Sunday, April 15, 2012

Where does money come from?

When I think about Living In Choice the greatest challenge I seem to have is money. The abundance of it as well as the lack of it has its challenges.

In my need to understand money and its power over us, I read Walter Wink's work regarding The Domination System- his Unmasking the Powers series. His writing is so clear and unmistakably revealing concerning the "powers" that we all are "controlled" by and have been for at least the last 5000 plus years. His work took me out of blaming the governments or politicians for the state of the world. They are all operating out of the domination system which is more powerful than they. So, looking to the politicians to change our declining financial plight is not an option, because they can't change it. Even if one honest senator or congressman or president, for that matter, attempts to change the system - they cannot! It is our (all of humanity) own participation with the domination system that insures it will continue to rule. It makes sense, then, if we stop participating with it that will render it powerless. Jesus was aware of this ruling system and not only spoke about it as recorded in the Sermon on the Mount and the Beatitudes, but more importantly in the way he lived his life. He was aware that the money changers in the temple were evidence of the system in action.

Wink has understood the destructive cycle inherent in the domination system. He speaks clearly of it in this quote from Unmasking the Powers, "When the laws of society become ends in themselves rather than the means to the fulfillment of persons, then the laws breed rebellion and circumvention that jeopardize the very social stability that the laws exist to promote. When we treat people like robots or computers that can be quantified and behaviorally conditioned, we get a kind of world that treats us in the same inhuman way."

If you work in the world of corporations where what you create or produce is more important than your health, family relationships, or personal happiness, you know what Wink is referring to in the above quote. He continues by saying, "When we poison the air and water in a bid to make fast profits, we are forced to breathe the air and drink the water."

Wink traces the power of the domination system through Biblical verse, historical evidence, and personal experiences with the system at its worse in countries ruled by tyranny, dictator, and psychopath.

I was intrigued when I learned that Judaism, Christianity and Islam all outlawed usury calling it one of the deadly sins. Christianity forbade the charging of interest (usury) into the 19th century. All of us are witness to the power of interest in our individual lives. When you buy a house and have a mortgage, the interest charged over the life of the loan is often three times the cost of the house. We are conditioned to accept "interest" as a way of life and have given Banks the power to charge enormous interest rates. We are all ruled by our "credit scores" and the score determines how much interest you can be charged by the bank for a loan. Credit card companies (Banks) can charge up to 30% interest on credit card charges. Talk about taking advantage of the desperate. Then, when the interest cannot be paid, not to mention the principle - the credit card holder is labeled a "loser" and is hounded by the money changers henchmen - the collectors. (Operatives of the domination system)

Bernard Lietaer, financial visionary from Belgium, who was instrumental in the design and implementation of the ECU, resulting in the European single currency known as the Euro, in his book, The Future of Money, gives three effects of interest:
1. Interest indirectly encourages systematic competition among the participants in the system.
2. Interest continually fuels the need for for endless economic growth, even when actual standards of living remain stagnant.
3. Interest concentrates wealth by taxing the vast majority in favour of a small minority.

So, lets see how money is created:

Is it “Money” or is it “Credit”? What is the Difference? By Paul Grignon (moneyasdebt.net) Money is normally thought of as being very complicated. Itʼs no wonder, given how it is created today.

So... letʼs start with the basic question. What is money? Specifically what is “cash”? Under our current system, the foundational form of “money” is legal tender fiat currency originated by the

central bank of the country, the printed version of which is a paper note we usually refer to as “cash”.

Strictly speaking, a note is a promise of payment in something else, like gold or silver, or wheat. However, legal tender notes are notes in name only as they cannot be redeemed for anything other than themselves. The paper wears out with use and therefore, legal tender notes are redeemable for new notes, nothing more.

As a medium of exchange, it doesnʼt really matter that they canʼt be redeemed for “stuff”. As long as people accept them as symbols for value they function perfectly well as “money”.

