Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Judaism and Reincarnation

"At every point of moral decision in our lives, we each have complete free choice. If not for freedom of choice, how unfair it would be of God to make demands of us - especially when reward and punishment is involved! Reincarnation does not imply pre-determination. It is, rather, an opportunity for rectification and soul-perfection."

"One of the ways in which heaven maintains our ability to exercise complete freedom of choice is by not allowing us conscious knowledge of previous incarnations. Consequently, it might seem to some people that there is little practical benefit in being aware of this doctrine."

"Furthermore, many scholars contend that these mystical concepts can easily be misunderstood, or carried to erroneous and misleading conclusions. We can therefore understand why this and similar subjects are only hinted at in scripture, and why some knowledge and a great deal of determination are often required in order to gain access to this information."

Monday, February 27, 2017

Donald Trump: Where Is He When You Need Him?!

Trump campaigned under the banner that he was going to clean up Washington. He said he was going to "drain the swamp". But,"House Republicans just enacted a new rule that makes congressional records the personal property of Congress members, a factor that greatly increases the difficulty of investigations and prosecutions. Rendering documents generated by public office as “personal property” of legislators means it will be more difficult for investigators and prosecutors to obtain them."

My Comment: Why no tweets on this? 
My guess is that, since there's no real threat during the next four years to Republican congressmen, they're looking down the road for when the pendulum swings back the other way. I call it 'covering your ass' before the fact. Many aspects of corruption are legal in D.C., and Trump is careful not to piss off those he's need to pass his real ambition: lowering corporate tax rates and capital gains taxes.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Christians NOT Being Christ•ian

Jesus Christ never intended to establish a theocracy. It's understandable that many of His followers hoped He would; but, Jesus Himself clearly distinguished the separation of religion from secular government and society. It IS about spirituality, not religion (a particular system of faith and worship).

Matthew 22:21
Mark 12:17
"Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's". [This goes far beyond mere taxation. It extends to all physical governance.]

That brings up a point, for example, when the issue of contraception and abortion comes up, is it a religious matter or the decision of the state?  If it's a religious decision, in regarding the subject of abortion, read Genesis 2:7 that says:
"And 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." This, taken literally, means that an unborn child is not yet human. If you're a strict fundamentalist, then you have to consider that ....

Different religions have different viewpoints. Society is composed of people with different religious views. The government serves to protect religious freedom of worship; not to impose religious values on the whole.

The question of abortion directly connects to the question of whether humans have souls. And, if so, at what point does the soul incarnate? These are religious questions and cannot be legislated. Those who try to do so are not advocates of religious freedom. They are of a fundamentalist theocratic attitude. As members of society, they are entitled to express their personal opinions and advocate for such. But, they are not advocates of religious freedom when they do so under the banner of Christianity.

The Pilgrims and Puritans did not come to establish freedom of religion. They came to escape religious persecution, but they sternly persecuted anyone not of their own ilk. In other words, religious freedom for themselves only. They were "theocratic".

It was people like Roger Williams that strengthened the concept of religious freedom (freedom from persecution) to the point that the first thing our country's forefathers did was make sure that the first thing that the First Amendment did was to assure religious freedom. They were firmly convinced that democracy and freedom of conscience were the will of God. Williams gave the most profound theological reason: As faith is the free gift of the Holy Spirit, it cannot be forced upon a person. Therefore, strict separation of church and statehas to be kept.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

China's Robotic Supremacy

A recent study found that 85 percent of manufacturing job losses from 2000 to 2010 were caused by automation, not outsourcing. American firms have been steadily cutting employees and replacing them with machines that are cheaper (they don’t need benefits) and more efficient (they don’t take vacations). U.S. factories now produce twice as much stuff as they did in 1984, but with one-third of the workers. And smarter machines will soon steal a lot more jobs: One Oxford University study predicts that 47 percent of U.S. jobs will be automated over the next two decades. Some 1.7 million truckers could be rendered redundant by self-driving vehicles, and computers could replace millions more store cashiers, insurance underwriters, and tax preparers. Lawmakers can’t ban companies from adopting new technologies, but will they be able to pass policies—such as more funding for retraining schemes—to help workers adapt to this new industrial revolution? The Week

If we "browbeat manufacturers into staying in the U.S., companies will naturally invest in more robots to avoid paying our high wages. Right now, those robots aren’t being made in America; they’re built in China. Beijing has recently invested billions of dollars in its robotics industry, hoping to keep its manufacturers from fleeing to India, Vietnam, and other developing Asian economies where the labor is even cheaper. Now China is where the world goes to buy industrial robots. The U.S. is behind in this arms race, but it could yet catch up, because it has many advantages China lacks, including a robust startup culture and the fact that many of the world’s most talented roboticists work at American universities. It would be politically difficult, of course, but consider the alternative: “Today, we buy a lot of stuff made in China by Chinese people. Tomorrow, we’ll buy stuff made in America—by Chinese robots.”      NYTimes

Truthsayers: George Washington and Harry Truman

2-22-2017 When I looked at my calendar this morning, I saw that it was marked "Washington's Birthday". George Washington, famous truth sayer, exemplifies that which we need if we expect to thrive as a nation. Clean, honorable and high standards are demanded if we are to live as one nation under God.

