Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Age of Chronic Luxury







The visuals. The visuals.
They all come quick.
A life of Visuals,
quick, quick, quick.
Incomplete as memory fades.
Always the taste and
the draw for more.

I suppose the
Chev-Ro-Lay
in Black and White,
a commercial
and Dina Saur - we
called her that - tee hee hee,
framed a magic moment,
boomer kids seemed to have
all the rag tag makings,
potential glory of a new
rich golden age.

Instead as it all turned out
it became a burb age,
a bubble age, a mindless
consuming age and
compared to the rest
of an unaware humanity -
we, the many, lived the good life
the high life - for a short time
in the America of
domestic tranquility.

It was a coming age, full of
promise, progress, a golden time,
an age yet to be sorted out.
Global awareness was only
in books in college bookstores.
And issues like race, sex, sexuality
had yet to struggle, come of age.
It was an age of chaos - the good
parts are yet to survive and lead us
elsewhere - but by and large and
for most of us it was an unprecedented
Age of Chronic Luxury.

Nothing in history
to compare with it - nothing
to compare it to -
the might of Detroit
and a Maytag
washing machine
and "Queen for a Day"
on the tube.
The decades on from the fifties
were sweet though in retrospect
in-complete. Those years had glamour
and simple sight - but little or
no long lasting soul.

The visuals in the beginning of
that age had a few companions,
radio, hi-fidelity, stereo
and not one but many local
daily hard copy news-papers.
When the age ended
with a crash so to speak, a muted thud,
only the noise and chatter,
cacophonic clatter dulled
virtual, not real, reality
- cable, e-pod, e-mail, mobile cell phones,
PCs, the Internet, tweeter -
as disinterested witness to it all.

A Tower of Babel reborn? Retorn with
a new dark age of chaos to follow?

The great charade of the big war,
Vietnam - some growing years,
and the estimated body counts -
we always won - we never lost a...
Mission statement to keep the anthill
threat of S.E. Asia over
there - it boosted GM stock.

"What's good for GM is (was) good
for America" then. Or at least that
is what the Wall Street mantra then spake.
A national treasury of gold, ideas, youth
- a whole generation wasted, misled,
misdirected - doped - spun - eventually
onto a pagan altar of deregulation
and temporary titanic paper profit?

(That and a moon walk to represent that
early decade or so. Anybody lately drink the
scientific wonder of that age? Tang!)

Fast forward, those other years to
the modern day - and in between (?)
Work. Work. Work.
Marriage, a mortgage, kids.
401(K) - retirement?

Where did all those golden
Boomer days go?
Who counts?
Upon reflection in a glass
or into a trash filled lake,
why does the rest of the
planet want beef
plastic credit and
power muscle cars?
Silly question silly fool.

And as the recent age of
chronic luxury collapses (here)
what is the legacy best? Left?
Shouting - argumentum
ad hominem - ad nasueum.
Hate Radio. Hate News.
Death to my domestic enemy!
My bubble world is superior
to yourrr bubble world!!!
(on a dying planet)

Whatever happened to God?
Is he retired - living in Vegas?

Where has the Republic gone?
The upper half (10%) of an
economy struggles to recover.
The bottom 90% is lost forever
in fifth world bliss
amidst empty factories and
empty office towers (for sale - cheap!).
It's the new economics -
Broken promises - unfulfilled dreams.
Plastic card idols and
the pursuit of fantasy
-the illusion or was it delusion
of a common man's world -
could not last - a temporary
half century long Camelot?

Lost. So many things amidst
the fading echo
and fading visuals - of time gone-
not properly managed
an unsustainable age
that no one questioned
this passing age
of chronic luxury.

What next?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

NEDA - VOICE - IRAN


Neda! Voice!

I chose not to publish the picture of a twenty-six year old woman murdered on the streets of Tehran by the religious thug militia.

It is all over the net and YouTube. The picture of her dying, dead, and with blood pouring out of her mouth and nose onto her face, after being shot in the heart, is the face of Iranian justice today.

Her name – Neda – in the native language means Voice.

Her name is a rallying call to the protestors. We perhaps have our defining image of this historic moment, though somewhat gruesome, to match the man in front of the tank in Tiananmen Square in Peking twenty years ago.

I find it totally ironic that the religious thugs who run Iran and are forbidding foreign correspondents from covering the protests and the violence that followed a fixed election, that those western journalists would have already censored a graphic violence image and filtered it before going into the smug atmosphere of a couch potato American audience.

So it goes.

RIP – NEDA.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Secular Victory in Iran - Round One


Crackk!!!

Did you hear that sound – the crack in the wall surrounding Iran?

Ever since the thugs took over thirty years ago and put on the robes and began a reign of terror over the minds of men and women – this past week has shown that the educated middle class of merchants and students in Tehran want a modern breathing space for their humanity.

I do not know why all the repressive religions in the world take such comfort from their idol – a Mean Spirited Desert god of Moses, Jesus and Mohammed that loves tyrants and hates people. Don’t they know that God is Love?

