Thursday, 26 January 2017


      Donald, if you are open to advice, do realize that alternative facts will not silence all those women and we men who support them.  The rapidly-swinging pendulum needs wise regulations you should learn to like. 
When over two million women, in 600 USA locations and 70 in other countries, including Yellowknife in the Yukon in its six degrees below zero weather, can turn out to voice dissent, there is much more here than just your locker-room behaviour.  Usually a source for good, women are again organised and must be heeded. 
To guide all of us now, we need a deep understanding of History and Biology.  To permit evolution, Biology has given us two sexes plus all those in transit between the two.  History tells us that both sexes have allowed Power and Greed to misrule long periods, yet interspersed with empathy and fair play, so Hope does persist.
Since WWII the pendulum has accelerated.  Our knowledge is exploding but its wise use is stumbling. How can we ensure a satisfying future for all living things?  Actually, Donald, it  is millions, if not billions, of years since we trapped ourselves into the command “Go forth and multiply”.  So, perhaps, we should first seek a strong grounding in what archaeology and written history (note ‘his’ rather than ‘our’ story) tells us.  For your background, here is a mix, including a few extracts from Merlin Stone’s “When God Was A Woman”:
She shows that artifacts from Scotland to India, reveal that the God they worshiped from as far back as 25,000 years ago was the Queen of Heaven who was known as the Sun Goddess and went, in different cultures, by a score of names including Ashtoreth (with her male consort, Baal) in Canaan and Palestine.  Clay, stone, and ivory replicas of God are all female.  The earliest known writing is from Erech, Iraq, dating to just over 5,000 years ago.  These also indicate God was female.  Then, numerous passages from ancient texts, as well as the Bible and Koran, trace the dominance of women being replaced by the dominance of men.
As the female is the creator of all life, and as she also invented agriculture, thus permitting civilization, it was natural to exalt her, which left men in a secondary role.  In some societies, paternity was not important so women could take on many lovers.  Women could spend months in the temples of the local Goddess where men were encouraged to visit for sexual pleasures.  Some queens would select a male as a consort, pamper him for a year, then murder him to choose another.  Murder evolved to castration which was also abandoned.  
The first male gods arrived in the West about 4,000 years ago, brought by Indo-Europeans who suppressed the worship of a female God.  Initially, they were nomads who had mastered horsemanship, who had 2-man wheeled chariots drawn by horses and who had iron weapons. They fought among themselves but were overpowering to the bronze age cultures they encountered and imposed themselves as the ruling classes.
About 3,500 years ago, Abraham, an Indo-European Levite, led his followers from Ur, Iraq, to Canaan to become the priestly class of the Hebrews who were mainly wandering Semites.  Levites led in discrediting the Goddess and her serpent, considered the fount of wisdom, and to substitute Yahweh (Jehovah).  As paternity had been  unimportant there was no way to enforce the rights of the local men to inheritance and property. 
When Moses (1393-1273 BC) led the exodus out of Egypt and when Joshua succeeded him, the Levites had a struggle to convert them all to Yahweh.  In seeking the promised land in Canaan they chose Jericho, founded 8,000 BC, an easy target as an earthquake, not trumpets, had crumbled its walls.  They slaughtered the entire population, then went on to do the same to other poorly-armed goddess communities.  They spared only young female virgins to serve as wives because those coming out of Egypt were predominantly male.
The book goes into detail on the long struggle to wrest control from Goddess societies.  The eating of figs from the sycamore fig tree was considered communion with the Goddess.  This was turned into the forbidden tree of knowledge with the serpent, now evil, tempting Ashtoreth, now downgraded to Eve, into eating its fruit and persuading Adam to do the same.  This placed the blame on women for the downfall of man.  To lock in paternal succession rights, a woman, not found to be a virgin on her marriage bed, had to be stoned to death and, while men could have multiple sex partners, a woman was stoned to death if she did.   
  A big setback for Goddess societies came from Constantine, 274-337 AD, who saw a vision of a cross before he defeated a rival in battle, causing him to convert to Christianity and to close Goddess temples.
