A 1960s CHILD WATCHTOWER (PLEASE WRITE TO: A60sCHILDMAILBOX@aol.com)

" The More We Learn, The More We Realize Just How Little We Know, And How Much There Is Still To Be Learned " I come from the dramatic, revolutionary, albeit violent, yet 'magical' 60s. Opinionated and challenging, I write about current events, geopolitics, globalization, history, music, mainly classic rock, philosophy, pop culture, politics, religion, sociology, and anything else that defines the person which I am. 60s Child

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Location: Miami, Florida, United States

I belong to a special generation, the 'Baby Boomer Generation', all 70 million of us. Mine is the countercultural, culture-changing, music-influenced, society-altering, rebellious, and revolutionary generation which grew up during the dramatic and violent, while in many ways exciting and 'magical' 1960s. After all these years, I still feel totally identified with the 60s, as that decade defines me. Although I was both a participating and observing member of the 'flower generation', I am a conservative in my political and sociological principles. As much as I appreciated the freedom and radical liberalism of the 60s, I nevertheless did not support the anti-war movement. I am also Roman Catholic, and teach catechism. AS I CONSIDER THE MUSIC OF THE 60s AN INTEGRAL PART OF THE CULTURE, AND CONSIDERING THAT EVEN AFTER 40 YEARS IT RETAINS ITS POWERFUL ALLURE, I WISH TO SHARE SOME OF MY 60s FAVORITE GROUPS: ANIMALS, B.BOYS, BEATLES, B.GEES, B.S.&T, CHICAGO, CREAM, C.C.R., C.S.N.&Y, E.L.O., E.L.P., 4 SEASONS, G.F.R., J.HENDRIX, KINKS, LED ZEP, MAMAS & PAPAS, M.BLUES, R.STONES, R.ORBISON, S.& G., WHO, YARDBIRDS EMAIL: A60sCHILDMAILBOX@aol.com

Thursday, September 29, 2005

THE LATINIZATION OF CHINA

SO WHO'S CONQUERING WHOM?

Latin-American countries may be too willing to accept Chinese investments. But while some people raise concerns that China may be moving in and displacing the U.S. as Latin America's main trading partner, they may wish to re-think the other notion that China may also impose its cultural influence over this continent.

Most Chinese know little about Latin America, but their country is rapidly expanding trade, investment and diplomatic ties in the region, where knowledge of China is also lacking.

We may very well witness the substitution of "Duck Sauce" with.......... SALSA!!!!!!
On a recent Friday night, as quick salsa rhythms poured out of Beijing's hottest Latin dance venue, owner Zhou Junyi stood at the entrance and swiveled his hips to display his skill at salsa dancing.
He quickly looked embarrassed and gave up. I don't understand it,'' he blurted out. ``But it doesn't matter. I hire professionals.''

While China's trade and diplomatic relations with Latin America are surging, average Chinese know little about the region. Most Chinese have difficulty naming any Latin personalities or leaders other than singer Ricky Martin and Ronaldo, the Brazilian soccer star. But a small core of government officials is orchestrating a dramatic rise in Chinese investment in the region.

After a trip last November by President Hu Jintao to four Latin countries, China has opened the spigot to tens of billions of dollars in investment to nations such as Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela. Beijing has become an obligatory stop for Latin presidents. Last year, 49 percent of all Chinese overseas investment went to Latin America and the Caribbean.

Yet China's interest isn't only trade. Chinese military officials are zipping back and forth to the region, Chinese police help keep the peace in Haiti, and Chinese diplomats are expanding their presence in Latin America.

`THE BEST OF TIMES'

''Presently, relations between China and Latin America are at the best of times,'' said Dong Jingsheng, an expert on Latin America at Beijing University. ``China's economy needs the resources of Latin America, such as oil and minerals.''

As China's economy opens up to the world, bits of Latin America are creeping into the nation's more cosmopolitan cities, from Brazilian barbecue restaurants to Argentine tango classes. A salsa dancing craze has also erupted.

Urban Chinese are experimenting with foreign leisure pursuits and foreign foods as never before.
''People prefer to enjoy foods with different flavors now,'' said Wang Hua, a saleswoman of imported foods, as she checked on deliveries at Churrascaria Beijing Brazil, where waiters clad in gaucho-style pants tucked into boots served barbecued meat from skewers.
Asked to name any Latin American celebrity or leader, Wang pondered long and hard. ''It's very far away,'' she said, stymied by the question.

''I know about [retired Argentine player Diego] Maradona, the soccer star, and about Ronaldo,'' responded a diner, Zhou Honghong, a college librarian.

LITTLE KNOWN

of knowledge goes both ways. Chinese who venture to Latin America say they find people familiar with Japan, South Korea and Taiwan -- especially consumer products from those nations -- but not China.

''Everybody knows Acer,'' said Wang Ping, a Latin American scholar at Nankai University in Tianjin, referring to the Taiwanese computer maker.

Yet, small Chinese communities exist around Latin America, most often along the region's Pacific coast -- most often descendants of migrants who came to the Americas in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to toil in railroad and canal construction, landing in California, Costa Rica, Panama and Peru.

Curiously, the murderous Shining Path insurgency that arose in Peru in the 1980s was fighting to install a peasant dictatorship there, styled after the China of Mao Zedong. It was largely quelled by the mid-1990s after tens of thousands of Peruvians died.

Wang, an advisor to the government on Latin American affairs, said China and Latin America are so distant that little contact was even contemplated until recently.

LANGUAGE GAP

Even today, despite the boom in commercial links, few Latin diplomats speak Chinese with fluency, operating instead in English, which all Chinese study in school.

And while several major Chinese universities -- including Beijing University, Fudan University in Shanghai and Nankai University -- sponsor institutes studying Latin America, their academic offerings are scant.

So far this year, there are about two or three courses on Latin America, either in history, international relations or Spanish,'' said Dong, the Beijing University scholar.

Barely a dozen students focus on the region each year, although with the current boom in interest, ''it is very easy for them to get jobs in banks or diplomatic institutions,'' Dong said.
Latin American students studying in China are also rare.

''I'll tell you the truth. The professors and students think all we know how to do is to dance, drink, play soccer and mess around with women,'' said Erick Morales, a student at Beijing Science and Technology University from Sucre, Bolivia. ``They think Bolivia is a city in Europe.''
''It's worse,'' piped in Mariela Martinez, a fellow Bolivian. ``They think it's in Africa.''
Even so, Martinez, who lives in coastal Zhejiang province, said many compatriots back home ask her how they can send their children to China to study Chinese.

That's because the effect of China's economic juggernaut -- and its voracious appetite for crude oil, copper, tin, bauxite, iron ore, zinc, manganese and soybeans -- is rippling all the way to South America.

''China's economic growth is benefiting Latin America,'' Dong said. ``The price of primary goods in Latin America is rising.''

of the biggest beneficiaries is Chile. China became Chile's second largest trade partner last year, after the United States, as trade volume surged 52 percent to $5.5 billion. In the first five months of this year, Chile's exports to China leapt a further 55.6 percent. Chile and China are now negotiating a free-trade agreement.

China is also cozying up to oil-rich Venezuela. For the first time ever, in mid-June, a tanker with 1.8 million barrels of Venezuelan fuel oil set sail for China, part of a pledge to provide China with 30,000 barrels a day. As oil prices soar, such long-distance transport has become more feasible.

U.S. IS WATCHFUL

The boom in Chinese activity in Latin America has caught Washington's eye.

''We will be attentive to any indication that economic collaboration will feed political relationships that could run counter to our key objectives for the region,'' Roger F. Noriega, the assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs, told a House of Representatives panel in April.
President Hu included Cuba on his four-nation tour of Latin America last November and announced sharply higher investments in Cuba's nickel sector.

But Dong, the Beijing University scholar, said China's relations with Latin America are oriented largely to trade and the need to secure raw materials.

ISSUES IRRELEVANT

Issues that bedevil U.S. relations with Latin America, such as drug trafficking, the fight against terrorism and threats to democratic rule, don't hinder China's ties to countries in the region, he said.

The two sides ''don't have ideological clashes,'' he said. ``There are fewer obstacles.''

1960s CHILD

THE NEW HYBRID MALE

Two recent news items offer clues to the nagging question: What's wrong with the French

One story headlined "French men yearn for pregnancy" seems to speak for itself, n'est-ce pas?

Another, which announced the birth of a new "hybrid male," describes a creature who wants to wear pink shirts and is no longer interested in playing superhero to a wife and kids. The headline on that one was: "Move over Rambo, you're cramping new man's style."

