Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Rabbi's Perspective on Gaza

The book of Genesis gives an account of Jacob wrestling with G_d. I can relate. Sometimes I feel as if I too am wrestling with God.

We are not alone in this contention. In some ways, Jacob is still wrestling with God. History has shown that Israel's contention with Elohim often involves strife with other people. In the present day, the IDF's intrepid excursion into Gaza has called Israel's credentials as a civilized nation into question. If Jacob began the invasion opposing Hamas, bloody events have conspired to make it appear as if he is contending, not only with the whole world, but possibly also contending with the One who made the world.

Because 1200 people are dead, most of them innocent civilians, and many of them children.

If Israel's long-range objective is to establish existential legitimacy in the eyes of the world, who is really winning this contest?

Although I am a Christian supporter of Israel, during this last week that supportive voice in my soul has been drowned out with the cry of innocent blood that now emanates from Gaza ground.

I know that Israel did not initiate this defensive campaign with the intention to kill more than a thousand Palestinian civilians.

But that is what has happened. There's no excuse for a thousand dead bodies, most of them innocents and many of them children. Somebody should have had the sense to stop this thing before the loud din of bloody collateral damage drowned out any possible victory proclamation.

In this audio link that I am now recommending, we hear a Jewish voice that is a credible alternative to the Likud/IDF way of doing things. Rabbi Henry Siegman acknowledges that Israel's initial attempt to end Hamas rockets is justifiable. I agree.

But because of Hamas' treachery against its own people, the IDF has suddenly jolted far past the line of what is, among the opinions of mankind, acceptably justifiable warfare. In Rabbi Siegman's interview with Amy Goodman and Nermeen Shaikh, he offers an historically-based explanation of why Israel's defensive sortie could have degenerated into such an excessively lethal assault.

The man has certainly earned a right to offer his perspective. He is a former President of the American Jewish Congress, and former President of the Synagogue Council of America.

I am fascinated with Rabbi Seigman's personal history, which includes his family's escape from Nazi Germany. The Siegman family's arrival in the United States during World War II was a thankful deliverance after several years of evading the Nazis during the early Holocaust period.

Born in 1930, Henry was one of six children whose parents secreted the family out of Germany in 1935. Their odyssey of survival included temporary residences in Belgium and Vichy France, and attempt to enter Spain, and eventually a boat ride out of Marseille to North Africa and ultimately a voyage to New York.

In this Democracy Now conversation the Rabbi speaks of his Zionist youth, his later hope that Israeli peace with Palestinians could culminate with Messiah, and his subsequent disappointment that Israel had been unable to reach an agreement with the people who lived in Palestine when the Zionists moved in. The Rabbi's perspective is a highly credible counterpoint to the Likud/IDF strategy for establishing Israel as a nation among nations. In this link to the July 29, 2014 broadcast of Democracy Now, the interview begins at the 19:00 minute mark:


Saturday, July 26, 2014

What about them Washington Fedskins!

Let's hear a big yelp for the Washington Fedskins! The buzz this season is that their red-tape defense can stop any team in the country. And their offense is beyond figuring out. If I were a betting man, I'd say them Fedskins will be a dark horse for the Super Poll this year.

Glass half-Full

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The way of the World

Just rip my heart out o me

will ya? Go ahead and

snuff out any hope of justice or

mercy in this world,

as we hear of hundreds clueless

passengers get shot down because

ukraine is bleeding thirty-eight thousand feet


and hundreds more of Gazan kids get blown to

kingdom come,

while ISIS caliphators purge Christ

from Mosul. Just

rip my heart out will ya?

Once again just rip my

heart will ya while

the Innocents get nailed to crooked

damn cross

between power and purge,

between them that are bad and

them that are worse.

Makes me wanna curse

but I won't cuz it been done already


Just send in the


will ya?


Monday, July 21, 2014

Israel's Hamas tar-baby

I support our alliance with Israel.

But the Israelis, our only true allies in the Middle East, have gotten themselves into a bad spot in Gaza, and we need to help them. Please pardon me if I use this term: we need to Bail them out.

The present rocket-exchanging debacle with Hamas in Gaza has turned into a disaster. Hamas started it by manipulating their own people into a perilous position that placed innocent, civilian residents of Gaza in harm's way. Thus Hamas have offered their own women, children and other innocents as victims on the altar of military politics.

Hamas has outfoxed Israel, because Israel now appears to be the aggressor because of the blood on its hands.

