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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

ISRAEL: PAST AND FUTURE GLORY


I think back to how the times of kings David and Solomon are, by large numbers of Jews, still considered Israel's 'glory days'. Then I start to ask myself: did David or Solomon ever have such hospitals, laboratories, green fields and greenhouses as does Israel today, not to mention their water-management technology which is light-years ahead of almost anyone else on earth, ESPECIALLY Israel's neighbors? Was that long-past Israel appropriately hospitable to the poor and the stranger and the non-Israelite among them? If the story of Rehoboam's succession to his father is accurate, there can be no doubt that today's Israel makes it plenty easier for the ordinary Moshe and/or Rivka to register discontent with the government--a government which can always be voted out and exchanged for another, without violence, at the next election!
As I contemplate today's Israel and compare it with ancient Israel, it seems to me that the times of David and Solomon might be better described as the days of Israel's INITIAL glory. Based on the Israel I see today, I believe that God has such glory in store for Israel that, beside it, the Israel of David and Solomon will be as a flickering candle beside a high-wattage floodlight! And NO, real peace with the neighbors will not mark its beginning! Not as long as most of those neighbors still look on Israel with the same malevolence as struggling peckerwoodies looked on both the Greenwood section of Tulsa and upon Rosewood in Florida! (For those who don't know of these things, go google them and be illumined!)
But what I think will bring Israel closer to such glory is making it a less hospitable place for billionaires and more so for the working poor and its middle class, together with the marvelous variety of ecosystems that flourish in that little space! Let there be more and better provenance for the poor and needy and may fewer Israelis be uncertain of their next meal! If Scripture tells the truth (and I believe it does) will not such measures bring Israel's next great glory closer? I believe it will! Make equal rights for ALL Israelis more of a daily reality; Israelis themselves know far better than I do what needs to be done to push that along--so I excuse myself from that debate.
We (I mean all of the West) also need to back up Israel in 1) its strengthening of ties with sub-Saharan Africa, including and perhaps especially the peoples who have shown themselves to be connections of the House of Israel and 2) administering sharp correction to ostensibly religiously-inspired attempts at murder or to set off Shoah II. Because for us in this respect, Israel is still very much our canary in the coal mine. What has happened in Israel we are now seeing in our own countries!
But above all, such aggression should never terrorize us to the extent that we forget who we are--an alliance of FREE peoples, open to admitting those who really do want to join us as equals and show that by their individual and collective actions. This is why I think Turkey ought to be suspended from NATO until and unless it re-secularizes itself!
I believe Israel still is God's 'pilot light' for the nations and that, when this twilight struggle is won as I believe it will be if we stay true to ourselves, Israel will stand in glory and be known for its light! So let us all take heart, do all we can and march on--to greater glory than has yet been known!!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

