KEEPING WATCH: THE SERENITY PRAYER
FREE TO BE YOU AND ME —
“Those who seek help to leave the life of homosexuality may soon discover that there is no longer any help out there,” she said. “Homosexual activists and their homosexual attorneys are pushing to ban any type of ministries such as Janet Boynes Ministries, which help people exit homosexuality.”She challenged President Barack Obama, who has had homosexuals as guests in the White House, to hear the voices of those who have walked away from homosexuality.
“I thought about what President Obama said in his inaugural speech. He said, ‘You might not have voted for me, but I will be your president.’ Really, Mr. President?” Boynes said.
“You have allowed gays and lesbians into the White House. You’ve sat down with them. You’ve had dinner with them. You heard their voices, but not once have you allowed those of us who walked out life of homosexuality to come into the Oval Office, to come into the White House, and hear our stories. I challenge you today to allow us to come and you listen to what we have to say,” she added."
The problem here is that all of us are a bit guilty of attempting to universalize our personal experience. There is a whole host of contributing factors to the emergence of one's sexual orientation which individually and collectively present highly variable opportunities to effect therapeutic change.
Laws imposing or denying specific treatments both need to be avoided. Leave it to the person who has the most to gain or loose to make the choice.
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
4/24/2015 DOWN ON DRUGS
We generally minimize the use of pain relievers at our house. More good reasons for doing that are coming out.
"In the study, participants who took acetaminophen reported less strong emotions when they saw both very pleasant and very disturbing photos, when compared to those who took placebos.
Acetaminophen, the main ingredient in the over-the-counter pain reliever Tylenol, has been in use for more than 70 years in the United States, but this is the first time that this side effect has been documented.
Previous research had shown that acetaminophen works not only on physical pain, but also on psychological pain. This study takes those results one step further by showing that it also reduces how much users actually feel positive emotions, said Geoffrey Durso, lead author of the study and a doctoral student in social psychology at The Ohio State University.
"This means that using Tylenol or similar products might have broader consequences than previously thought," Durso said.
"Rather than just being a pain reliever, acetaminophen can be seen as an all-purpose emotion reliever."
"For example, people who took the placebo rated their level of emotion relatively high (average score of 6.76) when they saw the most emotionally jarring photos of the malnourished child or the children with kittens.
People taking acetaminophen didn't feel as much in either direction, reporting an average level of emotion of 5.85 when they saw the extreme photos."
After 70 years in the US on Tylenol perhaps we have found a clue to the cause of our growing national apathy.
I do not know. I am the citizen of a democratic nation and I do not know.
"So, the U.S. government’s case against Osama bin Laden was not good enough to take to court, but it was good enough to take the country to war, a war that has killed or maimed countless people who had absolutely nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks. The anger arising from the invasion and occupation of the country has created a perpetual supply of terrorist recruits, enabling U.S. officials to use the never-ending “war on terror” to eviscerate the Bill of Rights. And we now have a president who asserts the authority to kill off any person he deems a “threat.” I submit that this claim of unaccountable power represents a far greater threat to the peace and security of the country than any terrorist or group of terrorists could ever pose.
Surveying the evidence, it is clear the Bush administration did not even come close to exhausting its diplomatic options in the fall of 2001 and that some other route could have been chosen to respond to the 9/11 attacks. Moreover, the invasion of Afghanistan did not even succeed in its principal goal: the capturing or killing of Osama bin Laden. According to the U.S. government, that mission was accomplished almost ten years later by a team of Navy Seals in an operation lasting only a few hours … in neighboring Pakistan."
So what role, if any, did Bin Laden play in 911? I have the courage and the integrity to say emphatically, I do not know.
When did he die? Again I do not know.
What will the 28 pages of 911 classified information give us?
Again and again and again, I do not know.
Coming in out of the darkness hurts my eyes and breaks my heart.
What went wrong with me?
Just in case You are wondering what went wrong with me, what got me going - I went to the Iowa Wesleyan Chapel and listened to politicians talking like preachers and came away thinking the one thing I did not hear from them was encouragement to love our Arab enemies. We were not encouraged to see ourselves and the world as the Arabs do. We were not encouraged to try to understand their hatred for us and to grow our love for them. But still, we gave the politicians and ourselves standing ovations for being good Christians. But if we love only those who love us, what reward have we? See how quickly our friends turn into our enemies. If we cannot love our enemies then neither do we love our friends since over time friends become enemies and enemies friends. If the Jews were not fighting the Arabs they would be fighting each Other even as the Arabs and Christians do. Among the Chosen, among the Saved, some are invariably found to be more chosen and more worthy of salvation than Others. Christians who war against their enemies will too war against their fellow Christians as the "need" arises. World War II Germany was after all, another Christian nation.
So what am I going to do? I am going to work on loving my enemies and I have an excellent teacher in a dedicated enemy. I was at the edge of the pond when he attacked me and knocked me face down into the water and then jumped on my back and began to beat me about the head and shoulders. I told You about this before right? Any way I still love this guy and he still hates me. And when I see myself as he sees me I know why he hates me. He has his reasons and he has no intention to let go of them. They have a history of working. His hate is embedded in his instinctive world view. It is just who he is and how he sees me. I have to work to protect us both from each Other. My love for him has yet to have any mellowing effect on him. It may take generations. In the mean time (pun intended) I will do my best to protect us both.
