The Rise of Far-Right Terrorism

Many are focused on terrorism from the Middle East, but there is also a large trend in the US toward far-right terrorism, especially associated with the Sovereign Citizens movement:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/mar/24/far-right-terrorism

For further discussion of these movements, see the following:
http://www.splcenter.org/what-we-do/hate-and-extremism/law-enforcement (with lots of links) and
http://www.adl.org/learn/ext_us/scm.asp?xpicked=4

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Afghanistan Kill Teams

Given the inherently dehumanizing character of war, especially in the long-term and without a clear sense of impending victory, this is not surprising. Because we are in this war in part to promote freedom, however, the US needs to constantly monitor the behavior of its soldiers. We failed here, and that is a deep disappointment.  Even worse the military tried to suppress the story, which only made the resultant perceptions even more negative. We need to redouble our efforts and focus on ethics and morality as a fundamental part of military training and leadership.

http://www.rollingstone.com/kill-team

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A New Day

A NEW DAY
© 2010, Dr. Laurence H. Kant
Essay for the Evolutionary Envisioning Circle of the Annual Great Mother Celebration, September, 2010

A new day emerges, as so many have in millennia past. Once, after we foraged and gathered, we became hunters. Once, after we hunted, we became farmers and shepherds. Once, after we lived in villages and small enclaves, we became city dwellers. Once, after priests and kings ruled, leaders came from the people. Once we did not know what was on the other side of the ocean; now we can not only travel there by boat or jet, but we can be virtually present on other continents when we’re secure at home half a world away. Once we thought that mass violence and genocide were normal; now we don’t. Once we did not even have a word for genocide; now we do.

Each time we move a few steps closer to the land of Eden, where, amidst friendship, dance, love-making, study, and work, we will dine again with God, the Source of All That Is. The sparks of fire that scattered at creation slowly come together to create a flame that lights our world in times of dissolution and chaos. We move from confusion toward knowledge, from fear toward courage, from despair toward hope, from separation toward unity, from pieces toward wholes.

What is wholeness? In Hebrew and Arabic, shalom/salaam connects to a Semitic root that means “whole” and “complete.” Some say “peace,” but that’s only part of the story. In its mystical sense, shalom/salaam really means interconnected oneness. It is that place where difference and oneness coexist, where each being finds its own unique purpose and self-expression as part of one planetary tableau, one eternal poem, one cosmic body, one collective consciousness, one Source.

During the shift, the ego (the I) recedes, and the authentic person emerges from its mother’s womb. The true self, the person You truly are, takes its place in the chariot palace, near the blazing wings of the multi-headed cherubim and the flashing heat of the serpentine seraphim. There it dines with other new-born true selves to seek wisdom in the new Temple of Knowledge and Love. Feminine and masculine energies, whose significance we assumed we understood, reveal unexpected meanings to thinking bodies and heart-filled minds. Days of pleasure and collective communing finally allow a slumbering species to shed its ego hide and put on a healing garment of shared awareness.

What will wholeness mean for evolving human culture? “Conformity” means a mass of individuals forming a collective mega ego (an I). Genuine “community” means a critical mass of individuals building a whole that transcends the individual egos and creates a collective Higher Self.

The events we see on our television sets and computer monitors—boiling, jittery delirium and tumult accompanied by earth’s eruptions, swirling storms, and disappearing ice—signal a shift from one age to the next. There will be many more such shifts in the future. But, for now, at this moment, our twenty-five-hundred-year sojourn at the inn of familiar habits, nations, and institutions has ended. Dying structures make way for new. Another day of travelling begins toward another inn on the road circling back and forward from and toward Eden. Here, in another time long, long ahead, we will be able to eat of both trees—of life and knowledge—but with experience enough to do so as humble partners of the Source, adult co-creators, sharing in the miraculous birthing of new worlds.

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Corporations Own Us–Lock, Stock and Barrel–But We are Ultimately More Powerful

The American Petroleum Institute plans to contribute directly to political candidates.  Ah, a new way to buy our political system.  I guess American no longer own our own country anymore.

http://thinkprogress.org/2011/02/24/api-direct/

And here’s Paul Krugman’s take on corporatizing of both Iraq and Wisconsin

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/25/opinion/25krugman.html

In the meantime, we talk a lot about bullies in schools, but what about these bullies from the Chamber of Commerce who hack activist computers?

