Marianne Williamson and the Power of Prayer

So, let me get this straight. Marianne Williamson should be disqualified as a viable presidential candidate because she has too much faith in the power of prayer, of mind, of love, and of God.

The disqualification was sparked by a tweet she made as Hurricane Dorian was bearing down upon the southern coast of the United States. It read: “The Bahamas, Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas…may all be in our prayers now. Millions of us seeing Dorian turn away from land is not a wacky idea; it is a creative use of the power of the mind. Two minutes of prayer, visualization, meditation for those in the way of the storm,”

It was a call to faith addressed to a nation where the majority considers itself followers of the one who said, “If you have faith, even as a mustard seed, and say to this mountain ‘move from here to there,’ it will obey you” (MT 17:20).

[Yes, faith and its power to “move mountains” is an idea that appears multiple times in the Jesus tradition, indicating that the phrase probably originated with the Master himself. But, of course, Jesus’ words presume that his listeners, like most of us, had no such minimal faith. Hence, he implied, our belief remains powerless.] 

Jesus’ faith aside though, consider the content of Ms. Williamson’s tweet. It simply asked her followers:

  1. To face the power of our human minds and spirits as much greater and connected with natural forces than we generally believe.
  2. In view of that fact, to activate their collective force to avert disaster.
  3. And to do so by stilling that mind through meditation, by praying for those in the hurricanes path, and by visualizing their prayers answered.

Read it again: that’s exactly what the tweet says! Nothing more; nothing less.

In other words, it was all quite harmless and potentially powerful. There was nothing in it of fear, hatred, climate-change denial or blame of victims – all the responses we’ve come to expect from the outrageous tweets of more conventional politicians. Instead, there was only expression of solidarity, compassion, faith, stillness, and acceptance of what traditional spirituality tells us of the untapped power of the human spirit that consciously aligns itself with the divine.

As I’ve already indicated, the tweet also implied a connection between human consciousness and Mother Nature herself – something underlined in the mystical traditions belonging to all the world’s great faiths and to mainstream science as well. (As Francis of Assisi would remind us, all of us are in some sense a part of “Brother Hurricane” Dorian.) 

But, horror of horrors (!) such expression of traditional faith and scientific insight was enough to disqualify Williamson from presidential candidacy. Whoopi Goldberg and panel members on “The View” ridiculed her. Others characterized her as no better than that of religious fundamentalists.

To my mind, however, it proves just the opposite.

Williamson’s tweet demonstrates how truly different she is from her fellow candidates as well as from the fundamentalists who have hijacked the faith of Jesus. And how refreshing! Her viewpoint is what our times require, where expressions of faith are limited to “thoughts and prayers” after mass shootings — or to divisive imposition of narrow beliefs about abortion and rejection of LGBTQQIAAPs.

In fact, Marianne Williamson is so different from what we expect from politicians and secular leftists that when she simply expresses solidarity with those in the Bahamas, Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas (whose prayers no doubt echoed Marianne’s tweet) she reveals herself as absolutely mystifying, incomprehensible, and unacceptable.

Let’s face that too: Williamson’s tweet expressed extraordinary solidarity with those in Dorian’s path. Without doubt, many of them were praying that the hurricane’s force might be mitigated or diverted. In fact, if we found ourselves in their circumstances, the religious among us (and “foxhole Christians” as well) would be offering similar prayers: “Please, Lord, save me and my family from this hurricane. Change its path. Keep us safe.”

And what would be wrong with that? It’s an absolutely human response to impending disaster.

No, the hubbub over Ms. Williamson’s tweet is but another demonstration of why her candidacy is indispensable. We need her to profoundly change our political conversation, to move that conversation from fear and denial to compassion, and to unveil the true nature of faith engaged with an overly-secularized world.

