Thursday, December 31, 2015


This morning I listened to a brief NPR radio piece on attempts by U.S. urban police departments to break the code of silence among police officers. This is a reaction to the current political outrage over the deaths of citizens at the hands of police. This code of silence, which refers to the closing of ranks among police officers when a fellow police officer does something inappropriate, has a long and deep history. Why? Here are some reasons.

Reason 1: In the U.S., due to the general lack of intelligent funding for and research about crime prevention, police officers are vastly outnumbered and, in many cities, grossly under-armed, compared to the criminals. Like soldiers, police officers who are battling in skirmishes without proper leadership must have the loyalty of their comrades to avoid being isolated, injured or killed in a crisis situation. 

Reason 2: High-crime neighborhoods in U.S. cities have their own code of silence as part of their indigenous civilian culture. Snitches are likely to be ostracized or even killed. Why? Because in most of these neighborhoods, criminals are part of almost every extended family and have relations on every block.

Reason 3: Litigation/prosecution. Fellow officers are loathe to cooperate with internal investigations which may lead to precedent-setting litigation/prosecution which could apply to them at a later time. 

Reason 4: Prison means torture and potential death for incarcerated police officers.

Reason 5: Police unions. Police unions have become too powerful in U.S. cities. They have transformed from benevolent associations, which offer support to families of police officers who are killed or injured on duty, to greedy and corrupt political forces within city government. They successfully strong-arm politicians for outrageous wage increases and benefit packages. Police work has ceased to be a meritocracy. It is a tenured job with ample retirement benefits, and the code of silence is one way in which police unions ensure the gravy train never stops delivering.

Reason 6: Public ignorance and inertia. Police officers have developed a valid perception that they work somewhat in opposition to current political correctness among civilians who nod complacently at criminal behavior, as long as it does not directly effect them as individuals. The current popular misconception that all criminals are hapless victims of their environment is just plain stupid. However, it contributes to fear, laziness and lack of engagement with law enforcement on a local level. 

Reason 7: Police officers are predominantly male and heterosexual. The code of silence is a form of male bonding among heterosexual men. It is a degraded form of team spirit, a concept which heterosexual males are conditioned to from an early age. This is revealed whenever studies are done on spousal abuse, for example. 

Unfortunately, the discussion on NPR this morning with a major politician yielded none of these concepts in detail. There was fatuous talk about studies. No mention was made at all of unions, salaries, benefits, litigation, insufficient training, etc.. The code of silence was presented as some mysterious process that has just happened. Once again I was left feeling that I am living in The Land of Stupid. 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015


Reichen and Ryan, Gay Media Power-Couple.

I just stumbled upon a piece of cable-TV trash called A-List New York. It is another crap production of Logo, a channel which caters to a certain segment of the LGBT population. 

Here at forty-five years after I came out as gay to promote Gay Liberation in my own various social spheres in the U.S., I am confronted with some of the most vapid homosexual men on the planet, promoted by a supposedly gay TV network as icons. I am left feeling that nearly half a century of political and social evolution have been wasted on these airheads.

The cause of homosexual liberation has morphed into a campaign to mimic the worst of heterosexual media and culture. Ephemeral marriages between aspiring actors and supermodels. Plastic surgery and phony bleached smiles. Swishy attitude and winter tans. 

It's all like a Rock-Hudson-movie nightmare. And I am sure the heterosexual men who still control corporate America love it. They can denigrate us from within, while claiming to sponsor minority media. They can profit from advertising while promoting a lifestyle which will continue to keep gay men lodged in stereotype as powerless, fatuous and uncommitted to anything other than "fun".

Once again I am left wondering why I bothered to work for gay rights to have them squandered on this swill. I now understand Quentin Crisp's skepticism about Gay Liberation. 

Saturday, December 26, 2015


In this season of giving and gratitude, I want to thank you, Islamic State, for illustrating the lunacy of religion. You are doing for Islam what the Spanish Inquisition (1478 CE to 1834 CE) did for Roman Catholicism. Granted, you're a little behind schedule, a mere six centuries. But the late bloomer often gets the job done just as well as the enfant terrible. After all, it has taken almost four centuries to redirect Christianity toward its originally intended humanism. 

Perhaps your timing and methods are best suited to our age of violent entertainment. Just shooting people no longer impresses. Suicide bombers have become a bit passe. Ah, but kidnapping, beheading, stoning, tossing people off roofs and harvesting infidel organs for sale to wealthy Muslims, all on digital video ... brilliant. That individualized horror is just what is needed to wake up those who feel invulnerable. 

I hope you inspire dissidents within Islam who will tear apart orthodoxy in Islamic faiths as well as Martin Luther, John Knox and John Calvin tore apart Vatican-dictated Christianity. Those dissidents within will do a better job than ex-Muslims at reforming your religion on the basis of education, intelligence and critical thought. After all, universities in The West won't even let those ex-Muslims speak to their students. 

People in The West are indeed frightened by your methods. What sane, civilized person wouldn't be afraid of a lunatic with a sword , a bomb or a gun? But that's my point. That fear will eventually outweigh the complacent political correctness being used to intimidate and sedate the masses by the Western wealthy in league with the autocrats of the Muslim world. When enough people in The West get scared, the fire will rain from the heavens above you. And, in The West, Muslim reformers will feel free to come forward loudly against their autocratic sponsors.

Friday, December 25, 2015


Christmas Day here in Boston. It was 65' Fahrenheit (18'C) and sunny at the beach. The full moon tide was high up onto the causeway where we walk out into the harbor. It felt like we were walking on the water as we looked out to the harbor islands. The eider ducks, stopping off on their migration, looked at all the humans on the causeway from a safe distance. Perhaps they were thinking, "Why do they look so near?"

Well, the reason is climate change, of course. I say "of course" as someone who has been walking at the sea's edge regularly for the last decade. Something an Oklahoman oil-industry worker seldom does. I have not had the luxury of denial. I have been watching the tides climb, inch by inch.

Now the tides of human beings are in play. Tides of people fleeing from war are also fleeing from worsening environmental collapse in North Africa and Middle East due to global temperature rise and overpopulation. Tides of people fleeing Central America for the same reasons. Tides of people fleeing to mega-cities everywhere with the collapse of sustainable village-based agriculture.

