Archive for June, 2011

Consequences of Trusting Republican Leadership

Posted in Atheist, Christianity, culture, Government, history, life, politics, random, religion, Social, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , on June 23, 2011 by chouck017894

In the timeframe of the 1980s, Democrat President Jimmy Carter, a self-admitted “born again” Christian (Baptist) was soundly defeated by more extreme right-wing religionists.  It signaled the ominous rise in the United States of overt mysticism, born-again Christianity and fundamentalist religions lusting embrace of the more malevolent views of life, love, and sex that once produced the Dark Ages in Europe.  In Carter’s place the right-wingers managed to get a Hollywood B-actor, Ronald Reagan, sworn in as president—a man who did not exactly fill the character mold that the pious-pretending right-wingers preferred, but he was a well-known showman and unquestioningly took direction from handlers.

Reagan moved into the White House by spouting the mantra that he would do away with all the waste, fraud, and abuse of government that his handlers had allegedly found.  He quickly retired that nag to the glue factory, and with “conservative” daring soon inflated the national deficit to the tune of two trillion dollars, and gratefully gave tax breaks to the well-heeled supporters whose only real loyalty was to their wallets.  Reagan’s first official act after assuming office as President of the US in 1981 was to terminate oil price controls—assertedly to boost America’s oil exportation and production.  His vice president, George H. W. Bush, who happened to be an oil man, was enthusiastic.  But in the eight years of Reagan’s reign the “conservatives” never managed to find the waste, fraud and abuse of government that they had claimed were the hallmarks of liberal government.

Subtle shifts, such as the removal of oil price controls, were unleashed with heartless abandon.  With Ronald Reagan’s election the war that had been waged on poverty was quickly shifted into a war on the poor.  And that violation upon the poor and the downtrodden (such as the AIDS victims) would steadfastly continue throughout the later Bush (1) administration.

But the election of Ronald Reagan need not have put democracy at risk: Unfortunately the man jimmied into position as his running mate was not only connected to the Central Intelligence Agency (director 1976-77), but also had questionable connections to the Saudi Arabian royal family.  (Suggested reading on these clandestine connections, see House of Bush, House of Saudi by Craig Unger.)  In 1980-81 Khalid bin Mahfouz, banker for the royal house of Saud, began investing enormous amounts of money in the United States ($500 billion over the next 20 years).  Bin Mahfouz developed a 75-story skyscraper in Houston, Texas for the Texas Commerce Bank, which the James Baker family had initiated.  And James Baker was then made Chief of Staff of President Reagan.  The Saudis then had full access to the White House from then on.

Reagan, under the direction of his right-wing handlers and scheming oil billionaires, began the more brazen subversion of the US Constitution by violating the Congressional ban on aiding Central American rebels and secretly negotiating with Islamic terrorists.  This gave rise to illegal arms shipments to the religious fanatic Ayatollah Khomeini’s regime in Iran, which in turn led to budget-exploding deficits in the US that crushed the social safety nets for the poor, the infirmed, the mentally ill, the children, and education.  The Reagan administration’s transgressions against democracy established an imperialistic ascendancy that has continued into the 21st century.

Through the 1980s in the US, even as millions of Americans contracted the HIV virus and were dying of AIDS, Reagan and his handlers remained indifferent, and his religious cohorts were braying that only gays, addict and Haitians were being infected.  In other words, such people were not worthy of the “decent society” that the Reagan in-crowd pretended to represent.  Meanwhile thousands of people—not just gays, addicts and Haitians—were dying of AIDS—in effect murdered by Reagan government indifference and intentional neglect.

Also during Reagan’s reign the influx into the USA of high-purity cocaine hit the inner cities like a tidal wave.  Later it would become known that the CIA (of which the Vice President had been connected) acted as a cog in establishing a pipeline into the US, and proceeds from the drug sales were then diverted to Nicaragua’s Contras.  Even the US Congress was considering whether more of the US citizen’s tax money should be siphoned away to the Contras to subsidize the Contra’s terrorist campaign against the state of Nicaragua.  The Somoza dictatorship in Nicaragua had been supported by the US for over forty years, and the vicious regime was overthrown in 1979 in a popular revolution.  Sadly, the Sandinista democratic government the people installed in Nicaragua would eventually fall due to US interference, and thus poverty, disease and oppression was bestowed by god-trusting US politicians, which allowed the big businesses and the casinos to move in to take charge.  The Reagan administration then declared that democracy had prevailed!