But it was Hamas who initiated the aggression when they began firing rockets from heavily-populated civilian locations, to lure the Israelis into grabbing hold of a tarbaby from which it can never free itself.

This is what Allies are for. The Israelis need our help because they've been drawn into a hopeless situation that can lead to no good outcome for them.

The theatre of war we have here is like Uncle Remus' tale of Br'er Rabbit and Br'er Fox. Hamas, playing the role of Br'er Rabbit, has tricked Israel into playing the Br'er Fox role and grabbin' onto the bloody tarbaby of Gazan atrocity.

"Don't you be messin' with my tar-baby in Gaza, Br'er Fox!" This was the ruse with which Br'er Rabbit taunted Israel, while setting up its own rocket-launching offense from tunnels they had dug right in the middle of Gaza's densely-populated civilian areas.

Unfortunately for Israel, Netanyahu and the IDF were desperate enough to take the bait. Now they be stuck on the tar-baby and can't get away. Now Israel has tarry blood on its hands in the midst of a massacre that becomes a holocaust for Gazans and a public relations disaster for Israel.

So I'll tell you, as an American citizen who is entitled to his opinion, what we need to do. Our United States of America armed forces need to move in. Send in the cavalry. Do a search and rescue surgical operation. Deliver the innocent Gazans from death and destruction, and rescue our ally Israel from political and military disaster at the same time:

Send in the yanks! Dispatch the special ops guys to do a surgical strike that will put an end to this bloody accident of history. Bail out our only true ally in the Middle East. Maybe send the Marines, or the Seals, or the Rangers. I don't know which team, but this is a job that our guys can do.

1.) Get the Israelis to back off, so we can move in from the Mediterranean side.

2.) Find the Hamas rocket-launchers and run them the hell out of those tunnels. Restore Gaza to the peaceful Gazan citizens.

3.) Clean up the mess. Bring in the UN or Red Cross, Red Crescent, whatever it takes to mend the wounded, bury the dead, and restore the neighborhoods of Gaza to their peaceful conditions.

4.) Destroy the Hamas rocket-launchers. Fill the tunnels with dirt. And don't let Hamas back into Gaza. Send the Israelis home; tell them to pay better attention next time. No more tarbabies.

If we could take out Gadaffi and Bin Laden, we can take Hamas out of Gaza, and teach our allies a lesson in the process. Mr. Netanyahu, be more careful next time. We don't want to make a habit of such interventions.


Saturday, July 19, 2014

Deliver us from evil

We read about it in a book:

La guillotine Revolution;

how it fell so quick,

and king's blood splattered Paris stones.

Anarchy was loosed upon the world.

Then we read about it in the news:

that hammer/sickle Revolution,

heavy like a brick

when czar's blood splattered Russian stones.

Anarchy was hurled upon the world.

Then we heard it on the radio:

blitzkrieg of rabid Evolution,

emblazoned in that weird swastik

when innocent blood splattered kristallnacht stones.

Anarchy goose-stepped upon the world.

We even saw it on TV

that same forever-spreading evolutionary Revolution,

manifesting every slick human trick

while tactical blood splattered o'er strategic zones.

Anarchy was broadcast upon the world.

Now we encounter it in the 'net,

that old new Revoluti scimitari;

it slits across us quick,

while new astonished blood spills on ancient stones.

Jihadi anarchy is hurled upon the world.

Let this be a warning to yah.

Prepare to meet our Maker Jah,

whose sacrificial blood spilt on Jerusalem brick

while atonement shone bright and thick.

Then a banner of Deliverance was unfurled;

now Mercy is hurled upon the Revolutionary world,

if ye will have it.



Sunday, July 13, 2014

the System

In days of old
the world was dazzled with gold.
Silver was shiny too,
available to more than a few.
Then iron proved most useful all,
so we built many a structure so tall.
Now we find clay is common and easy to get,
so we include it in all that we bet,
until the day when we crumble and fall
on the stone that will crush us all.


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Crawling onto the sands of Time

If I had a pair of ragged claws
scuttling through surf-tossed sands,
I'd crawl up on this shellshorn beach.
I'd raise my thorny head
to see what I could see
to survey this continental conglomerate
that rises before me
like something big and fixed in time.
Whatever this is,
it is not akin to my ocean, no,
not in constant motion,
but something solid is it
something accumulated in time
something sedimented
into one big thing:
If I could drag me crusty self
upon that stony shore
I would find me windblown
wood grown structure there to rest
beneath its boney covering crest
and call meself at home.

