Archive for the ‘Bush’ Category

Conservatives, Liberals, Good and Evil

July 24, 2010

I have been debating with two people who seem to be very conservative. So “righteous and honorable” is kind of a private joke regarding that long thread. My personal position is that conservatives are basically evil with a sprinkling of goodness and liberals are basically good with a sprinkling of evil. I realize this is an over-simplification. It does seem to me that there are many conservatives who seem to see liberals as basically evil (or at the very least dunderheads) with a sprinkling of goodness or intelligence here and there. I have a feeling that Bush and Cheney should be tried at the Hague tribunal for war crimes and violations of the Geneva convention.

I also think that the Constitution should be amended to prevent close relatives from being elected to high office. Had our Constitution NOT been amended to limit the presidency to two terms in office then we might right now be experiencing a 3rd G.W. Bush term in office. I suspect that there is something sinister about Yale’s Skull and Bones Society having so much influence in our nation’s history.

I had no idea that the NY Times would avoid discussion even of a FRIVOLOUS charge of something like Bush’s war crimes or Reagan’s high treason with the Iran-Contra scandal. Even if some outrageous charge is made the fact that a number of people find it credible is newsworthy. Hence failure to even mention such an even constitutes a form of suppression and manipulation of the news.

I am sure there are people who adore the Bush family legacy and see them as great patriotic heroes.

The other day I found one website devoted to Sen. McCarthy of witch hunt fame which described him as a great patriot. Perhaps the site was put up by some of McCarthy’s descendants. Does anyone on FB see McCarthy as an evil character?


Rev. Wm Sloan Coffin and Skull and Bones

July 23, 2010

What? You think it is easy being Satan? Satan can’t put all his cards on the table. Satan has to masquerade as Jesus, an angel of light. Great advances were made after the Reformation when people were lulled into complacency believing that salvation was by faith alone and that they did not have to “work out their salvation in fear and trembling.”

Excerpts: “William Sloane Coffin, tapped for 1949 Skull and Bones by George Bush and his Bone companions, was from a long line of Skull and Bones Coffins. William Sloane Coffin was famous in the Vietnam War protest days as a leader of the left protest against the war….

“His uncle, the Reverend Henry Sloane Coffin (S&B 1897), had also been a ‘peace’ agitator, and an oligarchical agent. Uncle Henry was for 20 years president of the Union Theological Seminary, whose board chairman was Prescott Bush’s partner Thatcher Brown. In 1937, Henry Coffin and John Foster Dulles led the U.S. delegation to England to found the World Council of Churches, as a ‘peace movement’ guided by the pro-Hitler faction in England. The Coffins have been mainstays of the liberal death lobby, for euthanasia and eugenics. The Coffins outlasted Hitler, arriving into the CIA in the 1950s. …

“Survivors of this 1948 Bones group were interviewed for a 1988 Washington Post campaign profile of George Bush. The members described their continuing intimacy with and financial support for Bush up through his 1980s vice-presidency. Their original sexual togetherness at Yale is stressed:

“The relationships that were formed in the ‘Tomb’ … where the Society’s meetings took place each Thursday and Sunday night during the academic year, have had a strong place in Bush’s life, according to all 11 of his fellow Bonesmen who are still alive.

“Several described in detail the ritual in the organization that builds the bonds. Before giving his life history, each member had to spend a Sunday night reviewing his sex life in a talk known in the Tomb as CB, or ‘connubial bliss’….

“‘The first time you review your sex life…. We went all the way around among the 15,’said Lucius H. Biglow Jr., a retired Seattle attorney. ‘That way you get everybody committed to a certain extent…. It was a gradual way of building confidence.’

“The sexual histories helped break down the normal defenses of the members, according to several of the members from his class. William J. Connelly, Jr. … said, ‘In Skull and Bones we all stand together, 15 brothers under the skin. [It is] the greatest allegiance in the world.’

“Here is our future U.S. President with the other wealthy, amoral young men, excited about their future unlimited power over the ignorant common people, sharing their sex secrets in a mausoleum surrounded by human remains. The excited young men are entirely directed by the ‘Patriarchs,’ the cynical alumni financiers who are the legal owners of the Order.”

Are Conservatives Essentially Evil?

July 23, 2010

That forces of evil voice such strident objections elevates my esteem of Kagan.

That you would invoke moral categories of good and evil and consider such a fair-minded essay “strident” reminds me of why we can’t really communicate.

Why does difference of opinion mean Evil?

Liberals have differences of opinion with one another. Conservatives have draw their power from their evil nature. This is just my personal theory, a gut feeling if you will, my instinct.

if that’s really what you think, and you aren’t just trolling me, then…it’s just so wrong, and not only wrong, but exemplary of what is tearing our country apart: the demonization of disagreement. Please tell me you’re just saying that to make me mad?

I’d much rather think that William is trolling me for a reaction, but contra your hopeful opinion, I think he’s serious, but he will certainly not mind speaking for himself when he’s online.

I have a few spare moments to reply. I enjoyed yesterdays thread with Ruth and Alex. I approach dialog, seminar, debate etc. as a toreador approaches a charging bull. I make flourishes. I narrowly avoid goring by the bull. Its good exercise and it provides entertainment for some, perhaps many.

Each and every day of my years on-line I suppress certain comments which might be amusing but which might offend someone. So, I can honestly say that I do not post simply to see a reaction from Ruth.