If We cannot rise above our instincts then indeed we are doomed. Remember 99% of the species that have ever lived have gone extinct. The very instincts that worked for them one day betrayed them the next. Might this be a good time to give loving our enemies a try? If we can just get over the next hump who knows how many millions of years might spread out before Us? Who among Us will be found worthy of that? Who among us wants to be? We talk about eternity but how long do we expect humans to survive on this planet? And if it should come to an end very soon, from where You stand, how and why will that most likely be and what can we do about it? I am an old man starting to walk like one and getting ready to take a break, but my 4 year old granddaughter... she enthusiastically skips and runs and dances and thinks it is great to just be alive and to go mushroom hunting. I am betting that learning the fine art of loving our enemies has survival value for friends, enemies and grandchildren all.
"Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried." - Gilbert K. Chesterton quotes from BrainyQuote.com
So, is the problem with Christianity that we have really tried it - and it failed,
Or is the problem with Christianity that we have failed to ever really try it?
Considering the mess We are making of the world what do You think, might this be the time to give it our best shot...?
Or shall We tempt God by waiting, waiting until We are sure it is too late for Us to save ourselves, just to prove that God will then save Us from ourselves? But is it possible, perhaps even essential, that we will pass a critical point where our empowerment to destroy the world and each Other must be honored by God to allow us to fully affirm or deny our capacity for the Destiny of being the Children of God able to celebrate the co-creation and maintenance of any shared reality?
What do You think? Will we rise from the ashes of nuclear war in some new found, essential, but tragically late capacity to love our enemies, that sprouted for us only from the agony of the flash of the illumination of our collective spiritual poverty and the physical destruction provided under the canopy of an all consuming mushroom cloud?
We could not love when it was so easy but do we think we will be able to love when it is so difficult? Perhaps. Sigh.....
Under such conditions will We say, I see the light and love and forgive mine enemies even as they destroy my life and everything and everyone that I have held dear..... or might We then choose in our unimaginable wounded-ness the Sanctuary of Darkness where no friend/foe can ever find Us?
Might our final lesson be, that lacking the capacity to love your enemies We will choose such Peace as can be found in Darkness, over the pain of relation and thereby negate the offering of Christianity that We all could have been Together, the Children of God, if loving our enemies had not been too difficult for Us.
Is this a good time to just wait and see? See what happens if We love our enemies, or better, so we hope, what happens if We don't?
So far we are still betting on war and the threat of war. So far we believe that things will turn out better if We do not love our enemies. So far We are betting against Christianity because so far we do not believe it works. But do We believe that Jesus will save us from the consequences of not taking to heart what he taught? Yes, I think so. All we have to do is praise Jesus, take him as our own personal savior and he will forgive us for slaughtering our enemies. What's not to like?
What we love about Christianity is this escape clause. We do not have to really believe anything but "we are saved" to have that secure Kingdom of Heaven within us feeling. We do not have to love our enemies to be Saved. Indeed, the more of our enemies that we can kill the more secure we feel we are and the more confident we are that we are saved from what threatens us. War/violence is our refuge, our sanctuary. It works! Jesus, your life failed to demonstrate to us that loving our enemies works. And so far we are convinced that when You come back You are going to kick butt. We certainly are not looking forward to your return if You are going to require us to love our enemies and suffer their wrath, however well deserved, when You come.
Jesus said, "And from the days of John the Baptist, until now, the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force."
So far, nothing has changed. So far killing our enemies, not loving them, still brings the secure experience of "the kingdom of Heaven within us" that we seek. So far your cross is far more real to us than anything before or after it. We do not see being crucified by our enemies and forgiving them from the cross to be the kind of victory we are looking for in our lives. You won the victory over the world? OK, but that is not what We are looking for unless and until things have gone to hell.
We will let You love your enemies and we will let You forgive them from the cross and we will let You rise for the dead and we will praise You for it, just as long as we do not have to agree to not defend ourselves with violence from similar ordeals.
Still... I am left to wonder what happens if We love our enemies and what happens if We don't?
Based on an honest answer to this pair of questions I should be able to decide if Christianity works. So far in over 65 years of more or less rational choices I have not found it necessary to use violence against my fellow humans in self defense. Could be I have been the unknowing beneficiary of Others who have? Certainly. But too I have personally been in situations that could have gone either way and so far, so good. Maybe loving one's enemy is not as fool hardy as it sounds. If it works, why not? If, all things being equal, the level of violence in the world can be reduced by raising the level of love for one's enemies, what is not to like?
Maybe the teachings of Jesus can work. Maybe cheap grace discourages the kind of effort to required to see them put to work.
"An Ann Arbor Catholic priest has urged his parishioners to arm themselves and attend classes at Christ the King parish to earn a concealed pistol license (CPL)."
So why not be straight up and just give up on Christianity confessing that it has from the beginning failed by design to protect us (Christians and our Founder) from our enemies and too it has failed in practice to protect our enemies from us (Christians)? Jesus obviously got it wrong. But the need for such twofold protection has never been greater. So who is getting it right? Is a balance of power among adversaries the best answer? How big of a gun do I need in the ever escalating arms race? When every person has finally won the capacity to destroy the world, what then? Is any shared reality sustainable? How so?
Is the love of our enemies optional or essential to our capacity to enter into and sustain relation which is of course fundamental to any experience of Being the Children of God?
The Bluebells, the Yellow Bellworts, the Red Trillium, the White Anemones, the Yellow Wood Violets, the shy cups of the Wild Ginger burying their maroon faces in the leaves, all cascading together in a flood of new life that edges the limestone rock outcroppings high on the bluff and then flows down through the forest and right up to the edge of the road in some places.
