Cartoon cross and dollarsAlthough Americans have a prevalent national faith, Christianity, we have another at least equally as fervent: Capitalism. In America both are mythic  and fundamental, which means they’re bound to our psyches like barnacles and cannot easily be shaken off —not that millions of us would want to.

Of these two faiths I’d argue that capitalism is the stronger and more fervent. I may be wrong about that, but these faiths have at least become so enmeshed in our mythic indoctrination that if you threaten one you threaten the other. A non Christian may be merely “unsaved”, which may be considered a foolishness of omission. But a non-capitalist is automatically a socialist or worse, a communist (both of these are considered sins of commission) —regardless, unsaved, socialist or communist, all are thought ungodly.

How capitalism became almost synonymous with Christianity in the United States is a tale of confusion wrapped in inherent practicality. How the story of shared loaves and fishes found in the New Testament became the tale of two cities: the Shining City on a Hill and the impoverished one at the base of the hill, is an example of Jesus’ ongoing battle with America’s 18th,19th, 20th and 21st centuries’ practical politicians as they co-opted the teachings of that 1st century Nazarene bleeding-heart —as they re-defined them while clawing their way to the top. In the United States a capitalist cocooned in a corporation can do no wrong even while she or he is poisoning your water, contaminating your air and robbing you blind with payoffs to your legislators.  She or he is legally and (to some minds) morally invulnerable no matter how corrupt they might be.

But maybe, just maybe, we’ll break out of our nation-wrecking stupor soon enough to avert the most extreme effects of it. But it will first take an epiphany followed by an immediate commitment to de-toxify.

A good starting point would be to imagine a future free of our Christian-capitalist conflation. As writer Justin Smith muses, “I’m still dwelling on how ironic all the feverish proclamations of capitalism are going to look someday.”  I think it won’t be pretty.  We’ll see that more clearly once we’re freed of having dumpster dinners at the corner of Wall Street and New. We’ll know we’re on the psychic mend when we’re finally not sold by a Coke sign’s faded blush —when we’re embarrassed at how it thrusts itself from desiccated dollar dunes.

Just yesterday I came across an article that reported how in California, now in the midst of a drought severe enough to elicit predictions that the state will be out of water in a year (short of  a miracle that some foolishly rely upon), the Nestlé Corporation continues to bottle city water to sell back to the public at a big profit, local activists charge.  A Sacramento environmental coalition spokesperson, Andy Conn, said, “This corporate welfare giveaway is an outrage and warrants a major investigation. For more than five months we have requested data on Nestlé water use. City Hall has not complied with our request, or given any indication that it will. Sacramentans deserve to know how their money is being spent and what they’re getting for it. In this case, they’re getting ripped off.” 

It’s really not surprising City Hall is in hunker mode. There’s a zealous, capitalist mindset in US government at all levels that makes such things possible.

I can’t help but wonder how we’ll feel about having added our own breaths to the cyclone that slew the sacred cow as gangs of suited crooks blew through. As their fingers itched to milk her dry until there was nothing left to suck or bust. Will we be coy then and beg mercy from our god, Capital —or the other one? You gotta wonder.

But I have a sense there’s finally beginning to be a wider appreciation that we’re in trouble. I have a sense that more Americans are realizing that climate-change-global-warming deniers like Senator James Inhofe (R- that OK) are, at best, well-meaning people who are innocently and sincerely stupid —scientifically stupid at least. People like Inhofe are so caught up in their peculiar anti-scientific, mystical doctrines they simply refuse to read the actual signs of the times: the arctic ice melts, the accelerated calving of the Antarctic glacier, the weird weather patterns, the warming oceans leading to rising seas.

