I seem to be busy with other things right now so will see you later. I am currently off doing research for my new blog In Search Of America. Some call it vacation, I call it research
I seem to be busy with other things right now so will see you later. I am currently off doing research for my new blog In Search Of America. Some call it vacation, I call it research
I just needed permission to say ENOUGH! – ENOUGH to the frenzied rush to buy stuff for people who already have everything.”
Enough to the myth that happiness must be purchased. Enough to an economy that is awarding CEOs salaries 500 times that of their workers and still manages to seduce people in poverty and wealth alike to give more money to these predatorial corporations. Enough to the American dream that now consumes over 40 percent of the world’s stuff with less than 6 percent of the world’s resources. Enough to a dream that would need four more planets if the world pursued it … a dream the world cannot afford.
I will proudly admit that Shane Clairborne is perhaps my number one Christian author. He is a strong advocate of “being” a Christian instead of just believing the “right” things.
I have never heard of “Buy Nothing” day but I have been unknowingly participating in it for a score of years. Black Friday as it is now known is kind of shameful to me especially when I see so much real need in the world. Family credit card debt continues to climb to absurd levels and the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas significantly adds to it. I say a statistic the other day the most families will spend more than $800 on gifts for each other. As for me and my family we will be giving that money to the homeless shelter that I volunteer at.
I am getting worn down by all this dark political stuff around lately. It just never seems to end. I simply can’t fathom how almost half of us have so little empathy for those on the margins of our society. Why do they so fervently want to take food out of their mouths and block them from getting affordable healthcare? It seems that some will go to any extreme to make those things happen. A few months ago when I was in a similar depressed mode I vowed to keep on going so I could, in a small way, prevent the wing-nuts from taking over our country. Even that pledge is wearing on me right now.
While not giving up the fight, at least I don’t think I am, I need to step back a little from the insanity of our current political environment. I need a time away from it to concentrate on the brighter sides of life.
With that in mind you might see some changes coming to RJ’s Corner in the near future. I will also likely be spending less time here and more over at my new “In Search Of America” blog getting ready to bring that one on-line. It will do my spirits good to look back to see how we became a great nation instead of looking forward to see where we seem to be headed.
I am not giving up the fight, I am just giving myself a breather. Don’t really know how this is going to work out yet. It is a work in progress.
What Jesus calls us to do as followers is to create a world in which family is not a matter of blood, but of spirit. This more expansive view of family sounds lovely in theory, but is absolutely radical in practice.
SOURCE: The Underground Church: Reclaiming the Subversive Way of Jesus (Meyers, Robin)
One of my neighbors is just an old-school type of guy. He continues to burn off the leaves around his house instead of composting them or using some other more environmentally friendly method of disposing them. In many ways he continues to hang on to the ways of the past. He is radically conservative anti-Obama in a very Red State so he fits quite nicely in his environs; much more so than I do. We seldom agree on things of a political nature. But…. despite our political, and often environmental, differences we continue to be good neighbors and pretty good friends.
We both have a very reverent place in our lives for our versions of God. We both recognize the humanity of man. I think my neighbor would give me the shirt off his back if I asked for it. But he is an old-school type of guy.
On the Senate floor Tuesday, Elizabeth Warren argued for the need to strengthen Social Security benefits, now that cuts to the program seem more likely.
“With tens of millions of people more financially stressed as they approach retirement, with more and more people left out of the private retirement security system, and with the economic security of our families unraveling, Social Security is rapidly becoming the only lifeline that millions of seniors have to keep their heads above water,” Warren said. “And yet, instead of taking on the retirement crisis, instead of strengthening Social Security, some in Washington are actually fighting to cut benefits.”
Maybe I am falling into the same trap as I did in 2007 but I don’t think so. I see the words and actions of Elizabeth Warren as inspiring. She seems to be very much aligned with my socially progressive but fiscally conservative views. She just seems to see the world as I do.
The last thirteen years have spun retirement reality 180 degrees and a lot of that had to do with ultra-poor decisions by your leaders in both government and private industry. Greed seems to be the underlying factor in both cases. I loved it when Elizabeth put those banking leader on the hot-seat before her senatorial committee. She grilled them unmercifully. I think if she had been president in 2008 things would have been quite different.