There is one more category of the "intelligent male species", the "Metro Sexual Man". This man is a husband, a father and very much heterosexual, although he is a much more 'refined' kind of man than the "Marlboro Man" icon pretends to be. This man loves grooming to the extent of even wearing makeup when needed, his finger nails are impeccably manicured, (so are his toe nails) and he is not afraid of showing his "femenine side".

While Rambo quakes and Utero Man dreams of maternity smocks, normal people warily search for signs of sanity in the checkout line.

The French finding of maternity envy was the result of a telephone survey of more than 500 fathers, 38 percent of whom said that, science permitting, they'd like to have carried their children through the nine-month gestation. Spoken like someone who hasn't and likely won't. Obviously, women do not know how painful it is to get cut while shaving!

On the other hand, science is closing in on an artificial womb that may make gestation possible outside a woman's body. Although touted as a solution for women unable to bear children, such wombs conceivably could be made available to men who want babies without the messy complication of a female. Reminds me of the 1970 song, "In the year 2525", when all babies would be "test tube babies", all picked off a menu of options as far as genetics were concerned.

Already some feminists are concerned about the threat such wombs may pose to abortion rights. Sacha Zimmerman, writing in 2003 for The New Republic, suggested the specter of fetal extractions from unwilling "mothers" and insertion in fake, pro-life wombs. From "partial-birth abortions" to "forced gestations," the boundaries of bizarre are reliably pliable. So what's so wrong with this view? There could only be an upside to this possible new method, not a knock on pro-abortion rights as far as I can see it.

While you ponder the many applications of fake wombs in a sexually confused and politically extreme world, we note that only those who view pregnancy as burden and abortion as "choice" would fail to see the greater insult to womankind. Strapping on our Aldous Huxley, ("Brave New World") hats, we easily visualize a brave new world in which women, no longer essential to procreation, are eliminated. Way to go, men!!

Men - rage-filled by their former roles as sperm donors and human ATMs - would have a newly leveled playing field. Certain of their paternity and masters of their progeny, besides the Seinfeldian "Master of his domain" status, there would be no more abortions without consent; no more "child support" for kids they never see.

That rapping sound you hear is the sign going back up over the treehouse door: "No girls allowed." Alright, guys, no gals, no chicks, no 'femenazis' allowed!!

As Pierre and Francois are dreaming of ways to get knocked up, meanwhile, the fashion industry is predicting a new man who is, well, not quite a man. Surprise, surprise! As Jim Neighbors used to say, (funny, since he happens to be gay, LOL).

The new boysies aren't interested in "traditional male values of authority, infallibility, virility and strength," according to the French consulting firm Nelly Rodi (no kidding), which forecasts consumer trends.

These "hybrids" are looking for "a more radical affirmation" of who they are, and want to "test out all the barbarity of modern life," says Pierre Francois Le Louet, managing director of the consulting firm. "Why not put on a pink-flowered shirt and try out a partner-swapping club?"

Wait. Because normal people would think you're a loo-ser?

Le Louet revealed his predictions for the new 21st-century anti-stud last week during a fashion seminar. A photograph accompanying the story showed a lad of indeterminate age with bright-red Annie hair, sporting Peter Pan knit pants, a red-and-green-striped T-shirt, and - in a coup de couture - suspenders worn backwards for that little-boy-dressing-up-like-Daddy look.

Can't we just be little boys forever 'n' ever? Oh, that Peter Pan syndrome all over again......
The new species, which Le Louet says (might we guess breathlessly?) is emerging in Europe and the U.S., has the guts to be himself and isn't afraid of anything.

Except, of course, growing up.

It doesn't take guts to be irresponsible, as grown men know. It doesn't take courage to explore the barbarity of modern life in partner-swapping clubs. It does take guts and courage, however, to sacrifice one's delightful idiosyncrasies for the higher purpose of raising healthy, well-adjusted children. The real ones.
Alas! As for the new hybrid male, I think we've met him already. He's the lost boy of Neverland, human totem of the cult of Narcissus and Freakdom, that monument to arrested development - Michael Jackson, a pseudo-man forever trying to recapture his lost youth.

It can't be mere coincidence that his trial on charges of pedophilia - the ultimate expression of the narcissistic impulse - intersected with the birth of a postmodern man who's all boy.
Jackson was found not guilty, of course, but humanity's trials are just beginning. In a world where men want to be women - and where woman's first concern when faced with artificial wombs is that her right to terminate life may be abridged - the innocents are doomed.

So everything's well again in Neverworld, in the fantasy world of Mr. jackson No. 5.

1960s CHILD

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

THE RESULTS OF VATICAN II, A GENRATION AFTER





THE RESULTS OF VATICAN II,
A GENERATION AFTER


I will qualify the following by first stating that I am a member of the Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church.

As such, it is my duty to accept, support, and defend the changes instituted through the Second Ecumenical Council of my church, also known, (and called hereon) as Vatican II. Otherwise, I would be straying from my church, which I consider the one and true universal, or Catholic Church, akin to what Father Martin Luther did when he rebelled against the church of his day in 1540.

I believe that if changes are to be made, they must take place from within the church, not from outside, because, as genuine as Martin Luther's grievances against the church may have been, I believe that he reacted, or acted upon those grievances in a wrong and shortsighted way. He could have been an instrument for change and unification of the church, but instead became a rallying point for its division.

In principle, I should not spouse the call for changes, as the work of Vatican II was inspired by the Holy Spirit, as it has been the work of God thru the Princes of the Church, or its Bishops.

However, these Bishops, though enlightened and inspired by God, as human beings, which they were, could have interpreted some of the changes in a way different from that intended by our Lord.

We all know that throughout its 21 centuries, those entrusted with the leadership of our church have committed a multitude or errors, many of them sinful transgressions. In addition, we know that even today, the church, after having learned so many lessons and supposedly grown and matured throughout these 21 centuries, still makes mistakes, many of them shameful.
So cognizant of that, I feel that I can share my feelings about today's church without fear of being marginalized, or ostracized.

I was a child in the early to mid 1960s, but do still remember how it used to be, as I studied in a Catholic school, (De La Salle, Christian Brothers). I remember having to attend daily early morning mass, including Saturdays, since we had school Saturday mornings, and having to go to confession every Thursday. In addition, we were made to wear suits for Sunday mass, white during the spring and summer, and navy blue during the fall and winter. And we did go to Sunday mass, as the brothers were always there taking attendance week in and week out.

I fondly remember that each one of us students always carried our own personal black with golden-edged pages Missal, tattered as it was, since we used it daily, 24/7, 365 days a year. And that was a sight which we no longer see anywhere.

Religious instruction was not as much a class as it was a daily 'drilling exercise', as we were taught catechism from A to Z, with nary a subject left out. The subject matter and depth only changed as we matured enough to understand the contents.

I finished High School in 1968, just a bit after the end of Vatican II, and while its changes were still being implemented. However, as I grew up and matured I did get to study and learn more about it, giving me a perspective, which few people today have. I was, and am in a position to compare and analyze my church as it was before, during, and after Vatican II, as I have never stopped being a student, even after these forty years.

I would be less than candid if I said that I did not miss the church as it was before Vatican II. And I am in a position to have an opinion, as like I wrote before, I went to what you may today consider a strict Catholic school before, during, and after Vatican II.

I miss the solemnity of the Latin Mass, the traditions, which have been liberalized, the mysteries which we could not understand but had to accept on faith alone. Precisely, that which was not within our reach and understanding is what made the church that much more powerful and awe-inspiring.

As Catholics, we are taught to have faith. And as good Catholics, we were called to have blind faith in the church and its teachings, and there was never anything wrong with that precept.
We were taught, and we understood that we did not have the luxury, which the apostles had, having witnessed the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. We were taught to believe in what Jesus' first followers saw for themselves. We were taught to rely on our faith, and on faith alone.

Many nowadays qualify Vatican II as a necessity of modern times.

Present lay people say that the world in the 1960s was a "grown-up world," a "mature world", an "intellectually prepared world", a "world full of questions which required answers", a "skeptical world", and therefore a "world, which was ready to take on responsibilities and privileges never granted to it before".

I call that a bunch of hogwash, if you may excuse my saying so.

I do not dispute that today's men and women to an extent have grown in knowledge. However, knowledge does not equate with maturity and intellectual capacity. I dispute that today's men and women are ready intellectually, and maturely in a way to be handed so much freedom, responsibilities, and privileges. Men and women of today may know more about science, about other cultures, and I do not deny that in many other ways we are more advanced as compared to our ancestors and mothers from centuries ago. However, that does not make us necessarily ready philosophically, theologically, or even spiritually to take on religious responsibilities and authorities of such magnitude.

