wouldn’t mourn the collapse of the party to be replaced by something more willing to live in the future instead of an imagined past.

I have been finding more and more articles about young people who are embracing the challenges of today. They are prepared to take on significant debt in order to get an education that will provide them with a pathway to the future. They are shunning the 3,000 square foot homes in favor of movable “tiny homes” of 400 SF or less.  This is a dynamic generation willing to move to wherever the jobs are.  Our government needs to embrace these attitudes and help them along the way.  The first contribution is to somehow make higher education more affordable.

Sadly we need to write off many around today. Mainly those who are stuck in a very hateful past or those who are not willing to put in the effort to join the middle class. That is our future…

Guns and the Great USA…

I know guns are an emotional topic for many in this country. It is kind of like the immigration issue. Many of us have compassion for those who struggle to come to the “land of opportunity” but others see those coming, both legally and illegally, as someone to fear.  They fear they are rapists and murderers or at least taking away their jobs. Some see threats, some see love. I guess that is American diversity for you.

What are some of the common misconceptions Americans have about the gun industry, the NRA or the violence we see day in and day out? Most people believe that the NRA is an organization about gun rights. It’s not – it’s the lobbying arm of the for-profit gun industry. They work for the gun industry to sell more and more guns. Thus, it is not their priority to support any rational restrictions to our legislators that would make society safer.

Source: Making a Killing – Guns, Greed and the NRA – Red Letter Christians

The sad fact is that there are now more guns in this country than there are people. I hear the latest episode of the guy to went in and shot over one hundred people has caused the gun model he used to fly off the shelves! How sick is that.  I also learned that those who own guns often times own many of them. It is not unusual to see “gun collectors” having dozens of guns in their collections.

In many ways America is a land of obsessions. We have the privilege of having most of the necessities in life satisfied and that allow us to unreasonably seek out unnecessary things. Then there are the survivalists among us who are preparing for doomsday. They say with their firepower to hold off the hordes they will be the ones who will survive. Personally I can’t imagine that kind of lifestyle that fixates on such a scenario.  Give me love not fear for the cornerstone of my life.

Guns, especially assault rifles, are solely a means of human destruction. To think that they are a necessity is absurd if you ask me. America is a land of obsession. The definition of obsessions that it is an unhealthy and compulsive preoccupation with something or someone.  Yeah, that fits gun ownership to a T but that is not our only obsession.

We seem to be obsessed with having whatever the marketers point us to.  Now it is not good enough to have a comfortable home to provide us with shelter.  Now we must have outdoor fire pits, outdoor kitchens, even living rooms. We must have the latest designs and will go into serious debt to get them.

Its great that America, the land of opportunity, provides us with the ability to obsess over whatever we want but acting on those obsessions can be a very damaging thing to ourselves and especially our society.

On The Wrong Side Of Yet Another Issue…

It seems that the GOP is on the wrong side of yet another issue important to U.S. voters. 85% of us want congress to act to keep guns out of the hands of terrorists. So what does the GOP do?  As usual they prevent it from happening.

2016-06-24_07-38-56.pngSenate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Thursday cut the legs out from a bipartisan effort to keep suspected terrorists from buying guns.

In doing so, McConnell, a master of the Senate’s arcane rules, provided cover for vulnerable Republicans who wanted to be seen as supporting the effort, but did not want to cross the National Rifle Association.

“The scenario that Sen. McConnell set up was textbook McConnell,” said Brian Darling, a former Senate Republican aide.

McConnell had promised a vote this week to Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) on her bipartisan measure barring people on two key terrorist watch lists from buying guns or explosives.

But what he scheduled was not what she had in mind.

Instead of setting up a vote to add the Collins legislation to the pending appropriations bill on the Senate floor, McConnell scheduled a vote to discard it.

The Collins bill survived that test in a 46-52 vote, but it fell far short of winning 60 votes, the threshold necessary to overcome procedural hurdles.

The result allows Republicans to argue that no other action is necessary.

“It didn’t have sixty votes. That’s what a motion to table does. It demonstrates where the votes are,” said Don Stewart, McConnell’s spokesman.

SOURCE: McConnell quashes Senate effort on guns | TheHill

I have heard their argument that the proposed bill might prevent someone who is not a terrorist from purchasing as many guns  and ammunition as he wants. The GOP seem to be willing to sacrifice thousands of us to prevent that from happening!

Sooner or later the ones still clinging to the ultra conservative cause will finally realize that they are riding a dead horse and abandon it.  Our obsession with guns has resulted in  many times more deaths than 911 ever did.

Sooner or later the ones still clinging to the ultra conservative cause will realize that the NRA is nothing more than a lobbying organization for the gun manufacturers.  I will admit that it was brilliant to get 5 million people to purchase memberships so it can be called a club but it is really no different than any other lobbying organization in that it protects those who pay their salaries and that is the ones who profit from gun sales.  The NRA membership make up about 1.5% of the U.S. population, so how do they yield so much power. They do it by attacking viciously anyone opposing them. Sounds kind of like one of our presidential candidates doesn’t it?

