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The Common Enemy

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Posted on Feb 7, 2008
Huck and Mac
AP photo / Charlie Niebergall

By Bill Boyarsky

A nightmarish vision of a McCain-Huckabee ticket haunted me as the votes came in on Super Tuesday night.

It was too much to contemplate, this Stone Age combination of Sen. John McCain, who envisions us staying in Iraq for 100 years, and former Gov. Mike Huckabee, a believer in creationism.

The next morning, a closer examination of the exit polls cheered me up. Improving on a trend that was evident in his South Carolina primary victory, Barack Obama increased his share of the white vote, confounding skeptics who have maintained whites won’t vote for an African-American. As Gary Langer of ABC News noted, “Obama won white men in five of the 16 states where exit polls were conducted.” In California, white men favored Obama over Sen. Hillary Clinton 52 percent to 34 percent.

This was the best news of a night when Clinton and Obama battled to a tie that will extend their struggle to future state contests, perhaps all the way to the Democratic National Convention. Is it possible the country is moving beyond the racial divide, with younger voters no longer trapped by the prejudices of the past?

After Super Tuesday, Democrats worried that a long Clinton-Obama contest might irreparably damage the party’s prospects in November. Actually, the bigger threat is McCain winning the GOP nomination—as appears almost certain now with the exit of Mitt Romney—especially if the Arizona senator decides to appease the Republican right by choosing Huckabee as his running mate.

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The states Huckabee carried Tuesday—his own Arkansas plus Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia—encompass the heart of the South, pretty much Republican country since President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights and Voting Rights acts more than 40 years ago.

As Huckabee said on “Fox and Friends” Wednesday: “You cannot win as a Republican if you don’t carry [the South]. You just can’t.” As for the vice presidency, he said on NBC’s “Today” show: “Let’s go ahead and be honest now. Nobody ever wants the vice president’s job. Nobody ever turns it down.”

To understand the danger posed by such a combo, you must first attempt, for the sake of argument, to briefly put aside their outrageous opinions. I know it is hard to forget McCain’s support of the surge in Iraq and his willingness to keep troops there for a century. Or to forget Huckabee’s view of amending the Constitution: “I believe it is a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living God. And that’s what we need to do, is to amend the Constitution so that it fits God’s standards.” 

What is dangerous about Huckabee is that he is a good campaigner with the manner of what he once was—the minister of a Baptist church with a friendly, humorous way of speaking developed over years of sermonizing, counseling troubled couples and leading youth groups. Don’t be misled by his limited appeal to his Southern region and the Christian right. The man is easy to underestimate.

McCain shouldn’t be underestimated either, although many—including some prominent journalists and pundits—did when his campaign almost fell apart last summer. He’s got a great biography, and he deals with critics in   his audiences in a forthright and winning way. I witnessed that one night in Iowa when he spoke to a Christian right group. One man, a thorough know-it-all, blasted McCain for believing in global warming. McCain listened politely and then disarmingly said maybe you’re right. But maybe you’re not. Isn’t it smart to do the research and make preparations in case you’re not? All through the audience, I saw people nodding approvingly at the answer.

And polls indicate he would be a tough opponent. In California, considered safe for Democrats, the Field Poll, taken Feb. 3, showed Hillary Clinton beating him by just 45 per cent to 43 per cent and Obama leading him 47 percent to 40 percent.

With the right campaign smarts on the Democrats’ side, either Clinton or Obama should be able to beat McCain, with or without Huckabee on his ticket.

The issues are clearly with the Democrats.

The economy is plummeting, dragged down by the enormous debt being run up to finance the war. Hopefully, the Democrats will be able to make the connection in a stronger manner than they have done so far.

The Democrats are not fractured by huge ideological divisions. Both Clinton and Obama want out of Iraq, although she favors too slow a pullout. They disagree over health care, but it is somewhat of a wonkish dispute over whether everyone should be forced to have insurance.

Most important, together they can pull together a Democratic coalition that cuts across racial and economic class lines. Clinton won white women, Obama won white men. Latinos backed her, blacks supported him. They’ll fight hard but hopefully without damaging each other or themselves. The pre-Super Tuesday campaigning was actually pretty peaceful and collegial. If you want to see ugliness, go back to 1968 and 1972 when the Vietnam War tore the Democratic Party apart. I hope Clinton and Obama are smart enough to avoid having that happen again.



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By Nabih Ammari, February 10, 2008 at 10:51 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Re:What do we call the war?

Louis,

I have appreciated reading your response.Thank you.

I completely agree with every words embodied in your
above Re except two words:“Our War”.Please allow me
to elaborate:

To start with,I have adhered firmly to a principle
called “The Principle of Cause and Effect” through
all of my adult life.I am 74 years.This principle
has never failed me in reaching a sensible conclusion
or no conclusion at all,whatever the subject matter
in question.

In the legal sphere,the “Cause” is the “Motive” and
the resulting “Crime”,whatever it is is the “Effect”.

In the realm of medicine and medical sciences,the
“Cause” is somehow referred to the name related to the “Bacteria”,“Germ” or “Virus” that cause the illness in the first place such as anemia,bronchitis,
arthritis and etc…The “Effect” resulting from the
cause,as you probably know, is called “Symptom”;and
varies from simple skin rash to severe pain in joints
to all kinds of internal pains inside the human body.

If you accept the foregoing system of thoughts,then
all the correct/right statements/comments in your above Re will fit very nicely as “Effects” of the “Cause”
of the war.There is no need to recite once more the
Cause or Causes of the war since they have become
well known.

Furthermore,if I dare to tell you and the rest of the humanity that conveniently calling the two great
wars of the 20Th century as the First world War and
Second World War fit the foregoing system of thinking
and therefore incorrect,some persons may think I am
out of my mind.And perhaps I am.I rather be called
that than abandoning the principle that served me so well for the last fifty plus years:

The correct name for the First World War is:

“The Assassination War”.

The correct name for the Second World War is:

“The Treaty Of Versailles War” or “Versailles War”,
for short.

Both of the correct names above are based upon the
“Real Cause” for each war as I understood them:the
first was due to an assassination and the second was
due to very very harsh treaty.Fascinating in my views

In a TV interview I saw Mr.Nwet Gingrich, in his obvious attempt to shield GWB from accountability and
total responsibility for the quagmire in Iraq,he
resented calling the war, off-the-cuff,by a reporter
as the president war.He insisted on calling it an
“American War”.I firmly disagree.

Is there any difference between “American War” and
“Our War”.I see no difference since we are all
Americans.I want those who caused this bankrupting,
ugly and agonizing war in Iraq be accountable and
hopefully brought to justice.

I hope all or some of the above will be of some help
to you in understanding as to why the term “Our War”
fits only as an “Effect” resulting from real cause or
causes of the war in Iraq.Thank you again for your
comments.I have appreciated reading them.
Sincerely,
Nabih Ammari
An Independent in Ohio.

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By cyrena, February 10, 2008 at 9:51 pm Link to this comment

Jackpine,

What a mental telepathy going on here. Really..I find myself in ideological agreement with just about everything you post, and especially in this one.
But the telepathy part comes with your revelation of your horticulture profession, and the relationship with plants. (you win nearly every argument).

Well, same here..on the plants’ thing. I don’t have a greenhouse, since I’ve never done it as a profession or a trade. BUT…the thought DID come to my mind just today. Since we’ve had Spring-like weather here the past several days, I’ve spent at least a small portion of the past several days, re-potting everything. (still have a few to go). Looking around, I realized I’ve created quite a collection over the past few years, and most of them (well nearly all of them) started out very small, so it’s been what I would call a ‘minimal expense’ hobby. And, that’s really all that it’s ever been for me…a hobby. It’s true that plants are generally very agreeable. (though I did get a frog bite once, and nobody believes that it was really a frog that bit me). I also lost a plant a few weeks ago in the severe rain that we had. Unbeknownst to me, I apparently screwed up in repotting that one several months ago. For whatever the reasons, it didn’t drain properly. The poor thing drowned.

So, I’ve learned from the loss, and have been especially careful the past few days, with the latest repotting cycle to make sure that doesn’t happen again. Meantime, I said all of that to say that if push comes to shove, I probably COULD sell one or two of them. I can’t start a nursery or anything, but it’s nice to do something productive, and see some results.

I also appreciate your analysis on the mood of the American people respective to our political cycle. There’s no doubt in my mind that the horror of the past 7 years has finally penetrated the psyche of the majority of the public. A recent newspaper headline here in my own So. Calif town claimed the highest voter turnout since 1976!!!

Now, that’s saying something, especially for what has historically been a laid-back, ‘dropped out’ casual sort of political mentality. And, that’s not just here..it really IS across the country. Americans are taking on an awareness similar to many of Europe’s societies. Overall, the Europeans are far more involved in their politics than Americans have been, bringing to mind a thought from Michael Moore’s latest documentary, that in those societies, governments are afraid of the people/citizens, rather than the people/citizens being afraid of their governments.

But, what a shame that it has taken the destruction of our own democracy and the collapse of our economy/infrastructure/civil society to get people back to an awareness of what it all means. The past several decades have somehow led us to take these basic principles of democracy for granted I guess. Anyway, like you, I hope that it isn’t too little, too late.

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By Maani, February 10, 2008 at 9:40 pm Link to this comment

JS:

Thank you.  And I just want to make sure that everyone knows that I was not trying to be facetious or belittling in any way.  Even if all of this IS simply honing our skills, positions, etc., I agree that “real democracy is based on thinking and discussing,” and I will always support that.

Indeed, no matter how “tense” things have gotten (and may continue to get on occasion), I have always been of the belief that “I may disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

And no, those are NOT just “words.”  Because as our freedoms, civil liberties and privacy continue to be eroded (though we can hope that that process will at least BEGIN to be stemmed, if not reversed, with a Democratic president), it is those like us - and particularly those with the poltical “fierceness” of people like Cyrena, MMC, CY and others - who are likely to be in the “front lines” of protest and/or disobedience if and when we begin hearing “Your papers, please.”

Yes, political junkies (and quasi-junkies) like most of us are slaves to the news cycle, and, yes, there is a pent-up anger and frustration on the part of a growing segment of the American public.  So “let it be” for now that we engage in our discussions and debates, however “enclosed” they are within the limited cyberspace of TruthDig.  Because it can only make us sharper and more focused as we take what we learn here (from each other) back to the “bricks and mortar” world, and share what we know or believe and, hopefully, help others to open their eyes, and guide them as they learn how to usefully and effectively channel that anger and frustration.

I wish you the best with your horticulture, but will continue to enjoy your company for the present, and hope that you will drop in as you may be available.  As for liking plants more than people, that sounds like a neat paraphrase of the old saw that “The more I know of people, the more I like my dog.”

Finally, I join you in your hope that “it is not too late” to take back this country and restore at least some of what we have lost, whether that be freedom, civil rights, privacy, greater equality, economic fairness and security, peace and/or innocence.

Peace. (in our time)

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By Maani, February 10, 2008 at 9:16 pm Link to this comment

Michael:

Yup, the Big (wormy) Apple.  And I agree: Times Square was much more…colorful before it became Disneyfied.  More real.  Now it’s all glitz and glamour and…phoniness.

“Masochism?”  Yeah, I guess so, especially when emotions run high and the food fights begin…LOL.

Re the election, despite my “shilling” for my candidate (LOL - still love ya, CY), I too will support whichever of the candidates is the nominee, since the very concept of a McCain presidency hurts my head.  Barcelona, here I come…LOL.

Peace.

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By Maani, February 10, 2008 at 9:12 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous:

“Mushy peas.”  ROFLMAO!!!  But thanks for the back-up…

Peace.  (firm, NOT mushy…)

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By Paracelsus, February 10, 2008 at 9:02 pm Link to this comment

Should that be mass?

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By jackpine savage, February 10, 2008 at 8:52 pm Link to this comment

Nice post, Maani.

Maybe we can be representative, but probably we aren’t…and i say this because most people don’t take the time to think or put their ideas forward.  Real democracy is based on thinking and discussing, even in disagreement.

To be honest, i’d much rather talk about things other than this (or any) election.  But we’re all slaves to the news cycle.  And i’ve been figuring of late that the intensity of this election is only partially about the candidates.  I’ve come to think that Americans in general (and thinking Americans most of all) have something pent up after these terrible seven years…and its all bubbling to the surface.  I think that’s why turnout has been so high; there’s a realization that our way of life is on the ropes…i only hope that it is not too late. (And i often fear that it is)

I won’t be around so much pretty soon.  The downhill ride into spring is upon me, though i live at 47’ N.  One of the fringe benefits of working in horticulture is that spring happens several months earlier inside a greenhouse.  And you’d be surprised what truths you can find when you dig in actual dirt.

And i hope no one takes this the wrong way, but i’m looking forward to it.  I like plants better than people…i win almost every argument.

I figure others would take our place if we all left.  On the other hand, we should all giver ourselves a round of applause because this place has remained pretty damned civil compared to a lot of the internet. And i know that i’ve learned a lot from everyone else.

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By Michael Shaw, February 10, 2008 at 7:06 pm Link to this comment

By the way, I missed your last statement, true! But if you have some salt pork the hill of beans seems more appetizing.

