Posts Tagged ‘Politics’

Day of reckoning awaits the 1% and the Kindred

Saturday, June 28th, 2014

The seventh novel in the Green Stone of Healing® speculative fiction series is now under way. Books Five and Six are complete as first drafts and await a big enough improvement in their authors finances to see the light of publication.

This forthcoming tome sees a changing of the guard. Outspoken heroine Helen Andros fades and her offspring assumes the spotlight. Think Helen was feisty? Wait until you meet her child.

I‘ll give you some idea of what the Kindred of Azgard are about to face. Billionaire Nick Hanauer wrote a lengthy piece in Politico about seeing the pitchforks coming for U.S. oligarchs if we as a nation do not do something to roll back raging income and opportunity inequality. It’s spot on and well worth reading. 

Helen’s descendant is that pitchfork, growing up to despise the indifference to suffering and outright cruelty she witnesses in those privileged, powerful, and wealthy few who have more than they could possibly use in multiple lifetimes and refuse to provide chances for others.

She also is the reincarnation of the very soul who founded the nation of Azgard, and thus has the karma to make a huge impact on everyone, Turanian and Toltec alike. Does she? You betcha!

She’s the embodiment of the ancient Chinese curse about living in interesting times…..

Author flees judgment, not Jesus

Friday, July 30th, 2010

Mega-bestselling author Anne Rice has quit Christianity, according to her Facebook blog post.

“I quit being a Christian,” she writes. “In the name of Christ, I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control. I refuse to be anti-Democrat. I refuse to be anti-secular humanism. I refuse to be anti-science. I refuse to be anti-life…”

What Ms. Rice objects to are not the actual teachings of Jesus, but all the judgments others have attached to his message. Jesus told his followers that God is unconditional love.

Unconditional love  means love without judgments, standards, expectations, or hooks. Unconditional love is love without any limitations. It most emphatically is not the so-called love exhibited by Christian political conservatives. 

Most of those who heard Jesus did not understand him and do not truly comprehend his message even now. Hence they insist on judging and condemning, when Jesus did no such thing, and still claim to be his followers.

Just as radical conservatives hijack and pervert Islam in the Middle East for their theocratic ends, so radical conservatives twist and distort Christianity for similar political goals in this country.

Let us hope that many others become as fed up (and as vocal about it) as Ms. Rice with the unloving, uncharitable words and deeds of the militant Christian right. There is hope yet that this nation will avoid becoming a Christian theocracy, which is the goal of far-right Christian conservatives. 

Avatar reprises ‘ugly American’ theme with high-tech twist

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

avatar.jpgDirector James Cameron’s billion-dollar, award-winning blockbuster, Avatar, bears a striking resemblance to Dances with Wolves in its basic plot. White guy from a military background encounters an indigenous population, falls in love, decides their values and way of life are superior to his, and casts his culture aside.

Of course, there are some refinements to Avatar, mostly the over-the-top technical effects that make this film possible and that are woven into the storyline. The white guy, a crippled former Marine named Jake Sully, uses an avatar, a biomechanical fictional being that is genetically engineered to be half human and half Na’vi, the inhabitants of the planet Pandora. With it he is able to walk again, breath air that is poisonous to human beings, and mingle with the natives to learn their ways.

Avatar is paradoxically plentiful and yet insufficient. The bounty consists of the powerful visual punch that this movie packs. There is so much to see in Pandora that the eyes boggle long before even half of the activity registers in the mind. Watching it non-stop on the big screen is downright exhausting. It’s as though the director does not trust his audience to be able to imagine anything for themselves. In that sense, Avatar unintentionally insults viewers even while offering them the most spectacular blend of animation and live action to come out of Hollywood yet.

As to its lack, the film provides frustratingly superficial glimpses of the natives’ beliefs and spiritual practices, squeezed in between all of the action sequences. Even so, that’s a deal too much for certain critics, who slam it as “anti-human” and “anti-American.” The Vatican doesn’t care for the film’s earth-based faith, and still others bash the portrayal of a white man as yet another savior of an indigenous population.

What do they expect? Cameron, who wrote the script as well as directed, is a white male, so he’s stuck with that viewpoint. No doubt those who find fault would be equally censorious had the director tried to make the film from the native viewpoint.

Critics may gnash their teeth all they want over the movie’s politics, but it is wildly popular precisely because of its advocacy, not despite it. As polls continue to show, more and more Americans have abandoned traditional religions to call themselves independent seekers or simply spiritual. There has also been a huge rise in interest in the goddess, or the feminine divine. On top of that, the public is incensed over unpunished Iraq war profiteering, massive corporate fraud that led to the 2008 economic meltdown yet was rewarded with equally gigantic bailouts, and Wall Street’s baleful influence over Congress and the White House.