http://thinkprogress.org/2011/02/17/chamberleaks-malware-hacking/

Through all this, we need to remember that we have the choice to accept this or not. The corporate interests seem all-powerful, but that’s only because we the people allow them to do what they do. We could change that tomorrow if we so chose. We have the capacity to through peaceful means to stop the madness in its tracks.  How? By voting, by contacting our elected representatives regularly, by speaking out publicly, by refusing to shop (where reasonably possible) with companies that engage in autocratic and harmful behavior, by frequenting local establishments that are friendly to the environment and workers, by protesting on the street or on the web, and (most of all) by living according to our own beliefs and our own souls–not according to the manipulations of corporate media machine’s. Often we (including me) are rats in a maze running around following the expectations of a consumption-driven economy, but we can choose to follow our own paths and live our own lives however we want. There is nothing that we cannot change collectively if we follow our authentic selves and share that with others. It seems simple and polyannish, but it also happens to be true. Instead of succumbing to anxiety and fear (which corporate interests feed off of), we simply need to tap into courage and step into genuine freedom.

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Cutting Government Does Not Create Jobs

“Cutting government creates jobs.” A lie repeated often enough becomes the truth. Cutting government does not create jobs.

I certainly believe that government needs cutting in many places, but not because it creates jobs.  We need to do so that we don’t waste money and drive ourselves into long-term, irreparable debt. But doing so has nothing to do with creating jobs. That’s just ridiculous. Many of these attempts are really about destroying government and the good that it does. There are people whose ideology requires this, no matter the consequences. It’s an article of faith, not a way to live.

http://robertreich.org/post/4031113622

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Vermont Passes Single-Payer Health Insurance

An exciting development in a progressive state. Maybe Vermont can lead the nation. We desperately need some means for everyone to have access to reasonable health care.
http://www.reformer.com/news/ci_17695660

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State Banks

Here’s more on how state banks can heal state budgets and provide liquidity for strapped homeowners:
http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/279-82/5423-local-economies-an-alternative-solution-to-the-budget-crisis

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Being and Becoming

What is Being?  Becoming. What is Becoming? Being. We cannot enter one without entering the other.

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Drug Smuggling and Usage Increase Signficantly in Costa Rica and Honduras

This is a significant development in Central America, particularly Costa Rica and Honduras.  When we do something in one place (here Columbia and Mexico), it affects others.  Gee, does this remind me of the interconnected web in which we all live.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/24/world/americas/24drugs.html?pagewanted=all

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Jacob’s Dream

Genesis 28:10-22

We humans are stones, apparently hard and unchangeable, but in reality slowly transforming, able to be molded and shaped, gradually breaking up into soil as we nourish the earth, the water, and the air.

Jacob used a stone as a pillow during sleep and set it up afterwards as a standing pillar to remind us that we are creatures of the earth,  nourished by our mother, linked to heaven, going up and down a stone staircase, as we integrate female and male, above and below, inside and outside, earth and heaven.

Just as Jacob, we are here to immerse ourselves in life’s ups and downs:  stones breaking up and reshaping themselves as we point our inner selves heavenward and earthward to remind us of our home straight ahead, with our authentic being, now expanded to include the ever shifting kaleidoscope of life made whole.

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Experiencing the Source

The Source (God) is not something you believe in.  The Source is something you experience,   People who believe in God attach themselves to an abstraction, a disembodied thought.  People who experience God have nothing to explain or justify.  The Source simply is.  It is not separate from life and creation, but integrated with life and creation.

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Torah Was First

The Source created Torah before creating the world. Learning preceded producing.

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Returning to Your Ancestors

To return to your ancestors is to return home, to go back where you belong. Here we travel as little-big-egos careening against, and on top of, one another as we struggle to come in first and certify our separate identities. To go home from your trip is to return to the hive, carrying with you knowledge otherwise unobtainable.

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The Power of Symbolism

Here is my dissertation:  “The Interpretation of Religious Symbols in the Graeco-Roman World:  A Case Study of   Early  Christian Fish Symbolism” (3 vols):  Yale University, 1993.  Please note that the pagination in the PDF files, though close, is not exactly the same as in my original dissertation (due to formatting issues).

I originally intended this as part of a comparative study of ancient symbols, including the menorah for Jews.   Given the length of the project, this was not practical.  However, I regard my dissertation as comparative project whose goal is to understand the nature of religious symbolism.

There are many things that I would now change, including writing style.  Of note is the Avercius (Abercius) inscription text, which has several errors; for a correct edition, see http://mysticscholar.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/AverciusText1a.pdf.  I also wish that I had  included a section on the use of fish and fishing symbolism in the gospels.  If interested, take a look at the text of a talk I gave on this topic in “Essays and Talks” in “Larry Kant” (http://mysticscholar.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/FishNTTalk1.pdf).