The Nicaraguan tragedy was only one of the Republican administration’s covert operations carried out around the world—all with Reagan’s apparent blessing.  US intelligence agents actually struck a deal with Iran to provide missiles to Iran—delivered by Israel—for release of American hostages held by pro-Iranian terrorists in Lebanon.  Previously Reagan, in his handler’s prepared notes, had ridiculed President Jimmy Carter as being “soft” on Iran during the takeover of the US embassy in Iran by student militants in 1979.  With incredible haste Reagan, as soon as he took office, cut deals with the Islamic fundamentalists, virtually kissing their butts, by sending them sophisticated weaponry.  Funds from these shipments were then diverted to the formerly mentioned illegal support for the Nicaraguan Contras.  This criminality then mushroomed into the Iran-Contra scandal, and the sudden public attention helped to reduce some of the slaughter being carried out in South America.

The hideous Iran-Contra dealings should have been enough to bring charges against Reagan of criminal liability, but even though Reagan knew what was going on (presupposing that Alzheimer’s had not yet set in) and was aware of the murderous consequences of his actions, Ronny “Teflon” Reagan oozed away from his responsibility due to public naiveté.  It would set up an appalling legacy that would still infect US national politics in the 21st century.

It was with Reagan-Bush that the religious radicals began testing their muscle in government, and it opened the door wide for self-serving religious factions to take over the Republican Party in 1996.  During the Reagan years 1981-89, Reagan’s hardline rhetoric calling Russia an “evil empire” smacked of behind-the-scenes religious influence.  Remember, the word “evil” is seldom used except in religious perspective.  It is telling, also, that many religious fronts, such as Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church (based in South Korea), had funneled millions of dollars into the Republican drive for the presidency.

With such heavily financed propaganda specialists as the right-wing fanatics attract, it is almost accepted as holy truth that Reagan was the principal reason for Soviet Russia’s collapse.  The abrupt change that happened in Russian politics has been widely credited in the US to Reagan’s positive actions.  But neither Reagan’s speech at the Berlin Wall nor the Reagan Doctrine served as any catalyzing force for that collapse.  The truth is that the reform that took place in the Soviet Union was due to Mikhail Gorbachev’s work.  In the US it is little understood that Gorbachev held idealistic values for his people: He was actually seeking new moral values in restructuring political leadership which included more openness and democratic principles.  That is especially difficult, apparently, for Republicans to understand.

If Reagan’s role is assessed without the rose-tinted glasses that Republican propagandists use, all Reagan’s theatrical rhetoric actually made Gorbachev’s work considerably more difficult than it should have been.  And the Reagan-Bush “leadership” did nothing to improve world or home conditions.

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Soul Searching

Posted in agnoticism, Atheist, belief, Christianity, life, lifestyle, random, religion, Social, thoughts with tags , , , , , on June 1, 2011 by chouck017894

In the theory-practice that is theology, there is repeated discussion of “soul”—that part of each person’s being which is said to be immortal and separable from the matter body at the occurrence of death.  This is regarded in religious theory to be man’s nonphysical relationship with the creative universal power that is commonly personified as “God.”  The theological concept of “soul,” unfortunately, provides little in the way of any instructive or satisfying means for contemplating this elusive part of our being. 

