A growing collection of facts, thoughts and events from a 80-year-old man and his family, friends, and the characters that he has met along the way . . .

These “Happy Gators” were filmed by me on The Anhinga Trail in The Everglades National Park

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thesumofme2

August, 1960

C-5-5 ON PARADE AUG 1960

Captain Leo M Roberts leading the Company

While rummaging through some old photos yesterday I not only located the photos that appear in this article, I also discovered this fantastic poem that was typed on a now yellowed and aged sheet of writing paper.  Since it was not signed by the author I am displaying it below in the hopes that someone might read it and recognize the author.

POEM

Do you recognize this poem?  It is likely that he is one of the soldiers pictured here, or in the barracks photos that will follow:

C-5-5 BARRACKS A & B AUGUST 1960

C-5-5, Barracks A &B

C-5-5 BARRACKS C & D AUGUST 1960

C-5-5, Barracks C & D

(I recognize Master Sgt Green behind the flag in the last photo)

I was stationed at Fort Jackson in 1960 and, if any of you were there, you will certainly remember what our barracks looked like in those days:

ME IN FRONT OF FT JACKSON BARRACKS

I have thought about removing the…

View original post 52 more words

August, 1960

C-5-5 ON PARADE AUG 1960

Captain Leo M Roberts leading the Company

 

While rummaging through some old photos yesterday I not only located the photos that appear in this article, I also discovered this fantastic poem that was typed on a now yellowed and aged sheet of writing paper.  Since it was not signed by the author I am displaying it below in the hopes that someone might read it and recognize the author.

POEM

 

 

Do you recognize this poem?  It is likely that he is one of the soldiers pictured here, or in the barracks photos that will follow:

 

C-5-5 BARRACKS A & B AUGUST 1960

C-5-5, Barracks A &B

 

C-5-5 BARRACKS C & D AUGUST 1960

C-5-5, Barracks C & D

(I recognize Master Sgt Green behind the flag in the last photo)

I was stationed at Fort Jackson in 1960 and, if any of you were there, you will certainly remember what our barracks looked like in those days:

 

ME IN FRONT OF FT JACKSON BARRACKS

 

I have thought about removing the third word of the second line of the last paragraph of the poem but have chosen not to do so and I sincerely hope that no one is offended by this; however, I do not want to alter this poem that so sincerely expressed the feelings of the author in any way!

Are you being discriminated against because you have lived too long?  I know that I am. I’m 80 years old; soon to become 81, and my automobile insurance has increased 1,939.75% since I owned this beautiful 1955 Plymouth Belvedere Convertible:

1955 Plymouth Convertable.jpg

My 1955 Plymouth Belvedere Convertible (wish I still owned it today)

When I bought this car in 1960, auto insurance cost about $500.00 a year.  Now, in 2018, my auto insurance runs about $1,860.00 a year, and it increases every six months.

http://www.in2013dollars.com/Motor-vehicle-insurance/price-inflation/1960

If my calculations are correct, the cost of automobile insurance has increased approximately 372% since 1960, and my fixed Social Security retirement income increased a whopping $42.00@month  this year due to a 2% Cost-of-living increase (and medicare gobbled up $30 dollars of that leaving me with just $12.00 extra to spend each month (on what – Automobile Insurance)?

I have owned and driven automobiles for over 60 years now and have never had an accident that was my fault (although my GMC Jimmy was rear-ended and totaled while I stood standing still at a stop light, waiting for the light to change in 2007 ).  I have not had a traffic ticket during the past 25 years.  In August of 2016 I took (and passed) a Florida 6-hour Mature Drivers Course, and I have been taking a similar course every 3 years for many, many, years now.  My State of Florida Drivers License displays a Gold Star (safe driver award) (And I only drive around 6,000 miles annually now; everything I need or want is close by).

