Take A Stand

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Rise Like Lions

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It Can’t Happen Here

In 1935, American novelist, Sinclair Lewis, published It Can’t Happen Here. I haven’t read it yet, but the plot sounds quite intriguing:

Berzelius “Buzz” Windrip, a charismatic and power-hungry politician, is elected President of the United States on a populist
platform, promising to restore the country to prosperity and greatness,
and promising each citizen $5,000 a year (approximately $80,000, adjusted for inflation). Once in power, however, he becomes a dictator: he outlaws dissent, puts his political enemies in concentration camps, and creates a paramilitary force called the Minute Men who terrorize the citizens. One of his first acts as President is to make changes to the Constitution which give him sole power over the country, rendering Congress
obsolete (in real life the President is not part of the Constitutional
Amendment process at all). This is met by protest from the Congress as
well as outraged citizens, but Windrip declares a state of martial law and, with the help of his Minute Men, throws the protesters in jail. As Windrip dismantles democracy,
most Americans either support him and his Corpo Regime wholeheartedly
or reassure themselves that fascism “can’t happen” in America (hence the
book’s title) Wikipedia.

 This almost sounds like actual events occurring in our day. Are we already a fascist state? Can it happen here?

Here is the online text of Lewis’ novel.

Z

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Thanksgiving?

Why do we celebrate Thanksgiving? Why did our controllers lie to us, causing us to embrace this day as a national celebration? What is the true story?

Things have really not changed much since 1621. The same tactics are utilized in an attempt to control the minds of others. The following is taken from The Hidden History Of Massachusetts, by Tingba Apidta.

What Really Happened in Plymouth in 1621?

According to a single-paragraph account in the writings of one Pilgrim,
a harvest feast did take place in Plymouth in 1621, probably in
mid-October, but the Indians who attended were not even invited. Though
it later became known as “Thanksgiving,” the Pilgrims never called it
that. And amidst the imagery of a picnic of interracial harmony is some
of the most terrifying bloodshed in New World history.

The Pilgrim crop had failed miserably that year, but the agricultural
expertise of the Indians had produced twenty acres of corn, without
which the Pilgrims would have surely perished. The Indians often
brought food to the Pilgrims, who came from England ridiculously
unprepared to survive and hence relied almost exclusively on handouts
from the overly generous Indians-thus making the Pilgrims the western
hemisphere’s first class of welfare recipients. The Pilgrims invited
the Indian sachem Massasoit to their feast, and it was Massasoit,
engaging in the tribal tradition of equal sharing, who then invited
ninety or more of his Indian brothers and sisters-to the annoyance of
the 50 or so ungrateful Europeans. No turkey, cranberry sauce or
pumpkin pie was served; they likely ate duck or geese and the venison
from the 5 deer brought by Massasoit. In fact, most, if not all, of the
food was most likely brought and prepared by the Indians, whose
10,000-year familiarity with the cuisine of the region had kept the
whites alive up to that point.

The Pilgrims wore no black hats or buckled shoes-these were the silly
inventions of artists hundreds of years since that time. These
lower-class Englishmen wore brightly colored clothing, with one of
their church leaders recording among his possessions “1 paire of greene
drawers.” Contrary to the fabricated lore of storytellers generations
since, no Pilgrims prayed at the meal, and the supposed good cheer and
fellowship must have dissipated quickly once the Pilgrims brandished
their weaponry in a primitive display of intimidation. What’s more, the
Pilgrims consumed a good deal of home brew. In fact, each Pilgrim
drank at least a half gallon of beer a day, which they preferred even
to water. This daily inebriation led their governor, William Bradford,
to comment on his people’s “notorious sin,” which included their
“drunkenness and uncleanliness” and rampant “sodomy”…

The Pilgrims of Plymouth, The Original Scalpers

Contrary to popular mythology the Pilgrims were no friends to the local
Indians. They were engaged in a ruthless war of extermination against
their hosts, even as they falsely posed as friends. Just days before
the alleged Thanksgiving love-fest, a company of Pilgrims led by Myles
Standish actively sought to chop off the head of a local chief. They
deliberately caused a rivalry between two friendly Indians, pitting one
against the other in an attempt to obtain “better intelligence and make
them both more diligent.” An 11-foot-high wall was erected around the
entire settlement for the purpose of keeping the Indians out.

