Friday, November 5, 2010

I write for two entirely different audiences and for several different purposes, therefore

I write for two entirely different audiences and for several different purposes, and accordingly, there are vast, enormous, caverns of differences between the tone I adopt, and the language that I use, depending upon my target audience, and my intended purpose.

At the one extreme, I use language as an assault weapon.  If you completely read one of my blog posts and feel that I ought to have been more reserved, or could have made my point better by using gentler language, THEN, and perhaps only then, have I succeeded in my purpose, which, from the beginning was to assault you with my unvarnished and uncompromising perception of truths that I find too horrifying and brutal to try and correct by suggesting that we all get in a boat and start singing Kum-by-ya accompanied by ukelele.

Until such time as the wealthy and the powerful no longer use their wealth and power to rape, ravage and plunder evermore from the poor, sadly, this is the disagreeable voice and the language I will use to make my points, as I would use a baseball bat to break the nose of anyone who deigned to steal from, lie to, or persecute members of my tribe.

If, at the other extreme, you find my prose to be repetitive, highly lyrical (perhaps too much so), or even archaic in style, well, in that instance I am writing as a Muslim, with a Muslim outlook, and Muslim sensibilities, a very cultured and carefully crafted and highly stylized almost poetically lilting use of language to inform, advise, persuade, or even to warn.  In this instance, I am writing as a Muslim, for my Muslim brother and sister readers, but also as a Muslim, who hopes to put a serious or even reverential twist on my tales.  As a Muslim who is not offensive to Western / Christian sensibilities.

Of the two extremes, would that it were that I could always write as a Muslim would write for Muslims, and that my brothers and sisters will find my words uplifting, AN D consonant with the truths that have been revealed to them from study of the Koran.

How an American-born Evangelical Lutheran comes to convert to Islam

My Muslim brothers and sisters frequently want to hear my testimony, to better enlighten them to what it is that inspires a Christian to leave that faith tradition to convert to Islam.

Here is my story:

Coming to Islam

From whence Islam cometh:
Muhammad ibn ‘Abdullāh (Arabic: Transliteration: Muḥammad; pronounced [mʊˈħæmmæd]  ( listen); also spelled Muhammed or Mohammed) (ca. 570/571 Mecca[مَكَةَ ]/[ مَكَهْ ] – June 8, 632), was the founder of the religion of Islam, and is regarded by Muslims as a messenger and prophet of God (Arabic: الله Allāh), the last law-bearer in a series of Islamic prophets, and, by most Muslims, the last prophet as taught by the Qur'an 33:40–40. Muslims thus consider him the restorer of an uncorrupted original monotheistic faith (islām) of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and other prophets. He was also active as a diplomat, merchant, philosopher, orator, legislator, reformer, military general, and, according to Muslim belief, an agent of divine action.
Born in 570 in the Arabian city of Mecca,[8] he was orphaned at an early age and brought up under the care of his uncle Abu Talib. He later worked mostly as a merchant, as well as a shepherd, and was first married by age 25. Discontented with life in Mecca, he retreated to a cave in the surrounding mountains for meditation and reflection. According to Islamic beliefs it was here, at age 40, in the month of Ramadan, where he received his first revelation from God. Three years after this event Muhammad started preaching these revelations publicly, proclaiming that "God is One", that complete "surrender" to Him (lit. islām) is the only way (dīn)[n 6] acceptable to God, and that he himself was a prophet and messenger of God, in the same vein as other Islamic prophets

From whom the story of Islam and its prophet were revealed to me:
Revalation the second:

Karen Armstrong FRSL (born 14 November 1944 in Wildmoor, Worcestershire) is a British author of numerous works on comparative religion, who first rose to prominence in 1993 with her highly successful A History of God. A former Roman Catholic nun, she asserts that, "All the great traditions are saying the same thing in much the same way, despite their surface differences." They each have in common, she says, an emphasis on the transcendent importance of compassion, as epitomized in the so-called Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.

Awarded the $100,000 TED Prize in February 2008, she called for drawing up a Charter for Compassion in the spirit of the Golden Rule, to identify shared moral priorities across religious traditions, in order to foster global understanding.[1] It was unveiled in Washington, D.C. in November 2009. Signatories include Prince Hassan of Jordan, the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Sir Richard Branson

Revelation the first:
Leonard Shlain (August 28, 1937 – May 11, 2009)[1][2] was an American surgeon and writer; he authored three books.
Dr. Shlain was Chairman of Laparoscopic surgery at the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco and was an Associate Professor of Surgery at UCSF.
He was a speaker at such venues as the Smithsonian, Harvard University, Salk Institute, Los Alamos National Laboratory, NASA Johnson Space Center and the European Union's Ministers of Culture. In 1999, he was a contributor to Academic Press' Encyclopedia of Creativity, edited by Mark Runco and Steven Pritzker.[3]

The Alphabet Versus the Goddess: The Conflict Between Word and Image is a book by Leonard Shlain, published in 1999 by Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
The Author theorizes pheontic alphabets transform the mind and influence the relationships between men and women. He further argues that while pre-literate and illiterate peoples venerate a Goddess, her associated images and her nurturing qualities, literate cultures venerate Gods and are characterized by patriarchy. Drawing on the history of the Israel, Egypt, Greece, Pagan and Christian Rome, The Far East, and Islam, the author examines history based his theory.

From whom the story of Islam and its prophet were revealed to me:
He who introduced me to the revealers

Mike Huston, professional bridge player and labor aritrater, former Professor of Englichs Literature, and the most well-read human being I know advised me of Karen Armstrong's writings. Mike also advised me the writings of and in particular, Leonard Shlain's The Alphabet Versus the Goddess: The Conflict Between Word and Image.

She who said, “Call my father.”

