Sunday, December 26, 2010


The 7000-year tradition of tantra prohibits the sale of any instruction connected with yoga, and I uphold that tradition. So, to make ends meet - and maybe to become rich along the way - I have long contemplated the establishment of a new Church.

The Church is called Just To Be Sure (JTBS). It is similar to the Seventh Day Adventist Church in that it distinguishes itself by its interpretation of the Sabbath. Let me explain.

In all of the three Semitic religions, the Ten Commandments is a common thread. All three Semitic religions accept the principle: "Keep the sabbath day to sanctify it, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee." [Deut. 5:12, KJV] But all three Semitic religions celebrate the Sabbath on a different day. The Muslims celebrate it on Friday. The Jews celebrate it on Saturday. And most Christians celebrate it on Sunday.

Our new religion says that, given the different interpretations, we cannot be sure which day is correct. We may believe that Friday or Saturday or Sunday is the real Sabbath day, but we cannot know it. Perhaps, originally the Sabbath was celebrated on Saturday, but later God changed it to Sunday, and later still to Friday. Or perhaps, God changed the Sabbath day to Sunday, and the change to Friday was not valid. Or perhaps neither of the changes was valid, and it always remained Saturday.

So "just to be sure" - just to be sure that we actually are "keeping the Sabbath day and sanctifying it" - JTBS observes a compulsory 3-day Sabbath (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday).

All members of our new Church are free to determine the degree of strictness with which they will observe the Sabbath, but they would be prohibited from salaried work on those three days. All members of our new Church are free to practice whatever Semitic religious preferences they may have (Jewish, Christian, or Muslim) or even any pagan preferences. All members of our new Church may be orthodox, conservative, or reformed in their outlook. In the JTBS priesthood, we will accept women and men, blacks and browns and yellows and whites, straights and gays. If any dogs or cats or other animals can pay for the course and pass our very easy exam, they may also become priests.

The only universal requirement of our Church is a three-day weekend, consistent with our three-day Sabbath. In other words, on religious grounds, our members will only be allowed to have a four-day workweek.

Depending on the JTBS denomination to which one belongs, members may be restricted in other ways. For example, one or more denominations of JTBS might prohibit military service. Other denominations of JTBS might insist on a special diet from kosher to low sodium to Asian vegetarian. JTBS embraces the full range of possibilities in the Judaeo-Christian-Islamic tradition. And JTBS will also do a fair amount of scriptural reinterpretation on its own account.

For example, one of the first revisions you may expect to see implemented is a revelation regarding tithing. Heretofore, tithing was taken to mean the donation of 10% of one's income to the Church. But in JTBS, tithing will be only 3% of one's income. In this way, we hope to corner the market of blind believers at this time of great economic insecurity. And, speaking of the economy, one immediate benefit of JTBS will be to increase employment figures by reducing the number of hours that people may work.

That is JTBS in a nutshell. Converts are welcome.

A Personal Letter To Julian Assange

Pardon me for yawning; but come on, Julian, where is the good stuff? I mean, the junk you are putting out with your WikiLeaks - it's so ordinary. Who doesn't expect governments to engage in backroom dealing, backstabbing, and - heck - even some spying. But where is the nitty gritty about how the US Government was behind the Twin Towers - how they blew up one of the buildings with planted explosives - and what about the second gunman on the grassy knoll? Get with it, dude. Thus far your gospel is just god-awful. Snore.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Spiritual Fraud

So now the Pope has gone to Barcelona to consecrate an unfinished church as a basilica.

One of the privileges granted to a basilica is that supplicants may go there to purchase a plenary indulgence - the alleged full remission of sins for deceased persons allegedly languishing in purgatory. This is fraud built on fraud. There is no supernatural place called purgatory, and the Roman Catholic Church has no power to remit sins. What a nasty business! It is like selling dehydrated water to people suffering from thirst.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Indecision 2010

Yesterday, Wednesday October 27, President Obama appeared on John Stewart's The Daily Show.

Over the nearly 30-minute show, Obama seemed uncomfortable with even the mild criticism that Stewart offered. More significant still, throughout the entire show, Obama was on the defensive. Rarely, did he say anything that sounded path-breaking or new. "Yes we can, but..." was Obama's new and not very impressive slogan.

Obama's arguments - mostly excuses - were pretty weak. For example, he stated that the rising unemployment figures over the last two years took place mainly in the first few months after he came into office. "Most of the jobs that we lost were lost before the economic policies that we put into place had any effect." Looking at the unemployment graph provided by the United States Labor Department, that statement is not very convincing. Rather, it seems that Obama's economic policies have had little or no success in stemming rising unemployment.

Despite being on the defensive - or maybe because of it - Obama came off sounding very arrogant. "We have made a lot of progress over the last 18 months that, from a historical perspective, ranks up there with any legislative session we've seen in history." But, as with his excuses, the boasts fell short of convincing.