Any Indian who came within the vicinity of the Pilgrim settlement was
subject to robbery, enslavement, or even murder. The Pilgrims further
advertised their evil intentions and white racial hostility, when they
mounted five cannons on a hill around their settlement, constructed a
platform for artillery, and then organized their soldiers into four
companies-all in preparation for the military destruction of their
friends the Indians.

Pilgrim Myles Standish eventually got his bloody prize. He went to the
Indians, pretended to be a trader, then beheaded an Indian man named
Wituwamat. He brought the head to Plymouth, where it was displayed on a
wooden spike for many years, according to Gary B. Nash, “as a symbol
of white power.” Standish had the Indian man’s young brother hanged
from the rafters for good measure. From that time on, the whites were
known to the Indians of Massachusetts by the name “Wotowquenange,”
which in their tongue meant cutthroats and stabbers.

Who Were the “Savages”?

The myth of the fierce, ruthless Indian savage lusting after the blood
of innocent Europeans must be vigorously dispelled at this point. In
actuality, the historical record shows that the very opposite was true.

Once the European settlements stabilized, the whites turned on their
hosts in a brutal way. The once amicable relationship was breeched
again and again by the whites, who lusted over the riches of Indian
land. A combination of the Pilgrims’ demonization of the Indians, the
concocted mythology of Eurocentric historians, and standard Hollywood
propaganda has served to paint the gentle Indian as a tomahawk-swinging
savage endlessly on the warpath, lusting for the blood of the
God-fearing whites.

But the Pilgrims’ own testimony obliterates that fallacy. The Indians
engaged each other in military contests from time to time, but the
causes of “war,” the methods, and the resulting damage differed
profoundly from the European variety:

o Indian “wars” were largely symbolic and were about honor, not about territory or extermination.

o “Wars” were fought as domestic correction for a specific act and were
ended when correction was achieved. Such action might better be
described as internal policing. The conquest or destruction of whole
territories was a European concept.

o Indian “wars” were often engaged in by family groups, not by whole tribal groups, and would involve only the family members.

o A lengthy negotiation was engaged in between the aggrieved parties
before escalation to physical confrontation would be sanctioned.
Surprise attacks were unknown to the Indians.

o It was regarded as evidence of bravery for a man to go into “battle”
carrying no weapon that would do any harm at a distance-not even bows
and arrows. The bravest act in war in some Indian cultures was to touch
their adversary and escape before he could do physical harm.

o The targeting of non-combatants like women, children, and the elderly
was never contemplated. Indians expressed shock and repugnance when
the Europeans told, and then showed, them that they considered women
and children fair game in their style of warfare.

o A major Indian “war” might end with less than a dozen casualties on
both sides. Often, when the arrows had been expended the “war” would be
halted. The European practice of wiping out whole nations in bloody
massacres was incomprehensible to the Indian.

According to one scholar, “The most notable feature of Indian warfare
was its relative innocuity.” European observers of Indian wars often
expressed surprise at how little harm they actually inflicted. “Their
wars are far less bloody and devouring than the cruel wars of Europe,”
commented settler Roger Williams in 1643. Even Puritan warmonger and
professional soldier Capt. John Mason scoffed at Indian warfare:
“[Their] feeble manner…did hardly deserve the name of fighting.”
Fellow warmonger John Underhill spoke of the Narragansetts, after
having spent a day “burning and spoiling” their country: “no Indians
would come near us, but run from us, as the deer from the dogs.” He
concluded that the Indians might fight seven years and not kill seven
men. Their fighting style, he wrote, “is more for pastime, than to
conquer and subdue enemies.”

All this describes a people for whom war is a deeply regrettable last
resort. An agrarian people, the American Indians had devised a
civilization that provided dozens of options all designed to avoid
conflict–the very opposite of Europeans, for whom all-out war, a
ferocious bloodlust, and systematic genocide are their apparent life
force. Thomas Jefferson–who himself advocated the physical
extermination of the American Indian–said of Europe, “They [Europeans]
are nations of eternal war. All their energies are expended in the
destruction of labor, property and lives of their people.”

Puritan Holocaust

By the mid 1630s, a new group of 700 even holier Europeans calling
themselves Puritans had arrived on 11 ships and settled in Boston-which
only served to accelerate the brutality against the Indians.

