Monday, June 29, 2015

CONCEIT OF BLESSINGS


I listen to BBC World Service and play scrabble on my tablet while my breakfast oatmeal cools. This morning, I heard the cooing tones of two female backup singers who were being interviewed about their careers. One is American. The other is a Bollywood dubbing voice.
 
The American sang a few bars at the request of the interviewer. Her voice is magnificent. In response to the praise of the others, she said her voice is a "blessing". Perhaps it was her general tone which rankled. But, the blessing thing is a pet annoyance to me as a scientific and practical observer of life.
 
To say I am blessed implies that some cosmic power bestowed something upon me intentionally. It implies that I am chosen in some way. It implies that this cosmic superpower has deemed me special. This is utter nonsense. It is also reprehensibly conceited. What is reprehensible about it?
 
Well, for one thing, it implies that you have the special approval of a cosmic dispenser of treats or talents. This in turn implies that those who are not blessed, like a person with Down Syndrome for example, are somehow disapproved of by the same cosmic dispenser of goodies. Down Syndrome is a genetic disorder. The abysmally unconscious dispensers of Down Syndrome or good singing voices in most cases are birth parents, not a cosmic genius.
 
Another form of the blessing mishegas occurs in churches and families. Usually these blessings are dispensed by a patriarchal or matriarchal figure upon a supplicant. When bestowed on children, these blessings are synonymous with permission, or relinquishing of parental control to the child's judgment. The adult, acting like the cosmic dispenser of goodies, uses blessings, either behavioral or monetary, to assert his/her dominance. My annoyance here stems from the assertion of religious imagery to effect simple behavioral discipline or education. Scientific explanations and logic would be better for the child's growth as an individual.
 
When blessings are bestowed in a peer group, like a support group, I am offended. Again, this employs religious imagery, based in a patriarchal view of the Universe, to convey peer support or affection. No adult can bestow any special attribute to another by laying on hands and saying something ludicrously pious. In cases of group hypnosis, the illusion of this transmission of power or benefit may occur, but there is no measurable change over time in either participant. Scientifically controlled studies of faith healers bear this out.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

DEAR SUPREMES

 
I appreciate the long overdue affirmation by five of you that I am a human being in Constitutional terms. As for the rest of you, your humanity is not in question, but your humanism is most definitely.
 
I could have saved you the trouble in my own case. You see, I have known I have been a human being all my conscious life. I abandoned my need for validation from the likes of you 45 years ago when I walked away from my own parents after they subjected me to verbal and physical abuse for being an open homosexual. I ceased looking for permission or approval from those who benefit from patriarchy. I have been out and about without regrets. I have taken the jibes, the rejection by friends and potential employers, and the insults on the street without your help. I have made love, received love and given myself lovingly without your permission or validation.
 
All of you, even the five of you who deemed me entitled to my humanity, are part of an evil patriarchal system which thrives on its own rules, makes it hard for decent people without birth privilege to thrive, and attempts to crush those who expose its hypocrisy, its violence and its refusal to change. Unfortunately, many of the wealthy LGBTQ people who are queuing up to get married are part of that same patriarchal system, having been born into privilege. Marriage for them is just another way to secure their privileges and social dominance.
 
And who made you all supreme anyway? I believe your lifetime tenure is one huge flaw in our Constitution. Are you God-chosen kings and queens? No. Are you hereditary nobles? No. So why must we condone your supremacy over our laws for a lifetime, while you totter into senility? 


HAPPY SUMMER



Wednesday, June 17, 2015

REACTIONARIES

Developer's vision.



There is a fine line between being a skeptic and being a reactionary. A skeptic's motto is "I hear you but prove it to be true." A reactionary's motto is "I will resist all change until it is shown to be in my personal interest."
 
Last evening this differentiation became quite clear as I sat in a meeting of my local civic association. The key part of the meeting was a presentation of a proposal for a large new development on the periphery of my neighborhood. The land in question is currently an ugly wasteland of outmoded industrial abuse. A cement plant, an abandoned office building, a derelict warehouse, etc.. The proposed development is a shiny new complex of retail stores, overhead residences, broad pedestrian pathways and landscaping.
 
