Archive for May, 2008

Why Marriage is Unconstitutional and Illegal: The Gay Marriage Solution:

Thursday, May 29th, 2008

(Reprinted with permission from Moral Values, Politics & You, MoDaus Publishing 2006)

Many argue against same sex marriage because marriage is sacred and reserved only for a man and a woman. Some even argue that God consecrated it. Paradoxically, if it is sacred then marriage is unconstitutional. Besides that, restricting marriage to only a man and a woman is illegal because it violates many of the Civil Rights laws and decisions of the last half-century. So, how can this be and how can these problems be avoided?

The US Constitution mandates the separation of church and state and the freedom of religion. This means that civil laws and practices must be free of religious beliefs and practices and civil laws cannot restrict religious beliefs and practices that do not violate civil laws.

Declaring marriage solely as a union between a man and woman is based on religious beliefs and violates the constitutional separation of Church and State. This definition of marriage also restricts the freedom of religion by not allowing religious beliefs and practices that permit marriages between same sex couples. Thus, all marriages as they stand now are unconstitutional.

Another argument against same sex marriage has been tradition. Marriage reserved solely for a man and woman is based on societal customs reaching back millennia. Yet, the recent legislative and judicial scrutiny of the legal traditions prohibiting same sex marriages are based on the civil rights laws and court decisions of the last 50 years. These guarantee equal protection under the law for many diverse groups including homosexuals. In light of these equal protection laws, some states and their courts have struggled with the prohibition of marriage for same sex couples based on tradition.

Some states have tried to solve the equal protection under the law conundrum by instituting separate-but-equal “civil unions” for same sex couples while maintaining the same sex marriage prohibition. Yet, separate-but-equal laws are deemed inherently unequal. Furthermore, establishing civil unions should allow religious same sex marriages due to freedom of religion guarantees. Thus, the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled that marriage must be available to same sex couples and that civil unions are not equal and therefore cannot be substituted.

Proposed United States and State constitutional amendments that restrict marriage to a union between a man and a woman while allowing for civil unions for same sex couples are problematic.

At worst, these amendments would discard the constitutional separation of church and state and freedom of religion provisions of these constitutions. These would also negate many of the civil rights laws and decisions of the last half-century.

At best, these amendments would discard the constitutional separation of church and state and invalidate freedom of religion for marriage only. And, they would negate equal protection under the law’s legislation and court decisions for marriage only. Trying to decipher the legal quagmire these amendments create would be hopeless. Neither situation is acceptable.

The strong desire to have religious and traditional beliefs and practices regarding marriage protected by civil law is no longer possible. There needs to be an alternative solution and actually a simple one is available.

The solution is to make marriage a religious or traditionalist belief and practice and make civil unions the civil law and practice. Thus, everyone would have equal civil unions under the law. Those who want to marry may do so within their religious beliefs and practices. Non-religious traditionalists would be able to set up secular organizations with traditions and practices that reserve marriage for a man and a woman. For this solution to work, it is key that a civil, religious or traditional ceremony legalizes the civil union. Thus, one ceremony would be all that is needed.

There is precedent for this solution. Many Eastern Bloc countries did not recognize religious marriage ceremonies and mandated civil ceremonies in order to have state-recognized unions. So, in these countries couples frequently have a civil ceremony followed by a religious one so as to have both civilly and religiously recognized unions/marriages. With the proposed solution, multiple ceremonies would not be needed.

This solution is attractive because it preserves the constitutional separation of church and state and freedom of religion. It would also preserve marriage under religious and traditional beliefs and practices. So, in the final analysis, same sex, religious and traditional marriages are all unconstitutional and civil unions for all are the only civil law solution possible.

Being in the World in Good Faith–Sarte

Thursday, May 22nd, 2008

One of the most difficult things in the world is to be true to ones own self. We are frequently denying ones self in order to please others or not to hurt them. This is healthy but at what point does it become unhealthy?

Most women and some men are Feelers in the Myers-Briggs Survey. The defend others because they don’t want them hurt. But, some Feelers defend others even when it hurts them! I believe being a Feeler is fine but it becomes unhealthy when it starts to hurt ones self. That is the point to draw the line.

