Archive for the ‘Religion and Philosophy’ Category

“THERE WILL BE A RECKONING”

February 25, 2015

‘There Will Be A Reckoning’
by Jon Queally, Common Dreams, February 25, 2015
Environmental visionary Lester Brown delivers stark warning over dust bowl conditions spreading over Africa and Asia.
dust_storm
A satellite captured a 2001 dust storm swirling over China. The storm eventually crossed the Pacific and reached the United States. (Photo: NASA)

On the verge of retirement, noted environmentalist and celebrated systems analyst Lester Brown has a dire warning for the world he has spent more than half a century advising on issues of food and energy policy: there is no end in sight for the interrelated scourge of climate change, global poverty and hunger.

In fact, according to Brown, in several vulnerable areas around the world, the situation may be about to go from very bad to much worse.

“We are pushing against the limits of land that can be plowed and the land available for grazing and there are two areas of the world in which we are in serious trouble now,” said Brown, who founded both the Worldwatch Institute and the Earth Policy Institute, in an interview with the Guardian’s environment correspondent Suzanne Goldenberg.

“One is the Sahel region of Africa, from Senegal to Somalia,” explained Brown. “There is a huge dust bowl forming now that is actually stretching right across the continent and that dust bowl is removing a lot of top soil, so eventually they will be in serious trouble.”

At some point soon, he added, “there will be a reckoning” in those regions.

According to this NPR report from November, based on the work of the Earth Policy Institute, the dust bowl conditions forming in northern Africa and across central Asia are already having dire consequences:

In China, dust storms have become almost an annual occurrence since 1990, compared to every 31 years on average historically. In northern China and Mongolia, two large deserts — the Badain Jaran and the Tengger — are expanding and merging, often swirling together in massive sand storms when strong winds blow through each spring. The Gobi desert is also growing, inching ever-closer to Beijing as the grasslands at its edges deteriorate.

Meanwhile, in the Sahel region of Africa, millions of acres are turning to desert each year in countries including Burkina Faso, Chad, Niger and Nigeria. Dust from Chad’s Bodele Depression been traveling the globe for many centuries — in fact, scientists think it helped make the Amazon fertile. But the amount of dust blowing out of West Africa has increased in the last 40 years. Dust clouds from the Sahara can affect air quality as far away as Houston, and may even harm Caribbean coral reefs.

According to Brown, as the situation worsens in these areas, the impacts will likely be much worse than they were in the United States during the 1930s. “Our dust bowl was serious,” Brown explained to Goldenberg, “but it was confined and within a matter of years we had it under control … these two areas don’t have that capacity.”

The warning over soil erosion and the unsustainable farming practices that currently dominate large swaths of the planet have been on the mind of ecologists and agricultural experts for decades. As the threat of global warming has entered the public debate, the stakes have only intensified. Brown was among the first and most thorough minds to set attention on the threat of planetary climate change, devoting an entire series of books—collectively titled Plan B—which assess and put forth solutions to the approaching crisis. The most recent edition is Plan B 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization.

However, in a statement last month, Brown announced that he would officially retire later this year and wind down the Earth Policy Institute following the publication of his next book, The Great Transition: Shifting from Fossil Fuels to Solar and Wind Energy.

“After careful consideration of my life at 80 years,” announced Brown in the statment, “and with profound appreciation to my staff, collaborators and supporters, I have decided to step down as president of the Earth Policy Institute and end its work as of July 1, 2015.”

Brown continued, “I believe the Earth Policy Institute has accomplished what we set out to do when we began in 2001, and now it is time for me to make a shift and no longer carry the responsibility of managing an organization. I plan to continue to research and write on issues that I believe I can add to in some meaningful way.”

Speaking with Goldenberg, Danielle Nierenberg, who joined Worldwatch in 2001 and went on to co-found her own institute, Food Tank, said the world owes much to Brown for his decades of work and unique vision.

“He’s the godfather of merging environmental and food issues,” said Nierenberg. “If you are talking about food and the environment, everybody looks to Lester Brown.”

As the world continues to grapple with the catastrophes spurred by our own human development, Brown wrote this in the introduction to Plan B 4.0: “The question we face is not what we need to do, because that seems rather clear to those who are analyzing the global situation. The challenge is how to do it in the time available. Unfortunately, we don’t know how much times remains. Nature is the timekeeper but we cannot see the clock.

He continued, “The thinking that got us into this mess it not likely to get us out. We need a new mindset.”

The last question society should ask, he concluded, is whether or not what needs to be done is considered possible.

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THOMAS PAINE: “The World is My Country.”

January 11, 2015
Thomas Paine - Author-Patriot, 1737-1809.

“The world is my country. To do good is my religion.”

THOMAS PAINE, author-patriot, 1737-1809
On January 29th people around the world working for reform and free thought will celebrate Thomas Paine’s birthday. This under-sung founding father well represents all those who forged the American nation and brought modern popular democracy into the world. He deserves to be nationally honored post-911 as a great American who fought for freedom, equality, direct democracy, and human rights.

Paine may be the only true revolutionary in our Revolution. His ideals bring common people together as a community. No one is above the law. Justice and fairness shall prevail. Everyone gets to vote. He argued for social security, childcare reform, universal health care, animal cruelty penalties and animal shelters over 230 years ago.

He warned us to watch, guide, and stop the powerful elite if we want humanity in general to succeed. He proposed that any bill that enriches a corporation or grants a corporate charter should be enacted in one session of the legislature, and confirmed in a second, after a vote of the people, to stop corporate raids on the public treasury.

