Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sunday morning collection of provocations and generally strange or intriguing dumplings

 

“new poll that reveals one- fifth of the American public believes President Obama is an adherent of Islam- a larger percentage than when he was elected. It is obvious why this is thus. These people are idiots. Stone crazed loons with the jellied brains of people who enjoy sticking immersion blenders up their nose and will claim with their dying breath that professional wrestling is legitimate.” –Will Durst

***

“The persistence of these [Washington]  rules has also provided an excuse to avoid serious self-engagement. From this perspective, confidence that the credo and the trinity will oblige others to accommodate themselves to America’s needs or desires -- whether for cheap oil, cheap credit, or cheap consumer goods -- has allowed Washington to postpone or ignore problems demanding attention here at home.

Fixing Iraq or Afghanistan ends up taking precedence over fixing Cleveland and Detroit. Purporting to support the troops in their crusade to free the world obviates any obligation to assess the implications of how Americans themselves choose to exercise freedom.” – Andrew Bacevich

***

"I’m trying [Abu Dhabi] because it feels a lot like Singapore. Rule of law, a friendly business climate, low to no taxes, free trade and no out of control trial lawyers or labour unions. It’s pro-business and opportunity.” – Eric Prince, fanatic Christian founder of Blackwater whose total business is based on government contracts.

***

“Why the return–often very round about and through no small amount of triangulating, obfuscating reason–to the U.S. military as the basis of all that is good in this country throughout the rally?

Even Palin tried to shoehorn the military into her obligatory mention of Dr. King and The Movement (she should ask some former African-American GI’s about how they were treated upon return to the U.S.following World Wars One and Two for some context for her childish understanding of American history and politics).” – Chauncey DeVega

***

“In a climate in which the militant right wants to dismantle civil rights freedoms guaranteed in the Constitution, Beck’s evocation of “divine destiny” is all of a piece.

Throughout American history, recourse to the transparent word of God has always been the last refuge of scoundrels wielding the Bible and the bayonet as protections from the ungovernable hoard.

Thus, it is fitting that this naked evocation of the language and legacy of Manifest Destiny comes during a period when the right has launched a campaign to repeal the 1868 14th amendment, which was originally initiated to confer citizenship onto freed African slaves.

As Kevin Alexander Gray writes in Counterpunch, “in the Reconstruction period, as now, racism and white supremacy loomed large in public debate. Back then, opponents of the amendment talked about ‘public morality’ being threatened by people ‘unfit for the responsibilities of American citizenship.’’

Now the self-appointed defenders of public morality have come full circle, drunk on a cocktail of xenophobia, anti-immigrant hysteria and jingoism.” - Sikivu Hutchinson, blackfemlens

***

“Glenn Beck promised there wouldn't "be a dry eye in the house" after his big speech today at the Lincoln Memorial for his "Restoring Honor" rally -- because, you know, it was going to be "so stirring."

Riiiiight. Well, Glenn Beck's eyes certainly weren't dry. He started weeping while telling the crowd that somewhere out there was "the next George Washington".

Dunno about you, but when I saw pan shots of the crowd -- which was one of the whitest crowds in D.C. in recent memory -- I mostly thought I saw "the next Timothy McVeigh." But your mileage may vary.

As for the speech itself: Lunesta in verbal form. I'm having to pick my head up from my desk just to write something about it.” – Dave Niewart

***

Saturday, August 28, 2010

“”As you learn to stand against power, here are some practical strategies and suggestions to help you in your time of greatest need.” –Chauncey DeVega

If anyone is going to “take back the civil rights movement” as has vowed Mr. Beck and the Holy Spirit, what follows is the implication and price the taker-backers  will be asked to pay.

This Week in White Victimology

Excerpts:

We do live in troubled times. I have been doing my best to help white folks adjust to the Age of Obama. I have confessed my shame at how the Age of Obama has ushered in an era of black privilege. I have empathized with the struggles of white folks as they face bullying from the New Black Panthers, being beaten up on school buses, faced with a Supreme Court that does not reflect them, and subject to discrimination in all things and in every area of life. I have hoped and prayed that a leader would emerge--a Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich, or Pat Buchanan--to lead my white American brothers and sisters to the promised land as they face a frightening world where they will one day be only a plurality of the population in this country by the year 2050.

