Thursday, August 27, 2015

INDEPENDENT THINKING


I have been thinking of leaving Facebook. The recent use of the medium to advertise a Facebooker's assassination of coworkers in Virginia further soured my already souring opinion of Facebook's role in American culture as I experience it. While Americans are increasingly describing themselves as politically independent from the two-party system, two major camps seem quite obvious in media like Facebook: Sniping conformists and enraged reactionaries. Neither group appeals to me.

Facebook is a lure to the voyeurs and exhibitionists in us. But voyeurism and exhibitionism, while quite human, are not the best human qualities. "Look at me." is quite different from "This is what I think after mulling this over." Trying to play to an audience which you already know will agree with you is not a contribution to any subject. Self-consciously presenting a persona which is not real is simply fake and hypocritical. 

Perhaps Twitter is a more honest medium. That may account for the frequent stories of chastened celebrities who get caught being honest in their Tweets. Twitter is certainly no less narcissistic in its general landscape. I find it hard to comprehend what motivates someone to Tweet his/her grocery shopping from a supermarket. Worse than boring. 

I began writing a blog in 2005 to help me develop my mind. It entailed research, consideration and sometimes original artwork to illustrate my process. I was amused by fellow bloggers who chose to write blogs about the latest gay porn stars and their contributions to erotica. Frankly, in retrospect, those folks were more intelligent and creative than people who do nothing but post cat videos on Youtube or videos about their daily angst. 

Being one of a species of billions is not really mitigated by celebrity. The planet is still being polluted beyond habitability. There is no space hotel for refuge. Perhaps this is the underpinning of the sudden outpouring of sympathy for migrants who have ruined their own countries through insane religiosity and are attempting to invade countries who haven't yet been ruined by that ideology. All human beings may be helpless victims of their own folly and destructive overpopulation all too soon. 

Independent thinking is not worry-free. It never has been. "It's all good." was not the mentality which spurred on Gandhi to starve himself. Political correctness of one era is the fascism of another. Conformity does not improve the human condition, it erodes the quality of life for everyone equally. Facebook may be just another phony cocktail party without the food and drinks. How tawdry is that? 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

HEIDENAU


Angela Merkel is not used to being booed by Germans, even though she is hated by Greeks. The working class people of Heidenau, a tire-producing city near Dresden, have been painted with the media's wide brush as reactionary fascists after some violent thugs burned down a migrant center in the city. Merkel was booed off the stage after a pro-migration speech yesterday in Heidenau.
 
Heidenau is illustrative of the conflict between the control of many global governments by the corporate elites and the will of citizens in those countries. Corporate-controlled media in developed countries labels those who protest the rule of the elites as rabble and dangerous extremists. We saw this during the early Occupy Movement. We saw this during the anti-globalization protests in the 1990's.
 
Germany has accepted 800,000 displaced migrants, largely from the Middle East. Germany's population is around 80 million. However, Germany's government has stated its interest in admitting many more migrants. And, it seems determined to crush any dissent against this policy. It has raised the specter of Germany's Nazi past as a propaganda tool to suppress protest. This is an extremist tactic for a German government, since the sensitivity of Germans to that past is very raw.
 
So who are the extremists here? I have placed a photo above of the peaceful protest of thousands of Heidenau residents against the migrant influx, which has caused culture shock in this orderly industrial city. This occurred prior to the violent and mindless burning of the migrant center. I have posted below a photo of the masked, ISIS-like, leftist pro-migrant protesters who came out in the dark after the attack on the migrant center. Ask yourself which group you would rather associate with.


Friday, August 14, 2015

USELESS TECHNOLOGY

An example. For more, click here.

There are those in science and engineering who would defend the limitless exploration of any avenue of investigation, particularly when funded by capitalism. They take the position, as does NASA for example, that seemingly irrelevant exploration can yield discoveries and technologies for the greater good. Perhaps this is valid. Perhaps not, when I look at the big picture of human sustainability.

I always look at a burgeoning human population of 7.5 billion and climate change which threatens certain mass misery very soon in terms of human time when I assess news of new technology. For example, the self-driving automobile. Yes, the automobile, which is largely responsible for impending climate disaster, is being improved to allow for safe driving in overcrowded conditions. How about cheaply constructed electric buses and designated bus lanes everywhere? 

