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.

Bill Gates: ‘we need an energy miracle’ to tackle climate change

I like the words below from Bill Gates but I especially like his optimism about being able to solve this huge problem.  The evidence of climate change continues to stack up in huge piles. The first step in solving this problem is to admit that we have a problem and that will take an about-face from one side of our political system. The GOP has been stuck in the adversarial mode here for as long as I can remember. Eventually they will have to  say “I was wrong” and that is an extremely difficult thing for any politician to admit. They see admitting to error as a weakness whereas I, and hopefully many others, see it as a strength.  It means that you listen to the facts and adjust your beliefs based on them.

2016-03-24_12-13-23.pngIn short, we need an energy miracle.

When I say ‘miracle,’ I don’t mean something that’s impossible. I’ve seen miracles happen before. The personal computer. The Internet. The polio vaccine. None of them happened by chance. They are the result of research and development and the human capacity to innovate.

In this case, however, time is not on our side. Every day we are releasing more and more CO2 into our atmosphere and making our climate change problem even worse. We need a massive amount of research into thousands of new ideas—even ones that might sound a little crazy—if we want to get to zero emissions by the end of this century.

SOURCE:  Bill Gates: ‘we need an energy miracle’ to tackle climate change | The Verge.

I can’t think of anything in this world that has been stuck in the same mode as our energy use has. We have been dependent on fossil fuels for well over a century now and with our ever increasing demand for more energy we are in big trouble if we don’t have a paradigm shift in this area.  We need to quickly adapt a better energy source before it is too late.

Solar.jpgIt is encouraging to see that solar and wind power have been increasing so much in the recent years. During our annual treks across this great country I see more and more wind turbines on the landscape. But even till now they only meeting a small percentage of our needs. We need a paradigm shift to make that happen. One way to do that is to make fossil fuels pay for the costs it is doing to our world. Let’s put a $3 tax on every gallon of gas and use the money gained for more alternative energy research.

I was happy to see that President Obama recently announced a ten year challenge to beat cancer. I just hope that some future president will do the same for alternative energy but do it sooner in his/her administration.

 

The Root Cause of Much of Today’s Terrorism

2015-12-13_08-59-12.pngIn fact, friends invariably called the 28-year-old Farook a “very nice person,” while his landlord even described him as a “very gentle person.” He enjoyed working on old cars and shooting hoops. For her part, the 29-year-old Malik was seen as “a good girl” and a good student who aspired to be a pharmacist. Before dressing in austere Islamic clothing, she was even viewed as a “modern girl.”…

By all accounts, that switch was piety. They simply got closer to their religion, immersing themselves in Islamic scripture…

We saw the same transformation in the Tsarnaev brothers of Boston, who were considered “nice” and “normal,” even partiers — until their mother made them stick their noses in their holy books and get religion. Within a matter of just a couple of years of becoming more fervent in their Muslim faith, these “typical American boys” were making shrapnel bombs and blowing off limbs of innocent bystanders at the Boston Marathon to “punish” fellow Americans for supporting wars in Muslim lands…

A similar change came over the Chattanooga jihadist, Mohammad Abdulazeez, who was described as “very friendly” — until he became intensely observant in his faith and saw it as his religious duty to fatally gun down five soldiers in Tennessee earlier this year.

Moreover, two brothers suspected in last month’s Paris terror attacks were born-again Muslims as well. Reportedly, they really began to change around six months prior to the attacks, when they stopped drinking and started studying and praying.

This phenomenon is well documented in virtually every FBI case of homegrown American terrorism: the more religious, the more radical.  “They think they’re doing something good for Allah,” al Qaeda informant Morten Storm, a former Muslim, said. “They really believe that.”

Islam is not a “religion of peace,” and won’t be until most of its followers — the Taliban, the Ayatollah, ISIS, the Muslim Brotherhood, the mullahs of Saudi Arabia — reject tenets like jihad. To suggest otherwise is naive. Virtually everyone is hacking at the branches of this growing menace, and almost no one is striking at its root.

SOURCE: They’re ‘so nice,’ until they get religion and want to kill us | New York Post.

This is a very truncated report from this long article. If you are interested in this topic please read the entire article. I want to make it very clear that I am not against all Muslims anymore than I am against all Christians because of the KKK. But in all the recent cases of terrorism in the world the root is associated with that religion.

For those of us who have spent time studying the history of religions know that these times are not unique. Religion has been the cause for many of the world’s conflicts. The Crusades were probably the biggest example of religions going to war against each other but then there is also things like the Spanish Inquisition.