Ruth is correct. I do not literally believe in a Satan figure with horns and a tail. I do not disbelieve in a supreme being in the universe and I lean towards the side of theism. I believe in freedom of speech and expression so when a rabid atheist posts annoying things in my threads, I may perhaps give rebuttal but I do not block them or delete anyone’s posts or my own posts for that matter. It all boils down to intellectual honesty.

I have a biography on three generations of the Bush dynasty written by Kitty Kelley (ISBN 9 780385 503242) which seems to me to describe generations of the Bush family as an embodiment of evil which seeks power and wealth to entrench itself in the American society and usurp further power and leverage to achieve its ultimate ends. Now I realize that Kitty Kelley is widely known as a “poison pen” biographer.

So, although I do not believe in a literal Satan I do see Bush, Cheney, McCain, Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich (and many others) as an alignment on an axis of evil. I see the Kennedy’s, Obama, Carter, Clinton (and many others) as aligned on an axis of good.

I see conservatives as basically evil with a sprinkling of good and liberals as basically good with a sprinkling of evil.

Regarding Kagan: IF it were the case that a MIXED majority of Republicans and Democrats had approved her (or disapproved of her) while a mixed minority of Democrats and Republicans had taken the opposite stance, THEN I could see the decision as something totally subjective and the voters as individuals who simply disagree with each other.

I did post last week that I see each side as hoping for a rubber stamp and in disagreement about whether the color of the ink should be red or blue.

G.W. Bush has been accused of a simplistic Manichean view that there is an axis of evil powers and an axis of good powers. So, if my thinking is flawed then at least it is no MORE flawed that George’s rhetoric.

I do also realize that the first Republican candidate was Abraham Lincoln and that in those days, the Republicans more closely resemble what the Democrats are today and the Democrats of that era are more like what the Conservatives of today represent.

I THINK that I heard the one Republican on TV who voted for Kagan. He seemed to be saying that he sees Kagan as a poor choice but Kagan is his sitting president’s choice and therefore it behooves him to act in a more bi-partisan fashion.

I grew up near New Haven and regularly walked by the Skull and Bones windowless mausoleum. I am shocked that a nation which claims to be “Bible based” accepts so many powerful leaders from a secret society which seems to be demonic. I think the constitution should be amended to prevent close relatives in one family from holding high office. The founding fathers left Europe to ESCAPE such dynasties and not to found new ones. Human nature harbors within it something which is demonic and something which is saintly and divine. There is a constant struggle, and invisible warfare in high places, between these good and evil tendencies.

If I am personally in error to see things as two camps, a camp of Satan and a camp of Allah then surely I am no more wrong that those of the McCarthy era who demonized the Communists (as did the Communists demonize us.) Nor am I any more wrong than those who seek to demonize the LBGT folks. We live in a climate which is highly polarized. I shall post this for now and continue with my meditations. At times I do come to see myself as mistaken and I change my position.



Well, Ruth, you do not seem upset when Bush gives speeches about an axis of evil power and “we will smoke them out of their caves” (which we have yet to do, by the way), and yet you do seem upset when I voice the same kind of opinion but see the evil as the Republican conservative right-wing Christians.

I do feel I benefited from yesterdays thread with you and Alex Huemer. I did read through the Journolist article several times as well as our thread. I realize that I am a Caucasian who sees Caucasians as having a long history of evil so in my eyes Rev. Wright was far too timid in his remarks. I have written much stronger condemnations. I see nothing wrong with people of color expressing their anger and resentment in their houses of worship. I think it is totally possible for a political leader to compartmentalize their personal convictions from those convictions which lead them to act on behalf of their constituency. I gave the example of Surgeon General Koop who supported the distribution of condoms in spit of his fundamentalist religious convictions.

I also see no reason why liberal journalists should not have a liberal think tank and conservative journalists should not have their conservative think tank.

It is part of the political game to try and deflect negative news items and put a spin upon ones that serve one’s cause or agenda. It seems only natural that Obama’s supporters would want to steer clear of Rev. Wright’s polemics just as it is only natural for the McCain supporters to steer clear of the race card and comments that Obama is “Kerry with a tan.”

Now what DOES seem wrong is this Fox News business of distorting old video tapes to make it appear as something in the present.

Paul (or someone in the New Testament) says that the Holy Spirit is like the wind and moves wherever it will, unseen. The spirit of evil is also invisible and agile. Paul did say to beware when you hear “Lo! Christ is here; Christ is there!” for Lucifer is an angel of light who can assume the appearance of a false Christ who deceives.”

That evil disguises itself as goodness is nothing more than good marketing. Tobacco is good! Alcohol is good! War is necessary!

But what is that mysterious “sin against the Holy Spirit” which cannot be forgive when all other sins may be forgiven. The Greeks argue that when the Pharisees attribute Jesus miracles to the power of Beelzebulb (the devil) and conversely attribute Satan’s works to God, then that “sin against the Holy Spirit” is unforgivable ONLY in the sense that such transgressors would never seek out the spirit of forgiveness in its rightful residence.

And you Ruth, by the same token are saying that you have great tolerance for me even though my opinion differs gravely from yours and even though I may actually be deluded in my conclusions. You are basically the sort of person who can love their enemies and repay evil with kindness and good.

I feel a personal need to see Bush and others as evil so that I can find some way to see the world as good because IF I allow myself to see Bush and Cheney as good in the eyes of a world then it becomes a world which like Milton’s Paradise Lost says “evil be thou my good” so the world itself becomes a satanic world for me.

