Category Archives: Ethics

Our Existence ~ Question & Reason

yin-yang-a1All the philosophers, sages, theorists, scientists, & ancient texts, comment and theorize, however the denouement*1, is life itself.

Over and over we’re presented with ancient stories that supposedly explain our existence. The question we seldom ask ourselves, what is truly important?

According to the Bible (Genesis 2:7), this is how humanity began: “The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” “God then called the man Adam, and later created Eve from Adam’s rib.”

Gallup polls and the Pew Research Center found four out of 10 Americans believe this account. It’s a central tenet for those who consider themselves literal Christians. (This isn’t an endorsement, merely describing what is believed by many.)

Whatever your level of consideration of the nature of God, the core to any of the ancient religions is our beginning, our ending, and the life in between those two moments, whether for us individually or humanity as a whole.2018-07-17 12.06.05

Before you access your own reactions to any religious theme, this isn’t about any specific religion, it’s about how do you view yourself amidst what you’ve learned so far? These references are simply to say, there are millions of people over thousands of generations who have considered, why, when, and who are we? Whatever your answer, the key to this always comes back to how much do you value these ideas? Your answer defines who you are, and how you adapt and progress with your life.

Let’s start with the basics

When you first enter this world, you are helpless, and require someone to take care of all your physical needs. This gradually changes over time, but even when you are able to provide for yourself, your perspective about your life typically revolves around you as the most important person. You’ve come to think you deserve to receive attention, entertainment, nourishment, and shelter.  That’s a very egocentric world view, which hopefully changes over time. This becomes critical if you marry and have children. If it’s still all about you, then the marriage is doomed and the children will suffer, unless someone else picks up the slack.

What do you value above everything else?

Some will insist that it’s their faith, or belief in God. Many people will say, that just shows you how important God is in our lives. Here’s the thing that’s troubling about that statement. An example, the United States is supposedly a Christian nation. We have many churches and there are quite a few people that financially support them. Yet, what are our priorities?

Gospel_of_wealth_Andrew_Carnegie

click on the image to find this book

We build huge athletic and entertainment facilities overall costing billion$ while we have people that are hungry and without adequate shelter. We see huge churches, often led by clergy with vast income from their patrons. Our response for those in need seems more in keeping with Ebeneezer Scrooge rather than the text used as a guide in the Bible.

Mark 10:21-22
Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, ‘You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.

Luke 14:12-14
He said also to the one who had invited him, ‘When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.’

There are many more, but you get the general idea. So, is the Bible to be interpreted literally, or as a convenience when we agree or tell others we agree with it?

We have a poverty problem that’s not being addressed. Some say, there’s always those who either can’t or won’t do for themselves, how is it my responsibility to provide for them?

Luke 12:16-21
Then he told them a parable: ‘The land of a rich man produced abundantly. And he thought to himself, ‘What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?’ Then he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.’

Matthew 7:21
Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

Matthew 25:40
‘And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

Do we as a nation appear to be be Christian, from other nations perspective?

The United States has been at war for well over 90% of the time since it began as a nation. Even before the USA was formed, the colonies were at war with those who were the indigenous inhabitants.
invade_bomb_muslim_lands
What does the Bible say about living at peace with other people?

Matthew 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”

Romans 14:17-19 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.”

Luke 6:27 But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you ..”

There are many more, but again you get the idea, or should understand that the text claims peace is the goal, and to direct our life towards peace.

I’m not suggesting that we live in a world where we can ignore defending ourselves, but is this what we should be doing? Do we need to participate with people all over the world in conflict? Does the reading of the Bible or the declaration, we are a Christian people, mean anything?

Yes, I get it, we’re imperfect but I think deep down we know it’s a sham. We can try to convince ourselves or tell others how much our faith or belief in God means, but there’s a lot of activity that shows we don’t believe any of it. We’re not alone. There’s the world of Islam which claims to be peaceful, and the Hindu. Look at the global map. A lot of conflicts going on with most of them conducted by fervent believers in God.

active_global_conflicts

We claim we believe in capitalism, but does that mean we should grab every dollar we can lay hands on, and especially place those who are at or near poverty, into worse conditions when we withhold more earnings or reduce wages & benefits to gain more profit?