In one incident around 1637, a force of whites trapped some seven
hundred Pequot Indians, mostly women, children, and the elderly, near
the mouth of the Mystic River. Englishman John Mason attacked the
Indian camp with “fire, sword, blunderbuss, and tomahawk.” Only a
handful escaped and few prisoners were taken-to the apparent delight of
the Europeans:

To see them frying in the fire, and the streams of their blood
quenching the same, and the stench was horrible; but the victory seemed
a sweet sacrifice, and they gave praise thereof to God.

This event marked the first actual Thanksgiving. In just 10 years
12,000 whites had invaded New England, and as their numbers grew they
pressed for all-out extermination of the Indian. Euro-diseases had
reduced the population of the Massachusett nation from over 24,000 to
less than 750; meanwhile, the number of European settlers in
Massachusetts rose to more than 20,000 by 1646.

By 1675, the Massachusetts Englishmen were in a full-scale war with the
great Indian chief of the Wampanoags, Metacomet. Renamed “King Philip”
by the white man, Metacomet watched the steady erosion of the
lifestyle and culture of his people as European-imposed laws and values
engulfed them.

In 1671, the white man had ordered Metacomet to come to Plymouth to
enforce upon him a new treaty, which included the humiliating rule that
he could no longer sell his own land without prior approval from
whites. They also demanded that he turn in his community’s firearms.
Marked for extermination by the merciless power of a distant king and
his ruthless subjects, Metacomet retaliated in 1675 with raids on
several isolated frontier towns. Eventually, the Indians attacked 52 of
the 90 New England towns, destroying 13 of them. The Englishmen
ultimately regrouped, and after much bloodletting defeated the great
Indian nation, just half a century after their arrival on Massachusetts
soil. Historian Douglas Edward Leach describes the bitter end:

The ruthless executions, the cruel sentences…were all aimed at the
same goal-unchallengeable white supremacy in southern New England. That
the program succeeded is convincingly demonstrated by the almost
complete docility of the local native ever since.

When Captain Benjamin Church tracked down and murdered Metacomet in
1676, his body was quartered and parts were “left for the wolves.” The
great Indian chief’s hands were cut off and sent to Boston and his head
went to Plymouth, where it was set upon a pole on the real first “day
of public Thanksgiving for the beginning of revenge upon the enemy.”
Metacomet’s nine-year-old son was destined for execution because, the
whites reasoned, the offspring of the devil must pay for the sins of
their father. The child was instead shipped to the Caribbean to spend
his life in slavery.

As the Holocaust continued, several official Thanksgiving Days were
proclaimed. Governor Joseph Dudley declared in 1704 a “General
Thanksgiving”-not in celebration of the brotherhood of man-but for
[God’s] infinite Goodness to extend His Favors…In defeating and
disappointing… the Expeditions of the Enemy [Indians] against us, And
the good Success given us against them, by delivering so many of them
into our hands…

Just two years later one could reap a ££50 reward in Massachusetts for
the scalp of an Indian-demonstrating that the practice of scalping was a
European tradition. According to one scholar, “Hunting redskins
became…a popular sport in New England, especially since prisoners were
worth good money…”

References in The Hidden History of Massachusetts: A Guide for Black Folks ©© DR. TINGBA APIDTA, ; ISBN 0-9714462-0-2; or e-mail

So, there you have the story, which is not so much different than what’s transpiring now in the Middle East.
Let’s be honest. Thanksgiving is about
gluttonously feeding the Western monkey, to the detriment of all
others worldwide. Sure, I’m going to eat a lot of turkey and dressing. I
won’t lie and tell you I won’t. But let’s at least be aware of the
truth, and not buy into the lies any longer.
This post is dedicated to Chief Metacomet of the Wampanoags, and all Native Americans slaughtered by Europeans.
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On The Wheel

 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s
table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores (Luke 16:21).

The destinies of men are subject to immutable laws that must fulfill
themselves.
But man has it in his power to shape his fate, according as his
behavior exposes him to the influence of benevolent or of destructive
forces. When a man holds a high position and is nevertheless modest, he
shines with the light of wisdom; if he is in a lowly position and is
modest, he cannot be passed by. Thus the superior man can carry out his
work to the end without boasting of what he has achieved (The I Ching).

Revolutionary musings to follow. I feel my inner Marx seething.

A behaviorist understands that, to prompt a certain response from a
rat, say the ringing of a bell, a reward must be given, e.g. a piece of
cheese. Using this method, the rat is quickly and easily trained to ring
the bell whenever rewarded.

