Saturday, June 25, 2022

These Supremes Don't Understand Their Own Religion

The 6 Catholics on the Supreme Court are of the Opus Dei variety, extreme and weird. They clearly have a flawed understanding of their Church's teaching over the decades which has changed significantly. The overarching teaching, not declared infallible is that primacy of conscience should guide ones position on abortion.
Their rigid position on abortion was not established until 1917; in the early Catholic years abortion was treated much like adultery, not a mortal sin.
Here is some history:
The medieval Church rules of penance did not consider abortion murder until after the first 40 days of conception; this was true up until the mid 1800’s. It was a sin but the context was associated with adultery and the punishment similar to that for adultery.
St. Augustine , Bishop of Hippo (ca. 415 AD), one of the most influential of all Catholic theologians, persuaded early Church leaders that abortion should not be regarded 'as homicide, for there cannot be a living soul in a body that lacks sensation due to its not yet being formed.' He, and Thomas Aquinas after him, taught that the embryo does not acquire a human soul until the end of the first trimester. At the beginning of the 13th century Pope Innocent II proposed that 'quickening' (the time when the woman first feels the fetus move within her) should be the moment at which abortion becomes homicide. Abortions occurring prior to that moment constituted a less serious sin. Pope Gregory XIV's declaration in 1591 that early abortion was not grounds for excommunication guided Church policy until 1869. In that year, Pope Pius IX eliminated the distinction between the animated and non-animated fetus and insisted on excommunication for anyone having or providing an abortion at any stage of pregnancy. That instruction was written into the Canon Law in 1917.
These people cannot be trusted to be guided by authentic teaching of either their Church or their Constitution.
 We are just fucked until we replace these twisted people steeped in the misogyny and authoritarianism of my former Church.

Thursday, June 23, 2022

America's Descent Into Madness And The Way Out

 Mass shootings and killing have become routine in America.  My friend in LA reports that he was getting eye care next door to a hospital where a man killed three people with a knife.  A Missouri Senate candidate, Eric Greitens   launched an ad campaign threatening to kill RINOS.  The J6 Insurrection event inspired by a failed Presidential candidate was populated by thousands of really pissed off miscreants bent on resurrecting the hangman's noose used in America's not too distant past.

We've got millions belonging to Q type groups believing all kinds of crazy, nonsensical shit. They have been well prepared for nonsense beliefs by American Evangelical religion and such belief systems as Catholicism replete with a tone of nonsensical beliefs. More legions of testosterone laden young men joining together with AR 15's, training for urban combat and intimidating peaceful protesters at Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ events.  Americans seem to be meth charged up terrorists ready to heap violence on one another.  

It is not clear which came first....American propensity for nonsensical beliefs inspired by religions or madness which leads to belief in nonsense.  But the similarity is unmistakable between delusional religious beliefs, clinically diagnosed  madness  or our nonsensical political Trump inspired belief in "The Big Steal" and political violence around us. 

American belief in our myths of the American Dream, our divinely inspired Founders and American Exceptionalism seem to be precursors to the craziness of our current time.  Not much grounding in realities such as our history of genocide in "civilizing" and discovery of the New World or the cruel institution of slavery on which our currrent capitalistic economy was built.  Oh, and another myth of the superiority of capitalism as the economic engine that seems to drive everything about our society and culture. 

It is clear that our mental health professionals have few answers about dealing with madness and serious, clinical delusional thinking so I wonder how us non-clinicians are to deal with this psychosis that seems to affect around 30 % of us?  Many of this 30% are in high drug abuse areas and so are self medicating, rendering many not sufficiently functioning to present a huge threat, excepting the many among them whose rage has driven them to own firearms which do pose a major threat to those of us in touch with reality.   We are seeing a major escalation of threats to both Republicans seen as RINO sellouts by Trumpites as well as public officials trying to preserve what is left of our democracy.  It is reported for example that the J6  hearing committee members are now in need of security services.  Voting officials across the country are in a similar situation of bodily threat.

It seems that the best we of the 70% of American citizens who desire a continuation of this noble democratic experiment can do is present the rational truth through our personal interactions and strongly support media outlets which can advance truth, reason and critical thinking.  This can reclaim some conspiracy theory believers who are close enough to rationality as to abandon the untruths and myths they had been fed by the right wing propagandists. 

We are obligated to advocate and support reforms to our political, social and economic systems which can serve all of us and provide relief  and fairness to the disadvantaged among us and those our white nationalism has harmed or left behind in our pursuit of justice and fairness. 

Our best audience among our fellow citizens are our young people who will replace their elders in our future generations.  We need to focus reforms that have meaning for the young and recruit them as strong advocates for a more perfect union and create a society where they can flourish.   A Union that emphasizes active and aggressive participation in our democratic institutions, especially our training grounds for future leaders and active engagement with our electoral systems. 

The best we can do to protect ourselves from the misdeeds of mature and older white nationalists is to shore up our defenses and law and order institutions to restrain their corruption of our democracy.  I have advocated shunning fascists and traitors, calling them out and encouraging their isolation from leadership positions in our institutions.  They need to be excluded so they cannot do us harm, physical, social and political.  This requires a powerful commitment to defense of our current generation.