My guess is that if a Hypocrite like Khamenei or a humongous Assh-le like Ahmadinejad can no longer talk for the Man – God/Allah – or be believed to be able to talk that talk and walk that walk of the almighty – their days are numbered like those of Danton and Robespierre from dark darks of the French Revolution.

Secular Iran won the first round of an ongoing battle to free the minds of man from the tyranny of mean spirited clerics in robes.

Was the Shah really that bad in retrospect???

Last week was one of those – God may be great but he picked an awful lot of shitheads to represent and interpret himself on this earth to the masses - yeah right - moments – happened – one of those turning points of history moments – did you take notice?

Good luck to the people of Iran to free themselves from the mental slavery of fools.

In Defense of a Dead Oblate


There is an article in the papers about how the nephew of the late Cardinal O’Connor of New York is filing a sex abuse case against a deceased priest. The article in the New York Daily News puts the victim at a totally different highschool in Philly than the one named in the lawsuit. So much for accurate reporting from the MSM.

A much more accurate accounting of details of all parties and factors concerned is found in a Philly article.

The contention is that a thirteen year old freshman at Father Judge High in Phila., was threatened with failure in his freshman religion class unless he submitted to abuse. The contention is that the nephew of a Cardinal would suffer shame if he could not get a passing grade in religion. The headlines in New York were no doubt eye catching using the name of a former famous dead cleric such as Cardinal O'Connor.

I have to disagree with the idea that a relative of an upscale cleric would automatically be a target for a jealous low level cleric. If anything, my being a cousin of a Bishop I think kept anybody away from me that might have wanted to harm me for fear of my reporting the whole thing to the front office so to speak.

The other point I do not agree with is that a sixty-six year old priest, before Viagra, could harass or rape a healthy thirteen year old boy who was not interested in any play.

The priest in question has been named in a suit earlier this year by another former student in the Delaware diocese where the priest had been teaching at the time of that alleged incident. A Delaware law extended the statute of limitations for these abuse crimes for reporting or for lawsuits for a period of twenty five years past the age of eighteen and with a two year window in which to file suits within this legal timeline.

Do two lawsuits prove guilt or does the name of a dead priest in circulation make for a convenient target for the blossoming cottage industry of abuse support/help groups and let’s not forget the lawyer industry that helped destroy affordable medicine in this country?

The deadline for filing suits at the end of this two year period is July 1, 2009. While the incident in the cardinal’s nephew lawsuit took place in Philadelphia, the teaching order, the Oblates of Saint Francis de Sales, based in Delaware and Washington D.C. are within reach of Delaware’s Abuse law regarding the alleged Philadelphia incident.

Several things I do not like here. One, the priest is dead. Two, the priest’s name is public knowledge by a previous lawsuit. The whole story sounds more like a nuisance lawsuit traveling on the coat tails of another lawsuit.

While the Church bears a hog’s share of responsibility for the shuffling around of perverts over the decades and centuries, not every allegation of abuse is necessarily true especially if money is involved in the equation.

I had disagreed on the clause in the Ryan Report regarding abuse by the clergy in Ireland – the clause that did not name parties involved. In a way the knife cuts both ways. Is it more important at this late date to document an era of abuse or try and shame aged clerics and nuns in their nursing homes to account for what in essence was a system of abuse designed and run by both the state and the church in Ireland?

So too in America, I do not think that dead clerics being named and not being able to defend themselves is a fair balance. By all means there should be counseling, healing and compensation for real abuse. The church has got to get over this hill, learn from its mistakes, reform and move on – this in order to be a credible institution in the modern age.

There is a time and reason – a season - for everything under the sun. It is time to move on.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Father Alberto Cutie Cuts Gordian Knot of Celibacy



A lot of the non-Spanish speaking American population may or may not be familiar with Father Alberto Cutie (Coo-tee-ay). He is a well spoken, photogenic, immensely popular media presence that has been called “Father Oprah” by some in the media to describe his role in dispensing advice in the Spanish speaking media.

I had not heard of him until some weeks ago when they started to publicize some fairly innocent pictures of him on the beach in Miami with his girlfriend. Of course a Roman Catholic priest is supposed to be celibate and not supposed to have a girlfriend. I had been reluctant to say anything before now about the whole affair until it died down and played itself out.

What happened is that the pictures got published. They took Cutie off his official duties. I suppose the RC church wanted time to have yet another so-called scandal to cool off and then go back to business as usual.

Father Cutie, a mature adult of 40, apparently had some soul searching to do or had already been in that process when the public figure in a public place got put on the cover of a Mexican scandal magazine. The decision about self, love, commitment, career etc. had come to a turning point.

While Alberto was on administrative leave, he decided to walk across the street so to speak to the Episcopalian Diocese of S.E. Florida in Miami and join that particular Christian sect that allows its clergy to live in the sacrament of matrimony. Matrimony is an issue that founded the Episcopalian or its mother Church of England and centered around Henry VIII’s need for a legitimate male heir to prevent civil war upon his death.