So like Justin Smith I’m anxiously curious how all the feverish proclamations of capitalism are going to look someday. In the meantime I still hope that all of this capitalist religious fevor will finally be rejected by Americans and that the force  of what’s coming will be mitigated by clearheaded commitments to change the way things operate. I’m hoping that enough people will change their belief in the infallibility of this capitalist model and say, “I’m done. We’ve lurched too long through spoiled earth as Gabriel’s Mad(ison) Ave. apocalyptic horn more croaked than blew.”

by Jim Culleny
3/21/15

Burning Bush

March 8, 2015

burning bushCommenting on two photos posted online that compared youth activities in the 1970s (guitar playing/singing) to today (screen viewing/texting), I got in trouble with a younger friend who accused me of judging the earlier to be superior to the later.  He said he was tired of older people whining about how it is compared to how it was. He had a point, but at the risk of being called an old whiner, I do think it’s useful to bring past and present together for a little practical contrast.

Although things may seem just-of-this-moment as we stand in it, the past is at least as present as our hippocampus. That memory-sorting center of our brain is our gateway to the past. Keeping this brain-presence of the past in mind it’s probably a good idea to regularly plumb earlier moments — as long as they don’t completely supersede what’s happening now. Why do we have memories, if not to thumb back through them to assess and reorient? There actually may be something to learn from bygone days without pitting then and now against each other in a dog fight. Tradition, innovation— they’re both vital to who and what we are.

For instance, as a carpenter at age 20, I danced the tops of walls. I was as at ease atop a second story stud wall nailing off joists as the Russian dancer Vaslav Nijinsky was in his ballets. I’d likely fall and break my neck, or worse, if I tried that now, but there was a time when it was true. How my dancing and Nijinsky’s come together has to do with a few words attributed to him.

“God is fire in the head,” Nijinsky said. “I am alive as long as I have a fire in my head.”

When I read that, I thought, “now there’s a definition of god I could live with.” It spoke of fresh experience not tangled in theology, or even msticism; an experience as direct and awesome as Moses’ burning bush as told in the Bible, but without the tortured literalism often brought to it. Nijinsky’s god was in his head, firing-up his vitality, his creativity. It was a blaze that made him dance.

Brilliant — god was a fire in the brain! That, I thought, is as close to the truth as anything a dancer might dance with a bonfire burning in his head. Nijinsky’s god was not remote, was not incarcerated in scripture the way god typically is even today. That same fire burned in 20-year-old Jim as he danced on walls, lifting sticks to be placed and nailed as he held their tails against his boot, as he walked the wires of gravity’s net as a spider commands the filaments of her web. That same fire energizes even the humble spider.

Today we Lilliputians are still prone to bind god with our oldest, tiniest ideas, water-boarding god to extract answers we’d most like to hear. We redact truth instead of appreciating this spectacular world of which we are integral, this miraculous but lethal world which often returns less welcome replies to our queries.

We’re often so trained in narrowness of vision we can’t see beyond our box of holy books and cramped skulls. We place more stock in the thoughts of ancients than we do in our own, as if they were not exactly as ignorant as we are when it comes to stuff unknown. Like them we obsess on single grains of sand and refuse to scan the wide beach.

Some of us are certain of our grasp of the unknown to the point of lunacy. Some would like to dictate the terms of others’ lives based upon their personal beliefs of what is essentially unknown, beliefs founded upon the three or four thousand year-old speculations of ancients.

But our brain-blaze is as real as that which scorched the insides of the skulls of cave dwellers, creation myth writers, scientists and artists — flames that also combusted in the muscles of carpenters and all workers from then to now. Having that fire hasn’t been the problem, understanding and directing it has been the rub.

While the past is the foundation upon which we build, the present is where young thinkers and carpenters with fires in their heads do their work:

—sweatskin slickkening in the light
breath as sure as the bellows of god

biceps built by the truth of weight,
muscles doing their natural jobs:

arms of sinew, bone and grit
reaching to haul the next board up

to be lifted and laid wall to ridge
and fixed by hammer blows on steel

fueled by blasts of the burning bush
in the orchard of god that has ever spun

like the fire that made big Moses reel
the burning bush we call the sun

Successfully joining old fires to new understanding is what makes the world work. Failing that, we resort to the hoses and axes of fire departments and the keyboard clicks of insurance company clerks.
.

by Jim Culleny
for the West County Independent
3/7/15

Tiny Megalomaniacs

February 21, 2015

megalomaniacOur national mythology leads us to believe in our own goodness. We have scriptures we turn to in moments of self-doubt, when our sense of righteousness needs stiffening. In them we find words such as,  “We hold these truths to be self-evident…” or “…endowed by our creator…” or “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”  These, among others, make us feel we’re special and so good and so exceptional —Americanly exceptional.