So, what if what one needs to do to be in the world in good faith requires activities not approved or even hurtful to another. Well if that person doesn’t need to know about it then it is OK. We live our own lives and are responsible for our own happiness; yet, we should not hurt others if it is not with their consent or of no benefit to them.

For example, confessing to an affair just hurt the spouse or significant other while relieving ones self of the burden. This is selfish and not being in the world in good faith to ones self or the spouse. If you can’t stand to keep the secret, i.e., burden, then don’t do it. Instead work out the issues that are leading to whatever activity must be kept secret or change your circumstances. But, don’t tell just for your own benefit.

Don Miguel Ruiz in his book The Four Agreements points out that our live is our dream and not others dreams. We should not ruin others dreams. We should be impeccable with our words, don’t take anything personally, ask questions and do our best. Doing this means we have a good chance of being in the world in good faith!

Is Our Germ-Phobia Making Us Sick?

Monday, May 19th, 2008

Bacteria (“germs”) have such an mandatory and critical role in the environment and in our bodies that without them both would die. If we would die without bacteria, why do we have a germ-phobia?

A very tiny minority of bacteria (<0.1%) cause diseases. In reality, these harmful bacteria are poor competitors and just barely survive in the presence of the much more pervasive harmless and beneficial bacteria. Instead these toxic bacteria wait for an opportunity when the harmless and beneficial bacteria are adversely effected, and then they multiply and take over and as a result cause disease. This is why they are clinically called "opportunistic infections." In fact, it was recently reported that the appendix functions as a repository of harmless and beneficial bacteria that colonizes the gut after a disease process displaces them. In health care facilities, opportunistic infections occur because antibiotics and disinfections kill the pervasive harmless and beneficial bacteria allowing the harmful bacteria to flourish. Could the same be happening in our homes? The number of home products that "disinfect" and "kill 99%" of bacteria are growing rapidly and advertised regularly. These products are actually killing the beneficial and harmless bacteria giving the harmful bacteria opportunities! This could be the reason opportunistic infections are occurring outside health care facilities, i.e., in our homes and schools. It is well documented that children that grow up with pets in the home and otherwise called "dirty" have fewer allergies and asthma than children that grow up without pets in the home and otherwise called "clean". It appears that exposure to bacteria in childhood is important to growing up without allergies and asthma. So, are we too clean and focused on what we can't see? Do we need to rethink what the capitalist and advertisers are telling us about germs so they can sell us their products using false fear? Should everyone have pets and be less clean? Is our germ-phobia making us sick? The simple answer is an emphatic "Yes!"

My Happiness is My Responsibility!

Wednesday, May 14th, 2008

No one can make me happy unless I let them and I can make myself happy. Therefore, my happiness is my responsibility.

It is unreasonable to make someone else responsible for our individual happiness since it is an impossible task for anyone else. Happiness is a feeling and all feelings are internal. Stimuli that generate happiness one time do not necessarily generate the same feeling the next or any other time. How can anyone else except oneself know that? Waiting for someone who we have burdened with our happiness will lead to long periods between happiness and even periods of unhappiness. There are many unhappy spouses waiting for their spouse to make them happy. Taking the initiative to making oneself happy is a much easier way to be happy.

Yet, we should not be responsible for other’s unhappiness in pursuit of our own happiness. This may not always be possible. Ex-Gov. Spitzer of NY pursued his own happiness with a prostitute probably believing he was sparing his wife his happiness burden and not causing some “other woman” unhappiness. Ironically, he would have been better off having an affair since that apparently is the norm among his colleagues. Thus, their needs to be a ranking of things that result in our happiness and also cause others unhappiness. What is then done depends on ones moral values. There are no right or wrong answers.

We are responsible for our own individual happiness. So, stop burdening others and start being happy!

Are Humans Just Pawns in the Earth’s Recycling Plans?

Monday, May 12th, 2008

Over the billions of years, one comes to wonder if there is rhyme or reason to the slow yet monumental changes that the earth undergoes. Continental drifts with tectonic plates smashing against each other and the evolutionary changes of life on the planet that several times has been decreased by 90% only to bounce back. Finally, why have human beings been so favored in the last epoch. Is there a reason behind all this?Teleologically, there must be a reason and earth’s recycling of its resources may be it.