I see the Skull and Bones society as a source of demonic evil. I see that several members of the Bush clan were members. I see that an inordinate number of Bonesmen reached prominent positions over the years. They only tap 15 Juniors each year.

Obviously, Ruth I know that I can always count on you to disagree with me but I do not see you as evil.

Now when Socrates said that “all by nature desire the good” does that mean that there is only good in the world? I ask an honest and sincere question. When Jesus rages against the Pharisees as “a generation of vipers” in the opening pages of Matthew are we to believe that there was not one single good person in the midst of that generation? I remember being age 12 and becoming curious as to what all this religious business was all about so I opened a copy of the Bible (and we always had one in the house even though no one ever opened it) and I began to read the Gospel of Matthew. After several pages I put the book down in a state of shock at how angry Jesus appeared.

There is some kind of karmic justice in the world regarding Kitty Kelly:

Partly as a result of Kelley’s notoriety due to the Nancy Reagan book, she herself became the subject of a critical book, Poison Pen: The Unauthorized Biography of Kitty Kelley (1991), written by journalist George Carpozi, Jr.[39][40] Carpozi said that the book was “full of sex, sin, and scandal”, reminiscent of Kelley’s own work.

Al Gore Sex Harassment Transcript

June 25, 2010

From Facebook:

Here is the LONG testimony of the massage therapist regarding her alleged sexual harassment by Al Gore.

I did read the whole long transcript and it certainly seemed legitimate and not prefabricated. It is one thinG if someone is open to fooling around, but “no” means “NO” so force and coercion give a much more criminal dimension above and beyond adultery/infidelity.

[Someone had commented “where are the George Washingtons of the 21st century and I said that Washington probably fooled around just like a lot of other men]

I could never possibly share Billy Graham’s theological beliefs but I used to admire him from afar imagining him to be pure. He probably has been a “husband of one wife” but what shocked me were the anti-Semitic remarks on Nixon’s tapes. When he publicly apologized and claimed to “have no memory” of having said such things, I felt he was lying. But then, gradually, I came to realize what Graham’s REAL problem was from a long PBS documentary which showed his history with presidents and the White House. I think the first time he succeeded in having a meeting with a president was Harry S. Truman. Right after the meeting Graham staged some phony photo shots of himself and his associates kneeling in prayer on the White House grounds. When Truman saw THAT, he banned Graham from ever coming to the White House again. Graham had “prayer breakfasts” with every sitting president EXCEPT of all people JIMMY CARTER who when interview about it years later said “Rev. Graham is a fine person but the White House is NOT the place for that sort of thing.” It was then I suddenly realized that Graham was always mesmerized by people in high office and sought to enlist their support for his own causes. When he was alone with Nixon, he was just following his instincts to HUMOR whatever Nixon was saying and the fact that it was anti-Semitic just flew over Graham’s head. He really did NOT remember the incident.

As far as males and sexual impropriety, Jimmy Carter is pretty honest and candid in all his autobiographical books admitting he had the desire but he always had the decency and moral conviction to keep it as a desire in the mental realm and not fan the flames of desire with fantasy and not let the desire express itself in words and actions.


I was in a state of shock when I first saw news about the Gore’s divorce. I told my wife who was also shocked. I quickly searched and searched to find out the story. I found a load of photos of Gore kissing his wife on the mouth in public. I don’t think that is appropriate or professional. I think times have changed in that regard and also the professionalism of the press and media. No one ever new that FDR was in a wheel chair because the press would not print those kind of shots. And I could never in my LIFE imagine someone like Eisenhower appearing on the Jack Paar show (he was the Johnny Carson/Jay Leno of the 1950s). Nowadays all the politicians seem to depend on the talk show circuit. Palin and Shatner do their duet and walk off the stage holding hands. They are media whores, but Shatner is SUPPOSED to be a media whore since that is how he makes a living. Political leaders are not supposed to be media whores. I admire William Shatner by the way. I remember his first appearance on a Twilight Zone episode. I think he has really reinvented himself several times in an amazing fashion. (trivia- few people know he is French-Canadian and fluent in French.)

Anyway, after lots of searching on Gore, all I found was a statement that “we have carefully thought out this divorce, it is a private matter and no infidelity is involved.”

All I said to my wife is “damn she is so HOT for her age” you would think he would be satisfied with her.


I have posted this before I know, but Schadenfreude is one Jewish wisdom that Christianity never discovered: it is wrong to rejoice or gloat over the tragedy or affliction or shame or destruction of your worst enemy (or any one else for that matter.) No one could be MORE left than I am … and there is a contemptible side of me that would rejoice if all Democrats were demonstrated to be pure as the driven snow and all Republicans unmasked as wolves in sheep’s clothing. But I recognize my very human desire for what it is; a character flaw. G.W. Bush was criticized for being under some Manichean delusion that all the world is black and white; good guys vs bad guys. The world is not that simple.
There are some evil pastors, rabbis, imams, priests… and there are some saintly atheists. Steinbeck has a great page in “East of Eden” where he likens virtue to a circus seal honking out the Star Spangled Banner on a set of horns; it sounds laughable and distorted but it is still recognizable for what it is. Paul pretty much says the same thing with “treasures of gold in vessels of clay.”