Epstein Conspiracy Theories Are Inevitable Good and Necessary

Sunday’s New York Times carried a thought-provoking editorial by opinion writer at large, Charles Warzel. It was entitled, “Epstein Suicide Conspiracies Show How Our Information System Is Poisoned.” The article lamented the power of Twitter and other social media to spread toxic conspiracy theories reflecting our current culture’s worst “choose your own reality” tendencies.

According to Warzel, Twitter and other versions of social media have actually “outmatched” the power of the mainstream media (MSM). And this to such an extent that an FBI field office recently identified fringe conspiracy theories as a domestic terror threat.

Warzel illustrated his point by focusing on Twitter speculation regarding the Clinton’s involvement in the Jeffrey Epstein “suicide” and on President Trump’s role in advancing the theory. The editorial complained about resulting “dueling hashtags” with their viral accusations of foul play.

The unexpressed message of the whole exercise seemed to be that conspiracy theories are bad in themselves and that one would do better to simply accept the more reasonable official story emanating from the CIA, FBI, and prison officials that Epstein actually did commit suicide as explained by those official sources. Fevered accusations of foul play are ipso facto unreasonable.

Others whose opinions have appeared in sources such as OpEdNews have made that point more explicitly. Forget exciting conspiracies, they cautioned, simply accept the boring reality that Epstein killed himself just as we’ve been told.

The point I wish to make here strongly disagrees. I contend that in cases like Epstein’s mysterious death, conspiracy theories are not only good; they are inevitable and necessary. Additionally, the overwhelming power of Twitter and other social media to “outmatch” that of mainstream media represents the public’s healthy recognition of the fact that the government officials and the MSM (like The New York Times) are no longer reliable. Their “official stories” must be presumed false unless otherwise demonstrated by irrefutable evidence. Such evidence will come to light not by internal investigations, but by full legal process involving (yes!) conspiracy theories, discovery and trial.  

“Conspiracy” Is A Legal Category

My first point is to recognize the fact that the term “conspiracy” is not synonymous with fiction or paranoid fantasy. It is a legal term referring to the crime that occurs when two or more people plan actions forbidden by law. In other words, criminal conspiracies happen all the time. People go to jail for them.

In fact, “conspiracy theories” are routinely employed by prosecutors who use them to initiate investigations when such crime is suspected. Without lawyers’ conspiracy theories, there would never be any criminal trials involving two or more suspects.

With such theories in mind, prosecutors gather evidence. Some of it is circumstantial or inferential (it’s usually what sparks legal inquiry). Other evidence constitutes direct or “smoking gun verification. Juries and judges evaluate evidence of both kinds. When it is convincing beyond reasonable doubt (based on direct and/or circumstantial evidence), the legal system convicts conspirators and sentences them accordingly.

The bottom line here: It does not discredit a theory to call it “conspiratorial.”

Official Stories Are Suspect

My second point is that the public has not merely good, but excellent reason to discount official theories about, well, EVERYTHING! Think about:

  • Iraq and Colin Powell’s testimony before the United Nations about the certainty of Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction
  • The New York Times’ endorsement of his testimony as “masterful and compelling”
  • The literally thousands of obvious lies that our current chief executive has uttered – and how he adds to them each day
  • Secretary of State (and former CIA chief), Mike Pompeo’s boastful admission that he and the agency he formerly headed lie, cheat, and steal on a routine basis. In fact, he said, the CIA sponsors whole courses for its agents on how to do so effectively. (Imagine a witness at trial admitting on stand that he is an inveterate liar. Would his testimony be taken seriously?)
  • The testimony of numerous CIA defectors revealing that the CIA has routinely conspired to assassinate heads of state and others considered enemies or persons who know too much

Epstein’s Death Is Welcome

My third point is that there exists reasonable circumstantial and direct motive for suspecting that important people had good cause to want Jeffrey Epstein dead and that he was murdered accordingly. All of them are related in Whitney Webb’s comprehensive historical account of government-sanctioned sex enterprises like Epstein’s. In fact, Webb’s four-part series ends up detailing motives for Epstein’s murder on the part of the powerful including the following:

