Sunday, September 29, 2013

They can't back it up!

Here is an interesting and informative example of the mind of a neo-conservative, a conversation that I was party to very briefly.

The Conservative Hammer:
 If your life - in or out of politics - isn't grounded in the historical morality of the Bible, then you will become corrupt -- and this is EXACTLY what our politicians have become in the good ol' secular US of A
Don Rice:
 If you're consulting the alleged "historical morality" of the Bible, please tell us what is moral about the passages in Deuteronomy and Leviticus telling us to torture and kill our loved ones. And compare those passages to the Christ teachings on love, fair treatment, compassion and forgiveness of our fellow human beings.

The Conservative Hammer:
Don, you do not understand the Old Testament in historical context with the New Testament and God's wrath upon the idolators of ancient Israel prior to the advent of Christ, which cleansed believers of sin and ushered in a New Covenant based on Grace and not law.

The Conservative Hammer:
But thanks for cherry-picking the liberal's favorite scriptures... Well done.

I commented that "What you call "the liberal's favorite scriptures" is the Christ teachings."  I also suggested that if he/she doesn't accept this, then perhaps he/she needs to rethink the claim to be a follower of Christ.

I made a couple further comments. One stated that this person's claim that I can't use OT examples to oppose his/her position was not consistent with his own use of OT excerpts to bolster his/her position.  I stated that "...either the OT is valid to this discussion or it isn't.  You cant have it both ways."

The other politely asked him/her to not tell me I didn't understand the material, because he/she doesn't know me and doesn't know what I may or may not have studied.

When I came back later, I found my last three comments had been deleted.  So I wrote another comment:

"Fascinating. Like a typical neoconservative, rather than address the very valid statements I made concerning your position, you deleted my comments. And here I thought I might have actually found someone who resembles a real conservative who wasn't afraid of debate when facts may be inconvenient to your position. I guess I was wrong in my estimation."

When I tried to post it, I discovered that I had been blocked.

This happens often with people who put themselves forward as conservative intellectuals.  When they encounter opposition based on facts rather than supporting their beliefs, the run and hide.  And make no mistake, that is exactly what happened here.

I have no remedy for that frame of mentality.  I can only hope that such hypocrisy dies a swift death, so that we may get on with the task of improving life in these United States.

 © 2013 Donald C. Rice Jr.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Is it really about policies?

The sign posted by a Facebook friend of the conservative persuasion
said, "It's not the color of your skin but the content of your policies."

My response:

Oh, you mean like preventing a recession from becoming another Great

Preventing the end of the American auto industry?  Catching and
killing Osama bin Laden?

Sending SEALS to rescue Americans and others held hostage by

Or is it the refusal to give in to rightwing blackmail after trying
to compromise with them for three-plus years?
Or maybe it's the idea that every American is entitled to affordable
health care and health insurance.

Let's be real here for a minute.  The vast majority of Americans
have applauded many of the things Barack Obama has done or tried to
do.  Which of his policies do you disagree with?  And are you aware
that many of those are the same policies that Republicans were all
for when they were proposed by other Republicans?

Many say that this is proof that they hate a black man in the White
House.  I disagree.  It's proof that they hate a Democrat in the
White House.  It's proof that they no longer care about the will of
the people but cowtow to the will of their corporate masters donors. 
It's proof that their Party is on a fast downward spiral into moral
and ethical oblivion.

The supporting evidence?  Barack Obama has taken the same basic
tack as Bill Clinton: he's tried to push through ideas that Republicans
only talked about and said they support but did nothing to pass.  They
hate Obama for the same reason they hated President Clinton.  But
they're to cowardly to admit it, or to even admit the truth of why they
hate both men.

You want proof of racism?  Look deeper.  Put it all together.  No
other President has ever had to deal with the massive level of
disrespect, innuendo, accusation, prevarication and intentional
misrepresentation as has this President.  No other President has had
to deal with an absolute refusal to compromise from an entire
opposition party.  None other has ever had to even defend the fact
of his citizenship as a prerequisite for holding the office.  None
other has had to put up with a total refusal to accept evidence that
none of the accusations had any validity.