To ensure acceptance, the federal government decrees (fiat) that these notes issued by the often privately owned central bank of the country, are “legal tender”. That means they must be accepted by law for the payment of all debts public and private. So, if you are offered (tendered) fiat notes in payment of a debt, you have to accept them or the courts wonʼt enforce the debt.

So the next question... What are fiat notes? Are they just fancy pieces of paper the government gets to print and spend, as many believe? No. Life could be very different if that were true.

Fiat currency notes, or “cash” is money created by the central bank. The central bank is usually a consortium of the most powerful private banks, often international, usually run with token government involvement. It can also be a publicly-owned entity run primarily by personnel from these banks. In either case, the central bank works for the private banking system and determines how much “base money” or “cash” there will be.

This private banking system currency is our national “money”. It can be in the form of national paper notes or it can simply be an account credit at the nationʼs central bank. These central bank account credits are potential cash, that can be printed if need be.

How does the central bank create paper money or “cash” as most of us think of it? It just prints it, either through a government agency or a private company. Can the central bank just print new money whenever it decides to? Yes it can.

The government has little to no say in these decisions as a matter of “political policy” and, as is explained below, does its part by putting the taxpayer ever further into debt to pay the central bank for creating this new cash.

How exactly is cash created? All we are ever shown is the image of the presumably government owned printing press cranking out the national paper money. But that isnʼt how “cash” is created. That is just how it is printed.

The first step in the origin of “cash” is the federal government issuing an interest bearing bond, on which taxpayers, realistically, will be paying the interest forever to whomever holds the bonds. This is because government debt just grows perpetually and is never paid off.

The bonds are offered to all, but mostly those with lots of money will buy them, including banks. If the central bank wishes to add to the base money supply or total “cash”, both paper and central bank credit, the central bank will either purchase some of these bonds, or take them as collateral for new cash it lends to the commercial banks via a perpetual buyback arrangement called a “repurchase agreement”.

The cash the central bank creates is simply typed onto a computer screen. There it is... new “cash” or “base money” upon which much more new money can grow.

If paper cash is called for, the central bank has the privilege of being able to issue legal tender fiat currency notes simply by paying the costs of printing them... mere pennies. It then sells or otherwise provides these notes to commercial banks but canʼt spend the payment it receives, because it has to be able to refund these payments in full to the commercial banks at any time.

Therefore, because it cannot fund itself from selling notes to commercial banks, the central bank is paid for this service by the interest it receives on the government bonds it bought, or accepted as collateral. And, after the central bankʼs operating expenses are deducted, the remaining interest is usually refunded to the government.


Central banks can also create new cash in exchange for high quality private as well as government bonds. This is an exceptional emergency practice soothingly termed “quantitative easing”, meaning creating more cash than the government bonds available will allow.

Interest payments on government bonds ultimately come out of the national income tax, that is to say, the taxpayersʼ pockets. Interest on private bonds ultimately comes out of prices, in other words, the consumersʼ pockets. So it is clear that, either way, the public as a whole pays interest to private parties with sufficient excess wealth to buy bonds, in order for “cash” or “base money” to exist.

In normal times, cash is created only to buy government bonds. Therefore, the following pertains to the usual practice of creating cash by the direct or indirect purchase of government debt by the central bank.

Government debt is never paid off. It usually just steadily increases. Government bonds that come due are replaced with more government bonds much like a Ponzi scheme. So, given that cash is based upon bonds on which interest will be paid ad infinitum by the public, the source of fiat currency or “cash” under the current system of creating it is, quite literally, public debt increasing forever.

Now, there is no reason that government canʼt simply create its own fiat currency debt-free, as many of us imagine it does now, spending it at face value on behalf of the taxpayer. This method of creating money would be as simple and clear as the current method is obscure.

Advocates sometimes try to sell the idea of such government spending as “free money” or a “citizenʼs dividend”. Critics call it “funny money” that is sure to cause damaging inflation.

But neither claim stands up to scrutiny. Money spent into existence on government expenditures represents value already delivered. Thus it is not “funny” at all. It couldnʼt be more solid. Money spent on a bridge vital to transportation and thus the economy is money representing the value of that bridge.