Proverbs 14:31
He who oppresses the poor dishonors his Maker: but he who honors Him shows generosity toward the poor.
USA_poverty_chart

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Notes:
1* Definition of denouement: the outcome of a complex sequence of events.

Why & How Did We Get Here?

Within 24 hours of each other, two different young men turn their inner most hostile thoughts into reality. El Paso Texas, 21 people have died from wounds received by a 21 year old white male, using a firearm. Dayton Ohio, 9 people have died from a 24 year old white male who used a firearm to kill and wound. At each location there were more than two dozen people injured.

Reading the stories barely touches on the lives so tragically affected. An example, small children die, parents tried to shield their child from the shooter and died. The list goes on, and it’s truly horrible. In Dayton Ohio, Authorities said ____, of nearby Bellbrook, opened fire with a rifle early Sunday in the city’s Oregon District. Among the dead was his 22-year-old sister, Megan. At least 27 people were injured. BTW – I won’t name the shooters. I believe they’re not worth recognition. I want nothing about the specific individual to gain notoriety.

A 21-year-old white man from Allen, a suburb of Dallas about a 650-mile drive from El Paso, is in police custody. Authorities are looking at potentially bringing capital murder charges against him. He was captured shortly after the shooting.

In each instance we seem to have a common nexus. Each has been perpetrated by a white male under the age of 30. This was similar to the shooting, the week before in California, also committed by a white male under the age of 30 using a semi-automatic, magazine fed rifle. What’s going on with these white men, mostly between the ages of 20 to 30?

The victims haven’t had time to be released from the hospitals, or their families grieve, and we have immediate analysis. Some blame this on firearms, they want either a ban or some new law with greater restrictions on availability. Others take to the air waves, and claim it’s because of Trump. “Trump created an atmosphere of hatred among these young men”. Still, we had this senseless killing under Obama, and no one blames him.

An El Paso congresswoman says, “Trump is ‘not welcome’ in the city.” “The president has made my community and my people the enemy. He has told the country that we are people to be feared, people to be hated.” She elaborates further, “Hispanic people have become “dehumanized.”

The attack in El Paso, Texas, underscores the continued threat posed by domestic violent extremists and perpetrators of hate crimes. The FBI is supporting its state and local partners in Texas through investigative, intelligence, and technical assistance. The El Paso investigation is also being supported by the FBI’s Domestic Terrorism-Hate Crimes Fusion Cell. … The FBI remains concerned that U.S.-based domestic violent extremists could become inspired by these and previous high-profile attacks to engage in similar acts of violence.

The FBI asks the American public to report to law enforcement any suspicious activity that is observed either in person or online.

I read impassioned pleas to ban “assault rifles”. I see where others want to ban any weapon with a “high capacity”. It seems almost pointless to debate with people so over wrought with emotions. It does little good to point out the decade long assault weapons ban that expired, but did nothing to lower murderous violence. (Not my words, it was the official results finding) No gun-free zones have ever made schools or government facilities safer, despite the good intentions. All our schools are gun free or bomb free zones, yet we have had incidents where that didn’t stop the antagonists.

If the cure isn’t in some type of legislation, or appeal we seek in a supreme being, then what or how can we affect a positive change?

I think I have some of the answers, but people don’t want to hear them, because they aren’t quick and it requires serious change which involves almost all of us.

Let’s do an “IMAGINE” moment together, and look beyond the quick and not effective  methods. “In the US, prohibition lasted from the year 1920 until the year 1933. The ban on manufacture, sale as well as transportation of alcohol was stipulated under the 18th Amend of the US Constitution.”  “Finally, realizing that the prohibition was not serving its purpose, President Franklin Roosevelt signed a law, which was an amendment to the Volstead Act on 22nd March 1933. This act was called the Cullen Harrison Act and it allowed the manufacture as well as sale of alcohol.” 