I feel for you my white brothers and sisters. Because I empathize with your victimization, the lion must lay down with the sheep and share some of his wisdom. Black Americans and others have long ago learned to negotiate inequalities of power in order to survive in this country. As you learn to stand against power, here are some practical strategies and suggestions to help you in your time of greatest need.

History is the greatest of teachers. As many Americans know, the Freedom Riders and other civil rights demonstrators were met with violent resistance in the South (and parts of the North as well) that resulted in death and serious physical injury. Those who are going to fight for a return to a pre-Obama America and the glory days of Leave it to Beaver must be prepared to die for their beliefs. For example, those brave souls who marched with King and the movement were commonly subjected to:

  • Verbal abuse
  • Spitting on
  • Kicking and stepping on
  • Beatings with fists, chains, and police billy-clubs
  • Dragging female protesters across a room by the hair
  • Throwing manure, eggs, tomatoes, exploding firecrackers, rocks, & bricks at us
  • Knocking sit-ins over and rolling them down a flight of stairs
  • Chokings by police (the infamous "choke hold")
  • Attacks with home-made flame-throwers (hairspray ignited with a cigarette lighter)
  • Pouring hot tar over heads Cars attempting to run over pickets
  • Stabbing with a knife

Do besieged white Americans, and conservatives in particular, have the courage to stand up for their beliefs? Is there a leader with the moral vision to organize them so that justice will flow down from the mountaintops?

Ultimately, these are indeed perilous times. I hope this list is of help to those brave souls attending Glenn Beck's rally this weekend, joining the Tea Parties, and fighting the good fight in such places as Texas and Arizona, or picketing against the "Ground Zero Mosque."

They only want to return America to greatness and restore her ideals for "real Americans."

Cheney isn’t the only doofus from Wyoming

 

 

Most recently this ex-Senator made an udder fool of hiimself by word of his own foul mouth.

Alan Simpson - has a) no idea what he's talking about when it comes to Social Security and b) is incredibly offensive to just about everyone he talks to.

Check out StuffAlanSimpsonSays.com. Some of the actual things he said are just mind-blowing.

Enjoy and then share it with your friends so everyone gets the message we need to save Social Security, not hand it over to people like Alan Simpson.

About the cartoon:

FACES IN THE NEWS

Kerry WaghornKerry Waghorn is the most accomplished caricaturist in the world. His Faces in the Newsfeature is a 30-year journalistic legend, an anniversary honored in 2007 with a feature article in Editor & Publisher.  Represented by Universal Press Syndicate, Kerry Waghorn caricatures have appeared in more than 400 publications in about 60 countries around the world. Among the journals that have published his inimitable creations are the Miami Herald, Boston Globe, Chicago Sun-Times,  San Francisco Chronicle, Chicago Tribune, The New York Times, New York Daily News,  Atlanta Journal, Montreal Gazette, Vancouver Sun, Japan Times, Sydney Morning Herald, Hamilton Bermuda Business, Korea Times andNew Zealand Herald.
MORE

Recommended reading

 

If what interests me interests you then here’s what caught my mind today:

Glen Beck and the Holy Spirit who has also been invited to help him with his speech at the big rally.

BECK: I'm only writing a few bullet points. And I am doing that so I don't get in the way of the spirit, in case he wants to talk...if you would just pray that I would be able to hear because sometimes--sometimes he's screaming at me and I still can't hear it.

Excerpt:

This month, he added a morning prayer segment to his daily radio program, and has described as "divine providence" his purportedly accidental selection of the date for the rally he will lead tomorrow on both the anniversary of and at the same site as Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech. He has told his followers to expect a "miracle" on the day of the rally. And tonight, Beck's production company, Mercury Radio Arts, will produce a pre-game event at the (cough) Kennedy Center, modestly titled "Glenn Beck's Divine Destiny" (until it was apparently renamed "America's Divine Destiny" this morning, per the flyers handed ticket-seekers who were turned away).

And this from Jon Stewart

*****

The massive recall of salmonella-infected eggs opens a window on the power of large corporations over not only our health, but over our government.

What do a half-billion eggs have to do with democracy? The massive recall of salmonella-infected eggs, the largest egg recall in U.S. history, opens a window on the power of large corporations over not only our health, but over our government.