Avatar reflects and builds on these trends. The Na’vi tribe’s home is on top of a huge deposit of highly valuable ore that a human corporation wants to mine. Sully’s mission is to persuade the tribe to move peacefully, or his corporate masters will have no qualms about using deadly force to clear the members off their land.

Sully soon realizes and tells his superiors that the natives have no interest in anything the human interlopers could offer them. The Na’vi do not live to amass wealth or power. They love the world that sustains them and try to live in harmony with it and with neighboring tribes.

What a tragedy that the preceding is so threatening to so many Americans. If might-makes-right, profits-uber-alles is now the creed of our culture and country, then we are indeed as lost as Sully is when his avatar inadvertently spends its first night alone outside in Pandora.

This film is also a hit worldwide. In the greedy ore-grubbers, who don’t care who they kill or what they destroy in their profits quest, others clearly recognize the proverbial ugly American. If we also see it and don’t like it, then there’s little point in blaming the mirror, which in this case is a movie called Avatar.

Maybe it’s time to address what causes such a revolting reflection in the first place.

Critics of Sarah Palin overlook her real threat

Monday, January 11th, 2010

Going Rouge“When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.”

If Nobel Prize winning author Sinclair Lewis were alive today, he would have to rework his statement. A timely version might read, “When fascism comes to America, it will smile and wink like Sarah Palin and carry a cross.”

The book’s name is similar to the title of Palin’s recently published autobiography. But their monikers and their main topic are the only things the two have in common. Unlike Going Rogue, Going Rouge is a compendium of essays and columns that thoroughly and often wittily skewer the former Republican vice presidential candidate and ex-governor of Alaska. The authors form a roster of well-known leftwing and progressive commentators.

Many of the pieces were written in the heat of the 2008 presidential campaign once John McCain tapped Palin as his running mate. A few were published after the GOP election debacle. Although the editors group the essays under varying themes, it gives readers whiplash to move back and forth between the before-after perspectives. A chronological ordering of the work might have been easier to digest.

One of the most powerful parts of the book is the brief compendium of Palin criticisms from conservative pundits. And there is also a good deal of angst from women who worry that Palin’s stark deficiencies in experience and understanding of complex issues set back the cause of serious female candidates for high office.

“Palin won’t bust through the ceiling that has Hillary [Clinton]’s 18 million cracks in it,” writes Slate columnist Emily Bazelon. “She’ll give men an excuse to replace it with a new one.”

While there are many pithy, cogent observations about Palin, most of the contributors do not seem to understand the deeper significance of what they are analyzing. Typical is New York Times columnist Frank Rich, who writes that Palin “puts a happy, sexy face on ugly emotions.”

What Palin truly represents is a sexy, winking stalking horse for a twisted version of Christianity every bit as radical and destructive as Muslim extremism. Adherents of this militant Christianity, known as the New Apostolic Reformation, scheme to remake the United States as a Christian theocracy, and have enlisted significant swaths of the U.S. military in their cause. They want power and control every bit as much as bin Laden and his followers, who dream of imposing a new Muslim Caliphate over the entire Middle East and do not shy away from violence to achieve their ends. Neither do Christian militants.

Not even Jeff Sharlet, author of The Family, an expose of how right-wing politics and politicians are financed on a global scale, connects the dots. Instead, his column compares Palin to Westbrook Pegler, an ultra conservative commentator masquerading as a populist in the early 20th century.

The omission is perhaps the editors’ doing, not Sharlet’s. If there’s one thing left-wing punditry shy away from, it’s examining core religious beliefs. That’s very uncomfortable territory for them.

It’s a shame. The editors of and contributors to Going Rouge might want to spend time reading the knowledgeable researchers at websites like Talk2Action.  Bruce Wilson, the site’s founder, and his colleagues understand exactly what Palin really represents, possibly because they are also people of faith. They are doing their best to alert the rest of us to the true perils of Palin’s rise to political prominence before it is too late.

Gives this book 3.5 stars out of 5.

Exploring the spiritual dimensions of JFK death

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

jfk_unspeakable.jpg“It’s never gone away, the nightmare of November 22, 1963,” a recent article in Vanity Fair laments. Yet the writer dutifully toes the line, insisting that the official explanation about the murder of President John F. Kennedy 46 years ago is correct.

Ahem. One of the major reasons the nightmare continues is because the official explanation is a tissue of lies and distortions. The 1964 Warren Report, thrown together to appease the public, instead unleashed a torrent of critical books, documentaries, and movies that is unabated close to five decades later. This onslaught was entirely predictable. For every action (the grotesque cover-up), there is an equal and opposite reaction (numerous attempts, however misguided, to set the record straight).