I know that I am in a very unpopular minority, as if I expressed these views in a parochial forum, I would for sure be shouted down by just about everyone else in the room, including the Pastor.

The biggest proof that I can submit to support my claim is precisely the dire shape in which our Church finds itself today. And I do believe that the church is indeed in pretty bad shape, mostly the result of its erosion from within, a product in my opinion of the liberalism instituted by Vatican II. Big accusations these are indeed, but I stand by them.

Yes, the church itself was in worse shape during the middle ages, during the time when Bishops and Cardinals lived like princes and had mistresses. Yet, back then the people were more religious, much more obedient, and exhibited much more faith than they do today.

So the church in the late 1950s, and early 1960s saw that society was becoming more liberal and more independent and feared that it was losing members, so it reacted in an extreme way. If some members were in disagreement over the church's pre-Vatican II way of teaching catechism and of its traditional customs, so be it. The church is not a democracy. There are no gray areas within the church, as there is only black and white, with no room to wiggle in-between. You either accept the church and all of its laws and teachings or you may opt to go elsewhere.

I prefer quality to quantity. I would much rather have a church of 500 million true believers who follow all of its laws and teachings to the letter, than one of over one billion members, most of which follow it according to their own interpretations of its laws and teachings, interpretations which are totally contrary to what Jesus intended them to be.

The church accommodated its members so as not to lose them. And I believe that the opposite effect has taken place.

In its quest to relax its structure and be seen as more "inclusive" and participatory, the church has allowed too many members to interpret its teachings and traditions any way it suits them. Therefore the term "Cafeteria Catholics."

I am not implying that the Roman Catholic Church 'changed its rules' through Vatican II. That assumption would be short of blasphemous on my part. The church, through Vatican II as its vehicle attempted to 'humanize', or make itself more accessible to its members, not just its lay members, but priests, brothers, and nuns as well. Vatican II is the instrument through which we the members of the Catholic Church have been given the ability to participate to the fullest extent possible in the celebration of the Eucharist, and not just be spectators. That is a great premise, but one which has not arrived at the desired results.

A great many of the church's members 'have not quite gotten it' and have misused Vatican II as a license to worship, or 'misworship' in my estimation, as each individual thinks is correct and acceptable not only to the church, but perhaps more to their own personal liking. And that has been the great failure, as laymen and women have used Vatican II to 'customize' Catholicism to their own taste and much worse, even their own sense of morality.

In its attempt to become more universal and appealing to the masses, the church has given way to a whole new generation of confused members who are not intellectually, or religiously prepared to understand, much less follow such changes.

Laymen and women were not in the 1960s, and are not in the present ready for such openness by their church. And I doubt that we would ever be, which is fine with me, as these liberties were never meant to be had by the people.

Too many liberal Catholics have literally taken the direction of the church into their own hands. And I even include some members of the clergy among them.

Since Martin Luther was responsible for the first schism in the Western, or Roman Catholic, church, thousands more of so-called Christian "movements" have taken form, most of which we consider Protestant, or Evangelical sects, such as the Anglicans, or Episcopalians, the Methodists, Presbyterians, Baptists, many forms of Evangelicals, Adventists and too many more sects than I could fit into several pages.

It is my contention that the modern Catholic Church, unintended as it may have been, as a result of Vatican II and of the maturation of a whole new generation born since the Ecumenical Council, is in danger of suffering another schism, or split.

And this schism, although aided by a large base of laymen and laywomen, is actually being lead by some within its own ranks of authority, including a number of liberal Bishops.

We constantly hear that in Latin America there is great discontent with Rome, as a great number of Latin American clergy, were they not consecrated members of the church, would otherwise be considered socialists due to their sociopolitical inclinations.

But nevertheless, the greatest threat, in my opinion lies right here in the United States, as millions of members, including of the clergy have not quite hidden their disagreements with Rome on quite a number of dogmatic fronts, such as the role of women in the church, celibacy, pre-marital sex, homosexuality, artificial birth control, divorce, annulments and other matters.

It is a well known fact that American Catholics in general al liberal thinking people. I hate to admit it, but most of our Protestant brothers and sisters are much more conservative than we are in matters of morality. In general, American Catholics are sexually promiscuous, practice pre-marital sex, use artificial birth control, receive the Eucharist despite being divorced, (some even divorced several times over), do not observe official Holy days, do not attend mass regularly, and in general worship as they best see fit according to their personal circumstances.

I can defend all of my contentions, support them with facts and figures, and end up with a hundred-page dissertation, but I will not dwell into that at this point.

However, I will cite just a couple of my contentions, which are eating at the fabric of our church in America.I will never accept the notion of "separation of church and state." That term is totally incongruent as far as I am concerned. You cannot lead without a conscience and a set of values as your ethical and moral core. And I am not even going into the fact that our nation was born on Judeo-Christian values.

I cannot accept American Bishops that abstain from criticizing, much less excommunicate public figures that commit and/or support mortal sins, such as many Catholic politicians do.

There is no way that anyone can convince me that Sen. Edward Kennedy from Massachusetts, a Roman Catholic does not deserve to be excommunicated for his support of "Roe Vs. Wade" and abortions on demand, including 'partial birth abortions' and of the right of minor girls to have abortions without the need of parental consent, or notification for that matter. And that is but one of Senator Kennedy's public mortal sins, as I could write a laundry list of his misdeeds, including his support of homosexuals, his adulterous live and even the manslaughter of one of his lovers.

I will never accept that a Senator's politics would not be influenced by his religious beliefs, whether Catholic, Protestant, or Jewish. How could I trust such politician? Every decision a person makes is molded by his or her moral ethics, his or her core values. And a person's ethics and values are a product of his or her faith.

If you tell me that you can vote on issues of national importance while setting your faith and values aside, you are telling me that you are a phony and a liar. That politician does not have his or her priorities straight, and thus is not to be trusted.

I have my priorities straight, and I believe that everyone's priorities should be the same: 1. God, 2. Family, 3. Country, 4. Work. How could they be anything different? How could you place anything else before God? Even Jesus tells us in the Gospels that we should be ready to leave our fathers and mothers, and our loved ones to follow Him. How could you not love your family more that anything else, except for God? How could your father, mother, wife, husband, daughter, or son not be more important than your country or your job? If you do not love your family, it means you have no heart. And how can you be so materialistic as to love work over your own country? Work is only a means for obtaining the bare necessities in life, like food and shelter, but it is not something to be defended as your own country is.

So I see what is taking place in America and I fear that possibly within my own lifetime there will be another schism within our church, a split between the American Catholic Church and Rome, a liberal American Catholic Church, and a conservative and traditional, true to The Word of God Rome.

And, although unintended, it is a byproduct of Vatican II, as Vat. II has liberalized the church to the point of irresponsibility and confusion among its people. Men and women are customizing their church and its teachings to their own convenience and are getting away with it.

Even in the 21st century, as modern and studied as we are, we are neither intellectually, nor spiritually equipped to take the church into our own hands, as it seems that we are doing.

No, we are not the 'proverbial lemmings' that can be lead to the edge of the cliff and beyond. We are not children. But we are still the sheep that the Lord, our Shepherd must still guide with a firm hand.

We need the structure, the traditions, the mysteries, the mysticism, all which made the church more than just the building I used to visit when I was a child. The church then, as now, was the House of God, and I liked it that way, and it felt awful comfortable that way.

Even the modern edifices take away from what used to make our church so much more special. A church used to be a grand building, an edifice that felt holy throughout, a place that really inspired you to kneel and pray. You walk into a modern church and you find empty walls, a bare altar and a tabernacle stuck in a corner that looks almost like a breadbox. Churches were so solemn that you would only whisper if it was necessary to say something, whereas in today's churches people engage in common conversations out loud while waiting for the mass to begin.

Men and women, out of respect would wear clothing, which covered most of their body, and even wore their Sunday best. Now you have men walking in wearing shorts and flip-flops, and women showing their navel, if not also wearing short shorts as well.

I actually blame the Pastors for this. I do not care if people are embarrassed publicly, as they only bring it upon themselves, but I would forbid these men and women from stepping into the church.

Perhaps Pope John XXIII had something else in mind when he convened Vatican II, and Pope Paul VI may have diverted from that original mission.

I believe in a strictly centralized church, where Rome, or the Pope for that matter makes all decisions and guides us from there as the only direct descendant of St. Peter, which he is.

If I wanted a decentralized church, or a liberalized church where one community can worship differently from another, and where the concepts of right vs. wrong may be interpreted differently, then I have thousands of Protestant denominations, which I could join.