The tone of the claims against President Obama is telling.  Kenyan. 
Muslim.  Food stamp President.   Blatantly racist terminology and
images portraying him and his wife and children as monkeys,
watermelon eaters (I don't get this at all; who DOESN'T like
watermelon?), and more.
If all of that combined isn't enough to prove an overall tone of
racism toward this President; if you still, in spite of all of this,
don't see the racism, both blatant and covert, then perhaps you need
to take a good look at yourself.  It's as clear as day to anyone who
has half a brain.

This is not to say that all who oppose President Obama are racist. 
Indeed, there are some who honestly disagree with many of his
policies.  I, for one, am not happy with some of the things he's
done as President.  But nobody is going to be able to please
everyone, or to even please one other rational person all the
time.  So to those who claim to not be racist, I suggest you state
clearly exactly what it is you dislike, and why you dislike it,
especially if it's something you agreed with when someone else
proposed it.  Someone white, perhaps.

In other words, as the gamblers of old said, put up or shut up.

© 2013 Donald C. Rice Jr.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Family Sanctity

Family Sanctity
(This is a true story)

(Authors' note: No names are given here, in order
to protect the innocent from revenge actions by the System,
and to protect the guilty from violence by others.)

In an un-named small city in upstate New York, a
married couple with one son were planning their first
vacation together since they met. They were going to
Florida for two weeks, and the wife was going to meet
her in-laws for the first time.As they were scheduled
to arrive in Florida on the day of their 5th wedding
anniversary, the man had arranged a surprise. As the
family got off the train, the woman was going to be
presented with a bouquet of roses by a man singing
"Happy Anniversary."

This planned event never came to pass. Two weeks
before the start of their vacation, the man awoke in
the morning to find that his wife had died in the early
hours of the morning. She had been epileptic most of
her life (she was 31 years young), and had, according
to the autopsy report, had a seizure during which she
vomited, and she choked to death.Several months
later, the man was building a successful business,
when a worker at the day care center decided she
wanted to adopt the son. Knowing the man would
refuse, she called the State of New York Child
Abuse Hotline, and reported that the man had beaten
his son.  The case worker assigned to investigate the
complaint ordered the man to take his son to the
hospital to be examined. The man complied,
knowing the charge would be proven false.

Instead, the doctor, who was under contract with
the local Child Protective Services, claimed that
he found "significant bruising" on the childs'
back and buttocks, and the case worker wrote
in his case notes that he, the caseworker, had
taken pictures of this bruising.  After the boy
was taken into protective custody and placed
in foster care, all on the basis of this one case
workers' statements (even the Family Court judge
didn't see the pictures until nearly 3 years later),
the father asked to see the pictures, and was refused.

Instead, the case worker informed him that his son
had accused him of sex abuse (the boy had just turned
5 years old).To make a long story short, the father
enlisted the aid of another man he was introduced
to specifically to deal with this situation. The two
became fast friends, even to the point of considering
each other family. The Child Protection Service then
took that mans' children from him, making similar
sex abuse claims.

Together, the two men file a civil rights lawsuit in the
Federal District Court. The suit was dismissed only
because they could not figure out how to break the
"qualified imunity" of the child protective workers,
several of whom were by then involved in the case.
That "qualified immunity" assumes that the case
workers are only doing their jobs, unless concrete
evidence to the contrary is produced. However,
the suits' paper chase provided enough data in the
form of legal briefs, answers to causes, and case
notes, for the two men to request "fair hearings,"
that is, to have the case heard on a point by point
basis by an administrative law judge, and to bring
up clear evidence of false allegations in the family
court.  The evidence, including the pictures, showed
that there was no beating, no sex abuse.

In this manner, the two men got their respective children
back. Most of the people involved on the side of "the
System" were either fired or transfered to different
jobs; one child protective supervisor wound up on the
lowest level of the Medicaid department.

But the laws have not changed significantly! 
This and other forms of systemic abuse still
occur on a regular basis! And not just in New
York, but thoughout the country! 


Donald Charles Rice Jr.

 (If anyone has current information on
Child Protection laws in any state,
or on any current systemic abuse cases,
please email or PM me!)

© 2013 Donald C. Rice Jr.

Friday, May 24, 2013

To GMO Or Not To GMO?