Great personal fortunes are being made by the predators who always make great personal fortunes from human misery and war. I don't mean human traffickers, necessarily. I mean people with stock portfolios. I mean people who sell fast food to the obese. I mean people who sell SUV's cheaper than electric cars. Yes, I also mean human traffickers and drug dealers. I also mean distillers and brewers and bar owners and legitimate drug manufacturers. I also mean the owners of sports teams. casinos, violent computer games. I also mean the real estate developers who cram human beings into glass towers and praise themselves for design innovation.

Where is the planet going this Christmas Day? Around its sun, as it will do until that sun blows up eventually. Where are human beings going this Christmas Day? They are going against the best of human nature, as they have always done when they become too numerous and the quality of the single human life diminishes. This, after all, is the planet's nature: Closed system which seeks equilibrium. 

Perhaps the techies among us shrug. They may feel electronically omnipotent, even intellectually superior. The humble electron has made them powerful and wealthy, as oil has made others before them. Now they are wrestling for power among themselves, as the oil barons had before them. The looming wall of limited bandwidth threatens. The availability of tech to the billions also requires great effort and resources. Producing all those electrons in wires and batteries has its costs. How sustainable are those costs? Will the planet always cooperate with their agenda?

There may be a Christmas Day in the not-so-distant future when the rich will be sealed in their own safe ecosystems while the roiling masses struggle for survival outside. That outside may well encompass the vast majority of the surface of the planet. While billions scrap for food and warmth, the 1 % most assuredly will throw snowballs and ski on their holodecks. It is what certain humans will always do, while the rest suffer. 

Friday, December 18, 2015


Angela Merkel became Time Magazine's person of the year. She also won a United Nations humanitarian award. She is being lauded for bailing out Greece and opening her doors wide to migrants pushing against the borders of the EU. She is an accomplished politician, like President Obama, who managed to garner a Nobel Peace Prize while continuing American wars of aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The German government has now reversed its withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. And it has announced plans to deport thousands of young Afghans from Germany back to their homeland. The stated rationale is the return of youth and talent to a needy Afghanistan. Sounds rational. However, Merkel's Mother-Theresa act earlier this year seems part of a much more tactical than all-accepting humanitarian strategy. 

The Polish government, on the other hand, has been open about its philosophy regarding migrants from war zones to its East. The Polish Foreign Minister frankly stated that his government would like to train/arm dissident migrants from Syria, and presumably Afghanistan as well, for return to their homelands to pursue their cause of liberation from tyranny and terror. Rather than absorbing the cultural dysfunctions and violence of the war zones into Polish society, the Polish government proposed a rational compromise. Polish society is still closer in history to its socialist past.

My point is this: Some world governments, including those of Germany and the U.S., have submitted to the wealthy elites within. With this surrender comes the adoption of the tactical hypocrisy of the upper classes. The elite cry crocodile tears over wealth disparity, which they themselves create and maintain. The elite cry crocodile tears about migrants while forcing the poor in their societies to absorb the influx and its consequences. The elite like to appear generous while manipulating the beneficiaries of their false generosity to do their bidding. 

If you doubt my premise, I suggest you read some history. You might start by reading about the First World War in Europe. You might start by reading A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn. Or, you might just continue to mumble herd-speak between mooing at everything the elite-managed government spoon feeds you. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015


If you are quick to drone the "Islamophobia" chant of Liberal zombies, you most likely have no knowledge of the geopolitical influence of Saudi Arabian Wahhabism worldwide. While it is unclear whether Saudi Arabia, as a state, is fueling jihad in the Middle East, it is very clear that Wahhabism has inspired many Saudi Arabians with great wealth to sponsor Islamic State.

Saudi Arabian aristocracy takes great care to distance itself from its own geopolitical influence and responsibility for Muslim fundamentalism. Why? Because Saudi Arabian aristocracy values all the luxury and decadence of The West. They use religion in their state to oppress and suppress, while flying all over the Western World to sample its forbidden pleasures, such as alcohol, infidel women, gambling, investments which yield interest. 

Sunday, December 13, 2015


I wanted to write a short post on happiness, inspired by my current reading of Mindfulness and Psychotherapy by Germer, Siegel and Fulton of Harvard Medical School. The book is weighty and filled with the usual academic parenthetical bibliographical references. Not my usual cup of hemlock, but I chose it to satisfy my continuing education requirement for nursing re-licensure. And there is a written test. My interest in Buddhism over several decades has helped me to digest the thickness of this book. It is like having extra enzymes while devouring rich food.

Happiness in the Buddhist context has been explained in the book with some clarity. It is quite different from happiness as defined by a materialistic society, based in the accumulation of wealth and things. It is not "ha-ha" happiness of the drunken "it's all good" set, for example. It is not the happiness of owning a BMW or Lexus. It is not the happiness of the grown child who is still trying to please his/her parents. It is not the happiness of winning at fantasy football. These are illusions of true happiness, from the Buddhist perspective.

I have had to assess what happiness, sometimes referred to as "wellness", is, when the normal catastrophes of life occur. A fortunate 25-year-old has little use for Buddhist happiness. The world is a friendly place to the young and fortunate. It may indeed be all good, for some time. But never forever. 

My own need to discover a purpose for living through the fog of sickness and loss led me back to Buddhist reading decades ago. I was reminded then that happiness is a moment-by-moment practice, not a self-sustaining state of being. In other words, happiness requires effort in all life's waking moments. This is not a popular concept in today's culture of immediate results on flashing touch screens. Satisfying any itch with a virtual scratch is a form of addiction, not happiness.

The itches that cannot be scratched are always there in the background. Inevitable mortality is perhaps the worst one. The lack of control of our path to death, whether addressed or ignored, is imprinted on our consciousness. So, when something breaks accidentally or we fall ill despite our efforts to live healthily, the consciousness of death rises. And fear rises with it. Without practice, this fear can lead to serious anxiety and/or depression.

Happiness in its deepest form is not the absence of fear or trauma. Happiness in its deepest form is not passivity. Happiness in its deepest form is being capable of making peace with every moment of life as it happens. Maybe we should rename it "happeningness". This happiness comes from habitual attention, reflection, acceptance and compassion...first from within and then expanding outward. This habitual practice of creating personal happiness takes time and personal commitment. It is not available from seminars or courses, though these may support personal practice. 

