Saturday, March 30, 2013

Jesus' Farewell Prayer

In Gethsemane,
. . . he assembled us all, and  [Jesus] said, “Before I am delivered to them, let us sing a hymn to the Father, and so go to meet what lies before (us).” So he told us to form a circle, holding one anothers' hands, and himself stood in the middle . . .
“Answer Amen to me,” [he said] and began to intone a mystical chant:
“To the Universe belongs the dancer.”
Amen
“He who does not dance does not know what happens.”
Amen
“Now if you follow my dance, see yourself in Me who am speaking . . .
You who dance, consider what I do, for yours is this passion of Man which I am to suffer. For you could by no means have understood what you suffer unless to you as Logos I had been sent by the Father . . .
Learn how to suffer and you shall be able not to suffer.”
—The Acts of John (a Gnostic document)

Monday, March 18, 2013

Why Romney Realy Lost

Here is an article by a Jewish Rabbi from Teaneck, N.J. It is far and away the most succinct and thoughtful explanation of how our nation is changing. The article appeared in The Israel National News, and is directed to Jewish readership. 70% of American Jews vote as Democrats. The Rabbi has some interesting comments in that regard. Rabbi Steven Pruzansky is the spiritual leader of Congregation Bnai Yeshurun in Teaneck, New Jersey.
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"The most charitable way of explaining the election results of 2012 is that Americans voted for the status quo - for the incumbent President and for a divided Congress. They must enjoy gridlock, partisanship, incompetence, economic stagnation and avoidance of responsibility.

And fewer people voted.