My neighborhood is populated in part by an old guard of property owners who have never lived anywhere else. Their world view is demonstrably narrow, perhaps the length of their own streets. I am a gray-hair myself, however I do not identify with these reactionaries. I have lived in my house for 3 yrs.. I am viewed by this old guard as an intruder, an interloper. This is occasionally made clear to me by comments made shamelessly in the civic association meetings.
 
There are many new arrivals in the neighborhood. It is becoming a prime location for commuting professionals who like to bicycle or use public transit. The neighborhood lies very close to Boston's downtown by bike or transit. I can and do walk into the city center in twenty-five minutes. These residents tend to be rather uncommitted to the neighborhood as a concept of community. They are not highly visible at the civic association in numbers.
 
I am a skeptic. Last evening I listened to the presentations by the city authority overlooking the development and the developer. It would have been a very pleasant experience, if the reactionaries had not interrupted, railed and accused. Reactionaries react, until their bone is firmly inserted between their jaws by the change-agent they are hassling at any given moment.
 
As a skeptic with 65 years under my belt, literally, I have the advantage of patience. I have been in screaming meetings many times before. A developer once built a 12-story hotel behind my tiny 950-s.f. house despite months of screaming civic meetings. It put a big dent in my privacy and ruined the ambience of my large garden, but it was, in retrospect, a community improvement. I sold that house, my first, before the construction of that hotel began. It was a sad time for me, but twenty years later I feel it helped me grow up considerably.
 
The timeless dance between progressives and reactionaries has led to general discord, inequality, wars. Being a skeptic is a life between these two camps. It gets loud, and occasionally I have to duck to avoid being hit by crossfire. But I will remain a skeptic because I know it serves me best when dealing with change, which is an inevitability in life.
 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

WHITE GENES MATTER?

Graphic from City Data.
I heard an abysmally awkward and rather inane discussion of the resignation of a genetically Caucasian woman from her leadership of  NAACP of Spokane, WA. Granted, as can be seen from the pie chart above, it may have been difficult to find a person of color with Ms. Dolezal's talents, lying aside. The discussion on NPR this morning was less measured than my humorous consideration of the reasons behind this controversy.
 
A presenter and Africa-American reporter rattled on about race as a "social construct". They even compared Ms. Dolezal's possible delusion to being transgendered. Yes, she was born Black in a White body...that was the gist of it. The discussion sounded like a comic's riff on the issues without the laughs. I was left thinking, "Some Hollywood plastic surgeon is probably running to a lab to figure out a way to make Caucasians Black."
 
Race makes people crazy in part because of the denial of racial differences. Our eyes and ears tell us there are racial differences, but the social dictators of the age in Western culture are telling us that we are imagining this obvious perceptible reality. The emperor's new clothes.
 
Perhaps the focus of developing racial equality should be the acceptance of racial differences and assertion that they make absolutely no difference in legal rights and responsibilities in a society. This is the hard path, as has become obvious in the gay rights movement. Gay politicos have been striving to deny the obvious differences between homosexuals and heterosexuals in an attempt to assuage heterosexual fear of homosexuals.
 
This assertion of sameness seems to be a hard-wired defense mechanism against fear and the potential of conflict between those who are of different tribes. Maybe it reaches back to the conflict between early human subspecies. In any case, it is not logical or scientific. Science reassures us that genetic differences are a good thing for the species. Now all we have to do is convince ourselves of this and get on with saving our dying ecosystem.

Monday, June 15, 2015

WHY POPULATION MATTERS.

A Chinese beach.

If human beings stopped reproducing altogether (theoretically) for the next twenty years, the world population would diminish by 1.1 billion. That number is based on the 2014 global annual death rate (CDR) of 7.89 per 1,000. That would leave a human population of around 6 billion twenty years from now. Maybe technology would be able to solve some of the current toxic effects of human overpopulation in twenty years. However, that is not the challenge.
 
