Archive for March, 2012

Our Yearning for Consciousness Stated Lyrically & Beautifully By Billy Joel

Monday, March 12th, 2012

In his lyrics of the song “The River of Dreams” from his album “The River of Dreams” Billy Joel beautifully states the human’s desire, fervor, quest, yearning to understand one’s Self consciously and to achieve Oneness with Self, i.e., consciousness and subconscious. Actually the whole album relates to this yearning. The lyrics are below. What follows are some insightful questions I see asked by them.

“In the middle of the night
I go walking in my sleep
From the mountains of faith
To a river so deep

I must be looking for something
Something sacred I lost
But the river is wide
And it’s too hard to cross

And even though I know the river is wide
I walk down every evening and I stand on the shore
And try to cross to the opposite side
So I can finally find out what I’ve been looking for

In the middle of the night
I go walking in my sleep
Through the valley of fear
To a river so deep

And I’ve been searching for something
Taken out of my soul
Something I would never lose
Something somebody stole

I don’t know why I go walking at night
But now I’m tired and I don’t want to walk anymore
I hope it doesn’t take the rest of my life
Until I find what it is that I’ve been looking for

In the middle of the night
I go walking in my sleep
Through the jungle of doubt
To a river so deep

I know I’m searching for something
Something so undefined
That it can only be seen
By the eyes of the blind

In the middle of the night

I’m not sure about a life after this
God knows I’ve never been a spiritual man
Baptized by the fire, I wade into the river
That runs to the promised land

In the middle of the night
I go walking in my sleep
Through the desert of truth
To the river so deep

We all end in the ocean
We all start in the streams
We’re all carried along
By the river of dreams

In the middle of the night”

Here are but a few questions that these lyrics bring us for meditation, contemplation, pondering.

“I must be looking for something.
Something sacred I lost”

What sacred something do we feel we have lost?

“I try to cross to the opposite side
So I can finally find out what I’ve been looking for”

What are we continually looking for? What drives this search?

“I’ve been searching for something taken out of my soul
Something I would never lose, something somebody stole”

What was taken out of our soul? Who stole it?

“I know I’m searching for something, something so undefined
That it can only be seen by the eyes of the blind
In the middle of the night ”

What are we searching for that can only be seen by the the eyes of the blind, i.e., while we are asleep?
Hint: an alternative to sleep is “vivid dreaming” google it and see what it is

5) (My truth included…now give me your truth)
“I go walking in my sleep
Through the desert of truth to the river so deep”

Truth is barren, desolate, nothing. The opposite of a truth is ANOTHER truth!
The river so deep is our own subconscious that goes on forever.
I you look out into space you can see/imagine that it goes on forever and ever.
The same is true for our own subconscious. You can look/visualize into it as far as you see/imagine space.
Both the outer world AND our inner world are infinite!!! THAT IS GOD and then much more. 🙂

6) (My truth again. What is your truth?)
“We all end in the ocean, we all start in the streams
We’re all carried along by the river of dreams”

We begin life with minimal (“streams”) of consciousness, awareness of our inner and outer worlds.
As our consciousness grows it joins the much greater (“ocean”) consciousness that is the nirvana, heaven on earth, etc. This ocean is shared consciousness with everyone that has made it that far. Everyone has the capacity to go from their streams to the ocean but few do.

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Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

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Lies, Liars and Framers: How Republicans Recurrently Win Through Deception

