“Washing of feet” by Duccio, ~1308 (WikiArt)

Whether you’re an Atheist, a Buddhist, a Christian, a Daoist, a High-Flyer, a Hindu, or a Jew; a Shia, a Sufi or Sunni or Zoroastrian — whoever you might be — asking the question What does real leadership look like? has some currency today.   

No, those halos seen above are not required of leaders.  But a deeply humble sense of leading-by-example is still a key to success — which is well-illustrated in the exchange depicted above, of an “originalist” leading and teaching a dozen salt-of-the-earth followers, two of whom were either climbing the career ladder, or were naively aspiring to restore sanctity and ethical practice to their national theocratic system of worship.  So he seized this teachable moment.  Here’s a snippet quoting that teacher, by an unknown author simply called Mark.

43 But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister:
44 And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant* of all.

[And then their leader proceeded to wash their feet, as a household slave could not be compelled to do in ancient Palestine at that time, but might do willingly, for a highly-esteemed family member. ~John.]  Of course, said leader’s name is Jesus, of Nazareth, but his lesson is universal, and is still valid, although increasingly rare. Those who would lead, as well as those who vote, or might be wage slaves today, might think on this lesson.

*Note: the King James translators intentionally mistranslated the word slave as servant, as they did not want the ranks of British “attendants” to hear themselves described by such a destabilizing term as chattel, or personal property.  

Leading by example seems almost a forgotten discipline, yet it is highly effective, and respected and memorable to those who may have been  instructed thereby.







DEEP  [CORPORATE]  STATE : : book review


Photo by Änhliche Bilder, Getty Images (FAIR USE)

YOU’RE BUSTED !!!   SO SORRY to do this to you, dear Reader, but the click which brought you here has now been added to your suspicious behavior file, stored in Utah, by Uncle Sam.  It’s been 1984 for a long time, but it didn’t have to be this way.  You see, Congress made a deal with the devil, mostly outlawing internet encryption, after the towers fell in 2001, so that every detail of our digital lives could be collected and stored, forever > > smile for the camera above your monitor > > Why did they do that?  Glad you asked.  

Here to tell us is a masterful storyteller, and a great American hero, who sacrificed his career and his personal comfort to blow the whistle on this corporate power grab :  Ed Snowden. (Yes, it looks like the intelligence community did it, but who might that be?  Follow the money.  It mostly leads to the monetization of our every click, so we have no more privacy, and corporate America knows us better than we know ourselves.  Elected officials on both sides of the aisle are struggling to put the genie back in the bottle, sorta.  But corporate democrats are resisting, while progressives and many republicans want government surveillance to end, or at least to be restrained.  


PERMANENT RECORD, by Edward Snowden

Rarely have I encountered an autobiography of a more principled person.  Mr Snowden calls to mind that powerful statement No greater love has anyone than this: that a person lay down their life for their friends. ~Jesus.   Yet the intelligence community has hounded this man, threatening to imprison him for life; if they ever get their hands on him they will virtually crucify him.  Those who argue that he should face a trial have no clue what they are talking about, as, by law, he cannot get a fair trial for divulging state secrets to the American public, as he explains carefully in the book.  And the big, big secret which he risked his life to share is that the state has utterly violated and cancelled our right to privacy, guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment, by harvesting and storing every single communication and detail of our lives.  Yes, every selfie, every sly cheat or dark secret you (or any elected official) has ever done, every rant, every phone call.   No, “they” didn’t ask our permission.  Nor was any attempt made to amend the Constitution.  “They” just did it as  “a matter of national security”.  Case closed.  

Snowden tells us how different things are for citizens of the European Union.  How they are treated as citizens, as  “data subjects –that is, people who generate personally identifiable data.  In the US, data is usually regarded as the property of whoever collects it.”   The intelligence community has perpetrated a coup on our nation, seizing our data and our Constitutional right to privacy, without our permission — without even a national discussion.  Congress has allowed this, without protest, when they could have allowed for encryption of the internet, instead.  My iPhone is encrypted, as are most smartphones today.  But the google’s and apple’s and amazon’s and facebook’s are laughing all the way to the bank, as they are able to resell our every detail.  And that’s why I  inserted that word “[corporate]” in my headline.