I posted the picture above on my facebook page, tagging two specific people on my friends list and whom I know to be supportive of GM foods.  One of them left a comment:

"No fact checking....Don Rice. Where's your proof this meme is correct? One of the reasons we're pushing back is the argument against GMOs sounds a bit like denying science I eat organically and grow what I can and know my food sources. Where were you folks in 1995? LOL"

I can't address the issue from the perspective, as you ask, of "you folks".  I can only speak for myself.
In '95, I was busy putting my life back together after figthting for 3 years to get my son back from the State of New York, which took him on the basis of fraudulent allegations of neglect and abuse after my first wife died.  That was my sole concern at that time.
Since then, I've paid attention to the issue. I am not denying science per se, but I do hold that the science on this issue is incomplete and corrupted by greed and the hunger for power.
There has been a concerted effort by the companies with the GM patents to avoid adequate testing for safety, health and nutritional concerns; to avoid labelling so that people won't even be aware that what they're eating is GM; and to take legal actions against organic and natural farmers whose crops are invaded by GM pollens and seeds due to faulty controls of GM crops which then cross-polinate with the organic and natural crops, thereby rendering them no longer organic or natural.  And the GM patent owners are winning those suits, even though they themselves are at fault. 

Those are the basic facts. Anyone who really wants to know will see that from their own studies.  There is a very good detailed analysis, with over 300 citations, of the pros and cons of GM here:

In pertinent parts, this article states:

"(Jose L.) Domingo again reviewed the literature in 2011 and said that although there had been a substantial increase in the number of studies since 2006, most were conducted by the biotechnology companies responsible for commercialising the plants."

" ... scientists and regulators discussing clinical studies of GM food have written that the "ethical and technical constraints of conducting human trials, and the necessity of doing so, is a subject that requires considerable attention."

"The EFSA review also stated that the statistical methods used were incorrect The EFSA conclusions were supported by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), a panel of toxicologists funded by Monsanto and the French High Council of Biotechnologies Scientific Committee (HCB). (Note that one of the patent owners's studies is included in this.  Can we say "vested interest"?)

"An analysis of laboratory settings found that Bt toxins can affect nontarget organisms, usually organisms closely related to the intended targets.[156] Typically, exposure occurs through the consumption of plant parts, such as pollen or plant debris, or through Bt ingestion by their predatory food choices. The methodology used by Lövei et al. has been called into question by a group of academic scientists who wrote "We are deeply concerned about the inappropriate methods used in their paper, the lack of ecological context, and the authors’ advocacy of how laboratory studies on non-target arthropods should be conducted and interpreted".

"Genes from a genetically modified organism may pass to another organism just like an endogenous gene. The process is known as outcrossing and can occur in any new open-pollinated crop variety, with newly introduced traits potentially crossing into neighboring crop plants of the same or sometimes closely related species. There are concerns that the spread of genes from modified organisms to unmodified relatives could produce species of weeds resistant to herbicides or could disrupt the ecosystem." 

(This, or something similar, has already occurred, as seen in news items about the new "Roundup-resistant" weeds springing up in places where Roundup has been used regularly.  And this from the same company fighting the hardest against testing and labeling.)

"Critics in the US have protested in regards to the appointment of pro GM lobbyists to senior positions in the FDA. Michael R. Taylor, a former Monsanto lobbyist, was appointed as a senior adviser to the FDA on food safety in 1991. Following his tenure at the FDA, Taylor became a vice-president of Monsanto. On 7 July 2009, Taylor returned to government as Senior Advisor to the Commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration for the Obama administration.[289]
The Canadian Biotechnology Advisory Committee that reviewed Canada's regulations in 2003 was accused by environmental and citizen groups of not representing the full spectrum of public interests and for being too closely aligned to industry groups.[290]
 Most of the Chinese National Biosafety Committee are involved in biotechnology leading to criticisms that they do not represent a wide enough range of public concerns."

"The value of current independent studies is considered by some to be problematic because, due to restrictive end-user agreements, independent researchers cannot obtain GM plants to study. Cornell University's Elson Shields, the spokesperson for a group of scientists who oppose this practice, submitted a statement to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) protesting that "as a result of restrictive access, no truly independent research can be legally conducted on many critical questions regarding the technology".[312] Scientific American noted that several studies that were initially approved by seed companies were later blocked from publication when they returned "unflattering" results."