  • Epstein was a convicted pedophile who preyed on underage girls. (He even called his private plane “the Lolita Express.”)
  • Bill Clinton with his checkered sexual history traveled on Epstein’s plane at least two dozen times.
  • Donald Trump admired Epstein for his taste in younger women.
  • Trump has been described (e.g. in Webb’s series) as “mentored” by Roy Cohn, another pedophile who used tape recordings and videos for purposes of blackmail.
  • Alexander Acosta was told to back off prosecution of Epstein because of the latter’s association with “Intelligence.”
  • It is standard operating procedure for “Intelligence” to film and record sexual deviance for purposes of blackmail and evidence-gathering.
  • Epstein sponsored frequent parties involving a virtual Who’s Who of world leaders and other celebrities.
  • The parties were also said to be attended by “call boys” and “call girls.”
  • Epstein had tapes of sexual deviance, some of them locked in a safe indicating their special content.

Reasons for suspecting that Epstein was killed or purposely allowed to commit suicide include the following:

  • Epstein was an extraordinarily important federal prisoner.
  • After his arrest, he was placed on suicide watch – at least for a time following his apparent suicide attempt last month.
  • He was sequestered in a highly secure federal prison presumably with special capacities for monitoring inmates on such watch, including video cameras and guards trained for such duties.
  • Nonetheless, Epstein somehow found himself with a rope, a belt, with sheets or some other material sufficient to hang himself.
  • He was inexplicably given unmonitored time to accomplish the task.

Where Do We Go from Here?

There is no claim here that the details presented above somehow “prove” foul play regarding the “suicide” of Jeffrey Epstein. However, they do provide basis for reasonable conspiracy theories sufficient (and necessary) to warrant legal indictments – perhaps of Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein’s reputed procurer of unsuspecting girls. The conspiracy theories in question warrant discovery processes, trials, presentation of evidence, deliberation by juries of peers, verdicts, and eventual clarification of the whole Jeffrey Epstein saga.

Only such legal processes will yield truthful conclusions. Internal investigations by proven and admitted liars will not do. Neither will out-of-hand dismissal of “conspiracy theories” as though the phrase exclusively describes fictional fantasies or paranoid imaginings. As presented by Charles Warzel and others such dismissals simply mean that the theories in question are socially, culturally, and politically unacceptable – too threatening to consider. So, rational analysts should back off.

Actually, as shown above, the theories are good and necessary. And so are the vilified social media through which The People thankfully counteract MSM disinformation and its defense of the given order and the official stories undergirding its undeserved legitimacy.

Why Jeffrey Epstein’s “Suicide” Is So Suspicious

I could hardly believe my eyes Saturday morning, when I read in Alternet that Jeffery Epstein was found dead in his jail cell of apparent suicide. And I find it hard to believe that he killed himself, especially since he’s been on “suicide watch” since the discovery of apparently self-inflicted bruises on his neck last month. Instead, I suspect he was killed by the CIA. My suspicion is based on my close reading for the past few days of muckraker, Whitney Webb‘s three-part expose´, “The Jeffery Epstein Scandal: Too Big to Fail.”

Webb’s series makes the point that the Epstein pedophilia scandal threatened to blow apart the entire U.S. government house of cards. It opened up a potentially devastating window not only on the sordid lives of Epstein and his close friends, Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, but on the profound corruption of the entire U.S. government and of international politics as a whole. Though connected with the pedophilia scandal in the Catholic Church, the scale of the Epstein branch of institutionalized child abuse absolutely dwarfs the shameful hypocrisy of justly vilified ecclesiastical criminals.

Epstein’s federal trial was scheduled to begin next summer. This means that the details of his crimes (and, more importantly, those of his high-placed patrons’) would steal headlines at the height of the general election of 2020. The evidence to be presented there is said to comprise more than one million pages.

