Meltdown

I do not know when it started,
The religious meltdown
Where I lost my faith
And my family blew away with the wind.

Maybe it started after the death of our family gatherings.
Where grandfathers, grandmothers, fathers, mothers, uncles, aunts, sisters, brothers and cousins
Drove hundreds of miles to sit around the sagging
Table with turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy
Along with pies:
Pecan, pumpkin, apple, mincemeat
And my dad’s favorite, a moist lemon cake
With snowy powdered sugar dusting the top.

On Thanksgiving, my dad and brother-in-law
Competed to see who could eat the most
As football games on TV filled my sister’s house with screaming fans.

It could have been after we stopped celebrating Christmas.
When I was ten and Mike was five,
We huddled behind the closed hallway door along with his younger sisters
Waiting for Santa to leave so we could rush the tree and rip into packages
Squealing with delight at what was discovered.

Then again, maybe it was when Easter expired
And that chocolate bunny
Stopped laying those eggs we once hunted in the grass.

Those fun family moments started to fade
At the same time Disneyland arrived,
Television became king,
Fast food replaced home cooking
And Ringo beat his drums on the Ed Sullivan Show
Introducing an epidemic of obesity along with video games and YouTube.

The free love movement and the pill did not help.
Everyone off doing their thing smoking dope, dropping acid,
Becoming an individual,
Listening to harsh music,
Protesting Vietnam,
Spitting on uniforms
Before going off to occupy a therapist’s couch
Looking for someone else to blame for their mistakes
While buying shrink-wrapped fun
And quivering in fear of HIV/AIDS
Soon followed by the next popular media-induced paranoia.

It seems as if my country, the land I was born in and fought for,
Is driving down a one-way street shouting drive-by hate,
Narcissistic me, me, me
While real families grow weeds.

For decades, I have been hunting for what was lost
Traveling the world looking for that ghost family
That may only exist in my imagination
When the laughter did not come from foul-mouthed comedians
And shock jocks.

Sometimes, in the early mornings, after I exercise,
Surrounded by the humming silence
While everyone else is sleeping
I open my mind to God
Asking if He were created to forgive man’s sins.
He answers.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

His third book is Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, a memoir. “Lofthouse presents us with grungy classrooms, kids who don’t want to be in school, and the consequences of growing up in a hardscrabble world. While some parents support his efforts, many sabotage them—and isolated administrators make the work of Lofthouse and his peers even more difficult.” – Bruce Reeves

Crazy-is-Normal-a-classroom-expose-200x300

Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy. His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. His wife is Anchee Min, the international, best-selling, award winning author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1992).

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

Arguing with a Concrete Wall about a Deviant Berkeley, California

An old friend sent me a link to a blog post with the title Check Out Time at Berkeley’s Hotel California on Robin of Berkeley’s Blog that had an Alexa ranking of 19.3 million, when I checked, and no rank for the U.S. or any other country. The post was dated October 20, 2014.

On the About Page for this almost invisible blog—at least to search engines—I quickly learned that Robin of Berkeley is a pen name, so what we have is a Blog hosted by an anonymous person. Not exactly a dependable source, but one that my old friend, who I will call CW (for Concrete Wall) seems to have accepted without question.

“Robin of Berkeley” said, “This is a sad tale of a friend of mine. I’ll call her Jane.”

In summary, the alleged Jane is a young woman from a small town in Iowa, who comes with home grown values: church, school, wholesome activates, and respect for others, and she ends up at Cal Berkeley for her doctorate in education.

That would mean Jane had to be at least 23 or older when she arrived in Berkeley, and she probably earned her BA degree from a university in Iowa—this fact will be important later. In addition, if the alleged Jane was working toward a doctorate in education, she isn’t an innocent, gullible teenager. She is a young woman who probably left high school for college and has already lived away from her small-town home for several years.

In Robin of Berkeley’s story, Jane meets Brian, a San Francisco native who soon has Jane hooked on sex and drugs—at least that’s what Jane allegedly told Robin, because we never get a chance to hear anything from the alleged Brian.