The Revolution might have failed without Tom, or perhaps not even started. He wrote America’s first bestseller Common Sense, taking backroom revolutionary discussion public, which led directly to the signing of the Declaration of Independence six months later. He spent two years in the Colonial Army with Washington, including the brutal winter at Valley Forge where he wrote The Crisis – among the most famous words in the American revolutionary liturgy – to talk the starving, freezing army out of deserting the cause. General Washington personally read them to his men.

“These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of all men and women.”

Paine’s words helped save the army and the infant nation. Sent to France by Congress at his own expense to find aid to save America from bankruptcy, he not only got the aid, but bankrupted himself by buying a desperately needed ship and cargo of muskets, powder and shot (since congress wouldn’t pay for them), saving the army and the nascent nation a second time, literally by himself.

After our Revolution, Paine was made an honorary citizen of France so that he could be elected to the French National Convention to help form their new republic. He wrote much of the first French constitution and his masterwork The Rights of Man, both of which still inform the world. He was certain that democracy was spreading and would soon free all of humanity from tyranny. He was jailed, instead, as too moderate (!) and his health was wrecked.

He asked his old friend Washington for help to get home, but George ignored him to protect treaty negotiations with England for access to the rich West Indies rum, molasses and slave trade. Tom wrote a bitter letter: Washington was a monarch – who ignored honor to friends and allies who helped set America free; and aided the filthy barbarians who had enslaved her instead – solely for the sake of ungodly profit.

Washington’s political party the Federalists was outraged. Tom languished in prison for Washington’s eight-year presidency; and four more, because John Adams carried an old grudge for Paine calling him a would-be king (which he was). Paine’s liberal friend Thomas Jefferson finally welcomed Tom home after fifteen years, but trouble was waiting.

While in exile, Paine wrote The Age of Reason to “avoid politics and controversy,” and rejected religion in it. We can just stare at a tree, he says, and believe in God. Who needs revealed religion? Religionists branded him an atheist, Federalists recalled his insult to their great hero general president, and both went “a-howl in the newspapers over the drunken, atheist, radical Jefferson has let back into the country.”

Tom couldn’t get a job or a pension. All he wanted was repayment for money he gave to the Cause – dollar for dollar – without other reward, but he was only given a small farm in New Rochelle, New York by the state legislature as compensation. He retreated to it in poverty to write letters to the editor and to Jefferson, and articles on controversial topics. When Louisiana petitioned for statehood with a right to keep slaves, he wrote that admitting slaves to a free and equal society was unthinkable. Pennsylvanians must be sent to teach Louisiana about democracy; and don’t call it “Louisiana,” for it honors a king, insulting the republic just won by the people’s blood.

He tried to vote for his friend Jefferson in 1804, but the New Rochelle election board wouldn’t allow it: he was a “French citizen” because of the honorary citizenship permitting him to serve in the Convention. He spent his last days in the courts trying to redress this ultimate indignity, but it was not the final disrespect.

He was refused burial in Quaker ground despite his request, because the Quakers feared someone might immodestly raise a monument to him. He was buried on a remote corner of his New Rochelle farm, and a visiting Englishman later secretly dug up Tom’s bones, took them to England, stashed them under his bed, and forgot about them. Upon rediscovery years later, they were sold and parted out all over England as souvenirs, and the whereabouts of Tom Paine’s bones is today unknown. It begs the question: How frightened of a man must one be to want to hide his very bones?

After Tom began to grow in popularity and accreditation during the threatened nationally self-conscious democracy of the 1930’s and ‘40’s, New Rochelle belatedly admitted his full American citizenship in 1945. In truth, he’s a citizen of the world. Tom Paine’s fierce principled call for human rights and, yes, loving hearts, still echoes and is still needed, for as much now as then, “These are the times that try men’s [and women’s] souls.”

Citizen Paine was the essence of our great democratic republican experiment: we are rebels as well as patriots. On January 29th, or July 4th, when-, or wherever freedom loving people are gathered, lift your cup and toast a great American, friend to all the world, and champion of nature and humanity. Sing out: “Hurrah!” for Tom Paine.                             – © J. Legry ‘08

Liberty crowning defiant American democracy.

Liberty crowning defiant American democracy.

SIGN THE PETITION BELOW TO HELP UNDO THE DEMOCRATICALLY DISASTROUS Citizens United DECISION:

The Republicans are bought into the craziness at a very deep level. They will not get better. They will explode or fizzle out, but they will not get “well.” These sick puppies prefer revolution and the overthrow of the United States government to honest political dialog and debate. We really need to put these crazies into the booby hatch. At very least, we must stop giving them political credibility.

We Move to Amend. We, the People of the United States of America, reject the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United, and move to amend our Constitution to:

Firmly establish that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights.
Guarantee the right to vote and to participate, and to have our votes and participation count.
Protect local communities, their economies, and democracies against illegitimate “preemption” actions by global, national, and state governments.

Signed by 379,547 and counting . . .to 500,000

CONTACT: http://www.movetoamend.org/ 

PETITION LINK: http://movetoamend.nationbuilder.com/petition

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THE SORCERER

May 10, 2014
GARDEN of the GODS

GARDEN of the GODS

The Sorcerer lived like a well-to-do scholar. He said:

“You admit with credulity and abhorrence the reality of the infernal art of magic, which is able to control the eternal order of the planets and the voluntary operations of the human mind. You dread the mysterious power of spells and incantations, of potent herbs, and execrable rites; which can extinguish or recall life, inflame passions of the soul, blast the works of creation, and extort from the demons the secrets of futurity. You believe, with the wildest inconsistency, that this preternatural dominion of the air, of earth, and of hell, is exercised from the vilest motives of malice or gain, by some wrinkled hags and itinerant sorcerers, who pass their obscure lives in penury and contempt. The arts of magic are equally condemned by public opinion and the law; but, as they tend to gratify the most imperious passions of the heart of man, they are continually proscribed and continually practiced.”

