The Corps is 236 years old! Semper Fi,Oorah! The marines have survived another year.Numerous times in the past,people have lobbied for ending the Corps and delegating its mission to Army and Navy units. After Joe Rosenthal's famous Iwo Jima flag raising photo, someone was reputed to have said something to the effect of,this will insure the Corps existence. So far,thank God,with all the budget cutting frenzies going on,no one has raised the idea of abolishing the Marines. Marines have proven themselves in a variety of new missions since World War II. We have shown out skills in the cold of Korea,the paddies and jungles of Vietnam, the sands of Iraq twice and the mountains of Afghanistan. The Marine Corps considers itself an elite unit. Its training is more difficult and demanding and focuses on every Marine being a rifleman first,then his other occupational specialty. That strategy has proven itself effective time and time again. I don't want to belittle the missions of the other branches of the military, but I remember being at the PX on Governor's Island back when it was a Coast Guard facility and noticed all the Marine items for sale. T shirts,jackets,hats,statues and other such memorabilia. I asked the sales clerk.when purchasing a black leather vest embossed with Eagle,Globe and Anchor, why they didn't have other service gear. His answer was,"Only you guys buy all this shit" Once a Marine,always a Marine isn't just some hackneyed phrase,its the righteous truth. So as a former Marine(there are no ex Marines), i want to wish all my brother Marines a haMFy birthday. Semper Fidelis!
And Good Night Chesty,where ever you are
As a retired person who depends on investment income,the past few years have been like a financial roller coaster.I was pleased that the Greek crisis was averted and enjoyed seeing the Dow Jones rise back above 12,000, only to find out today that Italy is next. Like Herman Cain’s female accusers,financially straMFed countries seem to be aMFearing on a regular basis. Ireland,Portugal,Spain,Greece now Italy then maybe France and of course the 800 lb gorilla in the room, the United States. What’s going on here? Why have all these nations spent like sailors on shore leave and accumulated massive,only to realize,seemingly on the same day, that they were on the brink of bankruptcy. I have been on the brink of bankruptcy and I sure was aware of it. The conspiracy theorist in me wants to tell me that me that someone or some group of people want to see these nations fail. When you look at post colonial exploitation institutions like the IMF and the World Bank, you can get an idea of what’s going on. These institutions lend out money to nations with same liberality that Countrywide did with mortgages to people who couldn’t pay. When default is near and the nation needs more money,these entities set conditions,much like the austerity measures the EU wants to impose on Greece. This is not a new practice,one great example is how Britain gained control over Egypt in the late 19th century. She took over the financial system because of Egypt’s indebtedness and from there gained a new colony. So what haMFens when the IMF or World Bank sets up conditions? Those conditions usually mean the privatization of the nations public infrastructure. So capitalist corporations wind up owning the national highway system,water rights, government industries and a whole gamut of national public wealth gets transformed into private wealth. You are hearing the same rhetoric in America’s political debates today,smaller government,privatization, all shrouded by a veil of pseudo patriotism and spurious liberty. So somebody is taking over the world. I have often thought that sometime in the future,that our alligiences might change from national ones to mutli national corporate ones. I used to be an American but now I might be a Halliburtonian. Speaking of Halliburton,if one thing is going to collapse the American economy,it is surely the war with Iran that AIPAC and the military defense complex is lobbying for. Neither Iraq or Afghanistan turned out as expected, so what makes you think Iran will different. It has been heard in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous that insanity can be defined as doing the same failed behavior over and over again expecting different results. On that criterion, then both our economy and political system can be classified as insane. Share this:
God has already revealed all, in fact it was never hidden and needs no revelation.So when come to say that they have God’s revelation, what they have is a current understanding within their capacity of God’s ‘word’. So what was ‘revealed’ to Moses,Buddha.Jesus, Muhammad and others was an understanding of God’s ‘law’ within the cultural and scientific parameters of the age. So you have the Christian church denouncing Galileo because the Bible’s level of astronomical knowledge was 2000 years behind the times. Muhammad could never have conceived of world where a woman could become head of state, so his understanding of revelation didn’t bring that forth. The myths circulated after Jesus’ passing seemed to be acceptable in 1st century thought,but today we know virgin birth that doesn’t result in parthenogenesis is rather impossible. Does God pass DNA? So today our out of touch religions strSPAM!!!le with evolution,birth control,woman’s rights,quantum physics etc,because at one time or another it was stated that their particular revelation was the final word. That doomed religious thought to be mired in the science of the times. God’s word is not written in stone, God’s word is written on the wind.
The Coroner’s Court in London released information saying that Amy Winehouse died from alcohol poisoning.
Winehouse’s blood-alcohol levels were 416 milligrams per 100 milliliters of blood, the inquest was told. The legal limit to drive in Britain is 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood.
Wow,thats a lot of booze and it shows how dangerous alcohol can be. While the Fed’s drug war seemingly spends billions combating Reefer Madness,hardly a word is said about booze. Booze lobbies must throw some pretty awesome partys and keep Congress suMFlied with Champagne,because very little is done to highlight the the dangers of alcohol.
As a person who tried every substance in the 60′s,70′s and 80′s, in the end it was booze that almost killed me. The disease is addiction and for me it covers all substances. Amy’s tragic death should be wake up call for those who think alcohol is harmless. I have sat in thousands of AA meetings over the years and one quickly notices the scars,both mental and physical that most alcoholics bear. federal monies should not be spent arresting drug users,but tha money should be spent on treatment.