Or better yet, I could even convert to Judaism, Christ's own religion.

However,

I do believe in Vatican II, and as I read the documents further, I can only realize how wonderfully and brilliantly they have been crafted.

These documents are nothing short of the blueprint for how the modern Catholic Church should be conducted.

Actually, that relates directly to what I have been trying to say.

I am not trying to portray myself as an intellectual, much less a theologian or philosopher. However, I can speak from the perspective of a person that has been instructed and has studied much more than your average Catholic man or woman.

Not only have I been schooled within the Catholic system, but once graduated I have continued to learn and thereby comprehend that much more about my church than the average lay person.

I have always been involved within my parish in a myriad of ministries. I have studied both the Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and I am still studying the Bible, (Bible courses every Wednesday) while still reading it daily on my own.

I believe that there are many Catholics out there just like me, many of them much more advanced than me in their knowledge of our religion. However, I am afraid that we are only a small minority within our church. I not just believe, but know that most so-called 'Roman Catholics' know very little about our church, its canon law, its precepts, and in general its laws.

"Ignorance is the cause of evil." We have heard that statement forever. I will add to that: A little knowledge is very dangerous.We can take care of the 'ignorant' by proselytizing, or evangelizing them. And while ignorant they do not pose any danger to the church, other than the unfortunate possibility of being converted by other Christian sects, but they are in no position to threaten the foundation of our church.

However, those that do know a little tend to believe that they know a lot, or that they know enough. Those are the Catholics, which we must be afraid of, as they are the 'modern Catholics' who threaten to change the church from within.

These men and women were not raised prior to Vatican II, and have not studied its sixteen documents, either, much less the updated Catechism of the Church. These men and women have taken many unintended liberties and have the audacity of believing that they know everything there is to know, and therefore know what is best for the Church.

These are the men and women which I fear like I fear Satan himself. They pose the greatest present threat to our Church, as they intend to forge forward with their modernistic and liberal ideas and split the church once again.

Just this week I have come across three news items, which are of note, and in a way, illustrate and corroborate my fears.

1. "Gay Priest Nominees May Be Rejected," Miami Herald, Tuesday, 9/13/05

"……..Roman Catholics await word of a much-anticipated Vatican document on whether homosexuals should be barred from the priesthood".

Without going into details, or pro vs. con arguments, it is my opinion that this is a subject that needs no "much-anticipated Vatican document." I mean, hasn't that subject been covered enough already? Isn't it already clear that homosexuals cannot become priests? What more is there to discuss? We all know that Pope John Paul II very clearly made it known that gays cannot become priests, so why should the subject be revisited?

However, it is true that many gays here in the US are waiting for word on whether they can become priests or not, or word that they can 'come out from the closet' without fear of reprisals.

And please, before you say so, I will tell you that there is no such thing as a celibate homosexual priest. That is like saying that there can be a normal behaving schizophrenic priest.I for one know an openly homosexual and promiscuous man who became a priest here in South Florida. He is the nephew of a good friend of mine.

This man at first became a ballet dancer and danced with the ABC Ballet Company in New York, where he lead a very open homosexual lifestyle. After several years he decided to enter the seminary, (his family is very religious). He presently works for the archdiocese and I have seen him at the side of Archbishop Favalora during ceremonies as one of His Excellency's aides.

I have often wanted to write to the Archdiocese about this person, but restrained myself because I did not wish to cause any more scandals than the Church is already going through.

In addition, in the published comments of one layperson lies the threat to the Church: "Debbie Weill, executive director of DignityUSA, which represents gay and lesbian Catholics, (what an oxymoron!) accused Bishops of 'scapegoating' gays to divert attention from the failure of the church leaders to protect children.

Would you consider Ms. Weill as a Roman Catholic in good standing and in communion with the Church?

This is a woman with a little knowledge of our Church and has taken it upon herself on becoming a leader, one that threatens the fabric of our Church in America.

2. "Survey: Half Of Teens Have Tried Oral Sex". M. Herald, Friday, 9/16/05

"Slightly more than half of American teenagers, ages 15 to 19, have engaged in oral sex,'………….'the figure increases to about 70 percent of 18 and 19-year-olds."

And this article is written in a very positive light, as it goes on to say that, the survey "offers one more sign that young women are more sexually confident than they used to be." "The data also underscore the fact that, unlike their parents' generation, many young people - particularly those from middle - and upper-income white families - do not consider oral sex a big deal."

As a major reason the article surmises that young people, "When they weigh the advantages and disadvantages of intercourse vs. other forms of sex, they decide that they are far more at risk with intercourse, both because of pregnancy and the greater risk of disease".

In other words, children are practicing 'abstinence' from intercourse not for moral or religious reasons, but because they fear pregnancy, which of course would in most cases lead to abortion, or the risk of getting a sexually transmitted disease from their sex partner. Besides, in the meantime, to them oral sex seems like a pretty good alternative.

It is a safe bet that a good chunk of those surveyed that admitted to having oral sex are Catholics, or come from Catholic families.

This is a direct result of the lax morality that is being taught to our children, both at home and at school.

When I try to teach the 13 and 14-year-old children I teach catechism to the concept of abstinence, they look at me as if I came from another planet, as if I was nuts. They plainly, without any fear jump out and say that there is no way that they are going to wait until they marry to have sex for the first time. Try to convince them otherwise while living in a society where a president engaged in oral sex and taught a nation that oral sex is not considered having sex! Try teaching abstinence in a society where condoms are handed out to High School students as if they were candy, so that they do not contract any sexually transmitted disease, therefore condoning, if not encouraging having sex before marriage!

This is the new generation that will affront the Vatican when Pope Benedict XVI, or the Pope that follows him attempts to tell them what they can and what they cannot do sexually.

This generation, along with their parents does present a grave threat to the Church in the US.

3. "Same Sex Encounters Up", Miami Herald, Friday, 9/16/05

"More women - particularly those in their late teens and 20s - are experimenting with bisexuality or at least feel more comfortable reporting same-sex encounters, according to a new report from the Center for Disease Control."

"……the CDC found that 11.5 percent of women, ages 18 to 44 , said they've had at least one sexual experience with another woman in their lifetimes'……'for women in their late teens and 20s, the percentage rose to 14 percent……."

The article goes on to say that in College, having same-sex relations is "a rite of passage', and the bisexual label has become a 'badge of courage.'What are these women, some of which must be Catholic, going to teach their children? Is it going to be just another casual subject, or one of little preoccupation for future mothers, like those women, (and men) nowadays that think nothing of receiving the Eucharist, even though they are not in good standing with the Church, including being divorced?

These are women, and men who think they know all there is to know about the Catholic Church. They believe that many of our teachings, including those formulated during and post Vatican II, are outdated, and believe that the Church is "out of touch" with the people. They believe that they know better, just because the Church gave them more of a say, which they have taken as a license to mold the Church to their liking.

These people withdrew from Vatican II only what they felt addressed their own inclinations and needs, while ignoring everything else that ran counter to their idea of how the Catholic Church, and therefore their own lives were to be run. They are taking that knowledge as credentials to decide right from wrong, with the end result becoming a sword with which they are threatening to rip the Church to pieces.

Common wisdom alleges that today's morality is but a reflection of modern society, and of course, Catholics make up part of such society.

I say that the opposite may be quite true: Today's society is a reflection of modern morality, or lack thereof.

Moral standards have eroded increasingly over the last forty years, which encompass the post-Vatican II generation. It hit a new low during the Bill Clinton administration, during which, in order to deflect criticism and scandal over its low sense of morality, the bar on moral standards was radically lowered in the public arena by the liberal media and those that took pleasure in further damaging our church.

We must try to reach out to the Catholic community to bring them back 'into the fold' of the Church and re-set them on the proper path to salvation, as otherwise we will lose them, as we already have lost so many.

Once, after we have saved our own brothers and sisters, we must pray and work hard so that their example will influence their children and grandchildren, and therefore the rest of society.

