Archive for the ‘Extremism’ Category

I’m not posting this to turn my blog into a poetry critique class. There are plenty of issues to complain about here. I’m posting it because I wrote it 20 years ago this week, while sitting in a hotel room in Amsterdam. Take it for what it’s worth and remember all those who died 20 years ago today.

September 11, 2001:
	Three planes
               destroy three buildings
that once stood
         taller than the
		cedars of Lebanon.

Tijuana, 1963:
	There’s a picture of mom,
               and dad, and me
with sombreros.
	I don’t remember.
		To early.

Nearly three-thousand people die:
	Business or pleasure?
No. Life or death!
        In the same week we Jews
pray for renewal.

San Diego, 1979:
	A wedding in powder blue.
Yes, it’s true,
	powder blue
tuxedos.

Just a few crazed bastards,
	some barely 30 years of age,
		chose death
to harvest and discard
	the entire infrastructure
		of humanity.

And where are
	the Pope and Dalai Lama now?
And where are
	the Moslems who defend life?
And why retain
	compassion now?

Redondo Beach, 1984:
	There’s a picture of my
		tai chi group on the beach.
This
	I remember
		all too well!

Paris 1987:
	A café on the “boul miche”,
		with coffee and scientific dictionaries
and the writings of
	Pierre Boulez,
		by the IRCAM sign.

Nearly three thousand people die:
	For a cause no one understands.
With hand written instructions for piety and
	the roots of liberty are torn from the earth,
in the same week I read about John Adams.

Paris, again, 1989:
	A café on the “boul miche”.
		with a wedding,
thankfully,
	in black
		and white.

Just a few crazed bastards
	choose prayer then death.
Clear-cutting over three thousand
	people.

Valencia, 1982:
	A music degree.
A military industrial complex grows.
	An actor for president.

And the law changes now:
	They can now tap your phone
		by name, not simply number.
The National Guard
	checks
		baggage.

And pity the man who
	visits a pornographic website,
now that they can track the history
	of all his visits.

Big Sur, 1967:
	A seven year old at Esalon?
No. A family trip
to see “General Sherman Tree”.
        Foreshadowing three grown children
		whose liberty now stands shaken.

Considering
	the threats,
Those few crazed bastards
	rightly die.

And where are
	the Pope and Dalai Lama now?
And where are
	the Moslems who defend life?
And why retain
	compassion now?

Los Angeles, 1960
	Would I have come into a world
		so devoid of human values,
for a lost liberty, in a land of sadness,
        had I known and had a soul
               to chose?

As my gift of liberty wanes, I fear.
the pope and Dalai Lama
		and Moslems who defend life
are overshadowed by the evil.
	Tearing the roots of joy from
               the tree of life.

Yet, succumb to fear
	and lose compassion
and WE discard
	the entire infrastructure of humanity!

Los Angeles, 1960:
	I think
I have
	my answer.

And where are
	the Pope and Dalai Lama now?
And where are
	the Moslems who defend life?
And why retain
	compassion now?

September 11, 2001:
	Today compassion was torn from the earth
		like the root-ball of a redwood;
taking with it
	a rich mass of soil
		forty-one years in diameter.


  (c)2013 Dandylines Books [From "The New Poetics of Isolation" ISBN 9781490907659]

Bless you all and may this stand as a memory of both those who died in America today and those who died in 20 years of war that, for a variety or reasons, should not have taken thousands more lives and billions of dollars from our children.

Well, friends, as we can see from the all uppercase cry-baby tweets this morning, Dear Leader is a bit out of control and the Democrats have won the “adult For President” part of the election. But you can also see that Dear Leader has lots of lawyering yet to do. So, the presidential battle is not yet won.

We all know that Biden has won the election battle so we who do not think Mr. Trump is the right executive for our country rightly rejoice. But I feel compelled to remind you that the battle for human dignity is still just beginning.

Close to 1/2 of the entire country finds Donald Trump an acceptable representative of the moral compass of our country. The majority of those people actively embrace him. Personally, I know some very smart people and some very loving people who are in that camp. I don’t understand but I know that I have work to do.

What this says is that we have won the political battle but we have lost the moral battle. And, I do mean lost.

People who have never studied world history and who can not spell the name Mussolini have said terrible things to me about my contention that President Trump has been playing from Mussolini’s playbook. They will quickly insult me but just as quickly back away from giving me examples that prove me wrong.

This is not their fault; it is mine.

Why? Because I care about a world without fascism and without dictatorial regimes and if I can’t make that clear to people who I know are intelligent, loving people then I have not done my job.

Now, there will always be neo-Nazi, white-supremacist, evil people in the world. I don’t expect us to change them. What I do expect is that we will not get complacent once Trump is out of the White House. So, today, as I enjoyed a celebratory adult beverage at 10AM and feel good about that. I’m also mindful of the fact that, until I can convince those who are not on the fringe that Trump has been our fastest path to dictatorship, my work is not over.

Alternatively, I can simply choose to believe that 1/2 the country is not particularly smart. That’s the easy way out. But I know from experience that it’s not true. So let’s not be complacent. Let’s keep fighting from a position that I believe to be the moral high ground for a world of freedom and liberty that moves away from, not toward, authoritarianism.

This synagogue shooting has been pissing me off more and more as the days go by.

Now, to top it off our President is talking about executive orders to eliminate birthright citizenship. This he does while pretending to console American Jews. At least Hitler was honest about hating us non-Aryans. Trump pretends to give a shit about people who are not white Christians. But, he stands clearly on the side of white supremacy.

This is only minimally about Trump though. It’s really about the people he enables. What is scariest about Donald Trump’s America is not Donald Trump. It is how President Trump has laid bare the evil undercurrent of American White Supremacism and now it’s corollary antisemitism.

I suppose we should thank Trump for exposing what we really are.

But we also need to remember that the evil people are still a minority. It’s not to late to reinvigorate the power of love!

Every day, we seem to be making America greater, and greater, and greater again.

In just one week we have seen 14 bombs sent to past presidents and other major critics of Donald Trump AND the worst massacre of Jews in the history of the United States, with 11 people dead.

The country in which I live is no longer some shining light on some hill. We keep hearing people say “Make America Great Again” but that is clearly nonsense.

Perhaps one of the good things about Donald Trump being president of the United States is that China and Japan are now talking about healing their long-lasting wounds and working together. That is a good thing for the world. But, that is a bad thing for our country because it means that we will not remain the world’s great economic superpower.

So, we continue down the path of making America worse. I am among those who deeply loves the country in which I live. It absolutely kills me to see the wanton destruction of what was once the greatest democracy on Earth. That is all I have to say except to urge all of us to pray for the murdered Jewish worshipers and to pray that what little remain of our executive branch will have the balls to call the bombs what they are: assassination attempts. Such evil is NEVER even acceptable to ponder.

Enough!!!!

Over 300 people are now dead. Twenty-seven are children. Why?

A group of truly evil people seem to think that Sufism is heretical. This must be because a branch of a great religion that focuses on peace and joy is anathema to fundamentalist ideology. After all, when did you ever see a dervish with an assault rifle? A dervish with a suicide belt? A dervish with anything but ecstasy? Clearly, no matter how “Godly” these perverse fools think there precious brand of nutcase Islam is, joy isn’t part of their God’s plan.

I find this especially appalling because, in my personal theology, and my broader religious community, JOY is exactly the purpose of living! Any religion whose theology mandates the killing of another person is not a religion of MY God. Not only that, killing a Sufi of all things could not be anything but an act of evil.

Paramahansa Yogananda once said “If you only knew how much God loved you, you would die of joy“. OK… he wasn’t Jewish but there are a lot in our community for whom that must resonate. I know that Jesus would say the same and I’ll bet the Prophet Muhammad would too, if only the crazy people would stop murdering others and would LISTEN. In fact, I’d propose that every major religion would agree. I’d also propose that every major religion has some segment of believers who let dogma trump that message.

What we have seen this week is yet another senseless MURDER of 300 precious members of our species. That is yet another bastardization of irrational dogma in the name of religion. Worse, it even twists the word religion to make that just another cover for hate.

So, to you who would kill 300 praying Sufis, I want you to know that I hate you too. The difference between you and me is that I’d never kill you for that. You see, I recognize that even you are precious members of the human family. Even you have been given the blessing of life no matter how you distort the image of God within you. You are stupid but you are sentient; and killing sentient beings because they aren’t like you is never acceptable. Not even with evil people like you.

So, this Thanksgiving I am grateful for joy. I am grateful to live. I am grateful for the love and friendship I share. I am grateful that the violent fanatics are a tiny subset of Muslims. And… yes… in memory of those men, women, and children you brutally murdered…

I am grateful that there is a branch of Islam devoted to joy.

