Sexuality in Society

For several weeks, I’ve been thinking about all of the sexual harassment news which has been bombarding us each day. It seems there is a new famous man being accused of sexual assault, harassment, or other inappropriate behavior. I believe it is sad how frequently females of all ages are treated, especially by men in positions of power. I do hope one day men and women can have an equal position in society, no matter the country you live in.

So far, most of the attention has been focusing on people in Hollywood and politics. I’m not sure why the media decided to focus heavily on sexual crimes now, when sexual crimes have been happening to women in the military, women in universities, women in more typical workplaces, women in religious organizations, and I think most sadly, women in their own homes. Over one third of all women are sexually harassed in academic settings. Nearly half of all women are harassed in the military. I know because I was once an equal opportunity officer trying to prevent these gross crimes against humanity.

Another sad thing, which no one seems to be mentioning, is how strong sexuality is a part of all aspects of culture and economy. You can go on various social media sites and witness how intuitive girls as  young as 8 are, knowing they will get more “likes” and followers if they tease boys and men of all ages in a sexual way. Nearly show something she shouldn’t or dance in a certain way, and she will be popular. Many girls crave this attention and many women do as well.

Pornography is a large part of the entertainment industry and our TV shows and movies keep blurring the line between what is “normal” and what is too provocative to show. Music is inundated with lyrics about sexual encounters of all kinds. These lyrics are sometimes about one-night stands, hook-ups, and the various ways to romanticize temporary sexual encounters. Sometimes they are about taking the woman by force. Many times women and girls will dance and sing these songs. Popular books and stories often focus on the sexually provocative. Look how popular “Fifty Shades of Grey” was, a book about bondage and sadism all for sexual pleasures. Over 100 million people found the story worthy enough of praise, perhaps in the imagination of consenting to non-consensual encounters.

You see, at an early age, young girls have access to the blurred lines between what is consent and what is not. They have access to what is required of them to be successful in pop culture or to measure their self-worth. By the time they are adults, most of their lives have already been a witness to the objectifications of themselves, a witness they have already participated in. In many ways, sex is the best path towards financial stability.

The media is only talking about the evils of men who use their power to take what is not theirs. The media is not looking back at the influence they have had in creating this environment. We are not having discussions as to how to have healthy, long-lasting relationships which do not cripple the psyche or the soul. We are not teaching our boys and girls how to value each other as human beings, instead of solely being sexual, profit-seeking animals.

What will you do to create a better environment where our kids will not grow up being valued for their sexuality? Can you even be that example?

5 Ways to Reduce Murder in the USA

Introduction

Conservatives and liberals, the religious and the secular, and everyone in between seems to misunderstand why so many in the United States desires to kill each other and kill themselves. For as long as this exists, nothing will improve and we’ll have to spend more money on policing, jailing, the military, and healthcare costs associated with each when instead we could be using our resources on education, research, and building a better future for our children and our children’s children.

What are some of the reasons used to discuss mass murder or a high frequency of murders and suicides? Here are some basic snapshots of what is the common discourse.

The Conservative Argument

The conservative argument has been focused mostly on extremism from liberal politicians, which is dividing the country. This extremism has forced diversity within the country, which causes conflict between those of differing cultures. This extremism has also forced a population to be more reliant upon the government and once the government has taken away more rights, intruded upon the lives of the citizenry, and distributed away their resources, desperation and unrest set in. Finally, by calling out police brutality against minorities, conservatives argue that liberal politicians and the minorities they support have weakened the institutions of policing. The population does not respect the police, which causes the population to no longer respect the rule of law.

The Liberal Argument

The liberal argument has mostly focused on the conservative support of gun lobbyists and gun rights over the basic rights of each person. Guns have been the most common method to kill other people, and liberals argue conservatives encourage continued violence by turning away from even discussing ways to limit access to guns, to include semi-automatic weapons and access by those with a known history of violence. Also, liberals argue that often times, conservatives policies favor the wealthy, made up mostly of white males, and this deprivation of resources stokes desperation.

The Religious Argument

I do not often hear the religious in the United States talking much about why they believe violence exists in the way it does and possible solutions. Since the religious argument is mostly dominated by the Christian majority, the most common things discussed is the lack of the fear of God and being ruled by Satan. Neither of these arguments are easily quantifiable, and there is no common consensus on how to tell who fears God and who does not. Also, those who are not Christian must be Satanic, and we must do what we can to prevent the further degradation of society by keeping out religious minorities, mostly Muslims.

The Secular Argument

Religion is the source of most violence. Because of the adherence to dogma and ideas which have yet to be proven by science, religion can be used to stir up the imagination in ways detrimental to the progress of mankind. In this argument, any religion well known by the secular person is the culprit. The only solution is better secular education, focused on science, and to do whatever is necessary to eliminate religion from most institutions.

The Real Issue is Complex but not Impossible

I think to start, we should start with the basic timeline of a person’s life from the beginning until the end. Like many conservatives and religious people, I believe life starts at conception. I say this because scientifically, there is no doubt about the result of what happens when a sperm fertilizes an egg. We know there is life, the life is progressing, and we know this life is human. Yes, I’m about to discuss abortion although I do not believe abortion is the single issue causing obscene amounts of violence in America.

Problem #1

Abortion exists and a great deal of our political capital has been used to debate whether or not abortion is a basic right of a person or murder. Why is abortion an option? It is because there was sex without preparation to create and sustain life. What happens when there is no option for abortion? Often times, women will unequally bear hardship because when there is an unwanted baby born, the man is more free to leave his child behind. This is not always the case, but it is the most common. A single woman working many hours to care for a child she may not have wanted, and a child without a stable environment to focus on education. I consider education to include secular, religious, civic, and values.