Ted Kennedy made some real mistakes and somehow survived politically and sincerely tried to do a lot of good (perhaps driven in part by his guilt over those mistakes.) No amount of good can ever forgive or erase wicked acts, and wrong-doing should not detract from sincere efforts to do good (or from genuine repentance for that matter.) Newt Gingrich has some pretty stinky skeletons in his closet. The Texas board of textbooks is wrong to bowdlerize text books of mentions of Ted Kennedy and emphasize Newt Gingrich.


Rob, what you point out about time frames and the National Enquirer certainly casts doubt upon the allegations.

I suppose if I had to pick the most squeaky clean presidents of my own lifetime it would be Eisenhower and Carter. Eisenhower did have a woman jeep driver and assistant during the Normand invasion. I have talked for hours on end with many WWII veterans. They admit that they were convinced they would not come out of the war alive. The likelihood of impending death certainly does not help the average male in resisting his base sexual appetites.

So now I am down to Carter. I imagine his great dark secret sin would be copping a feel in the back of some movie theater. Jimmy! Go, and sin no more!

Presidential Powers and the Constitution

June 13, 2010

DAVID KESSLER, A QUESTION OF INTENT: A GREAT AMERICAN BATTLE WITH A DEADLY INDUSTRY 68 (2001) (quoting President George H. W. Bush at a White House meeting in January 1993 on regulations to implement the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act).

“I’m a little puzzled. I’m being told that I can’t just make a decision and have it promptly executed, that the Department can’t just salute smartly and go execute whatever decision I make. Why is that?”
— President George H. W. Bush

President Truman’s attempt during the Korean War to seize American steel mills to prevent a strike from crippling the economy was declared illegal by the Supreme Court in Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer because it had not been authorized by Congress. This decision remains one of the Court’s few pronouncements on the subject of constitutional limits on presidential power. Yet this topic will remain the subject of seemingly endless debate because of its continuing importance to understanding the structure of our government. Although this debate often acquires a distinctly partisan tinge, particularly when the White House and Congress are controlled by different political parties, it is vitally important, for the debate raises issues that go to the very heart of our constitutional scheme.

President Abraham Lincoln was the first to issue what was formally called an “executive order,” the Congressional Research Service estimates that during the first seventy-two years of the republic — a period that spans the presidencies of George Washington to James Buchanan — presidents issued a total of 143 directives that now would be considered executive orders.

The argument in favor of presidential authority to dictate agency decisions confronts not only legal difficulties, but also substantial policy concerns. Although it may have become somewhat old-fashioned to speak of agency expertise, any effort to involve the White House in more than a handful of regulatory decisions necessarily must delegate presidential authority to persons who often are likely to have far less expertise than the agency officials whose decisions they seek to displace. The president simply does not have the time to be personally involved in any more than a few of the myriad, [*pg 1007] complex regulatory issues with which agencies grapple on a daily basis. Thus, one consequence of efforts by the Clinton administration and now the George W. Bush administration to assert greater White House authority over agency policies is that young White House aides are now trying to give orders to cabinet officials.249

In his book Locked in the Cabinet, President Clinton’s first secretary of labor, Robert Reich, describes how he repeatedly felt bullied by phone calls from young aides in the White House Office of Cabinet Affairs. After being informed that “[t]he White House wants you to go to Cleveland,” Reich describes his reaction:

Here I am, a member of the president’s cabinet, confirmed by the Senate, the head of an entire government department with eighteen thousand employees, responsible for implementing a huge number of laws and rules, charged with helping people get better jobs, and who is telling me what to do? Some twerp in the White House who has no clue what I’m doing in this job. Screw him. I won’t go.

Laura Bush – Spoken From The Heart

June 8, 2010

$16.99 Costco ISBN 9 781439 155202 pg. 440 Bibliography – states that the Bush presidency was the first for which all documents were electronically archived. Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

Causing Trouble With Free Speech

January 28, 2010

Susan objected to my posting a wiki article citing a few facts about Jeb Bush.

Susan complains:

Mr. Buell, I really think your mission in life is starting verbal trouble online.

Do you really have strong feelings about capital punishment? Write about that. Explain your beliefs. Then you can criticize someone for his actions contrary to them. The problem is that you don’t really set forward any beliefs, but argue from one side or the other just for the sake of argument.

Susan, I thought it was cool that Jed converted to Catholicism, especially since it makes more political sense in America to remain Episcopalian.
So, in a way, my thread here should please you since you are a gung-ho Catholic. Jed also seems more gifted intellectually than his brother George, according to the above link.

The Capital punishment issue is a no-brainer. The entire European Common Union is against capital punishment even though Christian church attendance is on the decline. Doesnt it strike you as strange that the ECU has no problem with abortion or euthanasia and is not very religious but is so against capital punishment?

Why is it then that the Bible belt and Texas in particular pays so much lip-service to Jesus but is blood-thirsty when it comes to executions? Its just like Kurt Vonnegut pointed out; Americans love to erect monuments to the eye-for-an-eye Ten Commandment Old Testament laws of Moses, but no one gives a hoot about Jesus’s Beatitudes and the Sermon on the mount. So pray tell what was Jesus attitude on capital punishment? Why did Jesus talk the crowd out of stoning the woman caught in the act of adultery? Hmmmm? Have any cool answers for that one? If America is so Bible loving Bible based and righteous then why not criminalize divorce, since Jesus said there is no valid reason to put away a spouse EXCEPT for adultery, and Jesus did not mention that one is free to re-marry after putting away an adulterous spouse. Also, both Jesus and Paul advocate a life of celibacy as being much higher than married life which is a concession to human weakness (better to marry than to burn and some make eunuchs of themselves for the sake of the kingdom) and where does that sentiment fit in among Protestants?