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

For historical reasons, the Republicans have anachronistic values that generally lead to minority positions on most current issues. Paradoxically, the Republicans must still convince enough other Americans to support their minority positions to gain a majority and have them enacted as public law or policy. Framing is the RepublicanÂ’s most commonly used tool for deceiving the general public into supporting their otherwise minority positions. Understanding framing and successfully developing counter-framing terminology is key to overcoming this currently successful and frequent way of lying to the American public.
To frame an issue is to shape or adapt an issue to a particular purpose. For Republicans the purpose of framing is to garner enough support and votes to advance and hopefully enact their otherwise unpopular minority values. Shaping or adapting issues for deceiving and getting their solutions implemented has proven very successful for Republicans.
An recent example of using framing to deceive is the Republican labeling of Obama’s mandate for insurance coverage of contraception as a “violation of Freedom of Religion.” Republican basic values are well known to be against contraception and that is why it is not currently covered by insurance companies. Rather than allowing Obama’s mandate to stand, they framed it as a violation of Freedom of Religion issue in an attempt to garner a majority to oppose it. They did this in spite of the fact that several Republican Governors had signed similar contraceptive coverage mandates in their States.
Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) went as far as proposing a vaguely worded morals amendment based on Freedom of Religion to an unrelated bill. This amendment would have allowed employers who are predominately Republican not cover anything they believed to be morally objectionable. This would not included only contraception which was not noted in the amendment but any other Republican minority health care value. The Republicans tried to use deception on one issue, i.e., contraception, to advance their minority values on many of their  issues. 
The Republican framing of this Spring’s perennial rise of gasoline prices as a failure of Obama Administration policies is an attempt to frame (pun intended) Obama for something even Republican Presidents can’t control. The same goes for blaming Obama for decreasing but still high unemployment that resulted from the Bush’s Regime economic catastrophes. 
The Republicans have successfully framed the 1% of top income earners in the US as “job creators” even though they have not shown that they are.  A savvy opposition could also frame them as “money hoarders,” “tax freeloaders,” “fair tax evaders” or even, “unAmerican tax dodgers.” For reasons of good media control, i.e., FOX, Republican framing quickly rises to top of news reporting and rapidly becomes the frame of choice leading to mass deceptions necessary to advance their issues.
Historically, the Republicans framed the inheritance tax as a “Death Tax” early in G. W. Bush’s Regime and successfully won. This led to a law gradual decreasing inheritance tax rates to zero in 2010. This meant George Steinbrenner’s inheritors received the billion dollar plus New York Yankee’s in 2010 without having to pay a cent of tax. 
In contrast, the inheritance tax could been counter-framed as a “left behind tax,” “you didn’t take it with you tax”, “time to pay back America tax” or even an “excessive inheritance tax” since it actually applied to very large inheritances only. Small inheritances were exempt from the previous inheritance law.
A series of deceptions through framing have advanced the Republican opposition to abortion. What started as a plain “anti-abortion” stance rapidly became a “Pro-Life” stance. Paradoxically, Pro-Lifers are major supporters of capital punishment! Next, Pro-lifers framed the fetus as a “baby.” When this was not successful they framed the fetus as a “child.” Biologically, pregnant woman have a fetus until it become viable after 22 weeks and pregnancy and then it is a neonate or baby. Being “with child” is a euphemism for being pregnant and not meant to rename a fetus.
Ironically, a Pro-Lifer caller to a recent NPR radio show attacked an opponent of Virginia’s law mandating pre-abortion vaginal ultrasounds as “rape.” She could not understand how she could call, i.e., frame, the ultrasound as “rape” when it was necessary to try “to save the life of a “child.” Obviously, framers for deception cannot tolerate opponents using framing to advance their cause(s). 
More recently, the deceitful and probably illegal framing of the Iraq War to successfully started it has been well documented. Many would have never supported the war if it had not been deceitfully framed as a “preemptive strike against weapons of mass destruction including nuclear and biological weapons.” Not only were there no such weapons, this framing was shown to be based on non-existing or purposely misinterpreted data.
Framing for deception has become a Republican norm since only a minority support any of their minority values. Framing has successfully deceived many majorities of the public into supporting Republican stances they would never otherwise support. Thus, framing is lying.
It is time to call Republican framing what it really is, i.e., lying and call Republican framers what they really are, i.e., liars. Only when framing is specifically pointed out as deceitful will the lying and liars be revealed and the public can truly make informed decisions. Counter-framing is probably a quick way to expose the Republican lying and liars.