The global annual birthrate (CBR) for the next 20 yrs will average around 17 per 1,000 per year. That figure, minus the crude death rate of 7.89 per 1,000, leaves a factor of 9 births per 1,000. The world human population will be at least 8.7 billion in 2035, based on current conditions. That is about a 22% increase in human population. That means 22% less of everything for everyone than we have now.
 
If the wealth of the planet continues to concentrate to a smaller and smaller segment of the population, the amount of energy, food and water resources left to the remainder will diminish drastically very quickly, perhaps within one generation. What will be the social implications? We are already experiencing those implications. Mass migration, war, water shortages and famine. Overpopulation is not an intellectual problem on paper. I believe the core issue of feminism is not reproductive rights, but reproductive responsibility developed through scientific sex education of children. Social compensation/security systems should be redirected to education and away from reproduction.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

FORTY-FIVE MARCHES.

LGBT Pride 2015 in Boston via smartphone.

Yesterday Peter and I walked to Boston's South End at noon to witness the 45th LGBT Pride Parade  in our city. Forty-five years ago I walked down Charles Street here in this city in the first Gay Pride March. Yesterday tens of thousands of marchers walked down Boston streets in organized groups while hundreds of thousands lined the long route. The massive crowds were lacking gay men our age. We cannot avoid the decimation of our generation, but we were heartened by evidence of our legacy to those who follow us. For example, the parade was led by gay policemen, the city's mayor and city councilors.   
 
In 1971, there were perhaps a couple of hundred of us. No marching bands. Just the chant: Out of the closet into the streets! Back then Charles Street, now a chic shopping street for internationals at the base of Beacon Hill, was the heart of the urban gay community in Boston. The first gay community center was launched from the lower level of the Charles Street Meeting House, which was then a Unitarian Universalist church with a bisexual pastor. If you read the Wikipedia description of that structure, now a national historic site associated with African American religiosity but used as a fancy retail building, its LGBT history has been ignored. Some things haven't changed.
 
Many things have changed for the better due to the rough beginnings of that new homosexual movement in the 1970s. Peter and I rested a while on a granite ledge which projects out from the old public library in Copley Square. Directly in front of us, a Muslim woman in a shiny gray outfit from head to toe with face obscured by a veil stood at the curb and waved wildly at marchers as they passed by. She had two young boys with her. They were less enthusiastic. The older one, about 12, looked very grumpy. Perhaps he is already infected with the brutal patriarchy of his native culture. The mother ignored him. She was having a great time. This ignited a small spark of hope in my heart.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

CAUSE AND EFFECT.


One of the most basic concepts a student of Buddhism encounters is the concept that every cause yields an effect. In Physics, every action yields a reaction. This is the foundation of Buddhist ethics. It is parallel to the Christian precept of "do unto others as you would have them do unto you". However, in Buddhist tradition, the motivation for doing correct action to yield correct effect requires a deeper individual understanding of being in the world than in the Christian version, which is more of a moralistic mandate.
 
Ideally, the Buddhist accepts the consequences of his/her actions in the process of acting. This is called mindfulness by some. The Christian, Muslim or Jew acts and leaves judgment and consequences to an omnipotent being outside the self. This latter approach detaches the person from the consequences of individual action. It makes the individual more likely to identify with group action without measuring the individual responsibility within the group. For instance, joining an army to kill strangers is less likely to daunt the ethical mind of a Christian, Muslim, Jew or non-believer who does not see his violence as bearing direct individual responsibility. This may explain some of the mental conditions in combatants.
 
I believe the attack on a Dallas police station last evening with guns and bombs is an inevitable reaction to American militarism. I believe racial violence and economic injustice is as well. The deep cancer of violence, evidenced by the fear which inspires rabid gun enthusiasm, is a reaction to the constant war mongering of the U.S. government in the name of world policing. It is world policing only in the sense that it is done to protect the foreign property and financial interests of American capitalists.

Friday, June 12, 2015

BEWARE THE ENTREPRENEUR.

Alan Greenspan and G.W. Bush celebrating themselves.

Reagan capitalism is the legacy of Ronal Reagan, Alan Greenspan and Ayn Rand. Yes, the darling of the Libertarian movement, Ms. Rand, was a formative influence on the life of the designer of the global financial collapse of 2008. The repercussions of that collapse are still rumbling around the world. Greenspan did more than anyone else to create the 1% who now dominate politics and the rest of us.
 