Citing numerous quotes and writings, Stone goes on to show how Saints Peter and Paul told women they must submit to their fathers and husbands.  They were followed by Augustine, Luther, Calvin, and so many others who also maintained the inferior status of women.  Hebrew men thanked God for not making them women.  Muslims adopted the Hebrew and Christian persecution of women.  Stone continues through the suffrage struggle to the current situation where equality is still denied in much of the world.
Yet, it was a mixed bag.  Other researchers show:  In Egypt 6 of the 14 top deities were female. African, Asian, and Polynesian were mostly male.  The quarrelsome Celts did have many female warrior gods.
In the 2014 World Economic Forum, ranking of countries for gender equality, Iceland and the Nordic countries took the top 5 places with scores from .86 to .80, Germany was 12th (.78), France 16th, Canada 19th, USA 20th (.75), UK 26th, Cuba 30th (.73), Poland 57th, (.71), Ukraine 56th, Russia 75th (.69), Mexico 80th, Japan 104th, Turkey 125th (.62), Egypt 129th,, Saudi Arabia 130th, Iran 137th (.58), Pakistan 141st, Yemen 142nd (.51). 
Since WWII there has been a dramatic increase in the number and variety of jobs  available to women.   Currently, women are globally 50% of the workforce, but hold only 12% of board positions and are paid 77% of what men get.  Culture still plays a role.  In Japan, women who become pregnant are expected to return home for the more important job of raising a family.  In Saudi Arabia, with the recent lifting of some restrictions, women are flocking into the workforce.  In Europe, Norway leads with 36% of its work force female, the UK 23%, Germany 19%.  Elsewhere, India has 3%, Australia 20%, Canada 36%, USA 52% (4% for CEOs).  Other USA statistics: 61% of mothers with children under 3 years of age are in the workforce, 70% with children under 18.  This necessitates children being raised by for-profit daycare businesses instead of  stay-at-home mothers.  This does increase mental alertness but decreases mother-children bonds.
Women are now exceeding men in education.  Rankings (with the bracketed percentage of those with advanced degrees being women) of the top ten educated countries are: Finland (60), Canada (65), Iran (60), Chile (60), Estonia (67), Spain (60), Brazil (60), USA (57), Argentina (51), and Saudi Arabia (51).    
       The World Conference on Human Rights has recognized women’s rights as human rights.
     Biology has been unfair in determining who contributes what.  The male is given an appendage that gives him much lengthy pleasure in anticipation  and greater temporary pleasure in performance and this encourages him to chase about the world impregnating as many females as he can catch.  The female is allowed less pleasure yet is saddled with carrying and nourishing a foetus for nine months then raising it for up to 20 years.
 Most men realized their good fortune and went off hunting, gathering, fighting, and creating and destroying civilizations, leaving the female to forge strong bonds with her children and to become quite creative while protecting them.   I have heard many men admit “they are smarter than we are”.  So, resentment does exist today as men see women taking over male jobs: doctors, dentists, lawyers, journalists, politicians. mechanics, scientists, astronauts, warriors, and, Daniel, protesters that you would be wise to heed.  Did you notice that Malia Obama joined the protectors against the Dakota Access pipeline you reinstated?  You do claim to love women.  How?  Only 4 of your choices for 20 cabinet-level positions are women.
Yes, Donald, your locker-room talk is shared by many men and, today, even by some women.   Women do use your sex words against you, but are they just another tool to attack your other faults that many of both sexes consider are too numerous.  Many of we men prefer to leave women on their pedestals of care, love, and empathy, but women also have disillusioning faults that may require wise regulations.  Many women tell me they prefer working for men as women can be more cruel, jealous, and vindictive.  We want no return of murderous female tyrants like Bloody Mary, Queen of England, Isabella of Castile, Isle Koch and Irma Grese of Nazi extermination camps and too many more.  Also, in my long association with thousands of men, I learned to avoid joining them after work in the bars as too many of them were there because they lamented they loved their wives much more than they were loved in return, so felt rejected.  For love, read sex.  This results in widespread marital infidelity causing wise wives to accept it - if it is minimal. 