One evening I stopped into the only local gas station in town on the East side of Hough Street. I mentioned to the young high school woman that I was considering converting to Islam. She smiled, dropped what she was doing, picked up a pen, and wrote her telephone number. “Call my father,” she said. And I did.

So to the Mosque I went, where I did discuss my circumstances with one of the church elders; and then discussed further why it was at this time that I wished to convert with the Imam.  They both agreed that my interest was serious, that my heart was filled with love, and that my converting to Islam in their Mosque would be both a holy thing, and a right thing to do.

Then I was presented to the congregation and made my declarations: first in Arabic (aided by the Imam) and then in English (aided by the Imam):

I affirm and attest, there is no God but Allah.
And I further affirm and attest, that Muhammed is His prophet

At which point, the congregation began applauding, brothers came to shake my hand end embrace me, welcoming into there world-wide community, and tears of joy began to run like rivers of forgiveness, streaming down my face.

And thus, you have heard my witness.

And the rest, well, the rest of it is being continually revealed.

One spectacular flash of brilliant, life-changing, love-affirming light

Salam Allaikum.
Greetings my brothers and sisters. Peace be unto you, Peace be among you, and may Peace reign forever within your houses.
I have for too long been absent from the Mosque. But I hereby once again declare and proclaim:
There is no God except Allah. And I declarer and proclaim: that Muhammed (PBUH) is his messenger.”
From those statements, I have never backed down, These declarations I shall never revoke. And thus, I am a true Muslim – albeit flowed, albeit ignorant of many things, but now aware, having been awakened in one spectacular flash of brilliant, life-changing, love-affirming light, I am ready to return, to fulfill my part of Allah's plan. To return to the mosque, to once again worship with you, oh wise ones, oh compassionate ones, oh kind ones, and to share in that great joy of the knowledge of the love that our Creator has for us.
My path in returning to you has been most crooked, with many twists and turns, many hills (yea, even mountains) to climb and oceans to cross. But in the climbing, and in the crossing, it has been affirmed to me this:
That after illness overtook me, and laid me so low, in the darkest of dark places, that in my darkest of moments and doubt, that Allah, in His wisdom, His benevolence, and His infinite love and mercy, did send two mighty angels to guard me, that I might not slip into and be forever lost to hell; that darkest of places, where Prophet Jesus (PBUH) descended and remained for three days until he was resurrected. 

And what is hell? Hell, is the absence of love. Simply that. The absence of love. The absence of love of self, in the presence of a self-loathing that denies all attempts by your loved ones to enter, to soften your heart, and to give you love. Once we fathom what hell is, then we begin to fully love our neighbor as ourselves (from which we learn that we must love ourselves, so that we might better love our neighbor - some of this has been lost in translation - but the words of Jesus have always held kernels of virtually unfathomable eternal truths; truths that any child, of course, understands; yet truths of which we can but pray to see a glimmering.
This was revealed to me quite recently, on Sunday, October 31, 2010, in Centerville, Iowa, at a Presbyterian Church service of all Saints Sunday. I had attended neither mosque services, nor Protestant worship services since I was last in the mosque in 2007. The Pastor, and the Choir Director of my parents' church made it abundantly clear that I would be welcomed back with loving arms. But they did not understand this: That I am a Muslim, that I will always be a Muslim, and that while I may certainly attend their worship services, I believe in but one faith tradition: Islam, and I subscribe to but one Holy Scripture: the Koran. And these are beliefs and subscriptions that I came to, of my own free will, as my steps were directed by the unseen yet ever present hand of Allah. To return to my parents' church would have meant turning my back on my faith, on my family, on my friends, and this, I will never do. This is THE one thing, that I can never do.
In Centerville, Iowa, on that blessed Sunday morning, near the end of the worship, I suddenly found myself sobbing uncontrollably, for in the moment of grace, I realized what has most been missing from my life these past three years: Sharing in worship and praise of our Creator, Allah, with you, His saints and His apostles.
So, sobbing, I left the Church, to behold the brilliance of the Sun shining, revealing much of Allah's grace unto me. And this was a revelation. And then this: that of the 21 members of my family gathered that weekend to bury the ashes of my mother's older twin sisters at the family cemetery in Livingston, Iowa, there was but one to whom I could possibly explain all that had been there revealed to me; my youngest sister, Marianne. And that was a very lonely moment, that realization, that I could not share my joy. (And in these thoughts, perhaps I was giving too little credit to the rest of my family; but this is what I then believed).
And that was a lonely, but also a joyous moment. And as Allah smiled upon me, He then revealed the most astonishing truth; that truth from which I have run and hidden so successfully, but at no small cost to my spirit and soul. This truth: Brother Mark, of course I forgive, but, there is nothing to forgive. You were sick, and I sent unto you My angels, to protect you, and nourish you back to health. Brother Mark, you never even had to ask My forgiveness, much less beg for it, for what you have so mistakenly believed to be your sins. You are washed clean. You are made whole. It now is time to go and proclaim to the world, that Allah created you (all), that Allah loves you (all), that Allah protects and blesses you (all).
And that when the day of final judgment comes, you will come before Prophet Jesus (PBUH) who loves you (all). For did he not say, “Suffer the little children to come unto me?”
Come and give glory; come and give praise; come with joyful heart; come give thanksgiving; come to worship.
And as the founder of the faith into which you were first born, Martin Luther, wrote in this, his resoundingly affirming hymn, Built on a Rock:
My peace I leave with you. Amen.
In love, and with joy,
Br. Mark

I look forward to greeting you all again this afternoon.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

What all the pundits and commentators seem to keep missing about these election results

I keep hearing on TV and seeing in newspaper headlines that the results of this recently passed 2010 mid-term elections mean that the country is now tilting "more conservative."