60s Child

GOD HAS PROVIDED US WITH THE TOOLS FOR US TO HELP OURSELVES AND OTHERS


GOD HAS PROVIDED US WITH THE TOOLS
FOR US TO HELP OURSELVES AND OTHERS

As I watched on TV the devastation that Hurricanes Katrina and Rita caused all over the gulf coast, particularly in New Orleans, where there were people standing on the roofs of buildings waiting for someone to rescue them, I could not help but remember an old story that many priests use now and then during their homilies. I will adapt it to the present situation in New Orleans:

A New Orleans family climbed on top of the roof of their home as the hurricane storm surge kept rising, to the point where the waters covered their home and unfortunately washed them away. As they arrived in Heaven, they asked The Lord, "My Lord, didn't you hear our prayers pleading for you to save us from the raging waters"? The Lord replied, "Of course I did hear you, and I did try to save you." "But you did not take us to safe ground or make the waters recede so that we didn't have to drown,' 'so what did you do to help us, as you say you did, Lord?" So The Lord replied: "Didn't the Head of Emergency Management warn you on TV and radio that those that did not evacuate the city would likely drown during the storm?' ' Didn't the Mayor of New Orleans also plead with all citizens to abandon everything and drive away to safer grounds'? 'Didn't Louisiana's governor also sternly tell you to flee as fast as you could?' 'And didn't you hear the police scream through loudspeakers imploring for everyone to leave the city?' 'Didn't the National Guard also drive through your neighborhood picking up those citizens that were still astray, in order to take them to a safe shelter?' 'So what else did you expect me to do in order to save you from this terrible storm?' 'How many more warnings did you need before you heeded their advice?' I tried to help you, but you just would not listen.

Moral of the story: God will hear your cry, and God will help you, though not necessarily in the fashion you expect him to do so. God will not send angelic lifeguards down from Heaven to save those in peril of drowning. He will not send angels with wings to pick you off from the roof of a burning building. However, God helps those that help themselves. God will not give us necessarily what we want or expect from Him. He will grant us just what we need. Moreover, there is a great difference here, which we as Christians must realize. God is not an ATM machine from which by choice we can extract whatever we need, or a Coke machine, which will give us a choice of refreshments by just depositing .75 cents.

God has given us humans the use of reason. We are the chosen ones among His creations. As beautiful as nature is, as splendid as rivers and mountains look, as exotic and magnificent as beasts are, we humans are still His best creation, because we were made in His image. And not just that, he also gave us a large enough brain which enables us to reason, enables us to think things over, enables us to tell right from wrong. Moreover, He has done so with a purpose, with the purpose that we have the choice of accepting Him as our Father, and His son Jesus Christ as our savior, or the choice of rejecting Him altogether.

He has provided us with the necessary tools, talents and ability to process information in order to make choices; not His choices, but our choices. And depending on the choices we make, we will either gain entrance into eternal bliss in Heaven, or we will be cast into eternal pain and oblivion in the depths of Hell.

Yes, God does have a plan for each of us. But that is where the mystery lies and where faith takes hold. We cannot just stand still and let God tell us what to do. We cannot just sit in the middle of a road and assume that we will not be struck by a passing vehicle just because we feel that God intends for us to live longer. That is where the tools He has given us come into play. That is where the use of reason, the use of our brain comes into play. As much as God has a plan for all of us, within that plan He has allowed for us to have the ability to make choices, and how we use that ability throughout our lives will depend how we are judged once we complete our so-short journey on this earth.

I mentioned "mystery," because as much as God has given us, He has not given us the knowledge, or ability to comprehend everything that God is all about. Those answers await us only in the end of days.

We know that there is God, the Father, creator of Heaven, the universe, and earth. He rules over everything and there is no power mightier than His. He is our Lord and Master, the "Great Spirit in the sky," as the 60s song goes.

We know that there is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who God sent down to live among us, feel like us, suffer like us, and sacrifice himself for us. For Jesus' mission on earth was two-fold.

Jesus had to first fulfill the ancient scriptures, as the true Messiah, or "Redeemer." He was born of the Virgin Mary, became man, was tortured, crucified, and therefore died for us, for the redemption of the original sin, and to thus enable the faithful to enter into His kingdom in Heaven. He would not have it any other way, for that's as it was written, so He had to follow through, just as we had been told through many generations before him.

But Jesus also had the mission of establishing His ministry on earth and therefore had to set the example for us humans that He, the very son of God, the manifestation of God in a human body, was willing to die for His faith, thus setting the guidelines for our church and his disciples to build upon through His teachings and His sacrifice.

In addition, He proved to us that He was both the Son of God, and the founder of our church by rising from the dead and making believers of everyone that saw him.

And then we know about the Holy Spirit, the greatest mystery of all. I cannot explain it, for I am not supposed to be able to. If St. Augustine could not come up with an answer, how could I? However, however, that's where faith comes in, and through our faith in God the Father, and in Jesus Christ, His son, we also come to believe in the Holy Spirit. The closest I can come to a description is that the Holy Spirit is the fire within our souls, within our heart that burns nonstop while keeping the flame of our Christian faith alive.

As saints which they were, and as much as they suffered themselves in martyrdom, Jesus' disciples had it pretty easy. They did not have to rely on faith alone as we do, for they witnessed the ministry, the death, and the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. Much more, they received at Pentecost the Holy Spirit and experienced its flaming tongues as they pierced their hearts with the brand that finally sealed their faith forever.

So I mentioned mystery, followed by faith. We will learn the mystery of the Holy Trinity upon our admission into Heaven. In the meantime, if we do want to be among those that do gain admission into Heaven, we must have faith, must feel faith, and must practice faith.

We cannot just sit still and say that we "have faith in God," and have nothing to show for it. That is not enough and is disingenuous even to us mere mortals, so you can figure that God can 'see right through you' and be able to measure your true faith.

The faithful are active ministers of the church. As I said, God has given each of us special tools, which we can, and must use to glorify Him. No two humans are made alike, so therefore no two humans possess the same God-given tools, which He has given us to not just pay homage to Him, but to spread His Word as well.

Not all of us are meant to be Popes, or Bishops, or priests, or monks, or nuns, or even deacons of the church.

However, as it says in the first document of 16 which emerged from the Second Vatican Council of the Catholic Church, "Dogmatic Constitution On The Church", ("Lumen Gentium."): "The Holy Spirit guides the church in the way of all truth and, uniting it in fellowship and ministry, bestows upon it different hierarchic and charismatic gifts, and in this way directs it and adorns it with his fruits'………'Hence the universal church is seem to be a people made one by the unity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.'"

That one paragraph says it all. We are all, from the poorest single lay person that cleans the Sacristy, all the way up to the Pope, one and the same, as one cannot exist without the other, and together we all form the one body which is our church.

We are stewards of gifts given to us by God. Those gifts are our talents, and we must use them as ministers of our church, lest our lives be endured in total vain, which is nothing else but a sin.

We can be ushers during weekly masses; we can be Eucharistic ministers, lectors, members of the choir, altar persons, all noble ministries attached to the celebration of the Eucharist. We can also exercise our ministry as active members of the Cursillo movement, the Emmaus movement, Knights of Columbus, Fishers of Men, (Pescadores de Hombres), the Legion of Mary, as teachers of Catechism to children unable to attend parochial schools, youth ministries, members of the Society of St. Vincent De Paul, or a myriad of other groups and ways through which we can utilize the tools which God has bestowed upon us. The 'proverbial' sky is the limit as to how many and how many different ways we can help the church and our fellow brothers and sisters.

All ministries are good. No one ministry is better than another, as there is no such thing as a hierarchy in lay ministries. As written in the parable of the old and very poor woman: To God, one person's last penny given as charity is just as valuable as a rich person's thousands of dollars.

We must participate, just be active, just give of ourselves and of our God-given talents. We must be 'heralds of the Good News', while being examples to others, which may follow our lead.

We cannot wait for God to come to our rescue whenever we find ourselves in trouble. He has given us the means and the tools to help ourselves, and help others already. All we have to do is pick up those tools and get to work.

60s Child

Saturday, September 24, 2005

WOMEN AND THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH




WOMEN AND THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH


I admire, support and look up to the millions of women who help run the Catholic Church, particularly at the local parish and parochial school levels.

Women should be given, and be encouraged to take advantage of every opportunity to serve our church, either administratively, as leaders of ministries, as members of ministries, and as valuable individuals who can spread the Gospel and spread the word of our Lord.

There is no job within our church that women should not be able to do, and do just as well, if not better than many men. However, women's involvement in the Catholic Church should fall just short of becoming Deacons or Priests.

Our Church has endured for 2,000 years without allowing women to take up the priesthood, and there is no reason whatsoever why it should change. It is Church dogma, Church doctrine that only men can be ordained as Deacons or as Priests. These precepts have been edged in stone and we cannot allow modern and liberal so-called "progressive thinkers" to change our holy traditions.

People that believe that Pope Benedict XVI, just because he sits on St. Peter's chair has the right and power to change our doctrines. That is absolutely wrong and those who bellieve so are totally misguided in their thinking. The Pope's mission is precisely to defend our church, its doctrines, dogmas and traditions.