We still live in a time when this form of practice is in direct conflict with attempts by some organized religious groups to control individual lives through smarmy propaganda (Vatican) or terrorism (Islam). These forces have always stood against individual practice. They have hobbled science, feminism and social evolution. Why? Because the individual's attainment of happiness through practice is a rejection of patriarchal (or matriarchal) dogma. It is the assertion of human rights by a perceived child to a controlling parent. It is liberation from oppression with a turning to personal enlightenment.


U.S. and British media, increasingly influenced by Arab money, have been pouring pro-Arab, pro-Muslim propaganda into every news cycle. This is not insightful and balanced journalism. This is outright propaganda, bought and paid for.

Today's shining example is the touting of the first local elections in Saudi Arabia which "allowed" women voters to participate. Check your calendars, folks. Yes, it is almost 2016, nearly a century after women attained voting rights in the civilized world. These local elections in the Saudi Kingdom (yes it is a kingdom of absolute monarchs) are comparable to city council elections in democracies. The local councils have little power. They basically operate as henchmen for autocratic aristocrats. 

As a pro-feminist man, I abhor the conditions of women in countries which are still dominated by patriarchal systems. Roman Catholicism, traditional Islam and orthodox Judaism are tools of population - especially female population - control by patriarchs. The recent flush of pro-Vatican and pro-Saudi press is not simply reporting. It is the propaganda of the 1% who are aligned with these vestiges of patriarchal domination. Those journalists who submit to this cover-up should be ashamed. Those women in democracies who participate in rationalizing female oppression should also be ashamed of their selfish disregard for the plight of their sisters. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015


Radical Muslim mass murderers of San Bernardino, California.

The justifiable media and political reaction to Donald Trump's proposed reaction to the recent San Bernardino, California massacre tends toward hysterical defensiveness. Banning Muslim refugees is most likely illegal constitutionally. However, his comments have raised an important issue which the press and politicians refuse to address in the interests of appeasing OPEC billionaires. 

Despite the violent devastation brought about worldwide by fundamentalist Muslims, there is little or no evidence of an Islamic Reformation, similar to the Christian Reformation which propelled Western European culture from superstitious Middle Ages to scientific Renaissance. In fact, the wealthiest Muslim nation, Qatar, is the largest source of funding and recruits for jihadists in ISIS. Saudi Arabia, religious capital of the Muslim world, is entrenched in its Sharia Law system. It beheads, stones, lashes and maims hundreds of victims every year in the name of Islam. Iran, the epicenter of Shiite Islam, a sectarian-not-reformed Islam, carries out hanging and stoning of victims of "moral" crimes against the state. 

The Muslim world is in its Middle Ages. Muslims in The West refuse to address this issue openly. They carry on with their unbelievable defense of Islam as a "religion of peace". They are no different from any other cult. Scientologists, Mormons and other marginal religious groups are similarly irrational in their beliefs. However, Muslims are in deep denial of their subscription to a religion which is practiced worldwide as shamelessly misogynist, violent and homophobic. 

Where is the commitment of Western Muslims to true reformation? Where is the actual delivery of peaceful Islamic practice by way of political and media condemnation of orthodoxy in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Indonesia, and other predominantly Muslim places where innocent, peaceful women and homosexuals are killed daily? Droning the chant, "Islam is a religion of peace.", is simply bullshit without visible evidence of masses of liberated Muslims condemning Islamic orthodoxy. 

Friday, December 4, 2015


Permission is patriarchal thread which runs throughout human societies. Even the most democratic societies trade in permission: Building permits, passports/visa, marriage licenses, drivers' licenses, etc.. Repressive regimes use permission to isolate, disable and punish populations to avoid resistance from liberating influences.

The U.S. has had an increase in permission culture since 911. No-fly lists and more stringent permitting of demonstrations are examples. Permission is used to create an illusion of mass control, of public safety. However, as seen with recent revelations about police misconduct nationally, the permission culture can accompany a culture of oppression by authority.

The gay marriage movement has annoyed me as a gay man in my later years. While I understand the positive aspects of its political effectiveness, I see it as a submission to the patriarchal permission culture of heterosexuals. I see it as a quest to seek permission to be homosexual from those in authority. I find this concept offensive. I have a similar reaction to the current conflict over the use of public restrooms by transgender people. Why should anyone need permission to use a public restroom when he/she needs one?

Patriarchal social structures thrive on permission culture. President Assad's Syria was a permission culture until it exploded with resistance. Its citizens became so averse to permission culture that they have defied the boundaries of Europe to escape it. The anarchy which has resulted has left Europeans reeling.

Socialism has gotten a bad rap in The West, especially in the United States. However, socialism evolved in reaction to monarchic and totalitarian permission cultures. Socialism in its democratic forms is a contract model of social co-management between citizens and governance. Socialism aims for the greater good, hence its threat to patriarchal domination and greed. Capitalism thrives on domination through competition, and capitalism thrives in congressional and parliamentary systems which can be bought with big money by the few.

Blending socialism and capitalism has worked in countries of relative wealth and low homogeneous populations. Scandinavian nations are the common examples. However, overpopulation and migration may well threaten these havens of social democracy. Time will tell. The conglomeration of special interest groups, inherent in U.S. demographics, has hampered socialism despite  our nation's relatively small population. The U.S. has never striven for true homogeneity outside of its nationalist war-mongering, driven by patriarchal capitalists. Diversity is one of America's false gods, used by capitalist politicians to divide and conquer for their personal gain. They have branded socialism as un-American. 

The path of the U.S as environment deteriorates and population grows seems destined to veer toward more permission culture to protect the interests of the upper class, a mere 10% of the total population. Domination of the government by the wealthy capitalist interests in the U.S. guarantees increased oppression of the poor to protect the rich. Mass media is used by corporate wealth to promote fear of anarchy and terrorism as inevitable if militarist capitalism fails. Social security measures are labelled as socialist in order to justify corporate-controlled government's gutting of civilized health care and elder-support systems. The motivation is avoidance of taxes upon those who are wealthier than the vast majority of the population.

The success or failure of social contracts between governments and citizens lies with the electorate theoretically, but the permission culture in the U.S. takes the form of two major political parties which bar common citizens from public office due to the arcane electoral structures of an 18th century constitution. These structures have been captured and controlled by elites, Left and Right. The squelching of independent parties and candidates by the political process, flooded with corporate money, is obvious. They are simply not permitted an equal voice. 