The nightmare goes on because we the people have never learned the truth about what happened in Dallas, and we know this, in our heart of hearts. The profound wrong of Kennedy’s death was compounded tenfold by the fact that the guilty got away not just with murdering one individual, but with undoing the U.S. Constitution and overthrowing the people’s will.

In his 2008 seminal work, JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died & Why It Matters, James W. Douglass calls it the “unspeakable,” these un-exorcised national demons driving Kennedy’s murder. In examining the motives behind the death of the president, not merely who did it or the how, Douglass, a longtime peace activist, imbues the discussion with a long-missing, much-needed spiritual dimension.

Douglass’s “unspeakable” refers to so much more than merely the identities of who pulled the triggers or even the ones who hired them to do so. Part of the “unspeakable” is the sharp divergence between the high ideals of this country’s founding and our current national security state, established in the aftermath of World War II, that promotes endless war and profits from it.

It is this untreated, denied poison that, Douglass argues, corrodes the national soul and breaks out like violent boils every so often in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, and, on Sept. 11, 2001, in New York City and Washington, D.C., and over the skies of Pennsylvania. Unafraid of the unspeakable, the author poses the unframed and unspoken question: Can the United States be a global empire that spends more on its military each year than all other western, industrialized nations combined, yet remain a representative democracy?

The signs are not promising. The parallels between now and Kennedy’s day make Douglass’s book about the past all the more critical to the present. Just as Kennedy stared down his generals, President Barack Obama faces truculent military leaders determined to force his hand in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

According to the Durham Herald Sun, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh recently told an audience at Duke University that the U.S. military “is in a war against the White House – and they feel they have Obama boxed in.” While Hersh may be accurate in citing racism behind the tension between today’s commander in chief and the Pentagon, the real issue is the unspeakable. Just what kind of country do we want to be anyway?

This issue goes to the very soul of this nation, and this tension has existed since before this country was born. Do we keep shedding blood for profit? Or do we beat our swords into ploughshares and make peace the cornerstone of all our national policies? The political founders of our nation were divided over whether or not to risk foreign entanglements, but from the outset U.S. business leaders saw no problem in using the power and money of the U.S. government to advance their narrow interests.

To date, business has had the upper hand, masking a profits-at-all-costs agenda behind an anti-terrorism (previously, anti-communism) smokescreen. After the implosions of Chrysler, Enron, Global Crossing, GM, and Worldcom, the massive Bernie Madoff and other investment fraud, and the Wall Street meltdown, however, it’s a little harder to pretend that business is better run or more effective than government.

How long will ordinary Americans remain silent about the unspeakable before they start roaring out loud and then, en masse, revolt?

Outstanding nonfiction examines plot to kill JFK

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

jfk_unspeakable.jpgThere is no scorn like that heaped upon those who dare suggest that the official explanation for the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy is worthless.

For decades now, the mainstream media have derided as a tinfoil-hat nut anyone who questions the 1964 Warren Report’s “lone gunman” thesis, despite the fact that the U.S. House of Representatives 15 years later determined that Kennedy most likely was the victim of a deadly conspiracy.

Congress reached this disturbing conclusion three decades ago, yet pursued it no further, a reticence echoed in the Barack Obama administration’s utter lack of enthusiasm for investigating, let alone prosecuting, the previous administration’s wholesale trampling of the U.S. Constitution.

There’s a good reason for this hesitation, according to James W. Douglass, who penned JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died & Why It Matters (Orbis Books, 2008). Backed by extensive research, Douglass argues eloquently that Kennedy was slain as a warning to future presidents and members of Congress not to challenge what President Dwight Eisenhower labeled the “military-industrial complex.” Think of it as a murderous melding of vested mutual interests between those on the warrior right who favor might-makes-right foreign policies and their business underwriters who profit handsomely from providing the hardware and outsourced support services to implement and sustain these policies.

Kennedy’s so-called crimes in the eyes of this longstanding cabal, Douglass contends, were thwarting top military officers who urged a first nuclear strike on the Soviet Union and opposing the CIA’s expansion of conflict in Vietnam. There were also the president’s transgressions of not backing up the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion, of withdrawing defense contracts in 1962 from U.S. steel companies that reneged on their promises not to raise prices, and of the 1963 treaty with the Soviet Union to ban atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons.