You know when I ran for supervisor I had a lady approach me and tell me, "Steve, You are just not one of Us. " As I slowly drove down the edge of the gravel road vainly attempting to take it all in I appreciated in the quietus just how right she was and frankly I have mixed feelings about that. The lack of the appreciative traffic that Nature deserves on this dusty stretch of gravel made our start and stop oooh and ahhh tour all the more wonderful.
What do I know? Nothing. Wonder suffices.
So what is it to love Justice? How does the Justice of the Infinite work? What do I mean when I speak of the Love of Justice?
Being who You are, where You are, on your Way to Being who You would be in the context of the Shared Reality that You are busy co-creating, this is the Justice I love, it is what I call the Justice of the All Accommodating. It is like a path of continuous improvement with rest stops along the Way. Watch what You ask for.
I should add, that the experience of Self Absorption too must be an option. Which is to say, Being All One and Alone, neither knowing nor honoring any Other, that too appears to be an option that borders closely on Oblivion. Something like Nirvana, The Primal Peace, the Unborn, the Lifeless, Eternal Peace. Self Absorption at last leaves neither Self nor Other in its wake, only No-thing-ness. Existence void of experience. I would affirm it is ever optional but never absolute, but hey, that is only me talking, so have it your way.
I do not know nor do I seek the boundaries of the Options. What I do seek is to participate in the co-creation of a shared reality worthy of our love.
"Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God." Matt. 5:8 These are the navigators who travel the house of many rooms by the set of their hearts.
The Kingdom of Heaven is within You and as You are so too will You find it to be. So too then hell is within You. The Pure in Heart will ever find the Heaven they are co-creating and maintaining to indeed be Heavenly. It too it will at once be hard work and an indulgence punctuated with precious moments of R&R.
"As a man is so he sees." William Blake
As a man is, there he is.
Love? Yes what does that word mean? To honor, cherish, respect and celebrate the being of Others? Something like that would be a start.
See then how love and justice go together?
To travel the path of continuous improvement is to be super natural which is only natural :-)
Funny that. Funny that until this month the larger significance of Jesus being the first of his band to die at the hand of an adversary never dawned on me. Now it gnaws on me. He thanked God he would be the first among his loyal band to die a violent death. Just imagine what a different world it would be if those putting the rank and file in harms way offered themselves up to be the first to take the hit. What a stark contrast the Carpenter, the Son of Man was to King David and the politicians of today.
But then again, as a dad, I know, as every Dad does, what it is to be willing to stand in harms way to protect the Children. So the behavior of Jesus compared to that of a good Dad is not so "off the wall" really. What is off the wall is the behavior and rhetoric of politicians who want to talk about a Christian nation and being saved and such but then speak of spreading violence in the world. They want more military spending! I hear no apology from them for the violent ways of America. They pervert the best instincts of a good Dad to serve the interests of a nation of greed.
Jews want a Jewish State, Christians want a Christian State, and Muslims want an Islamic State, the oligarchs want a capitalistic state.
I want a world where Jews and Christians and Buddhists, and Muslims and .... can all co-exist.
Maybe I want too much. But until it happens I will not call myself a Jew or a Christian or a Muslim. It will be enough to love justice and walk humbly in my very limited capacity to comprehend the infinite.
(NaturalNews) For years Americans have been told that marijuana should remain illegal because it is the ultimate "gateway" drug - that is, the drug that most often leads to the abuse of other, more potent drugs.
Not so, according to a new study which says alcohol - not marijuana - is the true gateway drug.
Of three drugs or drug-containing substances - alcohol, tobacco and marijuana - the study found that the former, not the latter, led to more drug use.
In examining a nationally representative sample obtained from the University of Michigan's Monitoring the Future survey, the study concluded: "Results from the Guttman scale indicated that alcohol represented the 'gateway' drug, leading to the use of tobacco, marijuana, and other illicit substances. Moreover, students who used alcohol exhibited a significantly greater likelihood of using both licit and illicit drugs."
An argument about which drug is the gateway drug is most likely a unneeded diversion to working the problems associated with the irresponsible use of all drugs, legal or not. We need to level the playing field in how we respond to the irresponsible use of drugs across the board. The fact that alcohol and tobacco are legal did nothing to cure uncle John's emphysema or to bringing back the lives of two family members who lost their lives due to the effects of the irresponsible use of alcohol.
I stopped using caffeine for several weeks and now find I can get an eye opening lift from a 1/4 cup! I think if I got up in the AM and right off the bat did some exercises or just stood out on the front step and yelled my lungs out I might not "need" anything but a weak cup of hot chocolate. Luckily this howler monkey lives out in the country.
"Low-wage workers in the United States have staged their largest action to date to demand a $15-an-hour minimum wage, with some 60,000 workers walking off the job in more than 200 cities. The actions brought together fast-food workers, home-care aides, child-care providers, Wal-Mart clerks, adjunct professors and airport workers to demand wage increases and the right to unionize. Organizers staged the action on Tax Day to highlight the cost to taxpayers of supporting workers who are underpaid. A new study says low wages are forcing working families to rely on more than $150 billion in public assistance. We will have more on the historic protests after headlines."
In the US there should be no need for Unions.... They are added cost for people who can least afford it. Instead we need higher taxes on higher incomes and a minimum wage that is a living wage for one wage earner supporting a family of four.
