Lessons of History

A religious person could easily take the quickest route to answering some of the tough questions, probably answering that God is the greatest good in the world, and the devil is the greatest evil in the world. I have not taken a religious flavor to answering these questions.

The Greatest Hope in the World
The instinct to survive.

The Greatest Waste in the World
Advertising.

The Greatest Delight in the World
The laughter of children

The Most Beautiful thing in the World
A woman’s smile

The Greatest Truth in the World
* Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely, or
* Love is the Answer

The Greatest Injustice in the World
Poverty is the greatest injustice.  Poverty is the mother of hunger, starvation, disease, and suffering.  Each year, 10,000,000 children will die in the world due to lack of access to clean water.

The Greatest Danger in the World
Nuclear technology.  It is only a matter of time before some of this technology makes it into the hands of those who would use it for terrorizing the World.

The Greatest Disappointment in the World
War is the greatest disappointment.  War, the systematic planned death, destruction, and violence to other humans.  Over 60 – 70 percent of the world’s population will never know War up close.  The incessant march of War throughout human history is purified, cleansed, and almost never passed on to those who are not there.  Films and books try to do their part to teach of War, but most are unwilling to look at even the cleaned up versions. It causes discomfort.  Even those who try to study the details of war with courage and truth, cannot gain the depth of insight that the victims of war walk away with.  This greatest disappointment in mankind’s history must be looked at thoroughly, studied with courage, and a depth of seeking that only the soul is capable of.  When the soul starts to hurt, then you are studying it at the depth required.

The fact that we are the most intelligently superior species ever to live, yet we cannot solve our social problems without massive death, destruction, and suffering, is my greatest disappointment in the human race.  For all our given intelligence, we cannot seem to solve our problems without war.

The Greatest Fear in the World
The lack of or loss of security.  This fear runs deep, through all classes of society.  The impoverished fear of basic needs for shelter and food will not be met, other classes fear they do not have enough security, savings, resources for the right college, car, or retirement, the wealthy classes fear they could loose the material security and investments they do have, a quite ridiculous fear, born of insecurity, unless one is careless not foolishly squandering their money

The Greatest Accomplishment in the World
Freedom to think one’s own thoughts and speak one’s own truth.  Freedom of thought, freedom of speech.

The Greatest Gift in the World
I could follow convention here and say the answer, obviously, is Love.  However, I think the greatest gift in this world is life itself.  Life, especially as a human being, is nothing short of a miracle.  We think, feel, taste, hear, speak, see, create, imagine.  A human being has more skill and ability than any species that has ever existed in the billions of years the world has been evolving by at least 100 orders of magnitude.

The Greatest Evil in the World
Privilege. The belief that one person or group of persons are superior in some way to another person or group of persons. One person believing they have privilege over another person has provided the platform for almost all of the human suffering throughout history.  Monarchy’s are born of privilege, Aristocracies are born from privilege, most religions are infested with privilege.  All authoritarian societies are born from privilege.  Privilege comes in many forms, Superiority, Greed, Selfishness.  Privilege protects itself in the minds of holders by rationalizing, intellectualizing, denying.  Privilege can have many levels.  Elitism is certainly born from privilege, but privilege can be widespread in more subtle ways among other classes of societies. The great American middle-class has a substantial degree of privilege built into the class.

The Greatest Good in the World
Children.  Children are God’s way of saying, the world will go on.  Indeed, for 100,000 years our children have carried our species forward, generation by generation, to what the human race has become today. Our children hold the future of humanity in their hands, as they become adults and begin to run the world.  We do humanity a disservice when we shelter our children from knowing how imperfect the world is, covering their eyes and ears with privilege.  The holders of what humanity is to become cannot act wisely if they are only taught privilege, and sheltered from yesterday and today’s imperfections.  They must know the truth if they are to carry humanity forward to a greater good.  It is not enough that they are taught how to carry only themselves forward, for only their own self-indulged greater good, with privilege being their only skill.

Our children are mirrors, reflecting into the next generation what they have been shown and taught.  They are not our duplicates, but the reflection is mixed with the light of their own ideas and thinking, and each generation changes the world a little bit.

We do not need to have or teach our children the answers to some of the World’s problems.  We only need to show and teach them the truth of things.  They, their children, and their children will, find the answers.  But, they must know the truth of things.  We must give them some knowledge of the truth in how the world is and works.  Many of them will find the truth anyway, on their own.

