About Me

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Did Socrates say "Know Thyself", or was he misunderstood, as all are. Show Thyself is all we can do. The knowing is unknowable.  

I am filled with joy.  It can't be helped.  

Became a Farmer, Builder, Musician, Tank Commander, Librarian, Lawyer and Minister. I have failed at many things. And now retired.  Filled, just filled, with Joy. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

What would Children do?

Is anyone else deeply troubled by the absence of a credible Biblical preacher today?  Is there ONE that has not been sucked into the political obsession over abortion (never mentioned by Christ) and homosexuality?

Jesus said: "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matt. 18:3)

Children read Harry Potter books.  They can be cruel and petty, but most kids are very sensitive about the many children who are unwanted and not cared for by anyone.  And most kids are not at all perturbed by gay parents or diversity in the playground. Most kids think life is wonderful, magical....

And in large numbers, most children seem to have read 7 large books about magicians and spells.  Apparently this is how children are.  This, not the hatemongering of the Churches, should be the theology to provide the spine for Christians, if any of them are left today.

It is my observation that most of the followers of the teachings of Christ are extinct, and have been so for centuries.  The real believers in the teaching of Christ were called Manicheaens by the followers of Helena, the mother of Constantine who had her own take on the Pauline message.  Between the Helenists and the Islamicists, the true Christians were annihilated -- they were everyone's favorite heretic because they were prosperous and would turn the other cheek when assaulted.

The point is, there are many wonderful children on the path to salvation, but NONE of the hatemongers obsessed with condemnation and purification are among them.  Islamicists and Fundamentalist "Christians" are remarkably similar doctrines.  They want to purify everybody but themselves.  This is opposite what children are all about.  Children are closer to "natural" concerns, and the idea of purity does not even occur to them. 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Health Care Reform - with a Public Option (Psst we already have one)

It is fascinating to see how predators seize upon public subsidies and pass burdens onto tax payers while claiming their right to do "business" and make enormous profits in the name of "capitalism".  First of all, the medical insurance industry as we observe it today is not part of "free enterprise", it is simply a means of carving an escalating profit out of sick, ill and helpless people while passing the burden back to tax payers. Who ultimately pays for MediCare, MediCal, and all the poor who go to the Emergency Rooms for treatment?

I asked the most intelligent medical doctor in the country, Doctor Sam Metz, what he observed can be done. Here is his practical, necessary, and cost-effective plan:

You asked this question of the right person or the wrong person, depending on your political bent and time available for an answer. Attached are essays that appeared in the Oregonian and in Anesthesiology News, and a PowerPoint presentation to be given next month. I will condense everything you need to know about health care reform into three questions, with three answers each. Once these points are understood, much else will make sense.

1. Why does this country need health care reform?
            Americans pay twice as much per capita as the average industrialized country.
            Our public health results (maternal mortality, infant mortality, life expectancy, lives lost to preventable conditions) are among the worst of industrialized countries.
            We are the only industrialized country in which non-wealthy citizens lose their homes or lives if they have insufficient money to pay for needed health care.

2. What must legislation achieve to be considered health care reform?
            It must provide universal access to primary care regardless of health, wealth, or employment.
            It must lower health care costs for everyone, not just the government, the wealthy, or the insurable.
            Our national public health must improve.

3. How do all other industrialized countries provide universal health care at lower cost with better results?
            All citizens are in a single risk pool with the same set of benefits.
            There are no impediments to primary care.
            Financing of health care is done by not-for-profit agencies. Profit can be made providing health care, but not financing health care.

If a country follows all these rules (as most every other industrialized country does), universal health care can be achieved at lower cost with better results then we have now. If the country follows all these rules and uses a single not-for-profit financing agency rather than multiple financing agencies, this is called “Single payer health care.”

I favor single payer financing of health care.

However, changing how we finance health care is only the start. The next step is revising which health care providers we pay how much for what services under what conditions for which patients. The incentive for salaried physicians is to undertreat. The incentive for fee-for-service physicians is to overtreat. Under capitated payments, the provider takes the risk if a condition is more expensive to treat than expected. Under salaried or fee-for service payments, the financing agency takes the risk.

That should be fun.

If you still have questions, I am full of answers.