In the light of what I’ll detail below, one can only imagine the surprises contained therein and whom those pages implicate. And given Epstein’s close association with Donald Trump and the Clintons (not to mention the other billionaire residents of Palm Beach Island in Florida), the trial and evidence presented at that crucial moment would likely have had an impact of the presidential election. Wayne Madsen for one,  speculates that it may have already influenced the resignations of several Republicans from the House of Representatives.

Epstein, of course, is the alleged hedge fund tycoon whose central role in a pedophilia network came to light when he was arrested last July on Federal charges of sex trafficking of minors in Florida and New York. Previously, he had been convicted of molesting an underage girl, but had mysteriously served what’s been described as the most lenient sentence in history for crimes like his — 13 months in a county jail during which he was free to leave during the day.

Alexander Acosta, Donald Trump’s Secretary of Labor was responsible for securing the ludicrous sentence, when Acosta served as Attorney General for the Southern District of Florida. On Epstein’s arrest last July, the FBI found hundreds of photos, videos, and recordings of child molestations some of them allegedly involving prominent public figures.

According to Webb’s expose´ , the Epstein story is merely the tip of a dark iceberg much bigger than most of us realize. The darkness below the surface stretches back more than 75 years. It involves not only Epstein, but the CIA, its Israeli counterpart the Mossad, the Mafia as a CIA asset, the mysterious MEGA Group of influential billionaires, many government officials, and other high rollers with familiar names.

Webb’s series unveils what she terms “Government by Blackmail” an all-encompassing political strategy that began at least as far back as the conclusion of the Second Inter-Capitalist War. As the phrase suggests, Government by Blackmail consists in luring heads of state and other powerful world figures into compromising situations (often with underage “prostitutes” of both sexes), filming them in the process, and then using such evidence as leverage to extort huge sums of money, to extract favors and actually shape the world’s political economy. It extended to the Mafia, for instance, a virtual license to kill without legal repercussion.

As an alleged intelligence asset himself (of either the CIA, Mossad, or both) Epstein’s job was to gather the required evidence. To that end, he placed in compromising and seductive situations government officials from across the world. His mansions, private islands, and fleet of jet planes provided the venues. They were the sites of fabulous parties featuring alcohol, drugs, and underage “call boys” and “call girls.” All the locales were equipped with sophisticated recording devices, both audio and video, and two-way mirrors for recording acts of criminal pedophilia and other crimes or embarrassments on the parts of Epstein’s “friends” and acquaintances. Invitees included heads of state from across the planet Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, of course, among them.

But, Webb reveals, Epstein is only the latest iteration of Government by Blackmail. He’s the clone of figures like the Mafia kingpin Myer Lansky, and Lew Rosenstiel (of Schenley distilleries). During the ’70s and ’80s Rosenstiel, Lansky’s close friend, regularly threw what his fourth wife (of five) called “blackmail parties.” According to Webb, the photos and recordings gathered there long kept Lansky out of trouble from the federal government. They also delivered entire cities to Mafia control in the post WWII era. In fact, Lansky entrapped for blackmail purposes, numerous top politicians, army officers, diplomats and police officials. He had photos of FBI director, J. Edgar Hoover in drag and performing homosexual acts.

Rosenstiel’s protegee and successor as blackmailer-in-chief was Roy Cohn, who at the age of 23 was a close adviser of Senator Joseph McCarthy. More importantly, he was also associated with Mafia bosses, J. Edgar Hoover, the Reagan White House and has been described as a mentor of Donald Trump. His mentor!

Simultaneously, Cohn took on the central role in the blackmail pedophile racket Lansky and Rosenstiel had started. As usual, its main targets were politicians often interacting with child prostitutes. That was the source of Cohn’s power. So were his dear friends in high places including (besides Clinton and Trump) Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy, Barbara Walters, Rupert Murdoch, Alan Dershowitz, Andy Warhol, Calvin Klein, Chuck Schumer, William Safire, William Buckley, William Casey, and top figures in the Catholic Church.

