Saturday, August 29, 2015

A Simple Man's Guide To Fix Social Security

There are days when I have trouble cobbling together one or two sentences.  Also understand that I am neither an accountant nor an economist.  But I cannot help but think that our elected officials like to dramatize for press and votes.  And the solvency of Social Security has many of them trying to yank your heartstrings.  But does it have to be that way?  Maybe not.  

The other day I had a great encounter with a young man (mid twenties) who is working hard to secure his future.  When it came to Social Security he flat out told me that there would be nothing there for him and his generation.  He would continue to pay in, he said, but only to pay the "bill" for me and my generation.  Those words were spoken   without malice but with a certain amount of resignation; it was sad to hear.  I believe that we can do better; we can solve the problem.  There are three things that can be done "fix" Social Security once and for all (remember, I am not an economist nor an accountant).  

Most people know that the federal government "borrowed" heavily from the Social Security Trust Fund to fund a variety of "things."  Well, it's time for the government to pay up.  Good luck with that. Pigs will fly before that happens.  This does not mean that it's not impossible.  It means that other methods are quicker and easier to implement (probably easier for our elected officials to get their collective minds around - AKA how many votes will it cost me).  

Only a handful of states do not have a lottery program.  The Federal Government could, through the Department of the Treasury, hold four lotteries a year.  This program would generate capital well beyond the stated prize monies and expenses.  These "profits" then go to the Social Security Trust Fund.  And we did not raise personal taxes.  

The so-called war on drugs is a dismal failure.  How many billions a year spent - hold that thought.  Personally, I have a very hard time with hard drugs like cocaine, heroin, PCP, Meth, etc.  But these things are not marijuana, something that grows in the soil.  Maybe it's time for the government to revisit the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, legalize nationwide medical marijuana and allow family farmers to plant and harvest Industrial Hemp (surprise - before the MTA of '37, this stuff was legal.  Industrial Hemp has no active cannibinoids.  It's the stuff our ancestors, founding fathers, etc., planted to make stuff with - google it).  If the federal government would legalize medical cannabis and then tax and regulate it in the same manner that they tax and regulate booze and cigarettes, the lion's share of the monies collected could be funneled into the Social Security Trust Fund.  Again, personal taxes are not raised to bulk up Social Security.  But there is another step.  

In the previous paragraph it was stated (my opinion) that the war on drugs is a failure but still has a billions a year price tag.  Maybe it's time to declare victory and call it over.  The federal government can take the monies now freed up from the war on drugs to pay down its debt to the Social Security Trust Fund - and pigs do not have to fly!  Further savings can be had by folding the DEA and the ATF into the FBI.  These ideas are radical; don't hold your breath for them to take place.  

These ideas do not raise personal taxes, they do not increase the personal/employer deduction/contribution of the current 6.2 percent.  They do not eliminate the current income cap. They are but simple ideas from a man who sometimes has trouble cobbling two sentences together. 

                                                     Copyright @2015 Terry Unger  



Tuesday, August 25, 2015

New Book Coming Soon - The View Act II

A snippet from my author's preface- 

               Author’s Preface – The View Act II

When asked what was on tap as my next project, my stock answer was a sequel to THREE TALL TALES.  Over time, I simply changed my mind; I no longer wanted to go in that direction.  But all the while, I was writing many relevant blog posts (or so I’m told).  It seemed natural then, that I publish another View. 

I chose Act II over part II for a particular reason.  It appears to me that all of us, regardless of what religion we have chosen to follow, are actors in a grand cosmic scheme that can be and is altered by the actors themselves.  For those folks who follow the ancient folkway known as Asatru, this is known as Wyrd and Orlog; we are our words and deeds. 

Currently, we are looking at a publishing date of 10/01/2015 or sooner.  