Bans don’t change human behavior. Laws written to stop lawless behavior, are from the outset, doomed to failure. That’s why a ban on alcohol, drugs, or laws against murder, don’t seem to change the behavior of some people. So, what motivates people to commit mass murder? People want solutions, and for the most part don’t care what it takes, because as of Sunday, which was the 216th day of the year, there have been 251 mass shootings in the U.S. in 2019. None of them that I know of have been by Muslims, or radical immigrants.

In just one minute, police say the Dayton shooter opened fire and killed his sister and several other victims. The Oregon District is dense with bars and cafes, but before he could get into any establishments, he was quickly killed by nearby police within one minute of the first shot, police said.

A former fellow high school student, Spencer Brickler told CNN he and his sister were on the hit list, and remembered the shooter was once escorted off a bus by police officers over the threats. He was reportedly suspended in high school for creating a “hit-list” that caused a lockdown after it was scribbled on a bathroom wall.

In high school, the Dayton shooter compiled a list which was separated into two columns: a “kill list” for boys and a “rape list” for girls.  A third person, who also asked not to be named for privacy reasons, told CNN that ______ sent messages about the list to one of his classmates, who told her mother. Her mother then notified the police, who came to the school and interviewed people on the list individually in the school’s office.

Some of the names were female students who, turned him down for dates. She said _____ often simulated shooting other students and threatened to kill himself and others on several occasions. “He loved to look at you and pretend to shoot with guns, guns with his hands.

A source told a CBS News senior investigative producer, the Texas suspect was considered “a troubled youth.” The El Paso suspect was charged Sunday with capital murder and was being held on no bond, on Sunday evening. The suspect has been cooperating with investigators.

About 20 minutes before the shooting started, a post on the online message board 8chan believed to be from the suspect laid out a dark vision of America overrun by Hispanic immigrants. The 2,300-word document, which police called a “manifesto,” was attached to a post that said, “I’m probably going to die today.” The El Paso shooter began his text by writing: “In general, I support the Christchurch shooter and his manifesto. This attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas. They are the instigators, not me. I am simply defending my country from cultural and ethnic replacement brought on by an invasion.

Besides the connection which many want to use, “assault type weapons”, or “high capacity weapons”, there are additional concerns that should be addressed. Obviously, we can’t say, “ban all white males” in the US from owning any potentially deadly firearms or even knives, but there are things which have been pointed out in the past. Can we continue to ignore these facts?

Millions of Americans own firearms in this country, and most are multiple capacity magazine fed firearms. There aren’t exacting numbers as to how many rifles are equipped with features that legislators, lobbyists, & activists point out as “assault weapons”, but they must be in the hundreds of thousands or well over a million. Why doesn’t that inform people, “it’s not the gun”, but the people behind it?

If indeed the perception of America is, it’s a gun culture, then why do we program our lives with so called heroes that use guns to solve problems? I’m suggesting we need to take a hard look at least 3 things:

  1. Movies which feature protagonists who carry and use weapons, to the exclusion of any real world solutions to problems. Our most popular celebrities have made a fortune featuring their use of violence, yet they turn around and tell us, we shouldn’t use or own guns. Graphic violence on Television and movies attracts an audience, and the entertainment industry thrives on it.
  2.  Violent video games, which we hear from those with a vested interest in them, “doesn’t affect our youth.” Really? We see body parts being damaged, and blood everywhere. This has to desensitize some of our troubled youth. How can this help minds that are already in need of help?
  3. We lack sufficient healthy resources for youth or for that matter adults, and we lack any really trained first line contacts with the public, who can assess and diffuse a situation that’s going wrong. Again, we answer violence with violence, instead of trying to prevent escalation.

I truly believe the answers to these recurring mass shootings, or for that matter, suicides, lay in further work with mental health. If outer space or the oceans are a mystery, and need further exploration, surely the mind and human mental health deserve at least as much, if not more attention.

The people who want a quick fix, or say, “SOMETHING MUST BE DONE“, but don’t demand mental health issues be addressed, are not going to gain any relief through passage of another set of laws. Those laws have failed us in our public schools, on the streets of Chicago, or for that matter, California. We need to address complex problems with more than simple solutions.