Winning through ad hominem Diversions: A Too Common Republican Tactic

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

Republican Conservatives are repeatedly having to defend their unjustifiable positions. These positions are usually politically damaging especially in election years. Since their positions are unjustifiable and damaging, they recurrently resort to their most successful diverting tactic, i.e., attacking the person rather than addressing the issue(s). In successfully diverting attention from their unjustifiable positions to the person they attack, they limit political damage and are able to maintain their positions. Opponents on the issue must avoid falling for these diverting tactics and stay on issue if they are to press their points.
The most recent example of this tactic involves Rush Limbaugh’s attack on a young women for testifying in front of Congress by calling her “a slut” on his nationally syndicated radio show. She was testifying in support of mandated insurance coverage of contraceptives as an important Women’s Health Issue. Her testimony was inspired by Republican Conservative public and vigorous opposition to Obama’s Administration mandate of coverage. The Republican Conservative vigorous opposition was based on Freedom of Religion arguments even though several Republican Governors had signed similar mandates into law in their States. They hoped to gain politically by their opposition.
The Republican Conservative continued attacks on Obama’s insurance company mandate for contraceptive coverage resulted in unexpected and rapidly growing women’s backlash based on Women’s Health Issues. The Republican Conservatives all of a sudden were losing ground politically with women and Independents. 
Subsequently, Rush Limbaugh called this young woman “a slut.” Now, the issue is about Rush Limbaugh’s attack and no longer about Women’s Health. Rush laughs off criticism about his comments because he knows he has diverted a bullet for Republican Conservatives. He can only revel in his successful diversion knowing full well that they will rescue him from any dire consequences.
The attack tactic is called argumentum ad hominem or ad hominem ,for short. This attack is an attempt to negate the truth of a claim by pointing out a negative characteristic or belief of the person supporting it.
Variations of  ad hominem or personal attacks are:
1) Abusive ad hominem usually involves insulting or belittling one’s opponent in order to attack his claim or invalidate his argument, but can also involve pointing out true character flaws or actions that are irrelevant to the opponent’s argument. Thus, the young woman testifying is “a slut.”
2) Ad hominem circumstantial constitutes an attack on the bias of a source.
3) An ad feminam is a attack used in attempt to defeat a woman’s argument.
4) Ad hominem tu quoque refers to a claim that the source making the argument has spoken or acted in a way inconsistent with the argument.
As long as opponents let them get away with this diverting tactic, Republican Conservatives will continue use all of these ad hominem tactics to continue to divert attention from their unjustifiable issues. 
The only way to stop them is for opponents on issues to not allow ad hominem attacks divert attention from their initial issue and let the personal attack become the diverting issue. Instead, the ad hominem attack should generate another issue in addition to the initial issue. Only when their unjustifiable issues mount along with being taken to task for ad hominem attacks will the Republican Conservatives address issues successfully or lose any sense of legitimacy on the issue with the American people.

Our American Affliction: Idolatry of Money

Saturday, March 3rd, 2012

Tears ran down my cheeks as I read Aldous HuxleyÂ’s diagnosis of our worldÂ’s societal maladies. I cried because he wrote what I knew in my heart to be true and have not been able to put into words. Included in his book–The Perennial Philosophy, HuxleyÂ’s diagnosis is as accurate now as it was when first published in 1944. He basically wrote that the worldÂ’s people are beset with idolatry.

ItÂ’s easy to identify AmericaÂ’s idolatry—Money, the modern equivalent of the Golden Calf. Curiously, it is the obscene accumulation of money that is revered and not promiscuous spending since many without money spend shamelessly into untenable debt. ItÂ’s as if we cannot accumulate enough money and those who accumulate a lot are idolized but only if they continue to accumulate more. Intriguingly, wealth is not the goal or enough. Many of these accumulators of obscene amounts of money are wealthy many times over by any definition. The accumulation of money–not wealth–is the goal. This goal is pervasive in every aspect of American life including but not limited to governments, businesses, churches, sports and entertainment.

Yet, since greed is a commonly held as sin how does anyone acquire massive amounts of money and stay overtly sinless? Bizarrely, itÂ’s under the triple mantras of freedom, capitalism and moral values. The unholy trinity of freedom, capitalism and moral values is advanced by a very small minority of Americans for their great personal gain and in spite of repeated disastrous consequences. Each arm of the political-industrial-preacher alliance frames their idolatry for money with the support of the other two and for mutual financial benefits. Importantly, it is only a very small minority of each arena that are in this de facto alliance and many in this alliance intersect through jobs, political ties, groups, family, acquaintances, etc. Nonetheless, these few ruthlessly control a vast majority of power and wealth for their own personal gain.

American politicians promote freedom as it was always the American way. Yet, American women and minorities did not know freedom until the 1960Â’s. Even today, many Americans still donÂ’t know the freedom from the vicissitudes of daily living much less political freedom. ItÂ’s as if there is a freedom to be poor and the poor selected it. Instead, the cause of poverty is buried in the overall political will to keep the poor poor as a part of the freedom mantra.

Paradoxically, in the “war against terrorism” to defend American freedoms, our freedoms have been further limited. So, why is freedom championed when it limits freedom? Politicians championing freedom use this mantra to get elected. Thus, as in most political endeavors, power is the bottom line and championing freedom is their current way of gaining power. Why would we otherwise sanction war and its accompanying deaths—the ultimate lack of freedom—in the name of freedom?

