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16 January 2009

An ill wind...

I get a lot if ideas for posts, and then something comes along to distract me, like my real job.  I enjoy blogging, it’s a one sided conversation that I feel like I win every time I post.  For those few readers who know me in “meatspace”, I am a bit argumentative.  I have been known to take an opposing view just for the sake of the argument. 

 

Yes, I was a debater in high school.   It is an extracurricular activity which would benefit every young person, in my opinion.  But I want to talk about an extracurricular activity which would be a detriment to the nation as a whole.  That is Rep. Charlie Rangel idiotic legislation to reinstate the draft.

 

Rangel is a leading Democrat from New York who was a decorated Korean War veteran.  He vehemently opposes the Iraq conflict and believes (erroneously) that lower income people bear the burden of military service and thus service.  Rangel’s original legislation was thought to provide a social commentary about the disproportionate level of service in the nation.  I do agree with this argument to some degree.  There is too much disconnect from the military to the general population.  However, this is true for many careers.  Most people do not know a farmer personally.  They do no know an investment banker or a politician.  This makes for an increased lack of understanding of this person’s role and impact on society.

 

The American public has become used to a no risk, push button military able to deliver stunning victories with almost zero loss of life.  The conflict in Iraq is an overwhelming success on any military measure.  In the past six years, the number of casualties is staggering low.  It is often argued that no conflict is worth an American life, to that I counter the arguer believes that America has no value.

 

The American military is the second largest in the world.  It is the most professional and sophisticated.  It is the most honest and able of ANY military service.  A recent GAO report put forth the following;

 

The active duty force has undergone several demographic changes since

the end of the draft and the advent of an all-volunteer force in 1973. It

has become older and better educated, it has experienced increases in

the representation of minority and female service members, and a greater

proportion of its service members are married and have children.

Recognizing that a family’s satisfaction with military life can influence

retention, Congress and DOD have responded by establishing and

increasing support services for military families. However, opportunities

exist to further improve benefits in this area.

 

The military has grown, improved and continues to shape itself to meet the needs of the changing world.  I do not believe any serving member, when asked directly, would want to serve alongside someone who is there against their will.  We, as Americans, value individual liberty (rightly, I believe) above all other rights.  It was Milton Friedman, President Nixon’s economist, who correctly labeled the draft as "slavery".  Rarely will you find a direct link to an antiwar site, however, the point is critical. 

 

Rangel, a descendant of slaves would have our nation burdened with a slave class again. 

 

Be sure to let him know how you feel.

 

 

 

 

06 January 2009

There is no science in Scientology...


Jett Travolta dies in the Bahamas under suspicious circumstances. His cremated remains are being returned to the family compound in Ocala, Florida. The loss of a 16 year old boy is a tragedy for any family. A life cut short so early is a loss to all. John Travolta and Kelly Preston are Scientologists – different from the medically averse Christian Scientists. However, the tenets of their beliefs may have had some impact on Jett’s life, and even his death. John’s brother, Joe, is an autism activist. Truthfully, I don’t know whether he is on the fringes with the lunatic Jenny McCarthy or mainstream. That’s for another post.

Scientology is a dangerous, controlling cult. It operates a global network dedicated to controlling its members, suppressing opposition and accumulating wealth. It holds bizarre beliefs and opposes mental health treatments in all its forms.

I now offer a primer for the unmitigated. Below is paraphrased from other sources, most notably Gawker.


Scientology, which questionably calls itself a new "religion", is the brainchild of 1950's science fiction writer, occult enthusiast and former Naval officer (*sigh*) L. Ron Hubbard. The organization, by means of Hubbard's self created psychotherapy technique called "Dianetics", claims to be able to help rid members of any and all mental constraints including but not limited to emotional scarring (from this and "past" lives) due to "engrams" (past negative experiences stored in our unconscious mind), psychological disorders and chemical imbalances (the solution is to convince members that these things don't actually exist) and drug dependence (including legally prescribed psycho pharmaceuticals which counteract the effects of psychological disorders Scientologists believe to be nonexistent). Their "treatment" of substance abuse includes little more than massive, often dangerous doses of vitamins and unhealthy extended sessions in a sauna.

