1. Money cannot buy happiness, but its more comfortable to cry in a Mercedes than on a bicycle.
2. Forgive your enemy but remember the bastard’s name.
3. Help someone when they are in trouble and they will remember you when they’re in trouble again.
4. Many people are alive only because its illegal to shoot them.
5. Alcohol does not solve any problems, but then again, neither does milk.
Monthly Archives: September 2011
Through the global dialog and participation of thousands now, and millions in the future, we are reconstructing the core principles of our faith, those based on the gospel of Jesus, one founded on hope, love, and charity, healing, and building community.
Having initiated the process of deconstructing the idea in many people’s minds of Christians as wild-eyed Crusaders, we as liberals are also confronted with secular myths, in particular the myths of war. Even ardent, good, honest, hard-working liberals carry myths to justify war. The most common myth of war is that it is inevitable. Christians have many historical examples of love conquering the mightiest foes. Christ himself advocated peace, and even healed the ear of the Roman that was hewn. Ghandi drove out the British without firing a shot. Martin Luther King, Jr. inspired a nation to confront the evil of racism. The lone Chinese man stopped a tank in Tianamen square holding nothing but a briefcase.
Our task, as those inspired by a bold vision of peace, is to provide a viable path to end war forever. This path must adhere to non-violent, Christian means, otherwise the end will be for naught. As we have deconstructed the good and the bad in the past of Christianity and constructed a new future advocating for the ill, the hungry, the war weary, the aged, and the children, we will deconstruct the past myths of war and create a future of peace.
A Practical Plan for Peace – Global Incremental Mutually Verifiable Arms Reduction (GIMVAR)
Ending war will entail assiduous and sustained effort from people in all areas of society. Without question, peace is predicated on a widespread, grassroots movement from all parts of the globe in all areas of political, economic, and civil society. On the surface, a global citizens movement demanding peace seems untenable. After all, so many conflicts rage across the globe. We have violence in every continent. The Saudi government sends troops invade Bahrain to suppress the people’s call for justice. The Americans are in Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen. Turkey is bombing the Kurds. We see war in Chechnya, and Somalia. We see the threat of war in Ossetia and Iran.
Nevertheless, wherever conflicts erupt the civilians want peace. One of the missions of this essay is to inspire Christians large and small, of all denominations, and of all nations to act upon that sentiment and take bold action to stop the wars in which their governments fight.
Global arms reduction has several components the most important of which is reducing the dollar amount of weapons exported and reducing the total volume of weapons produced. Massive, sustained citizen input will be required for these demands to even be heard by most governments. It is our job as Christians to make sure that they do.
To be successful, the transition away from a war economy will need to be incremental. Obviously, a huge shift in military power will create power vacuums that may cause some to see an advantage in another’s weakness. Moving in a methodical, incremental fashion prevents a sudden shift in power and allows nations to make adjustments.
Secondly, those involved in the armaments industry will need to be incentivized to change their manufacturing and production to new industries such as green technologies, labor intensive industries such as organic farming, renovating homes to be energy efficient, the construction of green transportation and communications infrastructure. Providing a transition path for industry will reduce, but not eliminate, institutional resistance.
Verifying that those you fear are also playing by the rules is the critical component to the long-term success of this program for peace. As Reagan said, “Trust, but verify.” Taking incremental steps, agreed upon by all parties, helps to improve the process of verification. Governments and inspectors can verify that all parties have met their obligations before proceeding to the next step.
Both incentives and punitive measures will need to be invoked to ensure that countries participating in the process toward peace satisfy the agreements they have made. Incentives could include interest free loans, or simply grants for building food security, or developing industry, or water conservation and soil preservation. Punitive measures could include economic sanctions, freezing of assets, or the denial of participation in athletic competitions.
Any punitive measures must be non-violent, for peace cannot be attained by violent means.
Arms reduction will need to first focus on heavy armaments such as jet fighters, bombers, tanks, personnel carriers, artillery, warships, submarines, and other heavy weaponry. These types of armaments can be most readily identified as having one and only one purpose: killing human beings.
Small arms will also have to be included. While one may argue that small arms are necessary to protect one’s family, or to protect the people against the overreaching power of the state, reducing the number of small arms exported and imported is a critical component to attaining peace.
