Burn After Reading        

Who’s Who
What’s What

In the World of CIA Fronts, Partners, Proprietaries & Contractors




NEW BOOK:

The Almost Classified Guide to CIA Front Companies, Proprietaries & Contractors
By WAYNE MADSEN
ISBN: 978-1-365-11196-9


Cool Justice Editor's Note: Following are excerpts from author Madsen's introduction and the body of the work. Additional suggested reading: News story about Madsen's book via the Washington, D.C. based Justice Integrity Project [link at the bottom of this post].

EXCERPTS:

From the Introduction


One of the most pervasive uses of companies as intelligence partners was under the CIA’s Operation MOCKINGBIRD. During the Cold War, the CIA, often with the approval of corporate executives, infiltrated their agents to work as journalists in newspapers, radio and television networks, wire services, and magazines. The following pages in this book are rife with examples of this penetration of the Fourth Estate – all too many in the opinion of this journalist. The CIA admitted to at least 400 journalists on the agency’s payroll at the height of MOCKINGBIRD. The CIA traditionally understates its capabilities, especially when its covert activities become publicly known. Moreover, the end of the Cold War did not stop the practice of the CIA in infiltrating the media and slant news reports to its wishes.

*

An insightful look behind the veils of secrecy into the CIA’s use of fronts, proprietaries, and partners calls into question the purpose of the CIA. Created by President Harry S Truman to serve as a central collector and repository of intelligence, the CIA became much more than that. A few weeks after the United States witnessed the assassination of President Kennedy in the middle of downtown Dallas, Truman penned an op-ed piece that appeared in several newspapers around the country. In it, Truman shared his regret for having created the CIA in 1947:

“I think it has become necessary to take another look at the purpose and operations of our Central Intelligence Agency—CIA . . . For some time I have been disturbed by the way CIA has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the Government. This has led to trouble and may have compounded our difficulties in several explosive areas.

"I never had any thought that when I set up the CIA that it would be injected into peacetime cloak and dagger operations. Some of the complications and embarrassment I think we have experienced are in part attributable to the fact that this quiet intelligence arm of the President has been so removed from its intended role that it is being interpreted as a symbol of sinister and mysterious foreign intrigue.”

*

The 21st century’s CIA’s partners are more likely to be found among high-tech companies marketing the latest and greatest mobile applications and data mining programs than among banks, law offices, and advertising agencies. However, in the post-World War II era, the CIA’s top and middle echelons were normally found operating through cover as typewriter-pecking journalists, traveling Madison Avenue admen, corporate lawyers, and chain-smoking oilmen. In the 1970s and 80s, CIA contractors and partners began showing up in the high-tech field, with database, local area networking, and on-line information retrieval systems attracting the most interest by Langley.

*

As this book went to press, the smart phone game application Pokémon Go fad was sweeping the planet. Unbeknownst to many of the on-line game’s avid fan’s was the connection of the game’s developers to the CIA’s venture capital firm IN-Q-TEL. All users saw their geo-location and other smart phone data being swept up by a CIA partner firm.

SELECTED ENTRIES

Amazon, Inc. [CIA contractor]. Company provides cloud computing services for the CIA. Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos also owns The Washington Post.

American Historical Society. [CIA partner]. Many society officials were OSS/CIA officers.

American Press Institute. [CIA front]. Operating out of Columbia University, the institute’s director in the 1950s was a CIA officer.

AmeriCares. [CIA partner]. A non-profit organization that is often the “first in” at refugee situations. Founded by tycoon J. Peter Grace, a board chairman of the CIA front, the American Institute for Free Labor Development (AIFLD) and a trustee of another CIA front, the American Committee for Liberation from Bolshevism, AmeriCares was involved in funding the Nicaraguan contras. The group has also provided the CIA with recruiting opportunities at mass refugee sites, particularly in Latin America and Asia.

Bechtel Corporation. [CIA contractor]. Bechtel is a large construction company that has included former CIA director Richard Helms, CIA pseudonym “Fletcher M. Knight,” among its executive ranks. Bechtel was active in providing corporate cover for the OSS in the Middle East during World War II. Bechtel has been a consummate service company for various CIA operations, including support for the CIA-inspired coup against the Syrian government in 1949, the Iranian government of Prime Minister Mohamed Mossadeq in 1953, and President Sukarno of Indonesia in 1965. From the 1960s to the 1970s, Bechtel provided cover for CIA agents in Libya under both the regime of King Idris and his successor, Muammar Qaddafi. Sometimes called a “secret arm” of the CIA, Bechtel’s executives included those who would join President Reagan’s Cabinet, including Secretary of State George Schultz and Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger.

Before World War II, Steve Bechtel formed a military-industrial complex partnership with John McCone. McCone later became the chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission and later, director of the CIA. The CIA has used Bechtel to provide cover for non-official cover CIA operatives abroad.

Blackstone Investment Group. [CIA front]. With offices in Washington, DC and Moscow, arranged for the purchase of KGB documents following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Among the documents sought by the front company were any related to illegal CIA activities during the Cold War, including the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Bourbon and Beefsteak Bar and Restaurant. [CIA front]. Opened in 1967 in King’s Cross in Sydney, Australia. Served as a rendezvous point for CIA, Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO), and organized crime figures. Its proprietor was Bernie Houghton, a CIA operative with links to Nugan Hand Bank, CIA weapons smuggler Edwin Wilson, and CIA clandestine services officers Theodore Shackley, Rafael Quintero, and Thomas Clines.

Center for Democracy. [CIA front]. Administered under the aegis of Boston University, the center maintained offices in Boston, Washington, DC, Guatemala City, and Strasbourg, France. Involved in CIA operations in eastern Europe, Central America, and Africa.

Colt Patent Firearms Company. [CIA partner]. Based in Hartford, Connecticut, provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating abroad.

Daddario & Burns. [CIA partner]. Headed by former OSS officer Emilio Daddario, a Democratic Representative from Connecticut, the Hartford-based law firm provided services to the CIA.

DC Comics. [CIA partner]. Worked with the International Military Information Group (IMIG), a joint CIA/Pentagon unit at the State Department, to disseminate propaganda comic books, featuring Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, in Serbo-Croatian and Albanian, to youth in the Balkans during the military conflicts in that region.

Disney Corporation. [CIA partner]. CIA agents who were adept at creating front companies and shell corporations in Florida, worked closely with Disney in preparation for the construction of Disney World near Orlando, Florida. OSS veteran “Wild Bill” Donovan and CIA shell company expert Paul Helliwell helped create two fake Florida cities, Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista, as well as a number of shell corporations, to keep secret the plans for Disney World. This kept land prices low because real estate speculators were unaware of the prospective value of the land in a desolate area of central Florida.

Emory School of Medicine. [CIA partner]. Located in Atlanta, Georgia. Involved in the CIA’s MK-ULTRA behavioral modification project.

Enron Corporation [CIA partner]. Houston-based firm that was used by the CIA to provide commercial cover for its agents around the world. There were at least 20 CIA employees on Enron’s payroll. Andre Le Gallo, a former official of the CIA’s Operations Directorate, went to work as a corporate intelligence officer for Enron.

Fair Play for Cuba Committee (FPCC). [CIA front]. Officially established by American Trotskyists, the group was penetrated by CIA operatives. The FPCC New Orleans office was a CIA front that provided cover for the anti-Fidel Castro activities of Lee Harvey Oswald, Clay Shaw, and David Ferrie, among others. The New Orleans FPCC office was located at 544 Camp Street and shared the same building entrance with Guy Banister Associates, Inc., a private detective agency, the address for which was 531 Lafayette Street and around the corner from 544 Camp Street.

In December 1963, after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the FPCC ceased all U.S. operations.

General Electric Company. [CIA partner]. Based in Fairfield, Connecticut, provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating abroad.

General Foods Corporation. [CIA partner]. Advertising account at CIA’s Robert Mullen Company handled by an active CIA employee.

Google, Inc. [CIA partner]. Developed as a result of a research grant by the CIA and Pentagon to Stanford University’s Department of Computer Science. The CIA referred to the research as the “google project.”

Greenberg Traurig. [CIA partner]. Washington, DC “connected” law firm.

Guy Banister Associates, Inc. [CIA partner]. New Orleans private detective agency headed by former FBI agent Guy Banister. The detective agency coordinated the activities of various anti-Castro Cuban groups in New Orleans, including Banister’s own Anti-Communist League of the Caribbean, as well as the Cuban Revolutionary Council, the Cuban Democratic Revolutionary Front, Friends of Democratic Cuba, and the Crusade to Free Cuba Committee.

Banister and Associates shared office space with the CIA’s New Orleans front, the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, headed by Lee Harvey Oswald.

Hale and Dorr. [CIA partner]. Boston-based law firm that provided cover for CIA’s Independence and Brown Foundations.

Halliburton. [CIA contractor]. Based in Houston, it is the world’s largest oil service company. Recipient of a number of CIA sole-source contracts for services worldwide.

Harper and Row, Inc. [CIA partner]. Manuscripts submitted to the New York publisher that dealt with intelligence matters, particularly CIA operations, were turned over to the CIA for censoring edits before publication.

Hewlett Packard Corporation. [CIA partner]. Sold computers to Iraq for Saddam Hussein’s missile program with the knowledge and approval of the CIA.

Hill & Knowlton. [CIA partner]. Public relations firm that teamed with the CIA on a number of operations. Hill & Knowlton’s numerous offices abroad provided cover for CIA agents. One known Hill & Knowlton office that was a CIA front operation was in Kuala Lumpur.

Kerr-McGee. [CIA partner]. Provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating overseas.

Kissinger Associates, Inc. [CIA partner]. New York-based international consulting firm founded by former Secretary of State and National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger. Former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft is a co-owner. The firm provided support to the CIA-linked American Ditchley Foundation and the Bilderberg Group. Much of the 1982 seed money for Kissinger Associates was provided by Goldman Sachs.

Knight Foundation. [CIA partner]. Also known as the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Based in Miami, the foundation provides funding for various CIA-connected media operations in the United States and around the world.

Kroll Inc. [CIA partner]. Founded in 1972 by Jules Kroll, who had links to both U.S. and Israeli intelligence. Based in Manhattan. French domestic law enforcement believed Kroll’s Paris office was a CIA front. Kroll handled the security for the World Trade Center after the 1993 terrorist bombing and continued to be responsible for security up to, during, and after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack. Kroll employed former FBI assistant director for counter-terrorism John O’Neill, who died in the collapse of the World Trade Center.

Lincoln Savings and Loan. [CIA partner]. Based in Irvine, California and headed by notorious swindler Charles Keating, Jr., involved in laundering funds for the Iran-contra scandal.

Lone Star Cement Corporation. [CIA partner]. Based in Stamford, Connecticut and linked to the Bush family, provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating abroad. Involved in the Iran-contra scandal.

Mary Carter Paint Company. [CIA front]. A money-laundering operation for the CIA. Involved in casinos in the Bahamas.

Monsanto. [CIA partner]. The firm contracted with former CIA official Cofer Black’s Total Intelligence Solutions (TIS), a subsidiary of the CIA-connected Blackwater USA, later Xe Services, to monitor animal rights groups, anti-genetically modified (GM) food activists, and other groups opposed to Monsanto’s agri-business operations worldwide.

National Enquirer. [CIA partner]. The tabloid’s founder, Generoso (Gene) Pope, Jr., worked for the CIA’s psychological warfare unit and the agency’s Italy branch in 1950. In 1952, Pope acquired The New York Enquirer broadsheet and transformed it into a tabloid, renaming it The National Enquirer. This transformation bore the imprimatur of the CIA’s Operation MOCKINGBIRD media influence program.

Newsweek. [CIA partner]. Magazine reporters and stringers fed information to the CIA. Newsweek’s stringers in southeastern Europe and the Far East were CIA agents. When Newsweek was bought by The Washington Post Company in 1961, cooperation between the magazine and the CIA increased. It was a participant in the CIA’s Operation MOCKINGBIRD media influence program. Much of the staff of Newsweek was absorbed into a new online publication, The Daily Beast, which continues to disseminate CIA-influenced articles. See Washington Post.

Nieman Foundation. [CIA partner]. Located at Harvard University, the foundation awarded Nieman Fellowships, some on behalf of the CIA, for foreign journalists to study at Harvard. The journalists were subjected to CIA recruitment efforts prior to their returning to their home countries.

Pamela Martin & Associates. [CIA partner], Escort firm run by Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the so-called “DC Madam.” During her 2008 trial for mail fraud, Palfrey attempted to invoke the Classified Information Procedures Act in order to discuss her relationship with the CIA. The U.S. Court refused Palfrey’s request and she was convicted and later said to have committed suicide before her sentencing hearing in Washington, DC. One of her clients was Randall Tobias, the head of the CIA-connected USAID. Another was Louisiana Republican senator David Vitter.

Paris Review. [CIA front]. Literary magazine edited by George Plimpton. Published works by Jack Kerouac and Samuel Beckett. The magazine’s co-founder, Peter Matthiessen, relied on his affiliation with the magazine as his CIA cover.

Quaker Oats Company. [CIA partner]. Worked with the CIA and Atomic Energy Commission to place trace amounts of radiation in breakfast cereal served to boys at the Fernald School for the mentally retarded in Waltham, Massachusetts.

Radio Corporation of America. [CIA partner]. Provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating abroad, particularly in Iran, Philippines, Japan, and West Germany. Provided technical assistance to CIA-financed clandestine and propaganda radio stations worldwide, including Radio Free Europe. RCA founder David Sarnoff was a major supporter of CIA operations, including propaganda dissemination around the world. RCA chairman and chief executive officer Thornton F. Bradshaw was active in the operations of the CIA-linked American Ditchley Foundation.

Reily Coffee Company. [CIA partner]. Also known as William B. Reily Coffee Company and based in New Orleans, this company employed Lee Harvey Oswald and a number of other U.S. government employees, many of whom were suspected CIA officers.

Robert M. Mullen Company. [CIA proprietary]. A Washington, DC public relations firm, it was used as a front for CIA activities. E. Howard Hunt, the CIA agent, worked for Robert Mullen when he was arrested in the break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate Hotel in Washington in 1972. The Senate Watergate Committee reported that “the Mullen and Company has maintained a relationship with the Central Intelligence Agency since its incorporation in 1959. It provided covers for agents in Europe (Stockholm), Latin America (Mexico City), and the Far East (Singapore) at the time of the Watergate break-in.”

Rockefeller Foundation. [CIA partner]. Used by the CIA to direct scholarships and grants to the Third World and Eastern Europe. Rockefeller Foundation money was funneled to the American Committee for a United Europe (ACUE), created in 1948. The chairman of ACUE was OSS chief William J. Donovan and the vice chairman was Allen Dulles. One of ACUE’s board members was Walter Bedell Smith, the first CIA director.

Summa Corporation. [CIA partner]. Owned by Howard Hughes, Summa is believed to have skimmed gambling profits from the Sands, Desert Inn, Frontier, Silver Slipper, Castaways, and Landmark casinos in Las Vegas and Harold’s Club in Reno for the CIA and the Mafia. Provided financial cover for the CIA’s Glomar Explorer project.

Teneo Intelligence. [CIA partner]. Branch of Teneo Holdings, which is headquartered in New York. Teneo Holdings’s intelligence branch includes former CIA officials. Teneo is closely linked to former President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton. Teneo Intelligence has offices in New York, London, Rome, Brussels, Dubai, Bogota, New Delhi, and Tokyo.

Texas Commerce Bank (TCB). [CIA partner]. Houston-based bank founded by the family of James Baker III. Texas Commerce Bank was used to provide commercial cover for CIA agents. After serving as vice president for Texas Commerce Bank in Caracas from 1977 to 1979, Jeb Bush joined his father’s presidential campaign in 1980. Serving with Bush on the campaign was Robert Gambino, the CIA deputy director of security who gave Bush his orientation brief at Langley in 1977.

Kenneth Lay, the chairman of Enron, which had its own links to the CIA, served on the board of Texas Commerce Bank. Texas Commerce Bank was acquired by Chemical Bank in 1987.

The bank provided major loans to Howard Hughes’s Summa Corporation. See Summa Corporation.

United Fruit Company [CIA partner]. Involved in 1954 CIA overthrow of Jacobo Arbenz government in Guatemala. Published the Latin America Report, a publication that was a CIA front used for clandestine activities. The CIA transferred weapons to United Fruit employees in Guatemala who were involved in undermining the Arbenz government. The joint CIA-United Fruit plan was code named OPERATION FORTUNE. Company provided an airfield in Guatemala for the CIA’s training of Cuban exiles for the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba.

U.S. Rubber Company. [CIA partner]. Headquartered in Naugatuck, Connecticut and later called Uniroyal, provided corporate cover to CIA officers operating abroad. Included those operating under the cover of the Dominion Rubber Company of Canada, a subsidiary of U.S. Rubber Company.

U.S. Youth Council (USYC). [CIA front]. Founded in 1945 and based in New York. Some 90 percent of its funds came from the CIA. USYC received funding from the Foundation for Youth and Student Affairs (FYSA), a CIA front. The USYC was composed of American Youth Hostels, Camp Fire Girls, 4-H, American Unitarian Youth, National Catholic Welfare Conference, National Students Assembly, YMCA and YWCA.

Wackenhut. [CIA contractor]. Wackenhut, a Palm Beach Gardens, Florida-based security firm, stood accused of providing the CIA with specialized services around the world, including Chile, Greece, and El Salvador. Its Venezuelan branch, Wackenhut Venezolana, C.A., was accused in 2002 of involvement in the CIA’s coup against President Hugo Chavez. William Casey served as Wackenhut’s outside counsel before becoming CIA director in 1981.

Wackenhut eventually merged into the global security firm G4S.

Washington Post. [CIA partner]. The Washington Post was part of the CIA’s Operation MOCKINGBIRD, the agency’s media influence project. Post publisher Phil Graham was a close friend and associate of MOCKINGBIRD chief Frank Wisner, Sr. and CIA director Allen Dulles. Wisner assisted Graham in acquiring The Washington Times-Herald and WTOP radio, creating a sizable CIA-influenced media operation in the nation’s capital.

W. R. Grace. [CIA partner]. Provided corporate cover to CIA officers operating abroad, particularly in Latin America. Provided donations to CIA front foundations.

  • News story about Madsen's book via The Justice Integrity Project



  •           John Murray Day        

    We celebrated John Murray Day at our house this week.

    We’ve been attending a local Unitarian Universalist church for a couple of months, and, in a church-sponsored parenting book group, I recently encountered John Murray for the first time. According to uuworld.org, Murray is “often referred to as the father of American Universalism, helping to found Universalism as a denomination in the 1790s” (par. 10). The story goes that fierce winds prevented Murray from leaving the shore of New Jersey for his intended destination on September 30th, 1770, and, because he was detained, he agreed to speak at a Universalist meetinghouse, thus preaching the first Universalist sermon in America. He went on to serve as a minister for the first Universalist church in Massachusetts for the better part of the next couple of decades. As a Universalist, Murray espoused that salvation was for everyone, not just “the elect,” as the Calvinists of his day believed (or “the saved,” as contemporary conservative Christians believe today). Universalism of Murray’s time was driven by the belief that if Jesus was sacrificed for all of humanity, as the Bible states, then even non-believers could not be doomed to Hell. Today, Universalism is much less confined within a Christian worldview and, in UU theology, has come to stand for the inclusion of all people, regardless of faith or creed. Many Unitarian Universalists see Murray as helping to build the foundation for acceptance of difference within a religious community.

    In order to commemorate John Murray’s contribution to Unitarian Universalism, my family and I instituted a new ritual involving dessert! (As my husband says, my daughter and I can turn anything into an opportunity to consume chocolate.) We started with two scoops of ice cream. I poured chocolate syrup over one of the scoops, and we all observed how it flowed over the ice cream. I then stuck an Oreo part-way into the other scoop, taking care to position it so that it was perpendicular to the bottom of the bowl. I poured chocolate syrup into the ridge between the two chocolate wafers of the Oreo, and we observed how it flowed differently than it did in the first. We talked about how the ice cream represents the world and the Oreo represents a person, like John Murray. The syrup flow over the Oreo demonstrated, then, that one person can make a difference in how the world experiences the forces of life. After discussing the demonstration, we all had Oreo sundaes!

    Okay, so maybe it’s a stretch. But I wanted to find a way to celebrate this day, one of the only “special” days of a specifically UU history. It is important to me to reinforce that we are a family grounded in a free-thinking spiritual tradition, a tradition founded on principles of Universalism, both of the new definition and the old.

    Perhaps because I come from an evangelical Christian upbringing, I see the concept of Universalism not just as a tenet of the UU church but also as a marker in my own spiritual journey. To move beyond the (fear-based) belief in Hell has been a major milestone for me and has allowed me—just as it allowed the Calvinist-turned-Universalist John Murray, I suspect—to join in meaningful community with believers and non-believers of all sorts.

    I also believe that we might all benefit from the adoption of a belief in Universalism, as it seems to me to not only prevent our condemnation of each other to spiritual damnation but also, and perhaps more importantly, to pave the way from toleration to associationism, a journey that very well might led all of us to further spiritual enlightenment by virtue of learning from others. In a post over at A Commonplace Blog, D.G. Myers defines toleration: “Toleration, on my showing, would entail the unspoken agreement to put up with religious differences without ever undertaking the impossible mission of reconciling them, which—in the absence of any logical method for doing so—can only end in coercion or violence —separatism to learning from each other” (par. 6). Myers thus describes toleration as enduring the religious opinions of others without budging on our own beliefs. As Kevin points out in a comment, though, it seems a bit ridiculous to envision living in harmony with people of differing beliefs but remaining unchanged by this diversity. Kevin states, “Perhaps the world’s religions aren’t as insular as [Myers] suggest[s], aren’t self-contained circles” (Myers, par. 11).

    Indeed. It seems to me, in fact, that the concept of Universalism allows for a more positive—and perhaps more practical—way of living with difference, a way that Daniel Harper at Yet Another Unitarian Universalist describes as associationism. Harper sees associationism as “refer[ing] to a form of voluntary association in which local organizations or voluntary associations are connected into a larger association or network of local organizations, by means of written records (minutes of meetings, bylaws, etc.), and formal and informal exchanges between associated local organizations (informal local cooperation, formal regional and national conventions, annual meetings, etc.)” (par. 8). In short, associationism allows people of divergent belief systems to come together in community, to support each other, to work toward common goals, and to help each other attain spiritual enlightenment. Associationism differs from toleration in that it implies more than a respect for spiritual difference; instead, it opens up the possibility of learning from the diversity of a common religious community.

    John Murray Day is, for me, then, not just an opportunity to rejoice in my family’s recent inclusion into a local spiritual community but also a celebration of Universalism itself, a concept that has played a major role in my own religious liberation and that offers the promise of uniting us for the purpose of individual and communal spiritual growth. And, of course, the kids and I liked the ice cream and Oreos!
              Berating Bigotry: Religious And Policy Groups Respond To Bachmann’s Anti-Muslim Hysteria        
    Rob Boston
    A wide swath of the American religious and non-religious community believes Michele Bachmann is all wet.

    U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann’s efforts to stir up an anti-Muslim witch hunt have sparked a bit of a pushback, to put it mildly.

    As you might recall, Bachmann (R-Minn.) and four other House members (Trent Franks of Arizona, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Thomas J. Rooney of Florida and Lynn A. Westmoreland of Georgia) sent letters to the inspector general offices of the State, Justice and Homeland Security departments, demanding an investigation into the infiltration of our government by the Muslim Brotherhood.

    This claim of an imminent takeover of the federal government by the Muslim Brotherhood is the latest conspiracy theory to be spat out of the far right-wing “hate-Muslims-hate-Obama” 24/7 nutcase cyclorama. It is getting traction only because we live in an era where, thanks to the Internet and Fox News, any crank with a modem is suddenly a media figure.

    Seeing an opportunity to slam Obama and Muslims, Bachmann, a Religious Right favorite and erstwhile presidential candidate, latched onto this like a pit bull on a postal carrier and hasn’t looked back.

    But the unfantastic five made a big mistake: They fingered Huma Abedin, a top deputy of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as key to the conspiracy. Abedin, who is Muslim, is supposedly neck-deep in this thing because three of her family members are allegedly tied to the Muslim Brotherhood. Among them is her father, who has been dead for 20 years.

    All of this craziness was too much for U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who stood up on the Senate floor and blasted the anti-Abedin crusade in strong language. McCain noted that he has worked with Abedin, considers her a friend and assailed those who question her patriotism.

    Shortly after that, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) told reporters that he doesn’t know Abedin personally but added, “[F]rom everything that I do know of her she has a sterling character. Accusations like this being thrown around are pretty dangerous.”

    Even Ed Rollins, a GOP strategist who managed Bachmann’s presidential campaign, let her have it. Rollins wrote a column stating, “I am fully aware that she sometimes has difficulty with her facts, but this is downright vicious and reaches the late Senator Joe McCarthy level….Shame on you, Michele!”

    The Gang of Five responded by doubling down and insisting that they are right. Gohmert derided McCain and other critics as “numb-nuts.” (Keep it classy, Louie!) As for Abedin, she received at least one death threat.

    I’m pleased to say that opposition to Bachmann’s xenophobia is spreading beyond the political world. Yesterday, 42 religious and public policy organizations, including Americans United, signed a joint letter to Bachmann and the other four representatives letting them know that this type of religious bigotry has no place in the United States.

    “Far from supporting the safety of our country, these accusations distract us from examining legitimate threats using proven, evidence-based security strategies,” asserts the letter, which was organized by the Interfaith Alliance. “Moreover, we know all too well the danger of casting suspicion on loyal and innocent Americans simply because they hold particular beliefs.

    “We will not stand idly by and allow our country to revive federal investigations into innocent individuals based on their religious adherence. We will continue to speak out in support of people of all faiths and no faith, and the religious freedom of all Americans to practice – or choose not to practice – a religion without fear of criticism or suspicion.”

    The range of signatories is impressive and includes groups that often don’t see eye to eye on other issues. Religious groups signing on include the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Office of Public Witness, the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, Friends Committee on National Legislation, the Hindu American Foundation, American Baptist Churches USA, the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and the United Church of Christ.

    Secular and public policy groups signing on include the American Humanist Association, American Atheists, the Center for Inquiry, the Secular Coalition for America, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Military Association of Atheists & Freethinkers and the NAACP.

    I’ve worked here a long time and don’t know that I’ve ever before seen a letter endorsed by both the Catholic bishops and American Atheists. I think it’s safe to say that a wide swath of the American religious and non-religious community believes the Bachmann gang is all wet.

    Of course, the Religious Right is still in Bachmann’s corner. The Family Research Council (FRC) has issued a prayer alert asking its supports to rally around the “vigilant” lawmaker who, they say, is merely asking questions.

    Let the FRC stand with Bachmann – and with the anti-American values she represents. As the new letter indicates, much of the rest of the religious and secular community in America has seen her bigotry and repudiated it.


              Behold Betty Fry        
    Behold the amazing woman whose celebration of life I had the honor of attending at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Hillcrest this morning, Mrs. Betty Fry. The church was filled with her family and friends. The celebration was led by Reverend Kathleen Owens herself, who I've heard deliver talks a few Sundays at the church. This was the first time I saw her choke up. But a tremendous joy outweighed the sadness, as Betty's vibrant life came alive for us in words, song, memories .. and in the faces of her offspring. Betty's grandson, popular and talented San Diego musician and singer Nathan Fry, performed two memorable, rousing songs for his grandmother, accompanied by his long-time artistic partner Janet Hammer and two other singers.

    I only met Betty a couple of times, briefly, in the months and years after I returned from my 2007 trip to Cuba. Her name always came up as the matriarch of compassion and activism behind San Diegans' efforts to right decades of wrong in official U.S. relations toward Cuba. I admired her greatly. She exemplified a kind of pure goodness, and I believe the world would be so much better off with more Betty Frys in it. She passed away at the victorious age of 93 -- about the same age my grandmother passed away at a few years ago. Perhaps that's why I found myself more emotional during this morning's service than I had expected to be.

    Two great losses for revolutionary community



              Special Cuban Caravanistas dinner tonight in San Diego!        

    All Cuba Calling readers are invited to an exciting dinner party in San Diego tonight welcoming this year's 20th Friendshipment Caravan to Cuba arriving in San Diego on July 14, 2009 on their way to meet other caravanistas from all over the United States to continue to Cuba to deliver humanitarian aid and tour the island.

    The evening's program begins with a Cuban meal (cooked by Cuban chef Ismael) and potluck dinner at 6 PM, followed by guest speaker Alicia Jrapko; a 13-minute documentary on the Cuban Five; a poetry reading; and concluding with testimonials from caravanistas on this year's journey, telling why they are going to Cuba.

    The address of the event is the First Unitarian Universalist Church, 4190 Front Street (across from the UCSD Medical Center), San Diego, CA 92101. For more information, call Betty Fry at 619-582-8288. Donations are welcome but not required.

    Please reply to this E-mail letting us know you can attend. We're looking forward to an evening of solidarity and sharing.
              Humanist marriage report published        

    While Buddhists, Wiccans, Unitarians and even Scientologists can perform marriages in British Columbia, Humanists and other atheists are being discriminated against by the province's arbitrary implementation of the Marriage Act, according to a new report by the BC Humanist Association.

    The Case for Humanist Marriage in BC sets out the current laws governing the solemnization of marriages in BC and across Canada and contrasts it with seven other jurisdictions around the world where Humanists are permitted to perform marriages. In Scotland, for example, Humanist marriages are now more popular than Church of Scotland weddings.

    The report calls for a judicial challenge or legislative change to the province's Marriage Act.


              Homage to Raja Rammohan Roy        
      On 7th July BRBLA Joined Unitarian Church at Goodwood Blvd. to pay homage to Raja Ram Mohan Roy
              Individualism and Community        
    As a principled supporter of individual rights, I am frequently accused of not caring about "society" or "community." As this clip points out, I think that people who put community before the individual are getting it backwards. Without putting the lives and rights of autonomous individuals first, there is no community, just gang warfare.



    (HT Ideas Matter)
              Free Jazz Jam - Musicians and Fans Invited        
    If you enjoy playing or singing or just listening to Jazz in a quiet setting while having a glass of wine or cold beer, come on down to the Labyrinth Walk Coffee House (LWCH) at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Oak Cliff, 3839 W. Kiest Blvd, Dall
              The Batons of Christopher Hitchens; The natural underpinnings of social conservatism; Jordan Peterson's work        
    Recently I engaged in a debate with a muckety muck in the Church of Sam Harris regarding Jordan Peterson. The man is highly upset at my 'slander' regarding Harris.

    Some people fancy themselves as the quintessential sons-of-Christopher-Hitchens. They have their profile photos permanently set as a cartoon of a cigarette smoking Hitch, and they never change that photo to something else, ever.

    From my perspective the batons of Hitch have passed to several people, and several of those people are on the current right-side of the political spectrum, much the chagrin of fervent Church of Harris believers.

    Partial list of people who've been the recipients of a Hitchian baton: Andrew Breitbart, Douglas Murray, Mark Steyn, Gad Saad, and even Dinesh D'Souza.

    List of people who're traitors to the legacy of Hitch: Sam Harris; Church of Sam Harris priests who get upset at 'slander' against Harris; and all atheists who voted for Her.

    One person interviewed by Saad is Jordan Peterson. Peterson recently engaged in a discussion with Harris, and Harris could not wrap his brain around what Peterson was saying. Understandable for more reasons than one.

    Peterson speaks valuably against social constructivism and Marxism (as does Saad). He also speaks valuably regarding the nuclear bomb level impact of artificial birth control upon the human animal. And even before I heard of Peterson, I wrote the exact same type of thing.

    https://jonathanshome.blogspot.com/2016/02/lies-present-in-conservative-religion.html

    Regarding Peterson's religiospeak, it's important (and mostly required) to interpret the totality of it within an enlightened naturalistic framework.

    Dennett's 'dangerous' idea regarding religion being natural cuts several ways. One way it cuts is that fully evolved human moral codes are couched within religious contexts. Another is that every single syllable emitted from the vocal orifice of Jordan Peterson needs to be interpreted within context.

    A highly valuable project: more accurately (and without leftist SJW prejudice) describing the inherent, evolved, and high value to enlightened social conservatism, and naturalistically articulate evolutionary psychology.

    Peterson approaches such a merging more than Gad Saad, in his own way Petersonian way.

    Thus a great thanks to Peterson for opposing Marxism and social constructivism, on campus and off. And thanks to him for revolutionarily speaking the truth regarding one specific concern of social conservatives (widely available artificial birth control).

    Valuable and fully natural scientific work.

    -----------

    The Harrisian (Sam Harris and his aficionados) brain has problems grasping many things. For example:

    1.) That free will fully exists within the human animal, in a natural, reasonably adequate, and compatiblist sense. Dennett is right. Harris is a myopic hack on this front.

    2.) That consciousness is not an ineffable humming glow.

    3.) That male circumcision is highly abhorrent.

    4.) That there was high utilitarian value to voting for Trump.

    5.) That voting for Hillary was a huge betrayal to the legacy of Hitch. The crooked racketeering Team Rape versus a pro-American and thus pro-Enlightenment good-hearted businessman who used His Own Money to block the raping racketeering Clintons.

    Also Harris engaged in malpractice regarding his psychological diagnosis of Trump, one which was petty, shallow, moronic, analy retentive, boring, stupid, and obtuse - and fully on par with most Harrisian projects and pronouncements.

    So thanks to Peterson, Gad Saad, and others.

    Saad is a social liberal. Peterson seems to be a moderate. When more scientists get some balls and brain cells, and finally see value to fully evolved social conservatism, then there'll be progress. But until then, the pro-eugenics pro-death nihilistic hacks aren't scientists but rather they're just worse than worthless nihilists.

    At least Saad is willing to entertain conservative ideas without becoming an utter nutter. And Peterson is closer to the truth of the evolved situation, in his own Petersonian way.

    What evolutionary process is involved when decidedly childfree denialist abusively permissive SJW leftists just want want want to import admittedly also abusive Muslims to breed on their behalf?

    The SJW children of let-it-all-hang-out 60s hippies love forcibly-hijabbed women and abusive Islamic Puritanism and Islamic large families.

    Whodatthunkit.

    Yes Islam warps natural evolved processes in highly wrong headed ways.

    A better course would be for children of the Enlightenment to wake up, reject baby killing and artificial birth control, and breed themselves rather than to import rapey barbarian savages to breed on their behalf.

    In any case Harrisian logic is rather like a weak cog in a half baked pie, to mix a metaphor. Krausian logic isn't any better by the way.

    ------------------------------------------------------------

    Excerpts from an exchange with a Church of Harris priest (COHP) on all the above:

    "Peterson's ideas are only valuable inasmuch as one is willing to take his epistemologically foolhardy presuppositions for granted."

    My response:

    Hardly. No more than one must assume the god believer does everything in his life >because< his god is a 100% actual fact, as opposed to a perceived fact - one which exists within the required/knowledge support structure of the meme-gene system in which he exists.

    Why do people do the things they do? A combination of biology, biological history, genes and memes, which all inseparably play off each other.

    Biology, evolution, life, and ideas which are rooted in various aspects of being alive, and a processing machine which can (by happenstance and not) be used for other purposes also. But even those other purposes tie into the fundamentals of existence.

    For example the mathematician and physicist usually want humanity to survive, and they can be driven to use their realms of knowledge for fully biological-imperative type purposes.

    How does the world work, and thus by extension how do humans work.

    Peterson is concerned about what happens when humans toss the baby of morality with the bath water of religion.

    Since religion is a fully natural memetic-encasement of evolved morality, it's reasonable to add 'evolved' as a preface word to the terms 'religion' and 'morality.'

    COHP: "Again, his epistemology is predicated on an exceptionally precarious conceptual foundation"

    Response:

    It's a fundamental fallacy and also myopic to assume that expressed-views are only valid if the person expressing them can articulately state a reasonable fully-scoped foundation for those views.

    Peterson uses religiospeak which must be taken within a naturalistic context. There's no other context which is reasonable. And a lack of understanding on the part of the naturalistic evaluator can lead to fundamentally flawed conclusions.

    Aside from the terms he uses, Peterson has concerns about the state of humanity, concerns which do directly relate to Dennett's dangerous idea regarding religion being natural, Peterson's concerns are highly relevant, telling, and apparently factual.

    The baby of evolved human morality tossed with the bath water of evolved and fully natural mysticism.

    There's big costs and impacts.

    COHP: "His entire philosophy collapses beneath the weight of its own incoherence."

    Response:

    He seems pretty coherent to me. His concerns are highly valid and valuable to make note of.

    The memetic bathtub he's in is interesting and nuanced, and must and can only be understood within an enlightened naturalistic context.

    COHP: "an epistemology anchored to an ontological fact is conceptually unsustainable."

    Response:

    How does the world work.

    How do humans work.

    What is human nature.

    Why do humans do what they do.

    Why are we here.

    How can we survive.

    The noob atheist, the rebellious leftist and weed smoking libertarian, all assume that without (the concept of) a god everything is permitted. Such people, and their abusively permissive and denialist meme sets, simply do not understand how the world and humans work.

    COHP: "It's based on essentially circular logic"

    Response:
    You're stuck in the weeds of philosophical word games and forced paths which fully fail to understand what's going on, with Peterson and with religious believers in general.

    Idea sets which are inadequately contextualized need not be 100% self consistent nor 100% 'reasonable' to be 'valid.' 'Valid' meaning having naturalistic causes, and meme sets which can result in reasonable naturalistically-rephrased ideas and natural material useful facts.

    As for circularity, humans are evolved animals, and many aspects of human nature circle back to this fact and the general facts of how the human animal works.

    COHP: "any truth claim he makes atop that foundation instantly fails."

    Response:

    ...only for those who lack a fully contextualized and enlightened materialistic understanding of what's going on.

    COHP: "It's important that one's conception of truth can at least sustain itself."

    Response:

    Religions do sustain themselves via and for natural reasons.

    COHP: "Peterson's truth eats its own tail in a million different ways."

    Response:

    Not that I've seen. And the truths within religions need to, and can only be, properly understood within natural contexts.

    COHP: "If his definition of truth ultimately leads to the extinction of the human race..."

    Response:

    He wants us to survive, and rightly so.

    COHP: "...does that mean that it was never true?"

    Response:

    Properly contextualized truth, yes.

    COHP: "It makes absolutely no sense."

    Response:

    He makes sense to me.

    Marxism: Peterson observed highly negative impacts. He doesn't like what he saw. He doesn't want a repeat.

    One of Peterson's points is that rejecting traditional religion can lead to errors in thinking, and to incredibly high levels of abusiveness, denialisms, and moronity, as was and is the case with Marxism. The utter stupidity continues on campus today.

    COHP: "The soviet union"

    Response:

    ...was an anti-human-nature identitarian leftist utopian totalitarian evil corrosive human spirit destroying dead-end endeavor. Peterson knows this.

    COHP: "It was the result of disillusionment in the church..."

    Response:

    ...which led to something far worse. And the Soviet Union was a de facto religion, as is Marxism.

    Visit most any atheist (or humanist or Unitarian Universalist) group in America.

    State to them that you enjoy Duck Dynasty, and that you're a pro-life anti-gay-"marriage" atheist. See how long it takes for them to boot you: faster than a Mormon Bishop. A de facto religion with dogma, doctrines, heresy trials, and excommunication.

    COHP: "Most Nazis were devout Christians."

    Response:

    Fascism is a left spectrum endeavor. National Socialism.

    There is identitarianism in both Marxism and fascism. Group rights and group blames. Utopianism. De facto eugenics. Racism. Dogmas. Doctrines. Heresy trials.

    Yes I see that Communism/Marxism and fascism all have corrosive tribalistic elements and religious ones too. Peterson rightly points out negative impacts.

    COHP: "You've COMPLETELY misconstrued Dennett..."

    Response:

    Many hours listening to Dennett.

    COHP: "Sam's positions."

    Response:

    Ditto.

    Harris is a myopic hack.

    https://jonathanshome.blogspot.com/search/label/sam%20harris

    ...on many fronts.

    No Hitch-honoring Hitch-appreciator could or ever would vote for a Clinton.

    The micro differentiations between spandrels and other effects are weedy sticky mud, regarding arguing about differences between what's one and what another. False choices based on myopathy. Why? Because here's the situation as previously noted:

    Religion is a natural phenomenon which couches evolved traits.

    There's synergies between memes and genes.

    Not all religions are equal regarding positive and negative impacts.

    Harrisian woo (Chamlers and Harris):

    https://youtu.be/qi2ok47fFcY

    https://jonathanshome.blogspot.com/2016/05/the-woo-of-sam-harris-consciousness.html

    Harris didn't learn from:

    Dennett.
    Hitchens.
    Gad Saad.
    Jordan Peterson.
    Me, whom he censored.

    ------------------------------------------------------------ end of quote of direct exchange

    Am I a quintessential 'son of Hitch?' Hitch isn't more important than my family & I don't claim he was correct on all issues. During his tenure I was partially swayed to the pro-Iraq-war side, but now I'm much more skeptical regarding the value of it. Moron Bush and even-worse moron Obama screwed up the place big time.

    Time for Trumpian pragmatism now. But Hitch did free many brains from dogma, especially from leftist dogma.
              The Western Enlightenment versus Democrat leftist slavery        
    The Western Enlightenment versus Democrat leftist slavery:

    Lies underpin rackets. The racket of the Democrat party for example.

    The social justice warriors sit in their meeting houses (such as at Unitarian Universalist churches). They dream of who can be the top level victim next.

    1. Muslims, and especially hijab/burqa wearing Saudi style Muslims.
    2. "Childfree" third wave feminists with blue hair.
    3. The gender dysphoric (transexuals).
    4. The sexual orientation dysphoric (aka gays).
    5. Mexicans.
    6. 'Native' Americans AKA Amerindians.
    7. Leftist black women.
    8. Leftist black men.
    9. Leftist white women.
    10. Conservative black women.
    11. Conservative black men.
    12. Asian men & women.
    13. Conservative white women.
    14. Leftist white men.
    15. Conservative white men.
    16. Ex-Muslims.

    It's a victimhood competition.

    The only way for a pink skin (ie: white), to move up the list is to either a.) become Muslim, or b.) deny your 1.2 billion year evolved DNA coded gender, or c.) engage in the lie first hand that forcing yourself to (or 'catching' a stupid meme that you should) be a NON-inherently-reproductive outlier.

    The left today only wants a diversity regarding superficial traits, but a monoculture regarding social theory - only their theory allowed.

    The meme set known as the Democrat Party is responsible for slavery and booting Amerindians off of their land.

    Vid to check 1: https://youtu.be/-SStdawtYFA

    2: https://youtu.be/wp6yf5Rc6vw

    As a reflexive naive chump noob atheist I too glommed onto the idea that the Democratic Party was for the common man and 'individual rights.'

    But the right to do what?Historically: the right to be a slave or a master. The right to be lighter skinned, vs the right to be booted off of your land. The right to have your ancestors be from Europe, versus the right to have ancestors from Japan thereby resulting in your internment.

    And today, the right to be a happy heathy normal female and male in a family with children, versus the right to be an abusive denialist unhappy suicidal forced outlier.

    The right to be the master of your destiny, versus the right to be a slave in a current urban Democrat Plantation.

    The right to be born once conceived, versus the right to he killed via a Margaret Sanger poor and black people hating eugenicist legacy group.

    The right to be true to your heritage as a 1.2 billion year sexual history sexually dimorphic animal - one who's been to the moon and who crafted the best meme sets which help humans thrive: the Enlightenment and America. Versus the right to be a moron chump who believes a pack a lies so that a sociopathic elite can skate on top of your labor and support via indentitarian virtue signaling and having group rights versus individual rights.

    I now choose to be with the moon walking people versus the belly button staring slaves.
              The Problems with Hillary Clinton        
    The problems with Hillary Clinton:
    http://www.breitbart.com/radio/2016/10/17/trevor-loudon-if-hillary-clinton-elected-never-be-another-republican-president/

    Like racism? In a Democrat controlled world, your race equals your identity, and your views, and what rights you have and don't have, what you get to say or don't say, whom you get to criticize and not criticize.

    Identity politics, and nothing else.

    Racist racism, from the regressive left - which is *all* the left is nowadays, regressive.

    So Vote For Her, if you want this, permanently, in America. And if she wins, well I just be joinin' all the other white folk so we can be in the "White Wing" of the Democrat party. We'll be down the list quite a bit, on the list of group-rights. Down toward the bottom, just above ex-Muslims.

    There is argumentum ad hominem. Sometimes the shoe fits and thus argumentation to the person isn't always a fallacy as such, especially when the person in question is slimy repeated rapist & etc. Recently my views on the value of Alex Jones & his network & presence have changed mostly completely.

    There's people in power, people who want to stay in power. They'll do pretty much anything to stay in power.

    The Europe of the 70s - more nice.

    The Europe of today: a disaster, nor a clarion of freedom. If you speak your mind, you will be ejected from your job & polite society, and you may be jailed. Also low birth rates in Europe are essentially a form of slow motion suicide. Europe is importing a medieval savage culture into their midst. Rape gangs in Cologne. Mass rape elsewhere. And if you're a 'native' European and you complain, you risk loosing your job & being otherwise slimed by everyone, and possibly jailed. Tell the truth, go to jail. This is Europe today. Geert Wilders. But now just the common Joe Schmoe can get locked up for speaking the truth. Not an idea society in several ways.

    In my past naivete I saw socialism as ideal - but to get there you basically need a type of totalitarianism. The Mommy State which knows all & which does all. The Mommy State which replaces family & personal responsibility. And the Mommy State which decides which speech & thought is appropriate, and which speech & thought must be banned.

    MSNBC has a constant drum beat. But it's a drum beat also taken up by banal & boring sites like the BBC & the PBS Newshour. The 'status quo' drumbeat which serves to keep the establishment cronies in power.

    When a President is/was a rapist, and all the Newshour & CNN & MSNBC can do is engage in sociopathic evaluations which treat politics like a football game & so on, and when they show their clear bias by not addressing stories which cast shadows on their favored leaders - that's a problem.

    There is a new phenomenon called the 'regressive left.'

    Most of the left, the type which calls out people for being Islamophobic & so on, they *are* the cultural left nowadays. The types which have setup social hierarchies based on every imaginable category, with Caucasian males being near the bottom of that list. The current perceived & apparent hierarchy:

    1. Muslims, and especially hijab/burqa wearing Saudi style Muslims.
    2. "Childfree" third wave feminists with blue hair.
    3. The gender dysphoric (transexuals).
    4. The sexual orientation dysphoric (aka gays).
    5. Mexicans.
    6. 'Native' Americans AKA Amerindians.
    7. Leftist black women.
    8. Leftist black men.
    9. Leftist white women.
    10. Conservative black women.
    11. Conservative black men.
    12. Asian men & women.
    13. Conservative white women.
    14. Leftist white men.
    15. Conservative white men.
    16. Ex-Muslims.

    What prompted me to change from a liberal socialist Democrat to an alternative-conservative:

    Step 1, while still a leftist: Exposure to the ideas of Christopher Hitchens, a guy who spent much of his life questioning dominant paradigms. Eventually his basic human morality came at odds with the relativism of the left. So, he supported the war in Iraq & the Kurds, because he thought it was simply the moral thing to do, leftist peacenik politics be damned. He for his heresy, he was ejected from the 'polite society left.'

    Step 2, while still a leftist: Exposure to intriguing info from Richard Dawkins (about memes), Daniel Dennett (how meme sets called religions are fully natural phenomena), and Steven Pinker (how humans are not 'blank slates.').

    Step 3, viewing leftist Islamophilia and outright lies about Islam.

    http://jonathanshome.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-new-creed-of-unitarian-universalism.html
    ...but the UU position is fully illustrative of how the entire left acts, except for a few lonelies like Sam Harris.

    "The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam."
    http://reason.com/blog/2012/09/25/president-obama-says-we-must-condemn-tho
    ...an incredible betrayal of the ideals of the Enlightenment which helped to found America.

    Step 4, marrying a socially conservative atheist from China who has zero connection to the Bible, Quran, or Book of Mormon. Where does rural Chinese social conservatism come from? From human nature. From evolution. Evolved traits.

    Hippie 'scientists' love the permissive traits, but they then fully discount ingrained natural conservative ones.

    Dawkins wrote a book about how Darwin had a 'dangerous idea.' Dennett had one also, regarding religion being a natural phenomenon - a fact which cuts several ways. One way it cuts is that fully natural & sometimes highly useful evolved moral codes can be and are couched within religious contexts. Hard thing for an ex-Mormon with a chip on his shoulder to admit.

    Step 5, after taking an Alice in Wonderland style social journey through much of what the left has to offer (eg: nudist clubs, polyamory clubs, gay bars & parties, general over-permissiveness & relativism) I came to conclude that the cultural left basically denies human evolutionary history and basic biology just as much as the right does, and probably more - because at least the cultural right f-ing breeds.

    Step 6, observing what happened with Hebdo (cartoonists killed) & Garland (winning ex-Muslim cartoonist almost killed), and with Obama and the establishment left's basic lying about Islam, I finally started to check out 'the right.' Not the religious right, but rather the libertarian and intellectual right - as currently portrayed and represented by people who're here today.

    Douglas Murray, essentially a gay neocon. Tells the truth about Islam. A questioner of dominant paradigms.
    https://www.youtube.com/user/DouglasMurrayArchive
    http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/author/douglas-murray/

    Mark Steyn, who occasionally subs for Rush Limbaugh - http://www.steynonline.com/
    Tells the truth about Islam & other topics. A questioner of dominant paradigms.

    I already knew about Ayaan Hirsi Ali & Theo Van Gogh. But it's worth making note that Ayaan is hosted in America by the American Enterprise Institute. Which leftist organization has the back of Ayaan & people like her? None, and that's telling.

    Bosch Fawstin, the ex-Muslim winner of the Draw Mohamed Cartoon Contest in Garland, Texas, the one where two Muslim people tried to kill people there. Bosch is an appreciator of Ayn Rand. The people who hosted the event also like Rand: Pam Geller and Robert Spencer.

    Step 7, checking out more libertarian and conservative thought & news & views. For the first time ever opening myself up to the entirety of what's out there on the right. I was raised as a Democrat by a Democrat Mormon father. He loved Bill Clinton & Carter. He hated Reagan & Nixon. And I followed in his footsteps. But for the first time I stopped assuming that everything on the right was inherently bogus.

    Step 8, finding Milo Yiannopoulos, a gay conservative who sees high utilitarian value in Trump. Before encountering Milo I believed the basic establishment conservative (National Review) lie about Trump, that he's supposedly a shill for Hillary - a way to block other Republicans & to ensure that Hillary gets elected.

    The interview that first swayed me to Trump's camp, between Milo & Dave Rubin:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DiA0P9iELAA

    Step 9, I allowed to fall away the last vestiges of being a leftist, by allowing myself to see high value in Rush Limbaugh and Fox News.

    The only reason Rush has a voice & is popular, is because most of the establishment media aren't acting like fair journalists.

    Wouldn't it be good if everyone thought like 'the left?' Such a result does not allow for proper selection within human societies. Single party rule excludes healthy selection (selection as is in natural selection). And when journalists are essentially shills and tools & propagandists for everything leftist, they cease being journalists. This is why Rush is so popular, because he can spend 3 hours every day making note of example after example.

    As for Fox News, I particularly enjoy Sean Hannity's program, and also his talk radio show.

    Step 10, don't forget about Andrew Breitbart, a man who stated that Christopher Hitchens helped make him the man he became:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rj5U7yotkic

    To actually see if our suppositions are correct, there's needs to be a cogent and coherent and powerful opposition. Not every idea that pops into the head of a 'childfree' blue haired third wave feminist lesbian will help humanity survive & thrive & be happy.

    What is the 'alt right?'

    Part 1: A response to the big-money big-bank crony-whore-rooted betrayal of people who're on the right.

    Part 2: Former leftists who've had it with the slow motion suicide policies of the left, the anti-freedom, anti-science, anti-intellectual inquiry, lies, deceptions, Islamophilia, 'childfree' status worshiping, and cronyism on the left.

    Cackling Hillary thinks the 'alt right' is, well, I don't know what she really thinks because she's got as many faces as Sybil. Her pandering politician side claims the 'alt right' is fully equal to the ideas of David Duke. And Bill Clinton thinks that the core of Trump supporters are 'red necks.' Either they don't know, or they're just trying to virtue signal to get votes.

    No one ever hears about David Duke, until every 4 years Republicans must disavow him. But when shall leftists be required to disavow their outlier nuts?

    The near entirely of Milo's channel is a great trove of info regarding why exactly intelligent young people, and some older ones, see high utilitarian value in overturning the apple cart of the crony left & the crony right - AKA electing Trump & doing other related tasks.

    https://www.youtube.com/user/yiannopoulosm

    Bathing in pigs blood.

    Showing up as Ivanna Wall (I wan't a wall) drag queen.

    Stating exactly why 'feminism is cancer,' and why 'Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy.'

    What if some precepts in leftist doctrine are in fact incorrect & hurtful. When we claim that our beliefs are not falsifiable, we're in a religion.

    Wife of Bill called Milo & Breitbart out for the above quoted headlines. But, the left appears to have no tolerance for a.) nuance, and b.) ironic comedy, and c.) actually bothering to check why a person would say such a thing, and d.) are the roots of such claims based in science?

    Sloganeering, and sliming people who spout views which don't tow the leftist party line. That's what a religion does, and it's what the left & the Clintons do. The basket of deplorables. Argumentum ad hominem - in a bad way which is a fallacy.

    As for the Clintons, they have plenty of self generated slime.

    Only Breitbart recently & fully interviewed the victims of Bill:
    http://www.breitbart.com/2016-presidential-race/2016/10/09/breitbart-news-exclusive-video-interview-bill-clinton-accuser-juanita-broaddrick-breaks-describing-brutal-rapes/

    Hannity did follow up more recently though: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCA3otN2p1A

    Trump has honorably given these victims of Bill & Hillary a proper voice:
    http://www.breitbart.com/2016-presidential-race/2016/10/09/donald-trump-appears-bill-clintons-alleged-rape-sexual-assault-victims-ahead-debate/

    Milo's main concern, and mine, are that Wife of Bill will reduce key freedoms in America.
    ...at Vanderbilt talking about this:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oATZgWDddMU

    Who's got the back of gays in America, threatened with death by Muslims? The politicians who lie & claim that such attacks have nothing to do with Islam?

    I know Sam Harris doesn't like Trump nor Milo. Harris is essentially a very lonely leftist, and he's also rather myopic. Sam wishes the left would be honest about Islam, but it won't be.

    Nuance from Milo:

    1. The achievements of feminism were generally good, but third wave feminism is evil & abusive.

    2. The achievements of civil rights campaigners in the past were good. But now that all the victories have been one, the left still has the righteous desire to keep fighting. To do so they must invent new categories of groups which 'need rights.'

    Hillary and her drones will never understand the above points though.

    Islam generates ruin. When will Bernie & Obama be stating that fact?

    The schemers scheme in their back rooms & think tanks. They use one face in public & another in private. They use 'virtue signaling' as a means of claiming to be a great crusader for 'social justice,' while really being vacuous plastic wastrels (and real rapists) in reality.

    Trump doesn't do that, from what we can tell - and that's another reason why some highly appreciate his tone & value.

    Journalism is dead. You have to pick your side. I decided to stop listening the side which sides with the Islamic death cult, and the side which loves slow motion suicide, and the side which has an abusive hierarchy of group-rights which puts people like me near the bottom. 'Native' Amercians would never be allowed to be invaded & destroyed in today's world. But 'Native' Europeans? No problem. And there's many other problems with group-rights hierarchies and identity politics.

    I probably aspire to the conservatism Jonathan Haidt mentions, with more equal alliance to Care, Fairness, Liberty, Loyalty, Authority, and Sanctity. The Sanctity of life, not the Sanctity of sacred cows. Loyalty to the Enlightenment and Enlightenment principles. The Authority of the Rule of Law. Care, but not through the Dole because the Dole helps no one mostly. Fairness, but not 'social justice.' Fairness through a fairness of opportunity - but not opportunity at the cost of group rights hierarchies nor identity politics.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moral_foundations_theory
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Age_of_Enlightenment

    A further summary I wrote:
    http://jonathanshome.blogspot.com/2016/09/my-journey-to-conservatism.html

    Back to Sam Harris: I think he's a poor quality scientist, a hack at philosophy, myopic on politics, a drug addled wannabe Buddhist-style guru, and a new vegetarian who's fully placed himself on the road to probable Parkinson's (Robin Williams RIP). And I disagree with Harris on circumcision: http://jonathanshome.blogspot.com/2016/04/the-moral-blindness-of-sam-harris.html

    The fact that Glenn Beck hates Trump, makes me want to vote for Trump.

    The fact that the regressive left hates Trump, makes me want to vote for Trump.

    The fact that the establishment right hates Trump, makes me want to vote for Trump.

    The fact that Bill Clinton is a rapist and that his wife slimed Bill's victims, makes me want to vote for Trump.

    Reference materials, perhaps a library near us:

    Clinton Cash:
    https://www.amazon.com/Clinton-Cash-Foreign-Governments-Businesses/dp/0062369296/

    Clinton Cash Graphic Novel - now at the City library thanks to my suggesting that they buy it:
    https://www.amazon.com/Clinton-Cash-Graphic-Chuck-Dixon/dp/1621575454
    ...the pay to play schemes of the Clintons makes me want to vote for Trump.

    Hillary's health issues, makes me want to vote for Trump.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8LXG2kYQJW4
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7UeCeRJAaM

    Milo speaking after the Orlando massacre:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xLqkizGtFo0
    ...makes me want to vote for Trump.

    The writings of Roger Stone
    http://www.stonezone.com/
    ...prompt me to be inclined to vote for Trump.

    Oh, and Asians rank lower than Mexicans and blacks on the hierarchy:
    http://observer.com/2015/06/asian-americans-are-indeed-getting-screwed-by-harvard-but-not-how-they-think/

    https://www.quora.com/Why-does-racism-against-Asians-go-ignored-unpunished-and-unacknowledged-in-the-United-States
              Charlie Hebdo rest in peace (RIP): Not all gods are equal, some are peaceful and some are terrorists        

    Copy of the January 2016 "Charlie Hebdo"
    The god of all religions a terrorist? I don't think so. Not all religions have the same god.


    The original & only Charlie Hebdo rest in peace. The new Hebdo is not the same magazine as the old one. RIP Charlie Hebdo. Not all gods are equal nor are all religions. "Religion" as a concept is just as dangerous a thing when it flowers on the left as when it continues to exist on the right, and probably the leftist version is even more dangerous & denialist & dishonest.