However, spending such money cannot avoid affecting the money supply and prices and therefore, depending on whether an economy is in growth or contraction, none, some, all or more than was spent must be taxed back to the extent necessary to keep prices stable. In a sustainable economy with exact monetary balance, taxes would have to equal expenditure.

Failure to tax money out of existence would impose the general and indiscriminate tax on money called inflation. Thus such debt-free spending is not “free money” nor a “citizenʼs dividend” either. However, it could seem so during periods of growth. If the bridge enlarged the economy and the need for money, the money expended might not need to be taxed back. However, over the long term and in a stable economy, the bridge must be paid for in full by the taxpayers just as one would expect.

The BIG DIFFERENCE is that no interest, no perpetual debt trap and no private profit would be involved. Thatʼs the huge and qualitative difference between cash as it is now and cash as it could be if government just created it and spent it in the public interest. As stated earlier, life could be very different if government took back its rightful power to spend money into existence, debt and interest free, instead of borrowing it at interest from bankers who create it from the borrowerʼs debt on the one hand and the taxpayerʼs guarantee on the other.

The next much larger room in the current monetary maze is bank credit, issued by commercial banks whose charters give them the privilege of turning the pledged debt of both private and public entities into “checkbook monies” which are bank ”promises to pay cash”.

Most of us equate “money in the bank” with “cash”. But it isnʼt. A bank account is a bankʼs “promise to pay” cash, not cash itself.

The system allows the banks to issue, as “loans”, many more promises to pay cash than there is cash in existence. In Britain, where banks are left to their own discretion, the banks reportedly hold 3% cash. International accords require banks to hold cash and capital assets the bank can sell to raise cash (without going out of business) equal to between 4 and 8% of credit issued, depending on the type of collateral backing the “loan”. Loans to federal governments are exempt from any capital adequacy requirements.

Different nations impose very different standards as to how much checkbook loan money may be created relative to how much national cash exists, but everywhere, and especially in the Western countries, far more promises to pay cash exist than there is cash to fulfill those promises.


This is because, according to the fractional reserve principle, a bank credit promise created as a loan in one bank becomes a deposit of “money” in another, making possible another loan. As well, banks do business with each other in promises to pay cash, and most of those promises mutually cancel each other out at the end of the day, before any cash need change hands.

Thus, through this system, a small base of cash, both paper and central bank credit can grow to become an enormous inverted pyramid of commercial bank credit, upon which our economy is entirely dependent.

"This is a staggering thought. We are completely dependent on the Commercial Banks. Someone has to borrow every dollar we have in circulation, cash or credit.

If the Banks create ample synthetic money, we are prosperous; if not, we starve. We are, absolutely, without a permanent money system... When one gets a complete grasp of the picture, the tragic absurdity of our hopeless position is almost incredible, but there it is."

~ Robert H. Hemphill, Credit Manager Federal Reserve Bank, Atlanta, Georgia (1935) So... back to the title question, Is it “Money” or is it “Credit”? What is the Difference?

The answer is... with the exception of coins, ALL money, in whatever form and from whichever origin, originates as DEBT. ALL money represents a claim on physical resources and energy, including human energy, that is to be extracted in the future by those who simply create this “money as debt” by typing it in on a computer.

The fundamental distinction between “cash” and “credit” is in the origin of the debt.

“Cash” represents that portion of the (never-to-be-paid-off) public debt of the federal government, that is purchased or held as collateral by the central bank. Cash is issued by the central bank of the country as paper notes redeemable only for a new note, or simply as account credits at the central bank.

Put another way, cash is a potentially limitless claim upon our future wealth through perpetual public debt at interest. This unlimited claim on future wealth is used to create the limited claims upon our existing wealth we use as cash. The privilege of creating and destroying cash rests solely with the central bank, which is usually a consortium of the most powerful private international banks which control the nationʼs money supply and thus its economy with minimum government involvement.