Susan, its a little thing called FREE SPEECH. I have it, you have it, everyone has it. So until your right wing fascist assault-weapon-toting heroes really get their way, I guess your just stuck with what any of us say.

And by the way, everything I posted is simply excerpts pasted from the Wiki article which caught my attention. I don’t always express my personal beliefs because I know it will cause trouble. I figure people can see excerpts from links and read for themselves.

So, Susan, YOU are the one who causes trouble because you challenged me to reply and reply I did. Had you wisely ignored me in silence, nothing more would have been said on the subject.

My belief is that Jesus would puke if he came back and saw what passes for a Christian these days.
My belief is that life in prison is a “cruel and unusual punishment” since we find nothing comparable to it in the Bible. If I were found guilty of a capital offense I would certain choose lethal injection over life in prison. I personally am in favor of giving a prisoner a choice between life in prison or death by barbiturates which is what is offered in Oregon and Switzerland rather than the present lethal injection method. But my point is that Americans are hypocritical to pay lip service to Jesus and rejoice at executions. Where does the forgiveness come into the picture?

My belief is that Jefferson took scissors and paste and created the Jefferson Bible (which omits the supernatural and retains only moral lessons) precisely because as Jefferson wrote in one letter “I desire to erect a wall between church and state” and it is too bad that sentence was not included in the constitution.

The “solution” does not lie with the government performing executions and criminalizing abortions. The FAILURE rests squarely upon the shoulder of Christianity itself for the following reason. The Bible teaches that faith and prayer and transformational grace are more powerful than Kinds and governments and armies, and the great commission is to preach unto all the nations. But what do we see in America? We see a baptist minister like Huckabee ABANDONING his pastoral calling OBVIOUSLY because he sees politics as a more effect means to achieve social change. Also, Pat Robertson years ago signed away his rights as pastor so that he might run for president. Are these the actions of men of great faith? Have none of you learned the lesson from the Prohibition act and its repeal that criminalizing alcohol CREATED more problems than it solved. The years prior to Rowe vs. Wade (including years of Republican rule) did not improve the abortion situation. IF Christianity were more successful then MORE people would realize that moderation and continence and monogamy and abstinence from sex and alcohol would make the problems of alcoholism and abortion and divorce diminish greatly in magnitude.

You cannot legislated morality. Jesus gave you all the tools you need to make the world right, but Christianity failed. The greatest and most obvious failure is that in the garden of Gesthemene Jesus prayed “Father, all those whom thou has given to me MAY THEY BE ONE even as you and I are one.” Jesus prayed for UNITY. Where is that unity today, even among Catholics?

Civility and Politics

December 29, 2009

I have noticed that a surprising number of people who are very conservative right-wing Republican are prone to be verbally abusive at the drop of a hat, and also to speak disrespectfully to others (e.g. to me they will say Billy-boy or Willie and someone named James might be called Jimbo or Jimmuh), whereas many Democrats who lean to the left tend to be civil even when they strongly disagree with others. Plus, said Republicans will spend 4 or 8 years complaining daily about B.O. (they seem fond of these initials for some reason), and if they DO get a Republican back in the White House I would not be at all surprised if their candidate is low calibre (i.e. another Bush or a Palin). The classiest and most intellectual conservative I can think of was Wm. F. Buckley, Jr., and even he would at times resort to profanity and threats of fisticuffs on his Firing Line (the very name of his show is somewhat assaultive). I doubt if you can find a clip of Noam Chomsky speaking or acting in an uncivil fashion (but perhaps I am mistaken.)

The REAL sin of Victoria Osteen

September 13, 2009

I have on my bookshelves here, selected writings of Martin Luther and John Calvin, two founders and architects of the Protestant Reformation. I have not looked at these books in a few years now, but, as I recall, when one does read through them, one does not find very much emphasis on Jesus as a friend and personal savior. Various historians of religion point out that prior to the 19th century, Jesus was seen as playing a key role in the plan of salvation, perhaps in the sense of substitutional atonement, but the modern day emphasis on Jesus as a friend and “personal savior”, is only something that evolved in the past 200 years. I have read extensively in early Nicean writings, the Philokalia, and Aquinas’ Summa, and I can say that those writings also mention little of this present day notion of Jesus as friend and savior.

I realize that many people have been able to turn their lives around through religious faith, and escape the bondage of alcoholism, drugs, promiscuity, gambling, and a host of other evils. Some find their salvation in such things as 12 step programs, which simply refer to “a higher power”.

Our sitting president, George W. Bush, came to my mind today. I thought about the many who have walked into a store front church, and found their commitment to faith and sobriety through some ordinary pastor’s preaching. George W. Bush had to take a walk along the beach with the very Billy Graham himself, in order to snap out of his alcohol dependency. But then, George Bush is a very special person, so, he needs a very special pastor to convert him.

Gandhi once explained to someone, who had inquired concerning Gandhi’s religious beliefs, saying “My religious beliefs are a very personal thing, between myself and God.” I felt Gandhi was very wise to give such an answer. I agree with Gandhi.

