Put Away Your Sword

If it’s guns that “made America free,” how far do we have to look for the prooof of that belief in the world today? Name a place where everyone totes guns and peace and harmony reigns. One place.

In the Bible, the sword is referred to 380 times in the Old Testament; in the New 34 times. [“Swords in the Old Testament were literal. In the New Testament it could be a literal sword or the “sword of the spirit.”] Some have justified having a gun is scriptural because in Luke 22:36 Christ tells his disciples to buy a sword (the occasion is when Christ is telling his disciples about the impending arrest and death). This is the only place where he says that. And in verse 38 of the same chapter, it says: “And they said, ‘Lord, behold, here are two swords.’ And he said unto them, ‘It is enough.’” Two swords for 12 disciples and no record of them having even been used. Whereas in the Old Testament there was plenty of sword play. But the New Testament is about the covenant between God and His believers in Christ, the Prince of Peace. It even is wrapped up in Revelation with the Final Judgment: “He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity; he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints [believers]” 13:10.

Somehow, a political party (Republicans) has decided to become a religious party, thinking it is the only one that speaks for God. That because the other party does not claim this prerogative, and trues to speak for the people/People, it has no godliness in it. A “liberal can’t be Christian!” they affirm. “Only we know God and what He wants!” That’s why they feel they can’t listen to anything Democrats say and cannot make “compromises with them. It’s sounding uncomfortably similar to Sunni/Shia debates, with so many Americans recoil at.

Let us beware of going down this path. The Bible is for all the People on Earth — not just a few. Let all who want to be Godly feel free to read it — and heed it — for the good of all.

Cheryl Lovely
Presque Isle, Maine

America is a Socialist Democracy

Sen. Bernie Sanders is a Democratic Socialist candidate for President. Our nation is a socialist democracy with a free enterprise capitalist economy like the 30 other developed, industrialized nations. We only differ in degree, not kind. Corrupted political operatives and big-money-owned media pundits are continuing to assault Sen. Sanders with a “socialist” label as if this is something bad or to be feared. To better understand this important term, study the dictionary words of democracy, government and socialism.

All programs and services owned, operated and funded by any level of government is a socialist program or service. The following is but a partial list of the many we benefit from every day: Social Security; Medicare and Medicaid, public schools, colleges and universities, our military services, VA programs; judiciary system; public streets and highways; public safety programs; civil rights and worker’s rights laws; public parks, libraries and museums; and many more.

Democratic Socialist candidate Sanders, like former Democratic Socialist President Franklin D. Roosevelt, has sensible, doable research-proven program and cost effective plans to both strengthen our existing social programs and add needed ones. The above-mentioned corrupted political operatives and media pundits scoffed when he advised we could learn from Denmark’s socialist democracy. Here are a few facts about Denmark. They are rated the top nation in the world to do business in, have a minimum wage of $18 an hour and have practically eliminated poverty. They provide free college and other higher education. And like all the other socialist democracy developed nations, Denmark provides comprehensive, universal health care coverage to every citizen with a single-payer health care system like the one Sen. Sanders has developed for our nation. (See DEinformedvoters.org.)

Dr. Floyd E. McDowell Sr.
Bear, Del.

Obama’s Tough Enough

Donald Trump is happy about the fact that Sarah Palin has endorsed his candidacy but that is something to worry about instead of being pleased. Sarah Palin showed her ignorance when she criticized President Obama for not helping out the 10 US Navy personnel when they were held captives by the Iranians for trespassing in their territory. She called Mr. Obama feckless and “leading from behind” (where have we heard this?) but conveniently forgets how President Bush handled a similar situation when a US spy plane was confiscated by the Chinese Authority.

There was the usual bluster that the aircraft in question was a sovereign US property and should be released immediately or else. For almost 11 days the crew was held up (against less than 24 hours in Iran) and repeated apologies by the Bush Administration did not help. In the end the spy plane was broken down and packed in crates (we got our vessels intact from the Iranians). Does Sarah Palin did not know this and for that matter, Donald Trump still wants to talk “tough” with China?

G.M. Chandu
Flushing, N.Y.