“Credit” is created by commercial banks and trust companies as “loans”. When the so-called “borrower” signs a document promising to pay the bank the amount of the so-called “loan”, plus interest over time, the bank balances the transaction by promising to pay the borrower the amount of the loan in “cash” on demand.

This promise to pay cash is a “bank account” and the borrower can spend it via checks or other means. All transactions can be carried out in bank credit promises alone, and most today are. Unless the borrower demands cash, or the bank ends up in a deficit position with respect to other banks that requires a transfer of cash to resolve it, no cash at all is required from the bank to honor its promises.

Put succinctly, “cash” is a claim on the future productivity of the public as a whole backed ultimately by income taxes. “Credit” is a claim on the future productivity of a specific borrower, whose pledges are usually backed by collateral, tangible real wealth that is to be forfeited if the borrower fails to pay back the credit. In contrast, the bankʼs pledges are backed by only a tiny percentage of the total cash promised that the bank can actually deliver.

Despite the fact that checkbook money is only a promise to pay cash, most of which does not even exist, it is denominated and treated as if it were cash. Most people never think otherwise, including those who work in banks. We tend to refer to our “deposits” as having “money in the bank”, accompanied by a mental image something like gold in a safe, the presence of money.

However, all we really have is the bankʼs IOU on a computer, the absence of “money”. We lent the bank our “money” when we deposited it. And unless our deposit was actually in paper cash or coins, what we deposited was bank credit, another bank accountʼs IOU, just numbers on a computer that keep track of these IOUs to determine who owes who how much of this cash that doesnʼt exist.

Your bank account keeps track of what the bank OWES you. It is just numbers typed in on a computer screen that tell you what the bank has to pay you in cash if you ask for cash.


Confusing? One might suspect this obscure system was designed to discourage ordinary people from trying to understand it. On the one hand, the idea that a bank loan is created by the borrowerʼs signature on a loan document seems too simple and outrageous to be true. That the borrower is the source of the loan is a concept often very difficult for people to accept.

On the other hand, the extraordinary convolutions of thought it takes to understand central banking convince us all to leave the monetary system to the “experts”, the lawyers and technicians hired to keep in place this system where banks make huge profits lending people their own credit.

And when the borrowersʼ collective credit falls through in excessive amounts, as we are currently experiencing, the system collapses. It becomes clear that those numbers we thought were money were just “accounting” of borrowersʼ indebtedness and nothing more. It evaporates like a mirage in the harsh light of widespread default.

But, by the rules that make this system legal, banks must take the losses of this money that never existed until someone borrowed it. In good times, banks do absorb losses from loans that are not repaid, and this reduces their profits. In bad times of mass defaults and falling collateral values, the banksʼ capacity to write off losses can easily be exceeded, as the Banking Accords only require 4-8% “capital adequacy” to begin with. When too many of their “loan bets” fall through, banks become bankrupt and cannot issue any more “bank credit money”. This is “failure of the money system”, which results in economic, political and social collapse and, therefore, cannot be allowed to happen.

So, the government steps in. Now, the government could just create new money itself, debt and interest-free. In fact, that is clearly a right and duty of government, that may even be written into the nationʼs constitution.

But instead, worldwide, governments put the taxpayer ever further, and now astronomically and impossibly into DEBT to create the new money.

What happens is that government replaces failed private indebtedness where the maximum penalty is to lose our collateral and credit rating, with guaranteed public indebtedness where the potential penalty is a huge fine, a government lien against our wages and possessions and/or time in prison. This substitution of public for private debt, ultimately at gunpoint, is called a “bailout”.

There are many problems with the arithmetic of bank credit, fractional reserves, lending in general and interest; far beyond what can be examined in this article. However, there is a simple alternative concept of cash everyone can understand.

If governments just created and spent cash directly, that cash would originate as payment for whatever it was spent on. The government, the public body, would be spending cash on behalf of the public, simply as current claims on the publicʼs goods and services. Those claims would then circulate as money. Finally, the issuing government would accept those claims back as payment of current taxes.