This points up one of the extreme difficulties when language gets diluted and polluted.  During the Reign of Cheney and Rove, the word "liberal" was used to connote (1) traitor - not supportive of the tropps or (2) a democrat while the word "conservative" was used as a surrogate for (1) patriot and (2) a republican.

This transference of meaning was a deliberate attempt to marginalize (even further) the democratic party brand. And it was successful, until the 2006 election cycle when the rash of blue-dog democratic party candidates elected to Congress signified that (finally) "the left" was starting to lean more to "the right."

My take on the 2006 mid-term elections is that the anti-war majority in this country came out to vote the war to an end. No such luck for the battered peoples of Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, East Yemen, etc, etc, etc.

My take on the 2008 democratic landslide was the the majority of Americans were fed up with the real-world consequences of the Republican party's foreign policy, diplomacy, and the unavoidable consequence to the Republican's mantra of deregulate, deregulate, wage war, wage war, wage war, and utter contempt, disdain and disgust for the bailout given the banksters.

My take on this shift in the nominal party affiliation in the House and Senate is that the public is regurgitating out of its system those entrenched (bur fairly recent) politicians who were elected to serve the interests of their constituents and NOT the interest of a bunch of vampiric, blood-sucking corporations.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

In Plain Sight: How Prescient This -- Barack Obama and the Euphoria of Madness

The following article is reprinted with permission from the Black Commentator, in which it first appeared, and the permission its author, Larry Pinckney.  Full disclosure:  Larry Pinckney and I have had a very extensive and most rewarding correspondence over the years.  I call him friend, and brother.

Looking through the lens of the eyes we now have, with benefit of full hindsight, it is clear that Larry's foresight and insight stand the test of time.  His is a voice that is uber worthy of listening too.  

For those of you who can afford it, the Black Commentator is one of the internet treasures that is a must read.  Please consider subscribing.  There is much wisdom to be found in this publication.  This is one of but a handful of web sites that I have found to be essential reading.

Barack Obama and the Euphoria of Madness
Keeping it Real
by Larry Pinckney 

THE BLACK COMMENTATOR - February 7, 2008:  Issue 263

Those who ignore reality and the lessons of history do so at their own peril. Ignoring reality, whether in a state of euphoria or not, is nonetheless a sure recipe for disaster.

It is both sad and simultaneously horribly fascinating to observe so many euphorically pinning their hopes and dreams on Barack Obama, a chameleon who speaks liberally of “change” but who is, himself, beholden to the very same blood-sucking corporate vampires (including Lockheed and others) who are ravaging the peoples of America, and the entire planet. It seems we have moved euphemistically from Dracula to a corporately repackaged Blackula in the person of Barack Obama. In the very name of “change,” Obama is moving America euphorically backwards.

All of America, but most especially we Black, Brown, and Red peoples, need to pay heed to the unfolding debacle known as the “Obama phenomenon.” This so-called “phenomenon” is propelled by blind euphoria, while being steeped in double-speak and disinformation. The danger in this is self-evident.

Never mind that Barack Obama is a stalwart supporter of apartheid / corporate Zionism and is beholden to the Zionist corporate lobby in the US, which wags the people of America as a whole to the tune of billions upon billions of dollars from the coffers of this nation. It should be noted that Barack Obama made it quite clear in The Jerusalem Post newspaper (Israel) of January 29, 2008, that the Palestinian people whose lands are, and have long been, illegally and militarily occupied by Israel, “do not have the right of return.” Similar to the wanton genocide that America carried out against the indigenous, so-called “Indian” peoples on this North American continent under the cover of Manifest Destiny, so it is that the Zionists are simultaneously carrying out de facto apartheid and genocide against the Palestinian people. Black, Red, and Brown peoples should pay close attention to this horrible reality, which is supported by Barack Obama, and no amount of Obama double-speak can obfuscate this outrage. Black Americans must realize unequivocally that every Israeli or Jewish person is not necessarily a Zionist, just as every German was not necessarily a Nazi (Adolph Hitler in fact also murdered thousands of non-Jewish Germans who opposed him). However, make no mistake about this: Nazism, Zionism, and apartheid are inextricably tied together. 
Moreover, it should be clearly understood that Semitic peoples include both Arab and Jewish peoples, including Palestinians. Thus, the constant tactic of depicting any who criticize the actions of Zionists as being “anti-Semitic,” is inaccurate, diversionary, and ridiculous. Barack Obama is deeply beholden to apartheid / corporate Zionism at the expense of the Palestinian people and peace with justice throughout the so-called Middle East.            

Never mind that Barack Obama, contrary to corporate myth, was never in reality a so-called grassroots, political, “community activist,” but was in fact a financially paid, funded, and comfortable opportunist who did not lay his life on the line in any serious manner for disenfranchised people. Moreover, his alleged “volunteer” work in Chicago was anything but the stuff of legend in serving the people, though one would never learn this from his current supporters in the corporate media. Indeed, Barack Obama is himself the beneficiary of the many serious and committed women and men grassroots, political, community activists who went before him, and who often paid for their activism by tortuous jail/prison time and/or death. Serious community activism is no joke and will never be hailed or supported by corporations or the corporate media.

Never mind that Barack Obama has indicated both verbally and in writing that he favors “unilateral” US military actions against other nations, which is both dangerously absurd and in direct contravention and flagrant violation of international law. Notwithstanding the constant double-speak of Barack Obama, his admiration for Ronald Reagan (who despised US working men and women and who unilaterally militarily invaded the tiny Black nation of Grenada), and his warm relationship with William Daley of the infamous and racist Daley political machine in Chicago, should, at bare minimum, give people of good will (of all colors) serious pause for thought.

Nevertheless, and despite all of the foregoing, there are those who insist, regarding Barack Obama: “At least he’s black!” Is he? What is Blackness and what does it really mean in America? And how is being bamboozled, pimped, and disenfranchised by a black person any better than being emaciated by a person of any other color? Think about it as if your very life depends on it, because, ultimately, it may.