Egalitarian Populism

Grandmother made coffee every morning starting before anyone else had awakened. Her stove pot percolator had a lid supporting a small glass top. By the time the water heated to boiling point my brothers and I had usually joined her at the kitchen table. Soon the water percolated at an ever increasing speed first, in fits and spurts, and then a steady rhythmic cascade timed by my Grandmother for a perfect pot of coffee.

This childhood memory is a good analogy of what is happening in Arkansas with the Bernie Sanders campaign, and the egalitarian (democratic) Populist movement here in the state. Yes, we are we percolating in Arkansas!

Also, the glass top on the percolator makes a good symbol for the egalitarian Populist movement. Because with a glass top you can see the coffee making, and know what the finished product will be. Thus, with the egalitarian Populist movement you get a transparent government of, by, and for the people, whereas the faux (fake or false) Populist movement gives you an opaque totalitarian rule.

Janis K. Percefull
Hot Springs, Ark.

Deals With the Devil

I’ve always appreciated Margot Ford McMillen’s “Rural Routes” column, but her “call to action” for rural landowners against land grabs [2/1/16 TPP] is missing a caveat.

Here in rural Humboldt County, California, homesteaders were lured into joining forces with a developer’s front-group promising relief from building permits and code enforcement. Following the group’s formation, (“Humboldt Coalition for Property rights”), they sued Humboldt County after the county had enacted a building moratorium against converting depleting resource lands into high-profit McMansion Mini-Kingdoms desired by Big Timber.

Thanks to media complicity, low voter turnout and the new coalition between right-wing speculators and hoodwinked rural residents, the development industry won a clean-sweep of elected officials anxious to settle their campaign contributor’s lawsuit described as, “an absolute boon for property owners with (illegal) structures”.

The settlement titled, “The Safe Homes Program,” brought blinding euphoria to rural residents wanting to resell unrecorded houses on parcels of unknown status, oblivious to the larger windfall for speculator’s patient anticipation of building the third US housing bubble in 35 years. (“So-long rural lifestyle, thanks for everything”). No media source reported the irony of unprecedented deregulation, amnesty and future decriminalization of haphazard, illegal developments while local government spends millions of dollars enforcing misdemeanors, issuing citations, confiscating belongings and incarcerating the homeless with no alternative but to trespass.

Climate change, biodiversity collapse, depleting resources, unfunded infrastructure liabilities, and chronic infill housing shortages, are simply going to have to run their course as long as the vast majority of eligible voters continue to abstain and a handful of special interests can trick and trap the few voters needed to vote against their own interests and the interests of future generations.

George Clark
Eureka, Calif.

Fundamentalists Are Not Actual Christians

I very much appreciate Art Cullen’s cogent essay [“Sword into Plowshares” 1/1-15/16 TPP]. His wonderful article reminds us that during this treacherous time, when religious hypocrites and political posers are using the bible to intimidate us, we should stand up to them with a few reminders.

1) Jesus was crucified because he rocked the boat when he stood up to the vicious, right-wing Jewish establishment of his time. Jesus was a flaming liberal and an avatar of evolution and revolution against the very fundamentalism which infects our politics today.

2) Christianity is not an armchair fan club for Jesus but a strenuous personal self-discipline; I am no longer religious but my chosen morality is based on Zen-Buddhism and Christianity; choice by choice, it is a struggle with the ego.

3) Christianity forbids hatred, ill-will, prejudice, and judgmentalism—all of which are part and parcel of the Ted Cruzes and of fundamentalist hypocrites in general.

4) Christianity mandates love, forgiveness, charity toward the poor, and hospitality for children and refugees.

5) Christianity requires courage and shuns fear.

6) The Bible never says one word about abortion; the fundamentalist Jews considered women to be basically unclean, especially in our reproductive activity. (FYI: Joseph would never have set foot near Mary during and after she birthed Jesus until she underwent a long period of proper purification;-so much for those cutesy manger scenes.)

On no account does the right-wing of this country qualify as Christians; if they did, we would all be much better off. The Founding Fathers, products of the Age of Reason and close in time to all the trouble religious wars brought down on Europe and the Middle-East, sought to produce a refuge from religious bullies. Religions, originally based on a philosophy like Christ’s teachings, are useful until they begin to impose their will on individuals; then they become evil.

P. Ann White
Meridian, Texas

From The Progressive Populist, March 1, 2016


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