Ronald Reagan, frankly, was the puppet of Dick Cheney and those who aligned with Alan Greenspan in their vision of dismantling socialism in the U.S.. Rand, a Russian who first suffered from and then exploited socialism in Russia, was the ultimate representative of "me first" capitalism. Her rage over the loss of her bourgeois childhood to proletarian revolution in Russia is evident in Rand's writing. Her hatred for the philosophy of the greater good over selfish egoism was intense and something she practiced in her own personal life. Let us just say she would not have been confused with beneficent Mother Russia.
 
Now a generation of maturing adults who were indoctrinated with Reagan economics are populating our business communities around the U.S.. This is the "all boats rise" crowd. The worst among them are the children of wealth and privilege who see themselves as social entrepreneurs. Social entrepreneurs are those who exploit nonprofit status (tax dodge) for personal wealth by becoming CEOs of "do-good" corporations. Tony Robbins teaches people how to be slick con men. He has been an inspiration to today's so-called entrepreneurial class. His gets himself a lot of money. He produces nothing concrete, except hot air. 
 
Some Reagan capitalists absolve themselves from any humility about their privileged origins. These folks stick their trust fund in your face and then rummage your pockets for contributions. P.T. Barnum would approve: "There's a sucker born ever minute." Other Reagan capitalists from bourgeois backgrounds actually imply that they came from humble beginnings. These humble beginnings often include prep schools and minor Ivy League colleges in bucolic settings. However, you are given the impression they had grown up on mean streets and have student loans.
 
The most pitiable Reagan capitalists are those people who actually do come from mean streets and get conned into believing they will get a hand up from the tip of the Reagan capitalist pyramid. These folks get suckered into working like slaves for wealthy people under the pretense of interning. They are encouraged to mortgage their entire lives for projects based in no market research and less social value. A rare person from this group manages to swim upstream. That person is then exploited by the wealthy as a poster child for Reagan capitalism. The 90% who end up living lives of big bills and long hours with minimal reward are told they just haven't tried hard enough.
 
Reagan capitalism has won the political and social landscape of middle class America. Is that landscape any better for it? I don't think so. I suppose you must judge for yourself. In any case, time will tell.



Thursday, June 11, 2015

BEER GLUT


There is no such thing as totally safe alcohol consumption, as this article points out. Sorry to burst your champagne bubble. Yes, some people medicate themselves with alcohol to feel better, but that does not mean it is healthy for organs in the human body. Research of alcohol effects lacks proper control studies. Why? It is nearly impossible to find adult control subjects who have never had alcohol in societies with alcohol use .
 
Last evening I attended a zoning committee meeting in my neighborhood. A microbrewery's interest in the neighborhood's reaction to building its plant here was on tap. About ten residents attended out of a neighborhood population in the thousands. Of that ten, I believe I may have been the only one who does not drink alcohol regularly. I actually do not drink alcohol, with the possible sip of wine to be polite once or twice a year.
 
I have been to many civic planning meetings in my time. I have never seen such drooling over a potential factory development abutting a residential neighborhood. My fellow audience members, who all asserted their passion for alcohol in the form of beer, were literally sitting on the edges of their seats as the self-described entrepreneur, not a brewer, described the glories of the project. It seemed that brewing beer was just the tonic which would transform our transitioning neighborhood from pleasant homeliness to veritable Valhalla.
 
I was fortunate to have had a brief discussion with the chair of the meeting before the others arrived. I had been fairly neutral on the subject with minor concerns about aesthetics and traffic until the chair mentioned the smell of a brewery. Of course! "He smelled like a brewery." I have used that term many times myself when describing the unwanted attentions of a drunk. So, I raised the question of the potential smell pollution on my street from the proposed brewery during the Q&A.
 
