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Saturday, August 11, 2018

Just Another Addiction.

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Some of the more popular television shows being aired these days deal with addictions or extreme behavior disorders, such as hoarding, overeating, anorexia and drug addiction and intervention. These shows center on otherwise normal people who have become addicted to certain types of behavior or have taken their interests to extremes, which place themselves or others in danger. Each of these programs often show extreme behaviors exhibited in gruesome detail, which is shocking to some viewers, who may think this type of extreme behavior is a rarity and far from their own little world. The viewers learn that in each of these programs help is offered by professional mental health practitioners, but in many cases the people suffering from these behaviors deny the severity of their actions and refuse any kind of help. One can plainly see how much families and friends of these people are also suffering as a result of their loved one’s bizarre and extreme behavior disorders.
If people do not know anyone who suffers from drug or alcohol addiction, hoarding, eating disorders or other extreme behavior disorders, they may think that they themselves are not effected in any way. But they are wrong. Look at one important practice of every day life that is present in the daily routines of most people. Religion. Every day people can be observed or heard praying. They say grace before meals. They go to mass, church, temple or mosque once a week or more. We hear people preaching in public, whether we want to or not. Out cable TV channel lineup consists overwhelming of religious channels we didn’t order, but we must endure them as they are part of our program bundle. We usually don’t give these religious presences a second thought and accept them as a normal part of life.
But take a closer look at what can happen. The Twin Towers bombings of September 11 were carried out by Muslim extremists. Suicide bombings are an every day occurrence in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and other areas of the Middle East and Africa. The Taliban has been terrorizing Pakistanis and Afghans in an attempt to force them to adhere to their archaic beliefs. These terrorist attacks are all carried out in the name of Islam. Extremist groups like Al-Qaeda and Isis have vowed to destroy the West and replace the governments there with their own deranged form of Islam. They kill thousands of innocent people, among them peace loving Muslims, because they merely think or pray differently. Even in moderate Muslim countries there are groups trying to force their beliefs and practices on the rest of the population. Having lived in Malaysia for seven years I saw firsthand how the government forced their own brand of Islam on the population.
In Israel ultra-Orthodox Jews known as Haredi Jews, a minority in the country have in the past attacked school girls walking to school in a small city near Jerusalem. This sect of Jewish extremists believe in strict segregation of the sexes and they are determined to force their beliefs and practices on the majority of secular Jews, even if it involves attacks on police and other acts of violence against other Jews. Peace talks in the Middle East have been a failure because of religious extremists on both sides. Even in Judaism the different sects attack each other.
Now don’t feel smug because the above examples deal with Muslims and Jews. All we have to do is take a look at some political campaigns in the United States to see many examples of Christian extremists. In past campaigns and most recently in 2016 Conservative Republicans courted Christian evangelicals, who are in reality extremists. Even thrice married, adulterous, misogynist Donald Trump professed his Christian faith and promised to bring back supposedly outlawed Christian values to America. He and his supporters even invented the “War on Christmas”. The possibility that Americans may believe in a different faith is a mute point. They threaten war against those Muslim terrorists who are trying to force their beliefs on their own countrymen, while doing the same thing to their fellow Americans in the US. What hypocrites! They value freedom of religion as long as it is their religion. We all remember the fanatical Christian extremists of the Westboro Baptist church whose hateful rhetoric and practices of demonstrating at military funerals and funerals of gays or gay friendly people. There are only a few members, but they are trying to force their views on the rest of the country. There are many sects of the Christian religion in the West and they each think they are the one and only true Christian religion.
Religious extremism is not only attributed to the Muslim, Jewish and Christian faiths. All religions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism and many others have their extremist members. Even atheism has its extremist elements. There are a couple of big differences between religious extremists and those extremists mentioned in the first part of this post. Firstly religion is quite often considered to be a sacred cow (excuse the pun) and people are either afraid or unwilling to discuss religion in a public forum. Therefore many extreme religious practices or beliefs are ignored or tacitly accepted. People don’t want to criticize someone of their own faith, even though they are not in agreement. Secondly, a big difference is that drug addicts or hoarders and others exhibiting extreme behavior can and do receive treatment for their disorders. Religious extremists are just as sick and unbalanced as other addicts, but no one wants to recognize this. Religious extremists are just as dangerous or more dangerous than those addicted to drugs, alcohol or extreme behaviors. No one offers or even suggests mental health assistance. Because these people’s illnesses are a result of religious beliefs, no one wants to touch upon this subject. It is taboo. The latest intrusion of religion on the lives of the American people are so called religious liberty laws which are nothing more that an attempt to allow Christian religious fanatics to discriminate against gays and anyone who may be different from their idea of what an American is. It is normal for people to want to express a belief and practice a certain religion, but when those beliefs and practices endanger other people’s lives or infringe on other people’s freedoms, something must be done. We must recognize that religious addiction does exist and it must be treated.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Melania’s Parents Jump to the Head of the Line