I have also somewhat changed my views of Freud and Jung.  I always appreciated them, but my dissertation is more critical of them than I would be now.

Diss1Diss2Diss3Diss4Diss5Diss6

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Deep Knowledge

Deep knowledge takes us to a place where knowledge itself begins to evaporate into infinity. That’s when we eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge once again.

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Massive Demonstrations Across Syria

Wow.  With crowds chanting, “No to Iran, no to Hezbollah,” no less.  This is something, even more amazing to me than Egypt. Of course, we have no idea what the outcome will be.  Also we have to be fearful that Assad might initiate violence against Israel (perhaps through Hezbollah or Hamas) in order to distract attention from his own people’s anger at him.  Christians in Syria are probably very worried, because they have done relatively well with the Assad/Alawite secular Baathist regime. There’s also the possibility of a religious Sunni regime coming to power. But Assad is one of the most brutal family dictatorships around, virulent hater of all things Israel, and a close ally of Iran and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Again I recall Lenin’s quote: “Sometimes decades go by, and nothing happens. Sometimes weeks go by, and decades happen.”

http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/20110325/wl_time/08599206136400

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/26/world/middleeast/26syria.html?_r=1&hp

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Rev. Jim Wallis on Government Cuts

As a Jew, I thoroughly share the sentiments of Rev. Jim Wallis.  The TaNaKh and rabbinic tradition command us to take care of the poor and marginalized.  That why we are told not to plough the corners of our fields.  When the Hebrew Bible and the rabbis talk about caring for the needy, they refer to communities and governments.  The structures envisioned in those texts are governmental, and they *require* (not merely suggest) a society take the needy into account.  This tradition does not focus on voluntary acts and association, but on political structures that create a just society.  Those who try to convert these into free-market scenarios, which advocate economic commitments that are solely private, do not understand what the texts actually say.  Those who know the Hebrew and the history should start articulating the true nature of this tradition, which demands that governments protect those in need.

http://blog.sojo.net/2011/03/24/fast-pray-and-act-new-threats-to-the-poor/#disqus_thread

 

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Is Syria Next?

Is Syria the next country to join the freedom movement?  That would be a major breakthrough for what amounts to one of the most totalitarian states in the already totalitarian Middle East.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/21/world/middleeast/21syria.html?hp

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Al Qaeda Sees History Fly By

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Frank Rich: GOP Post-Tuscon PTSD

This is an excellent essay by Frank Rich, describing the popularity free falls of leading conservatives (e.g. Beck and Palin) and the inanity and emptiness of conservative policy.  While many rightly note how little progressives have to offer, conservatives have becomes voices of even less. We are in a state not only of empty rhetoric from all ideological vantage points, but of political triviality.  We need grassroots leadership somewhere.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/20/opinion/20rich.html

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Cutting Government Strategically

This is a good, little essay, emphasizing the importance of thinking about the purpose of government and then cutting strategically.
http://www.vpr.net/episode/50628/

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European Pessimism

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Bank Criminals Get Off–Only Regular People Get Punished

The pillaging of the middle class continues: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/14/opinion/14krugman.html?_r=1

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Don Banks on NFL Labor Talks

This is a devastating piece on this sports war between the rich and richer.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/don_banks/03/11/nfl.labor.front.ap/index.html

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The Shameful Treatment of Bradley Manning


We are supposed to be the land of the free.  In this case, our behavior sound more like that of a tin-pot dictatorship.  Instead of being a beacon of light to the world, we are acting shamefully.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/mar/11/bradley-manning-wikileaks

Here’s a version of a description by Manning himself:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/mar/11/stripped-naked-bradley-manning-prison

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Christ Christie and Labor


As I read this, we can see how much the unions in Wisconsin learned from the mistakes of the New Jersey unions.  They agreed to concede wages and benefits in order to keep more fundamental rights.  The result is thus far remarkable, even though the legislature passed the bill in what amounted to a coup against freedom.  What worked for Christie in New Jersey has been up till now politically damaging for Republican governors and legislators in Wisconsin and Ohio.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/27/magazine/27christie-t.html?hp

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Dreams Are Raw Acts of Creation

Dreams are raw acts of creation, just as when the Source created the universe in the first six days of Genesis. Dreams show we are made in God’s image.

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Words

According to Genesis 1, the world was created with words. This is the core of Jewish wisdom.