    [Charlie Hebdo’s anniversary edition proves Islamic terrorists won]

    Charlie Hebdo claims that the "god of all religions is a terrorist" as per a recent cover talked about in the video below. That's not true though.

    The god the Jains is not a terrorist. The god of most Amish is not. Even the hippie god of leftie Christians/Unitarians is not (except in as much as that god says one must law down and let fascists thrive "in their own lands").

    The god of Mormonism is a horny white & delightsome man who has sex with thousands of women every hour of every day [do the math: to make 10,000,000,000 spirit babies in say 1,000,000 years, that's 1 baby making activity even every hour].

    The god of Scientology is an angry alien.

    The god of Catholicism & Anglicanism is a mystical undefinable asexual parthenogenic blob, and in the case of Catholocism who really really hates making Jesuses via normal vaginal sex while at the same time really really liking perverted old fart virgin pedophile priests.

    The god of Islam is vain & brutal & narcissistic & jealous & mean & evil. Check the links at:

    Not all gods are equal nor are all religions.

    --------

    Related posts & additional notes:

    On the god of Mormonism:

    Advise for TBMs on porn: Why society accepts pornography but not littering?
    http://jonathanshome.blogspot.com/2014/05/advise-for-tbms-on-porn-why-society.html

    We were all just sperm in god's balls:

    http://jonathanshome.blogspot.com/search/label/god's%20balls

    Questions for Mormon missionaries (includes references to how the Mormon god had literal sex with Mary the mother of Jesus)
    http://jonathanshome.blogspot.com/2014/03/questions-for-mormon-missionaries-god.html

    On the god of Catholicism (defined by a bunch of fucking mumbo jumbo):
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Concept_of_the_Divine#Essence_and_attributes
    and unlike Mormonism Catholicism firmly maintains the birth of Jesus was virginal:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virgin_birth_of_Jesus
    God's wiener did not go anywhere near Mary's hoohaw, and in Catholicism God probably doesn't even have a wiener & to suggest as much would be sacrilege to Catholics.

    On the god of Islam: the core text of Islam clearly states his intentions:
    http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/quran/
    ...on that page check out the following categories:

    Injustice
    Intolerance
    Cruelty and Violence
    Absurdities
    Good Stuff
    Women
    Science and History
    Contradictions
    Interpretations
    Family Values
    Sex
    Language

    Whereas the god of Jainism is much different:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jainism#God

    Five main vows of Jains, which is a much different list from that of your average Mohamed lover:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jainism#Five_main_vows

    Jains must be non-violence, but sometimes violence is called for:
    http://jonathanshome.blogspot.com/search/label/iraq

    God of Scientology:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4SBfhRmvzU
    and http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x21d8ks_south-park-what-scientologist-actually-believe_fun

              Chamber Music Society 2017-18        

    Music ranging from baroque-era England to modern Latin America, and from solo-violin and -harpsichord music of Bach to songs by Schumann, Hugo Wolf and Peter Warlock, will be performed in the 2017-18 season of the Chamber
    Music Society of Central Virginia.

    The Chamber Music Society will present 11 programs devised by its artistic director, cellist James Wilson, in six Richmond venues. Four free mini-concerts will be presented in the Gellman Room of the Richmond Public Library’s downtown Main Branch. Three concerts will be staged in the newly renovated Perkinson Recital Hall at the University of Richmond. The winter baroque chamber program will move to a new location, the Branch Museum of Architecture and Design (aka Branch House) in the Fan District.

    Performers include Jonathan Woody, a bass-baritone who won the 2016 Tafelmusik Vocal Competition in Toronto, and Johnny Gandelsman, a Moscow-born violinist who since moving to the US in 1995 has worked with a wide variety of artists and ensembles, from Yo-Yo Ma and his Silk Road Ensemble and Brooklyn Rider to Bela Fleck, Nigel Kennedy and Suzanne Vega.

    The season’s programming features familiar works – Schumann’s Piano Quintet in E flat major, Beethoven’s “Archduke” Piano Trio, Mendelssohn’s Quartet in F minor – alongside more rarely performed pieces such as Anton Arensky’s “Variations on a Theme of Tchaikovsky” and Verdi’s String Quartet, and works by German, English and Spanish baroque composers.

    Six-concert subscription packages (all ticketed concerts except the Branch Museum program) are $151, $130 for seniors 60 and older. Single tickets are $28, $24 for seniors, $5 for students. Branch Museum concert tickets are $40. Tickets go on sale July 1.

    For more information, call (804) 304-6312 or visit http://cmscva.org
     
    Dates, artist and programs in the Chamber Music Society’s coming season:

    Sept. 16 (2 p.m., Gellman Room, Richmond Public Library)
    Aisslinn Nosky & Guillaume Pirard, violins
    Max Mandel, viola 
    James Wilson, cello
    Carsten Schmidt, piano
    Jonathan Woody, bass-baritone
    “Minds on Fire”
    Arensky: “Variations on a Theme of Tchaikovsky”
    songs by Hugo Wolf, Peter Warlock
    Schumann: Quartet in F major, Op. 41, No. 2 – Finale
    free

    Sept. 17 (4 p.m., Perkinson Recital Hall, North Court, University of Richmond)
    Aisslinn Nosky & Guillaume Pirard, violins
    Max Mandel, viola
    James Wilson cello
    Carsten Schmidt, fortepiano
    Jonathan Woody, bass-baritone
    “Kings of Leipzig”
    Mendelssohn: Quartet in F minor, Op. 80
    Schumann: “Dichterliebe”
    Schumann: Piano Quintet in E flat major, Op. 44

    Nov. 12 (4 p.m., Perkinson Recital Hall, North Court, University of Richmond)
    Johnny Gandelsman, violin
    J.S. Bach: Partita in E major, BWV 1006
    J.S. Bach: Sonata in C major, BWV 1005
    J.S. Bach: Partita in D minor, BWV 1004

    Nov. 13 (2 p.m., Gellman Room, Richmond Public Library)
    Johnny Gandelsman, violin
    Chioke I’Anson, speaker
    Angela Lehman, program curator
    “One to One”
    program TBA
    free

    Dec. 10 (7:30 p.m., Branch Museum of Architecture and Design)
    Chloe Fedor & Nurit Pacht, violins
    Maureen Murchie, viola
    James Wilson cello
    Mary Boodell, traverso flute
    Carsten Schmidt, harpsichord
    “Baroque at the Branch Museum”
    works TBA by Purcell, Dowland, John Blow

    Dec. 12 (7:30 p.m., Holy Comforter Episcopal Church)
    Chloe Fedor & Nurit Pacht, violins
    Maureen Murchie, viola
    James Wilson, cello
    Erik Higgins, double-bass
    Mary Boodell, traverso flute
    Sarah Heunsch & Meg Owens, oboes
    Kelsey Schiller, bassoon
    Carsten Schmidt, harpsichord
    Handel: Concerto grosso in F major, Op. 6, No. 2
    Handel: Concerto grosso in G major, Op. 3, No. 3
    Handel: “Water Music” Suite No. 3
    Handel: Concerto grosso in A minor, Op. 6, No. 4
    Handel: Concerto grosso in D minor, Op. 3, No. 5

    Feb. 24 (2 p.m., Gellman Room, Richmond Public Library)
    Areta Zhulla, violin
    Khari Joyner & James Wilson, cellos
    Phillip Bush, piano
    “Sense and Sensibility”
    Beethoven: Cello Sonata in C major, Op. 102, No. 1
    Ravel: Sonata for violin and cello
    free

    Feb. 25 (4 p.m., Perkinson Recital Hall, North Court, University of Richmond)
    Areta Zhulla, violin
    Khari Joyner, cello
    Phillip Bush, piano
    “The Archduke and the Impressionist”
    Beethoven: Piano Trio in B flat major, Op. 97 (“Archduke”)
    Ravel: Piano Trio in A minor

    March 4 (4 p.m., Second Presbyterian Church)
    Carsten Schmidt, harpsichord
    J.S. Bach: Partita no. 1 in B flat major, BWV 825
    J.S. Bach: Partita no. 2 in C minor, BWV 826
    J.S. Bach: Partita no. 4 in D major, BWV 828

    April 21 (2 p.m., Gellman Room, Richmond Public Library)
    Grace Park & Melissa White, violins
    Michael Casimir, viola
    James Wilson, cello
    Mary Boodell, flute
    Adam Cockerham, guitar
    “Fresh from the Americas”
    works TBA by Carlos Chávez, José Augustin Sánchez, Leo Brouwer, others
    free

    April 22 (4 p.m., First Unitarian Universalist Church)
    Grace Park & Melissa White, violins
    Michael Casimir, viola
    James Wilson, cello
    Adam Cockerham, guitar
    “Italia/Iberia”
    Boccherini: Quintet in C major, Op. 30, No. 6 (“Musica notturna della strade di Madrid”)
    Roberto di Marino: Ciaconna
    Verdi: Quartet in E minor
    Spanish baroque guitar works TBA
              Eric See of Peace Action West talks on 'Who's who in Iraq and Syria'        
    Unitarian Universalists of San Mateo 300 E. Santa Inez San Mateo, CA 94401
              RBOC, Transitions (and Buried Lede) Edition        
    More quasi-random bullets, because that's all I have in me. (Now with subheads!)

    Teaching

    • I'm finishing up my grading for the semester. I'm down to the single digits on my lower-division students' research papers, and then I have their final exams as well. I hope to finish tomorrow, and then submit grades on Friday, assuming I can figure out the LMS gradebook.
    • That means--yay!--I've finished my first semester on the tenure track. Two course preps down for the year, and two to go--though the next two should be significantly less time-consuming than this semester's.
    • One of the students in my public history class said she thinks she's found her calling as a public historian, instead of the schoolteacher path she had always imagined for herself. She's had a really rough time of it lately for reasons that have nothing to do with her academic ability, and it's nice to see her really come into her own as a critical and creative thinker who's willing to try new things. She also discovered her classmates valued her for her informally learned knowledge of local history; they dubbed her "Boisepedia." She talked to the department's internship coordinator today, and I'll be writing her a letter of rec for what sounds like a good position for her.
    • One of my lower-division U.S. survey students wrote me a really nice note that went a long way toward soothing my I'm-not-a-papered-historian impostor syndrome. She explained she had hated history since fourth grade because that was when she first received a B in any subject, and that my course marked the first time she had been invited to engage meaningfully with history rather than memorize dates and consider only privileged people's histories. She said she now "loves history as a subject" and wants to study feminist theory. Also, there's this: "Most importantly, you helped my writing. I never thought that a history teacher could better strengthen the papers I write. I learned more from you than my [redacted] class. You showed me to come to my own conclusions about the sources I had, not let the sources guide my paper. I will apply this in any future writing I have to do. . . So thank you, Leslie, for making history important to me once more." Her note makes me sad about the state of history in K-12, but for now I'll just enjoy the warm fuzzies.
    • I'll be teaching a section of the capstone writing course next semester. Apparently the seminar raises a tangle of issues about students' patchwork preparedness for historical research and writing. This course has, I'm told, been designated one whose products are to be used for assessing the efficacy of the history department in teaching its majors to think critically and write well. In theory, I suppose I should feel some pressure about that. Still, I'm approaching the course more like Icarus than Sisyphus; we'll see how long it takes for me to plummet to the ground, my wings destroyed by my own hubris.
    • I'm teaching a graduate course next semester called "Introduction to Applied History." I applied for a grant to partially subsidize mobile devices for students in the class, so up to 15 of the students (so far there aren't 15 registered for the course) will each be able to buy an iPod Touch at a 50% discount. We'll be exploring the possibilities engendered by existing apps, sort of a "small pieces loosely joined" approach to local digital public history.
    • We'll also be contributing to a very, very large project I began to organize this week. It's a wiki for Boise. It will be modeled on the absolutely fabulous Davis Wiki, but we'll be doing some structured experiments on public history themes as well. I'll also be watching to see what happens when we give members of the public a relatively easy-to-use platform and invite them to create pages on topics of interest to them, as well as edit others' pages. I'm still working on some domain-mapping issues and getting the site ready for launch, but I'll share the link with you when it's ready for a soft launch. There's also some grant writing I need to do related to this project, so it will keep me very busy next semester.
    • I'm really happy here. Like crazy happy. I like the students and adore my colleagues.

    Research and Writing

    • Goal #1 for the new semester: Revise an article that was deemed very interesting, but "not a good fit" for one journal, and submit it to one (which I've already identified) that is both a better fit for the article and, really, for my work more generally.
    • Goal #2: Gather and process materials for another article. This will likely involve travel to archives in Northern and/or Southern California.
    • Goal #3: Use materials from Goal #2 to craft a chapter to replace one in my dissertation. I'm aiming to have a draft of a book based on my dissertation by the end of summer 2012.

    Faith

    • I attended Friends meeting again, and I'll likely be going again this Sunday, er, First Day.
    • I've been adding blogs by Quakers from across much of the Friends spectrum--from liberal, unprogrammed Friends to orthodox plain folk--to my RSS reader. I've also been lurking on the forums at QuakerQuaker.
    • As I wrote in my initial blog post about recent developments in my faith journey, what I suspected would happen did indeed come to pass: some folks are seeing my attendance at Quaker meetings as a sign I'm going to be "born again"--that Friends meetings are but a first step toward my permanent embrace of their own denomination. This is incredibly frustrating for me--like I-want-to-scream frustrating because of the arrogance and presumption.
    • In case any such people are reading this blog, allow me to say this: I'm committed to the Friends for now. If that doesn't work out, I'll likely take some path through Unitarian Universalism, the United Church of Christ, and the United Methodists, with a seasoning of Daoism. Any church that uses the phrase "Bible-believing" as a primary way of differentiating its members is not even on the list. I don't mean any offense to friends or blog readers who attend such churches; it's just not my path, and I don't want anyone to have any delusions that it ever will be.
    • Another sign that the Friends General Conference may be a good home for me: the yearly meeting takes place at my alma mater. Out of all the tiny towns in the U.S., they pick one that matters tremendously deeply to me. I haven't checked to see how the meeting jibes with my summer teaching schedule, but the seed has been planted. . .

    Miscellany

    • I've been watching The Wire. Fang has all five seasons on DVD, and I'm one episode from finishing season 4. It took me half a season to appreciate the series, but now I give it my highest recommendation. The writing and character development are impressive.
    • Because of how busy I've been, this year's Christmas shopping is being (literally) brought to us by Amazon Prime. How I adore that program!
    • I need to get back with the Weight Watchers program. After initially losing 15 pounds, I've put a few pounds back on because I became lax about counting points. I eased myself back into it today by having meals that I know are reasonable, but I didn't count the points. Tomorrow I'll begin accounting for points again, which will initially be a headache under the new points system, but I'll adapt.
    • Lucas went in for his annual well-child check-up, where he was treated to five separate vaccinations. I had, finally, the new Tdap vaccine for adults. Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while know I had some whooping cough fun earlier this year; I was also diagnosed with pertussis a few years back. The injection site on my arm is still sore, so I can only imagine what Lucas's legs must feel like, as he was due for another round of DTaP, chickenpox, and MMR vaccines; a polio booster; and--according to his records, though I vaguely remember him already having one--his first Hep A shot. The clinic staff were terrific, though; the entire sequence of vaccines--administered by two nurses synchronizing the injections--took less than 45 seconds. Still, it's not easy to hear him howling with every new stab of the needle.
    • I went to a birthday party with Lucas last night and connected with some more local parents. That's a very good thing.
    What are you up to these days? Toss me some random bullets in the comments.
              Kimel’s review of What is the Trinity – Part 2        
    Kimel lampoons the biblical unitarian historical narrative, and urges that Irenaeus is a big problem for it.
              podcast 191 – Ware’s Outline of the Testimony of Scripture Against the Trinity        
    A concise and clear case that the NT authors held a unitarian theology.
              The Lost Early History of Unitarian Christian Theology        
    Many who are often spun as "proto-trinitarian" thought the one true God is the Father alone.
              human nature and Jesus’s pre-human existence        
    Some unitarian Christians believe that Jesus existed before he was a human, while others deny it.
              podcast 176 – Photinus of Sirmium        
    His views seem to have been those of present-day biblical unitarians.
              podcast 168 – The Death of Unitarian Congregationalism        
    How and why did American Unitarian Congregationalism die?
              podcast 167 – Lamson’s History of The Unitarian Congregationalists        
    In this episode we hear a voice from 1852 describing a lost species of American Christianity:
              In the New Testament, Jesus has a god (who is also ours)        
    Where does the New Testament say this? In these places. (The video is by unitarian Christian blogger Sandra Hooper.)I suggest that all Christians should carefully weigh this argument. (If you don’t know what it means to say that an argument is valid and/or sound, then you may want to look at this first or these four […]
              A Huckadroid. For Huckabee        
    by Nefertiti Snorkjutt

    Well, I, um, I have to type quietly here because it's nighttime on the airplane and Ervin is back asleep. You should see his adorable little head.

    So here - as promised - is more of the episode of Perp & Vic: Men Are Bastards Unit that I began last time. If you recall, the two detectives who make up the MBU - Parkdrive, the strong woman with the square jaw and uncertain hairstyle, and Redhook, her reformed-misogynist partner - had just run-, well, clashed with a seventeen year-old girl at Planned Parenthood, and just as they were about to grill her they noticed that there was a young man, or, I suppose, boy with blonde hair with gel in it. He is fifteen years old and his name is Marty.

    I mean, really, a boy at Planned Parenthood? What could possibly be the reason? Perhaps he is looking for his Mummy. And I - I, hm, I suppose it could be likely that he is at the Planned `Hood to solicit young girls on the severe rebound. At any rate, that was how I made the pot boil, or cliff hang ... whatever. That's how I left it. Here's some more of the story.



    PARKDRIVE (alarmed) : It looks like a boy at Planned Parenthood.

    Redhook removes his gun cautiously from its holster and approaches Marty.

    Marty doesn't see Redhook edging toward him along the side of the wall, with Parkdrive just behind.

    Marty just talks to the girls - TAWANA 18, and GRAY GUTS 19, a goth - behind the information desk.

    MARTY:
    Is there ...?

    GRAY GUTS: Is there what, meat rod?

    MARTY: Um, is there some way I could get like a note on Planned Parenthood stationery or something?

    TAWANA: Depends on what you want this note to say, gel-head.

    Marty sniffles and rubs his nose.

    TAWANA:
    Oh my God! Guts, he's crying! What's the matter, sugar? Some road dog in a flannel hat been touchin' you in the pointy place?

    MARTY: I just need a note from Planned Parenthood or some other official sex place that says I had some sex but that I didn't like it.

    Redhook signals Parkdrive to get ready to spring into action.

    GRAY GUTS:
    You had sex but didn't like it?

    TAWANA: You ain't doin' it right, sugar.

    MARTY: See my dad smelled it on me? Like, he could smell the girl's sex parts on me `cause I like didn't wash off because I didn't really think parents would know what those parts smell like. And so they made me sit at the kitchen table? And my mom all cried and my dad's face got all red and he told me that like yeah, he pretty much knew I just finished having a babe on my face. I told him and my mom that okay I had some sex with this Unitarian but I didn't like it and they sort of believed me? But they told me to get a note from Planned Parenthood just to be safe.

    GRAY GUTS: Huh?

    TAWANA: You supposed to get a note. From Planned Parenthood. Saying you got some juice on you. But you didn't have no fun.

    MARTY: That would be so righteous.

    TAWANA: Yeah. Your father, what is he, in the navy? Something? Army?

    MARTY (proudly): Oh no. See, my folks are Huckadroids for Huckabee. So am I. And we're proud. We believe that the procreation muscle is for marriage, that wives should submit graciously to their husbands, and that the Earth is just a little older than John McCain.

    GRAY GUTS: Come on. You did like having that sex, didn't you? I mean, are you asking us to write down a lie?

    MARTY: No, I hated it!

    Gray Guts and Tawana laugh.

    MARTY
    : No, really, see ... see she made me do it! See, she's like way older than me? God doesn't like it when grown-ups make teenagers feel all, you know, grabby.

    TAWANA: Bull. You know that virgin Mary? They say she couldn't of been more than fourteen, fifteen when she got all grabby with God.

    GRAY GUTS: Whoa. So God is like a sexual predator?

    TAWANA: Damn straight. You know they be showin' him off on NBC in cuffs with a buncha condoms in his truck. God pull that shit in America they will put his ass in a database.

    Redhook and Parkdrive leap out of their, well, crouching positions and level their guns at Gray Guts, Tawana, and Marty.

    REDHOOK:
    Hands where we can see `em, skels!

    PARKDRIVE: You heard him ladies. You too, blonde chops. Get your hands out.

    Tawana, Gray Guts, and Marty put their hands in plain sight. Redhook pats them down.

    PARKDRIVE (to Marty):
    Now what's this I hear about you moistening the thighs of some libido-free teenage girl?

    MARTY: Me -- I --

    PARKDRIVE: What's your name, kid?

    MARTY: M-M-Marty ...

    REDHOOK: How old are you?

    MARTY: Fifteen.

    Parkdrive's demeanor changes. She becomes, well, I guess she becomes tender.

    PARKDRIVE:
    You're a victim!

    MARTY: I knew it!

    PARKDRIVE: Give me your little blonde head ...

    She pulls Marty's face into her bosom.

    PARKDRIVE:
    Is that better?

    REDHOOK: Who was it that did this to you, son?

    PARKDRIVE: Was she a non-minor or a minor at least two years older than you at the time of the assault?

    Marty lifts his head up.

    MARTY:
    Huh?

    PARKDRIVE: Was she seventeen or older?

    Marty pulls away. He screw-, well, makes a face like he is about to cry. He blubbers something unintelligible.

    REDHOOK:
    Calm down, son. Take it at your own speed. These things can't hurt you anymore.

    PARKDRIVE: That's right, Marty. Just tell the nice officers. We'll make it all better.

    MARTY: Okay, um, you promise you won't tell my folks?

    Redhook hides a hand behind him and crosses his fingers.

    REDHOOK:
    Of course, Marty. Now give.

    MARTY: It was ... my science teacher!

    PARKDRIVE: Not again!

    REDHOOK: What is it with teachers these days?

    PARKDRIVE: What did she do, Marty?

    MARTY: Well, see, first she wore in ... she's always wearing in these tight kind of shirts that open up in the back so you can see the little blocks of her spine ...

    REDHOOK: Oh yeah. Vertebrae. - And no bra strap?

    MARTY: Nope.

    REDHOOK (to Parkdrive): That's one count of entrapment right there.

    MARTY: And usually you can see all the little vertebrae blocks if her red hair isn't in the way, which it sometimes is `cuz it's long. And the dresses she wears? They tuck in at the top of her legs because she has this really round butt and the dresses hug it really tight.

    PARKDRIVE: Okay, so what did this red-haired science teacher with the curvilinear rectum allegedly do to you?

    MARTY: She said she was going to come to my house after school because I needed like a tutor? And she said, "Better pick a time when your folks ain't home. We don't want to bug them with science moans, do we?"

    REDHOOK: That is one cool calculation.

    PARKDRIVE: What happened when this ain't-saying child-molester got to your house, Marty?

    MARTY: She sat down next to me on my bed and said, "Ain't it great to take a load off?" Then she started playing with my belt buckle, and saying she was doing a experiment.

    REDHOOK: "A" experiment? Those were her words? A experiment?

    MARTY: Yeah.

    PARKDRIVE: Illiterate bitch.

    REDHOOK: What happened next, Marty?

    MARTY: Then she touched me in a place and asked me if that got me hot. So she's like touching me here and here and then ... and then ...

    REDHOOK: Just say it, Marty.

    MARTY: She put her chest things in my face!

    He starts to cry.

    MARTY: I was begging her, "Please stop! Please! My parents are Huckadroids for Huckabee! They'll pound me to liver!" So then she said we had to hurry or I'd be poisoned.

    PARKDRIVE: Poisoned! You didn't believe her, did you, Marty?

    MARTY: I didn't want to, honest I didn't! But she said, "Just look at it, all swollen up like that, somebody's got to get that poison out of you! Somebody with nice, plump lips and red gums!" And she ... oh my god! She - ! No! Please! I can't repeat it! And the whole time she's ... doing it all I can think is, "Oh my god, I've been poisoned! Somebody help me get rid of this poison!"

    REDHOOK: So did she get it all out or what?

    PARKDRIVE: Redhook!

    REDHOOK: It's important, Parkdrive.

    MARTY: It was awful. She started slow and kept going until I like exploded!

    REDHOOK: That's the usual m.o.

    Parkdrive looks deep into Marty's eyes.

    PARKDRIVE: Marty, look at me.

    MARTY: O-okay.

    PARKDRIVE: You really didn't like it, right? I mean, you really, really didn't like it?

    Marty's blood drains out of his head and he, well, he's completely white, like a ghost, and I suppose you could say he starts to sob. Parkdrive is touched.

    REDHOOK: What did I tell you about boys under eighteen, Parkdrive?

    PARKDRIVE: That - that they don't have ... urges yet?

    REDHOOK: Just like girls under eighteen.

    He smiles smugly.

    PARKDRIVE: Sorry, Redhook. I always wanted to believe you. Honest.

    REDHOOK: We better take this downtown, Marty. Now look, we're going to call up your folks and let them know you've been traumatized, but don't worry, we'll make sure they don't pound you into liver. Even if they are huckaroids.

    MARTY (sniffles): Huckadroids.

    I suppose that will have to do for now. The exciting conclusion to this episode will be-, well, I'll post it next time. Right now I have that issue with the spiral or radial or carpal somethings and my wrists, well, really hurt. Hmm. I know. I'll wake up Ervin and get him to do some typing for me.
    Copyright 2007 Dan Roentsch


              LGBT Religion News Summary: Out with 2012, In with 2013        

    Welcome to the first LGBT Religion News Summary of 2013! GLAAD’s Religion, Faith & Values program works to elevate LGBT-affirming voices of faith in mainstream, regional, and community media. To find out more, visit www.glaad.org/faith. For additional religion and faith updates, be sure to subscribe via our online registration form. We welcome suggestions at faith@glaad.org.

    2012 Recap: 10 Pro-LGBT Faith Voices and 5 LGBT Religion Advances

    People of faith led marriage equality efforts in Illinois and Rhode Island over the holidays. The Roman Catholic hierarchy continued its harsh opposition, chasing the faithful from the church. In the Netherlands, people are actually getting “de-baptized” from the Roman Catholic Church. And some wonder why evangelicals got so quiet over marriage equality.

    What’s Cardinal George really enCOURAGEing? Illinois media should ask.

    While the Roman Catholic Church in England shut down a mass for LGBT people, the Church of England has allowed partnered gay and lesbian clergy, as long as they are celibate. Openly gay Bishop Gene Robinson is now retired, and the Rev. Cameron Partridge seems to be a rising transgender star in the Episcopal world. Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum was recognized by Keshet for her advocacy, inspiring other LGBT leaders to continue in rabbinical school.

    In Court: LGBT People of Uganda vs. Scott Lively

    Virulent anti-LGBT activist, Scott Lively, had his day in court, facing off against the LGBT people of Uganda, who has been persecuting. A viral video from the Philippines features a wedding in an MCC Church, even as MCC is profiled as a church where LGBT people have been welcomed for over 40 years. And if you are looking for something to do, you can join GLAAD at the NYC production of BARE on Wednesday, January 9. Ross Murray, Director of Religion, Faith & Values, will be hosting a TalkOUT about youth, the Roman Catholic Church, and LGBT Equality.

     

    2012 Wrap Up

    Atheist/Humanist

    Baptist

    Catholic

    Christian

    Episcopal

    Evangelical

    International

    Jewish

    Lutheran

    Marriage Equality

    Metropolitan Community Church

    Mormon

    Politics

    Unitarian Universalist

    United Church of Christ

    January 9, 2013
    Issues: 

              Religion News Summary: Hurricanes Are Not Caused by Marriage Equality Elections        

    GLAAD’s Religion, Faith & Values program works to elevate LGBT-affirming voices of faith in mainstream, regional, and community media. To find out more, visit www.glaad.org/faith. For additional religion and faith updates, be sure to subscribe via our online registration form. We welcome suggestions at faith@glaad.org.

    After Hurricane Sandy (which was totally not God’s punishment for marriage equality), the LGBT Religion News Summary is back! Election Day was an amazing moment in LGBT history, and leaders from diverse faith traditions spoke out in support of marriage equality across the country: Catholics in Maine, the nephew of Harvey Milk, a Baptist minister in Maryland, and Methodists in Minnesota.

    Read more election news on GLAAD’s website.

    While religious advocates for equality celebrated the progress made in the U.S. after the election, a stunning article about the underground gay community in Pakistan that has no legal protection against hate crimes, and a story about a gay Muslim Indonesian man highlight the work that still remains, both domestically and abroad.  

    Check out what our Director of Religion, Faith, and Values had to say about an article about the ex-gay movement that appeared in the New York Times.

    The documentary about Bishop Gene Robinson—Live Free or Die—made its television debut on PBS. Bishop Robinson (who just got an award!) will be retiring at the end of the year to work in D.C. Meanwhile, the Diocese of South Carolina succeeded from the Episcopal Church recently over the issue of same-sex blessings and gay ordination. In other news, a Jewish day school severed its charter with the Boy Scouts because of the organization’s policy against gay troop leaders, a gay seminarian left the Methodist church so he could be a pastor, and a Muslim man placed third in Mr. Gay Netherlands.

     

    Baptist

    Black Churches

    Catholic

    Christian

    Episcopal

    Evangelical

    International

    Jewish

    Lutheran

    Marriage Equality

    Methodist

    Metropolitan Community Churches

    Mormon

    Muslim

    Presbyterian

    Seventh Day Adventist

    Unitarian Universalist

    United Church of Christ

    November 20, 2012
    Issues: 

              Faith Leaders Get into the Spirit for Spirit Day        

    As Spirit Day approaches, the number of faith leaders and organizations going purple is growing. Faith organizations are reaching out to their members to encourage them to wear purple and religious leaders of all stripes are speaking out against bullying in the lead up to Oct. 19th. 

    The Evangelical Network (TEN), an organization that supports and affirms LGBT Evangelical Christians, is planning a week of activities for the week leading up to October 19. TEN will be launching a 30 minute video, entitled “Bullying is not a Christian Value.” The video includes appearances by, David and Amy Truong, parents of Asher Brown and a statement from Tammy Aaberg, mother of Justin Aaberg, whose children died by suicide as a result of intense bullying at school.

    On October 13, Freedom In Christ Church of San Francisco, a TEN affiliate church, will host a viewing of the film "Right to Love: An American Family" at the LGBT center. The film follows Bryan and Jay Leffew a married gay couple in California who have two adopted children, Daniel and Selena. Viewers will see inside the real lives of a family with two dads and their struggle for equality. The Evangelical Network and the Bay Area Youth Summit will co-sponsor a reception after the screening.  During the reception both groups will give out free purple ribbons and educate attendees about Spirit Day on October 19th, only 6 days later.

    The United Church of Christ (UCC), which is a denomination of just over 1,000,000 members, will also be participating. Last year, the UCC changed their iconic “God Is Still Speaking” logo purple, and some great statements out of this largely LGBT-inclusive denomination.

    Other participating faith organizations include the Metropolitan Community Church, the Unitarian Universalist Association, Believe Out Loud, Keshet, Muslims for Progressive Values, and many more. In addition, congregations across the country are participating. Check out the Spirit Day Faith page for a full list of partners.

    Other faith leaders have also shown their support for Spirit Day; James J. Martin, a leading Catholic theologian and Culture Editor of the Jesuit magazine America, tweeted his support for Spirit Day last week. YouTube theologian Matthew Vines and Christian singer Jennifer Knapp have both also committed his support for Spirit Day. The openly gay Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire, V. Gene Robinson has also pledged his commitment. Wearing purple shouldn’t be difficult for Bishop Robinson, as that is the standard color for an Episcopal Bishop.

    There is still time for you, your place of worship, and your organization to participate. For you, take the Spirit Day Pledge. For your congregation or organization, become a Spirit Day endorser. And we’ll see you going purple for Spirit Day!

    October 10, 2012

              Marriage Equality, New York Times, Muslim Mr. Gay Denmark and More! LGBT Religion News Summary        

    GLAAD’s Religion, Faith & Values program works to elevate LGBT-affirming voices of faith in mainstream, regional, and community media. To find out more, visit www.glaad.org/faith

    Spirit Day is fast approaching on October 19. We encourage all faith organizations to get involved. If your organization or faith community would like to be listed as a Spirit Day partner, please email faith@glaad.org. Individuals are encouraged to take the pledge to go purple.

    African American Christians have become more of a political focal point, particularly concerning marriage equality. Some outlets are claiming that marriage equality limits their support for President Obama, while others focus on the support for marriage equality coming from African American church leaders. Catholics are also garnering attention in Minnesota and Washington, which both have votes on marriage equality.

    A gay minister in Reno had his radio show pulled from a Fox News Radio Affiliate, while the Worcester Diocese cancelled the sale of a mansion for fear of potential marriage ceremonies for gay and lesbian couples.  This video compresses two weeks’ worth of the struggle for LGBT equality in the United Methodist Church into 30 minutes, and one Presbyterian pastor challenges her church’s ban on marriage equality.

    Matthew Vines, the 22-year old biblical scholar, had a profile in the Sunday Style section of the New York Times (photo above from NYT with GLAAD Director of Religion, Faith & Values, Ross Murray, Matthew Vines, and Rev. Shari Brink of Marble Collegiate Church). Bishop Gene Robinson has a new book, while a blog asks questions of a transgender Christian. Unitarians continue to support LGBT people, both locally and beyond. LGBT Jews celebrate Rosh Hashanah, and Mr. Gay Denmark is Muslim. Fortunately, he’s not alone.

    For additional religion and faith updates, be sure to subscribe via our online registration form. We welcome suggestions at faith@glaad.org.

     

    Black Churches

    Catholic

    Christian

    Episcopal

    Evangelical

    International

    Jewish

    Marriage Equality

    Methodist

    Mormon

    Muslim

    Presbyterian

    Unitarian Universalist

     

    September 21, 2012

              Religion News Summary for August 29, 2012        

    GLAAD’s Religion, Faith & Values program works to elevate LGBT-affirming voices of faith in mainstream, regional, and community media. To find out more, visit www.glaad.org/faith. For additional religion and faith updates, be sure to subscribe via our online registration form. We welcome suggestions at faith@glaad.org.

    International marriage equality efforts have faced roadblocks from a variety of religious sources. The Catholic Church in Scotland, led by Cardinal Keith O’Brien, has been at the forefront of anti-marriage equality efforts in that country. The Catholic Church in France has launched a similar effort against both marriage equality and adoption by gay and lesbian couples in response to Socialist President Francois Hollande efforts to enact marriage equality by 2013. While the Catholic hierarchy and a conservative group within the Presbyterian Church in New Zealand have voiced opposition to a marriage equality bill in that country, 57 clergy from Anglican, Presbyterian and Methodist churches co-signed a letter rejecting the Catholic Church’s position. Other encouraging news comes from Nepal, where a recently passed law granting full equality to LGBT people has garnered no reaction from religious leaders.

    On August 15, Dan Savage, founder of the It Gets Better Project, sat down to dinner with Brian S. Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, to debate the (Christian) Bible and LGBT equality. Both men are Catholic; Savage was born into an Irish Catholic family and attended parochial school but is now lapsed, while Brown was raised Quaker and converted in College. In the end, both Savage and Brown felt the hour-long debate, which can be seen on Youtube, was pointless. Neither changed his position nor acknowledged any of the other’s points.

    Many people seem to be asking whether or not Christianity really is opposed to LGBT people and marriage. Jamie McGonnigal argues in the Huffington Post that, while most anti-LGBT equality groups claim to be fighting for something (so-called traditional marriage, family values, etc.) they are actually fighting equality under the guise of Christianity. Rev. J. McRee Elrod, a retired Unitarian Universalist minister agrees, noting that two of the most beautiful love stories in the Bible are between people of the same gender: David and Jonathan, and Ruth and Naomi. In a letter to other Christians encouraging dialogue and listening with an open mind, Richmond Schmidt says: “God tears down walls where we would form lines. […] act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God. Preserving values is great. Valuing love is better still.”

    Baptist
    Transgender DNC delegate delivers sermon at local church
    Charlotte Observer, August 26, 2012

    Catholic
    Catholic Church in Scotland steps up campaign against gay marriage
    The Guardian, August 26, 2012
    Anti-LGBT Archbishop tapped to give closing prayer at Democratic Convention
    LGBTQ Nation, August 28, 2012
    Newly-Appointed SF Archbishop, 'Father of Prop 8', Arrested in San Diego DUI
    Towleroad, August 28, 2012

    Christian
    Biblical idea of marriage cherry-picks passages
    Vic News, August 17, 2012
    Arsonist Destroys Ohio Church
    Box Turtle Bulletin, August 21, 2012
    Is It Christian to Be Anti-Gay?
    Huffington Post, August 21, 2012
    After Dinner, the Fireworks
    New York Times, August 22, 2012
    A Call for Conversation From a Gay Christian: To My Fellow Christians
    Huffington Post, August 23, 2012
    Right-wing Groups Seek to Ban Wayne Besen From Fox
    The Advocate, August 23, 2012
    The deciding LGBT issue that Christians cannot ignore
    John Shore, August 23, 2012
    An Open Letter to LGBT or Same-Sex Attracted Freshmen at Christian Colleges and Universities
    Odd Man Out, August 24, 2012
    Leave religious agenda out of anti-bullying efforts
    Times-Republican, August 26, 2012

    Episcopal
    Episcopal Bishop Champions Gay Marriage: PW Talks with Gene Robinson
    Publishers Weekly, August 24, 2012

    Evangelical
    After Gay Son’s Suicide, Mother Finds Blame in Herself and in Her Church
    New York Times, August 24, 2012
    LGBT group cancels protest because church is 'too nice'
    Examiner, August 28, 2012

    Hindu
    Hindus in Nepal shun homophobia
    Asia Times, August 28, 2012

    Interfaith
    TEXAS FAITH: Chick-fil-A’s moment in the news
    Dallas News, August 14, 2012
    In the Spirit: Congregations take pride in parade
    Wisconsin State Journal, August 26, 2012

    International
    Gay couple married in US feted at Malaysia banquet
    Mercury News, August 6, 2012
    French Catholic Church targets gay marriage
    Associated Press, August, 15, 2012
    First openly gay United Church moderator reaches out to Vancouver flock through Cohen and jazz
    The Vancouver Sun, August 23, 2012
    South African pastor blames gay men, lesbians and feminists for ‘culture of death’
    Pink News, August 23, 2012
    Priests attack gay marriage in strongly-worded letter read out across Scotland's 500 churches
    Mail Online, August 26, 2012
    Nepal: Religious leaders remain silent over legalisation of LGBT rights
    Pink News, August 27, 2012
    Wanganui vicar welcomes gays
    Wanganui Chronicle, August 29, 2012

    Jewish
    Orthodox and Coming Out…As an Ally
    My Jewish Learning, August 17, 2012
    Back Bay Synagogue Caters to LGBT Jews
    Edge, August 28, 2012

    Marriage Equality
    Fighting at the ballot box for the right to marry
    CBS News, August 26, 2012
    ‘Religious liberty’ for me — but not for thee
    LGBTQ Nation, August 26, 2012

    Methodist
    Clergy, laity group asks censure of Bishop Talbert over gay rights activism
    United Methodist Reporter, August 24, 2012
    Breast Milk, Homosexuality, and Being United Methodist
    Methodist Federation for Social Action, August 29, 2012

    Metropolitan Community Church
    Emerald City MCC Seattle Calls a New Interim Pastor and Gets Its Groove Back
    The Seattle Lesbian, August 28, 2012

    Muslim
    Can You Be Gay And Muslim? Yes.
    Colombo Telegraph, August 21, 2012
    Parisians celebrate being gay and Muslim at end of Ramadan
    Gay Star News, August 28, 2012

    United Church of Christ
    Will You Marry Me? The Bible and Marriage Equality
    Huffington Post, August 24, 2012

    Unitarian Universalist
    Gay rights group asks Jackson City Council to support human rights ordinance
    M Live, August 14, 2012
    An Open Letter to Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council: Let's Talk About Hate
    Huffington Post, August 20, 2012
    Marriage Equality Supporters to Gather Sunday at Northlake Unitarian
    Kirkland Patch, August 23, 2012

    August 29, 2012

              A Trip To South Carolina Offers Lessons In Freedom vs. Fundamentalism        
    Rob Boston

    I was on vacation last week. My wife, son and I visited Charleston, S.C., where we soaked up a lot of Revolutionary War and Civil War history. (OK, we also spent a day at the beach.)


              Unveiling the Gryffindor Scarf        

    Along with the other obligatory Christmas knitting I have finished a Harry Potter Gryffindor scarf. I will be donating this scarf to my church for a silent auction on December 9, 2006. The scarf was knit in the round with Knitpicks Merino Style DK weight in hollyberry and harvest colorways. I think the colors are just perfect.

    The scarf came out beautifully at 67" long before fringe and 6 1/2" wide. I will be sorry to see it go but hopefully it gets some bidders. My church is only five years old. The congregation is still trying to expand programs and acquire a permanent home. Although Unitarian Universalists were everywhere in Massachusetts, there has not been a Unitarian Universalist church in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 60 years. It is exciting to be part of the rebirth of such an entity.

    If you would like to bid on my scarf, the All Souls Community Church annual Silent Auction will be held on Saturday December 9th at 12pm at New Branches School, 256 Alger Street SE, Grand Rapids, Michigan. It will be OPEN to the public. The auction will include a “strolling” lunch, which will consist of different pasta stations set up around the items to be bid on. Tickets to the auction are being sold at for $5/ family and at the door.
              Peace Revolution episode 043: The Ultimate History Lesson with John Taylor Gatto / Hour 3 + Commentary        
    itunes pic

    Notes, References, and Links for further study: 

    1. Use the donation buttons at the bottom of these notes, or on the sidebar of this site, or the sidebar of Tragedy and Hope dot com,  for “The Ultimate History Lesson: A Weekend with John Taylor Gatto” multi-DVD interview project, currently in post-production. With over 5 hours of interview footage, this is a collection of education which is invaluable.
      1. If you donate $50 or more towards the completion of this project, you will receive the entire DVD set; as our way of saying Thanks!
    2. Your invitation to the Tragedy and Hope online critical thinking community
    3. Peace Revolution Podcast’s primary hosting site (2009-2011)
    4. Peace Revolution Podcast’s backup hosting site (2006-2011, also includes the 9/11 Synchronicity Podcast episodes, starting at the bottom of the page)
    5. Tragedy and Hope dot com (all of our media productions, free to the public)
      1. On the top menu, there is a “Trivium” selection, which includes the Brain model discussed in Peace Revolution episodes.
    6. A Peaceful Solution” by Willie Nelson w/thanks to the Willie Nelson Peace Research Institute
    7. T&H Partner Podcasts: Media Monarchy, Corbett Report, Gnostic Media, & Remedy Radio
      1. Useful Tools:
    8. www.StartPage.com (It uses Google’s search algorithm, but doesn’t collect your private info and search history)
      1. StartPage search engine Firefox add-on
    9. The Brain (mind mapping software to organize your research) download for FREE
      1. The free version works for all functions except web publication
    10. Ultimate History Lesson Hour 3, minutes 1 -15 (approx.):
    11. Reece Committee (or: U.S. House Select Committee to Investigate Tax-Exempt Foundations and Comparable Organizations)
    12. Norman Dodd (on Wikipedia)
    13. (Book) “Foundations: Their Power and Influence” by Rene Wormser (1958)
    14. (Book) “The Leipzig Connection: Basics in Education” by Paolo Lioni (1993)
    15. The Metaphysical Club (on Wikipedia)
    16. William James (on Wikipedia)
    17. John Dewey (on Wikipedia)
    18. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (on Wikipedia) 
    19. Charles S. Peirce (Peirce Society)
    20. Pragmatic Philosophy (on Wikipedia) 
    21. Immanuel Kant (on Wikipedia) 
    22. Kant’s “Critique of Pure Reason” (on Wikipedia)
    23. (Book) “The Impact of Science on Society” by Bertrand Russell (1952): (Fichte quote & page)
    24. (Book) “Cybernetics: Or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine” by Norbert Wiener (1948):
    25. (Book) “The Human Use of Human Beings” by Norbert Wiener
      1. http://books.google.com/books/about/The_human_use_of_human_beings.html?id=l9l6zquHvZIC
    26. Norbert Wiener (on Wikipedia)
    27. Hour 3 Roundtable Discussion of minutes 1-15:
    28. Tax Exempt Foundations
    29. Walsh Committee (Wikipedia)
    30. Carroll Reece (Wikipedia)
    31. Reece Committee
    32. Norman Dodd (On Tax Exempt Foundations)
    33. Federal Reserve
    34. Income Tax
    35. General Education Board (Wikipedia)
    36. Rockefeller Foundation
    37. Ford Foundation
    38. Carnegie Endowment
    39. Charles Sanders Pierce (Wikipedia)
    40. Immanuel Kant
    41. Edgar Rice Burroughs / John Carter and the Princess of Mars
    42. Thomas Paine (Wikipedia)
    43. Printing Press
    44. DIY / Do It Yourself (Wikipedia)
    45. Human Resources: Social Engineering in the 20th Century by Scott Noble
    46. PsyWar by Scott Noble
    47. Leo Tolstoy (Printing press ignorance)
    48. “Literacy is a form of slavery, until a method of critical thinking is exercised by the reader.” – R.G.
    49. Utilitarianism (Wikipedia)
    50. Jeremy Bentham (Wikipedia)
    51. Panopticon (Wikipedia)
    52. Adam Weishaupt (Wikipedia)
    53. William James “truth as collective name” quote
    54. Dewey “knowledge is belief authorized by enquiry
    55. Metaphysical Club
    56. Philosophic Corruption of Physics by David Harriman 1, 2 (Gnostic Media Interviews)
    57. Nihilism
    58. Existentialism
    59. National Socialism (Wikipedia)
    60. Classical Trivium (Wikipedia)
    61. Metaphysics
    62. Epistemology (Wikipedia)
    63. Ethics
    64. Aesthetics (Wikipedia)
    65. Allusions
    66. Abstraction
    67. Metaphor
    68. Rhetoric & The Active Literacies
    69. Albion Seed by David Hackett Fischer (Chapter 1 Social Statuses)
    70. Bete Noire (a person or thing strongly detested)
    71. Bavarian Illuminati
    72. American Historical Association (on Wikipedia)
    73. Andrew Dickson White (Wikipedia)
    74. Timothy Dwight (Wikipedia)
    75. Daniel Coit Gilman (Wikipedia)
      1. Skull and Bones Trust
    76. William Huntington Russell (Wikipedia)
    77. Johns Hopkins University
    78. The Yale Troika
    79. Skull and Bones (Wikipedia)
    80. America’s Secret Establishment: An Introduction to The Order of Skull and Bones by Antony C. Sutton
      1. How the Order controls Education (Chapter 8)
    81. The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America by Charlotte Iserbyt
    82. Pestalozzi (Wikipedia)
    83. Lavater
    84. Fichte
    85. (Book) A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs (1917)
    86. The Philosophic Corruption of Physics & The Logical Leap” (Gnostic Media podcast #111 & 112/ David Harriman interviews)
    87. (Book) “Perfectibilists: The 18th Century Bavarian Order of the Illuminati” by Terry Melanson (2009) 
    88. (Book) “The Metaphysical Club: A Story of Ideas in America” by Louis Menand (2001)       
    89. Norman Dodd/Katherine Casey/Hidden Agenda Interview (transcript)
    90. American Historical Association History & Archives
    91. Guggenheim Foundation (on Wikipedia)
    92. Walsh (Commission on Industrial Relations) 1915 (on Wikipedia)
    93. Charles Sanders Peirce: “Pragmatism As a Principle and Method of Right Thinking: The 1903 Harvard Lectures on Pragmatism” 
    94. Bertrand Russell
    95. Hour 3, minutes 15 -30 (approx.)
    96. Academic Genealogy Chart
    97.  (Book) “The New Atlantis” by Sir Francis Bacon (1624):
    98. Sir Francis Bacon (on Wikipedia) 
    99. “Principles of Psychology” by William James (1890):
    100. “The Last of the Mohicans” by James Fenimore Cooper (1826):
    101. James Fenimore Cooper (Wikipedia)
    102. “Common Sense” by Thomas Paine (1776):
      1. http://www.ushistory.org/paine/commonsense/
    103. Bill Clinton (mentor, Quigley, speech reference): 1992 Democratic National Convention:
    104. Unitarian /Harvard (on Wikipedia) 
    105. Herbert Spencer + Eugenics:
    106. “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand (1957) (pages 1000 -1070, John Galt’s Speech):
    107. Fabian Society (on Wikipedia) 
    108. London School of Economics (on Wikipedia) 
    109. Society for Psychical Research (on Wikipedia) 
    110. Arthur Balfour (on Wikipedia) 
    111. Beatrice Webb (on Wikipedia) 
    112. William T. Stead (on Wikipedia)
    113.  “The Last Will and Testament of Cecil John Rhodes” (1902) with elucidatory notes by William T. Stead
    114. “The Avengers” (1960’s British television series, featuring a character “John Steed”)
    115. Martin Luther (on Wikipedia) 
    116. Ninety-Five Theses by Martin Luther (1517) (on Wikipedia) 
    117. Senator Oscar Callaway (on Wikipedia)
    118. Congressional Record (February 9, 1917)
    119. U.S. Senate Speech (1942) Truman + Standard Oil Treason of Rockefellers
    120. (Book) “Wall Street and The Rise of Hitler” by Antony C. Sutton (1976) (Krupp reference)
    121. Hour 3 Roundtable Discussion of minutes 15-30:
    122. History of the U.S. Census (Wikipedia)
    123. Self-Reliance (Wikipedia)
    124. Concept of Property
    125. John Locke (Wikipedia)
    126. Concept of Informed Consent
    127. Death and Taxes
    128. Von Clausewitz (Wikipedia)
    129. Absolute War (Wikipedia)
    130. Hegelian Dialectic (Wikipedia)
    131. Stimulus Response (Wikipedia)
    132. The High Cabal with Col. L. Fletcher Prouty
    133. Peace Revolution episode 038: The High Cabal
    134. British East India Company (Wikipedia)
    135. British East India Company Flag
    136. Elihu Yale (Wikipedia)
    137. Cotton Mather (Wikipedia)
    138. Yale University
    139. Root Hog, or Die! (Wikipedia)
    140. Herbert Spencer (Wikipedia)
    141. W.G. Sumner (Wikipedia)
    142. Social Darwinism
    143. Society for Psychical Research (Wikipedia)
    144. Edward Pease (Wikipedia)
    145. Fabian Society (Wikipedia)
    146. Thomas Davidson (Wikipedia)
    147. Frank Podmore (Wikipedia
    148. Sophism (Wikipedia)
    149. Solipsism (Wikipedia)
    150. Intellectual Self-Defense
    151. Carroll Quigley
    152. The Anglo American Establishment (.pdf)
    153. New England and the Bavarian Illuminati (.pdf)
    154. Boston Brahmins (Wikpedia)
    155. University of Chicago
    156. Obama Transcript via Associated Press
    157. Fabian Socialism (Wikipedia)
    158. Fabius Maximus (Wikipedia)
    159. War of Attrition (Wikipedia)
    160. Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing (Logo of Fabian Socialism)
    161. Rhodes Round Table Group (Wikipedia)
    162. Rhodes Scholars (Wikipedia)
    163. William T. Stead (Wikipedia)
    164. The Republic by Plato
    165. Kybernetes
    166. B.F. Trentowski (Wikipedia)
    167. Cybernetics (Stanford)
    168. Norbert Weiner (Wikipedia)
    169. Bertrand Russell (Wikipedia)
    170. Corporate Personhood (Wikipedia)
    171. Prophylactic (Dictionary)
    172. Harry Truman Rockefeller Quote WWII (Time Magazine)
    173. "Standard Oil of New Jersey was putting forth every effort of which it was capable to protect the control of the German government..." – Harry Truman
      (see also: Pittsburg Press Article; March 27th, 1942)
    174. The Old Boys: The American Elite and the Origins of the CIA by Burton Hersh (Amazon)
    175. Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution by Antony C. Sutton (.pdf)
    176. Wall Street and the rise of Hitler by Antony C. Sutton (.pdf)
    177. Wall Street and FDR by Antony C. Sutton (.pdf)
    178. Senator Oscar Callaway’s 1917 quote”
    179. "In March, 1915, the J.P. Morgan interests, the steel, shipbuilding, and powder interest, and their subsidiary organizations, got together 12 men high up in the newspaper world and employed them to select the most influential newspapers in the United States and sufficient number of them to control generally the policy of the daily press. … They found it was only necessary to purchase the control of 25 of the greatest papers. An agreement was reached; the policy of the papers was bought, to be paid for by the month; an editor was furnished for each paper to properly supervise and edit information regarding the questions of preparedness, militarism, financial policies, and other things of national and international nature considered vital to the interests of the purchasers."
    180. Henry P. Davison / Time Life (Wikipedia)
    181. Henry Luce (Wikipedia)
    182. C.D. Jackson (Wikipedia)
    183. Zapruder Film (Wikipedia)
    184. George DeMohrenschild (Wikipedia)
    185. R. Gordon Wasson (Wikipedia)
    186. MK ULTRA (Wikipedia)
    187. Buchenwald
    188. Sykewar (Amazon)
    189. Life Magazine “The Discovery of Mushrooms That Cause Strange Visions” by R. Gordon
      Wasson; May 13, 1957
    190. J.P. Morgan and the Hull Carbine Affair
    191. Bilderberg Group (Wikipedia)
    192. Hedley Bull (Wikipedia)
    193. Herbert Butterfield (Wikipedia)
    194. British Committee for the Theory of International Politics (Wikipedia)
    195. Liberal Realism (Wikipedia)
    196. Rothschild Banking Empire (Wikipedia)
    197. Economist (Wikipedia)
    198. Roll Call (Wikipedia)
    199. Congressional Quarterly (Wikipedia)
    200. Reuters (Wikipedia)
    201. Psychological Warfare (Wikipedia)
    202. William Paley (Wikipedia)  
    203. War of the Worlds (Wikipedia)
    204. H.G. Wells (Wikipedia)
    205. The New World Order by H.G. Wells
    206. The New Machivellis by H.G. Wells (Project Gutenberg)
    207. Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Forces (Wikipedia)
    208. Office of Special Services (O.S.S.)
      1. Globalizing Ideal Beauty: How Female Copywriters of the J. Walter Thompson Advertising     Agency Redefined Beauty for the twentieth Century
      2. Rhodes Scholars (Page 137)
      3. Oxbridge = Oxford + Cambridge (Wikipedia)
    209. James Walter Thompson Company (Wikipedia)
    210. John B. Watson (Wikipedia)
    211. De Beers Diamond Cartel (Wikipedia)
    212. Cecil Rhodes (Wikipedia)
    213. Oppenheimer (“The Diamond Empire – Oppenheimer Family’s Cartel, Artificial Scarcity”)
    214. All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace by Adam Curtis / BBC (Archive.org)
    215. “White, King, Red Rubber, Black Death” (YouTube)
    216. Basil Nicholson (Globalizing Ideal Beauty) (Co-Founder of the London Daily Mirror)
    217. “Cultural New Deal Urge to Bring Order” /article published in The Science News-Letter  Vol. 37,   No. 1 (Jan. 6, 1940), pp. 6-7 by Lawrence K. Frank
    218. Macy Conferences (Wikipedia)
    219. Film: “The Net: The Unabomber, LSD and the Internet” by Lutz Dammbeck
    220. Lawrence K Frank / Josiah Macy Junior Foundation  
    221. Human Use of Human Beings by Norbert Wiener (Amazon)
    222. William T. Stead (Wikipedia)
    223. The Last Will and Testament of Cecil John Rhodes edited by William T. Stead (archive.org)
    224. Council on Foreign Relations (Wikipedia)
    225. Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time by Carroll Quigley (1966) (Book)
    226. The Evolution of Civilizations by Carroll Quigley (Book)
    227. The Anglo American Establishment by Carroll Quigley
    228. The Balfour Declaration (Wikipedia)
    229. Lord Rothschild (Wikipedia)
    230. Paris 1919 by Margaret MacMillan (Amazon)
    231. Alfred Milner (Wikipedia)
    232. The Rise and Fall of Diamonds by Edward J. Epstein (Amazon)
    233. Peace Revolution episode … Diamonds: The Jewel of Denial (Peacerevolution.org
    234. Carl Von Clausewitz “Absolute War” (on Wikipedia) 
    235. “On War” by Carl Von Clausewitz (1832)  (Scribd)
    236. Hegelian Dialectic (on Wikipedia) 
    237. “Root Hog, or die” (on Wikipedia) 
    238.  Peace Revolution episode #38 The High Cabal / Lessons in Foreign and Domestic Policy
      (Fletcher Prouty, Elijah Yale, British East India Company)
    239.  Beatrice Webb (on Wikipedia) 
    240. Edward R. Pease (on Wikipedia) 
    241. Fabian Society (on Wikipedia) 
    242. Obama / University of Chicago
    243. University of Chicago / Rockefeller Foundation  
    244. “How Corporate Law Inhibits Social Responsibility” by Robert Hinkley (February 2002 article)      
    245. Congressional Record (February 9, 1917):
    246. TIME magazine (on Wikipedia) 
    247. LIFE magazine (on Wikipedia) 
    248.  Zapruder Film (on Wikipedia)
    249. Bruce Campbell Adamson (JFK assassination research & books) 
    250.  R. Gordon Wasson (on Wikipedia) 
    251.  (Book) “Soma: Divine Mushroom of Immortality” by R. Gordon Wasson
    252.  “When The Elite Loved LSD” by John Cloud (Time magazine article; April 23, 2007 article)
    253.  “Great Adventures in the Discovery of Mushrooms that Cause Strange Visions” by R. Gordon Wasson  (LIFE magazine article; May 13, 1957)
    254. William Paley CBS (New York Times Obituary October 27, 1990)
    255.  “The CIA and the Media” by Carl Bernstein (Rolling Stone article; October 20, 1977)
    256.  (Book) “The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA Played America” by Hugh Wilford (2008; reference chapter 10 -“Things Fall Apart: Journalists”)
    257.  (Book) “Psychological Warfare” by Paul M. A. Linebarger (1948)
    258.  (Book) “The Hall Carbine Affair: A Study in Contemporary Folklore” by R. Gordon Wasson (1948)   
    259.  Charles Douglas Jackson / Bilderberg to America reference    
    260. Hedley Bull (on Wikipedia) 
    261. Herbert Butterfield (on Wikipedia)
    262. Liberal Realism (on Wikipedia) 
    263. London School of Economics (on Wikipedia)
    264. Council on Foreign Relations History (CFR)
    265. Sir Evelyn de Rothschild / The Economist (“Evelyn’s dauphin” February 13, 2003 article) 
    266. The Economist / Congressional Quarterly / Roll Call magazines
    267. Orson Wells (on Wikipedia)
    268. (Book) “The War of the Worlds” by H.G. Wells (1898)
    269. The War of The Worlds (on Wikipedia)
    270.  (Book) “The New World Order” by H.G. Wells (1940)
    271. H.G. Wells (on Wikipedia)
    272. Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (on Wikipedia)
    273. (Book) “Globalizing Ideal Beauty” by Denise H. Sutton (2009)
    274. James Walter Thompson (on Wikipedia)
    275. J. Walter Thompson Company (on Wikipedia)
    276. John B Watson / Behaviorism (on Wikipedia) 
    277. (Book) “The Rise & Fall of Diamonds: The Shattering of a Brilliant Illusion” by Edward Jay Epstein (1982) (Cecil Rhodes/ Rothschild Bank reference chapter 7; Oppenheimer reference chapter 12; DeBeers / J. Walter Thompson reference chapter 13)
    278. “The Diamond Empire” Transcript (PBS Frontline; February 1, 1994)
    279. Josiah Macy Junior Foundation (on Wikipedia)
    280. Macy Conferences (on Wikipedia) 
    281. William T. Stead (on Wikipedia)
    282. (Book) “The Last Will and Testament of Cecil John Rhodes” with elucidatory notes by W.T. Stead (1902)
    283.  (Book) “Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time” by Carroll Quigley (1966)
    284.  http://www.carrollquigley.net/books.htm
    285.  Carroll Quigley (www.carrollquigley.net)
    286. (Book) “The Evolution of Civilizations: An Introduction to Historical Analysis”  by Carroll Quigley   (1979)
    287.  (Book) “The Anglo-American Establishment” by Carroll Quigley (1981):
    288. Margaret MacMillan (on Wikipedia)
    289. (Book) “Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed The World” by Margaret MacMillan (reprint 2003)
    290. Hour 3, minutes 30 -45 (approx.):
    291. (Book) Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time by Carroll Quigley (1966)
    292. http://www.carrollquigley.net/books.htm
    293. Carroll Quigley (on Wikipedia) 
    294. Council on Foreign Relations (on Wikipedia)
    295. “The Anglo-American Establishment” by Carroll Quigley (1981):
    296. Hour 3 Roundtable Discussion of minutes 30-45:
    297. Interview with Carroll Quigley (1976) (YouTube)
    298. Peace Revolution episode 018: A History of the World in Our Time / Origins of Tragedy and Hope
    299. False Flag Attacks (Wikipedia)
    300. Emad Salem (Wikipedia)
    301. World Trade Center 1993 Bombing by FBI (CBS)
    302. The Descent of Man by Charles Darwin (Archive.org)
    303. On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin (Wikipedia)
    304. William Jefferson Clinton (Wikipedia)
    305. Georgetown Edmund Walsh School of Foreign Service
    306. Jesuits (Wikipedia)
    307. Dr. Frank Adeyloette (Wikipedia)
    308. The History of the Rhodes Trust by Sir Anthony Kenny (Amazon)
    309. Sir Anthony Kenny (Wikipedia)
    310. “This radical Right fairy tale, which is now an accepted folk myth in many groups in America, pictured the recent history of the United States, in regard to domestic reform and in foreign affairs, as a well-organized plot by extreme Left-wing elements.... This myth, like all fables, does in fact have a modicum of truth. There does exist, and has existed for a generation, an international Anglophile network which operates, to some extent, in the way the Radical right believes the Communists act. In fact, this network, which we may identify as the Round Table Groups, has no aversion to cooperating with the Communists, or any other group, and frequently does so. I know of the operation of this network because I have studied it for twenty years and was permitted for two years, in the early 1960’s, to examine its papers and secret records. I have no aversion to it or to most of its aims and have, for much of my life, been close to it and to many of its instruments. I have objected, both in the past and recently, to a few of its policies... but in general my chief difference of opinion is that it wishes to remain unknown, and I believe its role in history is significant enough to be known.” (“Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time” by Prof. Carroll Quigley, Page 949-950)
    311. John von Neumann (Wikipedia)
    312. Martin Luther (Wikipedia)
    313. The Early American Reception of German Idealism by James Good (Amazon)
    314. Wilhelm Wundt (Wikipedia)
    315. Thorsten Veblen (Wikipedia)
    316. Conspicuous Consumption (on Wikipedia)
    317. Vilfredo Pareto (Wikipedia)
    318. Gaetano Mosca (Wikipedia)
    319. Sociology of the Elites by Michael Hartmann (Google Books)
    320. Elite Theory (on Wikipdia)
    321. Peace Revolution episode #22 “The Best Enemies Money Can Buy / The Arch which connects 2 Pillars”
    322. Peace Revolution episode #37 “Justified Sinners / The History of Eugenics in America”  
    323.  “The American aborigines, Negroes and Europeans are as different from each other in mind as any three races that can be named; yet I was incessantly struck, whilst living with the Fuegians on board the ‘Beagle’, with the many little traits of character, shewing how similar their minds were to ours; and so it was with a full-blooded negro with whom I happened once to be intimate” (on SCRIBD)
    324. Panopticon (on Wikipedia)
    325. Bill Clinton speaks of Carroll Quigley at 1992 DNC (on YouTube)
    326. Edmund Walsh (on Wikipedia) 
    327. Georgetown University School of Foreign Service (on Wikipedia)
    328. Hour 3, minutes 45 –end:
    329. “The Descent of Man” by Charles Darwin (1871):
    330. Francis Galton (on Wikipedia)
    331. Adam Smith (on Wikipedia)
    332. CATO Institute (on Wikipedia)
    333. Marshall Fritz (on Wikipedia)
    334. Benjamin Franklin (on Wikipedia)
    335.  “The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin”(1793)
    336. Thomas Edison (on Wikipedia)
    337. “Young Thomas Edison” (biographical film 1940):
    338. Niccolò Machiavelli (on Wikipedia) 
    339. (Book) “The Prince” by Machiavelli (on Wikipedia)
    340. Thomas Hobbes /Leviathan (on Wikipedia)
    341. Crisis of Democracy: Report of the Governability of Democracies to the Trilateral Commission (Michael J. Crozier, Samuel P. Huntington, Joni Watanuki / published 1975)
    342. Hour 3 Roundtable Discussion of minutes 45-End
    343. Proofs of a Conspiracy by John Robison (1798)
    344. The Prince by Niccollo Machiavelli
    345.  Martin Luther trained in the Trivium
    346.  Venetian Black Nobility by Webster Tarpley (1993)
    347.  Rosicrucians (Wikipedia)
    348.  Artificial Scarcity (Wikipedia)
    349.  Walter Lippmann (Wikipedia
    350.  Edward Bernays (Wikipedia)
    351.  Maritime Admiralty Law (Wikipedia)
    352.  Ben Franklin’s House: The Naked Truth” by Maev Kennedy (The Guardian article; August 11,        
      2003)
    353. Trilaterals Over Washington by Patrick Wood and Antony C. Sutton
    354.  George Washington’s Letters (Library of Congress) October 24, 1798
    355. Sovereign (Wikipedia)
    356.  Swa Raj (Wikipedia)
    357.  Autonomy (Wikipedia)
    358.  Integrity (Wikipedia)
    359.  Consent (Wikipedia)
    360.  Medici Banking Empire (Wikipedia)
    361.  Empires: The Medicis / Godfathers of the Renaissance (PBS)
    362.  Borgia Family (Wikipedia)
    363.  Pope Leo X / The Medici Pope (Wikipedia)
    364.  The Art of War by Nicolo Machiavelli
    365.  The Borgias (Showtime Miniseries) (Showtime)
    366.  Old Nick (Wikipedia)
    367.  Modus Operandi (Wikipedia)
    368.  Machiavelli (on Wikipedia)
    369.  “Against Oligarchy: Venice” (Essays and Speeches, 1970-1996) by Webster Tarpley
    370. Trilateral Commission
    371. Crisis of Democracy: Report of the Governability of Democracies to the Trilateral Commission  (Michael J. Crozier, Samuel P. Huntington, Joni Watanuki / published 1975)
    372. (Book) “Trilaterals Over Washington” by Antony C. Sutton, Patrick M. Wood (1978) (“Crisis of
      Democracy”, see pages 20- 24; 95- 98)
    373. Thomas Jefferson Letter / Illuminati / Adam Weishaupt reference             
    374. Zbigniew Brzezinski (on Wikipedia)

    End of Hour 3

    Stay tuned for Peace Revolution Episode 044: The Ultimate History Lesson with John Taylor Gatto / Hour 4 + Commentary

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              1746. Robert Southey to Thomas Southey, 11 February 1810         
    August 2013

    1746. Robert Southey to Thomas Southey, 11 February 1810 ⁠* 

    Feby. 11. 1810.