The environment on earth has varied dramatically over eons. Different ages have had markedly different amount of gases in the atmosphere along with widely varying temperatures. Warming and ice ages variations have been well documented.

Yet, in the previous recent epochs a massive amount of carbon dioxide in the form of plants and animals was sequestered deep under the earth. This sequestered carbon dioxide are called hydrocarbons and commonly known as oil and gas.

Now, if the native intelligence of the earth, i.e., Gaia wanted to recycle this carbon dioxide, how would it do it? Certainly, catastrophic upheavals and fires would release this carbon dioxide but would also destroy the surface of the earth leaving it lifeless. No further use of life would be possible.

An alternative would be to allow the evolutions of intelligent beings that could extract and burn these hydrocarbons. With the recycling of it carbon dioxide the continually changes in the physical earth would continue.

So, in the finally analysis, human beings may just be pawns in Gaia’s recycling plans.

Wise Consumption: Saving Ourselves Out of Debt Through Quality and Limiting Waste

Friday, May 9th, 2008

Our consumption is being financed through debt and no longer sustainable. We have too much debt and paying too much to carry it. Among other ways, we can help save ourselves out of debt through wise consumption.

Our debt carrying charges pay for all the banks on every corner. Much of this real estate is very expensive meaning we are paying dearly to the carriers of our debt. The billions of dollars in bonuses paid to money managers also increases our debt. This occurs because we are not being given all of our earnings but instead some are paid out to the money managers. Less earnings mean more debt or less debt repayment for us.

Therefore limiting waste means selecting financial institutions with the lowest charges. Low credit card interests and no load funds with low service charges are best. These are easier to find than most people think. We must learn to shop and bargain for financial services just like we shop and bargain for other things we buy. Maybe it’s time for the return to credit unions or establishment of mutual banks whose interests for the customers rather than for stockholders.

Besides limiting financial wastes, Americans must buy quality. Quality cannot be quantified (because then it is a quantity and not a quality!) but it can be described. Buying efficient, durable, reusable and recyclable products is wise and certainly saves.

First, our products must become efficient and stop the current massive wastes of energy. We need highly efficient cars, homes, appliances, etc. All light bulbs must be florescent, cars hybrid or with high miles-per-gallon (certainly over 40 mpg) and we need to build solar panels into every new weather-tight home. Also, water heaters need be tankless and the use of trickle charges must stop. Quality means high efficiency and no waste.

Second, we need to make our products durable. Throwing something away to buy new ones is no longer an option. “Quality time of use–QTU” metric should be developed to compare products. This metric would predict the length in time that the product would keep at least 80% of it usefulness. Non-durable product consumption not only increases debt but also creates waste that is expensive. Quality should include durability.

Third, quality must include reusability. The throwaway products that abound are for convenience only and meant to increase consumption and thus increase costs. A alternative to the disposable diapers is needed. There is opportunity and saving in this and any reusable alternative to disposable products. Quality means reusability.

Finally, quality means recyclable. Once a product cannot be reused, it must be recyclable. Products made with non-recyclable components need to have a “waste tax” added. This tax would pay for the costs of disposing of these products.

Saving ourselves out of debt is possible through wise consumption, i.e., buying quality and limiting waste.

Giving Americans a Debt Break: Passing on the World’s Consumer Mantle

Thursday, May 8th, 2008

Through our consumption, Americans have sequentially built the US, European, Japanese, Korean, and now other Asian economies. Our transfer of massive wealth through consumption has been mutually beneficial. Yet, Americans have financed their consumption in the last two decades with credit, i.e., debt. Consumption through debt accumulation is no longer sustainable for Americans; therefore, it is time to pass the mantle of world’s consumer to others.

American’s standard of living has been based on consumption. This consumption has led to competition, innovation and the expansion and creation of new products and markets. Many innovations from basic science discoveries would not have been developed into consumer products without underlying American consumption. Thus, the world is a much better place because of American’s voracious consumption.

As long as this consumption was based on using increasing wealth, the consumption and growth were hand-in-hand. However, in the last two decades American consumption has been based not on using increasing wealth but instead on using debt, esp. credit card debt. The lending industries for their benefit have used all sorts of measures to increase consumption through increasing debt. The most recent has been the cashing-in of home equity. This debt (credit card, mortgage, etc.) is no longer sustainable. Americans need to consume less and produce more to pay down their debts. We need to get back into balance and this requires giving up on being the world’s consumers.