Oh my! I was pounced upon by several residents who immediately told me, with missionary zeal, that the smell of a brewery is an ecstatic experience which I would absolutely love. I made a mental note for dealing with these people in the future. The entrepreneur looked momentarily crest-fallen. He explained that there were modifications in the exhaust system of the brewery which could solve the odor problem. However, they were not planning to install that system. This confirmed my suspicions that most entrepreneurs don't really give a flying pretzel for the environment of my neighborhood. So, I persisted with the odor issue throughout the meeting, despite dour looks from my beer-happy neighbors with one notable exemption, who was supportive of my concern.
 
I grew up in a small city with a big industrial area. It was noted for its odor. "Revere by the sea. Chelsea by the smell." That was the local joke comparing my city to our neighboring city with a large ocean beach. I am the grandson of a microbrewer. My alcoholic Polish-Lithuanian grandfather was a blacksmith by day and a bath-tub brewer in his spare time. He was also a wife-beater and died a derelict.
 
I am no Carrie Nation by any means. I have been a registered nurse since 1976. I gave up trying to make people choose health a long time ago in favor of simply trying to educate them of its long term benefits. You can lead an addict to sobriety, but you cannot make him stay that way. And our so-called civilization is very stressful, causing people to ingest whatever they can afford to ease the pain. I get it. But none of that changes my informed opinion that alcohol is not generally beneficial to health and microbreweries do indeed stink.
 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

ASSUMPTIONS


The assumption that American prosperity in relation to the rest of the world is based in high values and moral superiority is false. The U.S. is not a city on a hill. It is a castle supported by arms sales and exploitation of poor populations in collusion with its allies.
 
The great lie of politicians like Hilary Clinton and George W. Bush is the representation of the U.S. government as a civilizing force in the world. If "civilizing" means selling weapons to and exploiting the resources, natural and human, of other nations, then the U.S. is certainly a civilizing force in the same way that propagating fundamentalist Islam makes Saudi Arabia and Iran civilizing states.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

ACTIVISM OR VICTIMHOOD?

Photo from NPR: Patrisse Cullors

I was interested to hear an interview with a Black Lives Matter activist on NPR this morning. Patrisse Cullors was candid and articulate concerning her motivation for becoming an activist for civilized treatment of Black Americans by police. I think she is a person who really hopes to effect change in society for the better. I hope she succeeds.
 
However, I was troubled by her relating of some incidents which motivated her activism. She appears to lack a wider perspective on crime in Black neighborhoods. She sounded like she feels Black men engaged in crime are always victims, not adults who choose their paths. This perspective risks polluting her activism with a mentality of self-isolating victimhood. That chronic mentality, which has its roots in slavery, has slowed the progress of Black people in the U.S. for 150 years in my opinion.
 
Here are some of her words which led to this reaction in my mind:
 
By the time I was 23, my brother and my father that raised me had spent most of their life in prison or jail because of the war on drugs.
 
To not be able to feed your children is traumatic. To witness people being kidnapped from their community, put in cars and handcuffed, you know, at 12, 13-years-old is traumatic. To witness people receive life sentences in prison is traumatic.
 
Black Lives Matter has made it a point to not share the stage with law enforcement, in particular, because we think it's unethical for us to sit at tables as if it's going to be an even conversation... I will have conversations with them. I don't believe we don't sit down with law enforcement, or have conversations with them or lobby them; I just don't think its ethical to be on stage with them at this moment.
 
I understand why a child of felons would deny their culpability. I have trouble with her characterizing arrests by legitimate authority as "kidnapping". Black women have had ample government assistance in feeding their children for decades. A large segment of poor Black women have historically chosen pregnancy over education or vocational training. And, life sentences are given to bad people through a legal process. These are not political prisoners. They are felons, with the exception of a small percentage of cases, regardless of color.
 
Black neighborhoods have not cooperated with police historically throughout the U.S.., despite the considerable rise in Black police officers over the past several decades. Black voting statistics are very low. Black-on-Black crime investigations are routinely obstructed by Black citizens who do not cooperate with police detectives to help their own neighborhoods turn from crime to education.
 