“An imaginary cause is capable of producing the most serious and mischievous effects. The dark predictions of the death of an emperor, or the success of a conspiracy, are calculated only to stimulate the hopes of ambition and to dissolve the ties of fidelity; and the intentional guilt of magic is aggravated by the actual crimes of treason and sacrilege.”

“Antiochians claim Chrestos was invented there, and they content themselves with disobeying the moral precepts, but they were scrupulously attached to the speculative doctrines of their religion.”

So said the Sorcerer on that occasion.

 

Ancient Color

Ancient Color

SPECULATIONS ON THE LATE HERETIC PHARAOH

They called you heretic, mad, megalomaniac, monotheist,
And you were probably all of those,
And perhaps a hermaphrodite, or a woman,
And you married your sister, daughter, mother,
And had an affair with your son.

You set up your own city in the friendless desert,
And gathered together friends and families,
Commoners as queens, Hebiru as bureaucrats,
Raised temples and children, palaces and stele,
To mark your City of the Sun.

The old priests said you were evil, cursed by the gods,
When you closed their doors and temples,
Took away their goods and pride,
And canceled their services “forever,”
To be replaced by the one true One.

It took time for the people to feel the old gods’ wrath,
Their old priests had to wait many poisoned years,
While your Aten-god sun-disk grew remote,
And lost the hearts of your bewildered people,
Who looked for one true god and found none.

Would you still stand, if the old priests had let you be?
Probably not, heretic pharaoh Akhenaten,
With your hymns of praise to the Aten,
With your golden god of love, blinding you
With a power too great for your simple human mind.

For gods are renewable, replaceable, and to be forgotten,
Trooping in their legion down the corridors of time,
Leading the way to salvation or perdition,
They’re really all the same in endless ordinary lives,
Amused by the heretic’s deepest, most ordinary crimes.

jl:2-14

 

inventgod

 

PAY FREAKIN’ ATTENTION, G’DAMMIT!

I have always had this desire to reach out and grab a person and shake the living bejazzus out of him or her, and yell, “What the hell’s the matter with ya, fer chris’sakes?  Are you nuts?  Wake up, for gawd’s sake!  Wake up, dammit!”

Just like that, with all the histrionic emphasis and shouting.

When I have their attention, and they’re scared witless, I will say, “Sorry to bother you.  I got a little excited.”  And walk away.

"So how about those Mets? Hear about the Big Meteor? Almost the size of a refrigerator, they say!"

“So how about those Mets? Hear about the Big Meteor? Size of a refrigerator, they say!”

Climate Change Decimating Life, Worse to Come

March 31, 2014

UN Report: Climate Change Already Decimating Life, Worse to Come

Much-anticipated IPCC report release highlights risk of climate change related disasters to food and human security

– Lauren McCauley, staff writer

Drought-stricken maize in Tanzania. (Photo: CIMMYT/ Creative Commons/ Flickr)

“Nobody on this planet is going to be untouched by the impacts of climate change,” was the message of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in a voluminous new report published Monday.

The statement was made by Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the IPCC, speaking at a press conference in Yokohama, Japan on the release of Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability by Working Group II of the IPCC.

The objective of the report, the second in a series of three, is to “consider the vulnerability and exposure of human and natural systems, the observed impacts and future risks of climate change, and the potential for and limits to adaptation,” according to report authors.

The effects of climate change are already among us from melting sea ice to droughts and severe storms. However, the authors note, with imminent threat to global food stocks and human security, the worst is yet to come.

“The findings make an increasingly detailed picture of how climate change – in tandem with existing fault lines such as poverty and inequality – poses a much more direct threat to life and livelihood,” according to the Guardian’s Suzanne Goldenberg, writing about the report. The report highlights how already visible impacts of climate change—such as killer heat waves in Europe, wildfires in Australia, and deadly floods in Pakistan—will lead increasingly to humanitarian crises around the world.

Further, Goldenberg reports, the report “struck out on relatively new ground by drawing a clear line connecting climate change to food scarcity, and conflict.”

According to the report, climate change has already had an impact on global food supply with global crop yields, particularly wheat, in decline. The future, Goldenberg writes, “looks even more grim,” with dramatic estimated drops in corn production as well.

Couched in the vernacular of risk and risk management, the report concludes that responding to the changing climate is a matter of “making choices about risks in a changing world.”

“We live in an era of man-made climate change,” said Vicente Barros, Co-Chair of Working Group II. “In many cases, we are not prepared for the climate-related risks that we already face. Investments in better preparation can pay dividends both for the present and for the future.”

In a more direct warning to world leaders—who have been slow to make any significant changes despite the growing threat of climate change—Pachauri added, “The one message that comes out of this is the world has to adapt and the world has to mitigate.”

A three-year joint effort by more than 300 scientists, the much-anticipated release is considered the definitive account on the state of climate science. Nearly 500 experts and world leaders signed off on the wording of 2,600-page report.

_____________________

POLAR BEAR IS US

March 24, 2014

The Polar Bear Is Us

by Abby Zimet

Artwork in Berlin by Isaac Cordal titled “Electoral Campaign.” Seen posted elsewhere as “Politicians Discussing Climate Change.”

The leaked news from this week’s gathering in Japan of top climate scientists on the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is even worse than all the other climate change news that’s come before that somehow – oh foolish arrogant species – has yet to effect the kind of significant change it warrants: The dangers of a warming Earth are immediate and very human, likely prompting hunger, disease, drought, flooding, refugees and war, and we are not prepared for any of it. The report uses one word over 5,000 times: risk.