Forced or imposed freedom is an oxymoron. Yet, the current American presidential regime is trying to impose freedom on a people who have never known freedom. If it took Americans 200 years to become somewhat free, why should we expect overnight freedom in other societies? Obviously, itÂ’s not about freedom; itÂ’s about power. But, power to what end? Not unexpectedly, power and personal gain, i.e., money go hand-in-hand. Thus, politicians worship freedom as a means to their ends to gain power and for their personal accumulation of money. We will see how this modus operundi fits well with capitalism.

Capitalism is the businessmanÂ’s mantra for the massive accumulation of personal money. Historically, uncontrolled capitalism easily leads to monopolies and massive personal money accumulation; so, capitalismÂ’s power is managed and its profits taxed by governments. Taxing capitalistsÂ’ profits mitigates its inequities and allows for providing for those that capitalists misuse and abuse for profit. Since the government came late to controlling capitalism, trade unions developed to counterbalance capitalismÂ’s restriction on personal freedoms and wealth distributions. Through political means, capitalists have essentially nullified labor unions and their mitigating effect on capitalistsÂ’ power.

Those who champion capitalism claim it benefits all in a society. Yet, how do they explain that 40% of Americans make less than a living wage, i.e., less than $18,000 per year? Capitalists champion capitalism because they can personally accumulate vast amounts of money. The politicianÂ’s alliance with capitalists involves decreasing capitalistsÂ’ taxes and government control in order for them to accumulate even more money. These capitalists then support the political campaigns of these politicians. Politicians and capitalists use money as reciprocal bonds for great mutual benefits.

Yet, less control for capitalism and less taxes for the very wealthy did not accumulate sufficient amounts of money for capitalists. The amounts werenÂ’t obscene and they wanted more! Wars greatly benefit capitalists and it would appear that the ill-conceived Iraq war was not about oil but instead about hideous capitalist profits. Most of the hundreds of billions of dollars for the war to preserve our freedom have gone into the personal pockets of American capitalists. And, as is their ways, capitalists let others do their bidding (i.e., dying) while they reap their fortunes. It appears that capitalists are fast becoming the modern day aristocracy.

“Globalization”, i.e., developing world markets according to American capitalism, is only the latest mantra to extend the hegemony of American capitalist abroad. Its success would greatly benefit American capitalists to the detriment of the local populous just like it has in the US. In contrast open markets when appropriate benefits corporations but not necessarily capitalists since profits are not obscene.

It is important to note that businessmen champion capitalism for personal gain and not necessarily for corporate success or gain. These personal goals explain all the recent criminal corporate mismanagements for personal gain scandals and the scandalous CEO salaries regardless of corporate success. Ironically, for capitalists corporations are only a means for personal gain. This personal gain phenomenon also explains the vast amounts of money made managing money. Capitalists provide for capitalists to the detriment of everyone and everything else. ItÂ’s as if a MBA is a degree in only personal money accumulation.

So, how do moral values fit into the unholy trinity fueling AmericaÂ’s idolatry of money? Preaching and claiming moral values hegemony is how obscene personal money accumulation is justified and declared not a sin. These preacher champions claim what they and their members (i.e., allied politicians and capitalists) do is morally good. Duplicity is the basis of these values. How would you otherwise explain that these morals that value all life readily supports wars that kill many and advocate for capital punishment. Not surprisingly, those preaching these moral values hegemony have accumulated or control vast amounts of money for their personal use.

So, what is the answer? Obviously, worshiping something besides money is a start. Study after study has shown that people are not much happier with more money once they reach a certain level of income. This level is less that $100,000 per year! So, massive accumulation of money is only a way to keep score since happiness is pegged to less than this amount. ItÂ’s true. Money canÂ’t buy happiness after a certain level of income.

If not money, what? Charity is a start. Even though they will remain fabulously wealthy, Bill & Melinda Gates and Warren Buffet are giving away vast majorities of their money. Maybe being wealthy is enough and obscene amounts of money are not a praiseworthy goal. Everyone should be able to live with less than $100 million in their lifetime. Thus, they should give the rest away. Better yet, they should lobby Congress to tax it away like Warren Buffet has. I donÂ’t think he went out to accumulate his money; it just was a byproduct of his very good business judgment. However, charity is more that just alms giving according to Huxley. It is the highest form of divine love and involves self-disinterests, peacefulness and humility. Yes, real charity would be a laudable goal.

Finally, what is in for those whose have the goal but have not yet accumulated obscene amounts of money. Charity love is sure a start since it does not necessarily involve alms giving. Certainly, self-love, a very common missing element in many, is a worthy goal.