Solution #1

Either women and men must share the responsibilities of family equally, or women should be given greater freedom to choose what is best given their potential hardship and hardship of the unborn baby. Abortion should be allowed for the entire time women are treated as less equal than men.

Problem #2

Many babies are born into varying conditions. Some babies are born to parents who love them greatly, have resources to invest in them, and ensure they have the opportunity for a great future. One thing I have learned in finance and economics is the value of compound interest. In this case, a baby who is born into moderate wealth with a compounding interest of love and education will have a great lifelong advantage over the average baby born into poverty or to parents who do not love them. You see, the conditions we begin influence the potential pathways we can take.

Solution #2

The United States does not do enough to ensure all babies born have equal access to opportunities. We do provide Social Security for those of a retirement age and the disabled, but I think we should provide Social Security for each baby born. It would be a trust we have made and a trust which can only be used towards ensuring each life has an opportunity to profit and profit others.

Problem #3

By the time a child begins education at any school, many social and cultural teachings begin to manifest themselves. The most concerning is how many children have already learned how to identify and treat people who outwardly seem different than them. Children can act cruelly to overweight kids, kids of different skin colors, kids who don’t dress as nicely, and countless other reasons. I think sometimes this is learned on their own, but I also understand kids start their first years observing and mimicking their parents and other immediate family members. I believe they mostly learn ideas such as inequality and superiority/inferiority from their own families first.

I agree with liberal politicians in that hate speech should not be tolerated. However, hate speech is often veiled and subtle. Ask a religious organization where children are taught who can achieve salvation and who cannot. The answer will demonstrate superiority, inferiority, and the precursors to future inequality. Once any person is viewed as less than you, it is easy to progress towards feeling you have more rights than the person, should succeed over that person, and perhaps the person should suffer more than you. The various kinds of superiority training which begin at a young age include nationalism, racism, salvationism, wealth classes, and body types.

Solution #3

Indoctrination of superiority training should be considered child abuse. It has negative effects on not only the child being indoctrinated, but also on the children victimized by the indoctrinated child. Any parent found to be indoctrinating should go through mandatory education and community service in service of the group the parent spoke or acted against.

Problem #4

By the time a child reaches puberty and reaches child-bearing age, they are grossly under-prepared to be as mature psychologically as they are physically. Many have not been taught how to do basic living tasks, such as how to cook, clean, manage money, and take care of others, let alone themselves. I’m not saying children at this age should be independent and on their own, but they should have the skills and maturity to contribute to the family and if needed, towards being responsible for their actions.

It is at this time when hormones are influential and all the values and skills taught so far are truly tested. Who am I and what is my purpose? Who can I love? Who loves me? What makes me unique? This seeking of identity and love is the greatest cause of the teenager. Formal education typically is not and usually interferes. Sure, learning algebra and literature is great for future work, but teenagers do not even know what career path they will be on and rarely place much emphasis on it.

With the passions of self being dominant, why do we purposefully under-prepare them for the independence and love they seek? The typical path of study until you are 18 and as college becomes increasingly needed, study until you are in your mid-20’s seems to be a great waste of resources at this stage of a person’s life. Teenagers need to know the morality of loving relationships, how to be trustworthy, responsible, and how to view sexuality as not only a path of pleasure and physical love, but as a life-creating act.

Solution #4

With a basic birthright Social Security in place, a teenager can safely be free to choose the path they seek, and be able to withstand the consequences of mistakes. Teenagers have healthy bodies and great energy, perfect for jobs which require low levels of training but hard work. If a life is created, maybe even at age 15 or 16 they can be responsible hard-working parents instead of being fearful for their future. Life wouldn’t be over. Once their children are teenagers, they will only be in their 30’s or 40’s and may have finally settled into a position where they can focus on higher education and professional careers. To ensure they can safely and successfully be prepared to engage in their passions, the jobs they qualify for must be able to provide living wages. A living wage is where if you work full-time, you can support yourself and one other.

Problem #5

We view guns as the enemy. It is true guns and other weapons are increasingly effective at taking lives, but no weapon can be effective unless there is the intention of a person behind them. No matter if a gun, knife, vehicle, plane, or even a poison exists, it can only kill due to intent. No gun can have intent. Why are there people who regularly intend on harming another, or taking a life? Why after a crime is committed, we discuss on who is at fault, how to profile people who might be similar to the criminal, and document how all the victims and neighboring people were either documenting the crime on their phones or acting helpless? We never talk about how an 18-month girl could have survived if someone who was not shot provided life-saving skills. We never talk about how the 77 year old victim’s life is sacred, as sacred as you and I.

Driving around you can see regular signs and buildings for non-profit organizations and for-profit organizations. Most are affiliated with a person with a faith, and the rest are not. I believe whether you are religious or non-religious, we are doing a poor job in teaching ourselves how important another person’s life is. For example, look at the nearest homeless person you come across. Where is this person and what is their current activity? This person is most likely along a roadside, an intersection, or near an entrance of a store. This person is never at our churches, mosques, synagogues, or temples. This person is not at our places of government nor at the headquarters of the wealthiest corporations. The only place they are expected to be is the homeless shelter, which becomes a de-facto prison if the homeless person is unwelcome everywhere else.

This person is never doing anything with the belief they can succeed in this system. Every level of society treats the homeless as a criminal when at the most simple explanation, they were unable to earn enough money to afford food and shelter. Our churches do not teach the worth of this homeless person’s life is as much as the believers of the church, and a homeless person knows he/she is not welcome there without being judged as being inferior. In fact, I would say in our current society, the only lives which are argued to be sacred are those of babies. Once free will is expressed, sacredness is replaced by judgment. Mankind has evolved to the point where every person can be fed, clothed, and sheltered, yet we refuse to do so. It is because we do not value another’s life as much as we value our own.