Medical science is particularly disorganized. Advances in medical science are based on reactive models. Modern medicine is generally reactive, not preventative. Stamping out one epidemic at a time is not a long-range strategy which bodes well in a world of over 7 billion people with enhanced communication. Eventually, there will be too many fires to put out, based in the extension of life spans, the deterioration of air/water/food quality and the burgeoning rates of obesity. IVF is one example of useless medical technology in a world which needs human population control, not explosions of quadruplets. How about a better way of getting impoverished/unwanted children adopted?

Informational engineering is the most obvious area of useless technology. Whenever I see a pink iPhone in the hands of a gum-chewing airhead on the subway, I realize just how useless much of the current informational technology is, in terms of the quality of life on the planet. The gum-chewer is more detached from his/her environment than gum-chewers of previous generations. However, he/she feels more informed and intelligent. This bolstering of the egos of narcissistic gum-chewers is definitely useless technology.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

OLD BLAME GAME

Black Lives Matter protester harangues Bernie Sanders.

I understand more every day why some old people get crankier and crankier. When you see the same old things happening with the same old results, it gets frustrating. It is most frustrating to see educated people involving themselves in causes which are misdirected by bad leadership, or rather by lack of good leadership. The current Ferguson phenomenon is an example. 

Ferguson has come to represent everything that has never worked for African-Americans. The Black Lives Matter slogan, loosely formed into a political-social movement, is less effective and just as irritating as the Tea Party rants of the 2008 elections. The outrage expressed by Black Lives Matter activists at someone saying "All lives matter." is incredibly ineffectual. It alienates many who would readily support the basic precept of Black equality in the context of universal human rights. The Black Power and Black Panther movements of the 1960's managed the same alienation of supporters by their hostility toward anyone who was not Black. Their fueling of separatist Black hatred for non-Blacks fed the fires of rioting and looting in the 1960's and 1970's 

Requiring all Whites to remorsefully bow their heads in shame over a perceived universal White privilege is a great way to lose support. Cutting all kinds of slack for Black hoodlums with guns who sell drugs and commit violence in their own communities is another way to lose support. Blaming law enforcement for trying to effectively stop lawlessness in a community with limited tools at their disposal is another way to lose support. 

Cocky policemen are nobody's heroes. Police unions which protect corrupt and arrogant policemen of any color or ethnicity rather than weeding them out are nobody's heroes. These clowns are not enforcing White privilege against Black communities. They are just being lousy cops to the disservice of every citizen. 

My concern, as someone genuinely committed to universal human rights and the maintenance of a lawful society for all citizens, is the current exploitation of bad policing by some in the Black community who are willing to blame the lawlessness in their own neighborhoods on White racism. We have seen this before. The Miami Riot (1980), Crown Heights Riot (1991), Overtown, Miami Riot (1991), Los Angeles Riots (1992), Harlem Riots (1992), Cincinnati Riot (2001), etc.. 

The net effect of these riots on positive social change within chronically impoverished Black communities has been nil. Has this all been the fault of White people? Has this been a vast police conspiracy? Or has this been largely due to substance abuse, lack of education, lack of informed parenting, lack of positive role models within those communities, and the development of a dominant criminal culture, aided by exploitative mass media? 

There will never be a post-racial world until everyone on the planet understands and accepts individual responsibility for being a respectful, non-violent and lawful person toward all other human beings. Race is not the only barrier to mutual civility. Behavior often is. Anger and aggressive behavior do not convey blame, they evoke it. Exclusion does not promote inclusion. Demanding respect without giving respect is childish. The blame game may set off a reflex of shame in those who are so prone, but that shame can eventually morph into resentment if it is seen later to be exploitative and unwarranted. 

Monday, August 10, 2015

BACKWARD


Religion is more popular in the U.S. than in the rest of the developed world. Yet Americans are becoming less and less willing to support social programs through taxes and direct engagement with government. This is backward.

Europeans, who suffered through the labor pains of the Reformation in a way which the U.S. avoided in its infancy, evolved gradually from religious observance to application of social programs in civil society. Social programs in Europe do not suffer currently from their secularism. They suffer from the joint pressures of American capitalism and overpopulation.

Asian societies, such as Japan and Taiwan, have more civilized social programs than the U.S.. These countries do not base their social responsiveness on Christianity, obviously, or even on Buddhism, which is not a philosophy of social interdependence by any means. These societies have evolved through wars and privation to reach their current level of social responsibility to the individual. Education, health care and elder care are pillars of their social programs.