A lot of stuff needs to change in the world today and much of it is right here in our country.   Before closing this post I need to get in a little snippet about Great Britain leaving the EU which is yet another conservative cause that is simply wrong headed in my mind. We, as a world, need to be coming together instead of splitting apart. It is the only way we will ever see the 22nd century.  Our world is just too small now for all of us to go our own ways…..

‘Of course’ ISIS is driven by Islam…

2016-06-03_08-41-53.pngI know that it may not be politically correct to say that ISIS is driven by Islam but the truth is the truth.. ISIS and all their offshoots take a part of the Koran and use it as an excuse for their extremism the same way that the KKK does with the Christian Bible.

“I hear so many people say ISIS has nothing to do with Islam – of course it has,” Mr. Ahmed said, using an acronym for the Islamic State. “They are not preaching Judaism. It might be wrong, but what they are saying is an ideology based on some form of Islamic doctrine. They are Muslims.”

“That is a fact and we have to get our head around some very uncomfortable things,” he added. “That is where the difficulty comes in for many journalists because the vast majority of Muslims won’t agree with them [ISIS].”

Paul Vallely, a journalism professor at the University of Chester who chaired the panel agreed, saying, “We need to open trainees’ eyes.”

“Religion is not on the way out, it is on the way in — in a big way,” he said.

SOURCE:  Aaqil Ahmed, BBC religion chief: ‘Of course’ ISIS is driven by Islam – Washington Times

Spiritual beliefs are a big part of human nature. Almost everyone has a basic need to know who created them and what is the “right” way to live on this earth. I chose the teachings of Jesus Christ as my spiritual foundation.  I take the red letters as found in the bible to heart and try to live my life accordingly. I looked to religion to strengthen my beliefs but was mainly disappointed with what I found there. Simply stated there was just too much unnecessary, often radical right political,  stuff clouds over the red letters for me.

There are many who are also disappointed with religion but take a very different track in life.  They take a  piece of a religious document and reject every thing else. ISIS as well as the KKK are examples of that group. I call them selective literalists.  But I think the crux of the truth is most of these deviants are just feeling insecure in their world. They fear this or that and try to ameliorate that fear with a rationalized religion.

ISIS is driven by Islam, that’s a fact but does that poison the many others who don’t take the extreme views that they do?  I don’t know but it does give us reason to be cautious when dealing with anyone of that variety.

I have almost come to the conclusion that religion does more harm than good in the world today. If God is really out there somewhere I think its time for her to come and straighten us out as to what she wants us to do while occupying space on this earth. We humans, including or maybe especially the theologians among us, have done a miserable job of it if you ask me. We have splintered into literally thousands of religions and they all can’t be right as each claims to be….

How Islam Is Different… Or Not…

I would guess that the moderate Islam theologians, if they really call themselves that, tire of saying that these almost weekly killings don’t represent them. It just doesn’t seem to have much conviction behind those words anymore. I know this guy who killed and injured more than 100  in the latest event probably is more a Muslim in words than in acts but he is the face of that religion for most of us.

The words below come from a Muslim scholar at the Brookings Institute who tries to point out that Islam is just the way it is and you can’t do much about it. I take exception with his words:

2016-06-13_08-24-09.pngI am a bit uncomfortable making this claim, especially now, with anti-Muslim bigotry on the rise. But Islamic exceptionalism is neither good nor bad. It just is, and we need to understand and respect that.

Two factors are worth emphasizing: First, the founding moment of Islam looms large. Unlike Jesus Christ, the Prophet Muhammad was a theologian, a preacher, a warrior and a politician, all at once. He was also the leader and builder of a new state, capturing, holding and governing new territory. Religious and political functions, at least for the believer, were no accident. They were meant to be intertwined in the leadership of one man.

Second, for Muslims the Quran is God’s direct and literal speech, more than merely the word of God. It is difficult to overstate the centrality of divine authorship. This does not mean Muslims are literalists; most are not. But it does mean the text cannot easily be dismissed as irrelevant.

via How Islam Is Different from Other Religions | TIME

Islamic exceptionalism is mainly in the eyes of the beholder it seems. I googled the term and couldn’t find any references but I think he means that to the followers it is the only true religion. Of course there are many in the Christian world who make the same claims. They say that every word in their bible comes directly from God. Many in the ‘flat bible’ arena take that to believe that they can base their faith in any of the words contained in it as each word is as important as the next.  Some make snake handling as a serious part of their worship, some take the belief that God intends all of his believers to be millionaires. They can pick and choose any words as all are equally important. Isn’t that what all the suicide martyrs are doing?

The arguments in the quote above are the main reasons why we have so much religious related violence in the world. Every believer thinks they are exceptional. No, it is not” just the way it is”.



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