This is the ultimate problem. I could continue down the path of the life, where the elderly, after working hard their whole lives, are expected to live with strangers and give up their possessions. We don’t value any person if we feel they are not productive. Through the moment we are born, we are taught myriads of ways another’s life is not as sacred as our own. We are taught how to use guns, yet we are not taught how to save lives.

Solution #5

Life-saving skills must be taught to every person capable of killing another, which is every person who has reached puberty. Teach them how to restore breath, stop bleeding, and provide comfort until better trained emergency personnel has arrived. I believe this will help empower others to not only save lives, but to feel a better connection to the vitality inherent in each of us, hopefully preventing the need of those life-saving skills.

Conclusion

There are many other issues related to acts of violence that I did not touch upon, but I hope I spurred some thought and forced some creative thinking. I provided 5 ideas the media nor our leaders have proposed or suggested, but ideas which would help change the long-term dynamic our culture exists within. I want to live in a United States where every person, no matter their background, has an opportunity to succeed. Not just once, but multiple times. I want to live in a United States where every life is treated as being sacred, not just at conception, but up until the person has passed of natural causes. I want to live in a United States where we are not oppressed by ideas and actions of superiority, but instead expressing true liberty and being an example of liberty to everyone else in this world.

We the people of the United States are better than the self-indulgent psychotics we portray ourselves to be. Let’s start acting better and let’s stop accepting all the bad habits which can eventually lead to murder.

Consistency with Human Rights

Thoughts about human rights within our organizations:

“we see how we can have a democracy whose government expresses the freedom of speech, but we may accept to organize ourselves into families or even corporations where this freedom is replaced with censorship. Human rights must exist at every level of society which enforces some kind of legal or judicial system. If not, then nations can never fully be the bearers of ideals the smaller organizations go against. I say this because our smallest units of organization, such as that of a family, religious organization, business, etc. are far more representative of us (all of the I’s and they’s) than a distant national government could ever be.” -Unueco Partio: Creating a Single World Currency, pg 38

Do you feel human rights and protections should exist equally and consistently in every way we organize? Feel free to share your thoughts, questions, and anything else you’d like to share.

Apple, Inc. is NOT Generous

Introduction

Last week, I was reading about the contributions various companies have provided to charities involved with the relief efforts after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. It is estimated by AccuWeather the total cost of both storms will be about to $290 billion. Apple is reported as pledging or giving $8 million in charitable contributions to Hand in Hand and the Red Cross.

On the surface, $8 millions seems like a fairly large contribution. I cannot give $8 million and I am certain most of my readers cannot either. It is hard to even imagine this much money. Then again, Apple is not your ordinary company. They are one of the world’s most valuable companies. Let me provide a few highlights from their latest quarterly earnings release dated August 2, 2017.

The Numbers

Apple ended the quarter (April 1 – June 30, 2017) with $18.57 billion in cash and the equivalents of cash. They received $45.4 billion in sales in the three month period. Their net income before any expected tax expenses was $11.3 billion. The expected tax expenses was $2.59 billion. They paid $.63 per share dividend, for a total dividend of about $3.27 billion. As you can see, the scale of Apple is significant. Now let me put this in a more simple analysis that we could all understand by taking away the scale of Apple.

Apple is expecting to pay a tax rate of 22.91% on their net income. The average income of a person in the US state of Illinois is about $59,588. The total income tax rate this average person would be expected to pay is 30.54%. Apple is paying a much lower tax rate than the average person.

Apple paid 28.94% of their income to Apple investors. For the 3 months covered, there were no noted charitable expenses. The charity rate is effectively 0%. However, let’s include the charity Apple is providing for hurricane relief, as well as two other donations Apple pledged to the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League in August, each is $1 million. The total pledged by Apple is so far $10 million.

$10 million is .09% of their net income, or .11% of their income after taxes. $10 million is .05% of their available cash. $10 million is .31% of their dividends to shareholders. $10 million is .0076% of Apple’s total equity.

Your Feedback?

Do you believe Apple is generous if you compare them to what you have given, or what your friends and family have given?

The US federal government will be paying the bulk of the hurricane relief expenses. The government is funded through income taxes. The burden of the hurricane relief will be on those who directly suffered losses, those middle-class workers who pay 30% of their income on taxes (and more), and those who donate more of their income to charity than our corporations. Meanwhile, I guess some of you will keep buying $999 iPhones.

Conclusion

Apple and companies like Apple are slowly killing our ability to help each other by contributing to income inequality. Unfortunately, we the people, the people who supposedly are led to believe are represented in government, are allowing this to happen each and every single day.

Apple may not be generous, but you are not expecting them to be.

References:

SEC Corporate Filing for Apple

Apple’s Charitable Contributions on CNBC

My Life is Better Than Caesar’s

Introduction

The other morning, a couple of proselytizers from the Jehovah’s Witnesses came to visit me. We had a simple discussion of the Bible and I was invited to attend one of their meetings. They were friendly although they struggled with answers they were not prepared for. One of them was to the question “Do you believe the world is getting worse?” I answered “Yes” and they were rather surprised. One of the ladies said no one has ever said “yes.” This post will share my reasons for why.