When the vast majority of any population becomes disenfranchised, history shows us the inevitable. We look to Syria, Iraq and Libya and convince ourselves that these are anomalies. They are not. Revolution and war follow oppression by patriarchal oppression. The question is simply how long it takes to fester and how chronic the violence will become. 

Monday, November 30, 2015


Facebook and Twitter rarely yield inspiration. Picking out substance from the avalanche of narcissistic mediocrity of conformist image-maintenance is like looking for gourmet dining in a Brazilian landfill. Neither appealing nor likely to yield much success.

Here and there I see rubber-stamp Liberal defense of Islam by gay men. This never ceases to astonish and annoy. Supporting Islam, or most organized religion, as a gay man is masochism without the sex. It is also a betrayal of all our best interests.

Islam at its most liberal is homophobic. At its most orthodox, it is lethal to gay men. Gay men are being executed throughout the Muslim world today. Shiite and Sunni alike stone, hang and behead gay men. ISIS goons throw gay men off buildings to amused crowds below, who then finish the job with rocks and kicking feet. If you have a Muslim friend who seems very accepting of you as a gay man, try challenging his/her religious beliefs on the subject of your sexuality. Go beneath the surface. Then ask him/her how he/she can even call themselves Muslim and claim love for you. 

And it's not only Islam which still deserves a skeptical approach by any gay man. The glowing references to Pope Francis by some gay men are simply self-demeaning. Lionizing a man who heads an organization which will not allow out gay men in its hierarchy is simply idiotic, even if you claim that Catholicism bears the ancient legacy of Christian agape. American Jews, often among the most vocally Liberal, are less thrilled when a member of their own family comes out as a gay man. The Jewish mandate of racial propagation clashes with childless gay male sexuality. If you don't know this, you haven't spent much time with a variety of Jewish gay men who have encountered this. 

The wonderful exposure of our gay lives by modern mass media in The West has yielded progress against violence and discrimination toward us in countries with civilized and more secular governments. But we are, and most likely will always be, a minority, vastly outnumbered. As such, we must be cautious, as well as visible. We do not serve ourselves and our brothers by just trying to be politically correct in a Liberal way on Facebook, Twitter or anywhere else. We get and maintain our rights by standing out and standing up for our difference. We have a responsibility to decry violence against our brothers in the name of any ideology. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015


I am not a fan of the air-headed it's-all-good mentality on display all over Twitter and Facebook. This mentality is noncommittal and infantile. It is the mentality of the spoiled and detached. It is the mentality of the rich and those who are self-perceived as invulnerable.

Armed robbery is not good, if you are the victim. Spousal abuse is not good. Child abuse is not good. Poverty really sucks. Stupidity can be lethal. That's not good for the dead person.

Much of the world is controlled by people who are not good. These people, mostly wealthy heterosexual men, are selfish and greedy. When this is combined with a propensity to violence, the results are ISIS, regimes which oppress, regimes which behead, regimes which promote disparity between the minority elite and the great mass of impoverished. This isn't good. It furthers violence, war, rape and social deterioration. 

Fighting violently with those who thrive on violence just fuels their justification for their violence. In the current case of ISIS, it drives those prone to violence into the arms of those who practice it. Protracted violence is self-defeating. It leads to a chronic cycle of violence. 

My experience as a health-care professional with violent mental patients in residential programs colors my opinions. My role included taking some punches. For instance, a young man once smashed me in the face with his fist out of nowhere while we were having a banal conversation while walking down a corridor. Another man once kicked my shins with steel-tipped boots when I asked him to stop smoking in a restricted area. I have been bitten, scratched and beaten with chairs. 

My role dictated that I not retaliate. My job was to distance myself, take a breath, call for help and subdue the violence, if it continued. The violent person was isolated and sometimes restrained until his/her impulsive violence subsided. When he/she could make verbal assurances of self-control, he/she was integrated back into the community. This process could take hours or days.

The current dithering our governments are doing concerning ISIS is the worst possible way to deal with extremism (mental illness). This leads me to conjecture that there are vested interests in the fighting at the power level, basically controlled by wealthy capitalists. Arms manufacturers are profiting greatly. Governments with apathetic or hostile constituencies have the perfect external enemy to promote fear in order to control people. The  Orwellian "1984" approach. 

If The West stopped fighting ISIS altogether and instituted criminal sanctions on suppliers of arms to the Middle East, it would effectively remove the fuel which gives ISIS growing strength. ISIS gains power by ending internal conflict in their zones. It makes a great amount of money by smuggling migrants to Europe. This is a win-win for them. They get rid of dissenters and make money doing it. If The West pacified much of the region by ending its own violence, ISIS would lose a major recruiting tool and income source.

If The West simply stopped ISIS in league with Russia with a wholehearted military incursion, those who are now involved with ISIS would be scattered or killed gruesomely. This could act as a deterrent to future would-be terrorist groups. It would rob ISIS of any power. The conquerors could do the type of post-war development which worked well after WWII, as opposed to the half-assed approach, riddled with corruption, taken in Iraq and Afghanistan in recent wars. Clearing out ISIS could be combined with washing out the other corrupt totalitarian regimes throughout the region. 

The current state of frozen indecision concerning ISIS seems based in Western economics and economic relations with economically powerful states in the region: Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt, Iran. Perhaps the best decision U.S., Russia and E.U. could make from a practical political view would be to turn away from the region altogether and leave it in the hands of Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt and Iran, while devoting its  forces strategically to shield Israel and their own borders from the conflict. The current state of disorganized dithering is just prolonging fear and insecurity worldwide. It is distracting the rest of us from dealing with big issues of social and economic equality.

Saturday, November 21, 2015


At a time when Europe and the U.S. are reeling from terrorism at the hands of fundamentalist Muslims, President Obama sought photo-ops in Malaysia, a Muslim country. He visited a camp of Muslim refugees from Myanmar. The Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar claim discrimination from the Buddhist majority. 

Painting the Buddhists of Myanmar as religious bigots without knowledge of the effects of Muslim incursions into Southeast Asia is not an informed reaction. The ancient conquests by Muslims in India were repressive, vicious and bloody. The invading Muslims destroyed an established Buddhist culture which had evolved over centuries. They burned Buddhist monasteries, slaughtered Buddhist monks and destroyed Buddhist texts and artifacts. Indian Buddhism spread to the rest of Southeast Asia for centuries before the Muslim invasions. 