Thirteen years ago the country was in a euphoric mood. The stock markets were booming. Retirement portfolios were bursting at the seams. Everyone was talking about early retirement. Yes, I understand that much of that time was built on a bubble but I think how we dealt with that bubble could have been ameliorated quite differently.
I think it is time for us to have a woman’s touch in the White House and even with the inherent fear of many as our “commander-in-chief”. Guys just don’t seem to put as much value of human life as women do and we certainly need that quality when deciding to put our young men and women in harm’s way.
I am keeping my eyes on Senator Warren during these intervening years till 2016. While Hillary would probably do a good job I kind of think Elizabeth might do it much better.
But I’m just simple “guy” so what do I know…
Happy Thanksgiving to one and all…….
This came in a calendar from my new friends over at Union for Concerned Scientists. I just gave them a donation..
Be forewarned that in this post I am attempting in some meager way to come to the defense of the Republican party that I seem to rail against so frequently.
It is a mistake to link the current right-wing ideologues to the conservative movement or even the Republican party in general. They are not the same. The core of the Tea Party is libertarian in nature and focused on shutting down all forms of government and to destroy the American safety net that has been in place for the last century or so. The conservative movement, of which in some respects I am a member, is about waste and fraud and doing things economically without growing the debt.
Ideologues scream we are destroying their freedoms but never defined just what they mean by freedom. It seems they mean whatever takes money out of their pockets is taking away their freedom. As shown in the picture just to the right of this post they don’t believe they have any obligation to the society that sustains them. They think that somehow all the services they take for granted such as police/fire protection, good roads, infrastructure, safe food and work environments and a myriad of other things should not cost them any of their time or money. That is not at the core of the past Republican party that I once voted with.
The next couple of years are very important to the GOP. Will they continue to implode into a very narrow philosophy of “us vs. them” or will they start broadening their base and jettisoning the right wing-nuts currently dominating attention.
A two party system such as our own depends on two healthy party to counter each other. In order to balance out the ever abundant spending of the Democratic party we need a countering party to emphasize sound fiscal policy. The current Republican party is a far cry from what it has been in the past and I hope the current trends are an anomaly instead of a shift in party direction. If it is not then maybe the GOP should go the way of the Whigs before them…
I think Teddy Roosevelt was probably my second all-time favorite Republican. Of course Lincoln was number one. If only Mr. Bush had followed in his fellow Republican’s footsteps one hundred years later instead of going to the opposite extreme. Thank you President Roosevelt for taking the bully pulpit as a trust buster for the common good of the people.
I often wonder just what has caused the gridlock that has dominated our national politics of the last few years. Is the cause all those wing nuts that are now holding down seats in our congress? I want to believe that if we could just get rid of those guys everything might return to normal, whatever that is. But are those yahoos the cause or just a symptom of our problems?
It is widely acknowledged that over 80% of both the Republican and Democratic members of congress are in safe districts. That is to say they they will get re-elected almost no matter what they do or don’t do. So, maybe it turns out that the real cause of our recent problems is with the people who elect these people regardless of their performance.
To me there just seems to be a moral breakdown within our society today. A big part of that breakdown I believe is dominated by fear. Since around 1980 things have lost almost any semblance of security.
Fear just seems to dominate much of our thinking now days. When we are fearful of so much we tend to fold back upon ourselves and our primal needs. We quit thinking about the common good and think only about self. One of the aspects of this fear is that we fear that others are taking away from us because they are getting things they don’t deserve.
In a country discouraged by last month’s health care rollout and corresponding widespread problems, Erin Kotecki Vest and her family are rejoicing.
Obamacare will save them almost $19,000 each year.
“When the president says no family should lose their home because someone got sick, no family should go bankrupt because somebody got sick, that is us. That is absolutely us.”
I have been in a philosophical mode lately and one of the things on my mind is the fact that in at least the last twenty years or so we just can’t seem to be able to learn from others mistakes. We seem to be locked in a mode of doing the same stupid thing over and over again. Too bad we don’t have a book with all the answers. But, of course, it would have to now be an e-book and have a robust search widget. People just don’t have the patience anymore to actually read a whole book.