 

Automobile insurance now consumes a little over 9% of my net income.  Why?  Because I bought a new(er) car – a 2015 Hyundai Accent GLS –

 

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My 2015 Hyundai (The Silver Bullet)

and because I have grown older?  Looking back over my records I have discovered that I only paid $66.75 for car insurance for the month of August, 2014.  Similarly, I paid $70.29 for the same month in 2015; $87.10 in 2016, $86.90 in January of of 2017, and now, I have to pay $155.17 this month (March, 2018).  That is an increase in the cost of my auto insurance of 178.56% just since January of 2017!  Try comparing that to a 2% COLA !!!

Truthfully, I don’t understand why I have to pay such an exorbitant amount of money for car insurance.  I’m insured by Geico, and I thought perhaps they were screwing me. However, after trying to find a better rate, I have discovered that Geico is giving me the best deal that I can find (thank you, Geico) (and I have no affiliation with Geico nor do I expect any rewards for making this admission – I probably won’t even get a visit from a big, green, gecko).  Every insurance company from which I have recently requested a quote, including but not limited to Progressive and The General and State Farm, and Allstate, have all wanted more money than I am currently paying.  In fact one of those companies wanted a down payment of over $350, followed by 11 monthly payments of over $285.00!!!

If you find that you are in the same boat (err . . .car), and if you have any suggestions on how I can obtain a better auto insurance rate, I would love to see your comments.  If any of my readers happen to be politicians that want to help Senior Citizens lead a better life, please, please, do something to help regulate or make more affordable automobile insurance for us poor, old, aging folks.

THE ORIGIN OF “I”

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(Photo from:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inherit_the_Wind_(1960_film)

I recently enjoyed watching “Inherit The Wind” – a movie based on a real-life case in 1925, in which two great lawyers argue the case for and against Tennessee schoolteacher John Scopes who was arrested for teaching Darwin’s theory of evolution in violation of state law.  Although I had seen this movie a long time ago, this viewing coincided with a blog by my daughter that I had just finished reading; an article that in part referenced “our normal sensation of self.”  Her references to material written by British philosopher Alan Watts , and by Donald D. Hoffman, a U.S. professor of cognitive science in this article so intrigued me that I had to search out their publications and read what they had written; especially since I have struggled with thoughts about my identity of self, and the origin of man, since I became old enough to reason!

At some point, early in my life, I realized that “I” was not able to believe the way the creation of man was explained in the King James Version of the bible (Genesis 1 King James Version (KJV):

26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

or similarly, in the New American Standard Bible (NASB), Genesis 2:

“Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living [f]being.

 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper [o]suitable for him. . .”

” but for [r]Adam there was not found a helper [s]suitable for him. 21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. 22 The Lord God [t]fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. 23 The man said,

“This is now bone of my bones,
And flesh of my flesh;
[u]She shall be called [v]Woman,
Because [w]she was taken out of [x]Man.”

24 For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.”

However, I also understood that men and women had to come from somewhere and, while I knew where I came from – in the sense that my father impregnated my mother and that I came forth from her womb – I could not understand where the 1st man (and the 1st woman) came from.  I knew without question that “I” alone could not go out into the forest and create a man or woman, so there had to be another solution or possibility.

A firm determination to solve the question “where did the first man come from” eventually led me to Darwin’s “Origin of the Species” that had been published on November 24, 1859.

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Darwin

Darwin’s Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection

  1. More individuals are produced each generation that can survive.
  2. Phenotypic variation exists among individuals and the variation is heritable.
  3. Those individuals with heritable traits better suited to the environment will survive.
  4. When reproductive isolation occurs new species will form.

These are the basic tenets of evolution by natural selection as defined by Darwin. The following is a quote from Darwin.

“Variation is a feature of natural populations and every population produces more progeny than its environment can manage. The consequences of this overproduction is that those individuals with the best genetic fitness for the environment will produce offspring that can more successfully compete in that environment. Thus the subsequent generation will have a higher representation of these offspring and the population will have evolved.”