It’s those latter figures that connect Cohn’s pedophile ring as inherited by Jeffery Epstein with the Church’s scandal. It directly involved “the American pope,” Francis Cardinal “Mary” Spellman, and Cardinal Theodore “Uncle Teddy” McCarrick. Father Bruce Ritter’s Covenant House (a multi-million-dollar charity for homeless and run-away boys and girls) was also deeply implicated. In fact, when Ritter’s involvement in sex acts with his underage protegees came to light, it was secular powers more than ecclesiastical forces that rallied to his defense.

Another pre-Epstein blackmail king was Craig Spence, a former ABC News correspondent who became a prominent DC lobbyist and CIA agent. All during the 1980s he provided child prostitutes and cocaine for Washington’s power elite. For purposes of blackmail, Spence used the now-familiar devices of video cameras, tape recordings, and two-way mirrors. His little black book and “favor bank” records have been described as involving a Who’s Who of Washington’s government and journalistic elite, this time including Richard Nixon, William Casey, John Mitchell, Eric Sevareid, John Glenn, and key officials of the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations, as well as media celebrities and military officers. According to the Washington Times, during the Bush administration, Spence had permission to enter the White House late at night to supply “call boys” to top level officials there.

Significantly, in the light of Epstein’s demise, just shortly before his death (also quickly ruled a suicide) Spence expressed fears that the CIA might kill him — apparently for knowing too much about connections between Nicaragua’s Contras and CIA cocaine smuggling to support them. But according to Spence himself, his knowledge went much deeper. Shortly before his similarly alleged suicide, he told Washington Times reporters: “All this stuff you’ve uncovered (involving call boys, bribery and the White House tours), to be honest with you, is insignificant compared to other things I’ve done. But I’m not going to tell you those things, and somehow the world will carry on.”

The Contra connection shows how in all of this, the Great Enemy of the hidden powers described here (involving the White House, CIA, FBI, Mafia, Mossad, powerful lobbyists, “fixers,” and billionaire political donors) was socialism and communism. The latter’s world project was 180 degrees opposed to governance by the moneyed elite as represented by the blackmail project of Epstein and his predecessors.

And so, it was important for blackmailers to support the prosecution of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, back McCarthyism and J. Edgar Hoover, to undermine the Soviet Union, attack Cuba and Fidel Castro, protect organized crime bosses, and to make sure that projects like the Sandinista Revolution of 1979-90 failed. To those ends, it was even more important to inveigle left-wing politicians and officials from socialist countries into the international blackmail dynamic described here.

As for Epstein himself, following Cohn’s death (from AIDS) in 1986, he quickly took up his mentor’s mantle. As described earlier, Epstein became an FBI informant in 2008 — yet more evidence of the agency’s long-standing involvement with and protection of pedophile rings for purposes of blackmail.

In summary, the Epstein scandal has finally made public a decades-long pedophilic blackmail operation at the highest level. Ultimately run by the FBI and CIA, (i.e. with the knowledge, approval and participation of law enforcement), it has involved prominent politicians, businessmen, police and military officials, celebrities, and ecclesiastical officials. The scandal has touched the current U.S. president and may still bring him down.

In the meantime, it has left behind a trail of broken lives in the persons of the children exploited for the pleasure of old white men whose debauched proclivities have been parlayed into economic and political power. On Epstein’s watch, the operation has spread to Central America and beyond, becoming truly international in the process.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Pizzagate fascinated right-wing conspiracy theorists. It alleged that the Clintons were somehow involved in a child prostitution operation run out of the Comet Ping Pong restaurant and pizzeria in Washington, D.C.

If an allegedly debunked (?) Pizzagate theory caused such stir, and if an epidemic pedophilia expose´ within the Catholic Church has brought it to its knees, one can only imagine the revolutionary potential of the documented disclosures that would inevitably have come to light in a Jeffrey Epstein trial. It had potential to reveal pedophilic involvement by public figures far surpassing the scandal in the Roman Catholic Church. It could still bring down not only the Trump administration, but the whole international House of Cards.