Thanks for asking.

Sam

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Family Values and Neo-conservatives - the Idiot's Guide to Hypocrisy

The so-called Red State Reagan Conservatives associated with Tea Parties and Mega-Churches are not factually aligned with their rhetoric. Examples:

1. DIVORCE. If you live in a red state, you're 27 percent more likely to get divorced than if you live in a blue state. (Source: National Vital Statistics Report, 2003).

2. HOMOSEXUALITY. All of the politicians who have been "outed" as gays in the US Congress were all neo-conservatives. The preachers who were caught with gay prostitutes were neo-conservatives preaching against homosexuality. Neo-conservatives are much more likely than liberals to be secretly gay.

3. FAMILY VALUES. There is no indication that "conservative" parents are raising better children. Many parents have children whose values contradict the values of the parents.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

History – Mesopotamia and Persia, preserved by Jews and European Archeology.

The Empires of Mesopotamia and Persia, which lasted for 3 thousand years, came to an end when a 22 year old Macedonian crossed the Aegean with a small army and proceeded to defeat Darius III. Syncretic Hellenic influences remained long after Alexander’s short life. However, the scribal tradition of three millenia was almost immediately lost in the near and middle east. The indigenous people forgot how to read and write cuneiform texts, and the unity of the people collapsed.

Not until the rise of Judaic Islam did the region once again unite. Unfortunately, Islam completed the annihilation of whatever remained of the intellectual heritage of civilization. The wisdom of Sumer, Assyria, Babylonia, the Hittites, and the Medes and Persians was burned and buried.

Fortuitously, the Hebrews (diaspora during the Babylonian epoch) and Greeks (during their brief Asiatic rule) managed to preserve some of the accumulated wisdom of the ancient civilizations. Indeed, the authenticity of the Jewish and Helenist accounts has been corroborated by the archeological discoveries made by Europeans since the 19th century. The digging has often been dangerous and always over the objections of the Islamic schools. The scholars living under the veils of Islam have been silenced for a thousand years.

The interesting point is that without Jews and Westerners, the Mullahs and Ayatollahs would have almost no information about the greatness of their own people. Islam systematically erased history in order to make it appear that “Islam” was some kind of improvement over the “primitive Arabs” and “fire worshiping pagans” of Persia. The fact is, those pre-Islamic Arabs and Persians built beautiful buildings and gardens, composed music, and wrote literature reflecting the highest sensibilities and soulfulness.

It is no wonder that the Arabs and Persians today are being taught by their religious oligarchs to hate the Jews and the West. Through the scholarship of Jews and Greeks, corroborated recently by European archeologists, the lost heritage of the ancient civilization is preserved. This pre-Islamic heritage contradicts most of the Quran. The spirituality of Mazda/ Zoroastrian teachings is not primitive paganism, but is superior in grace to the current crude hate-mongering of the Ayatollahs and Mullahs.

The ironic point is that the Jews preserved the wisdom of the Persians, which the Persians themselves have now lost in the devotions of their current version of "religion". Using the semitic alphabet on papyrus and parchment scrolls, the Jews kept remembering what the Persians themselves have now forgotten.

In their turn, the Arabs also now forget their history. Ironically, they forget that they are Jews. All Arabs, today, remain Jews both genetically and culturally. Their dialects, diet, sex laws, theocracy, angel-prophet-mediated monotheism, and their us/them community orientation, are identical. Of course, conversely, all Jews also remain Arabs. Nevertheless it is Islam which drives a unilateral wedge of predation between the tribes: Portions of the Quran which appear for the first time almost a century after the death of Mohammad expressly exhort the pillage and slaughter of Jews and Christians.

Islam is a syncretic belief system, cobbled together over several centuries after the death of Mohammad. The primary sources are Aramaic Christian teachings and Hebraic traditions. As Jews, the Arabs had been making the pilgrimage to the covered cubic Kaba in Mecca for centuries before Mohammad. As Christians, the Arabs taught children in schools, and acquired the skills required for building beautiful mosques. Those schools and skills, as well as the importance of humble prostration in daily prayers, are Manichaean contributions which Islam rewarded with annihilation. Now Islam credits the long-dead Mohammad for everything great the people have done. The credit is sadly misplaced.