(Copyright © 1997. Phillip McClean)

evolution

While Darwin’s theory made more sense to me than “God” making a man in his own image (who really knows what God might (might have) look(ed) like?), or forming him out of dust then ripping a rib out of his body to make him a woman (a helper), I found it extremely difficult to believe that the first man evolved from an ape (or a whale) no matter how long it took – and then, if I chose to believe Darwin’s theory I would still want to know where the first ape (or whale) came from!

* * * * *

“I” spent the earliest years of my life living in a small farming and fishing village near Ocean City, New Jersey.  After I was born my mother and father moved into my maternal grandfather’s house.  My biological father ran away from our home when I was three years old.  My mother left not long after that, allegedly to earn money to help provide for our families needs, leaving it up to my grandmother and grandfather to raise me.  Although very intelligent my grandfather – the son of an Italian immigrant – had a very limited education and did not talk a lot (ironically, “grand pop” showed no interest in church even though he was an expert carpenter).  My grandmother, the well-educated daughter of a family of English origin was a sickly woman who often experienced long, debilitating, bouts of Asthma.  Although she attended the local Asbury Methodist Church when she was able to do so, she often remained bed-ridden for days at a time.  Consequently, three of my grandfather’s 4 sisters (all chubby, jovial, Italian ladies) that lived around the family farm would stop by to check on “grand mom” and me, and make sure that we had enough to eat when my grandfather was at work or away from home.  These lovely ladies did more to clothe, feed, and nurture me than anyone else during the first 9-1/2 years of my life.   Throughout these years, my grandmother made sure that I attended the church regularly, dressing me in a horribly “itchy” heavy woolen suit on cold winter days.  Her brother was the lay minister of the Asbury Methodist Church – as well as the church chauffer –  and I would have to stand outside, next to the mailbox, on those cold mornings waiting for  “Uncle Archie” to pick me up and drive me to Sunday School.  I don’t think I thought much about church or religion during this time in my life, other than how much I disliked that damned itchy suit.

copy-of-dreaded-wool-suit

The Dreaded Wool Suit

On a cold winter December morning in 1946, not long after Christmas, my grandmother suffered a fatal asthma attack and passed away.  One of my great aunts found a letter that had been sent to me from my mother.  “Mom” was apparently living in Miami with a sailor that she had met in Atlantic City while she was working away from home.  It took about four months for my mother to make the arrangements, but my mother finally sent the money needed by my grandfather to purchase a ticket on a train that would carry me to Miami (evidence indicates that she also took this time to get married to the sailor).  The “family” purchased some new clothes for me, packed my belongings, and drove me to the train station in Atlantic City where I was met by a lady from the Traveler’s Aid Society who helped me to board the train to Philadelphia.

Twenty-five hours later, after having changed trains in “Philly” where I boarded the Orange Blossom Special, I arrived in Miami.  As another Traveler’s Aid lady escorted me off the train and down the platform toward the train station I spotted my mother.  Although I had not seen her for many years, I recognized her immediately – and the man who accompanied her.  He was the sailor she had introduced me to at a dinner party one night in Atlantic City a few years earlier on one of the rare occasions when she was in town.  That night the sailor teased me; I cried, and my mother nudged me under the table in an effort to encourage me to be quiet!

For the next six years I lived with my mother and stepfather in Miami.  Although it would take me sometime to figure this out, he proved to be a racist, often drunk, gun-toting member of the KKK.  He hated negroes (he called them “niggers”), Catholics, Jews (although my paternal father married a Christian, he came from an Orthodox Jewish family), Muslims, Yankees, and me!   After witnessing a few of his drunken outbursts I began to suffer asthma attacks (almost certainly psychosomatic), and I was eventually allowed to visit my grandfather and great aunts in New Jersey during school summer breaks.