Father Cutie got married this week in Miami in a civil ceremony and hopes to have a church wedding after he gets settled into the job of Priest after he has passed a few administrative hurdles and paperwork to make him a fully functioning Episcopalian priest.

There is some bitch-bitch talk in the Catholic blog/news world but it is really how the RC Archbishop of Miami Lavalora is pissed at Episcopalian Bishop Frade of not following unwritten protocols of informing the other bishop of conversion and not making a show of the conversion. Well, the show thing was already in the news, and Father Cutie’s resume was no doubt already in the public forum. This was no priest knocking on the door at midnight and asking to change sides.

I think Archbishop Lavalora owes Bishop Frade an apology for unfair words stated about Frade and his neatly and quickly wrapping up and taking this matter off the public forum table.

I wish Father Cutie and his bride best wishes and good luck in their marriage. I expect to hear more of Father Cutie in his Spanish speaking media role should he choose to continue in that vein of his career in serving his God and his Christian faith.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Cyber Terrorism in Iran

Cyber Terrorism on a small global scale is being tested on the guinea pigs of the Iranian people these past few days.

Some in the capital of Tehran are slightly ahead of the curve with the use of Twitter to inform the outside world of events. Cutting off cell phones and the Internet along with jamming satellite signals do not make for a credible legitimate government of Iran.

Cyber Terrorism is real whether it is practiced by governments or crooks trying to steal your identity.

In the case of a government resorting to cyber terrorism brings to mind a quote by Thomas Jefferson.
"I Have Sworn Upon the Altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."

Monday, June 15, 2009

Holy Nuke! - The Coming War with Iran?


First of all – hint – hint – in terms of imitating the west’s style of democratic elections.

One. You wait to count all the ballots no matter how many days that might take.

Two. If you in fact do get 62% of the vote, it is a landslide and it is evident to everyoine who has won.

Three. If you need James Baker, Anthony Scalia or the Ayatollah Khamenei to tell you who won, then maybe you as a country are in deep shit – up to your arm pits in fact.

Putting aside all the last minute enthusiasm from the young, the majority of the nation, the future of the nation, last week in a sort of velvet, texting, twitter, spring, revolution atmosphere, I would have believed a squeaker election with 51% for the predictable winner to have been more palatable to the nation and to the world. Whatever.

The real issue today is if there is going to be war or airstrikes on Iran because of the theocracy posing as a democracy and within reach of nuclear mayhem.

I think that we in the west have been patient with the rhetoric coming and going out of the Islamic Republic of Iran. A lot of this rhetoric has to do in one way with the rights of a nation to develop peaceful nuclear technology.

There is always that awkward moment when words, ideas, thoughts get lost or misunderstood in translation. Persia has a very old rich mid east culture. Iran, aside from the historic Persia, is a secular state of sorts fronting for religious fanatics.

The west, that used Iran for decades as a convenient puppet state and bulwark against Soviet hegemony, got ungraciously kicked out in 1979. Iran now is within reach of being a nuclear power, bombs and all.

At this point in time with all the rhetoric floating around and with the good intentions to negotiate a peaceful solution to Iran’s nuclear ambitions – one thought comes to this crazy cultural secularist christian – would I want the pope to have a nuke?

No. No. No. NO. NO!

No matter if the Supreme Leader of Iran Khamenei has Ahmadinejad or Mousavi as a stooge for President, the point is that nobody who claims to talk for God/Allah should have nuclear weapons at their command.

Secular leadership in the arms race is bad enough. I have seen enough of anger and hate filled theocratic rhetoric from Iran, translated or mistranslated over thirty years back to the west, to say that enough is enough.

Polls in Israel are for a so-called strategic strike against Iran’s nuclear industrial network. I fear that such a strike at this point in time will set the whole world into blinding rage and uncontrollable global warfare.

The emerging modern global world is in need of global fiscal economic and democratic responsibilities. This new world order of things does not need another armed nuclear power. The world does not need another backward looking Medieval State.

Iran is entitled to live in benign isolation and religious bliss. (but without nukes for the sake of everybody else living on this planet) (it is also time to disarm everywhere else)




That's me in the corner
That's me in the spotlight
Losing my religion
Trying to keep a view
And I don't know if I can do it
Oh no I've said too much
I hadn't said enough
I thought that I heard you laughing
I thought that I heard you sing
I think I thought I saw you try… (lyrics – R.E.M.)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Birthers and other Crazies! - Sede Vacante

There is one of those annoying sounds from the far right lunatic fringe group that keeps creeping into the mental state of the nation. That is the new coded racist conspiracy crackpot theory, tin foil hat idea labled as the “birther” movement.