                                    copyright@2015 Terry Unger 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Man

Two thousand years ago men were responsible for the safety and welfare of their spouse, family, and  home.  In our 21st century, the responsibility remains the same, just the pathway to accomplish it is different (very few men have to plant or hunt to provide for their family).  Today men can provide the material safety and welfare for spouse and family through employment or self-employment.  But is providing food, clothing, and shelter enough?  The short answer is no.  

All humans need attention, affection, and love over and above the basic material needs.  Men need to remain in total fidelity to their spouses; a man's spouse should always be the love of his life - his rose beyond all comparison, his pearl of great price.  Daughters look to their fathers for strength and what is good in a man.  And sons need to be taught by their father what it takes to be a good, solid, protective, and productive man and not a canker sore on the backsides of  those responsible for a positive and productive society (something that is not lost on the daughters of today).  Spouses and children need to be pushed up, not pushed down, loved and never ignored.   These things are a part of a man's responsibility to his spouse, children, and society; it is a broad form of caring and loving.  Weak men and men not ready or willing to sacrifice should not apply.  It takes a tough man to love like that.   When a man does this he can truly say that he is "The Man."    

                                                    Copyright @2015 Terry Unger     

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Our Father's Keeper

Factual stories from life are awesome.  But many people think that when an older person tells one of these time pieces, the story seems so strange that it must be fiction.  That means that they consider the older person telling the story to be a bull slinger or their bubble just hatched.  This is one of those old stories that the recently hatched find hard to believe.  

Many years ago I had Greek neighbors, both Greek born and naturalized United States citizens.  The Mister fought the Nazis in Greece during WWII, and made a stand as a partisan against the communist incursion.  He also was quite gregarious, liked the ladies more then he should have, and was a nasty drunk.  The Missus, it was said, did what she could to encourage his behavior.  Well, we all have our weaknesses.  The had one child, a son.  

Their son was a graduate of one this country's leading schools for culinary arts and he was really good at it, but inherited many of his father's behavioral traits.  He was married at a young age to a Greek girl.  Soon after the birth of their second child, he was smacked down by a nasty divorce.  The divorce served to escalate his negative behavior, making good employment hard to come by.  But let's fast forward to the really strange stuff.  

The son developed pancreatic cancer, but it was caught early and put into remission.  This hardship brought about an awakening of sorts for the son; all he wanted to do was to live the rest of his life at piece with the world.  Then he found a woman who really loved him as much as he loved her.  They decided to marry and went to his parents to bless their nuptials.  Unfortunately, they did not get it.  The problem - the girl was not Greek.  After hours of arguing and debating with the parents, the son and his fiancee left.  When the parents discovered that their son had married against their wishes, they disowned him.  It gets worse.

Two years after the son married, his pancreatic cancer came back and this time it took his life.  The newly minted widow was forced to confront the parents about their son's passing.  As she stood at the front door dressed in black, the reticent parents got the message; tears flowed like water over Niagara Falls.  What a shame.  Five years later the father died very quickly, from pancreatic cancer.  

When my father's side of the family emigrated from Austria, it was decided that many of the old customs would be kept in their new country that were felt practical while others were to be tossed away.  However, my paternal grandparents desired that their children wed folks from Burgenland (area in and around Graz, Austria).  Out of seven kids, only one son married a girl who emigrated with her parents from Burgenland.  If my grandparents were upset at their other kids for marrying outside of their Burgenland expectations, it never showed.  And according to my father, it really never was an issue.

This is certainly not any kind of knock against Greek Folks.  But it is a really sad story about thickheaded people who cannot see the face that stands in front of them.

                                                     Copyright @2015 Terry Unger




Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Problem(s) When Worlds Collide

Anyone who is vaguely familiar with the Germanic/Norse myths is somewhat knowledgeable of the creation story; fire and ice collide and produce the proto-giant Ymir (the basic building blocks of matter).  And eventually Odin/Wodan and his brothers use Ymir to create the Nine Worlds, the universe.  In my opinion, it smacks of the Big Bang Theory.  There are many examples of world collisions that history reports, albeit at times lacking all the facts in favor of the dominant view.  The collision of worldview is just one that history, until recent years, has had little or nothing to speak about, unless it was the dominant view.  Those days are over.  

