Archive for middle

Cultural Middle-Ground

Posted in Atheist/Agnostic, Cooperative collaboration, Critical Commentary of Civilization, Ethics & Morals, Languages, Pagan, Religions, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 2, 2020 by Drogo

Most of us can be called poly-cultural in some major aspects in our lives. It is common to be part of a culture to some degree, while being part of other cultures or sub-cultures (religions, sects, social movements, political parties, ethnicities, etc). Like in Middle-Earth, there are many cultures that merge and create new cultures; talking about middle ground or coming to terms with other cultures, religions, ethnicities, or sub-cultures.

What religions, nations, or ethnicities am i 100% a part of? American? Depends on the definition and what the percentage means. I could say i am 100% American in that i am a natural born citizen of the USA and it includes so many other cultures; but North American USA DC christian style to be specific. Yet when i break that down it is not well defined beyond geography. Although part christian, i would be called a heretic by other christians to question dogmas like “jesus was perfect” (which is a classical question within christianity). American english with major influences and deviations into other languages and idiosyncrasies which are “wrong” by any institutional standard (besides SCOD).

Methodist – florida, iowa, harpers ferry

Catholic – st johns, franciscan, student

Agnostic – means i ask questions and hold positions which are heresy

Atheist – i think it is possible and probably to some degree there are no gods

Pagan – i worship Nature, FLW, organic, trees, death, neo-pagan

I like to find common points of agreement with Christians and people from other cultures. I talk on the phone or in person with as many religious people as i can, to work on moral theology. Brother Father Jay Hess was right in that mystery is ok in belief, we do not always need to have strict definitions for everything. In fact it may be impossible to agree on not only all religious concepts; but even linguistic semantics, as languages evolve and living languages flow organically and never totally conform to rules during the period. What is popular in speech or writing may deviate from grammatical dogma and the lectures of scholars. There will even be those who like to argue more than get along, rather to resolve any problems.

“There has been constant debate over the classification of ethnic groups. Membership of an ethnic group tends to be associated with shared ancestry, history, homeland, language or dialect and cultural heritage; where the term “culture” specifically includes aspects such as religion, mythology and ritual, cuisine, dressing (clothing) style, and other factors. By the nature of the concept, ethnic groups tend to be divided into subgroups, which may themselves be or not be identified as independent ethnic groups depending on the source consulted.”

Middle ground or meeting someone part-ways (half-ways is ideal), negotiating for cooperation in community vs exiling and isolating by exclusion and neglect. This is how to avoid holy wars, and strive for peace. We can make peace with our enemies, assuming we are capable of it with our friends and families to some extent. Peace, love, and sharing are 3 great ways to practice faith in humanity, no matter our religion; and this is another ethical concept I am happy to say many people I talk to can agree on no matter their belief system. The most basic moral code being the ‘Golden Rule’, which is preferred over ‘An Eye For An Eye’; although treating others well being dependent on self-esteem and attitude (how we want to be treated) is another debate for an essay on ‘the limits of love’ probably.   [Audio Draft]

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May we declare Peace more than War

Posted in Cooperative collaboration, Ethics & Morals, Military, news, relationships, Sustainability, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 9, 2020 by Drogo

May we declare Peace more than War.

This is our SCOD prayer for 2020.

Most times any first world government declares war, it is MIC propaganda based to benefit war profiteers not the people of the country. People don’t learn from history enough to fix the cultural instincts that allow leaders to lead us into wars. It is not brave to constantly threaten others; bad neighbors do that all the time when they do not take time to communicate in good ways. We would have more peace if we were not so quick to be fooled by greedy rich people who profit from war. We do not have more peace or freedom declaring constant war against natives in other countries, as more of our poor are forced to live under martial law to pay their debts. We can barely sustain the peace and freedom we have by selling out ethically and economically to the MIC, because they want our money for health care and infrastructure and arts to pay for their military industrial products. We need to fix our own countries from within, not try to change everyone else’s country for us.