Recently I attempted to become a digital subscriber to The Washington Post, owned by Jeff Bezos, of Amazon.  Upon learning of the terms – WaPo claiming the right to sell all my clicks – I cancelled the very next day.  Same with The Atlantic, owned by the widow of Steve Jobs.  Unless I agreed to allow their profiling of me, it was no sale, as neither of them would even allow an opportunity to opt out.  I even went by VPN to Switzerland which has very protective regulations and attempted to subscribe from there.  No deal.  Both publications insisted that I surrender to the corporate state-of-things in USA.  Wake up America!  We’re being auctioned to the highest bidders.

This book is the most gripping spy thriller I’ve ever read.  And it’s nonfiction. The one thing I wish the publishers had done was provide an index, as there is so much good information here.  It is my sincere hope that Donald Trump, who detests the deep state so much, might pardon Edward Snowden, and restore his US passport.  (Trump’s stock would go up with me, as my view of his leadership couldn’t go much lower.)  Maybe he could even give Snowden The Medal of Honor (or Medal of Freedow, as he’s no longer military).  Snowden truly is a national hero.  Read his story.  You might agree.  

In signing off, I will type these letters XKEYSCORE, while asking you to smile into the camera above your monitor, at the technologist who is tucking our names into that gigantic bunker of vaults in Utah.  <RASPBERRY>.  



PHOTO: AFP/Getty Images (fair use)

JOE, black may be fashionable as a little black dress, but you would look just as ridiculous in one, as you do here.  Get a new fashion consultant, man.  Your opponent won’t wear a mask, and is like The Pied Piper leading lemmings over the cliff.  But you look like death warmed over — a skull missing its lower jaw.  (Yes, that photo was taken on Memorial Day – but get smart, please.)  Black crepe went out with the Victorian age.  You coulda brought some dignity to the cemetery, rather than morbidity.

TEAM BLUE is looking black and blue, presently.  The DNC is doing it again – showing signs of pandering to the corporate state, rather than allowing the progressive wing into the big tent. If DNC doesn’t show some respect for the progressive wing, the party will choke again.  (Yes, and I, along with many other progressive voters, will help choke it.)  Anyone but Trump is not going to win.  Wake up, DNC !!!    We told you this in 2016, and you still don’t get it?  (Stop thinking you own these voters, as you clearly do not!)   We are the party of the people, not the party of the corporate state.

Get this, dear Reader :

EXCERPT, detailing how DNC is helping Trump derail the progressive agenda :

[. . .] And yet, when the Republicans proposed a bill to let Trump’s appointees dole out government cash to their corporate allies with no strings attached, this same opposition party mustered not a single recorded vote against the package. Not one.

Thanks to that, Trump appointees and the Federal Reserve can now hand out $4tn to politically connected corporations as they lay waste to our economy and steamroll progressive reforms. Private equity firms and fossil fuel companies get new tax breaks as they buy elections and try to lock in permanent climate change.

SOURCE, TheGuardian : https://tinyurl.com/yd4jfbv3 
Something’s gotta give, folks. DNC has sold out the middle class, to Wall Street.  If Biden doesn’t nominate a progressive Veep, we will know there’s deep trouble ahead.  There’s a grim reaper glaring at us at the top of this page.  ¿Will we ever learn?


Breathing the same air as Socrates and Jesus

Photo from Marquette Magazine (fair use)

. . . and while we’re at it, take another breath which also includes air exhaled by da Vinci and Edison (the story is told well in YOUR ATOMIC SELF). 