Another president that honors truth and responsibility is Harry Truman. Peace, love, courage and strength were epitomized by this man who lived up to the creed "the buck stops here".

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Trust Trump! What?

"In President Trump's America, there is no indisputable truth — other than what President Trump says is the truth. As Orwell teaches, "Who controls the past, controls the future; who controls the present, controls the past." In our present, Trump alone is the arbiter of what is real and true, what happened and what didn't. Don't trust your lying eyes. Trust Trump."
Audio version:

70 years ago, it was written:
"Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing."

"This sentence was written by an Englishman named Eric Arthur Blair, who had found some success several years earlier with the publication of a scathing anti-Communist barnyard allegory that he published under the pseudonym George Orwell. His new dystopia — terrifyingly explored in 1984— was not aimed at a political party in particular (contextually, it was a reaction to both Nazism and Stalinist communism)."

Is Trump's Campaign Tweet A Freudian Slip?

The German soldiers supposedly depicted in the lower right hand corner of the picture contained in the above link reminds me of Germany's WWII propaganda credo that "if you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed". This quote is paraphrased by Trump when he wrote, "if you say something often enough, it becomes the truth". It's a tactic that works.

Note: British Photographer George Cairns told Mother Jones that he snapped the image at a WWII reenactment several years ago. Cairns said the mix-up wasn’t the first time the photograph was inadvertently used for a campaign, adding that “for some reason, politicians seem to be downloading Nazis.”

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Trump's Path To Power

"Trump brings to Washington a leadership style built on his father's success in the rough-and-tumble world of developing apartment buildings in New York's outer boroughs, and refined under the tutelage of Roy Cohn, the infamous Manhattan lawyer who taught young Donald that all publicity is good publicity and that victory comes only to those who fight back a hundred times harder than any hit they might absorb."

"Trump built a real estate empire that morphed into a casino gambling business, which largely failed, driving the struggling mogul to pivot into a period of leasing his name to all manner of luxury and not-so-fancy products. Through it all, Trump spent much of his time not on the finances of his initiatives or on their daily management, but rather on cultivating his own image as a playboy billionaire who was bluntly decisive, refreshingly impolitic, and singularly devoted to all things Trump....."

"For four decades, Trump led his business empire through triumphs and disasters, through domination of the Atlantic City casino world and through six corporate bankruptcies, devoting his time and energy perhaps above all to his dealings with the news media."

"The "key to the way I promote is bravado," he wrote in his best-selling book Trump: The Art of the Deal. "I play to people's fantasies. People may not always think big themselves, but they can still get very excited by those who do. That's why a little hyperbole never hurts.... I call it truthful hyperbole. It's an innocent form of exaggeration — and a very effective form of promotion."

"In business and in the 2016 campaign, he alternately bashed reporters and privately treated them to praise and access. "From a pure business point of view," he wrote, "the benefits of being written about have far outweighed the drawbacks.... Even a critical story, which may be hurtful personally, can be very valuable to your business."

"His longtime construction executive Barbara Res said, "Donald had a way of getting to print whatever he would say, even if it wasn't necessarily the whole and honest truth. He managed to say what he would say, and people would write it, and then it would be the truth. That was the thing with him that they call the big lie. You say something enough times, it becomes the truth." .....

"He scoffs at deep study and goes, instead, with his gut. He believes in his instincts. He believes he will naturally do the right thing. He believes, as he wrote in his book Think Like a Billionaire, that "a narcissist does not hear the naysayers."

Dumpster Effect: Civil Forfeiture Reform Resisted

"Rockwall County Sheriff Harold Eavenson believes so strongly in his ability to seize private citizens’ property without charging them with a crime that he recently laughed with the president of the United States about destroying a Texas state senator’s career for opposing him. That senator’s offending behavior? Promoting the constitutional due process rights of hardworking, law-abiding Texans."

"The sheriff’s complaint centers on a bill in the Texas Legislature, Senate Bill 380, that would require law enforcement agencies to secure a criminal conviction before the government could seize somebody’s property. Under civil forfeiture, it does not matter if the owner is never charged with a crime, let alone convicted of one."