Developing Perspective

I know when the ladies go asking this question, they are trained to do so because it is expected the answer is going to be a no. This naturally leads into their discussion about the importance for the Second Coming of Christ, an event I believe has already happened. However, this won’t be a theological discussion but instead focus entirely on perspective. You see, those who proselytize also believe the world is getting worse and I feel hope everyone feels the same. This is sad because to me, this means they are seeing the world through a very narrow scope, one that is self-centered and not God oriented. They also hope those they meet are the same so as to compel church attendance and maybe membership. This is slightly manipulative and denies an opportunity for truth.

I would say though that this phenomena is not exclusive to the Jehovah’s Witnesses. As they go door-to-door, they will be coming across people of all walks of life. They will meet the religious and irreligious, the educated and uneducated, man and woman, young and old, and every skin color which the world has to offer. The vast majority of this entire population has found it acceptable to believe the world is getting worse yet hope for a better tomorrow. Even in the political arena, when I listen to talk shows like the conservative Rush Limbaugh or the progressive Thom Hartmann, the general sentiment is that things are getting worse but there are pathways to making them better.

I would like to offer my perspective on this matter since I really do believe the world is getting better. As the proselytizers were hoping to teach me about Jesus, I figured I would focus on when Jesus first existed in the flesh, in the early days of the Julian calendar.

The Time of Jesus 1.0

You see, most who are called Christian profess their belief in Jesus. Despite this belief, they believe the world is getting worse which means Jesus 1.0 no longer has a positive effect in this world. This is a poor expression of faith and denies the truth. What was the world like when Jesus walked amongst the people in Palestine, then of the Roman Empire? What was it like to be poor? What was it like to be wealthy? What was it like to be Julius Caesar, the most powerful man in the world? Yes, I know Julius was not alive when the ministry of Jesus took place, but for symbolism and the fact people believe the calendar which Julius started was started because of Jesus, I figure why not? Julius Caesar was wealthy, well-traveled, and a symbol of the best civilization was offering at the time, at least in Europe and the Middle East.

How is My Life Better than Caesar’s?

The following will be brief observations about how my life is better than Caesar’s

  1. My life expectancy of about 80 years is greater than the life expectancy of any Roman, to include Caesar. Caesar was famously killed at 56 years, but for the entire population the average was 25 years. If a baby survived into adulthood, they might be able to have reached 60. Today, I and most others can expect to live longer than the longest lived people of the Roman Empire. The worst country in the world today for life expectancy is Swaziland currently at 49 years. Our worst today is nearly twice as good as that in the time of Jesus.
  2. It is suggested Julius Caesar when traveling to various war spots in Europe, could travel about 100 miles per day over the course of 8 days. The most powerful man in the world at the time of Jesus thus would travel 800 miles in a little over a week. I can currently drive 800 miles in about 12 hours or fly 800 miles in about 3-4 hours. I can move about this world today better than Julius Caesar ever could.
  3. Julius Caesar was a Roman, whose capital Rome is in the current state of Italy. What was Roman food like, or old Italian food? I have the luxury of having marinara sauce made from tomatoes, a food Romans never would have experienced. Only when the Native Americans were discovered could Italians create their famous tomato based pasta sauces. Yes, I eat more delicious and flavorful foods than Caesar could ever dream of.
  4. When Caesar was alive, the world was at a constant state of war for land and resources. Borders were always changing. Today, I live in a world where such war is rare and borders hardly changed. When Russia took Crimea a few years ago, this was only the 2nd time a border in the entire world changed this decade and this was with no bloodshed. The world is more closely linked and peaceful than it was when Caesar lived.
  5. Finally, when Caesar lived, what would happen to his poo? Rome being the wealthiest city in its time, did not have toilets. There was fresh water, there was somewhat of a sewer system, but these systems were not linked. Poo often had to be carted off, passing by people. Caesar, when he would have to go about the streets or to other locations, had to smell the poo of others and had to get his own poo out of the way. The air and water all around me is fairly clean with barely a foul odor.

There are many many ways I could go on about how my life is better than Caesar’s. For all intents and purposes, my lifestyle is greater than the most powerful King during the era which Jesus lived. I am not a King and I am considered squarely in the American middle class. Caesar would envy my life. Caesar would envy your life.

Since Jesus first walked among us, life did improve. The only problem I see is our expectations change. We expect to be able to communicate with anyone in the world in an instant, to feel electricity powered fans, air-conditioners, and heaters to give us a comfortable temperature, to move about our environment with increasing speeds, dress in elaborate clothing, adorn ourselves with precious metals and gems, and eat any food we desire. We can raise our families in relative peace and security. Imagine Rome in the year 0 A.D. with no night-time lighting, no police, narrow streets, the smell of poo, and not knowing what is in those dark streets. Even in the most oppressive societies of Saudi Arabia and North Korea, people still go about their lives with much greater freedom than the people of ancient Rome.

Conclusion

If we open our eyes and our perspectives to look beyond ourselves, we can see a world which is getting better. My grandparents suffered through the Great Depression and World War II, and my life is better than theirs. Each generation things improve. We do not need a Jesus to return to make our lives better because God is constantly guiding us to a better world. We should be more grateful for what we have, grateful that we do not have the lifestyle of those in the ancient days, and grateful we have opportunities to seek our purpose rather than our purpose being decided for us. Life is better. This is the Good News. This is the Gospel. This is the effect Jesus had on society as well as all the Manifestations of God have had upon our world.

Climate Change Will End White Supremacy

yOn June 1, 2017, President Donald Trump announced he would have the United States withdraw from the Paris accords and the Paris agreement. His reasons were simple. He said the agreement would put the United States at an economic disadvantage when compared to other countries such as China. Trump stated there were financial obligations required of the United States which were unfair. The regulations imposed by the agreement would harm American industry and over time, reduce American household income. Trump finally suggested only the United States would suffer these impacts.