Employers surely must
understand this basic, undeniable fact: workers won’t perform as
requested without rewards for what they’ve already achieved. If not,
that person is a very poor employer, indeed, and in need of
understanding about human nature. We see this before our eyes on a near-daily basis. Our managers and supervisors treat us like automatons, expecting maximum efficiency from us, as if we were perpetual-motion machines. But, when it comes time for annual assessments, we are told the company cannot afford to increase our salaries or improve our benefits. The next thing you hear is that the top executives have received lucrative bonuses!

A
behaviorist experimenting on a rat does not believe in a god or any
supernatural agency. He/She only believes in the scientific fact that a
rat can be conditioned to perform a requested action.

A man
who is a manager of workers, and a confessed believer in a god, the one
and only god, according to this person, must surely understand that
rewarding others for what they’ve achieved is a good way to ensure that
future behavior will correspond to the manager’s wishes, and to please
their loving and compassionate god. But, sadly, even a rat gets more
respect than workers in our modern workplace. At least the rat gets
cheese. The lowly worker gets crumbs, which fall, seemingly, from the
master’s table.

The manager is not a modest man, for, if he were, he
would shine with the “light of wisdom.” Instead, we see a frail, paltry
excuse for a man. Such men are not worthy of respect. They should be
licking at our heels for crumbs.

Z

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Black Friday Transformed

Let’s face it, friends, the shopping melee, that occurs the day after Thanksgiving, is not benefiting us. In fact, it simply empowers corporations to have even more control over our lives than they do now. I know, I know, you’re going to tell me you save a lot of money because of the so-called “sweet deals.” But, think about it. Are retailers that stupid? Are they really trying to save you money, perhaps out of their immense compassion for the American shopper? Come on, people! Wake up!

Corporations will turn a profit at any cost. They have never stopped to think whether their marketing schemes do more harm than good. They have never cared one iota whether their actions would benefit or harm our society. Understand this: anything that stems from a blatant lie is not good for you or your fellow-citizens. If you want to learn more about the history of so-called “public relations” and marketing, watch this documentary.

If, after viewing it, if you still think retailers are thinking only of you, and saving you from spending your very hard-earned dollars, you may need to seek professional help.

So, what if, instead of camping out on the doorstep at Best Buy or the local mall on Thanksgiving night, why don’t we just stay home and sleep in our friggin’ beds?! Why don’t we stay in our pajamas all friggin’ day on Friday and not buy a single solitary thing?! Let’s boycott Black Friday! Let’s turn it into some other color, like Blue Friday because, for example, we stay home all day and listen to friggin’ blues music on our free Spotify account!

Folks, our nation needs you. You will be participating in an act of patriotism by boycotting Black Friday. The 1% cares nothing for you. Your are chattel to them. Don’t buy into the lies perpetrated by the mainstream media. Be an American hero.

Z

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Tomorrow: Mass Direct Action!

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First And Last

Jesus said, “So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen (Matt. 20:16).

“The last”, in our society, are thought to be the homeless, the destitute, the starving. In our economically depressed times, there are multitudes who fit this description. Millions have lost their homes, their jobs, their very lives, to a band of despotic marauders, who go by the names of Representative So-and-So, or Senator Such-and-Such. Of course, these so-called representatives are mostly all wealthy, most born with the proverbial silver spoon dangling from their gluttonous mouths. When they get to Washington, they become even richer and more gluttonous! How can this be? The normal salary for rank-and-file members of the House and Senate is $174,000. That’s a lot of money, but it doesn’t usually result in millions upon millions in wealth! Of course, there is always the possibility of insider trading. This is one example of what Jesus meant by “the first.”

“The first” also alludes to the corruption in the banking and investment sector. Billions of dollars is never enough for these avaricious thugs. They want everything you own! They want it all, and, apparently, they want it now. They would like nothing better than to see us all bankrupt. Their ultimate goal is to rid the earth of inferiors like us. But, to the dismay of these mobsters, the sleeping giant has been awakened!

The first shall be last. The Occupy movement is the beginning of the transformation. In recent days, a coordinated effort among several American cities has shown that the power elites are scared. They’re confused. They don’t know what to do with occupiers. The only strategy they understand is violence, so they resort to tear-gassings and pepper sprayings, and even beatings, to try and dissuade the faithful. But this is not working. In their infantile intellects, they believe that if enough muscle is thrown at the occupiers, they will give up and go home (if they have one to go to). That’s all their pea-brains can understand! You cannot quench the fire of an idea with police brutality. The first shall be last.