So, America the Religious is America the Uncaring. This is backward. And, it is hard not to separate it from the current materialism of the Judeo-Christian message, based in equally religious capitalism.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

MICROSCOPES


My homosexual brothers and sisters have been scrutinized by biological and social sciences for decades. Our networking habits, our sexual habits and our thought patterns have been dissected, exposed and widely discussed in predominantly heterosexual media. And, after being looked at under various microscopes, we have been electro-shocked, castrated, lobotomized and executed. During the rising liberation movement (mid 1970s - early 1980s), a mere 15 years, heterosexual media were fascinated and horrified by gay/lesbian activism. The rise of San Francisco as a "gay Mecca", a particularly heinous analogy in light of the current rise in homophobic Islam, was a staple in heterosexual press reports which varied from admiration to casting the city as a hybrid of Sodom and Gomorrah.

It is impossible for me, as a gay man of 65, not to look at the following decades with the same skeptical analysis applied to my brothers and sisters for so long. For example, I do not think that the AIDS epidemic, which crushed the ascendancy of Gay Liberation after its short rise, was an accident. I do not think that the assassinations of Harvey Milk and Mayor Moscone in San Francisco were the random acts of one lunatic. I do not think that the steering of Gay Liberation toward heterosexual models of traditional marriage and military service was solely the idea of gay/lesbian activists. I suspect that some of The West's hesitancy to crush fundamentalist Islam and Judaism in the Middle East is rooted in homophobia and misogyny. I observe that heterosexuals in power, who often decry the concept of 'social engineering', are masters of it when it is applied to homosexuals.

I have looked at heterosexuals through my own microscope over my six decades of conscious observations. Some heterosexuals become incensed when I share those observations publicly!

For example, heterosexuals, male and female, are the ultimate sexual hypocrites. Young heterosexuals I have encountered are just as promiscuous as gay men and lesbians, if not more so. They do have more opportunity, since they are the vast majority. All sexually oriented institutions market to them as vigorously as they market to gay men and more vigorously than they market to lesbians. Yet, heterosexuals in general venerate monogamy publicly, often in conjunction with the sanctity of sexual reproduction. How absurd is this? The divorce rate in the U.S., for example, is now around 50%. Is that an advertisement for heterosexual monogamy? No. Is it evidence that heterosexuals are so committed to the welfare of their progeny that they will stick together in adversity? No.

Heterosexual women, even conservative heterosexual women, are attracted to the company of gay men. Heterosexual men, even conservative heterosexual men, are famously fascinated and sexually aroused by lesbian sexuality. The majority of heterosexuals in the U.S. approve of gay marriage. Yet, what would be the percentage of heterosexual parents who would be eager to have a gay son or lesbian daughter? I could find no statistics on this, but I speculate the real number would be a single digit, if that. In other words, "I like gay/lesbian people, but I wouldn't want to reproduce one."

Heterosexuals in racial/ethnic minorities in the U.S. are the most homophobic. "It's a lifestyle choice." That is their mantra, whether it be uttered in Chinese, Spanish or Ebonics. Gay/Lesbian people in these communities/families in the U.S. suffer horrors similar to the horrors suffered by gay/lesbian people in Central America, Africa, China, and the Middle East. Homophobia doesn't respect borders either. Yet, this is never addressed by mainstream heterosexual media. A large percentage of the homeless adolescents in American cities are gay/lesbian youth, between 20-40% according to varied estimates. In other words, between two and four times the gay/lesbian presence in the general population by conservative estimates. A majority of these homeless teens are from minority communities.  If monogamy and good parenting are such precious heterosexual ideals, how could this happen?

Reproductive rights are a constant topic among heterosexual women in the West. This is so ingrained in the general culture, that out gay men and lesbians, indoctrinated into heterosexual models, are now reproducing through natural and unnatural methods. The children born into these situations are wanted, the products of intentional pregnancies. But, in the U.S., about 50% of all pregnancies, vastly heterosexual,  are still unintentional. This begs the questions, "What about the rights of those reproduced unintentionally?"

