Friday, February 20, 2015

Voice of Reason

Thanks to Rabbi David Teutsch -- finally, a voice of reason!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rabbi-david-a-teutsch/netanyahu-in-congress-confronting_b_6707354.html

Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Legacy of Thomas Merton

I did not know the man; I wish I had.  Still his impact on my young life was powerful.

I was seventeen when I first read The Seven Storey Mountain and I identified with the story of his conversion – indeed, his life. I wanted to emulate him, I even briefly considered becoming a nun, and lived my life as a staunch Catholic until 9 years of a disastrous marriage cured me of religion and the Catholic Church to which I never returned. 

Little did I know that Merton was undergoing an enlightenment of his own; he was beginning to study the ancient Eastern religions and meet with masters of wisdom in Zen, Buddhism --  the Dalai Lama.  Thomas Merton was “catholic” in the truest sense of the word. Perhaps this new and liberal Pope will follow  his path of inclusiveness.  

Happy 100th birthday, Thomas Merton.      


Friday, January 30, 2015

". . . a cynical political move . . ."

You may have thought at first that these words were uttered by someone on the White House staff in response to Netanyahu’s rude (to be kind), and irresponsible (to be accurate) acceptance of an invitation to speak to our U.S. Congress on March 3. 

You would be wrong.  This excerpt came from Netanyahu’s former hand-picked ambassador to the US, Michael Oren as reported on the Israel website YNET.  Here is the full statement:  

“The behavior over the last few days created the impression of a cynical political move and it could hurt our attempts to act against Iran. It’s advisable to cancel the speech to Congress so as not to cause a rift with the American government. Much responsibility and reasoned political behavior are needed to guard interests in the White House.”

Granted, Mr. Oren recently announced he is running for the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament,  as part of the Kulanu Party led by Moshe Kahlon,  a centrist in Israeli politics; however, he is not alone in his criticism of Netanyahu’s brash and braggadocio behavior on the world stage:

There are many prominent Israeli journalists and politicians who abhor the brazenness of his  move, along with Israeli supporters here in the U.S., who were “sick to their stomachs. . .” when they heard the news – a sentiment shared with Israeli columnist, Chemi Shalev. One of those staunch supporters here in the U. S. was FOX News’ Chris Wallace:

“I’m shocked,” he said.  “For Netanyahu to do something that is going to be seen as a deliberate and really pretty egregious snub of Obama when Obama is going to be in power for the next year and three quarters would seem to be a very risky political strategy.”

There are others too numerous to quote here.  Suffice it to say that Netanyahu is a sly and successful politician, with a history of blatant publicity ploys used to his advantage; in this instance, however, he may have gone too far, considering the backlash over the last week. 

Of course, complicit in this entire fiasco is our own John Boehner.

Speaker John Boehner should, without further ado, withdraw his invitation to Netanyahu until after the Israeli election and the new Prime Minister, whoever she/he is, has a legitimate mandate from the Israeli people -- untainted by the shameful ploys of unworthy politicians. There are many in the race who qualify.   

As to our own illustrious Speaker of the House -- you embarrass me, John Boehner.     

Monday, December 22, 2014

Ho Hum Homeland

Now that Quinn (the most exciting character since Brody) is on a black-ops assignment somewhere very dangerous, what will “Homeland’s” writers decide to do next?  

Carrie’s psychotic episodes may be endearing to the men in her life, but are boring, boring, boring to this viewer. Saul may re-assume some importance in the next season – we certainly hope so. And a potential volatile relationship between Carrie and long lost Mom may (or may not) rev things up a bit, but with Sunday’s episode and the (hopefully) temporary departure of Peter Quinn, who seems to be the moral compass of the show, the season finale seemed almost moribund. 

And a word to the writers: not everyone in the world drops the “F-bomb.”  It is certainly in Carrie’s high maintenance character to do so, but I would think “out of character” for someone like Saul and some of the other operatives, technicians, and directors at Langley, who appear to use the word two or three times in a single sentence. Just because you may be comfortable with it, it does not necessarily follow that everyone in the CIA uses it – on TV or in real life.   