The last will become first, not because of a violent revolution, but because of peaceful, non-violent persuasion of the minds of millions of Americans, who are tired of a corrupt government, sham elections, a greedy and evil banking system, and mendacious media. The secrets are out, largely because of the Internet. The lies have been, and are continuing to be, uncovered. The evil is being rooted out. The last shall be first!

Z

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General Strike Is On!

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Jesus Occupies Wall Street

Photo by Dtarazona

There is no doubt in my mind that Jesus was a revolutionary in his day. He busted the Pharisees’ and Saducees’ chops on many occasions for being so dishonest, literal and fundamentalist in their thinking. He derided them on several occasions, hurling disparaging terms at them, such as “brood of vipers,” “hypocrites,” and “blind guides.” These are words that could easily be identified with the current brood of vipers on Wall Street. Jesus would be railing against our moden-day vipers just like he did then.

Jesus would be occupying Zucotti Park, if he were living in the New York City of our day. He would have been righteously indignant at NYC Mayor Bloomberg for being so callous and unfeeling toward the plight of our middle and lower class citizens. He would be indignant about the extreme inequality that exists in our country now because of crooked bankers and hedge fund managers, who took down our economy for their own benefit. He would be outraged at the milquetoast politicians in Washington DC, who the dirty bankers have bought with wealth that should have went toward assisting the poor, sick, and downtrodden. He would be infuriated over the arrest, brutalization, and imprisonment of thousands of citizens for speaking up for their constitutional rights.

If Jesus were in Oakland, CA, Jesus would have been tear-gassed the night of October 25. He would have been pelted with rubber bullets, for he would have been on the front line of the protesters. But he would have remained non-violent, even though his righteous indignation would have been pumping full-throttle! If he had been there, the cops might have thrown him to the ground, breaking his nose and bloodying his face, while they wrapped plastic ties tight around his wrists, cutting off all circulation to his hands. If he had had the time, he would have thrown himself in front of Scott Olsen to prevent the gas canister from striking him in the head. Jesus was a man who would sacrifice his life for the cause.

If a person reading the Gospels can’t see Jesus in this light, I’d like to hear from you.

Peace,

Z

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Frank Roper

A man named Frank Roper was brutalized today in Denver for touching a policeman’s precious motorcycle. Mr. Bigshot Denver motorcycle cop, with his really macho SWAT gear, apparently got his feelings hurt because Mr. Roper touched his shiny little motorcycle. When the violence was finished, Frank looked like this:

Denver police, your patrol cars have written on the sides, “To Serve And Protect.” Really? Is this how you carry out your sworn oath to serve and protect the citizens of Denver? Are you mad at them because these Occupy protesters are focusing the spotlight on what you’ve gotten away with for decades. The people who you really serve and protect are the 1%, admit it.

What I don’t understand is, what do you get out of it? A pay raise? They’re trying to annihilate your unions. They don’t want to give you higher pay; you’ll be lucky if you still have a job in six months! So, is it just a thrill to brutalize innocent people? Is that how you get your kicks? Well, get ready. You will have lots of opportunities in the near future because these people are not backing down. They will not allow you to intimidate them with your little toy rubber bullets and tear gas. You and your families would be better served if you join them. We’re all in this together, you know. You will never be part of the 1%.

Entire video is here.

Z

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Chaos

Doomed, I peered into the Cavern of Time from my lowly position atop the
livid mountain. For the first time, I realized what the Grey Ones had
spoken about eons ago. It had been a warning to the earth, a
prognostication. The portent had said that we would lift our voices and
bring everlasting peace to this tired, sick planet. The veins of gold
beneath us would cause upheaval, resulting in the opening of great
fissures, rips in time that would consume the hopes of one percent of the people. Peace
would never come; it was merely a lie perpetrated on us by mendacious
maniacs. The warfare we had longed for had been consumed by the fires of
veracity.

I stood aghast at the accuracy of the prophecy now
being fulfilled before me. Everywhere was Chaos. The gaping tears in the
fabric of Being now lay at my feet, undulating, bleeding themselves
out. Was this what the old ones meant by Armageddon?

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Stand Strong!

These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier
and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service
of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and
thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered;
yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the
more glorious the triumph. –Thomas Paine

Thomas Paine is a great hero in
the annals of freedom. He has much good advice for us.