But wait! What's this?
A thorny beast arrests me quest!
This spiny splort to thwart my sport!
Who goes there?
Declare yourself if ye be man or beast!
Shucks. 'T'was what I wanted least,
to share me beach with such a quilly guy,
to see me thorny self within his eye.
Pshaw! to put it politely,
'though I could use another word,
one that you have prob'ly heard.

Glass Chimera

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Proxy War

Proxy War
In the world of the 1930's, two destructive European ideologies were accumulating an arsenal with which to obliterate each other.
Unlike today, when the world is polarizing along ancient religious divisions, the scenario of the '30s was moving Europe toward a death-struggle between two opposing Western economic ideologies--fascism and communism.
The rise of two masterminding evil geniuses--Hitler and Stalin-- enabled their respective war-making nation-empires to rise to their full militarily destructive capacities and impose widespread destruction upon the world. During that period, seventy or eighty years ago, the civil war in Spain became the puppetized proxy war. Militarizing fascist states--Germany and Italy--propped up Spanish insurgents led by General Franco, as he sought to run the Communist-leaning, Soviet-supported government of Spain out of Madrid and out of power.
Today, the hotspot is not Spain; it is Syria. The power-brokers are not the Allies and the Axis; they are the West vs. Islam.
The civil war in Syria, which is now spreading into Iraq, is becoming the proxy war for two opposing ancient strains of Islamic power--Sunni and Shia. Iraq is caught in the middle between Syria (mostly Sunni) against the Shia empire, Iran, on the other side.
This scenario is eerily similar to the European ideology-based polarization of eight decades ago. During the 1930's, Spain, Czechoslovakia, and Poland were caught in the middle between Hitler's bloodthirsty power-grab and Stalin's stealthy gulag death machine.
Today's version of human-powered depraved bellicosity is not exactly the same, of course, as what was taking shape in the '30's, but there are similarities. The student of history can dimly discern these similarities. In our war-bound world of today, Syria, Iraq and other Arab states are caught in the middle, as Spain, Czechoslovakia and Poland were in the former times.
ISIS radicals in Syria are the Islamic version of Franco's quasi-Catholic fascists in Spain in 1936-1939. They are hiding their heartlessly demonic destruction behind a facade of the indigenous religion.
Franco's insurgents were supplied by the emerging-under-VersaillesTreaty-radar Nazi-fascist German Luftwaffe, who shocked the world with their air-powered obliteration of the town of Guernica, Spain, April 26 1937.
Today, ISIS brutes are shocking the world with their brutality in western Iraq, as has happened in Mosul. Now the battle is getting more intense and bloodier between Sunni and Shia , as it was between Fascist and Communist in the late 1930s.
This showdown is one that the major powers, comfortable in their relative prosperity and peace, prefer to watch from a distance and get involved if it becomes absolutely necessary.
In Britain and France in the 1930's, capitalist power-brokers stealthily supported Hitler's camouflaged Nazi heathen militarism, because they saw it as a potential defense against Soviet Communism.
Little did they know what Adolf Hitler had in mind.
Is there an Islamic Feuhrer out there in the middle east somewhere now, waiting in the wings to make his big move?
In 1938, Prime Minister Chamberlain went to Munich and made a deal with Hitler. He came back to England waving a piece of paper that he thought represented peace. But a few months later, Hitler, having stalled the Allies off long enough to build up his wehrmacht, jumped on Czechoslovakia and Poland like a pit bull on a squirrel. You know the rest.
The world got sucked into a terrible war; millions were killed. Because the Allies were worn out with it all by 1945, Stalin took the scraps in eastern Europe that Hitler had failed to hold and therefore left behind for his former ally. Stalin, the fox, outsmarted and outlasted his ally-nemesis, Hitler. Stalin could not have done it without our help. War makes strange bedfellows.
Nowadays, it looks as though the United States, weary of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, is willing to turn the defense of weak Iraq over to the Iranian ayatollahs, so that ISIS will not take all of Shia-dominated Iraq. Hitler didn't want the Czechs/socialists to have Sudetenland either.
Those Iranian Shia will be doing the dirty work in proxy war as Franco did for Hitler and Mussolini in 1936-39.
Is this something like turning the protection of the hen-house over to the fox?
We shall see.