Apparently the far right lunatics have latched onto this idea that President Obama was not born in this country. He was born in Hawaii, a member of the Union since 1959. He was born in 1961. This came up during the campaign and I do recall that John McCain, was born of American parents in Panama while his father was on duty in the Navy there. If you are going to question the Dem’s credentials then you have got to mention the Pub’s questionable claim to native American born status as a constitutional prerequisite for the highest office in the land.

Putting aside campaign rhetoric, I saw a video clip last night on the Rachel Maddow show on MSNBC from some recent archive in which talk show host Rush Limbaugh was making a joke about what God has in common with Barack Obama – “no birth certificate”.

The poor excuse of a human being that walked into the national Holocaust Museum the other day with a gun and hatred has been linked to a belief in this “birther” conspiracy idea. That sick old man had a whole litany of confused and hate filled ideas. Primary among was them was hatred for the Jews, anti-Semitism. This guy also was surprising anti-christian as well.

What struck me last while watching that archive footage of Rush and making a droll joke about God’s birth certificate and reinforcing the lunatic fringe’s tin foil hat ideas was that this whole idea sounds familiar. It was when Rachel spent air time to go a little in depth on the silly subject that a light bulb went off in my head. Maddow had stated something like the fact that people, because of this idea, believe that the Office of President of the United States (POTUS) is vacant. It is not vacant. It is occupied and functioning better that it has in a decade what with Bill Clinton and his BJ Impeachment and the inbred idiot ruling class’s choice of George III.

Vacant! Sede Vacante! The seat of the President is empty in the minds of people who cannot see a black man seating there.

I have to assume corrently or incorrectly that this birther thing in the election fell onto the fertile ground of racism in America as well as tax supported Tradtionalist Catholicism where the idea of a vacancy in a seat of temporal power is a way to avoid with dealing with reality.

I believe we are seeing a secular version of the Latin Massers in the form of the Obama Birthers. Art imitating nature? Or screwed up thinking reflecting superstition and hatred both on a secular and “sacred” level. Whatever.

A film clip from the flaming liberal, lesbian news reporting goddess, Rachel Maddow from March to help you visualize and absorb this idea more fully:

Monday, June 8, 2009

Constantine Complex - a modern condition?



There is that thing about short men with an inferiority thing called a Napoleonic complex.

Looking at some present day figures does not necessarily bring to mind the Napoleon thing. If Napoleon had succeeded with his bloody military thing, the EU would have been born a century and a half sooner and WWI and WWII would have not likely happened. Theory and conjecture do not make a real history of facts.

Of course, now I see what I call the Constantine complex in this modern world. It has to do with megalomaniac egos and trying to start new world religions or belief systems. It has to do with marshalling the forces available to fuller the power of the one over the many by any means possible. It also has to do with “I am Right and you are wrong! Period!”

No doubt a light bulb or I should say a torch lit up in the great Emperor god Constantine’s mind when he sought the means to glue two halves of an empire back together again. The key word here is “one”. One Emperor, one world Empire, one world religion. The monotheistic christian religion was no doubt an ideal fit into the emperor god’s grand megalomaniac plan for his new world order in the fourth century.

One current candidate for the title or label of the Constantine complex is the movie maker and actor Mel Gibson. Of course if Gibson were alive in the time of Constantine he would have approved of laws forbidding Jews from owning christian slaves or Nuremburg type laws imposing death if a Jew dared to marry a christian. Constantine! What a guy! Founder and cosmic enabler of the present church in Rome.

Gibson’s grasp of defending the 16th century tridentine mass in Latin as the only bridge to the one absolute God that he and his cult alone can fathom and defend perhaps has its limits. While Mel is divorcing his wife of twenty eight years and he is about to have a child out of wedlock, he is a little upset with his congregation of 70 fanatics who he suddenly doesn’t feel loyalty from. He is supposed to have threatened to shut down his church tax shelter because his fellow congregants are gossiping about him. Minor stuff, the real Constantine killed one son and his second wife because of palace gossip. Thank God Mel is only a minor tin god reflection of the real standard.

Mel is so pure, he is more holy than the pope, more catholic than the pope etc. Of course Mel has a few mortal flaws but is none the less one of my candidates for the label of having a Constantine complex.

Fast forward and the current age of mass media which is not a two way media, and they got rid of the fairness doctrine, whereby a balanced point of view is supposed to go out on the airwaves. The king of this modern day Constantine complex thing – this absolute rule of “I am Right and you are wrong! Period!” - would have to be “Boss Tweed” Limbaugh spewing nonstop confusion and hate over the radio air waves both for himself and his dying political party.

Also, suddenly Pope Newt the First, newly arrived in the Constantine faith, is telling his constituency that besides being always absolutely right that we are surrounding by “paganism”. What the hell is Gingrich mumbling about? Or is this just a new label for secular humanism? We don’t need a new world religion Newt when so many of all the others don’t work that well or work at all.