Right now tax payers are subsidizing low wage earners who work in places like Wal-Mart. More appropriately we should say, we are subsidizing Wal-Mart. The US has been more willing to take $ from middle income people to subsidize low income people than to take dollars from the profanely rich to aid the profanely poor. Tax rates need to be based on disposable income.
What is the cost of living for a family of four? 3200 per month in Henry County or $20 an hour for one wage earner supporting a family of 4. (below)
If we want to talk about real support for families we need to start talking about raising the minimum wage. But help me here, did even one of the politicians with presidential aspirations that visited Iowa Wesleyan recently, talk about raising the minimum wage? Maybe I missed it.
Seems I remember wages on the order of $2/per hour for factor workers back in the late 60s.
$2 in 1968 adjusted for inflation would be $13.85 today.
And when TPP passes, look for it to get worse as more good jobs go over seas.
A Thursday statement from AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka urged Congress to reject the fast-track proposal.
"At a time when workers all over the country are standing up for higher wages, Congress is considering legislation that will speed through corporate-driven trade deals," said Trumka. "For decades, we’ve seen how fast-tracked trade deals devastated our communities through lost jobs and eroded public services. We can’t afford another bad deal that lowers wages and outsources jobs."
Remember NFTA? Remember Motorola!
"NBC executives at least had ample reason to suspect that it was anti-Assad rebels who staged the kidnapping, not pro-Assad forces. Yet they allowed Engel and numerous other NBC and MSNBC personalities repeatedly and unequivocally to blame the Assad regime and glorify the anti-Assad rebels, and worse, to link the hideous kidnapping to Iran and Hezbollah, all with no indication that there were other quite likely alternatives. NBC refused to respond to the NYT‘s questions about that (The Intercept‘s inquiries to NBC News were also not responded to at the time of publication, though any responses will be added (update: an NBC executive has refused to comment))."
The media does what it can to help lead the nation to war with lies.
From Rep. D Alan Grayson on TPP
"Now, I’m the first member of Congress to actually see any part of the TPP, even though 600 corporate lobbyists are, quote, "advisers" to the trade representative and they get to see everything. And I insisted they take that information to my office, and in return they told me I couldn’t take it with me, I couldn’t take it home, I couldn’t make notes on it, I couldn’t have my staff present. And here’s the kicker: They didn’t want me to discuss it with the media, the public or even other members of Congress. So it’s a farce. And it’s meant specifically to keep the information away from the American people, because if the American people knew what was going on, they’d recognize that it’s a punch to the face of the middle class in America. "
See more, much more @
The only thing I know for sure is that I do not know and that there are people who have a significant stake in making sure You and I do not know and the ones that do the best job of that, the ones that know no shame in it, are the ones we tragically elect to lead us.
“It’s hard to take Hillary Clinton seriously (on reigning in CEO pay) when she charges over four times what the average person makes (in a year) to give a 90 minute speech, and when the Clintons’ own income has exceeded the CEO pay she now decries. There are clearly no limits on phoniness and hypocrisy for Clinton’s campaign,” said spokesman Michael Short.
Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2015/04/hillary-clintons-wall-street-backers-we-get-it-117017.html#ixzz3XS3moV00
Phoniness and hypocrisy are too kind for Hillary. No, the voters, if they were wise would not take the Clinton's seriously, but those individuals who do not take her seriously, like Vince Foster and Chris Stevens learn a life altering lesson. She never blinks. Like Cheney and the Bushes, she has no shame. Americans read it as toughness and admire it and empower it like a bunch of mafia cronies. The Clintons ride the wake of Americas rebellion against its own best values. Obama learned "everything" he knows about betraying the best values of Americans from the Clinton's. (OK, "everything" is too strong.)
So then the question for Americans is, where to turn? What are our options? We must look for someone as tough in their obscurity as the Clintons and Bushes are in their flagrant criminality. Some one who has not been able to float to the top through the system.... someone tough as nails in their integrity who can turn the system on its head by putting people first. Some one we pick out and raise up because they embody our best values in their everyday. Is there no such person in all of America?
Yeah, they are out there. We just ignore them, that's all.
"In order to become secretary of state in 2009, Clinton and her husband signed .... a transparency agreement with Barack Obama's incoming presidential administration in order to defuse questions about conflicts of interest.
But officials at the Clinton's charities told Reuters last month that key parts of the agreement were broken a year into her four-year tenure. No complete list of donors to Clinton charities has been published since 2010, and new donations from foreign governments were never submitted to the State Department for an ethics review.
The charities said this was the result of oversights. A Clinton spokesman has declined since last month to answer inquiries about when Clinton learned of the breach and how she responded."
The Clinton's know how to launder money. They learned it in Arkansas. Anybody who has a substantial interest in them will indeed find the opportunity, if they have not already, to pay them very well for it.
When it comes to Bill's unbound list of sexual indiscretions, as Bill put it, "I did it because I could."
"Since the one error that Clinton confesses is molesting Monica, let’s begin there in judging the character of this (apparent) man from Arkansas. Is this an isolated incident, or a lifelong character defect?
In 1969, 19-year-old Englishwoman Eileen Wellstone said Clinton raped her after she met him near Oxford University. An American diplomat investigated the matter, concluded that Clinton probably did this, and urged him to leave Oxford immediately to avoid an international incident. Clinton then dropped out of the Rhodes Scholarship Program without completion, and returned to the US." Was this Clinton act “immoral”? Did he do this “because I could”?
What about Elizabeth Gracen, former Miss Arkansas and Miss America, who once said that Clinton raped her in a limousine in 1983? Was that also “because I could”?