Equilibrium.  Right now this principle is at work helping inoculate us with tiny aerosol particles of cv-19 which hang in the air in still spaces for hours, in varying concentrations.  Our immune system is continually sampling and fortifying our defenses against such invaders, so we are presently developing skill at defeating this unwelcome visitor.  We might even individually become immune before a vaccine arrives.  A key is to avoid inhaling too many such aerosols at once. (Handling fear helps, too.)  So, wear a good mask (not just a bandana); don’t touch nasty stuff, and then put fingers in eyes, nose, mouth.  (Hint: use a knuckle at the ATM, instead of a finger.) And learn to recognize risk, from this tragic choir rehearsal. 

Practice safe breathing.  Keep the community healthy.  Avoid ignorant people who won’t wear a mask, while we all work at developing immunity.  The human race will survive.  We can all participate.






Destroying illegal liquor.  Reuters photo, via HindustanTimes (fair use)

Churchmen and politicians seem to be slow learners.  When they attempt to modify human behavior the result is : full prisons, underworld vendors replacing taxpaying businesses, and blood on their hands of those who consumed toxic homemade booze.  Prohibiting transactions which people want is simply not effective.  Yet the beer can gets kicked down the road, and the problems grow.  “Forbidden fruit” has not been successfully removed since “the beginning”.  And yet authorities still think they can do so by writing laws and arresting people? Yes, slow learners.

Jesus knew better.  He advised that the weeds and the wheat should be allowed to grow together, rather than attempting to uproot them prematurely.  (English version.)

Ten countries around the globe have decriminalized drugs. (Alcohol is a drug.)  Those ten have enjoyed significant social improvements, and savings, by recognizing that desire for contraband is never removed by legislation.  And yet prohibitions of many vices still continue to fail in many ways, in many places, because authorities think they are wiser and more powerful than Jesus.

 : 42 :   APPREHENDING SATAN   : 42 :


   : 42 :   APPREHENDING SATAN   : 42 :

~ some thoughts about prophecy ~

Device to Root Out Evil installation by Dennis Oppenheimer 1997  ~ photo from WikiArt~

 (I wonder if a patent has been granted?)

Many decades ago I studied in a graduate program at a nondenominational divinity school, but left before finishing.  Back then, I thought that what America needed was a better sense of business ethics.  After dropping out, I began a business career, and eventually partnered to start a business, from which I later retired.  Along the way, I made over 500 visits behind bars on Saturdays, volunteering as a nondenominational prison minister at two prisons (one, of maximum security) conducting what I term a “biblically-based stealth-ethics ministry”.  None of this has made me ethical, but it was a good workout, both commercially and, especially, with the prisoners.  They taught me much.  I was able to look into their eyes, their souls, and (I hope) help them understand their stories.  Perhaps I’ve learned something about temptation, bad choices, and criminal behavior.

Looking back, what perplexes me today is the leadership choices Americans have made lately. Why has a diverse community of  “believers” elected such self-dealing, selfish, leaders?  How can values voters be so easily duped?  (Yes, our federal and state election systems have been severely gamed and gerrymandered to suppress honest results.)  Yet I want to believe that the wisdom of crowds should be able to surmount such deception. Nevertheless, “he who snoozes, loses.”  By electing many of our current leaders, has America swallowed the “prosperity gospel” which suggests that “success” is proof of God’s favor?  (Was Jesus initially seen to be successful, on the cross?)  Even Malcolm Forbes poked fun at himself saying he who dies with the most toys wins. 

Well, I went looking for a history of the oldest deceiver ever, and may have learned something useful.  (My sense is that many believers don’t want to know anything about this topic, preferring rather to whistle past the graveyard, and the hoodlums hanging out there.)  

The flipside of Know thyself  is  Know thine enemy.  My gleanings from the book below persuade me that satan (which I refuse to capitalize) is not so much an entity or force, as a story told to explain “the other” in human communities. (We could call it tribalism, or fear of otherness: xenophobia.)