The domestic culture wars I hope are over. While we are at it, isn’t it time for the Armed Forces of the USA to stand down from WWII and the Cold War. There are better uses for the money in the social and domestic needs of the American people. Constantine is dead and so too should be his idea of empire, combining church and state, that so many these days seem to want to emulate.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Confessions of a Clueless Bureaucrat



There seems to be a theme running through the ongoing sex abuse scandals of the Roman clergy. The theme is one of temporary memory or of living in a morality bubble that only considers morals and confession and the immediate needs of the soul. If private corporations ran their internal workings on the myopic short term limited concerns as in the RC church, they would be out of business - or – hint, hint – about to go out of business.

The theme I see is that the RC church gives no value to the secular soul. “Outside the Church, there is no salvation.”

The RC church, which had been both secular and sacred government for many parts of the world in the past, attacks modernism when secularism and or democracy doesn’t mix well with bubble morality – oil and vinegar. Coexistence with secularism and interfaith dialogue are to be feared as well and not reconciled at all costs.

When the RC church has to coexist with other religions in the United States as an example, it continues to express itself as both a secular and supremely sacred institution within the confines of its bubble.

With special medieval tax entitlements, it goes along on its merry, nonconforming to secularism, way and subsidized by the secular world and secular taxpayers. In fact, alliances with Satan aka fundamentalist christian types on political issues and imposing Catholic Sharia Law on the U.S. Constitution for birth control and abortion is part of the master internal plan.

Problem with the RC church might be that it gives 110% to the soul of a man in an afterlife. It perhaps gives little or nothing to the welfare of a man alive in the secular world. Of course it gives comfort for the fear it helps to create in the first place about the afterlife.

The former archbishop of Milwaukee is coming out with a book more to show case his coming out of the closet about being gay. When that book goes on sale next week, all sorts of punditry and shouting will be going about. Over and above this cleric doing public confession for his individual sexuality, he does little to shed light on the real harm done to people, children abused by the clergy. He is pulling the old “I didn’t know or didn’t understand” defense regarding his own culpability in the greater arena of this decades, centuries old sexual dysfunction of the RC Church.

Sex-abuse victims group rebuffs Weakland’s naiveté claim
Weakland makes those assertions in his forthcoming memoir, "A Pilgrim in a Pilgrim Church," saying at one point, "We all considered sexual abuse of minors as a moral evil, but had no understanding of its criminal nature."…

In his book, the retired archbishop says that in the 1970s, he "naively" accepted the notion that victims would either forget or "grow out of" the abuse. He blames the leniency shown by judges toward priests (and other professionals) in sex abuse cases for shaping his views on the perpetrators…
In most of the last decade of abuse scandals, the real tragedy I think is that these front office clerics honestly do not know the modern day value of a human being in the real – secular – world.

In the past few months, I have seen the dysfunctionality of the bishops expressing empathy for sex abusers as with Archbishop Nichols of Westminster in Britain over and above the victims in regards to the Ryan Report. I see the mad bishops of Brazil more concerned about excommunication and Catholic Sharia law than the rights or safety of a nine year old pregnant rape, incest victim getting a late term abortion.

I see the holocaust denying Bishop Williamson getting a promotion in the RC church strictly on “moral” theological stands, that and real estate and money. Let’s not forget Cardinal Law of Boston and his promotion to run the third oldest church/shrine in Christendom within Rome.

I see my own chiding of the ever “no appointments available” Bishop Martino of Scranton for his ignoring and not commenting on the horrendous child selling and trafficking of children to “for profit” juvenile prisons by Judges Ciavarella and Conahan within his own so-called moral jurisdiction.

You get this - I don’t give a damn about anything except my job and pleasing the idiots in charge holding onto medieval fantasy, rhetoric and rules. That, lifetime tenure and let’s not forget the gelt.

I see a Bishop of Rome who tells the poor in Africa to die not from their ignorance but from his own regarding the use of condoms to prevent the spread of HIV.

And while Rome burns, I see the same Bishop a year or two ago, a scholar of sorts, wanting approval from the ranks regarding his outstanding scholarship and then quotes medieval hatred as part of his scholarship and basically pisses on the entire Muslim world, past and present.

These guys in the RC hierarchy are not in touch with the same realities you and I are in touch with. Our reality, our secular reality doesn’t count to them. Children, victims of abuse, do not count. What is the whole point of your Roman Bling Church except to be a museum and charge tourists for a tour?

Luckily their hold on things, their (blindspot toward humanity) point of view loses valuable ground everyday toward the future of the human race as they remain clueless within our growing secular global interdependent interrelated existence.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Lest We Forget - May 35th 1989



It is late in the day. I did not get onto this daily changing planetary, global jargon until now.

Apparently today's date that this is posted in, my time, is not allowed to be mentioned in a certain country - Charade clue - You have this in your dining room ----- closet.

Well anyway, Geroge Orwell would be impressed if he were still alive. Until today, I would thought that this new minus-speak in the people's republic of ----- would have been obsolete - but I am wrong.

Netizens, among others, have shut down sites in ----- for the day in fear of offending some moron bureaucrats. These sites I read are putting up an out of service for maintenance sign.