GOD'S ACTUAL WAY v. THAT OF THE ELDER BROTHER

This post will take Strict Father rule (or, mostly, misrule) as articulated by George Lakoff in his most recent post at alternet.org --and, I hope, rip it to shreds. Theologically as well as in other ways. And where will I start? Why, where else but in the Bible itself?
"Fathers, do not exasperate your children, instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord." Ephesians 6:4, NIV. And again: "Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged." Colossians 3:21, NIV. Based on what I know of Lakoff's Strict Father paradigm, it is hard for me to see how anyone having the misfortune to exist in it would not become embittered. Or does seeing others punished severely mitigate that bitterness? Probably if you're one of those holding the power you may like 'riding and whipping [others] as you like', to paraphrase a Chinese saying.
The bible from which I quote is a study Bible and apropos of the last quotation, there is this note:
"Children must be handled with care." True. "They need firm (and FAIR) discipline administered in love." Again, true. Parentheses mine. "Don't alienate them by nagging, deriding or destroying their self-respect so that they lose heart." VERY true! Parents (not just fathers) also need to let children know when they have done right. Punishing wrong actions but not reacting at all to right actions, aside from, perhaps, a growled "you only did what you should have" is part of such exasperation and embitterment. Sooner or later, children brought up that way will either go insane in the way that those who'd rather devour Trumperies and/or other conspiracy theories (and Russia and the Arab/Muslim world are far worse this way than the West) rather than hear hard truths have done--or they will correctly conclude that there is no pleasing one or more parents and give up on trying!
Firm and fair discipline needs to be a part of rearing children, yes---but only part of it! Some who know a thing or two about children will say that every sharp "No!" needs ten affirmatives to avoid such discouragement as Paul mentions. And in a country which wants to remain a free country, children must be encouraged to ask questions and to seek out answers for themselves. Children who are taught blind obedience become German Michels. Just ask any German with at least a rudimentary knowledge of their own history what that means. They'll tell you what it is and how thinking of themselves that way led Germany to catastrophe in 1918 and again in 1945. Thanks to those who live by the Strict Father paradigm, we are in serious peril of losing our freedoms right here, right now!!
And the problem with many of those brought up in the Nurturing Family paradigm is that they seem to have lost the spine and/or gonads to know that negotiations with bigots and bullies of any and all cultures and colors is impossible and what both require (at least if they persist after warnings and explanations) are sharp, short slapdowns! There's the time to 'put some stick about', to use a good British expression.
It is against bullies, bigots and the ways our system is slanted in favor of white males in particular, and in favor of 'white haves' in general, that strength needs to be applied. Each culture, if it wants to be termed a 'civilization', needs to take its own measures against being skewed in favor of a particular dominant group. I should mention that, by such a measure, the West is far ahead of the rest, although that's not to say by any means that there's not considerable room for improvement on our part too. I simply mention race because, in the West, it's a large factor in determining who gets what. The same is true of other races and groups in other cultures.
But of Lakoff's two paradigms, only the Nurturing Family makes room for such improvement.
And wouldn't God agree that each individual, and all societies, could use considerable improvement to get at least somewhat closer to what He surely wants for all His children--to end hunger, hatred and ruin of nature and to stop judging each other as if we could see what's inside each other as well as outside? I believe He would, and anyone who thinks that this is not a worthy goal for which to strive--well, I could argue with you, but I'll suggest y'all go and talk to the Boss (NO, I don't mean Bruce, although he'll probably tell you much the same thing!) first and argue it with Him! I mean, He is the one Who set it all up, right?
I think He's already given us an idea of how He will respond to all you obnoxious Elder Siblings (I'm one, btw). Take another look at Luke 15:11-31. That's how He responds and that's the response He wants from us if you mean to call yourselves Jesus's followers. Think twice before responding as the Elder Brother did, all y'all Strict Father folks! And until you do so think, keep your hypocrisies (by which you, when curtailed in persecuting others, howl you are being persecuted!) to yourselves!

Friday, May 12, 2017

PROGRESSIVES: AIM FOR GUTS AND HEARTS BEFORE HEADS!!


·
. I've been asking myself how we can best produce a progressive Democratic tsunami next year, and here are some things which, to me anyhow, stick out:
1) Most eligible voters don't. We all know and, being Democrats, pretty much deplore this.
2) I'd guess most of them don't vote because they think 'they're all the same', ad nauseam that way. If I'm off, please tell me so--and the how and why thereof.
3)We Democrats have, with almost nauseating consistency, pitched our message to the Sober And Thoughtful Citizens. Again, let me know if I'm missing something here.
4) Sober, etc., citizens generally vote and appear to be something of a minority. Again and always, please check my observations and let me know what I miss, if anything. In any case, they're the ones who may draw back from Democrats who pull no punches but name treason (in this case, 50 years of it) on the GOP's part out loud. But what about the non-voting majority? Might such frank talk not be as it were the cold water that gets them off their couches?
5) Yes, ask for small amounts of money but ALSO ask for them to share the messages. Such as 'half a century of treason' and 'No jobs on a dead planet' and so on. Get them thinking and bring them into the political process. I cannot say this often enough: ordinary citizen engagement is democracy's lifeblood!
The 'professionals' whose mannerisms too many Democrats have adopted (mostly that of schoolmarms, male and female, it seems to me) will vote for us anyhow; it's the disengaged we need to bring in. But to bring them in, we need to also aim for the gut and the heart as well as the head! We've been aiming almost exclusively at the head, with an occasional word to the heart, for far too long!! And once we do, and engage the former non-voters--there will be our tsunami! Again (ad nauseam yet?) have I missed anything?
There are some who feel that such frankness will damage our civic fabric further. My reply is this: how much further can that fabric be shredded before we realize we can't cover the fissures with it anymore? We need to rebuild that fabric and that can only be done with firmity and strength. without any wet-noodling and in the light of clear and (sometimes) merciless truth!
Let's all think about ways to do this and share them with each other! I know this much: I intend to aim my posts squarely at the guts and hearts of the disengaged, with due attention to their heads, between now and November 2018!!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

LEFTWARD BACK TO THE FOUNDERS!