There is much more, just on that one page.  But I'm sure you get the picture.

What also must be considered is the long-term effects, which have not been studied at all on GM foods.  But there are parallels, such as the introduction of non-native plants to ecosystems, which has invariably resulted, long-term, in environmental damage.  Florida is a perfect example of this:

What that comes down to is that introducing foriegn elements into an ecosystem, whether it's macro, as in a geographic area, or micro, within a specific plant, can and often does have unintended consequences which are, more often than not, harmful.
As far as the scientist shown in the picture, I think he has been badly misrepresented by those "scientists" who have an interest in seeing GM companies continue their takeove of the worlds' food supply.  Most interesting is that he was supposedly banned from even talking about his research.

Amazingly, there are people who say they support GM foods, yet they themselves don't eat it.  In fact, the person who originally questioned me on the meme, as shown in her comment above, stated unequivocally, "I eat organically and grow what I can and know my food sources."

My question seems obvious to me.  If you are so much pro-GM, why do you not eat it yourself?  If it's so great, why bother finding buying organic or growing your own?


© 2013 Donald C. Rice Jr.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

To Fear Or Not To Fear?


Throughout history, people have given up control of their lives to other people.  Those others tell us how we should live, and describe consequences for not living as they tell us to.  Yet often, they themselves do not live in accordance with what they tell us.

Preachers, ministers, priests, rabbis, imams.  Teachers, bosses, parents.  And especially polititians.  Let's call them "controllers".  That's really what they are.  Rare are those from the ranks of controllers are honest and honestly living as they tell us to live.  But controllers they are nonetheless, because they insist that what they tell us is the absolute truth, or some reasonable (or unreasonable) facsimile of truth.

Fear.  Think about it for a moment.  What are we afraid of?  What are YOU afraid of?  And what can we do to stop being afraid?  How can we end the ceaseless barrage of fear factors that keeps pounding against our awareness?

How many say that they are not afraid?  Does that lack of fear extend to defiance of what we call "norms"?  Consider some of the things we have feared: The Communist threat comes to mind.  So does the threat of hell and damnation from the religious establishment.  And currently there is the threat that, among other things, the government is going to "take our guns" or "destroy our nation" or some other such nonsense.

I'm reminded of Franklin Roosevelt's famous quote: "The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself."  This is the ultimate truth of fear.  Yet we keep giving ourselves to it, through our churches and synagogues and temples; through our schools and families and political leaders.  We're victims, not of the religions, the polititians, or any other so-called leaders, but of our own fears.  Fear of losing our jobs.  Fear of being broke.  Fear of being alone.  Fear of what the President might do.  Fear of eternal damnation.  All to keep us towing the line of whatever we've been taught to believe is true. 

Yes, you read that right: what we've been TAUGHT to believe is true.  Because we have been taught to believe what those leaders tell us.  We've also been taught to not bother thinking for ourselves.  And far too many are stuck in that paradigm, refusing to question our own beliefs about truth,  even when confronted by solid evidence that out beliefs are in error.

So how do we get out of that trap?  And it is a trap, because it denies reality.  ne way to start is to ask yourself, "Who benefits from this?"  As some would say, "Follow the money."  And there is truth in that.  But it's only the surface.  To look deeper, heck, even to look this deep, involves confronting our beliefs, examining them without bias and without emotion, both of which feed each other.  And that involves, in it's turn, what is perhaps our greatest fear: Accepting the possibility that our most deeply cherished beliefs are wrong. 

Yet that is exactly what we must do.  It is, in truth, exactly as Michael Jackson said in his song:  "If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make that change."

It begins with a very simple idea: We must love life, starting with ourselves.  But even more basic, we must simply love.  That is the only way for most of us to break away from fear.  In truth, it is the only thing that fear ... fears.


© 2013 Donald C. Rice Jr.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Is President Obama Muslim? Does it matter?

There's a video on Youtube that's being passed around claiming that President Obama "admits" that he's a Muslim.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Yet many people on the political right seem to accept that as truth and fact.  So I watched that video, and broke it down into it's separate "talking points".  And, as the song says, I've saved the best (and most important) for last, as it's the icing on the cake on this topic.