RGA, 10-22-2011

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Transcript of a Minister

This is a paraphrased transcript from a San Antonio minister during a 2010 sermon:

Minister

“Sisters and Brothers. Praise God. Praise the Lord Almighty. I stand before you today with  very special message, one of great importance to all Christians and believers.  As you know, God has ordained the main mission of all his people to save the souls of non-believers, and to bring them to personally know the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal savior.  As I stand before you today, I bring great news of a revelation, one that is spreading to hundreds of God’s churches across this great God given land of America.  I, myself, have received this revelation and been instructed by God through diligent prayer and worship, and tell you this day, that our task as God fearing Christians is to build in His honor a great cross on a hill nearby, so that passerbys from  everywhere may gaze upon this tribute, and immediately come to turn their souls and lives over to Jesus as personal savior and Lord.  My personal and best friend is a metal artist and will build the cross. It will be over 100 feet tall so it can be seen from great distances as people travel the roads and freeways of San Antonio. It is our task as a dedicated congregation to raise the necessary money to purchase the land and build the cross.”

Congregation

“Amen. Praise God. Praise the Lord Almighty.”

Minister

“God has said it will come to pass and so it shall.  No matter what you have or think you have it is God’s will that all of us contribute to the upmost to fulfill this most sacred of tasks as true and dedicated Christians.  The land will be $1,000,000 dollars, and the handcrafted cross (by my best friend) will be another $1,000,000.  Remember, what so ever ye give, ye will receive 10 fold.”

San Antonio Newspaper, 2010

“A nearby San Antonio church has taken it entirely upon themselves to build a 100 foot cross in hopes of drawing attention and saving souls.  The cost was two million dollars.  This is a trend that is spreading through American churches, almost as a contest to see who can build the highest cross.  Average expenses for building and erecting the crosses are about $1.5 million dollars each.  At this point, over 100 churches have answered the call, with a combined cost of $150,000,000 dollars.”

Official report from OCHA (United Nations Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs), July 23, 2010. Report on the annual monsoons in Pakistan, the rains, and the floods, and humanitarian needs there. Note: None of this is published in American newspapers, some British papers carry the news

“OCHA daily reports show that an estimated $535 million was requested as needed for relief efforts on July 23, 2010.  As of August 10, 2010, $154 million had been received.  The floods are receding by September.  There is immediate and emergency need for erecting emergency field hospitals to treat spreading AWD (Acute Watery Diarrhea), which almost always results in death from dehydration in children under five years old.  The treatment is simple, re-hydration, a $3.00 bag of hydrating fluid like you get at your hospital, which needs only a trained volunteer to administer, and one supervising doctor per field hospital.

No volunteers are being called for.  They have plenty of volunteers.  What they don’t have is the needed money to purchase the seriously needed supplies for food, water, shelter, rescue.  Helicopters are needed to rescue those who are in threat of drowning.  OCHA reports on August 1, 2010, that 27,000 people were trapped in desperate need of rescue from helicopter, and 150,000 families where in emergency need of food, water, shelter, else the threat of water born disease will escalate.  Please don’t fill boxes at your local churches with canned food. It will get to us too late, there are no can openers in the most flooded areas, and the scientifically proven treatment for malnutrition is a specially produced high nutrition bar, which we can purchase through a regular distributor. Do not send old cans of corn, beans, and beets.  We need what money you can send.  We know how to buy what we need better than you.

In August, near the end of the floods, the Pakistan Initial Floods Emergency Response Plan was still calling to complete the $535 million needed for humanitarian assistance.  Pakistan is on the permanent list of the UN humanitarian relief list.  It is seriously impoverished, and needs year round assistance, even without the floods.  Twenty Three percent of Pakistan stays under-nourished, susceptible to disease, year round.  It’s GHI (Global Hunger Index) is rated at “Alarming,” without the floods.

14 million people were affected by this flood. Almost 300,000 homes were destroyed, thousands of people died, over one third of Pakistan’s agriculture was destroyed for years to come, insuring an even greater food shortage for at least 3 – 5 years.

The OCHA reports have much integrity in also reporting what has been received and used to help in every province of the country on a daily basis.  So Yes, help came in 2010, but only about one third of what was needed.  The nearby United States military base in Afghanistan sent an honorable 26 helicopters about 300 miles to help the rescue efforts.  It is estimated that the base has around 66 helicopters, that could have returned to Afghanistan within an hour if needed.  The US has 11 Nimitz class aircraft carriers stationed at strategic locations around the world, that can be within striking range, or humanitarian assistance range, within 72 hours anywhere in the world.  Not one was sent.  They can stay at sea for seven years without refueling, and have an over stocked supply of medical supplies, mobile hospitals, food, water, fuel, helicopters.