Our salvation as a democracy rests with the next generation whom we must strongly support while we shore up our defenses against political corruption and political violence aimed at the current body politic in America. The current J6 Congressional Committee hearings are a great start at holding power accountable. 

The Democratic Party, whose messaging currently is nearly non-existent must launch a major next generation initiative of recruiting and training our youth as the vanguard for a democracy which serves us all in making lives and their futures better.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Is There A Solution To The Divide In America?

 Let's examine some solutions. 

l.  Let the majority rule and just let it go with the minority in anguish.  This really has been our status quo and likely will lead to another divide crisis as we had leading to both the Revolutionary and the Civil Wars which solved nothing on a long term basis.

2. Lets just have another Civil War.  That solved nothing because the Revolutionary War led to our  Constitution which ignored the divide as well as an era of semi-forgiveness for the losers of the Civil War which allowed them to oppress the freed slaves in Reconstruction, which led to segregation oppressing millions.  The losers fought back to reinstall both authoritarianism and create or ignore policies intended to either control the losers or empower them as a minority of the electorate. And, the oppressed slaves and their successors continued to suffer oppression.  Abolishing slavery did not end the just delayed the rebellion of the opponents of democracy for what was a pretty good 250 years for white Americans, not so good for non-white Americans.  I think there is little chance that citizens of red states will invade blue states to convert them to their living with red state inferior metrics in humane treatment, medical services or education.  This is the story liberals have to tell....the better life metrics enjoyed in blue states.....that argument stops all but the most ardent racists in their tracks.  The racists want civil war to punish blue state leaders and citizens for trying to bring people of color and immigrants into their standard of life.  Fortunately, the racists are badly outnumbered and soon will be subjected to minority status by liberals, immigrants and people of color.

3. Lets have a national conference on government/economic reforms to reach a consensus on solutions to the divide.  We appear not to have consensus on the roots of the divide.......our economic system which allows gross inequality and power held by the more affluent, or our core values about equality of people, irrespective of ethnicity or gender or sexual orientation, or the role of religion in a democratic society and the rights of people to not be forced to adopted a particular set of religious beliefs, or the role of our National government in protecting the rights of individuals to live their lives lawfully without restrictions on their liberty, or the role of citizens to assist one another in a democracy, or whether a democracy is our preferred system of social organization vs. authoritarianism, or the elements of a democracy as originally set forth in the values expressed in our founding and amended constitution and bill of rights.  These issues are a tall order that a single conference likely is not able to will take many such conferences over an extended period.....which our representative government was designed to facilitate through legislative action and legal opinion respected by all, but has not succeeded in facilitating.

4. Regulate our media, especially social media to limit or restrict conflict while maintain free expression of opinions/beliefs.  Clearly, before the advent of social media or for that matter, conventional print media in our early founding years,  conflict and disagreement did not have the numerous outlets for expression as we have today.  Disagreement was suppressed and the appearance of consensus of agreement on public issues was an illusion.  These disagreements on values and public aspirations were always present, just seldom and minimally expressed. In this regard, there were fewer outlets for distribution of lies, erroneous opinions and "alternative facts," misinformation, propaganda and slander.  There is unlimited opportunity today for all of these sources of conflict and division.

There is substantial research that there are varying degrees of preference for authoritarianism and or presence of  tolerance and benevolence according to how people are genetically wired and impacted by upbringing and social environment.  Old fashioned religion would characterize these as good and evil.  Maybe evolution and improved social order will rectify this divide, but likely no time soon.  Greed and generosity are learned values, are they not?  

5. Let's have a national reconciliation process.  Maybe then what we need is a national initiative to create a set of values that can be shared by people with all kind of personalities and makeups.  It should include thought leaders, clergy, physicians, psychologists and counselors, philosophers and locally elected leaders from government and commerce in public community forums and open discussions to face to face facilitate a discussion among us citizens to explore solutions and explore our shared values.  This will take time and lots of effort and an abundance of goodwill from many of us.  Yes, and social media can play a role with facilitator of forums of open discussion without animosity, in fact, with animosity prohibited.  We have too few venues for such exchanges and they should  grossly outnumber tribal discussion groups which I find myself deeply engaged with.  But they should be extensions of the public gatherings to avoid devolving into conflict. 

I opt for all but #2, led by liberals/Democrats after massive re-democratizing elections in 2022 and 2024 powered by a rejuvenated Democratic Party at all levels, putting restoring democracy and defeating authoritarian/trumpian fascism with Marshall plan funding by the Party.  Why? Because, on balance who the hell wants to live like those in our reddest states and in third world authoritarian countries around the globe.  We have fast diminishing chance to save humanity from fossil fuel induced global warming and this is our best hope.  And liberals have the best and improving handle on humane governance and economic fairness, pure and simple, hands down. And we also have a handle on global warming to save all of humanity, including the fools opposing its solutions.

All you have to do is look at the alternative that James Carville calls the Party of the Weird.  He and we Democrats align with normality,  truth and reason.  Who the hell wants to live with goofy conspiracy crap, lies, inhumane treatment of some among us and irrationality?  We believe in the perfectibility of humankind and are willing to take our chances on future relapses by the weird among us.