Refusing to deal directly with police and government is not activism. It is anarchism. Anarchism may conform with Ms. Cullors' ethics. That is for her to decide, of course. However, I don't see it as a healthy prescription for nonviolent progress on policing problems in Black neighborhoods or with Black citizens individually. Anarchism, in my opinion, is the political stance of the enraged and antisocial. Anarchy is the politics of ISIS and Al Qaeda, not the politics of leaders like President Obama and Martin Luther King.

Monday, June 8, 2015

HUMANS' FUTURE?


This story (link below) is troubling, but not surprising in the context of a polluted and human overpopulation. Half the population of a species of antelope in a region of the Asian steppes just collapsed and died recently.
 
http://thewildlife.wbur.org/2015/06/05/as-antelope-die-off-ends-the-mystery-deepens/

Sunday, June 7, 2015

OUTRAGE

"Raif Badawi cropped" by Ensaf Haidar - Picture provided by PEN International.
Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -

Raif Badawi has been victimized and brutalized by a government supported vigorously by the United States Government. Saudi Arabia's Supreme Court has just upheld a barbaric sentence of 1000 lashes and 10 years in prison for writing. Yes. For writing.
 
Badawi is an intelligent blogger. At 31, he has very mature views of what it means to be free and intellectually responsible, despite living in a backward country. Unfortunately, he lives under an evil monarchy, propped up by Western oil interests and tourism based on Islamic fanaticism.
 
An apologist for the Saudi royals and aristocracy told BBC this morning that the Supreme Court's decision as a newly "independent judiciary" was a step forward for the Saudi government. Really? This shows the baseline insanity of any government ruled by the delusions of religion and hereditary superiority.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

TOLERATED?

The Orthodox Catholic Church encourages anti-gay actions in Ukraine.

Listening to the BBC World Service account of the attack on LGBT marchers in Kiev by masked thugs made me think after I heard the BBC presenter ask if there was any sign of growing "tolerance" for LGBT people in Ukraine. My first reaction: Tolerated? Like a cockroach in someone's kitchen or a crack in the ceiling?
 
Here in 2015, as people in media laud Caitlyn Jenner for being a supermodel, millions of homosexuals all over the world are trying to escape violent and condoned persecution. These people are not looking for high-priced plastic surgery. They are not seeking reparations for their ageless suffering. They are overwhelmingly nonviolent. Yet, they should hope to be tolerated?
 
Heterosexual domination blinds even the most well-meaning heterosexuals at times to their power over homosexuals in society through the law and social networks. Just as white people in societies dominated by white heterosexuals tend to take their racial advantage over people of color for granted, heterosexuals of all colors and both genders tend to ignore their feelings of superiority over LGBT people as a group.
 
Quite frankly, we homosexuals are the tolerant ones.

Friday, June 5, 2015

STAR TREK WORLD


Yes, I want a Star Trek world. I want a world where people dress simply and hygienically. I want a world where everything looks like a maid has just picked up, dusted and vacuumed. I want a world where race is irrelevant. A world where religion or custom occupy a far second place to world citizenship. Where everyone can understand everyone else when they speak. I want a world where violence is only applied in response to irrational violence. In that world, the clean zap of a laser stuns but does not maim.
 
The Star Trek world is orderly and prosperous for everyone. There is no need for crime because there is no need to steal or to kill. It is a world where everyone is educated and understands basic principles of civility. It is a world where women are equal to men in every way. It is a world where children are born with rights, and their parents are deeply committed to being responsible to them...not the other way around.
 
I know there are those of you who romanticize the dusty chaos of Third World cities. But I also know you are not choosing to live there among the poor and unwashed. I know there are those of you who romanticize arcane religious rituals, but you are horrified by beheadings and other violence directly tied to religious dogma. I know there are those of you who think America is a Star Trek country already, but you do not live in an impoverished neighborhood with a drug gang on the corner.
 
I am beginning to ask myself what I would sacrifice personally to live in a Star Trek world. I am not engaged in criminal behavior, so I have nothing to fear from enlightened law enforcement. I pay my taxes without any loophole escape hatches, so I wouldn't really loose any solvency. I keep up my property inside and out, so I would not fear shaming by the hygiene police. I already spend a fair amount of my time reading and learning, so I would not have to fear being labelled backward or counterproductive.
 