The Muslim invaders cut off a cultural link between India and its neighbors to the East. Buddhism was a civilizing force throughout Southeast Asia for centuries. It was a common thread of thought and practice, based in meditation and individual responsibility. While Buddhism did not bring generalized peace or justice to the region, it did provide a common language of diplomacy and cultural exchange. This was disrupted by Muslim invasions. The net result in modern times was seen in the violence associated by India-Pakistan partition in 1947. This is summarized in this quote from Wikipedia:

According to historian Will Durant, "The Islamic conquest of India is probably the bloodiest story in history". By the estimate of Koenraad Elst the population of Indian subcontinent reduced by almost 80 million between 1000 and 1525.[108] In course of their conquests and rule in India, the number of Muslims in India increased through Immigration and Conversion. The Ancient Indian Kingdoms in Afghanistan and Pakistan became Muslim majority areas, as did the Eastern Part of Bengal. This would ultimately lead to the Partition of India in 1947 after the end of British rule.

My internal question is, "Why would an American President choose to push the Muslim agenda, fostered most vehemently by Saudi Arabia and Iran, in the face of religious violence against peaceful civilians in The West?" There is no widespread oppression of Muslims in North America and Europe. Civil disdain by non-Muslims for the religious trappings which symbolize the current insanity in Syria and Iraq is not hard to understand. 

That nonviolent disdain is not "persecution" or "phobia". And someone can have disdain for a belief system while also tolerating it. Our President has simply displayed, once again, his handlers' determination to suppress dissent and open discourse about ideas. And, among his corporate handlers, OPEC's Muslims are a very powerful force. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015


Finally, some state legislation which makes sense medically and psychologically. Surprisingly, this comes from the state of Tennessee, a Southern state of God and guns. The enactment of legislation aimed to curb pregnancies in drug addicted women is meeting with public support on both Liberal and Conservative poles of the political spectrum in the state. Why?

The legislation is wisely framed as defense of the unborn from bodily harm by its mother. The rate of fetal addiction in Tennessee has recently skyrocketed, as it has all around the U.S.. Babies born with addiction are often born with malnutrition and other challenges to their development. They have been harmed in utero by their mother. Now, in Tennessee, this will be a crime. Unfortunately, alcohol and cigarettes have not been included in the legislation as addictive substances. Fetal alcohol syndrome is one of the most damaging impairments to a newborn. 

Some obstetricians are voicing fears that this legislation will impede the accessing of prenatal care by addicted women. They are in a minority. This makes sense, since an addicted pregnant woman is more likely out looking for her next fix, not shopping for the best ob-gyn. 

My hope is that this legislation leads to a pairing of birth-control services with addiction treatment services. Preventing pregnancy in the addicted population is a more humane path to reducing fetal addiction than trying to detox a pregnant woman after arresting her. However, Tennessee, being in the Bible Belt, may not be prone to make this more rational approach to reducing fetal addiction. Time will tell. 

In any case, as a person who sees each human being as born with the right to individual respect and the full support of parents to provide nutrition, shelter, education and security to adulthood, I see this legislation in Tennessee as a big step in the right direction. Babies are not accidents, pets or slaves. They are human beings, worthy of the full protection of society from full their fetal development in utero to subsequent birth and beyond.

Monday, November 16, 2015


Polish Foreign Minister-designate, Witold Waszczykowski

The Polish government has been resisting quotas of migrants from Syria. This is understandable from many historical perspectives. Poland has an ancient history of resistance to invasion by neighbors and from farther afield. Poland has been a buffer between religious rivalries for centuries. Its hardened Roman Catholicism is a symptom of this reactionary past, developed from frequent threats to its population's survival. Poles are not ignorant of what it means to be refugees. 

My maternal grandfather was born in Vilnius, Lithuania to ethnic Poles. My mother's primary education came from Polish nuns. I know a little about the Polish cultural mentality. While it can be xenophobic, it is also highly pragmatic. Poles excel in construction, engineering and science. The Polish diaspora in the U.S. and Europe peoples skilled trades. 

I recently suggested here that Syrian migrants, young people who are fleeing their homeland's plague of thuggery and violence, should be enlisted, restored to health and trained immediately with the highest level of military technology. Then they should be returned to Syria to win back their homeland as an organized peace-establishing force with the full support of those nations which really wish to help, rather than manipulate, Syria's future.

Apparently, the Polish Foreign Minister agrees. This makes sense. Migrants in interviews always proclaim their willingness to work for a better life. What better work than returning to claim their own homeland with the full support of the E.U. and NATO? 

Sunday, November 15, 2015


I am listening to a broadcast on BBC from Paris. The broadcast is from a private apartment where young people have gathered as a result of the terrorist attack on Friday evening. One of the people was present at the concert venue which was attacked. 

The most salient feature of the discussion is the lack of understanding of the roots of terrorism. Most of the people are relatively wealthy and in their 20's-30's. They are the children of the upper middle class. They proudly state that the attacks in Paris will not stop them from partying and living a hedonistic life in the world's capital of hedonism. They say they are all about "love".

I am old enough to have been alive during The Summer of Love in 1967. I was 17 and a sophomore in college. And, yes, for the wealthier members of that movement, the "love" of the times entailed taking drugs, having lots of sex and attending mass entertainment gatherings. The poorer members of our generation, of which I was one, were struggling to get through school to be able to get a job. That is, those of us who were fortunate enough to not be drafted and blown up in Vietnam. 

The anti-war movement which grew out of the hippy-dippy "love" movement of the privileged was peopled by working class young people as well as those from the upper classes. The ant-war movement, which helped to smash the vestiges of Western colonialism, was not gushy and vapid. It was not a movement geared to justifying hedonism. It was a movement inspired by military body bags and flag-draped coffins on TV.  It was a movement fueled by the remaining outrage against the overt racism of the the 1950's and 1960's in the American South. It was a movement inspired by the angry protests of Parisian students in 1968. It was a movement inspired by Black marchers. It was a movement inspired by bra-burning feminists. It was a movement inspired by gay/lesbian marchers. 