Yet Jesus himself ministered to whores and debt collectors, all the while skewering the preacher boys who ran the national temple/ government/ treasury.  What don’t we get about his example?  He didn’t flinch at criticizing high-end thievery and power-politics, even while knowing the cost, bluntly telling us that the tree is known by its fruit.  And yet we’ve elected a brash-talking, “pussy-grabbing”, casino-owning liar as our leader.  What’s wrong with this picture?  What’s wrong with “the church” in its many iterations, that it would support such allegiance?  What don’t we get about recognizing satanic behavior?  Have we allowed ourselves to be charmed by an entertainer, a false talker?

Author, historian, and scholar, Elaine Pagels, is a superb storyteller who is very accessible for the reading public.  If you’re troubled about the condition of spiritual studies today, especially on this topic, you will be gently introduced to how we got where we are regarding satan, in this excellent volume.  (Another author, M.Scott Peck, wrote People of the Lie, which might be helpful at detecting our dark side).

The last book of the New Testament, Revelation, predicts war in heaven and on earth in a final contest between God and His angels of light, and the angels of darkness, led by God’s adversary, ha satan, (Hebrew: “the accuser”).  Does God have an opposite?  Have you ever found it necessary to push darkness out of a room after turning on the light?  

We become what we love – or, what we love to hate.  Choose carefully.

Jesus told of false christs and false prophets that would be arising (see v.24). But when?  He told followers that neither he nor the angels knew when (see especially v.32, here).  Yet the visions and predictions of John of Patmos were canonized into that final book of the New Testament, after much controversy (see Pagels);  meanwhile moderns continue to speculate.

When?  Well, don’t expect me to tell you!   People love to read ahead, peering into the final chapters, especially when tribulation arrives on the world stage.  End times can be a tail chase, as anyone might notice.  Why would we want to know what even Jesus says he could not know?

    : 42 :    Prediction    : 42 :

But If you believe in literalism and its approach to prophecy, you might want to take a look at this prediction from Rev 13:5, which involves the number 42.  Come July or August, roughly 42 months from January 21, 2016 (inauguration day) we might learn something about prophecy.  Mark your calendar!  (No, I do not believe that Donald Trump is the anti-Christ.)  But history repeats itself, as encountered in this verse from Ecclesiastes 3:15 : That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past.

The accuser says we’re a mess.  What can we do about this? The challenge of understanding prophecy is vexing.  The empirical mind has long wanted to reject the very idea of prophecy.  Yet, as moderns, we’ve all had premonitions that surprised us when they came to pass.  Even physicists are today recognizing this skillset as worthy of scientific research.  We’ve spent much of human history trying to guess what is in the other guy’s head.  Have we acquired some skill to see into the future?

“Am I ok for the next ten minutes?” (Seriously, ask yourself that powerful question, in the first person, often; it can help quiet the mind.)   ¿Does tomorrow even exist? ~Jesus.

“But” you say, “aren’t we supposed to be alert?”  Good question, as alertness might commonly seem to require thought.  Yet, believers seem wary of rigorous thought, preferring stories and dogma over research. Well, curb your dogma, maybe!  Awareness of now can displace regret for yesterday and stress about tomorrow, (which doesn’t exist). 

Good detectives notice patterns – “m.o.’s” [modi operandi] – modes of operations, thru studied attention.  Behavior is but an extension of thought put into action, by choosing, some say.  While others, the “determinists,” like Richard Dawkins, insist that we have no choice, no free will at all – everything is genetic brain-chemistry, and is pre-determined.

Careful readers should recognize the importance of reading between the lines, rather than taking every word literally.  Indeed, literalism can be a curse which interferes with disciplined observation. (I had an epiphany in early 2003 which persuades me that literalism is the great red dragon of Revelation.)

Of course, satan is a famous Biblical character.  But this character is a late import into the text, not arriving in the Bible or Hebrew theology until well after the exodus from Egypt.  “Nah” you say, “my pastor told me satan was present in the Garden of Eden, as the serpent.”  Well then, I guess God created the devil, and we’re all utterly jammed.  Literalism!  Writing 2+2=5 on the chalkboard does not make it so.