It was just announced that the parents of Melania Trump have just been granted US Citizenship! Their attorney announced that the category under which they were eligible to become citizens was “confidential”! I guess being connected to Trump is a new category. This has raised some eyebrows since Trump has been railing against “chain migration” which is when recently naturalized citizens sponsor their parents and other family members to become US citizens. Chain migration has been used to reunite immigrant families for years.
It still is not clear how Melania received her green card and, if she received it illegally.It has been conjectured, that she first came here on a visitor’s visa but worked as a nude model. However the White House has said that Melania received her green card under a program that gives priority to those of “extraordinary ability”. Apparently being a nude model carries the same weight as a nuclear physicist! When this accusation first surfaced during the campaign Melania promised to give the details of her immigrant status, but she never did. Just like Trump’s promise to release his taxes! If she did receive her green card fraudulently she is ineligible to become a citizen and thus she is not able to sponsor any members of her family.
With Trump’s attacks on illegal immigrants and those obtaining legal status fraudulently, the act of granting Melania’s parents citizenship is extremely hypocritical. He has especially been fighting to stop chain migration and instead favored a merit system to obtain permanent residency and citizenship. Neither Melania nor her parents were covered under the EB-1 visa since they did not possess extraordinary skills or abilities. This action has the appearance of favoring white Europeans over brown and black skinned people from Africa and South America. It is a slap in the face to those people who have been patiently waiting and following the proper procedures in order to obtain either their green card or their citizenship. With Trump’s newly proposed policies of denying citizenship or green cards to anyone who has received any kind of public assistance, even Obamacare, or the Administration’s plan to take back the citizenship from those who may have lied on their applications, this action is particularly disgusting.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Isn't the Aging Brain Wonderful?


 







Now that I am getting older I realize that I have taken my body for granted all of these years. I now am aware of body parts I didn’t even know I had when I was younger. I didn’t know what the hell a prostate gland was when I was in my teens and twenties. But in the past few years after going to the bathroom more often, getting up in the middle of the night to pee and the loss of hydraulic pressure when going, I now know what a prostate is and what BPH is.
I never gave my knees much of a thought and after growing out of childhood asthma I never gave my lungs much thought either, as I bounded up flights of stairs. Now when I walk up a flight of stairs I feel as though I have climbed Mt. Everest as my asthma has returned in my old age. I never knew there were muscles in my back until now, when I am sorely reminded of that fact every single day. I didn’t know what my sinuses were until a few years ago, when I had teeth pulled, just to find out I had sinusitis. Now I have postal nasal drip 24/7! I never gave much thought to my bowels, as they worked whenever I wanted them to work. Now with IBS, my bowels have a mind of their own, which is usually in disagreement with my own mind. And of course my eyesight was perfect, being able to see far and near. Now after years of being glued to a microscope and the effects of aging, I either have to get longer arms or use those drug store magnifying glasses.
The one part of the human body that I never ever thought of and I think most people never think of is the brain. It has always worked, sometimes not as hard as I would have liked it to work, but it did work. As I find my other body parts are not working up to snuff, I am beginning to see my brain backfire. The other day I was having lunch with a couple of friends and mentioned that I had to stop and get milk on the way home. I stopped at 7-Eleven and got everything but the milk. Quite often I go to the store for only one specific item and return home without that item, but with many things I really didn’t want. I find many times that when people introduce someone to me I forget their names a few minutes later. I think actually I really didn’t want to know who they were in the first place. I find that I usually don’t forget big things or very important things, but the little things in life. I occasionally forget my phone, my watch, my wallet, my ATM card PIN number and the exact time I am supposed to meet someone . I think most of the time I am just not paying attention. I hope. I also, at times have a little trouble remembering what I had for dinner the preceding day. No big deal.
I guess being a little forgetful has to be accepted with the aging process, but what is odd is the things we remember. I can remember the names of every kid in my first grade class at Hamilton Street School. I can remember details of childhood birthday parties and what I received as birthday and Christmas presents. I can remember events from my childhood as if they happened yesterday. I can remember the details of shows like The Life of Riley, The Pinky Lee Show, The People’s Choice and Our Miss Brooks. They were on over 50 years ago! When it is very hot and humid I can remember sitting at home on a snow day and watching the snow fall from my living room window.
What also is strange is that I remember only the good and pleasant things. I had very severe asthma and other allergies growing up, but I have little memory of that. It is almost like these are selective memories that we consciously have no control over. Many times I will lie on the bed for a rest and daydream of playing tennis, doing gymnastics, climbing or running a race, yet there is no way in hell I could do that now. It’s another game our brain plays on us. I guess it is like the old saying, “The mind is willing, but the body is weak.” Even when I am at the gym there is a big difference in what I can envision doing and what I can actually do. So depressing .
I guessed most people see these changes when they retire or approach retirement age. I really didn’t feel that bad about it just beginning now, until I saw the results of the some research results from University College London, that brain function begins to decline at the age of 45. That means it has been happening for a long time and I didn’t even know it! Another cruel trick of the brain. Oh well. We have no choice, but to get old, but I think I will exercise my brain more, from now on. If I can remember.
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