Negative talk or minus-speak is no doubt censorship but we all remember Liberty in Tiananmen Square in Peking twenty years ago today. Human beings against tanks represent ideas and ideas are stronger than armies or tanks.

Hungary in 1956, Checkoslovakia in 1968, ----- in 1989.

History writes the final chapter in many struggles for human freedom. So too here we wish for a better world and a better country for all everywhere.

"Reimagine" إعادة تخيل - Barry in Cairo

I am perhaps reluctant to put too much faith in any one politician’s promises or their ability to deliver on such promises. At this moment in time, Political time, Economic time, Religious time, Environmental time – Global Time – People Time - The United States and the nations of the planet are at a critical crossroads.

One of the most recent roads that inbred American politics has tried to lead us onto is a conflict with the secular and sacred Islamic world. In 2003, a new cold war with different people in shades of color and religious persuasions seemed to fit the old make a buck deal that supported lazy rich individuals and lazy corporations for half a century after WWII. That recent road is not set in stone or concrete yet. Luckily it, that road and its shoddy workmanship, has been in the hands of phony crony corporations like Halliburton and its former phony crony CEO.

There is always hope for a new architect or a new style of architecture to come into vogue. What I say here, I say with no hesitation, that in style and rhetoric, the Obama Administration is as refreshing as Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie modernist architecture of over a century ago. I drove through Illinois once – Beautiful – what did God put in the soil and drinking water there to make it so fertile and rich both in land and imagination?

Perhaps a new light or a new way of looking at the world has been set into the energy of the planet today.

Many dreams, many hopes, many many hard roads and struggles are ahead. But perhaps a sign post or a modern day virtual Rosetta Stone has been planted in Cairo today with Obama’s historic speech reaching out to the Muslim world. A West holds out an open hand to the East kind of speech has been uttered. Blueprints for the future are being drawn as I write this. The future is an exciting place.

I was impressed with the simple eloquence of President Obama’s speech in Cairo today. Got up a little later than expected and caught the tail end of it on MSNB. Then I took the time to read its full text of Obama's Speech on the L.A. Times online site.

Much eloquence, much wisdom and much insight were shown in carefully choosing each word, phrase, sentence and concept.

I gave up a long time ago trying to figure out where the President, his advisors or speechwriters begin, converge or express individually or collectively the new Global viewpoint. And this, over and above their primary duty to the United States, as one of many nations on earth. We are truly interdependent and interrelated in 2009 and going forward.

Obama is certainly a student of history. While many seem to be fond of the Lincoln comparisons in his approach and style to exercising power, there is something else.

I believe I see a bit of Harry Truman, not in irascibility, but in knowing what he wants to do, knows where he is going and will try with all the limited time of his tenure to achieve set goals. I see someone who has worked hard outside of government. I see one who has touched people and know what the common man and woman are all about.

Having lived through many changes in both America and the Global sense of things for many decades, I realize that stating ones’ goals or mission statements openly will achieve more than if one randomly meets and solves crisis after crisis. One must anticipate, envision the results without necessarily knowing how to get to the results. Life sometimes resembles a game of sports. So too the human race must look at itself, struggle with both strengths and weaknesses and assemble on the clear playing field of the future.

What Barack stated in Notre Dames a few weeks ago and what he stated again today was the fact that youth must envision the future, set goals and go out into life to achieve those goals both for themselves and the general good of others.

The common good which is a secular goal, more than anything sacred, is in the hands of youth to “reimagine” and “remake” the world.

Reimagine.

Reimagine. إعادة تخيل

Peace. سلام

Monday, June 1, 2009

In Memoriam - Dr. George Tiller - of Kansas


I never heard of Doctor George Tiller before yesterday. I heard on the news that he had been gunned down while in worship at Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita Kansas.

Our prayers and condolences to his wife, family, friends, co-workers and fellow worshipers who had to witness "man’s inhumanity to man”.

I see that he was an usher in his local church. He is one of those people who greet you, welcome you into the house of God and escort you to a seat. He is one of many who indirectly usher you into the presence of the Divine in a worship service.

I know there is a culture war out there. Fundamentalism and ignorance are rampant. Doctor Tiller was a licensed skilled physician who performed a necessary service to the health of women. What he did was legal and out in the open.

The stalkers, the ignorant, the paranoid that feed on the vinegar and vitriol of Hate Radio and Hate News had plenty of opportunity to locate the doctor in his home, place of business or place of worship. Signposts encouraging hatred and violence are posted all over the Internet.

This is where the media in America is a one way situation. The media is virtual and not real or local. In the old days, a reporter or a local public citizen such as Doctor Tiller, could be greeted or jeered by his real life neighbors in a real town square and not in the pitiful virtual version of stuff that now exists in our nation.

Doctor Tiller no doubt had the courage to stand up for his rights to practice his profession and under the laws of the state of Kansas. Kansas by the way has a death penalty for first degree murder. Kansas has not exercised that option since 1976.