Commentary

Would not the $150,000,000 dollars used to erect the idol crosses for the 100 churches doubled that help?

Does God want $150,000,000 spent on tall crosses, or on saving children’s lives?

Did the minister have a real revelation from God, or was he tricked into listening to his own ignorance and ego?

The $150,000,000 cross money would have brought the assistance to over $300,000,000 dollars, within a very close $200,000,000 dollars that was needed, instead of leaving Pakistan $380,000,000 dollars short.

Where did the minister go to school, WallMart?
What kind of car does he drive?
What kind of house does he live in?
How many vacations does he take per year?

I believe in a Higher Source to this World, call it God if you want to, but it is certainly and vehemently not the same God the minister above, and his congregation, believes in.  It is amazing what a congregation of hundreds of people will do without even scrutinizing it, or thinking for themselves.

It is amazing how many people do not want to know what happens in the world around them.

When I drive the freeways of San Antonio and see the 100 foot tall cross in the distance, I do not think of saving my soul, I think of how the minister and his congregation are possibly going to save their souls.

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World First Quarter Report, 2010

World Quarterly Report, 1st Quarter, 2010 6,000 police officers from other Canadian cities, 1,327 police officers from Vancouver, and 4,500 soldiers from the Canadian armed forces, were on hand to secure a most successful 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada.  Security costs alone are estimated at $1,000,000,000.  It took years to build, and total costs for the games are not yet calculated, but various parts are as follows: Olympic Center, $100,000,000, the Sea-To-Sky Highway, about $600,000,000, the SkyTrain, $2,000,000,000.  During the games, 100,000 free condoms were distributed to 7,000 athletes.

250,000 Haitians died in the massive earthquake on January 12, 2010.  300,000 were injured and 1,000,000 were homeless.  250,000 residences and 30,000 commercial buildings collapsed.  There was a massive international relief effort.

US Federal spending so far for the 1st quarter was about $925,271,800,000, and the US has collected about $571,076,200,000 in revenues, meaning that the US has had to borrow about $354,200,000,000 so far this 1st quarter, bringing the total national debt to about $12,739,254,000,000.  In the 1st quarter, we paid about $35,672,566,694 in interest on that accumulated debt.  Roughly, 16% of the US revenue for the 1st quarter was used to pay interest on the debt we owe.

The US Treasury Department has set up an online place where folks can contribute to paying down the debt:
https://www.pay.gov/paygov/forms/formInstance.html?agencyFormId=23779454

And this is an interesting link also:
http://www.usdebtclock.org/

We pay about $400,000,000,000 ($400 billion) per year in interest on the national debt.

Total deaths in the world this 1st quarter, 13,575,150, and total births were about 33,277,950, meaning the world population had a net gain of about 19,702,800 people for the quarter.  Of the 13,575,150 deaths in the world, an estimated 2,500,000 were children who died due to lack of access to clean water.  That would be equivalent to a Haitian earthquake occurring every 9 to 10 days.

Over 24,000 children die every day around the world due to poverty, lack of clean water, or disease. Most all of the deaths are preventable.  We have the technology for clean water, to treat disease, and to respond to poverty.  Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia account for about 80% of the estimated 2,500,000 children who died before the age of five in 1st quarter of 2010. East Asia, and parts of the Middle East and North Africa, account for most of the other 20%.

Although, advanced countries have the means and technology to clean water, treat disease, build shelters, and outspend poverty, a major impact is never made on these world issues.  The single most cause of a failure to get the resources to the children who need them is corruption.

The US is the wealthiest country in the world, but it rates about number 20 on the list of quality of aid versus percent of GDP.  Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands, Norway, Australia, Japan, Germany, as well as other countries dedicate more of their GDP to foreign aid.

If you live in a slum in Manila, you pay more for your water than people living in London.  A mere 12 percent of the world’s population uses 85 percent of its consumed water.  For each liter of drink from Coca Cola, some 3 liters of water is needed to manufacture it.  There is no shortage of water on the earth.  Google Earth shows that about 0.02% of the available consumable water in the world is actually being consumed.

Combined military expenditures around the world for this 1st quarter were about $500,000,000,000.  Between $15,000,000,000 to $20,000,000,000 per quarter is given collectively toward humanitarian relief in the world. About one half of all foreign aid in the world never reaches the intended recipients.  Collectively, as a planet, we spend about 3% of what we spend on military expenditures on humanitarian aid.  The amount paid by the United States so far this 1st quarter for interest on the national debt is about twice the amount the entire world paid for humanitarian aid around the world during the 1st quarter.