To cite his information, Trump used a study from the National Economic Research Associates. You can see the full study here. What is interesting is the study cited is a simulation of various scenarios the United States would have to take to reach the goals necessary to reduce emissions by 80%. The study said current US policy, even that under President Obama, was insufficient to meet those goals. The study then, was not an assessment of current US policy, but an assessment of what the United States would need to do and the economic impacts of this simulation. As we all know, a simulation is not quite reality. Also, the study did not simulate impacts of other countries. This was not a comparison then, as Trump repeatedly stated in his address.

I do not believe President Trump is familiar with the Paris Agreement, the study he cited, nor anything else regarding environmental economics. He said the Agreement would reduce coal jobs, but the Agreement says nothing about reducing coal jobs. All contributions by nations according to the Paris Agreement are voluntary. If Donald Trump does not want to give money to the United Nations for climate change, the United States does not have to and could still be a part of the Agreement.

Since Donald Trump does not even believe in climate change, what other motivations are there his decision? What could Donald Trump be disagreeing with?

I will summarize statements from the Paris Agreement and use evidence from Donald Trump’s actions.

1) Donald Trump disagrees with the principle of equity affirmed by the Paris Agreement. Throughout Trump’s business career, he has been well-known to exclude non-white minorities from much of his investment. Who in Trump’s inner circle is not white? Where in Africa has Trump invested? What non-white person has Trump praised for a specific value or act?

2) Donald Trump disagrees with the idea there are certain developing nations who are highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Which developing nations are not a white majority? Has Donald Trump expressed any sentiment towards any developing nation or its people as being important or valuable? I have not heard of any such sentiment.

3) Donald Trump disagrees with the ideas of sustainable development, equitable access to development, and the eradication of poverty. Name one policy Trump has supported which alleviates the needs of the poor, let alone eradicate poverty. Has he ever used the words sustainable development? Has he ever expressed a sentiment that those in Pittsburgh, the city he often mentioned in his speech, can have equal access to the opportunities he was given? A golf course is not sustainable development.

4) Donald Trump disagrees with safeguarding food security and ending hunger. For example, there is a famine in South Sudan, near famine in Ethiopia, and other issues with hunger in countries like Yemen. Has there been any mention of this in any public statement by Donald Trump? No. People going hungry in Africa or Asia is not important to Donald Trump.

5) Donald Trump disagrees with a person’s right to health. Can anyone state any expression or desire of any American to be healthy or to have access to health care. In fact, the political party he is a member of, the Republican Party, has proposed legislation limiting health care access for the poor, many of whom are portrayed as being non-white citizens.

6) Donald Trump disagrees with the rights of indigenous people. The very first executive action Donald Trump took was to deprive the native Lakota people a voice in favor of white oil and finance industry executives. Donald Trump has made no personal investments on native American land and has never expressed the equality of any indigenous people.

7) Donald Trump disagrees with the rights of migrants. The first expression of Trump’s political platform was to build a wall to keep Mexicans out of the United States. Similar sentiments have been expressed towards Muslims, especially Arab Muslims. He tried to institute a travel ban preventing Muslims and then all Arabs and Persians from being able to enter the United States. He has also expressed no sentiment or favor towards refugees of war.

8) Donald Trump disagrees with the rights of people with disabilities. On his campaign, Trump had specifically made fun of the disability of a journalist, questioning his ability to be a good journalist. Trump has never expressed any statement stating the equality of people with disabilities to those who don’t, nor has he mentioned their rights.

9) Donald Trump disagrees with the idea of gender equality. He was famous about stating how he could do anything he wanted with women, objectifying them and their private areas as not theirs, but his. Those in his inner circle do not include women, and when there are women, they do not have a voice. Even his daughter Ivanka recently found this out when he disregarded her advice regarding the Paris Agreement.

10) Donald Trump disagrees with the importance of having public access to information. Repeatedly Trump has attacked the press in the United States and has praised leaders who suppress the media in their countries. He calls the media as presenting fake news, especially when they present news which appears unfavorable to him professionally and personally. These attacks demonstrate how important it is to reduce access to information. Finally, one of the first changes to the White House website was to eliminate any mention of climate change. He even has restricted access to NASA and NOAA information which scientists and others in the public use.

You see, everything else in the Paris Agreement, such as the goals of the United Nations and member countries, the affirmations to work together towards a common cause, mean nothing due to the foundation of values expressed prior. Why would Donald Trump believe in helping mankind in a common cause when the very core of his beliefs only favor a very specific portion of mankind.

Donald Trump only cares about white male affluence.

Now let me tie this in to Russia. The media have often reported the potential reasons why Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin seem so intent on working together despite their countries having historically divergent roles and ideologies. Blackmail has been mentioned, access to better business investment, and even occasionally the hope these relationships can bring a long-standing peace. I believe the only thing which ties Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin is the ideology of white male affluence.

Repeatedly during Putin’s tenure as President, various elements of his government have regularly expressed their sentiments. Some have felt the white race is being threatened by increasing mixing of multi-ethnic people. Some, to include Putin, have expressed their goal of keeping Russia a majority ethnic Russian majority nation. There have been policies proposed to purposely reduce the birth rate of non-ethnic Russians, such as the Muslims in Chechnya. A survey of African people in Russia have shown that over half of all African people have been assaulted by white people solely because of the color of their skin. It is also known how cold Putin was in his relationship with President Obama, a black man who Russian people often portrayed as a monkey.

You can say Russia is one of the last major powers of the Old World where the majority of the population and its members of government still strongly believe in white supremacy. Are there any further relationships Donald Trump has had which indicates white supremacy as an ideology are important to him? One could point to the support of David Dukes, the former leader of the white supremacist group the Ku Klux Klan. One could point to the current website of the Ku Klux Klan and note many of the positions they believe in are also supported by Donald Trump.