Moral authority should be a primary Presidential trait. The Economist has rightly called our president out for not having the balls to take a moral stance against evil.

I stand with the Coptic Christian community and I encourage them to fight to survive the horror of ISIS which (if I believed in Satan) I’d call Satan incarnate. 

Don’t take the words “turn the other cheek” too seriously. Fight for your community however you need too.  Every human life is sacred but some are more precious than others. (Hint: if you shoot Christians just because they aren’t Muslims then you fall squarely into the NON-precious category and I’d say you are fair game.)

Remember Copts, you have the right to your beliefs so long as they don’t harm others. Let no one take them from you; especially those who embody evil. They hate you and Jesus might tell you not to hate them back. But, it’s okay NOT TO DIE at the hands of zealots. Remember, the proper translation of the commandment is “thou shalt not murder” NOT “thou shalt not kill”. If you are going to die, die defending your humanity. Don’t Die of complacency.

As one of the world’s small remaining community of Jews, I stand with you. You are not alone.

Ya know… It costs me about $9.00 a week just to get my New York Times on the weekend. Today, I could not even read past the front page. I’m saddened and utterly horrified by the actions taken by our government this week.

If you don’t understand why I find this so upsetting I beg you to look at the specific actions of the German government in 1933. For the first time in history I’m not scared for we Jews. I’m scared FOR people who my government wants me to be scared OF.

Islamic extremism is clearly the most horrific application of religious dogma since something like 1099. It should be feared and it must be stopped. But once you turn a billion people into “the bad guys”, you have tried to solve the problem in a way that contradicts everything I thought this country stood for. The guys who most promote American exceptionalism just removed the primary thing that makes America exceptional.

Build a wall. Lock the doors. Adopt 17th century failed isolationist economic policies. Promote hate. Bundle it up with propaganda about protecting the people. What do you have left of the “shining city on the hill”?

 

 

One of my 2017 resolutions is to be more positive about things. I am no longer going to be negative and cynical. I am starting now.

I am very positive and enthusiastic about Donald Trump’s national security selections! This is great news! When these guys start World War III we will all finally be able to find out who was right about The Messiah at the end of days. This is exciting news for everyone I am being very positive in my thinking about it. What a great start!!! It feels so good to be thinking positive!

Ok. Sarcastic bullshit aside, just seriously consider this…

Suppose you wanted to build a nationalist state based on the values of racial superiority. misrepresented religious dogma, fear, state power, limited civil rights for selected classes, deportation, torture, and the internment of those deemed untrustworthy. Um… I dunno… maybe like the Third Reich in… oh… 1933, 1935… you know… like that. Hitlerish, perhaps. What would your first step be?

I have a cool idea!!!

How about putting 3 fringe, homophobic, islamophobic, misogynistic, exceptionalistic, racist white men in the positions of intelligence agency director, chief legal council, and national security advisor? Hey!!! That just might work.

Now, I’m not saying that anyone would do such things. I’m not saying that they’d be done with evil intentions. This is the 21st century and we’ve become an advanced, enlightened society. Surely that would be impossible.

We need to work hard on all levels to make sure everything stays perfect and I’m glad our CIA director, for example, will always be above politics. But, who knows what could happen. I don’t know.

What I do know is that there are many open jobs now and I’m torn. I can’t decide if I should apply for propaganda minister since I’m such a good writer or director of the secret CIA prison system in case my blog posts end me up in one of them anyway.

God Bless the Trump security team. I feel safe now.

Dear Mr. Trump,

I just got off the telephone with a Latina friend. Her high school aged daughter has struggled with depression problems that have largely been under control recently. Today she had a very serious breakdown. I asked my friend what happened.

My friend is Mexican but is married to a Caucasian. She lives in a small town who’s population is primarily middle-class whites. Her daughter has never before experienced racism. This is because, as I found out today her friends have “always considered her white”. 

Two days ago you were elected President. Yesterday, on a school field trip, for the first time, her long-time friends began teasing her about being “a Mexican”. Last night, after the field trip, this lovely young lady was overwhelmed by racist text messages. She awoke this morning in dispair having lost all of the positive changes to her emotional condition.

Mr. Trump, you say you are not a racist; you say you want to bring all Americans together; you say that white supremacist support is not indicative of your values. I desperately want to believe that but, less than 2 days after your election I have a friend whose family is experiencing racism that they had never before seen.

Prove to me this isn’t what you want. Speak out to your supporters and tell them to teach their children not to hurt others. If you can’t do at least that then I see no path to decency.