Predictions for the 2nd quarter of 2010: hopefully the world may avert another natural disaster as large as Haiti, and something as massive as the Olympic games aren’t scheduled for another two years, 2012 in London, where at least water is cheaper than in the slums of Manila.  As far as all the other stuff outlined so far this quarter, very little should change.  The world will continue to spend about 3% of military expenditures on humanitarian aid.

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A List Of Priorities For The 2009 Holiday Season

1. Make sure that your house or apartment is clean, tidy, and warm and cozy for the family and guests.  If you can have it professionally cleaned by minimum wage laborers, all the better.

2. For your particular Religion of Choice, attend to the suggested rituals for the Season.  Any  devotion and time you can give toward honoring the Religious leaders of thousands of years ago, will be well spent.

3. This one was actually difficult to decide on.  Should it be number 2 or 3?  Anyway, priority number 3 applies only if you have a favorite football team.  Be somewhat preoccupied with any of the holiday games your team may be involved in.  For the truly faithful, purchase air line tickets if needed, purchase unusually high priced game tickets, get involved, make it a fun time.

4. Make sure you have a great meal planned for family and guests.  American super markets are overflowing with goodies of all kinds, and there is practically nothing that you can’t buy in America.  So, get only the best for your family and guests.

5. Now that your religious duties are taken care of, and your family and guests have a great meal planned with all the home comforts, you should do what you can for the local charities.  The holiday gift programs to the needy, the holiday meal programs to the needy.  Angel trees, donations, meal delivery, anything that will help the less fortunate and those in need.

6. Now that your home is ready for guests, meals are planned, religious duties are attended to, and thought has been given to the needy in your area, you should put some earnest thought into your own happiness and well-being.  Splurge here if you can, it’s the holidays.  The better you look and feel, the happier your family and friends will be.  New clothes, new hair done, nails done, new makeup, extra lights for the house, whatever your fancy, just do it, says Nike.

7. Put a little forethought into the New Year celebration.  Don’t wait until the last minute on this one.  Wines, beers, liquors have to be purchased.  Parties have to be planned, or scheduled.  Again, splurge on this one, it only happens once per year.

8.  Don’t worry about the upcoming taxes for this next year.  There is practically nothing that happens in America which a little borrowing can’t take care of.  There is no end to the borrowing limit in America.  Don’t believe what the newspapers say or it could interfere with Priority Number 6, your happiness and well-being at the New Years party.

9. Put some serious thought into New Year resolutions, things you could improve about yourself, how you could look prettier or more handsome, what your financial goals are for the upcoming year, how you can buy that new house, new car, or afford the best schools for your offspring.  How can you work in that extra vacation.  If you’re a business person, think about increasing profits.  Don’t let the do-gooder liberals get in your way.  It really is about money.  Those that have it, have more choices, and more comforts in the world.

10. Now, with all the important things out of the way, you should sit down and talk about the 10 million children that will die in the upcoming year 2010 because they lack access to clean water.

But, a word to the wise, talking about this could upset your happiness and well-being, and you may find few people willing to discuss this with you, some may call you a kill joy, or even worse, some may think you are mentally unstable.  This item is last in priorities, because the holidays are an especially happy time, and you want to be careful not to cause any discomfort.  Comfort is a very important priority in America, and many may feel you are being unpatriotic, or ungrateful for your blessings, if you bring up such serious matters as children that die every 15 seconds in the world due to lack of access to clean water.

Many people will feel confident that they have already done their fair share of solving the world’s problems by attending to priorities number 2 and 4.  Others will feel that it is not their responsibility to solve the world’s problems, that their particular Religious deity, or deities, is in charge of that.  Many will feel that if they released the burden of solving the world’s problem by praying about it, praying for the 10 million children that are slated to die in 2010, due to lack of access to clean water.

And still, others, will argue that it is the plan of the Universe, that so many children will die in 2010, else the world could become overpopulated, and their level of comfort could be damaged in some way.

Remember, as an American citizen, the Constitution entitles you to “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”  Should anything or anyone get in the way of that pursuit, just kindly remind them that you are an American, with rights and certain privileges, that you have worked hard to be where you are, and that your rights were fought for and obtained through many wars for freedom.

You have the freedom to do what you want, and you don’t have to do anything at all about those 10 million children who will die in 2010 because they lack access to clean water.  You have the freedom to just put them out of your mind and conversations.

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