One of the world views in question is that of the Abrahamic Monotheists, in particular, Christianity.  The world view of all of the latter is that of life and world rejection; forgo all of life and the world's benefits in exchange for a promise of some kind of glorious ethereal life after death, provided you play by their rules.  For those who are interested, Buddhism also falls into this category.  This is/was    the dominant view, based on doctrine and dogma of salvation (salvation in the overall sense is one of a glorious ethereal afterlife based on doctrines that make less sense then Grimm's Fairy Tales). The other worldview that stands in opposition to Christian Monotheism in particular, is the life and world accepting worldview position of the Germanic/Norse.  These two views have been colliding for almost 1700 years.  And like oil and water, they do not mix well.   

This is not a condemnation of Christianity, but frankly, their world view did not lose any sleep over how they tried to muscle their views onto others.  Southern Europe was easy; the gross social anomie that was present with the decay and eventual fall of the Roman Empire gave them more than wiggle room to fit in and take over.  To paraphrase George Carlin, the Roman Empire did not fall, it just changed management.  Here is the BIG KEY:  life and world rejecting religions and philosophies will only thrive in an atmosphere of gross social anomie (social, political, and economic upheaval).  After a period of time, people who have been displaced and dispossessed in so many ways (after a few generations) find the rejection of this world and the promise of a glorious afterlife appealing.  Family, social structure, law, order, and status just disappeared for these folks and Christianity came along and filled all those categories/needs.  This situation did not repeat north of the Alps.  

The Germanic peoples were secure within their family, clan, and tribal environments; social anomie did not exist at any level.  When early missionaries revealed some Christian doctrine and dogma to northern Heathens, they were sharply rebuked; it did not come close to matching the Germanic worldview (I will not discuss the Visigoths supposed conversion in 376 to Arian Christianity to appease Emperor Valens in this post).  Over centuries, with the help of Pope Gregory the Great, the Church developed a policy of accommodation accompanied by some "smoke and mirrors" showmanship.  

The accommodation to heathen worldview was supposed to be temporary; it did not work out that way.  Accommodation led to synchronicity between the two worldviews.  A simple example of this is how Yuletide became the twelve days of Christmas with all the greenery, etc.  Another factor that was stressed by Christianity was how total nations were converted, at one time; that just did not happen.  A chieftain, Duke, Prince, or King decided, for whatever the reason, to convert to Christianity (Roman Christianity).  At baptism that leader would vouch for his people.  After the leader's baptism, it was their responsibility to educate their people and baptize them into the new faith. History has shown that that never happened.  And, the proverbial man on the street, on the farm, etc, was clueless as to what or how their leaders "worshiped."  If asked, they just may have said, "Just like us."    The Roman Church did not have the resources and for whatever their reasons the baptized leadership just did not make the effort.  

The Church discovered that they could not reveal doctrine and dogma to the majority of the Germanic peoples before baptism without suffering some major embarrassments; the world rejecting doctrines and dogma of Christianity did not mesh with the Heathen world accepting worldview.  The tale of Ragbod, King of Frisia is a great example.  

Good King Ragbod reluctantly went on his way to meet the Christian cleric Wolframm to receive baptism.  Obviously, Ragbod was a thinking man.  When they met, Ragbod asked Wolframm some questions about the new religion with Wolframm dancing around the answers.  But Ragbod was not a stupid man and pressed on.  Finally, when he got the answer about his family, kin, and ancestors Ragbod heard enough.  In old Frisian King Ragbod told the Christian cleric Wolframm to take a flying leap off of a very high cliff.  The world rejecting worldview of Christianity was not then and is not now compatible with the life and world accepting views of Heathenry.  The failure of Wolframm to baptize Ragbod was a shot heard throughout the Christian hierarchy.  History does have in its possession many Church communications that simple state - don't do a Wolframm.  This led to the position - don't tell the Heathen nothing but bullshit and daffodils until after baptism, and then slowly  reveal doctrine and dogma over many years.  Due to a lack of any kind of post baptismal instruction this did not happen.  This led to more accommodation and synchronization.  And then we have the smoke and mirrors.  