Friday, February 17, 2017

"Dumpster Effect": Simple Observations; Difficult Interpretations

For years, I've been coming each and every day to my neighborhood coffee shop that provides seating for three dozen people. Five copies of the local paper, one copy of the Wall Street Journal, and one copy of the New York Times is provided by the owner for patrons to share. All was well until the day after the presidential election. Suddenly, the newspapers began being left in disarray and sections being stolen.

At first, I thought it was just post-election jitters. But the trend continues unabated to this day. Something fundamental in some people's psyche has shifted. In plain terms, they have become more rude, inconsiderate and unappreciative at this not subliminal level. I'll call it the "dumpster effect". It's an odd kind of self-entitlement wherein someone now suddenly feels free to demonstrate hostility. And reading about the "you know who" who dominates the news amplifies it.

[Note: I have had to use a substituted word as the first word in the title so as not to kick off a blizzard of bot hits from the land of the czars. I found an ironically appropriate word that rhymes with the deleted word, hence the word 'dumpster'.]

Monday, February 13, 2017

Algorithmic Gatekeepers: Invisible Editing of the Web Creates Information Bubbles

We can't have a well informed citizenry if people are automatically screened from accessing online information in a responsible manner. Algorithms used by Google, Facebook and others automatically screen and filter the information that we get and people we are linked with thus creating information bubbles.

Watch at least the first few minutes of this 10 minute TED Talk video that is five years old. It helps to better understand the increasing partisanship in today's increasingly interconnected world:

Filter Bubble:

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Trump's Women Supporters

"Donald Trump’s ascent to the presidency reveals a deeply troubling truth about white women in America: the comfort of abusive, white supremacist patriarchy seems to be far more comfortable for them than the uncertainty of fighting for equity.

.....he presented himself as the male savior who would build a wall to rid the nation of sexual predators coming for white women. The father and protector of his daughter. And a champion for women’s health. Trump presented himself as a man who would make America great again, and also make America safe again for white women."

“I’m going to be really good for women,” Trump said over and over.

"And they fell for it."

My Comment: 
Of the 11 women who I know who they supported, five were for Trump and six for Hillary. Three of the five Trump women are full time housewives and the other two are part time employees (no full timers). Five of the six Clinton supporters are all full time employees (or retired from life long full time employment), while one is unemployed with a graduate degree.
This remarkably resembles the profile of women who suffer in domestic abuse cases for long periods of time. Those who don't have to put up with an abuser's crap are less likely because they're more independent.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Spiritual Thoughts

Life is for the living -- live life.

An atheist who has strong empathy is probably a better person than a "believer" with only average empathy.

When I say that truth is relative to each individual, I mean that absolute truth as it is applied to each individual is different.

"Purity is the antithesis of complexity."

That which is newly transformed gets to meet God fully for the first time.

Gratitude, love, compassion, etcetera are energetic qualities similar to electricity in that they must be produced and discharged and used up in order to exist at all.     by William Faulkner

Mind is the creator of everything. You should therefore guide it to create only good. If you cling to a certain thought with dynamic will power, it finally assumes a tangible outward form. When you are able to employ your will always for constructive purposes, you become the controller of your destiny.    Paramahansa Yogananda

"If you cannot be the example, do not teach the words . . . "
                      Lord Maitreya

"The love that you withhold is the pain that you carry."           Ralph Waldo Emerson

Those who choose to do Right stand steady in the Light.

Love is demonstrated by genuine care and compassion.

Good, honest, decent people are always in demand. It should not matter their religion, ethnicity or gender. The Golden Rule is Universal.

That which rises up seeks purification.

All that is not love is corrosive upon form.

Thought embraced by emotion creates matter.

Judgement is the primary life of the ego.

"When everything is connected to everything else, for better or for worse, everything matters."

"With free will comes great responsibility",

Though the heavens may show us the way, we ourselves must walk the path.

"If this world were perfect, it wouldn't be."
by Yogi Berra

"In this life and those between,
no good deed goes unseen."

Before questioning God, ask yourself.

People usually love others in the same proportion that they love themselves.

The opposite of intolerance is indifference.

You came from a place of love, not fear.
You will return to a place of love, not fear.
Taoist saying

‘You already know the answer to any problem you have.’
Taoist proverb

Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven…
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
–Matthew 6:20-21
 (refers to Causal body)

But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree. And none shall make them afraid.
For the mouth of the LORD of hosts hath spoken.
–Micah 4:4

..."Some have a belief in God. But the energy of their life and the actions they engage in are contrary to anyone's definition of God".
                Maha Chohan

...service must be rendered in Love - which makes for Happiness.