But to be really exceptional, to be really good, we must take responsibility for everything and credit for nothing, otherwise we slide down a slippery slope at an accelerating clip until we’re taking credit for everything and responsibility for zip. True, this may be the manner of saints, but it’s something to strive for, if you get my gist.

Fortunately, some politicians tap into our national mythology for the sake of The Good and work to that end with humility, but too many others tap into it for the sake of power and wealth and work to that end with arrogance. Where the nation finally comes down depends upon many things, the foremost being the depth of our ignorance. We can’t have an effective democracy that works for a common good if a significant portion of us are stupid. This is exactly why we’re seeing a vicious, top-down assault on public education (and here –here) by politicians abetted by certain of the religious.

What happens on a personal level amplifies to national proportions by the effects of arrogant ignorance. It takes honest self appraisal to be what may rightly be called “good”. Otherwise it’s just a short slip down that aforementioned slippery slope unless (best case scenario) we acknowledge that we’ve already sloughed goodness many times like snake skin for the sake of some small gain, some little leverage, some edge, some in, elbowing out some less able contestant in Darwin’s world to gain what turns out to be a plot of worthless sand by means of tiny sins —which, of course, is only human.

The problem is that while the freedoms we tout in our mythology may have helped make us the richest nation on the planet, they have also blown a huge cocoonish bubble around us making it hard to be honestly self-reflective about what’s happening in the world and our responsibility for it. But, look, it’s tough, discernment’s not easy in the muddle of desire, everything we think we require is righteous so we turn to gods that fan that fire. We whisper prayers into corners first then, picking up a head of steam, we’re bellowing our righteousness from peaks as our minions mutter lies up and down mean streets and many bubbles burst.

One big bubble of recent years was burst by the events of 9/11. Look at what that bursting did to our sense of security, self esteem and honor: we started a war under false pretense spending billions and killing thousands of our own and others in the bargain, all out of an affront to our specialness and all done in the bliss of necessary nation-wide ignorance. Look at how that has fanned the flames of hatred by others as it exposed not only the self-interest of our motives in the Middle East (essentially oil) but the deep arrogance of our might. And notice how that has gotten us absolutely nowhere good. All this was done as we fanned the fires of national indignation and turned to the High Priests of gods that fanned that fire: The High Priests of politics, media and religion all stoking hate, while those of corporations were envisioning billions in blood.

But we can’t blame them entirely because ignorance starts here, on the ground, with us and our profound willingness to be duped, which brings us to the second big burst bubble. Think: the financial crash of 2008 which left us floundering in the lies of bankers, politicians and corporate talking heads —a crash that is certainly the fault of crooks in suits who, despite the depth of the debacle, have not personally paid for their crookedness— why? because we live in a land that honors megalomaniacs— why? because the other face of our national mythology is radiant with the hope and desire that we may, ourselves, become one —a tiny megalomaniac that is, at least.

Look, our fattest, most disgusting megalomaniacs did not become so in a vacuum, they became so as a result of human nature nurtured in and abetted by a cherry-picked mythology. We may not all reach the pinnacle of megalomania that our congress-people, presidents, bankers, and media personalities have.  No— more often than not we don’t get that far. We settle for a provincial fiefdom running a big firm or corner bar, equally worthy jobs if our heart’s in the right place and we understand the limits of all and know we’re in this universe under an umbrella of chance, lucky to be small and know we have just a tiny part in the making of this curious dance.