Great showmen have existed throughout the ages and Christianity understood the power of the sleight of hand and the bamboozling of the multitude; they used it.  Various clerics challenged Heathen deities to do certain things in a certain way at various Heathen holy sights.  And after the clerics "won," a line of the bamboozled formed to receive baptism, only to go home and put the baby Jesus among their other Gods on their home alters.  Boniface was a great showman.  

We must give Boniface credit; he was a powerful speaker and a master organizer.  This cleric thought that by cutting down Donar's Oak, he could kill Heathenry and institute Christianity.  And to assure the greatest affect, he sent his minions out far and wide to announce the contest, for months.  When the time came, Boniface hacked at the oak a few times and left the rest for his entourage to finish off. Since nothing earth shattered happened, many of the bamboozled lined up for baptism and then went home and added the baby Jesus to their home alter.  In all cases, our ancestors just thought that the Christian God had a little more juice at the time then Thor or Wodan.   One day Boniface and his entourage were in route to do a mass baptism in Frisia.  When they got there, Boniface and his entire company were killed.  Who knows, maybe Ragbod's relatives were still pissed.  

To many leaders like Pepin, Charles Martel, Charlemagne, and Olaf of Norway (Olaf the Law-Breaker) baptism meant total acceptance and conversion.  They were wrong (there was the booty collection needed to fund the leader's activities).  Alcuin, a lettered churchman (and others), not just believed but stated that baptism meant nothing without pre-baptismal and post baptismal doctrinal education.  And according to Alcuin, the post baptismal doctrinal education had to continue for at least three generations.  This churchman understood that conversion had little to do with changing religions and everything to do with changing worldview.  Any thought that leads to the belief that northern Europe was totally Christianized by the end of the eleventh century is an illusion, worthy of the best  smoke and mirrors.  Christianization did not totally happen until the sixteenth century with the onslaught of the Protestant Reformation and the Catholic Counter Reformation.  However, the folklore and art forms continued up to our present era.   

Today these world views still butt heads, but something amazing is happening.  Life and world affirming views are gaining ground and people are returning to their ancestral roots.  This does not mean an overnight massive change in world view but it is a start.  If we use Alcuin's stipulation of three generations, we are well on the way.  

                                                   Copyright @2015/2017 Terry Unger    









Friday, August 7, 2015

The Saga of Reverend Roy

Roy felt the burn for his lord Jesus as a young boy.  Brought up in an evangelical Christian church, Roy took advantage of ample opportunities to electrify the congregation with his youthful fiery orations of salvation through Jesus Christ.  Before he graduated High School, Roy won a full scholarship to the most prestigious bible college in the country.  Roy truly felt that his lord Jesus was guiding his life.  He graduated at the top of his class and was quickly ordained.  Roy was ready to convert the Heathen where ever he found him.  His first encounter did not take long.  

Soon after his ordination and just before his first church posting, Reverend Roy stumbled over a group of folks gathered around a fire at a state park.  What first caught his eye was the large animal horn that was being passed around the gathering; it appeared to have something in it that the people were drinking.  Very strange and not Christian, Roy thought.  He decided to linger in the trees and continue to observe.  Could be Heathens in need of salvation was the thought that pounded inside his head.  

Roy heard words like - Wodan, Thor, Frigga, and ancestors.  Added to those were some boasts that sounded more to Roy like pledges or oaths.  But no words about his Jesus.  These were Heathens, Roy thought, and must be saved!  Being somewhat socially backward, Roy never had the chance to crash a party, a wedding, or any event where he was not invited.  But there is a first time for all things.  