“It’s not far-off in the future and it’s not exotic creatures – it’s us and now.” – Michael Mann of Pennsylvania State University, who worked on earlier reports.

SCARED YET?

PARALLEL UNIVERSE 11, ROMANS 1

January 31, 2014

PARALLEL UNIVERSE

PARALLEL UNIVERSE

A SEASONAL TIDBIT ON THE ORIGINS OF STUFF

This is historically researched and as far as I know the actual facts. Of course, who knows the actual facts? Anyway, Premise: Saul of Tarsus, a.k.a. Paul the Apostle (self-appointed after the fact) was a Roman agent.

Jesus was not invented by the Romans, but Christ was. The Christ was a resurrected savior god popular with the Roman kitchen help and lower classes, who infected their middle class mistresses (mostly) with it. Widows were a good cult bet for membership because they were heads of households and would host and feed gatherings of this sect, which allowed women to occupy leadership positions – rare at that time throughout the society. Widows are still good “touches” for the roving evangelical; notice how many of them make “living wills”, naming church beneficiaries.

 The first book (Mark) of the New Testament ends with the empty tomb – not a good ending for a hero story (who stole the body?). Eighty years later, a Christian editor added the rolled aside stone, ascension, so forth. At that point, the Christ myth overwhelmed historical Jesus, cult hero of a Jewish sect (run by Jesus’ real elder brother James, who was not the same charismatic leader or money raiser that the younger Jesus had been), but definitely not the creator of a new religion. But the real Jesus cult was troublesome. His defiance at the Passover (the most dangerous time in the Jewish year for Roman conquerors, when every Hebrew nut job was in town to celebrate escape from Egyptian tyranny) was a direct slam at the Roman state; and thus, they routinely crucified him as they would any rebel or criminal who might raise popular opposition to them. The Romans then responded with their skewed movement to manage the backlash – which includes a section of the New Testament aptly named “ROMANS” (check it out) – a formula for controlling the masses who owe all earthly allegiance and obedience without question, and/or certainly rebellion to the emperor.  The New Testament Book ROMANS is the legal foundation of the Imperial Christian cult that still disturbs our planet.

From the  fictional “Barabbas Plot” – Roman governor speaks about subverting the Jesus Movement with Temple high priest and Paul (Saul of Tarsus, chief persecutor of the Jesus sect until now) before his “epiphany conversion” to chief apostle of the “Christus.”

HIGH PRIEST: You mean to subvert people’s religious beliefs?

GOVERNOR: “Correct” them. This dead fellow Barabbas preached harmony and equality to a mob that never had either. He gave them false hope that they can actually achieve those things. We must teach that Nature creates extreme opposites, not harmony, and destroy the arrogant notion that their lord and master is an imaginary sky ghost that pesters earthly virgins, instead of our living emperor who can and really will crucify them, if necessary.

HIGH PRIEST: What if they reject your new myth, Excellency?

GOVERNOR: The Emperor doesn’t want to send an army here if he can avoid the expense, but if he does, we’ll crush the fools – to the rousing applause of the civilized world, I suspect. We’re being very lenient, we’re preventing a bloodbath. Paul, we want you to instill particular virtues; build our new myth upon them.

PAUL: What are those, Excellency? Love, mercy, that sort of thing?

GOVERNOR: No. You will receive a written copy, but listen now:
1. All authority comes from god naturally, so that rulers – those in a position of authority – are obviously appointed by god;
2. Let every person submit to those who rule;
3. Whoever resists rulers resists whom god has appointed;
4. Those who resist rulers will be punished, for rulers do not terrorize those whose conduct is good, but only those whose conduct is evil; and,
5. Pay all in authority what they demand: taxes, revenues, respect and honor. What do you think?

PAUL: It favors an oppressive establishment, and preaches against social security and freedom from coercion and exploitation.

GOVERNOR: A passive, unresisting obedience that bows under the yoke of authority, or even oppression, is the most conspicuous and useful of all the evangelic virtues.

PAUL: Masked in a religion diffusing a pure, benevolent and universal system of ethics adapted to every duty and condition of life, recommended by the will and reason of a Supreme Deity, and enforced by the sanction of eternal rewards or punishments.

GOVERNOR:  A great liar must tell a great lie.

bizarro

Illuminati Apply in Rear

Did you ever notice that a lot of the religious conspiracy stuff clouds the water so that you can’t see the political conspiracy stuff as well?

Here’s my take on Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons, the Illuminati, so forth: AW, C’MON!

http://www.johnlegry.wordpress.com/religion-and-beyond/illuminati-apply-in-rear/

TRINITY TRIPTYCH. Art Liberation Project, c. JLegry 2012a

TRINITY TRIPTYCH. Art Liberation Project, c. JLegry 2012a

A monk-warrior in the Kingdom of Heaven says:

“By the word ‘religion,’ I’ve seen the lunacy of fanatics of every denomination be called the will of god. I’ve seen too much religion in the eyes of too many murderers. Holiness is in right action and courage on behalf of those who cannot defend themselves, and goodness. What god desires is your head and your heart, by what you decide every day, you will be a good man [or woman], or not.”

There are those who will say that if there is not a personified “god,” humankind will perish. However, “god” is universal and not capable of personification, denomination, or ritualization. “God” is the human concept of a Perfect Platonic Being: One and all, hen kai pan. “God” is life, not dogma. “God” is curiosity and learning, not brainwashing and stagnation. “God” is an ideal, an example for emulation, an aspiration, a romance, an invitation to speculation, not a non-profit corporation, theme park, or big black carpet-draped rock.

Émile Zola wrote, “Civilization will not attain to its perfection until the last stone from the last church falls on the last priest.”