The word I heard most often from Obama was "fair"... "in fairness", "to be fair", "here's what I think is fair", and so on. In my experience, one of the most insightful lines from Shakespeare is: "The lady doth protest too much, methinks." On last night's The Daily Show, I think the President did protest too much. I think that whenever he  used the word "fair", it meant two things: (1) that most of what he had just been saying was unfair (2) that what he was about to say would be very unfair.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Good News

We don't often see such good news on the world front. The 33 miners trapped underground for more than two months deep underground have all been rescued.

I am very happy for the miners, for the people of Chile, and for all the concerned people of the world. Today a great victory was achieved.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Do Nations Have A Conscience?

The French Senate is set to vote on banning the wearing of burqas... but not crucifixes. The Iranian Government released from prison an ailing American hiker... at a hefty "bail" price. And the Israeli Government is deporting children under 5 who were born in the country to resident mothers on valid work visas... in order to "preserve the Jewish identity of the State".

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Buddha and the Gestalt Therapist

A man goes to the Buddha and insults him. The Buddha remains unaffected.

The man gets confused. He asks the Buddha: "Don't you realize that I just insulted you."

The Buddha says: "If you give me an apple but I don't accept it, where does the apple go?"

The man replies: "Naturally, the apple remains with me."

The Buddha then says: "I did not accept your insult."
That's a story most of us have probably heard many times. The story probably inspired us also. But how do you suppose a Gestalt therapist would interpret it?

If a Gestalt therapist had observed this exchange - or if the Gestalt therapist had been the man giving the insult - then my guess is that the therapist would recommend lengthy treatment for the Buddha. And the Buddha would just smile, thereby confirming what both believe.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Hawking on God and Gravity

London, England (CNN) -- Religious leaders in Britain on Friday hit back at claims by leading physicist Stephen Hawking that God had no role in the creation of the universe.

In his new book The Grand Design, Britain's most famous scientist says that given the existence of gravity, " universe can and will create itself from nothing," according to an excerpt published in The Times of London.

"Spontaneous creation is the reason why there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist," he wrote.

"It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper [fuse] and set the universe going."
Hawking's understanding of cause and effect is as primitive as that of Western religicos. He recognizes only efficient cause and not the even more significant material cause. In this universe, something does not come from nothing. Nothing comes from nothing, and something comes from something. Gravity is not God. It is just one expression of the natural law of attraction.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Iran Sanctions - Irrational And Immoral

I don't expect the new sanctions to accomplish anything good. Even if Iranians were not a proud people and Ahmadinejad not a raving fanatic, still sanctions would be a poor strategy.

Economic sanctions have become a bulwark of United States foreign policy. Some estimate that about 200 nations - and almost half the population of the world - are currently under economic sanction by the USA.

Do economic sanctions work? In other words, do they achieve the stated objectives? That is hard to quantify. Even when the stated objectives take place and economic sanctions are already in place, it does not mean that the two events are causally connected. But the concurrence of these two events is rare. It has happened in only 20-25% of the cases.

What we do know about sanctions is that they tend to hurt not only the ordinary people of the targeted nation but also the ordinary people of the sanctioning nation. About the only people that sanctions rarely inconvenience are the politicians in both nations. Both sets of politicians generally make quick and easy capital out of sanctions.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Israeli Attack On Aid Flotilla

Israel's unbalanced action is yet another painful reminder of the defective notions of "national sovereignty" and "united nations". Such fictions inexorably lead us toward another global war. World government is the only solution.

Oil Spill Measures - Too Little, Too Late

Every step of the way so far, it seems like those responsible and those in a position to do something have understated the problem and minimized their response. BP - just business as usual. Obama - tall talk with no connection to his actions or lack thereof. And Al Gore - Al who?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Obama Report Card

Unlike most new presidents, Obama seems to be doing just as poorly on the international front as he is on the domestic front. Oslo (Nobel Prize) and Copenhagen (Environment Conference) were both disastrous in terms of public relations, if nothing else. On the home front, the health care bill seems to be mired again, unemployment is increasing, prices are rising, terrorism - or allegation of terrorism - is once again a daily occurrence, and ordinary civil liberties are set to
erode further.

Instead of Barack Obama, we might as well call him Bush Obama. That's "Bush" on two counts - historical and semantic.

First, Obama's key economic and military advisers and hence his policies in those areas are little different from that of his predecessor, George Walker Bush. And, though Obama speaks more coherently than his predecessor, the content of his speeches is comparably inane and his conduct with others is comparably tactless.

Second, Obama's performance is indeed bush, that is, "falling below acceptable standards" and "unprofessional". Little wonder that the majority of Americans now disapprove of their president's performance.

At the rate with which Obama's approval ratings have been sinking, he is soon likely to make Bush look good. In that case, I may have to find a new moniker for the man.