Ours is not a "cafeteria church" where individuals can just pick and choose what they like and pretend to be law-abiding Catholics. There are no gray areas in our doctrine, only black or white, and the ordination of women as deacons and priests is absolutely prohibited.

If a woman should still disagree with this, they can join the Episcopalian Church, the Protestant sect most similar to the Catholic Church, where they do ordain women, (even lesbians), or they can join any of several other denominations that do ordain women, such as the Methodists.

Do we run the risk of losing members of our church to other Christian denominations? The church wishes them well if they do abandon us. Our church has 1.1 billion Catholics, if it shrinks because of its stance on women ordination, (or the subject of priest marriage for that matter), we will end up becoming a much stronger church. We would much rather have a smaller church made up of totally devoted believers than a large church were some of its members decide on worshiping in a different way from what our chatechism has taught us.

Again, I love that women are involved in our church, and I wish that more would do so, as we want total inclusion, but not as deacons or priests.

In lay terms, "if you do not like the rules of our club, you can always join anotherone to your liking".



THE BIBLE AND MARRIAGE

You may not know it, but recently, the Church celebrated Marriage Month. I can understand if some of you might now be saying, "so who cares?", the "some of you" of course being men, naturally.

Other than you guys out there, there is an important segment of our society that is also ignoring 'Marriage Month", as its observance would be anathema to their militant feminist agendas. I refer to leading academic and media institutions, captive to feminism, who are not about to provide much guidance on how to build strong marriages, much less offer their definition of such. However, let's set aside the 'Femenazis' for a while and take this discussion to another level, the common every day Christian male, who will like most people, even those wed in a church, not take the time to see what the Bible actually says about marriage.

Before I go any further, I must let you know that I consider myself a feminist. No, I do not belong to the National Organization for Women, which is mostly made up of ugly women who can't get a date, men haters, their 'masculine-leaning' sisters, and other poorly misguided and weak-minded ladies.

To me, a true feminist is an individual, whether male of female who believes that women are the equals to men in all societal aspects and intellect, to the point where I truly believe that there is nothing a man can do or achieve that a woman cannot do it just as well, and in some cases even better. You say men are stronger physically, and I respond that women are more pragmatic and patiently utilize their neurons in a way to overcome those slight shortcomings, eventually achieving the same results as men. They just analyze and solve problems in a different way than men do, with the end results being just as effective.
I happen to have two grown-up daughters and could not be any more proud of their achievements in the face of many difficulties. My oldest daughter overcame Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis and Dyslexia to become a great students and athlete, to the point where she is currently a teacher at a prestigious high school, while also being the varsity soccer coach.
My youngest overcame a debilitating and at times life-threatening intestinal disorder to attain "honors status" at her school and she is already setting her sights on becoming a businesswoman.

I recently wrote about the role of women in combat and I believe I defended quite well women's right and ability to be in the front lines along with the men.

Getting back to the role of the media and academia, (favorite punching bags of mine both) in discussing the role of marriage, and I find it a shame that their liberal bias leads them to opt out from discussing "the nuclear family", or the institution of marriage per se, because humanity's oldest research tool, the Bible clearly shows the error both of feminists who claim no differences between men and women, and of sexual segregationists who argue that women are to be concerned only with marriage and motherhood. I have often heard some neanderthal men say, "a wife's role is to be at home cooking, while barefoot and pregnant." Talk about two extremes of the marriage argument!

Look at the evidence: In chapter two of Genesis, God gives Eve to Adam as an intellectual and physical helpmate. Simple: Man could not make it in this world without the help and input of a female mate. The fact that it was Eve that screwed things up in the Garden of Eden has nothing to do with this. Eve made a choice, a bad one, but a choice nevertheless. Adam must have been ticked-off at losing his rent-free piece of paradise because of what his wife did, but he didn't divorce her or beat her up. He stayed with her because he knew he could not go on alone in a new and evil world. He needed her companionship and her help, both physical and intellectual. And the sex wasn't bad, either, but that's another story.....

In chapter 31 of Proverbs, the ideal wife is dedicated to her marriage and family but at various times also buys real estate, plants a vineyard, runs businesses and helps the poor. The wife as a decision maker, a businesswoman!

In chapter 16 of Acts, the merchant Lydia becomes a key convert. The Bible overall is skewed towards male dominance, i.e.: the twelve apostles. But remember that the Bible, though inspired by God still was written by the hand of a male, during times when "machismo" was more institutionalized than ever. Nevertheless, Lydia is still written about and glowingly, just as was Sarah, Elizabeth, Mary and Mary Magdalene later on. After all, Mary did give birth to the son of God and we are reminded of it in the New Testament over and over, so as not to lose sight of this saintly woman's contribution to the church.

No verse or chapter in the Bible should be taken in isolation -- it's vital to read through the Bible to get a sense of the whole. One chapter I've found instructive is chapter four of Judges, where Israel's General Barak balks at obeying God's call to battle. Barak does not feel strong enough to carry out God's command unless the prophetess Deborah, a woman, goes with him. Deborah, in turn, tells Barak that the honor for the coming victory will go to a woman. Ha! Not only was Deborah a "prophetess", but a strong-willed woman as well, a woman many men depended upon.
That's exactly what happens. Some condemn Barak for not readily obeying God, but in chapter 11 of Hebrews, he is still listed on the roll of honor: Although not quick to trust God and take leadership, he had the wisdom to listen to a wise woman. There you go, girl!

Men go wrong, biblically, by either giving up or by being arrogant, either by running from God-given functions or refusing to hear what women have to say. In chapter 25 of the first book of Samuel, Abigail knows that her husband, Nabal, is a fool. When she acts to save her whole household, David tells her, "May you be blessed for your good judgment." Meaning: Listen to your women before rushing to act, lest you be made a fool of!

Today, many Christian men believe woman should be co-leaders in everything. That leaves many men feeling emasculated and many women wishing that guys would step up and make a decision, already. It does not make you any less of a man by bouncing thoughts and opinions off your wife.
Other men go to the opposite extreme and assert that married women should not even be studying the Bible by themselves or in groups with other women -- they should be taught only by their husbands. That's the "barefoot and pregnant" sect. Many Protestants do act this way. The more conservative and arrogant the sect, the more women are relegated to minor roles. You have the Amish, the Quakers, the Mormons, and even the Baptists who feel this way.

Here's what seems to me to be biblical: Everyone, male or female, should be told, "Be all that you can be," just like the Army slogan says, but what most of us can happily be depends on the way we are made -- and God knows our frames.

He knows, because He made us, that men and women are complementary in nature. He knows how hard it is for most mothers with young children to go out to work. He knows, because He made us, that men are typically more aggressive and women are typically more nurturing, (which I must insist is not a weakness). Which is not at all bad. It is as should be, a partnership of two equals, although with different and complementary talents.

The complementarian rather than egalitarian position in male-female relations has many implications. Today, unless women gain jobs and athletic scholarships commensurate with their percentage of the population, 'femenazis' scream discrimination. Viewed biblically, however, occupational differences in male-female ratios seem less a function of bias than of biology, the way God made us.

I may seem to contradict myself, since at the beginning I did state that a woman can do anything a man can. It still holds water with the believers of the "nuclear family", the believers of holy matrimony.
Christian household has a father, a mother, (man and wife), children that must be raised in a Christian manner, a mortgage and many other aspects that need to be addressed, either by the husband, the wife, or by both in unison. How they split the chores is strictly up to the "partnership" in a way that both heads of the household feel comfortable with.

I do not denigrate the role of the housewife, home maker, or stay-at-home mom. Hers is a job just as hard, as physically and mentally consuming as that of her husband. Heck, were housewives to be paid an hourly wage, they would end up making more money than their husband counterparts, because of the time, talent and intellect which the housewife has to spend in order to run a household in the absence of a husband, who more than likely gets home late, tired and unwilling to lift a finger to do anything other than to hold the fork he eats his dinner with. Were a husband to pull his share of the weight of leading a home, he would not punch his clock at 5 or 6 PM, he would pull-up side by side with his wife and share the reins or the home for the remaining four of five hours still left in the household schedule of chores, before going to bed, which includes of course spending quality time with the children and setting a good Christian example for them to follow when it becomes their turn to create their own homes.

His wife began her "work day" when the alarm clock went off, perhaps at 6 AM, and her work day never ends until she goes back to bed a good 16 hours later. Many husbands believe that the 8 to 10 hours they put in at the office complete their part of the bargain. Nope! They may be awful tired by the time they get home. News flash!: His wife hasn't exactly spent the day by the pool sunning herself!