While scores of brands have been recalled, they all can be traced back to just two egg farms. Our food supply is increasingly in the hands of larger and larger companies, which wield enormous power in our political process. As with the food industry, so, too, is it with oil and with banks: Giant corporations, some with budgets larger than most nations, are controlling our health, our environment, our economy and increasingly, our elections.

*****

Today from Dumb America … yew might be a muslim if  …

``I ended up explaining to people -- some of them prominent, educated people who asked about this -- that if my name concerned them, they should know `Elijah' has Hebrew roots, that Elijah was a prominent prophet and leader in the Old Testament.

*****

And who introduced and then pushed Sarah Palin into public prominence? Hint … t’warn’t McCain … he bought into it hook line and sinker too.

one of America's most popular and influential leaders, even though her approval ratings remain in the tank,

it was the electronic media's overblown coverage of the allegedly widespread threat by female Hillary delegates, and other Clinton fans, to bolt Obama in favor of McCain that November.

As you may recall, the dissidents, known as "PUMAs," got massive face time on TV and, it was claimed by many in the media, represented just the tip of the iceberg. And it was also said (by commentators, not just by the new, pro-Hillary media stars) that women, particularly older ones and suburban/blue-collar types who had voted for Hillary in the primaries, would likely abandon the Democrats in November.

There was no firm evidence for this, of course, and few pundits, on TV or in print, seemed to notice that the same handful of disgruntled Hillary delegates appeared on all of the shows.

… John McCain and his people bought it, hook, line and sinker. This explains the sudden (though often ill-explained) rise of Sarah Palin to the top of their VP list. The McCainites saw an opening, which really wasn't there, and went completely overboard. Not only did a female VP suddenly look like a great idea, but she would have extra appeal to the particular type of Hillary primary voters so hyped by the media.

The preposterous media coverage of the (few) unhappy Hillaryites at the Dem convention—which was aimed not at helping Obama but maintaining interest in the affair and the coming campaign—inspired McCain to select as his running mate someone who would virtually destroy his campaign.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Please, in the name of honesty, integrity, consistency to American values and principles, do the right thing!

The tragic sites of every atrocity are by definition hallowed ground.

There is no justification for separating or classifying someone else’s hallowed ground as “less hallowed” than ground you personally deem as “more hallowed.”

Where death, rapine, plunder and destruction have been afflicted on others, that ground is hallowed.

Honesty and total integrity then demand that the following actions be taken in support of and consistent with the notion of protection of hallowed ground by exclusion from proximity.

All elected representatives in the state of Texas should take formal exclusion action of any Catholic site or monument within a set distance from the Alamo since most Mexican soldiers were Catholic.

Then, in consistency with this new doctrinal point of view, every Christian church or  monument located within a set distance from sites where Hispanic and Native American people were victims of white American Christian citizens and/or soldiers should be removed.

Every site in colonial America where witches were burned must be cleared of all Christian Protestant churches and monuments within a specified proximity.

Every site in historical America where Native American people were massacred by American Christians must be cleared of all Christian Churches and monuments within a specified proximity. This includes sites that were formerly tribal homelands but from which human beings were forcibly removed and includes numerous policies that forced Native peoples to convert to Christianity, abandon their culture and language.

Every site in America where slaves were brought to this country, sold on the market and brutalized in slavery must be cleared of all Christian Churches and monuments within a specified proximity. That also goes to every site where slaves or their descendents were lynched, raped, plundered, etc.

By way of inclusion, every site where perpetrators associated with Protestant churches espoused awful anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim and anti-non-white views that led to a host of discriminatory practices against Jews, Muslims, and any minorities, harassed freed blacks and others by wearing white hoods and engaging in despicable, cowardly, and murderous acts must be cleared of all Christian Churches and monuments.

Every site where Japanese Americans were interred and suffered at the hands of white Christian American Patriots must be cleared of Christian Churches and monuments.

Utah’s Temple Square, the hallowed heart of the LDS Church whose members were persecuted, raped, plundered and murdered by mobs who were incited mainly by hostile and bigoted Protestant ministers, must be cleared within a specified proximity of all Christian Churches and monuments.

This is consistent with current exploitative logic and justification offered by Fox News, principal sponsor and the Republican Party, the principal sponsored god child of Fox News.

You folks…

in the name of honesty, integrity, consistency to American values and principles

need to put up …

or shut the hell up.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Oh yeah? I didn’t know that, did you?