One of the reasons for continually making the same mistakes is that wisdom just seems to be a forgotten thing now days. All of us old people who are looking back realize that when we were young we thought we knew it all but as we aged we realized that was far from the truth. We learned many many lessons in life that, if we had that knowledge earlier, would have caused us to make different decisions. That is called learning from our mistakes….
It is one thing to learn from our own mistakes but even more useful is to learn from other’s mistakes so that we don’t have to repeat the same errors in judgment. The basic problem with learning from history is that people just don’t seem to value the wisdom that comes with age anymore. Most young people today see old people as those who lived in the dark ages before the Internet, cell phones, and instant communications. They simply can’t fathom that we might just have something to teach them about life. That we might just have some answers to their current queries.
It takes wisdom to realize that, yes the tools each generation uses continues to change but the basic questions of life remain the same. Here I am preaching about wisdom when I know that I too didn’t put much value on the wisdom of my elders. As a result I’m sure I made many mistakes in life that could have been avoided if only I had asked. None of us have a book of answers but many of us have answers that could be put in the book for others to learn…..
I admit that I find the gospel of partnering with God for the healing of the world much, much harder than the gospel of God loves you and wants to give you a ticket to heaven.
It’s harder emotionally, physically, financially, socially and culturally. It’s tiring. Without the Holy Spirit, without worship, without community I’d give up and go back to that old gospel. It was easier in those days, for sure.
It was easier when it was about me and my blessing, my healing, my salvation and inviting other people to enjoy my amazing new life. It was much easier when it was about going to church. About finding a Sunday service that made me feel good and affirmed what I already believed. It was easier when I could modify some moral behaviours and then live for myself, my ambition, my convenience and my comfort around that. It was easier when, because I knew my eternity was sorted, I could spend my days accumulating experiences, success, approval, dollars, possessions, relationships and the accolades that come from “ministry”.
The snapshot above was from a Time Magazine article about the 25 best inventions for 2013. Many of the inventions they noted were pretty frivolous in nature but not this one. Of course we all should have expected that our current drone program is only the beginning. There are trillions of dollars more to be made by our military industrial complex before drones have run their course. This is just a logical next step. Before long we will be able to kill thousands of our enemies, along with those deemed “collateral damage”, and still make it home for supper!! And this was developed during the administration of a president that won the Nobel Peace Price in his first year in office and vowed to keep us out of more wars!! I am afraid that this is just the beginning of a world gone mad.
Many conservative Evangelicals who trust leaders like Franklin Graham to shepherd them faithfully in the Good News of Jesus have been swept away in the unfortunate movement to transform them from being the “People of Good News” to, quite literally, the “People of FOX News.” Franklin seems to have fallen prey to the power and platform of the Tea Party/Religious Right and has begun manipulating his father’s honorable name and ministry to promote a political agenda. This was never more clearly demonstrated than at Billy Graham’s 95th birthday celebration last week. Take a look at this photo from the event:
Pictured here are just some of the notable guests at the celebration, including Donald Trump, Sarah Palin, Rupert Murdoch, and Greta VanSustern. (This list could also be known as the Tea Party Power Players Also Note: Glenn Beck is not pictured here but was also in attendance) This picture makes my stomach churn. It’s hard to imagine that Billy Graham would ever want to host such a gathering of these extreme republican high-ballers. It s obvious that there’s more going on behind this picture.
I have read several books by Billy Graham and have watched a few of his crusades throughout the world. He was a religious advisor to several presidents both Republican and Democrat. His ministry was about Jesus and Jesus alone. It totally shocks me to see what his son Franklin has done to Billy’s ministry. He seems to parade his senile and very aged father around to promote his political agenda. That is something that his father absolutely would never have permitted when he was of sound mind and body.
I know that by converting his father’s organization over to an extreme right political agenda probably brings in more money from the radicals like Murdock, Trump, and all the Fox News ranting heads but what are the consequences? I pray that someday Franklin is held accountable for totally tainting his father’s lifelong ministry for more power, money, and political gain for himself. How tragically sad is that??????
War Crimes and Misdemeanors
HEY PRESIDENT OBAMA: The Nobel Peace Prize committee is calling. They want their medal back.