Without that kernel of smallness, of humility, we’re all candidates for megalomania, tiny or otherwise. We’re all capable of heaping disaster and dishonor upon ourselves.

by Jim Culleny
2/21/15

Another Piece of Eternity

February 9, 2015

TimeAsk yourself this: is it possible to run out of time? I don’t mean personally and finally —although, even in that case we don’t really run out of time, it’s like time runs us out —kicks us out of its realm. “Bye, bye,” says Time, “you’re no longer relevant.”

No, what I mean is, is there an infinite amount of time or is there a finite amount that will eventually be depleted —say, a hundred billion years, just to pick a number.  For instance, let’s say we add 30 seconds to anytime,  what’s that interval? Hell, if we double it what’s that? Have we added to time?

What I’m driving at is, have you ever had a day that lasts three or one that goes so fast it’s past —instantly? Are those durations short or long, if hours mean anything? Bob Dylan once wrote, “Time passes slowly up here in the mountains.”  I think those of a certain age know what he meant. Why does some time pass slowly and some fast? Is time elastic?

Going the other way, subtract 5 hours from anytime.  Do we really think we’ve minced minutes? As we tick them off are they really not there?  No. There’s a continuum called “now” outside of which is guesswork because our chronometers only work here. Slice it any way you want, it remains still and whole. Our clocks do not affect it.

These are important considerations because some people think eternity is elsewhere. They imagine some other timeless realm, which would be fine if such thinking didn’t diminish the significance of now and its imperatives and obscure the fact that eternity is now.

I’d argue that the eternity we should be paying attention to is the one we’re immersed in now —the now that changes. Yes, in fact, now is never what it was before because things change and will change again, now, not yesterday or tomorrow, it only happens now. Practically and personally speaking now is the only thing we have to work with. Now only knocks now. So the question is, should we be putting all our eggs in some other basket, or should we pay attention now?

Some great teachers advise just this. Yeshua bar Joseph advised, “Do not worry about tomorrow, tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.” This is really another way of saying that we should just forget about what happens after we die and pay attention to what’s happening now. 

Or you may prefer something from a more contemporary guy, one who became expert in most of the world’s mythologies: Joseph Campbell. Campbell wrote, “When you realize that eternity is right here now, that it is within your possibility to experience the eternity of your own truth and being, then you grasp the following: That which you are was never born and will never die.”  But, being as finite as we seem to be day to day, I admit that’s a tough nut to swallow, no matter how full of truth it might be.

And, finally, poet Emily Dickenson succinctly pointed out (in case we hadn’t noticed) that, “Forever is composed of nows.” Emily had a way of being concise and weighted with wisdom simultaneously.

The reason I bring now up now (when else could I do it?) is that there’s a lot of off-the-wall rhetoric flying around now that takes our mind off the certainly-now ball and focuses it on the maybe-then-for-eternity ball. In my humble opinion that’s just not a rational approach to the huge planetary problems we’re faced with now. Let any afterlife (any life after now) take care of itself (to paraphrase the wise Yeshua), right now there’s this life, the one we’re living now.

A few examples of irresponsible afterlife responsibility-displacement might help explain why now-thinking is important to those of us who place great importance on the present, while then-thinking is seriously problematic:

During the Reagan administration James Watt, a very religious man, and Reagan’s Secretary of the Interior (the Cabinet head charged with paying attention to the well-being of the environment) said, “We don’t have to protect the environment, the Second Coming is at hand.”  Watt was of course talking about the second coming of the same Yeshua who specifically warned against this kind of thinking.

Then there’s this stunner: Ryan Dobson, son of the more famous James Dobson, again a very religious man said, “Kids today are looking for something to die for… If you give them something to die for, they’ll go to the edge of the earth for you,” —which is exactly the sort of philosophy we see creating terrorist hell worldwide: to die a warrior/martyr and be honored in an eternal afterlife. Maybe if such (again) very religious zealots were encouraged to live a good life in an eternal now, explosive vests would not be such alluring means of transport to an afterlife.