Cash would NOT involve central banks, interest, or private profit. Cash would NOT represent a legacy of ever-growing debt chained to our great great grandchildren. Instead, cash would simply be a short- term charge for value already delivered to the public, that value being paid for by the public in current taxes, to the extent necessary to keep general price levels stable.

Why do we need a central bank putting all of us into perpetually escalating debt and calling the evidence of this unnecessary debt “money”? Is this not insane given that government has the right to create money itself, debt and interest-free? Why donʼt governments throw off this crazy system?

One would have to suspect that either politicians are just as baffled by the money system as most people, or they are compromised to the point they support it. Most of us have been “educated” in such a way that we live our whole lives never questioning the nature and source of “money” at all, which makes the task of advocating fundamental monetary change an extremely lonely one few politicians are brave enough to take on. This situation must not continue.

We need a mass awakening of the public to HOW the current parasitic and self-destructive system works. Only then will we be able to force a “cleansing of the monetary tapeworm” and a change to a healthy money system designed upon the foundations of sustainability and honest cooperative relationship. We must realize that only a money system specifically designed for freedom, sustainability and justice can sustain a humane human civilization into the future.


Pauls description of how money is created is something we all need to know! Otherwise, we accept the advertisements from the money lenders as "truth." They are doing us a favor by lending us money and in turn we are helping others by creating new jobs, businesses, etc. When the truth is we are the creators and they are the parasites that feed off our creativity as Paul so aptly relates in his article.

So, when politicians complain about the national deficit, they fail to tell the public how that deficit got so big, so out of control - the huge interest payments - the Nation pays to the money lenders - the Federal Reserve Bank - which is a corporation - and is not a branch of the government which its name seems to imply. If the government created its own money then the money changers, i.e., banks would not be needed and the power they now have (domination system) would collapse. The bail out of the banks four years ago gave us all the message that if the banks fail we all go down with them. When in reality, it is the banking system and it's need to charge interest to keep their coffers full at the expense of everyone else, that is the cause of the impending financial crash. Because you see, it is a great "Ponzi" scheme - just like Madoff was doing. He just figured out how the banking system operated and followed in their footsteps. Since, he was not a part of the system and "protected" by the system which protects itself from being found out by insuring accounts, he was sent to prison. Am I saying that what he did wasn't despicable - no - I am just saying the banking system does the same thing "legally" at the expense of everyone else.

The power of that system is so enormous it controls every government on the planet. It is like the emperor with no clothes - no one wants to see the obvious for fear of retaliation. But, what kind of retaliation - our lives are mortgaged - our time is mortgaged - under this system. If the government (which acts on our behalf - and therefore, is us) fails to pay its debts to the money changers - they own us- lock stock and barrel - and not only us, but our children and grandchildren. It will never stop - until we, the people, stop participating by not "buying into to lie. We can, enmasse, by empowering the government that is us to stop the madness by creating its own money.

Will this be an easy process - no! But if we are to ever be able to live and create as we desire we must. It may not make much difference for us now, but to begin the process may free our children and grandchildren for a better world.

We bought the lie out of ignorance thousands of years ago and the Domination System has become such a part of what we call life we don't even question it's rule. Jesus's life and message has been so distorted, used, manipulated by the system to distract us from his real message that we have been deluded into believing the lie the system needs us to believe so that it can continue. The problem with the System is that it has gotten so out of control and humanity has risen into a new consciousness that makes it impossible for the system to keep us ignorant of it's workings. The ancients called this system Satan, Devil, the Evil One. It still is.

But please, don't take my word for any of this. Do your own research. See for yourself. It is important that we don't take the word of any one - least of all the news reporters. Hmmm, who do they work for. The illusion we are living is the result of the Domination System.