When my stepfather was arrested by the FBI in Miami in 1953 for having aided the Ku Klux Klan in the blowing up of a black housing project in Liberty City (he allegedly furnished the dynamite – believed to have been stolen from his employers) my mother called it quits and we moved back to New Jersey where she obtained a divorce.(she had previously divorced my paternal father when I was seven years old).

Once again, “I” was able to resume a fairly normal life; living on a small farm, fishing and hunting with my grandfather, surrounded by loving and caring great aunts, playing in the woods, riding a school bus to school, and – once again, attending the Asbury Methodist Church, where I eventually became a member of the Asbury Methodist Youth Fellowship.  (I eventually withdrew from the Asbury Methodist Church Youth Fellowship organization due to discoveries of obvious selfish self-interest, hypocrisy, and infidelity among some of the churches parishioners).

* * * * *

“I” tell you all of these things, not to gain sympathy from you – nor to bore you with long, detailed stories of my early life, but simply to impress upon you my reasons for questioning my confusion about religion and the origin of man.

Now, over sixty years later, I’m still searching for answers.  Several years ago, I decided that I was a “Deist,”  and still may be:

” *Deism is the recognition of a universal creative force greater than that demonstrated by mankind, supported by personal observation of laws and designs in nature and the universe, perpetuated and validated by the innate ability of human reason coupled with the rejection of claims made by individuals and organized religions of having received special divine revelation.”  (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deism)

paine

Photo taken from:  http://slideplayer.com/slide/3838887/

However, I have just been introduced to the works of British philosopher Alan Watts, and I strongly believe what he has written in his book, “The Book on The Taboo Against Knowing Who You Really Are,” (published in 1969):

“Naturally, it isn’t the mere fact of being named that brings about the hoax of being a “real person”; it is all that goes with it. The child is tricked into the ego-feeling by the attitudes, words, and actions of the society which surrounds him—his parents, relatives, teachers, and, above all, his similarly hoodwinked peers. Other people teach us who we are. Their attitudes to us are the mirror in which we learn to see ourselves, but the mirror is distorted. We are, perhaps, rather dimly aware of the immense power of our social enviromnent. We seldom realize, for example, that our most private thoughts and emotions are not actually our own. For we think in terms of languages and images which we did not invent, but which were given to us by our society. We copy emotional reactions from our parents, learning from them that excrement is supposed to have a disgusting smell and that vomiting is supposed to be an unpleasant sensation. The dread of death is also learned from their anxieties about sickness and from their attitudes to funerals and corpses. Our social environment has this power just because we do not exist apart from a society. Society is our extended mind and body.”  (Quoted from “The Book,” Chapter III)

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“To many people it was therefore an immense relief when Western thinkers began to question this image and to assert that the hypothesis of God was of no help in describing or predicting the course of nature. If everything, they said, was the creation and the operation of God, the statement had no more logic than “Everything is up.” But, as, so often happens, when one tyrant is dethroned, a worse takes his place. The Crackpot Myth was retained without the Potter. The world was still understood as an artifact, but on the model of an automatic machine. The laws of nature were still there, but no lawmaker. According to the deists, the Lord had made this machine and set it going, but then went to sleep or off on a vacation. But according to the atheists, naturalists, and  agnostics, the world was fully automatic. It had constructed itself, though not on purpose. The stuff of matter was supposed to consist of atoms like minute billiard balls, so small as to permit no further division or analysis. Allow these atoms to wiggle around in various permutations and combinations for an indefinitely long time, and at some time in virtually infinite time they will fall into the arrangement that we now have as the world. The old story of the monkeys and typewriters.