Fuck war hawks 007-style, no more lies for war. Take some time to think about what peace is everyday, and if you can’t then fuck yourself. It is easy to be stupid about things we do not study, in both war and peace.

Trump killing the Iran general was stupid because 1. We need to declare peace and get our military out of the middle east, which that general was helping to do. 2. We need to let Iran continue to fight ISIL, as that general was best known for fighting terrorists. 3. Declaring war based on lies will be added to all the other times our MIC lied us into endless wars. 4. The Iraq leaders we put in power are pissed at us now, and that general never attacked our military or civilians (maybe a mercenary was killed is the most i have heard). 5. This may force Iran to pursue a nuclear program like North Korea to deter our aggression in their area (Wilkerson’s main concern).

Imagine if Russia just bombed a Mexican airport to kill one of our generals who was trying to solve the immigration crisis. How would we take it? Is that behavior acceptable? The “quagmire” of our involvement in endless war in the middle east has a long and twisted history. Our CIA and Pentagon have been working against both Iran and Iraq for years. In modern history our CIA overthrew the Iranian government and supported Iraq in the Iran-Iraq war; then we went to war with Iraq twice. 

“The 1953 Iranian ’28 Mordad’ coup d’état was the overthrow of the democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh in favour of strengthening the monarchical rule of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi; orchestrated by the US (Operation Ajax) and the UK (Operation Boot). After the 1968 Ba’athist coup Iraq fell into the Soviet sphere of influence, so the CIA colluded with Iran to destabilize Iraq by arming Kurdish rebels. Beginning in 1982, the CIA began providing Iraq intelligence during the Iran–Iraq War. Donald Rumsfeld met Saddām in 1983 and 1984, when the UN reported that Iraq had used chemical attacks against Iranian troops. The NY Times reported that “American diplomats pronounce themselves satisfied with Iraq and suggest that normal diplomatic ties have been established in all but name. In 1984, the CIA “established a formal intelligence liaison” with the Mukhabarat, which provided the CIA with information on terrorist groups including the Abu Nidal Organization. However, there was a delay between the CIA’s provision of intelligence to the Mukhabarat and that intelligence being received and analyzed by the Iraqi military, which resulted in much of it not being actionable. Therefore, the CIA eventually began working directly with Iraqi military intelligence, thereby negating its leverage on Iraqi-sponsored terrorism. In 1988, during the waning days of Iraq’s war with Iran, the US learned through satellite imagery that Iran was about to gain a major strategic advantage by exploiting a hole in Iraqi defenses. US intelligence officials conveyed the location of the Iranian troops to Iraq, fully aware that Hussein’s military would attack with chemical weapons, including sarin, a lethal nerve agent. The CIA was also involved in the failed 1996 coup against Saddam Hussein.” – Wikipedia

“It’s a pity both sides can’t lose (commenting on Iran-Iraq war, 1980 – 1988)” ― Henry Kissinger

It is not isolationist to declare peace and work both internally and together, it is humanist.

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Response to ‘May we Declare peace more than war” –

“But… in order to “declare peace” don’t you first have to have war? #pedantic (beamer)

In the most common black or white sense, yes. But others can declare war, while others sue for peace. so for example 2 sides declare mutual war, and a third mediator like Picard or Druids can declare Peace, and in fact must to force negotiations. but yes the war declarations still exist previously in the standard definition types.

However the issue of having to declare war seems to take for granted that we are always in peace, like during long cold wars where tensions are called war, one side could declare peace with signs and gifts of good will more often than is currently standard practice perhaps. whether we need to have the other to declare the other, depends on the “state” condition perspective.

To me the role reversal that questions the nature of war and peace, is “peace has broken out”! Qhile ceasefires and treaties have been celebrated as declarations of peace, we rarely hear that peace has broken out, only war breaks out, so peace is more like a purgatory reality (war being hell) instead of a paradise reality.