If you swallowed that bait, serpent = satan, you’ve clearly attended a literalist Bible study, declining to do your own thinking, preferring pastor-priest-rabbi-or-immam ‘s ‘“voice of authority” rather than showing up for a one-on-one tutorial with the Holy Spirit.  (Arguments from authority are notoriously weak, which we noticed as children, answering back at our parents, why should I? — because I said so.)  

God is the Teacher!  Literalism and authoritarianism are tools of mind control, famous even in early Christianity. “Don’t think; don’t question; just have faith.”  ¿Perhaps you’ve been thumped on the head with a Bible by a cleric, professor, or fellow student, more than once?  (The Divine Teacher never does that, but is patient with those who show up for their tutorial with honest questions, yearning to listen, inquire, and learn.)  

The serpent, nachash in Hebrew, whispers : psst,  hacking its voice into our think-er, in the first person  :   “I’m ignorant”   “I’m insecure”   “I’m lonely // s-he’s cute”, while satan is a brash talker, a blasphemer, a bully, a liar: the accuser.  Notice that this hacker steals God’s name: I AM !!!  — the very first instance of identity theft!

Pastors and priests are taught that literalism is an electrified “third rail”, potentially causing the loss of jobs or even careers.  Questioning the text is risky, like a politician proposing to modify social security > >  X CHURCH  FIGHT AHEAD X !   Some Bible students don’t want to fight, but want to contemplate at the feet of the Teacher. Thus we have the social movement toward “spirituality” and away from “religion”.   Dare to listen for that still small voice!  Our ability to recognize voices is sublime.  Read John 10, if you distrust your abilities — also considering that satan’s voice is always accusatory, gruff, rude, angry.  Tone is telling.  Yes, this path may seem lonely and rugged.  But we are assured of God-with-us !  Immanuel.

God has faith in us, in our ability to discern divine love, divine guidance, divine government.   Got appetite?



FAKE LEADERSHIP : : with a degree and commission from Trump University !!!

I am the very model of a modern Major-General  ~Don, the Con’

    The item excerpted below, written by David Frum, former GOP speech-writer for President George W. Bush,  offers a brisk recounting of the timeline of Trump’s slow-motion disaster, titled  THIS IS TRUMP’S FAULT
“I don’t take responsibility at all,” said President Donald Trump in the Rose Garden on March 13. Those words will probably end up as the epitaph of his presidency, the single sentence that sums it all up.
     Trump now fancies himself a “wartime president.” How is his war going? By the end of March, the coronavirus had killed more Americans than the 9/11 attacks. By the first weekend in April, the virus had killed more Americans than any single battle of the Civil War. By Easter, it may have killed more Americans than the Korean War. On the present trajectory, it will kill, by late April, more Americans than Vietnam. Having earlier promised that casualties could be held near zero, Trump now claims he will have done a “very good job” if the toll is held below 200,000 dead.
     That the pandemic occurred is not Trump’s fault. The utter unpreparedness of the United States for a pandemic is Trump’s fault. The loss of stockpiled respirators to breakage because the federal government let maintenance contracts lapse in 2018 is Trump’s fault. The failure to store sufficient protective medical gear in the national arsenal is Trump’s fault. That states are bidding against other states for equipment, paying many multiples of the pre-crisis price for ventilators, is Trump’s fault. Air travelers summoned home and forced to stand for hours in dense airport crowds alongside infected people? That was Trump’s fault too. Ten weeks of insisting that the coronavirus is a harmless flu that would miraculously go away on its own? Trump’s fault again.  [. . . more. . . ]   SOURCE : The Atlantic
SEE ALSO, a detailed timeline article at NYTimes, excerpted far below.
BUT MAYBE, just maybe, it’s our fault for electing someone so incompetent, to lead us.  Yes, we’ve hired  Fake leadership !!!   Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.
Beneath the cartoon are illustrations from Trump’s leadership logic, and his past.