That he was murdered in his house of worship is outrageous! This is America! Not Afganistan!

His commitment to his profession and the needs of women were more important than his own personal safety. This is the sign of a great and remarkable man.

Many of us come down on either side of the morality concept attached to the abortion issue. None of us have the right under God to judge another regarding the use or practice of this medical procedure.
Matthew 7:1-5

1 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. (NKJV)
Without knowing the man the personally, I must consider his last act of serving others in his house of worship.

As such I pass on his Church’s mission statement from their website which I think appropriate to the loss of this man Doctor George Tiller:
Welcome to Reformation Lutheran Church! We are a community of believers who gather to worship, learn, and share fellowship so that we can serve others and live out our faith in daily life.
RIP

P.S. June 6, 2009 Doctor Tiller's Funeral

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Babylonian Myth, Paradigms and the Holy Land


There would seem to be a storyline theme starting in the old testament and running into the new testament. It starts with Abraham having a son Ishmael and then favoring his next son Isaac over the first born.

The OT established the concept of male primogeniture in the story of Jacob deceiving his blind elderly father into giving him the oldest son’s (Esau) blessing.

Next comes Joseph, a younger son of Jacob, being raised up in status in Egypt under Pharaoh. Then comes Moses who has an older brother Aaron. Then you have David as the youngest of eight sons followed by Solomon who survives his older male siblings.

Perhaps it is a coincidence. Perhaps it culturally makes a better storyline.

If one looks at it one has to wonder if God is reaching his hand into the natural order of things, Natural Law so to speak, and upsetting the traditional heritage factor of the oldest male son taking over the family properties or business and becoming undisputed head of the household’s extended family.

These youthful, successful and not first born male sons seems to dominate the OT in its early books and in the Bible Stories (OT) that I was taught in parochial school to supplement the Gospels and NT stories.

Come to think of it. Jesus had an older (?) brother called James. Is there something in the Judaic culture that has to be stated over and above traditional concepts? Is it good or is it necessary for a thin culture to survive by rewarding, recognizing the go-getters, the guys that organize the culture, win battles, write down laws, build temples – is it a necessity to give credit to the alpha males whether they are first born or not? One of many questions in my mind.

What gives these younger guys the advantage? They stick around the family campsite while the oldest toils in the fields, vineyards etc to carry on the family’s business and protect the food supply. These younger ones get the confidence and love of aged parents who hand over inheritance?

When I fast forward to Constantine and his Nicene Creed crowd who give the emperor what he wants, a state religion, I look at how the person and teachings of Jesus gets turned into the rigid laws and myths of Christ. I see major rewrites in the Jesus script in the beginning of the fourth century.

Getting back to the OT, and this seeming and or minor occurrence in biblical history. Being an amateur history observer, I have to consider that somewhere along the OT timeline there was a backtracking changing of history to incorporate this new storyline. You only have to just change a line or two in every written text, story, that existed or a line or two of oral tradition of every culture myth that no doubt did exist. And where does this timeline meet at a crossroads?

Perhaps when the Babylonian captives come back to Jerusalem after sixty to seventy years, they do not find what they thought was there. No doubt oral stories of the old country and Solomon’s magnificent temple and the golden age of the Culture survived in Babylon under the Babylonians and under the conquering Persians as well. You come back home and he get to see the ruins of Solomon’s magnificent temple and all you find is the remains of a burned down adobe hut on top of a hill. Historians write history and every culture wants, needs to glorify its past. This culture was perhaps no different than any other.

Then you have the problem of coming back under the protection of a Persian Army to put your people in charge of this land. You are the allies of the Persians. Your immediate neighbors are sheep and goat herders. They want to help you rebuild the temple. You refuse their help. They somehow are corrupt because they or some of them get conquered by the Assyrians and got carried off too. Your captivity, your intermingling of blood with the Babylonians and the Persians is somehow better than their mixed blood.

I read somewhere recently that there are still Samaritans in the Holy Land, about seventy of them, with their own version of Torah, not much different or so they say from the PC mainstream version. (BBC photo above of Samaritan Priest preparing Passover Lambs April 13, 2006)

So too in terms of real estate, they, the Samaritans had a better claim on land that they never left. You in your political self interest may want the theme of younger sons, and successful, blessed by God, Johnny come lately types being the national heroes. Claim to the land needs a great written history of having and rewarding the newer, younger, successful (been away for a long time) more streamline culture – then you begin to have a better claim to the land with or without improvements. God writes natural law then makes a lot of exceptions to that law in terms of PC history ?

That theme, this similar storyboard concept, apparently works well even until this day in terms of oral history, written records and PC archeology to lay claim to the same acreage in downtown Jerusalem and beyond.

Just the germ of an idea. I thought I would pass it along.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Simple but Pure - St. Mary's in Exile Brisbane


Some follow up notes on previous entries about ahead of the curve Catholic priest Peter Kennedy in Brisbane Father Peter Kennedy – Heretic or Saint? and Saint Marys in Exile Birsbane.