In this fully Automatic Model of the universe shape and stuff survived as energy and matter. Human beings, mind and body included, were parts of the system, and thus they were possessed of intelligence and feeling as a consequence of the same interminable gyrations of atoms. But the trouble about the monkeys with typewriters is that when at last they get around to typing the Encyclopaedia Britannica, they may at any moment relapse into gibberish. Therefore, if human beings want to maintain their fluky status and order, they must work with full fury to defeat the merely random processes of nature. It is most strongly emphasized in this myth that matter is brute and energy blind, that all nature outside human, and some animal, skins is a profoundly stupid and insensitive mechanism. Those who continued to believe in Someone-Up-There-Who-Cares were ridiculed as woolly-minded wishful thinkers, poor weaklings unable to face man’s grim predicament in a heartless universe where survival is the sole privilege of the tough guys. If the all-too-intelligent God was disconcerting, relief in getting rid of him was short-lived. He was replaced by the Cosmic Idiot, and people began to feel more estranged from the universe than ever. This situation merely reinforced the illusion of the loneliness and separateness of the ego (now a “mental mechanism”) and people calling themselves naturalists began the biggest war on nature ever waged.” (also quoted from Chapter III of Watts “Book”)

Needless to say, I am certainly not going to copy all 118 pages of “The Book” here, but I honestly believe it should be ready by everyone who questions the origin of life!

* * * * *

During my search for the origin of “I” I have read additional views on the creation of man from the Islamic View of Creation, from Universal Unitarianism, and from the Agnostic atheists, and most recently, from The World’s Newest Religion – No Religion.

One of the most appreciated and surprising works that I have discovered is from the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History’s “What does it mean to be a human!”  “A Primer on Science, Religion, Evolution and Creationism” is a brilliant publication that includes a lengthy discussion on creation by Intelligent Design (ID).

(http://humanorigins.si.edu/about/broader-social-impacts-committee/science-religion-evolution-and-creationism-primer)

While I once believed that ID was the most logical explanation of the creation of man, I think “I” will stick with Deism for the time being!

*See this list of deists, Many of whom where amazing individuals; people like Abraham  Lincoln, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, James Madison, and even Jules Verne and Leonardo da Vinci . . .https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_deists”

I don’t know if any of you watched 60 minutes earlier this evening, but I did  – and I find this really, really, scary:  “. . . one person and one person only — the president of the United States — can give the order to launch a nuclear weapon.”   I know that you already knew this; you’ve known it for many, many, years – but you never really think about it.  Well, think about it now, and about the forthcoming presidential election and who might be sitting in the White House should it ever become necessary to give that fateful order!

Preview: The New Cold War

60 Minutes takes viewers inside the U.S. nuclear arsenal for a rare look at the military practicing the unthinkable

  • 2016Sep 16

The next president will become commander-in-chief at a time when a new Cold War is brewing and both the U.S. and Russia still keep enough nuclear weapons on alert to end civilization. In a story to be broadcast on 60 Minutes Sunday, Sept. 18 7:30 p.m. ET and 7 p.m. PT, viewers will get a close up view of America’s nuclear arsenal and the extraordinary measures the U.S. military takes to make sure that one person and one person only — the president of the United States — can give the order to launch a nuclear weapon.

Pentagon correspondent David Martin and cameras went aboard the USS Kentucky, a ballistic missile submarine which hides beneath the ocean, waiting for an order from the president to launch some of the nearly 200 nuclear warheads it is capable of carrying. Asked if his submarine has ever been detected during one of its undersea patrols, the Kentucky’s captain, Cdr. Brian Freck, does not hesitate. “No. Not even close.”

(https://wfoster2011.wordpress.com/2011/12/24/the-uss-kentucky-in-close-call-near-the-juan-de-fuca-strait/)

Martin and his team also went inside Strategic Command headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska, the nerve center for U.S. nuclear forces. They went three stories underground to the Global Operations Center and interviewed the man in charge of the nation’s nuclear arsenal, Admiral Cecil Haney, who would speak directly to the president in a crisis, recommending specific options for a nuclear strike. “Would they tell him what kinds of weapons you would use and what targets you would hit?” Martin asks. “They would be that specific, yes,” Haney replies. “Would they give him an estimate of casualties?” “We would have to give the president answers to a lot of questions,”  says Haney. “That’s one I would expect to get.”