[en.wikipedia.org] - Dianetics review: [dir.salon.com], [www.time.com] [www.cs.cmu.edu] [www.nypress.com]

Scientology is most certainly NOT a religion. In fact, one of the only reasons they enjoy "tax exempt status" on religious ground in the United States is because they bullied the IRS into a "deal" through extremely aggressive barratry (which is the offense of persistently instigating groundless lawsuits) against said government agency and its officials, and arranged to drop all 2,500 frivolous lawsuits only when an "agreement" was reached. In addition, Scientology's lawyers hired private investigators to dig up any "dirt" on IRS agents which was then used to blackmail or publicly smear all "vulnerable" agents. It was an all-out WAR that Scientology had waged against the IRS, and was even described as such by Scientology's "CEO", David Miscavige, in his 1993 speech to the International Association of Scientologists.

[legalminds.lp.findlaw.com], [www.lermanet.com], [www.factnet.org], [www.cs.cmu.edu]

The official Scientology organization is composed of a number of "levels". One begins as a "preclear" and works their way up. One must purchase virtually every service crucial to advancement directly from the "church" and at staggering prices. "Auditing", for example, is purchased in 12½ hour blocks, costing anywhere from $200-$750 for introductory sessions to between $8,000 and $9,000 for advanced sessions. Basically, Scientology claims to possess exclusive knowledge of the path to religious redemption and then charges obscene amounts of money for every tiny incremental step towards this end. Visit this link to see how $380,000 is a conservative estimate for the total cost of moving all the way up the Scientology hierarchal ladder:

[www.xenu.net]

These are the total costs for auditing alone:

[en.wikipedia.org]

Here's an explanation of what "auditing" is:

[answers.yahoo.com]

At level OT III (Operating Thetan Level 3), some very strange and fiercely guarded secrets are imparted upon worthy members who have paid enough money to advance to such a level (and no, this isn't a joke): The evil alien ruler Xenu killed millions of aliens (Thetans) from around the universe by kidnapping them, bringing them to earth in golden DC-8 "space-planes", stacking them around volcanoes and blowing them up by dropping "h-bombs" into the volcanoes. Scientologists believe the souls of these aliens (these souls are "Body Thetans") were captured, brainwashed and released; they then attached themselves to our ancestors (and according to Scientology's belief in Thetan immortality, they also attached to us during "past lives") and cause many of our mental and physical ills to this day. Auditing is said to "clear" us of these Body Thetans as well as the "mental implants" they supposedly impose on our minds.


[www.spaink.net], [sf.irk.ru], [xenu.net], [www.cs.cmu.edu]

Scientology has taken a very hostile stance towards psychiatry and psychiatric drugs irrespective of the fact that some people require medication to remain adequately functional during everyday life. It doesn't recognize legitimate conditions like autism, epilepsy, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or ANY neurological disorder / chemical imbalance at all, and the "church" has been known to withhold prescription pharmaceuticals from members (often with harmful and deadly results). The "Church" blames psychiatry for the Holocaust, as well as school shootings and even September 11th. It's been suggested that Hubbard's vehement opposition was born of the psychiatric community's rejection of his "tech" as a valid treatment method, but it's also possible that Hubbard chose psychiatry as a scapegoat. Organizations like Scientology are notorious for villainizing a specific out-group because their "stand against the enemy" fosters cohesion within said organization, and psychiatry was an effective rallying point considering many people already distrust and oppose the mental health profession.

[www.anti-scientologie.ch], [www.lacitybeat.com], [dir.salon.com], [perkinstragedy.org]

L. Ron Hubbard, the man behind the creation of Scientology, was and still is a controversial figure. Biographies and lists of personal accomplishments differ greatly between Scientology and non-Scientology publications as the "church" tends to exaggerate and outright lie about his early life, his education, his travels, his achievements etc, preferring to paint a distorted, flattering picture. Several books and articles present facts which flatly contradict these church-published accounts (links to free online copies of these books and articles are provided below), showing conclusively that he was NOT the brilliant, accomplished figure revered by Scientologists. During his autopsy, the sedative Vistaril™ was present in his body, which several of his assistants would later attest was only one of many psychiatric and pain medications Hubbard ingested over the years. It had also been said by many who knew Hubbard personally that at the end of his life he was "a psychopathic insane person screaming about BT's [Body Thetans]…"

[www.apologeticsindex.org], [www.cs.cmu.edu], [www.clambake.org], [lisatrust.bogie.nl]

To be blunt, Scientology is a cult. It employs semi-legitimate psychotherapy and self-help methods to keep people loyal and convinced of its merit while it simultaneously sucks them dry financially and attempts to keep them far away from ANYONE, even friends and family, who would dissuade them from remaining in such a harmful situation. It bullies all known critics, opponents, "enemies", etc, often through malicious litigation and character assassination. It's a particularly greedy as well as manipulative and dangerous cult that takes its anti-psychiatry fanaticism to deadly limits.

