The Spirit of '76

Brand-new book from author interviewed on "Fresh Air"

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter for "Dummies"

Part of a musician's life can often be playing for holiday events.  Such has been my life recently, including the preparation before.  It occured to me that perhaps not everyone, even some Christians, actually knows much about Easter.  I discovered that there is an article on Easter for "Dummies!"  That "dummy" literature has invaded even the subject of religion should perhaps not be surprising as this useful series has tackled all kinds of subjects. 

Fortunately for us the author of this article, Richard Wagner is not a dummy, as reading will show.
I especially like his take on the meaning of tradtion within the church.  Within Christianity, perhaps the Orthodox (also known as Eastern Orthodox) Churches are the most enamored of tradition.  One man's tradtion is another man's noose, of course.  But evidently, in religion, as in politics, depending on the tradition, whether it be self-government, or the celebration of Easter, there are some traditions so bedrock as to possess inherent and lasting value.

The History and Meaning of Easter

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Book Is a Serious Indictment of the Official Story of 9/11/01

It has been relatively clear to me for about seven years that the events of September 11, 2001, were brought about at least partly through collusion with elements of the U.S. government.  Now in reading The New Pearl Harbor Revisited by David Ray Griffin, the evidence has been gathered for me in a volume up-dating the original The New Pearl Harbor

Thirty pages into this book it was clear to me the facts were that building 7 had been brought down through a controlled demolition.  It did not fall due to fires caused by collateral damage from debris from the Twin Towers, as had been claimed. 

Now, sixty more pages into the book, the official story of a Boeing 757 slamming into the Pentagon is likewise being challenged by numerous eyewitnesses and the forensic evidence.

I will keep you informed about my reading.  However, it is clear a terrible crime occured on September 11, 2001 -- just not the kind of crime we were told.  The real crime involves treason. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Turmoil in Washington Spawns Debate Over Capitalism

One of the most useful articles I have seen in a long time appeared in Sunday's Washington Post.  Using the sequestration, debt ceiling, and government-closing threats as a backdrop the author, Steven Pearlstein, suggests there may be something wrong with capitalism at its root.  The beginning of the article reads almost like a screed on the views of every important alleged capitalist thinker since Adam Smith.  The article, however, goes on to question the morality of a system which seems bent on allowing the wealthy to amass an ever greater percentage of the nation's wealth.  An important statement appears near the end of this opinion piece:

In our current debate over capitalism, too much attention is focused on whether, how or how much to redistribute the incomes that markets have produced, with too little focus on the institutional arrangements that determine how that income is divided up in the first place.

I have rarely, if ever, seen anything like this in the Post before and certainly never in The New York Times business pages.  It shows a new openness to questioning the profit system, without the attendant hysterical insistence that the only alternative to the profit system is communism or state socialism.  As I have said before, it happens to be my view that a mixed economy is what we really have in this country.  The question now before us is What kind of a mixed economy should we have?  What should be the basis of such an economy?  What, in fact, is the fairest way to apportion the benefits of  the tremendous natural resources the United States possesses?
"Is Capitalism Moral?"

Friday, March 15, 2013

A Great Religious Leader Offers Words of Challenge and Comfort

During this year, which we have declared as “The Year of Global Solidarity,” particularly in light of the serious financial crisis in our world, we must all demonstrate greater concern for the consolation of our brothers and sisters who are deprived of the most elementary resources.

          -- His Eminence Bartholomew, Ecumenical Patriarch


In this time of increasing uncertainty and even turmoil, words of comfort to the afflicted, and affliction to the comfortable are most appropriate.  The Ecumenical Patriach Barholomew has an excellent message for our time on line.  An excerpt is below.  The entire message can be viewed at the link at the bottom of this post. 


Unfortunately, the world believes that joy comes from gaining and possessing wealth, glory, positions and other pleasures. “There is nothing worse than a person who does not know how to love.” And “when you see someone who needs physical or spiritual healing, do not say to yourself: I wonder why this person was not healed by anyone. Simply heal that person of his or her illness, and do not seek to lay blame on others. If you anoint that person with the word of your teaching, like the oil of healing, if you cure that person with your good nature, restoring that person’s health with your patience, then that person will become the cause of the greatest treasure for you.” (See St. John Chrysostom, Homily 27 on 2 Corinthians and Homily 8 Against the Jews, PG 61.586-587 and PG 48.932-933). The truth is that the joy and satisfaction from offering love and material goods to our fellow human beings is incomparably greater. The conventional social understanding, which the young generation is taught as the most advantageous way of life, is greed and avarice. However, when such notions prevail, they create social turmoil and ultimately harm even those who acquire excessive wealth at the expense of others. The inevitable social division must be alleviated voluntarily by the offering of those who have to those who do not have, as our Lord explicitly teaches: “Let the person who has two garments give to another who has none” (Luke 3:11). It is only when we perceive our unity with all our fellow human beings, and especially the weak, will we journey through the period of Holy and Great Lent in a godly manner and receive the blessing of Christ.