The word “soul” is nonetheless used freely in theological speculations, and yet when seekers press for specifics as to what constitutes one’s soul, answers remain vague.  Generally the explanation avers that “soul” is the spiritual nature of an individual in relationship to God.  What constitutes “spirit,” unfortunately, also remains inadequately defined, which gives theological speculation freehand to manipulate the mystified.  By the typically vague theological proposition, the soul/spirit is erroneously assumed to retain identical senses of happiness or misery experienced in mortal passage, which conveniently allows the God-merchants to “guide” their “flocks” through exercises of threat and promise (damned or saved).  In that version of what constitutes the soul, that elusive part of one’s being sounds suspiciously like one’s ego

Primitive cultures, as well as classical Egyptian and Greek cultures,  on the other hand, envisaged the soul as being comparable to some especially refined or ethereal substance such as breath, or as ether.  To the Egyptians, that which we refer to as “soul” was known as Ba, and they considered Ba to be the essence of a person that has eternal existence after death.  In their theory, the Ba was closely associated with the Ka—each person’s double (energy pattern? spirit?)—and with the Ab, the heart, these were regarded as the three principal elements in the physical and perceptive life of humans.  Not understood by them was the organ of the brain, by which personal objectives are determined in life.  Thus the Ab was more highly valued, for it was thought that the expressions of desire, courage, lust, wisdom disposition, etc. were expressed by the heart. 

To the ancient Hebrew priests of Yahweh, the soul seems to have been vaguely identified with the creative principle of life which is embodied in all living creatures.  Seeking to ease the vagueness of what constitutes the soul, it was theorized as being the principle or the vehicle of life in each individual, human and animal, so the “soul” was hypothesized more as a substance, quality, or efficient consciousness in general.  In Hebrew Scriptures spirit was linked with, but considered distinctive from, the soul.  In this theory, spirit was reworked as the principle feature of one’s higher or divine capacities and activities.

Christian thought regarding the spiritual nature of the human soul was shaped largely by Augustine (354-430), who theorized its existence as much from Greek philosophy as from earliest Christian writings.  The theory he advanced as to what constitutes the soul was of a simple, immaterial and mystical quality present within one’s being.  It is this indistinct and unfocused view that has remained in scholastic Christian philosophy into present times.  We have Augustine to thank also for doctrines concerning sin, divine grace, divine sovereignty, and predestination which hold influence in Roman Catholic and Protestant theology. 

The concept of “soul” in theological speculation helps numb the fear of death.  There is an inevitable catch in this speculative theological practice, however, which is the premise that a price is expected for saving what is professed to be the immortal soul, and that price is that seekers must follow a particular man-concocted faith system.  The holy incongruity built into this self-serving concept is the alleged and contradictory necessity of “saving” that part of one’s identity which is acknowledged to be immortal.  The inevitable question is just what is that immortal part to be saved from?  Theological propaganda has the audacity to claim that the soul must be saved from the fiery pits of hell and the eternal suffering which is allegedly doled out by a spiteful Creator for a soul having goofed up on one brief fling at mortal life!

As is often the case in the speculative exercise practiced as religion, there is an intuitive recognition of some creative process, but that spark of intuition routinely flounders on the experience of temporary materiality.  Fortunately, if man is not chained to some self-imposed unyielding cult-code of belief he can learn to evolve into his higher potential.  Organized religions, however, have the bad habit of teaching everyone to pass judgment upon everything and everyone from a self-serving faith system viewpoint.  That behavior “guidance” springs from a refusal to acknowledge that diversity is a major law of Creation.  But faulty religious instruction does not necessarily mean that the part of our being that is referred to as the “soul” is simply theological wishful thinking. 

There is indeed a non-materiality within everything that is made manifest as matter-life, and that fact of creative power which is present within all life is neatly summed up in Albert Einstein’s formula E=mc2.  That simple formula is proof that any matter form is actually an energy composite.  And energy may transform, but it does not cease to exist.  Every energy-matter form radiates with an identifying energy frequency, which becomes identifiable by reason of its interaction with the creative patterns in which it is a part.   Thus an energy frequency, which is called “soul,” can be said to correspond to the energy frequency by which the identity of anything is maintained within the creative activity of infinity.  In other words, “soul,” like consciousness, is the continuing awareness of self

And since the identity of something is distinguishable only through its interactions with the creative activity around it, every incident in a person’s material experience actually does impose consequences upon that identity.  At every dimension of creative activity every action has a reaction.  It is not retribution, it is just the basic principle of energy and motion: what goes around, comes around.