Kennedy’s worst sin? Secretly reaching out to Russian leader Nikita Kruschev to explore ways to make peace between the post World War II superpowers. Douglass shows how a series of letters between the men humanized the “enemy” for each side, a highly subversive act for those who peddle and exploit hate and fear, both in this country and abroad. The cold warriors who ordered (and still run) the U.S. intelligence community and their corporate allies would not stand for a president actually using the power of his office to reign in their war-making activities and curb their profits. Peace? Absolutely out of the question!

“Those who designed the plot to kill Kennedy were familiar the inner sanctum of our national security state,” Douglass writes.  “Their attempt to scapegoat the Soviets for the president’s murder reflected one side of a secret struggle between JFK and his military leaders over a preemptive strike against the Soviet Union. The assassins’ purpose seems to have encompassed not only killing a president determined to make peace with the enemy but also using his murder as the impetus for a possible nuclear first strike against that same enemy.”

There’s a familiar ring to exploiting a national tragedy to propel pre-emptive strikes against an enemy that had nothing to with the calamity. Its contemporary counterpart was the Bush administration’s post Sept. 11, 2001 modus operandi. The bloody debacle in Iraq is one of the reasons that Douglass’s take on the Kennedy murder is essential reading. This book helps us recognize and understand the darker side of our nation’s past, present, and likely future course. The pointless loss of life, enormous tax-payer burden, and pitting of American against American are all the poisonous effects of the endless-war profit cycle.

Douglass calls this “the unspeakable,” and argues compellingly that it corrodes this nation’s very soul. He does not hesitate to pose difficult questions that our national dialogue since the end of World War II has avoided even asking, let alone answering. One of the toughest: Can the United States be a military and financial empire and still be a representative democracy?

Explaining ‘unexpected’ consumer confidence

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

Consumer confidence didn’t drop as much as anticipated this month.

There’s no mystery to this supposedly unexpected result. The explanation is simple: president-elect Barack Hussein Obama.

Nothing like electing a sharp, talented, educated adult to the nation’s highest office to jumpstart people’s faith that better times eventually will prevail.

GOP Nervous About Texas?

Tuesday, November 4th, 2008

Guess what showed up on Texas television the night before Election Day?

None other than the National Republican Trust PAC’s television spot of Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

This odious piece of political theater shows clips of Wright at his most fiery in the pulpit. It then claims that since Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama never objected to any of his former pastor’s rhetoric, Obama is too radical to be U.S. president.

This ad targets voters in swing states like Ohio and Pennsylvania. So why did it air in a supposedly safe Republican state?

Could Texas be about to swing purple?

The morning of Election Day, the Lone Star state is leaning toward Obama 62 percent to 38 percent, according to the 7-Eleven coffee cup poll that was accurate in the 2004 and 2000 presidential elections.

We’ll see in just a few short hours.

Just Like Toltec Rulers

Saturday, November 1st, 2008

John Dean, formerly counsel to president Richard M. Nixon, writes about authoritarian conservatives at AlterNet today. 

I know the type only too well. The rulers of  Azgard and their high-level supporters displayed the same traits that Dean ascribes to authoritarian conservatives. These sorry and dangerous personality characteristics include amorality, bullying, cheating, dishonesty, militant nationalism, vengefulness, and so on. 

The most critical point in Dean’s excellent article is this observation from Canadian social scientist Robert Altemeyer about the devoted followers of authoritarian conservatives:

“They are not going to let up and they are not going to go away.”

Prescient words of warning to all those who hope that an Election Day landslide or even just a strong showing by Democratic candidate Barack Obama will put an end to all this divisive and nasty nonsense.

It won’t. They’ll be back. And if GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin has anything to say about it, she will be their standard-bearer in 2012.

Pastors, Priests Don’t Mix Well with Politics

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

The wanna-be theocrats are at it again.

Evangelist Dr. K.A. Paul has endorsed Democrat Barack Obama for president.

The Rock Christian Fellowship in New Mexico has told its members to vote for John McCain and his fellow Republicans, as has the Roman Catholic Diocese of Paterson, N.J.

Then there was that absurd pulpit initiative last month designed to defy U.S. tax laws by having dozens of clergy make specific candidate endorsements while preaching the weekly sermon.

Unlike Azgard, the government of the United States of America does not promote or endorse any specific religion or creed, as specified in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

To qualify and maintain their tax-exempt status, religious organizations must return the favor and refrain from overt partisan activity that amounts to endorsing any specific candidate for public office.

The founders of this nation were a lot wiser than those who established Azgard. They realized that partisan politicking diminishes the standing of religion and that injecting religious views into politics ignites dangerous passions.

Sectarian strife ultimately destroyed Azgard. Don’t let that happen to this nation. Keep church and state strictly separate for the sake of both sides.