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  • NOTE Any time you see underscored / underlined words in my post, those are links to the articles from news sources. They will provide additional background to the topic.

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I’m Confused

Newly elected President - exit of former President

Pres. elect Barack Obama with former Pres. George W. Bush

After yesterday’s Robert Mueller testimony, I have many unanswered questions.

We’ve become accustomed to some degree or another with patterns, habits, and societal cues. These may be for practical reasons, such as which side of the road to drive on, or saying excuse me for accidentally bumping into someone.

Can we go our own way, yet all be going the same way? What is it that drives people, as if they’re cattle to follow miscues, false rumors, and the foolishness of partisanship without merit?

Among the many times we’ve collectively witnessed the baying hounds of radical partisanship, who attempt to unseat a President, they insist that Donald Trump couldn’t have fairly won the 2016 Presidential election over their anointed candidate, Hillary Clinton.

It’s beyond any reasonable limit to pursue something that began from a circulated and purposefully leaked, false dossier. From that, a FISA warrant was issued that began this long dive down a rabbit hole of all too apparent nonsense. If you’re unable to see this for what it is, then you too have been sucked into the vortex of political Kabuki theater.

The Mueller Report was to be the final nail in the coffin of Donald Trump. Instead, after yesterday’s public hearing, which had Robert Mueller come forward to testify about a report he said was sufficient unto itself. On one hand, it basically said, there’s no conclusive evidence to prove Trump colluded with the Russians. He left the door swinging when his report suggested, their investigation couldn’t exonerate him either.

“Mueller said at a May press conference in Washington that the report his office released following the probe into Russian 2016 election meddling was tantamount to his testimony. His lengthy report found no evidence the Trump campaign colluded with Russians to influence the election, but did list 10 possible instances of obstruction of justice by the president during the probe. Mueller also announced his office was closing up shop at the news conference.”

Robert_Mueller_hearing_July_19

former FBI director, Mueller appeared disoriented during testimony

“The Democrats who lead the Judiciary and Intelligence Committees in U.S. House of Representatives decided to subpoena Mueller to testify, announcing on June 25 that the former FBI head would appear before lawmakers in open session July 17. The date was later changed to July 24.”

If you don’t find the person guilty, doesn’t that conclude, innocence?

“Mueller spent two years & about $35 million on an exhaustive investigation that did not conclude that the president was not guilty of some form of criminality.”

The whole absurd, convoluted result was perfectly summarized in Mueller’s oracular pronouncement at his press conference on May 29: “If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so.”

Perhaps there’s nothing I can say which changes opinions, but my understanding of the legal system is, we’re innocent until proven guilty. A lack of evidence suggests the person is innocent, not some other convoluted outcome.

Twisted judicial logic?

President_Trump_podiumSome see Donald Trump as a self-indulgent sybarite, not as a statesman. None the less he has attempted to find ways to bridge the gulf between the US and North Korea, chosen a contentious but successful path to get the NATO partners to pay more of their financial burden, and lead the nation to greater prosperity and lowest unemployment numbers, in decades.

Now, assuming the original accusations were well founded, then we must ask, who was in charge of national security, prevention of espionage, as well as ensuring fair and accurate elections, without interference from foreign powers, in 2016?

Above all that, we were hearing speeches from Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton, that our elections were fair, honest, and accurate. They said this in 2014, 2015, and 2016. What changed? Weren’t they the ones in charge?

The Republicans weren’t any more immune to this radical partisanship. We saw this carried out to the extreme with President Barack Obama. Donald Trump led the parade of fools, claiming Obama was born in a foreign country and the Hawaii birth certificate was a fake. From month to month an Arizona Sheriff as well as Trump claimed they had conclusive evidence Obama wasn’t a natural born citizen. That wasn’t they only constant accusation, but certainly one of the most ridiculous.

This whole potpourri of inanity needs to come to a conclusion, and a end. It’s time the American people quit acting like a collection of ‘Stepford Wives’, and recognize they’re being played.