What can Donald Trump gain from his allegiance to Russia, his withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, and his current political agenda? I do not believe all of the intentions are focused on making money, although making money does help support the rest of his goals. I believe Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin are seeking to work together to weaken the institutions which could help non-white people of the world a chance to compete with white people on the international stage. The coordination of actions taken so far, such as the assistance to Bashir Assad in Syria, demonstrate their need to have friendly puppets in power which can help keep non-white people weakened.

Is White Supremacy sustainable?

I do not believe it is. So far the current manifestations of white supremacy are dominated by oligarchs who are controlling most of the world’s resources. A majority of the world’s wealth is controlled by white people or non-white people who are basically puppets of white people, such as the King of Saudi Arabia. Even if some people like Bill Gates who does give charity to non-white people are not considered white supremacists, they have still benefited by white supremacy and have done nothing to change this system or allow non-white people to even compete with them in business. I believe it will end with the growing populist movements throughout the world. Even a majority of white people are losing their wealth and beginning to realize this. Many times a white man realizes he is not supreme, it is expressed with deep psychological disease and violence. In the USA, look at who commits the mass murders and why. The world is ready to start addressing this disease and hopefully healing it. The erosion of rights and opportunities will force people throughout the world to seek the rights and opportunities they demand for a fulfilling and rewarding life.

Climate change is the one thing which will end white supremacy. There is one point I do agree with when Trump left the Paris Agreement. He said the agreement will not do enough to end climate change. I do agree with this but I also believe there is no way to avert climate change. The population is increasing, the total energy needs of this population are increasing, and even if we use less carbon, we are destroying the forests, wetlands, and other critical carbon sinks to sustain the current economic system designed by white supremacists. Climate change will become the great equalizer. As an unprepared world starts to suffer more from extreme droughts, flooding, and other high cost and high impact weather events, the more we will realize how few resources are left to compassionately help our neighbors. In turn, the economic systems and their political structures will become increasingly fragile and eventually forced to change.

What will this change worldwide look like? From the future disordering of the world institutions will become a greater order of eventual peace and unity. It may be rough getting there, but we can do it. This new greater order will have a foundation of unity where no form of racism will affect us. People of all ethnicities will have access to equal rights and opportunities. People from both genders will have access to equal rights and opportunities. People with disabilities will have equal rights and opportunities. The only thing which will affect our success or lack of success is the combination of skills, discipline, and some measure of luck. Success won’t be determined by our heritage alone.

There are other challenges to this future. Here in the USA for example, over 80 million people voted for the ideologies and actions of Donald Trump. An entire political party supports a great portion of his aspirations. You see, in the end, an elected official reflects the values of the people who elected him. Elsewhere, many others subscribe subliminally to this idea of white supremacy. Go visit India or the Philippines for example. The lighter your skin color, the greater chances you have of affluence. In many countries skin lightening products are popular and it is sometimes considered as a sign of prestige to be in a close relationship with a white person from the USA, Canada, Europe, or Australia. Often times those with darker skin seek the approval and respect of lighter skinned people in social settings, leading them to act somewhat differently. Violent movements such as Islamic militancy tend to only target the idea of white male affluence. When this white male affluence is targeted, entire wars are started and nations destroyed.

Unueco Partio believes in establishing a world where we take care of our neighbors, both in the local communities as well as those who live in other nations. As we take care of our neighbors, we do so with the belief in equity at every level of society. We seek to abolish poverty by reducing the imbalance of wealth current ideologies support. We seek to secure a food supply while encouraging sustainable development. We seek the rural farmer to be as important to our system as a CEO or monarch. We seek free access to any information we desire so that we may be more fully educated. We seek a society where indigenous people are as important as migrants or the progeny of migrants. We seek a society where there is no future creation of refugees but a safe place to live wherever you want to call home. Unueco Partio believes that this entire world is a home to all, under the same roof, under the same banner of one humanity. This will not be the world of Donald Trump, but it will be the world for all of us.

Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Questions

The TPP is a potential trade agreement between the United States, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. In the USA, the TPP seems to be quite unpopular. Unueco Partio is supportive of enhanced trade deals which can benefit for all involved.

What is it your view of the TPP? What specifically do you dislike or like about the TPP? How will it help or harm the country you live in?

Here is the full-text of the TPP available on Medium.

The Values Behind the 2016 US Presidential Election

I like to say any democratic election, no matter the party platform, no matter the candidate, and no matter the positions the candidates support, is a referendum of the values of the majority. I accept often times values aren’t at the forefront of an election. In the USA, for example, issues people seem to be interested in are related to the economy, such as wages, worker’s rights, and the effects of immigration and international trade deals. Other issues in play include our foreign policy and how the United State’s power should be projected, and some domestic moral issues such as abortion and freedom of religion.

Still, despite these issues, there are underlying core values which the population expresses, some in the majority and some in the minority. It is these core values which find their expression in the way issues are framed, viewed, and voted upon. In the end, after the voting is over on November 8, 2016, the world will know what the core values are for the majority of the population and perhaps what the core values are for a significant minority.

With the lead-up to this much publicized 2016 US Presidential Election, from the primary process between political parties all the way up to the final campaign pushes by Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, what are some of the core values you observe and what do you feel it means for the future of the USA? If you are not from the USA, do you feel these core values can lead to a positive future for the people of your country?

The World’s Central Conflict, a Study of Faith, Philosophy, and Kingship

Conclusion

The central theme of all the world’s conflict is the world’s desire to have a just King with divine qualities, yet our rejection of the very idea such a King could even exist.