The January 31, 2008, Daily Sun of Nigeria, in an article entitled, "Barack Obama May Win, But He’s No African American," poignantly stated, in relevant part: “There are several fundamental issues that must be clarified to understand the importance of Obama’s candidacy. First of all, strictly speaking Barack Obama is not an African-American - but an African who is American. He’s not a descendant of the enslaved Africans who built America without reward or respect for their contributions… But there is a side to his character that well-illustrates the differences between himself and the average ‘Black American.’ For instance, when speaking of his heritage he points proudly to his living relatives [in Kenya]… He doesn’t have the burden or challenge of discussing how his ancestors overcame prejudice within the very society he’s striving to rule. He doesn’t have to refer to the disenfranchisement and dehumanization of his ancestors when he speaks of the legacy that he represents…” Nor does he have or relate to the collective suffering and ongoing struggle of a physically and emotionally brutalized Black America. 

Many Black Americans and our Brown and Red sisters and brothers will, I fear, come to be deeply disappointed in Barack Obama, once he demonstrates who he really is. There will be no peace or justice under an Obama Presidency, should such come to pass. Even the majority of white Americans, with the exception of the corporate liberals and conservatives, may yet come to realize that Obama’s interests are corporate interests; they are not the needs and interests of everyday people, who represent the overwhelming majority of this nation and the world.

It must be reiterated that the Democrat and Republican Parties have consistently sold out Black, Red, Brown, Yellow, and White peoples in America. There is no doubt that the blind euphoria being experienced by those who are presently not critically thinking - is also being experienced by the elite of the US corporate/military/media apparatus - except that their euphoria is not blind. It is callous, calculating, and cold-blooded. 

We need to be about the business of thinking and acting outside the box and building political parties that are outside the box, parties that serve the economic, social, and political interests of the masses of people. This is precisely why the candidacy of former US Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney for President and the Power To The People Coalition is of such enormous importance for the present and for the future. This coalition is all about collectively laying the foundation for systemic change - which is the only way that we can enjoy real change.
Blind euphoria notwithstanding, those who ignore reality and the lessons of history, do so at their own peril. Now, more than ever, is the time to be critical thinkers, not blind followers. Editorial Board member, Larry Pinkney, is a veteran of the Black Panther Party, the former Minister of Interior of the Republic of New Africa, a former political prisoner and the only American to have successfully self-authored his civil/political rights case to the United Nations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. For more about Larry Pinkney see the book, Saying No to Power: Autobiography of a 20th Century Activist and Thinker, by William Mandel [Introduction by Howard Zinn]. (Click here to read excerpts from the book) Click here to contact Mr. Pinkney.

Hello there all you international readers!

My stats tell me that you come from:

United Kingdom
I suspect you Danes are here because of my Suicide Capital of the World (Greenland) post.
The Germans - hmm ... well, Ganzer is assuredly a German name
Singapore - what an utter delight!  Anything to do with the China posts?
Russia - wow! My all time favorite music.  Played March Slav on the French Horn for a state band competition (individual), wonderful
Sang the Russian Vespers in 1993, but couldn't afford to go to Oberamague with the New Oratorio Singers; the deeply discounted cost (males got a big cut - some kind of circumcision, I guess) wold still have been out of pocket the same amount of money as one month of my then 9-year-old son's health insurance premiums.
Slovenia - am only guessing - a Bolchazy-Carducci connection, perhaps?  Lou bolchazy will be delighted to know.
Canada - spent a lovely 5 days there on a Fall foilage bus tour of Quebec province - plus duplicate bridge. WONDERUL experiences, only wonderful.
Ukraine - not sure why, but sure am honored.
Poland - Steve, the Polish man walking the dog I met in the park on North Foster Avenue taught me how to survive in Chicago without stealing (I turned to petty car theivery - breaking and entry - to scoop up loose change to support my food needs and alcohol and tobacco habits. So, to learn how to survive without stealing, is a rather refreshing place to be.

I'd be delighted to receive some correspondence from any or all of you. Melanie Mattson, the Princess of Pith taught me how important it is to respond promptly to those who take the
time to write to you.  she always found the time for me.  God bless you, lovely lay                                                                            

What kind of a whore

What kind of a whore goes down on her knees under the table and gives long, loving, slurpy, sloppy blow jobs to two of her four most significant benefactors (for millions of dollars) and then turns around and lets these same benefactors anally rape her children, family, friends, and grand parents - then hold them ransom (for billions of dollars)?

That kind of whore is known as Barack Obama and the 2008 Congress of the United states.  The long, loving, slurpy, sloppy blow job is now known as Obama-Care (an Abama-nation), and the the two significant benefactors are known as "big pharma" and "the health care industry."

I would apologize for the crude, uncivilized nature of this characterization except that this post is meant to be consumed by the citizens of the United States of America (and will doubtless be appreciated by the rest of the world, should the rest of the world be so inclined as to give it more than a passing glance).

And it goes almost without saying, that because of its culture - the heritage of its Anglo, Scots-Irish and Welsh founders, and the mediums of cable television and Hollywood movies, such graphic descriptions are woven into the sinews, the tissues, and the brain's neurological pathways.  This is how we talk; this is how we think; this is what we choose to watch; this is who we are.

Say it LOUD:  I'm crude and I'm proud.
Say it LOUD: I'm perverse when it's allowed.
Say it LOUD: I like it like this.
Say it LOUD:  Sealed with a kiss.

Lord, have mercy.

Reverend Wright Retrospective: Chickens come home to roost

Reviewing what's been written can be a worthy exercise, provided what has been written is reinforced as events play themselves out, OR provided the writer of the previously written has gained new information, or had new insights which have caused that writer to change his conclusions.