“American Values” Are No Longer America’s Values

Saturday, March 3rd, 2012

In the mid-20th Century, “American Values” were expected to lead the US into an era of continuous growth, prosperity and dominance. In the last half of the 20th Century, the Women’s and Civil Rights movements upset this vision. Now, American Values proponents want to go back for the future. Understanding the roots of American Values will explain why they are anachronistic and will never again become America’s values.

The mid-20th Century saw the beginning (and end) of “America’s Modern Era.” American leaders expected their common vision, i.e. American Values, to prevail long into the future. Everything would remain “Right” (pun intended) with America. However, these American leaders were essentially clones of each other. They were white males and belonged to the White Male System (WMS) as described in Ann Wilson Schaef’s 1981 book “Women’s Reality: An Emerging Female System.”

In the mid-20th Century, the WMS dominated all levels of social, economic and political power including both the Democratic and Republican Parties in the US. As noted by Schaef, they lived according to their myths which are:
“1) The White Male System is the only thing that exists.
2) The White Male System is innately superior.
3) The White Male System knows and understands everything.
4) The White Male System is totally logical, rational and objective.”

The WMS did not anticipate the WomenÂ’s and Civil Rights movements that gave rise and power to other Systems such as the Female System, Black System, Unions System and more recently, the Latino System and Gay-Lesbian-Bisexual-Transgender System. These Systems have methodically wrestled social, economic and/or political power from the WMS.

Chronologically, the political decline of the WMS began in 1960 with the election of John F. Kennedy. It was accelerated by the George McGovern-inspired 1972 Democratic Party nominating rules changes that caused the mass exodus of Democratic Business leaders and Conservatives to the Republican Party. The nadir of the WMF decline has so far been their embarrassing defeat by Barak Obama in 2008.

In the US today, the WMS still exists and it is predominately comprised of Business and Conservative Republicans. All that is now required to belong to the current WMS is belief in their myths and American Values. Ironically, only a minority of white males have these beliefs. Yet, this beliefs-only requirement allows blacks like US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, women like Elizabeth Dole, Sarah Palin and Michele Bachman and the Cuban Americans in Florida to belong and lead in the current WMS.

Current WMS persistence lead to reports like following:
Gov. Chris Christie, R-NJ, told CNN’s Piers Morgan that he “is tired hearing about” Warren Buffet’s call for the nation’s wealthiest people to pay more taxes, saying the billionaire investor should “just write a check and shut up.”
Gov. Christie’s ties to WMS myths does not allow him to see the rationale behind Warren Buffet’s call. This is in spite of the fact that Mr. Buffet’s credentials and credibility are far more relevant to the issue. Paradoxically, Mr. Buffet is also one of the largest of the “job creators” that the Republican’s are trying to protect from taxes.

Super PAC ‘s that mostly support the WMS’s American Values have names like “Winning Our Future”, “American Crossroads”, “Restore Our Future” and “Red, White and Blue” that signify the desire to return to WMS dominance and their American Values. Not surprisingly the major contributors to these Super PACs are predominately members of the WMS.

In the 21st Century, Americans are too diverse, belong to too many differing Systems and too many are enlightened to ever allow the WMS and its American Values to ever prevail again. Nevertheless, tolerance by these other Systems have allowed the WMS to regain political control at the state level. This is leading to attempts to restore American Values one value at a time. The long term State assaults on same sex marriage and choice granted by the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision is constantly under assault. Examples include a proposed Virginia State law requiring mandatory trans-vaginal ultrasounds prior to abortions. The recent Susan G. Komen FoundationÂ’s stopping of Planned Parenthood funding and last decadeÂ’s laws against same-sex marriage are more examples of American Values being re-instituted at the State and corporate level.

Prayer and religious displays in public places are also “American Values” that are no longer America’s values. For example, “under God” was inserted into the decades old Pledge of Allegiance in 1954 at the height of White Male System dominance. This changed the Pledge to become both a patriotic oath and public prayer. Changing it back to a patriotic oath only is vigorously opposed by the White Male System event though it would then apply to all Americans and not just believers.

The WMS should not go away but it will increasingly become more irrelevant unless it changes.. They will always remain a minority System like all others. Their myths are no longer compatible with the power structures in the US and need to be changed. Until this happens, the WMS will fight to regain the power and dominance of their American Values even though they will never be AmericaÂ’s values and this will never happen.