But afterlife philosophies have been around a long time and I doubt they will disappear soon, if ever, so for those of us who want to leverage as much goodness as possible in a very precarious world it might be wise to wake on each of the mornings of now and think…

……………………. here’s this day blaring like a fanfare
……………………. from a new horn crisp as frost on glass
…………………… its brink sharp as the edge of a blade
…………………… slicing off another piece of eternity

 

by Jim Culleny
2/9/15

Charlie HebdoBeing born with thick skin is one of the blessings of life liberty and even the pursuit of happiness. Happy is the man or woman who is not threatened by nonsense.  

In this era of guns, bombs and sectarian hysteria, having a thick skin is like wearing a permanent Kevlar psychic vest. A thick skin protects you from the verbal, written and graphic slings and arrows of not only the offenses of others but of blowback of your own as well. Thick skin, having properties to deflect snark (psychological or theological) has this built-in cooling off property. Gives you time to think. You do not lash out first. You think. Unfortunately some do not like to think and this might be at the crux of our problems.

Thick skins are especially protective against ideas that push the envelope of civilized conventions. Among such ideas are those that flow from religious scriptures. At the best end of the spectrum, scriptures tend to bend the truth just enough to make the bending palatable, but at the opposite end call for a total rejection of reason, science and fraternity. Also affected at that extreme are two other historical ideals: liberty, equality.

“Liberty Equality Fraternity” is French for “stability”.

On a religious plane (one I admit I don’t fly): it’s well known that a religious person with a thick skin is on of the great blessings of God, especially in a pluralistic society. But a religious person with a thin skin is often tight with Satan, linked in a bond of hate —sectarian skin with the thickness of tissue paper causes fanatics —ones who will hurl themselves passionately into Satan’s bonfire while raking a Kalashnikov through the ranks of infidel cartoonists in the offices of a satirical magazine.

When in doubt, think, “thick skin”.

Thin-skinned members of sects tend to rant against those who offend God. And liberals often gloss over such declarations. But it’s not unreasonable to assume that what’s really offensive to any god worth his or her salt is the idea that God (The Almighty) would be offended by the predictable utterances of such flawed and clueless creatures as homo sapiens —who some say are under God’s wing.

S/He must be proud. .

There is one question religious fanatics will never ask themselves: why would God, being omniscient and already knowing what to expect, be offended? God probably got over that eons ago.

Religious offense (or any other psychological offense, verbal or graphic) is not only an affect from the outside, but is also an interior matter. Giving offense is not offense’s only voluntary aspect, taking offense is also responsible for trouble —both tango in violence’s spotlight.

The religious authorities of Jesus’ time thought Jesus offended God, but the truth was: Jesus offended them —them, their doctrines and authority. What Jesus suggested was that the real offenses against God were perpetrated by the faux-spiritual, the sanctimonious, the self-righteous.

Offensive ideas vary with the political and theological winds. It just seems more likely to me that God would take offense at the arrogance of anyone who assumes they know what offends God. Better to take the risk of offending those peddling crazy ideas than to let those ideas fester and erupt.

by Jim Culleny
1/11/15

Christmas for Corporations

December 20, 2014

It’s CPale Riderhristmas for corporations! A majority of congressional and executive elves have loaded Santa’s sack with bundles of compliance and servitude which he delivered pre-holiday, as if he couldn’t wait to please his masters. He popped in via megabank chimneys, and arrayed the goodies under gold-and-diamond-studded trees. There the green things stood wrapped in garlands of thousand dollar bills which, by corporate tradition, will be burned in a New Year bonfire upon which the poor and middle class will be spun on spits.

This holiday giveaway is, of course, the recent, congressionally-concocted legal permission for the same banks that gutted the economy in the run-up to 2008 to go ahead and do it again —and, again, dump the inevitable bail-outs into the laps of taxpayers. The bill, ghost written by Citibank, is called the CRomnibus bill by some, but Crummybus by those who’ll be hauling the freight of big banks when the S hits the F.