    My dear Tom

    Your Balliol story [1]  differs from most lies in this respect, that it has not the slightest foundation in truth. It not only is not true, but could not by possibility be so, – the American plan [2]  not having been formed till after I left Oxford, – so that it was communicated to Robert Allen poor fellow, by letter from Bristol. They must be much at a loss for recollections of me, to invent so clumsy a story tale. As for beating people it has never been my habit on any occasion. The only approximation to a quarrel which I ever had at Oxford is I dare say remembered at Balliol by one of the present fellows, Cooke Rogers, [3]  the only person who witnessed it. There was one Freke [4]  who from not understanding a metaphysical conversation which he heard me carry on with somebody else, reported it about that I <talked blasphemy, &> avowd myself an Atheist. – Rogers who had a great regard for me came to tell me this, his Welsh blood boiling with indignation, & luckily we met Freke almost directly. After a lecture which xxxx my Gentleman most probably will remember as long as he lives upon the fitness of understanding <another persons> opinions, before he ventured to represent them. I concluded by first requiring him to go & contradict what he had said, & then Sir, said I, I have to desire that in future you will not blaspheme opinions me by mentioning my name at all. – You never saw a black looking fellows face bleached more effectually.

    Coleridge will doubtless offend the Unitarians. – for it is upon that point that his opinions, or more accurately speaking, his professions are altered. As for his political notions, the main difference is not in the end & aim of them, but in the way of coming to those conclusions. In the conclusions themselves he will be found to differ very little from Wordsworth & myself, – both of us, as you know, tolerably plain-spoken men upon such matters. That C. writes worse than he did ten years ago is certain. he rambles now as much in his writings as in his conversation, – beginning at Dan & wandering on to Beersheba. [5]  Still there are in those numbers of the Friend [6]  some passages of first rate excellence, & the principles of morality are placed in them upon their only firm foundation. There his philosophy is firm as a rock, all other systems of ethics are built upon sand.

    You write from Taunton & yet make no mention of Aunt Mary. I wrote to her about two months ago, having learnt where she was by a chance letter from Standert. [7] 

    We shall not paint the boat till you come, – a reason why you should come soon. I look already with great satisfaction at the parchmentarians that have lain so long in humble expectation of your glorifying hand.

    James & Edward Lloyd [8]  with one of the Boddingtons [9]  have had a most provident deliverance. The ice broke under them, & had <not> a chance passer seen them sink, & given the alarm by her shrieks, they must have been drownd. We talk of going to O. Brathay for a few days next week.

    My Uncle I suppose will be making ready for his removal. You will probably see three of the printed sheets of Kehama [10]  at Staunton, there are a good many material alterations in the six first sections. I have yet some insertions to make in the concluding section, & in the twelfth. The first sect. of Pelayo [11]  is nearly finished, – slow & sure, – lighter mornings will give me more time.

    Your better route from Hereford will be by Shrewsbury & Chester, for the sake of a new road. From Chester there is a canal navigation to the Mersey, & then a passage of about ten miles to Liverpool. We, that is to say, myself & the two Ediths [12]  go to Durham in April, – your visit had best be at the same time, Sir Domine x can board us at the same time <together>, & bed you in my former quarters there, opposite his own. And one chaise will carry us.

    Come speedily – for I have not had a walk these two months, & only one since the beginning of winter.

    Remember me to all friends at Bristol. I hope my books are on the road. Tell Danvers that if Larramendi’s Basque Dictionary [13]  in Gutchs Catalogue had been two guineas instead of four I would have had it. Perhaps some time hence, finding he cannot get more, he may be willing to let it go at this price, which I take to be about its value.

    God bless you

    RS.


    Notes

    * Address: To/ Lieutenant Southey/ Wt Charles Danvers Esqr/ Bristol
    Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
    MS: British Library, Add MS 30927. ALS; 4p.
    Previously published: John Wood Warter (ed.), Selections from the Letters of Robert Southey, 4 vols (London, 1856), II, pp. 194–197. BACK

    [1] Gossip Tom had heard about Southey’s time at Balliol College, Oxford, 1792–1794. BACK

    [2] i.e. the Pantisocracy scheme formulated by Southey and Coleridge, among others, in 1794. BACK

    [3] Thomas Cooke Rogers (b. c. 1777), the son of Edward Rogers of St Asaph. A contemporary of Southey’s at Balliol, Thomas Cooke Rogers went on to become a Fellow and Bursar of the College. BACK

    [4] Thomas Freke (b. c. 1775), son of Freeman Freke of Modbury, Devon. A contemporary of Southey’s at Balliol. BACK

    [5] From the furthest north to the southernmost part of the Kingdom of Israel, Judges, 20: 1. BACK

    [6] Coleridge’s The Friend, published in 26 weekly instalments, 1 June 1809–15 March 1810. BACK

    [7] See Southey to Hugh Chudleigh Standert, 14 December 1809, The Collected Letters of Robert Southey. Part Three, Letter 1722. BACK

    [8] James Lloyd (d. 1881) and Edward Lloyd (1804-1865). Children of Charles and Priscilla Lloyd, who lived at Old Brathay, near Ambleside. BACK

    [9] Presumably a child of another Keswick family. BACK

    [10] The Curse of Kehama, published in 1810. BACK

    [11] The early incarnation of what became Roderick, the Last of the Goths (1814). BACK

    [13] Antonio de Larramendi (1690–1766) whose Diccionario Trilingüe del Castellano, Bascuence y Latin appeared in 1745. BACK

    Parent Section: 

    Parent Resource: 

    Section: 

    Places mentioned on this page (tag): 

    BalliolOxford
    BalliolOxford
    LowBrathay
    StauntonOnWye

    Unique Target: 

    letterEEd.26.1746

    People mentioned on this page (tag): 

    AllenRobert
    ColeridgeSamuelTaylor
    WordsworthWilliam
    ColeridgeSamuelTaylor
    SoutheyMary
    StandertHughChudleigh
    LloydCharles
    HillHerbertUncle
    FrickerEdith
    SoutheyEdithMay
    SoutheyHenryHerbert
    DanversCharles
    Gutch

    People addressed on this page (tag): 

    SoutheyTom

              Future of Keokuk Church Remains In Question        
    An effort is underway to save the former Unitarian Church in Keokuk. Supporters have set a fundraising goal of $5-million. The campaign comes at a time when the city is trying to obtain the church so it can be torn down.
              On Spheres        
    by
    Luca Di Blasi
    1999-03-15

    Few recent philosophical publications have been as widely discussed in recent years, few as gleefully torn apart, as Peter Sloterdijk’s long awaited new work: Sphären I: Blasen (Spheres I: Bubbles). This volume makes up the first part of a Sphere-trilogy in which the German philosopher and gnostic attempts nothing less than to rewrite the history of mankind by understanding humans as sphere-producing and sphere-dependent beings.

    There are small and large spheres. Some burst straight away, others stubbornly endure through time. Bubbles deals with the small spheres that form between individuals. The idea of “interfacial spheres of intimacy,” as Sloterdijk calls them, resembles conceptions proposed by dialogical philosophers and theologians such as Martin Buber or Emmanuel Levinas. Sloterdijk, who has a predilection for expressions that are at once visual and euphonic, replaces the not very lyrical term “intersubjectivity,” which is widely used to designate the overcoming of a modern monological subjectivity, with the more euphonic expression ” gattungswirksame Zwischengesichts-Treibhaus-Effekte ” (interfacial greenhouse effects that form the human species).

    It is useful to consider the general structure of the trilogy. Part II: Kosmen, Globen, Reiche (Worlds, Globes, Empires), which is forthcoming, will contain a criticism of, in the language of Max Weber, “” stahlharte Gehäuse ” (steel-hard encasements). Regarding these “encasements,” Sloterdijk will continue his criticism of totalitarianism, begun already a few years earlier, and expand it to include the entire history of advanced civilization: to demonstrate that the hard “empire-spheres” are false attempts to produce “community on a greater scale.” He sees these attempts as the fateful projection - “fateful” because of its merging into totalitarianism - of small familial spheres onto the social plane. The rise of humanity into the macrospherical formations is thereby synonymous with the “Fall of Man” out of a prehistorical interfacial paradise.

    Part III: Schaum (Foam) will be published in time for the third millenium, and it can be assumed that it will present nothing less than a postmodern, or even a post-high-cultural plan, with which Sloterdijk will want to show how small and large spheres can combine to form a nonrepressive, pluralistic whole. In this connection, the expression “foam” sounds like a pleasantly round expansion of Lyotard’s famous “archipelago” metaphor into the third dimension: in the foam, we sphere-forming beings can float and bubble with, over, and across each other, without having to overwhelm each other or let ourselves be overwhelmed. thREAD to critical ecologies

    While not wanting to burst these paradisical bubbles of foam too quickly, I would like to suggest that the metaphor of “foam,” just like Lyotard’s metaphor of the “archipelago,” implies a higher vantage point from which the totality of pluralisms can be brought into view. As congenial as the postmodern preference for pluralistic metaphors may be, these metaphors also reveal that reason has hardly given up the task of once more transcending all spheres and of taking up a privileged, bird’s-eye perspective beyond the foam.

    As that may be, in his basic thought Sloterdijk is certainly up-to-date. Contrary to first appearances, this also holds true for the content of Spheres I: Bubbles, in spite of the fact that the first chapter already bears ample potential for irritating any semi-educated contemporary. Sloterdijk bravely squeezes himself into the most hidden catholic spheres of intimacy, around which even theologians make a wide sweep. He returns with strange hagiographic reports of the “loss of heart” and the “renewal of heart” and, in his inimitable manner, makes them speak. This similarly holds true for the submersion into seemingly unimportant details of sacral paintings in chapter 2: Between Faces. Here, in fact, one finds beautiful pearl-like gems of thought possessing great heuristic effect. Unworried about scientistic scolding, the tour of the spheres continues through the small and hidden worlds of telepathy, mesmerism, and the “sharers of soul space: angel-twin-double” (ch. 6) and culminates in a subtle exegesis of some of Augustine’s equally subtle trinitarian ponderances (ch. 9). The unconcerned survey of the entire history of civilization - even as it manifests itself in its more obscure lines of tradition, despite all possible objections, represents an advantage of postmodernity over a purist modernity that is both characterized and constricted by its scientism. The view extends beyond the borders of the modern horizon, which have become conventional, and thus discovers treasures of tradition that have heretofore remained hidden for a long time. So far, so good.

    Unfortunately, there is no strength that couldn’t turn into a weakness. Sloterdijk’s unconcern regarding the criticism of his colleagues perhaps made him all too carefree, and his strongly developed need for creativity and originality took care of the rest. In any case, in chapter five he lets himself be carried away so that he makes statements that in fact are suited to discredit the book in the eyes of most critics. It is this very fifth chapter then, on which all faultfinding German critics pounce with characteristic glee. The result is that these critics reduce the entire book to little more than the content of this very chapter five.

    Following his characteristic tendency to do away with the great mythological and religious narratives of humanity by secularizing them, Sloterdijk set out to find a material correlative to the intuition, existing in many cultures, of an original human wholeness as it is expressed in numerous speculations about primitive man. In the process, he came upon the placenta, which nourishes the embryo and is connected to the mother through the umbilical cord. The placenta can, in fact, neither be unambiguously interpreted as the respective organ of the mother, nor of the child. For Sloterdijk, the placenta presented evidence of a lost human wholeness that, in its beginnings, was constituted dyadically.

    Just as according to Aristophanes, contemporary man, in Plato’s Symposium, is the mutilated half of an originally rounded being which is whole; also according to Sloterdijk, humans originally comprised a two-part wholeness this side of the confrontative separation of subject and object. Sloterdijk employs the term Mit (With) to designate this state, which is hard to describe because of its prelinguistic origin. The fetus and its placenta are connected to each other like Orpheus and Eurydice. Every Orpheus is forced to leave his Eurydice. On parting, the latter bestows on him a space, “in which substitutions are possible.” The vacant space that the lost “primal companion” leaves behind in man, becomes the starting point for a consistently renewed search for new companions and new substitute spheres. The Eurydice of the placenta also leaves behind the navel, the bodily trace that points to our original bipolarity, for the Orpheus-like half-human.

    For Sloterdijk the problem of the history of mankind begins (as does the problem of Sloterdijk’s version of this history for the reader) with the “excommunication” of this primal companion. Instead of being honoured as the lost half of man, the future of the placenta was either to be utilized by the cosmetics industry, or even, having been turned into granulate, to be used to accelerate combustion in waste incinerators. According to Sloterdijk, a “seamless alliance of silence” has formed, whose aim it is to make humans forget their original companion, the placenta, and to condemn them to an “absence of togetherness” (Mitlosigkeit). At this point, following Sloterdijk’s train of thought, modern individualism enters its hot phase. A “gynecological inquisition” has brought forth the the lonely modern subject. This condition in turn is to have facilitated the formation of totalitarian nations. “The birth of totalitarianism out of the spirit of midwifery? Someone here has apparently taken an overly hot bath in amniotic fluid” (transl. fr. German), as one critic jeered.

    Although in the reading of this fifth chapter one can’t help developing the queasy feeling of having fallen victim to a crackpot, the problem rather lies in the nature of Sloterdijk’s method. In his capacity as a gnostic, he awakens imaginings or “sonospheres,” through which he raises himself autopoietically. In the absence of intersubjective capacities that could have guarded him from excess, he easily loses himself in the process.

    There exists instead a different question which is more important, because it undermines the main concern of the entire trilogy: Sloterdijk’s basic thesis likens itself to aspects of the communitarian criticism of liberalism. With his thesis of a spherical and originally dyadic make-up, he combats an atomistic conception of the subject. Sloterdijk believes this conception to be the “dominant reality-fiction” of a clearly delimited, autarcical I, a subject, “that observes, names and possesses everything, without letting itself be contained, appointed, owned, by anything.” (transl. fr. German). So far, so good.

    The same problem that arises regarding the “foam” metaphor, moreover, repeats itself on the level of the microspheres as well. The subject cannot at the same time let itself be appointed and owned and also cling to its unlimited sovereignty as a “free spirit.” This, however, is exactly what Sloterdijk implies, for example, when he posits:

    If mysticism spoke with a moral voice, it (mysticism) would express itself through the demand: warm up your individual existence over the freezing point - and do what you will. When the soul thaws, who would doubt its inclination and suitability for celebrating and working with others? In order to gauge the significance of this insight, it will be advantageous for the free spirit to emancipate itself from the anti-Christian sentiment of recent centuries as from an inhibition that is no longer necessary.

    Contrary to the Augustinian term “love,” which Sloterdijk is alluding to in the above, the expression “warm up” in connection with the term “free spirit” implies a capacity for being instrumentalized and fabricated alien to the religious tradition. The religious cardinal virtues cannot be manipulated by humans. Naturally, the radical secularization to which Sloterdijk feels bound also secularizes those realms that traditionally cannot be influenced - and thus empowers the modern age subject that Sloterdijk actually wanted to overcome.

    Peter Sloterdijk is influenced as profoundly by the Nietzschean self-empowerment of man through the affirmation of the idea that “God is dead” as he is by (Habermas already took note of this 15 years ago) Fichte’s activistic ideas of origin. This vitalizing and will-affirming mode of thought is compatible with the high points of modern individualism, nationalism, and imperialism but not with their overcoming. The tension arising out of the polarity between manico-magical self-empowerment and regenerative mystical quietism, which has driven Sloterdijk’s entire oeuvre, didn’t seem much out of place while Sloterdijk was acting as “dia-gnostic(-ian)” (Dia-Gnostiker). In Bubbles, however, where Sloterdijk intends to provide orientation, this tension gets in his way. As the servant of two masters, he is forced to point in two opposing directions.


              Search is for Rescue        
    I was referred, via The Port Stands at your Elbow, to David Mills' column The Advent Search over at First Things (I love that name). Mills writes, in part:


    “Derek? Who’s Derek?” begins a flyer I have in my files. “He isn’t a
    prophet or a god, just a member of the Unitarian-Universalist Community at Pitt. You see, we draw upon many sources in our search for truth. Catholicism, Islam, Buddhism. And most importantly You[sic]. After all, you determine your own faith.”

    The flyer then explains that you don’t have to believe anything
    to be a member of this community, and concludes: “It’s a religious community for people who question. People who look for life’s meaning. People who think. People just like you and Derek.”

    But maybe not a good community for people like you and Derek. The trouble with this kind of religion is that no one in the Unitarian-Universalist community expects you to join in order to move on
    to a committed Christianity or Judaism or Islam. The community isn’t really about searching at all, because real searching leads to finding. I don’t think I’m being unfair to the Unitarian-Universalists by saying that they are not really big on finding.

    The column itself is quite well-written, and I quite agree with Mr. Mills, but what really got me thinking were the reactions to it: both on other blogs, such as the initial post at TPSAYE, and in the comments section of the column itself; and by both defenders and critics of the column.

    My good friend Robert at TPSAYE, as is his wont these days, sees the similarities between Unitarian-Universalist thought and the more theologically liberal arm of Protestantism when he comments: "I’d say that a great deal of what Mr. Mills says also applies to the liberal wings of the mainline Christian denominations." While the point is valid, I'd gently remind him that that is in no way an indictment of all of non-RC denominations. Rejection of U-U thought is not enough to thrust me into the arms of Rome, I'm sorry to tell him.

    But the response that really got me thinking, and with which I agree in a great part, if not in all the details, is by Professor Mondo. He writes, in part:


    What I find interesting is what I see as two yoked ideas from the tract
    — the capitalization of You (which Mills has the good sense to [sic]) and the idea that we determine our own faiths. As I’ve mentioned previously, I don’t see my faith as my own doing — in fact, I spent a portion of my life trying to run away from it. What I have is something that God has given me, perhaps as a tool for whatever purpose He has for me. I didn’t choose God — He chose me. To believe that we determine our own faith is to put the wrong entity in charge of the transaction.

    I'm not sure I agree that faith is not my own doing -- I do agree that God should be the "entity in charge of the transaction", but I see that as the role of grace, whereas faith is my response to the initiator of the transaction.

    Where I agree STRONGLY with Professor Mondo is in our objection to the subjectification of faith. As one UU defender comments at First Things, "There are a great many of us who believe strongly. The thing is, it doesn't matter what in, as long as we can agree to certain principles." It's not WHAT you believe, the UU argues, but THAT you believe. You've reached the point of faith in... faith. Or perhaps I should say, Faith.

    This is also one of the biggest shortcomings in the prosperity doctrine heresy known as the Word-Faith Movement. In their thought, Faith is a "force", a spiritual equivalent of a law of science that has to be heeded by all actors, including God Himself. Speak something in Faith, enough Faith, and it is destined to come about. Once again, faith in Faith. But this reverses the actual order of things. Faith is not a force, it is not a higher end, it is a response to a force, a means to an end. It is objective, not subjective -- it really does matter what you believe, and in what you have faith.

    Why? Because there really are consequences to believing something that is untrue. Because at its core, faith is not just belief -- faith is entrusting yourself TO your belief. That's what James meant when he wrote that faith without works is dead. Faith goes beyond merely the intellectual assent of belief -- faith places reliance on belief. Faith is the process of belief informing action. Whether that is external action, in how we interact with the material world, or spiritual action in how we open ourselves up to being changed by our beliefs, if it isn't put in action, it isn't faith.

    And since actions have reactions, consequences, WHAT we believe really is as important as THAT we believe. faith that puts into action incorrect beliefs is going to cause undesireable consequences and reactions -- perhaps not always immediately, though that is often the case, but eventually. Searching implies that something is missing. Searching without finding is failure, but so is finding the wrong thing. If you're not careful, that failure can be fatal.
              If Only        
    We all have something to say and everyone story is worth listening to. Last few nights I been dreaming.
    One night I dream I had kidney failure.
    Then the next night I dream I was in a small room with a small window about size of walking in closet it must been upstairs because of the pitch of the ceiling. There was neatly fold fabric for sale and I recall going thought it. I recall one pieces was grass green gingham with about 12 inch pink gingham shape like a heart.
    There was quite a bit of yellow fabric and I was looking for fall prints.
    There was anthor room in my dream and I decide to look in. The main thing recall in this office was a printer and place where one sorts there papers.
    I was in my old creamic studio it was complete empty and I was trying to order paints. I saw my reflection in window and it was doing things and moving completely different them me. It was even speaking directly to me and not in kind way or tone.
    Question time...Does Anyone know what these dreams might mean?

    The month is finishing up. Murphy and I took a trip up to Roman Nose Lake. Well the roads was horrible. I was about to say "Pot holes that would eat an entire rig" not true maybe this would be a better "24 inches deep and 4 foot across" and usual it was felt on everyone of them.
    I've taken mussle relaxer and very little relief.
    I've been doing some light excerise and I know if I don't move it will be come worst.

    So I'm going to go with Liz to her church,LATTER DAY SAINTS tomrow. We're planing to visit different faith. Every other week we're going to visit different faith. This will be a new one for me.
    I've mention this also Regis and I'll ask Liz son Paul if he wants to join in.
    I ask them if there any faith they won't visit. For me it would have to be the JEHOVAH WITNESS and if any of them wants to visit. We would diffently leave town.
    I know I want to visit the UNTARIAN UNIVERSALISM and the other three possible METHODIST is my dad was a raise one, and UNITY CHURCH.
    I know I will get something postive out of it...I know not what...and there and exlent chance I will find a topic to blog about.

    First of July our state of Idaho everything goes in effect new laws and budget which could possible mean raises...Idaho seem to be a good supporter of our 45th President Trump...You know there into cutting funding for Medicaid.
    I haven't seen a raise for three years here what I posted on my facebook page..
    A DOUBLE RANT..My paycheck came mail and since Idaho is a very conservative state and we have President Trump in office I thought for sure I would of gotten a raise..No Nothing a big fat zero...If I got under fifty cent raise I was going to do sommersault and if was over fifty cent I was going to do a back flips
    DECREASE MY CHANCE OF INJURYING MY SELK FROM ANY GYMNASTIC MOVEMENT
    Regis who I take care had a left hip replace and put in a request for more hours tempory increase in hours. At this time he gets 15 hours a week or 64 hours a month. For this person to get more hours they want him to pay for it
    YOU GOT TO BE KIDDING ME...THIS PERSON INCOME IS ABOUT $750 A MONTH

    Need to do a few light chores got my August plans and so forth set up in my bullet journal.

    Coffee is on










              How Are We To Understand The Trinity? Did Jesus Call Himself God?        
    A new MP3 sermon from Reformation Church is now available on SermonAudio.com with the following details:

    Title: How Are We To Understand The Trinity? Did Jesus Call Himself God?
    Subtitle: Book of Revelation
    Speaker: W. J. Mencarow
    Broadcaster: Reformation Church
    Event: Sunday Service
    Date: 8/12/2012
    Bible: Revelation 22; Revelation 1:1
    Length: 41 min. (64kbps)

    Overview: Have you ever been confused when the Bible refers to God and Jesus as though they are different- Is it saying that Jesus is not God-----How are we to understand the trinity-----Can a Christian be Unitarian-----These questions and others are explored in this sermon.
                      
    Just now reading about this awful Black Friday shooting,  and wondering just when enough people in government and media will stop and grow some cojones and put an end to the sort of hate-mongering dialogue that fuels the crazies who wind up marching into clinics and putting bullets into people.

    For every red-meat, base-rousing political grandstanding about why something that someone else is doing is not just wrong, but evil, against god and nature, and destined to bring down the wrath of hell upon the righteous (a.k.a those who agree with the grandstander and practice that good ol' American sport of xenophobia and racism/classism/NIMBYism), there is going to be an addled but able-bodied fool with a gun and a willingness to kill in order to justify the sanctity of life in the eyes of his imagined supporters...

    Colorado, I'm sorry. But unless you stop electing arrogant bastards who feed hate and lies to the country, and support the kind of self-righteous indignation laced with rancid hateful rhetoric that fuels talk radio and the mimicking media, and until we all start to have the willingness to move beyond the bipolar, black/white polarized permanent election cycle with which we have replaced leadership, until we force ourselves to return to a place where we care for our communities as much as we do about our individual purchasing power, and focus less on consumerism and more on communitarianism, until then, I fear we only have more shootings, more shutdowns, and more dysfunction to look forward to.

              That's What I'm Sayin'        
    Eduardo Porter has posted an excellent summary of the perversions of a market-driven health care sector in the NYT this week; if you have any interest in understanding why we are in the fix we are in viz rising health care costs and an inability to address them, and more generally why we as a nation and a community need to address the unreasonable encroachment of "business-think" into areas for which it is essentially incompatible, take a minute to see what he has to say:
    A shareholder might even applaud the creativity with which profit-seeking institutions go about seeking profit. But the consequences of this pursuit might not be so great for other stakeholders in the system — patients, for instance. One study found that patients’ mortality rates spiked when nonprofit hospitals switched to become profit-making, and their staff levels declined.
    These profit-maximizing tactics point to a troubling conflict of interest that goes beyond the private delivery of health care. They raise a broader, more important question: How much should we rely on the private sector to satisfy broad social needs?
    Indeed. And the same goes for (as I have said before) schools, and research institutions, and social welfare programs, and infrastructure needs. If we rely on the private sector for communitarian outcomes in areas with perverse incentives at the macro level, then we really are on the road to becoming our own worst enemies. 

              Jane Barraclough        
    Alumnus
    jane-barraclough
    BA in English Litrature - Cambridge University (1985)
    MA in medieval and Renaissance Literature - MCGill University, Montreal (1989)
    Mst in Religion - University of Oxford (2003)
     
    Jane is currently Unitarian Minister for the Bethnal Green Unitarians, London.
    2002 to 2003
    College: 
    Harris Manchester College
    Country: 

              Spirit & Place ready to ‘Dream’        
    by Ric BurrousFor the past two decades, the Spirit & Place Festival has explored the role the arts, humanities and religion play in life in Indianapolis. This year, the festival runs Nov. 6 to 15 and features more than 30 events throughout the city and Central Indiana.  During the 2011 Public Conversation, a panel including author Anita Diamont and basketball Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar discussed "The Body," that year’s Spirit & Place theme.Spirit & Place was established by The Polis Center in the School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI and was designed to foster collaborations between groups from different backgrounds and with different goals but with a shared desire to explore elements of a given year’s theme. This year’s theme, for the festival’s 20th anniversary celebration, is "Dream."Spirit & Place got a memorable start in 1996, when its "Public Conversation" featured prominent authors John Updike, Kurt Vonnegut and Dan Wakefield. They discussed the impact of the arts, humanities and religion in civic life; the role the places we come from play in shaping us; and how we can in turn shape the futures of those places.This year’s Public Conversation will take place Sunday, Nov. 15. It will explore "New Dreams for Indy" and feature young civic leaders from different backgrounds who are making a difference in the community:Marshawn Wolley, board president of The Exchange, a young-professionals organization of the Indianapolis Urban League. Wolley also is an adjunct faculty member in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at IUPUI.Rev. Anastassia Zinke of All Souls Unitarian Church.David Sklar, director of governmental affairs at the Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council.Phyllis Boyd, executive director of Groundwork Indy.The free event begins at 4 p.m. at Congregation Beth-El Zedeck, 600 W. 70th St. Those interested are asked to RSVP to ensure adequate seating.Spirit & Place also includes a special conversation called "Full Circle Dreaming" at 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 14 at Light of the World Christian Church, 4646 Michigan Rd. Restaurateur Martha Hoover; Grammy-winning artist/activist Michael Render, also known as Killer Mike; and pastor David Hampton will share how they turned their dreams for improving the world into reality and what motivates them to continue to work toward a greater good.Check out the Spirit & Place calendar of events, which includes information on how to RSVP for individual events.
              Documentary Viewing: Factory vs Family Farms        
    Missouri Rural Crisis Center and the Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbia are holding a 10th anniversary re-release screening of Farming Was My Life: The Hidden Costs of CAFOs. This moving and thought-provoking documentary depicts the negative impacts of factory farms on the lives of farm families, their communities and the environment, and generates a critical […]
              Bolivia - A glance to the most important achievements of the economic social communitarian productive model        

    Presentation

    Since 2006, under the direction of the President of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, Evo Morales Ayma, we, the Government and the people, have worked designing a new State and a new economic model based on an analysis of the structural crisis of capitalism and a commitment to change our reality up to then characterized by economic and social exclusion to most Bolivians since the colonization period. Exclusion got worse during the twenty years of neoliberalism before 2006. The Economic Social Communitarian Productive Model was built based on sovereignty of our economic policy.On these grounds, a historic decision about nationalizing the Bolivian hydrocarbons was taken, in accordance with the people’s mandate, adopted after overcoming neoliberal policies. 

    By means of that important decision, the State began recovering the control over strategic sectors of the economy, which allowed us, Bolivians, to take control of the economic surplus previously deprived from us; and apply a policy of income redistribution through Conditional Cash Transfers programmes (Juancito Pinto, Dignity Rent, Juana Azurduy,) public investment, inversely proportional wage increases crossed subsidies, among other measures.

    Through the Economic Social Communitarian Productive Model, we engaged in strengthening the role of the State that now directs the economy for the purpose of transferring the economic suplus -from strategic sectors-to income-employment generating sectors in order to put together existing structures of economic organization in Bolivia (State, community, social, cooperative and private) under the principles of complementarity, reciprocity, solidarity, redistribution, equality, legal certainty, sustainability, equilibrium, justice and transparency.

    In the same vein, we recovered sovereignty on fiscal, monetary, financial and exchange rate policy in order to make them available for the economic and social development of the Bolivian people. Since 2006, for each year we self-design our Fiscal-Financial Programming. Since then, the fiscal policy is focused to achieve growth with income redistribution, output incresing, industrialization, food sovereignty and job creation. We drove de-dollarization of the economy which was before highly dollarized; and we also transformed the financial system in order to go along with the Government’s social objectives. The Government also enhanced and diversified the productive matrix.

    It is also important to highlight that because of the implementation of social and income redistribution policies, supported by higher levels of public investment; we managed to stimulate domestic demand now is the main growth engine, which is oriented towards developing productively and industrially our natural resources and eradicating the multiple dimensions of inequity and poverty.

    In this document, we describe the main achievements reached since 2006, by means of the implementation of the Economic Social Communitarian Productive Model, which are outcomes from a collective effort to improve the quality of living and reach what we call El Vivir Bien (To Live Well) forBolivian people.

    Luis Alberto Arce Catacora
    Minister of Economy and Public Finance

    Bolivia A Glance to the most important achievements

              Bolivia’s voters reaffirm ‘process of change’ but issue warnings to the governing MAS        

    By Richard Fidler

    Up to 90% of the electorate voted in Bolivia’s “subnational” elections March 29 for governors, mayors and departmental assembly and municipal council members throughout the country. These were the second such elections to be held since the new Constitution came into force in 2009, the first being in 2010. 

    The Movement for Socialism (MAS)[1] once again emerged as the only party with national representation — by far the major political force in Bolivia, and far ahead of the opposition parties, none of which has a significant presence in all nine departments. However, in some key contests the voters rebuffed the MAS candidates, most notably for governor in La Paz department and for mayor in the city of El Alto, the centre of the 2003-2005 upsurges and long considered a MAS bastion. 

    Mixed results

    With 66% of the popular vote in the municipal elections, the MAS elected mayors in 225 of Bolivia’s 339 towns and cities, about the same result as in 2010. However, consistent with a pattern in recent years, the various opposition parties won in eight of the ten largest cities while the MAS gained only two, Sucre and Potosí. 

    In the departmental legislative assemblies, the MAS deputies now hold a clear majority of seats in six departments, and a plurality in two others, while in Santa Cruz the party is only two seats from a plurality. Even in La Paz department the newly elected opposition governor will have to contend with a two-thirds MAS majority in the legislature. 

    Although the official results are not yet available, the MAS did well in the municipal council elections, too. The results of elections in autonomous indigenous communities, which are conducted according to ancient “usos y costumbres” (customs and traditions), are not yet known. 

    The MAS elected governors in four of the country’s nine departments and is leading in two other departments with runoff elections scheduled for May 3. (Under Bolivia’s election laws, a runoff is held when the candidates coming 1stand 2nd in the vote, with neither having 50% of the votes, are separated by fewer than 10 percentage points.) Opposition parties elected governors in three departments including Santa Cruz and Tarija, traditionally associated with the “Media Luna” (half moon) set of departments that participated in the unsuccessful 2008 revolt of the powerful landholder elite in the eastern lowlands. 

    However, the major upsets for the MAS were in the department of La Paz, where Felix Patzi, an Aymara intellectual and minister of education in Evo Morales’ first government, was elected governor with a 20 percentage points advance over the MAS candidate, Felipa Huanca, a leader of the “Bartolinas,”[2] an indigenous and campesina (farmer) women’s organization that is one of Bolivia’s major social movements. Patzi ran on the slate of Soberanía y Libertad (Sovereignty and Liberty - SOL.BO), a reconstruction of the Movimiento Sin Miedo (the “fearless movement”), which lost its party certification in the October 2014 elections when it won less than 3% of the national vote. SOL.BO also retained the mayoralty and a council majority in the city of La Paz, the country’s administrative capital. 

    Particularly galling to the MAS was its defeat in the El Alto mayoralty by an Aymara woman, Soledad Chapetón of Unidad National (UN). The right-wing UN is Bolivia’s largest opposition party; its leader Samuel Doria Medina took 25% of the vote in last year’s presidential election. Chapetón’s campaign emphasized her personal qualities, not the UN, but her election raises some questions as to why that party was able to capitalize on the MAS discredit in this particular instance. In fact, with the possible exception of governor-elect Felix Patzi in La Paz,[3] virtually all of the opposition candidates and parties in the subnational elections, can be said to be to the right of the MAS. This bears further examination, something beyond the scope of this article. 

    Local issues predominate

    The MAS leadership was quick to attribute its electoral setbacks to local factors. Among these were inadequate procedures for selecting the party’s candidates. These are normally suggested by the party members and social movements aligned with the MAS, but office-holder inertia and in some cases a misgauging of political moods can adversely affect the choice. In El Alto, for example, the MAS was widely thought to have ignored community criticism of incompetent administration and even corruption on the part of the mayor, the MAS’s Édgar Patana. 

    Many analysts have also pointed to a major difference with the 2010 subnational elections. In 2010 the euphoria that accompanied the adoption of a new plurinational Constitution and the defeat of the right-wing landholders’ rebellion gave MAS candidates, many running for the first time, a big advantage. Five years later, however, the voters were more inclined to examine incumbents’ records critically in light of their experience. This was evident in the way that voters ignored MAS leadership appeals to vote the party slate; in many instances, they divided their votes among different party slates depending on the candidates and their respective offices. This may, as some analysts contend, indicate a growing political awareness among the electorate. 

    In subnational elections, as well, local issues can be decisive in the result. In the October 2014 national election, voters indicated their overall satisfaction with the country’s direction under the MAS and its proposed “Agenda Patriótica,” a set of general social and economic goals and reforms to be addressed in the coming mandate. In the subnational elections, those goals were not in question and there was in fact remarkably little public debate among conflicting party perspectives and programs. The MAS candidates all stood on the party’s national program. The MAS seemed to assume that without more it could capitalize regionally on the 61% support the party’s national leadership had won last October. It may have underestimated the importance of local issues. 

    Autonomy processes still incomplete

    But also undermining programmatic debate in these elections was the difficulty in discerning the full measure of local government powers in many cases, since the complicated process of defining those powers under the new Constitution remains incomplete. Bolivia is not a federal state with a clear division of powers among the various levels of government. However, the Constitution sets out general criteria for defining the “autonomous” jurisdictions of departments, regions, municipalities and the few indigenous communities that have opted for legal status as “autonomies.” 

    So far only one department, Pando (the smallest), has completed the complex process of achieving autonomy: popular consultation and drafting of a local constitution, its approval by the national constitutional authority, followed by amendment where needed with approval in a popular referendum and, finally, proclamation by the national government. Five departments are scheduled to hold their ratification referendums on autonomy in June of this year. But few of the 339 municipalities have yet gained full autonomous status, as anticipated. These factors leave much to be determined in the budgetary provisions of the various administrations — and will continue to be a major topic of debate as the national government negotiates its “pacto fiscal” (tax and budget allocation agreements) with the various governments and social movements. 

    In this context, and absent debate over general programmatic alternatives, the subnational election results may have offered above all a measure of public sentiment about the performance and perspectives of local governments. That was how Evo Morales interpreted them; the President, in his few post-election remarks about the results, conceded that some of the MAS setbacks may been merited. 

    Threats against opposition administrations

    Morales himself may have been a factor in some of the MAS electoral setbacks, however. On more than one occasion during the subnational election campaign, he arrogantly threatened to refuse to work with local governments held by opposition parties and even to deny them national government funding for major projects. These statements elicited much criticism in the media and may have resulted in an anti-MAS “voto castigo” (punishment vote) in some contests. But they have their roots in the country’s current political culture. 

    In Bolivia many local construction projects ranging from highways, irrigation facilities, football stadiums and arenas to hospitals and health centres, schools and some productive investments are funded under a national government program titled “Bolivia Cambio, Evo Cumple” (Bolivia changes, Evo accomplishes), financed largely by Venezuela under an ALBA agreement. And both Morales and his vice-president Álvaro García Linera spend much of their time inaugurating such public works in official ceremonies. Non-MAS elected officials naturally resent this program designation, which serves to credit the MAS (and its top leader) as a virtual synonym for the state. 
    It is worth noting, however, that in the wake of the subnational elections leaders of some social movements long associated with the MAS were critical of Morales’ threats, urging the party to work with local governments on progressive projects. 

    Fondo Indígena

    Another factor in MAS losses may have been a scandal that erupted during the campaign over alleged abuses in the Fondo Indígena. This “indigenous fund” was created in December 2005, just prior to the MAS’s first election, to implement international and national agreements on indigenous rights and to help finance infrastructure projects in indigenous towns and farming communities. It is administered by eight indigenous social movements that also tend to support the MAS politically. The Fund holds about $270 million, much of this derived from hydrocarbon revenues and taxes. 

    In December 2016 a national prosecution lawyer charged that about 71 million Bolivianos ($10 million) of the Fund intended for more than 150 as-yet unrealized development projects had been diverted to private bank accounts held by at least eight leaders of these social movements — one of these (according to an opposition politician) being Felipa Huanca, a prominent Bartolina and the MAS candidate for governor in La Paz. Subsequent media reports indicated that the Fund’s leadership, which is supposed to meet every two months, had not met since March 2012. 

    Rumours that the Fund was being used for clientelist purposes were fed by the lack of response from Fund leaders. Only after the March 29 election did the Bartolinas hold a news conference, promising a later accounting but maintaining that their own rules allowed this extraordinary management of the Fund’s monies even though this violates a legislated obligation that all Fund accounts must be held within a special system in a designated bank. 

    The national Transparency Minister has now announced that a full report on the allegations will be issued by mid-April. Any persons guilty of illegal diversion of funds will be prosecuted, she promises. 

    In Beni, a harsh ruling by the elections overseer

    In a move that surprised almost everyone, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal[4]— the national body that supervises all elections in Bolivia — ruled just nine days before the March 29 elections that in Beni department it was withdrawing certification of the opposition Unidad Demócrata (UD – Democratic Unity) alliance because its campaign chief, the outgoing governor Carmelo Lens, had publicly released an internal poll, contrary to election law. The UD was at the time thought to be leading in the contest for governor. All UD candidates in Beni were accordingly disqualified, some 228 in all. 

    The TSE ruling was based on a literal interpretation of an obscure provision in the country’s Election Act. Was it too literal? The supreme legal authority, the Tribunal Constitucional Plurinational, dismissed an emergency challenge of the TSE ruling, but it was widely criticized, and many saw the action as evidence of MAS control of the TSE. The Inter-American Human Rights Commission (CIDH) is investigating, and observers from the Organization of American States (OAS) used the opportunity to “regret” the TSE’s action. 

    After the election the TSE declared it was prepared in future to support an amendment to the law that would remove the provision in question. Significantly, the voter abstention in Beni was extraordinarily high on March 29, about 20%, while a further 7% of the ballots were blank and almost 8% were ruled null or void for various reasons — adding to uncertainty about the outcome of the May 3 runoff vote. 

    Challenges ahead

    The subnational election results, while confirming the MAS’s overall leadership in Bolivia, are in some respects a “shot across the bows” to the party’s leading cadres, a reminder that there is still much to be done to consolidate and deepen the “process of change.” With the current drop in global commodity prices Bolivia, as a small country still very dependent on resource export revenues, is encountering new challenges. 

    Brazil and Argentina are in economic difficulty and the value of hydrocarbon exports (chiefly gas) to those major markets has fallen by almost 30% in the last quarter from the equivalent period in 2014, along with comparable declines in the country’s agribusiness and industrial exports.[5] Finance Minister Luís Arce recent downgraded GDP growth projections for 2015 to 5% — albeit still one of the highest in South America. But any further drop could jeopardize some of the conditional transfer programs such as the two-month wage or compensation (doble aguinaldo) granted by law in the two previous year-ends. Also the bonos (conditional cash grants) programs are financed largely through hydrocarbon revenues, as is much state funding to subnational levels of government. 

    The MAS government program ratified in the October national election projects a major focus in the next period on industrialization projects and expansion of the domestic market to bolster food and industrial self-sufficiency, as well as replacement of present conditional programs in health and education by development of universal programs, a deepening of agrarian reform, and strengthening of the “worker-indigenous-popular” bloc that is the mainstay of the MAS. This entails major social and political transformations that can deepen democracy, incorporate participatory and communitarian practices and help to overcome colonial and patriarchal ways of thinking and doing. 

    These proposals should be on the agenda as the various pro-government social movements meet in the coming days with MAS leaders to discuss the election and the road ahead. 

    April 6, 2015.

    Note: I profess no expertise on Bolivian politics, but I have visited Bolivia several times in recent years and was based there for six months in 2013-2014, during which I developed a deep appreciation of its “process of change” of the last 15 years, with all of its complexities, achievements, frustrations and “creative tensions.” – Richard Fidler.

    Republished from Life on the Left



    [1] Movement for Socialism – Political Instrument for the Sovereignty of the Peoples (MAS-IPSP) is the party’s full name. 

    [2] Confederación Nacional de Mujeres Campesinas Indígenas Originarias de Bolivia “Bartolina Sisa” (CNMCIOB-BS), or Bartolina Sisa National Confederation of Campesino, Indigenous, and Native Women of Bolivia, named after an Aymara woman leader of an 18th century revolt against the Spanish colonization. 

    [3] As Evo Morales’s first education minister, Patzi was hounded by the Right and the Catholic church when he attempted to secularize the public education curriculum. His ideas (which are his, not those of his party in this election), are set out in Tercer Sistema – Modelo Comunal: Propuesta Alternativa Para Salir del Capitalism y del Socialismo

    [4] Tribunal Supremo Electoral (TSE). 

    [5] See “Venta de gas sigue a la baja por caída en los precios del petróleo,” La Razón, April 2, 2015.

              Elections in Bolivia: Some Keys to Evo Morales’s Victory         

    Pablo Stefanoni

    The elections held on October 12th in Bolivia confirmed the hegemony of the Movement toward Socialism (Movimiento al Socialismo – MAS) and showed that Evo Morales’ leadership remains strong after his eight years in office, an intrinsically relevant fact in a country known for its political, economic and social instability. Evo Morales and his running mate Álvaro García Linera were supported by 61.36% of the votes compared to 24.23% for the Democratic Unity (Unidad Democrática - UD), headed by politician and businessman Samuel Doria Medina, and to 9.04% for the former President Jorge “Tuto” Quiroga, who ran for the Christian Democratic Party (Partido Demócrata Cristiano). In La Paz, the seat of government, the ruling party won by a margin of 68.92% to 14.75% for the UD. With these results, the MAS has managed not only to retain the two thirds of the Congress it has had since 2009, but also, a politically and symbolically significant result, to win in Santa Cruz -a formerly opposing region located in the agro-industrial East of the country- with almost 50% of the votes.
    In general terms, the election results show a drop in votes for the MAS in the Andean West –but from exceptionally high previous levels–, parallel to an increase in the East. For example, in La Paz, the MAS had obtained 80.28% in 2009, which means it went down more than 10 points. However, given the extraordinary result of that year, the present decrease did not prevent the party from “keeping it all” this time, that is, all of the uninominal representatives and the four senators running in La Paz. The same happened in regions like Oruro and Potosí. While in 2009 the epics of the fight against the autonomist regions â€“accused of promoting separatism and counter-revolutionary coups– rallied votes that probably exceeded those supporting Evo Morales in normal circumstances, on October 12th the secure victory relaxed his party’s fighting efforts, and the political mystique moved to the formerly opposing regions.
    But ideology is not the only reason for the ruling party's victory in Santa Cruz (at present, only the department of Beni maintains an opposing stance, though the MAS obtained over 40% of the votes cast there), fostered by former Minister of Government Carlos Romero. Here, Evo Morales' party applied a pragmatic policy allowing entry to the MAS of a small group of activists from the rightwing Nationalist Democratic Action (Acción Democrática Nacionalista – ADN, the party founded by General Hugo Bánzer), and of congresswoman Jessica Echeverría, who had successively belonged to various rightwing groups â€“she had even been elected as Tuto Quiroga’s spokeswoman a few days before– and in 2008 was part of the radical “cruceñismo”. Upon switching to the ruling party, this evangelic representative apologized for "having incited hatred" in those times of political polarization.
    Nowadays, the situation is significantly different from that of 2008/2009, when Santa Cruz was at war against La Paz. In a context of economic growth, and following the defeat of the more radical sectors, the Government approached the business community with an implicit agreement by which business people recognize the legitimacy of the president, and he recognizes the legitimacy of the Santa Cruz model of capitalism. This had the effect of consolidating, after a first period of polarization and confrontation, the “negotiated way out” proposed by García Linera when he ran for the vice-presidency in 2005.

    Change and Decolonization
    In these eight years of Morales' administration, several radical notions of the good society have been left aside in the Democratic and Cultural Revolution, giving rise to some dissents voices that have failed to result in votes. Radical indigenism, communitarianism, the diffuse “living well” (suma qamaña), the plurinational views or decolonization visions associated with the “otherness” of the indigenous world or with its anti-capitalist potential, have all weakened and given way to the priority of public management and to more market-friendly ways of decolonizing. Additionally, the population census of 2012 showed some seemingly paradoxical data: while in 2001 62% of Bolivians over the age of 15 identified themselves as indigenous, now only 42% did so (an important fact given that the previous census had provided statistic and moral support to all the struggles carried on since the early 2000s).
    There are many factors that may have caused such identity shift, including a change of terms in the pertaining question, where “native indigenous” was replaced by “peasant-native-indigenous” as expressed in the new Constitution, just at a time when Bolivia is a predominantly urban country. Equally important is the fact that in 2001 the indigenous identity challenged the established order while nowadays it is official, even when mixed-raced urban Bolivia doesn't always feel comfortable with such State indigenism.
    Finally, most people in Bolivia are “partly” indigenous and “partly” mixed-raced, so variability in identities is not uncommon, especially among the Quechua people, who are the majority. The Quechuas lack, as pointed out by Pablo Quisbert and Vincent Nicolas in their recent book Pachakuti: El retorno de la nación1, such ethno-national symbols or heroes as the Aymaras have with Tupac Katari or the rainbow flag called wiphala. What is essentially Quechua is rather a language that unites various local "nations".
    Evo manifested his surprise at the census results, but considered them a secondary issue and remarked that anyway, as is the case when throwing dice, "what you see is what you score.” Vice-President Álvaro García Linera then wrote a text titled Nación y Mestizaje (Nation and Miscegenation) defending plurinationality.2 But Evo, who knows how to “score” in cacho, a popular game in Bolivia, also knows how to make adjustments in his campaigns with the instinct of an experienced union leader.
    This context fostered a shift in the MAS towards the proposal of technological advancement as the main focus of its electoral campaign: the cable-car transport between La Paz and El Alto, the satellite named Tupac Katari, the promise of a “city of knowledge” in Cochabamba, and even the controversial proposal of advancing towards nuclear power, were all part of the party’s program. It also included re-launching the construction of the road running across the Indigenous Territory and National Park Isiboro Sécure, which was suspended in 2012 due to protests against the project.