ART LIBERATION PROJECT at REDBUBBLE: http://www.redbubble.com/people/johnlegry

inventgod

TRINITY TRIPTYCH reprise

November 23, 2013
TRINITY TRIPTYCH. Art Liberation Project, c. JLegry 2012a

TRINITY TRIPTYCH. Art Liberation Project, c. JLegry 2012a

A monk-warrior in the Kingdom of Heaven says:

“By the word ‘religion,’ I’ve seen the lunacy of fanatics of every denomination be called the will of god. I’ve seen too much religion in the eyes of too many murderers. Holiness is in right action and courage on behalf of those who cannot defend themselves, and goodness. What god desires is your head and your heart, by what you decide every day, you will be a good man [or woman], or not.”

There are those who will say that if there is not a personified God, humankind will perish. However, God (if present) is universal and not capable of personification, denomination, or ritualization. God is the human concept of a Perfect Platonic Being: One and all, hen kai pan. God is life, not dogma. God is curiosity and learning, not brainwashing and stagnation. God is an ideal, an example for emulation, an aspiration, a romance, an invitation to speculation, not a non-profit corporation, theme park, or big black carpet-draped rock.  Émile Zola wrote, “Civilization will not attain to its perfection until the last stone from the last church falls on the last priest.”

There are at least three major institutions on earth that have outlived their usefulness and become baldly destructive and should be done away with: corporations, armies and religions. “Armies” will unnerve some, but think of it, without corporations and religions most of the causes of war will evaporate. Plus, wholesale murder is no longer profitable (if it ever was, beyond the obscene success of a very few greedy people) and generally accomplishes nothing (e.g. 50 years after the Korean War the peninsula is still militarized, divided and unstable). The emerging moral is that we should grow up, stop fighting like schoolyard bullies over whose dog is prettiest and who gets all the marbles, and begin to cooperate with one another for the purpose of sharing this shrinking world and its dwindling resources without turning into maddened overcrowded cannibalistic rats in a global-sized cage.

ohmmmm

We Move to Amend.We, the People of the United States of America, reject the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United, and move to amend our Constitution to:

  • Firmly establish that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights.
  • Guarantee the right to vote and to participate, and to have our votes and participation count.
  • Protect local communities, their economies, and democracies against illegitimate “preemption” actions by global, national, and state governments.

Signed by 298,363 and counting . . . CONTACT: http://www.movetoamend.org/

RED LACE (BUDDHA Series variation)

RED LACE (BUDDHA Series Var.)

“Go forth in joyful participation in the sorrows of the world.”

At his death, BUDDHA Siddhartha Gautama is famously believed to have told his disciples to follow no leader. “All composite things (Saṅkhāra) are perishable,” he said. “Strive for your own liberation with diligence.”

“If you want the best idea of how the world was created, don’t pick the best mythology, consult the best science.” – His holiness the 14th DALI LAMA.

Layered Composition, 2012a, JLegry.

 

COMING FOR JUSTICE reprise

August 29, 2013

[Don’t forget to CLICK the IMAGES for extra information]

JOE KENNEDY and PRESCOTT BUSH:

I was born in 1943 when America, my father included, was fighting the Nazi fascists from Germany.  There were many Americans who agreed with the fascists, Joseph Kennedy and Prescott Bush included.  Kennedy tried to keep America out of the war.  Bush helped finance the Nazis.  But democratic America, Roosevelt America defeated the fascists in that war – temporarily as it turns out.

The Nazis came home in our baggage.  A former SS colonel named Werner Von Braun developed our space program.  The SS colonel who ran Hitler’s Gestapo taught our nascent CIA about domestic surveillance, interrogation, martial law, and chemical/psychological techniques.  In the meantime, we fought in Korea, keeping the military-industrial complex robust and vitalized (strange word applied to death-dealing), and practiced spying on ourselves – McCarthyism – a fascist witch-hunt for “commies,” undermining our confidence in our nation and its democratic institutions.

We next followed nine years of imperialistic colonial French mis-rule in Indochina to inflict seventeen years of violence on Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, destabilizing and radicalizing Southeast Asia more than the Japanese had during World War 2. Then as now, the CIA and FBI further brutalized and contaminated domestic America in defense and furtherance of a generally Republican anti-peace message that was as big as the wallets they were filling from war profits.

AMERICA LOSES HER WAY:

Our practice has consistently been to create more powerful and harsher means to oppress and suppress, maim, or kill opponents.  Might has triumphed over right and reason, but that makes us neither mighty nor bright.  We are damned bullies, forcing our bully will on many victims.  That is what America stands for today: death not life, war not peace, greed not generosity.

The Bush administration, and now beyond to Obama, with their well-practiced agents and provocateurs, served the darkest human motives, not the clean wholesome light of genuine American democracy.  Justice, liberty, and equality aren’t significant words in the Republican vocabulary or principles in Republican governance.  We have been subverted from within, hollowed out by a corrupt corporate power structure to serve its war machine in the interest of corporate profits.  If we want any hope to rise above and beyond it, we must vote for progressives and reclaim this country for the babes who wait in mothers’ arms for fathers to come home from our latest unholy war(s).

The present situation in the United States echoes ancient Rome in important ways:  A successful representative republic, proving wildly successful in war and conquest, grows rich and plunges into conspicuous consumption.  In time the citizen army is converted to a professional military (a professional army owes allegiance to its paymaster, not necessarily to the nation).  Beauty is heavily involved in politics and publicity (experience means less than height).  King-sized constructions attest to individual power and glory.  The poor get to see the lavish spread, but may not partake of it.  The toll of maintaining luxury is its undoing.  The general domestic economy weakens with foreign trade, although the rich stay rich and get richer.  The dispossessed flock into cities and live on a diminishing dole, manipulated by politicians.  The conservative legislature is indifferent to the people’s plight.  The bureaucracy and the military rule all.