Z

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That Smell

There is a distinct aroma in the air these days. Can you smell it? It’s
very pungent and poignant, the very opposite of that sickly, deathly
stench we’re so accustomed to. It’s a very agreeable fragrance, a
harbinger of better times to come.

It was in the air when
Dr. Martin Luther King gave his famous speech, August 28, 1963. The masses
hearing Dr. King that day were invigorated by its pervasive quality.

It
was present in Tiananmen Square the day the Unknown Rebel stood in the
front of the tanks. The pleasant aroma gave him hope that his beloved
country could experience change.

On the night of October 5, it was piquant and peppery on the streets of lower Manhattan. Now, we’re sensing it in cities all over the globe.

Are you smelling it too? Take a big whiff and become accustomed to it because, now, it will linger in the air for a long time to come.

Z

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Usury

Did you know the Roman Catholic Church once excommunicated members of both laity and clergy for practicing usury? In the Third Council of the Lateran (1179), usury was declared heretical. In 1745, Pope Benedict XIV issued the encyclical, Vix Pervenit, condemning the practice.

The papal prohibition on usury meant that it was a sin to charge interest on a money loan. As set forth by Thomas Aquinas,
the natural essence of money was as a measure of value or intermediary
in exchange. The increase of money through usury violated this essence
and according to the same Thomistic
analysis, a just transaction was one characterized by an equality of
exchange, one where each side received exactly his due. Interest on a
loan, in excess of the principal, would violate the balance of an
exchange between debtor and creditor and was therefore unjust (Wikipedia).

Now, why is this significant? Well, it simply reminds us that the teachings of Jesus were antithetical to the practice of usury, as well as a lot of other things that we experience everyday in the USA. And they say we are a Christian nation! Jesus would never approve of capitalism. Fundamentalist Christians should re-read their Bibles. Pay close attention to the book of Acts:

    All that believed were together, and had all things in common;
    And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as
    every man had need.

    (Acts 2:44-45)
    There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned
    lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold.
    They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as
    any had need. There was a Levite, a native of Cyprus, Joseph, to whom
    the apostles gave the name Barnabas (which means “son of
    encouragement”). He sold a field that belonged to him, then brought the
    money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

    (Acts 4:34-37)

  That’s pretty straightforward. I wonder how they explain this away?

Z

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Mark Steele Lectures On Karl Marx

Mark Steele reminds me of Keith Moon. A very interesting fellow.

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Major Corporations and Tea Party Politics – Dr. Richard Wolff

[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/27821443 w=400&h=225]Professor Richard D. Wolff – Major Corporations and Tea Party Politics from bryan isom on Vimeo.

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Economics

This weekend, I’ve been listening to lectures by Dr. Richard Wolff, Professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where he taught economics from 1973 to 2008. He is currently a Visiting Professor in the Graduate Program in International Affairs of the New School University, New York City. He also teaches classes regularly at the Brecht Forum in Manhattan. This man is a brilliant economist, one of the best America has produced. It would be to our advantage to heed his words. He has some great ideas on how to get us out of the mess we’re in. His personal web site is here.

The following talk is an excellent introduction about how the bankers and our so-called leaders caused the second greatest financial crisis in our history.

Capitalism Hits the Fan: A Marxian View from UVC-TV 19 on Vimeo.

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Democratic Capitalism? Yeah, Right!

Is it still true that we in America enjoy a capitalist democracy? I am of the opinion that we do not. In fact, capitalism and democracy are hurtling away from each other at a seeming break-neck speed.

The interests of capitalists, these days, are diametrically opposed to the good of the people. This, of course, is no new development. Capitalism has been gnawing away at our political voice for a good number of years. The corporate lobbying that is so much a part of “our government” is blatantly anti-democratic. Why? Because, apparently, the money promised to politicians is just impossible to turn down.  Campaigns cost a lot of money and we citizens don’t have the kind of cash on hand that would help these poor ladies and gentlemen get elected. Hence, elitist business interests take precedence over the needs of the masses for health care, education, good roads, etc. It’s not even a debate anymore; it’s overwhelmingly obvious!