At his Tuesday circus-like press briefing, ostensibly about the coronavirus crisis, a reporter pressed him on his opposition to voting by mail. While he declared categorically that voting by mail is bad, the reporter pointed out that he, in fact, votes by mail.

Trump had no coherent response.

“But you voted by mail in Florida’s election last month, didn’t you?” a reporter asked.

“Sure! I can vote by mail,” Trump said, refusing to recognize his contradiction.

“How do you reconcile that?” the reporter responded.

“Because I’m allowed to!” Trump shot back. Of course, the whole question at issue is whether everyone should be allowed to vote by mail.  [. . . more. . .]

SOURCE : Alternet

Excerpt > > from Nick Kristof  (NYT)   on Blowhard Contagion :

[In 2009] Donald Trump called into Fox News and dismissed concern about the swine flu, telling host Neil Cavuto that “it’s going to go away.” Trump also cautioned that “the vaccines can be very dangerous.”

Far-right members of Congress like Phil Gingrey and Paul Broun, both Republicans from Georgia, scorned the flu as a case of “panic” and “hysteria” and denounced government plans for spending money on a vaccine for it.

[In 2020] “We’re going very substantially down, not up,” Trump said on Feb. 26 of the number of infections. This was completely incorrect, and he piled on more narcissism: “We have it so well under control. I mean, we really have done a very good job.”  < end excerpt, NYT >

NEWS FLASH  (cnn) :  Trump has just re-tweeted somebody’s call to fire one of the few scientific thinkers in his inner circle, Dr Anthony Fauci, cleary not a “yes man”.  Yep, FAKE LEADERSHIP.  No expertise allowed.


Handling Plague: Passover (Pesach) and the Blood of a Lamb

Wikimedia photo by Donald Macleaod, Stomoway Scotland

I’m a heretic, and also a daily student of the Bible.  I raised a few sheep for many years.  (They taught me much.) I don’t sit in pews anymore, except as a courtesy during celebration or bereavement.  I’m not a literalist, instead, choosing to read  between the lines of the text.  (My Tutor reveals lessons to me gradually, as I grow.)  May these words I now share comfort you, lessen your fear, and deliver you safely from every darkness and confusion.  (My prayer is simply to be a blessing today.)  And may the sun of righteousness arise with healing, to enlighten us all.  (Nothing can obstruct this bright, shining realization of God-with-us-and-in-us, forever.)  amen.

MOSES got an assignment: Go to Pharaoh (or Washington, or Wuhan, or Seoul, or London, or Madrid) and demand that My children be allowed to worship freely.  But he doubted :  “I’m not a showman, Lord.  I’m shy; I mumble.”   You know I-AM with you, Mo’.  Now go.

Nine times he went to his old home to plead with the ruler of the kingdom, warning them on behalf of the land where he grew up – but he was rejected, with plagues then befalling that nation – locusts, and frogs, and mosquitos, and maybe even  >fast forward >  air pollution, hurricanes and melting glaciers.  But the leaders still wouldn’t listen.

Sweet daddy Pharaoh, you’re not gonna like this next one, a cast which includes the angel of death, and all the firstborn sons of Egypt, but it will surely get your attention, (we hope) !  

ASIDE:  ¿ Does God like Jews and Christians better than Egyptians, Hindoos, Chinese, or atheists ?  Many believers think there is only one correct way (their way!) to worship, but I doubt this.  Daddy-God (“Abba”) loves all his children equally, and doesn’t give a rip about human institutions where people are taught to beat each other over their heads with their holy texts!