Reality, is a whole different thing.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

End of Male dominance

5,125 years ago two important events in human history happened. First, the beginning of recorded history began in Egypt, a patriarchal ruled society, and in the land of the Maya, in what is now known as Mexico and Central America, the current Long Count Calendar was initiated. The Long Count consisted of a cycle of 5,125 years. It's advent was signaled by their first sighting of Venus in the night sky. The end of this cycle which began in on August 11, 3114 BCE, according to the Gregorian Calendar, ends Dec. 21st, of this year. When history is viewed from a perspective other than individual incidents, it is possible to see the patterns of evolvement inherent in the cycle. This cycle began with a patriarchal system beginning it's rise to power. We have seen that power reached its zenith with the creation of the United States as a world power, based on patriarchal driven domination. In the last 15 years we have seen a steady decline of that power until the West is no longer seen as the power it once was. Evidence of that loss of power (patriarchal) can be seen in the political debates of today, in the social issues - contraception, homosexuality, and religious fervor.

We see Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, and Newt Gingrich parading their wives and families before them attempting to give the message that they are family men, but that they are still the POWER behind the system. "Men are still in charge and know the answers and can take care of the country, etc." A visible power move in an attempt to hang on to the old system of operation. Even though, it is patently evident that the patriarchal system has run its course, as all systems do. It have given us everything good and bad that it can possible give us. It has now become destructive. It is time for it to go. It is clear that the end of the Mayan Long Count is signaling in an end to the patriarchal rule as we have known it. The debate is not about religious or civil rights or women's rights - it is about a system of rule that's time has come to end. The struggle is that of a dying man hanging on to life with every fiber of its deteriorated and dying self. I think this newsletter from Bishop John Shelby Spong speaks to the same insight and concern for today's world.

The Contraception Debate: Is Misogyny on the Rise?

Here is some of the evidence.

In Virginia, the State Legislature was poised to pass and Republican Governor Bob McDonnell to sign a bill requiring a vaginally-invasive medical procedure be performed on any woman seeking an abortion until a massive demonstration of female voting power caused them to “modify” it very slightly. In the United States Congress, Republican representative Darrell Issa of California called to order a House of Representatives hearing on women’s health care, but only men had been invited to testify at this hearing. A 30-year-old female law school student at Georgetown University named Sandra Fluke, whom the Democrats had invited to appear before this committee, was ruled by Mr. Issa not to be “a competent witness” and so was disqualified. The nation’s Roman Catholic Bishops, objecting to the fact that Roman Catholic hospitals and universities were required, under the new healthcare law, to provide contraceptive care for their female employees, which they believed violated official Catholic teaching, called for and received a compromise from the President of the United States. This compromise moved the cost of that offending aspect of health care coverage from the church affiliated institutions to the health care companies themselves, forcing them to provide this service at no cost to the insured. It was a reasonable solution that satisfied the vast majority of Americans, including many Roman Catholic voters. Not willing, however, to have this emotional issue taken away from them so quickly the misogynist wing of American politics, supported the Catholic bishops, introduced the Blount-Rubio bill in the United States Senate that would allow any company that had moral objections to contraceptive care being provided to their female employees, could opt out of this coverage. That is, mostly male bosses could tell female employees what kind of health care women were allowed to have. The sickness in this country was revealed when this outrageous bill was defeated by only three votes, 51 to 48. That is the evidence that reveals the problem.

Is this a debate about religious liberty and keeping the government from violating religious freedom as the political right suggests? I don’t think so. It is rather a manifestation of a concentrated and sometimes violent attack on women’s rights, especially their right to privacy. What are the data that drive me to this conclusion? First, for some time, these same health care regulations required by states have been in force across this nation with no outcry from anyone, including Roman Catholic Bishops and Catholic institutions. Second, the abortion debate, always emotional, fueled as it is by the religious zealots in both Catholic and Evangelical lobbies, has now revealed itself to be equally opposed to birth control, an issue not debated in this country for almost half a century! So a new assault has been launched on the rights of families to plan and space children. Freedom from unexpected pregnancies has been the major factor in opening career opportunities for women in business, politics and religion, freeing them from the traditional male control over their bodies. There is now ample evidence that this new equality of opportunity is resented by a significant number of males. This is the counterattack.