 

Many of the world's religions -- including Christianity -- supported same-sex unions, a reality obscured by modern-day shrill, conservative commentary.

Next time two young missionaries come to my home popping off about “Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve,” I might have to smile, give them a brownie and bring up trouble.

Some samples:

An icon from St. Catherine’s monastery on Mount Sinai illustrates this point. It shows two robed Christian saints getting married. Their pronubus(official witness, or “best man”) is none other than Jesus Christ.

It is a standard Roman portrayal of a wedding. The difference: the two saints are both male, Fourth Century Christian martyrs, Saint Serge and Saint Bacchus, close friends in the Roman army who were purportedly singled out for their secret adherence to Christianity before being tortured and killed.

Their unity, considered romantic by some historians and depicted through the image of marriage at St. Catherine’s monastery, was commemorated in many subsequent liturgies. The late Yale historian John Boswell found evidence for other Christian same-sex marriage ceremonies continuing even into the Eighteenth Century.

So social conservative religionists (or should I limit it to valued judgment fundamentalists) aren’t hitting the mark when they refer to the sacred institution established by God.

By the way, did you know that marriage has no patent, has no monopolistic exclusive relationship to fundamentalist Christianity regardless of which evangelical owner of truth gets skewered? Folks were marrying and giving in marriage long before Christianity reared it’s … no, long before Judaism reared its … you get the idea. No ownership of the institution.

It is true that all major religions exhibit some heterosexism, a bias in favor of heterosexuality over homosexuality. However, religions also have shown openness to same-sex unions, a reality that shrill conservative commentary, which dominates the public square on matters religious and sexual, has blocked from public view.

… Conservative Christians who swarm onto center stage in the current debates cite the anti-gay texts from the Bible, but even they do not take those passages seriously since the texts call for capital punishment for active gays. Not even the Tea Party folk favor that.

“Swarm” is a good choice of words here … like noisy crop destroying locusts.

… tolerance, often in the face of cruel intolerance, guided many early believers in Christianity. And, like early Christianity, other world religions have demonstrated tolerance toward same-sex unions.

And this final excerpt:

Lawmakers take note: because religions give this warranty and allow for this freedom of same-sex unions, laws that would legalize only the conservative religious view are in violation of religious freedom.

Religions are pluralistic on same-sex unions. It is not the function of law to curtail freedoms granted and authorized by mainstream religions.

Conservative Christians who insist that "traditional marriage" has always been "between a man and a woman" are wrong and historically uninformed. Thus, they are poor guides for lawmakers and judges.
.
There is strong support in world religions for the view that homosexuality is not the problem; heterosexism is.

“I'm gathering that politically opportunistic anti-Muslim sentiment is simmering in the more conservative sectors of the LDS world.”

 

That quote above and more from one of my favorite Mormon opinionators, Joanna Brooks, Religion Dispatches Magazine:

The Salt Lake Tribune has published a terrific article describing the federal inquisition of Utah Senator Reed Smoot in 1903 as Mormonism’s “9/11 Mosque Moment,” reminding us of a time when the mayor of New York City (no Bloomberg, he) banned Mormon missionaries and when Mormon elders were tarred and feathered in the South.

… Islam is in fact a religion for which Mormon leaders from the time of George A. Smith and Parley P. Pratt in 1855 have expressed respect

A religion with prophetic origins. 

A religious tradition whose outlying extremists are used to discredit and oppose its mainstream practitioners. 

Sound familiar?

Buchannan’s foolish attempt to invade Utah in 1857 was driven by drivel from national political celebrities who, like today’s fly-blowers, have election and wedge issues in mind.

That sounds very familiar.

What would Brigham do?

Oregon’s Freshman U.S. Senator teaches civics-challenged America

Mosque: Don't blame friends for acts of enemies 

If I want to know what Fox News is toxifying America with I usually go to Media Matters.

Not needed right now as – like the biggest stray mutt on the block – Fox is leaving calling cards in everybody’s yards. Their foul misleading and falsely inflammatory rhetoric has but one goal … another wedge issue by which one party can pretend that it is more American than another.

This has nothing to do with a wise and thoughtful informing of our citizens as to actual and important news and everything to do with making the highly gullible mad all over again.

News …. news … is what we want, not BS, not the wild rantings of the tavern dimwit annoying everyone in every booth and all along the bar.