The coveted award, which many felt was premature, at best, when bestowed during the president’s first year in office, was seriously tarnished in the eyes of many by his escalation of the war in Afghanistan and other military endeavors.
But Obama’s role in waging drone warfare—particularly in Pakistan and Yemen—has made a mockery of the prize that Alfred Nobel said should go to the person “who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations.”
Obama’s drone attacks—according to a May investigation by The New York Times, Daniel Klaidman’s new book Kill or Capture, and other sources—are arguably in direct violation of U.S. and international law, and immoral to boot.
The drone attacks started out with clear rules: Only target those who represent a direct threat to the United States. Those rules soon went out the door—a senior U.S. official called it a “little liberalization that went on in the kill lists,” according to The Washington Post, while a former counterterrorism official said that “the elasticity of that has grown over time.”
This article has been sitting on my desk for almost a year now waiting for attention. I am glad I finally uncovered it. It deserves attention. Like all previous presidents there are things I like and also dislike about our current one. I thank him for at least getting us started down the path of universal healthcare. Even if what he is finally implementing was for the most part a Republican plan from a couple of decades ago and one that had already been implemented in the State of Massachusetts. I guess getting even that through this totally obstructionist GOP House was still quite a feat.
One of the things I very much dislike about our current president is his use of robot drone warfare. They say, and I believe rightly so, that the drone program is the best recruiter for Al Qaeda. But what scares me even more it the concept of having “no skin in the game”. When a country has robots to kill their enemies they have no risk of lost of life of their own so it is easier to hit the “kill” button. Every thing about this drone program is veiled in secrecy. We simply don’t know what the process is to order a kill of a person and resulting collateral damage (that means innocent lives).
Yes, we appear to presently be the only country to have killer drones at our disposal. But how long do you think that is really going to last? What happens when our enemies, whoever they are at the time, decide to strike us with robot killers. Are we really ready for that scenario? I’m sure one result would be that we would launch our killer robots on them and then things would likely escalate beyond that.
I watch enough sci-fi movies to see the utter consequences of killer robot drones. Why can’t those currently in power, especially Mr. Obama realize that his present actions will likely have dire future consequences?
“No man can be condemned for owning a dog. In fact you admire him, ’cause as long he’s got a dog he’s got a friend, and the poorer he gets the better friend he has.” – Will Rogers, 8 May 1927
Wouldn’t it be nice if, in some ways, we were more like our canine friends. They don’t judge us on how much money we make or how many friends we have on FaceBook. They simply love us for who we are. It doesn’t matter that we might be physically or mentally impaired in one way or another, or even if we were homeless. They love us anyway. I believe that every person can learn something from any other person if only we take the time to do that. Maybe I should add dogs to that list. They seem to be better than us at learning some life lessons than we are.
I love my wife of twenty-eight years but still get annoyed when she tries to change me in one way or another. But that is just her nature; she seems to have it as a primary task in life to make me a “better” person. Now I am not saying that I couldn’t use some improvements but I kind of like myself just as I am, weirdness and all.
All my life I have had dogs around and I can’t remember a single one who didn’t love me just for who I am.
Legislators in Mexico City, the largest city in North America, are preparing to push through certain measures that would decriminalize and regulate the consumption of marijuana in the Mexican capital, a move that may speed pot legalization elsewhere in the continent
I want to warn you up front that this post has no deep knowledge behind it. I have not studied all the statistics and history of legalizing marijuana, nor do I have any personal experiences with it. I am only speaking from my knowledge of history and what I believe is common sense. But of course my common sense may be quite different from your common sense.
Undoubtedly if there were no marijuana in the world there would likely be fewer people that go on to become addicted to other more damaging drugs. But, as is the case with each of the bullets above that is not likely to happen. We tried to eliminate alcohol decades ago only to turn it underground. We have taken steps to make tobacco more expensive and that has helped reduce it use but teenagers still get hooked on it when they use it to rebel against authority. We know through most other countries that restricting guns saves thousands of lives a year and billions of dollars in less crime but we still can’t even pass any restrictions on their sale.
Is it time to give up on our war with marijuana? Is that war costing us many times more than what its elimination would accomplish? I guess we will be finding that out in the not too distant future.