A Glimpse Into the World Today

There are many strong political movements which desire to influence the direction of the world’s future. Most of these movements are expressed in national or regional forms, but each share very common goals. One of the most common movements has been the secularization of rule. This secularization has led itself to modern democracies whose governments are based on the popular consent of the people or the popular consent of the people’s representatives under the umbrella of a secular constitution. This secularization has led itself to modern autocracies such as communist governments where rule is condensed to a single party representing the ideals of the commons. In both systems, power and authority are organized in a way where faith has no place in the affairs of state and nationalism is the primary goal.

The other common movements are those which have a religious foundation. Each movement believes power and authority must belong to a divine monarch representing their faith tradition. The variations of these movements are based on whether the monarch exists today, existed in the past, or will exist into the future. Sometimes there is a blend between the past, present, and today. Sometimes there are variations in methodology to establish this divine monarchy, such as the brutal tactics of ISIS. Sometimes the methodology is peaceful such as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and sometimes they can be both peaceful and brutal such as the theocratic government of Iran.

All political movements can be presented under these two umbrellas. In each umbrellas there can be the political left, the political right, the moderates, and any other label you seek.

How Did These Two Movements Come to Be?

This is a very difficult question to answer. Sometimes I like to start from the present and work my way backwards, much like starting this post with the conclusion. We know what is today, but can we work our way to the origins? Being in the USA, I will focus on what I am familiar with which is mainly Western History for this segment.

The Revolutions Against European Monarchs

The 1700’s were a prolific century. It is this century when Europe and the Americas started to pivot quite forcefully against the rule of a King or Queen. A couple of the people I feel were highly influential in these movements were Benjamin Franklin and Voltaire. These two individuals were intelligent and extremely active in civic affairs. Benjamin Franklin lived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA and is mostly known for being a businessman, inventor, writer, and diplomat. Voltaire is known mostly for being a writer, perhaps one of the most influential writers of the 18th century. The link I find both have, other than the fact they did meet in person once, is their deep reflections upon religion. I would say Voltaire was sometimes aggressive in his criticisms while Franklin would usually try to be the optimist towards religion. Both being products of the European Enlightenment, often would question the role religion should have in the affairs of both people and government. Both sought to explain why religious fanaticism existed, what is the purpose of religion, were the prophets divine, what is the benefit of religion, and what are the motivations of the leaders of religion. Both were described as being Deist, although both had strong relationships to Christianity. Both studied other faiths such as reading the Qur’an. Both felt religion should be a force of good but if it is not, should be eliminated.

Their harshest criticisms were of leaders who would use religion for power and wealth at the cost of a common person’s liberty and freedom. However, they both often criticized the common person’s religious belief as regularly being full of superstition instead of genuine education as to the “nature of creation.” Both came to the conclusions that a King could not be divine nor have authority from God if they sought to deny man liberty. This basic premise set the stage for powerful revolutions.

Another trait both men shared were philosophies which some have described as Hedonism, that is the pursuit of pleasure. They believed it was not wrong to partake in the luxuries and pleasures of life and it was of great economic benefit to all of society to pursue those pleasures. They still believed in virtues such as doing good for others. Pleasure must not come at the cost of another’s pleasure. The pursuit of happiness is the ultimate benefit of liberty. They believed God did not create pleasures merely for man to be denied therefrom nor to be punished for.

Epicurus’s Philosophy

Epicurus was the leader of a Hellenistic period school in Greece which lasted from the 4th century BC to the 4th century AD. It was one of the longest lived philosophical schools from Greece and one of the longest in human history. Surprisingly, Epicurus is not very well-known. He had great admiration for the likes of Plato, Aristotle, and Socrates and built upon their foundations.

Epicurus was heavily focused on man’s ability to seek their own happiness and to not worry about the will of the gods. Some say he was an atheist, some say he was a hedonist, but I believe he highly reflected upon his relationship as man with that of the gods. He believed they were real but because man was made of atoms, they could not directly effect the affairs of man. This school of thought lasted surprisingly long given the growth of Rome, the adoption of Christianity by Rome, and the growing hatred towards Greek philosophy by the leaders of both Rome and Church.

The Epic of Gilgamesh

In this excerpt from the Epic of Gilgamesh, one of the oldest known forms of literature in the world, we see a similar dilemma.

She answered, ‘Gilgamesh, where are you hurrying to? You will never find that life for which you are looking. When the gods created man they allotted to him death, but life they retained in their own keeping. As for you, Gilgamesh, fill your belly with good things; day and night, night and day, dance and be merry, feast and rejoice. Let your clothes be fresh, bathe yourself in water, cherish the little child that holds your hand, and make your wife happy in your embrace; for this too is the lot of man.’ But Gilgamesh said to Siduri, the young woman, ‘How can I be silent, how can I rest, when Enkidu whom I love is dust, and I too shall die and be laid in the earth. You live by the sea-shore and look into the heart of it; young woman, tell me now, which is the way to Utnapishtim, the son of Ubara-Tutu? What directions are there for the passage; give me, oh, give me directions. I will cross the Ocean if it is possible; if it is not I will wander still farther in the wilderness.’ The winemaker said to him, ‘Gilgamesh, there is no crossing the Ocean; whoever has come, since the days of old, has not been able to pass that sea. The Sun in his glory crosses the Ocean, but who beside Shamash has ever crossed it? The place and the passage are difficult, and the waters of death are deep which flow between. Gilgamesh, how will you cross the Ocean? When you come to the waters of death what will you do? But Gilgamesh, down in the woods you will find Urshanabi, the ferryman of Utnapishtim; with him are the holy things, the things of stone. He is fashioning the serpent prow of the boat. Look at him well, and if it is possible, perhaps you will cross the waters with him; but if it is not possible, then you must go back.’