What about Juanita Broaddrick, a businesswoman in Arkansas, who said Clinton raped her when he was Arkansas Attorney General? Was that also “because I could”?
And Kathleen Wiley? And Paula Jones? And Denise Rich? You get the point.
It is true that public policy is the standard on which history judges any national leader. So let’s talk about various aspects of public policy that somehow did not make it into Clinton’s 957-page “tell-all” book. When James Riady promised $1 million to Clinton’s election efforts, was that “immoral”? No; once kept, that promise constituted a series of major felonies.
The money was paid. The Democrats benefitted from it. All of the money came from foreign sources, including communist China. In the closing month of the Clinton regime, Janet (the Just) Reno struck a deal with James Riady that he would come to the US, plead guilty, pay a whopping fine, but not be required to tell all about his agreements with Clinton. Did Clinton engineer all that “because I could”?
"Found guilty for the 2013 fatal shooting of Odin Lloyd, the 25-year-old Hernandez went from the status of pro athlete with a $40 million contract and a bright future to life behind bars. Does his conviction set a new precedent...."
Might this be the beginning of the end of the criminal entitlement of the rich... the famous.... the powerful? Watch....
The Clinton's, Bushes and company would have us believe that only by being, just as they are, can they get elected. And because we buy it, it is true.
Americans need to watch the Clinton Chronicles video on live leak ...... because We can.
The only thing I know for sure is that I do not know and that there are people who have a significant stake in making sure You and I do not know and the ones that do the best job of that, the ones that know no shame in it, are the ones we tragically elect to lead us.
Do We want a leader who is hemmed in by morality? Or do we want someone who will pull out all the stops?
I listened to a group of politicians at Wesleyan recently talking about how God uses damaged goods for his purposes. They mentioned David and Uriah and they spoke of David's adultery and murder as if those crimes were some how minor offences considering that David was a man after God's own heart and the inspiration for the kings to come.
They neglected to mention that God's willingness to spare the life of David came with the promise that Israel would be wrought up with violence ever after. Would it not have been better, much better for Israel, even for David had he fallen on his own sword? David murdered, perhaps his most dedicated servant, and in so doing brought death and suffering on his own house, the house of Israel, there after, never thinking to offer his own life to redeem his country.
That offering came much later when a man, even more innocent and more dedicated than Uriah, gave his life in a gloriously vain attempt to save Israel.
If the kings must come and make war, let them put themselves in the position of Uriah, so that if someone must die, it will be them. Yes, indeed a king would later come that would thank God that among his band He would be the first to fall. But then He was lifted and taken away and still is shamed to this day by those who would put the young and fool hearty against the wall to kill and die to cover the shameful lie hidden in the battle cry of the cowardly kings.
Forgive me. My heart is breaking. What do I know? Only this, there are those who seek to keep me in the dark and that, to be sure that I cannot see them.
4/13/2015 Some Said It Thundered.
"So the crowd of people who stood by and heard it were saying that it had thundered; others were saying, "An angel has spoken to Him." John 12: 29
So what was it, thunder or the voice of an angel? And if an angel, just exactly what did it say and what did it mean?
"As a man is so he sees." William Blake ( and so he hears)
The answers to the most important questions in my life are like that, they cannot be caught in words, not even in our scriptures. The answers I seek, and in seeking find, are the ones that can only be lived out.
When I tell Joy that I love her, sometimes she comes back with "Yeah, whatever that means."
That is a well deserved reply considering my stubborn inclination to pull things to pieces just so I can tie them back together with suturing words that often leave nasty scars.
So then, I have learned to reply.... "Watch..."
So today we went about keeping watch on the birds and the spring flowers and I am happy to report another first for both of us on our life list of the birds we have seen in Henry County, well sort of. The problem is, we did not get a close enough look to get a positive ID and there are several close cousins among the black headed gulls that look very much alike.
It appears we have passed the peak on the spring migration for most species.
WalMart - 2 Shovelers, 9 Blue-winged Teal, 40 Coots, 1 female Merganser, 4 Gadwalls.
Brent Pond 6 Shovelers, 5 Ruddy Ducks, all cute ones, 30 Coots
Gabelines - 40 Blue-winged Teal, 8 Green-winged Teal, 3 Wood Ducks, 100 Coots, 20 Shovelers, 1 Pie Billed Grebe, 7 Cormorants 4 Ruddy Ducks
Joy Lake 6 Ruddy Ducks, 4 Gadwall, 100 Coots, 10 Shovelers, 4 Scaup, 2 Blue-winged Teal
Smith Pond One lonely Snow Goose, not doubt a sad story goes along with that.
To Bill Maher:
"All I ask — all that many, many, many of us who practice their respective religions ask — is that you conduct yourself with respect and compassion and a spirit of coexistence, and we’ll do the same. I ask that you not make assumptions about the vast majority of the world’s population based on your own need to feel good about yourself and how smart you are. Like Zakaria says, you’re not going to bring about reform that way. And as Maher and his ilk prove, you don’t need a religion to be in the business of spreading hate."
DUCKS! HUNDREDS OF 'EM
HORNED GREBES ON BRENT BORROW PIT, A FIRST FOR ME
There were 6 Horned Grebes on the Brent Borrow pit early this afternoon which were a first for Joy and I. They were swimming with 30 Ruddy Ducks. The Ruddy Ducks with their "tails up straight" are always easy to ID. There was also 1 Cormorant, 1 female Hooded Merganser, 3 Pied-billed Grebes, 4 Lesser Scaups, 2 Coots, and 7 Gadwalls.