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/60-minutes-preview-the-new-cold-war/

I’ve never heard of Admiral Cecil Haney before tonight, but after watching 60 minutes, I looked him up.

Admiral Haney1.jpg

(http://media.gettyimages.com/photos/admiral-cecil-d-haney-commander-of-us-strategic-command-listens-to-picture-id466870144)

In his current assignment, Admiral Haney serves as the senior commander of unified military forces from all four branches of the military assigned to USSTRATCOM, and is the leader, steward and advocate of the nation’s strategic capabilities. In a special, free program featuring an interview by PMML President & CEO Ken Clarke, Commander Haney shares his experiences and discusses the important role played by USSTRATCOM in the modern American military and government. Presented in partnership with the United States Strategic Command.

Located at Offutt Air Force Base near Omaha, Nebraska, U.S. Strategic Command is one of nine unified commands in the Department of Defense, and is responsible for the global command and control of U.S. strategic forces to meet decisive national security objectives, providing a broad range of strategic capabilities and options for the President and Secretary of Defense.

USSTRATCOM combines the synergy of the U.S. legacy nuclear command and control mission with responsibility for space operations; global strike; global missile defense; and global command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR), and combating weapons of mass destruction. This dynamic command gives National Leadership a unified resource for greater understanding of specific threats around the world and the means to respond to those threats rapidly.

ADMIRAL CECIL D. HANEY is Commander of U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM), one of nine Unified Commands under the Department of Defense. Before taking Command at USSTRATCOM in November 2013, he was Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet from January 2012 to October 2013. He served as Deputy Commander, USSTRATCOM, from November 2010 to December 2011. Haney commanded Submarine Group 2 from October 2006 to March 2008, and Submarine Squadron 1 from June 2002 to July 2004.  (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I7_f5Hvv8Uc).

According to CBS News, “Head of the U.S. Strategic Command, Haney is the most powerful military officer you’ve never heard of – in command not just of the nation’s nuclear forces but its space satellites and cyber weapons as well.”  (http://www.cbsnews.com/news/60-minutes-new-cold-war-nuclear-weapons-david-martin/)

Copy of SHOOTER WITH RIFLE

Sadly,  Yes, I believe so . . .  The words appearing below were written by Giambattista Vico 290 years ago in 1725:

“But if the peoples are rotting in that ultimate civil disease and cannot agree on a monarch from within, and are not conquered and preserved by better nations from without, then providence for their extreme ill has its extreme remedy at hand. For such peoples, like so many beasts, have fallen into the custom of each man thinking only of his own private interests and have reached the extreme of delicacy, or better of pride, in which like wild animals they bristle and lash out at the slightest displeasure. Thus no matter how great the throng and press of their bodies, they live like wild beasts in a deep solitude of spirit and will, scarcely any two being able to agree since each follows his own pleasure or caprice. By reason of all this, providence decrees that, through obstinate factions and desperate civil wars, they shall turn their cities into forests and the forests into dens and lairs of men. In this way, through long centuries of barbarism, rust will consume the misbegotten subtleties of malicious wits that have turned them into beasts made more inhuman by the barbarism of reflection than the first men had been made by the barbarism of sense. . . . Hence peoples who have reached this point of premeditated malice, when they receive this last remedy of providence and are thereby stunned and brutalized, are sensible no longer of comforts, delicacies, pleasures, and pomp, but only of the sheer necessities of life. And the few survivors in the midst of an abundance of the things necessary for life naturally become sociable and, returning to the primitive simplicity of the first world of peoples, are again religious, truthful, and faithful. Thus providence brings back among them the piety, faith, and truth which are the natural foundations of justice as well as the graces and beauties of the eternal order of God. . . .”  (http://www.historyguide.org/intellect/new_science.html).  Sound Familiar?