[www.solitarytrees.net], [www.factnet.org], [www.garloff.de], [www.sptimes.com], [www.xenu.net]

* 1 month ago

Source(s):

Watch this very revealing video that will, in about 5 minutes, show you EXACTLY what Scientology is all about: [theunfunnytruth.ytmnd.com]

This is an hour long special report on Jeremy Perkins, the mentally disturbed son of Scientologist parents who refused to put him on the anti-psychotic drugs that would have stabilized him and prevented him from killing his own mother: [www.scientomogy.com]

Is Scientology a cult? Yes, and this is why:[answers.yahoo.com]
Scientology in relation to God, Jesus and Christianity:[answers.yahoo.com]
This is how they sell their cult to others:[answers.yahoo.com]

*** This shows how dangerous the cult really is: *** (important!)

[answers.yahoo.com], [xenu.net] aka Operation Clambake [clambake.org], [www.philosoraptor.com], [en.wikipedia.org], [www.modemac.com], [www.scientology-kills.org]
[www.scientology-lies.com], [www.cs.cmu.edu], [www.holysmoke.org], [www.watchman.org]
[www.whyaretheydead.net], [holysmoke.org], [www.rollingstone.com], [www.time.com]

Cult information - [www.cultinformation.org.uk]
Official site -
[www.scientology.org]


Here ends the lesson.

Sleep tight !

05 January 2009

Resolve this...


It is one resolution worth doing for 2009. 
 
Go and see Slumdog Millionaire. 
 
This movie, filmed in the reality of the emerging world that is Mumbai, India, is tough to watch, stunning and as good as all the hype surrounding it.  I will not bore you with the details of the plot or the Bollywood / Hollywood analogies.  There are far better sites for that.  Let me just share with you my impressions.  I have an indirect connection with the leading country of the subcontinent.  It is perhaps the nation which is the birthplace of the majority of my non-USA friends.  During an earlier assignment, I was responsible for establishing operations there to support products being imported to the United States.  India presents a lens in which the whole of human struggle and aspiration can be viewed.  It is a multicultural nation fraught with problems and promise.  It has a population which is fiercely competitive and ingenious.  It has the vestiges of British Imperial governance to shape its masala like population.  It is deeply religious and secular at the same time.  The nation also is awash in artistic talent and expression, perhaps only equaled by the United States. 
 
I have a fascination with this nation of a billion or so people.  It has sustained itself despite overwhelming odds against itself.  It created the "green revolution" by which it fed itself when a whole continent to its West can not do so.  What can we learn from India?  Surely it is not the pop psychology of its most famous expats (Deepak Chopra and a host of gurus and swamis).  It is not the tenets of Hinduism, which are fraught with as much contradiction as Christianity and violence as Islam.  It is, I believe, their adaptability and embrace of change.  At the end of the 19th century and for much of the 20th, India was an agrarian, balkanized society.  British governance brought many of the states under unified control and laid the foundation for its infrastructure.  But it was the dawn of the technological age which propelled the nation into preeminence. 
 
One of it's distinct advantages was a strong civil service and a cadre of fluent English speakers.  Despite the vast cultural differences between the west and India, their population was able to leverage this gift of communication into viable business opportunities.  Couple this with an increasingly capable education system and India's best resource, its people, stormed onto the world stage with a vengeance.  The Indian diaspora has also made a positive impact on the globe.  They have adopted the necessary cultural aspects of their new nations and retained the core beliefs of their native one.  As such, Indian communities are strong, vibrant and generally lacking the negative aspects of many other nations expatriates.
 
In this spirit I saw the film.  I was eager to get another look at the Indian self image.  I was not disappointed.  What transpired for the young protagonist, Jamal Malik, is a lesson for all of India.  The fact that his religion and that of his love interest appeared to be polar opposites only underscored the hopefulness of the movie.
 
Resolve to see this film.