Since (almost) no one would take the time to go through and read the earlier of my 600+ blog postings, here is a retrospective of one from 29, April.  The analysis still holds up for me, and while this is a sorrowful thing to have to admit, I will confess:  I was right.

Chickens come home to roost

Various critics from both the political left and the political right have taken aim at the Reverend Jeremiah Wright for his so-called "incendiary" remarks. It seems some of the critics are now convinced that he is trying to back off from his rhetoric imputing his words onto comments former Ambassador Peck in a Fox news interview from September, 2001.

I've read and re-read the transcript of Wright's interview with Bill Moyers, and also read the transcript of an appearance before the Press Club.

A lot of shrillness is in the air, but little worthwhile analysis. A fair amount of work is required to develop a meaningful context. Reverend Wright is serious, intelligent, thoughtful, plain spoken, out-spoken, focused, direct, honest, passionate and compassionate and unwavering in his integrity.

Sing a Psalm of vengeance (we all need a little context):

Psalm 137:

8 O daughter Babylon, you devastator!b
Happy shall they be who pay you back
what you have done to us!

9 Happy shall they be who take your little ones
and dash them against the rock!

This text of this Psalm lay at the core of Jeremiah Wright's sermon the Sunday following 11 September 2001. Wright uses this Psalm to try to explain to his congregation just where God was in all this carnage. He provides Bill Moyer with some background:

September 11th, I was in Newark. September 11th, I was trapped in Newark 'cause when they shut down the air system I couldn't get back to Chicago. September 11th, I looked out the window and saw the second plane hit from my hotel window.

Alright, I had members who lost loved ones both at the Pentagon and at the World Trade Center. So, I know the pain. And I had to preach to them Sunday. I had to preach. They came to church wanting to know where is God in this.

And so, I had to show them using that Psalm 137, how the people who were carried away into slavery were very angry, very bitter, moved and in their anger from wanting revenge against the armies that had carried them away to slavery, to the babies. That Psalm ends up sayin' "Let's kill the baby-let's bash their heads against the stone."

So, now you move from revolt and revulsion as to what has happened to you, to you want revenge. You move from anger with the military to taking it out on the innocents. You wanna kill babies. That's what's going on in Psalm 137.

And that's exactly where we are. We want revenge. They wanted revenge.

God doesn't wanna leave you there, however. God wants redemption. God wants wholeness. And that's the context, the biblical context I used to try to get people sitting again, in that sanctuary on that Sunday following 9/11, who wanted to know where is God in this?

What is God saying? What is God saying? Because I want revenge.

The Moyers interview then cuts to sermon tape from which the 20 second sound bites have been looped round and round - clever propaganda to promote a talking point. We owe it to ourselves to be better informed, to be slow to judgment.

REVEREND WRIGHT (SERMON TAPE): The people of faith have moved from the hatred of armed enemies, these soldiers who captured the king, those soldiers who slaughtered his son and put his eyes out, the soldiers who sacked the city, burned the towns, burned the temples, burned the towers, and moved from the hatred for armed enemies to the hatred of unarmed innocents, the babies, the babies .

"Blessed are they who dash your baby's brains against a rock."

And that my beloved is a dangerous place to be.

Yet, that is where the people of faith are in 551 BC and that is where far too many people of faith are in 2001 AD.

We have moved from the hatred of armed enemies to the hatred of unarmed innocents. We want revenge. We want paybacks and we don't care who gets hurt in the process.

Wright now explains what further led him to this sermon, what inspired the words that are soon to be spoken:

I heard Ambassador Peck on an interview yesterday. Did anybody else see him or hear him? He was on Fox news. This is a white man and he was upsetting the Fox news commentators to no end. He pointed out. You see him John? A white man he pointed out -an Ambassador!

He pointed out that what Malcolm X said when he got silenced by Elijah Mohammad was in fact true. America's chickens are coming home to roost!

Reverend Wright's thoughts flow seamlessly from one event to another, events separated by 2550 years (the Hebrew Diaspora by the Babylonians of 551 BC and 9-11-2001).

And they flow to the truth known to W. H. Auden and to Malcolm X.

I and the public know
What all school children learn,
Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return.

Malcolm X responded to a request to say something about the assassination of President Kennedy: "America's chickens are coming home to roost!" In response to the ensuing public/editorial outrage, Elijah Muhammad ordered Malcolm to be silent for 90 days.

Fox News advises us that they have looked at the transcripts of the Peck interview and nowhere find the phrase "chickens are coming home to roost". While telling us exactly what was not said, they fail to tell us what in fact WAS said.

Following the flow of thought, Reverend Wright is NOT crediting former Ambassador Peck with having made the "chickens coming home to roost" comment. But that Peck enumerated U.S. policy decisions in Iraq, Panama, Granada, and Haiti that resulted in the deaths of many innocents.

The closest documentation to what the Peck statements that resonated with Wright appears in a discussion group email dated Sept . 15, 2001:

Did anyone else catch this on Sat.?
Peck has served as U.S. ambassador to Iraq, I don't recall when.
Channel 5 made the mistake of bringing him on as a talking head.

He said the U.S. never slammed a plane into thousands of innocent civilians because the U.S. didn't have to.

He said the U.S. in its war against terror had better start respecting others' rights.

He said the no-fly zone in Iraq was not in the UN agreement that ended Desert Storm; it was simply imposed by the U.S. and "the former Great Britain."

He said the U.S. lawlesly imposed its will on Panama, Granada and Haiti.

The Ch. 5 guy got on his high horse and said people like Chamberlain in WW II had followed the letter of the law and let the madman Hitler go on, but Peck stuck to his guns. He must figure he's old now and will risk his life to speak the truth -- a sentiment I well understand.