The most vehement persecutors of homosexual men and women are religious heterosexuals of all faiths. Virulent hate speech against homosexuals spews forth in churches, mosques and synagogues around the planet every single day. This is considered freedom of religious belief. However, the same rhetoric in quality, if preached against Muslims, Blacks or Jews in many developed countries, would get the attention of security services or secret police. No such governmental vigilance against homophobic speech occurs. Freedom of bigoted, heterosexually oriented religion trumps the poisonous effects of this speech on the minds of children who are subjected to it. 

I have had no choice but to assimilate into heterosexual culture. Heterosexuals control government, banking, military, most retail venues, most social venues, etc.. In my youth, this assimilation was absolutely necessary to avoid exile and abuse. I learned secrecy by default out of fear for my physical survival. When I threw off that cloak of secrecy at the age of 20, my heterosexual family first tried to bully me back into secrecy and then rejected me outright when I refused. My friends from college told me to never contact them again. I was homeless and friendless. And society was perfectly OK with that, because I was "one of those". However, when I later learned that there was a homosexual tradition/culture which extended back throughout human history, I realized I was indeed one of those. I have been dissected and examined inside and out. I have emerged with self respect. I can stand alone if I must. And, most importantly, I have known real love, real honesty, real compassion, not just hollow conformity. 



Wednesday, August 5, 2015

CASTRATION

Example of media fascination/ with the transgender movement. 

I recently sent a letter to a medical committee in Oregon's government. I expressed my objection to their approval of and advocacy for gender reassignment for 15-year-olds without parental consent paid for by Medicaid. My objection to their decision was based in recent research which strongly indicates that the adolescent brain is incapable of making decisions on the same level of cognitive function as a matured adult brain. This research has been cited in defense of juvenile offenders in the criminal justice system all over the U.S..

The transgender-rights movement in the U.S. is gaining momentum. It is highly politicized and fueled in part by media celebrities like Caitlin Jenner and Alexis Arquette. A focus of the movement has been the easy insurance-funded access to medical-surgical procedures for people with issues of gender dysphoria (discomfort). The Oregon decision included Medicaid funding for gender reassignment. While I have reservations about the overall scrutiny and application of strict ethical guidelines applied to transgender "treatment" in general, I am most concerned about the welfare of adolescents who may confuse their own self-victimizing homophobia with a gender identity disorder.

Full gender reassignment entails some form of castration and/or mutilation. One medical definition: Excision of the gonads (bilateral orchiectomy in a male or bilateral oophorectomy in a female), or destruction of the gonads, as by radiation or parasites. In the U.S., these procedures are being carried out by licensed medical personnel.

The crux of my letter to the Oregon committee was a questioning of the medical ethics of carrying out castrations on adolescents, who may in fact be reacting to sexual preference rather than gender confusion. Allowing these disturbed adolescents to make permanent life-shaping decisions about the state of their otherwise healthy bodies is, in my opinion, a violation of the prime medical directive: First do no harm. I did not receive a response or even a recognition of receipt of my letter. This did not surprise me.

Transgender-rights activists have powerful allies, not only in the entertainment industry. Gender reassignment is itself an industry. It yields significant income to plastic surgeons, endocrinologists, urologists and psychotherapists. Pro-transgender medical professionals have operated largely under the radar of insurance companies, ethics boards and government. They have worked within private clinical settings without much public scientific scrutiny. The greater body of the medical profession, which is still conservative in most of the U.S., has seemed satisfied to allow transgender treatment to remain a private fief of those medical personnel who are prone to support the political agenda of the transgender-rights movement. But this is neither scientific nor professional. 

I support the right of anyone to identify as any gender. I think anyone should have the right to walk down any street in America or elsewhere in any form of gender expression without being abused. That is simply the right to personal safety for any human being who is not being intrusive or violating the human rights of others. However, self-castration in an adolescent would be a symptom of severe mental illness. How is it that allowing a medical professional to castrate an adolescent on demand without parental consultation is not considered unethical, if not criminal? And why is this extreme form of addressing a mental condition becoming politicized at the expense of general governmental/medical oversight and more research? 

It is notable that male-to-female transgender behavior and gender reassignment is acceptable in some of the least permissive Third World societies on the planet. Is this really surprising? In societies where it can be suicidal to be an open male homosexual, it is much less of a risk to disguise oneself as a woman. By doing so, in those societies, the male homosexual can enlist the support of sympathetic women who are equally oppressed by male patriarchy. 