The WalMart wetland held 14 Shovelers, 5 Blue-winged Teal, 50+ Coots, 4 Lesser Scaup, and 4 Gadwalls.
The Gabeline Borrow Pit at the intersection of Winfield Avenue and the by-pass held 200 Shovelers, 50 Lesser Scaup, 32 Gadwals, 11 Cormorants, 100 Coots, 1 Gull (Ring-billed), 3 Ruddy Ducks and 2 Blue-winged Teal.
Joy Lake, on to the west held 40 Coots, 2 Pied-billed Grebes, 18 Shovelers, 8 Lesser Scaup, and 6 Ruddy Ducks.
The Old Rome Sand Pit held, 13 Cormorants, 3 Shovelers and 1 Great Blue Heron.
Any day I add a bird to my life list is a good birding day. The value of the grassy peninsula in the Gabeline Borrow Pit appears to be a significant draw.
We went to look at the flowers blooming on the river road below Oakland Mills. Bluebells and Yellow Bellworts are just beginning to open joining the Anemones, Toothwarts and the Dutchmen's Breeches. We had the thrill of hearing our first Tree Frog welcome Spring today. The wetland frogs have been singing for quite a while but no toads yet.
The Snow Trillium on the river side of the Oakland cemetery hill were in bloom Easter Sunday.
They are running late but here they are. Ruddy Ducks, Greater & Lesser Scaup, Shovelers, Wood Ducks, Gadwals, Mallards, Coots, Green-winged Teal, Blue Winged Teal, one Cormorant and a small flock of Gulls. With so many Canada Geese on eggs, I was surprised to see a bunch of additional migrants show up on the Winfield Ave borrow. Yesterday Joy spotted a large flock of Snow Geese flying over. The number of Wood Ducks continues to disappoint but it is picking up.
4/7/2015 HIGHWAY ROBBERY
While in Iowa city today for Joy's cancer check-up (all clear -( :-) I picked up a current copy of the Daily Iowan and read the Editorial.
"Congress and state legislatures allow law enforcement to seize a person's property (money) if there is suspicion of it being associated with a crime."
SEE: EDITORIAL - DAILY IOWAN- TUESDAY, APRIL 7TH 2015
What....? Suspicion. You must mean temporarily impound it, right?
No, seize it, as in take it and keep it and redistribute it to the benefit of the police all without due process of law.
A recent traffic stop uncovered several thousand dollars which the officer considered to be suspicious and so he seized it. And why not? Its easy money and it is big business. It was a family's nest egg on its way to California.
The Des Moines Register has found dozens of cases where people in Iowa, without being arrested or charged, had money "seized" by police.
Chuck Grassley says its time to change the law. Go Chuck! How about some refunds while we're at it to the dozens of innocent people from around the state who since 2009 have been robbed by the police?
US USES GUATEMALANS FOR MEDICAL RESEARCH
"Nearly 800 plaintiffs have launched a billion-dollar lawsuit against Johns Hopkins University over its alleged role in the deliberate infection of hundreds of vulnerable Guatemalans with sexually transmitted diseases, including syphilis and gonorrhoea, during a medical experiment programme in the 1940s and 1950s."
"In 2010, the United States government formally apologized to the people of Guatemala for conducting morally objectionable and highly unethical medical experiments on Guatemalan citizens in 1947-48. The experiments involved exposing the subjects to syphilis and other sexually-transmitted diseases in order to test the efficacy of treatments, without obtaining informed consent of the subjects. A 205-page Report of the U.S. Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues issued in September 2011 detailed how the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) designed, funded, and carried out the experiments in conjunction with Guatemalan health authorities, laying complete responsibility at the hands of the United States government. The Report does not suggest the Rockefeller Foundation had anything to do with the experiments. In fact the Rockefeller Foundation is not mentioned anywhere in the exhaustive report.
In 2012, a class action lawsuit was brought by victims of the experiments and their families and filed against the United States and others. The lawsuit was dismissed on grounds of governmental immunity."
Another crime against humanity committed by and excused by the government of the United States of America. See why we are not members of the International Criminal Court?
"On May 23, 1997 the CIA released several hundred formerly classified documents pertaining to the United States involvement in the 1954 coup in Guatemala. Although representing only a fraction of the existing government files, these records nonetheless revealed the determination of the CIA to prohibit the spread of communism to the nations of Latin America during the Cold War. Planning for American intervention in Guatemala began in 1952 when the president of Nicaragua, Anastasio Somoza, solicited U.S. assistance to overthrow the democratically elected (1950) Guatemalan leader, Jacobo Arbenz Guzman."
"US President Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize four years ago. Today, the country he leads is seen — according to a new poll — as the biggest threat to world peace.
The global survey, conducted by WIN/Gallup International, polled residents in 68 countries on everything from the global economy to politics and living conditions.
According to the poll, 24 percent of the surveyed countries ranked the United States as the greatest threat to world peace today, followed by Pakistan at 8 percent, China at 6 percent and four countries (Afghanistan, Iran, Israel and North Korea) tied at 5 percent.
Thirty-seven percent of Mexicans ranked their northern neighbor the top threat to the world.
So why are the US, Pakistan, China and the rest viewed so negatively? The survey didn't say, but here are some likely reasons:"
4/2/2015 A RENEWED SEARCH FOR SOLUTIONS
ISRAEL AND PALESTINE
"On Dec. 30, the United Nations Security Council rejected a proposal put forward by a coalition of Arab states and the Palestinian Authority calling for “full and phased withdrawal of Israeli forces” from all territories seized after 1967 and full Palestinian sovereignty over the West Bank and Gaza by Dec. 31, 2017."