In an essay entitled "Nothing Will Ever be the Same" Paul Krassner paraphrases from Ambassador Peck's Fox news appearance, noting that Peck was unceremonious dismissal. Krassner makes note of a list of examples Peck had given:

On the Fox News Network, Edward Peck, former ambassador to Iraq, was an unusually outspoken guest. He said the terrorists acted as they did not because America is a freedom loving country, but because they feel the U.S. has been treating them the same way throughout the years--bombing Iraq for the last ten years whenever they felt like it--and adding to the list (Take Panama, take Haiti, take Cambodia) before he was cut off and dismissed.

Some who saw the Peck interview were outraged:

It is difficult to believe that Mr. Peters and I heard the same Fox News interview with the former ambassador to Mauretania, Edward Peck ("Tilting at Windmills," October 2001). Instead of the mentioned contempt exhibited by David Asman, the interviewer, I felt that Mr. Peck was treated with admirable restraint, considering that his views could be considered highly inimical to the U.S., particularly in the aftermath of the atrocities at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Mr. Peck blamed the U.S. for perceived transgressions against Iraq. His claim that the U.S. constantly violates Iraqi territory by monitoring flights over that nation ignores the conditions of the agreement that ended the Persian Gulf conflict allowing such overflights.

Silver Spring, Md.
Washington Monthly – Dec 2001

Reverend Wright now continues with his own jeremiad, recitations of terrorist U.S. government acts against a raft of peoples, over centuries, and across continents. These are NOT identical to the instances cited by Peck. They are however, illustrations depicting a pattern of violent aggression, death, and destruction.

We took this country by terror away from the Sioux, the Apache, the Arawak, the Comanche, the Arapaho, the Navajo. Terrorism!

We took Africans from their country to build our way of ease and kept them enslaved and living in fear. Terrorism!

We bombed Grenada and killed innocent civilians, babies, non-military personnel.

We bombed the black civilian community of Panama with stealth bombers and killed unarmed teenagers and toddlers, pregnant mothers and hard-working fathers.

We bombed Gadafi's home and killed his child.

"Blessed are they who bash your children's head against a rock!"

We bombed Iraq. We killed unarmed civilians trying to make a living.

We bombed a plant in Sudan to payback for the attack on our embassy. Killed hundreds of hard-working people; mothers and fathers who left home to go that day, not knowing that they would never get back home.

We bombed Hiroshima! We bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye! Kids playing in the playground, mothers picking up children after school, civilians - not soldiers - people just trying to make it day by day.

We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and Black South Africans, and now we are indignant?

Because the stuff we have done overseas has now been brought back into our own front yards! America's chickens are coming home to roost!

Violence begets violence.

Hatred begets hatred and terrorism begets terrorism.

A White Ambassador said that y'all not a Black Militant. Not a Reverend who preaches about racism. An Ambassador whose eyes are wide open, and who's trying to get us to wake up and move away from this dangerous precipice upon which we are now poised--

Ambassador Peck has been consistent in his criticisms of U.S. foreign policy. In an interview with Amy Goodman, he reiterated the theme of U.S. government terrorism:

Speaking in July 2006 to syndicated US radio news programme Democracy Now!, Peck said that:

“In 1985, when I was the Deputy Director of the Reagan White House Task Force on Terrorism, they asked us — this is a Cabinet Task Force on Terrorism; I was the Deputy Director of the working group — they asked us to come up with a definition of terrorism that could be used throughout the government. We produced about six, and each and every case, they were rejected, because careful reading would indicate that our own country had been involved in some of those activities.

So what is it that the White Ambassador (and not a Black militant) said? An ambassador who's trying to get us to wake up and move away from this dangerous precipice upon which we are now poised?

Violence begets violence.

Hatred begets hatred and terrorism begets terrorism; (or in other words)

Those to whom evil is done

Do evil in return; (or in other words)

America's chickens are coming home to roost!

(added June 30, 2008): Sometimes one picture is worth one thousand words.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

AS PREDICTED HERE - in the Illinois 8th WALSH WINS !!

As predicted by your intrepid blogger, in the Illinois 8th district, Joe Walsh has scored an "upset" victory of three term incumbent Melissa Bean.

CBS news called "a stunning victory; this one wasn't even on anybody's top 100."

F*uck you CBS news. Who the hell have you been talking to?

WORTHLESS.  You called the predictions of the so called "experts" the news (and this is what you "reported").  You could have learnt the news by simply hanging around the Barrington Home Town Barber Shop (Republican Central Headquarters for zip code 60010, the 7th highest average income zip code in the U.S. for zip codes with populations in excess of 20,000).

You could have gone to this barber shop and LISTENED to what the customers were all saying.  You could have heard the enthusiasm for Walsh, the disgust with Bean.  Now THAT would actually have been news.

You clueless dullards. NEWS!?!  You wouldn't know the news if it cut your hair; if it clipped your eye brows; if it clipped your nose hairs.


You want news?  Get out in the street and L I S T E N!!!

You've spent so much time mouthing what the so-called political experts have to say.

Well, HERE's some f*cking news.  The so-called political experts have their heads up their asses and have gone dizzy smelling the fumes from their own rear ends.

Harsh?  You Betcha!


*ssholes, you could have interviewed me. Or read my blog.


Now, dammit, man, pay attention to what Franz told you.  TALK with the people.  LISTEN to what they have to say.  Represent the interests of the average working stiff, be that average working stiff small business owner, or beleaguered employee, knowing that he's one paycheck away from losing his home; one down-sizing away from losing the family's health insurance.

You could have gotten all THAT off the internet.

Clueless. 100% clueless, and now the talking heads are saying Bean ran a tepid campaign.

TEPID?  She ran a terrified campaign.  "If I just close my eyes, and click my heals, I'll be back in 2004 and running against Phil Crain with the full support of the Teamsters and the IBEW.  There's no place like home. There's no place like home."