A Message of Spiritual and Practical Hope


Time Out for Humor: Why It's Good Paul Ryan Wasn't Elected Vice-President

...and why he is still a danger:  Watch --

Portugal Erupts in Protests

In Portugal last week city after city passed resolutions denouncing the governmen'ts austerity program.  A huge mass of 800,000 people is reported to have gathered in Lisbon alone with some 1.5 million people total nationwide protesting cuts to workers' benefits and rights.

Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee of the United States has already called for a mass demonstration on "a date certain" in April to protest proposed cuts to Social Security.   I will be on the look-out for details about this demonstration and will pass them on here.  It is past time for Americans to let their voices be heard in strong, peaceful fashion that any cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and like programs are unjustified, unwise, and indeed unnecessary. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Rep. Keith Ellison Speaks

Rep. Keith Ellison is walking us through the history of the Republican threats of 2011.  Good history.

(See post below for more information.)

Live Now: Press Conference on Sequester Cuts

Sequester Press Conference

Senator Alan Grayson is speaking on specific cuts created by the sequestration.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Sen.'s Paul, Cruz Stand Up for Human Rights

Rush Post:

The article linked below tells of the important action of Senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz and why people on the left should support them on this issue. 

Rand Paul and Ted Cruz Stand Up for the Human Rights

Monday, March 11, 2013

Web Site for Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth

As we approach the twelfth anniversary of the destruction of September 11, 2001, there is renewed interest in the way the buildings attacked in New York eventually fell.  Having watched several videos over the years, and done some reading, as well as watching television interviews of experts such as Richard Gage, it is my conclusion the least we can do for the victims and their families is to demand a truly independent investigation.  I question whether the Federal government will allow such an investigation.  But we must start now to begin to bring out the truth since the official explanation is not credible.

See for yourself here:
Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Prayer for the Time Change

Today I ran across a hymn for the time change whose first line is:

God of sleep, and God of slumber, help us not be late, we ask:...*

This hymn does not fall into the category of great poetry, great hymnody, or great anything, except for the music which is the famous Welsh tune known as CWM RHONDDA.  It is good, however, for a laugh, or a chuckle.  This little hymn -- what I call a hymnlet -- lightened my load a bit today. 

There certainly is a place for "daylight saving" schemes.  However, starting Daylight Saving Time while it is still winter doesn't make much sense.  And it creates additional dangers for school children in the mornings, and inconvenience and annoyance for anyone who has to get up early to work, which amounts to a large number of people.  Let's put daylight saving time back where it better belongs -- in the truly warmer months. 

* From "Time Change Song (Spring).  Words by Dean McIntyre (1995).  General Board of Discipleshire (United Methodist Church), Nashville, Tennessee.  Line quoted for purposes of review under the copyright law. 

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Architects and Engineers Question 9/11 "Truth"

In this video certified architects explain why the collapse of World Trade Center Building Seven had to have been a controlled demolition.

If you happen to be hearing of this subject for the first time, I imagine you may find this to be unbelievable.  Yet through watching this video you will see everyone from news reporters on the scene to architectural experts explain how this looked like and was a controlled demolition.  Narrated by Ed Asner. 

Is There Any Alternative to Capitalism?

It should be obvious to every thinking person that something is desperately wrong with the U.S. economy.  Whether your favorite topic is the budget deficit, or homelessness, things just seem wrong.  We should admit this clearly, and cleanly, and without fear. 

But the question is raised, What is the alternative?  The best way to describe the alternative is a mixed economy, not socialism, not communism, and certainly  not unrestricted capitalism.  A so-called mixed economy is what we really have in this country -- profit economics co-existing with a certain amount of government regulation and investment.  The Scandinavian countries have been leaders in developing mixed economies.  The United States, because of its size and history is the most important of the world's mixed economies. 

A mixed economy is not likely to be replaced in the U.S. any time soon.  This is not to say there aren't people interested in establishing a pure profit system.  But most people, judging from the results of last autumn's election certainly appear to favor a regulated economy in some measure.  They don't want runaway capitalism. 