Long ago an angel renamed a man, a twin who clung to firstborn Esau’s heel, from Jacob (“Takeover-artist, or Wrestler“) to Israel, a name intended to remind believers that God is in charge, lest we forget.  This new name is both both complicated and simple.   “The Shama” – the central teaching of the Hebrew bible, (in my own mini-hip translation) says Remember, O Israel, you who call yourselves God’s-in-chargeI-AM is God.  I-AM is One.   (Consciousness!  Logos!  Awareness!   Reasonableness!)

Now, ONE is a thorny problem, a dilemma.   ¿ If All is One, is then God the author of plagues?  >>  ¿ Also, did you know that a virus is neither dead nor alive, sorta like a mousetrap? Hmm, not alive; can this be?  (If you still believe in the boogeyman, is it real?)  Well, if we spring that trap, or wisely avoid it, it’s no longer dangerous.    And that word, virus, in antique English, derives from Latin, meaning “the venom of a serpent”.  More hmm, which might remind us of the very first (nondual) commandment, with emphasis on the words good AND evil.  Don’t touch it!  (But will God really kick me out of paradise if I do?)  This question hints at the distinction between allegory and history.  And that awful man, Augustine, insisted that eternal undying hell was reserved for those who refused to recover from that first mistake, disobedience (or was it merely curiosity?) — seeing to it that any fellow theologians, differing with his views, were excommunicated, and their letters destroyed. (See Pelagius, and Origen, for examples.)

So much for a forgiving God!  You slow learners should now drop dead, as only the quick and bright will be saved.  (Pascal, a math wiz who is known as the father of the insurance industry, urged the praying of the sinner’s prayer, also known as Pascal’s Wager, “just in case”.)

Back to that dilemma,  ¿ This One – is S/He an absentee LandLORD off on vacation at the edge of the Cosmos, on a cruise liner with Zeus and numerous other subDivines, none of whom are afflicted ?    “Those kids back on planet Earth will get by with help from their elected babysitters” shrugs S/He.   (Well, that’s faith!)  Is there a third horn to this dilemma (trilemma)?

Let’s cut to the chase scene :  ¿ Can lamb’s blood really deliver us from terror?   ¿ Among all the world’s fundamentalists / literalists, do you know of anyone who has ever painted lamb’s blood on their doorframe?  (Not to be sacrilegious nor superstitious, but why not nail up a horseshoe, too, just in case it might scare away tigers, con artists, and other predators?)  Well, kids, that blood used by Moses and their crowd is meant as a reminder, not a magical repellent!  Besides, anyone who has ever walked past dried blood will confirm that it smells of death.  >  “Welcome to our home!  Do come in.  Pay no attention to that dreadful aroma”.

What was our earliest maximum fear?  No, not death, but rather, seeing mom and dad put on their overcoats – uh-oh, there goes my meal ticket!  (We could call this a belief of “separation”.)  ¿ So, what to conclude ?  >  grow up and quit with this ridiculous belief, already!)

Saint Paul said I die daily .  And along with the Boy Scout motto, Be Prepared, here’s an excerpt from a famous stoic and politician, named Seneca, on how to die gracefully:  (sorry, I couldn’t find Letter 24 to Lucilius, online, but this gives the idea :  Caligula, upon a dispute with Canius Julius; “Do not flatter yourself,” says he, “for I have given orders to put you to death.”   “I thank your most gracious Majesty for it,” says Canius, giving to understand, perhaps, that under his government death was a mercy: for he knew that Caligula seldom failed of being as good as his word in that case. He was at play when the officer carried him away to his execution, and beckoning to the centurion, “Pray,” says he, “will you bear me witness, when I am dead and gone, that I had the better of the game?” He was a man exceedingly beloved and lamented, and, for a farewell, after he had preached moderation to his friends; “You,” says he, “are here disputing about the immortality of the soul, and I am now going to learn the truth of it.”