How did it happen?  How did it get so bad?  Who is hurting?  The list includes everyone except the top 1% of the nation’s richest and most privileged citizens.  The rich characterize any protest of this imbalance as “class warfare,” although they’ve been waging class warfare on the poor and middle class (the rest of us) since Franklin Roosevelt died.  The Robber Barons have succeeded in unraveling the New Deal, beginning with the 23rd Amendment, which limited presidents to two terms: the “first stomp on FDR’s grave,” my father called it.  Dwight Eisenhower’s administration put “under God” into the Pledge of Allegiance (clearly in violation of the constitution), tried to give Social Security away to private insurance companies, and the Tennessee Valley Public Power Authority to private utility owners.

Thirty years ago the conservatives began to advocate for the end of public education on the grounds that it’s undemocratic to mandate school attendance.  No system is pure on this side of the grave; our society considered it essential to educate all the people so that they can intelligently participate in their own democratic governance, and avoid being swindled by demagogues.  The John Birch Society bulletin advised its readers to “join your local P.T.A. and take it over.”

Fascists twist democratic institutions and values to gain their selfish ends.  They advocate for state control of women’s bodies; control the body, control the mind (women vote too liberally).  They have besieged health, safety and environmental regulations for over 50 years, but don’t ask them to do a cost-benefit analysis on outrageous and endemic corporate welfare.

END GAMES and WISHFUL THINKING:

The end game for Bush wasn’t a fortuitous crusade against terrorism, but to bankrupt and reduce the United States government to the influence of a third world nation.  Thereafter, the plutocracy will rule.  Bush undid the hard-won social and legal advancements of our free and equal society.  He dismantled the American Dream.  He betrayed the Constitution, reinforcing the United States as a warmongering plutocracy that absolutely corrupts the democratic republic.

Republicans don’t have any kind of mandate for their radical right wing agenda.  They brought us the Second Great Depression (2016 is gonna be a bitch, according to Thom Hartmann).  Republicans are all alarm and greed.  The Big Thieves came into our homes as we slept and threaten to never leave.  We shall be their economic and social slaves, although we will be called “the public,” “the people,” “average Americans,” whatever.  The dream turns into nightmare.

The pinnacle of human achievement can’t be George W. Bush (or the Koch brothers).  “What a low pinnacle,” my wife says.  “Bush gives new meaning to the American concept that anybody can become president.”  They don’t even have to be elected.  Bush came to power in interesting fashion: a virtual coup overturning the popular will, based on a very tenuous partisan split vote of 5 to 4 in a corrupted Supreme Court – buttressed by legal arguments so weak that even first year law students would blush to use them.

VOTE PROGRESSIVE:

Be well advised, in the next election, cast your ballot for progressive candidates. Turn your back to the greed and close your wallets to them.  Save the dream.  Defend the republic.  Kick the sick twisted bastards out.

© J. Legry

RELATED:

Please sign petition:
We Move to Amend.
We, the People of the United States of America, reject the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United, and move to amend our Constitution to:
Firmly establish that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights.
Guarantee the right to vote and to participate, and to have our votes and participation count.
Protect local communities, their economies, and democracies against illegitimate “preemption” actions by global, national, and state governments.
Signed by 380,00+ and counting . . .to 500,000 CONTACT: http://www.movetoamend.org/ 
PETITION LINK: http://movetoamend.nationbuilder.com/petition
ohmmmm

TRINITY TRIPTYCH

May 12, 2013
TRINITY TRIPTYCH. Art Liberation Project, c. JLegry 2012a

TRINITY TRIPTYCH. Art Liberation Project, c. JLegry 2012a

A monk-warrior in the Kingdom of Heaven says:

“By the word ‘religion,’ I’ve seen the lunacy of fanatics of every denomination be called the will of god. I’ve seen too much religion in the eyes of too many murderers. Holiness is in right action and courage on behalf of those who cannot defend themselves, and goodness. What god desires is your head and your heart, by what you decide every day, you will be a good man [or woman], or not.”

There are those who will say that if there is not a personified God, humankind will perish. However, God (if present) is universal and not capable of personification, denomination, or ritualization. God is the human concept of a Perfect Platonic Being: One and all, hen kai pan. God is life, not dogma. God is curiosity and learning, not brainwashing and stagnation. God is an ideal, an example for emulation, an aspiration, a romance, an invitation to speculation, not a non-profit corporation, theme park, or big black carpet-draped rock.  Émile Zola wrote, “Civilization will not attain to its perfection until the last stone from the last church falls on the last priest.”

There are at least three major institutions on earth that have outlived their usefulness and become baldly destructive and should be done away with: corporations, armies and religions. “Armies” will unnerve some, but think of it, without corporations and religions most of the causes of war will evaporate. Plus, wholesale murder is no longer profitable (if it ever was, beyond the obscene success of a very few greedy people) and generally accomplishes nothing (e.g. 50 years after the Korean War the peninsula is still militarized, divided and unstable). The emerging moral is that we should grow up, stop fighting like schoolyard bullies over whose dog is prettiest and who gets all the marbles, and begin to cooperate with one another for the purpose of sharing this shrinking world and its dwindling resources without turning into maddened overcrowded cannibalistic rats in a global-sized cage.

We Move to Amend.We, the People of the United States of America, reject the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United, and move to amend our Constitution to:

  • Firmly establish that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights.
  • Guarantee the right to vote and to participate, and to have our votes and participation count.
  • Protect local communities, their economies, and democracies against illegitimate “preemption” actions by global, national, and state governments.