I doubt the human species will ever achieve a Star Trek world. Perhaps robotic human hybrids will. As long as human beings cling to their instinctual fears and impulses over education and mindfulness, this world will remain as it is. And there are those of you who think that is just fine.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

TRANSGENDER CHIC? THINK.


This video from www.SexChangeRegret.com

I have already had some indication that my comments about Caitlyn Jenner yesterday bothered some people. I expect to see posts on my personal Facebook page which laud individuals who are transgender or who live transsexual lives. Fine. I share the admiration for anyone who is truthful about his/her feelings, regardless of gender, race, sexual preference, ethnicity, even religion. After all, as a licensed health care provider for almost 40 years, I have depended on patients to share their truths with me to help them. I was trained to do this. I have trained others to do this.
 
I did not criticize Caitlyn Jenner for sharing her truth publicly. I did criticize her support of a culture of self-delusion. Reports after Caitlyn's photo shoot for Vanity Fair indicated that she is a confused and troubled human being in the hands of people who seemingly care little for her as a person and more for her as a commodity. Her plastic surgeon reportedly dismissed her anxiety and remorse as "normal". What is normal about Caitlyn's life? I would suggest, very little.
 
I have shared the following anecdote before. I helped treat a transgender male-to-female in his early 20s in 1976, my first year out of nursing school, at a state facility where I was employed as an R.N.. He had recently been castrated after years of hormone therapy. He began gender alteration at the age of 18, after he had already had one psychotic episode. He had already been diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic. It was an unusually early diagnosis of this severe mental disorder, but there was generational schizophrenia throughout his family of origin. He was admitted to my unit after a suicide attempt.
 
His gender alteration treatment exacerbated his schizophrenia. Despite this, he demanded gender change from his plastic surgeon, psychotherapist and general practitioner. Why? He told me on our initial interview that his long-term lover, who began having anal sex with him when he was 16, was a lieutenant in the local organized crime syndicate in his Italian-American community. He said the lover threatened to leave him if he did not have the full gender change done. He said this would leave him open to harassment, perhaps death, in his neighborhood.
 
I spent about a month working with this young person, as I recall. I was the only openly gay person who worked on my unit. The chief psychiatrist thought it would be helpful for me to work with this client, because he, the psychiatrist, felt that a wrong had been perpetrated on this young person by a homophobic culture in his community. I agreed.
 
Our treatment plan entailed removing the patient from the toxic community. We got a living situation in place with a subsidy. We arranged for a new therapist and outpatient group therapy. We got a medication regime going which the patient seemed satisfied with. Our greatest challenge was helping the patient mourn, at that time, irreversible loss of the patient's choice of what gender best suited the healthy mind, not the biochemically confused schizophrenic mind.  You see, once the patient was medicated and the mind cleared, the patient began to voice an understanding that he may have matured into a gay man, if he had had the proper treatment and support. It was too late for that.
 
The homophobic medical providers and the homophobic "straight" adolescent-abusing lover had worked in concert to deprive that person of choices, serious life-altering-every-single-day choices. This is not the only case with similar issues I have encountered in my career and in my personal life.
 
Now, I am not equating gender dysphoria with mental illness by any means. I have known some seemingly happy and well adjusted transgender individuals. What I am saying is that mutilation of otherwise healthy bodies is being performed by medical providers without any strictly established universal criteria based in measured biochemical or biophysical science.

Individual practitioners in this field have too much discretion and too little oversight. Choices are potentially being taken away, not given, when a patient is transformed by hormones and surgery, if there are other factors which are ignored. If human beings are looked in a limited way as simply male or simply female by medical providers, who should know better in 2015, without extensive research data from psychiatry and biochemistry, then society is continuing to enforce a fundamentalist two-gender world at the potential expense of confused and/or homophobic patients. This is not progress. Some people need to find out who they are over many years before they can happily be who they are. No surgical intervention magically "cures" deep emotional conflict and suffering.  
 