Hey Beano-you can come home NOW.

But -- you're hearing it here first, from you intrepid, Muslim, bi-polar, unemployable, un-insurable blogger who is proud to use his own name -- Beano will end up comfortably living in D.C. assuming she will collect a fortune on K Street to be a corporate lobbyist whore for big business.

(p.s. - what about the $1.9 million remaining in her campaign fund?  Is that whatcha call a "severance package" or a "golden parachute.")

And it won't work well for her.  She won't live like the feckless Tom Daschle, corporate lobbyist whore for big pharma and mega-huge health care corporations.

Come home Beano-minimize the damage to your political legacy.

You will FAIL as on K Street.

That revolving door is closing shut, slowly, but persistently.

That money tree is a'gonna get chopped down.

Poor old Beano Dead and Gone
Left me here to sing her song
Pretty little red head with the red dress on
Poor old Beano Dead and Gone

Debate Joe she wouldn't show
Wonder if she'll ever know
Just how gutless this did show
Her corrupt character to be

She's as blind as she could be
Just sees what she wants to see
Kicked the little people who were down
Now we see she's just a clown

Poor old Beano dead and gone
Left me here to write this song
Pretty little red-head with the red dress on
Poor old Beano now leave it alone.

And I AM yours, all yours Melissa
P.S.  I'd like the $40 cash back I gave in 2004
But this has been worth a whole lot more

But, on a serious note.

Joe - you better damn well keep your word - and talk to your peeps.  Keep us in the loop.  Work for US.  Represent our interests.  We will keep your feet to the fire.  You let us down, and you're one and done.

Now - celebrate, enjoy, take 10 days off, treat your wife to a get-away hide-away
And get down on the floor and kiss the ground she walks on for all the support
She gave to you - every step along the way.

Warm regards,
Best of luck,
We're all hoping,
That YOU can be the Mr. Smith that goes to Washington from Barrington
And has the same integrity, scruples and courage as Jimmy Stewart.

You CAN BE that man.
You CAN BE that man.
You CAN BE that man.

NOW - go forth - and BE THAT MAN.

WAY TO GO JOE - and all you Hometown customers who listened, heard, and believed his word.

DEMOCRACY - may come yet once again to the USA!!!

F L A S H    B A C K

1976 - I confidently voted for Jimmy Carter.  Any man who admits to Playboy Magazine to sometimes having lust in his heart enabled Diogenese to rest.  HONESTY counts.  Still for me.

In the 1979 Chicago mayoral election, I took an independent poll of 10 of my co-workers from the Actuarial Division of Bankers Life & Casualty - all 10 said they were voting for Jane Byrne.  I left work at 4:30 that day TREMBLING - literally trembling with excitement:  MY VOTE could be the one that wins it for her.)

Fast forward to 1980 - St. Ronald Reagan used the word "actuarial" in a speech in regards to the need to adequately fund social security.  This was all it took. Ronnie was my man.  I voted for him.

I hit the damn trifecta!!

And I didn't vote again for a long, long time.

You can see it, can't you?

I AM the bell weather of the people. And the load, the burden, the responsibility attached to knowing that, was a sack of rocks I could not carry.  Too much responsibility.

But, I still got it.  Still got the knack.

So, Joe - please go out and don't ever give me buyer's remorse.  Community first, that's all you gotta remember.  Keep your eye on what the majority of the community NEEDS!  And be prepared to not always give them what they want.  And always be ready to explain why.

You could go down in history as the second coming of Seneca.

Gender Politics - Spanish Computer

Got this from a friend by e-mail.  Found it amusing and containing nuggets of truth:

Spanish Computer
A SPANISH Teacher was explaining to her class that in Spanish, unlike English, 
nouns are designated as either masculine or feminine.

'House' for instance, is feminine: 'la casa.'

'Pencil,' however, is masculine: 'el lapiz.'

A student asked, 'What gender is 'computer'?' 

Instead of giving the answer, the teacher split the class into two groups, male 
and female, and asked them to decide for themselves whether computer' should be 
a masculine or a feminine noun. Each group was asked to give four reasons for 
its recommendation. 

The men's group decided that 'computer' should definitely be of the feminine 
gender ('la computadora'), because:

1. No one but their creator understands their internal logic;

2. The native language they use to communicate with other computers is 
incomprehensible to everyone else;   

3. Even the smallest mistakes are stored in long term memory for possible later 
retrieval; and

4. As soon as you make a commitment to one, you find yourself spending half your 
paycheck on accessories for it.

The women's group, however, concluded that computers should be Masculine ('el 
computador'), because:

1. In order to do anything with them, you have to turn them on;

2. They have a lot of data but still can't think for themselves;

3. They are supposed to help you solve problems, but half the time they ARE the 
problem; and  

4. As soon as you commit to one, you realize that if you had waited a little 
longer, you could have gotten a better model. 

The women won. 

In the mosque

In the mosque the Muslim children assemble
on Sunday mornings in straight lines
(may their paths too be straight, insha' Allah)
There is movement, but order and discipline are kept.
They are filled with joy, with wonder
with excitement and delight.

Some of them (the youngest ones mostly)
speak, albeit softly -- for they are among peers and friends,
their special ummah, and filled with that
unique joy and communal spirit
always present where the Spirit of the Divine
resides and blows, like soft Gentle wind.

The Imam stands before them, and recites
the holiest of words --
the children repeat, with delight, as an inner peace
warms them.  I can see them glow.
They are as lights, illuminating this Holy House
this Holy Place, where they will study
and learn of Allah's Love, Benificence,
Glory, Magnificence, Forgiveness and Grace.

When their recitations are complete,
they depart in lines, ALMOST orderly.
And yet, as some of them begin to RUN,
so eager to learn, their footsteps as light as feathers,
I have seen them almost fly -- walking on air.