But as we awake from the nightmare, it is important to eschew the facile explanations for the Romney defeat that will prevail among the chattering classes. Romney did not lose because of the effects of Hurricane Sandy that devastated this area, nor did he lose because he ran a poor campaign, nor did he lose because the Republicans could have chosen better candidates, nor did he lose because Obama benefited from a slight uptick in the economy due to the business cycle. 
Romney lost because he didn't get enough votes to win. 
That might seem obvious, but not for the obvious reasons. Romney lost because the conservative virtues - the traditional American virtues - of liberty, hard work, free enterprise, private initiative and aspirations to moral greatness - no longer inspire or animate a majority of the electorate. 
The simplest reason why Romney lost was because it is impossible to compete against free stuff. 
Every businessman knows this; that is why the "loss leader" or the giveaway is such a powerful marketing tool. Obama's America is one in which free stuff is given away: the adults among the 47,000,000 on food stamps clearly recognized for whom they should vote, and so they did, by the tens of millions; those who - courtesy of Obama - receive two full years of unemployment benefits (which, of course, both disincentivizes looking for work and also motivates people to work off the books while collecting their windfall) surely know for whom to vote. The lure of free stuff is irresistible. 
The defining moment of the whole campaign was the revelation of the secretly-recorded video in which Romney acknowledged the difficulty of winning an election in which "47% of the people" start off against him because they pay no taxes and just receive money - "free stuff" - from the government.
Almost half of the population has no skin in the game - they don't care about high taxes, promoting business, or creating jobs, nor do they care that the money for their free stuff is being borrowed from their children and from the Chinese. 
They just want the free stuff that comes their way at someone else's expense. In the end, that 47% leaves very little margin for error for any Republican, and does not bode well for the future.
It is impossible to imagine a conservative candidate winning against such overwhelming odds. People do vote their pocketbooks. In essence, the people vote for a Congress who will not raise their taxes, and for a President who will give them free stuff, never mind who has to pay for it. 
That engenders the second reason why Romney lost: the inescapable conclusion that the electorate is ignorant and uninformed. Indeed, it does not pay to be an informed voter, because most other voters - the clear majority - are unintelligent and easily swayed by emotion and raw populism. That is the indelicate way of saying that too many people vote with their hearts and not their heads. That is why Obama did not have to produce a second term agenda, or even defend his first-term record. He needed only to portray Mitt Romney as a rapacious capitalist who throws elderly women. 
Over a cliff, when he is not just snatching away their cancer medication, while starving the poor and cutting taxes for the rich. 
During his 1956 presidential campaign, a woman called out to Adlai Stevenson: "Senator, you have the vote of every thinking person!" Stevenson called back: "That's not enough, madam, we need a majority!" Truer words were never spoken. 
Obama could get away with saying that "Romney wants the rich to play by a different set of rules" - without ever defining what those different rules were; with saying that the "rich should pay their fair share" - without ever defining what a "fair share" is; with saying that Romney wants the poor, elderly and sick to "fend for themselves" - without even acknowledging that all these government programs are going bankrupt, their current insolvency only papered over by deficit spending. 
Similarly, Obama (or his surrogates) could hint to blacks that a Romney victory would lead them back into chains and proclaim to women that their abortions and birth control would be taken away. He could appeal to Hispanics that Romney would have them all arrested and shipped to Mexico and unabashedly state that he will not enforce the current immigration laws. He could espouse the furtherance of the incestuous relationship between governments and unions - in which politicians ply the unions with public money, in exchange for which the unions provide the politicians with votes, in exchange for which the politicians provide more money and the unions provide more votes, etc., even though the money is gone. 
Obama also knows that the electorate has changed - that whites will soon be a minority in America (they're already a minority in California) and that the new immigrants to the US are primarily from the Third World and do not share the traditional American values that attracted immigrants in the 19th and 20th centuries. It is a different world, and a different America. Obama is part of that different America, knows it, and knows how to tap into it. That is why he won. 
Obama also proved again that negative advertising works, invective sells, and harsh personal attacks succeed. That Romney never engaged in such diatribes points to his essential goodness as a person; his "negative ads" were simple facts, never personal abuse - facts about high unemployment, lower take-home pay, a loss of American power and prestige abroad, a lack of leadership, etc. As a politician, though, Romney failed because he did not embrace the devil's bargain of making unsustainable promises. 
It turned out that it was not possible for Romney and Ryan - people of substance, depth and ideas - to compete with the shallow populism and platitudes of their opponents. Obama mastered the politics of envy - of class warfare - never reaching out to Americans as such but to individual groups, and cobbling together a winning majority from these minority groups. If an Obama could not be defeated - with his record and his vision of America, of in which free stuff seduces voters - it is hard to envision any change in the future. 
The road to Hillary Clinton in 2016 and to a European-socialist economy - those very economies that are collapsing today in Europe - is paved. 
For Jews, mostly assimilated anyway and staunch Democrats, the results demonstrate again that liberalism is their Torah. Almost 70% voted for a president widely perceived by Israelis and most committed Jews as hostile to Israel. They voted to secure Obama's future at America's expense and at Israel's expense - in effect, preferring Obama to Netanyahu by a wide margin.
A dangerous time is ahead. Under present circumstances, it is inconceivable that the US will take any aggressive action against Iran and will more likely thwart any Israeli initiative. The US will preach the importance of negotiations up until the production of the first Iranian nuclear weapon - and then state that the world must learn to live with this new reality. 
But this election should be a wake-up call to Jews. There is no permanent empire, nor is there is an enduring haven for Jews anywhere in the exile. The American empire began to decline in 2007, and the deterioration has been exacerbated in the last five years. This election only hastens that decline. Society is permeated with sloth, greed, envy and materialistic excess. It has lost its moorings and its moral foundations. The takers outnumber the givers, and that will only increase in years to come. 
The "Occupy" riots across this country in the last two years were mere dress rehearsals for what lies ahead - years of unrest sparked by the increasing discontent of the unsuccessful who want to seize the fruits and the bounty of the successful, and do not appreciate the slow pace of redistribution. 
If this election proves one thing, it is that the Old America is gone. 
As much as I wish he was wrong in his assessment, I know that he is right. But I do think we can still turn it around! We have to for our children!!! 
"A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned - This is the sum of good government." --Thomas Jefferson

Friday, March 15, 2013

Irish Toast

St. Patrick’s Day (the patron saint of Ireland) is fast approaching, so I thought Irish humor would be appropriate for this post.  Erin Go Bragh

 ________________________________________ 
John O'Reilly hoisted his beer and said...
 "Here's to spending the rest of me life, between the legs of me wife!"

That won him the top prize at the pub for the best toast of the night! 

He went home and told his wife, Mary, "I won the prize for the Best toast of the night." 

She said, "Aye, did ye now. And what was your toast?" 

John said, "Here's to spending the rest of me life, sitting in church beside me wife."

"Oh, that is very nice indeed, John!" Mary said. 

The next day, Mary ran into one of John's drinking buddies on the street corner. The man chuckled leeringly and said, "John won the prize the other night at the pub with a toast about you, Mary." 

She said, "Aye, he told me, and I was a bit surprised myself. You know, he's only been in there twice in the last four years. Once he fell asleep, and the other time I had to pull him by the ears to make him come."