A schizophrenic or severe obsessive, who may not be diagnosed by a therapist,  may cut off his arm because it "doesn't feel right". In fact, some surgeons have removed limbs from patients with this type of dysphoria. These doctors have rationalized their actions by saying it made the patient feel better. However, with the advance of psychotropic medications, this outcome does not justify the mutilation. The mutilation denies the patient future function and choices irreversibly.
 
My concern about Caitlyn Jenner's glossy promotion of his own gender confusion, hailed by the ignorant and voyeuristic as "coming out" and "brave", is that more people like my former patients will be damaged by being rushed through a mill of sex reassignment for profit without strenuous guidelines and process. Right now, there is no uncontested body of hard science.

I am concerned that scientific research into gender dysphoria will cease, because it will be considered politically incorrect or impractical. Impractical means too costly or not profitable for plastic surgeons. I am concerned that homophobic cultures, communities and medical providers will see gender reassignment as an easy way to bully gay men and lesbian women into rigid gender roles without taking the time or trouble to deal with entrenched homophobia within themselves. This is why I regret the carte blanche support given to gender reassignment by the Western LGBT political establishment. I feel this rush to validate any medically engineered gender change as an absolute right ignores the more complex cultural, biochemical, ethical and psychological issues.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

JENNER



Caitlyn Jenner, formerly Bruce Jenner, has reached her apex, being a cover model on Vanity Fair. Fine for Caitlyn. Not so fine for society. When celebrity means having plastic surgery as an old man to become a 'young' female supermodel, we are living in the twisted land of the film Brazil(1985).
 
Jenner represents an entertainment elite who exploit the mob's need for freak shows. Ozzie Osborne and family found that their dysfunction meant financial resurrection. The Kardashians have followed the recipe to fame and wealth. They appeal to those in society who are in constant need of distraction from their own dissatisfactory lives. Network executives have no qualms. They get crazy people to eat living insects and vomit on camera for ads and profits.
 
Just because something is exalted by entertainment media does not mean it is functional, admirable or sane. Just because someone has the freedom to mutilate himself for attention does not mean it should be raised as a model of healthy behavior for society. There is little interest in modern media for hardworking people who maintain society in quietly nonviolent ways. There is no real work ethic projected by modern media in the U.S.. The message is: Get weird; get violent; get greedy...get whatever you need to get to get rich.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

PRO-LIFE, PRO-MUSLIM, PRO-RELIGION


The U.S. Supreme Court, led by a Chief Justice who is assertively Roman Catholic, is populated by religious judges. Clarence Thomas is Roman Catholic, as are Justices Scalia. Alito, Sotomayor and Kennedy. Justices Ginsberg, Breyer and Kagan are Jewish. There are no vocally non-religious justices on the Supreme Court of a nation based on a Constitution which intentionally separates church and state.
 
So what does this yield? The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld (June 2014) religious exemption for birth control coverage of women by employers who are pro-life. Now, one year later, employers who do not want to make accommodation of religious dress or customs are ruled against by an 8-to-1 majority, even though in the case reviewed the plaintiff, a job applicant, did not request a religious accommodation to wear a head scarf if hired by Abercrombie & Fitch. In other words, in-your-face religiosity, even religiosity which is symbolic of the oppression of women by Islam, is now protected by the U.S. Supreme Court and thereby the U.S. Government.
 
Is there any question how deep the tentacles of the Roman Catholic Church and the Saudi Arabian aristocracy reach into our government? Is there any question how corrupted our government has become by fundamentalism and oil money? The same Libertarians and Independents who cry foul about any variation from their fundamentalist interpretation of the U.S. Constitution are fine with these two decisions. Why? Because Libertarians and Independents, like all other politicians (and Supreme Court Justices) in America are all about the money and not at all about Constitutional principles.

Monday, June 1, 2015

CHILD SLAVERY


Children have been conceived as slaves and servants to adults since human beings began procreating. African guerilla movements in past decades were fueled by this child abuse. Now ISIS uses children as recruits. The disparity between progressive cultures and frozen cultures is evident in how children are conceived and treated. This raises perspective above race and religion. This leads to an inevitable examination of the line between reproductive rights and reproductive responsibility. This is a core feminist issue.