They kicked Father Peter Kennedy out of St. Mary’s in Brisbane on schedule last month. The Pope’s German inspired mandate of “Klein aber Fein” - "Small but Pure" as mentioned by fellow priest at St. Mary’s, Father Terry Fitzpatrick, seems appropriate here. This small but pure vision seems to be the condition and model for downsizing the RC church into oblivion. Every other business on the planet has a boutique unique atmosphere for some consumers. Why not Rome?

I rather think that Father Peter Kennedy and his small band of believers are the seeds of a New Universal Catholic Church, more concerned with social issues and community than storing up gold and weapons for General Constantine’s next military adventure. It’s a warring mindset thing in how you approach and use the message of Jesus. The rebirth of a truer Christianity is down the road perhaps - without any corporate headquarters in Rome.

Many details in the Transcript of Holier than Thou, an Australian TV documentary covering some of the aspects of this tossing a Catholic Priest and in actuality the Parish too out on it’s ass in Brisbane Australia. All this in the possible interest of making the faith “purer”. The transcipt is worth a read. A great many finer points about this situation are mentioned in the transcript than have been reported in the mainstream media (MSM). Here is a documentary, source of the transcript, from Australian Television:

Holier Than Thou

In the words of Father Kennedy from the transcript near the end of script:
The most important thing about the Christian gospel is to try to stand in solidarity with those who are excluded, now we've been excluded. Because as a community we've stood with the excluded and the homeless and the broken, we are now homeless and excluded and broken. Maybe we're on the right track, because this is exactly what happened to Jesus. It's the Jesus story. But it's happened to a community…

My spirituality has always been a rather contemplative spirituality because ultimately life is all mysterious. Like, why not just stay with the question and don’t try to even answer it. This amazing mystery of life - that you and I actually exist.
Also an interesting You Tube interview with Father Kennedy by noted Australian atheist Cameron Reilly prior to Father Peter’s last official mass at St. Mary’s - before the people of God took the Parish into exile – St. Mary’s in Exile Brisbane - simple but pure.



Monday, May 25, 2009

Do Secular Miracles Happen?


There is the possiblity of miracles in the air when a smudge appears on a freshly finished exterior wall on Henry Poole’s modest Los Angeles house. Luke Wilson as Henry Poole has other things to worry or veg out about. He arrives in the neighborhood, buys a house and mops about drinking all day until the very unordinary characters of a very ordinary neighborhood cross his path.

Do miracles happen to non-believers in a secular world? Do secular miracles happen?

I saw this flick on cable showing a remarkable slice of a man’s life as he retreats into himself trying to reconcile his life and sort things out so to speak.

“Henry Poole is Here” is an every man’s story that did not do well at the box office. I am reminded of the Jimmy Stewart flick “It’s a Wonderful Life” that took decades to be rediscovered on video and take on the mantle of “classic”. Henry Poole is one such flick in my opinion. It is a classic waiting to be recognized as such.

Luke Wilson in any other movie age could be a Cary Grant with his talents and screen presence. Where have all those old great stars gone? They are walking around today with less aura and more bucks in their pocket.

Henry Poole is Here

Getting back to this movie which has a secular aspect to the way of looking at the complicated human emotions of hope, fear, faith. Albert Torres, without many other screen credits, wrote an absolutely excellent balanced view of the origin of miracles and man’s reaction to them – with overtones of the existential. Of course in our modern secular age, miracles don’t happen in cathedrals and in the presence of saints’ relics. Images of Elvis and Jesus are more than likely to happen on French Fries at Wendy’s and witness “miraculous” events.

Miracles happen all around us. Some of us can blame God for miracles. Miracles can be explained away as coincidence what ever that is.

Henry’s place in the scheme of things is minimalist. We can only guess as to his past. His beliefs about God and the universe remain largely locked within his head throughout the movie.

When a stain on a wall in his back yard appears and his religious Hispanic neighbor sees Jesus in the stain, all hell breaks loose in Henry’s Poole retreat from the world.

I don’t want to give away too much of the plot. It is a movie where believers, non-believers and people on the fence will not feel uncomfortable in watching this very California laid back paced light drama.

There is a quote from a once legally blind girl in the movie, who believes in faith and miracles, and who goes on with her ordinary life after what appears to be a profound miraculous moment in her life. She quotes Noam Chomsky which nearly went totally over my head. I do not take away from Noam or B.F. or Marshall. I do not know how much of academia’s Parnassic knowledge actually trickles down to earth among us mere mortals. Sometimes a quote from the top tier makes more sense than things written in the bible. The Noam quote went a little over my head in that I cannot repeat it word for word. I understood the gist of the saying. The basic gist of the quote is that science cannot explain everything and sometimes things just happen in the universe.

If you are in the mood for a rainy day afternoon movie with some subtle thought content, give this flick a try.