Signed by 298,363 and counting . . . CONTACT: http://www.movetoamend.org/

FatLemon Sez

ALICE and YUYA, the HOLY GRAIL and WE

April 29, 2013

Pharaoh is the Joker

Excerpt: ALL OF A KEY, an unpublished novel:  (Scene: Seniors Alice  and Lou and Twenty-something Charlie tour Cairo Museum)

The ground floor entrance of Cairo Museum was dominated by a statue of Queen Tiye seated beside her husband, Amenhotep III, in a huge composition seven meters high and five meters wide.

“For the first time in Egyptian history,” Alice said, “the queen is shown the same size as the king.  She was a commoner.  Her father, Yuya, was her husband’s chief vizier, as he had been for his father, Tuthmosis IV.  We’re going to see Yuya today.”

“He would be important, why?” Lou asked, fumbling with his folding map guide to the exhibit halls.

“The Exodus may have occurred at several different times and places, and a great deal of money and faith has been expended to ‘prove’ each of them.  Each has its merits and advocates, each its flaws and detractors.  What is incontrovertible is that a Semitic tribe co-mingled with the Egyptian pharaonic family, fell afoul of orthodox Egyptian authorities, left or fled Egypt, looting as much of the place as possible as they went, setting up a religious opposition and a separate organization that not only challenged Egyptian traditions, but declared a ‘special,’ ‘separate,’ and ‘supreme,’ relationship and claim to the only true god.”

“God,” Lou agreed.

“Inventing different versions of the same truth, denying common roots, and claiming sovereignty over the myth has been criminally disruptive.  Akhenaten and his Habiru-Shasu shepherd henchmen were power-obsessed manipulators, breaking the peace and harmony of the world for personal gain.”

“Selfish bastards,” Lou agreed.  “Let me get this straight, you’re talkin’ about Joseph and Moses and those guys, right?”

“I’m talking about a particularly garbled tract of proto-history, beginning with the Story of Joseph in what is referred to as the first book of the Old Testament in the compendium called collectively the Holy Bible.”

“Oh,” Lou said.

“Scholars agree,” Alice continued, “that the Joseph Story was an original narration put down in writing in the 9th Century B.C. and is thought to be the Judah-Israel version.  A second story came a century later, the Reuben-Jacob version.  The story in Genesis is mainly from the two sources, however, priests returning from the Babylonian exile arranged the sources, and added details: Joseph’s age (30) at time of Pharaoh’s elevation, the number of the tribe of Israel that went down into Egypt (70), the length of the sojourn (430 years), and Joseph’s request to be buried in Canaan.  Then, an editor, sometime before the second century B.C. took on the task of making one story from the three sources, and added the section on Joseph’s death and his request to be reburied in Canaan on his own initiative, or orders.”

Lou looked at her blankly.

“People believe a cobbled, fiddled myth,” she said.  “We must go to its roots to see the truth, which should prevail.  However, our self-deception and self-aggrandizement overpower facts with inventions suiting our basest desires for certainty and dominance.”

“Yeah, but so what?” Lou disagreed.  “Guy got lucky, huh?”

Charlie laughed.

“Okay, Alice,” Lou said, “men wrote the Talmud and the Bible…”

“…and the Koran,” she said.

“…and the Koran, but refute this: they also made the mistakes – not God.  God had to use several men until we correctly reconstructed what happened.”

“With another man to pronounce the trail ended.  Neatly bent,” she complimented.  “First rate religious counterpoint to reason.  That’s just the trouble, isn’t it?  Religious people see what they’ve taught themselves to believe and deny any exception on the grounds of deviltry and perdition.

“Muhammad is the descendent of another of Abraham’s sons,” Alice continued.  “Ishmael out of Hagar, Sarah (Sarai’s) Egyptian maid.  Muhammad was born in Mecca in A.D. 570, eighteen centuries after Exodus.  He started his mission at age 40 or so, preaching to Arab idolaters the ‘true faith’: Islam, the monotheistic Hanif religion of his remote ancestor Abraham.  Hanif is the Islamic word for someone who believes in one God, but is not a Jew, a Christian, or a worshipper of idols.

“Significantly,” Alice said, “the Koran agrees with the Judah-Israel and Reuben-Jacob versions of the story, but ends there, making no connection to the later priestly and editor’s additions.  This reinforces the conviction that the original story is in the first two sources, before it was given shape, or included Joseph’s reburial in Canaan.  It helps convince me that he never left Egypt.”

“So, where’d he go?” Lou scoffed.

“He’s in Room Number 12 according to the floor map,” she replied.  “I like what I understand of the ancient Egyptian concept of our relation to god.  God created all out of thought and word.  Everything is part of god.  The million gods are one; all creation, everything, is part of the whole.  Hence, the world went out of balance when the Akhenaten-Moses megalomaniac took his god out of Egypt and set him up separate above everything else in the world.  It would be good for all of us, if we recognized and nourished the roots instead of losing ourselves in the branches.  Of course, anything is possible, Lou, but let’s have a look at this particular mummy.  I really believe it’s  your Joseph.”

Yuya had a long thin dignified face, almost alive, wearing a calm confident expression.  The position of his hands was striking.  They were normally placed over the chest in the Osirian position, but here, in the only example Alice had ever seen, the palms were down just under the chin, as if giving reverence, not to the gods, but to himself.

Unusually, his ears were unpierced.  His strong, aquiline features and hooked nose immediately suggested foreign, possibly Semitic origin.  His white hair and aged appearance indicated that he was at least sixty years old when he died.

“Commanding figure,” Lou admitted.  “Lot of character in that face: full, strong lips, prominent determined jaw.  He could wake right up.  Wow!  What an embalming job.”

“He’s the originator of the great religious movement that his daughter and grandson carried into execution.”