Here is my question: Is sufficient care being taken by the medical profession in the U.S to ensure that a male homosexual or female homosexual child is not mutilated under the assumption that his/her internalized homophobia is actually gender identity disorder? I believe that the Oregon policy does not ensure the safety of the homosexual child who is severely homophobic and poorly educated in sex and the existence of functional homosexual lives. Such a child would most likely see his/her homosexuality as his/her gender-related problem rather than a problem of a homophobic family and community.

The suicide rate of post-op transgender adults is twenty times higher than that of the general population. Sex change reversals are quite common, but do not restore a normal human body to the patient by any means. Sexual satisfaction and orgasmic sensations are permanently altered by reassignment surgeries. There are great risks in gender reassignment surgery, as with most other plastic surgeries entailing nerve/glandular involvement.  

In an age when global feminist activists are trying to stamp out Female Genital Mutilation, which irreversibly damages millions of  pre-adolescent and adolescent women all over the planet, the castration and mutilation of adolescents by medical professionals in the U.S. is being given a pass. Brain science research does not support this as ethical or rational. The risk that these procedures can simply be another tool for homophobic professionals and parents to victimize victims of homophobia is real. 

Saturday, August 1, 2015

CRIME AND POVERTY

Picture from a site which sells gang tours of LA. 
Typical media merging of crime and poverty for profit. 

I deeply resent the current association of crime with poverty by rich Neo-Liberals and religious Republicans. Suddenly crime is excused as an automatic result of poverty. This is utter nonsense. 

Despite being White and old, I have also been young and poor. When I rejected my working class family of origin after they physically and psychology abused me for being gay, I was 20 years old and had very little money in the bank. That money soon evaporated due to the scarcity of decent employment during the recession of the early 1970's. I lived from meager paycheck to meager paycheck. But I worked at whatever would yield a paycheck. I did not start selling drugs or robbing convenience stores. 

Many of us in the early Gay Liberation movement were poor, unlike the lobbyist-supporting married gay couples of this time. We demonstrated on the streets peacefully. We did not have money to build flashy floats or corporate-styled banners. We did not fly around to international circuit parties. Despite being persecuted as criminals all over the world throughout history, we also did not exploit the weapons of rioting and looting, even though our brothers and sisters in Manhattan had broken through heterosexual consciousness at Stonewall by rioting. We were poor, but we were not criminals. It took the de facto pardoning of the assassin of one of our greatest leaders, Harvey Milk, to cause a riot. 

Every week there are shootings and stabbings in Boston's minority neighborhoods. Many spokespersons in the political realm are quick to explain this violence as an inevitable outgrowth of poverty. I don't buy it. Why? Because I converse with people who live in those communities regularly. They are the clerks and customers at my local shopping center. They are hard-working people, like the people I came from. And many of them are poor by American standards. Many of them are women, who had children at too young an age. Equating their poverty with the criminal acts of sociopaths is an insult to their hard efforts to make their lives better against massive odds.

The back story of equating poverty with crime in the political realm and in media is simple. Politicians know that Americans will never cough up enough tax dollars to abolish crime or poverty. So, it is self-serving for them to shrug and conflate the two. They can then walk away from the podium and do nothing about either problem. The media are loathe to accept responsibility for the exploitation of crime stories for profits. They are loathe to look at the social impact of their exploitation of gang rap or drug culture for profits. The media love to exploit poverty stories as well. The weeping mother of seven with no teeth at 30 is enshrined like a saint without any follow-up stories about women, poverty, sex education and planned parenthood. It is more likely that her story will be followed by lauding coverage of the birth of quintuplets to a rich women who used IVF. 

Being born poor in America is most often a life sentence. All the touting of entrepreneurial salvation in megachurches only makes the preacher richer and the suckers who pay him poorer. It's an old and proven con game, practiced over and over again on Sundays in impoverished minority communities coast to coast. And who has the ear of politicians and media in those communities? Pastors. Is there any question why the most religious among us are also the poorest, not by choice, but by indoctrination? And is there any wonder why some in those communities turn to enraged criminal violence when they are awakened to the con game? 

Crime is a choice, but most often poverty isn't. They are not intrinsically linked. The greatest crime in a wealthy nation is to ignore the causes of both and do nothing. That is the white-collar crime of the rich and powerful.