    Neo-Developmentalist Perspectives
    The 2014 electoral campaign was focused on the country’s economy, which has grown steadily during the last eight years by means of a combination of economic nationalism (strengthening of the State) and fiscal caution –commended by media such as the New York Times and even by libertarian economists like Tyler Cowen[3]-. It’s worth recalling that when a leftwing government once ruled in Bolivia (1982-1985), it was forced to leave office early as a result of a brutal hyperinflation that generated a social trauma. The memory of that circumstance, coupled with Evo’s peasant subjectivity expressed in his aversion to debts and a tendency to "keep the money under the mattress," explains why Bolivia today has 15.000 billion dollars in international reserves, equivalent to 51% of the GDP. The Minister of Economy, Luis Arce, has made sure since the very first day of Evo’s administration that the macro variables are kept in order.
    The economy is the factor that contributed to operate what analyst Fernando Molina characterized as the political "depolarization" in the country.4 At the same time, this economic stability â€“which Evo Morales showcased as the main reason to vote for the MAS– poses a sort of division in the Bolivarian bloc between Bolivia and Ecuador, on the one hand, and Venezuela on the other, as well as an overall weakening of the “XXI Century Socialism" and a strengthening of neo-developmentalist perspectives. The content of this narrative –taken in a sense not necessarily coincidental with that of Carlos Bresser Pereira, the Brazilian who created the concept– was defined very clearly by Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa, who some time ago highly praised the Israeli model of innovation, development and business-minded vision, and criticized "conservative leftwing movements" and businesspeople who are reluctant to take risks (his speech can be viewed on YouTube under the title "Israel should be an example for us").
    The new phase of post-polarization was ratified at the polls: the second place in the national election was taken by a center-rightwing alternative whose leaders tried to convince Bolivians that they would keep the “good” things done by the MAS, and avoided any talk about restoring the old order.5 Another effect of the new scenario is that two former presidents (Carlos Mesa and Eduardo Rodríguez Veltzé) have accepted Morales’ proposal to participate in the sea-access claim against Chile, the former as an international spokesman for the Bolivian position and the latter as Ambassador in the Netherlands and coordinator of the lawsuit in the International Court of The Hague. 
    The success of the “Evo model” also reaches the very structure of the MAS, made up by an alliance of different social, territorial, labor and ethnic sectors, which operates in exactly the same (corporate) mode of exercising citizenship as most of the Bolivian society.6 For many social sectors, the MAS’ electoral lists –prepared with a mixture of grass-root participation and top-level decision-making- represent a fairly efficient way of having access to the State and political "self-representation". This is why, among other things, those candidates from the intellectual strata (Raúl Prada, Alejandro Almaraz, etc.) who intended to “redirect the process of change”, and appealed for that purpose to the “social movements”, didn’t get good results.
    Recently, García Linera described the current period, and defended the role of the State and a somewhat pragmatic view: “Insofar as no (community) initiatives are being set forth by the society, we have to work with what is there, and that is the business leaders, who must gain strength, grow and generate more wealth. You should remove that chip which tells you that at any time the government will stage a coup and nationalize everything. That is not going to happen, that has failed, and that is not socialism; nationalizing the means of production led to a sort of spurious, failed socialism. We will not repeat that mistake. We will not replicate the UDP [Unidad Democrática y Popular] of 1984, we will not replicate the Soviet Union.”
    He then referred to the “inclusion of the adversary” in the project: “If a project remains enclosed in its original nucleus, this means domination and imposition. To open it so much that other sectors can take over and prevail will always carry the risk of hegemony, and this is why it's a battle. When you integrate your opponent into your universal project, [he] will cease to stay entrenched in his own domain and will no longer be able to generate counter-power. The risk lies in you having an opponent so skillful and intelligent that from within your project he can turn his own into the hegemon of the universal project”.7 
    The next electoral battle is coming up soon: in March 2015, mayors and governors will be elected. This time, the opposition expects to get better results, at least in part, considering that local voting often has a different logic from national elections. In this context, the mayor of La Paz, Luis Revilla (42 years old), will attempt to emerge as a future leader of the opposition. Using the fact that his (centre-leftwing) party, the Movement without Fear (Movimiento sin Miedo), lost its legal capacity to participate in the elections due to the meager results obtained in October 12th, Revilla founded a new party called SOL.bo -Sovereignty and Freedom- (Soberanía y Libertad) and thereby got rid of the by now cumbersome leadership of Juan del Granado. If he beats the MAS and is reelected, Revilla might be one of the new presidential candidates by 2019. Of course, there’s still a long way to go. Evo Morales has to decide whether he will use his party’s two-thirds of parliamentary representation in order to amend the constitution so as to allow indefinite reelection. We shall see if the current economic boom endures given the ups and downs of the prices of raw materials that have weighed on  the exports of a country with  apparently inexhaustible resources for the last four centuries.  

    References:
    1 Vincent Nicolas and Pablo Quisbert: Pachakuti: El retorno de la nación. Estudio comparativo del imaginario de nación de la Revolución Nacional y del Estado Plurinacional, La Paz, Pieb, 2014
    2 Álvaro García Linera, Nación y Mestizaje, La Paz, Vicepresidencia del Estado, September 2013. Available at: http://www.vicepresidencia.gob.bo/IMG/pdf/nación_y_mestizaje.pdf
    3 William Neuman, “Turnabout in Bolivia as Economy Rises From Instability, New York Times, 16/2/2014, Tyler Cowen, “Why I endorsed Evo Morales”, Marginal Revolution, 2/9/2014.
    4 Fernando Molina, “Elecciones bolivianas, el fin de la polarización”, Infolatam, 27/9/2014.
    5 See: Fernando Molina, “La oposición boliviana, entre la ‘política de la fe’ y la ‘política del escepticismo”, Nueva Sociedad, Nº255, November-December, 2014.
    6 Pablo Stefanoni y Hervé Do Alto: “El MAS: las ambivalencias de la democracia corporativa”, in Luis Alberto García Orellana and Fernando Luis García Yapur (ed.), Mutaciones del campo político en Bolivia, La Paz, PNUD, 2010.
    7 Pablo Ortiz and Mónica Salvatierra, El Deber, 16/11/2014.
    - See more at: http://www.panoramas.pitt.edu/content/elections-bolivia-some-keys-evo-morales%E2%80%99s-victory#sthash.p31fOXJz.dpuf 
    The elections held on October 12th in Bolivia confirmed the hegemony of the Movement toward Socialism (Movimiento al Socialismo – MAS) and showed that Evo Morales’ leadership remains strong after his eight years in office, an intrinsically relevant fact in a country known for its political, economic and social instability. Evo Morales and his running mate Álvaro García Linera were supported by 61.36% of the votes compared to 24.23% for the Democratic Unity (Unidad Democrática - UD), headed by politician and businessman Samuel Doria Medina, and to 9.04% for the former President Jorge “Tuto” Quiroga, who ran for the Christian Democratic Party (Partido Demócrata Cristiano). In La Paz, the seat of government, the ruling party won by a margin of 68.92% to 14.75% for the UD. With these results, the MAS has managed not only to retain the two thirds of the Congress it has had since 2009, but also, a politically and symbolically significant result, to win in Santa Cruz -a formerly opposing region located in the agro-industrial East of the country- with almost 50% of the votes.

    In general terms, the election results show a drop in votes for the MAS in the Andean West –but from exceptionally high previous levels–, parallel to an increase in the East. For example, in La Paz, the MAS had obtained 80.28% in 2009, which means it went down more than 10 points. However, given the extraordinary result of that year, the present decrease did not prevent the party from “keeping it all” this time, that is, all of the uninominal representatives and the four senators running in La Paz. The same happened in regions like Oruro and Potosí. While in 2009 the epics of the fight against the autonomist regions â€“accused of promoting separatism and counter-revolutionary coups– rallied votes that probably exceeded those supporting Evo Morales in normal circumstances, on October 12th the secure victory relaxed his party’s fighting efforts, and the political mystique moved to the formerly opposing regions.

    But ideology is not the only reason for the ruling party's victory in Santa Cruz (at present, only the department of Beni maintains an opposing stance, though the MAS obtained over 40% of the votes cast there), fostered by former Minister of Government Carlos Romero. Here, Evo Morales' party applied a pragmatic policy allowing entry to the MAS of a small group of activists from the rightwing Nationalist Democratic Action (Acción Democrática Nacionalista – ADN, the party founded by General Hugo Bánzer), and of congresswoman Jessica Echeverría, who had successively belonged to various rightwing groups â€“she had even been elected as Tuto Quiroga’s spokeswoman a few days before– and in 2008 was part of the radical “cruceñismo”. Upon switching to the ruling party, this evangelic representative apologized for "having incited hatred" in those times of political polarization.

    Nowadays, the situation is significantly different from that of 2008/2009, when Santa Cruz was at war against La Paz. In a context of economic growth, and following the defeat of the more radical sectors, the Government approached the business community with an implicit agreement by which business people recognize the legitimacy of the president, and he recognizes the legitimacy of the Santa Cruz model of capitalism. This had the effect of consolidating, after a first period of polarization and confrontation, the “negotiated way out” proposed by García Linera when he ran for the vice-presidency in 2005.

    Change and Decolonization

    In these eight years of Morales' administration, several radical notions of the good society have been left aside in the Democratic and Cultural Revolution, giving rise to some dissents voices that have failed to result in votes. Radical indigenism, communitarianism, the diffuse “living well” (suma qamaña), the plurinational views or decolonization visions associated with the “otherness” of the indigenous world or with its anti-capitalist potential, have all weakened and given way to the priority of public management and to more market-friendly ways of decolonizing. Additionally, the population census of 2012 showed some seemingly paradoxical data: while in 2001 62% of Bolivians over the age of 15 identified themselves as indigenous, now only 42% did so (an important fact given that the previous census had provided statistic and moral support to all the struggles carried on since the early 2000s).

    There are many factors that may have caused such identity shift, including a change of terms in the pertaining question, where “native indigenous” was replaced by “peasant-native-indigenous” as expressed in the new Constitution, just at a time when Bolivia is a predominantly urban country. Equally important is the fact that in 2001 the indigenous identity challenged the established order while nowadays it is official, even when mixed-raced urban Bolivia doesn't always feel comfortable with such State indigenism.

    Finally, most people in Bolivia are “partly” indigenous and “partly” mixed-raced, so variability in identities is not uncommon, especially among the Quechua people, who are the majority. The Quechuas lack, as pointed out by Pablo Quisbert and Vincent Nicolas in their recent book Pachakuti: El retorno de la nación1, such ethno-national symbols or heroes as the Aymaras have with Tupac Katari or the rainbow flag called wiphala. What is essentially Quechua is rather a language that unites various local "nations".

    Evo manifested his surprise at the census results, but considered them a secondary issue and remarked that anyway, as is the case when throwing dice, "what you see is what you score.” Vice-President Álvaro García Linera then wrote a text titled Nación y Mestizaje (Nation and Miscegenation) defending plurinationality.2 But Evo, who knows how to “score” in cacho, a popular game in Bolivia, also knows how to make adjustments in his campaigns with the instinct of an experienced union leader.

    This context fostered a shift in the MAS towards the proposal of technological advancement as the main focus of its electoral campaign: the cable-car transport between La Paz and El Alto, the satellite named Tupac Katari, the promise of a “city of knowledge” in Cochabamba, and even the controversial proposal of advancing towards nuclear power, were all part of the party’s program. It also included re-launching the construction of the road running across the Indigenous Territory and National Park Isiboro Sécure, which was suspended in 2012 due to protests against the project.

    Neo-Developmentalist Perspectives

    The 2014 electoral campaign was focused on the country’s economy, which has grown steadily during the last eight years by means of a combination of economic nationalism (strengthening of the State) and fiscal caution –commended by media such as the New York Times and even by libertarian economists like Tyler Cowen[3]-. It’s worth recalling that when a leftwing government once ruled in Bolivia (1982-1985), it was forced to leave office early as a result of a brutal hyperinflation that generated a social trauma. The memory of that circumstance, coupled with Evo’s peasant subjectivity expressed in his aversion to debts and a tendency to "keep the money under the mattress," explains why Bolivia today has 15.000 billion dollars in international reserves, equivalent to 51% of the GDP. The Minister of Economy, Luis Arce, has made sure since the very first day of Evo’s administration that the macro variables are kept in order.

    The economy is the factor that contributed to operate what analyst Fernando Molina characterized as the political "depolarization" in the country.4 At the same time, this economic stability â€“which Evo Morales showcased as the main reason to vote for the MAS– poses a sort of division in the Bolivarian bloc between Bolivia and Ecuador, on the one hand, and Venezuela on the other, as well as an overall weakening of the “XXI Century Socialism" and a strengthening of neo-developmentalist perspectives. The content of this narrative –taken in a sense not necessarily coincidental with that of Carlos Bresser Pereira, the Brazilian who created the concept– was defined very clearly by Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa, who some time ago highly praised the Israeli model of innovation, development and business-minded vision, and criticized "conservative leftwing movements" and businesspeople who are reluctant to take risks (his speech can be viewed on YouTube under the title "Israel should be an example for us").

    The new phase of post-polarization was ratified at the polls: the second place in the national election was taken by a center-rightwing alternative whose leaders tried to convince Bolivians that they would keep the “good” things done by the MAS, and avoided any talk about restoring the old order.5 Another effect of the new scenario is that two former presidents (Carlos Mesa and Eduardo Rodríguez Veltzé) have accepted Morales’ proposal to participate in the sea-access claim against Chile, the former as an international spokesman for the Bolivian position and the latter as Ambassador in the Netherlands and coordinator of the lawsuit in the International Court of The Hague. 

    The success of the “Evo model” also reaches the very structure of the MAS, made up by an alliance of different social, territorial, labor and ethnic sectors, which operates in exactly the same (corporate) mode of exercising citizenship as most of the Bolivian society.6 For many social sectors, the MAS’ electoral lists –prepared with a mixture of grass-root participation and top-level decision-making- represent a fairly efficient way of having access to the State and political "self-representation". This is why, among other things, those candidates from the intellectual strata (Raúl Prada, Alejandro Almaraz, etc.) who intended to “redirect the process of change”, and appealed for that purpose to the “social movements”, didn’t get good results.

    Recently, García Linera described the current period, and defended the role of the State and a somewhat pragmatic view: “Insofar as no (community) initiatives are being set forth by the society, we have to work with what is there, and that is the business leaders, who must gain strength, grow and generate more wealth. You should remove that chip which tells you that at any time the government will stage a coup and nationalize everything. That is not going to happen, that has failed, and that is not socialism; nationalizing the means of production led to a sort of spurious, failed socialism. We will not repeat that mistake. We will not replicate the UDP [Unidad Democrática y Popular] of 1984, we will not replicate the Soviet Union.”

    He then referred to the “inclusion of the adversary” in the project: “If a project remains enclosed in its original nucleus, this means domination and imposition. To open it so much that other sectors can take over and prevail will always carry the risk of hegemony, and this is why it's a battle. When you integrate your opponent into your universal project, [he] will cease to stay entrenched in his own domain and will no longer be able to generate counter-power. The risk lies in you having an opponent so skillful and intelligent that from within your project he can turn his own into the hegemon of the universal project”.7 

    The next electoral battle is coming up soon: in March 2015, mayors and governors will be elected. This time, the opposition expects to get better results, at least in part, considering that local voting often has a different logic from national elections. In this context, the mayor of La Paz, Luis Revilla (42 years old), will attempt to emerge as a future leader of the opposition. Using the fact that his (centre-leftwing) party, the Movement without Fear (Movimiento sin Miedo), lost its legal capacity to participate in the elections due to the meager results obtained in October 12th, Revilla founded a new party called SOL.bo -Sovereignty and Freedom- (Soberanía y Libertad) and thereby got rid of the by now cumbersome leadership of Juan del Granado. If he beats the MAS and is reelected, Revilla might be one of the new presidential candidates by 2019. Of course, there’s still a long way to go. Evo Morales has to decide whether he will use his party’s two-thirds of parliamentary representation in order to amend the constitution so as to allow indefinite reelection. We shall see if the current economic boom endures given the ups and downs of the prices of raw materials that have weighed on  the exports of a country with  apparently inexhaustible resources for the last four centuries.  

    Republished from Panoramas
     

    References:

    1 Vincent Nicolas and Pablo Quisbert: Pachakuti: El retorno de la nación. Estudio comparativo del imaginario de nación de la Revolución Nacional y del Estado Plurinacional, La Paz, Pieb, 2014

    2 Álvaro García Linera, Nación y Mestizaje, La Paz, Vicepresidencia del Estado, September 2013. Available at: http://www.vicepresidencia.gob.bo/IMG/pdf/nación_y_mestizaje.pdf

    3 William Neuman, “Turnabout in Bolivia as Economy Rises From Instability, New York Times, 16/2/2014, Tyler Cowen, “Why I endorsed Evo Morales”, Marginal Revolution, 2/9/2014.

    4 Fernando Molina, “Elecciones bolivianas, el fin de la polarización”, Infolatam, 27/9/2014.

    5 See: Fernando Molina, “La oposición boliviana, entre la ‘política de la fe’ y la ‘política del escepticismo”, Nueva Sociedad, Nº255, November-December, 2014.

    6 Pablo Stefanoni y Hervé Do Alto: “El MAS: las ambivalencias de la democracia corporativa”, in Luis Alberto García Orellana and Fernando Luis García Yapur (ed.), Mutaciones del campo político en Bolivia, La Paz, PNUD, 2010.

    7 Pablo Ortiz and Mónica Salvatierra, El Deber, 16/11/2014.


    The elections held on October 12th in Bolivia confirmed the hegemony of the Movement toward Socialism (Movimiento al Socialismo – MAS) and showed that Evo Morales’ leadership remains strong after his eight years in office, an intrinsically relevant fact in a country known for its political, economic and social instability. Evo Morales and his running mate Álvaro García Linera were supported by 61.36% of the votes compared to 24.23% for the Democratic Unity (Unidad Democrática - UD), headed by politician and businessman Samuel Doria Medina, and to 9.04% for the former President Jorge “Tuto” Quiroga, who ran for the Christian Democratic Party (Partido Demócrata Cristiano). In La Paz, the seat of government, the ruling party won by a margin of 68.92% to 14.75% for the UD. With these results, the MAS has managed not only to retain the two thirds of the Congress it has had since 2009, but also, a politically and symbolically significant result, to win in Santa Cruz -a formerly opposing region located in the agro-industrial East of the country- with almost 50% of the votes.
    In general terms, the election results show a drop in votes for the MAS in the Andean West –but from exceptionally high previous levels–, parallel to an increase in the East. For example, in La Paz, the MAS had obtained 80.28% in 2009, which means it went down more than 10 points. However, given the extraordinary result of that year, the present decrease did not prevent the party from “keeping it all” this time, that is, all of the uninominal representatives and the four senators running in La Paz. The same happened in regions like Oruro and Potosí. While in 2009 the epics of the fight against the autonomist regions â€“accused of promoting separatism and counter-revolutionary coups– rallied votes that probably exceeded those supporting Evo Morales in normal circumstances, on October 12th the secure victory relaxed his party’s fighting efforts, and the political mystique moved to the formerly opposing regions.
    But ideology is not the only reason for the ruling party's victory in Santa Cruz (at present, only the department of Beni maintains an opposing stance, though the MAS obtained over 40% of the votes cast there), fostered by former Minister of Government Carlos Romero. Here, Evo Morales' party applied a pragmatic policy allowing entry to the MAS of a small group of activists from the rightwing Nationalist Democratic Action (Acción Democrática Nacionalista – ADN, the party founded by General Hugo Bánzer), and of congresswoman Jessica Echeverría, who had successively belonged to various rightwing groups â€“she had even been elected as Tuto Quiroga’s spokeswoman a few days before– and in 2008 was part of the radical “cruceñismo”. Upon switching to the ruling party, this evangelic representative apologized for "having incited hatred" in those times of political polarization.
    Nowadays, the situation is significantly different from that of 2008/2009, when Santa Cruz was at war against La Paz. In a context of economic growth, and following the defeat of the more radical sectors, the Government approached the business community with an implicit agreement by which business people recognize the legitimacy of the president, and he recognizes the legitimacy of the Santa Cruz model of capitalism. This had the effect of consolidating, after a first period of polarization and confrontation, the “negotiated way out” proposed by García Linera when he ran for the vice-presidency in 2005.

    Change and Decolonization
    In these eight years of Morales' administration, several radical notions of the good society have been left aside in the Democratic and Cultural Revolution, giving rise to some dissents voices that have failed to result in votes. Radical indigenism, communitarianism, the diffuse “living well” (suma qamaña), the plurinational views or decolonization visions associated with the “otherness” of the indigenous world or with its anti-capitalist potential, have all weakened and given way to the priority of public management and to more market-friendly ways of decolonizing. Additionally, the population census of 2012 showed some seemingly paradoxical data: while in 2001 62% of Bolivians over the age of 15 identified themselves as indigenous, now only 42% did so (an important fact given that the previous census had provided statistic and moral support to all the struggles carried on since the early 2000s).
    There are many factors that may have caused such identity shift, including a change of terms in the pertaining question, where “native indigenous” was replaced by “peasant-native-indigenous” as expressed in the new Constitution, just at a time when Bolivia is a predominantly urban country. Equally important is the fact that in 2001 the indigenous identity challenged the established order while nowadays it is official, even when mixed-raced urban Bolivia doesn't always feel comfortable with such State indigenism.
    Finally, most people in Bolivia are “partly” indigenous and “partly” mixed-raced, so variability in identities is not uncommon, especially among the Quechua people, who are the majority. The Quechuas lack, as pointed out by Pablo Quisbert and Vincent Nicolas in their recent book Pachakuti: El retorno de la nación1, such ethno-national symbols or heroes as the Aymaras have with Tupac Katari or the rainbow flag called wiphala. What is essentially Quechua is rather a language that unites various local "nations".
    Evo manifested his surprise at the census results, but considered them a secondary issue and remarked that anyway, as is the case when throwing dice, "what you see is what you score.” Vice-President Álvaro García Linera then wrote a text titled Nación y Mestizaje (Nation and Miscegenation) defending plurinationality.2 But Evo, who knows how to “score” in cacho, a popular game in Bolivia, also knows how to make adjustments in his campaigns with the instinct of an experienced union leader.
    This context fostered a shift in the MAS towards the proposal of technological advancement as the main focus of its electoral campaign: the cable-car transport between La Paz and El Alto, the satellite named Tupac Katari, the promise of a “city of knowledge” in Cochabamba, and even the controversial proposal of advancing towards nuclear power, were all part of the party’s program. It also included re-launching the construction of the road running across the Indigenous Territory and National Park Isiboro Sécure, which was suspended in 2012 due to protests against the project.

    Neo-Developmentalist Perspectives
    The 2014 electoral campaign was focused on the country’s economy, which has grown steadily during the last eight years by means of a combination of economic nationalism (strengthening of the State) and fiscal caution –commended by media such as the New York Times and even by libertarian economists like Tyler Cowen[3]-. It’s worth recalling that when a leftwing government once ruled in Bolivia (1982-1985), it was forced to leave office early as a result of a brutal hyperinflation that generated a social trauma. The memory of that circumstance, coupled with Evo’s peasant subjectivity expressed in his aversion to debts and a tendency to "keep the money under the mattress," explains why Bolivia today has 15.000 billion dollars in international reserves, equivalent to 51% of the GDP. The Minister of Economy, Luis Arce, has made sure since the very first day of Evo’s administration that the macro variables are kept in order.
    The economy is the factor that contributed to operate what analyst Fernando Molina characterized as the political "depolarization" in the country.4 At the same time, this economic stability â€“which Evo Morales showcased as the main reason to vote for the MAS– poses a sort of division in the Bolivarian bloc between Bolivia and Ecuador, on the one hand, and Venezuela on the other, as well as an overall weakening of the “XXI Century Socialism" and a strengthening of neo-developmentalist perspectives. The content of this narrative –taken in a sense not necessarily coincidental with that of Carlos Bresser Pereira, the Brazilian who created the concept– was defined very clearly by Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa, who some time ago highly praised the Israeli model of innovation, development and business-minded vision, and criticized "conservative leftwing movements" and businesspeople who are reluctant to take risks (his speech can be viewed on YouTube under the title "Israel should be an example for us").
    The new phase of post-polarization was ratified at the polls: the second place in the national election was taken by a center-rightwing alternative whose leaders tried to convince Bolivians that they would keep the “good” things done by the MAS, and avoided any talk about restoring the old order.5 Another effect of the new scenario is that two former presidents (Carlos Mesa and Eduardo Rodríguez Veltzé) have accepted Morales’ proposal to participate in the sea-access claim against Chile, the former as an international spokesman for the Bolivian position and the latter as Ambassador in the Netherlands and coordinator of the lawsuit in the International Court of The Hague. 
    The success of the “Evo model” also reaches the very structure of the MAS, made up by an alliance of different social, territorial, labor and ethnic sectors, which operates in exactly the same (corporate) mode of exercising citizenship as most of the Bolivian society.6 For many social sectors, the MAS’ electoral lists –prepared with a mixture of grass-root participation and top-level decision-making- represent a fairly efficient way of having access to the State and political "self-representation". This is why, among other things, those candidates from the intellectual strata (Raúl Prada, Alejandro Almaraz, etc.) who intended to “redirect the process of change”, and appealed for that purpose to the “social movements”, didn’t get good results.
    Recently, García Linera described the current period, and defended the role of the State and a somewhat pragmatic view: “Insofar as no (community) initiatives are being set forth by the society, we have to work with what is there, and that is the business leaders, who must gain strength, grow and generate more wealth. You should remove that chip which tells you that at any time the government will stage a coup and nationalize everything. That is not going to happen, that has failed, and that is not socialism; nationalizing the means of production led to a sort of spurious, failed socialism. We will not repeat that mistake. We will not replicate the UDP [Unidad Democrática y Popular] of 1984, we will not replicate the Soviet Union.”
    He then referred to the “inclusion of the adversary” in the project: “If a project remains enclosed in its original nucleus, this means domination and imposition. To open it so much that other sectors can take over and prevail will always carry the risk of hegemony, and this is why it's a battle. When you integrate your opponent into your universal project, [he] will cease to stay entrenched in his own domain and will no longer be able to generate counter-power. The risk lies in you having an opponent so skillful and intelligent that from within your project he can turn his own into the hegemon of the universal project”.7 
    The next electoral battle is coming up soon: in March 2015, mayors and governors will be elected. This time, the opposition expects to get better results, at least in part, considering that local voting often has a different logic from national elections. In this context, the mayor of La Paz, Luis Revilla (42 years old), will attempt to emerge as a future leader of the opposition. Using the fact that his (centre-leftwing) party, the Movement without Fear (Movimiento sin Miedo), lost its legal capacity to participate in the elections due to the meager results obtained in October 12th, Revilla founded a new party called SOL.bo -Sovereignty and Freedom- (Soberanía y Libertad) and thereby got rid of the by now cumbersome leadership of Juan del Granado. If he beats the MAS and is reelected, Revilla might be one of the new presidential candidates by 2019. Of course, there’s still a long way to go. Evo Morales has to decide whether he will use his party’s two-thirds of parliamentary representation in order to amend the constitution so as to allow indefinite reelection. We shall see if the current economic boom endures given the ups and downs of the prices of raw materials that have weighed on  the exports of a country with  apparently inexhaustible resources for the last four centuries.  

    References:
    1 Vincent Nicolas and Pablo Quisbert: Pachakuti: El retorno de la nación. Estudio comparativo del imaginario de nación de la Revolución Nacional y del Estado Plurinacional, La Paz, Pieb, 2014
    2 Álvaro García Linera, Nación y Mestizaje, La Paz, Vicepresidencia del Estado, September 2013. Available at: http://www.vicepresidencia.gob.bo/IMG/pdf/nación_y_mestizaje.pdf
    3 William Neuman, “Turnabout in Bolivia as Economy Rises From Instability, New York Times, 16/2/2014, Tyler Cowen, “Why I endorsed Evo Morales”, Marginal Revolution, 2/9/2014.
    4 Fernando Molina, “Elecciones bolivianas, el fin de la polarización”, Infolatam, 27/9/2014.
    5 See: Fernando Molina, “La oposición boliviana, entre la ‘política de la fe’ y la ‘política del escepticismo”, Nueva Sociedad, Nº255, November-December, 2014.
    6 Pablo Stefanoni y Hervé Do Alto: “El MAS: las ambivalencias de la democracia corporativa”, in Luis Alberto García Orellana and Fernando Luis García Yapur (ed.), Mutaciones del campo político en Bolivia, La Paz, PNUD, 2010.
    7 Pablo Ortiz and Mónica Salvatierra, El Deber, 16/11/2014.
    - See more at: http://www.panoramas.pitt.edu/content/elections-bolivia-some-keys-evo-morales%E2%80%99s-victory#sthash.p31fOXJz.dpuf
    The elections held on October 12th in Bolivia confirmed the hegemony of the Movement toward Socialism (Movimiento al Socialismo – MAS) and showed that Evo Morales’ leadership remains strong after his eight years in office, an intrinsically relevant fact in a country known for its political, economic and social instability. Evo Morales and his running mate Álvaro García Linera were supported by 61.36% of the votes compared to 24.23% for the Democratic Unity (Unidad Democrática - UD), headed by politician and businessman Samuel Doria Medina, and to 9.04% for the former President Jorge “Tuto” Quiroga, who ran for the Christian Democratic Party (Partido Demócrata Cristiano). In La Paz, the seat of government, the ruling party won by a margin of 68.92% to 14.75% for the UD. With these results, the MAS has managed not only to retain the two thirds of the Congress it has had since 2009, but also, a politically and symbolically significant result, to win in Santa Cruz -a formerly opposing region located in the agro-industrial East of the country- with almost 50% of the votes.
    In general terms, the election results show a drop in votes for the MAS in the Andean West –but from exceptionally high previous levels–, parallel to an increase in the East. For example, in La Paz, the MAS had obtained 80.28% in 2009, which means it went down more than 10 points. However, given the extraordinary result of that year, the present decrease did not prevent the party from “keeping it all” this time, that is, all of the uninominal representatives and the four senators running in La Paz. The same happened in regions like Oruro and Potosí. While in 2009 the epics of the fight against the autonomist regions â€“accused of promoting separatism and counter-revolutionary coups– rallied votes that probably exceeded those supporting Evo Morales in normal circumstances, on October 12th the secure victory relaxed his party’s fighting efforts, and the political mystique moved to the formerly opposing regions.
    But ideology is not the only reason for the ruling party's victory in Santa Cruz (at present, only the department of Beni maintains an opposing stance, though the MAS obtained over 40% of the votes cast there), fostered by former Minister of Government Carlos Romero. Here, Evo Morales' party applied a pragmatic policy allowing entry to the MAS of a small group of activists from the rightwing Nationalist Democratic Action (Acción Democrática Nacionalista – ADN, the party founded by General Hugo Bánzer), and of congresswoman Jessica Echeverría, who had successively belonged to various rightwing groups â€“she had even been elected as Tuto Quiroga’s spokeswoman a few days before– and in 2008 was part of the radical “cruceñismo”. Upon switching to the ruling party, this evangelic representative apologized for "having incited hatred" in those times of political polarization.
    Nowadays, the situation is significantly different from that of 2008/2009, when Santa Cruz was at war against La Paz. In a context of economic growth, and following the defeat of the more radical sectors, the Government approached the business community with an implicit agreement by which business people recognize the legitimacy of the president, and he recognizes the legitimacy of the Santa Cruz model of capitalism. This had the effect of consolidating, after a first period of polarization and confrontation, the “negotiated way out” proposed by García Linera when he ran for the vice-presidency in 2005.

    Change and Decolonization
    In these eight years of Morales' administration, several radical notions of the good society have been left aside in the Democratic and Cultural Revolution, giving rise to some dissents voices that have failed to result in votes. Radical indigenism, communitarianism, the diffuse “living well” (suma qamaña), the plurinational views or decolonization visions associated with the “otherness” of the indigenous world or with its anti-capitalist potential, have all weakened and given way to the priority of public management and to more market-friendly ways of decolonizing. Additionally, the population census of 2012 showed some seemingly paradoxical data: while in 2001 62% of Bolivians over the age of 15 identified themselves as indigenous, now only 42% did so (an important fact given that the previous census had provided statistic and moral support to all the struggles carried on since the early 2000s).
    There are many factors that may have caused such identity shift, including a change of terms in the pertaining question, where “native indigenous” was replaced by “peasant-native-indigenous” as expressed in the new Constitution, just at a time when Bolivia is a predominantly urban country. Equally important is the fact that in 2001 the indigenous identity challenged the established order while nowadays it is official, even when mixed-raced urban Bolivia doesn't always feel comfortable with such State indigenism.
    Finally, most people in Bolivia are “partly” indigenous and “partly” mixed-raced, so variability in identities is not uncommon, especially among the Quechua people, who are the majority. The Quechuas lack, as pointed out by Pablo Quisbert and Vincent Nicolas in their recent book Pachakuti: El retorno de la nación1, such ethno-national symbols or heroes as the Aymaras have with Tupac Katari or the rainbow flag called wiphala. What is essentially Quechua is rather a language that unites various local "nations".
    Evo manifested his surprise at the census results, but considered them a secondary issue and remarked that anyway, as is the case when throwing dice, "what you see is what you score.” Vice-President Álvaro García Linera then wrote a text titled Nación y Mestizaje (Nation and Miscegenation) defending plurinationality.2 But Evo, who knows how to “score” in cacho, a popular game in Bolivia, also knows how to make adjustments in his campaigns with the instinct of an experienced union leader.
    This context fostered a shift in the MAS towards the proposal of technological advancement as the main focus of its electoral campaign: the cable-car transport between La Paz and El Alto, the satellite named Tupac Katari, the promise of a “city of knowledge” in Cochabamba, and even the controversial proposal of advancing towards nuclear power, were all part of the party’s program. It also included re-launching the construction of the road running across the Indigenous Territory and National Park Isiboro Sécure, which was suspended in 2012 due to protests against the project.

    Neo-Developmentalist Perspectives
    April, 2016

    ISBN (cloth): 

    978-1-62534-175-4

    Price (cloth) $: 

    95.00
    April, 2016

    ISBN (paper): 

    978-1-62534-176-1

    Price (paper) $: 

    29.95
    Fred Lee Hord (Mzee Lasana Okpara) is professor of English and director of Africana studies at Knox College and author of several books, including Reconstructing Memory: Black Literary Criticism.

    Jonathan Scott Lee is professor of philosophy at Colorado College and author of Jacques Lacan, published by the University of Massachusetts Press.
    Hord, Fred Lee, and Jonathan Scott Lee, eds.

    Pub date (e-book): 

    November, 2016
    Readings in Africana Philosophy

    ISBN (e-book): 

    978-1-61376-373-5
    A revised and expanded edition of a landmark anthology of Africana thought
    Acknowledgments

    INTRODUCTIONS
    I Am Because We Are—Twenty Years On
    Frederick Lee Hord (Mzee Lasana Okpara) and Jonathan Scott Lee

    I am because we are: An Introduction to Black Philosophy
    Frederick Lee Hord (Mzee Lasana Okpara) and Jonathan Scott Lee

    AFRICA
    Introduction

    The Declarations of Innocence

    The Teachings of Ptahhotep

    An Interview with H. Odera Oruka
    Paul Mbuya Akoko

    Negritude: A Humanism of the Twentieth Century
    LŽopold SŽdar Senghor

    Consciencism
    Kwame Nkrumah

    Ujamaa—The Basis of African Socialism
    Julius K. Nyerere

    Identity and Dignity in the Context of the National
    Liberation Struggle
    Amilcar Cabral

    White Racism and Black Consciousness
    Steve Biko

    from Myth, Literature, and the African World
    Wole Soyinka

    Feminism and Revolution
    Awa Thiam

    We Are Committed to Building a Single Nation in Our Country
    Nelson Mandela

    Person and Community: In Defense of Moderate
    Communitarianism
    Kwame Gyekye

    (Re)constituting the Cosmology and Sociocultural Institutions
    of ṇ̃y—̣-Yorb‡: Articulating the Yorb‡ World-Sense 
    Oyr—nkẒ̌ Oyěwm’

    THE CARIBBEAN
    Introduction

    Africa for the Africans
    Marcus Garvey

    The Future as I See It
    Marcus Garvey

    The Awakening of Race Consciousness among Black Students
    Paulette Nardal

    The West Indian Middle Classes
    C. L. R. James

    from Discourse on Colonialism
    AimŽ CŽsaire

    Racism and Culture
    Frantz Fanon

    Black Power, a Basic Understanding
    Walter Rodney

    The Shadow of the Whip: A Comment on Male-Female Relations
    in the Caribbean
    Merle Hodge

    from The Racial Contract
    Charles W. Mills

    The General Character of Afro-Caribbean Philosophy
    Paget Henry

    On How We Mistook the Map for the Territory, and Reimprisoned Ourselves in Our Unbearable Wrongness of Being, of Destre:
    Black Studies Toward the Human Project
    Sylvia Wynter

    Reasoning in Black: Africana Philosophy under the Weight of Misguided Reason
    Lewis R. Gordon

    NORTH AMERICA

    Introduction

    Oration, Delivered in Corinthian Hall, Rochester, July 5, 1852
    Frederick Douglass

    The Relations and Duties of Free Colored Men in America
    to Africa
    Alexander Crummell

    Womanhood: A Vital Element in the Regeneration and
    Progress of a Race
    Anna Julia Cooper

    The Atlanta Exposition Address
    Booker T. Washington

    Does Race Antipathy Serve Any Good Purpose?
    W. E. B. Du Bois

    On Being Ashamed of Oneself: An Essay on Race Pride
    W. E. B. Du Bois

    The Concept of Race
    W. E. B. Du Bois

    The New Negro
    Alain Locke

    Speech on ÒBlack RevolutionÓ (New York, April 8, 1964)
    Malcolm X

    Black Power
    Martin Luther King, Jr.

    Rootedness: The Ancestor as Foundation
    Toni Morrison

    Radical Perspectives on the Empowerment of Afro-American Women: Lessons for the 1980s
    Angela Y. Davis

    Philosophy, Ethnicity, and Race
    Lucius Outlaw

    Feminism: A Transformational Politic
    bell hooks

    Learning to Talk of Race
    Cornel West

    The Black Underclass and Black Philosophers
    Cornel West

    Black Solidarity after Black Power
    Tommie Shelby

    The Eschatological Dilemma: The Problem of Studying the Black Male Only as the Deaths That Result from Anti-Black Racism
    Tommy J. Curry

    Selected Bibliography

    Price (e-book) $: 

    95.00
    revised edition
    First published in 1995, I Am Because We Are has been recognized as a major, canon-defining anthology and adopted as a text in a wide variety of college and university courses. Bringing together writings by prominent black thinkers from Africa, the Caribbean, and North America, Fred Lee Hord and Jonathan Scott Lee made the case for a tradition of “relational humanism” distinct from the philosophical preoccupations of the West.
    Tue, 04/26/2016

    Related Subjects: 

    "An ambitious book [that] strives to be intellectually and philosophically Pan-Africanist. In an era where more than a ‘hyphen’ has continually separated Africans and African-Americans and others of African descent, the call to relational humanism and community ethos is a timely one."—The International Journal of African Historical Studies

    "A significant and sure-to-be controversial attempt to demonstrate the existence of a black philosophical tradition. . . . It makes available a valuable collection of essays that teachers of philosophy and black studies alike will wish to use in their courses."—Robert Gooding-Williams, author of In the Shadow of Du Bois: Afro-Modern Political Thought in America
    6.125 x 9.25
    528

              Rebels in Paradise        
    January, 2015

    ISBN (cloth): 

    978-1-62534-117-4

    Price (cloth) $: 

    January, 2015

    ISBN (paper): 

    978-1-62534-118-1

    Price (paper) $: 

    23.95
    Bruce Laurie is professor of history emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and author of Beyond Garrison: Antislavery and Social Reform.
    Laurie, Bruce.

    Pub date (e-book): 

    March, 2017
    Sketches of Northampton Abolitionists

    ISBN (e-book): 

    978-1-61376-392-6
    An intimate portrait of regional abolitionism in the critical decades before the Civil War
    Acknowledgments ix

    Introduction: The Setting 1

    1. Sylvester Judd: Skeptical Abolitionist 11

    2. David Ruggles: Blind Man with a Vision 33

    3. John Payson Williston: Abolitionist as Prohibitionist 61

    4. Henry S. Gere: Journalist as Abolitionist 85

    5. Erastus Hopkins: Idealist as Politician 117

    Epilogue: Paradise at War 145

    Notes 155

    Index 173

    Price (e-book) $: 

    17.99
    Long ago dubbed the “Paradise of America,” Northampton, Massachusetts, is also known as the home of visionaries—from the Reverend Jonathan Edwards, father of the First Great Awakening, to George W. Benson, brother-in-law of William Lloyd Garrison and a founder of the utopian Northampton Association for Education and Industry. During the mid-nineteenth century the town became a center of political abolitionism and a hub in the Underground Railroad.
    Wed, 01/07/2015
    "A lively, lucid, and eminently readable study. Succinctly but in well-judged detail, Bruce Laurie tells the story of antebellum abolitionism through biographies of some of the movement’s prominent local figures in Northampton, Massachusetts."—Christopher Clark, author of The Communitarian Moment: The Radical Challenge of the Northampton Association

    "In writing of David Ruggles and four other local abolitionists--Sylvester Judd Jr. , John Payson Williston, Henry S. Gere, and Erastus Hopkins--Laurie also looks at the larger anti-slavery movement in western Massachusetts and draws links to national developments of the era, from the birth of the Free Soil party to temperance movements to the creation of the Underground Railroad, along which Northampton became an important stop."—Hampshire Daily Gazette

    "Rebels in Paradise is a fine piece of scholarship for at least two reasons. First, the men profiled in the book left surprisingly few personal documents, meaning the Laurie had to construct their histories from a fairly scanty evidentiary record. Second, Laurie does not engage in interpretive overreach. He acknowledges that what he discovered about Northampton's abolitionists may not be universally applicable. Rather, he simply aimed to provide 'a deeper and richer understanding of the meaning of political abolitionism in a particular place and time.'"—New England Quarterly

    Related Subjects: 

    6 x 9
    184
    20 b&w photos

              Kitka and the Rogue World Ensemble in concert        
    Bringing worldly music to us -  Kitka and the Rogue World Ensemble

    By David Owens

    One of the joys of traveling is the chance to hear music of all flavors from distant places. If it wasn't so expensive I'd travel all the time! I do have the good fortune to spend quite a bit of time in Russia and be exposed to all kinds of folk and regional music. Sometimes impromptu concerts as in  the strains of voices rising from the subway from grandmothers singing songs from their childhood.

    Or organized as on the "Day of Russian Birch Tree" to hear some traditional music from visiting folks from small villages.  And the music is often accompanied with some moves or folk dances.  The vocal tradition is rich in Russia and extends in influence all the way from Europe to China. Even the Orthodox Church only allows voices, no instruments to interrupt the voice of true faith. A concert in St. Issac's Cathedral is not to be forgotten.  And Russian folk music is just the beginning.

    Kitka
    Fortunately, a few groups in the USA have traveled for us and brought a large selection of exotic from traditional and folk traditions from Eastern Europe for our enjoyment.
    It is an ancient music that hearkens back to the earliest musical experiences that traveled our of Africa to Siberia and the whole of Europe and Asia.

    It is an innate music very mother knows and is passed on for generations.  I can't help but feeling very spiritual when listening to this music and feel a few waves of goosebumps as the emotion of expression makes itself known.

    There is a special opportunity to hear two wonderful groups, Kitka, of international reputation and a fledgling group rapidly rising in stature, the Rogue World Ensemble. And even a voice workshop the next day to continue the experience.

    Getting to this concert is a lot easier than traveling to Eastern Europe and wandering for days with ears wide open. They are bringing this spirit right to us!


     More music videos  from Kitka 
    http://www.youtube.com/kitka


    “Kitka’s music: Beautiful, primal women's songs steeped in ancient traditions and inspiration that ring fresh like Spring air after a long Winter.” - David Owens

    Kitka vocal arts ensemble

    Kitka and their beautiful Eastern European vocal music 
    http://www.kitka.org

    In their words, "Kitka is an American women's vocal arts ensemble inspired by traditional songs and vocal techniques from Eastern Europe. Dedicated to developing new audiences for music rooted in Balkan, Slavic, and Caucasian women's vocal traditions, Kitka also strives to expand the boundaries of folk song as a living and evolving expressive art form. "

    Kitka's activities include an Oakland-based series of concerts and vocal workshops; regional, national, and international touring; programs in the schools; recording, publication, and broadcast projects; master artist residencies.

    Kitka: Cradle Songs
    Kitka has released eleven critically acclaimed recordings, nine on its own Diaphonica label.
    Cradle Songs has been named "One of the Top Ten CDs of 2009" by NPR, and one of the "Most Memorable Internationally-Flavored CDs of 2009" by the Los Angeles Times. 

    The  World of Eastern European Lullabies 
    Kitka’s Cradle Songs
    The mother, the cradle, the voice, and the universe. Melodies born on dry slopes and in deep boreal forests to the joys and sorrows of families from villages in the Russian Far North to Armenia and Greece. 
     

    Rogue World Ensemble

    Rogue World Ensemble

    http://www.rogueworldensemble.org

    A fairly new group in the Rogue Valley, the Rogue World Ensemble is gaining a lot of fans as their  repertoire grows.  They have an infectious good spirit and a strong vocal harmony that would make them a great concert all by themselves.  

    Rusalka - Rogue World Ensemble

    Rogue World Ensemble celebrates the folk singing traditions of cultures from throughout the globe. The unique vocal qualities and intricate harmonies of the world’s many diverse cultures conveys the complexity of the human heart as uniquely expressed through music. 

    "We believe that music is a universal language that transcends borders. Sharing the folk singing traditions of our world brings forth the potential for transformation, connection, and peace."

    Rusalka is a women's vocal quartet related to the rogue World Ensemble  that celebrates the musical traditions of Eastern Europe, Israel, Russia and its neighbors.

    To have Kitka and the Rogue World Ensemble together is a real treat!

    Kitka and Rogue World Ensemble

    In Concert April 8, 2011 in Ashland, OR

    Friday, April 8, 2011 • 8pm
    Tickets: $20/advance, $22/door, $10/teens 12-17,
    children under 12 are free with paying adult.
    Unitarian Fellowship, 4th and C Streets, Ashland



    Tickets
    http://www.stclairevents.com/tickets_20110408.htm


          
              Want a good movie about real religion? Go see 'Selma'        

    If you're looking for a movie with real religion -- as well as historical context, emotional complexity, political savvy and inspiring humanity -- I have a recommendation.

    Go see “Selma,” the Oscar-nominated film about the civil rights marches that brought voting rights to African-Americans in the South in the 1960s.

    Like the best films about religion – “Dead Man Walking,” “Shadowlands,” “Of Gods and Men” – “Selma” centers on imperfect people struggling to walk the talk of faith.

    Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (played superbly by British actor David Oyelowo) clearly shines as a leader with vision and moral courage. But gifted director Ava DuVernay also lets us see his behind-the-scene battles with doubt, indecision and the tension in his marriage to Coretta Scott King (Carmen Ejogo, also British and also excellent).

    Such burdens give rise to a private dream, voiced by King in the opening scene, of a life away from the limelight, as the pastor of a small church in a university town.
    But this Baptist preacher, his wife and his lieutenants soldier on, looking to God in those moments of hopelessness, despair – and awe.

    Feeling drained and discouraged one night, King calls and wakes up gospel singer Mahalia Jackson, telling her he needs to hear the voice of the Lord. Obligingly, and movingly in the film, she sings over the phone, “Precious Lord, Take My Hand.”

    Then later, after a helmeted Alabama state trooper shoots and kills Jimmie Lee Jackson, a young civil rights worker, we see King, tears brimming, try to console the martyr’s 82-year-old grandfather at the morgue. “God was the first to cry,” King tells the grieving old man, “the first to cry for your boy.”
    “Selma” will make you tear up, for sure. With sadness at the evil humans are capable of, but also with joy at the faith-based solidarity so many display.

    Take the scene where we see the result of King's call for reinforcements for the 54-mile march to Montgomery. Many thousands from around the country drive and fly to Selma, including Jewish rabbis, Catholic nuns, a Greek Orthodox archbishop and the Rev. James Reeb, a Unitarian Universalist minister from Boston who was to be murdered by racist thugs.

    Biblical epics and churchy dramas are fine. But for those clamoring for movies that convey the positive power of religion, I say: Go see “Selma.”

    Upcoming events

    Two of the many Charlotte events marking Dr. King’s upcoming holiday testify to the religious roots of the civil rights movement:


    • The Rev. Clark Olsen will speak Sunday (Jan. 18), 9:15 a.m. and 11:15 a.m., at Unitarian Universalist Church of Charlotte, 234 North Sharon Amity Road. Olsen was a young UU minister in March 1965 when he answered King’s call for clergy to come to Selma and march. And he was there when his friend, the Rev. Reeb, was beaten to death by a white mob.
    • Former NAACP President Benjamin Jealous will be the keynoter at 8 a.m. Monday (Jan. 19) at the YMCA of Greater Charlotte’s 21st annual MLK Holiday Prayer Breakfast. More than 1,100 people are expected at the Charlotte Convention Center’s Crown Ballroom in uptown. Jealous plans to challenge the audience by asking: What is that one big thing you are going to change in your community before you die?


    -- Tim Funk

              Pittsburgh City Paper joins Documenting Hate project to raise awareness of hate crimes        
    In January 2016, a rock was thrown through the window of Beechview’s Casa Rasta restaurant. A month earlier, someone tagged the Las Palmas grocery store in Brookline, another South Hills neighborhood, with the phrase “Go back to Mexico.”

    In November last year, weeks after the presidential election, a banner posted in front of the First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh was vandalized. The  banner's message, "Black Lives Matter" was crossed out and changed to "Blue Lives Matter More".

    And around that same time, a group of Somali Bantu youth in Pittsburgh say they were bullied and told, “You are going back to your country; [Donald] Trump is gonna put you in the garbage.”

    While these kinds of incidents, motivated by racism, bigotry, homophobia, and xenophobia might seem minimal and infrequent to some, acts of hate and discrimination are very hard to track.…
              Reel Paganism::The "Folk Horror" Revival         

    Ah, those Years of Seven. We looked at the significant anniversaries in the World of Weird this Year of Seven is marking, from Heaven's Gate and the Phoenix Lights to the Harmonic Convergence to the releases of Star Wars and Close Encounters of the First Kind. As it happens, there's another major anniversary on the docket this year and that's the birth of the modern "NeoPagan" movement.
    Fifty years ago, in 1967, three organizations were formed which would have a profound impact on the shape of contemporary Paganism: Frederick Adams founded Feraferia, a wilderness mystery religion; Aidan Kelly and others formed the New Reformed Order of the Golden Dawn, an eclectic witchcraft tradition; and Tim (Oberon) Zell filed for incorporation of the Church of All Worlds, which was based on the fictional religion described in Robert Heinlein’s novel, Stranger in a Strange Land.
    As the Church of All Worlds shows, the NeoPagan movement was born out of the rising Geek insurgency, out of a fermenting sub-subculture in which Dune, Star Trek and Lord of the Rings had well and colonized the imaginations of the young and dateless.

    The crossover would become so successful that the strict atheism and naturalism that had once been de rigeur in sci-fi (and fandom in general) would soon be put on its back foot by this new Mysticism, a current that would revolutionize pop culture with the runaway success of Star Wars.

    NeoPaganism occupied a fair bit of real estate in the collective mind of Fandom but has never been the upstart mass movement its adherents might have you believe. It probably peaked as a movement in the 1990s (with Buffy, the Vampire Slayer) and, if the current alarm bells being rung in the NeoPaganism blogosphere are any indication, has been receding ever since. So much so that many NeoPagans believe the jig is finally up.

    Contemporary Paganism isn’t an institution, but we do have institutions, and many of them are  struggling to survive.  Cherry Hill Seminary announced last year that it might not be able to continue its programming.  CUUPS is hardly thriving.  The Pagan Community Statement on the Environment, which is quite possibly the single largest expression of Pagan voices ever, has not yet collected a mere 10,000 signatures in the two years since it was published.  And, as far as I can tell, none of the organizers of Pagan festivals and conferences have reported significant growth in recent years. These are just a few examples of Pagan institutions that I have been involved with to one degree or another over the years.
    In Britain, where so much of the Wicca and NeoPaganism we recognize today was born, the situation seems pretty much the same. NeoPaganism is struggling there too, ironically as the current Chaos Magick revival is picking up steam.
     I’ve been told that the number of registered members of the Pagan Federation has gone down for the first time. At the Harvest Moon Conference in 2016, Melissa Harrington confessed that she felt that this decline in active participation was indicative of Paganism “going underground” again. Most of the Pagan Federation events I’ve been to recently have shown a similar demographic spread to OBOD ones. 
    My concern is that the declining number of young participants in the Pagan community in Britain, and the general diminution of those taking an active role in the community as a whole, indicates that that growth has stalled. British Paganism—as a subculture and as a movement—is in trouble.
    I'm not at all surprised by this. I'd wager that most NeoPagans had some kind of traditional religious upbringing, which made them at least casually familiar with the basics of ritual and theology. With traditional religion a fading memory among NeoPaganism's mission field, it becomes harder than ever to attract people to the surrogate community that NeoPaganism promises. 

    But there's also the problem of the movement failing to deliver what it promises:
    What is in decline, then, is something quite specific—the Pagan Movement; a collection of organisations, publications, ceremonial genres, training courses. That collection is no longer feeding the appetite of the general public for the magical.
    Then there's the prickly issue of sectarianism. NeoPaganism bears only a glancing resemblance to the ancient variety, but it's chock full of the kind of perpetual fragmentation that a Pagan in ancient Alexandria might have been sick of. One blogger is even pushing an atheist strand of NeoPaganism:
    Atheopaganism is post-Belief religion. It is evidence-based spirituality rooted in real-world, positive, life-affirming values. It gives us what religion is good at giving us, and avoids trying to do what science can clearly do better. 
    I believe it is in broad strokes what succeeding generations will practice in growing numbers. It is what will give meaning and build community for people who have left behind the ideas of gods and magic.
    Yeah, good luck with that. After all, discarding your traditional core tenets has worked out so well for the so-called Mainline denominations. 

    Like the churches that so many NeoPagans grew out of, the movement is looking to political activism to "stay relevant." But people interested in activism now have a endless buffet of NGOs and pressure groups to choose from, and most activists today tend to see any flavor of spirituality as regressive and impolite. Which may be why most Mainline Christian denominations are now fading into history.

    But a strong argument could be made that NeoPaganism is fading because the overall culture has been so effectively paganized. If that's true, then where do you go from there?



     Scarlet Imprint publisher Peter Gray was a bit ahead of the curve when he announced the impending death of NeoPaganism three years back. And he sees the same trends at work- Neopaganism is fading because it's no longer needed:
    There is no halting the decline of the initiatic witchcraft traditions of Gardner or Sanders, nor the collapse of neo-paganism. The reason? To use the correct mimetic formula: Because Internet. People are having their needs met by the online simulacra of witchcraft. Those who are seeking witchcraft simply do not have to hunt out lineages, everything is before them in the digital form that has socialised them while their parents paid more attention to their smartphones.
    Gray calls for the "rewilding"of Witchcraft, for the art to return to its outlaw roots. He wants to recapture the danger of Witchcraft, which he believes- rightly- has been traded away by Wiccans and their fellow travelers. 

    But the question then becomes how wild are you willing to be? Witches are killed on on a fairly regular basis in developing countries because they're seen as dangerous and taboo. In our anything-goes culture what exactly do you have to do to recapture that outlaw sheen? It's no small question. Why?
    Well, because the Gardnerian Book of Shadows tells us exactly how dark ancient witchcraft and Paganism could get: 
    Priests know this well; and by their auto-da-fé, with the victims' pain and terror (the fires acting much the same as circles), obtained much power. Of old the Flagellants certainly evoked power, but through not being confined in a circle much was lost. The amount of power raised was so great and continuous that anyone with knowledge could direct and use it; and it is most probable that the classical and heathen sacrifices were used in the same way. There are whispers that when the human victim was a willing sacrifice, with his mind directed on the Great Work and with highly skilled assistants, wonders ensued but of this I would not speak.”  
    Which brings us to the Folk Horror revival.

    Back to the recent Beltane Fire Festival.
    The event, first organised in the mid-1980s, marks the ending of winter and is a revival of the ancient Celtic and Pagan festival of Beltane, the Gaelic name for the month of May.
    Thousands of spectators gathered on Calton Hill in the Scottish capital to watch drummers, fire dancers, physical theatre and a large bonfire.
    During the event, the Green Man is killed as god of winter and reborn as spring to consort with the May Queen.
    This is a big deal in Scotland. And other types of ancient festival revivals have been popping up in Britain over the past several years as well, particularly in provincial towns looking to drum up tourism. 

    But do note that in the ancient Beltane festivals the Green Man was actually killed as a sacrifice to the gods of the crops. The Edinburgh festival obviously stops short of this, but this is like trading out wine for grape juice at communion. The real McCoy is baked into the rite itself and soaks through to the surface. It can't help but.
    So what does this all have to do with the so-called Folk Horror revival? Well, the folk component of the genre doesn't refer to old Joan Baez records. It draws upon the idea of ancient folkways- often those centering on human sacrifice- bubbling back up to the surface and violently intruding on the lives of unwitting cosmopolitans.
    Unlike other sub-genres, folk horror’s very form is difficult to convey. Despite what its simplistic description implies – from the emphasis on the horrific side of folklore to a very literal horror of people – the term’s fluctuating emphasis makes it difficult to pin down outside of a handful of popular examples. 
    The term first came to prominence in 2010 when Mark Gatiss used it as an umbrella theme to describe a number of films in his A History of Horror documentary for BBC4. Yet the term was used in the programme in reference to an earlier interview with the director Piers Haggard for Fangoria magazine in 2004, in which Haggard suggests of his own film The Blood on Satan’s Claw (1971) that he “was trying to make a folk horror film”.
    The revival encompasses a number of films and novels but regards three British films as the sacred texts of the genre:
    The trilogy, now often known under the banner of the ‘Unholy Trinity’, consist of Michael Reeves’ Witchfinder General (1968), Piers Haggard’s The Blood on Satan’s Claw and Robin Hardy’s The Wicker Man (1973). Though their imagery has since defined all things “olde” and “wyrd” about Britain (see the cover of Sight & Sound, August 2010), it is in their narratives where folk horror becomes defined.  
    All three films work through an emphasis on landscape which subsequently isolates its communities and individuals, skewing the dominant moral and theological systems enough to cause violence, human sacrifices, torture and even demonic and supernatural summonings.  
    The Witchfinder General traumatized me when I watched it on Creature Double Feature way back in the day. Unlike most of the other Folk Horror landmarks it's based on real-life events.
    HP Lovecraft's shadow looms over the genre, whether he likes it or not. There are obviously significant differences but a lot of his stories seem to center on city-slickers dealing with hideous eruptions of the primeval in decaying rural outposts. Lovecraft is often criticized for his racism but the truth is he didn't seem to like much of anybody outside his perceived social set.

    From "The Call of Cthulhu" to "The Shadow Over Innsmouth" to "The Festival" it's pretty obvious exactly where Lovecraft was coming from. Lovecraft was terrified that modern civilization was nothing more than a fragile veneer, ready to flake away under the slightest existential pressure. And cults and cultic practices were like the monster under Lovecraft's bed, always ready to pounce once the lights went out.

    (In this context, Stuart Gordon's fever-dream film version of Dagon could be seen as an outlier within the Folk Horror genre).
    Lovecraft enjoyed his own revival in the 1960s and one can't help but wonder what kind of effect he had on the emerging Folk Horror genre. The Wicker Man is often seen today as a kind of one-off but in fact it was following very closely in the footsteps of earlier films. 



    The Witches, partly written by Nigel Kneale, is an early example of the type as is Eye of the Devil, which made a star of Sharon Tate. In the kind of hideous synchronicity that follows all potent art like a lost puppy,   Tate would become a sacrifice to the kind of cult that probably haunted Lovecraft's nightmares.  

    Both films, released in 1966 and 1967 respectively, worked the theme of an outsider to a rural community discovering grisly ancient practices lurking beneath a placid rustic surface. Eye of the Devil, like The Wicker Man, centers on crop failure and the need of the community to kill its ritual king to appease the gods of the fields. So the fields were already well-furrowed by the time Anthony Shaffer and Robin Hardy had their brainstorm.