“Come on, he could be Syrian, or anything.  You don’t know he’s Moses.”

“He is Yuya, father of Tiye, whom Amenhotep III made his Great Royal Wife. Their son, Amenhotep IV (Akhenaten) married his cousin, Nefertiti, Yuya’s grand daughter by his son Aye.  Akhenaten closed the temples, banned the ancient gods of Egypt, and established a monotheistic God, like the God of Israel, with himself as high priest.  I believe he can be linked to Moses, or rather to the mythological stereotype we know as ‘Moses.’”

Looking at the well-preserved features, Lou thought that Yuya did have the face of an ecclesiastic; there was something around the mouth.

“I have in my files at home,” Alice said, “a photocopy of Yuya’s titles, taken from the book written in 1907 by Theodore M. Davis.  One of them was it ntr n nb tawi, “the holy father of the Lord of the Two Lands”, and not just the common semi-priestly it ntr, “the father of the god”.  That certainly sounds like a blood relation, doesn’t it?  If we’re ever to get the truth, this is a good reason for re-examination.”

“To what end, Alice?” Charlie asked.

“All three religions revere Joseph,” she replied.  “If this is he…”

“They’ll kill each other to get him,” Charlie said.  “Best to let the poor beggar lie.  If that’s your Joseph, or anyone else’s, he didn’t get to Canaan, but he looks content.  Let’s not trouble his rest.”

Lou laughed and nodded.  Alice took a few notes and made a sketch from which she would later do an ink painting.  Yuya’s profile was particularly interesting, she thought.  He’s not Syrian.

Yuya, "Holy Father of the Lord of the Two Lands"

Yuya, “Holy Father of the Lord of the Two Lands”

PARTIAL SOURCES:

Moses the Egyptian, Jan Assmann, the memory of Egypt in Western Monotheism.  Harvard University Press. The author is Professor of Egyptology at the University of Heidelberg. A brilliant study by a world-renowned specialist.

Hebrew Pharaohs of Egypt, Ahmed Osman, the secret lineage of the Patriarch Joseph.  Bear & Company.  Cairo-born author presents results of twenty-two years writing and research.

Pastiche Der Nibelungen.

BEYOND DAN BROWN: The DeVinci Load. 

The so-called Holy Grail is the object of legendary quest for Arthurian knights and may be a “wide-mouthed or shallow vessel,” although its precise etymology (in the true literal sense of the word) remains uncertain, and small wonder.

The Grail was probably inspired by classical or Celtic mythologies, which abound in horns of plenty, magic life-restoring caldrons, and the like.  In Finland, the pre-Christian Kalevala features the sampo, which might be a pillar that holds up the sky, or a mill to produce salt, meal and gold, or a talisman of happiness and prosperity.  Take your pick.

The first extant text (or more aptly invention) about the Grail is Chrétien de Troyes’ late 12th century unfinished romance Parceval or Le Conte du Graal, which combined the religious with the fantastic.  In the 13th century Robert de Borron’s poem extended the Christian significance of the legend, linking the Grail with Christ’s cup at the Last Supper and with Joseph of Aramea whom he said used it to catch Jesus’ blood as he hung on the cross.  In the same century, Wolfram von Esenbach’s Parzival gave the Grail profound and mystical expression as a precious stone fallen from Heaven (sampo, anyone?).  Malory’s late 15th century Le Morte D’Arthur transmitted the fanciful Grail essence to English-speaking readers.

In the story-telling invention, the quest itself became a search for mystical union with God.  Through various permutations by many different writers over several hundreds of years, the Grail theme formed a culminating point for the Arthurian romance.  It’s a good story device; it doesn’t really matter what it really is, as long as it stands for truth, justice and the “right” way.  Its physical presence is just like the True Cross, Longinus’ Spear, St. Michael’s pickled peritoneum, or any other “holy” relic: e.g. entrepreneurs started fabricating bits of the true cross as soon as they noticed a market for it; as we’ve seen from Holy Blood, Holy Grail, the DeVinci Code, and Newsweek, people are still making big bucks selling new baubles to hang on the old artificial tree, which is patently, the Grail’s only real value.  When you get right down to it, it’s buying a box of air, isn’t it?  That’s the way faith works, so have fun with the storyline.

Incidentally, Christ is the Greek Chrestos – a mystery cult popular with the poor and lower middle class of the 1st century C.E.  Self-proclaimed “Apostle” Paul of Tarsus cobbled Chrestos with the historical Jesus movement as a sales package for Gentiles (infuriating the Jesus movement because he co-opted and lied about their guy; of such petty human foibles are great religious movements conceived), but that’s another story.

REVERY:

We’ve come a long way, you and I.  Thousands upon thousands of light years, and yet we’re still far short of our destination.  Where were we going anyway?  Haven’t we already been there?  The universe is a big round circle in a dimension so large that we poor mites cannot see the curve.  It looks like a straight line to us, but so does time, and time is a repetition of itself, always telling us the same thing.  As each generation is born, the next arises, and each of those, and all of those billions more, grows by the same learning process, through the same biology, give or take a tenth of a percent of one gene, which seems to specify skin tone and what we call racial differences.  It’s the same as classifying men by the size of their nipples and finally as insignificant.

We all begin as fertilized eggs.  We are one with the chicken and the salamander, fish and spider.

There is not one atom within us that is remarkable for being unique.  There is nothing unique in the universe, except individual discovery.

LINK WORTH VIEWING:

Washington Diarist by Leon Wieseltier, Accommodationism:  “One of the most troublesome qualities of reason is that it is not always reasonable.”

http://www.tnr.com/politics/story.html?id=cf4e433c-60bd-4184-abc3-fc372c7f8304

Little King Rides Again.

Little King Rides Again.