Roy stumbled out of the trees and demanded that they immediately stop their activity for the sake of their immortal souls.  Fortunately for the Heathens, the Sumbel was over just as Roy made his outburst.  Seeing that he was being ignored, Roy stomped over to the man who was intently watching him; he was the man who led the activity that made Roy increasingly antagonistic.  Roy did not expect this Heathen to be so articulate.  

The Heathen leader would neither debate nor argue with Roy in any fashion.  This enraged Roy all the more.  His professors at his bible college alma mater taught him that Heathens were ignorant and would easily convert to the superiority of Christianity.  The parting words of the Heathen leader to Roy was that he should purchase James C. Russell's The Germanization of Early Medieval Christianity, A Sociohistorical Approach to Religious Transformation.  Roy never heard of this book, neither did his "professors."  But he did buy it.  

And he read less than fifty pages.  Blasphemy, Roy screamed out loud.  How can something like this, something not bible based be allowed in print?  Roy's formal education did not bother with real history, science, and sociology; if it was not biblical, it was false.  For what ever his reason, Roy packed this book, along with his worn bible and other personal belongings in preparation for his first posting:  missionary work in Africa.  

Based on his ignorance, Roy believed that he would save many souls for his lord Jesus.  Once again, he relied on what he was taught; what he was taught his entire life is what he believed.  And, belief based on fallacies and innuendo is like believing that the world is flat.  At his youthful age, Reverend Roy was grossly disappointed.

The African tribesmen were offered medicine and basic education for themselves and their children in exchange for baptism.  They underwent baptism but as soon as the medicine and education was delivered and administered, the church was empty.  Roy was frustrated about this.  His fellow missionaries, those with a lot of time in Africa, tried to explain.  They told Roy that the Africans practiced their ancient folk religion. A folkish religion, they tried to tell to Roy, is world accepting and one that finds security and stability in the family, clan, and tribe along with the Gods adherent to that group. His fellow missionaries told Roy that since there was no great social upheaval in their lives, even though they did not have any sort of economy, Christianity was a hard sell.  For Christianity to be really successful, they said, there had to be tremendous political, economic, and social upheaval, similar to that in southern Europe when the Roman Empire began falling apart.   The lead missionary finally stepped up and told Roy that Christianity was world rejecting because it puts its emphasis on a hazy kind of afterlife reward while giving up the present, something that the practitioners of a folk religion cannot agree with; their worldview is such that there is no separation between all of creation and that life is important, all in life is good.  For the first time in his life, Roy wanted to get drunk, but because of his religious belief, he would not drink the fermented juice of the grape.  At least not yet.  The next morning he put in for a transfer.  In a few days, his request was granted; he was going to Japan.

Japan was even more a disaster for Roy; thinking that he would have a fresh start, he soon discovered how wrong he was.  Japan's Christian population stood at one half of one percent.   The Japanese, Roy found out, were quite happy with their folk religion.  And they had a robust economy that provided their citizens with everything.  This was worse, Roy thought, then Africa; there was no trade off of medicine and education for baptism - the Japanese had all of that in abundance.  A fellow missionary repeated what he had heard in Africa and added that people who follow a folk religion put the group, the family, clan, and tribe ahead of individual desires.  The idea of individual salvation, another foreign idea, was not part of their world accepting world view.  The Reverend Roy was on overload; he has come face to face with the real world.  Within days, Roy suffered a major nervous breakdown and after initial treatment in Japan, was sent home for rest and recuperation.

To say that Roy was depressed was an understatement; he was below crushed.  He managed to get himself out of bed and went to a liquor store where he bought a bottle of cheap fermented red.  When home, he promptly guzzled it all and soon puked.  Now Roy knew, you do not drink alcohol to drown your sorrows, even though its tastes good.  After cleaning up his mess, Roy opened up the book that the Heathen had recommended to him, which was the one that he had dragged along with him to Africa and Japan.