"For his part, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has declared that Israel could “never, ever countenance” a fully sovereign Palestinian state. The world should take him at his word. There never was a two-state solution, and there won’t be one in any foreseeable future. Instead, that so-called solution serves only to enable Israel’s continued oppression, empowering cynics and hard-liners and perpetuating a never-ending cycle of conflict. The only viable resolution is to unite Israel and the territories into a single state."
But most Israeli Jews vehemently oppose a single state. Thus an alternative amenable to all parties would be to reintegrate Gaza, the West Bank and Israel as a federation of semiautonomous states, with Jerusalem as its capital — a proposal not far removed from the vision of Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon. There still would have to be a substantial restructuring of territory, resources and relations between the two sides."
Musa al-Gharbi is a senior fellow with the Southwest Initiative for the Study of Middle East Conflicts (SISMEC).
to get the whole story.
It would appear to me that a graduated or stepped approach created in a process of binding arbitration would need to be implemented with defaults established early on to assure vigorous implementation in either the two state or the federated approach. The US, were it to participate as an arbitrator would likely need to be stripped of its veto power.
4/2/2015 THE CONTEXT FOR WAR OR THE QUEST FOR PEACE?
NEGOTIATIONS IN SWITZERLAND
This much I know, I do not know. This much I trust, that I cannot trust. I cannot trust Obama, Netanyahu, or Iran.
Making way to enter WWII the US made excessive demands to encourage Japan to attack and then kept the way open for the attack so as to draw America into the war. Apart from the merits of entering the war, I abhor the method.
McCain obviously wants to go to war, or at least that is the impression he wants to give. Obama would like to negotiate a solution or so he says. Netanyahu wants to bomb Iran, or at least threaten to. Iran says she doesn't want to build a bomb in spite of the fact that anyone else at the table sitting in her position would see that having one is in her best interest, except for the problem of sanctions which Russia and China apparently fail to offset.
As for what parties and what interests dominate the US position, we do not know. Watch for a rift between the US and the EU.
Joy says I should go back to watching the birds. The spring migration of Woodies is still down something like 90%. The winter visits of Eagles at Oakland was also greatly reduced. The number of swan sighting were also low. What does all of this mean? I have no idea, that is why I am keeping watch.
ISRAEL: THEIR IS MORE HOPE IN A HARD TRUTH
"There are many terms that one could use to describe a state that treats the populations over whom it rules in starkly different ways, granting rights and privileges to one population that it denies to the other. Netanyahu’s vulgarity and singular crudeness makes it that much more possible for outside observers—so easily bewitched, it seems, by the liberal language of his electoral opponents—to recognize Israel for what it is: a state committed to stark inequality and brutal differentiation."
"That, in turn, makes it that much more possible for people of good will around the world to continue to mobilize against that regime of inequality, precisely as they once did in the case of South Africa, and to demand that their governments treat such a regime as it ought to be treated: with isolation. And, just as was the case with South Africa, greater international mobilization will help bring about the transformation of a regime of inequality into one of equality. For a genuine and lasting peace will come about only when Israelis and Palestinians can live not with one people lording it over the other, but as equals."
SYNGENTA ATTACKS RESEARCHER
"Simply by doing research, UC Berkeley biologist Tyrone Hayes found himself a target of the agribusiness giant Syngenta. The problem? His research linked atrazine, one of Syngenta’s most widely used herbicides, to changes in frogs’ reproductive organs. It didn’t help that Syngenta had commissioned his work."
"The story of Hayes’ study of atrazine and Syngenta’s efforts to destroy his credibility was told at length in a New Yorker piece by writer Rachel Aviv, “A Very Valuable Reputation,” which ran last February. "
"Now, it has been brought to life as a short documentary, “What’s Motivating Hayes,” directed by Jonathan Demme, who is perhaps best known for making “The Silence of the Lambs” but has also made documentaries about the Talking Heads, Neil Young and Jimmy Carter. In the film, Hayes goes back to his native South Carolina to pick up his story and is shown in his Berkeley lab, too; Aviv is interviewed as well."
"The documentary is part of the pilot of a new series by the New Yorker magazine that recently debuted on Amazon. “The New Yorker Presents” is the video equivalent of a spin through the magazine’s pages; also featured are an interview with performance artist Marina Abramovic, live-action cartoon drawing, a poem that’s read and performed and a short play featuring actor Alan Cumming as God."
After TPP global ag chemical corporations can be expected to intensify their attacks on those releasing research on their products.
"The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) has the potential to become the biggest regional Free Trade Agreement in history ...
"The chief agricultural negotiator for the US is the former Monsanto lobbyist, Islam Siddique. If ratified the TPP would impose punishing regulations that give multinational corporations unprecedented right to demand taxpayer compensation for policies that corporations deem a barrier to their profits ...
"They are carefully crafting the TPP to insure that citizens of the involved countries have no control over food safety, what they will be eating, where it is grown, the conditions under which food is grown and the use of herbicides and pesticides."
According to Barbara Chicherio in Nation of Change
THE MORAL MAGIC OF DEMOCRACY (EDITED FOR CLARITY IN BOLD)
A MUST READ - DUE PROCESS IS WAY OVER DUE
AMERICA WAS A GOOD IDEA, BUT THEN..........