There can be no resolution for this latest round of religious wars until the Muslim religious leaders around the world reject portions of their religious documents that call for death to unbelievers.  But that is a very difficult thing to do. It is the same as asking the Christian biblical literalists to disavow portions of their religious document where God told his followers to kill everyone…

Until a religious anti-violence stand is taken there will always be those who “really believe” they are doing God’s work in killing others….

It’s Not About Race….

2015-11-14_12-04-52OK, I think the title probably got your attention. Maybe I should have said it is not totally or even mostly about race. Prejudices and discrimination in this country come from a myriad of sources.  With this post I won’t try to convince you that any particular one is greater magnitude than the others but only that it exists on many different arenas. I will give you several different examples but will say that I believe there is one cause for most of it.

  • It’s about physical differences and handicaps — As a deaf man for almost thirty years I have faced my share of prejudice. When people I don’t know find out I am deaf they frequently just wave their hands and walk away as if I am not worth the trouble to try to address. With others, even though I have an IQ of over 130,  they start treating me as if I were a 4-year-old. Deaf & Dumb is still a very prevalent attitude when it comes to the majority population. Of course the same attitude or worse is taken for other handicaps that are even more visible than mine.
  • It’s about People of color — I have been embarrassed at several times in my life by the way the majority white population have treated people of color, especially with my personal experiences in the 1970s South. This attitude is not limited to just those whose skin is black but also red, yellow and everything non-white
  • It’s about national origins — I was raised in a very rural white dominant environment so had virtually no personal experiences with this category. But being a U.S. history buff I have read about it frequently. Immigrants have almost always been treated badly by many. The Irish in Boston and New York are perhaps the most visible in history.
  • It’s about economic class — This is one that is very prevalent  today. The “Makers vs. Takers” is the most visible moniker for this. When Mitt Romney railed about the 47% he was speaking to a group of affluent donors who probably couldn’t have agreed more.  Now that economic disparity is reaching such monstrous levels this category will only increase in the coming years.
  • It’s about political differences — I am a progressive living in a very red State. With that fact comes attitudes people have toward my views of the world. To many I am simply dead wrong about most everything I believe.
  • It’s about religious differences — To me religious differences is a biggie. There just seems to be little to no tolerance for people with different religious views. I was kicked out of a church I once belonged because I didn’t tow their line closely enough. I think the most dominant cliques in America, and probably the world, are religious in nature.
  • It’s about majority/minority relationships — It about the tyranny of the majority.

When it comes down to the root of it I think most discrimination is  about fear.  Lets face it, some people perhaps many are just fearful often to a paranoid level of almost everything especially anyone who are different from them. Some are fearful of even small changes in their lives and circumstances. I recognize that fear seems to be cranked up a magnitude in the last decade probably due to our paranoia of 9/11.

It’s About Fear

 

Virginia shooting proves Americans aren’t numb to tragedy..

2015-08-28_07-41-21For decades, members of the news media have struggled to determine whether a gruesome photograph or video crosses the line from newsworthy to something so disturbing that it is potentially harmful.

Source: Virginia shooting proves Americans aren’t numb to tragedy — we just have a higher tolerance for it – Yahoo News

QE BannerSadly we seem to get a weekly dose of tragedy of gun violence in this country.   The stats show that we kill each other with our guns more than terrorists kill others in the world.  Are guns the sole cause of al this?  Of course not but in the vast majority of cases they, due to their easy availability,  are the means to accomplish the end.  Yes, I’m sure that most of these shooters have some sort of mental disorder that spurns them to their acts of violence. But then again one persons mental disorder is another person’s way of life.  I don’t think, for instance, that anyone in the KKK or similar groups are without some sort of mental disorder.  But this is not what the post is about.

The short clip above shows that while we may be immune to all the violence we have some sort of standard about displaying it on our media.  I don’t know but I kind of think we should show it all. Until we see personally the gruesomeness of gun violence it does not come fully home to us. Being a history buff I know that the Civil War pictures of battlefield death helped shorten that bloody conflict. The shock of seeing thousands of bodies strewn on a farm field brought the war home to the citizens living rooms. We need to get that same shock in this battle against gun violence.

During the Reagan years it become quite the thing for States to shut down their mental health institutions. It was a way to save money and to reduce the “government that is the problem” syndrome that many had and still have.  As a result there are now thousands, probably millions, of people with severe mental disabilities homeless on our streets or languishing with their problems  huddled in their homes.  I have personally known one guy who was convinced that the “bad guys” were right outside his house trying to get in. To counter that he had a loaded gun in every room of his house and many more in a cabinet (unlocked) in his basement.  He was paranoid about someone attacking him.  The sad thing about it was that he was briefly married to my sister and had my young nephew in the house.  We need to make it easier for families to bring mentally unstable members for treatment.