But modern America can hardly relate to such an attitude. One cannot run for Presidency without standing up at a podium and explaining, in some fashion or other, how they have accepted Jesus as their “personal savior”. I often marvel that many and various religions have evolved into the commonality of one person, standing at a podium, with some open book, haranguing a crowd of spectators. Why should so many different religions amount to simply that? Why is faith and worship a public, objective and not a private,subjective matter?

I have often wondered whatever it might mean to say “Impersonal savior.” I suppose one things of the Hindu impersonal Brahman. Yet preachers seem obsessed with the term “PERSONAL savior.”

Last Sunday, I tuned in to Joel Osteen’s sermon. I swear, he must have used the term “anointed” several dozen times. It is a catchy word. The likes of Aaron and David were “anointed”. There is a Psalm which mentions the oil of anointment running down the beard. I suppose I could use one of the many Biblical search engines, and find all references in scripture to “anointed”. I rather imagine that the word “anointed” occurs far more times in Osteen’s writings than it does in the Bible.

My thoughts on all these matters tend to align more closely with Steinbeck’s idea in the novel “East of Eden”. Steinbeck is an unabashed Pelagian. Pelagius debated with Augustine, and lost the argument as far as the West was concerned. Pelagius believe that each human being was naturally endowed with everything that is necessary to make the freewill choice to be good. Were this not so, then why would Jesus tell the adulteress to “go and sin no more.” Anyway, Augustine argued that human nature was helpless and hopeless, and only divine grace could accomplish, not reform or transformation, but simply, forgiveness.

There is one passage where one of Steinbeck’s characters speaks of a person as being “like a white shirt, that has become soiled, but through much washing and scrubbing (freewill action and choice), it can become white again.” Elsewhere a character in “East of Eden” says, “a man can take the Bible and MAKE of it something mighty fine within himself.”

Let’s take the recent example in the news of Joel Osteen’s wife, and the incident on the airplane. She lives day in and day out with pastor Joel, and must surely said those “magic words” which cause a person to be “born again.” Now, the real sin on that airplane, was not whether Mrs. Osteen assaulted a stewardess. The real sin was that she was proud, and complained about a spill on her chair. The emphasis in Eastern Orthodox Christianity is to be humble, and long-suffering, a servant to all. The monastics of the Egyptian desert would jump at the chance to be humble, and clean up the spill themselves, or take the blame for another. Jesus said the same thing, regarding he who is servant to all, and takes the lowest place, shall be exalted.

– Originally posted Saturday, September 27, 2008

Michael Moore – Capitalism movie

September 8, 2009

Friend: When YOU watch this clip, what does it make you think and feel. Someone asked me the same question today.

Me: Good question….
Obviously if you were Michael Moore, or in the media business, you would feel good about it, optimistic…
and if you were a CEO you would feel not so good.

Michael Moore seems to make a convincing argument in whatever he undertakes. But, hey, people vote with their wallets and their feet. Lots of people want the New York Post with its corny headlines, and 10 Judge Judy type shows, and 15 Reality type shows that is why PBS channels are so small by comparison in their viewership.

If everyone lusted to know what Wm. F. Buckley and Charlie Rose are thinking, and found big boobs boring…. then… you would see more of Charlie Rose’s pie-hole

(By the way, I worship at the feet of Charlie Rose and am unworthy to touch the hem of his garment)

Actually, I have a great thought provoking answer for your excellent question.

Friend: I just mean, what type of reaction does this evoke in you?

Me: Well, I suppose, like Sicko, and Fahrenheit 9/11 it invokes anger, mistrust… just like sex movie are designed to invoke wood… it does what it was meant to do. I mean, Mom and I watched Sicko, and it looks like Cuba and France are smarter than the USA.

I watched Fahrenheit 9/11 and it makes Bush look like a Saudi butt kisser but, my suggestion is to read a bunch of Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire…. and see how you feel about Christianity… because Gibbon hated the Church, and felt it contributed to the fall of Rome. Gibbon’s book evokes what he designed it to evoke but, Augustine, in City of God, is arguing the opposite,… saying that it is not the anger of Zeus or Jove (cause by the neglect of the old religion) that is causing the barbarian invasions. So, Gibbon puts his spin on things and achieves his effect, and Augustine puts HIS spin and achieves his effect.

SO, if you lived your life in a monastery, or part of it, you will look at Gibbon and say, Hey, wait you are distorting some things and if you are INSIDE of the investment industry, you will say, well, HEY WAIT, you are distorting some things Michael Moore..

Now, PBS did a series on The History of Money
and it shows the evolution of currency, banking credit
so, those are INSTRUMENTS, financial instruments , that developed, evolved over CENTURIES

Friend1: Yeah, it was great!

Me: … and without that, we would still be trading apples for oranges.

Friend1: I saw 3 of the 4 parts
I’m hoping they show it again!

Me: SO, if one looks at that bigger picture, one says, ok, WHERE is the devil, what is the demon? A knife in the hands of a murderer is bad, and in a surgeon’s hands it is good well but a knife is simply a tool. So, a financial instrument is simply a tool .

20 or 30 years back, we forgot some lessons that we learned, or should have learned and we were greedy, not just Americans, but THE WHOLE FREAKING WORLD because if it was just America, then the problem would not be global.

Me: So, when I watch the sexy flick with short term agenda,…. I become aroused, but when I step back like the final scene of Matrix, where I see reality as pixels, digitized, not analog … then, I see a mammalian panorama, so, I don’t become aroused, but rather I get awe inspired, and I see bondage, degradation, exploitation, etc.

So, whatever issue I choose to look at, first I use a microscope and see all the electrons and the quarks.

Next I use the telescope and see all the distant galaxies and black holes and then, I subjectively synthesize the polar opposites into something, … something that is middle of the road, open minded and fair…objective.

But, after I finally get all done, for anyone to share that… to understand what the hell I am saying, what do they need???

They need a huge foundation in Gibbon, Augustine, Quantum, Calculus, Archeology, linguistics, comparative religions, behavioral psychology… etc. and whatever it took to get me where I am on the slopes of Everest.

If you can climb to the top of Everest, you can send down a snap shot, but a snap shot is just a suggestion of what it is like to risk your live, and stand there.

Friend1: Ok, so I have to admit… like 99% of the time I can follow you but I couldn’t follow that tangent lol

Me: that is why a college student in India smugly told me “oh, World War II could have been settled peacefully, war was not necessary

OK…. when the only tool we have is a hammer, then every problem tends to become a nail.

What is Michael Moore’s tool and what is Soros’ tool
and by tool I don’t mean slang for pecker.. ha ha

Google on “eighth grade existentialism” (and it is a post here)

and you will come to my blog about that day you were reading Camus its kind of the same thing here one of my college buddies from 1968 just got back in touch, he is a hard hitting practical minded lawyer.

He assumes that I was the one who taught him about Ayn Rands philosophy. He is mistaken. He confuses me with someone else…

But, he is a person who came from wealth, and then I imagine, amassed more wealth and power, and retained it. So Ayn Randism is a good tool for him.

… different tact… Rabbi Abraham Heschel said “We must learn to understand what we see, and not simply SEE only that which we understand.”

Me: how do YOU FEEL about the film clip? What does it make YOU feel?

Mom was coughing for 1 year, getting worse and worse, and going to an allergist… who could only see ALLERGIES!

So, he gave her more and more inhalers and stuff, and she got sicker and sicker…

I marched in his office with her and I said, something is wrong here, and someone had better do something about it

But that allergist, a nice guy, but what he sees are allergies

It turned out that her problem had nothing to do with allergies. It had to do with a rare auto-immune disease that was attacking her sinus and her kidneys. The allergist did not know when to stop being an allergist and pick up a different tool.

When a pickpocket meets a saint, all he sees are pockets.

A saint can see saintliness in the worst of sinners, and a sinner can see sinfulness even in the holiest of saints look at that journalist who attacks mother Theresa.

What Jacob Kline is saying in this segment has something to do with what I am getting at.

I forgot to cite Abraham Maslow! Thanks for calling this to my attention:

A Zen master once said “Show me the man who has forgotten speech. It is with him that I desire to converse.”…

I already have a step-son, and now you, who cannot understand. I want to talk to one person who DOES understand. I am hoping for a Nyc Labrets or a Calvin John to come along. Time will tell! I must be patient…or I am insane.. hmmm….Skinner, Greenwald and others describe Bush’s Manicheanism. It is obvious to everyone except George what Bush’s hammer and nail are.

BUT… if you are able to understand Augustine’s and Pelagius’ positions simultaneously, then … you have Hegel’s aufgehoben

Try explaining to Charles Stanley that Rome is correct, or to Ratzinger that Rome is in error. What happens?

Sometimes I even go so far as to read some of the links I cite:

The Manicheans were a syncretic religious sect led by Mani, a Buddhist-influenced ascetic born in Baghdad in the 3rd century AD. Like Bush, the Manicheans carved the spiritual world up into two categories… Read More—Good and Evil—but, as orthodox dualists, they believed that the forces of Good and Evil were not engaged in some continuous and messianic struggle, but rather that their contrasting presence was the very basis of the spiritual order.

So, IF you can understand, in Ramanand Sagar’s movie version of Tulsidas Ramayan HOW it can be that when the Avatar Ram slays the wicked king Ravanna, the jiva of Ravanna is reabsorbed into the brahmajyoti, then, you are on the road to mediation, which, if you are at an extreme, will seem like “beating around the bush” and it is that fear which drives us to the extremes of right or left.

If you watch the episode in the above link, you will see the reabsorption of jiva at about 17 minutes into the 34 minute clip.

I have had seminars that are like this episode. The many heads which sprout are like the many arguments of your opponent.


Later discussions:

William, it’s an interesting read but I really don’t get what you are saying about Capitalism to be honest.

Different people put different spins, with different agendas, so, Michael Moore’s film is designed to achieve a certain effect in the average viewer. he asks me MY reaction and I start thinking of Hegel’s aufgehoben, and Jain anekantavada. but, I am conditioned by past experiences to think that way. my point to him that our financial instruments evolved over thousands of years. So, it is short sighted to just point at one company, or one period in history. if you take the 5000 year picture, you come away with a different notion that the 5 year picture. One can be extreme and say that capitalism is evil, or communism is evil, or one can look at the modified capitalism of China and the socialized capitalism of American and Europe.

My friend works in investments he is looking at it from his perspective.

I LIKE Michael Moore overall… I think he means well. He addresses genuine problems. But, he uses the media to every advantage just like the opposition does. Spin and rhetoric depend upon a form of distortion, illusion, maya, to make the rope look like a snake and the snake look like rope.