The monty python use of “peace has broken out” got me questioning the use of the term peace more as a news announcement. Since i began studying Roman history i always wondered about the Pax Romana architecture celebrations after military victories, as really being celebrations of aggressive authority peace keeping by violent wars.

Peace being used as a default ignores the threat and actions of violence by authority who are the ‘peace keepers’ and can initiate violence which can be blamed on the rebels or poor who are homeless and loitering. so to me peace could break out on a calm street in nazi germany for example; where it was business as usual with no immediate violence, but suddenly people were nicer and giving flowers and the police threw away their weapons. this ridiculous example would be ‘peace breaking out on an otherwise mundane busy day’; now whether peace is more calm or active is another question too.

 

“Battles are being fought today in the shadow of impending peace looming over the battle fields like some grim specter of gentleness and caring.” – Beamer

Middle Class Destroyed by Elites

Posted in Ethics & Morals, jobs, Legal / Laws, news, Sustainability, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 18, 2019 by Drogo

Wealth Inequality Dividing USA, as Plutocrats Create New Civil War

The Rich are draining the middle class in two ways. While billionaire plutocrats bribe some upper class cronies making them millionaires, most middle class are becoming lower class. Less than 20,000,000 overlords are already ruling over more than 300,000,000 impoverished masses [population estimate 330,000,000 in 2020].

As income inequality grows we are pulled in two directions; but most of us are getting dragged towards the bottom of the economy into low income poverty, as the lower class masses expand more than the upper fractions of 1% of the upper class population. The most economic critical problem for democracy is that the middle class is being pulled apart, and thus only plutocrats will rule the poor masses.

Trying to interpret USA stats today – We have 18,614,000 millionaires plus 609 billionaires expanding their wealth, while apx 312,000,000 people have less savings because they are in debt as most of the middle-class drops into the lower class, as poverty expands overall for most people. While incomes rose some, cost of living and debts rose more with less common investment returns; as high earners are bribed by richer owners to strip wealth from workers and rivals, and middle income earners go deeper into debt trying to maintain and employ both middle and lower class owned independent businesses.

I had to look at the numbers to understand why there are more and more millionaires and billionaires; despite most people getting poorer with expanding the debt, cost of living, mortgage, and homeless crises. From 2018 to 2019 we went from 4,900,000 to 18,614,000 millionaires. American millionaires increased by 13,714,000; which means they had to come from the upper middle class, rather than from billionaires (because they grew also). If millions of upper middle class people became millionaires, then why is most of the middle class shrinking, and the lower class expanding? Why is the middle class disappearing and not expanding in proportion to the upper class increases? One reason billionaires grew by 6.4% to 2,473 in 2015; is that inheritances bring in new blood [Wall Street Journal]. Also billionaires increased because millionaires helped to drain wealth from the middle-class, as many more middle-class people dropped into poverty, a few became rich, and the remaining middle class hangs on desperately while the inequality divide pulls harder.

Billionaires increased their combined global wealth to a record $6 trillion; more than twice the GDP of the UK. There are now 1,542 billionaires across the world, after 145 multi-millionaires saw their wealth tick over into nine-zero fortunes last year. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently said western governments should force the top 1% of earners to pay more tax to try to reduce dangerous levels of inequality [Guardian]. There are now 2,101 billionaires globally [UBS’ 2019 Billionaire Insights report]. That means 589 individuals have become billionaires since 2013, increasing the population over five years [Fox News].

Middle class is defined here for the US as those adults with a net wealth of between $50,000 and $500,000 in mid 2015. Tracking the numbers of the disappearing middle class, shows the polarity of inequality. In February 2009, The Economist asserted that over half the world’s population now belongs to the middle class, as a result of rapid growth in emerging countries. It characterized the middle class as having a reasonable amount of discretionary income, so that they do not live from hand-to-mouth as the poor do; where people start to have a third of their income left for discretionary spending after paying for basic food and shelter. This allows people to buy consumer goods, improve their health care, and provide for their children’s education.

