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Monday, January 25, 2016

ANATEVKA=/=ISRAEL!

I think a BIG part of making Zionism a positive word needs to be the active 'deblanching' of it. Look at the contrast between how liberal Israel has been in welcoming the return of the Russian Jews, many of whom are non-observant and/or married to non-Jews (also welcomed with open arms) and the magnifying glass under which the Ethiopians, nearly all of whom are observant and have remained so under sporadic persecution, have been put.
Israel needs to stop behaving like a transplanted Anatevka (Btw, is there a Mizrahi version of Anatevka?) and give more credit to the claims of Jews or, to use the broader term, Hebrews or Israelites of color such as the Lemba and the Igbo. Already the Bnei Menashe are returning from Assam in India; let the Israeli government seek out and encourage other hidden Hebrews to return!
And here's something for both all of African and/or Hebrew heritage in the Americas to mull over: let's suppose the Igbo, who number 32 million strong in Nigeria with God knows (literally) how many cousins from Toronto to Buenos Aires, are indeed Israelites. Doth not the mind boggle at how many of Am Yisrael the world might now have?! I'm willing to bet a hefty percentage of the 11 million of human cargo brought to the Americas were Igbo and that their descendants in the Americas might well number more than those still in Nigeria!
And Israel is the first resurrected indigenous nation of the world, but it needs to work on being the herald for the resurrection of other indigenous nations, both in its home area and around the world! And part of this needs to be a turning away from a hypocritical Europe still caked with Israel's blood and towards other Asian countries such as India, China and Japan.
Leave that internal Anatevka behind, O Israel! Acquaint yourself with your offshoots of 'color' now grown numerous and powerful and form bonds of brotherhood with them and actively hold out the hope of resurrection to nations long suppressed and repressed, for whom your God has appointed you the herald!

Thursday, December 31, 2015

GOOD CITIZENS

As this year endeth, I think of what sort of people many of us are. Despite the crazies and reprobates who grab the headlines, there are still a very large number of Good Citizens out there. At least, so I believe. What do I mean by Good Citizens?
For starters, I mean those people who are actually repelled by injustice and cruelty across the board, regardless of the race or religious labelling of both victim and perp. I mean those people who are careful to stay inside the law not only because it's less troublesome; they may actually have an understanding of the law as a common benefit to all, whether consciously articulated or not.
This is a time when the Good Citizens need to articulate, to themselves and others, the benefits of law, reasoning and other ways of thinking with one's head as opposed to the heart or, worse, the gonads. They need a good deal less of Going With The Flow and other excuses for not examining things and thinking them out and a good deal more of asking questions and following the money trails!
Another worthy trait which marks Good Citizens is their general detestation of any kind of bullies. Indeed, I think it safe to say that bullies' toadies and Good Citizens are pretty much mutually exclusive. The problems arise when bullies cringe and whimper and do all they can to look and sound like their own victims. This confuses many Good Citizens--as do all the bright and shiny objects which the Corpo Media, at the bidding of their masters who are so wealthy as to make sultans look beggarly, toss in the Good Citizens' general direction. This is done, at least in part, to distract the more venturesome among the Good Citizens (I hope I'm one) from following the money trails. I hardly need say that those masters know those trails lead right to them!
What Good Citizens need to do more of is 1) create longer information strings which lead further back into history and 2) observe less of one's complexion or religious label and watch the patterns of behavior. Some might find a remarkable similarity between the behavior of Southern whites fighting against integration and Arabs repeatedly refusing to make real peace with Israel, for example. They also might gain more understanding of how our society has a 'default' setting for POCs marked 'Guilty for Being Other'.
Of course, once this happens then the REAL fun will begin. Then the benign masks may well come off of 'authority' and the SWAT teams may be on constant duty as it becomes clearer how much of an occupied country we now are. Then Good Citizens will have a serious decision to make: how much does the second word in the designation I give these people mean to them? Because this will be a moment of decision such as sung by Enjolras at the barricades in 'Les Miz'. This will be the time to decide, will you put your lives on the line to stay free citizens and renew that citizenship? Or will you decline into increasingly abject subjecthood? This may be a necessary component of a renaissance of Western civilization and values. Wasn't it we of the West who gave the world the very idea of citizenship as opposed to being simply obedient subjects? Good Citizens need to use their natural anger against bullies and cheats so as to make things difficult if not utterly impossible for such anti-democratic characters!
And when we do, that will be the time to decide: are we ready to put our bodies on the line? Despite the fact that I'm quite capable of writing like Marat, I hope it won't come to bloodshed although the chances of that happening are actually alarmingly good.
Because I know history to some extent, I cannot but agree with the words of Frederick Douglass: "Power never concedes anything without a demand. It never has and it never will."
God bless you all, brothers and sisters, in this coming year of decision.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES' SONG

Some things to remember about the newly-written song that follows: First, I think this is for the whole stinkin' crop of 'em. Second, if anyone takes exception to any language herein, remember this is being written from THEIR viewpoint. Third, the tune is from the hymn, 'Hail To The Lord's Anointed', which is hymn 616 in the Episcopal 1982 Hymnal.