Well, at long last, another new blogpost. Aren't you all thrilled to bits? OK, never mind.
When I awoke this morning, a strange (?) combo of things were rolling round my head: the current regime of course, an increasing number of people being displaced from paying jobs as the middle class continues to evaporate and, related to it, the rights of property.
The words of John Taylor of Caroline County, VA (a friend of Jefferson's) linger still in my mind--the words about 'the grossest abuses artfully allying themselves with real property'--that is, the financial sector allying itself with  yeoman farmers, artisans, and mom-and-pop merchants--'and when attempts to remedy abuses are attempted, loudly exclaim against the invasion of property and against levelism.'
I'm sure many of you, Gentle Readers, recall Jefferson's own words about his hope to crush the aristocracy of moneyed corporations. I also remember what Paine had to say about property in his Dissertations On First Principles of Government, viz. "The protection of a [human's] person is more sacred than the protection of property; and besides this, the faculty of performing any kind of work or services by which [one] acquires a livelihood, or maintaining [their] family, is of the nature of property! (Italics and exclamation point mine) It is property to [them], [they] have acquired it; and it is as much the object of [their] protection as exterior property"--or, at least, I for one say it should be--all the more now!
This is not to stifle innovation nor to say that working people don't owe it to themselves, their families and the country to keep their skills sharp and up-to-date; they most certainly do! I think we should start discussing 'compensations' for those whose skills have been rendered obsolete such as retraining with a stipend to keep hardship at bay during the re-training period (not to mention that such re-training ought to include something on how to keep one's skills current or a bit ahead of the curve) or other appropriate remedies.
I also favor a ceiling on compensation along the lines proposed by Ben Franklin in a letter he wrote to Robert Morris on Christmas Day 1783, viz.
"All Property, indeed, except the Savage's temporary Cabin, his Bow, his Matchcoat, and other little Acquisitions, absolutely necessary for his Subsistence, seems to me to be the Creature of public Convention. Hence the Public has the Right of Regulating Descents, and all other Conveyances of Property, and even of limiting the Quantity and the Uses of it. All the Property that is necessary to a [person], for the Conservation of the Individual and the Propagation of the Species, is [one's] natural Right, which none can justly deprive [one] of: But all Property superfluous to such purposes is the Property of the Publick, who, by their Laws, have created it, and who may therefore by other Laws dispose of it, whenever the Welfare of the Publick shall demand such Disposition. He that does not like civil Society on these Terms, let him retire and live among Savages. He can have no right to the benefits of Society, who will not pay his Club towards the Support of it."
Remember, digest and share these ideas from the Founders' well as widely as we can!!

Monday, December 12, 2016

SCREAMING TIME

To ALL liberals, progressives, and real Democrats:
Now, now, NOW is the time to stand up and SCREAM AT THE TOP OF OUR LUNGS!!!
As the ties between the Trumpery Gang and Russia's Czar Vladimir II become clearer, we need to stand up and name this for what it is: TREASON!!
In pursuit of wealth and power, too many 'Republicans' (I call them 'RePIGlicans') have shown there really is nothing, NOTHING, they will not do to get these things including selling the rest of us for thirty pieces of silver each. They have been showing us this ever since Nixon told Thieu to hold back from the peace table because he, Ol' Milhous, would give him a better deal if elected, THROUGH the Reagan's campaign backstairs deal with the Ayatollah to hold onto our hostages until Carter was out of office AND the illegal aid to the Somocistas in Nicaragua EVEN UNTO THIS PRESENT DAY and Trump's telltale ties with Russia's current emperor as he aspires to make himself another emperor over us even as he humbugs his voters from here till New Year's Day!!
This, fellow citizens, is the culmination of almost half a century of treason!!
While the Repiglicans at least pretend to believe that, why, anyone and everyone does that much for wealth and power, we need to give them a big, fat, LOUD, NO! NOT SO!!
Even LBJ showed he was not that kind when he covered up Nixon's treason for fear of how it would shake the people's faith in the system! Taking one's opportunities is rather different from stopping at nothing and selling one's very soul!
But now is NOT a time for showing such 'faith' when the GOP termites have eaten the system nearly all the way through! If the GOP pols do believe this, then they also project it out upon the rest of us, most of whom want no more than to be of service, earn a reasonably comfortable salary, be able to educate our kids and not have to worry about possible medical bankruptcy. Fellow citizens, the system's safeguards against corruption and tyranny work only to the extent that you and I keep squinting eyes on them and, to tell the bitter truth, lately we have shamefully neglected this instrumental duty that only we can do!
However, we can redeem ourselves IF, right NOW, we stand up and say, "We will not have a TRAITOR for president, nor will we have any of his party who cannot show a record of NOT being a similar type of traitor to the idea of our country!"
No time for anything now but standing up and speaking up and SCREAMING if that's what we need to do! Pressure the electors in our states to elect Hillary or, indeed, ANYONE who took no part in the GOP's Food Fight called a primary!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

STAND UP FOR AUDITS AND RECOUNTS NOW!!