It already looks like China and India, the worlds two largest populations, are on the brink of becoming voracious consumers. They like Americans must consume their national production to build up their economies as Americans did after World War II. Once the get their national economies sustained, they must also consume American products to give back some wealth for our debt repayment.

The falling American dollar benefits Americans in debt repayment. We are able to sell abroad for less and what we have to pay back is less. It also discourages further consumption from abroad since imports are more expensive. Nevertheless, the dollar cannot fall continually without a negative impact nationally and internationally. We need to decrease our borrowing to improve the dollar.

In summary, American’s debt is no longer sustainable; therefore, other nations need to take up the mantle of the world’s consumers if the global economy. It is time for debt relief for Americans.

Celebrating a Life Before Death: The Awake Wake

Tuesday, May 6th, 2008

The only prerequisite for life is death. Except for a couple of biblical exceptions every living thing has died or will at some time die. In spite of this fact, the end-of-life is poorly managed by most people. Many have regrets or remorse at the funeral regarding not having done or said something they wanted to do or say. The is an answer–the Awake Wake or some suitably named function.

The Wake is an Irish tradition of having a party with the person believed dead present. This tradition started before science was able to accurately determine death and some people in comas were thought dead. It was presumptive evidence that if the person believed dead did not wake up during the boisterous party, then they were really dead.

Wakes or like events are still traditional even though no one expects the decease to awaken. They are memorial services where survivors and other can mourn. Eulogies are common and many of these eulogies express regret or remorse at not having had an opportunity to have a “good-bye” conversation with the decease. Then they elucidate what would have been said.

A new tradition is needed where the gathering is held before death. This is especially needed when the dying person is still cognizant and can be present for these good-bye opportunities. I call it an “Awake Wake” but it can be called anything such as “Good-Bye Party”, “Remembrance Gathering” or anything else desired.

This gathering can be a party, play, religious ceremony or scripted function as planned by the dying person and those sponsoring the function. Out of respect, it is mandatory that the dying person approve the function and agree to attend. Also, everyone that the dying person consent to may have a public or private opportunities for their good-bye visit.

We celebrate birth dates and many other events. We need to celebrate the end of a life while the person who is the reason for the celebration can still attend. It will provide closure and a lot fewer regrets and less remorse than now occurs among the survivors.

Disrespecting Science for Gain: The Asbestosis Abatement Example

Sunday, May 4th, 2008

Science strives to be as objective and factual as possible. Although an impossibility, it is nevertheless a necessary goal. Yet, capitalists and politicians frequently ignore, misinterpret, distort and otherwise change the scientific facts for their own personal gains. This disrespect hurts not only science but the general populous as well.

For example, name one product other than cigarettes where the manufacture factually states that “their is no safe use of our product.” After decades of distorting science, cigarette manufactures are now using science to legally protect themselves. So, why is an always unsafe product still being manufactured and not regulated strictly? Capitalists are having their cake and eating it too at the expense of smokers. Cigarettes need to be regulated like narcotics, but wait! Paradoxically, there is even safe use of narcotics but nevertheless they are regulated. Governments needs to bite the bullet and strictly regulate the manufacture of tobacco products.

Another example of science being distorted is asbestos abatement. Asbestos is ubiquitous and even in the air we breathe. Asbestosis exposure is by inhalation and needs to be heavy or massive and very prolonged over years for damage to occur in only a few. So why asbestos and it handling treated as if someone was handling a hazardous material?

This process started with the pervasive litigation for asbestos related diseases–asbestosis (lung disease) and mesothelioma (pleural based cancer)–in workers exposed before its regulation. Since these diseases occurred decades after exposures, the workers exposed have long died or are very elderly. Guidelines in the 60’s and 70’s prevented a new generations of workers from asbestosis exposure.

Nevertheless, lawyers who reaped or hope to reap the riches from diseases due to exposure to asbestosis next targeted litigation for exposure only with potential disease, i.e., not actual disease. They were successful.

Capitalists not wanting to be left out had rules and regulations generated that requires the management of asbestosis removal like the management of a highly hazardous material. There were people who actually inhaled asbestosis dust for years without disease; yet, the removal of asbestosis containing material that does NOT create dust still requires ridiculous costly methods.