Most of the emerging middle class consists of people who are middle class by the standards of the developing world but not the developed one, since their money incomes do not match developed country levels, but the percentage of it which is discretionary does. By this definition, the number of middle-class people in Asia exceeded that in the West sometime around 2007 or 2008. The American middle class is estimated by some researchers to comprise approximately 45% of the population. The Economist’s article would put the size of the American middle class below the world average. This difference is due to the extreme difference in definitions.

In 2015 there were 564,708 homeless people in the USA. These figures are likely underestimates as surveillance for the homeless population is challenging. Over 20,000,000 US adult citizens earn less than $5,000 a year. [2016 Personal Income stats] There was a $2,000 decline in nominal income overall for most adults from 2000-2016; it is suspected that the 2020 Census will show that reduction trend to have continued. Oddly the poverty and income charts mimic each-other; why their curves are similar is unclear. 

At the Strategic Investment Conference 2018, Karen Harris from Bain & Company gave a thought-provoking keynote titled, “Labor 2030: The Collision of Demographics, Automation, and Inequality.” Karen Harris sees a big economic shift that began in the 1980s. Driven by demographics and automation, the world is gradually moving from a supply-constrained to a demand-constrained economy. Harris said the combination of a demographically shrinking workforce and increasingly cost-effective automation will aggravate inequality, curb demand, and put a cap on economic growth.

High-wage workers will reap most of the gains and low-wage workers will bear most of the cost, at least in the short run. Someone has to buy the goods robots produce. As the middle and lower classes suffer, spending will decline. The result will be “demand-constrained growth.” It will get much worse and not just in the U.S. Many won’t initially notice because rising productivity will mask some of the job losses. But eventually, job losses will overwhelm productivity. Harris called this the “Wile E. Coyote” moment. It’s hard to pinpoint, but probably coming in the next decade.

The growth of spending by Baby Boomers will begin to decline in the 2020s. Now add in the growing inequality with up to 25% of the workforce displaced by automation, and the middle-class markets seem to disappear. Investors and businesses should be asking, “Who will be my customers a decade from now?” [Patrick Watson, Forbes 2018]

[GREG DAUGHERTY, Investopedia 2019]

The American middle class, once the envy of the world (and occasional object of its derision) is shrinking, according to a new report from the nonpartisan Pew Research Center. The report, which looked at the U.S. and 11 Western European countries, found that in the nearly 20 years from 1991 to 2010, the portion of American adults living in middle-class households fell from 62% to 59%. The Pew report defined middle-class households as those with incomes of anywhere between two-thirds and twice that of their country’s median disposable household income. In the case of the U.S., that meant a range of roughly $35,000 to $106,000 a year for a household of three. 

In the USA: 26% are lower income, 59% are middle income, and 15% are upper income. 

In Denmark: 14% are lower income, 80% are middle income, and 7% are upper income.

The middle class in the U.S., as defined by median household income, is shrinking, with some Americans moving up and most others down. Compared with 11 Western European nations, the U.S. has the smallest percentage of population considered middle income and the largest percentages in both the lower and upper income categories. (See also – ‘Why the American Middle Class Is Shrinking’)

Economists have debated the reasons why the American middle class is shrinking for years now, and a new study highlights one key reason: The jobs that pay enough to support a middle-class lifestyle are disappearing. Although the total number of American jobs is projected to increase by around 7.2 million over the next five years, this growth largely leaves behind the middle of the income spectrum. More than 60 percent of 173 occupations projected to decline are middle-class jobs [Career-Builder’s Economic Modeling Specialists International]. Between now and 2021, the number of low-wage jobs will increase by 5 percent, but middle-income jobs (those that pay between roughly $14 and $21 an hour) will only grow by 3 percent. 

“Jobs that have a lot of routine aspects are easy to automate and those are going away,” said Glassdoor.com chief economist Andrew Chamberlain. “Those jobs are just disappearing, and that’s the hollowing-out we’re seeing,” he said. For middle-income workers, a combination of automation and wage erosion (from weak worker unions) erodes the economic stability of the middle class. “Middle-wage workers will become increasingly susceptible to unemployment or will have to move into lower-paying roles that may not support them and their families,” CareerBuilder CEO Matt Ferguson warned in a statement. This isn’t just bad news for middle-class families, he said; it also can weaken consumer spending, the housing market and Americans’ ability to invest in the stock market and save for retirement.