The U.S. House of Representatives is now run by essentially ignorant and cruel legislators.  The Boehner/Cantor/Ryan triumvirate is emblematic of the kind of people who have been given free reign to pursue a very ideological and nonsensical agenda.  They rail constantly about a balanced budget, forgetting that it is the U.S. government which creates the money in the first place (currently in close cooperation with the privately-run "Federal Reserve.")  Worse yet is their amnesia over the fact that this is a government which is to be run by, of, and for we the people, not the giant corporations as is now essentially the case.

We can and must do better!

Soon:  More suggestions will be forthcoming. 

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Architects Question 9/11/01 "Evidence"

Architects question the official "truth" about 9/11/01

A Petition to Congress

Below is personal language I added to a petition being circulated by Alan Grayson.  It is time to begin holding Congress, and especially the Tea/Republican party for this atrocity called the sequester. 

I can only say shame on some Congress members for even considering for a moment cutting Social Security, Medicare, and other much-needed benefits for the American people.  Bravo to Rep. Conyers for pointing out the obvious:  What Congress creates, Congress can revise, amend, or abolish.  Enough of the hubris and ideology.  It is time for common-sense practicality.  Please support Rep. Conyers' effort. 

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Thomas Jefferson Now More Relevant Than Ever

Link to Audio Included

The radio program linked to below offers listeners the opportunity to hear Thomas Jefferson in the person of Clay Jenkinson speaking about both his times and ours, specifically on the subject of privacy rights.  Jenkinson is more than wonderful in the role.

In a certain way there is no more important subject for the times we live in than privacy.  This program makes quite clear what the world of Thomas Jefferson was like.  It gives an indication of what the Revolutionaries were fighting for and why.  It also helps make clear just how different the times were then.  As Jenkins says, it was a three mile per hour world then.  With an average county sheriff now experimenting with drones* the issue of personal privacy (and thus freedom), is more urgent than ever. 

*See March 2013 National Geographic

Highly Recommended:
Thomas Jefferson Speaks to Us Today

Monday, March 04, 2013

Beginning to Make Sense of the Mess in Washington

Fast Post --

After what could be called a harrowing week and week-end, Americans are widely discussing the break-down of the federal government as we have known it.  Indeed, some may wonder whether there will be a functioning government in Washington much longer.

I am reminded, however, of James Garfield, at that time a future President, who said after the Lincoln assassination that the government at Washington still lives.  Indeed, the government at Washington still lives.  It is little loved or appreciated, and its mechanics are under duress, but it is still there. 

As for the future, the country seems in the hands of the wealthy, the people, and God in that order!

Here is a former Labor Secretary on the current situation:

Robert Reich on Sequestration

Friday, March 01, 2013

Cantor, Ryan Accused of Being Authors of Sequester

A Democratic Internet Source is claiming that Representatives Cantor and Ryan talked Speaker Boehner into the idea of a sequester in the infamous budget talks of 2011.

So this is now the Boehner/Cantor/Ryan Sequester Law. 

By the way, didn't we the people reject Mr. Ryan in the last election? 

Cantor, Ryan Claimed to Be Sequester Authors

President Calls Sequester Cuts "Arbitrary" and "Dumb"


The most important adjective which comes to mind is "irresponsible."  A close second is "cruel."  A close third is "unnecessary."  All these further adjectives have been used by others.  This is the looniest behavior from Republican legislators since Joseph ("I Have Here in My Hand") McCarthy, the greatest destroyer of Congressional veracity of all time. 

President Obama on Failure of Sequestration Talks

A Fitful, Petulant Boehner Walks Out, Confuses World

How can we say anything other than that the Speaker of the House is acting like little more than a high school sophomore Republican Club underling?*  This is not to say the man doesn't have even weaker underlings cheering him on.  This tragi-comedy is made little better by a U.S. President, who unlike Harry Truman, will give nothing approaching the heat of hell, though he does at least try to give the truth. 

*I happen to know one and I like him much better than Boehner! 

Boehner Talks and Quits

Washington Troubles America and Confuses the World:

Boehner Coming and Going

I am making an attempt today to follow what is going on in Washington, D.C. regarding the so-called sequestration crisis. 

The Washington Post is reporting talks between Boehner and President Obama, while The New York Times has had a report that Boehner walked out (see link below).

I wish it were easier to find out the truth.  Perhaps all of us working together we can determine by the end of the day whether we still have anything a world-class government in Washington.  Meantime, this Republican leadership is the worst since the dark days of McCarthyism and that includes the Gingrich House. 

Boehner Walks Out

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Bill Clinton Warns on Rising Nationalism

Rush Link -- Bill Clinton on Rise of Nationalism