The is no science behind the asbestosis abatement regulations and processes. There is much more danger in global warming, driving, guns, tobacco use, dietary supplements and many other unregulated sold items. There is science behind these hazards but the money for capitalists is in allowing them rather than regulating them. Capitalist thus distort science in whichever way they want for personal gain and to the detriment of the populous.

Ironically, governments that frequently pay for this science are the same governments that support distortions for capitalist’s personal gain. It needs to start being the government of the people and for the people and use science to protect the people. It needs stop being the government of the capitalists and for the capitalists!

The Self: Always Present and Always Unknowable

Thursday, May 1st, 2008

‘Me, Myself and I’ was a common defiant and playful assertion of my childhood that I never hear any more. I have always been curious about the meaning of this triad. The ‘I’ and ‘Me’ are well described but the ‘Self’ has defied description and understanding. Nevertheless, it is possible to explain why the Self is indescribable and unknowable even when it is always present.

The “I” is ones Personality which is well described and is how one consciously deals with external relationships. The personality is how others see us. The “Me” is ones Character which is also well described and is how we each consciously deal with our internal relationships. The character is how I see me. In contrast, the “Self” is how our unconscious deal with both internal and external relationships. Being unconscious makes it indescribable and unknowable.

This unconscious’ interface to the inner and outer conscious worlds is opaque making it indescribable. Even though “gut feelings”, micro-expressions and other pre-conscious events are physical manifestations of the unconscious Self, it remains unknowable because why these manifestations occur remains unconscious. In other words, even though the Self’s effects can be observed, the causes for reacting the way it did remain unknown.

The Self knows everything about our personality and character and is constantly aware of all our surrounding conscious and unconscious external and internal events. And, the Self is prepared to react. When someone ‘snaps’ or ‘loses it’ and does not know why they reacted how they did, it is the Self that has taken over. Neurophysiologists distinguish between “higher” and conscious reactions that predominately involves the prefrontal lobes and the “lower” and unconscious reactions that predominately involves the amygdala. But, these Self reactions are much more than just the amygdala taking over since the resulting actions are varied and individual. Nevertheless, why the Self reacts the way it did remains unknowable.

Many of the internal ‘voices’ we all hear throughout our lives are conscious manifestations of repressions. These voices are described as the anima or animus, shadow, archetypal parents, inner child and fossilized-at-one(or more)-age(s) us. As repressed these voices are closer to the unconscious Self than our personality or character. As intermediaries, these voices give the Self access to the personality and character. Repressing the Self accessing us is to risk retribution from the Self through personality and/or character disorders. These self destructive behaviors include addictions such as alcohol, drugs, sex, pornography, multimedia and food; depression, obsessive-compulsive disorders, anxiety and other abnormal behaviors. Acknowledging and accommodating these internal voices through which the Self communicates will help alleviate conscious and unconscious conflicts in ones lives and lets one live a more harmonious life. Our personality and character are in line with our Self.

Another way to reveal the Self is through intimacy. Closeness reveals others to us in our presence while intimacy reveals our Self to us in the presence of another. Closeness occurs with those we are familiar while intimacy is strange and easier with strangers. Being intimate with those with whom we are close is difficult. Paradoxically, the Internet through Internet Disinhibition is a growing form of intimacy.

Journalling, psychotherapy, meditation, conscious dreaming, dreaming, yoga, etc. are ways to acknowledge the presence of the Self and make one consciously aware of its manifestations. This activities are required because the Self’s interface to the conscious is very weak and easily overwhelmed by consciousness unless an noted one ‘snaps’ or ‘loses it’. An effort to clear the conscious to let the unconscious Self communicate is the rule.

Many of us mull, stew or ruminate over a problem or concern until a ‘breakthrough’ occurs. This process eventually allows the Self to breakthrough to the conscious with an insight. Ironically, this breakthrough usually occurs when we are not consciously thinking about the problem or concern; thus, allowing us to become aware of the unconscious Self’s solution. Thus, the “eureka” moment is from the Self.

The Self is wonderfully unknowable yet always present. Being available to the Self’s communications is key to being in the world in good faith to ones Self.