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By Michael Shaw, February 10, 2008 at 7:02 pm Link to this comment

Ha! Intellectual masturbation probably comes the closest, and perhaps a bit of masochism to boot.

So you’re from NYC? Great town! Been there many times. Have family in Binghamton. Was there when 42nd street wasn’t Disneyland. What glorious decadence! I don’t like what Rudy and Bloomberg have done to it.

As for Hillary/Obama, up till now I’ve been basically on a fence. I did lean more to Hillary until recently and will vote for whichever one gets the nod. Hope someone does soon.

I voted for neither in the primary and considered my vote to be one of conscience and protest. But I also realize the importance of getting rid of the neocons. I just hope the dems(us) don’t screw this one up. Especially with the worse and most unpopular president in US history in there. As this moves along it looks like the dummies are going to cut their own goddamn throats again. How stupid can they(we) get? Now is the time for unity and we should all be setting our petty differences aside. This election is in the bag if we remain intact. We can either win it easily or hand it over to McCain/Huckabee.

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By Michael Shaw, February 10, 2008 at 6:42 pm Link to this comment

Well Frank I share you sentiments. Also I can’t see how they would knock Obama for not being religious enough. In my view the least religious the better. The Catholic Church is a travesty. My sister and I often share the nightmares and are damn glad we’re out of that mess.

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By Frank Cajon, February 10, 2008 at 6:30 pm Link to this comment

Re: Michael Shaw 2/10 on Catholic School: That all sounds very familiar. I was physically beaten by nuns in my first five years; loved the two years of public schools while moving around a lot, got a scholarship to a Catholic boy’s high school from which I deliberately got myself expelled for disciplinary reasons, despite straight As, to get back into the public high school system. I may have been fortunate, as the diocese where I grew up recently paid $200 million to hundreds who were molested by priests around the time I was an altar boy. Later, when I got engaged to a non-Catholic woman and wanted a rather radical priest friend to marry us: forget it, they wanted her to convert, take classes, sign off that our kids would be raised Catholic, and we had to get married in a church ceremony. I can understand secular religions having their rules and rigidity, but needless to say my wife and I married in a civil ceremony by a minister friend. I don’t have problems with individuals for whom it is important to belong to a secular religion, but the distressing trend this country has seen towards a government by an oligarchy of fundamentalist Christians who legislate morality will only escalate if Americans are foolish enough to elect a minister Vice President, which seems dangerously close to happening. And the big knock on Obama is that he is not particularly religious. So what?

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By Maani, February 10, 2008 at 6:28 pm Link to this comment

You know, I just realized something:

Bert, Cyrena, CY, Doug, Dr. KIA, Expat, GrammaConcept, Inherit the Wind, Jack, Jackpine Savage, Leefeller, Lilmamzer, Louise, Maani, Michael Shaw, Mike Mid-City, Paracelsus, Purplewolf, Shenonymous, Tony Wicher, Troublesum, Waxman -

22 people (plus a handful of other, less regular posters with equally well-thought-out and interesting opinions) discussing and debating in the circular echo chamber of LieDig, moving from thread to thread, trying to convince each other that their positions are the correct ones, that their candidate is the best one, that their evidence in support of their positions and their candidate is the most accurate, agreeing on all the things that “preach to the choir” like civil liberties and torture, disagreeing on hot-button issues like religion and U.S. policy re Israel -

Does any of us really think we will sway those who have the opposing opinion re Obama and Hillary, or on the hot-button issues?  Are we all just engaging in mutual intellectual masturbation for the sake of sharpening our minds and honing our arguments (and there’s nothing wrong with that)?  Can 22 people (give or take) truly be representative of the millions of voters out there?

And, most importantly, if all of us simply packed up and left, would LieDig survive?  (LOL).

Just some random thoughts on a quiet, snowy day in NYC.

Peace.

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By Shenonymous, February 10, 2008 at 6:24 pm Link to this comment

Can we dispense with really stupid comments Douglas?  Certain things don’t really need vetted such as the word “persuasion.”  Everybody knows what Maani meant.  He is a man, dummy and you mistook him for a woman, dummy.

Mushy peas

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By Michael Shaw, February 10, 2008 at 5:44 pm Link to this comment

Well what I’m beginning to see is an emerging civil war in the democratic party, the last thing on earth we need to happen. One point that comes to mind is a Hillary Clinton special that aired just before super Tuesday on the Hallmark Channel. Hillary used her own money, 5 million dollars(she only raised 13.2 million to Obama’s 32 million) to stage this event which some considered an off take on Bush’s staged home town meetings. Then there are the “secret” negotiations behind the scenes by Hillary supporters to validate the Florida primary, which would give Clinton another 366 “ghost” delegates.

Then there’s that statement about Hispanics being unwilling to support a black candidate, Hillary calling it an historically significant statement with Tim Russert, essentially plugging Hispanics as racist bigots. The results are evident in the most recent polls where Obama is now capturing way more Hispanic votes than Hillary.

I realize politics are politics and I don’t consider Hillary as a racist or homophobic. But clearly some of the things that have been going on, on her part, acts in political desperation if you will, have only hurt her chances rather than helped them. They have also caused divisions in the party.

Of course the other looming question might be if Obama does win the primary, will race be a factor in the general election? True it didn’t seem to work and according to Frank Rich of the NY Times it actually seems to have backfired in Hillary’s case. But lets not forget who our republican counterparts truly represent either. Obama has done very well in his bid to beat the stereotypes, so that might indicate he truly could win the presidency. His chances now seem to outweigh those of his democratic opponent. On these grounds I find myself hoping that Hillary(and Bill)for the sake of the party(and a victory over the neocons), will have the decency to step aside and allow Obama his victory. Otherwise that civil war will escalate and McCain will be the next president.

At one point I actually embraced the idea of an Obama/Clinton ticket or vice versa, thinking it might unify the party. But with these new things in the making along with the negative commentary, that would almost seem impossible and more importantly illogical.

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By Douglas Chalmers, February 10, 2008 at 5:23 pm Link to this comment

By Maani, February 10: “...I am of the male persuasion…”


I didn’t realize that you had to be “persuaded”, Maani, uhh. What did they do to you…...???

Peace.

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By Shenonymous, February 10, 2008 at 4:38 pm Link to this comment

You obviously did not get the simile.  Broadening your horizons a bit wouldn’t hurt.  The allusion to Rome is that there are many paths in life as many as there are of us but some of us may be headed toward similar goals, hence differences may be superficial.

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By Michael Shaw, February 10, 2008 at 4:38 pm Link to this comment

Catholic schools were a nightmare. I too had my share of them as a young child, though not as severe as your own experiences. In my case it was a nun smashing my head into a concrete wall at the age of 7 because I left the room to visit the lavatory without the nun’s permission. She was in a meeting and left the class to an 8th grader. The 8th grader told me I could go and on the way back I was assaulted by the nun. Later when I left the Catholic school system and went to public school, having to take summer school classes in science to even get there, the pastor told me I had to go to catechism classes or I could not be married in the Catholic Church. Of course there was a fee as in that church there is a fee for everything. As I grew older and noticed the Catholic Church was supporting the war in Vietnam, that and everything before it came to light and I haven’t been back ever since. Never intend to go back either.

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By Maani, February 10, 2008 at 4:37 pm Link to this comment

MMC:

How is it “in my name?”  Maani is actually a popular boys name in some Muslim countries.  I have never seen it as a girl’s name.

Peace.

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By Maani, February 10, 2008 at 4:35 pm Link to this comment

Kathryn:

I hate to tell you this, but all the Dem candidates support equal rights for gay people, and none of them are homophobic, as you seem to be.

So I guess you’re voting for…?

Peace.

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By brhorton, February 10, 2008 at 4:32 pm Link to this comment

I somehow i think of Livia Poisoning Augustus to get Tiberius on the throne. The analogy is not quite right but it will have to do.

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By Michael Shaw, February 10, 2008 at 4:27 pm Link to this comment

Well I’m glad I can remove the darn thing. It was getting uncomfortable. Cherrio!

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By Leefeller, February 10, 2008 at 3:24 pm Link to this comment

Sincerity is the difference, hypocritical piety is not apart of your religion Mike, so I respect that for what it is worth.

Small miracles is a nice thought, but what do you mean by miracle? Small and miracle do not go hand in hand, just a side note.

Be comfortable with your belief as I am.

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By Shenonymous, February 10, 2008 at 3:24 pm Link to this comment

To add to your chagrin, Michael Shaw, Maani is a man.  We are what we are and Popeye says I yam what I yam.  If we keep working at it, I don’t think you will need that cup any more.  We are both in the human race even if on slightly different paths.  There are many roads to Rome.  Yes, I do know what men are like.  Not all are egotistical.  But not many.
 
Il n’a même montant au sommet d’une colline, de haricots

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By Inherit The Wind, February 10, 2008 at 3:19 pm Link to this comment

“Well don’t forget the Tarot either.”

I couldn’t be expected to remember EVERYTHING, now could I?
LOL!

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By Maani, February 10, 2008 at 3:15 pm Link to this comment

For the record, Doug, I am of the male persuasion…

Peace.

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By jackpine savage, February 10, 2008 at 2:29 pm Link to this comment

Mike,

I have a degree in comparative religion; yes, you are right that such is the case.

On that note, one of my professors (a former Jesuit) explained a concept that is worth repeating.  There are two planes of religion: the spiritual and the temporal.  The latter is often, and purposefully, confused with the former.  However, the latter is about building the power of the Church here on Earth.

The folks who really dislike religion, in my experience, actually dislike the temporal power of the Church but fail to see that there is the spiritual plane.  Of course, many churches do not concentrate on the spiritual plane…either within their congregations or in their interaction with the outside world.

It is, as Gandhi said, all religions are like spokes on a wheel; if you follow any one with dedication you will find that they lead to the same center.  This explains why monks and nuns can have very productive inter-faith meetings, while priests and preachers often end up debating fine points of theology.  One group walks the spokes of the wheel, while the other promotes their particular spoke over and against the others.

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By Conservative Yankee, February 10, 2008 at 2:13 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I hate to tell you this Kathryn, But the depravity at private schools (well documented) is beyond anything you can imagine… When I was 10, I watched from under my covers as four boys “bundled” a much smaller boy, They each raped him, and then threw him out a second story window.  His parents came to get him the next day. He had a broken arm, and abrasions over half his body. He (as far as I know) never told anyone of the sexual nature of the assault.  The purps stayed in school and the rest of us smaller children formed a group and never went anywhere alone…. BUt we never told either.. At the end of the year my parents were surprised I no longer wished to attend private school, and returned me to public school where I was very happy.

I have talked to many people (men and women) who attended private school, and they usually have a similar story.

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By Michael Shaw, February 10, 2008 at 1:06 pm Link to this comment

I don’t know what happened to the caption.

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By Michael Shaw, February 10, 2008 at 1:04 pm Link to this comment

I apologize for addressing you as a he. Call it inept male sexism(and oversight to the obvious). You are a brilliant and fascinating individual. My very assumptions in that making you a male shows how simply ignorant and egotistical men can often be. Of course as being a man, I take no joy in someone handing me my testicles on a silver platter either! Perhaps that is why I choose to wear a cup whenever we converse!

I truly do hope we meet in the middle somewhere down the road. I still believe we are essentially on the same team, at least from a political standpoint if not a philosophical one. So Madame,  Mademoiselle, pardon moi!

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By Michael Shaw, February 10, 2008 at 12:10 pm Link to this comment

Well don’t forget the Tarot either. Somehow I had a different take on Zeitgeist’s commentary then you did. I wasn’t looking at him as trying to promote the supernatural as much as he did to dispel it. Take Maat for instance, the pharaohs all ruled in the name of Maat. That was the premise for having a pharaoh. And of course Pharaoh was also Maat’s relative perhaps not so unlike the pope being the living representative of Christ on earth. But I don’t believe he was trying to destroy Christianity but rather point out the distortions of its true teachings and the reasons behind them. Of course I suppose we would need to ask him to clarify this.

Remember that Jesus spoke to power, a slave was as great as a king and a camel would go through the eye of the needle before a rich man saw God. Blessed be the peacemakers etc. Jesus spoke to power and he did so in a way the people of his time would best understand it. He also preached non-violence in a time when power was(and still is) based upon violence.

Zeitgeist’s statement on the Gnostic slaughter sealed the deal for me. These people were not witchcraft or heretics in any way. They were presented as such by the church because they saw no reason in giving a man money to worship Christ. They were right! Also the south of France is damn good wine country, something the pope no doubt realized when he gave the order.

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By Michael Shaw, February 10, 2008 at 11:48 am Link to this comment

No more Ms nice lady? For those who really know you, this in itself is a canard! As for your new patron, he has already been proved wrong in his attempts to bury any existence in Christ. And what about your ilk Cyrena or whatever other name you are currently using? Shall I mention them too?

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By Kathryn Borkowski, February 10, 2008 at 8:49 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Poor Hillarry, she’s upset because the news reporter used the term, pimping out her daughter to gain votes for her mother. Poor Hillarry, does’nt mind pimping out America’s Children to the indoctrination of Homosexaulity- see http://www.massresistance.org. This woman must be stopped, all all of her kind. Wake up America, for your children will be denied the kind of upbringing that Hillarry, finds respectful.

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By Leefeller, February 10, 2008 at 8:35 am Link to this comment

Good old religion, the perfect tool to appease the masses. All the little quotes like “an eye for an eye”  “tooth for a tooth” , filling the minds of the masses with little sayings. Just cannot wait for the inspiring tirades of a different ignorance. 

Remember Ford using football sayings for inspiration.  Now we have Bush with the end is just around the corner, the war is over, we can get the troops home.

Huckster will be great for this county, we could have religion on every corner, every court house in our schools, teach the gospel of war with a cherry on top.

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By Shenonymous, February 10, 2008 at 7:54 am Link to this comment

I suggest Maani that you do some extensive research on Christianity and war.  Try
http://www.google.com/search?q=Christianity+and+war&hl=en&start=10&sa=N
As I did and there is plenty of evidence that both world wars have religion, the Christian religion specifically, as a criterion and justification for war murders.  Also if you would recall the Catholic President Nhu and his wife Madam Nhu saying that the Buddhists who were self-immolating themselves in protest of their hypocritically Catholic-based repressive regime ought to keep “barbequing” themselves.  All of the Yankee warriors who went after American Indians did so saying their God was on their side.  You need to read more history.  The concept of “destiny” is in fact a religious based notion. That is, John L. O’Sullivan, journalist 1845, believed that God (“Providence”) had given the United States a mission to spread republican democracy (“the great experiment of liberty”) throughout North America, in his words, “…because it was our manifest destiny to overspread the continent allotted by Providence for the free development of our yearly multiplying millions.”

Wars do not have to be designated “religious wars” to have religion as a raison d’etre.

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By Shenonymous, February 10, 2008 at 7:32 am Link to this comment

ITW your criticism is well spoken.  While zeitgeist has excellent language skills, the content of his Big egos and the Myth of Constantine post is beguiling because of its flavor of the arcane and people love the arcane, it is spellbinding.  Because of that, it is suspect and smacks of sophistry as well and you notably have seen into it.  Much appreciated.  And I agree with you about what is the root of all evil in the world.

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By Inherit The Wind, February 10, 2008 at 7:02 am Link to this comment

Instead Newtonian mechanics further solidifies this process of perception, by throwing up a barrier when effort is made in contemplating the views of the ancient adepts.

This little insight must be taken into account when confronted with bygone knowledge and perception of the Philosophers Stone, the Shem-an-na.

Tell me, do you also subscribe to the power of crystals, pyramids, astrology and aroma-therapy along with this nonsense?

ALL Religions, including Marxism and Capitalism (especially the Neo-con variety) promise that if you give over you mind, your logic, your perception and common sense, and labor like a slave in squalor all your life, you’ll be rewarded after death with Heaven. (Or, even worse, as the Marxists propose, your children’s children’s children’s children will get the reward).

All of them make you a slave—the recent addition, COS, is particularly blatant in this.

The history of Christianity has been one of an EXTREME distillation of this concept—you must be a mindless, totally controlled slave in life or you’ll burn in Hell.  As Catholicism has been growing out of this over the last 150 years, Radical Fundamentalism in US has taken it over.  The ORIGINAL idea of Jesus, namely as the Jewish Moshiach, following Jewish law was totally lost to be given over to Heaven/Hell as all-consuming.

But Islam, which should have been more reasonable, has been following the same trends over the last 200 years.  We see whole nations ruled the way Europe was ruled in the Middle Ages.

Is Judaism, we see radical fundamentalists argue using Stalin’s “Only one road to Socialism” to try to tear down all the wonderful achievements of Israel in the name of ultra-Orthodox purity.

No, I’m convinced that faith, which is the acquisition of “knowledge” without premise, observation or logic, is the root of all evil in the world.

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By Douglas Chalmers, February 10, 2008 at 12:37 am Link to this comment

By Maani, February 9: “How do you rationalize WWI, WWII, Vietnam and the “wars” against the Native Americans (to say nothing of Iraq) as “religious” wars….  just because the president has labeled the Iraq war a “crusade” does not make it one, nor does it make it a “religious war.”...”

Poor Maani, uhh, she can never quite reconcile her own denials and refusals. To be a good minister, Maani, you have to go much further than your congregation. Mere proselytizing from a book and from the safety of an ‘authorized’ position is not enough. Endlessly quoting rules and regulations from dead scripture is no better than repudiating Jesus’ admonition that “the sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath”.

Shenonymous is actually correct this time. Invoking God’s help in any war does make it “religious”. If Christianity hasn’t already taught you this in the past 1,000 years, then Islam and even Judaism will. They both fight with God “on their side”.  That is far beyond “mere propaganda”. It IS their belief - and yours, too. It is what they are willing to die for - if you are not! And, as you are actually a coward….......

But religion itself has nothing to do with God. It is a man-made ideology and the “gods of war” are the ones that the people of the USA all bow down to. That is proven day by day as workers go to their munitions and armaments factories and the soldiers train for killing and the airforce delivers its murderous cargo to besieged nations far and wide. It is what they live for - but expect others to die for.

Thus, war IS a religion! It is what people believe in. Oh, great and wonderful military-industrial complex, “give us this day our daily bread” , uhh. So, it doesn’t matter whether you call your religion “war” or “materialism” in the USA, it is the same in the end. One inevitably leads to the other as the wants and needs of others are sacrificed for your own selfish desires.

So the USA is on a crusade. And so too is Britain and the other Anglo WASP countries. They are obsessed and they will continue with their delusions until the end. Whether that is a global nuclear war or their own utter failure remains to be seen. If it is the former, it will be rather late to complain. What will you have done to help stop it in the meantime? Your denials and refusals are so worthless.

Yes, WW1 and WW2 and the American war in Vietnam were all religious wars for those very same reasons. The god of wars pointed his finger from a poster and said “I want you!”  and everyone howled “It is our duty!”  and off they all went like so many proverbial lemmings. Only Maani in her lackadaisical procrastinations still fails to see the obvious. It is still far too comfortable for her in her precious state of self-centred confusion.

As Louise said, “GWOT belongs to Bush and every fool who goes along with it. We own the disastrious results of their insanity! That’s why we all feel such pain. There is no way around it…”.

Thus the GWOT is a religion in the USA and everwhere else it has contaminated the hearts and minds of people around the globe. It IS your crusade. You ARE a part of it and are being dragged along with it whether you want to be or not. It is exactly the same as the old Roman empire….....

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By Louise, February 9, 2008 at 10:24 pm Link to this comment

It sticks in my throat too, because I don’t want it either, never did. But that doesn’t make the FACT of it go away, does it.

Nor the cost in blood and treasure, nor the cost on our children and grandchildren.

GWOT belongs to Bush and every fool who goes along with it. We own the disastrious results of their insanity! That’s why we all feel such pain.

There is no way around it.

I wish there were ...

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By troublesum, February 9, 2008 at 9:47 pm Link to this comment

John Pilger’s film WAR ON DEMOCRACY will be released in the US this month.  See the trailer: http://www.warondemocracy.net

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By Maani, February 9, 2008 at 9:40 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous:

How do you rationalize WWI, WWII, Vietnam and the “wars” against the Native Americans (to say nothing of Iraq) as “religious” wars?

Re the first three, I doubt that very many scholars (bor most people) would agree with you.  Indeed, I have never seen these three referred to as “religious wars” anywhere.

Re Iraq, just because the president has labeled the Iraq war a “crusade” does not make it one, nor does it make it a “religious war.”  It is a war about oil, greed, money and power.  As with Hitler, who “used” Christianity to further his goals, Bush’s invocation of “crusade” is mere propaganda, and does not per se make it a “religious war.”

Re the Native Americans, our decimation of them was not done for “religious” reasons, but out of our belief in “manifest destiny” - our westward move to “conquer” the continent.  Yes, the Native Americans were considered “savages” by the (mostly) Christian settlers.  But if religion was an element in our near-genocide of them, it was a minor one, not a major one.  Rather, we were seeking (i) space (i.e., to live on as we grew in population), (ii) natural resources, and (iii) real estate, since landholding meant security, wealth, and limited power.

I think you stretch the term “religious wars” past credibility when you include the ones above.

Peace.

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By Shenonymous, February 9, 2008 at 9:19 pm Link to this comment

As much as I want to agree with you Louise, I find that calling the Bush War “Our” war just sticks in my throat.  I cannot own it in any way.  I was against it from before it started, when the clatter… no, when the cacophony was being made about weapons of mass destruction, the bogus weapons as we have since found out.  I agree with your portrait of what it is we don’t see, as that is most poignant and true.  The obvious stupor the public was and is intentionally kept in prevents them from “owning” the war by way of their ignorance.  There is something inherently wrong with blaming the ignorant.  But you are correct in calling on all to revolt with their vote. The fact is that future generations will be paying dearly for this war.  And yes, it must stop and we need to stop it, now.

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By Michael Shaw, February 9, 2008 at 8:59 pm Link to this comment

All I can say Zeitgeist is incredible and brilliant! Bravo! I appreciate your insight and knowledge. But it is the central theme surrounded by the eloquence that is truly the most brilliant. In fact it is as brilliant as simplicity itself. It would seem that indeed you are on the true path to enlightenment.

Gnosis is of course the foundation to all religion. Kaballah, or the tree of life, one of the two trees of Eden, described by many cultures from the Nordics to the Buddhists. Maat, the ancient Egyptian god of truth and universal order. ...Knowledge through experience rather than traditional understanding… It all boils down to trying to understand the great mystery but it seems to do that, we must free ourselves from ourselves or at least our entrapments as you point out. Then the great mystery of all the ages hits us right smack in the face! “Blinded but not lost!” Indeed!

As you know, the Codex Alexandrinus was discovered in Egypt. Of course these scripts contained the last parts of Luke’s gospel rather than the gospels of Peter or Mary(Magdalene), the Gnostic verses. Some of the Gnostic Gospels were also found in Egypt in the Nag Hammadi library. Though projected by some to have been written in the second and perhaps even 4th century’s, others have argued they may in fact precede the Codex Alexandrinus.

I can understand why the Roman Papacy would get their pants in a bunch and quell this theory since it might invalidate Luke’s gospel. It brings to terms as to why Mary Magdalene was contorted into a whore. The Gnostic’s made Mary important, in fact the closest disciple to Christ. She was an Apostle as important as Peter or any of the others and in a man’s world too, where women were (and in some cases) still are second class citizens. It might even explain the reasons behind Hillary Clinton losing the white man’s vote to Barrack Obama! Inculcating indeed!

The idea that real power(knowledge) might come from within rather than without was reason enough for the papacy to slaughter the Occitan’s. After all, if people got the idea they didn’t need an institution to be enlightened, that institution along with all of it’s power and influence would itself vanish. Thus the necessary indoctrinations from birth to death and from generation to generation.

The bottom line is, we don’t need them! It is they who need us, to maintain their power and gather their wealth. To blindly serve them! You are absolutely right, we have been blinded, the proverbial wool pulled over our eyes!

Of course this clear threat to papal domination or for that matter power wealth in general is no doubt the most significant reason behind the slaughtering of the Occitan culture and many others from then and before, to now and on to the future. It is also married to the events in Iraq, Afghanistan and around the world.

Essentially it all boils down to the people of this world forgetting about this “us or them” theorem, getting a good grip on ourselves and in one united moment saying enough is enough!

I enjoyed your great commentary. By all means please do continue!

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By Shenonymous, February 9, 2008 at 8:49 pm Link to this comment

Maani, I was not restricting the “millions murdered” in the name of Christianity to the Crusades. I was including all the wars the world has known where men killed men in the name of their religion, Protestant or Catholic Christians.  These are the major ones:  The French Wars of Religion (16th c.); President Bush invoked God’s help in his war in Iraq; the Reformation wars beginning in the 16th Century; the Holy Spirit Movement in Uganda in the 1980s; Thirty Years War in the first half of the 17th century; Wars of the Three Kingdoms; Irish Civil war (20th c.); Spanish Inquisition; World War I; World War II; Vietnam; All the American wars against native indians;

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By Louise, February 9, 2008 at 7:18 pm Link to this comment

Nabih Ammari:

Thank you for sharing your insight.
But sadly you left one name off the list.

The War in Iraq is OUR war.

We own it.
We pay and will pay for many, many years for it.
We bury our loved ones killed in it.
We send more of our loved ones off to fight in it.
We tend to the loved ones who made it home, but will never be the same.

We don’t see their coffins coming home.
We don’t see the grieving families.
We don’t see the orphans.
We don’t see the homeless and hopeless veterans sleeping under bridges.

We don’t see the evil leaders who chose to start this war suffer.

We will never see the evil leaders we have allowed to stay in place, punished for it.

We don’t see the courage to own up to it.
A simple “I was so, so wrong, can you ever forgive me?”

More than a proud woman who seeks to lead us is willing to give.

And most horrendous of all, we see no end to it.
Only platitudes, excuses and promises, from a spineless congress!

What do we call the War in Iraq?

OUR WAR!

We didn’t ask for it. Most of us didn’t want it. Most of us want to see it end.

But it doesn’t end. We still pay and pay dearly.

That in my opinion should be the single guiding principle when we go in to vote!

And that leaves just ONE candidate in one party!

It is OUR economy taking US down the tube, because of OUR WAR!

WE NEED TO STOP IT!

Remember that when you vote ... for a Senator, for a Representative and for a President!

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By Frank Cajon, February 9, 2008 at 7:08 pm Link to this comment

I see after Truthdig finally printed a post of mine on these two that at least a few posters mention Green candidate Cynthia McKinney. I voted for her, as a form of protest as a Green member in the primary in my home state this week; she was also on the Peace and Freedom ballot. While I will never vote for Nader after he delivered us into Bush bondage in 2000 (Florida, New Hampshire, count the votes), this woman is a controversial activist who is the heir apparent to any real third party in American Politics. Her unfortunate missteps should not outweigh her loud voice about the screwups surrounding post-Katrina legislation and her hardball anti-war stances. She will be an ice cube in the hell that will be the 2008 election, but while the Jackasses tear themselves apart choosing between an African-American and a woman, here is a person who is both, who would get us out of the Middle east quagmire, and turn DC upside down. And is mostly known for having a skirmish with capitol security cops who didn’t think she looked like she belonged in the House of Representatives. The headlines, meanwhile, go to the GOP silverbacks who argue which is the most conservative, will keep us in a war of occupation the longest, and can carry the Bible vote.

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By Maani, February 9, 2008 at 5:09 pm Link to this comment

Michael:

Yes, Jim Wallis is founder of Sojourners, and among the most moderate Christian voices out there.  He has written a few books well worth reading on the intersection between politics and religion.  [N.B.  It was Sojourners that sponsored the forum on Faith and Politics at which Hillary, Obama and Edwards all spoke.]

As I noted, the movement of which Wallis is among the leaders is growing, and the message IS getting out there, though slowly, since these things take time, given the whims of the media.

Peace.

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By Shenonymous, February 9, 2008 at 4:55 pm Link to this comment

For some reason Michael Shaw, and by the way, Shenonymous is a She not a He, for some reason it appears our roads are at least visible to each other.  Who knows soon they may join each other.  Duty is an interesting word, to learn more about duty you might read the Bhagavad Gita and for piety, try Plato’s Euthyphro.  I think you might be onto something when you postulate a world with no religion.  Christopher Hitchens wrote an interesting book, “God is Not Great,” and a TD forum as mentioned earlier by Mike Mid-City cites about 1700 posts about the topic turned out to be a most interesting dialogue, symposium rather.  You might browse it as well.  The Christian Coalition are not the only loons in the world.  The news reported last evening how the Islamists are training children to carry bombs strapped to them to terrorize the world.  These less than humans are exactly that, less than human.  And if Jesus was as you and Maani propose, I certain believe he would not abide anything like that and if he were god, he would put a stop to it not merely condemn it.

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By Michael Shaw, February 9, 2008 at 4:32 pm Link to this comment

I’m content with Maani’s information. That pretty much sums it up. Too bad I hadn’t realized (until Maani) that the very people you presented me in challenging the existence of Christ turned out to have in fact acknowledged his existence, just as I had. For that Maani received the apology but as I see, and even though I was right, you offered no such olive branch.

I do find your attempt to challenge the existence of the Albigensian Crusade a bit disturbing. Almost like holocaust denial. It appears you enjoy burying all the things you have no belief in for those who have e belief. To some that might be considered dispelling myths. To other, perpetuating lies.

Messy thoughts perhaps, but not this.

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By amunaor, February 9, 2008 at 4:08 pm Link to this comment

The contemporary view of the term ‘as above so below’ has been turned upside down in the mind to ‘as below so above’, tendering the mystical trees roots correctly in the subtle region erroneously in the elements. Instead Newtonian mechanics further solidifies this process of perception, by throwing up a barrier when effort is made in contemplating the views of the ancient adepts.

This little insight must be taken into account when confronted with bygone knowledge and perception of the Philosophers Stone, the Shem-an-na. Ancient understanding was not at all scientific in the context of presently ‘bound’ minds, blinded by its mechanistic dogma. Ancient knowledge has not been lost, only misappropriated by the baser instincts of a self serving ego, pursuing elemental thrones of power. It is this pursuit that generates the blindness to that which it then perceives as having been lost. Not lost, just blind.

In a similar vein, the Gnosis of the Cather’s, an impediment to the elemental thrones, was vilified by the secular and theological permeations emanating from Rome then squelched by its, many tentacled, military arm. The mystical Tree of Gnosis was uprooted and stigmatized by the church. Through a slight of hand the throne was successful with inculcating the mind of their flock of the devilish nature Gnosis sought to ensnare the souls of the unwary. Perhaps, unwary, the thrown blinded by its own lust for power is that which has become ensnared. The concept of Cather Duality, as has been handed down to us today, is not in any sense representative of Maat, true Cather perception, but was instead a yarn of vilification spun and promulgated by the church to justify its further action of genocidal slaughter and inquisitional persecution, destroying any opposition that could threaten its throne. The Gnosis of the Cather’s and our misguided perception of their concepts has been deeply contorted through the manufactured weapons of ‘duality’, supplying justification and motive by which the throne could exterminate any ancient knowledge that shown a path providing a balance between spirit and matter; a danger to the throne in Rome, because the Gnosis, through the observation of nature, was self evidentiary, not requiring a self-appointed power as an intercessory.

The adepts within the Cather ranks were steeped in the philosophy of the mystical Qabalah. Those who have studied this know how easily such abstractions can be intentionally misconstrued by the divisive will of a mundane mind. The ancient abstract philosophy is intended strictly as a map for personal guidance, but as in Grail Quest stories, the door will only open to the heart of Maat. The church, blinded by its own worldly pursuit saw it as a tool for power. By misdirecting attention away from the true nature of the map, they instead caused an evil division between spirit and matter to manifest in its midst, fueling the fires of its own dogma and justifying its own bitterness and hatred, resulting carnage in its war on Cather Dualism.

In reference to the geometrically enumerated, irrational triad within the Supernal and the Temple that in old times was built on High: The holy place was made waste and the Sons of the house of Wisdom were taken away into the captivity of the senses.

**The forces in the phenomenal world of senses are neither good nor evil, but misappropriated, in the hands of those who perceive those forces as weapons of power then do they manifest as evil.**

Gnothi Seauton

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By Michael Shaw, February 9, 2008 at 3:52 pm Link to this comment

I’ve heard of Rev Wallis. He’s a Sojourner isn’t he? I think I once saw him have a debate a while back.

Seems to me people like him are the calm, sane center to an otherwise irrational, right wing-born again storm. Hopefully more people like him will emerge from the faith and restore it in dignity, integrity and common decency.

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By Michael Shaw, February 9, 2008 at 3:39 pm Link to this comment

Well first of all Douglas I wish you wouldn’t call it my stupid wild west show. I had nothing to do with it. Secondly since I see any organized faith, particularly one which governs an entire nation as a major mistake, how in the world could you even suggest me as either a wishy washy Christian or as someone stupid enough not to realize the dangers of AIPAC? In fact I hold nothing but contempt for the Zionist right, the same contempt I have for the neocons who I do regard as the same animal.

I more than realize and understand the influence of AIPAC. But whose fault is it that they were able to gain such power and influence? How can you blame them entirely for this influence when the system itself, geared by politicians to finance politicians is in play as it is?

Anyone/everyone can exploit this system and do, not only Jews. Being the largest exploiter, AIPAC knows this better than anyone and it stands to reason for their fear of a growing Islamic community in the United States. But the problems that you so willingly blame entirely on the Jewish American lobby in my view is not the biggest problem. In fact what is, is not really even a lobby. The MIC and our defense department are the real culprits combined with campaign finance for the politicians. Also disaster capitalism. AIPAC certainly plays a lucrative role in this, especially with the Likud Party in charge and this perpetual war/perpetual terror game going on. They are doing very well by it right along with every major defense contractor in this country. Expansion into the occupied territories are good since they promote the ever growing possibility of more war and more war means more money to the defense industry.

I’m glad you pointed out the AJC as innocent in these affairs. In fact they had and still have a whole lot to do with the defending of civil liberties in this country, not only for Jewish Americans but all Americans. 

But I continue to believe that AIPAC itself is not the problem but rather a festering sore, a symptom of a diseased system which not unlike a great whore, has its legs wide open and a flashing neon sign saying open for business.

That said, Mr. Chalmers this is not my wild west show anymore then your own and my reasoning in defending the existence in Christ had nothing whatsoever to do with the organizations or affiliates in Christianity. I belong and subscribe to none.

As for my being mired in fears, I see it more so as concern over a dying planet, restoring civil liberty and curbing corporatism. That would include an end to the lobbying system as we know it.

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By Maani, February 9, 2008 at 3:11 pm Link to this comment

Michael:

“If there was no religion at all and people in general followed his true teachings, it would be a far better world than it is today. The reasons it isn’t (with organized faith) is because the message was distorted and continues to be distorted. Why it wouldn’t surprise me if down the road some right winger in the Christian Coalition would add the “kill a commie for Christ” and “praise the lord and pass the ammunition” phrases somewhere along side the rapture in revelations which we all know was never in any of the original gospels. These loons are training children for the holy war against Muslims. This is certainly not something that Jesus Christ would ever abide in. In fact he’d condemn it.”

Right you are on all of this!  And I (and many other believers) fear the same things you do re what the extremist Christians are up to, and where it might lead.

Shenonymous:

“Yes, Maani, and if someone would provide as clearly as Douglas Chalmers did for the Jews a distinction between the radical militants verses the peace loving for the Christians, Islamists, and atheists I believe we might have an authentic road on which we all could walk as colleagues.”

Right you are, as well.  And there are those who are trying to bring those distinctions into the ongoing discussion/debate on faith, religion, etc., both in the U.S. and elsewhere.  I do this in my own work, and have many colleagues who do likewise.  But cutting through the media din takes people who have a much more public-eye “platform” from which to discuss it.  Rev. Jim Wallis is one such, and there are others, and the movement is growing.  But it will take time.

Peace.  (and carrots…)

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By Michael Shaw, February 9, 2008 at 2:09 pm Link to this comment

Thanks Maani. And interestingly these people, Veyne, Aries and Duby sound as though they and myself have much in common since I realize like others apparently that Jesus had a family and no doubt a big one. They were not only carpenters but they farmed and raised sheep as well. that had to have taken a lot of effort, more than three people could muster.

Really in a dig that is discussing the common enemy I certainly do not consider Shenonymous as one and hope he does not consider me one either. That said, I felt it was my duty to point out that Jesus was a real and dynamic person whether someone believes him the son of God or not and surely he did exist. If there was no religion at all and people in general followed his true teachings, it would be a far better world than it is today. The reasons it isn’t (with organized faith) is because the message was distorted and continues to be distorted. Why it wouldn’t surprise me if down the road some right winger in the Christian Coalition would add the “kill a commie for Christ” and “praise the lord and pass the ammunition” phrases somewhere along side the rapture in revelations which we all know was never in any of the original gospels. These loons are training children for the holy war against Muslims. This is certainly not something that Jesus Christ would ever abide in. In fact he’d condemn it.

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By Nabih Ammari, February 9, 2008 at 1:50 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Re:What name should be given to the war in Iraq?

To:cyrena and Shenonymous,

Allow me to intercede.I may be able to provide you with
some additional information,however small it may be.I
cannot provide you with specifics since what I attempt to provide,here,stems from memories;and it is off-the-cuff.

The war in Iraq can be described and named any of the
following descriptions and names whose rationalities
do exist if you have the time,energy,determination
and patience to go through the archives of the real causes of the war,not for the last seven years,but
since Bush senior waged his war against Iraq in 1991.
Since then the aggression against Iraq has never
stopped,regardless of what one may hear,see and read
in the main stream media which is totally controlled by
certain forces well known to any keen observant or a
student of international affairs for which I have a
profound addiction-perhaps due to the fact that I spent a large segment of my life working overseas on
behalf of an American multinationals corporation:

(1)One may describe the war in Iraq as “Illegal War”
because Kofi Anan,the former Secretary of the United
Nations said so publicly.He would not have dared to say so if it was not so.The United Nations and the
International Supreme Court are considered the final
supreme authorities in matters of war and peace and
dispute of international characteristics.

(2)One may describe the war in Iraq as"Immoral War”
because it has destroyed a sovereign country which
has been a member of the United Nations since its
inception in 1945.The word"destroyed”,here,means the
total destruction of Iraq’s infrastructures such as
water,electricity,telecommunications,factories for
the production of foods and medicines even Iraq’s
great museum which contained antiquities since of
ancient Mesopotamia:the legal code of Hammurabi,the
Epic of Gelgamesh and Babylon,only three came to mind.This means total destruction of a people.If this
is not immoral,I just do not know what is.

(3)One may call the war in Iraq as “Bush’s War” since
his signature is on the document of authorization as
the Commander-in-Chief.More importantly,he pushed
very hard and very fast for the war to a point of
not giving Dr. Blix,the chief of the inspection team
selected by the Security Council of the United Nations, enough time to finish inspecting Iraq if it
had any Weapons of Mass Destruction which Bush kept
accusing Saddam Hussein of having.The WMD was really
just an execuse or rather a front.He and his team
wanted to conquer and occupy Iraq for Iraq’s oil;
either to steel it for the American oil companies
or at least control the flow of it.Who he or she
controls the flow of oil will control the world
and,indeed,dictate his or her terms to the rest of
the world.

(4)One may call the war in Iraq as the “Neocons War”
because archives show that the Neo-conservatives
have pushed for the war since 1998,during President
Bill Clinton Administration.Bill Clinton had just
resisted their push and eventually ignored it.

(5)One may call the war in Iraq as the “Iraq War”
for the obvious fact it has been waged on Iraqi soil.

Hope all of the above will prove to be of some help
to both of you whom I hold in high esteem,along with
Douglas Chalmers and a few others.
Sincerely,
Nabih Ammari
An Independent in Ohio.

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By Shenonymous, February 9, 2008 at 1:36 pm Link to this comment

Yes, Maani, and if someone would provide as clearly as Douglas Chalmers did for the Jews a distinction between the radical militants verses the peace loving for the Christians, Islamists, and atheists I believe we might have an authentic road on which we all could walk as colleagues.  Now you know I would say peas instead of peace, as it is my way.

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By Maani, February 9, 2008 at 1:09 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous:

You are welcome.  As well, whatever one’s belief or understanding of both the existence and/or divinity of Jesus, I completely agree that “There ought not to be a squelching of questions regarding as important a topic as the central figure in an entire system of belief that has affected the entire world…”

As for the second part of that sentence - “and millions murdered based on information synthesized from various unauthenticated sources” - I would argue that the “millions murdered” (if by that you mean the Crusades et al, though “millions” may be an overestimate in that case) were the result of the “hijacking” of Christianity by a comparatively small but powerful minority who misinterpreted aspects of the faith, whether deliberately or not.  After all, Jesus would certainly NOT have condoned the Crusades, inquisition, etc.

Indeed, with the exception of the early Israelites, the atrocities caused via “religion” have historically been the result of this type of hijacking and misinterpretation, particularly with respect to Christianity and Islam.  This is evident even today, where the “Religious Right” (which, like the Moral Majority before it, is neither…LOL) - which actually represents a minority of U.S. Christians, and whose viewpoints and positions are mostly narrow, unloving and unforgiving (and thereby un-Christian) - insinuated itself into politics and came to dominate the “public eye.”

It is also true of Islam, where a relative minority of imams, mullahs, etc. have hijacked the faith with narrow interpretations of the Qur’an, but have also insinuated themselves into politics (in some cases creating outright theocracies) and dominating the “public eye.”

Yet if we look at both Christianity and Islam, the vast majority of the believers in both faiths - globally - practice their faith quietly and privately, and do not subscribe to the narrow, fundamentalist views and positions of the extremists.

Yet, as I and others have noted, ANY ideology or belief system - religious, political, social, etc. - can be hijacked and “used” in adverse, even horrific, ways.  But this does not mean the ideologies or belief systems are per se “bad.”

Peace.

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By Shenonymous, February 9, 2008 at 12:38 pm Link to this comment

Thank you Maani, I never mind being corrected.  I appreciate the extended explanation of these historians’ scholarship.  MM-C, there you are.  Take heart I am not perfect.  Good grief if I were you’d be in shit trouble.  But there are a couple of authors who have researched the Jesus/Christ phenomena and there are questions unanswered about Jesus’s historicity.  Even if the man did live, there are other accounts that have him as living decades after the biblical stories.  There ought not to be a squelching of questions regarding as important a topic as the central figure in an entire system of belief that has affected the entire world and millions murdered based on information synthesized from various unauthenticated sources.  Two of the controversial texts are: Michael Martin’s Case Against Christianity, Temple University Press, 1993; John M. Robertson, Pagan Christs, Barnes Noble; 1996.  Those interested may do with the information what they wish.

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By Emily Carlson, February 9, 2008 at 12:09 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Another election night, another wrong projection.
Late Super Tuesday, the Associated Press jumped the gun, calling Sen. Hillary Clinton the Democratic primary winner in the state of Missouri.
An hour and twenty minutes later, they withdrew their call. Another hour and twenty minutes later, the AP gave the state to Sen. Barak Obama.
The blunder brings back memories of the 2000 presidental election, when the media declared Florida to Al Gore, then withdrew the call and awarded the state to George Bush, only to then declare the state undecided.
The aftermath of the mistake was ugly. Democrats and Republicans alike were irate at the media. Many voters went to bed thinking Al Gore was the winner, only to wake up to see the state was undecided. The public couldn’t understand how the media could screw up so bad.
Eight years later, many viewers are still skeptical when the networks declare a “projection.”
There is no excuse for these kind of mistakes. The public looks to the media for the facts. They want to know the truth. When colossial mistakes like calling a state for the wrong canidate happen, the media’s credibility chips away. Viewers don’t forget when huge blunders are made, and it takes a long time to earn that trust back. There’s really no excuse for it to happen again. This election could be the most watched/higest voter turnout in history. The media should be extra viligant to make sure the same mistakes don’t repeat themselves.
http://emilyacarlson.wordpress.com/
http://emilyannecarlson.tblog.com/
http://clearblogs.com/emilycarlson/

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By Maani, February 9, 2008 at 11:10 am Link to this comment

Shenonymous:

You said to Michael Shaw, “How are you confirming that there ‘was a Jesus Christ?’ You also use fallaciously the word ‘every’ as in ‘every historical account.’ Would you be surprised at some who deny your claim?  Try historians John Dominic Crossan, Elaine Pagels, Helmut Koester, Paul Veyne…”

Actually, you are incorrect.  Crossan, Pagels, Koester and Veyne all accept the existence of Jesus as an actual historical figure.  What they disagree on to varying degrees is who he actually was, and particularly His “divinity”; i.e., none of them believe in the virgin birth or the resurrection, and all are uncertain regarding His many “miracles.”

Crossan suggests that Jesus was a follower of John the Baptist who “succeeded” John when he was taken prisoner.  According to Crossan, Jesus was “a healer and man of great wisdom and courage who taught a message of inclusiveness, tolerance, and liberation.”

Pagels argues (among other things) that the Gnostic gospels were considered heretical because they did not accept Jesus as “divine,” which the Council of Nicea (or the “Great CON”...LOL) could not accept in order to form its pre-determined notion of what Christianity “needed” to be.

Like Crossan, Koester believes that Jesus was a secondary figure until John the Baptist was “out of the picture,” and that Jesus was certainly “special,” though not “divine.”

Re Veyne, in the book “A History of Private Life,” Veyne (along with Phillip Aries and Georges Duby) accept that Jesus was a Palestinian Jew who “moved from village to village” and around whom a spiritual “movement” formed.

Thus, these scholars do not “deny” the EXISTENCE of the historical Jesus; they simply disagree with those who believe in His divinity via the virgin birth, miracles, resurrection, etc.

Peace.

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By omop, February 9, 2008 at 11:03 am Link to this comment

An almost daily news item from the area commonly known as the Middle East attest to constant ancient and biblical discoveries either under water or in caves.

Certain folk scour such news in expectations of artifacts that can prove that the so-called Old Testament was actually written AFTER the writings included in the so-called New Testament. How better a testament as well as proof of foretold passions exhibited by the Old Testament ensemble?

  The several stagings of The Passion Play in places such Bavaria, Poland, the Black Hills and Eureka Springs in Arkansas just to name a few. And Gibson’s tour de force The Passion of JC attests to a passion of a passionate encounter between one individual and a societal mores of governance still practiced in todays world.

  Basically then passion is a sometimes passionate stage practiced between two individuals that can be as ravaging as The Passion Play, The Crusades or the whispers GWB hears from his God.

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By Louise, February 9, 2008 at 10:34 am Link to this comment

I forgot to mention, I don’t think Bush sees the war in Iraq as a war. I think he sees it as only one battle in his larger and valiant Global War On Terror.

I also don’t think he sees the fact that there was no connection between Iraq and 9/11 as important. Because he had already decided to attack Iraq before he ever moved into the White House. The twisted mind would see 9/11 as proof of his need to follow that “instinct” and attack Iraq. I think he truly sees himself as the brave hero who had the courage to attack after we were attacked. The important thing to remember is the light in the attic has burned out.

[Good place to insert the name John “Insane” McCain ]http://www.votevets.org/home.html]

No mind is more capable of believing the big lie than the little mind that gave it birth.

There can be no other explanation for his [their]seeming ignorance of the reality we all see.

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By Louise, February 9, 2008 at 10:09 am Link to this comment

Maybe I should apologize for starting the athiest/Christian/good/bad/right/wrong stuff, but I wont. Look at the great posts it has brought out! Still, I am sorry my larger point got missed. I guess I didn’t make it very well.

Here’s a better effort:

“The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.”
Marcus Aurelius

***

cyrena

I have to chuckle at how well you know me. Actually I prefer to call the War, GWOT.
Seems so apropos to all things Bush. I can see him jabbing his finger into the chest of some poor schluck who challenges him.

This is MY war! I am the Decider! GWOT THAT?

Or, So many terrorists to kill, and I GWOT so little time.

Or, I GWOT a really good understanding on things.

Or, anybody GWOT some toilet paper I can borrow?

Or, nobody knows the trouble I GWOT. [where IS that toilet paper?]

Actually there was a time a few years back when Admiral Mike Mullen and our very own Rumsfeld tried to come up with a new title for the Global War On Terror, cause so many people were having fun with GWOT.

Well bloggers across the universe immediately began contests seeking new titles for Bushes precious war. Here’s some favorites: http://blog.wired.com/defense/2007/10/renaming-the-gw.html

SCAPEGOAT: Synchronized Combined Arms Police Enforcement on Globally Ominous Agents of Terrorism.

MEEMO: Middle East Extreme Make Over

WARRE: War Against Revisionist Regressive Extremism

WASTE: War Against Salafist Terrorist Extremists

MESS: Middle East Security Situation

SWAMP: South West Asia Military Project

But the one the administration came up with was the best of all, if you need a chuckle:

GSAVE: Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism

I suspect they tried to come up with something starting with “O” (GOSAVE) but couldn’t think of anything. They should have asked me. I think Global Oligarchs Struggle Against Violent Extremism. would have worked, only I would have changed Violent to Valiant, and Extremism to Escape. Course they didn’t ask me.

Needless to say the change never caught on [it just doesn’t roll off the tongue] and Bush vetoed the idea of changing the name of his war anyway. I mean after all, the guy has an image he’s GWOT to protect!

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By John Crandell, February 9, 2008 at 7:38 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hey folks, I just woke up thinking that if Obama gains the Dem nomination after the Repug convention wherein McCain has asked Condi to be his veep and shortly thereafter, McCain goes nuclear on Helen Thomas and keels over from a stroke and SO, then it’s Condi vs. Barak in the fall election…....

(with that, Ann Coulter would threaten to attack Fort Sumter if Condi doesn’t nominate the Reverend Fred Phelps to be confirmed by the Republicans as the stand-in veep nominee for 2008…)

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By Shenonymous, February 9, 2008 at 7:18 am Link to this comment

Thank you Douglas for this excellently informative post and exceptionally pertinent advice.  My Jewish friends, and I, appreciate your clarification.

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By Douglas Chalmers, February 9, 2008 at 6:22 am Link to this comment

By Michael Shaw, February 8: ”...you took little from Christ as the man, a human being who was… the greatest revolutionary in his time…. The only hydra I’m trying to slay at the moment is the… Neocon dragon…”


Never mind about the Cathars, Michael Shaw, the Neocons have Wolfowitz - and he’s back - as as chairman of the State Department’s International Security Advisory Board ‘advising’ Condoleeza Rice on disarmament, nuclear proliferation, WMD’s, etc etc. http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2008/01/25/6618/

In other words, the Jews/Zionists in Israel couldn’t give a damn about you wishy-washy so-called Christians. They know that you will always be fooled by “the chosen ones” as you are so mired in your own fears and violence. They view themselves as a superior race and their “settler society” as much more significant than your stupid ‘wild west’ version.

Go slay the AIPAC dragon and the Neocons will wither on the vine! They have no rationale of their own of any relevance or impartance any more. Climate change and globalization have taken over as the new imperatives. They are still living in some previous century…....

The main problem is not the American Jewish Committee (AJC) which is a normal organization representing an ethnic minority, the Jews. http://www.ajc.org/

It is the unofficial front for the militarist-expansionist Israeli state known as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) which is usurping Americans good will to extort as much cold hard cash and diplomatic priveleges and political promises and military support as it possibly can. http://www.aipac.org/

A critical examination of their websites clearly indicates that one (the AJC) is a community organization supporting the welfare of American Jews whilst the other (AIPAC) is a radical Zionist political organization promoting the welfare of the Israeli state regardless of the expense to the people of the USA and regardless of its support for terrorist activities and the persecution of minorities and its neighbours and threats of the use of nuclear WMD’s in the region.

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By Shenonymous, February 9, 2008 at 6:10 am Link to this comment

Yes, Cyrena, the 1700 plus suicides of our soldiers is worse than a heinous travesty.  Their numbers must be added to the casualties of this insane war. This website provides a great deal of information
http://www.antiwar.com/casualties/
That any one man could effect such a conflict where so many die, and the number of Iraqis are completely hidden from public knowledge and each time questioned is given vague and ambiguous numbers, that any one man could do this alone is preposterous at best.  What you suspect has much substance.  We would like, however, to think George is stupid.  I don’t think he is.  I think he is a willing puppet of the circumstances he chose, and he and his cortege should suffer the consequences of Justice in this world not any imagined one.  In that sense, he is a villainous whore and I do think of this war as his war.  And this is for you and Louise.  The only thing of value I think Tolstoy left us in his legacy of literature, and thought, is the description of Napoleon and how his power was not a result of his sole effort.  War and Peace is one of the finest portrayal of that insight and for that alone is worth the pain of reading.  And Napoleon declared himself an emperor.  Men declare much of themselves from a delusional perception of themselves.

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By Shenonymous, February 9, 2008 at 5:50 am Link to this comment

You see, Michael Shaw, one can “say” whatever one wants.  But we who have done the “math” know whether it is a fart or something worthwhile.  You can believe whatever you want, and we who have done the “research” know the lack of real content in your beliefs.  There are no negative chords but Truth wills itself out.  That is the only prize worthwhile.  You do have a difficult time reading it is clear.  I did not say Jesus did not exist.  I said there are conflicting accounts and therefore, in a manner of speaking, that is, metaphorically speaking, the jury is out as to whether he did or not.  Since I am an absolute atheist, I have no emotional attachment to such beliefs as to whether there was a historical Jesus or not.  And even less attached to the concept of a Christ.  And until irrefutable evidence is presented there is no sound reason to embrace any unauthenticated conclusions.  The idea of attachment escapes your understanding.  What is represented by any real notion of a Jesus or a Christ are complete and different and it might do you well to discover that difference. Participating in the search for Truth can provide a “firm” foundation and purge ignorance.  It is even possible Truth can provide exactly the kind of solid substratum beliefs need.  But the man who “thinks he knows” the Truth really has a wretched mind.

Gospels or Gnostic verses it doesn’t matter.  Can you name any of the slaughtered during the Albigensian Crusade? Or any Crusade for that matter?  These nameless, faceless victims of others’ Christian beliefs?  What exactly is a “holy” land?  It is a construct erected by men’s hubris.  I don’t really need a history lesson in Christianity as I have formally studied much religion comparatively.  It has already been admitted that huge numbers of people “believe.”  It is also suggested that most of those are blind believers.  However, I do not doubt there are those who believe sincerely and without arrogance.  Those are truly the blessed.  My intent here strictly involves your messy thoughts and reading habits and their results in your writing.  And by the way, you are… welcome.

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By Expat, February 9, 2008 at 4:19 am Link to this comment

^ we’ll kill you with love and god!

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By cyrena, February 9, 2008 at 12:30 am Link to this comment

•  “…For my part, I believe the Iraq war is misnamed and ought to be called Bush’s War and it is an illegal war that has caused the social and economic ills of this country as well as in the world.  Since I personally have no proof, it is a completely irrational belief.”…

Shenon..

Maybe NOT so irrational, because you aren’t ENTIRELY ‘without proof’. The part about this being an illegal war is certainly not debatable, (in my opinion) though I actually have a current assignment to defend that it. Can you believe that? Specifically, the assignment is to support this statement…

“The attack on Iraq was lawful or in accordance with International Law.”

Another group of seminar participants gets to argue that it was NOT lawful. (I’m sure the professor assigned me to the ‘ridiculous argument’ group on purpose…just to REALLY test me.). If I didn’t know better, I’d say he was trying to incite me to riot.  And, I STILL haven’t figured out how the hell I’m gonna do this, because the fact of the matter (and the written law) is that it IS illegal. How the hell can ANYBODY find anything lawful about it?

Anyway, at least that part of your belief is NOT irrational. Now if you meant the part about it (Bush’s War) causing the social and economic ills of the country and possibly the world as well, then maybe there is no ‘direct’ proof. BUT…when we see/KNOW that trillions have been spent on it, and when we know that the nation state of Iraq has been thoroughly destroyed, (just a before and after assessment on that) and when we KNOW that millions of lives have been lost there, and that hundreds of thousands of troops have either died, or been wounded…that’s some fairly strong proof, even if it’s indirect, and the ‘numbers’ cannot be exact.

Is it a ‘social ill’ when so many troops who manage to return from combat, end up killing themselves? Yes…it IS. Does that create a reverberating effect that indirectly leads to that many more destroyed lives? What happens to the family members of those who take their own lives? I guess some survive better than others, but still. When we have mass suicides, and mass causalities of PTSD (the walking wounded) walking among us, how can we deny that it HAS to cause ills to our general society?

And of course I could go on, but you all get my point. NOT so irrational at all.

The only part that I might quibble with, (though I know Louise would agree with you on this), is that it should be called “Bush’s War”. Now, that’s NOT to say that he’s not responsible, because of course he is. He’s just not SOLELY responsible, and he could NEVER have pulled it off without the neocons, who –in my own opinion- planned it even before he did.

Now the only reason I say that Louise would agree with you, (and I don’t disagree per se) is because she does become annoyed when so many people try to blame it all on Cheney. She’s got an understandable beef, and I’m certainly holding george accountable. Still, I’m convinced that the invasion and occupation of Iraq was on the drawing board long before the Coup of 2000, which put them in power. And, I’m positive that george could never have pulled this off on his own. EVER. He’s too stupid to have arranged the tactics or the strategy, and especially to maneuver around the illegalities’ enough to make it happen, and to prevent a total uprising in response. That has required multiple layers of protection, and he couldn’t work that out on his own.

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By Michael Shaw, February 9, 2008 at 12:24 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It seemed apparent from the start you took little from Christ as the man, a human being who was(in my view) the greatest revolutionary in his time. I realize you never came out and suggested I was a defender of organized religion but I do believe my very mentioning of him did strike a negative cord.  That’s the reason why I mentioned I do not subscribe to any organized religion. I wanted to make that clear to you that my own understandings or beliefs were not based upon institutional indoctrinations. Still I say he did exist beyond the myth and you say he doesn’t. Fine! You point to your authors(I’ll check them out) and I point to the studies in what’s left of the Gnostic verses which are admittedly only fragments but are as old some experts would say as the Codex Alexandrinus, housed in London’s Museum of Science and History.

By historical account, the Gnostic’s were trampled out of existence for heresy simply because they didn’t believe one needed a temple to worship God, that heaven was not in the sky but right here on earth and perhaps most importantly that it was not necessary to pay tribute to a god on earth to be a follower in the teachings of Jesus Christ. For these reasons, political and other, they had to go. This became known as the Albigensian Crusade which slaughtered many thousands of European Christians in southern France in the same time frame the Crusaders were slaughtering Jews and Muslims in the Holy Land. The beginnings of the holy land grab I call it.

We do know that much of the New Testament is based on Roman mythology and ritual. We also know that only 19 of the original 50 Christian Gospel’s were adapted by the first holy Roman emperor and the rest discarded. The smaller sects were either absorbed or slaughtered as heretics, their verses destroyed. It’s a fascinating study and is indeed historically significant as would be any documentation from that time period.

In my opinion whether you consider Jesus as a myth or not is irrelevant. It is obvious many people believed in him. We know there was a Pilot. We know there was a Herod. We know there was a Tiberius, we know of Barrabas and the Mosada…and all in the same time frame we are told there was a Jesus of Nazareth. In fact we know a whole lot more that supports his existence then does not.

Frankly, it wasn’t your obvious lack in belief that irked me. It is your condescending attitude. First your attempt to mentor me and insist I’m not being specific enough and now you’re rolling along with this almost fanatical obsession in breaking down every word I write. Smart as you obviously are, did it ever occur to you that condescension does not generally unite people? What you basically told me was I have a passionate message that isn’t specific enough and if I get it right then perhaps you might join me. That and “don’t try to slay too many hydras.” Gee! Thanks!

The only hydra I’m trying to slay at the moment is the same one I thought you were. The Neocon dragon. It is they who shove a police state down our throats and the throats of others around the world, who threaten world peace and who ignore the affects of human activity on the environment,literally debasing hundreds of the worlds greatest scientists in the most significant scientific collaboration and study in world history.

As I recall reading somewhere else in here, you mentioned the good fight as being a never ending battle. I’d say you are absolutely right. So bickering over whether there was or was not a Jesus Christ is immaterial, though indeed and minus the friction(on both our parts) a fascinating discussion.

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By cyrena, February 8, 2008 at 11:53 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous,

•  “..When it comes to reasonable and kindred conversation, I do not play “fair,” I play ruthlessly for accuracy.”…

I swear you delight me. You are genuinely worth your weight in gold. (or, at least your writing is). Seriously, I’d spend my last dime to take ANY kind of course from you, on ANY subject. Lucky for us all, you provide it free of charge.

This one of course is a special delight, since I’ve spent far too many past hours on this forum, trying to articulate the same things you have, in respect to Michael Shaw. He’s not the only one of his ilk that posts here of course, but you’ve summed it up very well. Far better than I ever could.

Still, you DO speak my own mentality in the last sentence of your post, and I can only add that for any of the Michael Shaw’s out there, who want to continue to play with the grown ups, be prepared. We WILL expose you, and call you out.

No more Ms. Nice Lady. It’s all about the truth and the accuracy.

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By Shenonymous, February 8, 2008 at 11:36 pm Link to this comment

MM-C, I believe in peace and love too.  What I don’t believe are unsubstantiated myths.  They might be enchanting to read but chronologically speaking, there were no written accounts done in the alleged time of Jesus.  All biblical accounts, New Testament Scriptures, were written no less than 40 years after the supposed crucifixion. The scriptures in the Old Testament is claimed by many scholars, for the most part to not exactly to be the literal truth and are historically unreliable, See “On the Reliability of the Old Testament,” by K. A. Kitchen.  That being the case, I can only conjecture that a man such as it is claimed Jesus was, would not commit any war at all.  And if he were the incarnation of god, then he would have no need for war preemptive or not.  Why would he?  I happen to agree with you on the political front about the candidates, and I’m afraid the present occupant in the White House rather pimped the entire idea of god for his own purposes.  And since so many people do believe then it is rather criminal to invoke and that which is precious to them with deceit in order to compel them to do the man in the oval office’s bidding.  It is a real crock of shit, don’t you agree?

For my part, I believe the Iraq war is misnamed and ought to be called Bush’s War and it is an illegal war that has caused the social and economic ills of this country as well as in the world.  Since I personally have no proof, it is a completely irrational belief.  Nevertheless, I have it.  I think Obama is the wisest choice for a number of reasons.  I wish I could support the first woman candidate for the office of president.  But I also believe for her support of the war I am not able to vote for her. 

Is this enough bait?  I shall wait with bated breath to find out.

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By Shenonymous, February 8, 2008 at 9:29 pm Link to this comment

Your defensive attitude Michael Shaw is misplaced.  Did someone accuse you of being a defender of organized religion?  Your use of the word “merely” is a feigned defense.  How are you confirming that there “was a Jesus Christ?”  You also use fallaciously the word “every” as in “every historical account.”  Would you be surprised at some who deny your claim?  Try historians John Dominic Crossan, Elaine Pagels, Helmut Koester,  Paul Veyne, also the1990 reissued text “Ancient Christian Gospels: Their History and Development. London”: SCM Press; Philadelphia: Trinity Press International. Kroeber, A. L. 1948.  just to name a few.  What is to deny?  Has someone denied any message of peace or was there a claim that there is a myth of Jesus Christ?  If no Christ, then no message is the way inexorably logic goes.  You are very defensive rather than explanatory.  It shows self-consciousness and timidity.  The word “all” is absolutely inclusive which inherently contains a fallacy.  You wish to be rather sloppy in your somewhat verbal skirmish but there are those who will not let you.  I for one.  I did not blame anyone for anything righteously or not for any woes or not.  Me thinks you cannot read well.  It is your scattered arguments that are the metaphorical hydras but perhaps you do not understand the notion of metaphor.  If you are going to speak to the public, and we on these forums are the public to whom you choose to speak, do try to have better, clearer, and tighter verbal usage.  Comparing this parry to a Chomsky is a puny accusation.  When it comes to reasonable and kindred conversation, I do not play “fair,” I play ruthlessly for accuracy.

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By Kathryn, February 8, 2008 at 8:58 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Anyone whom votes for a canidate that is for homosexaul marriage, should first go to http://www.massresistance.org, and educate themselves to just what their children will learn in school. Do you beleive that these politicains are sending their children to schools that indoctrinate children into sexaul depravity. They send their kids to schools that offer a good education, not the filth that is being taught to young children in public schools. Our leaders today are exploiting the children and their parents. Teachers, conselors, doctors, nurses and other health professionals are making big bucks, not to mention the abortion clinic’s. We are living in an age of latch-key kids that grew up with little support and nurturing. At the rate man is going, with all the sexaul images and violence, it is not
surprising that murder is rampant. The young adults of today need to seriously consider what is going to become of them and their children. Man is increasingly becoming as animals, and or beasts. Humans need much nurturing and guidedance to grow healthy and sane. God made man and woman, to come together as one, to produce offspring, this is the family. The pansexual tree is being promoted, offered as a life choice, what they don’t tell you is that it is a diease and death sentence. Educate yourself to the truth, the truth will set you free. Remember, in the garden of life,heterosexaulity is the flower that grows and flourishes, and homosexaulity is the weeds, that wither and die. These are the facts and voting for politicains that are promoting this life, death style are conning the people, into a no win stitution. Medical care will skyrocket, new dieases will increase rapidly. All the earth will suffer. It is your choice. Power to the people!!!

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By cwhipps, February 8, 2008 at 8:38 pm Link to this comment

I’m rooting for Obama. I think, if he has the chance to put together his own administration, he could be the most transformative leader America has ever seen.

Hillary—and I think I’m being fair in saying this—is at best a good administrator, but offers no chance of leadership.

You’ve laid out a good case for the strength of a McCain /Huckabee ticket. But, I’m curious…

Why do you think that Hillary adds anything to Obama? Do you really think that women will stay home if she isn’t on the ticket?

Hillary isn’t a “force multiplier” for Obama, she’s baggage. Lots and lots of baggage.

If Obama isn’t picked as the nominee, I would rather loose this election wait the four or eight years it will take to get another chance to elect Obama. 

You see, I think Hillary is a worse threat to democracy than McCain is. And she’s certainly a bigger threat to the Democratic party.

If Hillary gets elected, there won’t be a Democratic party. What we will have is best described by the term, “Republican Lite”: a wholely owned subsidery of corporate America.

So, go ahead and keep trying to sell me on the remake of “Driving Miss Daisy”, but I will never vote for her in any capacity, this year, or any other.

It’s nothing personal, I just don’t trust Hillary and Bill Clinton.

Not after South Carolina.

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By Expat, February 8, 2008 at 7:57 pm Link to this comment

Good heavens; I would never suggest McCain/Huckabee is a viable option.  They couldn’t be worse.  But our dems aren’t really that great either.  As you and I have both stated previously; neither of the dems has talked about rolling back the loss of rights grabbed by Bushco.

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By Maani, February 8, 2008 at 7:03 pm Link to this comment

For all those who do not want to vote for either Hillary or Obama, and are not Kucinich or Paul supporters, it looks like you may get your wish for an independent candidate worth voting for.

Cynthia McKinney has just announced that she is seeking the Green Party nomination.  I do not know where she stands on quite a few important issues. But I do know that she was one of only three House members to support a 2005 bill to immediately withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq; that she introduced Articles of Impeachment against Bush, Cheney and Rice; and that she was highly critical of the 9/11 Commission Report, holding a press conference to challenge its findings.

Peace.

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By Frank Cajon, February 8, 2008 at 6:36 pm Link to this comment

Since Truthdig nixed my initial comment, I will tone this one down, but the message need not change. Americans VOTED FOR BUSH/CHENEY IN 2004 and they will gleefully vote in these two this year. McCain/Huckabee: the perfect GOP ticket, it covers all the bases: Recession? Neither has an answer to the economic crisis that had already sent the US standard of living tumbling before the current Reich made our money into fancy toilet tissue and put our children’s children into debt spending $1.5 trillion to kill people half a world away. Iraq? The two more wars McCain promises will mandate a draft of our young men and women. Gay marriage? In four years, it will be doubtful that gay people will be permitted to adopt children or teach school. Immigration reform? McCain will dump his flawed plan like a social disease when he sees that he can’t get the Bible Belt vote unless he relents and backs a Great Wall, while doing nothing to the exploiting factory owners and rich farmers who get fat by paying illegal immigrants that are here already in the millions slave wages while they live in cardboard boxes.
Pundits look at the GOP as a divided house, but it is their close cousins the Jackass party that is split down the middle and will be spending five months on attack adds against one another. Obama is pulling in millions in grass roots donations, but the super delegates are already in the bag for Bill Clinton’s abortive shot at a third term in the Oval Office he desecrated. The party that gave the world Dukakis, Gore, Kerry, and Mondale will once again snatch defeat from the jaws of victory because that is what is does best. It gives America such a bad option that it votes for a GOP alternative that ruins our nation, as it did in 2004, as it will this year with the unelectable Clinton. I will not vote for John McCain and Mike Huckabee, but America will.

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By Michael Shaw, February 8, 2008 at 5:20 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

And Lord Linguist, who presented this idea in peaceful revolution better or to as many people? Historically but a handful!

And let me get the record straight here! I am not a defender of organized religion. Nor do I believe in mythologies beyond their entertainment value. I merely pointed out there was a Jesus Christ. In every historical account, Christian and otherwise there was and to deny he had a message in peace that was significant is like saying Gandhi’s message meant nothing.

As for the “all” I meant that everyone needs to join in this battle to restore freedoms, end war and save the planet, including the wealthy elitists. The same ones you so righteously blame for all of our woes. Or did you somehow miss that?

All I’ve done was to try to embrace your call in coming together to fight this tremendous fight that’s ahead of us. Now you have me battling hydras and other mythical creatures while you chastise my verbal usage, calling that the real problem. You’re trying to turn a fairly reasonable and kindred conversation into some Chomsky-esk argument that I doubt even the master would bother considering.

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By Louise, February 8, 2008 at 4:45 pm Link to this comment

Yes I have, and I hope you’re right. But I refuse to accept acceptance is the answer. I know I have not done all I can, or more would be climbing on that boat. Enough is never enough! Sorry. We can make more noise, and we should!

But right now, I gotta go to work! Mustn’t keep the Mas’er waiting!

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By Shenonymous, February 8, 2008 at 4:34 pm Link to this comment

In some cases, Louise, it is a constant battle and because of the rotten flotsam and jetsam in the murky political waters it will not change.  Ever vigilant and exhausting we must be and that becomes a way of life.  We just get used to it.  Albert was right but when one learns to polish wood to a beautiful sheen one does rub over and over the same place and it does change.  So Albert’s notion does not apply to everything.  As I’ve said on many posts here and there, god is not going to change anything, we are.  History only shows us what we have already known.  It just reminds us.  There is a circularity to existence, and history repeats itself.  I always keep my ear out for the different voice.  Don’t you?  We can let corporate and mainstream America choose for us, or we can fight.  Have you climbed on board the impeachment boat?  I have in several ways.  Whether or not I am successful or my colleagues, is not the point for me as an individual.  I know I did what I could.  I have a feeling, irrational as it might be, that this election is going to be a big surprise.

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By amunaor, February 8, 2008 at 4:09 pm Link to this comment

All truly dogmatic religions have issued from the Jewish/Egyptian Qabalah and return to it: everything scientific and grand in the religious dreams is borrowed from the Qabalah; all the Adept associations owe to it their Secrets and their Symbols.

The Qabalah alone consecrates the alliance of the Universal Reason and the Divine Word; it establishes, by the counterpoises of two forces apparently opposite, the eternal balance of being; it alone reconciles Reason with Irrational, Power with Liberty, Science with Mystery; it has the keys of the Present, the Past, and the Future.

The Bible, with all the allegories it contains, expresses, in an incomplete and veiled manner only, the religious science of the Hebrews. The doctrine of Moses/Akhenaton and the Prophets, identical at bottom with that of the ancient Egyptians, also had its outward meaning and its veils. The Hebrew books were written only to recall to memory the traditions; and they were written in Symbols unintelligiblegible to the Profane. What occurred is that the ‘symbol’, externalized, became the object of worship, rather than that which it was ‘abstractly’ meant to trigger internally.

Etymologically, the term Christ comes from the Greek Kristos; which in turn has its deeper Hebrew and Aramaic root: Mashih. The word is derived from the root MeSHeH, a verb meaning to anoint. Thus ‘the Christ’ indicated originally ‘the anointed one’ who is ‘the king’.

The basis of Messianic beliefs was the divine nature that Egyptians attributed to their kings, whose authority came from the divine principle beyond the veil. The king was not anointed with oil, but with the fat of a holy crocodile. This is the original source of the word ‘Messiah’. MeSSeH was the word for crocodile in Ancient Egypt, and the image of two crocodiles was used for the title of sovereign, bestowed on the king at the time of his coronation. Thus, there have been many anointed Kristos, or kings.

It is the phenomenal world of the senses, seat of the ego; acting as blinders, which keep the veil to that higher self shut.

GNOTHI SEAUTON – is the Wisdom of High Science, therein rests Understanding of self to surroundings.

Peace

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By Shenonymous, February 8, 2008 at 4:01 pm Link to this comment

omop passion without control is a holy mess in your case.  Pandemonium, anarchy, for others most likely.  Either a) or b) will lead to a dizzying pathology.  To keep going around, you may never catch the brass ring, which is a metaphor for your “goal.”  I have no idea with the passion of an Afghan is, so safety is not a factor, nor do I know what the passion of NATO.  NATO is a gallimaufry of separate entities and I’m not sure anyone know exactly what it is.  North Atlantic Treaty Organization doesn’t really tell much.  Does it?  What do you think its happiness is that it pursues?  What version of a burka would that be? 

I do not know what you mean by the ying and yang of F and P.  And maybe you don’t either?  You might mean yin and yang?  But what F and P are is a mystery to me.  And I’m sure that is not all.

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By Louise, February 8, 2008 at 3:55 pm Link to this comment

My little world is fine thanks.
What is it they say? “If you think you’re insane, you’re probably the one in the room who isn’t.”

We’ve all been going after the evil bastards for years now, haven’t we? Maybe that’s the problem. We really haven’t.

The choice of attack is vote, or let God do it, or they will all go to hell, or what goes around comes around, or let George do it. Well here we are and George has really done it!

Point being, if we, me, you, they, are too busy or too distracted, or too anything to change anything, nothing will change. Ever!

Einstein said, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is insanity.

My using the Christes story was a short abbreviation to a small window in history that points out how really little, things change. How really silly it is to think otherwise. How committed we humans are to doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result.

You know, that’s why most all politicians sound alike, depending on which color code your standing in. And News casters focus on trivia, or horror, and commercials are entertainment, and the coliseum always fills.

We are predictable. So predictable mainstreammedia can pick our president. So predictable a candidate knows exactly how to say what. All they have too do is promise whatever they think we want to hear, and they know we will go right on going right on doing everything exactly the same way and telling ourselves things will be different.

Take all the gadgets and gizmos out of life and what do you have? The same people using the same mindsets to pursue the same objectives, pretty much the same way. But, we still wait for someone else to shape the world for us, don’t we.

Why have we all been upset that Nancy Pelosi refuses to put impeachment on the table? 

Because we think she should.

She wont, so why don’t we?

There are sites, organizations, petitions and politicians who are calling for impeachment. How come the big “WE” haven’t climbed on board. Obviously WE haven’t, because WE are the majority and the majority can not be ignored! And WE ARE being ignored!

The power of organized religion, disorganized religion and politics. A power that silences the small inner voice that say’s, get up and DO SOMETHING! While the outer voice says, don’t bother, because they or it or he or she, whoever they, it, he or she happen to be, will do it for us.

Whether or not “Insane” McCain if elected, will actually carry on the Bush plan of blowing up the Middle East remains to be seen. The fact that crowds cheer when he promises to, tells me his base is INSANE! Sorry, there is no other logical explanation.

If we play nice and watch the stupidity unfold before us, we must all be crazy too.

Please don’t mistake my anger for whining. My anger is justified. Sometimes calling an obviously insane person “Insane” helps. But we have long since passed the point where excusing indifference or stupidity with the “preoccupied” platitude is acceptable.

Action is what is really called for. There will always be people too stupid or too lazy to do anything different. But not everyone is, and now a lot of people are really getting hurt.

I spent some time this morning on line, reading the newspapers published in “Mormon” country to get a feel for the reaction to Romney dropping out.

Well here’s a surprise. Last time I checked, the majority of reader comments were saying “vote for Obama” before “settle for McCain”. Now that may be for all the wrong reasons, because a lot of folks really believe fighting the “evil terrorists” is Gods will. So it’s a strange one to call, but the perfect opportunity to reach out and gently share some vision. Or, as my angry side would say, help lead the possibly insane back to a semblance of sanity. Avoiding at all costs of course, talking about religion.

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By omop, February 8, 2008 at 3:43 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous.

Directed passion under control is “good”.  Passion with no control or direction is?.....

Which is better/good…. a) am passionate about my faith or b) my faith is my passion or once on that kind of merry-go-round can one be able to distinguish or does it amount to a hell of beans whether one can or cannot?.As long as one keeps going around and around.

One can safely surmise that the “passion of an Afghan” is to get the NATO forces the hell out of his hair and/or her burka. One can also safely surmise that the passion of NATO is to ascertain the inevitability of its faith in doing away with the burka and implementing its own version of what comprises the pursuit of happiness.

Leaving one with the ying and the yang of F and P. The only logical reasoning that makes the Afghans the ultimate winners of this F and P. is the fact that they are on their own merry go round. That’s all.

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By amunaor, February 8, 2008 at 2:57 pm Link to this comment

<Cheney will be back in office with another stint as Secretary of War. Norman “Bomb-bomb-bomb-Iran” Podhoretz will be Undersecretary for Nuclear War with General John “Nuke them” Shalikashvili as his deputy.>

Robert, these perceptions are frighteningly correct!

Their ears do ring to the tune of ‘Bombs Bursting in Air’, bombing for Jesus, that is; clutched in their right hands the Neo-Roman spear of empire, whose foundations are a heap of bloody carnage; who sit to suit they’re own insatiable egos.

Keep an eye out on the pope!

GNOTHI SEAUTON!!!
and
Peace

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By Shenonymous, February 8, 2008 at 2:52 pm Link to this comment

It might be some kind of message of peace but what you are referring to is ambiguous at best.  It seems you are talking about an idea and that is the questioning of authority which in itself is not a Jesus idea but ancient one found in the recorded the history of humankind everywhere.  We are not fighting the same ideological battles unless you are using the word ‘ideological’ loosely.  It is using language loosely that I see as the internal problem in not only your discourse but in many of these posted comments.  We may be “fighting” ideological battles but unless we are specific and define this ideology, we cannot be victorious as we would be fighting a hydra with too many heads.  “Choose your battles” is an age old adage that has some wisdom in it.  Your passion about the issues doesn’t clear the trainwreck.  Slow down, sort things out one by one and slay each dragon as they come.  Not all the dragons at once.  I and most everyone “ the we all” to whom you refer, would be there in the battle with you.  There is nothing wrong with passion but it needs direction and control.

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By Michael Shaw, February 8, 2008 at 2:41 pm Link to this comment

The first time I tried to post this, it said it contained errors and couldn’t post, so I edited it and now I see both posts are in here! Sorry about that!

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By Michael Shaw, February 8, 2008 at 2:35 pm Link to this comment

Well I think (to a slightly varying degree) you’re right! But I consider the New Testament as the myth rather than Jesus the man. And even to those who believe he didn’t exist, philosophically at least “his” message of peace and questioning authority still does. Your own statements in confronting the real evils in this world stands in testimony to that. We are fighting the same ideological battle today as we were in the time of Jesus. Sadly his teachings were altercated and his message hijacked but even that didn’t stop an atheist from expressing the same basic philosophy!

The environmental destruction of the planet, perpetual war and the possibility in a nuclear war, permanent fascist leadership, slavery, famine, death. I don’t give a damn if you’re an athethist, agnostic or think Bush talks to God, these are the things that are at stake here for everyone and all the money and power in the world won’t save the environment once we allow the destruction of the planet to reach the point of no return.

This greedy trainwreck the elitists have put us on to enhance their own power-ego trips will mean nothing once this occurs. It reminds me of the original War of the World’s where the rich guy tries to buy his way onto the last bus out of town. The only transportation to safety is the combined understanding we are all in this together and the sooner we “all” realize it the better.

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By Trigger finger, February 8, 2008 at 2:30 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ok USA, lets all vote for this John McGoon guy for President and we’ll have a president that’s older than our country.  If you love other people fighting bush’s wars like I do then McGoon is your guy. Mothers and Fathers, hide your kids.  This goon-guy will re-ignite the Viet Nam war just to get his white flag back. WAR WAR WAR WAR WAR WAR WAR WAR WAR WAR WAR WAR WAR WAR WAR WAR. Watch ouut Canada, we are falling in love with WAR. By the way, didn’t you ice heads come up with that catchy “MORON” thing?  Better watch ouut, you heard about Saddam, right? Everybody wants to kill us. Lets start more WAR WAR WAR WAR WAR WAR WAR WAR WAR WAR WAR WAR WAR WAR WAR WAR WAR WAR WAR WAR WAR WAR WAR WAR WAR! Go mcgoon.

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By Michael Shaw, February 8, 2008 at 2:28 pm Link to this comment

Well I think (to a slightly varying degree) you’re right! But I consider the New Testament as the myth rather than Jesus the man. And even to those who believe he didn’t exist, philosophically at least “his” message of peace and questioning authority still does. Your own statements in confronting the real evils in this world stands in testimony to that. We are fighting the same ideological battle today as we were in the time of Jesus. Sadly his teachings were altercated and his message hijacked but even that didn’t stop an atheist from expressing the same basic philosophy!

I believe that most of us, whether we’ll admit it or not have some major doubts about the two party system and doubts in religion as well. In either scenario this is not unfounded.

This makes all of us human. We all have doubts and clearly, that which challenges those in any particular religion or political party, challenges everyone else too!

The environmental destruction of the planet, perpetual war and the possibility in a nuclear war, permanent fascist leadership, slavery, famine, death. I don’t give a damn if you’re an athethist, agnostic or think Bush talks to God, these are the things that are at stake here for everyone and all the money and power in the world won’t save the environment once we allow the destruction of the planet to reach a point where it can no longer be saved.

This greedy trainwreck the elitists have put us on to enhance their own power-ego trips will mean nothing once this occurs. It reminds me of the original War of the World’s where the rich guy tries to buy his way onto the last bus out of town. The only transportation to safety is the combined understanding we are all in this together and the sooner we “all” realize it the better.

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By Drpuck, February 8, 2008 at 1:49 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

No way McCain/Huckabee.

Prediction: McCain/Petraeus

Two giant Dem advantages:

money

ability to link McCain with Bush.

Believe Obama’s man Axelrod is the best cornerman the Dems have today.

Finally: McCain will get several bumps up but at the end of the day he’s got too much Cheney Inc. baggage. If the election is about ‘change’ out-polling righter wing republicanism, I’d bet on the fresh breeze rather than the putrid last gasps.

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By laughoutloud, February 8, 2008 at 1:38 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

could it really be possible that these two men will lead the united states?  You have ‘aw shucks’ huckabee who looks like dopey dwarf and believes the world is only six thousand years old, and then there’s the tiny opportunist mccain with his even smaller, girlish, and to be quite frank, creepy little hands. 

hardly representative of the strength and power that seems be what the great usa stands for.

what a sorry state america is in indeed if this is one of the possible teams running for the white house.

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By omop, February 8, 2008 at 1:24 pm Link to this comment

for anyone in November 2008.

Let the Honorable Ladies and Gentlemen in Washington DC nominate/appoint a caretaker CinC and VP.

Then on July 4, 2009. Have a general election with no party affiliation. Candidates will have to pay $100 million US dollars to the US Treasury to qualify to put their names on the ballot.

Put the list on the internet and tv and have people call in their vote. The top five vote getters get the benefit of a second vote and winner takes all. He or she gets to appoint their VP and Department Heads.

With Rush boom-boom Limbaugh pulling for Hillary alongside the nubile Ann Coulter doing the same. And John Hagee, Pat Robertson, Benny Hinn and AIPAC going for pscho-John and guitar playing Mike. The only act/event that maybe, and thats an IFFY maybe that can save the 300 million that live between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and assorted dependencies and call themselves citizens of the USA from a real Bizarro world is a massive collision with an object from outer space.

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By Michael Shaw, February 8, 2008 at 1:00 pm Link to this comment

Good points. All of the ancient mythologies play a role in the New Testament. Greek Mythology too, right out of Homer’s Illiad.

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By Shenonymous, February 8, 2008 at 12:55 pm Link to this comment

Re:
“Robert, February 8 at 11:37 am
Here Come the Brownshirts,
…With the majority of voters sick of war, sick of lies, sick of fraud from the Federal Reserve and Wall Street, and sick of stagnant and falling incomes,…”

But have you noticed here is a pall over the news in the media and the people (the country) are somewhat anesthetized from the lack of real issues?  Who is making noise these day except the bloggers who sit at computers all day and vociferate about the state of the world and send their little dollars to candidates of their choice?

We need a mass movement to get anything happening to wake up the somnambulists.  It is not their fault they are on news media Zolpidem.

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By Michael Shaw, February 8, 2008 at 12:52 pm Link to this comment

Well there is no doubt the Roman Empire bastardized Christianity. However in doing so they not only cut out all the Christian Jews(who told a somewhat different story) which led the church down a road to obsessive anti-Semitism for centuries, they also bastardized the original message from the very real messenger which was one of peace, of loving your enemies as yourself, in turning away from the evils of the power elite. Christ was not fiction whether we believe him to be the son of God or not. He is no more fiction than is Buddha, Abraham, Confucius, Mohammed or for that matter…Gandhi. He was a real person and a genuine idealist. He was the answer to mass oppression and slavery. He questioned authority and more importantly he placed that question in the minds of the oppressed. The fact he preached a non-violent solution perplexed the powerful, who could always deal with this in terms of military might but could not battle what is contained in someone’s own mind. It’s easy to kill people, but hard to destroy an idea. So the power elite did the next best thing, they distorted the idea to insure their own status.

The reasons for these bastardizations are clear. Christ spoke to power, the very power that crucified him. It is no small wonder that Constantine would bastardize anyone who stood to power, especially when the number of average people embracing Christ far outnumbered those who didn’t. That is why he embraced Christianity(which was in itself a true revolution) and used it as a tool in consolidating and maintaining his own power. And as you point out, that is also why the Virgin Mary theory came into play and why there is hardly a mention that Jesus had family, including brothers and sisters, cousins etc. The removal of these inclinations occurred in the third century. Most of the New Testament comes from Luke and Paul, a Roman who never met Jesus but who taught Christ through his own visions and revelations. This embracing of Luke’s version was with little doubt intentional because of all the other written text on Jesus, Luke is the one who mentions the least(beyond a mere hint) that Jesus had family. He had to become a Roman deity so the self appointed deity in charge(First the emperors, then the popes) could maintain the facade and control over the masses. The Medici’s of Florence took it a step further by buying the Papacy. Essentially, they did the same thing the religious right, the Robertson’s, the Falwell’s and Huckabee are doing today. It’s power should never be underestimated. These folks propelled Bush and Cheney into the White House. McCain needs their vote to stand even a remote chance.

But we should never construe Jesus as a man-created, mythical legend. He did exist but like most messengers of the truth he was first condemned, then killed and when that didn’t work, they went on to kill(distort) his actual message.

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By Robert, February 8, 2008 at 12:37 pm Link to this comment

Here Come the Brownshirts, Again
Does the Republican Party Have Aces Up Its Sleeves?

By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS

“The Brownshirt Party has chosen John “hundred year war” McCain as its presidential candidate. Except for Cheney, Norman Podhoretz, and Billy Kristol, McCain is America’s greatest warmonger.

In a McCain Regime, Cheney will be back in office with another stint as Secretary of War. Norman “Bomb-bomb-bomb-Iran” Podhoretz will be Undersecretary for Nuclear War with General John “Nuke them” Shalikashvili as his deputy. Rudy Giuliani will be the Minister of Interior in charge of Halliburton’s detention centers into which will be herded all critics of war and the police state. Billy kristol will be chief White House spokesliar.

The whole gang will be back—Wolfowitz, Perle, Wurmster, Feith, Libby, Bolton. America will have a second chance to bomb the world into submission.

With the majority of voters sick of war, sick of lies, sick of fraud from the Federal Reserve and Wall Street, and sick of stagnant and falling incomes, McCain is poised to capture 20 per cent of the vote—the Christian Zionists, the rapture evangelicals, and the diehard macho flag-waving thugs who believe America is done for unless “Islamofacists” are exterminated.

The accumulated lies, deceptions, war crimes, the shame of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo prisons, Bush’s police state assault on civil liberty, countless numbers of Iraqi and Afghan men, women, and children murdered for the sake of American and Israeli hegemony, and the collapsing US economy indicate a political wipeout for the Brownshirt Party. In a country with an informed and humane population, the Republican Party would be reduced to such a small minority that it could never recover.

What will happen in America? Polls show that Americans have had it with Bush, and the 2006 congressional election showed that the voters have had it with Republicans. But the Republicans have seen the message and ignored it, and the people and the Democrats have continued to tolerate and to enable that which they claim to oppose.

Meanwhile Bush holds on to his determination to find a way to bomb Iran, dismissing along with the neocons the unanimous National Intelligence Estimate that there is no Iranian weapons program, just as Bush and the neocons dismissed the Iraq weapons inspectors who reported truthfully that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction. What the American people and the Democrats have not understood is that a party with an agenda could care less for the facts.

The Democrats are far from pure, but they lack the fervor and determination that only ideology can provide. The Democrats might have issue-specific ideologies, but they lack an over-arching ideology that makes it imperative for them, and only them, to be in power.

In contrast, the Brownshirt Party is fueled by the neocon ideology of American (and Israeli) supremacy. The neocon ideology of supremacy is more far-reaching than Hitler’s. Hitler merely aimed for sway over Europe and Russia. The neocons have targeted the entire world.

Neocons have prepared plans for war against China. They are ringing Russia with military facilities and paying millions of dollars to leaders of former constituent parts of the Soviet Union to sign up with NATO, which the neocons have turned into a mechanism for drafting Europeans to serve American Empire.

All this work, the neocon Project for a New American Century, the costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the demonization of Iran, Hezbollah, and Hamas, the ghettoization of the West Bank and Gaza, the police state measures that Bush has succeeded in putting on the books, the concentration of power in the executive branch, these are successes from which the Brownshirts will not walk away.”


http://www.counterpunch.org/

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By Shenonymous, February 8, 2008 at 12:20 pm Link to this comment

And before Horas was Krishna of the Vedic prehistoric religion.  Virgin birth is primordial predating the myth of Adam and Eve, Horas, and all the otheres.  If you need a reference here it is:
http://www.hinduwebsite.com/hinduintrod1.asp

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By Frostedflakes, February 8, 2008 at 12:04 pm Link to this comment

Before Rome in Egypt there was the worship of Horas, who was born of a virgin, performed healings, walked on water, etc., etc., etc…So this story goes on and on and on…..

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