But that’s what the bunch of political kindergarten konservatives are serving up …

So why does it take a brand-new freshman U.S. Senator to act the grownup part and put the proper framework around this silly hysteria about a mosque.

Jeff Merkley knows his stuff. That’s why Oregonians elected him and booted out the incumbent last year. Merkley talks the talk and walks the walk.

Proud to be his neighbor I am.

Here’s an excerpt from his civics and common sense lesson for all of us.

But, many mosque opponents argue, just because it can be built does not mean it should be. They say it would be disrespectful to the memories of those who died on 9/11 to build a Muslim facility near the World Trade Center site. I appreciate the depth of emotions at play, but respectfully suggest that the presence of a mosque is only inappropriate near ground zero if we unfairly associate Muslim Americans with the atrocities of the foreign al-Qaidaterrorists who attacked our nation.

Such an association is a profound error. Muslim Americans are our fellow citizens, not our enemies. Muslim Americans were among the victims who died at the World Trade Center in the 9/11 attacks. Muslim American first responders risked their lives to save their fellow citizens that day. Many of our Muslim neighbors, including thousands of Oregon citizens, serve our country in war zones abroad and our communities at home with dedication and distinction.

Some have also argued that the construction of the mosque would hand a propaganda victory to Osama bin Laden. I think the opposite is true. Al-Qaida justifies its murder by painting America as a nation at war with Islam. Celebrating our freedom of religion and Muslim Americans' place in our communities is a blow to al-Qaida's ideology of hate and division. We strengthen America by distinguishing, clearly and unequivocally, between our al-Qaida enemy and our Muslim neighbors.

And no … Fox News, Flush Limbaugh, Squawk Hannity and associates …

They do not all look alike.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

To my military child: Jesus will never want you to kill anyone in His name.

My dear child,

It has come to my attention that there are religious fools, (which usually starts among the officers) currently serving with you.

These American pretend soldiers are not your typical noble American warriors who have sworn an oath to defend the country and Constitution.

Rather, they have taken it upon themselves to pretend that the old Testament God who gets mad enough to kill people is still in charge.

They believe that the same false god inspired the U.S. Constitution and formation of a military order of soldiers who are to be primarily warriors for His Son.

Do not be tempted to take their spiritual opinions, advice and counsel as gospel my child.

America is not God’s chosen weapon of vengeance nor enforcement of a freedom all over the world won with blood and at the point of a weapon.

America is not the home of modern versions of medieval crusaders who plundered, raped and killed while believing that God and Jesus wanted them to do so.

America is not the home of generals whom God has ordained nor has Jesus authorized to kill indiscriminately in His name.

Never will America be commanded to blow them away in the name of the Lord.

Never will you be legally authorized by any officer or non-com to commit murder or any atrocity as your duty to God and country.

If you commit such acts you will be guilty of shedding innocent blood and will not be able to blame it on the moral cowards who commanded you.

If you fall into that kind of pit I encourage you to make immediate contact with me so that we can try together in all our love and devotion to do whatever it takes to protect your life, your integrity and your soul.

Unlike those military liars, I cannot nor will I ever demand that you blindly accept my own moral judgments in place of your own.

Unlike those military liars I CAN promise you that you WILL be accountable for blindly accepting as some sort of duty and obligatory response to the foolish evangelizing they believe they have the power to force on you.

There ARE people in and close to the military who will back you up should you ever have to stand up to your officers and non-coms who want you to believe they can punish you for ignoring their religious attitudes and practices.

I can help put you in contact with them.

I praise you for your willingness to serve our country.

I am your father and have a long history of loving you just as you are.

Should anyone among you cause you to question your worth as a soldier always remember that I can and will watch your back.

 

Love,

Dad

What you express should emphasize the “in my opinion” part

Otherwise would you not place yourself in the “my truth is higher than your truth” mode?

Could such be the reason why civility of discussion is dying, or rather, being assassinated by hate language and partisan passion?

Whatever happened to the idea of town meetings as a means toward consensus and agreement in solving pressing problems?

I see where the son of Billy Graham, one Franklin Graham, a reverend (a fictitious title meant to convey that God rides around on his shoulders whispering things to Graham that He doesn’t whisper to lay Christians), says he can “accept” President Obama’s self-revelation as a practicing Christian.

Accept?  As compared to what?

Personally, having read several things Mr. Graham has had to say, I don’t see how the truth of anything hangs on the supposed weight of his “acceptance.” This supposed weight stuff is principally personal fantasy. It pretends to the superiority of one’s personal opinions whether those very  value judgments are naturally developed or mimicked by something read or heard in some broadcast forum. I’ve been there and done that. Most have in some context or another.

These very words I write that are intentionally critical of Mr. Graham’s assumptions of judgmental authority as to Barack Obama’s legitimate Christian practice are in fact only my opinion.

Having followed the personal death and destruction consequences of the previous American Christian In The Whitehouse, I feel as authorized as Mr. Graham apparently does regarding our current president.  I reject the Christian practices and question the genuine Christian values of the previous President who has innocent blood on his hands… but that is only - as is the subject of this writing - “in my opinion.”

 

Those who offer serious criticisms or those who offer silly junior-high putdowns (i.e. a recent young LDS lady’s trip to one of the church’s temples was dampened because the current American President was in the same city) of current political figures  requires a kind of personal validation.

If you are going to talk the talk, what kind of bona fides have you?

What I’m talking about is the immediate impulse to respond in kind when we encounter shoot-from-the-hip political criticisms from people who apparently only recently have acquired a gift of critical thinking. This as compared to a history of so naively or ignorantly staying quiet on the sidelines for the past decade. Even though they voted for previous political figures whose actions have borne fruit that the whole country and its succeeding generations will pay for, I see from those sideline warriors very little record of protest or criticism of what those politicians were doing to the rest of the country.

If the claim is that there was no harm done over the previous presidential terms, then does not that make the wide-eyed tea-drinking panic-stricken shouting about the Democrats currently in office kind of seriously one-sided, woefully un-informed and of questionable legitimacy based on fact?

When eyes go wild and panic proceeds from apparently shallow minds, the response their message generates is not shock and awe and an urge to join the tea-bag revolt.

Rather, it could translate into

“If you are so critical of the current politicos who inherited  political, foreign policy, military and domestic disasters from failed Republicans and their policies, where WERE you when the Republican government was trashing the pottery barn, the hen house, the treasury and the military?”

Honesty requires that we make readers and listeners aware that when we express our opinions we are doing nothing more than exactly that. We are not revealing some previously unknown truth nor making factual what we ourselves would like to believe.

Honesty requires that if we are ever to return to constructive discussion of issues with an intent toward harmony and wise choices, we must acknowledge and admit to what are our opinions, recognize that they are not absolute truths and not try to create truth where a truth may in fact not exist.

Then we stop demanding that the rest start living by our illusions.

I write this from experience and cite myself as what prompted this article.

A death among the common people … imagination.

Or maybe my title would better fit as “Laws, Books, where to find, and the people who trust them.”

What a society we’ve become!

The wise ones tell us over and over how the more things change the more they stay the same. The more we pride ourselves on invention and the progress of civilized society and it’s technological wonders, the more our majority loses its innocence and the most vital aspect of living … imagination.

We trust what the legalist thinking minds tell us in terms of science, technology, gadgets and consumer pleasure.

We trust what the legalist thinking minds tell us politically, replacing our own abilities  to imagine peace, justice or community with assumptions based on some persuasive legalistic mind whose theories represent the ultimate bookishness.

We trust what the legalist thinking minds tell us  in the pseudo-spiritual realm of religion, this time replacing our own abilities to imagine a loving non-judgmental God of compassion who is not interested in power, control, authority, or spiritual warfare against a satanic banshee that does not exist.

We retreat to our books – be they hard-cover or entertainment versions of someone else’s magic.

Is there any difference between one compilation of laws and another in our conformity-addicted mental processes?

Laws and the Books Where They are Worshipped

Let’s see now, ya got yer laws of gravity, planetary motions, conservation of energy, thermodynamics, and on … and on … even a law of motion that had to be replaced by a theory, of all things, of relativity.

Where do these laws accumulate, hang out together, fester like bats in a cave? Why in sacred science volumes; textbooks, treatises, and the journals of the priesthood of science.

The notion of a cutting edge of research and development of new science and technology breakthroughs is offset more and more by the death of imagination and creativity as a prevalent consciousness among humans. The more we become satisfied with some level of entertainment the greater the death of that restless spirit the moved our predecessors across unknown oceans.

We become dominated by an imaginative and creative few who … willingly and knowledgeably or otherwise … work themselves into a monopolistic dominance of what we as an entire race are willing to attempt, imagine or accomplish. This because those who’ve done that very thing have now become willing or unwilling gurus who are looked to for advice as to whether or not “it can be done.”

And then ya got yer laws from the One Who Created It All … more frequently expressed as “commandments” although the legal aspects can be found in the guise of “theology.” Ya got yer God-laws upon which all of God’s good will and blessings are predicated; 

the law of no other Gods

the laws against killing, stealing, adultery and lying

the law to keep Sunday sacred

the law to love the Lord with all heart, soul and mind

the law to love neighbors in like manner

 

The only difference between where these laws accumulate, hang out together and fester like bats in a cave is that the books are limited … almost entirely to The Book, The Bible, the scribe-idolater's textbook and manual of shoulds, shouldn’ts, cans and can’t-dos, and if you do you will die and God will slap you around.

The notion of a cutting edge of research and development of new spiritual breakthroughs is severely restricted by a traumatic fear of non-conforming heresy. Spiritually, biblical literalism is flat out the perpetrator of the death of imagination and creativity as a prevalent consciousness among humans. The more we become satisfied with some level of literal belief the greater the death of that restless spirit the moved our predecessors across unknown oceans of seeking and finding God. Many among the literalists are then like children in the shallow end of the pool supported by their biblical water wings … terrified by a fear of deep water where learning to swim is a requirement.

We become dominated by an unimaginative and non-creative biblical authoritarians who … willingly and knowledgeably or otherwise … work themselves into a monopolistic dominance of what we as a religious society are willing to attempt, imagine, believe and accomplish. This because those who’ve done that very thing previously are stuck on pedestals the bases of which are now granite-like inflexible and immovable doctrines from which the common terror of heresy enforces conformity.

 

In both venues an understanding of these “laws” which were never really legislated (although commands from a Boss of the Universe could be construed in the same either-or manner that we mortals tend to worship the laws we make) is not a bad thing.

However … lives constructed totally around a blind acceptance of someone else’s definition of non-existent laws is a process of our own deterioration from a society of courageous explorers, doubters, and adventurers to a cowardly collection of believers seeking safety in the restricted confines of books.

In that regard there is no difference between which book you live by … if your imagination has died or dying because of your fear of being thought of as marching outside the parade … you have lost … and then we have lost you.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Oysters & Elk

I can’t believe it has already been ten  years since my muse came stomping out of my mind one night and started telling tall tales. This one was the first one.
You see, it all happened like this …

When we first moved to South Bend we had only an old 286 computer that was so slow we could not even do more than rudimentary online things. Then my oldest daughter gave us an old 386 computer that was still faster than what we had.
So one night by prior agreement with my Utah relatives and using the MyFamily website, Lietta and I sat down together in front of the  monitor to chat with those guys.

Well it sort of worked. Problem was that it was still so slow that by the time the messages loaded everybody else was 4-5 messages further down the list. While sitting there waiting for a new screen, I started fiddling around with making up little storylines to pass the time.

That’s when my alter ego, Jake Turnrose, spoke to me from the beyond and insisted on taking over my brand new tall tale enterprise.  In the space of a week four tales emerged faster than I could write them down.

So I realized that I could channel a voice from beyond whatever the pale might be … well at least I could channel Jake Turnrose. I’ll let him take it from here.
****





Well, I'll tell ya... South Bend boasts about be'in the "Oyster Capital a the World" and to quote a famous westerner from over in the Rockies in Utah, when it comes to oysters, "This here’s the place, Bub!"

Why they GROW em here! They don't just go traipsin out in the Willapa Bay with their little boaties an some sorta quipment ta scoop and snag em offa the bottom of the Bay.

Oh no!!

They grow em in oyster beds not to fer from the processin plants themselves.
An I don't think them oysters is lollygaggin in no "bed an breakfast" – they’re doin their jobs and growin, obeyin the oyster farmers like corn and wheat obeys the farmers.

An when them oysters is up past seafood pooberty or whatever they naturally git past, they git harvested.

Memorial Day around these parts is more'n just honor'n the soldiers and sailors. Here they honor the oysters, callin it the "Oyster Stampede."

I got caught in a oyster stampede my first year here while I was drivin my 1940 Studebaker Commander along  Highway 101 just this side a South Bend. Them there oysters was a stampedin in full gallop across the highway and there wasn't gonna be no stoppin fer no highway traffic.

I slid on ma brakes but was too late. I crunched ten or twenty of the little critters.
I hit one direct with my front left tire and you could see that oyster's stunned look when he went squirtin outta his half shell and smacked into the side of the local oil dealer's shed.

The others just kept comin across the highway and bein dareful an challengin me to hit em.

Can't do that though cause by whackin oysters you're a harmin the town's source a income and you're more'n likely ta wind up in the slammer fer that than fer be'in drunk and disorderly at the Chester Tavern in South Bend.

And elk?

Boy we got em!

There's a town smaller'n Bankrupt, Idaho, out on Highway 6 that goes by the name a Frances. The elks must a had some ancestor elk named Frances cause they hang out there almost all winter.

One or two folks out there'll tell ya they talk to the elk.

There's a road, Elk Prairie Road, that cuts off to the right as you're driving  east through Frances. That road loops around behind Frances and comes back to Highway 6 on the other side.

About half way around on Elk Prairie Road, some feller years ago left a purty white commode along side the road. Musta been his idea of a rest stop like they got on that big freeway east a Pe El.

Anyway, that commode is truly white and clean-lookin and the only thing we can figure is that the elk must think it's a salt lick and are keepin it clean without knowin that they're doin it.

I heard talk at the tavern in Lebam bout changin the name of that road to "Commode Road." The motto would be  "Welcome ta Frances, where the Elk's speak up and folks listen."

Well, that's all I got to say tonight. Me an my little woman are gonna have supper then set up the card table and play a little Combat Scrabble.

Til later this is Jake Turnrose sayin so long.
by Arthur Ruger
copyright (c) 2000

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

What kind of relationship exists between our civic duty, our core values and societal maturity?

A few years back, when confronted with the initial news out of Abu Ghraib, our President reportedly said, "That's not one of American's core values," or something to that effect.

It very much seems that America's definition of its core values needs to include a restoration of the understanding of civics in our society.


We see repeated demonstrations on the part of politicians and broadcasters – and then by mimicry – how the lack of civility impacts all venues of civic discourse nowadays. Politicians and broadcasters obviously should know better and probably do … but  it seems that many have subjected themselves to profit motives based on their own or employer greed at the expense of communication practices and principles so currently undervalued – even denigrated in our midst.

Civics as taught formally prior to college appears almost totally absent or to have been taught so casually as to generate very little appreciation of WHY let alone HOW civic duty is important.

Should we not refocus and re-emphasize a priority of real civics education in this country; not the kind that generates high school grads and/or college students who recently  told poll takers how the government should not let people speak against the president or the government?  A broad understanding of individual civic duty and responsibility is one strong way to encourage better movement toward civility as well as social justice. 

What Does a Civically Weak Society do for Itself Abroad?

Without an understanding of civic involvement, war and the reasons for it are rarely understood but almost mindlessly or indifferently supported.

Civics in its own way can even suppress the brainless jingoism that isolates American morality from global morality.

Whether we like it or not the civic implication is that the American soldier who fights and kills in Afghanistan and Iraq is fighting and killing on our behalf and in our name. Should we not then be willing to shout to the world …  "Good on that soldier for acting in my name!"

Is that not what we should ideally declare during wartime? Is not the soldier doing for us what we can't do for ourselves - defend the nation by physical presence and combat action?

Do we need jingoism to light our fires? Webster defines jingoism as “extreme chauvinism or nationalism marked especially by a belligerent foreign policy.”

Jingoism may not have gotten us into Iraq, but it certainly contributed mightily to sustaining of the reason and loyalty for keeping our soldiers and our weapons active there. If one considers the invasion of Iraq aggression as immoral, untenable, un-winnable and a needless drain of America's most precious blood then can we be constant in our love and loyalty to our soldiers but still lament and object to what they are forced to do to other human beings around the globe?

 
Such is more than civic duty. It’s civic maturity.

Exercising civic maturity initiates action that may or may not be agreed with by others. But if agreed with by others - a significantly large number of others - a shift begins. It's a shift sustained by a growing voice of dissent that can only be healthy for a democratic republic.

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