Santa, what a guy! It’s enough to make you want to barbecue Dasher or Dancer, or the fat little guy in red himself. But, the joke’s on us as it has been since the first Noel when angels did say to certain rich bankers in big beds where they lay fleecing their sheep.

Is it time for pitchforks yet?

It’s absurd, isn’t it?  A provision in the recently passed government-funding CRomnibus bill was slipped into the 1,600-page, $1.1 trillion spending bill. It gave big banks permission to once again steal from the least among us. It did this by eliminating a regulation in the post crash 2008 Dodd-Frank law that prohibited banks from “…trading some of their most exotic financial instruments which had been covered by the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation). The rub was (and now is again) that, sure the FDIC insures your deposits against bank defaults, but when big bankers who do greedy, risky things to make billions are bailed out by government you wind up contributing chunks of that insurance money to the treasury in bail-outs to the crooks who risked it!

This is another example of an historical, political truth: laws are made by and for the rich. Any collateral effect that may be beneficial to anyone but the rich is just a necessary (and usually temporary) evil put in place to keep the crowd under control or to salve the tenuous guilt of lawmakers. This is especially true in so-called democracies. Although human decency occasionally creeps into the thinking of politicians and financial plutocrats it is eventually overridden by the impulse to greed, therefore: Dodd Frank and its corrective, H.R. 83, the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015, aka, CRomnibus. And greed and self-interest win again.

What’s important for average and poor Americans to realize is the evident fact that the United States is once again becoming the wild west of social, economic and legal inequity. The US is The place to be if, as a business, you want the freedom to pursue your self-interest regardless of its social, economic and environmental impact —as long as your self interest advances the interests the plutocracy.

Over the past few years, for instance, we’ve heard a lot about the Koch brothers because they are today (in terms of mythic American westerns) the swaggering ranchers who come in with cash and goons, kill off the buffalo, slaughter the natives, fence off a billion acres, control the water rights, the local paper, the sheriff, town council and judge, then make a showy appearance at the little church for Sunday prayer. What I want to know is where’s the Pale Rider when we need him? Oh, my God, Clint’s a Republican!

The Kochs are the elite, labor-crushing, corporatists who back ALEC —the American Legislative Exchange Council. But what the terms “exchange” and “legislation” in ALEC’s name refer to is the process in which corporations exchange with congress the text of bills they’ve written, along with greasy, good-faith “donations” (legal bribes, thanks to the Supreme Court). Congressional members, in turn, then enter that dictated text into legislation. In many cases corporate wording appears in legislation verbatim.

One example of how this works happened in Republican Governor Scott Walker’s Wisconsin. A Headline at The Huffington Post sums it up: Koch-tied Group Pushes New Union-Busting Bill in Wisconsin. In this case the ruse being foisted on voters is the euphemism “right to work” as if the choice really was about a right to work. What that term actually means in its intended effect is “the right to work for less”.

The gist of the bill written by ALEC and presented to Wisconsin’s GOP-controlled legislature has to do with busting public employee unions. But private sector unions are certainly affected as well. As the Huff Post article says, “Now out-of-state special interests and the Wisconsin GOP will use that drop in (public sector) membership to argue that private sector workers deserve the same “choice.” The poison pill for private sector unions is likely to be a model bill from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) with the Orwellian name of “right to work.”

Whether it’s reversing common sense legislation or busting unions, govbiz Santa is working day and night throughout the year, in the USA and globally, to bring the fattest possible gifts to his boys and girls whether they’ve been nice or not. And, even when they’re “nice”, they usually have their naughty not-so-hidden agenda operating underground.

So, if not Clint Eastwood who, Elizabeth Warren on a horse with serape and cigarillo?

How about you and me with all of the above —and pitchforks?

by Jim Culleny
12/20/14

Dirty Laundry

November 7, 2014

 

speaker

Listen


,
.
.dirty laundry
“You can’t sanitize your dirty laundry and then not offer up any real solutions. Humanity has an inherent need to protect itself and there are always more good and honest people willing to fight to make things right.”