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Memory: Everything will be Forgotten. Nothing will be Forgotten

Memory:  Everything will be forgotten. Nothing will be forgotten.

A friend asked me about this comes from and what it means. Actually it is something I cam up with when I was meditating. I realized that we will all be forgotten at some point, even Abraham Lincoln or Gandhi or whoever. 10,000 years from now who will know about us. But, at the same time, nothing is really forgotten–even the littlest, tiny acts. What we do and who we are affects the energy of the world. The energy we have produced and the energy of who we are will always remain. Everything we do affects others and the planet in some way. So, while memory may be fleeting, our legacy, impact, and influence are total and world-changing.

That’s why we also to need to play close, conscious attention to all of what we do and say. Everything enters the world’s energy in some way. For this reason, humans and all sentient beings have tremendous creative capacity and healing power. For me this is what “spirituality” is all about.

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Moving from Fragments to Wholes I

When feeling disjointed, not centered, recall that we are here to experience the movement from fragmentation to integration, from confusion to clarity and wisdom. If we were integrated and wise from birth, why would we be here?

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Jewish Symbols: The Menorah

See my talk:   Laurence H. Kant, “Reassessing the Interpretation of Ancient Symbols,” Hellenistic Judaism Section Panel on Erwin Goodenough, American Academy of Religion/Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting, Anaheim, November, 1989: This piece deals with symbol interpretation and the early Jewish interpretation of symbols, particularly the menorah: © 1989, Laurence H. Kant, All rights reserved:   MenorahTalk1

This is a summary of my view of how a symbol conveys its meanings.

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What Do I Know?

What do I know?  No/thing.  And that’s everything.

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Being in Becoming

Being and becoming, two halves of a whole.  Most of us search for essence, for permanence, but forget that we only arrive there through movement, through change.  We must first learn to still ourselves while moving:  to be while becoming.

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What Do We Carry With Us When We Depart This Life?

What do we carry with us when we depart this life?  Our/selves.  What is our self? No/thing.  What is no/thing?  Energy perpetually shifting, changing shape every instant.  Where are we going? On another journey to another journey.

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Moses’ Face Shone

Moses’ face shone with the light of the Source (Ex 34.29), the reflected radiance of a divine encounter and its presence (Shekinah) in the world through moral injunctions inscribed on stone tablets.  Light–inner awareness of the Source and of being–arises in us (as with Moses) when we connect a mystic moment to life. This is one purpose of our human incarnations:  to integrate being and becoming through right intention and action–character and ethics.

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Dalai Lama Cedes His Political Role

The Dalai Lama cedes his political role.  Clearly the Dalai Lama understands the Western idea of  “separation of church and state,” its importance for entry into the modern world, and its role in fostering healthy civil institutions.  Of course, there are many traditions that Tibet will maintain, and it will adapt on it own terms.  Perhaps we will how a society can maintain its deep spirituality while developing democratic, secular institutions. This is impressive:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/11/world/asia/11tibet.html

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Ethnoburbs

Diversity in the USA is increasing at a fast pace, a healthy sign for our democracy.  Given the anti-democratic events of past weeks (the legislature’s action in Wisconsin, the bullying by the Koch brothers and other wealthy corporate interests, and the attempts to keep minorities, the poor, and young people from voting though newly proposed state bills), this is a hopeful sign that this too will pass.  Via Nelson French.

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/03/10/rise-of-the-ethnoburbs/?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=thab1

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Fox Not News

How is Fox News called “News”?  Its purpose is not news, but spreading corporate ideology.  Calling it news is Orwellian.  Fundamental dishonesty is a core element of morality, and what Fox promotes is counter to basic ideals of integrity.

And Media Matters reports how Fox lied about the Wisconsin situation:
http://mediamatters.org/print/research/201103020013

And now we find that the head of Fox news, Roger Ailes, asked an employee to lie:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/25/nyregion/25roger-ailes.html?hp

Prime Minister’s Harper’s attempt to repeal the Canadian law that prevents false and misleading news information is rejected.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-f-kennedy-jr/fox-news-will-not-be-moving-into-canada-after-all_b_829473.html

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The Reinvention of Silk

An intriguing discussion of the variegated uses of silk, particularly spider silk. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/08/science/08silk.html?hp=&pagewanted=al

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Malaysia Gambles on Rare Earths and the Environment

A fascinating discussion of attempting to mine rare earths in an environmentally responsible way: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/09/business/energy-environment/09rare.html?hp=&pagewanted=all

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