The video's claims are highlighted, and my response follows each one.

"Many other Americans have Muslims in their families, or have lived in a Muslim majority country.  I know because I am one of them."

Simple enough.  He has Muslims in his family, and he has lived in Muslim majority countries.

"John McCain hasn't talked about my Muslim faith..."

Again, simple enough if you look at the entire interview, or even take that part of the interiew in context, which the snippet in the video you posted doesn't.  The reference to his Muslim faith was a slip of the tongue that was corrected almost immediately.

"He recites the Muslim call to prayer in a perfect Arabic accent..."

I've known people who could speak languages other than their own perfectly. Even if it's true, this is evidence only that he has a facility with languages.

"He went on to say that the Muslim call to prayer was 'the prettiest sound on earth.'"

Subjective, but it is a very lovely sound, unless you have an ax to grind on anything related to Islam.  Then it only proves your own narrow-mindedness.

"Obama quotes from the Koran"

It's funny how the recording is cut off for each instance, as though the editor doesn't want people to know what the Koran says.  Chances are it's something very much like what the Bible says.  There is a lot in there that is very much like the Bible.  So how do we know that he wasn't quoting those partss, to emphasize our likenesses rather than our difference?  Because in reality, we are more alike than we are different.

"Obama praises and glorifies Islam"

Glorifies?  Not hardly.  For the most part, he's only talking about the actual history of Islam.  And the part where he's speaking to Iran is the same, with perhaps a bit of buttering-up to remind them of that history of accomplishment.

"Obama defends Islam"

Not defending Islam, but upholding American Muslim's right to their faith, along with a very apt and valid comment on religious bigotry, and a pledge to fight against narrow stereotypes.

"Obama declares America to be a Muslim nation"

No, he didn't.  He spoke briefly on the concept that Islam has always been a part of the American story (perhapsa bit of exageration there, but I think not), that if Americans who were muslim were the only ones counted, THEN (emphasis mine) America would be the largest Muslim country.

"Obama bowed to a Muslim king"

Gee, how does that compare to when G.W. Bush held hands with and kissed a Saudi king?  It's the CUSTOM in that country.  It comes under the heading of "When in Rome..."

"Obama in traditional Muslim dress"

Again, simple.  Paying respect to the leader of another coutry.  And it wasn't traditional MUSLIM dress, it was traditional AFRICAN dress of the AFRICAN country he was in.

"Obama visits a mosque"

Normally I'd say "big deal, I've visited mosques, Jewish temples, Catholic and other churches."  But if memory serves, that particular mosque is an historic site.  And if you notice, he was paying close attention to the layout, the architectural features; he was not there for worship.

"Obama sides with Islam"

No, he does not.  He only states, and I quote, "America is not, and never will be, at war with Islam."  He was correct.  We are not at war with Islam.  We ARE at war, if you can actually call it that, with terrorism.  And the Islamists involved in terrorism are miniscule compared to the number of Muslims in the world. We're probably in more danger from home-grown terrorists than any other; just look at the freaking school shooting and the police actions against the Occupy movement and other individuals for proof of that.

"I am one of them"

Gee, I heard him say "Thank you" followed by something in Arabic.  Since I don't speak Arabic, I don't know what he said.  But I'd be willing to lay odds on it being a form of salutation such as "goodbye" or something along those lines.

All in all, I find this video to be nothing more than rabble-rousing the uneducated masses who don'y understand how the world works.  I'ts sensationalism at its' worst, twisting things around to try to make Obama look like the worst preseident ever, when that is the furthest from the truth I've ever seen or heard.

Oh, and one other thing, that last point I promised, the icing on the cake?   It doesn't matter to me at all what his religious beliefs are. For all I care, he could be an atheist or even a satanist. The Constitution states quite clearly that there shall be NO RELIGIOUS TEST for the office of the Presidency.


© 2013 Donald C. Rice Jr.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Left Versus Right: What's Really Up?