I read than this morning. It’s the closing remark of an article at The Daily Kos about Arnold Abbot, a 90 year old man in Fort Lauderdale, Florida who’s been illegally feeding homeless people —gratis.

The law that makes Arnold Abbot a felon has been explained by Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler. Seiler says he has to take care of Fort Lauderdale business owners and residents. Since his city is a major tourist destination, the city’s economy depends on being attractive, and the city authorities say having homeless people visible on the streets doesn’t  help that.

“The parks have just been overrun and were inaccessible to locals and businesses,” Seiler said.

Before getting into the rationale of a law that makes a man a felon for feeding people, just stop a second and think: there is actually a law in Florida which says you will be arrested if you feed hungry people without making them pay for it. You may not choose to feed people on some streets in Florida if they are too destitute to feed themselves. You will actually be arrested for feeding hungry people on certain streets in Florida.

Imagine this: just yesterday Jesus offered a piece of bread and fish to some of the homeless in Fort Lauderdale and was summarily crucified on the beach by uniformed police who sat at his feet in the warm sand casting lots for his chef’s jacket. He was being so commercially destructive, you know.

Has it occurred to you that something seriously bent and immoral is going on, not only in Florida, but in the rest of the country? I’m not talking about illegal immigration or same sex marriage or gay sex or gun control or any of the red-meat “moral” issues certain factions lose sleep over. I’m talking about the degradation of a fundamental sense of decency toward others by those in our upper echelons (and their fearful constituents). The ones who run businesses and make laws such as the one making it a felony to feed hungry people on the street in sight of others —offending those who have plenty to eat, ruining their shopping experience, making tourists uncomfortable, screwing up business —the ones, as the quote says, who want to sanitize our dirty laundry “and then not offer up any real solutions.”

Well, what might be a real solution to homelessness and hunger?

Jobs for everyone might help. Imagine that, everybody working¸ bringing home the bacon. Or how about a minimum wage— everybody making, not a killing, but enough to maintain the dignity of having a place to live while bringing home the bacon. These are two simple and reasonable solutions but ones blocked or opposed by the party that voters (and non-voters —especially) just put in control of the United States House and Senate. The party that has made it their six-year-long priority not to find ways to create jobs, not to find ways to establish a decent floor to wages, but (as made clear by Republican Mitch McConnell)  to make Barack Obama a one-term president. The party that has spent the last six years throwing up red herrings in attempts to legislate against families, women, homosexuals, workers, the poor and the middle class in order to make Barack Obama a one-term president.

Does anyone see the irony in this latest election?

But the election is not the only irony, another is that this obviously anti-poor political party has just won a solid victory in a nation of so-called Christians. Christians who have feeding multitudethrown their Jesus under the bus in favor of the party of Caesar (a one-time CEO of an Imperialist Roman monopoly) who crucified Jesus for anti-monopolistic practices such as dignifying the poor by being their advocate not only in word, but at the same time offering them food (see above) and medical care (healing the lame and blind, etc.). And without pay, no less! In Fort Lauderdale Jesus would be trundled off like Arnold Abbot, bleeding heart that he was. But Fort Lauderdale is not alone. There are other, similar laws in Daytona Beach, Houston, and at least 30 other cities.

The problem for those who’d prefer to hide our dirty laundry —who want to discourage people from not looking for jobs that don’t exist by preventing Arnold Abbot from buying them lunch— is that you can’t sanitize your dirty laundry by jailing good people for being compassionate and generous. Unless, of  course, you want to lose your place in the queue to heaven by going against the example of your Lord.

Capitalism and Christianity (of the kind Jesus practiced —but as a Jew) just do not mix. Yet here we are in an overwhelmingly rich “Christian” nation arresting 90 year-old men for inviting Jesus in and clothing him and feeding him as we’ve been instructed to do by the very person 77% of us claim to worship.

I for one don’t buy it.

by Jim Culleny
11/7/14

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