Gilgamesh, who is described as being the son of gods, is seeking eternal life. Instead, he his told to seek his happiness in the pleasures of life for they were created by the gods for man to enjoy. Gilgamesh fears death and finds it difficult to find purpose in life when loved ones and he himself will one day die. This relationship between mankind and divinity has existed since the dawn of human consciousness. What is the relationship God has with Man? Should we be concerned with who leads us or should we seek a virtuous leader? Gilgamesh did not find everlasting life, although he literally had it within his grasp. However, his destiny was to be a just and great King, one who would always be remembered with a great monument. This monument is the Epic itself.

Summary

I cannot find any earlier trace of a man seeking to answer what is the relationship between the divine, man, and those who rule man. You can see a common thread between the histories of Franklin and Voltaire, Epicurus, and Gilgamesh. Each believed in the Divine, each relied on their own intellect, each believed a true purpose in life is to enjoy what is in creation, each believed this pursuit of happiness is man’s true liberty, and each believed the Divine created all which we can enjoy in liberty. By the time we got to the 18th century, knowledge had grown to the point where man could devise a form of government whose sole purpose was to grant each individual the right to pursue what makes him/her happy. This was God’s will. Virtue was expressing this liberty in a way in no man would deprive another of the individual right to pursue what makes him/her happy.

With the United States having a government founded upon these principles for nearly 250 years, another change has taken place. Notice how in the Epic of Gilgamesh, only Shamash could cross the oceans. Shamash was a name given to the Sumerian sun-God who administered justice in the world. Today, not only can mankind cross the oceans, we can do so within hours. This is nearly as fast as Shamash could. Mankind today has the abilities which in ancient times and in the 18th century was described as divine. Mankind can travel as fast as the Earth spins and can even create intelligence. Mankind can split the atom and destroy itself while at the same time finding the remedies to countless sicknesses. Yet, in the nearly 250 years since Benjamin Franklin and Voltaire helped their people in their pursuit of liberty, liberty from being ruled by corrupt leaders who claim to be from God, we lost something.

We lost the hope that a King, divine in nature, could lead us. Religious fundamentalists fight for this cause, but as Voltaire would criticize, they are steeped in so much superstition and hatred they are a source of evil instead of good. The religious moderates seem to fear the very promise their Scriptures make about a just King ruling them. They believe in Krishna on his chariot, Moses on Mt. Sinai, Jesus on the cross, and Muhammad in the trenches of Medina. King Cyrus the Great, a Zoroastrian from Persia (Iran), is described by Jews as being anointed by God. These are examples of Kings among men who, despite being men, had their souls connected to the divine. As our hope for one of them to lead as King fades into the sunset, all we have left is ourselves.

Who Are We?

We are a people who are being ruled more by our pursuit of happiness than finding moderation in the virtues of yesterday. We spend our wealth, we spend our time, and we spend our passions continuously seeking the pleasures of luxury and entertainment. Unlike Franklin and Voltaire, we do not seek to make a life better for mankind and we do not seek incorruptible leadership. Unlike Epicurus we do not seek to moderate our pleasures so as to not cause ourselves or others pain. Unlike Gilgamesh we do not seek to live a destined life of righteous rule. We sought our own corruption and prefer those like us to rule us. We are a people who will go to a building, an internet forum, or where ever we can get public attention and say we long for the day for the divine King to come to us, to bring love, peace, and unity into this world. We are a people who, when that King would come to us, would immediately reject Him because love, peace, and unity will come at the cost of our infinite appetite for pleasure. We are a people who have the ability to be a King or Queen of our home and our family and the majority of us choose not to. We teach our children hatred, racism, superiority, and other forms of deceitful lies. We do so to validate ourselves, to continue to feel good about ourselves. We are becoming closer to our nature than becoming closer to our potentials.

All of the world’s conflict comes down to this central premise. We are each growing in our capabilities to have the qualities of the divine, yet we live a life where we have no respect for any higher authority. We believe there must be a future Divine King, but it will never be today. You replaced that King with yourself in your pursuit of happiness.

What Is the Consequence?

The very revolutions Voltaire and Franklin helped lead will be fruitless. As they sought to remove religion from government, they had no idea humanity, in its pursuit of happiness, would slowly destroy the revolutions they created. As our environment degrades, as our care for our neighbors decrease, as our civic engagement is replaced by 24 hours of entertainment, and as we replace the divine with ourselves, we are losing our liberties. We are losing the ability to work and live a decent livelihood, we are losing our ability to drink clean water, breathe clean air, to create, and most importantly, rely on each other for support. Our families are suffering from increased dysfunction, our churches, mosques, temples, and synagogues are no longer pillars of virtue but instead symbols of our own hypocrisy. Our local governments and echelons above are ruled by money and profit, not by the pursuit of individual liberty for all nor the mutual shared benefit of all. This is true throughout the world, from the USA, Haiti, the Congo, Greece, Russia, China, India, and everywhere in between. The entire world has succumbed to these effects.

We need to change. Let’s talk about what this change can look like.

 

Abuse and Power

abuse-chart

Graphic is from the National Domestic Violence Hotline

Why does it seem natural for many people to abuse others when given the power to do so?

What about the ability to cause fear and intimidation gives the powerful pleasure?

Why do we regularly look up to those whose desire is to dominate the weak?

Can we ever stop this natural carnal nature of man from the powerful abusing the powerless? If so, how?

Unueco Partio wishes to be a platform where those who have been abused by the powerful can have a voice and even help lead the fight for justice and equality.