So, as we humans have not yet, as a species, evolved sufficiently to behave or to understand Life or the universe we find it in, we must concentrate on improving empathetic co-operation to enjoy the many pleasures that either do exist or that we can forge to make this temporary existence sustainable and well worth the trouble.  That old advice about “doing unto others as you would have them do unto you” is the required base.
These women, with we men tagging along, have many more issues to promote.  Listen to us, Donald.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017


      As with all great empires that have come and gone, it is easy to sit back and smugly point out the foolish mistakes they made and how they could have avoided the tremendous upheavals that often included: enormous bloodshed, tribulations, currency devaluations, descent from wealth into poverty, loss of world status, steep drops in educational levels, and so on.  Yet, how good are we at using the lessons from their mistakes to influence our current actions?
As with all life there is a pattern in nations of birth, growth, expansion, self-confidence, decay, and decline.  Must is be always so?
Spain’s greatness was relatively short-lived - about 200 years.  Spain had a long history of being a province of empires like Carthaginian, Roman, and French.  It did not come into its own until its unification started in 1469 when Ferdinand of Aragon married Isabella of Castile and joined their treasuries.     When Columbus, backed by Isabella and her enlarged wealth, sailed in 1492, Spain had a balanced and prosperous economy.  Craftmanship was outstanding so its products were eagerly sought by other countries.  Work was so plentiful that workers from Italy and France were imported.   Saragossa, Barcelona, Granada, Valencia, and Cadiz were busy industrial and commercial centres.            There were half a million Moors, known as Moriscos, in southeast Spain who produced excellent olive oil, wine, fruit, and grain, both to feed Spain and for export.  Jews also contributed much to the economy.  There was a fair degree of tolerance.  What destroyed all this?
Portugal had led Europe in exploration.  Since the Phoenicians did it in 600 BC, no one had circumnavigated Africa until 1488 when Bartolomeu Dias rounded the Cape of Good Hope and in 1499 Vasco da Gama reached India.  In 1493, with increased ambitions, Ferdinand  persuaded Pope Alexander IV, himself a Spaniard, to amend the 1481 papal bull, that gave all new lands south of the Canary Island to Portugal, to allow Spain to exploit anything west of 38̊W.  In 1494 this was amended to 46̊37 W by the treaty of Tordesillas.        
  Spanish prestige, pride, and world status expanded with the building of Spanish colonies and with the wealth of 200 tons of gold and 18,000 tons of silver looted Mayan, Aztec, and Inca  sources.        Spain became a power to be reckoned with.  It had colonies in the Netherlands, France, and Italy, and growing interests that led to wars with Protestants, Muslims, Turks, Dutch, French, and English. With 300 tons of silver and much gold pouring in annually from America, why worry about the expense of a large army and navy?
Ferdinand and Isabella married daughter Joanne to Philip of Habsburg, (their son became Charles I), daughter Isabella to the King of Portugal, and daughter Catherine of Aragon to Henry VIII.  The Golden Age of Spain in Europe held, at least in the eyes of Spaniards, until 1659 through the reigns of Charles I (1516-1556), and three Philips:  II (1556-1598), III (1598-1621) and IV (1621-1665). 
Expulsions:  With increasing pride, pure (?) Spaniards grew to envy and hate the Moriscos whose hard work had made them prosperous.  In 1609 Philip III expelled the Moriscos to North Africa and confiscated all the lands which were never again as productive because the victorious Spaniards were too proud to work the land like the Moriscos.  Jews had become too prosperous, so they were expelled as well, and forced to leave their wealth behind.  Spain went on to attack North Africa, taking Oran and Tripoli.
Collapse of the Middle Class in Aragon and Valencia followed as Jews and wealthy Moriscos had loaned money to Spaniards to buy land and hire more Moriscos.  There had been a growing Christian Spanish middle class.