"The kulaks are the most bestial, brutal and savage exploiters, who in the history of other countries have time and again restored the power of the landlords, tsars, priests and capitalists." ~~  Vladimir Lenin as quoted in the article posted in a Facebook group:

The Collectivist Mind Game, Part 1: Demonizing the Non-Compliant

Interesting take on this as a capitalist versus communist situation.  It's not that at all, contrary to what many old McCarthyists would tell us.

If you'd paid any attention to the different protests around the country, indeed, around the world, it's a movement of regular people against the combined power of the nationalistic and so-called "one world" corporatists.  And just the fact that the capitalists are joined to the governments almost worldwide shows that it's really a Nazi thing, not communist or even Marxist socialist.  The problem with Marxism isn't that it's evil.  The problem is that it won't work as long as there are people who hunger for more money and more power than they need, at the expense of everyone else's needs and desires.  That's what the worldwide Occupy movement is about.  And that's why I support that movement in general whie distancing myself from the more anarchistic (and very small) factions such as the ones in the Northwestern U.S.

What it comes down to is that government should be large enough to meet it's legitimate obligations to watch the backs of the people, yet small enough to not be a burden on the people.  That is not the case.  Yet it must be acknowledged, if  we're honest, that Obama has done a remarkable job under extraordinary circumstances.  Never before in American history has a President been subject to the level of abuse and outright lies perpetrated by the right as has been happening since he was first running for the office.  Yet that same right refuses to even acknowledge this fact. They make up excuses for their actions, every one of which has been thoroughly debunked.

Kenyan national.  Muslim.  Nazi.  Communist.  Gonna take our guns.  NONE of which have proven out, regardless of the rationalizations of the far right.  And still they come, repeating the same things over and over, not caring in the least the FACTS on the ground prove them wrong, and apparently not even caring that it's literally tearing the country apart.  And based on things that have been said on that same right (not to mention certain minor elements on the left), it's mostly about the fact of Obama's so-called "race".  Some folks just can't deal with a black man in the White House, pure and simple.

So how can we resolve this?  Short of creating a new, technological Coventry, with no contact whatever with the outside world, I see no answer, because the hateful people first brought together by the likes of the Koch brothers and their allies just won't admit their error.  But what do we expect?  Greed and power are the keynotes of the day, and they'll do anything to keep it for themselves.  And to Hell with the rest of us.

So I'm just going to bide my time, step back and let things go as they will.  I'me going to concentrate on my own work.  The book I'm writing.  My personal growth.  My health.  But if anyone comes to me needing help and sincerely unable to do for themselves, I'll do what I can there as well.

© 2013 Donald C. Rice Jr.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Why be angry?

What angers you?  Whatever it is, why does it anger you?  More importantly, why do you allow it to anger you? 
Anger is a choice, like every other emotion, especially the destructive ones.  You can rise above it, but only by recognizing the root cause: your own choice.  And once you recognize that truth, you can take steps to first minimize it, then eliminate it from your being.

Anger does nothing constructive; it rips apart your essential humanity, and has no effect on that which you are choosing to be angry at.  Why, then, do you indulge it?  For that is what it is, an indulgence, a giving in to the beast nature of your physical form, your animal body. 
And your actions, when based on that anger, or any other destructive emotion, affect you not only in the here-and-now, but also in your future.  It has been proven that what you do, for good or ill, comes back to you, often multiplied many times.  This is called Karma, and is a basic Truth of existence.  As Einstein put it, "to every action, there is an equal but opposite reaction."  Or as the Christian Bible, the Islamic Qu'ran, the Hindu Vedas, and the Jewish Torah say, "as you sow, so shall you reap."

On the Karmic level, your actions and attitudes and emotional state affect only you. They have no effect on the karma of anyone else.  So why bother with anger or any other destructive emotion?  You're only hurting yourself, and will have to face the situation over and over again, until you learn the lesson it brings.

On the other hand, the constructive actions, attitudes and emotions, will bring rewards in the same measure that the destructive ones bring troubles.  That is the Law, the Cosmic Principle.

My Teacher, Dr. David M. Berry, often quotes a verse from that Bible: "Behold, I set before you this day, Good and Evil: Choose ye."  I would say that you have before you Constructive and Destructive behaviors and attitudes: Make your choice, but know that whatever you choose, it will come back to you.  Multiplied.


© 2013 Donald C. Rice Jr.