Men and women married this month should learn that God's word is clear. The Bible is colorblind, although gender-conscious, but gender-equal and fair as well, and right from the beginning. Chapter one of Genesis tells us that "God created mankind in his own image" and that "male and female he created them." What God has established, let no one destroy.
1960s Child.

Friday, September 23, 2005

WHY LATIN AMERICA COULD NEVER ASPIRE TO LEAVE ITS THIRD WORLD STATUS

" The More We Learn,
The More We Realize Just How Little We Know,
And How Much There Is Still To Be Learned" __________________________________________________________________


WHY LATIN AMERICA COULD NEVER ASPIRE
TO LEAVE ITS THIRD WORLD STATUS


You may ask any typical citizen in any Latin American nation why it is that their country has existed in an eternal quagmire of misery, poverty and overall cultural, industrial and technological backwardness, and the first thing they will tell you is that it has all been the fault of the 'Gringos', or as we know them here, the Americans.

Being on the short end of the economic spectrum, they blame Capitalism, American style for their woes and inability to improve their economic lot.

Foremost, of course is Cuba. Fidel Castro has ruled Cuba for 46 years and during each and everyone of those years, he has blamed the U.S. for his country's continuos economic disaster. No-matter than in 1959, before Castro overthrew the regime of Fulgencio Batista, Cuba enjoyed the highest living standard of all Latin American nations, it had a thriving and growing middle class, and the Cuban 'Peso' was considered on par with the U.S. dollar. As a matter of fact, Cubans used to purchase their everyday goods using both Dollars and Pesos as if they were one and the same, as mens' pockets carried both quarters and 'pesetas' as much as their billfolds would carry Dollars and Pesos.

Fidel has all along blamed the U.S. economic embargo of the island for the sad state of his economy. I often wonder how arrogant could we all be to believe that withdrawing American trade from Cuba would lead it to economic failure and widespread hunger on the island. We Americans are an economic superpower, but we definitelly are not THE ONLY economic power on the face of the earth. Do we actually believe that Cuba could not have switched its trading reliance from the U.S. to other industrialized nations, such as Canada, Japan or Europe?

But it serves Castro very well to blame the U.S. for all of his shortcomings. The best thing that could have ever happened to his revolution has precicely been the U.S. economic embargo, without which he might have not lasted in power ten years at the most, as the failure of his Communist economic model, (a la U.S.S.R. and other Iron Curtain nations), would have exploded right on his face, exposing the sorry incompetence of his economic policies, thus forcing him out of power.

But the U.S. has always been the scapegoat of every Latin American nation looking for a culprit for their chronic domestic problems.

In almost all of Latin America the same perceptions abound, to a greater or lesser degree. They are usually repeated in university classrooms, read in the newspapers and spoken by many politicians and even religious leaders.

Reality, moreover, seems to confirm such perceptions. If half of the population of Latin America is miserable and lives in mud and tin shacks, in societies organized as self-described capitalist democracies, it is natural that a good many people think that the model doesn't work. That is why neither populism nor antidemocratic attitudes fade away. Why defend what apparently has failed?
In Latin America, both the market economy and democracy are misunderstood. For a country to create wealth and surpluses on a permanent basis, the right to create private enterprises and own property is not enough.

Nor does the existence of periodic elections and parliaments guarantee the proper functioning of institutions. In Ecuador and Bolivia, the people vote and the legislators meet, but the republican structure -- the three powers that balance each other and act as counterweights -- is not capable of maintaining order and guaranteeing the citizens' peace and security.

Sometimes there is even the impression that the conflicting concurrence of these three powers becomes a major obstacle to tranquil coexistence in those countries.

Theoretically, Switzerland and Paraguay both subscribe to the same economic and political models, but those models work very well in Switzerland and very badly in Paraguay. The problem, then, is not in the theoretical model but in the way that it's applied.

Or worse yet, and this is my firm belief, the mind-set of Latinos has never been, nor will it ever be up to par with that of the industrialized world, like the U.S., Canada, Japan, and Europe. It is a mindset that has been inbread into the collective psyche of the Latinos and has been carried over from generation to generation for over 200 years.

North and South America were colonized at the same time, some 430 years ago or so. However, North America was colonized by a different breed of Europeans than Latin America was. The Europeans that colonized and also emigrated to the U.S. came from 'enlightened' countries, countries where democracy was already in its infancy and growing fast, countries were people respected the rule of law, and countries were people were used to working hard for a living.
Without going into details, since we embarrasingly know them too well, the same could not be said of those who colonized and emigrated to Latin America.

Further, and this may get me into trouble, but I strongly believe it: For better or for worse, the Europeans who colonized and emigrated into North America did not interbreed either with the slaves, nor with the native American indians. Those who colonized Latin America did interbreed with the slaves and with the natives.

I am not saying that one race is better than the other. What I am saying is that the European culture, know-how and work ethic were passed on to their American children, grandchildren and so forth, whereas in Latin America such mindset was vastly 'diluted' as different mentalities and attitudes meshed with one another.

Case in point: The U.S. gained its independence in the late 1700s, remained unified as one nation and at once became a world economic and industrial power, besides being a champion of democracy.

Latin America gained its independence at about the same time, the colonies became fractured and from the very start the new nations lived through one political crisis after another. The great Simon Bolivar tried to unify the colonies into one great nation, and greed and corruption gave way to its breakup, Bolivar having the distinction of being the first Latin American leader of many to follow, to be deposed. And the Spaniards, in contrast to the English, did not establish enduring economic entities in its colonies, leaving behind a pseudo-feudal system. In other words, Latin America upon its independence from Spain automatically gained 'Third World' status, while its neighbor to the north, the U.S. was on an equal economic and intellectual level with Europe.
I am Hispanic and it pains me to admit this, but it is the undeniable truth.

Going back to the comparison between modern Switzerland and modern Paraguay: In Switzerland, the rule of law is reliable, politicians and citizens obey the law, people have the right to reasonably fair trials, universities teach and carry out research, enterprises grow and invest, labor unions don't press absurd demands and diverse ethnic communities -- though they don't necessarily love each other deeply -- don't aim to demolish the state. It has been thus for a long time (at least since 1848), which has provided sustained Swiss growth and the rewarding certainty that tomorrow will always be better than today.

In Paraguay, instead . . . but why repeat what we all know? A third world outpost.
How do we ensure that the happy combination of market and democracy will eventually produce in Latin America the same fruit that it has produced in countries such as Holland, Denmark, Ireland and even modern Spain and Portugal?

The answer may lie in the Chilean experience, or the Spanish experience after Franco's death. It all begins with forging a clear consensus within the largest segment of the sensible ruling class, to the right and left of the political span.
consensus involves an agreement based on the preservation of the four basic pillars of the system, just as they exist in the most successful nations on the planet:

• Respect for the rule of law
• Democracy as a method to make collective decisions (that cannot violate individual rights).
• Private property and market (instead of statism and planning).
• An opening to the exterior, for the purpose of interrelating decisively with the First World in the fields of finance, technology and trade.

I will add one fifth element: The end of corruption as a normal, and tolerated way of doing business, both in the public and private sectors.
You may say, "Hold on, there is a degree of corruption right here in the U.S.!" And I will reply that yes, there is a degree of corruption here in this nation, but not as much greed, as though money may exchange hands, things do get done, roads are built, schools are built, the nation forges forward. In Latin America corruption money goes into pockets and into off-shore bank accounts, where in this country corruption money remains within the economy and thus gets spent on goods and services. That in itself is quite a difference. And again, it goes back to the theory of the different cultures and mindsets that separates the U.S. from Latin America.

I am afraid that I think the way I do now after having lived here for 40 years and after having studied within the American system, so the culture has rubbed off on me. Had I remained in Latin America, I am sure that I would be expressing myself quite differently, like blaming the Gringos for all of my problems.
60s Child


REPARATIONS FOR AFRICAN-AMERICANS, ARE YOU KIDDIN'?

" The More We Learn,
The More We Realize Just How Little We Know,
And How Much There Is Still To Be Learned "

REPARATIONS


Spearheaded by the N.A.A.C.P., African-Americans are demanding monetary 'reparations' from each and every American company that utilized slave-labor over 140 years ago. They are investigating all companies, or corporations in existence today that may, in any shape or form, be linked to any company or corporation which operated during America's pre-civil war history, up to 1865, when slaves were set free by President Abraham Lincoln.
Let me explain it with the following illustration.

Let's assume that company "A, Inc.", in existence back in 1864, owned slaves back when it was legal to own them, (inhumane and immoral, but legal nevertheless!!).