    Thomas Tryon's 1973 novel Harvest Home was adapted into a TV miniseries in the late 70s and taps in the same vein: in this case a New York family moves to a small town and discovers that their new neighbors still practice the ancient Celtic folkways. Since it's based on an American novel it's usually overlooked by Folk Horror revivalists, but it's a solid example of the type. Maybe one of the more potent examples, actually. Shame it's not better known.
    There are variations on the theme to be found during this same Golden Age (the late 60s to the early 70s). The Shuttered Room, based on a story HP Lovecraft cowrote with August Derleth is a variation on the type, as is Sam Peckinpah's Straw Dogs, which starred Dustin Hoffman as an American married to a British woman played by Susan George. They move to the rural English village where the George character grew up and are menaced by a gang of local thugs. Straw Dogs was remade in 2011 and moved to the rural South. Of course.



    A more recent example of the type is Kill List, an absolutely extraordinary film that has you believing you're watching one kind of British drama before pulling the rug out from under your feet and landing you in quite another altogether. I'm not going to say too much more about it since you really should see it for yourself.
    But The Wicker Man (also remade, badly, in 2006) remains the King of the Folk Horror Crop. The film hardly seems like a horror movie for most of its running time, more like a quirky musical comedy, kind of a warped Brigadoon. And it's based in ancient Celtic rituals, or at least legends of ancient Celtic rituals.
    The idea of a “wickerman” is reminiscent of references in both Irish legend and the second branch of the WelshMabinogi to men being inveigled into a specially built house, which is then set fire, immolating them. There is also a reference by Lucan, and the comments by later scholars as part of the Lucan scholia, in the Pharsalia,to three Celtic deities; Taranis said to have been propitiated by burning, Teutates by drowning, and Esus by hanging. Esus is mythologically similar to the Nordic deity Odin, also associated with hanging from a tree. 
    But it wasn't only the Celts who practiced human sacrifice. The Normans, who conquered England in the 11th Century, were huge fans of human sacrifice before giving in to Christian convention. Warlord Rollo was a exemplar of the Norman split-personality when it came honoring the ancient Viking folkways.
    Adémar of Chabannes, however, writing about 100 years after Rollo’s death, described his last days as a time of religious madness, in which the Heathen ‘Rollo’ rose up against the Christian ‘Robert’ and in a desperate attempt to atone for the betrayal of Odin and Thor ordered the beheading of 100 Christians as sacrifices to them. This was followed by a frenzied attempt to balance the books yet again when he distributed ‘one hundred pounds of gold round the churches in honour of the true god in whose name he had accepted baptism’. 
    Is Rollo the spiritual founding father of Folk Horror? Sounds like it to me. There's an inherent schizophrenia at work in the genre, building on the paranoid truism that things are never what they seem, that ancient horrors are always lurking beneath respectable surfaces, looking for a way out.

    So what is the driving impulse behind Folk Horror? It's an inherently Pagan form, an immersion into the dark mysteries of the countryside. It feels deeply atavistic, like a twisted celebration of the premodern. The genre often seems to address a very human desire to belong to a tribe that's both nurturing and absolutely fearless, even if that tribe are presented as villains.

    But there's also that repressed impulse to bask in somebody else's sacrifice, to exercise that kind of complete control over life and death. Post-Enlightenment culture has worked around the clock to erase all this from our firmware but only seems to have moved the pieces around the board.

    By contrast, NeoPaganism was always going to be a nonstarter because it pretended it could recapture the positive aspects of the old folkways and discard all those it found problematic. It also believed it could recreate the bonds of blood and soil in a urban- or more accurately, suburban- setting. That it could soak up all the richness and drama of ancient Paganism without getting its hands dirty. Or more accurately again, bloody.

    Sorry, but that's not the way it works.

    Folk Horror dispenses with all that and reminds everyone that life and death were barely a whisper apart in the old times. That bloodshed was a daily fact of life back then. It's just the way things worked. After all, it wasn't so long ago that housewives killed their own chickens. No one blinked at the sacrifice of a lamb or a piglet at even the swankiest Mystery cults. Bacchanalias often ended up with Maenads ripping wild animals limb from limb (Maenad actually means "raving one"). 

    Sacrifice was absolutely inseparable from belief. By contrast NeoPaganism feels more like a slightly more exotic form of Unitarianism. Sort on spectacle and sacrifice and long on sanctimony. 

    So my guess is that the Edinburgh Beltane Festival is so popular not only for the nudity and the LARPing but also for serving up a vicarious echo from those olden days, when these dramas were all played for keeps.

    Not all Folk Horror is based in Pagan human sacrifice but the death and horror that people once took for granted are tightly wound into its weave. So it will be worth watching to see where this genre goes in response to the hyper-acceleration of Globalism and technocracy. For now it serves as a way to soak up the olde dramas without making much of a mess. It could go eventually go in another direction entirely, kind of like how The Wicker Man led to the Burning Man Festival. 

    It could even lead to a neo-NeoPaganism. Stranger things have happened, right?

              Click here for full update information from Lancashire BMD        
    LancashireBMD - New Data Message from John Marsden, Lancashire. Hi All New data has been added at www.lancashirebmd.org.uk as follows: Added 2,248 Deaths for West Lancashire RD comprising: Ormskirk (1968-1971) Added 12,428 Deaths for Bury RD comprising: Prestwich (1901-1934) Added 6,030 Deaths for St Helens RD comprising: Newton-le-Willows (1916-1934) Added 1,760 Marriages for Bury RD comprising: Whitefield, Stand Unitarian Chapel, Ringley Rd. (1956-2006) Bury Register Office or Registrar Attended (1934-1937) Radcliffe, St.John the Evangelist (1943-1973) Summerseat, St Wilfrid (1944-1967) Ainsworth, Christ Church (1943-1973) Thanks are due to Graham Robinson, Pauline Hurst and Tony Foster and their teams. John -- John Marsden Webmaster: www.lancashirebmd.org.uk www.cumbriabmd.org.uk www.1851-unfilmed.org.uk www.mlfhs.org.uk
              PRESS RELEASE        
    The project entitled UNESCO fortified churches in Transylvania – a network for “defending” cultural heritage with open “gates” in order to facilitate the access to itaims to create a network of collaboration between the seven fortified churches in Romania, included in the World Heritage List: Câlnic, Prejmer, Viscri, Dârjiu, Saschiz, Biertan, Valea Viilor. This network aims to create conditions for the “defence” of the cultural heritage values of the ethnic Hungarian and Saxon, applying the strategy of the “open gates” promote this heritage and facilitate the access to it.
    Protection strategy materializes in the conservation and restoration work of the frescos inside the church of Dârjiu, which illustrates the legend of king St. László, painted in 1419 and in the creation of an object collection related to folk art, traditional crafts gathered behind the walls of the fortified church in Dârjiu. “Open gates” are materialized in the creation of a museum exhibition of this collection in the church of Dârjiu. This best practice of Dârjiu will be an example for administrators of other churches, participants of the network. The role of the network is to achieve effective collaboration in restoration, preservation and enhancement of these valuable monuments. In this respect it was signed a protocol of cooperation between the Evangelical Church of Romania and the Unitarian Church of Transylvania.
    The overall objective of this project is to safeguard and conserve the cultural heritage for future generations and to facilitate public access to heritage by establishing a network of cooperation between the seven fortified churches in Transylvania, which are part of the World Heritage UNESCO.
    The project has the following specific objectives:
    1. Restoration and conservation of murals inside and outside of the fortified church Dârjiu.
    2. Development of the local community by improving Dârjiu’s tourist attractiveness by facilitating access through the museum exhibition of cultural heritage to the public.
    3. Creating conditions for public access and promotion of tangible and intangible heritage and tourism development through the establishment of a network of cooperation and promotion of the seven fortified churches in Transylvania, which are part of the World Heritage UNESCO.
    1. Strengthening cultural identity of the Hungarian minority through the creation and development of an intercultural museum exhibitions inside the church Dârjiu.
    Target groups of the project are:
    1. Sekler and Saxon communities from Transylvania, especially those communities where are the seven fortified churches, inscribed the World Heritage List,
    2. Local and foreign tourists, who visit the fortified churches,
    3. Applicant: Unitarian Church of Dârjiu, Project partner: Civitas Foundation for Civil Society, cult units: Evangelical Church of Romania and the Unitarian Church of Transylvania, signatories of the cooperation protocol.
    Creating the museum exhibition in the church of Dârjiu, network activities such as the production of a booklet which proposes cultural and tourist itineraries and detailed information about the regions and the seven fortified churches, making maps showing tourist itineraries, developing a common promotion site and the production of promotion documentary film contributes to community development through the increase of tourism, to the revitalization of cultural heritage, to the promotion of cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue and protection of minorities.
    Museum exhibition consists of four parts: Intercultural exhibition in the context of Fortified Churches Network; Folk art exhibition; Photo exhibition; Ethnographic and folk art outdoor exhibition.
    EEAgrantsConservarea si revitalizareaUnitarius EgyhazCivitas

              COMUNICAT DE PRESĂ        
    Parohia Unitariană Dârjiu, în calitate de beneficiar și Fundația Civitas pentru Societatea Civilă, în calitate de partener anunță lansarea proiectului Bisericile Fortificate UNESCO din Transilvania – o rețea pentru „apărarea” patrimoniului cultural, cu „porțile” deschise pentru facilitarea accesului la el.

    Proiectul este finanțat prin Programul PA16/RO12 „Conservarea și revitalizarea patrimoniului cultural și natural” – Schema de granturi mici al Mecanismului Financiar SEE 2009-2014, Operatorul de Program fiind Ministerul Culturii – Unitatea de Management a Proiectului.

    Acest proiect urmărește să creeze o metaforă bazată pe o poveste medievală. O metaforă transpusă în realitățile secolului XXI, în care suntem puși în fața primejdiei „invaziilor” venite din exterior sau dinăuntrul nostru, care în mod conștient sau inconștient urmăresc scopuri destructive și se materializează în globalizare, în pierderea identității culturale specifice, iar în final în distrugerea moștenirii culturale ale omenirii, al diversității patrimoniului ei cultural. Este justificată deci nevoia consolidării identității noastre culturale.
    Proiectul urmărește crearea unei rețele de colaborare între 7 biserici fortificate din România, aflate pe lista Patrimoniului Mondial UNESCO (Câlnic, Prejmer, Viscri, Dârjiu, Saschiz, Biertan, Valea Viilor). Această rețea urmărește să creeze condițiile de „apărare” ale valorilor patrimoniului cultural al minorităților etnice săsești și maghiare, pe de altă parte însă, aplicând strategia „porților deschise”, facilitează accesului la ea și promovează acest patrimoniu.
    „Apărarea” se materializează în lucrările de conservare ale picturilor murale aflate în interiorul bisericii din Dârjiu și în realizarea unei colecții de obiecte legate de arta populară, meșteșuguri tradiționale etc., strânse în spatele zidurilor bisericii din Dârjiu.
    „Porțile deschise” se materializează în crearea unei expoziții muzeale interculturale pilot din această colecție în biserica din Dârjiu. Acest best-practice din Dârjiu va constitui un exemplu de urmat pentru administratorii celorlaltor biserici, participanți la rețea.
    Obiectivele proiectului:
    Obiectivul general: Protejarea și conservarea patrimoniului cultural pentru generațiile viitoare și facilitarea accesului la patrimoniu a publicului larg, prin înființarea unei rețele de colaborare între cele 7 biserici fortificate din Transilvania, care fac parte din patrimoniul UNESCO.
    Obiectivele specifice:
    1. Restaurarea și conservarea picturilor murale din interiorul și exteriorul bisericii fortificate din Dârjiu.
    2. Consolidarea identității culturale a minorității maghiare prin crearea și dezvoltarea unei expoziții muzeale interculturale în incinta obiectivului bisericii din Dârjiu.
    3. Dezvoltarea comunității locale din Dârjiu prin creșterea atractivității turistice datorită facilitării accesului prin intermediul expoziției muzeale interculturale la patrimoniul cultural al publicului larg.
    4. Crearea condițiilor de acces al publicului larg și promovarea valorilor materiale și imateriale și dezvoltarea turismului, prin înființarea unei rețele de colaborare și de promovare a celor șapte biserici fortificate din Transilvania, incluse pe lista patrimoniului cultural mondial UNESCO.
    Rezultate așteptate:
    • picturile murale de pe pereții bisericii din Dârjiu conservate și restaurate;
    • 1 Expoziție muzeală cu 4 secțiuni create în incinta bisericii fortificate din Dârjiu;
    • 1 Rețea a celor 7 biserici fortificate din Transilvania (patrimoniu UNESCO) înființată.
     
         Valoarea totală a proiectului: 390.909,88 lei, din care:
    ·         Valoarea finanțării nerambursabile acordate: 351.818,89 lei (90%), 
    ·         Cofinanțarea: 39.090,99 lei (10%)
     
         Durata de implementare: 11 luni 
    EEAgrantsConservarea si revitalizareaUnitarius Egyhaz
     

              Nemzetközi Unitárius Vasárnap / International Unitarian Sunday        





    Istentisztelet.
    Szeretetvendégség.
    Fűszeres tea az indiai unitáriusoktól.
    Amerikai testvérgyülekezetünk köszöntése.
    Öröm.



              England: Inside Todmorden Unitarian Church, West Yorkshire        
    360° panorama by Joby Catto.
    Click the image to open the interactive version.


              Holier Than Thou: Tennessee Candidates Tout Their Religiosity        
    Rob Boston
    Does a Presbyterian make sure potholes are filled and balance the budget any differently than a Unitarian?

    As I cruised some news headlines online this morning, I came across an interesting tidbit: Bronislaw Komorowski, the newly elected president of Poland, campaigned in part on a promise to increase the separation of church and state.

    Poland can certainly use some separation. Back in the early 1990s, I remember Americans United hosting an activist from that county who explained the intolerably close relationship between the Roman Catholic hierarchy and the government there. Komorowski, who has been serving as interim president, said he sees putting some distance between religion and government as one way to modernize Poland.

    It would be nice if we had candidates in this country who openly campaigned on a vow to strengthen church-state separation. Instead, too often we get hopefuls eager to talk about how they plan to drag their personal religious views into every political decision they make.

    Today’s Chattanooga Times Free Press, for example, contains a story about a race for a seat on the Hamilton County Commission. It’s a crowded field, and two of the candidates attend the same Baptist church – and have taken to accusing one another of being insufficiently religious.

    One candidate, Tim Boyd, said he has never seen opponent Kenny Smith “darken the door” at East Ridge Baptist Church.

    Smith responded with a pithy, “I’m a Christian and my decisions are based on that.”

    Two other candidates, Jim Winters and Terry Turner, felt compelled to assure the newspaper that they both accept the divinity of Jesus.

    “As far as my candidacy goes...religion – it’s an important part of my life,” Winters said. Turner pointed out that he is a “follower of the way of Christ.”

    Meanwhile, Pastor Ronnie Mitchell of East Ridge Baptist decided to add a dollop of anti-historical bilge to the discussion, informing the newspaper that the United States was founded by “conservative, fundamentalist Christians and radical Bible believers.”

    One of those founders was Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson, a Deist, rejected the virgin birth and the divinity of Jesus and once edited the New Testament to remove all references to miracles.

    In a remarkable letter to John Adams, dated April 11, 1823, Jefferson observed, “And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter.”

    Some fundamentalist, radical Bible believer there!

    Obviously, many Americans would disagree with Jefferson’s conclusion. That’s fine. Religious liberty, undergirded by the separation of church and state, gives us the freedom to hash out these views in private arenas.

    They are less welcome in the government arena, and here is why: Private religious opinions are more or less irrelevant to getting the job done.

    Consider Jefferson. Even though he held religious views that many would consider unorthodox, they in no way impaired his ability to serve his country. After all, Jefferson was governor of Virginia, ambassador to France, founder of the University of Virginia and president of the United States.

    I really do believe a Deist like Jefferson, a Buddhist, a Hindu, a Jew, a Muslim or an atheist could handle the tasks of the Hamilton County Commission – just as a Christian could. Think of it: Does a Presbyterian make sure potholes are filled and balance the budget any differently than a Unitarian?

    Yet Jefferson, the man who helped birth our republic and whose genius is given plenty of lip service every 4th of July, probably couldn’t be elected to the Hamilton County Commission, in light of his religious opinions. It’s highly ironic.

    I wonder if Bronislaw Komorowski has any interest in relocating to Tennessee?


              THE LAST PERSON TO BE CONVICTED OF BLASPHEMY IN THE UNITED STATES WAS IN 1834        
    The last person convicted of blasphemy in the United States, in 1834, was Abner Kneeland, a minister who lived in Massachusetts and who was shifting his views as he read more about religion and corresponded with other ministers of different faiths.  He argued that there was no evidence for miracles, no evidence for the Trinity, no evidence  for the existence of souls, and no evidence for any specific god.  He did not consider himself an atheist, but described himself as a pantheist.  He did so because he felt the entire universe or what is called Nature could be considered as God.  In his correspondence with other ministers he wrote lengthy arguments to defend his views and they wrote equally lengthy replies. The letters are friendly, unlike those of John Calvin and Michael Servetus, where Calvin was so outraged over Servetus’s arguments against the Trinity that he ordered him arrested if he ever set foot in Geneva.  Servetus unfortunately did come to Geneva to plea his position personally with Calvin and instead Calvin turned him over to civil authorities where he was burned at the stake for heresy.  Kneeland had two trials and was convicted in the second trial and served 60 days in jail and paid a fine.  He then moved to Iowa to live out the rest of his life as a farmer.
    In his speech to the jurors at his second trial, Kneeland argued that one of the charges, obscenity, was spurious because he used satire to reject the conception of Jesus by the Holy Ghost.  He argued that the Holy Ghost is not a material being and his name implies he was a spirit and immaterial.  As such, he claimed, he lacked the male genitalia to impregnate Mary. Neither the prosecutor nor the ministers who brought charges against Kneeland were amused.  When the jury found him guilty, the judge denounced Kneeland as a cantankerous person who deserved punishment for libeling religion.  Ministers were divided.   Ralph Waldo Emerson and William Ellery Channing, early Unitarians, were his supporters.  But other Protestant ministers, including some Unitarians and Universalists (otherwise thought to be  liberal) condemned Kneeland.
      
    You can read Kneeland’s correspondence and his speech to the jury on line if you go to the Digital Library of America and select “bookshelf” and then enter “Abner Kneeland” and then select “Speech of Abner Kneeland delivered to the City of Boston in his own defense for blasphemy, November term 1834. 

    Fortunately blasphemy is rarely used as a criminal charge in municipal, state, or national law.  It would likely be found unconstitutional.  Blasphemy is usually considered an insulting way of describing God or the religion of other people.  Blasphemy was usually selective and invective descriptions of non-Christian religions were quite common when I was growing up.  “Bible belt” Protestants often equated Roman Catholics with Satan.   â€œRum, Romanism, and Rebellion” was even a campaign slogan against Democrats in the 1896 Presidential election because Democrats drew a large portion of Irish voters on the East Coast. 

              OUR EVOLVING VIEWS OF RELIGION        

    When I was in fifth grade in Brooklyn, I recall reading books in the school library on mythology. I was engrossed by the ancient Egyptian and Greek deities.  At the time I had no religion because both of my parents had abandoned their religious beliefs before I was born. This gave me the freedom to think about religion without feelings of guilt.  One thought I had was almost astounding to me.  No one in 1942 believed that Zeus, Hercules, Athena, Aeolus, Medusa, and dozens of other Greek gods were actual gods.  We referred to them as myths of the past.  But at their time (and for many centuries) virtually all of those living in the Greek civilization from Homer to the rise of the Roman empire believed in those deities, worshipped them, prayed to them, and made sacrifices to them.  If gods come and go over the millennia, why do we believe any religion is the one true religion and all others are mistaken? Later, in high school, I took a somewhat different view of religion as an attempt to make sense of the universe, especially our own lives at a time when science was non-existent or knew very little about the universe and how it works and its past history.  
    About 1960 I took an interest in Unitarians because it was a creedless religion and Nedra and i sought a place where both of us would be comfortable. Some of the Unitarian ministers over the years have considered themselves atheists or agnostics. Like me, they thought religion provided something valuable but it wasn’t the supernatural.  What attracted me to them was their belief that humans form and need communities.  A religion that does not offer a creed, but instead offers humans a chance to think about questions that are important—like why there is existence, how life began, what meaning do we create for the one life we have on earth, and why we have so many diverse answers to these questions, I found immensely appealing.  Despite efforts of religious leaders to make religion permanently fixed in its creed, rituals, and status among hundreds of other contending religions, religions undergo change. There are hundreds of Christian denominations ranging from liberal to rigid (“fundamentalist”) in their interpretations.  A similar spectrum (but with fewer denominations) exist for Jews. There are many forms of Buddhism. There are different Muslim traditions; the most familiar to those who are not Muslims are the Shiite and Sunni branches in the Middle East. 

    Everything changes.  I expect many religions will be demoted to the status of myths and new ones will arise to meet the needs of cultures that may not arise for hundreds of years.  They will have different views of life and society we cannot predict.  If humans can extend life so that most people could live reasonably healthy lives for 100 to 120 years, I expect those with 50 years of retirement will have different needs from those who are considered old today in their 70s.  If we do colonize the moon or Mars in the next two or three centuries, I would not be surprised that their religious views will show the same tendency to diversity as those that have evolved on earth. 

              Spirit of the Season        
    At this time of year I try to focus on the goodwill toward men part of the Christmas story (which I learned as a child from Linus on the Charlie Brown Christmas Special because the Unitarian Sunday School I attended was not so much about the Bible), but it’s hard. At almost every turn I’m […]
              A Trip To South Carolina Offers Lessons In Freedom vs. Fundamentalism        
    Rob Boston

    I was on vacation last week. My wife, son and I visited Charleston, S.C., where we soaked up a lot of Revolutionary War and Civil War history. (OK, we also spent a day at the beach.)

    Charleston is known as the “Holy City,” and although the origins of this nickname are somewhat obscure, there’s no denying that the place is full of historic churches. I was especially struck by the Gothic Revival architecture of the Huguenot Church and the nearby Unitarian Church, the oldest house of worship of that denomination in the South. Of course, we saw plenty of Methodist, Episcopalian and Baptist churches as well.

    Historically, Charleston has also been home to a thriving Jewish community, and, as we learned at one historic site, the Gullah community along the coast has mixed elements of Christianity with indigenous African worship to create a unique faith expression. At Charleston’s Old Slave Mart, I learned that some of the enslaved people who were abducted and brought to the city were Muslims, while others practiced traditional African religions. (These days, non-believers are represented in Charleston too.)

    The Unitarian Church of Charleston, S.C., is just one of several historic houses of worship in that city.

    South Carolina is also the home of Charles Pinckney, a politician who helped shape sections of the Constitution. Pinckney, in fact, drafted an entire constitution, which historians call the “Pinckney Plan.” Unfortunately, no copies survived, so it’s hard to say how much influence Pinckney’s version had on the constitution that emerged. But we do know one thing for sure: Pinckney is responsible for the language at the end of Article VI that says there shall be “no religious test” for federal office in America – a key religious freedom provision that helps debunk the Religious Right’s fallacious “Christian nation” myth. We visited the Charles Pinckney National Historic Site in Sullivan’s Island to learn more about this often-overlooked founder.

    Once we were back home, I cruised the web a bit to look for church-state news I might have missed while I was away. I soon came across a South Carolina connection in a column by Larry Deeds, who writes about religious topics for a local news site called MyHorryNews.com in the town of Conway.

    Deeds’ column was the usual mishmash one often encounters these days from outraged fundamentalist Christians who are angry that not everyone wants to live under their religion. For good measure, he added a generous dose of persecution complex – and he called out Americans United.

    “We are in a spiritual warfare, a battle that has an enemy that we cannot see,” Deeds wrote. “It is not a battle for our souls because they are secure in the finished work of Christ. But this is a battle for the souls of the lost and for the conscious and morality of our nation. And we must not surrender.”

    He continued, “God’s people are on the offense, not the defense. And if we keep that stance, we will find victory, not an easy victory because as a defeated foe Satan is fighting his final battle, but a victory that has been ordained in eternity past. Too often today we have flown the white flag; we have laid down our arms; we have begun to surrender, often to the gods of culture and the armies of the enemy. … We play dead when anti-Christian groups like the Freedom from Religion Foundation, American Humanists, Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, and other fringe minorities posture, threaten and intimidate. And even though they have no legal or moral standing, we all too easily give in. We must not surrender!”

    (The Rev. Barry W. Lynn, the United Church of Christ minister who has run AU since 1992, and the many religious people who are AU members, would probably be surprised to learn that we’re “anti-Christian.”)

    As I learned strolling around the streets of Charleston, there’s no shortage of religion there for those who want it. In fact, the state has a proud tradition of religious diversity and tolerance.

    That’s a great legacy. It’s a shame some South Carolinians don’t support it.


              The Devil and Donald Trump, or Strike Tents, Don; Sounds Like the Old Scratch Won        
    Image result for devil and daniel webster


    I'm a White Sox fan.  I know the thrill of almost getting there.  The delight of watching back-to-back hits to the gaps and the balloon popping disappointment of leaving two men on - inning after inning.

    I also watch politics - a rigged sport - like old time Bob Luce Pro Wrestling, or Women's Roller Derby.    The Democrats, controlled by the nut-bag Progressive wing of American politics since 1972, and the GOP, run by the Nels Rockefeller-Chuck Percy moderate doormats since the 1960's, is a push-me-pull-you spectacle sport that gets ever more soul-sucking and sad.

    Donald Trump is the product of this cynical enterprise.  I believed Candidate Trump to be a gross, loud, boorish and vain man.  I was wrong. That is his shtick and it works. It sucks the oxygen out of the room.

    I really believe that President Trump wants to end the Dem-GOP perpetual taffy pull and drain the swamp, pool, or puddle that makes a Daniel Webster want to be convicted along with Jabez Stone.

    This wonderful American story is no longer taught in our public schools and far too many of our Catholic schools.

    Daniel Webster is an American historical figure, chosen by the poet Stephen Vincent Benet as the core character for his legend the Devil and Daniel Webster.

    The Devil, Old Scratch, is a soul-sucking lobbyist, with piles of money at his command.  He lures a New Hampshire son of the soil, who is very down on his luck, Jabez Soul with a contract offering earthly wealth and honors, so long as his soul goes to OLD SCRATCH, Llc. for eternity.

    Today, the soul is a secular punchline and laugh button for Bill Maher and latte night TV.

    Congressman Daniel Webster, not to be confused with Senators Dick Durbin, Chuck Schumer, Susan Collins, or John McCain, is a rock-ribbed Union Forever American Patriot.  He is no maverick. Webster is no moderate and would never appear on Rachel Maddow, or Sean Hannity.  Webster died and is buried:

    Yes, Dan'l Webster's dead−or, at least, they buried him. But every time there's a thunder storm around Marshfield, they say you can hear his rolling voice in the hollows of the sky. And they say that if you go to his grave and speak loud and clear, "Dan'l Webster−Dan'l Webster!"  the ground'll begin to shiver and the trees begin to shake.
    And after a while you'll hear a deep voice saying, "Neighbor, how stands the Union?" Then you better answer the Union stands as she stood, rock−bottomed and copper sheathed, one and indivisible, or he's liable to rear right out of the ground. At least, that's what I was told when I was a youngster.

    Me too.

    Durbin, Collins, Schumer and McCain chirp,  "Neighbor, How's They Polling?"   Maverick up!

    They all work together and not for the State of the Union.

    Donald Trump wants to change things and change does come easy, unless it is candy-coated in good old American bullshit, like the last eight years of Obama Hope & Change.

    Old Scratch has The Union by the throat and is not letting go.  Obama Care is making too many people richer at the expense of everyone else.  Tax reform will never take place as long as 1/3 after a thick retainer means anything.   America will not be allowed to be Great Again, because the global oligarchs are winning.

    When Jabez Stone wanted to weasel out of his contract, like any good Yankee Unitarian, Daniel Webster was forced to face a rigged jury of the worst traitors, cut-throats and back-sliders in American history, up to the 114th Congress anyway.  Old Dan'l reminded the louses of their birth on this soil and appealed to their Nativist love of country.    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/bXfU2AaJDEQ?list=PLWX-t5q2SkI0xslMuPftjy6mCioqZx_em" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    Can't appeal to that anymore.  Faust has no sense of any universal truth - Americans are mavericks, no more Alamo, Valley Forge, or Khe Sahn for New York Times subscribers and listeners and viewers like Angie's List, Prudential, Northwestern Mutual and the Alliance for Climate Change.


    Donald Trump is the President of the United States for a now.

    I have a feeling that after yesterday's GOP betrayal on Health Care Reform, the traitors in the White House including the new guy, who already leaked to Ryan Lizza about his war on leakers, and  that Old Scratch has real cut-throats and crumbs in the jury box - no lightweights like Benedict Arnold, Edward Teach, or Simon Girty.
    • David Brock' sAmerican Bridge
    • Hollywood
    • Neo Cons: McCain, Graham et al - "There's War Needs a Startin'"
    • George Soros Move-On enterprises
    • The Clinton Machine
    • The GOP
    • The Media
    Strike tents, Neighbor Trump, or do something smart.  Now. Scratch wants his pay-out.

    Next up - White Sox play Cleveland at home. Get excited, expect the let down.






              Both Sides Now and Always - How the Progressive Mouth Moves        
    Image result for Russians hacked Illinois Voters

    Two Progressive Cook County Powerhouses and intellectual dim bulbs - Cook County Clerk and Rep. Mike Quigley,   have Yin and Yanged on the Trump investigation into voter fraud.

    Vertically challenged Congressman Mike Quigley and former Mayor and  prognathic progressive Cook County Clerk Dave Orr are doing a classic pull-me-pull you argument that arrives with John Dewey certainty at the conclusion that Russia owns President Trump,

     
    First, here is the diminutive Democrat's denunciation of Donald Trump:
    Democratic Rep. Mike Quigleyclaims that Russia hacked into Illinois’ State Board of Elections last year to undermine voters’ faith in the electoral process.
    Quigley, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, made the assertion on Monday to the Chicago Tribune after an interview with its editorial board. “I believe they’re on the doorstep to hacking into our voting systems. That is my educated guess,” Quigley said. The congressman said the committee should look at classifying election systems as a “target” and devote federal resources to protect their integrity.

    The problem is that since May 11, the Trump White House established a panel to study vote fraud in the United States ( the big 50, but not D.C., Guam, and Puerto Rico).  Vote fraud -Russki, Lower Slobovian, or Mikva Challenge 5th Ward Goo-goo Go-Getters - is just wrong.
    Image result for David Orr
    However, Maxillary Maximus, Clerk of Cook County and Grecian Formula Guy, offered this to the Chicago and Cook County Resistance in hipper Pilsen, Lakeview, Evanston, Peoples Republic of Oak Park,  Hyde Park, the Faith Community of St. Sabina, Unitarian flocks county wide, and in my 19th Ward, Longwood Drive and its ancillary cul de sac'd street - anywhere the Voice of Resistance WBEZ and WTTW blares:
    From the time he was a presidential candidate, Donald Trump has made unproven claims of widespread voter fraud happening throughout the nation. Now as president, Trump has assembled the inauthentic Presidential Advisory Commission on Voter Integrity to investigate voter registration and voter fraud.
    This partisan Commission has been formed on false pretenses: 3 to 5 million people did not vote illegally in the last presidential election, as the president believes, and a true bi-partisan Commission requires careful analysis and expertise.
    Were this Commission truly working in the interest of making our elections as error-free and our voter rolls as clean as possible, the focus would be on the following:
    Bringing every state on-board with the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) — a nationwide network of states, which includes Illinois, that securely shares voter registration data – so that voter information nationwide would be accurate and up-to-date.
    Updating our nation’s election infrastructure — the machines voters use to cast their ballots — which in many election jurisdictions are a decade or more old and are being held together with replacement parts often purchased on eBay.
    Pushing all states toward Automatic Voter Registration – a good government tool to help clean voter rolls across the nation.
    Instead, the President’s Commission has told state election authorities to hand over information including the names, addresses, birth dates and party affiliations of registered voters in each state. The Commission also wants a record of felony convictions, military statuses, the last four digits of Social Security numbers and voting records dating back to 2006.
    I’m happy to see that so far, election authorities in more than 40 states – including Kris Kobach’s own Kansas Secretary of State office – have rejected the Commission’s request for this information, and I urge the Illinois Board of Elections to stand up against this unnecessary overreach.
    Voting is a fundamental right. Unfortunately, instead of a genuinely bipartisan group dedicated to protecting the vote, President Trump has stacked the deck of his Commission with a number of lawmakers who have shown an inclination towards voter suppression.
    Furthermore, this comes at a time when Republicans have sought to defund the Election Assistance Commission, a truly bi-partisan Commission.
    I strongly encourage the Illinois Board of Elections, as well as my fellow elections administrators, to be cautious of the motives of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Voter Integrity and not comply with this dangerous request.

    David Orr Cook County Clerk (Emphases my own)
     You see, 20 States have already adopted ERIC and Illinois is one of them.  It was David  Orr and Mike Quigley who bulldozed electronic voting here in Cook County back in 2006.  I wrote about this only a few weeks ago -

    Donald Trump did not force the use of computer-voting on the voters of Cook County. You did, Mike Quigley. And this twerp is on the House Intelligence Committee? Vlad Putin could not have gotten into our election machines without buck-toothed Dave Orr, Forrest Claypool, Larry Sufredin and the good folks at Sequoia Voting Systems.
    In 2006, Mike Quigley was one of the Progressive grifters. . .I mean Commissioners,  who worked with Cook County Clerk David Orr, at the behest of Help America Vote, Abner Mikva and friends, to weld suburban Cook County and Chicago voters together with Venezuelan voting machines.
    The Sequoia Voting Machines, Help America Vote, Forrest Claypool, Venezuela and those rascally Russians are all part of our Progressive History.  Prior to the 2008 Election of the transformative Barack H. Obama, a huge fan of Venezuelan Tin-pot Dictator the late Hugo Chavez and voting began getting hacked without hanging chads, on-line and vulnerable.
    That was 2006, when former Mayor and Cook County Clerk David Orr insisted that Cook County and City Elections operate the identical voting systems.
     These swell voting gizmos are a product of Venezuela - that paragon of Progressive Democracy.

    Well, boys and girls Quigley notes that the Kremlin hacked the Illinois Vote and wants the Federal government to get on that stick!

    Dave Orr, who could bite a pig's ass through a picket fences, chews this cabbage twice and wants no scrutiny.

    Straight talking Progressives - the gang that made Illinois a laughing stock, Obama President and voter fraud more accessible to computer hacking - always give their truth - out of both sides of their mouth.  One message and many directions. Image result for David Orr and Mike Quigley

    The Illinois Elector Commission had better open the books to Mike Pence and  Presidential Advisory Commission on Voter Integrity,
    Image result for David Orr with Mike Quigley


    Progressives lack that last noun.


              Hey, Just Thought I'd Mention it, but WE have the 4th of July Coming Up!        
    Image result for 4th of july and CatholicsFather, we beg Your blessing for the Right to Life, the Unborn, the weak, the sick and the old; all who are finding themselves being targets of the vicious culture of death; that our Lord Jesus bless and protect all who stand up for the Christian dignity of persons. That God enlighten those who are traveling down death's highway by their involvement, in any way, with either the contemporary death culture, selfism, relativeism, or any of the new age errors of our times, that God envelop our culture with His Divine protection and help us both individually and as a nation to true enlightenment, conversion and repentance of our selves and our culture. Help us to turn from our national sin of abortion, and return to, and once again become a Christian nation, on the narrow road, that is, the path to becoming a nation and culture, under God. Amen.


    I went to St. John Fisher this morning to receive the Eucharist, because I believe that Christ is physically present, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity and not just a nice memorial of the last supper.  I am free to do that and to believe the Nicene Creed.

    I try and do this daily, because it helps me remember to listen to the positive voice of Christ, His Mother and the Holy Spirit, and ignore the more glamorous, easy and sexy whispers of Satan.

    I danced more than a few jigs with Devil in my life and it never worked our real good for me, my family and people who come in contact with me.

    I am free to do that because people who had absolutely no truck with my religion, put their own lives in hazard to give me liberty to believe, think and act in the best interests of my immortal soul. Two hundred and forty one years ago, the Deists, Congregationalists, High Church Anglicans, Quakers and Mennonites*, with a courtly nod to the few Jews and Papists of the colonies, gambled their lives, fortunes and reputations to Declare Liberty for All.

    Thank you, Gents.


    Faiths of Our Founding Fathers:

    Religious Affiliation  Total  Percenatge
    Episcopalian/Anglican 32 57.1%
    Congregationalist         13 23.2%
    Presbyterian                 12 21.4%
    Quaker                          2 3.6%
    Unitarian or Universalist 2 3.6%
    Catholic                          1 1.8%
    TOTAL 56 100%

    Name of Signer State Religious Affiliation
    Charles Carroll Maryland Catholic
    Samuel Huntington Connecticut Congregationalist
    Roger Sherman Connecticut Congregationalist
    William Williams Connecticut Congregationalist
    Oliver Wolcott Connecticut Congregationalist
    Lyman Hall Georgia Congregationalist
    Samuel Adams Massachusetts Congregationalist
    John Hancock Massachusetts Congregationalist
    Josiah Bartlett New Hampshire Congregationalist
    William Whipple New Hampshire Congregationalist
    William Ellery Rhode Island Congregationalist
    John Adams Massachusetts Congregationalist; Unitarian
    Robert Treat Paine Massachusetts Congregationalist; Unitarian
    George Walton Georgia Episcopalian
    John Penn North Carolina Episcopalian
    George Ross Pennsylvania Episcopalian
    Thomas Heyward Jr. South Carolina Episcopalian
    Thomas Lynch Jr. South Carolina Episcopalian
    Arthur Middleton South Carolina Episcopalian
    Edward Rutledge South Carolina Episcopalian
    Francis Lightfoot Lee Virginia Episcopalian
    Richard Henry Lee  Virginia Episcopalian
    George Read Delaware Episcopalian
    Caesar Rodney Delaware Episcopalian
    Samuel Chase Maryland Episcopalian
    William Paca Maryland Episcopalian
    Thomas Stone Maryland Episcopalian
    Elbridge Gerry Massachusetts Episcopalian
    Francis Hopkinson New Jersey Episcopalian
    Francis Lewis New York Episcopalian
    Lewis Morris New York Episcopalian
    William Hooper North Carolina Episcopalian
    Robert Morris Pennsylvania Episcopalian
    John Morton Pennsylvania Episcopalian
    Stephen Hopkins Rhode Island Episcopalian
    Carter Braxton Virginia Episcopalian
    Benjamin Harrison Virginia Episcopalian
    Thomas Nelson Jr. Virginia Episcopalian
    George Wythe Virginia Episcopalian
    Thomas Jefferson Virginia Episcopalian (Deist)
    Benjamin Franklin Pennsylvania Episcopalian (Deist)
    Button Gwinnett Georgia Episcopalian; Congregationalist
    James Wilson Pennsylvania Episcopalian; Presbyterian
    Joseph Hewes North Carolina Quaker, Episcopalian
    George Clymer Pennsylvania Quaker, Episcopalian
    Thomas McKean Delaware Presbyterian
    Matthew Thornton New Hampshire Presbyterian
    Abraham Clark New Jersey Presbyterian
    John Hart New Jersey Presbyterian
    Richard Stockton New Jersey Presbyterian
    John Witherspoon New Jersey Presbyterian
    William Floyd New York Presbyterian
    Philip Livingston New York Presbyterian
    James Smith Pennsylvania Presbyterian
    George Taylor Pennsylvania Presbyterian
    Benjamin Rush Pennsylvania Presbyterian



              Keadilan        
    Keadilan berasal dari bahasa yunani “dicha”(dibagi dua), dari kata ini menjadi dichaion yang berarti keadilan. Sedangkan pembagi atau hakim disebut dischastes.


    Ada beberapa pengertian menurut para filsuf yang dicuplik dari karya Plato “politea”;

    ·         Menurut Cephalus, keadilan adalah berkata yang benar dan membayar hutang.

    ·         Polemarchus mengatakan bahwa keadilan adalah memberi kepada orang apa yang pantas baginya serta berbuat baik pada kawanmu dan berbuat sebaliknya pada musuhmu.

    ·         Trasymarchus mengatakan bahwa keadilan adalah keuntungan bagi penguasa. Keadilan tidak bermanfaat bagi bukan pemilik kekuasaan untuk menjalankannya.

    Dalam keadilan, dikenal golden rules atau aturan kencana atau similia simillibus. Contohnya: jangan lakukan apa yang tidak ingin orang lain lakukan kepadamu. Namun, jika terlalu ditekankan golden rules ini, maka akan terjadi yang namanya summun jus, summun injuria; summa lex, summa crux. Artinya extreme law is the greatest injury, strict law is great punishment.

    Dalam keadilan dikenal dua kelompok, yakni liberalis dan komunitarian.
    Keadilan menurut liberalis atau yang menganggap manusia itu individu otonom dan bebas ialah bahwa otonomi individu lebih dikedepankan. Keadilan memberikan hak-hak individu secara maksimal dan masyarakat hanya agregat dari individu-individu. Sedangkan keadilan menurut kaum komunitarian, bahwa masyarakat lebih dikedepankan. Individu-individu adalah pendukung dari masyarakat akibatnya jika terjadi perselisihan, maka masyarakat yang harus dimenangkan.

    Ada tiga justice rules:
    ·         Contibutive ruleyaitu pembagian diukur atas dasar kontribusi yang diberikan.
    ·         Needs ruleyaitu pembagian diukur atas dasar kebutuhan pihak yang menerima. Namun kadang-kadang terdapat kesulitan dalam menentukan kebutuhan tiap pihak.
    ·         Equality ruleyaitu pembagian diukur atas dasar objek yang dibagi sama rata. Jika tidak ada informasi tentang pihak-pihak yang mendapatkan pembagian, maka hanya dapat digunakan equality rule. Namun, jika ada informasi tentang kebutuhan dan ditetapkan equality rule, maka akan menimbulkan ketidakadilan.

              So when the full light of.        
    When he found that footmen Sir Leicester Dedlock; he did not care whether Sir Leicester Dedlock Ironmaster, said he was attacking an effete oligarchy.
    _Barnaby Rudge_ marks this epoch because it marks the fact that he is already struck the note of the normal romance in _Nicholas Nickleby_; he and _The Old Curiosity Shop_, but here he betrays the fact that it is a romantic, historical novel.
    This was the first of others were the _Last of the Mohicans_, 1826; the _Prairie_, 1827; the series, Natty Bumpo, or Leatherstocking, was Cooper's one great literature of the world in the way of a new human type.
    Nay, it was the starting-point of Puritanism itself, which by its Congregational system had made each church society independent had grown rigid and dogmatic it had never used the weapons of willingness to submit its beliefs to the fullest discussion and had put conservative Unitarianism, as that had been from Calvinism.
    Before commencing these labours, I was aware, generally, that there the Continent; but as I advanced, I became better acquainted with the by which it is supported.
    Then Geraint recollected the games, and thought that he Earl looked upon Geraint, and considered, and he bethought him that had ever established those games, were it only on account of losing games, he would gladly have done so.
              569. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 21 February 1801         
    August 2011

    569. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 21 February 1801 ⁠* 

    My dear Wynn

    Your letter gave me the first detail of the great news. [1]  a passage of four days xxxx made it as fresh as possible & we are here cursing winds & water that we must wait a fortnight before another mail can reach us.

    What will happen? the breach is made & this lath & plaister cannot long keep out the weather. Will the old administration be strong enough to force their plans upon the crown? possible. equally so that the art of alarming in which they were so proficient may now be turned successfully against them. Yet on this point, the whole body of opposition is with them, & the whole intellect of the country. I rather expect after more inefficient changes the establishment of opposition – & peace. the helm requires a strong hand.

    Decidedly as my own principles lead to toleration I yet think in the sufferance of converts & proselytism it has been carried too far. you might as well let a fire burn or a pestilence spread, as suffer the propagation of popery. I hate & abhor it from the bottom of my soul. & the only antidote is poison – Voltaire & such writers cut up the wheat with the tares. the monastic establishments in England ought to be dissolved. as for the Priests, they will for the most part find their way into France. they who remain should not be suffered to recruit & would soon die away in peace. I half fear a breach of the Union [2]  – perhaps anxxother rebellion in that cursed country. alas – that earthquakes & volcanos cannot be inoculated!

    I do not purpose returning till the year of my house-rent be compleat, & shall then leave Lisbon with regret. in spite of English house-comforts & the all-in-all happiness of living among old friends & familiar faces, xxx xxx of this climate so compleatly changes my whole animal being that I would exchange every thing for it. It is not Lisbon, – Italy or the South of Spain or of France would perhaps offer greater inducements if the possibility of a foreign settlement existed.

    On my history [3]  no labour shall be spared. now I only heap marble x xxxx the edifice must be erected in England – but I must return again to the quarry. You will find my style plain & short & of condensed meaning. plain as a Doric building [4]  – & I trust of eternal durability. The notes will drain off all quaintness. I have no doubt of making a work by which I shall be honourably remembered. You shall see it, & Elmsly if he will take the trouble, before publication. Of profit I must not be sanguine, yet if it attain the reputation of Robertson – than whom it will not be worse, or of Roscoe & Gibbon [5]  than whom it will assuredly be better, it will procure me something more substantial than fame. – My price for Thalaba was for 1000 copies – 115 pounds. twelve copies being allowed me. the booksellers would have bargained for a quarto edition also, but it would have been illjudged to have glutted the public, & they at least delayed correction. the money is gone to settle my brother Henry with a Surgeon [6]  – & thus secure him a useful profession.

    I expect in the ensuing winter to be ready with my first volume. to hurry it would be injudicious, & historic labour will be relieved by employing myself in correcting Madoc. [7]  my intention is therefore to journey thro North Wales next summer to the Lakes where Coleridge is settled, & to pass the autumn (their summer) there – for a Welsh map of the roads & what-to-be-seen you must be my director. perhaps too you might in another way assist Madoc, by pointing out what manners or superstition of the Welsh would look well in blank verse. much may have escaped me – & some necessarily must. Long as this poem (from the age of 14) [8]  has been in my head, & long as its sketch has now lain by me, I now look on at no very distant date to its publication, after an ample revision & recasting. you will see it & scrutinize it when corrected.

    Leoline (the Welsh name is Llewellin & the Latinism is certainly non-descript) – & the Botch-Hayes Episode are gone down the bottomless pool, [9]  & Thalaba is now a whole & unembarrassed story. the introduction of Laila is not an episode – it is so connected with the murder of Hodeirah & the after actions of Thalaba as to be essentially part of the tale. Thalaba has certainly & inevitably the fault of Samson Agonistes [10]  – its parts might change place. but in a Romance epic laws may be dispensed with. its faults now are verbal, but such as it <is>, I know no poem which can claim a place between it & Orlando. [11]  Let it be weighed with the Oberon [12]  perhaps – were I to speak out – I should not dread a trial with Ariosto. <my> his proportion of ore to dross is greater. perhaps the Anti Jacobine criticasters may spark Thalaba; it is so utterly innocent of all good drift; it may pass by the world like Richard Cromwell [13]  notwithstanding the sweet savour of its [MS obscured] name. Do you know that they have caricatured me between Fox & Norfolk worshipping Bonaparte? [14]  poor me – at Lisbon – who have certainly molested nothing but Portugueze spiders! Amen! I am only afraid my company will be ashamed of me – one at least – he is too good for me – & upon my soul I think myself too good for the other.

    The Spanish Ambassador [15]  truckled off for Madrid this morning – he is a bad imitation of a hogshead in make. All is alarm here – & I sweat in cursed cold weather for my books, creditors alas for many a six-&-thirty! We have two allies more faithful than Austria (the honest [MS torn] Paul the Magnanimous. [16]  Famine & the Yellow Fever but the American Gentleman is asleep till summer, & as for Famine she is as busy in England as here. I rejoice in the eventual effects of scarcity – the cultivation of the wastes. the population bills  [17]  you probably know to be Rickmans – for which he has long been soliciting Rose, [18]  & the management is his of course & compliment. it is of important utility.

    Of the red wines I spoke in my last. Will you have Bucellas as it can be got? it should be kept rather in a garret than a cellar – a place dry & warm. but ample direction shall be sent with it. you may perhaps get old now, when so just an alarm prevails. new is better than none – because it will improve even in ideal value should Portugal be closed to England. its price will little if at all differ from Port or Lisbon – it is your vile taxes that make the expence. & by the by I must vent a monstrous curse against the duty upon foreign books – sixpence per pound weight if bound. it is abominable.

    farewell & God bless you. – I am going next week on my journey – I have again drawn for 40 £. some statement is due to you. My price for Thalaba is gone – I had calculated on a surplus for myself – but there was a deficiency. books have cost me more than would be justifiable were they not a stock in trade & responsible debtors. my expences out run me – but the labour of a year at home will overtake them.

    About Chatterton [19]  – my first job will be to send the edition to press as soon as the number of copies can be ascertained. I hope it may reach 750. for Sir Herbert I shall treat him with severe superiority, & chastise him with xxx unmerciful calmness. About the red haired Xtian [20]  in Thalaba – tis a Turk receipt for poison – but a Turk might have done less certainly. sus-per-col [21]  is a blunder of yours he being sus – the other way.

    yrs affectionately

    R Southey.


    Feby. 21. 1801. Lisbon


    Notes

    * Address: To/ C W Williams Wynn Esqr M. P./ 5. Stone Buildings/ Lincolns Inn/ London
    Stamped: LISBON
    Postmark: FOREIGN OFFICE/ MR/ 14
    Endorsement: Feb 21/ 1801
    MS: National Library of Wales, MS 4811D. ALS; 4p.
    Previously published: Charles Cuthbert Southey (ed.), Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey, 6 vols (London, 1849-1850), II, pp. 131-135; Adolfo Cabral (ed.), Robert Southey: Journals of a Residence in Portugal 1800-1801 and a Visit to France 1838 (Oxford, 1960), pp. 149-150 [in part]. BACK

    [1] William Pitt (1759-1806, Prime Minister 1783-1801, 1804-1806; DNB) resigned as Prime Minister on 16 February 1801, mainly over the refusal of George III to agree to any measures to relieve the civil disabilities on Roman Catholics. The fall of his ministry was also expected to pave the way for peace with France. BACK

    [2] The Union between Great Britain and Ireland, which came into effect on 1 January 1801. BACK

    [3] Southey’s uncompleted ‘History of Portugal’. BACK

    [4] Believed to be the earliest and plainest style of Greek architecture. BACK

    [5] The well-known eighteenth-century historians William Robertson (1721-1793; DNB), William Roscoe and Edward Gibbon (1737-1794; DNB). BACK

    [6] Philip Meadows Martineau (1752-1829), surgeon at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital and a member of the Martineau family, prominent Unitarians in Norwich. BACK

    [7] Southey had written a version of Madoc in 1797-1799. He revised it extensively in 1803-1804 and published the poem in 1805. BACK

    [8] Southey had completed a prose outline of Madoc as early as 1789. BACK

    [9] Central features of the early draft of Book 12 of Thalaba the Destroyer; see Southey to Wynn, 30-[31] December 1800, Letter 563. ‘Botch Hayes’ was Samuel Hayes (d. c. 1795), a master at Westminster School during Southey’s time there. He was renowned for being lax on discipline, so much so that Southey later recorded that pupils used to ‘stick his wig full of paper darts’. Hayes was also a writer of poems and sermons, and co-author of a tragedy, Eugenia (1766). BACK

    [10] Samson Agonistes (1671), a tragic closet drama by John Milton (1608-1674; DNB). BACK

    [11] Orlando Furioso (1532), by the Italian poet Ludovico Ariosto (1474-1533). BACK

    [12] Christoph Wieland (1733-1813), German poet and author of Oberon (1780). BACK

    [13] Richard Cromwell (1626-1712, Lord Protector 1658-1659; DNB) returned to England from exile in the 1680s and lived undisturbed under an assumed name. BACK

    [14] Charles James Fox (1749-1806, Foreign Secretary 1782, 1783 and 1806; DNB) and Charles Howard, 11th Duke of Norfolk (1746-1815; DNB) were leaders of the opposition Whig group who wished to make peace with France, led by Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821, First Consul 1799-1804, Emperor of the French 1804-1814). Southey appears to have been given the wrong information: no such caricature appeared in the Anti-Jacobin. BACK

    [15] The Ambassador’s name is not recorded in contemporary reports; he left because Spain was about to declare war on Portugal. BACK

    [16] Paul I (1754-1801, Tsar of Russia 1796-1801). BACK

    [17] The Census Act became law on 31 December 1800 and authorised the first census of 1801. BACK

    [18] George Rose (1744-1818), MP Launceston 1784-1790, Christ Church 1790-1818, Clerk of the Parliaments 1788-1801. BACK

    [19] Southey and Cottle’s edition of the Works of Thomas Chatterton (1803). BACK

    [20] Thalaba the Destroyer (1801), Book 9, lines 616-653, in which a red-haired Christian boy is sacrificed so that poison can be extracted from his dying body. BACK

    [21] An abbreviation of ‘suspendatur per colum’, Latin for ‘let him be hanged by the neck’; the phrase was written in the calendar of attainted criminals against the name of someone convicted of a capital crime. The red-haired boy was hanged upside down, so he was ‘sus – the other way’. BACK

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              802. Robert Southey to William Taylor, 23 June 1803         
    August 2011

    802. Robert Southey to William Taylor, 23 June 1803 ⁠* 

    I have very long been silent – not because you were so – but because I was bound to say something of reproof to Harry in my letter – & that was an unpleasant task. by one phrase in yours, I guess that his Uncle has enabled him to discharge his debts. I believe it is useless ever to preach frugality to one who has not the principle in his nature. but indeed if Harry involves himself he will find that his relations however much they may wish to relieve him, have not the power. his Uncle would be able if he had no other calls. I work like a negro & difficultly keep even with the world – indeed not even that. his brother Tom has not been fortunate as yet in his profession. he is very generous – but has those sailor-like habits – that let him get what fortune he will – he will never be rich <have to share.> Harry must be his own friend. Enough he shall have, but if he will not abstain from pleasures – he must not expect to draw upon his friends wants to pay for them. Now this is said too harshly – & do not you show it to him. To what you now say I scarcely know how to answer. [1]  he is not yet too old for college graduation – but there is an imprudence in the waste of an apprentice fee, & an unsteadiness in the change – & moreover when he says he has no conscientious scruples – that I take it – means he has no conscience at all about the matter. do not misunderstand me. I who am a believer, & that upon the Socinian – or low Arian ground – were I now at three & twenty with the opinions that I hold at nine & twenty – would chuse the church for my profession – but then I have a deep & silent & poet-feeling. connected with these things, that grows & with me & will grow. I do not think Harrys mind has any similarity with mine. That he should change I should never have advised – but now that he has written to his Uncle I shall feel no sorrow for the change – tho in truth I believe his Uncle will advise him to follow his first choice.

    Dear William Taylor – your theology does nothing but mischief. [2]  it serves only to thin the miserable ranks of Unitarianism. The regular troops of Infidelity do little harm – & their trumpeters such as Voltaire & Paine, [3]  not much more – but it is such pioneers as Middleton [4]  – & you & your German friends, that work underground & sap the very citadel. that Monthly Magazine is read by all the Dissenters – I always call it the Dissenters Obituary – & here are you eternally mining, mining under the shallow faith of their half-learned, half-witted – half-paid – half-starved pastors. We must not give strong meats to weak stomachs. I have qualms of conscience about it myself. there is poor Burnett gone stark foolish because he has been made the friend of the wise – diseased at once with a plethora of vanity & an inanition of knowledge – with all the disposition to destroy himself – only that he cannot muster up courage – & that I suppose he will do at last – in the hope of being talkd of as an instance of neglected genius. Oh that proverb about the pearls & the swine has a great deal more in it than I once imagined! [5] 

    It is you then who have delayed the Annual Review? [6]  my threshing was finished two months ago. I go to London on Sunday next & will ask Hamilton [7]  for that account of Broomholme Priory, [8]  which he has used me somewhat uncivilly in not inserting. his application to you – twelve months after I mentioned you to him – is almost six months after he applied to me for your direction is very much in character. if he has not lost the article I will turn it over to A Aikin. it cannot want abridgement – he xxx requested long articles from me because he was short of matter.

    Why refashion Drayton? [9]  in the first place you could write a better poem than the old Michael. in the next place – instead of making the poets of Elizabeths [10]  day talk as they do now, you would do better to make the poets under his most gracious Majesty George 3 [11]  – talk as they did in Elizabeths day. tis an article in my creed that from the days of John Milton English Poetry has gone on from bad to worse – we have had froth & flummery imposed upon us – contortions of language that passed for poetry because they were not prose, & phrases that have been admired by faith, never being designed to be understood. Coleridge & I have often talked of making a great work upon English Literature – but Coleridge only lately – & poor fellow he will not do that long I fear – & then I shall begin in my turn xxxx <to feel> an old man – to talk of the age of little men & complain like old Ossian. [12]  by God it provokes me when I see a set of puppies yelping at him, <upon> whom he – a great good-natured mastiff, if he came up to them, would just lift up his leg & pass on. & it vexes & grieves me to the heart that when he is gone, as go he will nobody will believe what a mind goes with him, how infinitely & ten thousand thousand-fold – the mightiest of his generation!

    My stay in London I xxxx will be short. I do not mean to be absent from home above a fortnight – & already wish that time was past. if transmigration be the true faith, & our aptitudes determine our destiny, if I be not exalted into my own old owl-eyed Simorgh [13]  – I shall certainly make my appearance in the next post-deluvian world in the shape of a Toad in a stone. [14]  My little girl is so fond of me that I am in a fair way of spoiling her, & young as she is I am sometimes showing her the pictures – when I ought to be reading the book. however I get on. you will like my history [15]  – & you will like my Madoc [16]  – & if you were to review them – why I should be half an edition the richer man. my poor books make their own fortune but not mine – they get me reputation & I want money – oh if I could find some kind gentleman who has an ambition to be a poet! & would pay me well for writing him up above all the Darwins & Rogers’s & Campbells [17]  of the day!

    Among the odd revolutions of the world you may reckon this – that my politics come nearer Mr Wyndhams [18]  – than they do William Taylors!

    God bless you –

    R S.


    Thursday afternoon. June 23. 1803.