He started from the beginning, re-reading the first fifty pages that he initially declared as blasphemy.  In light of his experiences in Africa and Japan, the book now made sense, but all the while Roy wondered how could what he was taught, what he believed in could be so wrong.  Roy was reading real history, not made up stuff to keep people in fear and subjugation.  He was confused, but not conflicted.  He decided to look for the Heathen who recommended the book.

Roy found the man in the same park at the same place but the number of participants around the fire sharing the horn had doubled.  The right reverend took a time check and realized that it was only a few months over a year that he was here for the first time.  The Heathen recognized Roy and asked him to join in the gathering.  At first Roy was apprehensive but he thought after Africa and Japan, what could go wrong; to his pleasant  surprise, nothing did.

When Sumbel was over, Roy and the Heathen had a long conversation; it was the first of many.  The man explained to Roy all that he could about Asatru, the modern word used to describe the ancient northern European folkway/religion.  And the reading list was exhaustive; Asatru, Roy found out, was a religion with homework.  Roy just breathed all of it in and could not get enough, so much so that he gave up the shackles of Christianity and warmly embraced Asatru.  Although Roy took quite a bit of abuse from his former Christian brethren, he was at peace.  He knew that he was finally home.

                                                     Copyright @2015 Terry Unger      



Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Problem With Aging

Getting old is a major pain in the ass.  Some things work, while others do not.  And I am not referring to a person's mental or physical abilities.  Today, we are living not just longer, but healthier.  We can recreate longer but also have the time to reminiscence more deeply.  Things just seemed to work better when we were "kids."  

At one time, and for a long time, a nickel bought you a Snickers Bar and a local telephone call from a telephone booth.  Our kids today can relate to the Snickers and gladly tell you that they cost at least a buck and a quarter.  As for the phone booth, not a clue except that Clark Kent changes into Superman in one so it must be real.  And then we have music.

Boomers fondly remember Sinatra, Dean Martin, Elvis, the Beach Boys, Jan and Dean, the Everly Brothers, Johnny Cash and so many more that brought harmony to radio.  When mentioning these iconic artists, the kids may wonder what planet you just teleported from, but are quick to ask you if you heard the latest from the musical group, "Vomit."  Well, no; we equate vomit as something we do when we are ill. Looking deeper, we see that Vomit's youth appeal may really stem from their constant use of our cities' jails as their personal youth hostel.  Is this a disconnect?  Probably not, at least when it comes to music.  Boomer parents complained about rock and roll much the same way that we look at "Vomit."  But there is something else that has nothing to do with music.

We live in a socially upside down society (the problem is really not aging.  Getting older is part of life.  The problem is by living longer, we remember when the "apple cart" was not upset and disrespect of anything earned the offender some kind of punishment. Now it seems that the offender is some kind of social hero). As we age we have lost touch with our ethnic culture and heritage.  In our fast paced world of progress, getting ahead, staying ahead, and putting food on the table we have lost our personal and group identity.  To keep up we bent a knee for many things.  Now most of our kids are fully prostrated.  Unfortunately, that's how they think they should be.  For many of our kids, political correctness has become a way of life; it does not have to be this way.

First, we need to ground ourselves in our culture and heritage.  We must seek out our ancestors to help us answer questions about our family line.  And we must delve deeply into history to gain an understanding of why things happened the way that they did.  All of us have a culture and heritage and the right to peacefully celebrate them; never feel ashamed of who you are and where you came from.

It may seem that this process of getting back to your roots is self-centered and selfish; it is not.  It is about knowing your family line, your ancestors, and your heritage - a very large group of which you are a part.  Then you can teach your kids and grand-kids.  These things are a source of great pride. Who knows, you could do so well that in the future, kids will refer to vomit for what it really is - a gut wrenching experience that tastes really bad.

                                                       Copyright @2015 Terry Unger



Unity of a Forgotten Kind

The world and all it contains, both seen and unseen stands with mankind in a state of consubstantiation.  Our ancestors understood this as...