So when he asks me how the clip makes me FEEL,… I deconstruct it after the fashion that I have been conditioned. So, I see it totally differently than millions of others might but the movie is designed for the average viewer… not someone who is specialized in some obscure way.


Terms like good and evil apply in any meaningful way to economic systems. Economic systems may lead to more or less prosperity for the many or more or less prosperity for the few, but good and evil? No!

I guess it could be sinful if a system willfully deceives people like Madoff. if you know you that the economic instruments you are selling people is likely to lead to their financial collapse,,,that may not be EVIL, but it is wrong. and how could people not know that interest only loans with balloon payments would eventually lead to people’s ruin?

The problem was massive deregulation beginning in the 90s and then ramping up under Bush.

The past eight years were a massive wrong turn in the evolution. about three years ago they changed the bankruptcy laws

If the people in power on Wall Street and Banking and Congress KNEW what was coming… They made it harder for people to go bankrupt and avoid their debt.


Next day:

Me: The link to the Ramayan episode is the scene where the avatar god-man Ram slays the wicked demon Ravan, who stole his wife Sita. It is an exploration of how seeming opposites, Republican/ Democrat, communist/capitalist, Jesus and Ayn Rand, are actually interconnected and mutually dependent.

When Ram (God) tries to kill Satan (Ravan), a wise man explains that Sita (virtue) is captive in the heart of Satan, and God, is in the heart of Sita, so, if God destroys Satan, God destroys purity/virtue/Himself/ and countless worlds. This episode in the Ramayan is a metaphorical way to try and be balanced, and stay in the middle, rather than to be swept to the extreme right or extreme left. It’s like, judo, or koan practice in Zen, or playing “devils advocate” when elevating a saint.

Plus, if you ever DO have 30 minutes to watch that Ramayan episode where ram kills Ravan, Hindi with English subtitles,.. you will be amaze at two things,… the monkey army who helps ram (but remember the Neanderthal who lived beside humans for 50,000yrs) and then the very concept they have of missile warfare and also, that differences are settled by force… but then, reason offers a more permanent solution

But, in a weird way, what you had actually asked me was HOW IT MAKES ME FEEL/THINK, and I accurately gave the answer, but how I think is very different, illustrated by that old St. Johns video clip of professor Kline, as a young man with a confused student. I had Kline for a teacher when he was an old man
but that 10 minute clip is the essence of a St. John’s education.
Yeah, what the professor said at the end was right on. and an important question about ethics and economics the old Socratic/Plato question “gain is good” “might makes right” and then, the counter arguments.

BUT, whenever you have a chance, tell me how YOU feel about Moore’s movie clip. I would definitely watch anything that Moore ever makes, just like I would watch any episode of family guy i mean, he is a style and tradition like Lucy ball, and Jackie Gleason, abbot and Costello, Laurel and Hardy.

Friend1: lol I’ll try, but I don’t have 30 min for anything, even eating lol. Well, I enjoy Moore’s style from an entertainment standpoint

Me: yes, I know the pressure you are under.
There is a big BUT (not butt) lurking behind your statement

So lets hear the BUT.

You are to be much admired, and envied… I wish I had your gifts of social charisma, plus aptitude for numbers and business… but I am stuck with my gifts

Friend1: Yeah…BUT what irritates me is a lot of people take what he creates as canon.

Me: Well, that is EXACTLY what I was arguing… it is spin, rhetoric and some people just give up and become extreme right or extreme left instead of hovering dialectically in the middle way, with thesis, antithesis, and synthesis, the dialectical process, which is Socrates which is all Plato’s dialogues and liberal arts on Paltalk, a very devout Catholic lawyer/judge was whining about how everyone else has it all wrong in the church, but then how they are wrong to PUT HIM IN A BOX, since they don’t know his heart so i pointed out how HE HIMSELF puts everyone in a box/pigeon hole… but when he does it it is virtue
well, he got pissed, took even higher moral ground… argued some more, judged Pharisaical some more so I quoted that verse of Jesus “UNLESS you become as that little child, you shall IN NO WISE OR MANNER enter into heaven” and then I asked him IF he is making progress in approaching closer to that goal of becoming like that child.

Well, a child doesn’t judge and profile and I pointed out that IF one truly feels confidence in their faith and beliefs, and truly believes that with God all things are possible, then they will obey Paul and “not enter into vain and idle disputation” so, in the end the guy was crying almost and saying “Oh, I must apologize for having offended you and I MUST have offended you for you to say such mean things to me.”

And then I said, “you don’t GET it..” this is what I DO, it is called Socratic method… WHATEVER you argue, I prick your balloon and rain on your parade,… to keep you centered, and me centered

But, he will never get it… nor others like him, because they have a psychological need to constantly confront others and construe victory or unilateral agreement as the touchstone of their own correctness

Friend1: Well yeah…it’s a very natural reaction to defend one’s correctness…even if they truly know they don’t possess any in a particular situation

Me: But, you see, in Proverbs “he who digs a pit for others shall fall into it himself”. Whenever we profile and stereotype, we are digging a pit for others to fall into or we shove them into it. But as we sow, so shall we reap. An old Zen master said ‘the difference between heaven and hell is the breadth of one hair.”

This kind of WordPress blog, is so versatile, I can password protect,.. and one may re-read and add the reactions of many, over a period of days or weeks, and our understanding morphs, evolves, as we invest long periods of attention, discussion, re-reading, rather than just always “shooting from the hip” and its over in 5 minutes.