    Notes

    * Address: To/ Mr Wm Taylor Junr/ Surry Street/ Norwich/ Single
    Postmarks: BRISTOL/ JUN 24 1803; B/ JUN 25/ 1803
    Endorsement: Ansd 3 July
    MS: Huntington Library, HM 4839. ALS; 4p.
    Previously published: J. W. Robberds (ed.), A Memoir of the Life and Writings of the Late William Taylor of Norwich, 2 vols (London, 1843), I, pp. 459-463 [in part]. BACK

    [1] Possibly Henry Herbert Southey’s intention to enrol at Edinburgh University in November 1803 to study medicine. BACK

    [2] In a letter to Southey, 21 June 1803 (J.W. Robberds (ed.), A Memoir of the Life and Writings of the Late William Taylor of Norwich, 2 vols (London, 1843), I, pp. 456-459), Taylor described how his ‘Who wrote the Wisdom of Solomon?’ attributed authorship to Jesus. The essay appeared in the Monthly Magazine, 16 (October 1803), 221-224. BACK

    [3] Tom Paine (1737-1809; DNB), The Age of Reason (1794-1795). BACK

    [4] Conyers Middleton (1683-1750; DNB), clergyman known for his unorthodox opinions, including denying the historical accuracy of the Old Testament and accounts of miracles by early Christian authors. BACK

    [5] Matthew 7: 6. BACK

    [6] Taylor had reviewed for Annual Review for 1802, 1 (1803). BACK

    [7] Samuel Hamilton (fl. 1790s-1810s), owner of the Critical Review 1799-1804. BACK

    [8] Bromholm Priory, a Cluniac priory near Bacton in Norfolk. Southey’s account did not appear in the Critical Review. BACK

    [9] Michael Drayton (1563-1631; DNB), poet, whose The Battle of Agincourt (1627) Taylor was modernising. BACK

    [10] Elizabeth I (1533-1603; reigned 1558-1603; DNB). BACK

    [11] George III (1738-1820, King of Great Britain 1760-1820; DNB). BACK

    [12] James Macpherson (1736-1796; DNB), The Works of Ossian (1765). BACK

    [13] The Simurgh was a fabulous bird in Persian mythology and appeared in Thalaba the Destroyer (1801), Book 11 as the hero’s guide. BACK

    [14] In popular belief, toads were thought to be able to live for prolonged periods encased in stone. BACK

    [15] Southey’s unfinished ‘History of Portugal’. BACK

    [16] Southey had completed a version of Madoc in 1797-1799 and was revising it for publication. It did not appear until 1805. BACK

    [17] Erasmus Darwin (1731-1802; DNB), Samuel Rogers and Thomas Campbell (1777-1844; DNB) were all poets whose work sold very well. BACK

    [18] William Windham (1750-1810; DNB), Secretary at War 1794-1801. He was against the Treaty of Amiens in 1802. Windham was MP for Norwich 1784-1802 and Taylor was opposed to his influence in the borough. BACK

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              Celebration of Life for Joanie Blank        
    Founder of Good Vibrations. At the Unitarian Universalist Church Beth and I will be paying homage to the amazing Joanie Blank. *Joanie left her body a week after this event Jul 30Event time: all dayLocation: Oakland, CAMap: 
              UU Service        
    By Jon Sievert The Reverend Wyman Rousseau explores the Universalism side of the Unitarian Universalist faith at this Sunday’s service. UU Service “The Hidden Legacy of Universalism” By Rev. Wyman Rousseau Sun, Jul 30, 10:30am Posada de la Aldea, Ancha de San Antonio 15 Free Where do Christian denominational names come from? Some denominations derive [...]
              Facebook, privacy, pluralism and belief        

    The experience of being a new Facebook user prompts wider and deeper thoughts on 'friending', community and privacy for theologian Graeme Smith. Despite the promises of heavenly or earthly paradises made by ardent followers of this or that religious or political cause, all will become hellish if pluralism and therefore privacy is not protected and enhanced, he suggests.

    Somewhat in the manner of the guest who arrives at a New Year’s Eve party at five minutes past midnight, I have recently joined Facebook. My previous abstention was not ideologically motivated, so there has been no conversion, just the arrival of a new practical need. A project will benefit if I have some sort of Facebook presence.

    I have to say it has been a surprisingly positive experience. At first I was a bit daunted by the prospect of asking people ‘to be my friend’. Facebook were keen to nominate a whole raft of people who would be pleased to sign up as Graeme’s friends, but I was not so sure. Their optimism clashed with my memories of primary school, the last time I think I actually asked anyone to be my friend.

    So to begin with I attempted a few safe bets, those who would have shocked me by saying ‘no’. This was successful and therefore, newly emboldened, and with an ever increasing list of proposals from Facebook, I began to stray further and further afield. And the responses were heart-warmingly positive. I now have 43 friends, not quite the 3-400 hundred of some of my students, but far more than I realised I had prior to the whole ‘asking’ business. Primary school was never this good.

    Of course not all of these happy band of 43 are straightforwardly friends. One of them is my father. Don’t get me wrong, I get on very well with my father, we are alike in many ways and enjoy the same sorts of conversations and hobbies. But he is my father rather than my friend. It would be odd if ever, at say a party of the 43, I introduced him as my friend Gordon rather than as my father.

    Likewise some of my new Facebook friends are really people who probably should be thought of as colleagues, associates or acquaintances. I am kind of in their gang, but it could all change if we move classes. And there are some of these new friends who I haven’t actually met face to face. But I am assured this is all fine and normal, the point being that Facebook leads the way in a new type of social interaction, a new social media, a virtual, network society with a novel set of rules for human interaction.

    This range of friend types, corralled under one banner, leads to another problem. Now I have all these friends what am I going to say to them. The diversity of friends, from work associate to family member, means they are going to be interested in different things. Those who are keen to know what my son (who won’t be my friend) got in his GCSEs are not as interested in the latest post from the jourbal Political Theology’s blog (entitled 'There is Power in the Blog' – yes this is a plug!). Nor will those who want to see the latest articles on the Obama – Romney debates be that interested in my last attempt to plod around 10 kilometres of the Warwickshire countryside.

    More than that it feels a bit odd to tell work colleagues about hobbies and to show people I have never met our family snaps. In other words the umbrella term friends seems to have blurred part of the distinction between my private and public life. Even if I limit access with the privacy settings, and assume the sheer size of Facebook, around about a billion users, together with my obscurity, means few will look at my posts, still a bit of the barrier between the public and the private has been lost. The clear distinction between private Graeme and public Graeme is a little less clear.

    And this loss of privacy is a concern. Not because I am anything more than annoyed, and a bit intrigued, by Facebook’s attempt to sell me new trainers, a holiday, phone contract, or health insurance. Plenty of sites do this. Nor is it because I fear ever increasing commercial and possibly State surveillance of my private life, although I probably should.

    Rather it is because the existence, protection and celebration of a ‘private life’ is the main pillar of a functioning pluralist society. I take pluralism to be a basic ethical good. For pluralism to work there must be diversity. And for diversity to work we need privacy, that is a personal space in which we are allowed to hold beliefs, with or without reason, which differ from others and quite possibly the majority.

    We live at a time when important groups in society, especially religious groups, want to limit or remove the possibility of such a private life. These communitarian groups seek to invade the private space of individual belief with the ‘truthfulness’ and ‘rightness’ of their religion, ideology, or culture. They do this by general attacks on Western democratic liberalism, by suggesting the liberal notion of the individual lacks substance, and by questioning the legitimacy of diverse beliefs. What resists these groups and holds back these trends is the assertion of the fundamental good of pluralism and the fundamental necessity, for pluralism, of privacy. Ultimately pluralism is defended by the assertion of our right to religious freedom.

    This said, of course not all religious and ideological communitarian groups want to deny freedom of belief. Some hold in tension the limits of their knowledge of the truth with their recognition of global diversity. Nor am I claiming all is well with Western liberal democracy and some extreme forms of individualism. There are many serious problems which are caused or worsened by social and community fragmentation.

    But any such problems will pale into insignificance compared with the disasters that will follow any limitations on the basic right of freedom of belief. Despite the promises of heavenly or earthly paradises made by ardent followers of this or that religious or political system, all will become hellish if pluralism and therefore privacy are not protected and enhanced.

    So, please do look me up on Facebook, and do think about becoming my friend, but don’t expect me to tell you everything.

    ---------

    (c) Graeme Smith is Reader in Public Theology at the University of Chichester. He has worked previously at St Michael’s College, Llandaff and Cardiff University, and Oxford Brookes University. An Ekklesia associate, his research interests are in contemporary social and political theology. He is editor of the international journal Political Theology (http://www.politicaltheology.com/PT/) and author of the books A Short History of Secularism and Oxford 1937: The Universal Christian Council for Life and Work Conference, as well as academic articles on Thatcherism, Blair, Richard Rorty and Pragmatism, and Red Toryism.


              Steal Your Fire, Drink Your Tea        
    In the late nineteenth and into the twentieth-century a good many Unitarian congregations sponsored Prometheus Clubs. These were forums for dangerous ideas—some new ones, such as quantum mechanics, and some old ones, such as looking at nature as non-dual. Prometheus. Chances are that if you’ve heard of him, you’ve learned that he’s the god eternally punished […]
              Tom Roberts on Clergy's Task to Confront Abuse Crisis: A Response Noting Impoverishment of Communitarian Imagination of U.S. Catholic Intellectual Leaders        


    I am, of course, sympathetic to Tom Roberts' recent essay in National Catholic Reporter calling on Catholic clergy and hierarchical leaders to confront the clericalist base of the abuse crisis in the Catholic church. This argument echoes an argument made powerfully by one witness after another confronting the abuse crisis and its cover up.


    One section of the essay catches my attention, however, as an illustration of something seriously awry in American Catholicism that has fed into the clericalism yielding the abuse crisis and its cover up. Roberts writes, 

    All of the apologies and reconciliation services and public displays of sorrow for what had happened — straight up to papal visits with victims that finally occurred during Pope Benedict XVI's reign — lacked a central element: an engagement by clergy with our sacramental tradition to ask what happened and how. 
    Before another synod is conducted about families, or young people or evangelization, or any other aspect of church life, we need a synod on the clergy culture. Church leaders, after wide consultation with their peers and with respected experts, should meet in Rome. There need be only one topic on the agenda and that topic, in the form of questions, should be distributed to all the priests and bishops in the world. 
    The central question: 
    What caused us, members of the Catholic clergy culture, to arrive at the point where we could devise a rationale that allowed us to walk away from the incalculable suffering of the community's children in order to protect those members of the clergy culture who caused the suffering?

    We need a synod on the clergy culture. Church leaders, after wide consultation with their peers and with respected experts, should meet in Rome: these statements describe the problem to be addressed if clericalism is to be rooted out of the Catholic community. They do not describe a solution to the problem of clericalism. 

    There are far more voices within a community that is authentically catholic than the voices of church leaders, their "peers," and "respected experts." The synod on the family was a conspicuous failure precisely because it adopted this top-down, hierarchical approach to synodal consultation, and did not consult widely, listening to as many voices as possible "on the ground" — to the voices of many different kinds of lay Catholics living the family lives defined in the synod by "church leaders," their "peers," and "expert" consultants. 

    I say that Roberts' recommendation here points to something seriously awry in American Catholicism that contributes to rather than addresses the problem of clericalism. That "something seriously awry" is the lamentable impoverishment of the imagination of American Catholic leaders and of the American Catholic intellectual establishment — its academic and journalistic establishment — about what catholicity itself means. The reflex fall-back to "experts" and "church leaders" and their "peers" illustrates the problem here very neatly: this approach to consultation about an issue as serious as clericalism (and the abuse crisis) mirrors and replicates the very clericalism (and the hierarchicalism) that has produced the abuse crisis in the first place.

    There are many, many more voices in the Catholic community than the voices of "experts" and "church leaders" and their "peers." Those voices seldom receive the kind of hearing they deserve within the "liberal" Catholic intellectual establishment that parses the definition of catholicity for the American Catholic church, in tandem with the hierarchy. As I learned in the early 1990s when I sought to obtain a hearing at NCR for my story of expulsion from the Catholic academy because I am gay and long partnered, the American Catholic intellectual establishment, with its purported "liberalism," acts as a gatekeeper for the American Catholic conversation, and at that point in time, NCR's movers and shakers told me in no uncertain terms that they did not intend to hear or tell my story. (I mention this case by way of illustration of a problem that is wider than my own personal case.)

    This approach to what catholicity means in American Catholicism has done incalculable damage to the American Catholic church. It has reinforced the very clericalism that Tom Roberts and others rightly identify as the deep root of the abuse crisis. It mirrors the way the clerical culture operates in insulating itself from the rest of the church, in turning itself into an elite club, in deluding itself into imagining that it has an "expert" optic on the church which non-experts lack. 

    This approach to what catholicity means in American Catholicism echoes the elitism of the "liberal" Democratic political establishment, which has badly failed American citizens by failing to consult widely, to listen broadly, to value all voices equally, as it forms policy recommendations for the Democratic party. As people of color, women, Hispanics, people on the economic margins of American society, LGBTQ people, and many others are now telling the "liberal" Democratic establishment, if the Democratic party hopes to have a viable future in politics in the U.S., it must move beyond the hierarchical model that privileges the voices of "experts" and elite groups and start listening intentely to its base. If it wants to have a future . . . 

    Ditto for American Catholic "liberals," if the U.S. church really is serious about addressing the clericalist roots of the abuse crisis. And if the American Catholic intellectual establishment and its leaders really do care about the future of the church they claim to lead . . . .

              Little Women        
    Little Women
    author: Louisa May Alcott
    name: Rachel
    average rating: 4.14
    book published: 1868
    rating: 4
    read at: 2012/04/21
    date added: 2012/04/25
    shelves: 2012, fiction, classic, young-adult
    review:
    I read Little Women as a girl and loved it so I was excited to have the opportunity to review an audio production of the book. However, I was quite surprised when the audio book abruptly ended in the middle of the story. I discovered that Little Women was originally two volumes: Little Women and Good Wives. They were first published together as one book titled Little Women in 1880. Most versions of Little Women published today are both volumes together in one book. This audio recording is just the first volume. Because what most people read as Little Women is actually both volumes, I feel like there should have been some indication on the box somewhere that this audio book does not include the second volume.

    (I don't want to spoil it for anyone who may not have read it yet so I'll say this - remember the Friends episode when Rachel convinces Joey to read Little Women? And he has to put the book in the freezer because of one particularly sad part? This audiobook ends before that sad part happens.)

    Even though this book was written more than one-hundred years ago, it still has relevance today. I think that the four March girls and Marmee have some good lessons to teach young girls that are timeless. Reading it now as a mother myself, I marveled at Marmee's patience and wisdom. I could learn a lot from her! I was very impressed at how independent and free-thinking the girls and their mother were given the time period the book was written in and took place. (Of course, Louisa May Alcott was a Unitarian so I shouldn't have been surprised at that.)

    Lorelei King narrated this audiobook. I thought she did a great job for the most part. The two voices I didn't like were Beth and Amy's. I thought Beth's was too breathy and Amy's was too babyish - they didn't sound realistic to me. Overall, I enjoyed this audio production. My biggest complaint is that it left unexpectedly hanging at the end.


              Imagine        


    Recently, at the Unitarian church I have started to attend, I sat in the pews and listened to a choir composed of older members sing "Imagine," John Lennon's famous song. I had not heard this song in a very long time, let alone sung live. It was an emotionally moving experience. Later that same day, I went to see Al Pacino's new movie, "Danny Collins." Fifteen minutes or so into the movie, the sound track played Lennon singing the same song. It was a beautiful coincidence. When I left the theater, I began to think about what I imagine or have imagined. My mind was quickly filled with photos I have taken and posted here. For the second time that day, I wept at the beauty of it all.

    This past week, I sorted through those mental images. I remembered how often I had asked myself to "imagine" the infinite possibilities the Montessori method offers people of all ages and of diverse backgrounds. It was the act of visualizing one of these, combined with formulating a lesson, identifying the materials and then inviting a child or an elderly individual to sit and work with me (or a group of one or the other), which resulted in so much good work. It was a rare moment when someone declined. Yet, the vision of possibility was not complete until they engaged in it. They transformed it from a hope to a reality. Too, what I imagined became theirs and they made it more. Once I presented the lesson and provided the materials, I became the assistant and observer. From that place, I watched with wonderment and awe. Later, in the evening hours, I wrote about it.

    Imagine toddlers given enough space to truly express themselves artistically.



     ***



     Imagine other toddlers sewing - alone and collaboratively.



    ***



    Imagine children (3-6 year olds) asking if the leaves of a plant would collectively form an ellipsoid or an ovoid.




    Imagine these same children designing, constructing and racing their own catamarans.




    Imagine the elderly playing the Montessori bell game; quietly and carefully walking across the room and passing the bell to another.



    Imagine them building with blocks that remind us Montessorians of the constructive triangles.



    Imagine a child with high spectrum autism sewing a little, felt pouch.



    Imagine that same child stopping on a walk to smell and feel the plants along the way. 


    Four more images hover in my mind and must be shared. I watched these moments, yet they were not planned or imagined by me. They came to be because each of the individuals photographed acted independently and/or creatively within a space that provided them the opportunity to do so.

    A child with high spectrum autism learning to tie her shoes for the first time.


    An almost one hundred year old woman listening to music on her headphones and moving her hands as a conductor would.


    A young girl in one of my Primary classrooms pulling a chair over to the open door so as to sit and watch the rain. Then leaping up with her hand outstretched hoping to catch a drop or two.



    A toddler sewing with such grace and beauty as to still one's heart.


     "Everything you can imagine is real," Pablo Picasso.
    I have much more to imagine...


              oghamic baffab Fish Ay Bradán feasa        
    A Lancashire slam babru wow man's response to two of Salmon Poetry Editor Jessie Lendennie's three humanity, laughter, and literary love-comments published on Kevin-Desmond Swords' Ovid Yeats Facebook.

    JL: 'Just deleted my second comment. It was mean. Delete delete... Could catch on! Feel free to delete this!'


    OY: (I didn't see it. You appeared here when a pal popped in and, a ha, one thought, we will continue with our visual marathon and pick up where we'd left off listening to the brilliant language, midway thru series four of the British C4 comedy Peep Show

    We watched a few episodes and i am unaware of what you published then deleted. And so the first paragraph below was written just now, and the rest of it is additions to a long comment published on the Guardian a week prior to this parenthetical address written without having read a mean comment that thus did not enter one's consciousness. Love is winning.)

    The Guardian poem of the week the week after Salmon published Gary Whitehead's
    'pleasant-voiced' 'subtlety and seriousness, and lightness of touch' in his poem, Uncle; was a Jill Furse Guardian poem of the week nearly five-hundred, that with three hundred comments caused only half the number of contributions and online talk your own poet GW's did the week before. 

    Furse was a granddaughter of the poet Sir Henry Newbolt, wife to glass engraver/poet Laurence Whistler; and a poet who Carol our blog leader 'discovered only recently, dipping into Anne Powell’s excellent 1999 anthology, Shadows of War: British Women’s Poetry of the Second World War.'

    I posted a tweet-length poem and a delightfully ditzy Leah replied: 'Super. I just got the Salmon anthology. Huge. Is there one by you in there? What year?'

    No.

    I saw it was published and thought i'd do the Clare faery a favour (the previous week) 'n blurb Salmon's latest on the Anglophone world's most read weekly poetry blog, and mention her name as well, and say how great a poet she is. Just because i can. And of course because she is.

    She has great taste in poets, and hopefully one day will take a well earned step back and invite me to become Dán Editor Salmon.

    Then i can publish myself.

    I did in 2007/8 send Lendennie ten or twelve love poems, but more as a crafty attachment to an introductory fan-letter email sent to thank her for a brilliant Salmon book launch and reading i attended in Dublin, that i added saying i wasn't submitting them but these were some poems i'd written in the few years i'd then been in ireland. She is the only publisher I ever sent anything to, tho technically i can deny it and say i haven't.

    The next closest was an editor of a very small poetry publisher who came onto me at Britpo and after sending him some and not hearing back from him, told him privately in an email exchange he could officially cease considering my poems for publication and go fuk himself bcuz ah fawt he wer a divveh. 


    This was sometime shortly before or after,  Randolph Healey (and Ian Davidson) published a British and Irish Poetry Jiscmail Ministry of Truth 'admin announcement': 'We are sorry to announce that Desmond Swords' membership of this list has been cancelled'; that banned me from Britpo Wed, 22 Oct 2008 21:27:47 for publishing an experimental speculative discourse on Tue, 21 Oct 2008 at 15:47:52.

    This spontaneous satirically speculative discourse got misjudged as a grade twelve mocking on ollamh Bob Sheppard (reading in Liverpool with The Wolf Editor James Byrne) when it is merely obliquely revealing the identity of and naming in a contemporary English language equivalent of berla-filidh to the initiated experimental poetry practitioners and thanking one's very first creative-writing guru whose own professorial practice from where i learned it, is also the speculative discourse of an avant-garde poet from the linguistically innovative school of the British Poetry Revival, and conceptually battle-scarred Edge Hill veteran of Britain's civil 'poetry wars' between the Oxbreligious cheese and wine professional academic straights and Cavalier king and Crown literature directors from ACE, and those kewla bewla crazee 'other' autodidacts and experimental speculative prose and verse pwofeshnul republican round-heads that prefer to bring and sup from our own bottles and cans at live poetry recitals.

    With the benefit of hindsight, and a previously absent self-awareness, one can understand how it may well have been that i was unconsciously or subconsciously submitting to her a carrot hoping she would bite, reel me in, start working with me on a launch, and the public 'there' i was (not so) secretly hoping for then, would arrive not even seven/eight years a student on one's made up twelve-fourteen year curriculum. A 'there' that would come with bells, whistles, and a fanfare of broadsheet reviews, years before the end of one's self-made-up bardically inspired writing studies program i'd chosen to undertake in my first year of writing, at home, in Ormskirk's Edge Hill University.

    When i first came to Ireland straight after graduating there, i was a (often drunk) feature at Poetry Ireland book launches and reading-events. Everything was new and i was one of the few with a foot in both the grass roots Dublin live poetry scene, and an official Poetry Ireland / Éigse Éireann' scene based in the Unitarian Church.

    Where poets from around the world would fall for the ambience and lure ourselves into believing as we delivered our ditties from a raised ornately carved priests' pulpit; that this was poetry and prayer in its most authentic location.

    Not seeing what regular audience members do when the initial novelty of church readings have worn off. Viewing from behind the curtain and apprehending the everyday realities and otherworldly theatrics and perceptions that made for such a memorable few year phase in that early stage of one's post-graduate poetic evolution from a kno nowt focloc/nobhed to a fully operational bardic bore.

    At the time i'd just created and had a few All Ireland Poetry Slam seasons and finals, with many of the early participants publishing debut collections with Salmon.

    The American outsider now insider recognized and jumped right in and brought to notice our then best new live poets who'd completely circumnavigated the usual apprenticeship route to becoming a published poet in Ireland, by building their own live audiences through social media.

    Lendennie's Salmon was the one mainstream irish poetry publisher ahead of the curve and fishing upstream closest to to Segais Well at the height of the Celtic Tiger.

    At that point pre-2008 Crash, it was a metaphorical Edwardian era of rural Heaneyesque twilight that the other poetry presses were very much tweedily frozen and guilded in. Mired in the old pre-flipped and suddenly reversed Caxtonian publishing paradigm in which the author is submitted and rejected.

    Trying their best to totally ignore by the power of silent spiritual Heaneyian will alone, and make go away, the social-media newbs' wave of live fek'n poetry riff-raff and the great untutored masses of all us working-class poetically rural urban voices unleashed by Facebook's user capabilities in 2008.

    That had leveled the playing field and made obsolete overnight the old unwritten rule book because now one person can create, organize and advertise live poetry events, and publish their voices globally in ways previously unthinkable without a very large budget even just ten years ago.

    As a born and bred Ormskirkian experiencing for the first time Dublin faeryland I became slightly up my own ass and smugly socially dressed in a shiny newly pretentious armor of (one's inner and usually hidden effeminate) 'moi' publicly reading poetry in Dublin every week over the first four years being here. 


    Doing the live literary equivalent of an imaginary Beatles Hamburg phase in the capital of the republic of ideas and conceptual poetry, pre-Facebook, on the final intellectually underground scene of hard-partying creative ne'erdowells, all successes and poetic casualties, before the sudden arrival of our shiny new happy huggy luvly and far more inclusive Facebook scene where we raged at the oldies for effing everything in a freshly banjaxed Ireland. Broken by Bertie and Brian, tho at the time most in tir na og Dublin didn't everyone know and blithely behave as if the magic wave would swell and last forever and no waysistaz crash as it did?

    And I'd see JL and the Salmon hounds at readings and buy as many books as I could afford, as an excuse to talk at her, and try to impress myself in her mind as someone at the bottom going places in Irish poetry. She'd kindly smile, say little, and politely listen to me wittering on, as the former far less consciously perceptive me, a big iambic Desmond full of Fitzgerald phantasmagoria, hubris and trochaic ego, not stopping to create an opportunity for any real conversation to naturally occur, and for her to join in and talk back. Clearly boring her, but not having yet then copped onto the fact that telepathy in Ireland isn't real and still subconsciously believing it is/was.

    Of course, as Ireland's premier poetry publisher, she's no doubt well-versed and experienced plenty of this manic babbling weirdo behaviour in punters at poetry readings before. Blow-ins behaving as if we mistakenly believe we're in some pseudo-mystic fairy express lane-way to global publishing success. Men, the actory language luvvies among us, when a public reciter of our own werkz and figure on the weekly Dublin live poetry scene, 2004-8, especially, can be right up ourselves and often are. I kno i had a few years acquiring a pretentiousness of the newly graduated middle-aged English man living my dream of doing weekly live poetry in Dublin for four years straight at the very excessive and pretentious peak of the Celtic Tiger culture.

    Tho not officially retired de jure from the weekly live Dublin poetry scene for the past eight years, de facto i am, bcuz one rarely recites in public now, and i manage to keep a live hand in by reciting to anyone who asks to hear a poem, and very occasionally by launching one out for the sheer craic and momentary magic of whatever situation one is in that creates a spontaneous poetry recital.

    Thus that desperate luvvie need to be a centre of attention that oft appears in those live poetry machines of sheer going places fame, naturally displaced itself post-Crash into a less shallow and more personally productive literary production of the silly voices it is one's dream turned true to have found a way of expressing in reality here today fifty foot above the mad swirl in the Liberties of south city centre Dublin 8.

    And of course now I realise what a self-obsessed mansplaining weirdo i'll have come across as in this one way boring monologue, infused as one was then with more intuitive vision than any real bardic knowledge. A focloc or macfurmid at bardic grade one or two, with a beaming wide-eyed grin and verbal diarrhea spontaneously ejecting in a north-west working-class English voice garbled cut-up snatches of perfectly formed silent sentences that existed alive conceptually in the mind but one's mouth had not the skill or training to formulate them into living speech.

    Most believe that telepathy doesn't exist, but one was behaving as if it did, as if we were both in on the same thought inside my head; and me not copping on (for many years) that just because one understands and knows something inside one's own mind, doesn't mean other people will automatically know this by reading my mind, and understanding it too. Thus the peyure komedy of silent poesy is mistook for its outer inarticulate and garbled spoken form of prelapsian babbling tongues.

    I attended and wrote to thank her for another great Salmon book launch, spontaneously decided to, and probably a large element of self-delusion as to my real motives for writing, really hoping the email would lead one to get published by her. And tho being too emotionally fragile for the self to be conscious of this, one's creative subconscious still found a way to cloak, perhaps, one's true desire in a literary self-protection and imaginative delusion and conceptual act of dream that was here from when one first cycled off the boat in July 2004. As i think i told her at one reading, when i'd been writing seven or so years, half way thru my studies, that Salmon was the one irish publisher i'd opt to flog my ditties.

    I was writing to Gallery Press's David Wheatley a lot then also, in long rambling typo-ridden syntactically bungled spontaneously composed comments posted to his blog, that he pre-moderated and that would begin, 'don't publish this dave', and then launch into self-obsessive screeds of one's latest inward cauldron and calculus on the current state of perception in Irish poetry as per one individual's unique experimental speculative discourse process that Jessie had a part in with the one or two emails i sent her. Eventually becoming a Facebook friend and now a valued member of team OY.

              There's a Pernicious Economic Theory Creeping into the Heart of the Democratic Party        
    We have to get very clear on what kind of environment enriches working people. The good ideas don't come from Silicon Valley.

    If a picture’s worth a thousand words, what’s the value of a single word?

    If you’re a Democratic Party leader and the word is “compete,” the answer may be: more than you can afford.

    Much of the Democratic Party’s rhetoric has been ‘Uberized’ by a creeping free-market ideology that treats workers as lone competitors in a survival-of-the-toughest economy.

    The time has come to reject this language as well as the thinking behind it. The notion that people must compete with each for low-paying jobs undermines worker solidarity and weakens our sense of national community.

    Better Than What?

    When the Democratic Party rolled out its “Better Deal” language in July, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi each wrote op-eds promoting an agenda whose subtitle is, “Better Jobs, Better Wages, Better Future.”

    An earlier version of that slogan – “Better Skills, Better Jobs, Better Wages” – was roundly criticized when it was leaked to a reporter, and rightly so. That phrase first appeared in an op-ed by Sen. Tim Kaine, who wrote:

    Better skills in our people and communities … will make us more competitive in a world where talent is now the most precious resource. We need to double down on retraining people whose jobs are destroyed by shifts in trade.

    Those words offer nothing new to the American people. They could have been lifted from a speech Bill Clinton gave in 1993, when he declared that “workers in advanced countries must become ever more productive to deal with competition from low-wage countries on the one hand, and high-skilled, high-tech countries on the other.”

    Since those words were spoken more than a quarter-century ago, millions of American jobs have been lost to bad trade deals that shifted work overseas and wealth upward.

    Misguided government policies and greedy business practices ended a thirty-year period in which wages kept pace with productivity growth, resulting in soaring inequality and stagnating wages for American workers. Increasingly wealthy individuals in corporations have, in turn, used their money to hijack the political process.

    No retraining program on Earth can prepare workers for jobs that don’t exist. And, as long as inequality remains the highest it’s been since the 1920s, “competitive” education strategies will do little to improve wages or social mobility. To beleaguered workers, the phrase “better skills” reinforces the perception that an out-of-touch elite would rather blame the victims of its policies than take responsibility for its actions.

    Better jobs, better wages, better luck next time.

    Better Than That

    The finished slogan was a notable improvement from the beta version. The phrase “better skills” was gone, replaced by the noncommittal “better future.”

    It was a welcome surprise to see Democrats taking on corporate monopolies and the rapaciousness of Big Pharma as they rolled out the “Better Deal” platform.

    Those fights can energize voters if they’re properly framed and presented – as in,“these corporations are so big they think they can do what they want, but we’re gonna stop ‘em” – especially if they’re complemented by strong stands on labor, trade, Medicare and Social Security expansion, and other populist issues.

    But it was disappointing to see both Sen. Schumer and Leader Pelosi echo Kaine’s unsupportable claims for worker retraining in their respective op-eds. Schumer wrote that “millions of unemployed or underemployed people particularly those without a college degree, could be brought back into the labor force or retrained to secure full-time, higher-paying work.”

    The only concrete proposal he offers, however, is a training tax credit for businesses that’s unlikely to make a dent in unemployment. It won’t reduce inequality, either. As economist Lawrence Mishel wrote in 2011: “… workers face a wage deficit, not a skills deficit.”

    The Ideology of Competition

    For her part, Leader Pelosi promises a “fresh vision” from the Democratic leadership before saying, “It is time to ignite a new era of investment in America’s workers, empowering all Americans with the skills they need to compete in the modern economy.”

    Compete? Democrats need to reject the idea that workers should “compete” with each other for jobs. That ideologically charged concept gained momentum in the 1990s, as the party’s institutional fundraising shifted its emphasis from unions to corporate donors.

    Today we see the logical end-point of that ideology in the “Uberization” of American labor, as increasing numbers of workers are forced to scrabble like crabs in a barrel for low-paying piece work – or worse, as with Uber, are pressured to go into debt for car loans they must assume in order to “compete”

    It’s no coincidence that high-ranking Democratic operatives have been associated with both Uber and its major competitor, Lyft.

    The ideology of competition owes a great deal to “new economy” popularizers like Thomas Friedman and economists like Tyler Cowen, both of whom proclaim that “average is over.” It’s a cold-blooded ideology.

    In his book of the same name, Cowen argues that we will be led by an elite he calls the “hyper-meritocracy” (he seems to use “merit” and “income” interchangeably), while a majority of people miss out on the benefits of the new economy.

    Gone are the days when popular culture celebrated the “average Joe” or “average Jane.” In the world of worker-on-worker competition, only those who are exceptionally talented at making money will get ahead. Forget the folks who work for a living, love their kids, and serve their communities.

    This ideology demands that we make heroes out of the billionaires who earned their wealth from the Internet, a government-created technology. The merely “average,” those heroes and heroines of mid-twentieth century films and TV, are left to fight over scraps from the “hyper-meritocracy’s” table.

    The Language of Community

    To be fair, there’s every likelihood that Nancy Pelosi was using the political language of her party without considering its origins or rhetorical baggage. She may not have intended to embrace that language’s ideological overtones. But language shapes thought, and it must be changed when it bends thought in the wrong direction.

    “Compete”? Candidates compete when they’re applying for jobs, of course. But once they’re hired the competition should end. The history of organized labor – once the bedrock of the Democratic Party – is founded on the realization that individual workers cannot compete with powerful corporations in the fight for economic justice.

    It’s not a perfect history. But it’s no accident that the greatest period of shared prosperity in our nation’s modern history coincided with its highest percentage of unionized workers. Or that, conversely, inequality grew as union membership fell.

    Instead of training workers to “compete” for non-existent jobs, Democrats should create those jobs – by investing in infrastructure, by renegotiating bad trade deals, and by making the government the employer of last resort. And they should do more: they should call us together, by working with outside activists to form a broad coalition for economic and social justice.

    Americans are a highly individualistic people in many ways. But we are also a nation with strong communitarian values. Those values can be found in our admiration for those who make sacrifices in times of war. They can be found in our willingness to help one another when disaster strikes. They can be seen in Fourth of July parades, or in clothing drives at the local fire station.

    There is a yearning in this country – a yearning to belong to something greater than one’s self. Rather than asking workers to “compete” with each other, the new leaders of the American left should ask them to collaborate – in labor negotiations, in new forms of public service, in acts of selfless devotion to one another and the nation as a whole.

    The Democrats should fill out the hazy language of the “better deal” with concrete proposals to improve people’s lives. Repeating the phrase like a mantra will hurt, not help, unless there is substance behind it. Voters have been burned by vague promises before. They’ll need clear commitments this time around.

    But Democrats should also be brave enough to call Americans together again – as working people, as a movement, and as a community. After all, nobody can really offer us a “better deal” unless they ask us to give our best in return.

     

        

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              By: Ben in Oakland        
    Steve, I'm a thorough-going atheist, and I couldn't possible agree with you any less than I already don't. You've obviously never metany Unitarians.
              August 13, The Wonder Emporium of Life        

    Patricia HatchPlease join us this Sunday, August 13, as we welcome guest minister, Rev. Patricia Hatch, who presents “The Wonder Emporium of Life.” The service also is hosted by worship associate, Diane DeFranzo.

     

    Our lives can be incredibly enriched if we allow ourselves to be open to wonder. In this service, we will reflect on the   [ … ]

    The post August 13, The Wonder Emporium of Life appeared first on Unitarian Church of Marlborough and Hudson.


              August 6, Multi-Church Worship        

    First Parish Church - Outdoors

    Please join us this Sunday as we celebrate the 14th Annual Joint Summer Service with six area UU churches!

    This year’s host is the First Church Parish of Stow and Acton, where Daniel Payne will present “Great Freedom, Great Responsibility.”

    PLEASE NOTE — This worship service starts at 10:00 am and pick-up choir rehearsal begins   [ … ]

    The post August 6, Multi-Church Worship appeared first on Unitarian Church of Marlborough and Hudson.


              July 30, The Fierce Urgency of Joy        

    This Sunday we welcome our guest, Jennifer Johnson, who presents “The Fierce Urgency of Joy.” The service is also hosted by Worship Associate, Joyce Andrews.

    The Fierce Urgency of Joy: In these times when we are so acutely aware of the painful injustices in our society, what place is there for joy in our lives, relationships,

      [ … ]

    The post July 30, The Fierce Urgency of Joy appeared first on Unitarian Church of Marlborough and Hudson.


              July 23, The Purpose of Dinosaurs        

    Rev. Kevin CarsonJoin our service on Sunday, July 23!

    This week, we welcome Rev. Kevin Carson who presents The Purpose of Dinosaurs: Thoughts on the Human Species and the Full Implications of the “Ecological Self” with Worship Associate, Diane DeFranzo.

    Kevin Carson, M.Div. graduated from Andover Newton Theological School in 2013, and completed an internship at the First   [ … ]

    The post July 23, The Purpose of Dinosaurs appeared first on Unitarian Church of Marlborough and Hudson.


              July 16, Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “The Poet”        

    Kris CommentThe Unitarian Church of Marlborough and Hudson is pleased to welcome Preaching for Parishioners Graduate, Kris Comment, whose theme is Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “The Poet” and The Interdependent Web of All Existence. The service also is hosted by Worship Associate, Barb Kostick.

    This Sunday, we’ll explore “What role do artists play in connecting us all to   [ … ]

    The post July 16, Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “The Poet” appeared first on Unitarian Church of Marlborough and Hudson.


              July 9, We Believe: A Storytelling Service        

    Alice's installation prof picWe Believe: A Storytelling Service
    Led by Rev. Alice Anacheka-Nasemann and Worship Associate, Matt Neal

    Wisdom tales from around the world teach us how to live and convey deep theological truths in a format that is engaging and inspirational for all ages. In this storytelling worship service,  Rev. Alice will share some of her favorite stories   [ … ]

    The post July 9, We Believe: A Storytelling Service appeared first on Unitarian Church of Marlborough and Hudson.


              Sunday’s Service: Inspiration Illuminated        

    All are welcomed to join us for Worship Service on Sunday, May 28, at 10:30 a.m. with special guest Josh Gannon-Salomon.

    Every artist in every medium hears the question “Where do your ideas come from?” In this service, we will explore religious answers to this question from various traditions and get closer to the source of   [ … ]

    The post Sunday’s Service: Inspiration Illuminated appeared first on Unitarian Church of Marlborough and Hudson.


              The Gift of Song: The Healing Power of Music        

    Music Sunday, at 10:30 a.m. on May 7, explores the healing powers of music through song. We will feature the Indian Hill Threshold Choir, a group of singers dedicating to singing for those most in need. At various thresholds of life, songs give us meaning, hope, peace and encouragement. Come experience the healing powers of music   [ … ]

    The post The Gift of Song: The Healing Power of Music appeared first on Unitarian Church of Marlborough and Hudson.


              9th Annual Bellies for Breasts        

    b4b

     

       [ … ]

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              Sunday, April 30 worship service: What I Learned in Science Class        

    Join the Rev. Alison Wohler for worship service at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, April 30, for What I Learned in Science Class. Rev. Wohler was a scientist before becoming a minister. That scientific background has been a significant influence on not only her theology (she is a religious naturalist), but also on my philosophy of ministry,   [ … ]

    The post Sunday, April 30 worship service: What I Learned in Science Class appeared first on Unitarian Church of Marlborough and Hudson.


              BLOG: "We don’t sing the Psalms in our church because they don’t mention Christ"        
    “We don’t sing the Psalms in our church because they don’t mention Christ.”
    by W. J. Mencarow, Pastor, Reformation Church, Boerne, TX

    That’s probably the #1 objection to singing the Psalms in worship. Setting aside the fact that the Psalms do (to put it mildly) “mention” Christ — after all, they are largely about Him, which is no wonder since He wrote them — that they prophesy His ministry, suffering on the cross, resurrection and rule over all creation — the fact is that the Psalms do not contain the words “Jesus” or “Christ.” Those words are not found in any of the 150 Psalms.

    It recently occurred to me that if the standard that governs what we are to sing in worship is only songs that use the words “Jesus” or “Christ” — and please tell me where in the Bible we find that commanded — then we ought to take a close look at popular hymns with that standard in mind.

     I went to www.hymnlyrics.org/ and clicked on “Popular Hymns” and read all the lyrics.  I also read all the lyrics to “The 100 Most Popular Christian Hymns” at www.popularhymns.com/  And I read the lyrics to all the hymns at www.hymnlyric.com.

    I was amazed at what I found. Or more accurately, what I didn’t find.

    Now, I have no idea how many hymns there are. It is said that Fanny Crosby alone composed about 8,000 hymns.  Thus the list below could be expanded exponentially.

    What strikes me is how many old standards don’t use “Jesus” or “Christ”; beloved hymns such as “Amazing Grace,” “Blest Be The Tie That Binds,” “Crown Him With Many Crowns,” “Faith Of Our Fathers,” “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” — just to name a few.

    I found that about a third -- 32 to be exact -- of “The 100 Most Popular Christian Hymns” don’t mention the name “Jesus” or “Christ.”

    (And my sense, without counting, is that MOST of the modern “praise songs” do not use the names.)

    Popular hymns often use “God,” or “Spirit,” or “Master” or “He,” sometimes “Savior.” Many of them could be sung in a Jewish synagogue, a unitarian assembly or even a night club.  Some could be also used in pagan rituals (other than unitarian); I’m thinking of the ones that sing praises to the “Spirit” and “He,” “Him” and the “Master” or even “Savior.” Cults use words like that to make Christians believe that they are worshipping the Christ of the Bible.

    Some hymns, like “Was It For Me?,” appear to go out of their way NOT to use His Name (http://www.hymnlyric.com/was-it-for-me-lyrics/)   “Walk Thou With Me” (http://www.hymnlyric.com/walk-thou-with-me-lyrics/) is another; even “Were You There?” http://www.hymnlyric.com/were-you-there-lyrics/)

    Some of the following hymns may not be familiar to you (or to me); others are VERY familiar.

    Some of the lyrics could easily be secular songs without any changes.  Here are three examples of that:

    http://www.hymnlyric.com/imagine-me-without-you-lyrics/

    http://www.hymnlyric.com/paperthin-hymn-lyrics/

    http://www.hymnlyric.com/scatter-sunshine-lyrics/

    After reading the lyrics to several hundred hymns I am frankly amazed at how many don’t have the words “Jesus” or “Christ.” Many, possibly most, of the ones that do, only do it once.  I expected to find some that don’t mention His Name, but I never expected to find so many.  

    And so many popular hymns are just insipid, shallow and silly — when they are not blasphemous (i.e., “May God Depend On You?” and “We All Can Do Good”).  Many are clearly deist.

    I wouldn’t be able to sing some of them without bursting out laughing, such as — are you ready? — Drop Kick Me, Jesus:

    "Drop kick me Jesus through the goal posts of life;
    End over end neither left nor to right;
    Straight through the heart of them righteous uprights;
    Drop kick me Jesus through the goal posts of life.”

    Just so you know I am not making that up:
    http://www.hymnlyric.com/drop-kick-me-jesus-lyrics/

    Please tell me that there are no churches that sing that.

    Here is my starter list of the most popular hymns (and some “praise songs”) sung in churches that do NOT contain the words “Jesus” or “Christ.” Again, I think you’ll be surprised, as I was, at some of the familiar titles.  

    Does your church expect you to sing any of these?

    Do you?

    A Call To Prayer
    All Creatures Of Our God And King (which includes “Dear mother earth, who day by day, Unfoldest blessings on our way”)  MOTHER EARTH??!!!
    Amazing Grace
    Ancient Of Days
    All That I Am
    Abide With Me
    Be Glorified
    Be Not Afraid
    Be Still And Know That I Am God
    Be Thou My Vision
    Believe And Obey
    Blest Be The Tie That Binds
    Breathe Upon Us
    Calling For You
    Children Of the Lord
    Cleanse Me Clear As Crystal
    Count Your Blessings
    Crown Him With Many Crowns
    Day By Day Decision
    The Doxology
    Dwelling In Beulah Land
    Eternal Light
    Faith Of Our Fathers
    Father Of Heaven
    Faith Is The Victory
    Gates Of The Beautiful
    Give Me Joy In My Heart
    Give Me Oil In My Lamp
    Give Thanks
    Give Me the Wings Of Faith
    God Is So Good (but the lyrics are so bad: http://www.hymnlyrics.org/mostpopularhymns/god_is_so_good.php )
    God Leads His Dear Children Along
    God Will Take Care Of You
    Great Is Thy Faithfulness
    Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah
    Hand And Hand
    Happy Sunbeams
    Have Thine Own Way, Lord
    He Has Promised
    Here I Am, Lord
    Here Is Love
    Holy, Holy, Holy
    I Am Thine, O Lord
    I Need Thee Every Hour
    I’ll Fly Away (among the silliest ones — the version by The Fifth Dimension is much better)
    I Need Thee Every Hour
    I Never Knew You (truer words were never written)
    In The Garden
    In The Sweet By And By
    Joy Unspeakable
    Joyfully Sing
    Just As I Am
    King Of The City
    Leaning On The Everlasting Arms
    Leave It There
    Lord Of My Life
    Make Me A Channel Of Your Peace
    May God Depend On You?
    Morning Has Broken
    My Faith Looks Up To Thee
    Nearer My God To Thee
    Now Thank We All Our God
    O Fly To Him
    O Light Of Life
    O Worship The King
    Old Time Power
    Old Time Religion
    On Let Us Go
    Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior
    Power For Service
    Prayer Is The Key
    Praise Our Creator
    Precious Lord, Take My Hand
    Pure Within
    Quiet Lord My Froward Heart
    Rest At Home
    Rock Of Ages
    Sailing Into Port
    Scatter Sunshine
    Shall We Gather At The River
    Seek Ye First
    Take My Life And Let It Be
    There Is A Fountain (Filled With Blood)
    Thou Are The Way
    Till The Storm Passes By
    Tried And True
    Unanswered Yet
    Under His Wings
    Up In Heaven
    Up And Onward
    Walk With Me
    Was It For Me?
    We All Can Do Good (not based on Rom. 3:12)
    We Are Nearing
    Welcome For Me
    Were You There?
    Your Mission
    Zion’s King Shall Reign
    Victorious Zion Founded On The Mountain

    And even tho they don’t belong in the above list, a few deserve special mention:

    “Life’s Railway To Heaven”: http://www.hymnlyric.com/lifes-railway-to-heaven-lyrics/

    And I don’t know what to think of “Hand Of The Almighty.” Is this sung in churches???!!!
    (WARNING:  Very offensive language.)
    http://www.hymnlyric.com/hand-of-the-almighty-lyrics/

    So, if you object to singing the Psalms in worship because they don’t use the words “Jesus” or “Christ," then you’d better not sing any of the above hymns.

    On the other hand, if you recognize that:

    *  The Psalms were written by the Triune God and given to His church, and He commanded His people to sing them in worship;

    *  He has never changed His commandment

    *  He has never given any other songs for us to sing in worship;

    *  He has never commanded that uninspired men write songs for worship — or for that matter, women — (many churches that would never permit a woman to teach men allow women to teach men through songs, one of the most powerful teaching tools);

    *  The church (Old Testament and New) always sang the Psalms and nothing else for centuries;

    *  If you clearly see Christ in the Psalms, and realize that if you don’t that is your failing, and that you need to pray and study more;

    *  If you admit that your preference for singing the hymns and praise songs you like to sing with music that appeals to you is saying that first and foremost worship should appeal to your senses, it should be what you enjoy, and what God commands and is pleased with is secondary;

    If you recognize all this, then you are following the old paths. “Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.” — Jer. 6:16

              Encyclical Letter, Deus Caritas Est of Pope Benedict XVI        
    INTRODUCTION
    1. “God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him” (1 Jn 4:16). These words from the First Letter of John express with remarkable clarity the heart of the Christian faith: the Christian image of God and the resulting image of mankind and its destiny. In the same verse, Saint John also offers a kind of summary of the Christian life: “We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us”.

    We have come to believe in God's love: in these words the Christian can express the fundamental decision of his life. Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction. Saint John's Gospel describes that event in these words: “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should ... have eternal life” (3:16). In acknowledging the centrality of love, Christian faith has retained the core of Israel's faith, while at the same time giving it new depth and breadth. The pious Jew prayed daily the words of the Book of Deuteronomy which expressed the heart of his existence: “Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord, and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your might” (6:4-5). Jesus united into a single precept this commandment of love for God and the commandment of love for neighbour found in the Book of Leviticus: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself” (19:18; cf. Mk 12:29-31). Since God has first loved us (cf. 1 Jn 4:10), love is now no longer a mere “command”; it is the response to the gift of love with which God draws near to us.

    In a world where the name of God is sometimes associated with vengeance or even a duty of hatred and violence, this message is both timely and significant. For this reason, I wish in my first Encyclical to speak of the love which God lavishes upon us and which we in turn must share with others. That, in essence, is what the two main parts of this Letter are about, and they are profoundly interconnected. The first part is more speculative, since I wanted here—at the beginning of my Pontificate—to clarify some essential facts concerning the love which God mysteriously and gratuitously offers to man, together with the intrinsic link between that Love and the reality of human love. The second part is more concrete, since it treats the ecclesial exercise of the commandment of love of neighbour. The argument has vast implications, but a lengthy treatment would go beyond the scope of the present Encyclical. I wish to emphasize some basic elements, so as to call forth in the world renewed energy and commitment in the human response to God's love.

    PART I
    THE UNITY OF LOVE
    IN CREATION AND IN SALVATION HISTORY


    A problem of language
    2. God's love for us is fundamental for our lives, and it raises important questions about who God is and who we are. In considering this, we immediately find ourselves hampered by a problem of language. Today, the term “love” has become one of the most frequently used and misused of words, a word to which we attach quite different meanings. Even though this Encyclical will deal primarily with the understanding and practice of love in sacred Scripture and in the Church's Tradition, we cannot simply prescind from the meaning of the word in the different cultures and in present-day usage.

    Let us first of all bring to mind the vast semantic range of the word “love”: we speak of love of country, love of one's profession, love between friends, love of work, love between parents and children, love between family members, love of neighbour and love of God. Amid this multiplicity of meanings, however, one in particular stands out: love between man and woman, where body and soul are inseparably joined and human beings glimpse an apparently irresistible promise of happiness. This would seem to be the very epitome of love; all other kinds of love immediately seem to fade in comparison. So we need to ask: are all these forms of love basically one, so that love, in its many and varied manifestations, is ultimately a single reality, or are we merely using the same word to designate totally different realities?

    “Eros” and “Agape” – difference and unity

    3. That love between man and woman which is neither planned nor willed, but somehow imposes itself upon human beings, was called eros by the ancient Greeks. Let us note straight away that the Greek Old Testament uses the word eros only twice, while the New Testament does not use it at all: of the three Greek words for love, eros, philia (the love of friendship) and agape, New Testament writers prefer the last, which occurs rather infrequently in Greek usage. As for the term philia, the love of friendship, it is used with added depth of meaning in Saint John's Gospel in order to express the relationship between Jesus and his disciples. The tendency to avoid the word eros, together with the new vision of love expressed through the word agape, clearly point to something new and distinct about the Christian understanding of love. In the critique of Christianity which began with the Enlightenment and grew progressively more radical, this new element was seen as something thoroughly negative. According to Friedrich Nietzsche, Christianity had poisoned eros, which for its part, while not completely succumbing, gradually degenerated into vice.[1] Here the German philosopher was expressing a widely-held perception: doesn't the Church, with all her commandments and prohibitions, turn to bitterness the most precious thing in life? Doesn't she blow the whistle just when the joy which is the Creator's gift offers us a happiness which is itself a certain foretaste of the Divine?

    4. But is this the case? Did Christianity really destroy eros? Let us take a look at the pre- Christian world. The Greeks—not unlike other cultures—considered eros principally as a kind of intoxication, the overpowering of reason by a “divine madness” which tears man away from his finite existence and enables him, in the very process of being overwhelmed by divine power, to experience supreme happiness. All other powers in heaven and on earth thus appear secondary: “Omnia vincit amor” says Virgil in the Bucolics—love conquers all—and he adds: “et nos cedamus amori”—let us, too, yield to love.[2] In the religions, this attitude found expression in fertility cults, part of which was the “sacred” prostitution which flourished in many temples. Eros was thus celebrated as divine power, as fellowship with the Divine.

    The Old Testament firmly opposed this form of religion, which represents a powerful temptation against monotheistic faith, combating it as a perversion of religiosity. But it in no way rejected eros as such; rather, it declared war on a warped and destructive form of it, because this counterfeit divinization of eros actually strips it of its dignity and dehumanizes it. Indeed, the prostitutes in the temple, who had to bestow this divine intoxication, were not treated as human beings and persons, but simply used as a means of arousing “divine madness”: far from being goddesses, they were human persons being exploited. An intoxicated and undisciplined eros, then, is not an ascent in “ecstasy” towards the Divine, but a fall, a degradation of man. Evidently, eros needs to be disciplined and purified if it is to provide not just fleeting pleasure, but a certain foretaste of the pinnacle of our existence, of that beatitude for which our whole being yearns

    The Old Testament firmly opposed this form of religion, which represents a powerful temptation against monotheistic faith, combating it as a perversion of religiosity. But it in no way rejected eros as such; rather, it declared war on a warped and destructive form of it, because this counterfeit divinization of eros actually strips it of its dignity and dehumanizes it. Indeed, the prostitutes in the temple, who had to bestow this divine intoxication, were not treated as human beings and persons, but simply used as a means of arousing “divine madness”: far from being goddesses, they were human persons being exploited. An intoxicated and undisciplined eros, then, is not an ascent in “ecstasy” towards the Divine, but a fall, a degradation of man. Evidently, eros needs to be disciplined and purified if it is to provide not just fleeting pleasure, but a certain foretaste of the pinnacle of our existence, of that beatitude for which our whole being yearns

    This is due first and foremost to the fact that man is a being made up of body and soul. Man is truly himself when his body and soul are intimately united; the challenge of eros can be said to be truly overcome when this unification is achieved. Should he aspire to be pure spirit and to reject the flesh as pertaining to his animal nature alone, then spirit and body would both lose their dignity. On the other hand, should he deny the spirit and consider matter, the body, as the only reality, he would likewise lose his greatness. The epicure Gassendi used to offer Descartes the humorous greeting: “O Soul!” And Descartes would reply: “O Flesh!”.[3] Yet it is neither the spirit alone nor the body alone that loves: it is man, the person, a unified creature composed of body and soul, who loves. Only when both dimensions are truly united, does man attain his full stature. Only thus is love —eros—able to mature and attain its authentic grandeur.

    Nowadays Christianity of the past is often criticized as having been opposed to the body; and it is quite true that tendencies of this sort have always existed. Yet the contemporary way of exalting the body is deceptive. Eros, reduced to pure “sex”, has become a commodity, a mere “thing” to be bought and sold, or rather, man himself becomes a commodity. This is hardly man's great “yes” to the body. On the contrary, he now considers his body and his sexuality as the purely material part of himself, to be used and exploited at will. Nor does he see it as an arena for the exercise of his freedom, but as a mere object that he attempts, as he pleases, to make both enjoyable and harmless. Here we are actually dealing with a debasement of the human body: no longer is it integrated into our overall existential freedom; no longer is it a vital expression of our whole being, but it is more or less relegated to the purely biological sphere. The apparent exaltation of the body can quickly turn into a hatred of bodiliness. Christian faith, on the other hand, has always considered man a unity in duality, a reality in which spirit and matter compenetrate, and in which each is brought to a new nobility. True, eros tends to rise “in ecstasy” towards the Divine, to lead us beyond ourselves; yet for this very reason it calls for a path of ascent, renunciation, purification and healing.

    6. Concretely, what does this path of ascent and purification entail? How might love be experienced so that it can fully realize its human and divine promise? Here we can find a first, important indication in the Song of Songs, an Old Testament book well known to the mystics. According to the interpretation generally held today, the poems contained in this book were originally love-songs, perhaps intended for a Jewish wedding feast and meant to exalt conjugal love. In this context it is highly instructive to note that in the course of the book two different Hebrew words are used to indicate “love”. First there is the word dodim, a plural form suggesting a love that is still insecure, indeterminate and searching. This comes to be replaced by the word ahabà, which the Greek version of the Old Testament translates with the similar-sounding agape, which, as we have seen, becomes the typical expression for the biblical notion of love. By contrast with an indeterminate, “searching” love, this word expresses the experience of a love which involves a real discovery of the other, moving beyond the selfish character that prevailed earlier. Love now becomes concern and care for the other. No longer is it self-seeking, a sinking in the intoxication of happiness; instead it seeks the good of the beloved: it becomes renunciation and it is ready, and even willing, for sacrifice.

    It is part of love's growth towards higher levels and inward purification that it now seeks to become definitive, and it does so in a twofold sense: both in the sense of exclusivity (this particular person alone) and in the sense of being “for ever”. Love embraces the whole of existence in each of its dimensions, including the dimension of time. It could hardly be otherwise, since its promise looks towards its definitive goal: love looks to the eternal. Love is indeed “ecstasy”, not in the sense of a moment of intoxication, but rather as a journey, an ongoing exodus out of the closed inward-looking self towards its liberation through self-giving, and thus towards authentic self-discovery and indeed the discovery of God: “Whoever seeks to gain his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will preserve it” (Lk 17:33), as Jesus says throughout the Gospels (cf. Mt 10:39; 16:25; Mk 8:35; Lk 9:24; Jn 12:25). In these words, Jesus portrays his own path, which leads through the Cross to the Resurrection: the path of the grain of wheat that falls to the ground and dies, and in this way bears much fruit. Starting from the depths of his own sacrifice and of the love that reaches fulfilment therein, he also portrays in these words the essence of love and indeed of human life itself.

    7. By their own inner logic, these initial, somewhat philosophical reflections on the essence of love have now brought us to the threshold of biblical faith. We began by asking whether the different, or even opposed, meanings of the word “love” point to some profound underlying unity, or whether on the contrary they must remain unconnected, one alongside the other. More significantly, though, we questioned whether the message of love proclaimed to us by the Bible and the Church's Tradition has some points of contact with the common human experience of love, or whether it is opposed to that experience. This in turn led us to consider two fundamental words: eros, as a term to indicate “worldly” love and agape, referring to love grounded in and shaped by faith. The two notions are often contrasted as “ascending” love and “descending” love. There are other, similar classifications, such as the distinction between possessive love and oblative love (amor concupiscentiae – amor benevolentiae), to which is sometimes also added love that seeks its own advantage.