Inquisition: Staunch Catholics, Ferdinand and Isabella had worked with the church to consolidate their power.  They revived the 13th century inquisition as a great tool to rid themselves of enemies and to confiscate fortunes.  Some 2,000 were burned at the stake.  Pope Sixtus IV tried in vain to halt this. When Philip II tried to extend the inquisition to France and the Netherlands it proved disastrous.
The Wages of Sin: Plunder from the Americas did not stay in Spain.  It caused 300% inflation and the belief that true Spaniards no longer had to work for a living.  This combination caused prices to soar and workmanship to plummet.  The gold and silver was bled off to the rest of Europe to pay for goods previously produced in Spain.  Philip II imposed a 10% sales tax to make up for the drain, but this destroyed the middle class that could no longer compete with the rest of Europe.
The Mesta (Sheep-raisers’  Union): was so powerful that it was able to lobby successfully for Cañada, a wide  strip of land the full length of Spain.  It was taken out of cultivation to permit herders to take sheep north in the summer and south in the winter.  Herders exceeded the bounds of cañada, ruining  much adjacent farmland that resulted in many farmers leaving Spain.  This, plus the neglect of Morisco farms, forced Spain into importing food.
Wars:  Charles I  spent his “royal fifth” of the wealth of the Americas faster than it came in, what with wars against Protestants in Germany, Turks in Hungary, and in taking Tunis.
Philip II put down revolts in Aragon and among the Moriscos, extended Spanish lands in France and Italy, embarked on the conquest of the Philippines in 1565, destroyed Turkish sea power at the battle of Lepanto 1571, occupied Portugal in 1580, and sent the disastrous Armada of 132 ships to punish England for, among other things, helping the Protestant in the Netherlands.  He could not repay loans made by German and French bankers.  He died poorer than he was on starting.
Philip III and IV were not strong enough to prevent strife among nobles (who paid no tax) and the corrupt government they built.  The Treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659 ceded lands to France and Philip IV, in trying to curry favour by marrying off his daughter to Louis XIV of France,  could not pay the huge dowry demanded.  Spain’s strength and fortune were spent, but the empire did struggle on for a few more years.
       Some lessons we have learned, some not:
Like Spain, we in the industrialized world have been living high on wealth not tied to productivity, but stolen from future generations who are left with huge national debts.  We now recognize this and we have taken steps to bring the current deficits down, but little dent has been made in the overall debt.  In fact, with many countries, it has increased. 
Unions, that did much good, grew too dominant and have been curtailed, but can still cause trouble in working against, not with, management.  Do multi-nationals pose a similar problem?  What are the long-term results of exporting work to lower-wage countries as Spain did?
Like Spain, we destroy good agricultural land.  In North America railroads can get by with 410,000km (260,000 miles), but highways take well over 7.2 million kilometres (4.5 million miles) out of production.  A prime example is Canada where only 5% of the country is first grade agricultural land and half of this is within 200 km of Toronto, yet this is an area that is rapidly being cemented over.  And, it can be annoying to navigate areas with 22 lanes of traffic.
Like Spain, other European powers  spent  much blood and treasure fighting themselves, as well as in foreign wars.  They are now joining with themselves and others in collective defence with reduced military expenditures, but problems remain, particularly with integrating Russia.  We still suffer from procrastination.  We often recognize problems when they are small, like the Nazi party of the early 1930s, but wait until much blood and treasure is required to save ourselves if not the world.        We still live in a dangerous world where greed, ambitions, hatreds, and ethnic animosities pose threats we often dismiss as not our problem, even though weapons of mass destruction no longer require the resources of great nations.  We do need a strong United Nations with its own troops, donated by member nations,  trained to a high standard of ethics.  Paying impoverished countries to provide poorly trained troops can cause more problems than they solve.  The U.N. has done well, but can do much better.  We must avoid the fatal Delian League mentality of letting Athens, or in today’s world, the United States, from taking a too-dominant role.