The hostility unleashed in these attacks reveals its virulence. Women are personally trashed whenever they challenge male power. Recall when Anita Hill challenged Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas’ fitness for the court appointment by relating a series of sexually aggressive behaviors that she had been forced to endure at his hands, the response of the defense was to attack Ms. Hill’s veracity and morality, leaving her reputation in shreds. It was one more expression of the old truth that if you can’t deal with the message, you attack the messenger. The same thing happened to the women who accused Republican presidential hopeful, Herman Cain, of sexual improprieties that challenged his fitness for office and his hold on truth, only to find themselves attacked as “loose women out for a quick payoff.” When the aforementioned Sandra Fluke was finally allowed to testify, not before an official House Committee, but before an informal, yet well publicized Democratic hearing she was called a “slut and a prostitute” by Rush Limbaugh, a well known, four-times married, right-wing radio talk show host, whose Viagra, I note, is covered by his health insurance. The pattern is consistent.

For centuries, women have struggled against male power and male-imposed definitions that were written into law to keep women in servile, second-class status. In China women’s feet were ceremonially bound, resulting in severe physical deformities, but justified by the male culture since it served to keep women from escaping the dominant male’s control. In biblical days women were defined as property, which enabled men to justify polygamy – for surely it was a man’s right to “own” as many women as his wealth would allow. Even though monogamy came to be the marriage pattern of the Christian West, it was not a marriage of equals until very recently. The English prayer book of 1662 and the prayer book of the Episcopal Church until 1928 required the woman to take a vow of obedience to her husband at the time of her marriage.

The only birth control a woman was allowed until relatively recently was abstinence and this fact actually encouraged the role of mistresses and the use of prostitutes, since abstinence did not appear to be desirable to men. Wives encouraged both mistresses and prostitutes to minimize the number of children they would be forced to bear. Men did not allow women to vote until 1920 or to enter universities in the West until the 20th century and only then because they were a source of cheap labor. Women became school teachers because that profession did not pay enough to attract males, nurses because they could not only be low paid assistants, but could do the menial tasks that male doctors were no longer willing to do, and secretaries to free the male “bosses” from typing and filing. Though it represented exploitation it was through these doorways that women gained their first toehold on economic power. It also needs to be noted and stated that in each of these secondary roles, women were regularly harassed and sexually abused by the male bosses who employed them. The rising consciousness regarding a woman’s rights exposed this gross behavior and in the process helped to raise the kind of male anger that we are now witnessing politically. This battle has little to do with religious sensitivities and the violation of religious freedom on the part of the government. That charge is nothing but the rhetorical perfume being applied to cover the continuing struggle to achieve male domination.

There are many other factors in this equation, some of them conscious and others unconscious. It was not until 1724, for example, that Western science discovered that women have an egg cell and thus are the equal co-creators of every life that has ever been born. This fact challenged the prevailing male “wisdom” that the woman’s only function in procreation was the secondary role of nurturing the male seed into maturity, as mother earth nurtured the farmer’s seed into a new crop each year. The old understanding turned out to be ignorance, but not before it had taken deep root in Western religion and was used to put “God’s” imprimatur on the second class status for women that marks vast parts of our religious heritage, whose traditionally all-male hierarchies still suppress women’s rights in the name of an overwhelmingly male deity.

There are other elements in the emotional male fears of women, which are too complex to do anything other than file them by title in this column. There are the male dependency fears that root in our childhood memories of being helpless in the care of our mothers. There are the menstruation fears that express themselves in the taboos developed against a woman’s menstrual flow. That was a strange female power in a day when people believed that life itself was located in the blood and in which the word “bloodshed” was a synonym for death, yet here were women who bled regularly and who did not die. Males clearly envied that power, while seeking to protect themselves from it. Whatever the source of this male fear of women, it is time to stop seeking to mandate politically that women’s bodies be subject to male control, whether that control be exercised by their husbands, their bosses, the members of the United States Senate and perhaps above all by the misogynist, all-male hierarchies of medieval religious organizations.