I am God's own anointed! I am the only one!
The truest, best,most faithful, I swear by Cross and Gun!
I shall uphold my churches, compel all to support
The churches that we favor, which are our shining forts!

When the crown is on my head, white men shall rule supreme
All women and all coloreds shall not be heard nor seen!
No protections for workers, consumers or the poor
As we return to feudal times and rip up today's floors!

And we will feed our military forces more and more
We'll have much more cannon fodder because we'll force loose whores
To bear their shameful urchins and give them only smacks
Till they put on uniforms, for troops they'll be right cracks!

What's this? Asking ME questions? That's gross pre-sum-tee-ion!
I shouldn't have to answer 'cause I'm a holy one!
OH! All those EVIL questions you dare ask--how uncouth!
And now you have the nerve to say I can't handle the truth!

Oh God! PLEASE rain down thunderbolts on such impiety!
Look on me, your chosen one! O Lord, do you not see?!
They mock me, Lord, and call me a hypocrite to boot
And with their boots they serve me and tell me off to scoot!

God, how could you allow this--for me to be disgraced?
They laugh at me, O Lord my God, me from my seat they chase!
And now they'll pay me no more except to go on home
There to say to you, "Lord! Lord!' and leave them all alone!


Hope y'all enjoy this. Please don't record for commercial purposes without my leave.

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Sunday, October 25, 2015

SERIOUS CHURNINGS

http://www.thedailybeast.com/…/…/the-real-power-of-isis.html
This article has my mind churning seriously. Do we need 'struggle and self-sacrifice, at least intermittently'? I'd say we do, although not necessarily violent struggle, etc., Chris Hedges to the contrary. But the poor dupe of Arab imperialism is right about one thing: war can and does give our lives meaning. But there's a legion and a half of laudable causes for which to struggle and sacrifice something of ourselves; killing each other is stupid and wasteful at best. Here's a short list of some: good and loving homes for all the poor unwanted animals in shelters or on the streets. Cleaner air, water and land along with renewal and 'greening' of our infrastructure (worldwide) including switching to renewable energy sources. Aren't these ADULT ways of giving greater meaning to our lives, giving voice to the voiceless? Allow me to point out to my gentle readers that hankering after martial glory and super-power is something done by children of a certain age and mostly boys at that. Men know how hollow those things are and they should also have some creative ideas about better ways to put the need to struggle and sacrifice oneself to better use than killing each other!
While the West still has time, let us look to the spiritual 'underpinnings' of our freedom. While it was, and still is, a prerequisite for a free society to separate religion and state, let's not forget that liberating movement began in lands where the 'default' religious setting was Christian and Protestant (of one variety or another) at that. Today, let's be thankful that our R.C. brethren have learned to live with, yea even appreciate that separation. Let's hope the Muslim world, as a whole, learns it too. But in the meantime, let Europe remember that, when Muslims claim to be offended by this or that European tradition or show of Christian devotion, to STAND FIRM as too many of them are still where they equate willingness to compromise with weakness. Show NOTHING that may be so interpreted. If Muslims don't like it, let them return whence they came!
Most of us find meaning in our relationships--with each other, other creatures and with Creation as well. The medieval mystic Meister Eckhart wrote, "The world is all relationships." And so it is. Has anyone noticed that the current Islamist unrest is fueled by old men who don't seem particularly close to anyone and acted out mostly by young men in their late teens and twenties--that is, those with the fewest and weakest relationships with other beings?
While keeping religion and state separate, we need to LIVE OUT the love we claim to be at the heart of our own traditions with as much resolve and passion (silent but none the less ardent) as we can--and remember, and make clear to others, whence it comes! And make it clear we're not ripe for anyone's takeover because we both know the bad, and appreciate the good, in our own societies with as much passion as anyone--and direct that passion primarily to ends of life, not death. Don't many Muslims agree that the jihad within is the greater struggle? Let's see if we can turn those who aren't doing that yet to where they are. Let our struggle and self-sacrifice be directed toward life (including defense of our own ways when and while necessary) and maybe we can turn most of our possible enemies that way too!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

ROSH HASHANAH REFLECTION

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

ELITISMS AND DEMOCRACY (PART 1?)

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

CHOOSE REASON AND FAITH TOGETHER

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.