Income inequality in the United States is the extent to which income is distributed in an uneven manner among the American population. It has fluctuated considerably since measurements began around 1915, moving in an arc between peaks in the 1920s and 2000s, with a 30-year period of relatively lower inequality between 1950–1980. A 2011 study found that US citizens across the political spectrum dramatically underestimate the current US wealth inequality and would prefer a far more egalitarian distribution of wealth (Ariely – ‘Perspectives on Psychological Science’). The top 1% controlled 38.6% of the country’s wealth in 2016. In September 2019, the Census Bureau reported that income inequality in the United States had reached its highest level in 50 years. [Wikipedia]

If there must be a new Civil War, it should not be poor against poor; we have done that. Perhaps we need a real Class War, to stop World War 3 from happening. We are aware that terrible leaders caused the last ones, so having actual democratic power is one way to stop pollution and war. Plutocrats have been using corporate politics and media to smear and ignore all opposition to them; they will create distractions like war rather than risk cutting any profits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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CAHOKIA: North America’s Largest Woodhenge & Temple Mound

Posted in ecovillages, Historic Architecture, Pagan, Trips with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 11, 2010 by Drogo

CAHOKIA MOUNDS PARK

Cahokia Mounds is currently a State Historic Site. Cahokia is the area of an ancient city built around 600–1400 CE. It is near present day Collinsville, Illinois across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, Missouri.

The Cahokia Mounds were named after a clan of historic Illiniwek people living in the area when the first French explorers arrived in the 17th century. As this was centuries after Cahokia was abandoned by its original inhabitants, the Cahokia were not necessarily descendants of the original Mississippian people. The city’s original name is unknown.

The 2,200 acre site originally included 120 man-made earthwork mounds over an area of six square miles, although only 80 survive. Cahokia Mounds is the largest archaeological site related to the Mississippian Late Woodland culture, which developed advanced societies in North America, centuries before the arrival of Europeans.

It is a National Historic Landmark and designated site for state protection. In addition, it is one of only twenty UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the territory of the United States. It is the largest American Indian earthen construction in the Americas north of Mexico.

They used woven baskets to move most of the earth to build the mounds and plazas. In every culture there are usual social, political, spiritual, and defense reasons to place buildings on raised bases. In the case of Cahokia, there is an added reason: the site is on a flood plain near the Mississippi River.

Monks Mound

Monks Mound is the largest structure and central focus of the city. It is a massive mound with four terraces, 10 stories tall, and the largest man-made earthen mound north of Mexico. Facing south, it is 92 feet high, 951 feet long and 836 feet wide.

Excavation on the top of Monks Mound has revealed evidence of a large building, likely a temple used by the Chief and shaman for residence and public functions. This building was about 105 feet long and 48 feet wide, and could have been as much as 50 feet high. It was about 5,000 square feet.

Cahokia Woodhenge

This woodhenge, like others found in Europe, was a circle of posts used for cosmic alignments relevant to agriculture. It stood to the west of Monk’s Mound. Archaeologists discovered Woodhenge during excavation, and noted that the placement of posts marked solstices and equinoxes. Woodhenge was rebuilt several times during the urban center’s roughly 300-year history. There were probably other woodhenges in America over the centuries, as one was discovered near Mound 72, south of Monks Mound.

A beaker found in a pit near the winter solstice post bore a circle and cross symbol that for many Native Americans symbolizes the Earth and the four cardinal directions. Radiating lines probably symbolized the sun, as they have in countless other civilizations. During excavation of Mound 72, archaeologists found a birdman burial for a leader, and 250 other skeletons from around 1000 CE. Other mounds had workshops for copper smiting and trading.

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