I find it frightening that we are having this discussion in 2012! Once it did not worry me that the United States Supreme Court has a six-to-three majority of Roman Catholic judges on that bench. In the light of the current debate on birth control it now bothers me a lot

I note that every Roman Catholic university, hospital and charitable organization receives massive federal funding from taxpayer money. America’s taxpayers make it financially possible for these Catholic institutions to do the good work they do. These taxpayers do not require that their taxes support only the things they approve of morally or religiously. The majority of Catholic Americans do not share the attitude of their church toward women. Does this church then have the right to take this money and to impose its values on their employees? Are we now to follow Senator Santorum’s 17th century idea that Church and State ought not to be separated? Are we to ignore his assertion that Catholic President John Kennedy’s attempt to draw a distinction between personal belief and public responsibility made Santorum want to throw up? Is the current debate the last gasp of a dying patriarchy or the opening debate in a new dark age?

I find it a frightening time through which to live and it calls out to women and to men alike to flush, yes to flush, out of public life this “religiously perfumed,” but cruel, continuing oppression of women. It needs to be flushed equally by an aroused constituency of both Democrats and Republicans and the Christian Church needs to climb out of the Middle Ages and begin to call “sin” that which some still call “ancient truth,” or “sacred tradition.”

~John Shelby Spong

Thanks for your time and attention. Dr. Gary Cone

Saturday, January 28, 2012

New Beginnings 2012

The long awaited year of 2012 is here, finally. Let me start by saying if you haven't seen the youtube video 2012 The Year of Power, please take time to view it. It is so great. You can check it out at the top of this page. We have started out this year with Sun Spot activity creating a display of Aurora Borealis light show in some northern states, Canada, and Alaska. Is this an indication of the fire works that are to follow throughout the year? It is also interesting that 2012 is a Presidential election year. I don't know about you, but it is really easy to listen to the candidates and hear the "bullshit" meter go off. It is easy to see who is sincerely interested in serving the country and who is in it for their own agendas. Have you seen anyone of them interested in the job to be of service to the country and its best interests? It seems to me the most honest is Ron Paul. Not that I am endorsing anyone, I am not!

So, what does The Year of Power mean? This is my take: It is a time to hold oneself accountable for what you are creating. We have learned over the last 12 years or so that we cannot count on the "Systems" in place to have our best interests at heart. Right! So, given that, we must now- each of us- decide what we want to create both in our inner world and our outer world. We must take stock of what we value in every area of our lives and give our energy to supporting, nurturing, and fostering the expansion of each of those areas. It may be as simple as deciding to change the way you eat, or the way you spend your dollars. But, it may also be as important as how you spend your work hours and where. Simplifying your life by down-sizing your home or moving from the city into rural areas where you can grown your own food, raise your own beef, etc. or go vegetarian. There are as many ways to find your own power and operate from it as there are ideas and people. That is the excitement and the fun of it.

If you stop counting on the government to provide you with healthcare, retirement, regulation of this and that, then you can decide for yourself all those choices. And as you stop relying on the government to look out for you, then you get to create a life of your own choosing. It puts you in the drivers seat and cuts down on the stress that comes from wondering if you will have social security or medicare when you get to that age. It may also make a difference in how you spend your money and what you are willing to pay for things like health care. Healthcare in these United States is ranked about 12th after countries like Canada, U.K., Switzerland, Germany, etc. So, the hype that we have the best healthcare in the world is just propaganda.

Is that important? It is if your expectation is otherwise. We must also come to the realization that our medical, educational, financial, and legal systems are all broken. Accepting that rather than wanting them to be different or blaming them for not being what we thought they should be frees us up to change our focus and put it on what we want instead of what we don't want. If we stop feeding the systems by participating in them they will die of lack of use. We do have a choice in all this, but to exercise the choice we must accept the "what is as is."

Living in Choice can only happen when you accept the facts of where you are and take action from that place. Spending time complaining about it or blaming others for your lot is a waste of time and energy and only causes pain and suffering.

Take a long hard look at where you are and discover the facts so you can begin to make real changes in your life for the better. That will be the power of 2012.