As Christians, we can choose to accept the myth that ‘war is inevitable’, or we can start taking concrete steps toward embracing our neighbors, loving our enemies, and eliminating the scourge of humankind – war.
The tea party and its ilk offer us only cold cups of bitter tea while serving up fountains of champagne to the super-rich, Wall Street, and big corporations.
The increasingly extreme conservative ideology pervading Congress and the tea party is infused with a dogmatic creed of rugged individualism, used to justify policies that benefit only the super-rich and large corporations, while hurting — even killing — the rest of us.
As Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) points out, living with economic hardship in this country means an early death. Rugged individualism works for those individuals lucky enough to be born with silver spoons in their mouths. For those unlucky enough to be born with a steel shovel in their hands…well, data shows they’ll die about 6.5 years before their silver-spoon peers do.
Meanwhile, as the poor get poorer, the middle class is shrinking.
Fortunately, our social safety net has kept millions more American children and adults out of poverty. Since the Great Recession began, government programs such as unemployment insurance, food stamps, and the Earned Income Tax Credit have played a critical role in keeping the poverty rate from rising even more dramatically.
In 2010, 3.9 million Americans, including 1.7 million children, were lifted out of poverty because of food stamps, while 3.2 million Americans were kept out of poverty by unemployment insurance benefits. Social Security provided a safety net from poverty to 20.3 million of us.
Purveyors of right-wing nonsense about government spending impoverishing our children and the middle class miss the big picture. Although those lacking health insurance increased from 49 million in 2009 to 50 million in 2010, and employment-based health coverage continued to decline, children were protected from this downward trend because Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) covered them. Additionally, President Barack Obama’s health care reform act, so much maligned by the right wing, enabled the number of insured 18-24 year-olds to actually rise by half a million last year.
What’s needed is more public investment, not less.
Obama’s American Jobs Act is a good start. It shows that the White House recognizes that we need public money invested in jobs that won’t just employ people, but will also fix our crumbling infrastructure. However, his calls for Congress to approve new so-called “free-trade” agreements with an anti-job track record is counter-productive.
Plus, we need a much larger-scale public effort to directly create green jobs that will quickly employ people, provide good wages and benefits, and reduce our carbon footprint at the same time. If we were to bring home the billions of dollars now being spent in devastating and costly wars overseas, we could actually pay for the significant investments that must be made at home.
We taxpayers are paying $1 million per year per U.S. soldier deployed in Afghanistan. For that same money, we could bring that soldier home, employ her in a well-paying green job for $50,000 per year, and similarly employ 19 more unemployed Americans.
There’s a way out of this misery. The tea party and its ilk offer us only cold cups of bitter tea while serving up fountains of champagne to the super-rich, Wall Street, and big corporations.
Don’t drink the tea. Instead, fight for a way to end our unemployment crisis and for our children to be healthy and able to participate in a thriving future.
As a child, beginning in the 4th grade, I was obsessed with playing the trumpet.
Not a bad thing I guess, unless you’re the parents of such child.
At least it wasn’t a drum set.
When I found a new piece I wanted to master (often classical), I had an obsessive routine I carried out. I would practice the same piece over and over, and then some more. My rule was that I had to be able to play the piece 10 times in a row without missing a note, then I could take a break or play something else.
My bedroom, where I practiced, was upstairs. If I was trying a difficult piece, you can imagine how long I might spend on this routine.
The parents were just as patient and supportive as Ward and June Cleaver (Wally…not so much), but enough is enough. When they reached their breaking point, they had a simple signal: they grabbed a broom and tapped it on the ceiling from downstairs. Thus “the signal” became routine; tap-tap-tap on the ceiling meant “For God’s sake, MOVE ON!”
This is a bit long for most people’s attention span. In that case, just “tap-tap” the keyboard and MOVE ON!
The Conn 60B was the most versatile, the finest trumpet ever created by Conn. .. designed for the professional. Conn produced the 60B “Super Constellation” from 1967 through 1972.
The Conn Sixty-B Pro trumpet now resides in my closet, waiting for a time when it’s only friend has the money to refurbish it, AND….the time to PRACTICE!
- What are some tips on tounging 32nd notes on the trumpet (wiki.answers.com)
- Why Are You So Busy? (unqualifiedreflecting.wordpress.com)
Since I don’t have the time and wherewithal to write good stuff like this, for now, please read what Duane has said so well!