OK, we’re all in summer camp now, or maybe it feels more like remedial summer-school, but God believes in us, and is a Patient Teacher.  We’re here to learn, but we need to admit that we’re just passing thru — as pilgrims.  Yeah, maybe just barely passing, but S/He believes we’ve got spiritual aptitude.  So let’s pay attention – maybe even pray attention.  “Desire is prayer” said one wise woman (chapter 1:9).  Prayer, which may be mostly intent-listening rather than pleading, can import some vital lessons from this human experience, enjoying them daily in the meantime — but they’re portable and perhaps exportable, writable in consciousness and on the heart, if we welcome them.  We may forget the lyrics of a favorite tune during our brief exit, but latching onto a few verses of scripture for the journey will nourish and comfort us daily, on our way past (or even thru!)  the graveyard.  Here are a few of my favorites :  Psm 27:4, John 14:26Rom 8:38,39 (already encountered, above), 1John 1:5 and Psalm 91 (no plague!).

Blessings are ours today, if we will have them.



© Dave Granlund.com — Political Cartoons.com (“fair use”)

“You go into a pandemic with the president you have, not the president you wish you had.”
~Paul Krugman, NYTimes


Why did Trump and his team deny and delay? All the evidence suggests that he didn’t want to do or say anything that might drive down stock prices, which he seems to regard as the key measure of his success. That’s presumably why as late as Feb. 25 Larry Kudlow, the administration’s chief economist, declared that the U.S. had “contained” the coronavirus, and that the economy was “holding up nicely.”

Well, that was a bad bet. Since then, the stock market has more or less given up all its gains under the Trump presidency. More important, the economy is clearly in free-fall. So what should we do now?

I’ll leave health policy to the experts. On economic policy, I’d suggest three principles. First, focus on hardship, not G.D.P. Second, stop worrying about incentives to work. Third, don’t trust Trump.

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The DON, and Mitch Prepare to Give Away the Farm to BIGGIES.

. . . But She’s Watching for Slight-of-Hand, Fighting for Neighbors !

Elizabeth Warren, March 17


1. Companies must maintain their payrolls and use funds to keep people working or on payroll.


2. Companies must provide a $15 minimum wage within one year of the national emergency declaration ending.


3. Companies are permanently prohibited from engaging in share repurchases.


4. Companies are prohibited from paying out dividends or executive bonuses while they are receiving any relief and for three years thereafter.


5. Companies must set aside at least one seat – but potentially two or more, as the amount of relief increases – on the board of directors for representatives elected by workers.


6. Collective bargaining agreements should remain in place and should not be reopened or renegotiated pursuant to this relief program.  

7. Corporations must obtain shareholder and board approval for all political expenditures.


8. CEOs must be required to personally certify a company is in compliance and face criminal penalties for false certifications.

Here’s a quote from Will Bunch, at Philadelphia Inquirer, with a link to Warren’s op-ed at CNN, on the topic of a just bailout for the middle class:

“When the 2008 financial crisis hit, the federal government responded with a bankers’ bailout,” Warren wrote this week in a CNN op-ed, recalling the tempest that put a once obscure academic on a near-miss White House trajectory a dozen years ago. “The rich and powerful got richer and more powerful. We should learn from the past and meet the challenges of this pandemic head-on, this time to deliver meaningful, grassroots relief directly to American families.”

A M E R I C A ,  Y O U   B L E W    I T   !!!

For months I listened (and disagreed) while so many thinking friends said that Elizabeth Warren is sharp, respectable, cares deeply about justice for the middle class, but couldn’t beat Trump.

And then we saw her take down the $60-billion dollar man, Mike Bloomberg, in a NY-minute.  Rarely has there been such a devastating bout on a political stage.  Watch the one-minute segment below, and tell me that she wasn’t the ideal candidate to face Trump, the one-billion dollar blow-hard.

And what are we left with?  Two tired old white guys, one of whom can’t remember what he did in the past (Joe Biden); and the other, Bernie Sanders, who is too polite to confront his old friend, Joe.

So, what was it that caused this failure on the part of American voters?  — “unvarnished sexism” — according to Amanda Marcotti, of Salon.

In celebration of International Women’s Day, I wish we would all get real.