So, here we are again. The young and spoiled gush about "love" in the face of the hatred of those whom their very lifestyles oppress. Rather than taking in the depth of that hatred, based in social and economic oppression and inequality in the Middle East and Africa, those Parisian young people on BBC say they are determined to continue to "party, drink and make babies". 

The military involvement of France in Syria against ISIS is thought to have inspired these attacks in Paris. Rather than seeing that ISIS is an repressive movement which is a reaction to the oppression supported by the EU in its centuries of colonialism and capitalist exploitation of the region through support of oppressive regimes, these young people choose to interpret this as an attack on their fun. Really? 

Saturday, November 14, 2015


The barbarity of yesterday evening's attacks in Paris is less stunning than the ineffectiveness of the European authorities in preventing these attacks. Europe and North America spend trillions of dollars every year to maintain bloated security establishments: Military, espionage and police. Weapons production and sales to these corrupt bureaucracies constitute the lion's share of that taxpayer money. Where is the evidence of its worth today?

The military establishments of North America and Europe (NATO) have been ineffectual in the fight against ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Their lack of effective action has led to a migrant crisis/invasion which will corrode whatever domestic security exists in Europe. By choosing to view Syria as a chess piece in a global game between Sunni and Shiite, Russia and The West, Saudi Arabia and Iran, our security establishments have failed our civilian populations. 

The cynicism of politicians is evident whenever we are told that many secret plots were foiled, and that is why we feel safe. This is political cover for corruption and the exemption of the middle and upper classes from military service. A military draft would quickly stir the public in The West out of their apathy and chosen ignorance of the threat of religious fundamentalism to all of us. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


Plomin has braved the sneers of the politically correct in Psychology in the U.S.. These less intelligent folks have politicized their field beyond scientific skepticism. They have chosen to worship the idol of Lowest Common Denominator, if that even exists in the common core math of failed U.S. public education. 

Plomin's scientific method seems quite sound. His genetic studies of intelligence include comparisons between identical and non-identical twin pairs with environmental variables. His bottom line indicates that intelligence (e.g., the ability to learn, process and use information) is indeed genetic. This is old news which has been obscured for decades by the "It's All Good" brigade. This same brigade has dismantled a working public education system in the U.S. in favor of feel-good policies. 

Why would any educated person fight against this science? Well, for one thing, to accept this science is to admit that one's own genetics are indeed fixed. For the wealthy and successful, this may seem more palatable. For those who become homeless drug addicts (and their parents), this may seem harder to comprehend and accept. For most parents, who do not genetically consider their legacy before reproducing, this requires accepting too much responsibility for their actions.

The merging of practiced racism with genetic observation since the 19th century has poisoned the topic for many. This is fine. However, this is not scientific. Science must look beyond the mundane to be science. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015


First World War Canadian soldier with mustard gas burns.

The military-industrial complex lies at the heart of corporate capitalism. It is one of its driving engines. And it is evil. It is based in murder. It calls itself "defense", but promotes aggression worldwide to then defend against it. In other words, it is a system of self-propagation, like most bureaucracies. 

Recent revelations, conveniently late, about the U.S. military's use of its own soldiers to experiment with weapons of human mutilation and mass destruction, expose the heartless nature of both militarism and capitalism. These revelations also show that Corporate Capitalist government is no more humane than Soviet or previous Fascist governments. 

Patriotism is the bait which pulls impoverished citizens into the military with the false promise of security. This is an ancient ploy which dates back to ancient empires. It is a bait and switch of lethal nature. It poisons generations with the mental illness of the traumatized and twisted veterans who are dispersed without proper care into the general population. It drains society of resources to deal with the physical trauma it leaves behind. 

Accepting militarism as inevitable is a human failure, based in ignorance and fear. Those who rule, the elite 10%, are invested in maintaining that destructive concept. They profit from it. They divert attention from their own greed and predatory behaviors through war diplomacy. War and fear of it are used to indoctrinate populations to support their own oppression.

The first step to becoming a conscientious human being is a personal commitment to nonviolence. Investing in the corporate machine which fuels the military-industrial complex is collusion with violence. The dismantling of social security networks worldwide by corporate elites is a cynical attempt to divert those funds to stock markets, which fuel the military-industrial complex. Why? Because the elite 10% will need a large military-industrial complex to protect themselves from the uneducated and underfed masses of a polluted world, a world their greed is currently creating. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015


Donald Trump and Ben Carson have supporters in measurable numbers which would not have been predicted prior to their entry into the Presidential contest for election in 2016. Blaring Trump and brooding Carson have both lapsed into barking-mad territory. Trump's narcissistic megalomania trumps Carson's by a mile, but they are both getting attention for another reason as well. They have both been able to voice opinions on national policy which are out of the current propagandized box of political correctness. They have become voices of opposition to conformist mediocrity.

This has its value, whether or not you would trust either of them with a red button attached to nukes. The Democrats have offered us Hilary Clinton in big capital letters. They have made over the Clinton legacy. I was around for the reality. It wasn't that great: NAFTA, Don't Ask Don't Tell, failed health care reform and Fellatio-gate. Bill Clinton was the poster boy for corporate globalization and the New World Order of corporate capitalism. And Hilary does indeed carry the banner of that legacy shamelessly, despite playing quasi-handmaiden to our first multi-racial President as Secretary of Status Quo.

The Clintons are friends of the Bushes, Henry Kissinger and other aristocrats, whose legacies are equally specious. They built a non-profit gold mine for themselves under the guise of rehabilitating Harlem. They are capitalists to the core, and therefore no true friends of The Left. They frolic in the shark-infested waters of Wall-Street Manhattan with ease and provenance. Their former economic advisers, with the notable exception of Robert Reich, merrily rode the horses of the 2008 financial apocalypse along with George Bush's buds. 

So, if you consider yourself Left-of-Center, think twice before getting all gooey over Hilary as the potential first female POTUS. You may want to actually read Bernie Sanders' positions, for example. You may be getting the same box of mediocre progress which you have received during the Obama administration: Mediocre health reform, no final withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan, no significant banking reform, further deterioration of the middle class, no significant corporate tax reform. Gays in bridal gowns and military uniforms aside, that box is still packed and delivered by monsters like Amazon, our new corporate masters. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015


One of my neighbors is running for the Boston City Council. Annissa George is the wife of a major property developer. She and her husband own many investment properties in the city. They are building more and more, some sold as condominium at very high prices. This recent revelation was made in local newspapers about their overdue property tax bills. 

