Saturday, August 29, 2009

The King who looked into the Darkness

Edward VIII the King of England (1936-1936) wanting it all his way or no way. Yes, he gave up his crown for the woman he loved. she was twice divorced American woman who would be the mother he never really had as a boy. His father was a sailor and of German ancestry to boot. So, no hugs in their family. Cold mutton every morning for breakfast? Well, lets just say that he grew up very unappreciated for all of the public relations talents he exhibited beyond his weak will and flirtation with the Nazi movement in Germany. Once his father died (George V) Edward would rule as he liked with the woman he loved by his side. Not so. Even Churchill's support could not save his throne. As King he showed that he could be vain and stubborn and not listen to his advisors or family.

It was the tradition that the new monarch would face in the opposite direction of their predecessor on all new stamps to show a change in ruler. The background had already been prepared for his new stamps and printed on millions of stamps needing only a second printing with the new monarch's portrait. His new stamps would have shadow on the left and light on the right side of the background. Edward however said that his best side was his left side and insisted that he face the same direction his father had faced on his stamps and break the tradition.

Well the result is that we indeed see the best side of Edward. Unfortunately he is facing into the dark and not into the light. An ominous sign of his short reign. The uncrowned King of England.....Edward VIII

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Hawaii: 50 States, 49 States, 48 States

There is a movement afoot in our 50th State to withdraw from the Union. While the group leading the charge is a very small minority it does bring some thoughts to mind. See:

The American Civil War was fought over the issue of State's Rights and the right of a state to remove itself from requirements outlined in the laws of the United States. The South Carolina State government demanded that it should have the right to ignore federal laws it felt were in conflict with its own state laws. This was not the first attempt by South Carolina to remove itself from federal compliance as during the 1830s a Southern President, Andrew Jackson, had to threaten use of federal troops if South Carolina did not withdraw its attempt to nullify federal custom duties. As we all know this merely postponed a wider conflict by 20 years and was resolved at the cost of billions of dollars and 600,000 american lives. What is interesting is that an earlier uprising against the earliest federal taxes was defeated in person by General Washington's (another southerner) army. The revolt was known as the Whiskey Rebellion.

So what is this all about in Hawaii? Our 50th State receives billions of dollars in federal aid from the national treasury. So money can not be an issue. A very high percentage of Hawaiians dip into the tax trough as either government or military retirees, current government workers, or subsidized welfare enrollees. The native islanders (one drop of blood and you are Hawaiian) have received numerous considerations both financial and political to ensure the survival of the Hawaiian heritage and culture. So, what could these separatists really want?

Hawaii belongs to everyone.....all of us....within the 50 States. That was the deal back in 1959, fifty years ago this year. In my opinion, backed up by a Civil War, you just can't have it both ways. Independence means independence and you are on your own. Is that what the crazy Hawaiian minority really wants? Back to the good ole days when the government of Hawaii were controlled by a few rich speculators and native leaders willing to sell their people for a few shiny trinkets. As a Native American I can attest to the fact that with all of the bad and evil dealings forced upon my people for 500 years the one winning effect is that under this nation's Constitution and its laws we are all finally recognized as being Americans and equal. This recognition however brings with it certain rights and certain obligations.

We are always quick to complain about our rights and what is owed to us......but what about our obligations?

If something in Hawaii is not right it can be changed. While not easily done, there is a way, long and hard as it may be politically. Cutting out the star from the 50 star flag is not the answer. Demanding rights not shared by others in not the right course. Millions of people on this planet would gladly trade places with anyone wanting out of this precious union. I am not saying "love it or leave it". I am saying don't destroy it. Build upon this nation's solid foundation established over 200 years ago. Perhaps we in the lower 48 States have been too generous in allowing distant islands into our Union. If they leave we will need to send them a bill for services rendered.

Hey, it is not just the blue liberal State of Hawaii but the red conservative State of Alaska that from time to time raises the separation issue while still holding out their hands for federal dollars. Time to tell our youngest States to grow up and take responsibility. Perhaps it is best not to bite the hand that feeds you.