In April of 1915, Rosa Luxemburg pubished “The Junius Pamphlet.”  I copied these words from Chapter 1:

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“Violated, dishonored, wading in blood, dripping filth – there stands bourgeois society. This is it [in reality]. Not all spic and span and moral, with pretense to culture, philosophy, ethics, order, peace, and the rule of law – but the ravening beast, the witches’ sabbath of anarchy, a plague to culture and humanity. Thus it reveals itself in its true, its naked form.

In the midst of this witches’ sabbath a catastrophe of world-historical proportions has happened: International Social Democracy has capitulated. To deceive ourselves about it, to cover it up, would be the most foolish, the most fatal thing the proletariat could do. Marx says: “…the democrat (that is, the petty bourgeois revolutionary) [comes] out of the most shameful defeats as unmarked as he naively went into them; he comes away with the newly gained conviction that he must be victorious, not that he or his party ought to give up the old principles, but that conditions ought to accommodate him.”[3] The modern proletariat comes out of historical tests differently. Its tasks and its errors are both gigantic: no prescription, no schema valid for every case, no infallible leader to show it the path to follow. Historical experience is its only school mistress. Its thorny way to self-emancipation is paved not only with immeasurable suffering but also with countless errors. The aim of its journey – its emancipation depends on this – is whether the proletariat can learn from its own errors. Self-criticism, remorseless, cruel, and going to the core of things is the life’s breath and light of the proletarian movement. The fall of the socialist proletariat in the present world war is unprecedented. It is a misfortune for humanity. But socialism will be lost only if the international proletariat fails to measure the depth of this fall, if it refuses to learn from it.”  (https://www.marxists.org/archive/luxemburg/1915/junius/ch01.htm)

While I do not advocate Socialism (yet) and I realize that Rosa Luxemburg was dealing with the horrors of WW1, there is a lot of truth and similarity in what she wrote in that paragraph!

I often lay awake at night, wondering – and worrying – about the needless violence and bloodshed that is taking place, not only in our nation now, but around the world.  I spend hours online perusing the words that have been written by men and women far smarter than I in an attempt to discover a solution to our current state of madness (madness in murder, madness in politics), and I find no solutions; at least none that are likely to occur in the years that I have left to live.  All I find are just more words . . .words like these from the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr:

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness;
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate;
only love can do that.
Hate multiplies hate,
violence multiplies violence,
and toughness multiplies toughness
in a descending spiral of destruction….
The chain reaction of evil —
hate begetting hate,
wars producing more wars —
must be broken,”

and this . . .

The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral,
begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy.
Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it.
Through violence you may murder the liar,
but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth.
Through violence you may murder the hater,
but you do not murder hate.
In fact, violence merely increases hate.
So it goes.
Returning violence for violence multiplies violence,
adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness:
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.

DR KING

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968, while standing on the balcony of a second floor motel room in Memphis, Tennessee.

He was shot by escaped convict, James Earl Ray!

 

 

 

 

ALL LIVES DO MATTER

MUSICALITY

http://www.trbimg.com/img-575783a3/turbine/ct-americas-got-talent-musicality-mason-bumba-20160607

I have just developed a new respect for the TV show, America’s Got Talent.  At a time when we are confronted 24/7 by news reports of Cop Killings, of random murders and acts of terrorism,  and by the ugliest and most disgusting U.S. presidential campaign in my lifetime, AGT presents us with positive evidence that a mixture of peoples, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, age, or country of origin, can all get along with each other   To understand what I am talking about, all one has to do is to listen to and watch this musical group from the Southside of Chicago (http://www.gossipcop.com/musicality-americas-got-talent-video-choir-skyscraper-agt-watch/).    Look at them; look at the other performers – listen to their stories – and  look at the thousands of people sitting in the audience, mostly unknown to each other, and you will know that ALL lives matter, and that ALL lives can live and work together.  I don’t have the answers, but I know that it can work, somehow, someway, someday!

(if you haven’t watch AGT this season, it will be on NBCTV next Tuesday, July 26, 2016, when the finalists perform in Las Vegas, NV).