    In philosophical and theological debate, these distinctions have often been radicalized to the point of establishing a clear antithesis between them: descending, oblative love—agape—would be typically Christian, while on the other hand ascending, possessive or covetous love —eros—would be typical of non-Christian, and particularly Greek culture. Were this antithesis to be taken to extremes, the essence of Christianity would be detached from the vital relations fundamental to human existence, and would become a world apart, admirable perhaps, but decisively cut off from the complex fabric of human life. Yet eros and agape—ascending love and descending love—can never be completely separated. The more the two, in their different aspects, find a proper unity in the one reality of love, the more the true nature of love in general is realized. Even if eros is at first mainly covetous and ascending, a fascination for the great promise of happiness, in drawing near to the other, it is less and less concerned with itself, increasingly seeks the happiness of the other, is concerned more and more with the beloved, bestows itself and wants to “be there for” the other. The element of agape thus enters into this love, for otherwise eros is impoverished and even loses its own nature. On the other hand, man cannot live by oblative, descending love alone. He cannot always give, he must also receive. Anyone who wishes to give love must also receive love as a gift. Certainly, as the Lord tells us, one can become a source from which rivers of living water flow (cf. Jn 7:37-38). Yet to become such a source, one must constantly drink anew from the original source, which is Jesus Christ, from whose pierced heart flows the love of God (cf. Jn 19:34).

    In the account of Jacob's ladder, the Fathers of the Church saw this inseparable connection between ascending and descending love, between eros which seeks God and agape which passes on the gift received, symbolized in various ways. In that biblical passage we read how the Patriarch Jacob saw in a dream, above the stone which was his pillow, a ladder reaching up to heaven, on which the angels of God were ascending and descending (cf. Gen 28:12; Jn 1:51). A particularly striking interpretation of this vision is presented by Pope Gregory the Great in his Pastoral Rule. He tells us that the good pastor must be rooted in contemplation. Only in this way will he be able to take upon himself the needs of others and make them his own: “per pietatis viscera in se infirmitatem caeterorum transferat”.[4] Saint Gregory speaks in this context of Saint Paul, who was borne aloft to the most exalted mysteries of God, and hence, having descended once more, he was able to become all things to all men (cf. 2 Cor 12:2-4; 1 Cor 9:22). He also points to the example of Moses, who entered the tabernacle time and again, remaining in dialogue with God, so that when he emerged he could be at the service of his people. “Within [the tent] he is borne aloft through contemplation, while without he is completely engaged in helping those who suffer: intus in contemplationem rapitur, foris infirmantium negotiis urgetur.”[5]

    8. We have thus come to an initial, albeit still somewhat generic response to the two questions raised earlier. Fundamentally, “love” is a single reality, but with different dimensions; at different times, one or other dimension may emerge more clearly. Yet when the two dimensions are totally cut off from one another, the result is a caricature or at least an impoverished form of love. And we have also seen, synthetically, that biblical faith does not set up a parallel universe, or one opposed to that primordial human phenomenon which is love, but rather accepts the whole man; it intervenes in his search for love in order to purify it and to reveal new dimensions of it. This newness of biblical faith is shown chiefly in two elements which deserve to be highlighted: the image of God and the image of man.

    The newness of biblical faith

    9. First, the world of the Bible presents us with a new image of God. In surrounding cultures, the image of God and of the gods ultimately remained unclear and contradictory. In the development of biblical faith, however, the content of the prayer fundamental to Israel, the Shema, became increasingly clear and unequivocal: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord” (Dt 6:4). There is only one God, the Creator of heaven and earth, who is thus the God of all. Two facts are significant about this statement: all other gods are not God, and the universe in which we live has its source in God and was created by him. Certainly, the notion of creation is found elsewhere, yet only here does it become absolutely clear that it is not one god among many, but the one true God himself who is the source of all that exists; the whole world comes into existence by the power of his creative Word. Consequently, his creation is dear to him, for it was willed by him and “made” by him. The second important element now emerges: this God loves man. The divine power that Aristotle at the height of Greek philosophy sought to grasp through reflection, is indeed for every being an object of desire and of love —and as the object of love this divinity moves the world[6]—but in itself it lacks nothing and does not love: it is solely the object of love. The one God in whom Israel believes, on the other hand, loves with a personal love. His love, moreover, is an elective love: among all the nations he chooses Israel and loves her—but he does so precisely with a view to healing the whole human race. God loves, and his love may certainly be called eros, yet it is also totally agape

    The Prophets, particularly Hosea and Ezekiel, described God's passion for his people using boldly erotic images. God's relationship with Israel is described using the metaphors of betrothal and marriage; idolatry is thus adultery and prostitution. Here we find a specific reference—as we have seen—to the fertility cults and their abuse of eros, but also a description of the relationship of fidelity between Israel and her God. The history of the love-relationship between God and Israel consists, at the deepest level, in the fact that he gives her the Torah, thereby opening Israel's eyes to man's true nature and showing her the path leading to true humanism. It consists in the fact that man, through a life of fidelity to the one God, comes to experience himself as loved by God, and discovers joy in truth and in righteousness—a joy in God which becomes his essential happiness: “Whom do I have in heaven but you? And there is nothing upon earth that I desire besides you ... for me it is good to be near God” (Ps 73 [72]:25, 28).

    10. We have seen that God's eros for man is also totally agape. This is not only because it is bestowed in a completely gratuitous manner, without any previous merit, but also because it is love which forgives. Hosea above all shows us that this agape dimension of God's love for man goes far beyond the aspect of gratuity. Israel has committed “adultery” and has broken the covenant; God should judge and repudiate her. It is precisely at this point that God is revealed to be God and not man: “How can I give you up, O Ephraim! How can I hand you over, O Israel! ... My heart recoils within me, my compassion grows warm and tender. I will not execute my fierce anger, I will not again destroy Ephraim; for I am God and not man, the Holy One in your midst” (Hos 11:8-9). God's passionate love for his people—for humanity—is at the same time a forgiving love. It is so great that it turns God against himself, his love against his justice. Here Christians can see a dim prefigurement of the mystery of the Cross: so great is God's love for man that by becoming man he follows him even into death, and so reconciles justice and love.

    The philosophical dimension to be noted in this biblical vision, and its importance from the standpoint of the history of religions, lies in the fact that on the one hand we find ourselves before a strictly metaphysical image of God: God is the absolute and ultimate source of all being; but this universal principle of creation—the Logos, primordial reason—is at the same time a lover with all the passion of a true love. Eros is thus supremely ennobled, yet at the same time it is so purified as to become one with agape. We can thus see how the reception of the Song of Songs in the canon of sacred Scripture was soon explained by the idea that these love songs ultimately describe God's relation to man and man's relation to God. Thus the Song of Songs became, both in Christian and Jewish literature, a source of mystical knowledge and experience, an expression of the essence of biblical faith: that man can indeed enter into union with God—his primordial aspiration. But this union is no mere fusion, a sinking in the nameless ocean of the Divine; it is a unity which creates love, a unity in which both God and man remain themselves and yet become fully one. As Saint Paul says: “He who is united to the Lord becomes one spirit with him” (1 Cor 6:17).

    11. The first novelty of biblical faith consists, as we have seen, in its image of God. The second, essentially connected to this, is found in the image of man. The biblical account of creation speaks of the solitude of Adam, the first man, and God's decision to give him a helper. Of all other creatures, not one is capable of being the helper that man needs, even though he has assigned a name to all the wild beasts and birds and thus made them fully a part of his life. So God forms woman from the rib of man. Now Adam finds the helper that he needed: “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh” (Gen 2:23). Here one might detect hints of ideas that are also found, for example, in the myth mentioned by Plato, according to which man was originally spherical, because he was complete in himself and self-sufficient. But as a punishment for pride, he was split in two by Zeus, so that now he longs for his other half, striving with all his being to possess it and thus regain his integrity.[8] While the biblical narrative does not speak of punishment, the idea is certainly present that man is somehow incomplete, driven by nature to seek in another the part that can make him whole, the idea that only in communion with the opposite sex can he become “complete”. The biblical account thus concludes with a prophecy about Adam: “Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife and they become one flesh” (Gen 2:24).

    Two aspects of this are important. First, eros is somehow rooted in man's very nature; Adam is a seeker, who “abandons his mother and father” in order to find woman; only together do the two represent complete humanity and become “one flesh”. The second aspect is equally important. From the standpoint of creation, eros directs man towards marriage, to a bond which is unique and definitive; thus, and only thus, does it fulfil its deepest purpose. Corresponding to the image of a monotheistic God is monogamous marriage. Marriage based on exclusive and definitive love becomes the icon of the relationship between God and his people and vice versa. God's way of loving becomes the measure of human love. This close connection between eros and marriage in the Bible has practically no equivalent in extra-biblical literature.

    Jesus Christ – the incarnate love of God

    12. Though up to now we have been speaking mainly of the Old Testament, nevertheless the profound compenetration of the two Testaments as the one Scripture of the Christian faith has already become evident. The real novelty of the New Testament lies not so much in new ideas as in the figure of Christ himself, who gives flesh and blood to those concepts—an unprecedented realism. In the Old Testament, the novelty of the Bible did not consist merely in abstract notions but in God's unpredictable and in some sense unprecedented activity. This divine activity now takes on dramatic form when, in Jesus Christ, it is God himself who goes in search of the “stray sheep”, a suffering and lost humanity. When Jesus speaks in his parables of the shepherd who goes after the lost sheep, of the woman who looks for the lost coin, of the father who goes to meet and embrace his prodigal son, these are no mere words: they constitute an explanation of his very being and activity. His death on the Cross is the culmination of that turning of God against himself in which he gives himself in order to raise man up and save him. This is love in its most radical form. By contemplating the pierced side of Christ (cf. 19:37), we can understand the starting-point of this Encyclical Letter: “God is love” (1 Jn 4:8). It is there that this truth can be contemplated. It is from there that our definition of love must begin. In this contemplation the Christian discovers the path along which his life and love must move.

    13. Jesus gave this act of oblation an enduring presence through his institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper. He anticipated his death and resurrection by giving his disciples, in the bread and wine, his very self, his body and blood as the new manna (cf. Jn 6:31-33). The ancient world had dimly perceived that man's real food—what truly nourishes him as man—is ultimately the Logos, eternal wisdom: this same Logos now truly becomes food for us—as love. The Eucharist draws us into Jesus' act of self-oblation. More than just statically receiving the incarnate Logos, we enter into the very dynamic of his self-giving. The imagery of marriage between God and Israel is now realized in a way previously inconceivable: it had meant standing in God's presence, but now it becomes union with God through sharing in Jesus' self-gift, sharing in his body and blood. The sacramental “mysticism”, grounded in God's condescension towards us, operates at a radically different level and lifts us to far greater heights than anything that any human mystical elevation could ever accomplish.

    14. Here we need to consider yet another aspect: this sacramental “mysticism” is social in character, for in sacramental communion I become one with the Lord, like all the other communicants. As Saint Paul says, “Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread” (1 Cor 10:17). Union with Christ is also union with all those to whom he gives himself. I cannot possess Christ just for myself; I can belong to him only in union with all those who have become, or who will become, his own. Communion draws me out of myself towards him, and thus also towards unity with all Christians. We become “one body”, completely joined in a single existence. Love of God and love of neighbour are now truly united: God incarnate draws us all to himself. We can thus understand how agape also became a term for the Eucharist: there God's own agape comes to us bodily, in order to continue his work in us and through us. Only by keeping in mind this Christological and sacramental basis can we correctly understand Jesus' teaching on love. The transition which he makes from the Law and the Prophets to the twofold commandment of love of God and of neighbour, and his grounding the whole life of faith on this central precept, is not simply a matter of morality—something that could exist apart from and alongside faith in Christ and its sacramental re-actualization. Faith, worship and ethos are interwoven as a single reality which takes shape in our encounter with God's agape. Here the usual contraposition between worship and ethics simply falls apart. “Worship” itself, Eucharistic communion, includes the reality both of being loved and of loving others in turn. A Eucharist which does not pass over into the concrete practice of love is intrinsically fragmented. Conversely, as we shall have to consider in greater detail below, the “commandment” of love is only possible because it is more than a requirement. Love can be “commanded” because it has first been given.

    15. This principle is the starting-point for understanding the great parables of Jesus. The rich man (cf. Lk 16:19-31) begs from his place of torment that his brothers be informed about what happens to those who simply ignore the poor man in need. Jesus takes up this cry for help as a warning to help us return to the right path. The parable of the Good Samaritan (cf. Lk 10:25-37) offers two particularly important clarifications. Until that time, the concept of “neighbour” was understood as referring essentially to one's countrymen and to foreigners who had settled in the land of Israel; in other words, to the closely-knit community of a single country or people. This limit is now abolished. Anyone who needs me, and whom I can help, is my neighbour. The concept of “neighbour” is now universalized, yet it remains concrete. Despite being extended to all mankind, it is not reduced to a generic, abstract and undemanding expression of love, but calls for my own practical commitment here and now. The Church has the duty to interpret ever anew this relationship between near and far with regard to the actual daily life of her members. Lastly, we should especially mention the great parable of the Last Judgement (cf. Mt 25:31-46), in which love becomes the criterion for the definitive decision about a human life's worth or lack thereof. Jesus identifies himself with those in need, with the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick and those in prison. “As you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” (Mt 25:40). Love of God and love of neighbour have become one: in the least of the brethren we find Jesus himself, and in Jesus we find God.

    Love of God and love of neighbour

    16. Having reflected on the nature of love and its meaning in biblical faith, we are left with two questions concerning our own attitude: can we love God without seeing him? And can love be commanded? Against the double commandment of love these questions raise a double objection. No one has ever seen God, so how could we love him? Moreover, love cannot be commanded; it is ultimately a feeling that is either there or not, nor can it be produced by the will. Scripture seems to reinforce the first objection when it states: “If anyone says, ‘I love God,' and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen” (1 Jn 4:20). But this text hardly excludes the love of God as something impossible. On the contrary, the whole context of the passage quoted from the First Letter of John shows that such love is explicitly demanded. The unbreakable bond between love of God and love of neighbour is emphasized. One is so closely connected to the other that to say that we love God becomes a lie if we are closed to our neighbour or hate him altogether. Saint John's words should rather be interpreted to mean that love of neighbour is a path that leads to the encounter with God, and that closing our eyes to our neighbour also blinds us to God.

    17. True, no one has ever seen God as he is. And yet God is not totally invisible to us; he does not remain completely inaccessible. God loved us first, says the Letter of John quoted above (cf. 4:10), and this love of God has appeared in our midst. He has become visible in as much as he “has sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him” (1 Jn 4:9). God has made himself visible: in Jesus we are able to see the Father (cf. Jn 14:9). Indeed, God is visible in a number of ways. In the love-story recounted by the Bible, he comes towards us, he seeks to win our hearts, all the way to the Last Supper, to the piercing of his heart on the Cross, to his appearances after the Resurrection and to the great deeds by which, through the activity of the Apostles, he guided the nascent Church along its path. Nor has the Lord been absent from subsequent Church history: he encounters us ever anew, in the men and women who reflect his presence, in his word, in the sacraments, and especially in the Eucharist. In the Church's Liturgy, in her prayer, in the living community of believers, we experience the love of God, we perceive his presence and we thus learn to recognize that presence in our daily lives. He has loved us first and he continues to do so; we too, then, can respond with love. God does not demand of us a feeling which we ourselves are incapable of producing. He loves us, he makes us see and experience his love, and since he has “loved us first”, love can also blossom as a response within us.

    In the gradual unfolding of this encounter, it is clearly revealed that love is not merely a sentiment. Sentiments come and go. A sentiment can be a marvellous first spark, but it is not the fullness of love. Earlier we spoke of the process of purification and maturation by which eros comes fully into its own, becomes love in the full meaning of the word. It is characteristic of mature love that it calls into play all man's potentialities; it engages the whole man, so to speak. Contact with the visible manifestations of God's love can awaken within us a feeling of joy born of the experience of being loved. But this encounter also engages our will and our intellect. Acknowledgment of the living God is one path towards love, and the “yes” of our will to his will unites our intellect, will and sentiments in the all- embracing act of love. But this process is always open-ended; love is never “finished” and complete; throughout life, it changes and matures, and thus remains faithful to itself. Idem velle atque idem nolle [9]—to want the same thing, and to reject the same thing—was recognized by antiquity as the authentic content of love: the one becomes similar to the other, and this leads to a community of will and thought. The love-story between God and man consists in the very fact that this communion of will increases in a communion of thought and sentiment, and thus our will and God's will increasingly coincide: God's will is no longer for me an alien will, something imposed on me from without by the commandments, but it is now my own will, based on the realization that God is in fact more deeply present to me than I am to myself.[10] Then self- abandonment to God increases and God becomes our joy (cf. Ps 73 [72]:23-28).

    18. Love of neighbour is thus shown to be possible in the way proclaimed by the Bible, by Jesus. It consists in the very fact that, in God and with God, I love even the person whom I do not like or even know. This can only take place on the basis of an intimate encounter with God, an encounter which has become a communion of will, even affecting my feelings. Then I learn to look on this other person not simply with my eyes and my feelings, but from the perspective of Jesus Christ. His friend is my friend. Going beyond exterior appearances, I perceive in others an interior desire for a sign of love, of concern. This I can offer them not only through the organizations intended for such purposes, accepting it perhaps as a political necessity. Seeing with the eyes of Christ, I can give to others much more than their outward necessities; I can give them the look of love which they crave. Here we see the necessary interplay between love of God and love of neighbour which the First Letter of John speaks of with such insistence. If I have no contact whatsoever with God in my life, then I cannot see in the other anything more than the other, and I am incapable of seeing in him the image of God. But if in my life I fail completely to heed others, solely out of a desire to be “devout” and to perform my “religious duties”, then my relationship with God will also grow arid. It becomes merely “proper”, but loveless. Only my readiness to encounter my neighbour and to show him love makes me sensitive to God as well. Only if I serve my neighbour can my eyes be opened to what God does for me and how much he loves me. The saints—consider the example of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta—constantly renewed their capacity for love of neighbour from their encounter with the Eucharistic Lord, and conversely this encounter acquired its real- ism and depth in their service to others. Love of God and love of neighbour are thus inseparable, they form a single commandment. But both live from the love of God who has loved us first. No longer is it a question, then, of a “commandment” imposed from without and calling for the impossible, but rather of a freely-bestowed experience of love from within, a love which by its very nature must then be shared with others. Love grows through love. Love is “divine” because it comes from God and unites us to God; through this unifying process it makes us a “we” which transcends our divisions and makes us one, until in the end God is “all in all” (1 Cor 15:28).

    PART II

    CARITAS

    THE PRACTICE OF LOVE
    BY THE CHURCH
    AS A “COMMUNITY OF LOVE”


    The Church's charitable activity as a manifestation of Trinitarian love

    19. “If you see charity, you see the Trinity”, wrote Saint Augustine.[11] In the foregoing reflections, we have been able to focus our attention on the Pierced one (cf. Jn 19:37, Zech 12:10), recognizing the plan of the Father who, moved by love (cf. Jn 3:16), sent his only-begotten Son into the world to redeem man. By dying on the Cross—as Saint John tells us—Jesus “gave up his Spirit” (Jn 19:30), anticipating the gift of the Holy Spirit that he would make after his Resurrection (cf. Jn 20:22). This was to fulfil the promise of “rivers of living water” that would flow out of the hearts of believers, through the outpouring of the Spirit (cf. Jn 7:38-39). The Spirit, in fact, is that interior power which harmonizes their hearts with Christ's heart and moves them to love their brethren as Christ loved them, when he bent down to wash the feet of the disciples (cf. Jn 13:1-13) and above all when he gave his life for us (cf. Jn 13:1, 15:13).

    The Spirit is also the energy which transforms the heart of the ecclesial community, so that it becomes a witness before the world to the love of the Father, who wishes to make humanity a single family in his Son. The entire activity of the Church is an expression of a love that seeks the integral good of man: it seeks his evangelization through Word and Sacrament, an undertaking that is often heroic in the way it is acted out in history; and it seeks to promote man in the various arenas of life and human activity. Love is therefore the service that the Church carries out in order to attend constantly to man's sufferings and his needs, including material needs. And this is the aspect, this service of charity, on which I want to focus in the second part of the Encyclical.

    Charity as a responsibility of the Church

    20. Love of neighbour, grounded in the love of God, is first and foremost a responsibility for each individual member of the faithful, but it is also a responsibility for the entire ecclesial community at every level: from the local community to the particular Church and to the Church universal in its entirety. As a community, the Church must practise love. Love thus needs to be organized if it is to be an ordered service to the community. The awareness of this responsibility has had a constitutive relevance in the Church from the beginning: “All who believed were together and had all things in common; and they sold their possessions and goods and distributed them to all, as any had need” (Acts 2:44-5). In these words, Saint Luke provides a kind of definition of the Church, whose constitutive elements include fidelity to the “teaching of the Apostles”, “communion” (koinonia), “the breaking of the bread” and “prayer” (cf. Acts 2:42). The element of “communion” (koinonia) is not initially defined, but appears concretely in the verses quoted above: it consists in the fact that believers hold all things in common and that among them, there is no longer any distinction between rich and poor (cf. also Acts 4:32-37). As the Church grew, this radical form of material communion could not in fact be preserved. But its essential core remained: within the community of believers there can never be room for a poverty that denies anyone what is needed for a dignified life.

    21. A decisive step in the difficult search for ways of putting this fundamental ecclesial principle into practice is illustrated in the choice of the seven, which marked the origin of the diaconal office (cf. Acts 6:5-6). In the early Church, in fact, with regard to the daily distribution to widows, a disparity had arisen between Hebrew speakers and Greek speakers. The Apostles, who had been entrusted primarily with “prayer” (the Eucharist and the liturgy) and the “ministry of the word”, felt over-burdened by “serving tables”, so they decided to reserve to themselves the principal duty and to designate for the other task, also necessary in the Church, a group of seven persons. Nor was this group to carry out a purely mechanical work of distribution: they were to be men “full of the Spirit and of wisdom” (cf. Acts 6:1-6). In other words, the social service which they were meant to provide was absolutely concrete, yet at the same time it was also a spiritual service; theirs was a truly spiritual office which carried out an essential responsibility of the Church, namely a well-ordered love of neighbour. With the formation of this group of seven, “diaconia”—the ministry of charity exercised in a communitarian, orderly way—became part of the fundamental structure of the Church.

    22. As the years went by and the Church spread further afield, the exercise of charity became established as one of her essential activities, along with the administration of the sacraments and the proclamation of the word: love for widows and orphans, prisoners, and the sick and needy of every kind, is as essential to her as the ministry of the sacraments and preaching of the Gospel. The Church cannot neglect the service of charity any more than she can neglect the Sacraments and the Word. A few references will suffice to demonstrate this. Justin Martyr († c. 155) in speaking of the Christians' celebration of Sunday, also mentions their charitable activity, linked with the Eucharist as such. Those who are able make offerings in accordance with their means, each as he or she wishes; the Bishop in turn makes use of these to support orphans, widows, the sick and those who for other reasons find themselves in need, such as prisoners and foreigners.[12] The great Christian writer Tertullian († after 220) relates how the pagans were struck by the Christians' concern for the needy of every sort.[13] And when Ignatius of Antioch († c. 117) described the Church of Rome as “presiding in charity (agape)”,[14] we may assume that with this definition he also intended in some sense to express her concrete charitable activity.

    23. Here it might be helpful to allude to the earliest legal structures associated with the service of charity in the Church. Towards the middle of the fourth century we see the development in Egypt of the “diaconia”: the institution within each monastery responsible for all works of relief, that is to say, for the service of charity. By the sixth century this institution had evolved into a corporation with full juridical standing, which the civil authorities themselves entrusted with part of the grain for public distribution. In Egypt not only each monastery, but each individual Diocese eventually had its own diaconia; this institution then developed in both East and West. Pope Gregory the Great († 604) mentions the diaconia of Naples, while in Rome the diaconiae are documented from the seventh and eighth centuries. But charitable activity on behalf of the poor and suffering was naturally an essential part of the Church of Rome from the very beginning, based on the principles of Christian life given in the Acts of the Apostles. It found a vivid expression in the case of the deacon Lawrence († 258). The dramatic description of Lawrence's martyrdom was known to Saint Ambrose († 397) and it provides a fundamentally authentic picture of the saint. As the one responsible for the care of the poor in Rome, Lawrence had been given a period of time, after the capture of the Pope and of Lawrence's fellow deacons, to collect the treasures of the Church and hand them over to the civil authorities. He distributed to the poor whatever funds were available and then presented to the authorities the poor themselves as the real treasure of the Church.[15] Whatever historical reliability one attributes to these details, Lawrence has always remained present in the Church's memory as a great exponent of ecclesial charity.

    24. A mention of the emperor Julian the Apostate († 363) can also show how essential the early Church considered the organized practice of charity. As a child of six years, Julian witnessed the assassination of his father, brother and other family members by the guards of the imperial palace; rightly or wrongly, he blamed this brutal act on the Emperor Constantius, who passed himself off as an outstanding Christian. The Christian faith was thus definitively discredited in his eyes. Upon becoming emperor, Julian decided to restore paganism, the ancient Roman religion, while reforming it in the hope of making it the driving force behind the empire. In this project he was amply inspired by Christianity. He established a hierarchy of metropolitans and priests who were to foster love of God and neighbour. In one of his letters,[16] he wrote that the sole aspect of Christianity which had impressed him was the Church's charitable activity. He thus considered it essential for his new pagan religion that, alongside the system of the Church's charity, an equivalent activity of its own be established. According to him, this was the reason for the popularity of the “Galileans”. They needed now to be imitated and outdone. In this way, then, the Emperor confirmed that charity was a decisive feature of the Christian community, the Church.

    25. Thus far, two essential facts have emerged from our reflections:

    a) The Church's deepest nature is expressed in her three-fold responsibility: of proclaiming the word of God (kerygma-martyria), celebrating the sacraments (leitourgia), and exercising the ministry of charity (diakonia). These duties presuppose each other and are inseparable. For the Church, charity is not a kind of welfare activity which could equally well be left to others, but is a part of her nature, an indispensable expression of her very being.[17]

    b) The Church is God's family in the world. In this family no one ought to go without the necessities of life. Yet at the same time caritas- agape extends beyond the frontiers of the Church. The parable of the Good Samaritan remains as a standard which imposes universal love towards the needy whom we encounter “by chance” (cf. Lk 10:31), whoever they may be. Without in any way detracting from this commandment of universal love, the Church also has a specific responsibility: within the ecclesial family no member should suffer through being in need. The teaching of the Letter to the Galatians is emphatic: “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, and especially to those who are of the household of faith” (6:10).

    Justice and Charity

    26. Since the nineteenth century, an objection has been raised to the Church's charitable activity, subsequently developed with particular insistence by Marxism: the poor, it is claimed, do not need charity but justice. Works of charity—almsgiving—are in effect a way for the rich to shirk their obligation to work for justice and a means of soothing their consciences, while preserving their own status and robbing the poor of their rights. Instead of contributing through individual works of charity to maintaining the status quo, we need to build a just social order in which all receive their share of the world's goods and no longer have to depend on charity. There is admittedly some truth to this argument, but also much that is mistaken. It is true that the pursuit of justice must be a fundamental norm of the State and that the aim of a just social order is to guarantee to each person, according to the principle of subsidiarity, his share of the community's goods. This has always been emphasized by Christian teaching on the State and by the Church's social doctrine. Historically, the issue of the just ordering of the collectivity had taken a new dimension with the industrialization of society in the nineteenth century. The rise of modern industry caused the old social structures to collapse, while the growth of a class of salaried workers provoked radical changes in the fabric of society. The relationship between capital and labour now became the decisive issue—an issue which in that form was previously unknown. Capital and the means of production were now the new source of power which, concentrated in the hands of a few, led to the suppression of the rights of the working classes, against which they had to rebel.

    27. It must be admitted that the Church's leadership was slow to realize that the issue of the just structuring of society needed to be approached in a new way. There were some pioneers, such as Bishop Ketteler of Mainz († 1877), and concrete needs were met by a growing number of groups, associations, leagues, federations and, in particular, by the new religious orders founded in the nineteenth century to combat poverty, disease and the need for better education. In 1891, the papal magisterium intervened with the Encyclical Rerum Novarum of Leo XIII. This was followed in 1931 by Pius XI's Encyclical Quadragesimo Anno. In 1961 Blessed John XXIII published the Encyclical Mater et Magistra, while Paul VI, in the Encyclical Populorum Progressio (1967) and in the Apostolic Letter Octogesima Adveniens (1971), insistently addressed the social problem, which had meanwhile become especially acute in Latin America. My great predecessor John Paul II left us a trilogy of social Encyclicals: Laborem Exercens (1981), Sollicitudo Rei Socialis (1987) and finally Centesimus Annus (1991). Faced with new situations and issues, Catholic social teaching thus gradually developed, and has now found a comprehensive presentation in the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church published in 2004 by the Pontifical Council Iustitia et Pax. Marxism had seen world revolution and its preliminaries as the panacea for the social problem: revolution and the subsequent collectivization of the means of production, so it was claimed, would immediately change things for the better. This illusion has vanished. In today's complex situation, not least because of the growth of a globalized economy, the Church's social doctrine has become a set of fundamental guidelines offering approaches that are valid even beyond the confines of the Church: in the face of ongoing development these guidelines need to be addressed in the context of dialogue with all those seriously concerned for humanity and for the world in which we live.

    28. In order to define more accurately the relationship between the necessary commitment to justice and the ministry of charity, two fundamental situations need to be considered:

    a) The just ordering of society and the State is a central responsibility of politics. As Augustine once said, a State which is not governed according to justice would be just a bunch of thieves: “Remota itaque iustitia quid sunt regna nisi magna latrocinia?”.[18] Fundamental to Christianity is the distinction between what belongs to Caesar and what belongs to God (cf. Mt 22:21), in other words, the distinction between Church and State, or, as the Second Vatican Council puts it, the autonomy of the temporal sphere.[19] The State may not impose religion, yet it must guarantee religious freedom and harmony between the followers of different religions. For her part, the Church, as the social expression of Christian faith, has a proper independence and is structured on the basis of her faith as a community which the State must recognize. The two spheres are distinct, yet always interrelated.

    Justice is both the aim and the intrinsic criterion of all politics. Politics is more than a mere mechanism for defining the rules of public life: its origin and its goal are found in justice, which by its very nature has to do with ethics. The State must inevitably face the question of how justice can be achieved here and now. But this presupposes an even more radical question: what is justice? The problem is one of practical reason; but if reason is to be exercised properly, it must undergo constant purification, since it can never be completely free of the danger of a certain ethical blindness caused by the dazzling effect of power and special interests.

    Here politics and faith meet. Faith by its specific nature is an encounter with the living God—an encounter opening up new horizons extending beyond the sphere of reason. But it is also a purifying force for reason itself. From God's standpoint, faith liberates reason from its blind spots and therefore helps it to be ever more fully itself. Faith enables reason to do its work more effectively and to see its proper object more clearly. This is where Catholic social doctrine has its place: it has no intention of giving the Church power over the State. Even less is it an attempt to impose on those who do not share the faith ways of thinking and modes of conduct proper to faith. Its aim is simply to help purify reason and to contribute, here and now, to the acknowledgment and attainment of what is just.

    The Church's social teaching argues on the basis of reason and natural law, namely, on the basis of what is in accord with the nature of every human being. It recognizes that it is not the Church's responsibility to make this teaching prevail in political life. Rather, the Church wishes to help form consciences in political life and to stimulate greater insight into the authentic requirements of justice as well as greater readiness to act accordingly, even when this might involve conflict with situations of personal interest. Building a just social and civil order, wherein each person receives what is his or her due, is an essential task which every generation must take up anew. As a political task, this cannot be the Church's immediate responsibility. Yet, since it is also a most important human responsibility, the Church is duty-bound to offer, through the purification of reason and through ethical formation, her own specific contribution towards understanding the requirements of justice and achieving them politically.

    The Church cannot and must not take upon herself the political battle to bring about the most just society possible. She cannot and must not replace the State. Yet at the same time she cannot and must not remain on the sidelines in the fight for justice. She has to play her part through rational argument and she has to reawaken the spiritual energy without which justice, which always demands sacrifice, cannot prevail and prosper. A just society must be the achievement of politics, not of the Church. Yet the promotion of justice through efforts to bring about openness of mind and will to the demands of the common good is something which concerns the Church deeply.

    b) Love—caritas—will always prove necessary, even in the most just society. There is no ordering of the State so just that it can eliminate the need for a service of love. Whoever wants to eliminate love is preparing to eliminate man as such. There will always be suffering which cries out for consolation and help. There will always be loneliness. There will always be situations of material need where help in the form of concrete love of neighbour is indispensable.[20] The State which would provide everything, absorbing everything into itself, would ultimately become a mere bureaucracy incapable of guaranteeing the very thing which the suffering person—every person—needs: namely, loving personal concern. We do not need a State which regulates and controls everything, but a State which, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, generously acknowledges and supports initiatives arising from the different social forces and combines spontaneity with closeness to those in need. The Church is one of those living forces: she is alive with the love enkindled by the Spirit of Christ. This love does not simply offer people material help, but refreshment and care for their souls, something which often is even more necessary than material support. In the end, the claim that just social structures would make works of charity superfluous masks a materialist conception of man: the mistaken notion that man can live “by bread alone” (Mt 4:4; cf. Dt 8:3)—a conviction that demeans man and ultimately disregards all that is specifically human.

    29. We can now determine more precisely, in the life of the Church, the relationship between commitment to the just ordering of the State and society on the one hand, and organized charitable activity on the other. We have seen that the formation of just structures is not directly the duty of the Church, but belongs to the world of politics, the sphere of the autonomous use of reason. The Church has an indirect duty here, in that she is called to contribute to the purification of reason and to the reawakening of those moral forces without which just structures are neither established nor prove effective in the long run.

    The direct duty to work for a just ordering of society, on the other hand, is proper to the lay faithful. As citizens of the State, they are called to take part in public life in a personal capacity. So they cannot relinquish their participation “in the many different economic, social, legislative, administrative and cultural areas, which are intended to promote organically and institutionally the common good.” [21] The mission of the lay faithful is therefore to configure social life correctly, respecting its legitimate autonomy and cooperating with other citizens according to their respective competences and fulfilling their own responsibility.[22] Even if the specific expressions of ecclesial charity can never be confused with the activity of the State, it still remains true that charity must animate the entire lives of the lay faithful and therefore also their political activity, lived as “social charity”.[23]

    The Church's charitable organizations, on the other hand, constitute an opus proprium, a task agreeable to her, in which she does not cooperate collaterally, but acts as a subject with direct responsibility, doing what corresponds to her nature. The Church can never be exempted from practising charity as an organized activity of believers, and on the other hand, there will never be a situation where the charity of each individual Christian is unnecessary, because in addit
              To Revel, To Dream        
    "Supermoon" by C. Michelle Olson; http://cmichelleolson.com/


    Our autumn/winter issue opens with the following paragraph:

    "Amidst fundamental change, evolutionary transformation, emotional inheritances across generations, loss, decline and gain, we harvest by flame hues of the season what the preceding months have forged. Shifts in light, time and nature call for an introspective accounting of the shifts in our own lives. From the initial autumnal awakening wrought with realizations and all that we've accumulated, to the winter withdrawal for rest, repair, planning and dreaming, this issue compels us to embark on physical and emotional journeys of self-discovery. It's time to venture out into the dark heart of the unknown, embrace the mystery and revere the moment as we carve a way through."

    Interestingly, in the ancient Celtic tradition, Halloween was regarded as the New Year. If we think of the harvest as having gathered the abundance of the year, all that we yielded, learned and received, if we think of winter as the quiet after, a gestation before the rebirth of spring when we start again, this time of year would seem an ending before a beginning. In-between cycles of seasons and life, should there not come a time after laboring, preceeding rest, to acknowledge and celebrate? The autumn opens the holiday season for many of us. Is it then not fitting that one and all should take time to recharge and reward themselves with love, light and laughter during this time? For all that we've lost, all that we've gained, for all that's changed, let us remember, take stock of who and what's most important and then lift a glass to the present. As the featured poem below rightly states, "All is done that can be done." Being done, let us revel and dream.   

    Last Harvest

    by Nancy Morgan-Boucher

    Under the burnished bales of hay
    under the prickled straw fields
    covenantal crones bruise the leaves
    of apple mint, crush the breathy wilding grapes
    snatched from woody nightshade’s clasp;
    decoct chokecherries to blackened flame.

    Bid to sip, Demeter, to visions,
    infusion of vervain for drowsiness.
    Lord of the Underworld desires
    Persephone again.  Lady of the Harvest, dream.
    All is done that can be done.
    Pull down the Full Corn Moon.


    Bio- Nancy Morgan-Boucher lives in Rehoboth, MA where she founded Poetry in the Village in 2009 at the local library.  Morgan-Boucher has been a featured poet at Main Street Cafe, Easton, MA, Coffee Milano, Middleboro, MA, Blue State Coffee, Providence, RI, Mike Amado Memorial Poetry Series, Plymouth, MA, Dream-Speak, Plymouth, MA and Stone Soup, Cambridge, MA. Her work also appears in Finding Water: Poems and Stories by the Nomad Writers, 2011. She has recently read poetry from her chapbook, Climbing the Family Tree, on the sidewalk of the venerable pub, The Drunken Poet, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.  Morgan-Boucher's poems have appeared in Siren: A Contemporary Literary Journal, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, The Unitarian Universalist Poets: A Contemporary American Survey, Pudding House Publications, Jamestown, Ohio, and The Wilderness House Literary Review, an on-line literary magazine. Her work has recently been published by The Write Place At the Write Time, an online literary journal.
              My Beliefs...        
    ...At least as well as they can be described with an internet quiz. The top result really isn't surprising. After that they are just nonsensical frankly. There were several questions on this quiz where my option simply wasn't available or the least inaccurate option wasn't quite correct. I think that led to some funny percentages.

    The most unexpected outcome is that the religion I was raised "Roman Catholic" was ranked equally with Islam and less than Mormonism?! Neither religion I've ever felt the least affinity for. Or that I'm more Scientologist than Catholic? Really?! Why is that even an option? Why don't they just include Pastafarianism while they're at it?

    Here's the results:

    1. Unitarian Universalism (100%)
    2. Theravada Buddhism (95%)
    3. Mahayana Buddhism (80%)
    4. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (79%)
    5. Secular Humanism (79%)
    6. Liberal Quakers (78%)
    7. Nontheist (78%)
    8. New Thought (77%)
    9. Neo-Pagan (74%)
    10. Orthodox Judaism (72%)
    11. Reform Judaism (72%)
    12. Hinduism (69%)
    13. New Age (68%)
    14. Scientology (65%)
    15. Sikhism (65%)
    16. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (62%)
    17. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (62%)
    18. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (62%)
    19. Eastern Orthodox (58%)
    20. Islam (58%)
    21. Roman Catholic (58%)
    22. Taoism (49%)
    23. Baha'i Faith (47%)
    24. Jainism (47%)
    25. Jehovah's Witness (40%)
    26. Orthodox Quaker (40%)
    27. Seventh Day Adventist (38%)


    Quiz found via carnaby fudge
              Cons and Pros        
    My dear friend L is a Unitarian Universalist minister. We have known each other for 30 years or so. She has remained mostly the liberal that I was back then while I have, well, plummeted from grace at increasing velocities over the years.

    She linked with approval to a Facebook post whose uplifting cheerleader message was, "You can do this because you are badass."

    And here is the profile pic for the badass in question:




    Scares the shit outta me, that's for sure!


    And to make up to my readers for inflicting this testostrone-erasing picture on you, an offering in atonement:





    Porn actor Jeff Allen.  Back in the late 90's-early 00's he was, IMHO, as close to perfect as a man could get. 

    Now balance has been restored to The Force.

    ----



              Stop criminalizing poor people! Rally April 2        


    End the Criminalization of Homelessness & Poverty!  Join Us!
     Monday,  April 2, 2012
    In Solidarity with the
    National Day of Action for the Right to Exist
     Court Square, Springfield
    Noon: Gather; 12:30: Music, speakers, then MARCH to Governor’s Office, 436 Dwight St. & Mayor’s Office
    Why are the shelters full, when everywhere we see empty homes and buildings?
    Why is the City of Springfield ignoring the housing needs of half of its people?
    OUR DEMANDS:
    City: Replace the housing lost in the tornado!
    State: Make shelters available to all in need!
    Feds: Fund housing, not wars!
    For more info, contact: Arise for Social Justice (413)734-4948
    Cosponsors so far: Alliance for Peace and Justice, Anti-Racism Ministry Team of the First Congregational Church in Amherst, UCCWM American Friends Service Committee, PV Buddhist Peace Fellowship, Charles Hamilton Houston Inst. For Race & Justice , Community Labor Rebuilding Coalition, Craig’s Place, Fund Our Communities Not War, Grace Church Peace Fellowship, International Alliance of Inhabitants, Mass Alliance of HUD Tenants, Mass Coalition for the Homeless, Mass Law Reform Institute, Move On, Occupy Amherst, Occupy Western MA General Assembly, Out Now, Peace Pagoda, Picture the Homeless, Pioneer Valley Chapter of the Green/Rainbow Party, Springfield Bank Tenants Association, Springfield No One Leaves,Survivors Incorporated, UAW Local 2322, Unitarian Universalist Society of Amherst Social Justice Committee, Western Mass Jobs with Justice, WRAP

    ¡Poner fin a la penalización por falta de vivienda y por pobreza!
    Día Nacional de Acción por el Derecho a Existir:
    Lunes, 2 de abril en Court Square, Springfield
    (fecha en caso de lluvia: 4 de abril)
    Mediodía:      inicio de la recolección
    12:30:   música, altavoces
    Marchar a la Oficina del Gobernador
    Marchar a la Oficina del Alcalde
    ¡Sin vivienda, todos vamos a ser criminales!
    Por qué están llenos los refugios para desamparados, cuando en toda parte hay casas y edificios vacíos?
    Por qué ignora la ciudade de Springfield las necesidades de la mitad de sus habitantes?
    Nuestros exigencias:
    La ciudad: Reponga las viviendas perdidas en el tornado!
    El estado: Haga que los refugios para desamparados sean disponibles a todos los necesitados!
    El gobierno federal: Financie las viviendas, no las guerras!
    Contactar Arise for Social Justice (Levántate por la Justicia Social), 413-734-4948

              Masters of the Universe: Hayek, Friedman, and the Birth of Neoliberal Politics [Video]        
    Speaker(s): Dr Daniel Stedman Jones, Professor Mark Pennington, Professor Lord Skidelsky | How did American and British policymakers become so enamoured with free markets, deregulation, and limited government? Based on archival research and interviews with leading participants in the movement, Daniel Stedman Jones has traced the ascendancy of neoliberalism from the academy of interwar Europe to supremacy under Reagan and Thatcher and in the decades since. He contends that there was nothing inevitable about the victory of free-market politics. Far from being the story of the simple triumph of right-wing ideas, the neoliberal breakthrough was contingent on the economic crises of the 1970s and the acceptance of the need for new policies by the political left. In his lecture he will describe neoliberalism's road to power, beginning in interwar Europe, then shifting its centre of gravity after 1945 to the United States, especially to Chicago and Virginia, where it was developed into an uncompromising political message, communicated through a transatlantic network of think tanks, businessmen, politicians, and journalists held together by Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman. A discussion for anyone who wants to understand the history behind the Anglo-American love affair with the free market, as well as the origins of the current economic crisis. Daniel Stedman Jones is a barrister in London. He was educated at the University of Oxford and at the University of Pennsylvania, where he earned a PhD in history. He has worked as a policy adviser for the New Opportunities Fund and as a researcher for Demos. His latest book is Masters of the Universe: Hayek, Friedman, and the Birth of Neoliberal Politics. Mark Pennington is Professor of Public Policy and Political Economy, King's College, University of London, prior to which he spent eleven years at Queen Mary, University of London. He holds a PhD from the London School of Economics. Mark's work lies at the intersection of politics, philosophy and economics with a particular emphasis on the classical liberal tradition. His latest book, Robust Political Economy (2011: Cheltenham, Edward Elgar) examines challenges to classical liberalism derived from neo-classical economics, communitarian political theory and egalitarian ethics. From January 2013 Mark will be the European Editor of the Review of Austrian Economics. Robert Skidelsky is Emeritus Professor of Political Economy at the University of Warwick. His three-volume biography of the economist John Maynard Keynes (1983, 1992, 2000) received numerous prizes, and he recently published Keynes: The Return of the Master.
              Education Spirituality Forum        
    As each individual matures in spirituality, institutional churches also mature. I see churches opening awareness of Jesus' prophecy of worship in spirit and truth. This is the apex point of religious awareness, key avenue being strict unitarian faith. Prophetic, sacramental and mystical faiths then transcend differences for the simple intuit... Read More
              Reverend Fred Small: Religious Witness for the Earth        
    Reverend Fred Small is a BIG force in the religious environmental community. The senior minister at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts shares his views on climate activism, the Koch Brothers and some of the spiritual questions raised by the reality of what we’re doing to our life support systems. LISTEN to FRED SMALL
              Les Enfants Terribles with Opera Parallele This Weekend        
    This weekend Opera Parallèle is presenting the Philip Glass opera based on the Jean Cocteau film Les Enfants Terribles, about a strange pair of teenage orphans whose incestuous fantasy games expand into a quartet of mismatched lovers. Playing the brother Paul, with whom everyone becomes infatuated, is baritone Hadleigh Adams above.

    Last Saturday, at the Unitarian Church on Franklin, press and supporters were invited to a preview/open rehearsal of scenes from the opera led by Artistic Director Nicole Paiement who will be conducting, and Creative Director Brian Staufenbiel who explained how the elaborate production involving a mixture of film and static projections is supposed to work.

    Earlier in the week, Philip Glass accepted an invitation to check out the production, and he spent an entire day as a member of the rehearsal team before being the guest of honor at a gala concert that evening at the Gordon Getty mansion with the Opera Parallèle company. After flying back on a red-eye to New York that same night, he called and said that he was so delighted with what he had seen of the production so far that he would be returning this weekend to see it onstage. Now that's a testimonial.

    Hadleigh Adams and soprano Rachel Schultz as his manipulative sister Elisabeth were sounding in very good voice, and according to Paiement the score written for three pianos is a colorful wonder.

    Schutz above (seated next to musical assistant William Long) mentioned in a Q&A session at the end of the rehearsal that, being a high soprano, she is usually cast as a goody-goody ingenue, but playing a more twisted character has turned out to be an unexpected pleasure.

    It is too bad that I won't be in town for any of this weekend's performances, but if you are interested, click here to buy tickets. You may end up sitting next to Philip Glass.
              SPANISH HISTORY-The Catholic Monarchs        

    1474 to 1516: During the reign of Isabel and Fernando, the outstanding elements are:

    1. The taking of Granada (that completed in 1492, January 2nd, the Christian Reconquest against Muslim rule in Spain.
    2. The Discovery of America (12 October 1492) by Christopher Columbus.
    3. The setting up of the Inquisition: a Tribunal that not only had religious implications, but was also an instrument allowing royal power to reinforce the authority of the State. The unity of Spain was possible after the marriage of the Catholic Monarchs in 1464.
    4. The expulsion of the Jews. The search for unity did not stop with the final military gesture of 1492 but was prolonged in pursuit of religious and cultural uniformity, culminating in the expulsion of the Jews who refused to convert in the same year that the Reconquest was completed, and in the ensuing expulsion of the Muslims.
    5. The pacification of the kingdoms. They tried to reinforce the state apparatus and royal authority to do so and they used the juridical and administrative institutions already existing. The Spanish monarchy appears then as one of the first modern states of Renaissance Europe.
    6. An international policy of marriage alliances to consolidate Spanish power. The Spanish monarchy had a foreign policy influenced by the creation of a permanent state, served by functionaries and diplomats, shaped by a unitarian concept, which was both flexible and confederal, of the monarchical institution.

              June 19, 2011. First Sunday after Pentecost. Trinity Sunday        
    © 2011 by Louie Crew


    Today’s Lections

    The Collect

    Almighty and everlasting God, you have given to us your servants grace, by the confession of a true faith, to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and in the power of your divine Majesty to worship the Unity: Keep us steadfast in this faith and worship, and bring us at last to see you in your one and eternal glory, O Father; who with the Son and the Holy Spirit live and reign, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


    Can you imagine Jesus asking the thief on the next cross to pray this prayer?

    Can you imagine Jesus asking the Samaritan woman at the well to pray this prayer?

    Would he even have suggested it to savvy Nicodemus?

    Would he have asked it of any of his disciples?

    “No!” to all of the above.

    Would he ask Christians today to pray it? What do you think?

    This prayer is designed to promote an institutional decision made almost 400 years into the Christian era, when the doctrine of the Trinity became official for much of Christendom.

    I have no problem with the doctrine, and to the extent that I understand it, I believe in it. I grieve that the doctrine has for centuries been a major distraction from the work of ministry which God has assigned to us, work defined in today‘s gospel text, tempered with Saint‘s injunction in the epistle.

    It makes good sense to maintain an institution well. Given the huge battles -- whether we like them or not -- that did arise, and still potentially divide us, we Trinitarian Christians have something at stake in the institutional endorsement of the doctrine. I am not ready to go to war with Unitarians, however, nor with other groups for whom the doctrine is merely a nice antique.

    I view the Trinity as a handy metaphor for how God manifests God's self in different guises. God will go on doing that whether or not we formalize God’s behavior as an official doctrine.

    Note: the authors of this collect would have us "worship the Unity." That's different from worshiping the doctrine itself. They also took care to write “by the confession of a true faith” rather than “by the confession of The True Faith.” For such wiggle room! I am grateful, not for myself, but for those who feel they need it.

    Genesis 1:1-2:4a

    Where did you come from? Who were your parents? Who were their parents and who were their parents' parents?...

    How did we get here as human beings? How did all living creatures have life? Whence come all inanimate things?

    Does the Genesis narrative trump or otherwise negate in any way what science has to say about the world’s origins or the origin of the species thereon?

    Many of us asked these questions less inhibitedly when we were children. The author of Genesis gives a set of answer through the creation narrative. Similar narrative proliferated the ancient world. Likely the Israelites first heard this narrative while they were captives in Babylonia and adopted it and adapted it in accord with their own understandings.

    Try forgetting this familiar creation narrative and write your own.

    Will God be a part of your narrative? Will you give to male human beings the supremacy explicit and implicit in this narrative?

    Do you have any changes you would like to see to the human body?

    • An eye in the back of the head, for example?
    • Androgyny for everyone?
    • Any changes to the plumbing?
    • Any more controls, or any reduction of controls, on how the plumbing might be used?
    • Would you design ways to make it easier for surgeons to correct all physical problems when they arise?
    • Would you keep the immune system as it is?



    .....

    The psalmist proclaims, "I am marvelously made!” Is that true of you? Is that true of every human being? Is it true of every creature?

    In Genesis after each major act of creation God looks upon what God has created and proclaims, "It is good."

    On making snakes and other animals of prey, did God say, "Good!"?

    Did God turn out the lights when She made our private parts? Is She squeamish about such things? Should we be?

    The Genesis narrative does not show evil until Adam and Eve sin. Evil becomes their fault, not the fault of the creator. The narrative does not put the full blame on the Adam and Eve, however. It reveals Satan and God both as supernatural. Enter the snake.



    Do you believe there is a Satan? As fully, more fully, less fully than you believe there is a God? Genesis takes sides between the two. Do you? On what basis?

    Genesis exalts human beings over other creatures: it says that God gives us dominion over them. Scripture does not specify any constraints for that dominion. We have the power to annihilate species, and our rates of doing so have dramatically increased in the last 100 years. In your creation narrative, would you try to constrain human abuse of creation?

    In Genesis God commands human beings to be fruitful and multiply. From the second decade of the 21st century, the human beings have obeyed that commandment with a vengeance. In your creation narrative would you encourage prodigal procreation?

    Our planet is running out of resources, exponentially within the last 100 years -- fossil fuels being one of the more notable examples, with huge consequences for ecological balance (note well ‘global warming‘). Current discourse touts looking for alternative sources of energy as well as for ways to reduce our dependence on energy; but almost no one has promoted a cheap and 100% effective way forward:

    If the human population effected a reduction to just 25% population growth for the next four generations, most of these problems would disappear.

    Has heterosexuality run amok?

    Given reality on the planet in our times, we should reward heterosexual couples who choose to honor creation by not procreating. We should encourage communal structures, such as universal education, that give to many besides one's parents major roles in nurturing the young.

    In meeting strangers, I find they frequently ask, "Do you have children?" "Yes," I sometimes answer. I have been blessed with between 4,500 and 5,000 children in my 44 years as a teacher.

    During the time that students are my charge, I typically spend more hours with them, and certainly more "quality time" than their parents. They share with me ideas many would never share at home. They are maturing....

    The same might be said of adults to whom the young apprentice themselves. We would reduce birth significantly by encouraging lgbtq people to live openly as lgbtq. At present, in most of the world, we risk far less persecution if we pass ourselves off as heterosexual. Many of us beget and beget before we come to terms with our primary orientation.

    Several decades ago China instituted a policy of one child per family. "Professor," one of my brightest students told me when I taught in Beijing in 1983-84, "I believe our policy is still insufficient. It perpetuates our national consumption of far more than the earth can long sustain. I love my country so much that I am committing to having no children, so that all children will have an even better chance at a plentiful life."

    Canticle 2

    A Song of Praise Benedictus es, Domine

    Blessed art thou, O Lord God of our fathers; *
    praised and exalted above all for ever.
    Blessed art thou for the Name of thy Majesty; *
    praised and exalted above all for ever.
    Blessed art thou in the temple of thy holiness; *
    praised and exalted above all for ever.
    Blessed art thou that beholdest the depths,
    and dwellest between the Cherubim; *
    praised and exalted above all for ever.
    Blessed art thou on the glorious throne of thy kingdom; *
    praised and exalted above all for ever.
    Blessed art thou in the firmament of heaven; *
    praised and exalted above all for ever.
    Blessed art thou, O Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; *
    praised and exalted above all for ever.


    In Welcome to Samara, a sermon which I preached during General Convention 1994, I noted that when I fled the Baptist religion to become an Episcopalian, I was not altogether certain that I believed in God. But Episcopalians provided me a prettier way to pray to God. This Canticle would have come to mind then, even as it does now, as one of many important examples. Enjoy its rich cadence of anapests, tripping off the tongue, especially in the repeated

    "Praised and exalted above all forever"

    Scanned: / v v / v v / v v / v

    Almost 50 years after confirmation (10/29/61), I wonder whether God wants all the adoration that I enjoy giving.

    I doubt that God is very upset when we lose our faith for stretches of time. God never stops believing in us. God never stops loving all creatures.

    2 Corinthians 13:11-13

    Saint is often much wordier. His brevity here is refreshing, advice aplenty for most of the auspicious church wars:

    Agree with one another, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss.


    When I try to greet my adversaries with a holy kiss, most of them reject the kiss as unholy, alas.

    Matthew 28:16-20

    The Great Commission we all share as Christians is to make disciples throughout the whole world. We are to baptize the new disciples. We are to teach them to obey every commandment Jesus gave, the first and greatest of which he said it to love God with our whole heart, mind, soul and strength, and the second, which he said is "like unto it," that we are to love our neighbors as ourselves.

    Are we also to teach them to reject Buddhism, Islam, Humanism, Hinduism......?

    Does the Great Commission command or implicitly endorse holy crusades of the murderous sort Christians undertook in the Middle Ages? -- or does it endorse America’s current, often murderous crusade to bring its vision of democracy to all nations?

    Does the Great Commission endorse confiscation of Arab property to use for new settlements in Israel?

    This text, as have many others, has been plundered to support religious intolerance and so-called 'holy' wars.

    Contrast Saint's counsel: "Agree with one another, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you. "




    See also
               Civil society beyond liberalism and communitarianism         
    Mouffe, Chantal (2003) Civil society beyond liberalism and communitarianism. In: Zivilgesellschaft zwischen Liberalismus und Kommunitarismus. Passagen, pp. 81-91. ISBN 3851655737
              Comment on Palin Disinvited to Stop Iran Rally by Alibaba        
    I believe that June Walker was a big abortion supporter, which is unfortunate. Some of these older Jewish organizations, including the one of "Reformed Rabbis" (we call them Unitarians) are extremely leftwing and should be chucked! I will not donate to them. CAMERA is a much better organization as is Beth Gelinsky's group (I think it is the Jewish Action Alliance). Rabbi Eric Yoffie is a disgrace. His big concern is performing gay marriage ceremonies! This is what he lives for.
              How to Cut Back on Your Prayer Life?        

    Franklin Graham inadvertantly becomes a tool for crowd control, Unitarian Universalist President resigns because there's no such thing as enough diversity, Pope Francis calls for somebody to do something about Syria, and President Trump answers the call, and Pastor's advising us how to cut back on our prayer lives today on Radical Grace Radio.

    Visit Matthew Pancake's Facebook

    http://www.facebook.com/matthew.pancake

    Visit Pastor Gary Held's Facebook

    http://www.facebook.com/garyheld

    Visit our Website

    www.RadicalGraceRadio.com

     


              Orar cursuri august-decembrie 2014        




      BUCURESTI : 
               21-24 august Desen cu emisfera dreapta
               22 august Atelier mandale pictate pe sticla
               23 august Atelier scriere transfiguratoare


              11-14 septembrie  Curs pictura
              18-21 septembrie Desen cu emisfera dreapta
              19 septembrie Atelier mandale pictate pe sticla
              20 septembrie Atelier scriere transfiguratoare


             16-19 octombrie Desen cu emisfera dreapta
             17 octombrie Atelier pictura mandale pe sticla
             18 octombrie Atelier scriere transfiguratoare

             27- 30 noiembrie Desen cu emisfera dreapta
             28 noiembrie Atelier mandale pictate pe sticla
             29 noiembrie Atelier scriere transfiguratoare


             4-7 decembrie Curs pictura

    La Bucuresti locul de desfasurare al cursurilor este la sediul Centrului Holistic Soma, str. Anton Pan, nr 17b. Detalii despre locatie gasiti pe site aici 
               http://www.holisticsoma.ro/contact/
    In interiorul centrului nu se intra cu pantofii de strada. Dansii pun la dispozitie incaltaminte de interior dezinfectata. Daca nu doriti sa folositi incaltaminte oferita , va puteti aduce cu dumneavoastra incaltaminte de interior. 
     Pretul cursului in Bucuresti este de 590 ron, cursul de desen si 560 ron cursul de pictura.
     In intervalul cat ma aflu la Bucuresti, in zilele de joi intre orele 16,30-21 se desfasoara atelierul de mandale, ( cost 120 ron ) iar sambata intre 17-19 atelierul "Schimba-ti scrisul, schimba-ti viata". ( cost 70 ron atelierul si 130 ron mapa pentru exercitiu)  



     CLUJ: 
            31 iulie - 3 august Desen cu emisfera dreapta - locatie Liceul Unitarian, fost Brassai langa magazinul Sora
          11-14 decembrie - locatia se va anunta ulterior
          
    BRASOV
            2-5 octombrie Desen cu emisfera dreapta
            13-16 noiembrie Desen cu emisfera dreapta

    Locatia pentru Brasov este Sediul Asociatiei  Novum, str A.I. Cuza, nr 48. Costul pentru Brasov este de 530 ron.