May our flag forever wave over a land of the brave and a land of the free.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Heroes: The image of reality

Yes, all is not what it appears. The romantic images that Shakespeare and Bernard Shaw portray of Anthony and Cleopatra when "faced" by reality are quite different. We desire the Anthony and Cleopatra from history to appear as beautiful as Liz Taylor and Richard Burton in the movie Cleopatra. What did Anthony and Cleopatra really look like? Before photography we only had the ideal approximate images made in stone, metal or sketches on paper and paintings paid for by the subjects or their patrons.

The Romans were famous for their reputation of copying the works and ideas of others. Beautiful Roman fakes of Greek ideals. But then again we should give those old Romans some credit for originality where credit is due. Look at their coins.

Above is an image of Cleopatra from a Roman coin produced during her lifetime. While no beauty physically she was renown for her intelligence, wit, ruthlessness and survivability. She captured the heart of both Julius Caesar and Mark Anthony. She was willing to bear their children. For power or for love? She was the first Ptolemy to actually speak the local Egyptian dialect in addition to Greek and Latin. Octavian was unaffected by her charms and planned to parade her in golden chains in his official triumph in Rome. She chose death instead of indignity and dishonor. Her son by Caesar, Caesarion Ptolemy was killed on orders by Octavian. Her children by Mark Anthony survived her. It is my opinion that her personality was best captured by an East Indian actress in the recent series: Rome (produced by HBO).

Did Mark Anthony look like Richard Burton? Well no. Above is a copy of a Roman coin portraying Mark Anthony as he looked during the years he lived in Egypt with Cleopatra. He like Cleopatra had an engaging personality and believed that loyalty was the most important trait in love and friendship. How else would you account for Anthony's rapid rise as the right-hand to Julius Caesar? He appears on the above coin with a strong chin and curly hair....but a boxer's face. Loyalty was important to him. He could be cruel and heartless when it advanced his career. Not a book reader, but politically smart when it suited his purposes. He was a man's man yet met his match with Cleopatra and then tied his fate to her.

Now, what about Julius Caesar? That is another story.

Now how about our hero Lincoln:

Abraham Lincoln liked to tell stories relating to his lack of looks. One story he told relates
how he was shaking hands in a receiving line at a political function. A woman greeted him by saying "my God I believe you are the ugliest man I have ever seen". Lincoln replied "I can't help that I am ugly". To which the woman replied "at least you could stay at home." Indeed, where would we be now as a nation if Lincoln had stayed at home.

Hate for Religious and Political Reasons

The Golden Rule is pretty universal. I just don't understand all of the hate and intolerance out there. The majority of it seems to be coming from political conservatives and fundamentalists of all religions.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. What could be more simple than that? Another more recent version is quoted as "What would Jesus do?"

What would prompt people at political rallies to carry guns, wear band aids on Purple Hearts and carry signs prompting people to kill a political nominee and his family? Over the past few years there have been several active heavily funded misinformation campaigns. The propaganda generated strives to convince people to vote and act against their own best interests. One recent example is of a man protesting violently against health care reform. He was beaten up and taken to the hospital and it seems he has no health care insurance.

I know that politically if you throw enough mud some of it sticks. If a lie is repeated enough times it is remembered by some as the truth. We had a President who said that we "do not torture" but facts and reports tell us otherwise. Yes, we had another President who lied about having sex with an intern.

I've noticed that a high percentage of religious and political hate comes from the Southern States. Political and religious developments in recent years make it appear that the Confederate States of America with their demand for separation and trust in state's rights and intolerance must have won the American Civil War.

One political thing that I find incredibly amusing is for hard-core right-wing conservatives to herald President Theodore Roosevelt as their hero. I guess these conservatives are thinking only of the "big stick" and not the Progressive nature of Roosevelt's political philosophy and actions.

The religious thing that I find hardly amusing is for islamic, christian and jewish fundamentalists to believe that blowing up innocent women and children is the surest way to heaven. As a christian I also find it difficult to communicate with "born again" people who believe that "faith-based" christianity rather than the practiced "good life" are the only acceptable true christian path. Faith-based has been misused for centuries as a means to allow individuals leading immoral, unethical life paths to become leaders and mentors. Both the early Catholic Church and the Calvinists have rewritten the Bible and the sayings of Jesus to enable their control over people and money.

Jesus said "You are not listening". Indeed, the message has been lost amid the scramble for satisfying personal greed and gluttony.

Each and every day attempt to live the Golden Rule. As an added bonus try at least once each day to do something good without expecting a reward or anything in return.