A capitalist democracy may sound good in theory, and might even be possible if campaign finance laws were changed. But, it is not a part of current reality. We vote for candidates of two predominant parties that have the same underlying agenda; we go to the polls, telling ourselves that we will vote for the lesser of two evils; but the lesser of two evils is still evil. It is evil when corporations, in the guise of possessing the rights of an individual, exert control over the populace, via seducing our leaders into their bed of harlotry, to the disparagement of millions of people who try their best everyday to put food on the table, to provide shelter, and to feed and clothe their children. It is evil when our supposed leaders take heed to the interests of corporations, and their lust for more profits, to the detriment of the well-being of millions of American men, women, and children. This is not simply a misunderstanding on the part of our leaders; they fully realize what they’re doing.

I envision a day when Washington D.C decides to do the right thing and reject the allure of filthy lucre. If there were ever a day on our history when morality was needed, people, it is NOW!

Z

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Philosophy With Cornel West

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1Q6v1xsvcI]

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Celebrating the Death of Osama Bin Laden

Yes, Osama bin Laden is dead. According to the infallible law of karma, Osama undoubtedly reaped what he sowed. He was responsible for many deaths. Thus, he who lives by the sword dies by the sword. That’s fine.

 Notwithstanding, I am troubled by what I see in the photo above. A child with, what looks like a peace-sign-adorned raincoat, with a banner saying, “Yeah, Osama is dead,” and a heavy-set woman with a big smile on her face like she just won a month of free dinners at Golden Corral. Of course, the big woman is fingering her trusty smart-phone, probably ordering pizza.

It is a throwback to the old days, when crowds, young and old alike, would gather in a carnival-like atmosphere before the gallows to witness a hanging. A child this age does not understand enough about life and death to celebrate another human’s demise. This girl is expressing what she has heard her parents say and is, more than likely, doing this to get their attention.

We think we are modern and sophisticated in this technological age, superior to those who cheered when the hangman’s noose broke the necks of human beings long ago. We still have much to learn, in my opinion.

The peace sign was stolen a long time ago by Madison Avenue to hawk all sorts of junk, especially to young people with high ideals. It is sad because this symbol was originally created to promote nuclear disarmament in the 1950’s, and was later used by the anti-war movement of the 1960’s. From this picture, I’d say the symbol has lost all its efficacy.

I’m not saying that bin Laden should not have paid for his crimes. It’s just troubling to see so much celebration of death and revenge. America is not a Christian nation. Of that I am certain. She never was and never will be.

Think,

Z

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The Meaning Of Being Part 4

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Most of the time, philosophical assertions, especially regarding metaphysics, possess the air of certainty. We think we have it all figured out. This is also a problem with religious zealots. If any of us think we have arrived at absolute truth, we are severely deluding ourselves. Dogma does not equate truth.

Heidegger announces early on what has transpired throughout the history of philosophy, since Plato, regarding the question of the meaning of being. A dogmatic attitude had developed that, basically, emptied being of all meaning.

On the foundation of the Greek point of departure for the interpretation of being a dogma has taken shape which not only declares that the question of the meaning of being is superfluous, but sanctions its neglect. It is said that “being” is the most universal and the emptiest concept (Heidegger, B&T).

Anyone who questioned the meaning of being was said to be in error, supposedly because being resisted every attempt at explication and elucidation.

Dogma can stifle intellectual investigation and critical thinking. A dogmatic mindset has its root in narrow-minded worldviews that are closed to imagination and creativity. The word, dogma, originates with the Greek word dogmatos. Literally, it means, “that which one thinks is true.” Dogma is an opinion. Dogma declares something is truth, but does it arrive at this declaration via critical thinking?

For two thousand years, the question of the meaning of being went unasked. Only with Hegel did philosophers, once again, begin to ask the question concerning the meaning of being.

Heidegger takes Being not to be about particular things but about the general characterization of a particular view of the world. For
Heidegger, Plato and Aristotle understood the Greek concept of Being as what has come to be called “substance/attribute” metaphysics. Along with what can be called “subject/object” metaphysics, these metaphysical theories dominated Western philosophy from Aristotle to Kant. Hegel was the first major philosopher to think of Being in developmental, organic imagery that undermined both types of metaphysics (John Tietz, Martin Heidegger’s Being and Time).

Today, these dogmas persist. The subject/object and substance/attribute theories may have served some usefulness for science, but they are perplexing when applied to metaphysical thought. Perhaps the natural unfolding of things deemed it necessary that the West develop alongside these concepts, but how useful are they at the nadir of our civilization?

Z

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The Origin of Guilt

I’m interested in the question of the origin of guilt. Please join in and let me know your ideas.

Guilt is an experience one has when one feels a moral standard has been violated.