Robin of Berkeley—the anonymous blogger, asks, “How can someone come to the SF Bay Area a relatively stable human being and end up in the drug and hook-up culture?”

Robin of Berkeley continues: “The temptation may not be drug and booze but the very dark underground sex scene, with its whips and chains and leather. Then there are those hook-ups with random strangers, as well as the ever present polyamorous and/or gay scenes. Some people don’t get involved in high-risk behavior, but become depressed, even suicidal, from the nihilistic spirit around them.”

Jane—of course, in this moralistic tale—gets her sanity back once she returns to Iowa, and Robin of Berkeley concludes that the key is to check out of Hotel California before it’s too late. “Given the severe housing shortage around here,” Robin of Berkeley says, “this Hotel may appear like the only affordable digs in town. But it comes with a gigantic price. For some people, it is their soul.”

After I read this moralizing, anonymous Blog post on an almost invisible Blog, I replied to CW, who thinks G. W. Bush is one of the greatest if not the greatest president the United States has ever had, agrees with the Tea Party movement, is a professed libertarian, a born-again evangelical Christian, and listens loyally to Dennis Prager, a conservative radio talk show host, who is basically a calmer voiced and friendlier version of Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck.

Here’s my first e-mail to CW after I read the anonymous Robin of Berkeley’s post: “I think we could find people like the ones in this story in every major city. There are also plenty of people who don’t do drugs, go to work every day and live a good life. Even in Berkeley and SF. I know this, because I’ve met many of them. I’ve also run into a few of the freaks/geeks but they tend to be outnumbered by normal, average people—even in Berkeley and SF. What this story does is it reinforces a stereotype, a bias, a lie.”

Then, a few hours later—after some thought—I sent another e-mail:

“Did you know that Houston is the main gateway into the United States for human trafficking (mostly sex slaves from children to women) and there are more illegal whore houses in Houston than the entire state of Nevada—an estimated average of 17,000 trafficked humans is funneled into the U.S. through Houston annually?

“Should we condemn everyone who lives in Houston?””

I also provided a few pull quotes from sources as evidence of Houston being the gateway for human trafficking in the United States just to prove my point.

CW replied, “I think you may find it of value to spend much time to reflect upon this.”

I did, and my next e-mail, a day later, was loaded with examples of moral corruption all over the United States. I provided links to the sources and pointed out that the San Francisco Bay Area wasn’t a mecca of corruption in the United States. In fact, California seldom ranks at the top of any illegal specific drug use, even tobacco, and of the 100 most dangerous cities in the United States, San Francisco and Berkeley didn’t even make the list.

As if I had said nothing, CW replied, “When a culture promotes deviant behavior, members of that culture are very susceptible to taking on that behavior because it becomes … normal. This young woman wasn’t equipped (like most young people for years now) to resist degrading influences. Berkeley is just the extreme that proves the norm. I read a similar story years ago about a young woman who moved into the Playboy mansion, took on that lifestyle, moved out, and then regained her sanity. We take for granite our morality, but really it is something we must fight to sustain. This is one reason I do not watch commercial TV.”

My next e-mail continued the argument: “That would include the deviant behavior of racism, homophobia, etc., wouldn’t it? Here’s an interesting piece that says “Homophobic Southern States Watch Most Gay Porn in America” and then I mentioned the “10 U.S. States Most Plagued by Hate Crimes”, and listed the top five states and pointed out their politics:

  1. Tennessee (GOP dominates this state)
  2. Kentucky (GOP governor and one state house has a GOP majority. The other house has a Democratic majority)
  3. North Dakota (state government 100% GOP majority)
  4. Michigan (Democratic governor but both state legislatures have a GOP majority)
  5. District of Columbia (The mayor is a Democrat)

CW’s next e-mail said, “I think any article that references the Southern Poverty Law Center as a factual source has instantly lost all credibility with any informed reader. However, I don’t see any connection between your sources and the Berkeley article, and this brings up another point, it appears that in order to avoid troubling cognitive dissonance you substitute thoughtful reflection with irrelevant sources.”

Note: I question how my sources and the point I was attempting to make was irrelevant compared to the anonymous Robin of Berkeley’s Blog and the alleged story about Jane.

Here are the sources I used to make my point that deviant behavior can exist anywhere, and I provided the links—something CW never does during this argument that is mostly one sided:

  1. Texas Monthly.com
  2. A piece published by My Fox Houston.com on a tour through human trafficking hell.
  3. UHCL The Signal.com, a WordPress blog post on Houston being named a major hub for six trafficking.
  4. A link to 2010-2011 surveys from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA’s mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities.
  5. Business Insider.com
  6. Democratic Underground.com reporting that Homophobic Southern States Watch the most gay porn in America.
  7. Atlantic Blackstar.com reporting on the 10 most racist stated in America.
  8. Richest.com on the 10 U.S. States most plagued by hate crimes

My next e-mail to CW said, “It is a waste of time to debate any subject with you when you have allowed yourself to be brainwashed by Dennis Prager. Did you learn this from your radio guru?”

There were other e-mails in another thread that continued this argument and they focused on parenting where I provided more evidence that any deviant sexual behavior or drug use is not exclusive to Berkeley. My first comment in that thread was “Here you are judging someone else’s thoughts about raising children and judging them a failure when you have never been married, never been a parent, and never raised a child. You live in a land of dangerous conservative idealism that is so far removed from reality that you might as well be living on a planet orbiting another start a few light years away.”

His response was: “Ad hominem again”

At some point, I wrote, “If this couple were white (I was talking about Jane and Brian), then they are representative of 24.8% of the U.C. Berkeley student population, but 17.5% are international students. Almost 40% are East Asian: Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Other Asian, South Asian, Vietnamese, Pacific Islander and this ethnic group tends to stay away from illegal drugs, has the lowest incidence of pregnancy outside of marriage, the highest rate of marriage, the highest HS graduation rate, the highest ratio of college graduation compared to other major ethnic groups, had the lowest divorce rate and the lowest unemployment rate in the country.”

That’s when CW wrote, “Your response is a beautiful example of a straw man fallacy.”

During the argument, CW never provided any evidence that the story by the anonymous blogger Robin of Berkeley was even real.

I’m not going to repeat the entire second e-mail thread here, because it will be a waste of time.

In conclusion, I’ve heard some of CW’s stories of how he behaved when he was a student at U.C. Berkeley, but I don’t think Berkeley is as extreme as he thinks based on his own experiences there. I base that statement on the fact that U.C. Berkeley didn’t even make the Princeton Review’s Top 20 Party Schools for 2015 (The top party schools ranking is based on survey questions relating to student use of alcohol and drugs …) In fact, the University of Santa Barbara was the only college in California that made the Princeton Review’s list—and get this, most of these party schools are in the Bible belt, the land of Jane and her so-called pure brethren.

The biggest surprise was when I discovered that the University of Iowa was #1 on the Princeton Review’s 2014 list, and #2 on the 2015 list of Party Schools. I wonder if Jane—if she were a real person and not fictional—attended the University of Iowa for her undergraduate work. If so, when she reached U.C. Berkeley, maybe she corrupted Brian, and only told her side of the story to the anonymous Robin of Berkeley. I wonder what Brian would say—that is if he wasn’t a fictional character too.

I did a search to find the best universities in Iowa known for their education programs. After all, it makes sense that a PhD candidate majoring in education at U.C. Berkeley would have majored in education for her BA.

The University of Iowa, one of the top two party schools in the United States, was listed as notable on a short list of colleges in Iowa that offered education majors, followed by Iowa State University, the University of Northern Iowa and Upper Iowa University.

One last thing—I searched for a Hotel California in Berkeley and couldn’t find one. In fact, here’s a list of all the hotels around the UC Berkeley campus on a hotel guide provided by the university.

Here’s what I think. This story was fiction made up by a far-right conservative, tea party American who couldn’t find any stories to support his/her biased thinking about Berkeley, California so he/she made one up and then lied that it was real.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

His third book is Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, a memoir. “Lofthouse presents us with grungy classrooms, kids who don’t want to be in school, and the consequences of growing up in a hardscrabble world. While some parents support his efforts, many sabotage them—and isolated administrators make the work of Lofthouse and his peers even more difficult.” – Bruce Reeves

lloydlofthouse_crazyisnormal_web2_5

Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy. His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. His wife is Anchee Min, the international, best-selling, award winning author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1992).

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

Brainwashing Americans for Extremism, Power and Profit (Viewed as Single Page)

An extremist is a person who holds extreme or fanatical political or religious views that are very far from what most people consider correct or reasonable and that are highly disagreeable to the majority of the population.

Dementia is a general term for loss of memory and other mental abilities severe enough to interfere with daily life, and it is caused by physical changes in the brain.

For instance, what Oliver Sacks wrote in Speak Memory, February 21, 2013, in The New York Review of Books about our ability to edit and revise our own memories to fit whatever we want to think. Oliver Sacks says, “From the Inquisition and the Salem witch trials to the Soviet trials of the 1930s and Abu Ghraib, varieties of ‘extreme interrogation,’ or outright physical and mental torture, have been used to extract political or religious “confessions.” While such interrogation may be intended to extract information in the first place, its deeper intentions may be to brainwash, to effect a genuine change of mind, to fill it with implanted, self-inculpatory memories, and in this it may be frighteningly successful.”

Then there is Eight Ways to Identify Religious Brainwashing. In part seven of this eight part series, “Leaders who emphasize ‘Doctrine Over Person’ usually have dominant personalities and rigidly interpret biblical commands. Thus, while their language sounds spiritual, in fact they merely enforce their own preferences about how to live life.”

In addition, in 6 Brainwashing Techniques  They’re Using on You Right Now, we learn that “Every cult leader, drill sergeant, self-help guru and politician knows that if you want to quiet all of those pesky doubting thoughts in a crowd, get them to chant a repetitive phrase or slogan. Those are referred to as thought-stopping techniques, because for better or worse, they do exactly that.”

I have an old friend who is an extremist and I’ll talk more about him in part 2 and 3 and why he is against abortion, and doesn’t think global warming is caused by human activity.

One issue that has been raging since Roe V. Wade in 1973, is a woman’s right to have an abortion versus the mostly extremist religious Right-to-Life mob.

Gallup publishes historical trends in respect to the abortion issue—that refuses to go away thanks to the mostly religious extremists—and my old friend is one of them.

In 1975, Gallup reported that 77% of the U.S. population felt that abortion was either legal under certain circumstances or legal under any circumstances, but only 19% felt it was illegal in all circumstances.

Thirty-eight years later, that thinking hasn’t changed much. In 2013, Gallup reported that 78% of the U.S. population felt that abortion was either legal under certain circumstances or legal under any circumstances, while 21% felt it was illegal under all circumstances.

I think it is arguable that 78% is an overwhelming majority exposing the extremist minority of the Right-to-Life mob.

The use of brainwashing techniques is used by the Right-to-Life mob when they claim that “Abortion is murder, because it kills babies.”  Using “murder” and “babies” together in the same phrase is designed to arouse emotions and fool people—in effect, brainwashing them—but the truth is that babies are never aborted—zygotes, embryos  or fetuses are aborted, and they’re not babies, toddlers or children. In fact, after the sperm fertilizes the egg, life starts as a single cell zygote and divides several times to form a ball of cells called  a morula. By the 8th week, the embryo—that develops from the zygote by the 3rd week—measures ½ inch in length, and the organism called the fetus starts to develop at about the 10th week.

Let’s be clear, a fetus is not a baby! At one month—4 weeks—there is an embryo consisting of two layers of cells from which the organs and body parts will develop. At 2 months—8 weeks—the fetus is the size of a kidney bean. At 3 months—12 weeks—the fetus is about 3 inches long and weighs almost an ounce.

Did you now that a fetus doesn’t feel pain until the 20th week? Actually, it doesn’t feel much or any pain at all until delivery—as you will discover.

The reason why I’m writing about the issue of abortion is because of my old friend, who suffers from a mental illness called extremism caused by brainwashing and/or irrational dementia. When we argue the issue of abortion, the terms he uses most often are “babies” and “murder”.

How can you murder a fetus without a developed brain that can’t feel pain, has no memoires and couldn’t survive outside the womb? The definition for a human being says: a man, woman or child of the species Homo sapiens, distinguished from other animals by superior mental development, power of articulate speech and upright stance.

And, according to the CDC, 89-92% of all abortions happen during the first trimester, prior to the 13th week of gestation; 6.9% of all abortions take place between 14-20 weeks of gestation, and 1.2% take place at or after 21 weeks of gestation.

The fetus starts out looking like the alien from the Alien film franchise, but eventually the fetus will develop a human form. That does not mean it is a viable, thinking, feeling creature with an active memory. In fact, it is arguable that it is not until after the 30th week that the brain has developed enough to be considered a complete human.

At week 5, the fetus’s brain, spinal cord, and heart begin to develop. At week 6-7, the fetus’s brain forms into five different areas. Some cranial nerves are visible. After week 8, the fetus’s brain will continue to grow until week 27 when it will start to grow faster.

The average unborn baby, while it is a fetus, will spend 38 – 40 weeks in the uterus.

When does consciousness arise in the human fetus? Consciousness requires a sophisticated network of highly interconnected components, nerve cells. Its physical substrate, the thalamo-cortical complex that provides consciousness with its highly elaborate content, begins to be in place between the 24th and 28th week of gestation. … What is fascinating is the discovery that the fetus is actively sedated—drugged—by the low oxygen pressure (equivalent to that at the top of Mount Everest), the warm and cushioned uterine environment and a range of neuroinhibitory and sleep-inducing substances produced by the mother’s body.

What does the Bible say about Abortion? OpenBible.Info lists 37 Bible Versus related to Abortion. Some—I’m convinced—will horrify you. For instance: Deuteronomy 28:53: “And you shall eat the fruit of your womb, the flesh of your sons and daughters, who the Lord your God has given you, in the siege and in the distress with which your enemies shall distress you.” Of course, the brainwashers will cherry pick versus they want their extremists to hear, and then tell them what to think.

My old, extremist, brainwashed friend also doesn’t believe global warming is caused by human activity, and this explains why he is against any or most environmental regulations that would limit carbon emissions—yet, there is irrefutable evidence that carbon emissions are polluting the air causing respiratory illnesses and lung disease, for instance, cancer, and that carbon emissions are altering the pH balance of the oceans threaten the food chain. Rising Acidity in the Oceans: The other CO2 Problem and How Air Pollution Contributes to Lung Disease

But that doesn’t stop extremists like my old friend—who gives me a lot to write about—from wanting a smaller government that doesn’t monitor private sector corporations that pollute the environment.

My old extremist friend seems to think that the private sector should have no restrictions and be allowed to do whatever it wants with no government intervention—he thinks that the private sector will correct itself voluntarily.

If you read this piece in a recent National Geographic Magazine about the EPA superfund going broke—thanks to people like my old, stubborn, extremist friend, for instance, and the Tea Party element of the GOP—you might appreciate the danger of stripping the government of its ability to limit pollution, corruption and/or monopoly in the private sector.

As for abortion, I think a woman should own her body and have the legal right to an abortion before, at least, the 21st week, if not longer to the 30th week. What I think my old extremist friend, who has been brainwashed, is really arguing for is less freedom for individuals and more freedom for profit hungry corporations to pollute the earth and cause more disease and illness.

Oh, one last fact: Gallup also reports that only 25% of the people are skeptical of global warming being caused by carbon emissions and human activity versus 75% who are concerned believers or somewhere in between.

Did you know that AEI routinely tries to undermine the credibility of climate science, despite at times affirming that the “weight of the evidence” justifies “prudent action” on climate change and AEI received $3,615,000 from ExxonMobil from 1998-2012, and more than $1 million in funding from Koch foundations from 2004-2011?

AFP also frequently provides a platform for climate contrarian statements, such as “How much information refutes carbon dioxide-caused global warming? Let me count the ways.” And the Koch foundations donated $3,609,281 to AFP Foundation from 2007-2011.

To discover more about who is brainwashing people like my old extremist friend, I suggest clicking on Global Warming Skeptic Organizations and read the report published by the Union of Concerned Scientists.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

His third book is Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, a memoir. “Lofthouse presents us with grungy classrooms, kids who don’t want to be in school, and the consequences of growing up in a hardscrabble world. While some parents support his efforts, many sabotage them—and isolated administrators make the work of Lofthouse and his peers even more difficult.” – Bruce Reeves

lloydlofthouse_crazyisnormal_web2_5

Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy. His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. His wife is Anchee Min, the international, best-selling, award winning author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1992).

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

Should Jesus Christ be removed from Christmas?

Beth Greenfield writing for Parenting said that “Christ has officially been removed from Christmas,” and this set off a firestorm that was hot enough to make media headlines.

The problem is that what Greenfield wrote was misleading because no one removed Christ from Christmas [it seems the media misleads a lot these days].

All that happened was one middle school [one middle school of about 8.000 in the U.S.] on Long Island, New York removed references to Jesus Christ from the song Silent Night.

The music for Silent Night was composed in 1818 by Franz Xaver Gruber [1787 – 1863], who was an Austrian primary school teacher and church organist in the village of Arnsdorf. A Catholic priest wrote the original German lyrics.

Before I say what I’m thinking, we should refresh our history of Christmas, because of the fact that having Christ mentioned in a song that celebrates a pagan holiday might offend God.

In fact, in Exodus 20:2-6, God said, “You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.”

If you don’t know the history of Christmas and where this traditional holiday had its beginnings you should know it. Christmas did not start as a Christian holiday. It was a pagan holiday first.

And December 25 is not the birthday of Jesus Christ. A careful analysis of Scripture clearly indicates that December 25 couldn’t be the date for Christ’s birth.

“Fixing December 25 as Christ’s birthday was a comprise with paganism.” (William Wash, The Story of Santa Klaus, 1970, p. 62)

And “In the early 17th century, a wave of religious reform changed the way Christmas was celebrated in Europe. When Oliver Cromwell and his Puritan forces took over England in 1645, they vowed to rid England of decadence and, as part of their effort, cancelled Christmas. By popular demand, Charles II was restored to the throne and, with him, came the return of the popular holiday.

“The pilgrims, English separatists that came to America in 1620, were even more orthodox in their Puritan beliefs than Cromwell. As a result, Christmas was not a holiday in early America. From 1659 to 1681, the celebration of Christmas was actually outlawed in Boston. Anyone exhibiting the Christmas spirit was fined five shillings. By contrast, in the Jamestown settlement, Captain John Smith reported that Christmas was enjoyed by all and passed without incident.

“After the American Revolution, English customs fell out of favor, including Christmas. In fact, Christmas wasn’t declared a federal holiday until June 26, 1870.”

To learn more about the history of Christmas, I suggest you click on History.com and/or Bible Facts from ucg.org

Now that we know a little bit about the history of Christmas and Christ’s birth, here’s what I think: Popular political correctness—be it religious, political, corporate or atheist—has become today’s tyranny and it has toppled governments in the past.

There’s nothing wrong with giving for a just cause. However, the real reason we celebrate Christmas on December 25 each year is probably due to the corporate profits that come from the estimated $469 Billion that Americans spend shopping during the holiday season. (Last Throws.com)

What did Moses do to the Ten Commandments when he came down from the mountain and discovered his people worshiping the statue of a golden calf?

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine, Vietnam Veteran and English-journalism teacher.

His latest novel is the award winning Running with the Enemy that started life as a memoir and then became a fictional suspense thriller. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

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Is the Average RICH person an Idiot?

I read a piece by Mandi Woodruff at Business Insider about 21 Ways Rich People Think Differently.

The first paragraph said, “World’s richest woman Gina Rinehart is enduring a media firestorm over an article in which she takes the ‘jealous’ middle class to task for ‘drinking, or smoking and socializing’ rather than working to earn their own fortune.”

I’m in the middle class. I don’t drink or smoke and I socialize only a little compared to the number of hours I work at what I enjoy, and I’m not jealous of the rich. I do not envy them either. What does that say about me?

Number ONE of the twenty-one ways rich people think differently says, “Average people think MONEY is the root of all evil. Rich people believe POVERTY is the root of all evil.”

I’m not RICH, and I don’t think money is the root of all evil and I also do not believe POVERTY is the root of all evil. Instead, I believe GREED is one of the causes of evil and POVERTY leads to suffering and some of those people living in poverty work long hours at jobs that pay little because some RICH person doesn’t offer a livable wage.

For example: the Walton family that continues to earn its wealth from the Wal-Mart stores. The NY Times says, “With most of Wal-Mart’s workers earning less than $19,000 a year, a number of community groups and lawmakers have recently teamed up with labor unions in mounting an intensive campaign aimed at prodding Wal-Mart into paying its 1.3 million employees higher wages.”

That NY Times report was in 2005, and little has changed at Wal-Mart. In fact, it may be worse. The CEO, Michael Duke, earned $35 million in 2010 while a new Walmart employee was paid $8.75 an hour for an annual salary of $13,650. Source: Jonathan Turley

In addition, the Walton family’s now holds as much wealth as the bottom 40 percent of Americans combined—about $90 billion.

Does that mean all RICH people are like the Waltons?  I don’t think so.  After all, two of the richest people in the world are planning to give all or most of their wealth away to worthy causes. I’m talking about Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffet with a combined net worth of $105 billion.

Woodruff also mentions a book, How Rich People Think, written by Steve Siebold. Siebold makes some wild claims such as, “The average person has been brainwashed to believe rich people are lucky or dishonest.” Usually, I leave a link when I mention a book, but I do not think this book deserves a link.

However, it’s common sense—something Siebold and Rinehart seem to be missing—that everyone cannot be RICH.

Before I finished reading the Business Insider piece, I had the impression that Siebold believes everyone could be rich and famous if they had not been brainwashed into thinking the way us AVERAGE middle class folks think.

Here’s my reply to Siebold:  Everyone cannot be a winner.  Imagine a horse race where every horse wins and no one loses. There is always a horse that comes in last.

Imagine all the football, baseball, basketball and soccer games ending in ties because everyone is an incredible, perfect athlete.

Imagine every person on the Earth each worth millions or billions. Who would be left to mow the lawns, cook, wait tables, etc.?

Imagine seven billion people with the talent of Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, or Whitney Houston.

Some of what Siebold says about how the rich think makes sense but I’m sure there are many AVERAGE people in the MIDDLE CLASS that do not behave as Gina Rinehart claims and for sure, have not been brainwashed as Siebold says.

Here’s a thought: I suspect that the RICH people that caused the 2007-08 global financial crises are an excellent example of the AVERAGE rich person, and if you want to know what EVIL is, we do not need the opinions of RICH people such as Gina Rinehart with a net worth of $18.9 billion or  Steve Siebold, who charges $7,501 to $15,000 to speak to you about his opinions. We may turn to the BIBLE to find out that answer:

“For the love of money is the root of all evil …” Source: King James Bible: 1 Timothy 6:10, or there are passages in the Bible that also says it has to do with being judgmental, to think what is good and evil such as Isaiah 5:20 – “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!”

Discover The Face in the Glass

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

From Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” to God’s chosen

Recently I discovered Carly Rae Jepsen’s viral (more than 114 million views so far on You Tube) song “Call Me Maybe” and shared the You-Tube link of this video with friends.  One friend, an Evangelical Born-Again Christian, responded in an unexpected way and turned it into a religious issue that resulted in a volley of e-mails (I’ve edited the e-mails or this post would be way too long).


Caution – it may be easy to become addicted to this song/video.  It’s cute. It’s funny.  It has a story. It’s about life with a witty surprise ending.

Born Again said, “Had a (minor) epiphany after seeing the guy’s body. It’s commonly observed that male homosexuals take better care of their physical selves than normal men. They are often better dressed, in better shape, and have finer living quarters. The epiphany was this is a reflection of the worship they have of their own bodies, while the Bible instructs Christians to take care of their bodies, “… for ye are the temple of the living God.”

To which I responded, “I’m not quite sure what you mean.  If gays take care of their bodies by being in better shape isn’t that the same as treating your body as if it were God’s temple? …”

Then I Googled “Your Body is your Temple” and got”: 1 Corinthians 6: 15, 19-20

15 Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. 19  What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. Source: Scripture for Christians

In addition, I added, “Here’s a piece in the Huffington Post that says, “Gay Population in the U.S. Estimated at 4 Million.”

If this is correct, that means about 1% of the US population is gay while there are more than 310 million Americans and 75% are fat and a third of those fat people are obese—that’s more than 232 million people.  In addition, I have read and been told by my doctor that 80% of people our age (meaning you and me) are on one or more medications due mostly to lifestyle choices leading to poor health.

With this information, it seems to me that there are far more so-called Christians (mostly heterosexuals) that are an abomination to God’s laws than that 1% gay population of the U.S.

Then there is this from Matt. 7:1  “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” and Matt 7:2-5: “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you…”

Born Again replied, “I see a great difference between taking care of one’s body to maintain health and the obvious possessiveness of the guy or gal with his/her body which goes far beyond health. The commandment to put no other gods before Me can refer, in my opinion, to the obsession of today’s culture with physical beauty.

“Judging to me means deciding between differences where punishment or reward is implied by the judge’s decision. If I make a comment or express an opinion on another, the question I suppose, “Am I judging? Should I never make a decision about another person’s action for fear of judging, or bring to another person’s attention his/her sin that I observe? If I (properly) inform a person he/she is sinning and thereby help that person to stop sinning is this a wrong on my part? That is, am I doing a wrong to make a right? I think not because my helping a person like this is not judging, because I do not have the power to punish.

“In addition, if I tell a person he/she is going to hell unless they accept Christ as their savior I am not condemning that person. The Bible states that God has judged and condemned, and I’m simply reporting what God said he will do to those who do not accept Christ. …

“Remember, according to scripture, only born again Christians have bodies that are temples of God because upon becoming saved the Holy Spirit dwells within them. Upon becoming saved the Christian starts a change that eventually will lead to a healthy lifestyle. You’ll find few Christians that smoke or that drink to excess. From my personal observation there are fewer obese individuals in the churches I’ve attended than the general population.

“On the other hand most Christians I know do not appear to think it behooves them, as a Christian, to lead physically healthy lifestyles.”

And I said, “This is a claim that almost every religion and/or Christian denomination makes (the words may be different but they all mean the same—God chose us over all the others).  According to one site I Googled, in 2008, there were 228,182,000 Christians in the United States and the Evangelical/Born Sect only numbered 2,154.000.

“Evangelicals are not alone in their claim that they are the chosen. And outside of Christianity, the Jews claim to be the chosen of God while Muslims make similar claims alongside Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses.

“Amazing, and the one you joined is the chosen one!?  Did God come down and tell you in person?  What does God say about people making claims in His name or are you just expressing your own individual, personal belief?”

All this from sharing Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” with an Evangelical Born-Again Christian.

Discover The Face in The Glass by Dale Wimbrow

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”