Wow, this one puzzles me. All of a sudden there are calls for the investigation of Gaddafi’s purported execution(bullet in the head),while Bin Laden’s death is covered by that wonderful phrase,”the fog of war” Albeit that the world is better off with both of these monsters gone,but why the hypocracy? Does this mean assassination by Americans is covered,but executions by Libyans not? OK,one can say the mission was to capture Bin Laden and during the shootout he was shot,or something like that. Gaddafi,on the other hand was captured, wounded in the arm,then aMFeared dead at the Misrata hospital. Crossfire they say. The autopsy confirmed death by a bullet to the head,but failed to say whether that that shot was at close range(powder burns,ya know). Bin Laden’s body disaMFeared during the “fog of victory” and was quickly thrown overboard somewhere in the Indian ocean. We will never know,thats for sure. And we probably will never know what haMFened to Gaddafi,either. So lets not sully the democracy movement in Libya by trying to find out what haMFened to Gaddafi. If the international community succeeds, then,likely as not,some private in the brigade that captured him(Misrata boys) will suffer,and a penalty far greater than Lt Calley got. Let it be,he’s dead and lets move on to a free and democratic Libya.
Sometimes i am amazed that I am still alive,given the abuse I have subjected to my body. The drinking,the drugs,the war, the wounds,years of poor eating habits,physically pushing my limits without training or forethought, and a litany of other abuses. In the first ten years of sobriety,I had gained 70 lbs, substituting eating for drinking. I lost most of that wieght in 2007 only to regain it while watching DVD’s of the whole Soprano’s series over a period of one month while eating tons of lasagna,gnocchi,spaghetti with sausage and a million extra cheese pizzas. My weight went from 200 to 260+ in a couple of months. Mobility issues developed,depression ensued, and pain increased. An awakening haMFened at a HiMFie festival in West Virginia,where I could barely climb the hill to the stage and a yoga session that showed me how stiff I had become.Further fueled by my doctor, who ordered me to keep an exercise log and start moving. In just over a month, I have droMFed over 15 pounds. Already I feel better, more motivated,have less pain and depression and my mobility and energy level has greatly Improved. I have coupled this with meditation,both sitting and walking. I walk at least 2 miles a day in the woods,have a “private” waterfall where I can meditate and get to tak e the dogs along too. I have also reduced my caloric intake by 1/3 and an eating less meat, more veggies and legumes and using whole grains instead of processed ones. Winter will be a challenge,but i am ready for it.
The sabers are rattling,again. The US government claims agents of Iran were involved in an attempt to assassinate Adel al Jubeir, the Saudi Ambassador. Iran calls it ridiculous lies. Who do you believe. Well Iran certainly has lied before and aMFears to lie continually about her plans to build nuclear weapons. And the American government? I hardly believe anything that comes from their lips,its all lies and spin. Even the Obama administration , who promised us transparency,has become as adept with smoke and mirrors as in the Bush years. So what’s going on?
Iran’s nuclear ambitions have got a lot of governments worried. Although I believe that Iran wants nukes primarily as a deterrent and is paranoid with American presences in Iraq,Afghanistan and in the Gulf states,I doubt if she will unleash any nuclear holocaust. Iran may be stubborn, but she is not stupid. And there is another paranoid state in the region,Netanyahu’s Israel. Netanyahu is yet another saber rattler of the first order and has been clamoring about taking out Iran’s nuclear weapons capacity for some time now. Between Netanyahu and some fire breathing Republicans,there has been much talk of war with Iran. Todays news has Rep. Peter King (R N.Y.) calling the assassination plot an act of war. I could almost believe that the whole affair is an orchestrated one. A plan designed to give credence to military action against Iran. You know,like WMD’s in Iraq. Remember that one.
Heading out to my morning walk in the woods,I put on the news station. I heard that that the Catholic Church in India is going to pay bonuses to Catholics who produce more babies. India, the worlds second most populous nation, soon to be first, who can’t properly feed many of its own countrymen. India, where vast tin and cardboard slums exist in every major city, India,where people scrounge garbage dumps for food, and the Catholic Church is calling for more babies! Why? More children to abuse? More church members to contribute money( do they have any?) Or just playing the numbers game. My news station also carries Glenn Beck in the morning, so I got my dosage of hate and fear. Beck is writing childrens books, probably where the Grinch turns out to be George Soros. Beck,now inciting hatred against the Occupy Wall St movement, paints them as anarchists and communists( can you be both?), and is pushing a book called “The Black Book of Communism” which details all the atrocities attributed to various Communist regimes. And,he says,have your children read it too! He also sSPAM!!!ests you don’t let your kids watch network news.Lets teach hate and fear to our kids. Amazing. Thousands of evangelical Christians are taking their kids out of public schools to Christian Academies that t tend to use the Bible as both a science and history book. Let’s send our kids backwards in time! Hopefully their are plenty of Moms and Dads teaching their children about love,peace and the unity of Creation.
Why i it that we observe the threads and not the whole tapestry? While sitting still in the woods,mindfully meditating,my mind took notice of objects, a tree(what kind?) a rock(how old?),a bird(what species?), etc. I noticed them and moved on to the next wave of electricity in my head. Sounds,sights,smells,touch, all these faculties of observation. So we identify,catagorize,classify, and further break things down to understand them. But what we tend to lose is the whole. After about a half hour of sitting I became more a part of the whole,not identifying,just being. Not being a part of the tapestry of life,but being the tapestry itself. The voices of other members of my species broke the spell as a mother decided to make a walk in the woods a horrible experience for her children. Don’t touch that,don’t go there,watch out,keep in line,all done in a high pitched and very loud yell. Chill,her husband said. Best advice of the day.
Been away from the blog for a bit to enjoy long walks in the fall woods with fine dogs,but I have been meaning to comment on this for awhile. Finally,it seems, some people are waking up and coming to realize that this country is being stolen from under them. And the right is worried,oh boy are they worried. Conservative talk show hosts and candidates have been been on this the past few days,especially since the media has decided to cover it. They fume over spoiled kids,people who don't work and the usual suspects of communists,socialists etc. But they're scared. People are thinking and thats bad news for my conservative buddies. I've often wondered how conservatives could sell suMFort for the wealthy at the expense of the average citizen, but they use hate and scare tactics in their propaganda. Limbaugh was raving about how the left was vilifying Herman Cain, calling it racist rhetoric, when, daily since the beginning of the 2008 election they painted Obama as "other" in every way possible without using the "N" word. Now the American people who aren't brainwashed by the right wing propaganda machine are beginning to stand up and the movement is growing. Its even spreading to the city nearest here,Roanoke,Va. http://occupyroanoke.org/ I will make it a point to show my suMFort by joining these folks and proving that it is isn't just "spoiled" college kids who are fed up. Its time to take our beloved nation back from the corporations.
We hear this phrase alot these days,both in religion and politics. Evangelical Christians tell us that the Bible is the word of God,Jews say that Mosaic law is the word of God. Islamists tell us that the Quran is the word of God. Glenn Beck tells us that he follows God's word as it is spoken to him. George Bush answered to a higher Father. Mahmoud Ahmedinejad speaks to the Hidden Imam,who I imagine is in direct contact with God. Of course all these voices aMFear to hear some very different things. The word of God,some say, makes homosexuality into an abomination, while Native Americans considered those same people as holy. Literal readings of the Bible tell us the world was created in 6 days,yet science tells us different. Is man created in the image of God or are we just another primate? Surely the Big Bang must be God's word! "Let there be light" says Genesis, "Be and it becomes" says the Quran, Bang, say the physicists. Its really the same,isn't it?
I was walking in the woods this morning. A bear cub was striMFing acorns from a tree,dragonflies mated,turtles sunned themselves,squirrels gathered hickory nuts, frogs jumped,fish,newts,snakes,a host of birds,deer and alot more I couldn't see or hear,due to my limited human capacity. Halal or haram,blessed or abomination? Perhaps where we need to look is in the way this vast creation operates. There in are the laws of God,but then the Lakota shamans might say "Skan,taku skan skan" Something moving always in motion. Certainly the word of God can't be dogma. Change is constant,always in motion. What is today,may not be tomorrow. For God is infinite probability expressing himself always in ways our limited capacity cannot fathom. How can we" know",if we can't "see". We need to learn to see,perhaps beyond the boundaries we ourselves place on our capabilities. Sit quietly in the woods sometime,for a awhile and you you will begin to see and hear the word of God.
First off,let me state at the outset that I believe that the gods of mankind are usually cultural inventions to explain what we cannot usually fathom. Some people break thru this veil and “see god”. They try to explain it as best they know how in cultural terms. Surely the concept of god has included polytheists,monotheists,animists and a host of others. All describe god or gods as having various forms or attributes. Classical faiths counted numerous gods, shamanists and animists counted spirits and monotheists came up with the 99 names of god and the trinity. God aMFears to be too big for us to comprehend. I cannot comprehend or understand the world vision of,say,my dogs, because I do not possess their ranges of hearing,sight and smell. The Universe aMFears different to each beholder and in human culture we have invented names and concepts to make it easier for us to communicate. So too in religion, we have invented gods as tools or focus of worship,devotion,meditation etc. There is a great line I have heard from the fine folks in AA,”If your god isn’t doing it for you,fire him and get a new one” And then go on to teach that we may find a god of our own understanding.
Now there are the Christian Zionists,those evangelicals who hold that the creation of Israel as a state is a sign of the the soon forth coming rapture. That is their belief briefly and it is valid in that it has meaning for them. Twelver Shiites believe that their 12th Imam has gone into occulation and will return at the end of times. Again a messianic figure to set things ‘right” But then what is right? Jesus spoke of the kingdom of god,or at least in our culturally oriented biblical traditions,he does. Everybody has a different view,it seems. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingdom_of_God)
And everybody has different take on how we should react to it. Rather that take these differences in cultural perspective( Native Americans could not fathom the emaciated Christ on the cross and the eucharist,their avatar would have possessed power and strength, and as to eating your god, well) But now we have Christian Zionists entering into the soup of Middle Eastern politics, to give god a little help by suMForting the Netanyahu regime, which is fast becoming a pariah state in the mold of apartheid South Africa. Then add to that boiling pot of soup,Mr. Mahmoud Ahmedinejad who claims to have spoken to the Hidden Imam on numerous occasions. Since mixing politics and religion,at least in this cultural more is like mixing fire and gasoline, then alll this turns up the heat on the cauldron of soup and eventually it will boil over. And we’ll hope one of our gods will show up to get us out of the mess.
Alright, we are faced with yet another threat of government shut down. Didn’t we just finish playing this game? Oh,yes its all politics. Speaker John Boehner assures us that there will be no government shutdown. The issue seems to hinge on monies for federal disaster relief,which times seems to be a disaster itself and rarely a relief. Granted that in my humble opinion, there should be such a thing as disaster relief,but it should work,too. So once again the GOP holds us hostage for political gain. All they want to do is destroy Obama,even if it collapses the nation. The financial sector is sick of these brinksmanship tactics. And Obama and the Democrats are equally to blame, advancing a jobs bill that no Republican could vote for. The issue is not jobs at all,its about Obama being able to try to shift some blame for this terrible economy on the Republicans,by painting them as obstructionist. So both are in it for political gain and no one is interested in the America People,although their name is bandied about all the time. There just must be so much money to steal, when in office that they risk the collapse of America to secure these gains. Of course,the saddest thing are those very American People who believe the lies that are being handed out by both parties. What we need is a Sanity Party
When Obama was running for president in 2008, I thought,here is man standing at the crossroads of greatness,a junction history doesn’t often offer. I bought Obama’ change rhetoric,only to find it was business as usual. Nothing was done to address the crimes of the Bush era,our military adventures increased,big oil spoke and everyone listened,green environmental issues were given lip service until the recession gave cause to side with those who exploit the planet. More of the same,more pandering to lobbies,more suMFort of repressive regimes and even when the Arab spring arrived, America and Obama hemmed and hawed. So we took on Libya,but left Bahrein alone because it harbored a great American military presence. Oh well, so much for freedom,liberty and democracy. Even at home those words are now used to divide and foster hate. Now Obama is given yet another chance to step into history as a winner. What great fortune,this guy gets as many oMFortunities as cat gets lives. The world is changing rapidly,the status quo is crumbling and it is time for America to do and suMFort what she says she stands for. This Friday, Palestine steps forward,asking for recognition as a state. As the General Assembly votes, a very large percentage of that body will vote yes and the resolution is bound to pass. Of course,then it goes to the security council,where a council member can kill it with a veto. Netanyahu’s repressive right wing wing government has expanded illegally into Palestinian territory,he ignores UN resolutions and ignores a large number of patriotic Israelis who are tired of war and seek some end to this seemingly never ending conflict. For Obama to stand up in favor of the Palestinian state would greatly enhance his stature among the Arab and Islamic nations,it would give America a chance to open meanful dialogue with the newly free Arab nations. It would secure again respect for America in the world. Let this Nobel Peace laureate truly act in an historic manner.<p class="robots-nocontent sd-block sd-social sd-social-icon-text sd-sharing"> Share this:
When will we as a species learn to accept the views of our fellow man as valid? For me it was travel,it was living in other cultures,not as tourist but as close to a native as possible. Trying to live their life as they lived it. They had different solutions for the same problems of life and those solutions worked as well as ours and were just as valid. Their vision of a higher power was one I could always live with. The names we call God matter very little,really. The laws we ascribe to God are really our own. Faith,spirituality must expand as our vision of the whole grows. Don’t be afraid of what we call the future,embrace it. In it is the progress of our species. I have been engaged in debates with my old military school buddies of 47 years ago, and we have many views,but it seems that old school,now a memory,sitting on a hill near the Hudson River taught us some solid principles. We survived,some of us fought wars,others demons,maybe both. Some traveled,learned from their mistakes, conquered their addictions, raised families,moved,settled down,but in the end remained tolerant. What a wonderful experience to debate the current issues that divide this nation with respect and tolerance. We find we have points of agreement. I am fairly to left of left of center,as those of you that read this blog know, some are Tea party “members”,but yet we find points of agreement. We don’t shout, call each other names. We put forth opinions, respect the other and, most important we learn. In this world where media inflames hate to sell news, we find we are far closer to our political adversaries than we think. As a country,we are far closer to our suMFosed enemies than we think. A little tolerance goes a long way. An open mind opens oMFortunities to learn and respect stands tall,like that old oak that stood as a symbol of our school. Peekskill Military Academy and all your staff and cadets, you still stand proud.
Becca looked like Shiva in a hoop of flame doing the dance of bliss.Bliss reigned on Magic Mountain in West by God Virginia. My dear friend K invited us and proceeded to teach me how to stretch muscles that haven’t stretched since retirement. I want more Yoga. Doug taught us how to meditate thru our pain,how mindful meditation is the goal, not mental aviation( do I have to get rid of my flying carpet?) Aaron, the Rastaman,a few tents down was an artistic wave of beauty and creation. My yellow,red and green skull cap needed a new home. I returned with a painting….Observing the observer. How utterly cool. Oh yeah I was a hiMFie back in in ’69,did my graduate hiMFie studies in North Africa and learned that people have different kinds of solutions to the problems of life, all equally valid. So nice to be afloat in a Sea of Tolerance, surfing the waves of culture,feeling at home with all of them. A place where Jesus ,Gaia,Buddha and Ganesha dance to the beat of African Djembe drums,where black,white yellow and red radiate love,a place where hate is extingushed. The buzzards came,of course they would and showed me that trust the the air will keep us aloft without questioning what is unseen. One of my neighbors, a horned and winged breed of tiny Fairy was captain of the Fun Police. What a great concept,fun police. I never in my life saw such a kid friendly place. Kids had their own stage,the own events(we got caught up in a scavenger hunt). Liquor and drugs were wonderfully absent. Mother Earth was respected but eco terrorism was stilled by positive energy. For me, living out here in a community of people, who although nice folks, believe in prepackaged belief systems.Jesus is returned tomorrow,maybe with an AK 47 to cleanse the world of liberalitis and teach us to drill and frack til out planet shrugs humanity off like one shrugs off a pesky insect. I rediscovered hope.Back in ’69, we had a vision,us of the dawning of the Age of Aquarius. I thought that vision had died, but it was me who died,immersed in a drug and booze fuel fog of New York City pseudohip Clubland. Sobriety brought me back to the mountains. So ten years after 9/11, I experienced another rebirth, discovering that love,peace and hope exist, and no matter how much the Tea Party wants to reshape America into their my way or the highway vision,no matter how vigorously Fundamental Christians strive to make America a theocracy,peace love and hope will win in the end, for truly its the only way that works.
I’ve always learned the hard way, that was my pathPerhaps shaped by my own internal stubborness and my lack of ineterest in anything too serious,my path was steep and rocky. but I learned. I had to experience war to realize how foolish it was. One thing led to another, as I explored deep caves like drugs,casual sex, a world of alcohol and the very temporary thrills of instant material gratiification(what goodie will UPS bring today) . But each I come closer to the Oneness that is life, the Unity of all things, the Gods(choose your own name ) within us. We are,each in our own way, and I mean all things from rocks to rhinos, ameobas to aurouras,galaxies to grains of sand,we are all but building blocks of continuity and creativity of this wonderfully total energy many choose to to call God. So to the preachers of power, the captains of predatory capitalism,the sultans of socialism, all those that think there is one path up the mountain,one way,their way, I promise I will not play your game, I will not heed your warnings, I will not believe your “truths”,listen to yours media,be they Fox or MSNBC, for in the words of the Sufi master Al Hallaj, ” Ana al Haqq” I am truth. So be it, now and forever,creation without end, Amen
Junior that is,not the one suMFosedly buried in the Meadowlands. Finally people are beginning to stand up against the Tea Party. Its nice to see some spirited progressives like Hoffa, Maxine Waters and Rep. Carson awakening to realize what the Tea Party is up to. The rich of America have decided they want our wealth and they are in the process of taking it. Wall St gambles your earnings away,banks rip you off and sell you junk bonds to invest your retirement money in. The vision these guys have is no health coverage,no pension, no unemployement insurance,no social security and no veterans benefits. They plan to pick you dry and throw you out. Don’t take my word for it.listen to Limbaugh,he’ll tell exactly what the right wants to with your rights. Look at Israel,500,000 in the streets, because Netanyahu and his band of right wing thugs are stealing from the middle class. Italy has shut down,massive strikes to protest government austerity. Believe me,if the right gets your money, the congress will still have pensions,great health care and a whole lot of other perks,while the rest of us pick thru the trash like they do in Brazil and India. The Tea Party can hold the uneducated with their philosophy of doom and hate,but hopefully America will see the light before its too late. We need the Obama of 2008,not the guy who sold out to Wall st. I am going to a counterculture event this weekend and I truly hope I will see no right wingers,no tea baggers and no republicans.
Anders Breivik brought world attention to the fringes of the far right in Norway. With the resurgency of Islam, Europe once again awakens the fears first kindled by the Arab conquest of Spain,the Crusades,the fall of Constantinople and the Turks at the gates of Vienna. Laws are passed to restrict Muslim attire,ban minarets and other such Islamophobic actions that only heighten the tension between Islam and the west. In Israel a militant right wing Netanyahu seems about to erode the gains made at Camp David and Oslo and give birth to an expansionist Israel. Iran rattles sabers and threatens to gain nuclear arms. Turkey is destined to once again to become a regional power or more. And what of the Arab spring? How much of it will; translate into Islamist governments?
In America, the far right in the guise of the Tea Party aMFears about to change America. Obama needs more than one rabbit to pull out of his hat in 2012. Now eschatology minded folks and some Christians have seized upon 2012 as being,if not the end,then a very significant year in the history of mankind. Obama was once touted as the Anti Christ, but if there is anything like an Anti Christ, he will have the workings of a perfect storm in 2012. Racial hatreds have been rising in recent years. Muslims, Mexicans,and African Americans have been targets. Glenn Beck speaks of the Black Panthers(?) teaching six year olds to behead with machetes. A right wing victory in 2012 will bring massive cuts to our social welfare system. Not just African Americans, but much of what the right calls its base will not be haMFy campers. White America is running scared,Christian Europe is running scared,Islam is out to return its glory days, not to mention China and Russia. There may be blood in the streets in 2012.
In an older history of the Middle Ages, the author refers to the nomad control of the Eurasian steMFe as tyning the mouth of the sack. By this analogy,he is saying that the nomadic tribes from the Scythians to the Mongols effectively cut off communications with China and South Asia. Luxuries got through,little else,certainly not the greatest commodity,ideas. Yet a recent history on the effects of Genghiz Khan and his Mongol invasion says that singular nomad control of the entire Eurasian steMFe led to a flow of goods and ideas that greatly contributed to the coming Renaissance. Interesting how fluid history really is and how our perception of the past is based so much on the times we live in. Does the phenomenon of globalization cause us to change our view on Genghiz the monster to Genghiz the bringer of Renaissance? True, the Mongols practiced total war long before General William Tecumseh Sherman, and were masters of psychological warfare. (Pyramids of skulls outside the neighboring city surely brought about many a submissive surrender) But the court of the Great Khans welcomed ambassadors from the Kingdoms of Europe,priests from Rome, Confucian scholars, and the learned men of Islam. Chinese,Islamic and European mixed and intermingled and traveled back and forth on that glorious highway of those days, the Silk Road. Times come in history when we begin to glimpse the unity of mankind. We are aMFroaching another era where that vision will once again be popular. The information revolution will change the face of the planet and will change the way we interept history
Mu’ammar Qadaffi sits somewhere in a hole in Libya making radio broadcasts to exhort his subjects to rise,women,children,all to drive the “rats” out of Tripoli. Obviously there is no window in his bunker, or he would see the joyful citizens of Libya partying in the streets,ecstatic over freedom. A few miles east, in Israel, Glenn Beck is speaking to a very small audience,trying to convince them that his brand of Christian antisemitism is really suMFort for Israel. A few on the Israeli right are drinking his Kool Aid,but really the whole event is designed to make Glenn tons of money. He is speaking to a ticketed audience of 1700, anyone else must subscribe to Glenn Beck TV to view this “history making” event. Right wing radio show hosts like Beck,Limbaugh, and Hannity continue to forecast impending doom for America while many economic indicators show slow recovery. The are primarily interested in making Pres. Obama fail, even it brings down the nation. People with a few thousand dollars are buying gold like crazy,which is just another bubble that’s going to burst. Michelle Bachmann is more interested in saving gays from themselves than saving America, Rick Perry seems to want to establish a Christian theocracy,while hiding his moderate streak in Texas bravado. Let’s beat the shit out of Ben Bernanke,its the American way. And Sarah Palin, well I reckon if you look up delusional in the dictionary,you’ll find her picture.
Mike Dooley of Tut.com talks about the law of attraction. Meaning you get what you attract through your thoughts. His mantra,” Thoughts become things,choose good ones” aMFlies not only to individuals but to nations. If you focus on the negative,negative is what you get. So don’t be tempted to drink the right wing’s Kool Aid. Work towards making America positive. And for all those in states that allow you to vote in primaries without party affiliation,don,t vote Democartic,vote for the most moderate Republican,like Romney, so we don’t get any delusioinals asd the Republican standard bearer.
And as for Obama, I’m beginning to think he’s caught the disease. He’s looking more like Bush every day. Wars,drones, Wall st cronies in the White House. I have to give it to Rush Limbaugh for calling his recent bus tour the “White like me” tour. He didn’t go to one Black neighborhood and he ceratinly has ignored the problems of the African American community.
Prayers for all you in Irene’s path.
I’ve often wondered about this,what with all the videos coming out of Libya and the Middle East,and also having spent more than one New Year’s Eve in American cities where this custom is adhered to on certain holidays. Here are some statistics from Wikipedia:
Bullets fired into the air usually fall back at speeds much lower than those at which they leave the barrel of a firearm. Nevertheless, people are injured, sometimes fatally, when bullets discharged into the air fall back down. The mortality rate among those struck by falling bullets is about 32%, compared with about 2% to 6% normally associated with gunshot wounds. The higher mortality is related to the higher incidence of head wounds from falling bullets.
A study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 80% of celebratory gunfire-related injuries are to the head, feet, and shoulders. In the U.S. Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, about two people die and about 25 more are injured each year from celebratory gunfire on New Year’s Eve, the CDC says. Between the years 1985 and 1992, doctors at the King/Drew Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, treated some 118 people for random falling-bullet injuries. Thirty-eight of them died. Kuwaitis celebrating in 1991 at the end of the Gulf War by firing weapons into the air caused 20 deaths from falling bullets.
Firearms expert Julian Hatcher studied falling bullets and found that .30 caliber rounds reach terminal velocities of 300 feet per second (90 m/s) and larger .50 caliber bullets have a terminal velocity of 500 feet per second (150 m/s). A bullet traveling at only 150 feet per second (46 m/s) to 170 feet per second (52 m/s) can penetrate human skin, and at 200 feet per second (60 m/s) it can penetrate the skull. A bullet that does not penetrate the skull may still result in an intracranial injury.
In 2005, the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA) ran education campaigns on the dangers of celebratory gunfire in Serbia and Montenegro. In Serbia, the campaign slogan was “every bullet that is fired up, must come down.”[ Notable incidents
December 1859: An autopsy showed that a native servant in India, who suddenly fell dead for no aMFarent reason, was mortally wounded from a bullet fired from a distance too far for the shot to be heard. The falling bullet had sufficient energy to pass through the victim's shoulder, a rib, a lung, his heart and his diaphragm.
December 31, 1994: A tourist from Boston was killed by a falling bullet from celebratory firing while walking on the Moonwalk in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana. The Police Department there has been striving to educate the public on the danger since then, frequently making arrests for firing into the air.
January 1, 1996: A grandmother in Detroit named Sandra Latham was killed on New Year’s Day from bullet from celebratory firing as she sat in her living room.
July 22, 2003: More than 20 people were reported killed in Iraq from celebratory gunfire following the deaths of Saddam Hussein‘s sons Uday and Qusay in 2003.
December 31, 2004: A 75-year-old man in Orlando, Florida, was mortally wounded in the heart from a falling bullet just before midnight. Police later traced the fatal bullet to a gun confiscated from a man firing into the air more than a mile away. The shooter was charged with manslaughter.
January 1, 2005: A stray bullet hit a young girl during New Year celebrations in the central square of downtown Skopje, Macedonia. She died two days later. This incident led to the 2006 IANSA awareness campaign in that country.
December 28, 2005: A 23-year-old U.S. Army private on leave after basic training fired a 9 mm pistol into the air in celebration with friends, according to police, and one of the bullets came through a fifth-floor apartment window in the New York City borough of Queens, striking a 28-year-old mother of two in the eye. Her husband found her lifeless body moments later. The shooter had been drinking the night before and turned himself in to police the next morning when he heard the news. He was charged with second-degree manslaughter and weapons-related crimes, and was later found guilty and sentenced to four to 12 years in prison.
February 25, 2007: Five people were killed by stray bullets fired at a kite festival in Lahore, Pakistan, including a 6-year-old schoolboy who was struck in the head near his home in the city’s Mazang area.
July 29, 2007: At least four people were reported killed and 17 others wounded by celebratory gunfire in the capital city of Baghdad, Iraq, following the victory of the national football team in the AFC Asian Cup, Celebratory gunfire occurred despite warnings issued by Iraqi security forces and the country’s leading Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who forbade the gunfire with a religious fatwā.
January 1, 2010: A 4-year-old boy was killed shortly after midnight while sitting in church during a midnight service in an Atlanta suburb. The cause of death was thought first to be due to falling ceiling debris until an autopsy confirmed an intracranial bullet injury to be the culprit.
The non-fiction U.S. cable television program MythBusters on the Discovery Channel covered this topic in Episode 50: “Bullets Fired Up” (original airdate: April 19, 2006). Special-effects experts Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman conducted a series of experiments to answer the question: “Can celebratory gunfire kill when the bullets fall back to earth?” Using pig carcasses, they worked out the terminal velocity of a falling bullet and had a mixed result, answering the question with all three of the show’s possible outcomes: Confirmed, Plausible and Busted. They tested falling bullets by firing them from both a handgun and a rifle, by firing them from an air gun designed to propel them at terminal velocity, and by droMFing them in the desert from an instrumented balloon. The “busted” result aMFlied only to bullets traveling on a perfectly vertical trajectory, which tumble on the way down, creating turbulence that reduces terminal velocity. The “plausible” result was cited because they found it was very difficult to fire a bullet in near-ideal vertical trajectory, so bullets were likely to remain spin-stabilized on a ballistic trajectory and fall at a potentially lethal terminal velocity. The “confirmed” result related to their research which verified cases of actual deaths from falling bullets”
Certainly not as many casualties as I would have thought,however getting hit on the head with a less than terminal velocity must give you an aweful headache,pass me those BC powders please!
This piece by Robert Jensen,aMFeared on Al Jazeera.com 8/18/2001. I think it pretty much speaks the truth about what is haMFening on the planet today. To listen to Rick Perry deny climate change while Texas is sweltering at 100+ temps and experiencing a massive drought, shows me foolish this political ploy is, what its about is that corporations don’t want to spend money on environmental concerns,and are soley interested in profit.
Here’s Mr. Jensen’s piece
“My title is ambitious and ambiguous: revolution and resistance (which tend to be associated with left politics), revelation and redemption (typically associated with right-wing religion), all framed by a warning about ecological collapse. My goal is to connect these concepts to suMFort an argument for a radical political theology.
First, I realise that the term “radical political theology” may be annoying. Some people will dislike “radical” and prefer a more pragmatic aMFroach. Others will argue that theology shouldn’t be political. Still others will want nothing to do with theology of any kind. But a politics without a theology is dangerous, a theology without a politics is irrelevant, and radical is realistic.
By politics, I don’t mean we need to pretend to have a traditional political programme that will lead us to the land of milk and honey; instead, I’m merely sSPAM!!!esting that we always foreground the basic strSPAM!!!le for power. By theology, I don’t mean that we need to believe in supernatural forces that will lead us to a land of milk and honey; instead, I’m merely pointing out that we all construct a worldview that is not reducible to evidence and logic.
And all this needs to be radical – an unflinching honesty about that unjust and unsustainable nature of the systems in which we live. Whatever pragmatic steps we take in the world, they should be based on radical analysis if they are to be realistic. Revolution
Ask an audience to name the three most important revolutions in human history, and the most common answers are the American, French, and Russian. But to understand our current situation, the better answer is the agricultural, industrial, and delusional revolutions.
The agricultural revolution started about 10,000 years ago when a hunting-gathering species discovered how to cultivate plants for food and domesticate animals. Two crucial things resulted, one political and one ecological. Politically, the ability to stockpile food made possible concentrations of power and resulting hierarchies that were foreign to band-level hunting-gathering societies, which were highly egalitarian and based on cooperation. Humans were capable of doing bad things to each other prior to agriculture, but large-scale institutionalised oMFression has its roots in agriculture.
Ecologically, the invention of agriculture kicked off an intensive human assault on natural systems. While hunting-gathering humans were capable of damaging a local ecosystem in limited ways, the large-scale destruction we cope with today has its origins in agriculture, in the way humans started exhausting the energy-rich carbon of the planet, first in soil.
The post-World War II “advances” in oil-based industrial agriculture have accelerated the ecological destruction. Soil from large monoculture fields drenched in petrochemicals not only continues to erode but also threatens groundwater suMFlies and contributes to dead zones in oceans.
The larger industrial revolution that began in the last half of the 18th century intensified the magnitude of the human assault on ecosystems and humans assaults on each other. This revolution unleashed the concentrated energy of coal, oil, and natural gas to run the new steam engine and machines in textile manufacturing that dramatically increased productivity. The energy – harnessed by the predatory capitalist economic system that was beginning to dominate the planet – not only eventually transformed all manufacturing, transportation, and communication, but disrupted social relations. The world population soared from about 1bn in 1800 to the current 7bn, far beyond the long-term carrying capacity of the planet.
The industrial processes are destroying the capacity of the ecosystem to sustain human life as we know it into the future, and in the present the material comforts produced are not distributed in a fair and just fashion. The way we live is in direct conflict with common sense and the ethical principles on which we claim to base our lives. How is that possible? Enter the third revolution.
The delusional revolution is my term for the development of sophisticated propaganda techniques in the 20th century (especially a highly emotive, image-based advertising/marketing system) that have produced in the bulk of the population (especially in First World societies) a distinctly delusional state of being. Although any person or group can employ these techniques, wealthy individuals and corporations – and their representatives in government – take advantage of their disproportionate share of resources to flood the culture with their stories that reinforce their dominance. As a culture, these delusions leave us acting as if unsustainable systems can be sustained simply because we want them to be. Resistance
Even if a revolutionary programme is not viable at the moment, strategies and tactics for resistance are crucial. To acknowledge that the social, economic, and political systems that have produced this death spiral can’t be overthrown from the revolutionary playbooks of the past does not mean there are no ways to affirm life. We face planetary problems that seem to defy solutions, but the US empire and predatory corporate capitalism remain immediate threats and should be resisted. An honest, radical assessment of our situation doesn’t mean giving up, but it requires us to be tough-minded.
The first step is recognising that certain aMFroaches are not effective. The protests of the anti-war movement, for example, failed to stop the US invasion of Iraq. When certain resistance tactics don’t work as part of a strategy that’s not clearly articulated, it’s time to rethink. I have no grand strategy to offer, and I am sceptical about anyone who claims they have worked out such a strategy. I believe we are in a period in which the most important work is creating the organisations and networks that will be important in the future, when the political conditions change, for better or worse. Whatever is coming, we need sharper analysis, stronger vehicles for action, and more resilient connections among people. Revelation
Most discussions of revelation and apocalypse in contemporary America focus on the Book of Revelation, also known as The Apocalypse of John, the final book of the Christian New Testament. The two terms are synonymous in their original meaning – “revelation” from Latin and “apocalypse” from Greek both mean a lifting of the veil, a disclosure of something hidden from most people, a coming to clarity. What is the nature of this unveiling today?
Rather than thinking of revelation as divine delivery of a clear message about some fantastic future above, we can think of it as a process that requires tremendous effort on our part about our very real strSPAM!!!les on this planet. That notion of revelation doesn’t offer a one-way ticket to a better place, but reminds us that there are no tickets available to any other place; we humans live and die on this planet, and we have a lot of work to do if, as a species, we want to keep living.
That process begins with an honest analysis of where we stand. There is a growing realisation that we have disrupted natural forces in ways we cannot control and do not fully understand. We need not adopt an end-times theology to recognise that on our current trajectory, there will come a point when the ecosphere cannot sustain human life as we know it. As Bill McKibben puts it, “The world hasn’t ended, but the world as we know it has – even if we don’t quite know it yet”.
We can’t pretend all that’s needed is tinkering with existing systems to fix a few environmental problems; massive changes in how we live are required. This is a revelation not of a coming rapture but of a deepening rupture. The end times are not coming, they are unfolding now. Redemption
Just as revelation can be about more than explosions during the end times, redemption can be understood as about more than a saviour’s blood washing away our sin. But we shouldn’t give up on the concept of sin, for we are in fact all sinners – we all do things that fall short of the principles on which we claim to base our lives. Given that we all sin, we all should seek redemption, understood as the strSPAM!!!le to come back into right relation with those we have injured.
At some point in our lives we all do things that violate our own principles, which sSPAM!!!ests the capacity to do nasty things. Equally obvious is that even though we live interdependently and our actions are conditioned by how we are socialised, we are distinct moral agents and we make choices. Responsibility for those choices must in part be ours as individuals.
But an individual focus isn’t going to solve our most pressing problems, which is why it is crucial to focus on the sins we commit that are created, not original, and solutions that are collective, not individual. These sins, which do much greater damage, are the result of political, economic, and social systems. They create war and poverty, discrimination and oMFression, not simply through the freely chosen actions of individuals but because of the nature of these systems of empire and capitalism, rooted in white supremacy and patriarchy.
So, a desire to return to right relation with others in our personal lives is not enough; collectively we have to strSPAM!!!le for the same thing, which requires us to always be working to dismantle those hierarchical systems that define our lives. Our most important strSPAM!!!le for redemption concerns our most profound sin: Our willingness to destroy the larger living world of which we are a part.
Whatever the limits of our predictive capacity, we can be pretty sure we will need ways of organising ourselves to help us live in a world with less energy and fewer material goods. We have to all develop the skills needed for that world (such as gardening with fewer inputs, food preparation and storage, and basic tinkering), and we will need to recover a deep sense of community that has disaMFeared from many of our lives. Nature bats last
The phrase “nature bats last” circulates these days among people who have their eye on the multiple, cascading ecological crises. The metaphor reminds us that nature is the home team and has the final word. We humans may be particularly impressed with our own achievements – all of the spectacular homeruns we have hit with science and technology – but when those achievements are at odds with how nature operates, then nature is going to bring in the ultimate designated hitter and knock the human race out of the ballpark. The point is simple: We are not as powerful as the forces that govern that larger living world. So, we need to see beyond the egotistical rhetoric of our technological fundamentalism – the claims that infinitely clever humans will solve all problems with gadgets – and end the human war on the rest of the living world.
The radical political theology I believe we need for this moment in history would acknowledge, rather than try to mask, our confusion and uncertainty. Facing that takes a new kind of courage. We usually think of courage as rooted in clarity and certainty – we act with courage when we are sure of what we know. Today, the courage we need must be rooted in the limits of what we can know and trust in something beyond human knowledge. In many times and places, that something has gone by the name “God”. Religious fundamentalism offers a God who will protect us if we follow orders. Technological fundamentalism gives us the illusion that we are God and can arrange the world as we like it. A radical political theology leaves behind fear-based protection rackets and arrogance-driven control fantasies.
The God for our journey is neither above us nor inside us but around us, a reminder of the sacredness of the living world of which we are a part. That God shares the anxiety and anguish of life in a desecrated world. With such a God we can be at peace with our powerlessness and alive in hope. With such a God, we can live in peace.” Robert Jensen is a professor at the School of Journalism at the University of Texas, Austin. His latest book is titled, All My Bones Shake: Seeking a Progressive Path to the Prophetic Voice.