Saturday, March 2, 2013

32 Traits Happy People Possess

Everybody wants to "be" happy, but do you know what it takes to be happy?  Really, happiness is not found, but discovered through a little be of effort and work.  Most of that work is on ourselves and sadly we often do not know where or how to start on getting happy.  Lucky for you I love short lists, and lifted many of these from 30 Traits Happy People Have in Common (if you want more info)...  Here they are..Happy People...

1. Find Good in EVERY Situation
2. Create Their Own Happiness
3. Are Ambitious
4. Have Clarity in Their Wants
5. Ask the Right Questions
6. Rarely Complain
7. Do Not Procrastinate
8. Face their Fears
9. Do Not Blame Others
10. Maximize their Potential
11. Avoid Toxic People
12. Take Calculated Risks (lots of them)
13. Deal with Problems Quickly
14. Are Solution Focused
15. Take Action When Needed
16. Are Life-Long Learners
17. Have a Sense of Humility
18. Manage Their Emotions
19. Work Through Pain
20. Work and Look Long-Term
21. Find Balance
22. Are Multidimensional
23. Do Right By Themselves
24. Are Proactive
25. Have a Sense of Security
26. Keep In Shape Physically
27. Are Generous and Kind
28. Focused on Things THEY can Change
29. Realize Work is NOT their Life
30. Can Turn Off
31. Are Adaptable and Embrace Change
32. Practice What They Preach

Friday, March 1, 2013

Before There Were Cell Phones

If you were born prior to our Country’s Bicentennial, you might find this quite, um illuminating and funny?
When I was a kid, adults used to bore me to tears with their tedious diatribes about how hard things were. When they were growing up; what with walking twenty-five miles to school every morning.... Uphill... Barefoot... BOTH ways...yadda, yadda, yadda

And I remember promising myself that when I grew up, there was no way in hell I was going to lay a bunch of crap like that on my kids about how hard I had it and how easy they've got it!
 
But now that I'm over the ripe old age of thirty five, I can't help but look around and notice the youth of today.  You've got it so easy!  I mean, compared to my childhood, you live in a dang Utopia!  And I hate to say it, but you kids today, you don't know how good you've got it!

1) I mean, when I was a kid we didn't have the Internet..  If we wanted to know something, we had to go to the library and look it up ourselves, in the card catalog!!  

2) There was no email!!  We had to actually write somebody a letter - with a pen!  Then you had to walk all the way across the street and put it in the mailbox, and it would take like a week to get there!  Stamps were 13 cents!

3) Child Protective Services didn't care if our parents beat us.  As a matter of fact, the parents of all my friends also had permission to kick our butt! Nowhere was safe!

4) There were no MP3's or Napsters or iTunes!  If you wanted to steal music, you had to hitchhike to the record store and shoplift it yourself!

5) Or you had to wait around all day to tape it off the radio, and the DJ would usually talk over the beginning and mess it all up!  There were no CD players!  We had tape decks in our car.  We'd play our favorite tape and "eject" it when finished, and then the tape would come undone rendering it useless.  Cause, hey, that's how we rolled, Baby!  Dig?

6) We didn't have fancy crap like Call Waiting!  If you were on the phone and somebody else called, they got a busy signal, that's it!

7) There weren't any cell phones either. If you left the house, you just didn't make a  call or receive one. You actually had to be out of touch with your "friends". OH MY GOSH !!!  Think of the horror... not being in touch with someone 24/7!!!  And then there's TEXTING.  Yeah, right.  Please!  You kids have no idea how annoying you are.

8) And we didn't have fancy Caller ID either! When the phone rang, you had no idea who it was!  It could be your school, your parents, your boss, your bookie, your drug dealer, the collection agent... you just didn't know!!!  You had to pick it up and take your chances, mister!

9) We didn't have any fancy PlayStation or Xbox video games with high-resolution 3-D graphics!  We had the Atari 2600!  With games like 'Space Invaders' and 'Asteroids'.  Your screen guy was a little square!  You actually had to use your imagination!!!  And there were no multiple levels or screens, it was just one screen... Forever!  And you could never win.  The game just kept getting harder and harder and faster and faster until you died!  Just like LIFE!

10) You had to use a little book called a TV Guide to find out what was on! You were up the creek when it came to channel surfing!  You had to get off your butt and walk over to the TV to change the channel!!!  NO REMOTES!!!  Oh, no, what's the world coming to?!?!

11) There was no Cartoon Network either! You could only get cartoons on Saturday Morning.  Do you hear what I'm saying? We had to wait ALL WEEK for cartoons, you spoiled little brats!
12) And we didn't have microwaves.  If we wanted to heat something up, we had to use the stove!  Imagine that!