The gruesomeness of gun violence will never become reality until we are exposed to the aftereffects. Let’s put all the gory pictures out there. Lets finish this post with a very thought provoking figure from Steve Breen.

2015-08-28_08-39-57

Like a Death Wish… I Can Only Hope….

2015-08-20_08-13-55Last week, Jeb Bush told an audience in California, “It is strength, and will, and clarity of purpose that make all the difference.” This is the Tinker Bell school of foreign policy that has spread over most of the Republican presidential field. Clap if you believe in a stable Middle East where Syria is rid of ISIS, Al Nusra, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and any Iranian influence. Clap if you believe Iraq will be safe for religious minorities and free of undue Iranian influence, too…..

As an electoral strategy, it is absolutely nuts that Republicans would preemptively tell the American people, “Elect me and I’ll put American troops back on the ground in Iraq.” And then add, “And Syria, too, and with allies TBD, and final victors TBD.” This seems like a 2016 death wish. Not just for Republican electoral ambitions, but for American troops, American prestige, and American power.

SOURCE: The GOP presidential field’s dangerous fantasy on Iraq and Syria.

QE BannerI want to do a “what if” here.

  • What if America’s energy was totally devoid of fossil fuels?
  • What if we have grown into other means instead of the 100+ year old technology?
  • Would that make a difference in our opinions of the Middle Eastern part of the world?
  • Would we be so concerned that one muslim group was trying to take control over another muslim group?

I pretty sure the answer to these questions would be that these conflicts would not even be on our radar screen.  One religious sect trying to dominate another is nothing new in the world. It has been happening constantly since the age of Constantine when a Roman King assured the dominance of one particular brand of Christianity over the myriad of others that were present at the time. It has been going on since Muslims and Christians were fighting each other for  two hundred years. It has been going on since the Inquisition, the Protestant/Catholic battles in Northern Ireland.

Let’s face it we as humanity just have little patience for versions of God different from our own.  The Middle East is just the latest battles to be fought in a long history of battles. I am convinced that if we had not become involved by invading Iraq and getting ourselves so entwined in this matter that terrorism would not be so prevalent in our world today.

Maybe instead of putting trillions of bucks into our world’s latest religious battles we should be putting them into developing twenty-first century  energy resources. I’m sure with all the money and young lives we have wasted in this futile attempt we could dust off our sandals and leave that part of the world to their own demise..

We don’t need to be the policemen of the world…

Use of Deadly Force….

But the chief said he ultimately decided Miller’s mistakes required his firing. While he said he had “serious concerns” about Miller’s use of deadly force, Johnson said it would be up to a grand jury to decide whether Miller’s actions were criminal.

Source: Police Chief Fires Officer Who Shot and Killed Unarmed Texas Football Player | TIME.

I’m not going to talk much about the story cited above but instead I will be talking about the “Use of Deadly Force”.  For the most part this is probably an American thing. I’m sure that we are number one in the world of unarmed citizens being killed by police.  Our obsession with guns in American culture also contributes greatly to this phenomenon.  Besides the loss life, which is tragic, the loss respect and even down right fear of a policeman is very worrisome.

2015-07-31_07-04-42To me, but what do I know, the basic problem seems to be that one of the endemic characteristics of some who join police forces is a power trip. They want to be the top alpha dog who is feared for their power.  They have the gun and can most often, at least in the past, can use it against you whenever they “feel threatened” which seems to be often for far too many.

I need to stop here and say as loudly as I can that no not all policemen fit this description.  I’m sure the vast majority of them are loving and caring folks who do indeed want to “protect and serve”. If I believe some of the stories I hear very few of them use their deadly weapons in their careers.  I personally know one retired police officer who is the kindest and gentlest person I know.

The problem  is that we seem to do a very miserable job of culling out those extreme alpha males from the ranks of the wanna-be police officers.  And when they do join the forces they are fiercely protected even when they misuse their power and kill innocent people.  The “thin blue line” that says we protect one of our own at all costs is a mistake.  One indication of this is the total disdain that most officers apparently have for their internal affairs divisions. Why, if you believe all the cop shows out there, are those who police the police so despised? If they hate those who police them then why should they be surprised that so many of us don’t hold them in respect?

 

 

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 99 other followers

%d bloggers like this: