Total Pageviews

Popular Posts

Sunday, September 13, 2015


As Rosh Hashanah begins, I reflect upon a number of things. Mostly, I reflect on the near-universal biped need for someone to demonize and dehumanize someone else. And yes, sometimes individuals, groups or nations dehumanize themselves and deserve all they get. Most times, though, such a thing is entirely spurious and we all know which people have been thus demonized and dehumanized on the most sickeningly consistent basis over the last two millennia or so.
As long as Am Yisrael understands more about real holiness than their current neighbors (which isn't hard as those who claim the Temple Mount is theirs and theirs ALONE show by that very action they understand NOTHING of real holiness! If they did, they'd invite the world to bring their prayers to the Mount!) they will remain in the land and on the Mount.
But I see two things eating into Israel's understanding. The first looks like an increasing desire to ignore or circumvent the stricture of Exodus 23:9, where God forbids Israel to harass the strangers. (And NO, it does NOT only mean 'proselyte'!! And to those who suggest that, I say, get thee behind me, Satan!) The second is the muting of the voices of the poor and of all the children that go to bed hungry in Israel. That this should happen anywhere is bad enough, but to have it happen in Israel feels like a serious shonda indeed!!
To take an earlier paragraph a step further, I suggest that anyone, or any people, who claim to be the only FULL humans or the only TRUE worshippers of their god show by those very attitudes that they understand nothing of either real humanity or real holiness. Holiness is not something of which any human can say 'mine'; that is always 'ours' when humans are entrusted with any real portion of it at all. So far, the resurrected Israel has avoided this trap. And yes, it lives in a dangerous neighborhood and needs to stay strong, smart and watchful. But it has a tightrope to walk between its physical safety and keeping its soul green and growing.
I know this is nothing new; find me an Israeli or Diaspora Jew who doesn't know it. And when I see how some Israelis treat those they see as 'strangers', I worry for the probable effect on Israel's soul and about God's probable reaction to it. In Scripture, grinding the faces of the poor and injustice to the stranger were two things among others that got first Israel and then Judah sent into exile.
Bibi is right about one thing: racism has no place in Judaism or in Zionism. Let's do all we can starting this new year to realize that as fully as we can and also to honor the stranger and hear the poor children as the Scripture commands us to do.

Saturday, May 16, 2015


When I think about it, I realize the main enemy of democracy is still what can be termed UNEARNED ELITISM. EARNED ELITISM is a necessary component of democracy. Unearned elite status is democracy's enemy whether it comes from being a certain skin tone, belonging to a religion favored by the state, or having one's genitals inside or outside, not to mention where one puts those same organs.
It's not the same thing as being a member of an empowered majority; at least it needn't be. So take that, BDSers and all your Nazi elves!
However, if the system's been set up to favor, say, white Anglo-Saxon straight men like yours truly, then THAT is merely an extension of quasi-royal privilege to a whole population. Few of us who benefit by this realize it as yet, although most POCs could give us chapter and verse on it! You see, us pale men are NOT SUPPOSED to know how, or to what extent, we benefit from such a setup. Nor do most of us as yet really want to know, to tell the bitter truth, because we're afraid of what we think we'll have to give up.
But to tell the truth, the only thing we need to give up is our unearned assumption of superiority over everyone else. This will involve a lot of consciousness-raising. It should probably begin with a long, hard look at the (in?)justice system, including how the police operate. Especially noting how white men are treated with kid gloves while nearly everyone else gets a swing of the club and whatever current phrase says the same thing as "Down, croppies!" This will be hard work but will be well worth the efforts!
And while I'm on this, let everyone get this straight: being born with privilege does not make anyone a bad person per se; it's what you DO with it--including becoming conscious of it. And I hope I can remind the under-privileged that there can be times where one of us is actually saying something worth listening to. Still, on the whole, I'd advise my fellow pale males to do much more careful listening, without thought of what you want to say, and let others talk who have been more 'stifled' than you and perhaps encouraging them to speak up. Indeed, there's something a REAL aristocrat should do as part of his/her job, sez I!
Separation of religion and state is vital to keeping democracy healthy; not for nothing are nearly all anti-democratic forces seeking to merge religion and state (ISIS et al., Dominionists et al.) and, where a wall between them is in place, to tear it down.
Progressive taxation (and right now, HEAVILY progressive taxation) is also vital to democracy as it prevents the formation of huge private fortunes strong enough to 'put our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country." to quote Mr. Jefferson. To those who would claim property rights as more absolute than human ones, allow me to refer y'all to a letter dated December 25, 1783 to Robert Morris from Dr. Benjamin Franklin. Read what the good doctor had to say of property. Ditto Mr. Paine in his Dissertation on First Principles of Government.
We are each 'special' in our own way but none of us rule others because of anything approximating divine right and we deceive ourselves when we tell ourselves anything approximating that shopworn lie! And if more of us are to realize our own 'specialness'--including those of the ruling caste who are connected with any privilege ONLY because of pale skin, light eyes, etc.--these things must be done. along with preserving, nourishing and expanding the 'commons' on which all of us depend. Privatization must be stopped and reversed NOW!
Finally, sooner or later, ruling castes who don't continue to democratize set themselves up thereby for torches, pitchforks, mass gallows and guillotines. As Maratian as I can sound sometimes, I'd really rather avoid bloodshed if possible. So let's get with the program and kickstart a new wave of democratization for all of us.

Friday, May 8, 2015


Come now, let us reason together."
Through the prophet Isaiah, God invites us to join Him in doing this. That we also desperately need to do so with each other should go without saying, but with this world being what it is, it can't be said often enough! And one thing which worries me quite a bit about these days is how many of us basically REFUSE to 'listen to reason'. It may well prove that the best solution to deal with all such is to pit them against each other, place our bets and pass the popcorn!
On the other hand, I also know a good deal more of history and of theology than most other folks and that knowledge tells me that it is very likely that it has been the few among humans who have used reason, and taken its use seriously, over the millennia. Many such are probably counted among the 'greats' of both disciplines and of others. So, then, why should I worry?
Two causes for worry occur to me just now. First, we have been screwing up our environment on a never-before-seen scale and changing the very climate while we do. And there are still willful fools among us with their heads in the sand (or, more likely, up their own derrieres) who refuse to acknowledge it. Second, at no time in history was anyone in, say, Paris, likely to hear about a traffic accident or a criminal chase or whatever in Shanghai or Buenos Aires. The world is still shrinking in that way.
In The Closing of the Muslim Mind, Robert Reilly relates how the Muslim world committed intellectual suicide starting actually just about a millennium ago and finishing about eight hundred years ago. It took rather a while, as you can see. He ends the book as follows:
"As was seen in the blood-soaked history of the twentieth century, the "priority of the irrational"--even if embraced only by the radical few--can inexorably lead to limitless violence, because the primacy of the will, whether in God or man, knows no [natural] bounds. The recovery of reason, grounded in logos, is the only sentinel of sanity. This is imperative for the East as well as the West." I might add Euripides' noted line, "Whom the gods destroy they first make mad."
We who are reason's sentinels, whether we be Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, agnostic, atheist or Spaghettists, need to support, strengthen and encourage one another. The European separation of reason from faith is not particularly helpful in this; neither is the encouragement of unreason and consequent blinding of faith as seems now to be common among 'fundies' of at least all the Abrahamian faiths. Faith and reason both need to be in partnership. Such a partnership will continue to be, as it has been, in a costly but fruitful and noble tension--and so it must and should remain, because it is so fruitful.
The choice is before us all, today and every day: the work of reasoning together and with God (and He will help, but we must ask first) or madness and consequent destruction. With His help, let's do all we can to push the first and thereby neutralize the second. Can I have an amen?
And remember: seventy years ago today, we saw the unconditional surrender of a regime that set itself against reason and rationality.

Monday, April 6, 2015


What's on my mind? Quite a lot, actually. Enough for me to at least bend a rule I have not to do anything that feels like 'labor' on Sunday by writing this post, which may or may not feel like 'labor'.
First, the shape of the hopeful agreement with Iran and the (admittedly expected) screeching from the Right about it. In my opinion, comparisons with Munich are way out of court here. All Chamberlain & co. had was Hitler's word; we and our allies have quite a bit more in mandatory inspections at EVERY stage of this pipeline. And it's too nauseatingly easy to play Monday-morning quarterback to Chamberlain now anyway. Anyone who wants to argue how wrong he was, you go and put yourself in 1938 and banish ALL the history since that time from your mind--temporarily, anyhow! Then I might listen!
But anyhow, there will be close, mandatory inspections (without which the sanctions won't be lifted AT ALL) and carefully monitored 'lines' which, if Iran steps over them, will snap sanctions back into place. And Iran may be looking for a time when either we, the EU, China or Russia will get lazy about them. Which means we need to keep all our eyes peeled and ears pricked for twenty years or so.
And I can hear the voices screeching like Gladys Kravitz on the old 'Bewitched' series about how they're Not To Be Trusted and they'll figure out Some Way To Cheat. Well, from the particulars of what's been agreed on so far, they'll have to work pretty dam' hard to cheat and not get caught at doing so with the safeguards built into this framework! It is with enemies and not friends that one parleys and negotiates. Some will say that Israel's enemies hate Israel for what it is and not what it does. That's a big reason why there are such verification mechanisms in this agreement, none of which were ever in the Munich agreement. If Israel has no reason to trust Iran, neither do the six countries doing the negotiating--and the agreement shows that fairly clearly!
Second, I'm disturbed by voices within Israel sounding alarmingly like echoes of Amalek. After Israel's been hearing such voices from its enemies for 67 years now, the surprise in that respect is that it hasn't happened sooner and I'd say Israel deserves a kudo or two for that. And Israel seems to be mirroring the disturbing American phenomenon of poor whites (in this case, poor Mizrahi Jews) voting enthusiastically for the very government whose economic policies keep them poor--and doing so out of ethnic 'hatred'. Although, considering it is Mizrahis, who (one might think) know Arabs up close and personal more than do Ashkenazim, who are keeping Bibi in power, one needs to ask why. Just how much better do Mizrahis know Arabs than do the Ashkenazim? And what is a positive Mizrahi understanding of being Jewish, that is, which is more than being 'non-Arab non-Muslim'? If someone can articulate such a thing to me, I'll be grateful. Third, to what extent are Mizrahi Jews internally Arabized, that is, colonized?
In Leon Uris's book The Haj, the title character says this to his Jewish friend: "Are you not living out the greatest fantasy of them all? Do you believe you will overcome the entire Arab world?" (And the next passage makes it clear he means culturally, not militarily)
"I'll tell you what your Ben Gurion fears. He fears Israel will end up as a Levantine nation doing things just as we do them." His friend snarls back it won't happen as peace and love are values to Jews. So it was then and still is now--but to what extent? Netanyahu's government seems to show precious little of those values. Especially since Likud relies as heavily as it does on the votes of poor Mizrahis, I wonder and I worry.
Third, the 'demographic time bomb' may, as Caroline Glick ventures, yet prove to be a fizzling firecracker, but Martin Sherman seems to have a better grip on the consequences of annexing Arabs brought up as Nazis from the age of three than does Glick, whose attitude seems somewhat more Caligulan (let them hate as long as they fear). Better to either keep the PA or erect twelve emirates--but Israel must control or at least vet the educational materials for at least twenty years before annexing Judea and Samaria outright. That and a gradual improvement of infrastructure to bring it up to Israeli standards are urgently necessary firsts.
I want my country (USA) and Israel to remain allies, but we still have different interests. We are the superpower and to go to war with Iran for oil and regime change would be another unmitigated disaster, especially in light of the 1953 coup which ousted Mossadegh and reinstated the Shah. That gave the Ayatollah the 'fuel' he needed to create the Islamic Republic; any bets on the kind of fuel our crushing of the Islamic Republic might give a future Ayatollah or Shahanshah?
We should take the annihilatory words of Iran seriously--but we should also see where they can be surreptitiously 'deflated'. And words may or may not precede concurrent action. We must stay alert for signs of action and keep the salt handy to sprinkle on the words when it looks like bluster. And above all, do all we can as individuals, families, localities, regions and nations to ensure that peace and love stay real values to us and that, in seeking to destroy today's Amaleks, we don't look in the mirror one day and see--Amalek.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


I have a few things to say this morning.
First, a reminder that: be our next president ever so progressive, it will avail us but little to elect such a one UNLESS we also elect both a progressive Congress AND progressive state legislatures. Remember that!
Second, if we can't find progressive candidates for these offices let's stand for them ourselves. And in so doing, we need to be creative campaigners in order to be free of the need for big $$$$$ which renders candidates into slaves of the billionaires! Write-in campaigns may prove a useful tool here.
Third, I'm putting myself--Brian S. Meadows, currently of Clarkrange, TN--forward as a write-in for president in 2016. I do this reluctantly and not without trepidation, but I do have two things going for me: an idea of the things that need doing AND I know who to ask for help in getting them done. One such person is my FB friend Robert Reich.
I'd be happier to spend my time writing songs and having them played and produced, but this is something I feel compelled to do. If you're interested in being part of this and are curious about my platform, check out 'The Central Article' on my FB page Progressive Platform & Politics 2014+ for further details. Or try the post on this website titled, Progressive Politics for 2014, 2016 &... as you like.
Fourth, this is a campaign which will depend in large part upon all of us and the time we spend sharing this with others. One of my hopes for this campaign, not only for the White House but for Congress, etc. as well, is at the end of it we the people can say, "We did it ourselves." So 'liking' this post is all very well, but let's get (and keep) cracking on sharing!
Fifth (and here I change the subject a bit) for those who haven't yet read Barnard Malamud's novel 'The Fixer' (or for those who have read but forgotten it) PLEASE (re-)read this book and tell me if Sarah Palin is not an incarnation of the lying trollop Marfa Golov! If we do nothing else this election cycle, we need to send this arrogantly and PROUDLY ignorant specimen back to the trailer park whence she sprung! My apologies to those who live in trailer parks and feel insulted by this reference; if you can lend me a better description of this Arctic white trash, please feel free.
This is one campaign cycle where I feel we the people need to do something RADICALLY different from past campaigns; join me if you feel the same way. God bless you all and--in a most urgent way--God save the United States of America!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


OK, everyone, let's face it. We were f***ing shellacked yesterday!
And why is that? A number of reasons. First, because of all of you so-called 'progressives' who somehow never made it to the polls yesterday!!
For cryin' out loud, thirty-seven percent of yesterday's voters were senior citizens! Millennials, where the hell were you yesterday?! Having a picnic in the park with whatever small change you can spare from your already starvation-level wages?! For which you can thank those same Repiglicans?!?!?
And women: don't you get it yet that the Repiglicans actually mean to force you back into the 1950s?! That they don't want to pay you equally for comparable work and that they actually get off themselves by sticking their long uncomfortable hypocritical noses into your private lives?!
And to my brethren of color: I think your case actually awakens a smidgen or two of sympathy in me--but don't push it! I know some of you have consciously voted since you became old enough because you haven't forgotten what that right means. Kudos to y'all for that.
On the other hand, my anger towards those of you who haven't voted is mitigated by the bitter truth that many of you have consistently voted, yet seen little to nothing change, at least not for the better, when so dam' much needs to change that way! But without those consistent votes, nothing will change for the better. So, with my humble thanks as I don't know if I could do likewise in your places, you need to continue to soldier on and add more to those seasoned, serrated ranks, as a poet once wrote.
And at this level, I think I'm angriest at all the unimaginative schoolmarms, male and female, and the 'little' lambkins in their oh-so-civil classrooms! This past cycle we needed to do quite a lot differently--and we didn't. We didn't even throw every LIE manufactured by the Repiglicans back into their teeth the way we shoul;d be doing!! Why?! Because too many of you can't bring yourselves to f***ing TAKE OFF THE GLOVES and fight bare-knuckle?! 'Cuz that's what we need to do--that and STOP being apologetic about what we know and believe! We need to not only VIGOROUSLY defend but go on offensive, big time and TO HELL with ANYONE'S 'hurt feelings'!!!
And that leads me to the 'leadership': with the truly laudable exceptions of Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, who else is putting out a real program which real people can get behind and support? What are other Democrats advocating in the way of bread-and-butter issues other than an increase in the minimum wage? How many of us are going around on the Blue Dog's hamster-wheel?
We need more than that! We need to forcibly make the point that there are no jobs on a dead planet; greening our economy and pushing renewable energy forms is the way to both greater economic and defense security (no more wars for oil!), that it is only just to mind our own business as to who marries who and that too much income disparity is FATAL to democracy! Maybe we need to ask very starkly as to which way our fellow-citizens want to go in that respect, although I'll be glad to hear from others about that.
Finally: please don't tell yourself, "Aw, this or that can't happen here; that's too crazy." You're right about that; it IS crazy. But remember: the inmates now run the asylum. Get it? Therefore, legislative lunacy CAN happen. It may be about to unless we block it, in some cases with our own bodies!
And think about under-the-radar, write-in campaigns. Let's see what the law allows and maybe we can jar the MSM and the power-structure generally two years hence. Don't tire of spreading the message and engaging, or re-engaging, the politically disengaged. And next time, YOU also get the hell out and VOTE!!!!!!

Monday, September 29, 2014


'Palestine' and 'Palestinian' are presented as whole cloths, good or bad, by both friends and enemies alike but it seems to me that this concept resembles a Rubik's Cube much more than anything flatter.
If we start with the oldest aspect, that would have to be the Hebrew, if not Jewish, DNA that, according to Tsvi Misinai, is shared by 90 percent of the Israeli Arab/Palestinian population. Which indicates, under the radically different acculturations, they and Israel ARE brethren, however abhorrent both sides find this idea.
Such acculturations, beginning probably with Hadrian's bringing in non-Jews to settle in the land he renamed Syria-Palestina, going through overt and/or covert coercions to convert, first to Christianity and later to Islam, the Arabization accompanying the latter and the denuding and desertification of the land that went with that through the last pre-return 'resettlement' of the land around 1840 after a local rebellion, obviously complicate the recognition of this, maybe more than anything else.
But there's more: during the Mandate, slightly more Arabs than Jews entered 'Palestine' and they had, and have, lots of surnames indicating origin elsewhere--Egypt, Arabia, Hijaz, Syria, Levant, Iraq, etc.
These are, presumably, the people with Hebrew DNA markers on their genes. Makes me wonder if improved job prospects was just the tipping point for something in their unconscious--or something!
And you also have people like Zahir Muhsein, a top PLO official, admitting to an interviewer that 'there is no difference between us and the rest of Syria' and that the 'Palestinian people' is just the current strategic jive--or at least for the leadership. On the other hand, we have someone like Dean Obeidallah (who I personally respect) writing how his father spoke of 'Palestine in the heart' which points to, at least for some, a genuine attachment for that particular land.
I have a question myself: if the Israeli Arabs and Palestinians were to, as it were, re-Hebraicize themselves and bring themselves culturally into the 21st century, wouldn't they be effectively DE-colonizing themselves? To what extent is their Islam and the Arabization accompanying it a product of Arab imperialism? Maybe they, and Israel too, need to think hard about that?