When your idiot letter to the editor gets published

Found this foot-in-mouth my ignorance is showing Letter to the Editor published by the Ottumwa Courier.  It should serve as a warning to all you late night LTTE writers.  Write it, read it, set it aside, then look at it again in the morning after you've taken your meds. THEN decide if you really want your family and friends to see this side of you in public:

The Ottumwa Courier

November 1, 2010

Carter needs to stop advising Israel

OTTUMWA — I’m wondering who Jimmy Carter, and all the others that are telling Mr. Netanyahu what he should do, think they are.
Jimmy Carter is the former President of the United States of America - at one time, he, in his capacity as appointed POTUS, was the leader of the free world.  Carter was also the winner of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize Award
It’s not surprising that Carter wants him to give some of Israel up and divide Jerusalem with the Palestinians. He gave our Panama Canal away.
Carter was simply honoring a treaty made 99 years earlier with Panama, that after 99 years (or bottles of beer on the wall) the U.S. would return control of the canal to Panama.  Carter was setting a precedent: one in which an American-made treaty is kept.
He doesn’t seem to know any more now than he did when he was president, and that isn’t much.
Carter was very well read.  So well read, in fact, that in an interview he gave to Playboy Magazine, he admitted that SOMETIMES, he had lust in his heart.
Israel is God’s chosen place on earth. God has said not to give it up or divide it.
Well, the chosen place on earth of God's original chosen people is the United States of America.  Ask any one of them where they would most like to live - the answer will mostly come back:  America.
Jerusalem will one day be the capital of the whole world.
Or maybe not?  Actually, this is most unlikely to occur ever.
We can learn what is happening now and what will happen in the near future if we read the book of Revelations in the Bible.
Ah, yes, that good 'ole book of Revelations that was written about specific things that were happening in a specific (and fairly small
There’s no reason for anyone to wonder about what the future holds.
Well, there are plenty of reasons for trying to create an alternative future.  Clearly, as an ex-president and former Nobel Peace Prise award winning
The article in the Courier said that Carter was disappointed that the prime minister wouldn’t do what he thought he should.

How about taking care of your own business, Jimmy and all the other “know it alls.”

Yes, just like we were taught - to kill one another (as I have killed you - from the neck up).

I hope Jimmy knows more about growing peanuts than how to give smart advice.

Then he would be a very successful riason grong
Go back to your peanuts, Jimmy.

P_ _ _  B_ _ _ _


I believe that Mr. Netanyahu is doing what God wants him to do, or the last terrible war will be fought in Israel because it will not give up Jerusalem.
And I believe that P.B. will one day, and perhaps soon, regret having sent this under his real name.

How's this for an endorsement? Iowa - 2nd congressional district

Twenty-two members of my family gathered this weekend for an October 30, 2010 grave-side service honoring the memory of "the twins," my aunts Carolyn Magliola and Cotty Richardson-Johns who died just months apart in 2008.  Their ashes were lain to rest in the Livingston Cemetery (they are descendants of Parker Livingston).

One aunt, two uncles, 12 "Hockett" and 2 "Best" cousins attended along with five spouses.

We celebrated their lives by listening to scripture from the Christian Bible and singing hymns.  Nineteen of us stayed at a delightful Bed and Breakfast.

Always when traveling, I try to get a copy of the local newspaper, to get a flair for what's important (locally), and to compare the quality of these local papers to the Chicago Tribune, with which I am not enamored.

This letter to the editor leapt out at me:

... I am writing in support of Dr. Mariannette Miller-Meeks for election to Congress in the 2nd District of Iowa.

I ..., [have] been her partner for 12 years. ... Mariannette is one of the smartest and maybe the hardest working person I have encountered. She is the embodiment of the American dream, having worked her way up from a childhood of limited means to achieve a high degree of success at every level. If elected, I know from experience that she would read the legislation before she voted on it. I also know she would examine each issue on its merits rather than vote a straight party line since she is not afraid of confrontation. She also has the knowledge to offer meaningful input into the health care system which, as it stands now, is on the verge of a transformation which has the potential to be a disaster for our country.

Much has been made of a few of her statements in an effort to marginalize her. A decision to go without insurance for a short time when you have a sizable mortgage, children in college, and are otherwise in good health is one many people might make. The fact that she might move east if she loses is a reflection of the fact that her children are out there, not that she doesn’t like the people in our community. People with “hundreds of thousands of dollars in the bank” usually payoff their mortgages and buy health insurance. The class warfare innuendo is typically pathetic and drives a wedge between people at a time when we should be pulling together to get ourselves out of the trouble which we now find ourselves in.

A vote for Dr. Miller-Meeks on Tuesday may well be a vote for healing the country.

Norman R. Hutchison, M.D.

So why vote for  Dr. Mariannette Miller-Meeks?  

Why?  Because she's




(this is huge - tres, tres, huge - ginormous)


IS AN EXPERIENCED HEALTH INSURANCE PROFESSIONAL (it is the Medicare and Medicaid medical expense programs that will, if nothing is done, bankrupt "the system."  All the "oh woe is we-oh" about the deep doo-doo that social security is in is so much smoke being gassed out of the propagandists' *sses.  Social Security (according to current projections) is fully funded for another 29 years.  Even if nothing were to change between now and then, if the underlying growth rate of the U.S. GDP were to exceed 1.7%, the current rate of growth assumed by the Social Actuary underlying the projections of future revenue inputs and benefit outputs, THERE WILL BE NO PROBLEMS AND THE SYSTEM CAN CONTINUE AS IS!!  Here is a chart showing Shadow government statistics and BLS of GDP growth since 1982.  

I doubt that candidate Dr. Mariannette Miller-Meeks has any campaign literature that presents a more compelling reason for giving her your vote than this.