The word has lost its shock value, having been flung at us by new and liberated cable networks.  But how many of us actually use the word in everyday conversation? C'mon! 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Cuba and the Twenty First Century

Regarding the on-going discussion about relaxing sanctions with Cuba: it is my belief that had this "normalization of relations" been done decades ago, the Castro regime would be long gone. There is nothing like  a wave of fresh air to sweep out a repressive regime with dictatorial tendencies. Once the Cuban people get a whiff of an uncontrolled Internet and social media, their beautiful Caribbean skies with open wide with gifts of free speech and creative thought. Of course, time is also a factor and nothing will come about in a day.  But the process has begun. Bravo to Obama.
I intend to be one of the first tourists to visit the island after we get a U.S. ambassador settled in Havana.



Saturday, December 6, 2014

The Biology of Belief - By Bruce Lipton, PhD - A Review

This book confirms everything that I believe but says it far more succinctly and elegantly than I ever could.

We learn that the quantum theory proponents may finally be gaining a foothold in the traditionally entrenched scientific community and their stubborn adherence to a material concept of physics (Newtonian). Dr. Lipton sees us as part of a whole (the metaphorical drops of water in the great cosmic ocean); we are a universal melting pot, (ie, the planet, the stars, the earth and all living creatures dependent upon it, are all made up of energy AND matter), and that this knowledge may ultimately save our planet and our species from extinction as we begin to move toward a more spiritual understanding of our place in the universal order.     

In his discussion of Western medicine vs. Eastern energy healing, he rightly suggests that Western society has ignored the benefits of Eastern healing techniques to our detriment for centuries:  “For thousands of years,” he writes, “. . . Asians have honored energy as the principal force contributing to health and well- being.” (Lipton 108)  

He talks about the dangerous and adverse effects of drugs and how belief can heal or harm, how fear and anxiety can kill. Most informative in this section is the discussion of parenting—how important parenting is -- even before birth.

Our universe and everything in it, Lipton says, is made up of energy – a fact that Einstein recognized but the medical profession has ignored until recently. Thus, in the quantum universe, knowledge flows holistically   rather than linearly, as in the Newtonian paradigm.   It is therefore incumbent upon us to learn to live in harmony with the “natural order” rather than to impose dominion over all living things.

We are in the midst of a mass extinction says Dr. Lipton, the last in a series of six and created by greed for natural resources and material things as well as an early abandonment of “spirit” in our evolutionary history.  This loss of “connectedness” to spirit was caused, he says, by a desire of the scientific community to create distance between itself and the controlling factions of the early church.  If human kind acts to reverse our trend towards the earth’s destruction, we may avoid another planetary catastrophe.   

The book was an engaging and enlightening glimpse into the changing views in the scientific community. 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

JFK Remembered - a reprise

Each year during the past fifty one, there has been less and less said about JFK's assassination (until last year, or the fiftieth anniversary of his death). It appalls me, but I understand that most of us living today weren't even born in 1963.

I was kind of in love with Kennedy though I was still too young to have voted for him. His legacy today, however, is laced with a kind of blandness as though aside from his youth, his wit and charisma, his attractive young family, he really accomplished very little. This is blatantly wrong.

Kennedy's legacy grows with each passing year even though the tributes wane, (Chris Matthews’ new book, “Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero” notwithstanding which documents true heroism during WWII in the Pacific Theatre). True, he allowed Khrushchev to get the upper hand (at first). Also true, that the Berlin Wall went up during his tenure. Indeed, he resided over the Bay of Pigs fiasco and we're all aware of his "indiscretions." But I believe today, that had that young president lived, he might have been one of our greatest leaders. Remember, he had only a thousand days in which to accomplish his agenda.

The thing I remember about the Kennedy administration was the sense of idealism and public service it inspired in us, more than I have seen since, even though President Obama came close in 2008. We wanted to serve back then; patriotism was not just a word being thrown back in our faces when we disagreed with government policies, it was a conviction. We believed passionately and reacted fervently.

As for his accomplishments, take note: the Peace Corps, the Alliance for Progress, Civil Rights legislation, the Space Program and the introduction of the Green Berets. His major accomplishment, however, was a tight and tense little psychological drama between the USA and the USSR known as The Cuban Missile Crisis, which, without the successful maneuvering of the Kennedys, might have left the world in a state of nuclear disaster.

I guess his potential greatness will never be known which is what happens when someone takes you out before your time. But I think when all is said and done, his star will ultimately shine as one of the brightest. And though there seem to be few tributes today, JFK, this fifty first anniversary of your assassination, I remember. And I am grateful to have learned my political abc's under your leadership. You never blamed others for your mistakes -- you took your lumps with calm and grace. How refreshing it would be if our leaders today would learn to do the same