Then company "B, Inc.", which never owned slaves merged with company "A, Inc.", in 1875, becoming company "A-B, Inc.".

Then company "C, Inc.", which never owned slaves, either acquires company "A-B, Inc." in 1897 and together they become a much bigger company "C, Inc.".

Then, in 1910, company "C, Inc." decides to spin-off, (sell) its subsidiaries, which used to be companies "A" and "B".

Company "D, Inc." acquires company "A", and company "E, Inc." acquires company "B". Companies "D" and "E" didn't even exist back in 1865.

According to the N.A.A.C.P., not just company "A", which did own slaves, although over 140 years ago, but also company "B", which never owned slaves, but at one time was associated with company "A", plus company "C", which never owned slaves, either, but at one time in the past owned both "A" and "B", way after the slaves had been freed, plus companies "D" and "E", which did not exist in 1865 but later on acquired companies "A" and "B" from company "C", I repeat, according to the N.A.A.C.P., all five companies must pay reparations to the African-American community, because in one way or another all are linked to the ownership of slaves.
Even though neither companies "B", "C", "D", or "E" ever owned slaves, because somehow they were connected to company "A", which did own slaves, (although legally I must again insist), sometime in the past, they are "passive partners" of "A", and thus just as responsible for taking part in the slave trade in pre-civil war America.

The N.A.A.C.P. and other African-American groups are serious about this to the point that they have already managed to persuade several cities to pass laws prohibiting those cities from doing business with companies that somehow have ties to slave owners from 140 years ago, or before. How can they do business with the cities? By paying reparations to the African-American community.
this is not a "shake-down", then what is?

This is like taking "Huckleberry Finn", by Mark Twain, an American classic, off the school library shelves and off elementary school reading lists because he used the word 'nigger' in the book. How in heck was he to know that such word would become so offensive? And by the way, don't African-American young men address each other nowadays as 'Nigga'?

Gee, let's revise history and change the name given to the decade of 1890-1899 to "The happy 90s", because "The gay 90s" implies that everyone was a homosexual back then.

Or as ridiculous as the 1790s during the French Revolution. Men and women had always been addressed as "Monsieur" and "Madame" from time immemorial, just as they are called today in France. But the barbaric and murderous French revolutionaries insisted so much in doing away with class and 'titles' that, and this is a fact, if anyone was heard addressing a man by Monsieur, or a woman by Madame, instead of the officially adopted 'Citizen', their heads would literally be chopped off by the guillotine. This is true, check it out.

I propose that Israel sue Egypt for reparations, since the whole nation of Israel at one time was enslaved by the Egyptians.

How about all the Latin American descendants of Indians sue Spain for all the atrocities committed in the 1500s, 1600s, and 1700s.

The nations of India, Pakistan, North Africa, the Middle East, Canada, the U.S., many of the West Indies islands and many other nations should sue Great Britain, as there was a time when the British empire was so vast that "the sun never set on the British empire".

All of Indochina, (Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia) can sue France.
Let Europe, Asia Minor and the Middle East sue Italy, because that's where the Roman empire once stood.

But let's get back to this ridiculous notion of paying reparations to African Americans.
I suggest we turn the tables on them. Let present day Africa sue African-Americans, because they are all descendants of tribes which at one time or another waged war, raped, killed and enslaved other African tribes. Now, that is a great idea and makes just as much sense as paying present day African-Americans reparations because their ancestors were once slaves.

And let's take it even further. As much as they whine and cry about their 'plight', why don't African-Americans compare their standard of living, their healthcare, their education and their freedom to all those poor millions of Africans that never had the chance of coming over to the new continent.

Just look in the news and watch and read about the living conditions of most present day Africans, the hunger, the enormously high rate of H.I.V., the other innumerable diseases, the killings, or ethnic cleansing between tribes, the overall misery!

A group of ex-slaves went back to Africa and founded the nation of Liberia. Look at them now. Compare their living conditions with those of modern African-Americans. Liberians just regressed to the conditions they once lived in and became just another poor, pathetic African nation.

Even while they were slaves in America, African-Americans had superior living conditions to those they left behind in Africa. It was in their masters' best interest to keep them healthy, well-fed, and clothed. Anyone wish to argue this point with me?

You know the sad part about this shake-down by African-Americans demanding reparations? They will get away with it. It makes good politics. They will make enough noise, and for fear or being labeled racists, many people will give in.

It's not about race. It is all about a scam!

60s Child.

ASSASINATE CHAVEZ, WHAT A CONCEPT!

" The More We Learn,
The More We Realize Just How Little We Know,
And How Much There Is Still To Be Learned "


Televangelist Pat Robertson
Calls for Assassination
of Hugo Chavez

Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson called recently for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, calling him a "terrific danger" to the United States.

Robertson, founder of the Christian Coalition of America and a former presidential candidate, said on "The 700 Club", his TV show, it was the United States' duty to stop Chavez from making Venezuela a "launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism."
Chavez has emerged as one of the most outspoken critics of President Bush, accusing the United States of conspiring to topple his government and possibly backing plots to assassinate him. US officials have called the accusations ridiculous.

"You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it," Robertson said. "It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war ... and I don't think any oil shipments will stop."
Venezuela is the fifth largest oil exporter in the world and the largest supplier of oil to the United States after Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Canada, making up 15% of this country's imports of oil. The CIA estimates that US markets absorb almost 59 percent of Venezuela's total exports of crude.
Venezuela's government has demanded in the past that the United States crack down on Cuban and Venezuelan "terrorists" in Florida who they say are conspiring against Chavez.
Robertson accused the United States of failing to act when Chavez was briefly overthrown in 2002.
"We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability," Robertson said.

"We don't need another $200 billion war, referring to Iraq, to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator," he continued. "It's a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with."

A few weeks ago, President Chavez spent time in Cuba, visiting his "great friend" Fidel Castro, (Daniel Ortega from Nicaragua was also present, besides many other notable LatinAmerican leftists) to help open the new Interamerican Medical School, noting that Cuba has sent some 5,000 'doctors' to Venezuela. In exchange, Chavez has granted Cuba most favorable terms for its oil imports from Venezuela.

While in Cuba, Chavez broadcast his weekly TV and radio program which is broadcasted 'forcibly' all-over Venezuela. During the broadcast, which lasted some six hours, Fidel Castro sat next to Chavez, while he praised the Cuban 'political model'. He actually said that "Cuba is not a dictatorship,' but that instead 'Cuba is a revolutionary democracy." He continued further on to name the US as "the world's most dangerous and terrorist nation."

While we may pass judgment on Reverend Robertson, since as a 'man of Christ' he should not be fostering the killing of another human being, we must also admit that Rev. Robertson voiced what has been in the minds of thousands, if not millions, both in Venezuela and elsewhere, including of course the US.

While Rev. Robertson's remarks can only add fuel to the fire by playing into the hands of Mr. Chavez and Mr. Castro, while giving more credence to Mr. Chavez' and vice president Rangel's claims that the US is out to 'get rid of them', at worst this may cause a mild 'diplomatic unconfortable situation' for this nation, but at best it will bring the subject of Mr. Chavez and his 'Bolivarian Revolution', (which is just a cover for his leftist/Castroist infiltration into the rest of Latin America), away from the back pages of the newspapers, (as it has been up until now) and into the forefront of public debate.

It is not an easy issue to deal with, given that the US does depend on that 15% of its oil from Venezuela, and that president Bush's plate is quite full with Iraq at the moment, with Iran, Syria and North Korea waiting in the back burner. But sooner or later he has to face and deal with the growing problem that Venezuela poses, and I say better sooner than later, as later may be too late.
I will take a giant leap of bravado and say that the US eventually will pronounce that Venezuela's oil is vital to this nation's economic and political well-being, and thus must be proactive in dealing with Venezuela, damned be the UN, OAS or other feeble minded elements, many of which are anti-American no-matter what anyway.

What did I mean by that? Very simple. Take sudden control of the oil fields and export facilities by force, and then 'negotiate with Mr. Bolivarian Revolution.'

Remember, US's foreign policy, since 9/11 has changed dramatically, from being 'reactive' to being 'proactive'. Which means that the US will not wait for the enemy to strike first before responding, as was its policy in the past. The US will deliver the first punch, before some terrorist plants a nuke in N.Y., or a country like Korea can send a nuke-armed missile to Hawaii or Alaska, or a 'glorified caudillo', like Chavez has the chance of closing the spigots of our oil supplies. Like President Bush says: "We are fighting the terrorists in Iraq, so that we don't have to fight them on our homeland."
Makes all the sense in the world to me.

1960s Child