Annissa has her gaudy fuschia signs all over the neighborhood. Her name in bold black letters. She also owns a local yarn store, Stitch House. In fact, she and her husband have incorporated under the name Stitch House Real Estate, L.L.C.. It is notable that L.L.C. stands for "limited liability corporation". It doesn't take much to figure out what that means in terms of business practices and liability.

Anissa tried to get into office two years ago. She did not get elected. I found that surprising and rather reassuring. I have nothing personal against her or her husband. I just don't think absentee landlords on their scale belong in city government, which is expected to oversee and regulate the likes of the Georges. 

The Georges own a rental unit in a rundown condominium building which borders my property. When I wanted to trim the huge tree which sits in their yard and threatened to consume my house, I sent the Georges a certified letter, along with the other unit-owners behind me. It had a return address on it. My address is one street over from their own large house. Their letter came back to me long after the tree was trimmed. The letter was unopened and stamped "could not be delivered" by the post office. In other words, despite multiple attempts, the post office gave up trying to deliver the letter because the Georges would not sign for it.  It made me question what the Georges are afraid of? Or are they too busy to deal with a simple issue with a neighbor?

The best way for me as a voter to combat corruption in local government is to vote for candidates who inspire trust in their ethics. I am not impressed by the behavior of Annissa George as a neighbor. Therefore, I would not be prone to entrust her with the affairs of my neighborhood or my city. 

Saturday, October 24, 2015


I stopped paying for a membership to the ACLU some years ago when their CEO was accused of corruption for padding his salary and benefits. Since then, I have never regretted that choice. 

The latest ACLU misuse of donations has been its push against aggressive panhandling ordinances. Several such ordinances have been nixed by a federal court due to ACLU challenges. The ordinance in Lowell, Massachusetts was just ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge, who is following a Supreme Court ruling against abortion clinic buffer zones. You know, those safety zones which keep the potential religious assassins away from the doors of abortion clinics. Our largely Roman Catholic Supreme Court doesn't like those. 

That's right. The same people who want to see women harassed at abortion clinics have opened the door for you to be harassed by anyone on a public street without you having the option of calling the police. Thanks, ACLU. You must be making those rich armchair Liberals very proud in their invulnerable SUV's as they ride around their economically gated communities. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015


Modern discourse has become muddled by the lowering of semantic standards by corporate media in response to social-media populism. Major commercial media outlets, desperate for paying customers, appear to be following the lead of social media (e.g. Twitter), rather than seeking to lead the way to intelligent coverage and commentary.

Here are a couple of examples. 

"Equal" has come to mean "equivalent" or "same". This is a distortion of the democratic notion that all people are "created equal". The use of the word "equal" in that legislative context refers to an ideal appraisal of all human beings as having the same civil rights to peace, justice and pursuit of prosperity. It does not mean that all people are born the same, with equal abilities and intelligence. Deeming all human beings to be "equal" in this sense diminishes society by reducing its standards to lowest common denominator.

"Multiculturalism" is not the same as "diversity". "Diversity" simply refers to a random distribution of various entities or items which are somehow different in a given sample. It does not automatically refer to race or ethnicity. It does not automatically refer to people, for that matter. "Multiculturalism" is the appreciation, investigation, experience and/or promotion of many cultures. It is not a synonym for "diversity". In actual fact, multiculturalism exists more strongly as a community buzzword in some of the least diverse communities of higher socioeconomic levels. 

The muddling of words in social discourse, especially within on line message boards (Facebook, Twitter) is making society intellectually duller. The comments under a posted video or picture have grown shorter, terser and more homogeneous: "Nice", "wow", "cool". In fact, it is more time-saving to simply click a "like" or thumbs-up icon. WE are managing to treat ourselves in social media like the spoiled children of parents who congratulate their offspring for narcissistic or antisocial behavior. 

Monday, October 12, 2015


Indian slum.

There is one true god which drives all humanity. That god is survival. 

Those who are religious subscribe to ancient systems which evolved to explain (or control) consciousness and its relation to physical reality. The afterlife, a belief of most religions, is an extension of human consciousness beyond physical survival. It has been a major motivator for people to accept and follow beliefs which often contradict rational thought, practicality or progress. Survival, even after it is impossible, reigns supreme as a human goal. 

Human beings whose brains/bodies are programmed genetically to reproduce do so with a belief that they will survive their individual deaths in the lives of their replicates (children). This is so deeply planted in that form of human consciousness that some of the brightest scientists and philosophers will trot this concept out in debate. Their educated minds must be aware that biological death entails the death of brain activity and consciousness, yet their need to believe in the god of survival persists and overrides. 

The current irrationality of the response of many European leaders to a migrant invasion has paralyzed that continent's actions for its citizens' own interests. Why? Because identification with the prime directive of survival among the migrants automatically overrides the rationality which has defined European prosperity. 

The extreme pro-life philosophy of many religious people is a perverted form of survival worship. Identifying with a cluster of cells has driven some of these people to assassinate educated and compassionate physicians. The obvious impact of human overpopulation is invisible to them. They cannot see past their obsession with survival as a prime directive of existence. 

So, how far have we evolved as a species, if survival still trumps quality of life? How far can we continue to evolve as a species if unintentional reproduction, linked with survival instincts, is allowed to overpopulate the planet with a vast majority of poor and uneducated human beings? How far can artificial intelligence go to save us from ourselves? 

Sunday, October 11, 2015


Yesterday, I listened to Russia Today news while caulking some windows in my house. News makes me grumpy, of course, like a lot of things.

When you get old, you do have aches and pains. Your body inevitably malfunctions here and there. It's just the way it is. You can repaint an old house, but the old infrastructure behind the walls is still rotting away from wear and tear.

My grumpiness was lifted somewhat when I heard an interview with an Israeli pacifist who is actively denouncing Israeli militarism as it is marketed worldwide under the label of "security". The pacifist, who seemed to be near my age, was a jolly-looking man, somewhat plump with a white beard. He could do a good Santa without much added.

Then I saw this video this morning on Twitter. This old Palestinian in the video is acting out the frustration of many of us old men, who despise bullying and violence by anyone against anyone else, no matter what the rationalization.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015


At the forum at Furman University in Greenville, S.C., Mr. Bush boasted of his pro-gun record as Florida governor, recalling awards he received from the National Rifle Association and noting that he once received a gun from the group’s former president, Charlton Heston.