              Inscrierea  se face prin depunerea  unei  taxe de 100 de roni in contul RO81INGB 0000 9999 0103 2018, ING Turda, titular cont Pelea Iudita. Inscrierea devine efectiva in momentul achitarii taxei. Diferenta se achita numerar in prima zi de curs.  In caz de renuntare cu mai putin de o saptamana inainte de data cursului taxa se reporteaza pentru alt curs, nu se restituie.
                   Detalii suplimentare la telefon 0744.616.651 sau 0737.187.912. Datorita faptului ca m-am mutat la tara semnalul de telefon este foarte oscilant. Cea mai sigura modalitate de a ma contacta este prin apelul telefonic din messengerul de Facebook pe contul Iudita Pelea. 
     La atelierul de mandale si la cel de scriere inscrierea se face printr-un sms cu textul : numele dv, mandale ( sau scris in functie de optiune ) data si orasul. Nr telefon pentru sms 0744616651
             


               The Existential Joss Whedon by J. Michael Richardson and J. Douglas Rabb         
    The number of academic texts dealing with Joss Whedon's TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer is truly extraordinary. Like most of these books, this monograph combines the perspective of the fan and that of the scholar. Their argument is that Joss Whedon's oeuvre can (and should) be read as narrative explication of a communitarian ethics based on existentialist philosophy.
              The attitudes of Western European states towards new religious movements        

    Research: a brief overview of the attitudes of Western European states towards new religious movements is an interesting article by Jean-François Mayer, founder and editor of Relioscope -- an independent website that provides 'news and analysis about religions in today's world.'

    The article describes official responses to cults during the 1980s and 1990s.

    Under the heading 'General Comments and Observations,' Mayer writes:

    If we summarize the current situation, beside a few centres receiving local or regional subsidies, three Western European countries — Austria, Belgium[75] and France — have established agencies or centres for monitoring NRMs; these institutions are the outcomes of state initiatives at the national level.[76] Despite the successive waves of concerns about “cults”, most European countries do not have state agencies dealing with cult-related issues. In some cases, this has not prevented targeted measures against a specific movement, as evidenced by the years of surveillance of Scientology by German security agencies.

    State-sponsored institutions dealing with cults are supposed to be neutral observers — which was one of the reasons for their founding. What happens in reality is nuanced and should certainly not be over-simplified. In practice, representatives of some official or state-supported agencies are seen more often at conferences of people with shared anti-cult assumptions than at academic conferences attracting sociologists of religion and other scholars conducting fieldwork. This has not prevented some members of these agencies’ staff from gaining considerable knowledge through years of work. One should understand that from the start the very roots of such agencies made it difficult for them to be really “neutral” (whatever meaning is ascribed to this word), since they were supposed to help solve a social problem, to support people seen as victims and to deal with deviations. Social scientists studying NRMs usually work from a quite different starting point.
    - Source: Jean-François Mayer, Research: a brief overview of the attitudes of Western European states towards new religious movements, Religioscope, November 5, 2016

    Mayer also notes that the situation has changed a bit over the past 15 years.

    Firstly, except for the deaths of hundreds of members of the Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God in Uganda in 2000 (unfortunately, when news of this kind comes from Africa, it does not have the same impact as similar events in the West would), there have been no further major, dramatic “cult tragedies”. With the exception of Scientology, which remains quite controversial, most NRMs that were at the top of the list from the 1970s to the 1990s have lost much visibility, and several well-known cult leaders have died: their movements now have a lower profile or have partly reformed themselves (with ISKCON being one of the most significant instances of such internal reforms). There are still tensions within families as a consequence of spiritual quests and reorientations, but they are less associated with clearly identifiable groups. The Western European environment has become more individualistic: the appeal of radical forms of communitarian life has declined, especially at a time when most young people are primarily concerned with getting a job and keeping it. Certainly, the repeated warnings about the dangers associated with recruitment into “cults” have made some people more cautious when encountering missionaries of various persuasions.

    Most of all, Westerners no longer experience the same fears: we live in the post-9/11 environment. Islamic radicalism looks like a much more serious threat than do small religious movements. Security agencies invest more time in monitoring Salafi mosques or jihadist websites than the followers of Hindu gurus or Japanese new religions. Some religious groups still require attention, but they are no longer the same ones.
    - Source: Ibid

    From 'Cult Wars' to Dialogue

    Indeed, much has changed from about the turn of the century. The so-called 'cult wars' have largely abated in favor of a more constructive, communicative approach in which people with various, often polarized viewpoints share knowledge and perspectives -- agreeing to disagree when and where necessary, but all the while learning from each other.

    The International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA) -- formerly American Family Foundation -- describes this development in its statement, Dialogue and Cultic Studies: Why Dialogue Benefits the Cultic Studies Field.

    That said, to those people who help victims of cults regain their freedom and deal with the aftermath of their involvment in such movements, the attitude of many religion academics still comes across as rather sympathetic toward what is euphemistically referred to as 'New Religious Movements.'[ref]New Religious Movement (NRM) or sometimes Alternative Religious Movement (ARM) are terms often used as 'neutral' descriptions of what others would refer to as 'cults' or 'sects'[/ref]

    It is not just anti-cult activists who have called out certain academics for their cozy and at times almost PR-like relationships with religious cults

    On the other hand, such academics have also learned that the internet has made it a lot easier for interested observers to scrutinize -- and critique -- their work.

    Jihadism and Deradicalization

    Mayer continues his comments and obervations by saying that Jihadism is now seen by some anti-cult groups as another form of "cultic deviation."

    More recently, as we see young Muslims leaving Western cities to join Islamist groups in Middle East war zones, relatives or acquaintances of these young people have spontaneously explained that they had been brainwashed: this often seemed to them to be the only “rational” explanation for such radical departures. This has quite naturally been grafted onto a “cult brainwashing” narrative. The metaphor of mind control offers an attractive model to explain various situations. Despite initial reluctance by some cult critics to venture into that field, we are seeing what to some extent looks like a new incarnation of the cult controversies around jihadism, with deradicalization becoming a new keyword (as well as a new industry).
    - Source: Ibid.

    Clearly, many expressions of what is known in Islam as 'lesser Jihad' (holy warfare against the enemies of Allah and Islam) -- as opposed to 'greater Jihad' (the personal struggle against sin) are indeed cult-like in nature. The possibility that such recruits are victims of Brainwashing and/or Mind Control -- concepts certain religion academics crusade against with something very much akin to holy fervor -- should not be summarily dismissed.

    That some cult experts see similarities between the recruitment tactics of apocalyptic Islamist terror groups and those of other destructive cults is logical. The process of undue influence is the familiar and follows a predictable tract.

    Not surprisingly Mayer's comments include a nod toward the semantics problems that have plagued the 'New Religious Movements' debates: How does one define terms like 'cult' or 'sect'? According to him, shift from “cults” or “sectes” to “cultic deviations” does not really solve the problem because the term is "not as neutral as it claims to be."

    As James Lewis has observed, “the minority religions lose their chance for a fair hearing as soon as the label ‘cult’ is applied”.[94] The shift from “cults” or “sectes” to “cultic deviations” has been an attempt to resolve the dilemma and deal with the tricky issues presented by such a vocabulary without a clear legal basis when it is being used by supposedly “neutral” states. It fits the model according to which only questionable behaviour is targeted, but it fails to really solve the problem. The talk is indeed not merely about deviations, but about sectaires, thus qualifying a very specific type of alleged deviations that most people associate with a specific type of group. It is therefore not as neutral as it claims to be. Moreover, this shift has contributed to wider applications of the label “cultic deviations” to a variety of groups and individuals.[95] The cult controversies of the past decades have thus even led to the modification and possibly the extension of the meaning of words such as “secte” or “cult”.

    In the end, the overview is of interest to those who are familiar with the issues discussed.

    Mayer's comments provide some insight into current thinking about the topic from a perspective that seems more worried about the impact of activists on 'New Religious Movements' than about the damage cults, sects, or other groups that engage in cultic deviations have on victims.

    Full story: The attitudes of Western European states towards new religious movements


              Missing the point        
    Although I've been a prisoner of Hades for the past seventeen years, only returning to Demeter for the summers, I lived over half my years on this planet in Victoria. It was only this week that I made it out to Point No Point.

    The Resident Fan Boy has been there, of course, but his family had a car, and a car is what is required, ironically enough, to get out to most nature areas.

    Unless you're a determined, strong, and able cyclist. I am none of those things.

    Here in Hades, I've only been to the Gatineau Park once, and that was on a field trip with a few scores of thirteen-year-olds. That was an interesting day.

    The Unitarian Church in Victoria has, for many years, held a "service auction as a fund-raiser. Demeter usually offers to knit one of her colourful sweaters, but this year, she bid on a trip out to Point No Point, because she knew it coincided with my visit.

    On a brilliant morning, we set off in a convoy of three cars containing mature women - median age probably about seventy-five. Many of them, including Demeter, could not make the steep descent to the beach, nor even to the corridors of rain forest running along the tops of the cliffs, so before lunch at the restaurant (which, unfortunately, has a menu describing the Strait of Juan de Fuca as "Juan de Fuca Straight", delicious as the fare was), I scrambled down the long incline, picked my way over the pebbles, and stood, transfixed by the booming surf.
    And I do mean "boom". Occasionally, I'd turn to scan the cliffs behind only to hear what sounded like a rapidly approaching, ravenous giant.

    I only got caught once, with water swirling around my ankles, over my socks, and into my shoes. My fault - I panicked. Had I waited, the waters would have retreated enough to escape with dry feet.


    As I wobbled slightly on barnacled rocks, soon to vanish under the incoming tide, it occurred to me that if this was my first time at Point No Point, it was likely my last.

    You reach a point in your life when you stop assuming you'll be back, that you'll have another chance. The first time this happened for me was when elder daughter graduated from her university in Halifax, and I realized we probably wouldn't return.

    I took far too many photos of breakers, hoping to seize and preserve one perfect rising, curling, crashing.

    My time ran out, and I climbed the winding path, past ancient trees with trunks that wind and meander like serpents in the shade.

              Discrimination Defeated!: A Miss. Law That Used ‘Religious Freedom’ To Undermine Rights Is Struck Down        
    Rob Boston

    A Mississippi law that purported to defend “religious freedom” by allowing state officials and others to discriminate against LGBT residents was scheduled to go into effect today. That won’t be happening, thanks to a federal court ruling.

    Americans United fights every day to protect religious freedom. This fundamental American value is what guarantees us the freedom to worship – or not – as we see fit. What it does not do, though, is grant anyone a right to harm others.

    Mississippi’s law, H.B. 1523, clearly violates this principle, and last night U.S. District Judge Carlton W. Reeves unambiguously said so. He declared the law, which carried the Orwellian label of “The Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act,” unconstitutional and enjoined the state from enforcing it.

    The main purpose of the bill, which was signed into law by Gov. Phil Bryant (R) in April, was to undermine the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling upholding marriage equality. But the legislation went beyond that. It extended special protections to anyone who opposed marriage for same-sex couples, believed that sex should take place only within the context of marriage or opposed transgender rights.

    In practice, the bill would have granted an affirmative right to discriminate to anyone in Mississippi who had a religious objection to marriage for same-sex couples, cohabitation, single parenting and so on.

    Furthermore, the law covered both public and private actions. It would have allowed government officials and the owners of for-profit business to deny services to LGBT couples and their families, single mothers and unmarried couples who lived together.

    Reeves’ 60-page ruling in Barber v. Bryant is a powerful rebuke to this kind of discrimination, firmly anchored in the Constitution’s guarantee of separation of church and state.

    Mississippi's anti-LGBT "religious freedom" law is unconstitutional!

    A large section of the opinion deals with church-state separation and its history in America. Reeves quickly dismisses the claims of those who say the separation concept is not found in the Constitution, citing a 1952 Supreme Court case.

    “Another popular misconception holds that the [First Amendment] is in error since the Constitution does not contain the phrase ‘separation of Church and State,’ he wrote. “Adherents of this belief have read the text correctly but missed its meaning. ‘There cannot be the slightest doubt that the First Amendment reflects the philosophy that Church and State should be separated.’ (Zorach v. Clauson)”

    Reeves asserted that H.B. 1523 is unconstitutional in part because it favors the adherents of certain religious beliefs over others.

    “On its face, HB 1523 constitutes an official preference for certain religious tenets,” he wrote. “If three specific beliefs are ‘protected by this act,’ it follows that every other religious belief a citizen holds is not protected by the act. Christian Mississippians with religious beliefs contrary to [the law] become second-class Christians….HB 1523 favors Southern Baptist over Unitarian doctrine, Catholic over Episcopalian doctrine, and Orthodox Judaism over Reform Judaism doctrine, to list just a few examples.”

    The judge also noted that the legislation fails because it “gives persons with [certain] beliefs an absolute right to refuse service to LGBT citizens without regard for the impact on their employer, coworkers, or those being denied service.”

    He concluded with this powerful statement: “Religious freedom was one of the building blocks of this great nation, and after the nation was torn apart, the guarantee of equal protection under law was used to stitch it back together.

    But HB 1523 does not honor that tradition of religion freedom, nor does it respect the equal dignity of all of Mississippi’s citizens. It must be enjoined.”

    After the Supreme Court ruled in favor marriage equality last year, Americans United predicted that a wave of bills would crop up in states designed to undermine the rights of LGBT individuals by purporting to protect “religious freedom.” Our Protect Thy Neighbor campaign monitors bills like this across the country. We fight against these harmful bills so that our neighbors don’t face discrimination. We also work in court to protect people from being forced to live under the rules of someone else’s religion.

    But, we all know legislatures still pass and governors still sign bad bills. Courts provide a second-line of defense in those instances. This case, brought by LGBT rights advocates on behalf of clergy and residents of Mississippi, resulted in a stunning victory for the people of Mississippi against discrimination and for real religious freedom.


              Comment on Warriors Plus Minus: GM Bob Myers play-by-play on Kevin Durant's give-back, the Iguodala negotiations, and much more by RamboDave        
    I don't understand why they had to rush out and sign Omri Casspi. This guy is from Israel. There is a boycott of anything coming out of Israel, including manufactured products and cultural exchanges. It is called the BDS movement. https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/nora-barrows-friedman/bds-roundup-bds-movement-7-years-stronger-more-effective-and-more Are the Warriors not aware of this boycott? I am a big Warrior fan, but they have certainly ruined their image in the minds of millions of people that support BDS. This includes a fast growing list of Universities and a fast-growing list of religious denominations that have engaged in economic acts of conscience in recent years to support justice for Palestinians, including the Quakers, United Methodists, Presbyterians, United Church of Christ, Unitarian Universalists, Catholic Conference of Major Superiors of Men, the Alliance of Baptists, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
              Upcoming events for the week of July 30, 2017        

    UPCOMING EVENTS CALENDAR BY DANCEWATER

    07/31/17 ASHEVILLE HOLDS DISPARITY STUDY MEETINGS
    The city of Asheville will hold two meetings to gather public input for its ongoing Disparity Study. Conducted by the BBC Research & Consulting firm, the study will look at the percentage of contract dollars the city has spent with minority- and women-owned businesses since July 2012, as well as future spending projections. Public input sessions are schedule from 10 AM to noon and 6 to 8 PM. The location is TD Bank Building, first floor conference room at 200 College Street in Asheville. Call 828-259-8050 for more information.

    08/01/17 VETERANS FOR PEACE VIGIL - BECAUSE THE WARS STILL GO ON
    Every Tuesday, Veterans for Peace Chapter 099 holds a vigil at Vance Monument in downtown Asheville. Time is 5 PM. This has been happening since 2002. No matter the weather, no matter if it falls on a holiday, they are out there standing for peace. Last year, our former president dropped 26,000 bombs on seven different countries. The current president seems to be trying to match or beat that horrible record. Meanwhile we are banning refugees from those countries we have destroyed. Show you are publicly against our country's endless wars and occupations by standing with Veterans for Peace.

    08/01/17 CURRENT EVENTS BOOK CLUB
    Join host Bruce Roth for a lively discussion on topics of current interest including war and peace, the economy, the environment, and other hot political topics. This month’s book is “Citizen Scientist: Searching for Heroes and Hope in an Age of Extinction” by Mary Ellen Hannibal. Time is 7 PM and location is Malaprops. Contact Malaprops for more information.

    08/01/17 ASURJ CALLING IN SESSION
    Tuesday, August 1, 6:30-8 PM. ASURJ calling In session. Join us for another night of role-playing difficult conversations and practicing SURJ's core value of "calling in" versus "calling out." Our leader David is especially focused on moving us into less discussion and more role-playing! Let's practice these difficult conversations to prepare us to be better agents of change, racial justice accomplices, and dismantlers of white supremacy. We meet downstairs in the main building of the UU congregation of Asheville (corner of Edwin Place and Charlotte Street). Easiest to enter through the playground gate. If you enter upstairs, just come downstairs. No contact information.

    08/01/17 REPRESENTATIVE MCHENRY TOWN HALL MEETING
    2017 Congressman McHenry Town Halls: Please come voice your concerns. Buncombe County Town Hall on August 1st at 2 PM at Land of Sky Shrine Club at 39 Spring Cove Road in Swannanoa. There are some more dates in more counties that are further away from our area. Contact McHenry’s office for more information.

    08/02/17 REPRESENTATIVE MCHENRY TOWN HALL MEETING
    2017 Congressman McHenry Town Halls: Please come voice your concerns. Polk / Rutherford County Town Hall on August 2nd at 6 PM at Rutherford County Schools, Cold Springs Administrative Offices, 382 West Main Street in Forest City. There are some more dates in more counties that are further away from our area. Contact McHenry’s office for more information.

    08/02/17 CITIZENS-POLICE ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEETING
    This meeting is organized by the City of Asheville. This meeting is free and open to the public. They meet in the first floor Conference Room at the Public Works Building at 161 South Charlotte Street in downtown Asheville. Time is 5 PM. Call 251-1122 for more information.

    08/02/17 SIERRA CLUB MEETING
    Sierra Club August 2: Can Science Save Us from Climate Change and from Ourselves? Join us on Wednesday, August 2, when the Sierra Club presents "Can Science Save Us from Climate Change and from Ourselves?” Location: Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Asheville, 1 Edwin Place (corner of Charlotte and Edwin). Time: 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Robert Cabin, Professor of Ecology & Environmental Studies at Brevard College, will discuss the power and limitations of science to address climate change. This event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Judy Mattox, judymattox@sbcglobal.net, (828) 683-2716.

    08/02/17 DEFEND NET NEUTRALITY
    Defend Net Neutrality. August 2 @ 5:30 pm - 6:00 pm. This week’s Beer & Politics letter-writing event is focused on Net Neutrality. Under the leadership of Trump-appointed Chairman Ajit Pai, the FCC is poised to cancel the Open Internet rules put in place in 2015, ironically labeling his new rule ‘Restoring Internet Freedom’ The original Net Neutrality order was designed to protect the public from broadband providers. Under the order they cannot block, slow down, or in any way interfere with information traveling through their wires. Without this regulation, big telecom companies will be free to create fast and slow lanes, censor what you can see, and extort money for participation. Join with other activists and concerned citizens and make your voices heard. Drop by any time after work between 5:30 and 6:30 or so to write and call our representatives and to send our comments to the FCC. We’ll supply the postcards, stationery, envelopes, stamps, and fact sheets. This event is at The Block off Biltmore on South Market Street in Asheville. 

    08/02/17 GRAND JURY RESISTANCE WORKSHOP
    Wednesday, Aug 2nd @ 7:00 pm at Firestorm Coffee & Books. Grand Jury Resistance Workshop. As North Carolina rallies to support grand jury resistor, Katie Yow, it is vital to learn just what a grand jury is and what tools of resistance our communities have against them. This workshop is meant to demystify a legal process that relies on secrecy, paranoia and suspicion as methods to tear political resistance communities apart. One of our strongest weapons around this tactic of state repression is knowledge alongside bold acts of solidarity! Come hang out with us for a couple of hours, learn about grand juries and how you can support those who resist them in North Carolina and beyond. This workshop is presented by Josie from Scuffletown Anti-Repression Committee. Josie has done movement defense work for almost a decade. They recently wrapped up long-term legal support and anti-repression organizing at Standing Rock, where they worked to resist the grand jury convened against Water Protectors. Currently they're working on J20 support and grand jury resistance support. Time is 7 PM and location is Firestorm Coffee & Books at 610 Haywood Road in west Asheville. Contact Firestorm at info@firestorm.coop for more information.

    08/02/17 ASHEVILLE ISO MEETING 
    This Wednesday, August 2 the branch will meet from 6:30-8:00 PM at Greenlife grocery cafe. The following is our proposed agenda. The politics of the ISO, and ongoing discussion of the ISO's ‘Where we stand’ pamphlet. Paul D'Amato explains why the self-emancipation of the working class is the key to socialism. In a talk from Socialism 2012 Emily Giles takes up the question ‘why the working class?’ in relation to socialist principles and strategies. Also, discussion of our plans for two important events coming up in August, the campus kickoff and the Leninism day school. For more information (including links to reading materials), contact Asheville Socialists at asheville.socialist@gmail.com.

    08/03/17 ADVOCACY FOR ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE
    “Effective Advocacy for Environmental Justice” lunch with Thomas Lodwick of the Southern Environmental Law Center. Thursday, August 3, 12-1:30 p.m. Location is First Congregational UCC, 20 Oak Street, Asheville. Please join the Creation Justice Network of the United Church of Christ, Creation Care Alliance of WNC, and First Congregational UCC for a brown-bag lunchtime discussion by SELC attorney Thomas Lodwick on the most challenging environmental issues facing our state today, and ways in which we can become more effective advocates for the environment, through powerful public testimony and smart communication with our North Carolina representatives and lawmakers. Contact Creation Care Alliance for more information.

    08/03/17 ENERGY, PROSPERITY, AND FAITH 
     â€œEnergy, Prosperity, and Faith - Connecting the Dots” by Daniel Vermeer, Ph.D.- Duke University. August 3, 6:30 p.m. Location is First Congregational Church UCC at 20 Oak St, Asheville. Energy in its various forms powers modern life, and is tightly connected to our prosperity. The global demand for energy - and the resources that produce it - seems insatiable, yet the supply and use of these resources is constrained by a bewildering array of physical, economic, environmental, infrastructural, social, and political factors. As we think about creating more sustainable energy systems, it is helpful to consider how we have evolved to our current state, and what choices we must make as we consider our energy future. These choices are inherently ethical and spiritual. The purpose of this talk is to highlight the connections between our faith and our energy choices, and consider how our faith might inform the evolution of our energy systems. Daniel Vermeer, Ph.D.,  is Associate Professor of the Practice of Energy and Environment at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and director of Duke's Center for Energy, Development, and the Global Environment (EDGE). He is lead contributor to policy documents issued through the World Economic Forum, World Business Council for Sustainable Development, and the United Nations Foundation. Contact Creation Care Alliance for more information.

    08/03/17 DEMOCRACY NC PLANNING MEETING
    Join us for our August Planning Meeting on Thursday, August 3, at 6 p.m. to plan events for August in Asheville! This is the regular monthly planning meeting where core folks will come together to help chart-out and plan events for the next month. We'll discuss events and priorities already on the calendar and things that will be added, including information about the upcoming voter registration deadline and get out the vote initiatives! This meeting is for folks who want to help lead our work by contributing as planners, facilitators, etc. Where: Wesley Grant Center, 285 Livingston St, Asheville. RSVP to let us know you'll be there! For more information, including how to RSVP, please contact JaNesha Slaughter at (704)493-2042 or jslaughter.demnc@gmail.com. 

    08/06/17 ANNIVERSARY OF THE BOMBING OF HIROSHIMA

    08/08/17 VETERANS FOR PEACE VIGIL - BECAUSE THE WARS STILL GO ON
    Every Tuesday, Veterans for Peace Chapter 099 holds a vigil at Vance Monument in downtown Asheville. Time is 5 PM. This has been happening since 2002. No matter the weather, no matter if it falls on a holiday, they are out there standing for peace. Last year, our former president dropped 26,000 bombs on seven different countries. The current president seems to be trying to match or beat that horrible record. Meanwhile we are banning refugees from those countries we have destroyed. Show you are publicly against our country's endless wars and occupations by standing with Veterans for Peace.

    08/08/17 OCCUPY WNC MEETINGS
    The non-partisan group meets every 2nd and 4th Tuesdays at the Sneak E Squirrel in Sylva. The next meeting is  August 8th at 7:00 PM in the restaurant’s Community Room. Supper beforehand at 6:00PM. OccupyWNC has worked for economic and social justice in WNC since 2011. Newcomers and visitors are welcome. For more information, contact Lucy at (828)743-9747 or lucy.christopher42@gmail.com.

    08/08/17 LAND OF THE FREE? IMMIGRANT JUSTICE MOVEMENT
    Land of the Free? The Immigrant Justice Movement in the South. August 8 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm. This educational symposium, produced by Indivisible AVL’s Immigration Action Team, is an excellent opportunity for learning about the issues affecting our local immigrant communities and ways you can help. Featured speaker Azadeh Shahshahani, of the Atlanta-based nonprofit Project South, will give an overview of immigration policy in the United States and look at the issues immigrant communities are facing in Western North Carolina. As the Legal & Advocacy Director for Project South, Shahshahani brings over 10 years of experience in anti-Islamophobia work and defense of human rights in the immigrant justice movement. Her work at Project South has launched new programming based in local, regional, and global initiatives. Azadeh has worked in the Southeast to protect the human rights of immigrants and Muslim, Middle Eastern, and South Asian communities. Joining Shahshahani will be Alan Ramirez, a community organizer for the local non-profit Compañeros Inmigrantes de las Montañas en Acción (CIMA). CIMA focuses on connecting, strengthening and organizing communities to take action for the rights of immigrants in Western North Carolina. His work in WNC focuses on providing Know Your Rights workshops that invite folks into the movement. CIMA supports families who are caught up in the criminalization and deportation system. He works towards local initiatives of sanctuary culture, fighting the collaboration of ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and police departments, and verifying license checkpoints or ICE activity. An open discussion will follow the speakers. Spanish translation will be available. For more information, email our Immigration Action Team at immigration@indivisibleavl.org.

    08/09/17 ANNIVERSARY OF THE BOMBING OF NAGASAKI

    08/09/17 LAST CHANCE TO SAVE NET NEUTRALITY
    Last Chance to Save Net Neutrality. August 9 @ 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm. This week’s Beer & Politics letter-writing event is focused on Net Neutrality. Under the leadership of Trump-appointed Chairman Ajit Pai, the FCC is poised to cancel the Open Internet rules put in place in 2015, ironically labeling his new rule ‘Restoring Internet Freedom.’ The original Net Neutrality order was designed to protect the public from broadband providers. Under the order they cannot block, slow down, or in any way interfere with information traveling through their wires. Without this regulation, big telecom companies will be free to create fast and slow lanes, censor what you can see, and extort money for participation. Join with other activists and concerned citizens and make your voices heard. Drop by any time after work between 5:30 and 6:30 or so to write and call our representatives and to send our comments to the FCC. We’ll supply the postcards, stationery, envelopes, stamps, and fact sheets. The cut-off date for FCC comments is August 17th! After the rule is voted on by the FCC, if passed, it will head to the US Senate and then House of Representatives. Senator Tillis has already co-authored a bill called the Restoring Internet Freedom Act (S.993) along with 8 other senators. Senator Burr is silent now about how he views it. Rep. McHenry has come out against Net Neutrality in general, but Rep. Meadows is silent on the matter, so he needs to be pushed.  If you can’t make it Wednesday, be sure to write and call Senators Burr and Tillis and your congressional rep, McHenry or Meadows. And send your comments to the FCC by August 17th.

    08/10/17 VICTIMS OF AGENT ORANGE COMMEMORATION DAY

    08/10/17 VOTER REGISTRATION DRIVE
    Join us at at Wesley Grant Center for a Community Voter Registration Drive in Asheville on August 10 to register voters. Training will be provided on site, and all necessary information and materials will be provided. When: Thursday, August 10th, from 4:00-6:00 p.m. Where: Wesley Grant Center at 285 Livingston St., Asheville. RSVP to let us know you'll be there! For more information, including how to RSVP, please contact Edward Peters at 336-601-9534 or edwardpeters@democracy-nc.org.

    08/12/17 VOTER REGISTRATION TRAINING
    Voter Registration Training on Sat-12 August 2017 from 1:00pm – 2:30pm. Where: Arthur R. Edington Education & Career Center, 133 Livingston St, Asheville. Help build a movement! Join us for a Voter Registration Training on August 12 at 1:00 PM. Non-partisan voter registration training. We'll cover how-tos, critical ‘tips’ and send you home with your own Voter Registration packet. For more information, including how to RSVP, please contact Edward Peters at 336-601-9534 or edwardpeters@democracy-nc.org. Special appreciation for our non-profit votes partners: YWCA of Asheville, the Residence Council of Asheville, the Campaign for Southern Equality, and the Asheville-Buncombe NAACP.

    8/14/17 TRANSITION ASHEVILLE AUGUST SOCIAL
    Time: 6:30  – 8:00 PM. Place:  St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, 337 Charlotte St. Asheville, NC 28801 (on street parking). Transition Asheville Social: Growing Food in Public Spaces - Edible Landscaping in the Commons with Dylan Ryals-Hamilton. Description: Parks, greenways, right-of ways, even the areas around public buildings need landscaping and maintenance. We already budget for this, so why not grow something useful in these spaces? How about something tasty and nutritious, made available to all? In Asheville and beyond we have seen a GROWING interest in fresh, local food, and for many good reasons. Can the concept of “Food Not Lawns” be applied in the commons? Dylan Ryals-Hamilton, a professional “Transitioneer” and local permaculture teacher, will discuss the probable positives (and potential preventable pit-falls) for participatory and productive public plantings of particularly palatable produce. Come learn how local governments, nonprofits, civic groups, and individuals can engage in planting and maintaining a more abundant and nutritious urban landscape for current and future generations.  We will discuss the recent local history of urban edibles initiatives, as well as next steps and promising upcoming projects and ways to get involved. Contact: Rebecca at (812-334-0176) or palmtree747@gmail.com for more information. 

    08/15/17 VETERANS FOR PEACE VIGIL - BECAUSE THE WARS STILL GO ON
    Every Tuesday, Veterans for Peace Chapter 099 holds a vigil at Vance Monument in downtown Asheville. Time is 5 PM. This has been happening since 2002. No matter the weather, no matter if it falls on a holiday, they are out there standing for peace. Last year, our former president dropped 26,000 bombs on seven different countries. The current president seems to be trying to match or beat that horrible record. Meanwhile we are banning refugees from those countries we have destroyed. Show you are publicly against our country's endless wars and occupations by standing with Veterans for Peace.

    08/15/17 VETERANS FOR PEACE MEETING
    On the third Tuesday of each month, Western North Carolina Veterans for Peace meets to coordinate group activities and programs.Veterans For Peace is a global organization of Military Veterans and allies whose collective efforts are to build a culture of peace by using our experiences and lifting our voices. We inform the public of the true causes of war and the enormous costs of wars, with an obligation to heal the wounds of wars. Our network is comprised of over 140 chapters worldwide whose work includes: educating the public, advocating for a dismantling of the war economy, providing services that assist veterans and victims of war, and most significantly, working to end all wars. Time is 6:30 PM and location is the Center for Art and Spirit at Saint George, address is One School Road in west Asheville. For more information, contact Gerry at gwerhan@gmail.com.

    08/15/17 VOTER REGISTRATION TRAINING
    Voter Registration Training on Tue-15 August 2017 from 7:00pm – 8:30pm. Where: YWCA of Asheville, 185 S French Broad Ave, Asheville. Help build a movement! Join us for a Voter Registration Training on August 15 at 7:00 PM. Non-partisan voter registration training. We'll cover how-tos, critical tips, and send you home with your own Voter Registration packet. For more information, including how to RSVP, please contact Edward Peters at 336-601-9534 or edwardpeters@democracy-nc.org. Special appreciation for our Non-Profit Votes partners: YWCA of Asheville, the Residence Council of Asheville, the Campaign for Southern Equality, and the Asheville-Buncombe NAACP.

    08/17/17 DOCUMENTARY SCREENING ON EXTINCTION
    Documentary Screening: Racing Extinction w/ Special Guest, Leilani Munter, at 6 PM. The Block off biltmore is proud to announce the screening of the award-winning film, “Racing Extinction”. One of the stars of the film, race car driver and activist Leilani Münter, will be joining us, as well as Asheville Vegan Outreach and MountainTrue. The event is free to the public, but please RSVP as seats will fill up fast. In Racing Extinction, a team of artists and activists exposes the hidden world of extinction with never-before-seen images that will change the way we see the planet. Two worlds drive extinction across the globe, potentially resulting in the loss of half of all species. The international wildlife trade creates bogus markets at the expense of creatures that have survived on this planet for millions of years. And the other surrounds us, hiding in plain sight a world that the oil and gas companies don't want the rest of us to see. Using covert tactics and state-of-the-art technology, the Racing Extinction team exposes these two worlds in an inspiring affirmation to preserve life as we know it. From the Academy Award Winning Filmmakers of “The Cove”. For more information, contact The Block Off Biltmore. 

    08/19/17 VOTER REGISTRATION CANVASING
    Voter Registration Canvasing on Sat-19 August 2017 from 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm. Community Canvasing. Contact Darlene Azarmi (darlene@democracy-nc.org) for details.

    08/19/17 VOTER REGISTRATION TRAINING
    Voter Registration Training on Sat-19 August 2017 at 10 AM. Where: YWCA of Asheville, 185 S French Broad Ave, Asheville. Help build a movement! Join us for a Voter Registration Training on August 19 at 10:00 AM. Non-partisan voter registration training. We'll cover how-tos, critical "tips," and send you home with your own Voter Registration packet. For more information, including how to RSVP, please contact Edward Peters at 336-601-9534 or edwardpeters@democracy-nc.org. Special appreciation for our Non-Profit Votes partners: YWCA of Asheville, the Residence Council of Asheville, the Campaign for Southern Equality, and the Asheville-Buncombe NAACP.

    08/21/17 DEMOCRACY ASHEVILLE COALITION MEETING
    Please join us for the next Democracy Asheville Coalition Meeting at the Wesley Grant Center on August 21st, at 6 p.m. Join us for our regular monthly coalition meeting for updates on the latest voting rights news and plan our next steps for the fall. Where: Wesley Grant Center at 285 Livingston St, Asheville. Please RSVP to let us know you're coming. Contact Darlene Azarmi at 828-216-3430 or darlene@democracy-nc.org with questions and information on how to register. What is the Democracy Asheville Coalition?  Our Local Coalition brings together organizational representatives and individuals who agree to work together to change and use the political system so it equips people to take action, promotes grassroots leadership, and serves "the good of the whole." We want an elections process that is accessible, fair, and secure. And we want a government "of, by, and for the people," that fosters equity, solidarity, and justice.

    08/22/17 VETERANS FOR PEACE VIGIL - BECAUSE THE WARS STILL GO ON
    Every Tuesday, Veterans for Peace Chapter 099 holds a vigil at Vance Monument in downtown Asheville. Time is 5 PM. This has been happening since 2002. No matter the weather, no matter if it falls on a holiday, they are out there standing for peace. Last year, our former president dropped 26,000 bombs on seven different countries. The current president seems to be trying to match or beat that horrible record. Meanwhile we are banning refugees from those countries we have destroyed. Show you are publicly against our country's endless wars and occupations by standing with Veterans for Peace.

    08/22/17 OCCUPY WNC MEETINGS
    The non-partisan group meets every 2nd and 4th Tuesdays at the Sneak E Squirrel in Sylva. The next meeting is  August 22nd at 7:00 PM in the restaurant’s Community Room. Supper beforehand at 6:00PM. OccupyWNC has worked for economic and social justice in WNC since 2011. Newcomers and visitors are welcome. For more information, contact Lucy at (828)743-9747 or lucy.christopher42@gmail.com.

    08/23/17 LUNCH & LEARN AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY SERIES
    Buncombe County Lunch & Learn - African American History Series. Don’t miss this African American History in Buncombe County lunch and learn series featuring three great local speakers.  This free lecture series will feature: July 25 - Dr. Darin Waters presenting the history of African American education in Asheville and WNC; August 23 - County Commissioner Al Whitesides presenting the wage gap and historical wealth disparities in the African American Community; September 27 - Dr. Sharon West presenting the access and availability of health care for African Americans in Buncombe County. Come learn more about the history of the African American community in Buncombe County-- the challenges, the triumphs and the future of our community. The lecture series will be held from Noon till 1:30 p.m. on each of the dates listed above at the Stephen's Lee Community Center (30 George Washington Carver Avenue in Asheville) free of charge with everyone welcome.

    08/23/17 ASURJ ACCOUNTABILITY THROUGH ACTION MEETING
    Wednesday, August 23, 6-9 PM. Gather for a potluck, SURJ & Racism 101 education, and a presentation from this month's accountability partner, the Asheville Racial Equity Institute chapter. Organizers of Asheville's REI trainings will share about this powerful workshop and why it inspired them to increase the amount of available workshops in the area. Hear reflections from REI participants and leaders and learn about ways to support this important work through your time and resource sharing. Our grassroots reparations collection will go benefit the scholarship program of REI.  Meeting in Sandburg Hall at the UU congregation of Asheville, corner of Edwin Place and Charlotte Street. Bring a dish to share. For more info, contact avlsurj@gmail.com.

    08/23/17 VOTER REGISTRATION TRAINING
    Help build a movement! Join us for a Voter Registration Training on August 23 at 6:00 PM. Non-partisan voter registration training. We'll cover how-tos, critical tips, and send you home with your own Voter Registration packet. Where: Edington Center at 285 Livingston Street, Asheville. RSVP to let us know you'll be there. For more information, place contact Edward Peters at 336-601-9534 or edwardpeters@democracy-nc.org. Special appreciation for our Non-Profit Votes partners: YWCA of Asheville, the Residence Council of Asheville, the Campaign for Southern Equality, and the Asheville-Buncombe NAACP.

    08/25/17 JUST PEACE FOR ISRAEL/PALESTINE MEETING
    This meeting will be at 3:15 PM at Brooks-Howell Home on Merrimon Avenue in Asheville. Meet in the International Room. Contact Beth at elizakeiser@aol.com or 828 707 4271 for more information.   

    08/26/17 WOMEN’S EQUALITY DAY
    Congressional Joint Resolution of 1971 declared August 26 of every year Women's Equality Day commemorating not only the passage for the 19th Amendment, but the continuing effort towards full equality. Visit the National Women's History Project page for more information.

    08/27/17 WNC SOLIDARITY CONCERT SERIES 
    The final Sunday of each month in 2017, two groups of WNC-based musicians and their ensembles will each perform a benefit concert to raise funding for WNC nonprofits. The music performed each week will fluctuate between jazz, rhythm & blues, soul, jazz funk, jazz fusion, and swing. Each event will host two groups, playing, consecutively between 3 and 5 PM with a brief intermission. All of proceeds go to the nonprofit organization. The nonprofit for today is the WNC Green Building Council. Act 1 is Ryan Barber and Friends and Act II is Drayton Aldridge. Location is The Block Off Biltmore at Eagle and South Market Streets in downtown Asheville. Suggested donation is $10, and are available the day of the event. Please call The Block Off Biltmore for more information.

    08/28/17 TOWN HALL FOR REPRESENTATIVE MEADOWS
    From Progressive Organized Women: please mark your calendars. Mark Meadows finally has a real town hall on Friday August 28h at Bo Thomas Auditorium, 180 West Campus Drive at Blue Ridge Community College. It is from 6:00- 8:00 pm.

    08/29/17 VETERANS FOR PEACE VIGIL - BECAUSE THE WARS STILL GO ON
    Every Tuesday, Veterans for Peace Chapter 099 holds a vigil at Vance Monument in downtown Asheville. Time is 5 PM. This has been happening since 2002. No matter the weather, no matter if it falls on a holiday, they are out there standing for peace. Last year, our former president dropped 26,000 bombs on seven different countries. The current president seems to be trying to match or beat that horrible record. Meanwhile we are banning refugees from those countries we have destroyed. Show you are publicly against our country's endless wars and occupations by standing with Veterans for Peace.

    *******************************************
    ONGOING EVENTS
    *******************************************
    TUESDAY
    Veterans for Peace have a weekly vigil at 5 PM at Pack Square, Vance Monument during most of the year, but after standard time kicks in, they meet at 4:30 PM. 
    Showing Up for Racial Justice Do!scussion at Firestorm Coffee & Books at 610 Haywood Road in west Asheville. 10 AM-11:30 AM. Followed by Do!sessions from 11:30-1:30 PM.
    Rally at historic Courthouse in Hendersonville at 5 PM on the first Tuesday of the month. Organized by the Progressive Organized Women. 

    WEDNESDAY
    Haywood Peace Vigilers have a weekly vigil at 4 PM at Haywood County Courthouse in Waynesville
    French Broad Riverkeeper has a paddle-n-plant to prevent sediment erosion most Wednesdays and Saturdays. Registration required at anna@mountaintrue.org. 
              Upcoming events for the week of July 23, 2017        

    Above graphic came from Facebook.

    UPCOMING EVENTS CALENDAR BY DANCEWATER

    07/25/17 VETERANS FOR PEACE VIGIL - BECAUSE THE WARS STILL GO ON
    Every Tuesday, Veterans for Peace Chapter 099 holds a vigil at Vance Monument in downtown Asheville. Time is 5 PM. This has been happening since 2002. No matter the weather, no matter if it falls on a holiday, they are out there standing for peace. Last year, our former president dropped 26,000 bombs on seven different countries. The current president seems to be trying to match or beat that horrible record. Meanwhile we are banning refugees from those countries we have destroyed. Show you are publicly against our country's endless wars and occupations by standing with Veterans for Peace.

    07/25/17 LUNCH & LEARN AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY SERIES
    Buncombe County Lunch & Learn - African American History Series. Don’t miss this African American History in Buncombe County lunch and learn series featuring three great local speakers.  This free lecture series will feature: July 25 - Dr. Darin Waters presenting the history of African American education in Asheville and WNC; August 23 - County Commissioner Al Whitesides presenting the wage gap and historical wealth disparities in the African American Community; September 27 - Dr. Sharon West presenting the access and availability of health care for African Americans in Buncombe County. Come learn more about the history of the African American community in Buncombe County-- the challenges, the triumphs and the future of our community. The lecture series will be held from Noon till 1:30 p.m. on each of the dates listed above at the Stephen's Lee Community Center (30 George Washington Carver Avenue in Asheville) free of charge with everyone welcome.

    07/25/17 ASURJ DO!SCUSSION FOLLOWED BY DO!SESSION
    The Do!scussion is a weekly safe space in which to talk about what we see that encourages us to continue to create multi-racial coalitions in Asheville while working to dismantle white supremacy. Feel like you're struggling with the how? Come on over and we'll talk about it. Then, we'll get to do!ing. Do!scussion presently runs on Tuesdays from 10-11:30 AM followed by Do!session from 11:30-1:30 PM during which we working with accountability partners on a particular project or issue. The seven organizing principles of SURJ are: 1) accountability through action, 2) mutual interest, 3) take risks and keep going, 4) calling in more, 5) enough for everyone, 6) growth is good, and 7) centering class. Time is 10 AM and location is Firestorm Coffee & Books at 610 Haywood Road in west Asheville. Contact Firestorm at info@firestorm.coop for more information.

    07/25/17 OCCUPY WNC MEETING
    The non-partisan group meets every 2nd and 4th Tuesdays at the Sneak E Squirrel in Sylva. The next meeting is July 25th at 7:00 PM in the restaurant’s Community Room. Supper at 6:00 PM in the restaurant. OccupyWNC has worked for economic and social justice in WNC since 2011. Newcomers and visitors are welcome. For more information, contact  Lucy Christopher at (828)743-9747.

    07/25/17 CLIMATE DOCUMENTARY FILM IN ASHEVILLE
    Climate Documentary Film at The Collider on Tuesday, July 25, 6:30pm. The Collider and the Climate Listening Project present “The Story We Want" documentary series premiere July 25, 6:30 PM. The Collider is in downtown Asheville,1 Haywood St, Suite 401. This new series follows Dayna Reggero and the Climate Listening Project as they travel across America with Moms Clean Air Force to meet with women who are working together to protect their families and communities— confronting fossil fuel industries, climate change impacts, and a culture of extraction. The film will be followed by a discussion with film director Dayna Reggero. Dayna launched the Climate Listening Project in Asheville in 2014, traveling across America and around the world, to connect hopeful conversations on climate change and community. Contact Judy Mattox, judymattox@sbcglobal.net, 828-683-2176.

    07/26/17 BRIDGE THE GAP BOOK CLUB 
    Bridge the Gap Book Club discusses “Tell Me How It Ends” at Malaprops in downtown Asheville. Structured around the forty questions Valeria Luiselli translates and asks undocumented Latin-American children facing deportation, Tell Me How It Ends (an expansion of her 2016 Freeman's essay of the same name) humanizes these young migrants and highlights the contradiction of the idea of America as a fiction for immigrants with the reality of racism and fear--both here and back home. Time is 7 PM. Call Malaprops for more information.

    07/26/17 RAPE LAWS IN NC
    Join us at The Block off biltmore (on South Market Street in Asheville) on Wednesday, July 26 from 5:30-6:30 to learn more about the rape laws of North Carolina and what we can do to correct them. A representative from Our Voice will be there to answer questions. We will be discussing one glaringly bad law on the books. Let’s say a woman consents to sex with a man and then it becomes violent and she revokes consent. In North Carolina, that man can legally “finish” having sex with her no matter what – essentially meaning rape is legal in the state. Contact The Block for more information.

    07/26/17 INTERNATIONAL SOCIALIST MEETING
    The Asheville branch of the International Socialist Organization (ISO) will meet this Wednesday July 26 at 6:30 pm in the cafe at Green Life grocery (70 Merrimon Ave, Asheville, NC 28801). Members, please contact Jacob (864-908-1698 or mrjacobacook@gmail.com) to discuss your dues status and general availability over the rest of the year. Please remember to read the recent ISO notes. Non-members, please feel free to attend this meeting and participate in discussions, however, when voting only members' votes are counted. We will open the meeting with a vote to accept or amend the proposed agenda. Members may also propose an alternative agenda. (5 min), Announcements (15 min), National Branch Call coming up August 7 (see ISO notes), Confronting the far right in Charlottesville, Virginia on August 12, Planning the campus kickoff meetings coming up, Leninism day school in Greensboro Saturday August 26. Please be in touch with Jacob for details. Yearly assessments leading up to branch committee election in early September. Prepare for the Marxist Day School in November. The politics of the ISO (30 min). A discussion of the Marxist theory of the state.

    07/26/17 ASURJ ACCOUNTABILITY THROUGH ACTION MEETING
    Wednesday, 7/26/17, 6-9 PM: ASURJ Accountability through Action Meeting. Gather for a potluck, SURJ & Racism 101 education, and resource/info sharing. We won't have an accountability partner presentation for this month's meeting, but we'll be sharing about some upcoming programming plans and enjoying a summer social together. Meeting in Sandburg Hall at the UU congregation of Asheville, corner of Edwin Place and Charlotte Street. Bring a dish to share. For more info, contact avlsurj@gmail.com.

    07/27/17 MCHENRY TOWN HALL PREP MEETING
    McHenry Town Hall Prep Meeting: Thursday, July 27, 7-9pm. Location: Kairos West Community Center. Address: 742 Haywood Rd, West Asheville, NC (behind Firestorm Cafe around the corner). Congressman McHenry is having a town hall coming up the first week of August as he normally does every year. The time and location will be announced a few days prior so we need to be prepared and ready to have a good turnout asking him to address climate! Two years ago we had only 1 questioner, last year we had 5, and this year our goal is to double that number. At this meeting we will prepare well-thought out questions to ask and how to act respectfully when asking our legislators to address this very important topic! Pizza will be ordered too! Come prepared to: write a question for the Town Hall and listen to a webinar on "Communicating with Conservatives Workshop”. From Citizen’s Climate Lobby. Call if you get lost or have questions: 828-242-3752.

    07/28/17 SILENT VIGIL FOR IMMIGRATION REFORM
    Time is 5 to 7 PM and location is Henderson County Courthouse on Main Street (between 1st and 2nd Street) in downtown Hendersonville. This is put on by a coalition of non-profits and churches. 

    07/29/17 PEACE PILGRIMAGE POTLUCK
    Come for a send-off pot luck gathering Asheville Friends Meeting House at 227 Edgewood Road in Asheville (between Merrimon and UNCA). Time is 5:30 pm. Please bring a dish to share and meet and listen to our Peace Pilgrimage walkers talk about their upcoming walk to Oak Ridge. The atom bomb started in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, when the Y12 Plant produced the highly enriched uranium fuel for Little Boy, the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima, Japan. Seventy- two years later, Y12 is still in the bomb business. Current plans call for a new bomb plant, the Uranium Processing Facility, to be built there to manufacture the thermonuclear cores and cases for nuclear warheads and bombs. The UPF bomb plant is the flagship facility for the “modernization” of the US nuclear weapons complex. This 8-day pilgrimage will arrive in Oak Ridge on August 6, to coincide with the events scheduled there by the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance (OREPA) remembering the dropping of the bomb on Hiroshima in 1945. Each day along the way, our meditative walk will be led by the Buddhist monks of the Nipponzan Myohoji order who are building the Great Smoky Mountains Peace Pagoda. Our pilgrimage raises a voice opposed to the UPF and in favor of the abolition of all nuclear weapons and a world beyond war. For more information: Ken Jones at kwjj1949@gmail.com. 

    07/29/17 BYSTANDER INTERVENTION TRAINING WITH READY THE GROUND
    Bystander Intervention Training with Ready the Ground by Rich Lee for Asheville City Council. Ready the Ground Bystander Intervention Training. When: Saturday, July 29, 2017; 2-5pm (arrive at 1:45pm to mingle over snacks). Where: Fellowship Hall of First Congregational Church, downtown at 20 Oak Street, Asheville. To help us prepare to be even more powerful and supportive of ourselves and each other in our present political moment, we invite you to join a brief training on intervention and de-escalation. We’d love if you could join us for an afternoon of facilitated experiential learning, where we will learn about the goals of de-escalation, and how we can use our minds, bodies, and hearts to intervene when we witness harm taking place. Light snacks will be provided, as well as any needed Spanish language interpretation and childcare. The space is wheelchair accessible and has all-gender bathrooms. As hateful threats and violence escalate against black and brown people, Muslims, Jews, immigrants, poor people, women, LGBTQ people, and people with disabilities, we recognize a growing need for thoughtful interventions--- especially within the context of long-term large-scale organizing and sustained community care. Beginners are welcome. If you have already attended other de-escalation trainings, we welcome you to join again to brush up on your skills. Let’s grow the numbers of people willing and prepared to intervene when we witness harm underway. The deadline for registering is Monday July 24th. Register at:  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/bystander-intervention-training-with-ready-the-ground-tickets-35631366376.

    07/30/17 PEACE PILGRIMAGE FROM ASHEVILLE TO OAK RIDGE
    Peace Pilgrimage from Asheville to Oak Ridge July 30 – August 6, 2017. The atom bomb started in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, when the Y12 Plant produced the highly enriched uranium fuel for Little Boy, the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima, Japan. Seventy- two years later, Y12 is still in the bomb business. Current plans call for a new bomb plant, the Uranium Processing Facility, to be built there to manufacture the thermonuclear cores and cases for nuclear warheads and bombs. The UPF bomb plant is the flagship facility for the “modernization” of the US nuclear weapons complex. This 8-day pilgrimage will arrive in Oak Ridge on August 6, to coincide with the events scheduled there by the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance (OREPA) remembering the dropping of the bomb on Hiroshima in 1945. Each day along the way, our meditative walk will be led by the Buddhist monks of the Nipponzan Myohoji order who are building the Great Smoky Mountains Peace Pagoda. Our pilgrimage raises a voice opposed to the UPF and in favor of the abolition of all nuclear weapons and a world beyond war. This pilgrimage will leave from Pack Square, Vance Monument at 9 AM. For more information: Ken Jones at kwjj1949@gmail.com.

    07/30/17 WNC SOLIDARITY CONCERT SERIES 
    The final Sunday of each month in 2017, two groups of WNC-based musicians and their ensembles will each perform a benefit concert to raise funding for WNC nonprofits. The music performed each week will fluctuate between jazz, rhythm & blues, soul, jazz funk, jazz fusion, and swing. Each event will host two groups, playing, consecutively between 3 and 5 PM with a brief intermission. All of proceeds go to the nonprofit organization. The nonprofit for today is Youth Outright. Act I is Michael Jefry Stevens Duo and Act II is Wendy Jones Quintet. Location is The Block Off Biltmore at Eagle and South Market Streets in downtown Asheville. Suggested donation is $10, and are available the day of the event. This is a Facebook event. Please call The Block Off Biltmore for more information.

    08/01/17 VETERANS FOR PEACE VIGIL - BECAUSE THE WARS STILL GO ON
    Every Tuesday, Veterans for Peace Chapter 099 holds a vigil at Vance Monument in downtown Asheville. Time is 5 PM. This has been happening since 2002. No matter the weather, no matter if it falls on a holiday, they are out there standing for peace. Last year, our former president dropped 26,000 bombs on seven different countries. The current president seems to be trying to match or beat that horrible record. Meanwhile we are banning refugees from those countries we have destroyed. Show you are publicly against our country's endless wars and occupations by standing with Veterans for Peace.

    08/01/17 CURRENT EVENTS BOOK CLUB
    Join host Bruce Roth for a lively discussion on topics of current interest including war and peace, the economy, the environment, and other hot political topics. This month’s book is “Citizen Scientist: Searching for Heroes and Hope in an Age of Extinction” by Mary Ellen Hannibal. Time is 7 PM and location is Malaprops. Contact Malaprops for more information.

    08/01/17 ASURJ CALLING IN SESSION
    Tuesday, August 1, 6:30-8 PM. ASURJ calling In session. Join us for another night of role-playing difficult conversations and practicing SURJ's core value of "calling in" versus "calling out." Our leader David is especially focused on moving us into less discussion and more role-playing! Let's practice these difficult conversations to prepare us to be better agents of change, racial justice accomplices, and dismantlers of white supremacy. We meet downstairs in the main building of the UU congregation of Asheville (corner of Edwin Place and Charlotte Street). Easiest to enter through the playground gate. If you enter upstairs, just come downstairs. No contact information.

    08/02/17 CITIZENS-POLICE ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEETING
    This meeting is organized by the City of Asheville. This meeting is free and open to the public. They meet in the first floor Conference Room at the Public Works Building at 161 South Charlotte Street in downtown Asheville. Time is 5 PM. Call 251-1122 for more information.

    08/02/17 SIERRA CLUB MEETING
    Sierra Club August 2: Can Science Save Us from Climate Change and from Ourselves? Join us on Wednesday, August 2, when the Sierra Club presents "Can Science Save Us from Climate Change and from Ourselves?” Location: Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Asheville, 1 Edwin Place (corner of Charlotte and Edwin). Time: 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Robert Cabin, Professor of Ecology & Environmental Studies at Brevard College, will discuss the power and limitations of science to address climate change. This event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Judy Mattox, judymattox@sbcglobal.net, (828) 683-2716.

    08/02/17 DEFEND NET NEUTRALITY
    Defend Net Neutrality. August 2 @ 5:30 pm - 6:00 pm. This week’s Beer & Politics letter-writing event is focused on Net Neutrality. Under the leadership of Trump-appointed Chairman Ajit Pai, the FCC is poised to cancel the Open Internet rules put in place in 2015, ironically labeling his new rule ‘Restoring Internet Freedom’ The original Net Neutrality order was designed to protect the public from broadband providers. Under the order they cannot block, slow down, or in any way interfere with information traveling through their wires. Without this regulation, big telecom companies will be free to create fast and slow lanes, censor what you can see, and extort money for participation. Join with other activists and concerned citizens and make your voices heard. Drop by any time after work between 5:30 and 6:30 or so to write and call our representatives and to send our comments to the FCC. We’ll supply the postcards, stationery, envelopes, stamps, and fact sheets. This event is at The Block off Biltmore on South Market Street in Asheville. 

    08/08/17 VETERANS FOR PEACE VIGIL - BECAUSE THE WARS STILL GO ON
    Every Tuesday, Veterans for Peace Chapter 099 holds a vigil at Vance Monument in downtown Asheville. Time is 5 PM. This has been happening since 2002. No matter the weather, no matter if it falls on a holiday, they are out there standing for peace. Last year, our former president dropped 26,000 bombs on seven different countries. The current president seems to be trying to match or beat that horrible record. Meanwhile we are banning refugees from those countries we have destroyed. Show you are publicly against our country's endless wars and occupations by standing with Veterans for Peace.

    *******************************************
    ONGOING EVENTS
    *******************************************
    TUESDAY
    Veterans for Peace have a weekly vigil at 5 PM at Pack Square, Vance Monument during most of the year, but after standard time kicks in, they meet at 4:30 PM. 
    Showing Up for Racial Justice Do!scussion at Firestorm Coffee & Books at 610 Haywood Road in west Asheville. 10 AM-11:30 AM. Followed by Do!sessions from 11:30-1:30 PM.
    Rally at historic Courthouse in Hendersonville at 5 PM on the first Tuesday of the month. Organized by the Progressive Organized Women. 

    WEDNESDAY
    Haywood Peace Vigilers have a weekly vigil at 4 PM at Haywood County Courthouse in Waynesville
    French Broad Riverkeeper has a paddle-n-plant to prevent sediment erosion most Wednesdays and Saturdays. Registration required at anna@mountaintrue.org. 
    Green Drinks meets at 7 PM at The Block Off Biltmore on the third Wednesday of the month.
    Sierra Club meets at 7 PM at Unitarian Universalist in Asheville on the first Wednesday of the month.

    THURSDAY
    Political Prisoners Letter Writing at Firestorm Coffee & Books at 6 PM on fourth Thursday of the month. Materials provided.
    Welcome Home Tour by Homeward Bound on the third Thursday of the month at 11 AM. Call 258-1695 for more information.
    Asheville Prison Books Program is held at Downtown Books & News from 4 to 7 PM.