From Dictionary.com:

1) the fact or state of having committed an offense, crime, violation, or wrong, especially against moral or penal law; culpability
2) a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense, crime, wrong, etc., whether real or imagined.
3) conduct involving the commission of such crimes, wrongs, etc.
 Some initial questions that come to mind are
  •  Is guilt something to be avoided?
  • Where does guilt come from?
  • Is guilt simply a conditioned response?
  • Is it a product of our Western Judeo-Christian heritage? 
  • Is there really something called toxic guilt?

I would really like to hear your thoughts on these questions.

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Kant’s Ideality And Reality Of Space And Time

The concepts of time and space have engaged the minds of some of history’s greatest thinkers. How are we to understand time and space? Are they to be included among things which we designate as being “real?” Do space and time exist in an absolute sense, as Newton proposed? Or are they relations of things, as Leibniz argued?

Immanuel Kant, in his classic work, The Critique of Pure Reason, posits both the reality and ideality of space and time (Kant 46-51). This innovative proposition is found in the section of the Critique entitled the Transcendental Aesthetic. The Transcendental Aesthetic is Kant’s argument that space and time are the two ways in which the human mind organizes our sensory experiences of the world. The Aesthetic is transcendental because it is an explication of the a priori nature of these two forms of sensibility.

Two views influenced Kant’s attempt to solve the problem of space and time.One was put forth by Isaac Newton, the other by Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz. Newton had claimed that space and time are absolute. By this, he meant that space and time are metaphysical substances in their own right. Space and time are the containers of all objects, according to this view. Leibniz claimed that space and time are not substances at all, but only relations between bodies; they are fictions created by the mind based on relations between objects. Kant rejected both views and, instead, tried to carve out an intermediate position.

Kant claims that space and time are transcendentally ideal. By this, he means that space and time are two primary ways our minds order our sensory experience. Space and time are innate, a priori structures of the human mind. They are not substances in and of themselves, nor are they properties of substances. Rather, they are like lenses through which we view the world.

Kant also claims that space and time are empirically real. They have objective validity since they are present in the actual experiencing of objects (Kant, here, is presupposing the subject/object dichotolomy, which I reject). They are not substances, but they are supplied by the mind when we experience the manifold of sensation. Space is the form of outer intuition; time is the form of inner intuition. The mind presents outer objects to us in space. Our inner states succeed one another in time. By these inner states, time is applied to our experience of outer objects.

A crucial point in Kant’s argument consists in his claim that what we experience are appearances of objects, not the things-in-themselves. According to this view, we know objects only by the way they appear to us after they have been filtered through the two forms of intuition, i.e. space and time. According to Kant, we can never know the objects as they are in themselves.

A couple of questions to ponder:

  • If Kant’s idea concerning space and time is incorrect, then how is a priori knowledge possible?
  • Can space and time exist prior to the existence of perceiving beings?

Kant, Immanuel.  Critique of Pure Reason.     London: Dent & Sons, 1991.

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The Meaning Of Being Part 3

Now, back to Heidegger.

The question of Being is the most basic question of all philosophical inquiry. It is what Heidegger calls, “philosophically primary” (B&T, pg 10). All investigations by all sciences have their foundation in the question of the meaning of Being. Before a scientist can study something, there are certain a priori assumptions that must be made. Now, scientists need not concern themselves with these questions prior to their studies, but a philosopher must.

For a philosopher, the underlying question, “How is knowledge even possible?” must be answered. Immanuel Kant, for instance, showed that an inquiring mind can discover certain categories and principles that underlie all human questioning (Critique Of Pure Reason). The manner in which the human mind organizes our experience through these categories (e.g. space, time, etc.) have to do with how a human “is.” In other words, “to be” human means to posses these innate mental structures, such as space and time. These a priori conditions make science possible.

To further elucidate, in front of me is a computer monitor. I am experiencing it. Space and time are like lenses through which I experience the monitor. They are innate and prior to my experience. I perceive the monitor in space and time. I am able to think of space and time devoid of the monitor, but I cannot think of the monitor devoid of space and time. This example demonstrates a manner in which I exist, a mode of existence, if you will. The question of the manner in which I exist is prior to all my experiences and inquiries, therefore the question of Being is the primary question of all inquiry.

Through this analysis, I have discovered that “being me” entails the possession of these innate conditions through which I experience the world. This brings me closer to understanding Being.

Z

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