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Doctora Lorna's Amazing Tico Touch

There we were yesterday in Costa Rica on vacation, having a great time, white-water rafting on a beautiful, wild rocky river, careening through a fast-water sluice, when suddenly the force of the water was overturning my kayak-raft, and the next thing ya know I am suddenly out of the boat, in the water, but it's no big deal because I have survived it and my glasses are still on, but then I felt something odd about the fingers on my left hand and when I look at the hand I knew something was terribly wrong.
It did not hurt and that seemed quite a mystery considering the contorted appearance of my left ring finger--the one that has never, in 34 years, been without the wedding band on it, no not even for one second.
We were very near the end of our white-water rafting phase of this day's adventure, which had begun with a leisurely horse ride, and was planned by our guide/hosts to move nextly into the zipline and climbing/rappeling phases. After my injury, my expert rafting guide, Ming, accompanied me to see another guy, a supervisory person, who walked me to the spa where there was a gal there with some sort of medical background, but when she saw the finger she declined to intervene because of the possibility that a fracture may be lurking in that twisted digit somewhere.
So it's off to the emergency room I go. That was their decision. Safest medical decision for this American guy's well-being, as well as the hosts' insurance and all that legal stuff. Now this was fine, by me, because I didn't like the looks of the finger, but it still did not hurt. A few minutes later, I'm back at the breezy, backwoodsy reception building, starting point of our GoAdventures/Canon El Viejo escapade, which has turned out to be life-threatening. No, not really, just kidding.
José, the very friendly manager of the outpost, will be driving me the short distance, less than a dozen kilometers or so, to the hospital in the city of Liberia. While I'm sitting on the bench, waiting for José on the porch outside, I look down at my finger displayed against the black background of the seat cushion, and so with my other hand I snapped a little pic:
Now in all my 63 years I have never had a broken or disjointed bone, so this is all new to me. And I'm looking curiously at this distorted digit and it still does not hurt, which is mysterious. But still, in the back of my mind I'm wondering if I'll ever play guitar again, which I've been doing since I was fourteen, and I have spent years in my youth pining away for music, writing songs and recording them in Nashville and Asheville and so forth. The mind, you know, can whack out with fears and speculations about the dire implications of this unprecedented, state of the twisted finger. And then there are the three novels I've written, and the four hundred blog posts, including the one you are reading now, and so forth and so on and will I ever write on my little Mac again?
Nevertheless, José seems like a really nice guy, smiling and relaxed, and now he's driving me to hospital and furthermore I'm a Christian and it seems that all is well in spite of the crookedness. It still does not hurt. Isaiah had said that the crooked shall be made straight. I hear this sung every Christmas season while listening to the tenor sing in the chorale, Handel's Messiah: . . ."the crooked straight, the crooked straight, and the rough places plain."
A little while later, José gets me to Hospital Enrique Baltodano Briceńo and we settle into the waiting room. My adventurous morning on horseback and white water raft has now become this:
But it's okay. It's all good, because I am finding that the Ticos (Costa Ricans) are very pleasant to be around, even in a hospital waiting room. Furthermore, I'm starting to wonder about those three ceiling fans spinning slowly overhead, because the place is cool and there is no air conditioning. Costa Rica is about 11 degrees from the equator, and this Sale de Espere is quite breezy and cool.
I was born and raised in the deep South of USA, where air conditioning is next to religion, nehis and moon pies in collective cherished memory and necessity. How do they it here, so cool without A/C? Part of the mystery, and my finger still does not hurt. All these people are waiting patiently. The are beautiful, gentle people, with good children and friendly, accommodating medical personnel.
There is something special about Costa Rica.
After about forty-five minutes, my turn comes to go into the little adjacent room for the medical assessment and whatever treatment is indicated. Jose accompanies me. In the small examining room, about the size of a dorm room, a very lovely Doctora is sitting behind a desk. I notice also that she happens to me a raven-haired beauty. She asks to see my hand. I lift the left hand so she can see it plainly, right in front of her, just a foot or so from her face. She looks at the hand with a clinical eye. Doctora Lorna touches the crooked finger gently, then glances at me, ostensibly to assess my reaction. She looks back at the the finger; then with no discussion or hesitation she very nimbly, minimally, grips the fingertip, with one hand, on both sides of my fingernail and moves the crooked part to its correctly aligned position. Voila! Nothing too it, like spreading butter on bread.
And it still does not hurt!
We were in and out of that healing room in five minutes. Doctor's Lorna's expert Tico touch was all it took. Neverthless, we were at the hospital for two and a half hours, because it is after all, a hospital. José was managing the various stops for admission to this that or the other department, or person-behind-glass for record-keeping red tape etc etc etc.
Next stop would be the radiology department, where the X-ray would, and later did, confirm that no fractures haunted my straightened finger. We ambled through a long, busy breezeway to get there. Concrete breezeways connect all the departments. Everywhere we go in this medical facility, breeze is blowing gently, pleasantly cooling the Ticos as they go from ER to radiology or urology or whatever.
After a fairly predictable quarter-day there, we managed to stroll through the whole hospital adventure, after Jose paid the bill. Here he is with the precious receipt in hand:
It had taken him an hour to get that receipt. I suppose Dr. Lorna's diagnosis, prognosis and treatment had been so swift that they couldn't find much to charge us for, and so the persons-behind-glass who handle the payment end of hospital business might have been a little confused, or maybe, as we say in the States, "covered up with (paper)work."
What I learned from all this is: everywhere you go in Costa Rica, the people are patient, happy, and not weighted down by the slings and arrows of high-stress stuff like us Americans. I think that's why many Americans dream of retiring there. The Ticos are, as the millenials say. . ."chill," or as the hipsters used to say, "cool," even though the country is only 10 degrees from the equator.
The Ticos have a name for their national attitude: Pura Vida!

Glass half-Full

Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Memory of Wild

Deep down inside
it is there
or is it?
high above the green forest canopy
nearly hidden from our sights.
or hiding from our captive
civilizing acquisitive
Living high above our territory
it is there
or is it?
burrowing beneath the trod of human feet
cringing from electronic drumbeat
of civilizing man
beneath the artifacts
among fossils
fleeing us fools
flora and fauna
i wanna
u. I think therefore
am I?

Glass Chimera

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

What's a Vacation For?

Now that we finally got to July and being on vacation, I have at last gotten around to catching up on a few personal projects that I would like to have undertaken long ago.

One project is learning how to actually make best use of the Macbook Air that I've been blogging on for two years now. Two and a half years, actually. Micah gave me the laptop at Christmas 2011. I've been stumbling around on it ever since, managing every now and then to get a word or two that made some sense out on the 'net for all the world to consider. haha.

On this vacation, my brother-in-law John, the Mac guy, has been very helpful in this personal proficiency-improvement project, especially with utilizing the pictures from iPhone that I've been snapping to elucidate our Costa Rica vacation.

In the midst of this steep learning curve, a picture popped up on one of the Mac files, a picture that I had forgotten about, thought I had trashed forever, except that lo and behold it is still rollin' around in the Mac and so I managed to pull it out of the trash. Pat took the pic exactly two years ago on Maui, Hawaii, at the Sun Yat-Sen park, which is a small memorial to the founder of modern China, Sun Yat-Sen. Here is his statue, with me standing next to it because I think Mr. Sun was a great leader:

A little research I've done today uncovers the impressive fact that both the major factions of modern Chinese liberation--the Mao-led Communist party and the Chiang Kai-shek-led Kuomintang-- claim Sun Yat-Sen as a major contributor to their initial movements to wrestle the governance of China from the dying Qing dynesty, because Mr. Sun led the revolution that knocked the Qing out of power in 1912.

Another reason I think he was a great leader relates to a quote from him that I discovered on this very same statue-base in Hawaii two years ago. The quote is carved into one face of the statue's base:

"Search into the nature of things, look into the boundaries of knowledge, make the purpose sincere, regulate the mind, cultivate personal virtue, rule the family, govern the state, pacify the world."

This principle(s) have been bopping around in my mind for these last two years. When I saw the pic pop up in my Mac wanderings today, the profundity of this wisdom suddenly came back to me. So I spent a couple hours today trying to find the source of the quote, which turns out to be not Sun Yat-Sen himself, but rather Confucius, in an old classic called The Great Learning.

I learned this when a google search finally led me to a pdf from a biography of Sun Yat-sen by a Stanford scholar, Marie Clare Bergere. .

The idea of "searching into the nature of things" is one that Mr. Sun made a central part of his own way of relating to the world and trying to make it a better place. I like that strategy, and it is the essence of my writing projects, the blogging as well as the novels.

Here is another pic from that Hawaiian adventure two years ago, just to illustrate what I mean by looking into the nature of things. This pic reveals just how everything, including the earth itself is just kind of. . . stratified:

Glass half-Full