The current shadow play on the world stage is frightening to anyone who understands the real issues behind big-media propaganda. Two major threats to human civilization, perhaps to the survival of the species, are climate deterioration (not just "change") and overpopulation. All the conflicts currently being waged and described as ideological are based in these two major threats to humanity. Yet neither of these threats is consistently considered in reporting on conflict and its side effects, like migration for one. 

Americans drop everything for soul searching about legalistic gun control for a the length of a news cycle , while the American weapons industry, along with others, fuels murder and conflict around the globe. NATO and Turkey bitch at Russia about air space violations while ISIS serial murderers hide themselves among civilian populations whom they then terrorize and torture in the name of Allah. Yet no commentators look at the effects of desertification and overpopulation in the predominantly Muslim parts of the world. 

Government has become a computer game, played by international oil magnates, stock traders and corporate CEOs. Politics, the sad entertainment arm of government, has become the realm of clownish overstatement (Trump, Cruz, Putin) and unprincipled doublespeak (Clinton, Le Pen, Merkel). Brussels promotes its elitist agenda with nose held high above the masses of its own European populations. Sadly, Beijing now represents a standard of issue-driven and pragmatic leadership, despite its abysmal human rights record. 

In answer to my own leading question, I say I assume they do get it. However, those in leadership around the globe are doing what politicians in government do: They are feathering their own nests. The best way to do this in an age of overpopulation and environmental deterioration is to bow to the will of those with wealth. Joining and staying in the top 10% are the goals for those in power, elected or otherwise. Their lack of effectiveness at facing down ignorance and poverty with sound science to deal with overpopulation and environmental deterioration is the evidence. They are fiddling as the planet burns. 

Sunday, October 4, 2015


Laurie Anderson in 2014.

Laurie Anderson's latest performance/media art piece is typically Manhattan and typically glossy. "Habeas Corpus" presents the holographic  broadcast image of a released Guantanamo terrorist suspect, whom I shall not name in imitation of the Oregon officials who do not want to inflate the image of a mass murderer. The outstanding provenance of this man is his dubious distinction of being the youngest Guantanamo detainee, imprisoned there from ages 14-22.

In an age of religious extremism, religious war, mass migration and deteriorating human ecology, Anderson's idea has to be seen as a vain attempt to shift focus on this one individual among the 7 billion of us. Why this choice? It seems to me that Anderson subscribes to the current 'we are all victims' ideology which fuels the contemporary cult of equivocation as resistance to hard reasoning and realistic assessment of the human condition.

The simple fact is that Laurie Anderson is as much part of the cult of celebrity as anyone. Like most performers, she seeks relevance to gain attention. But her purpose is indeed attention for Laurie Anderson. Using this controversial subject, an accused terrorist, is great fodder for that attention in post-911 Manhattan, where the international elite play at being enlightened at the expense of the millions each of them exploits through corporate capitalism.

Focus on the individual, the anecdotal perhaps, is no way out of the current environmental and ethical crisis of our age. Yes, it may be one way of understanding the issues more deeply, but not to the tune of millions of dollars wasted on lighting and special effects in Manhattan. I find this latest venture of Laurie Anderson very disappointing. She has slipped from cutting edge to vain exhibitionism.

Friday, October 2, 2015


The basic con of patriarchal religions is original sin, or the sin of challenging the patriarch's divine control. The Garden of Eden, the basic human myth of Genesis, is a cautionary tale against knowledge and exploration of biological humanity in the context of a greater planetary ecology. 

At its conception, this myth and those like it were most likely a useful manipulation of primitive human population by their elites, who became elites by aggression, greed and violence.  The elites stood as the representatives of the patriarchal god(s). The conscious merging of culturally polytheistic religions by Jewish, Christian and Muslim elites in subsequent generations in the western hemisphere of the planet concentrated the myth of original sin into a form of mind-controlling indoctrination to keep the ignorant in their place.

To aspire above your birth, your lot in life, was to sin. It was to eat of the fruit of The Tree of Knowledge. However, the root fallacy of this indoctrination tool which worked well for centuries of human development has been exposed by science. The vicious suppression of science, still present today among religious fundamentalists, is a reaction against science's challenge of social hierarchies and patriarchal control. Science exposes the basic con, the basic scam, of all patriarchal religion. 

This morning on BBC's Hardtalk, I listened as an Anglican bishop from Pakistan defend patriarchy. The man is the son of a Muslim-to-Christian convert. This conversion may seem stunning on its surface, but his positions on patriarchy and social issues are entirely consistent with those of fundamentalist Muslims. 

Sunday, September 27, 2015


Prince Metternich by Thomas Lawrence

Americans cling to their assumed naivete about the world outside our borders, while their government maintains a foreign policy in support of ruthless religiosity and inequality around the globe. American foreign policy is not wise or scientific. It is based on the same balance-of-power strategies of Metternich's 19th century Austrian Empire. And it simply fails nearly every time for everyone except American business interests.

I suggest reading this excellent article about a key figure in the formation of what is now ISIS. It is about an execution in Jordan. It reveals the dark side of our most praised ally in the Middle East. It also provides some insight into the disparity that exists between the lives of average citizens in America and in Muslim monarchies. 

The article:

The king demanded vengeance and ‘Zarqawi’s woman’ was sent to the gallows

Saturday, September 26, 2015


Acceptance is the foundation of all religions. That is acceptance of the status quo, which is founded on patriarchy, misogyny, homophobia, power, greed, war, etc.. Those who worship anthropomorphic gods are the most primitive. Those who rationalize the Universe into a neat package of intelligent design of some indeterminate single designer are not much more advanced in terms of their social progressiveness. 

Even the least idolatrous forms of organized Buddhism, a philosophy founded on individualism and discovery of the capacity of consciousness, lean toward acceptance of the patriarchal status quo, based in the cultures within which these forms of Buddhism have evolved. The iconic Zen Master, for example, is the patriarchal archetype. The novitiates are his children. 

Science, in its true form of skeptical inquiry, will always be anti-God for this reason, because science is based on a relentless challenging of the status quo. Progress relies on science for this very reason. Religion rejects science for this very reason. Therefore, progress and religion are basically incompatible.