Fellow citizens, our rights are in danger!!
Perhaps not immediately, but it was anticipation of worse that helped start both the English Civil War and indeed our own Revolution!
The counts in five hotly-contested states--Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida AND North Carolina--have too many irregularities about them NOT to be suspicious! NOW IS THE TIME to call and call LOUDLY for all these states to be both audited and recounted! If you let the GOP get away with this evil Trumpery, you will send a message to them that they can get away with this sort of rigging! Together with their gerrymandering and roadblocks to make it harder for people of color, women, seniors, students and the poor generally to vote, this will enable them to rig elections while they:
1)Privatize and ultimately abolish Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, thereby pauperizing many of us
2) Put a hammerlock on the Supreme Court and the rest of the judiciary and thereby reverse Roe and many other rulings such as Gideon and Miranda which expanded ordinary people's rights
3) Repeal Amendments 13 through 19 which protect the rights of people of color and women as independent and voting citizens and democratize income and elections. (Except the 18th, which was already repealed in 1933: Prohibition)
4) Set up a neo-feudal system in which rich white men will hold ALL the power and most of the wealth!
When we all have more freedoms, we all have more freedoms. Including white men. Freedom (including freedom from want) is not a zero-sum game UNLESS you're just afraid that, in a really honest system, no one will be lower than YOU on the totem pole! And you know what? That 'addytood', as some say in my old hometown, REEKS!!! Anyone with that addytood shows just how much lower than a snake's belly they are! However, lower even than that is knowing you HAVE that addytood and doing all you can to hide it, paper it over as opposed to CHANGING it inside yourselves!
Not to mention such an addytood shows you really don't think a whole lot of yourself, and THAT is really too dam' bad! Especially when, with a little bit of good education and job training, you can be, as the old song says, better than you are. It might be a while, though, before you can swing on a star or carry moonbeams home in a jar but we all start somewhere.
Finally, Bernie is only too right about our crying need to go BEYOND identity politics! We need to get out of our identity and/or issue silos and start educating (NO patronizing allowed!) and connecting with each other!
Now shout out with me: "Audits! Recounts! Audits! Recounts!" Then remember, that's only part of the beginning!

Monday, November 21, 2016

OPEN LETTER TO THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE

An open letter to the members of the Electoral College.

Ladies and Gentlemen: By now I needn't remind you of the power given you by the Constitution. That is, to vote for whoever you think best for our country. I know of some states that fine you if you vote for someone else besides the winner of the state's popular vote, but twenty-one states don't compel you that way, or any other way, at all.
Hillary's popular vote margin is now, at latest report, at a million and half and still growing. I've also seen a bit of news that Trump himself expected his campaign to be over by October of last year, after which he planned to endorse Christie. I mention this to suggest he, like myself, might not really want the job. But, still, while I entreat you to elect Hillary Clinton as president, I would ask you to vote for me before Trump, for the following reasons:
1)We have equal experience in politics and government, which is of course to say, we both have none.
2) On the other hand (finger maybe?) I have read history since I was seven, politics and government since I was eleven and have watched politics since 1968 when I turned twelve that August. I hope this counts for something.
3) I listen better. As I am not a habitual liar, my b.s. detector still works pretty well. When I don't know something, I know how to find out who to ask about it and to do just that. Ask.
4) No conflicts of interest. As we are all finding out, Trump seems to be, increasingly, a veritable web of such conflicts. Vote for me in his place, and all those conflicts of interest become academic.
So much for myself in preference to Trump, but I'd really rather you choose Hillary over me for at least the following two reasons: First, she has, as I mentioned previously, a growing popular vote margin nationwide, now at 1.5 million by report. Second, no one knows these 'onions' like she does, except maybe Bernie or Elizabeth (Warren). She knows all the levers to pull and overblown egos to massage (something at which I am positively abysmal!) in order to get necessary things done!
Third, a cloud is over some of those wafer-thin margins for Trump in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Florida and North Carolina. All of these are states where voting laws which have disproportionate effect on students, seniors, people of color and the poor generally, being able to vote as easily as propertied white men. And Democrats being Democrats, they probably either didn't factor in those laws, or not to enough of an extent. Which lead to the polls being off. I think you ladies and gentlemen understand me.
I shall post and share this on FB and my website at http://nopartyline.blogspot.com. and ask for signatures.
Thank you all for your time and consideration of this most urgent matter. Again, I ask you to elect Hillary Clinton for our country's sake.