"When Obama was in the Senate and then running for President in 2007, he was highly critical of the Bush use of the “state secrets privilege” to get rid of troublesome lawsuits. His official campaign website cited Bush’s abuse of the privilege as a hallmark of excessive secrecy.
But like so many of his purported views, this concern about the use of the “state secrets privilege” was abandoned almost immediately upon his inauguration. His DOJ invoked the privilege to demand victims of Bush programs of torture, rendition, detention, and surveillance be denied any opportunity to be heard in court even when the U.S. government itself acknowledged they were innocent. Obama lawyers even invoked secrecy to argue that a lawsuit challenging the legality of their own targeted assassination program against a U.S. citizen could not be heard in court. As an early headline in the Obama-supporting TPM site recognized: “Expert Consensus: Obama Mimics Bush On State Secrets. And it worked in virtually every case."
THE MORAL MAGIC OF DEMOCRACY ONLY WORKS IF WE THE PEOPLE ARE EVER READY TO GIVE OUR GOVERNMENT OUR BEST IN TERMS OF OUR OFFERINGS AND OUR EXPECTATIONS.
WE THE PEOPLE ARE FINDING OURSELVES TO BE UNWORTHY OF OUR RESPONSIBILITIES AS INFORMED CITIZENS OF A DEMOCRACY, OR EVEN OF A REPUBLIC. WE LONG FOR AN ELITE CLASS OR KING WHO WILL TAKE CARE OF US AND PROTECT US FROM THE TRUTH ABOUT OURSELVES AND THE CORRUPTION OUR COWARDICE AND COMPLACENCY HAS SPAWNED IN OUR OWN GOVERNMENT.
KEEPING THE CITIZENS IN THE DARK ABOUT THE DEPRAVITY OF OUR OWN GOVERNMENT HAS BECOME THE ESSENTIAL NATIONAL SECURITY ISSUE FOR THOSE WHO NOW HOLD THE REIGNS. AND WHO ARE THEY? FOLLOW THE MONEY.
TO BE WORTHY OF THE PEOPLE DEMOCRACY TAKES MORE COURAGE AND CHARACTER THAN WE CAN COLLECTIVELY MUSTER. WE HAVE COME TO THINK AMERICA IS SACRED JUST BECAUSE....
WE NO LONGER DEMAND HER TO LIVE UP TO HER OWN IDEALS.
THE DECLINE OF AMERICA'S CONSTITUTIONAL DEMOCRACY IS NO SECRET TO THOSE IN POWER.
HOWEVER, THE TRUTH ABOUT AMERICA IS XXX RATED AND NOT FOR PUBLIC VIEWING
HILLARY CLINTON : TAKING OUT THE TRASH
Not only did Hillary privatize her emails and then sort and delete them to assure she did not disclose information that might be valuable to the Benghazi investigation, her staff did too. If she was innocent of wrong doing, this was a foolish step, but Hillary is no fool. She obviously believes that what she destroyed would have been more damaging to her if it had been released then the destruction of the destroyed information, whatever it was, will be.
I presume she understands there are many Americans that hold her to be an accessory to the crime of the murder of Chris Stevens. If total transparency would have offered no support to those suspicions it is hard to image what else she so needed to destroy that could have been of equal or greater political significance.
I have no idea what Hillary is covering up, but she has convinced me that whatever it is, it is more than enough, in her mind, to trash her presidential aspirations.
SPRING MIGRATION OF WOOD DUCKS IS WAY DOWN, HOPEFULLY THEY ARE JUST RUNNING A BIT LATE.
LET MY PEOPLE GO
"Increasingly, young Jews are on the Moses side, and see Netanyahu as the contemporary Pharaoh. So at the Seder more and more Jews will be asking Israel to “let the Palestinian people go.” EMPHASIS ADDED
"The easiest way for Israel to allow Palestinians their freedom is to create a politically and economically viable Palestinian state living in peace with Israel and based on the 1967 borders of Israel with slight border changes to allow Israel to incorporate the settlements in Gush Etzion and Jewish parts of Jerusalem that were built on conquered Arab land in 1967. The terms for that agreement were well worked out by “The Geneva Accord” developed by former Yitzhak Rabin aide (and Ehud Barak’s Minister of Justice) Yossi Beilin, and would include Jerusalem serving as the capital of both states, massive reparations to the Palestinian people to help fund such a state (paid in part by the international community), and joint police and military cooperation, supplemented by international help, to deal with the inevitable acts of terror from both Israeli and Palestinian terrorists who would want to block any such agreement."
"Though Prime Minister Netanyahu has now sought to back away from his unequivocal election commitment in mid-March that he would never allow Palestinians to have a separate state, it is clear to most American Jews that he was telling the truth to his own community when he made that commitment. Only a fully unambiguous embrace of a detailed plan for ending the Occupation of the West Bank and the blockade of Gaza, and major unilateral acts on Israel’s part to begin to implement the creation of a Palestinian state, would be believed by any Palestinians at this point. And who can blame them?"
JUST IMAGINE A MARCH ON WASHINGTON BY YOUNG JEWS DEMANDING ISRAEL AND THE US TO LET THE PALESTINIANS GO!
Visit the site below to see the maps of what has happened to the land holdings of the Palestinians.
IF I WAS INVITED TO A MARCH ON WASHINGTON ORGANIZED BY YOUNG JEWS IN AMERICA DEMANDING ISRAEL TO LIVE WITHIN THE 1967 BORDERS AS DESCRIBED ABOVE, I WOULD HAVE TO GO.