One can only hope . . . 

Marianne Williamson: The U.S. Is 100% Responsible for the World’s Problems!

After the first Democratic Presidential Debate, Marianne Williamson generated a lot of interest.

On the one hand, her name ended up being the most searched on the internet. With language and demeanor vastly different from the other candidates, people wanted to know who she might be.

On the other hand, Williamson generated a good deal of ridicule. Seth Meyers joked that she clearly won’t be around this fall. Ha ha; who would be so foolish as to think otherwise! Kate McKinnon (pictured above) offered a woo-woo Williamson impression that had Marianne eliminating global problems by burning all the sage on the planet. TYT’s Brooke Thomas dismissed Marianne as a “vanity candidate” intent merely on selling her books.

All of that was itself laughable for those who know Marianne Williamson. We know she’s not a woo-woo lightweight; she doesn’t need to sell more books; and if people understand just who she is and grasp her fundamental message, she’ll definitely be around this fall.

And that’s because her absolutely radical approach to politics supplies the simple key we’ve all been looking for to solve the endless problems on our national list, be it climate change, the threat of nuclear war, terrorism, or immigration.

Let me repeat: her approach offers a key far more radical and easily understood than anything Bernie or Elizabeth even imagines or dares to say.

The key I’m referencing is basic to the teaching of A Course in Miracles (ACIM), which has been the guidebook for Marianne’s life and teaching for more than 40 years. Williamson herself describes the course as basic Christian mysticism. It’s not a religion; it’s not for everyone; it doesn’t even demand belief in God. However, it does respond to the universal human quest for ethical principle and spiritual meaning, whether the quest is understood as generated by God, Yahweh, Allah, Krishna, the Buddha, Ultimate Reality, the Ground of Being, Life Itself, or Nature with a capital “N.”

But what about that key I mentioned?

It’s simply this: take 100% responsibility for your problems and deal with them accordingly.

That’s it. And, though difficult to actually implement, that assumption of complete responsibility will go a long way towards eliminating not only personal and inter-personal problems, but all our political conundrums as well.

How radical is that?

It’s the opposite, of course, from the approach of Mr. Trump – and even of Marianne’s colleagues on the debate stage. In contrast to Marianne, every one of them adopts the standard cliched and stereotyped approach so familiar to all of us in our personal lives: I’m not the problem; she is; he is; they are.

In political terms it’s refugees, immigrants, people of color, welfare cheats, unprovoked “terrorists,” the Russians, Chinese, Iranians, Somalis, Libyans, Syrians, MS-13 gang members, and drug dealers. The list goes on and on and on. All of those included must be punished, subjected to sanctions, bombed, droned, or killed.

But we never find fault in ourselves. Never!

Pertinently and most recently, such unwillingness to accept responsibility was expressed by President Trump in his racist harangue against Congressional Representatives Ilhan Omar, Rashida Talib, Ayanna Presley, and Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (AOC).  According to Mr. Trump all four representatives outrageously blame the United States the problems of terrorism, Palestinian oppression, public misinformation, and immigration problems. Here’s what Trump and his audience ridiculed as patently ludicrous:

  • Ilhan Omar “attacked our country” saying that terrorism is a reaction to our involvement in other people’s affairs. She even blamed the United States for the crisis in Venezuela!
  • Rashida Talib said that members of congress who support Israel have forgotten what country they represent.
  • Ayana Presley alleged that “ignorance is pervasive in many parts of this country.”
  • AOC compared U.S. border agents to Nazis running concentration camps and claimed that inmates in the camps were forced to drink water from toilets.

To such accusations, Trump’s followers bellowed loud dissent. How could anyone possible accuse Americans of ignorance, of terrorism, of supporting Global South coups, or of maintaining concentration camps or at our border, or of facilitating them in Gaza? After all, (in Mr. Trump’s words) we are the “greatest force for peace and justice in the world.”

But, Williamson and ACIM implicitly ask, what if every one of those accusations is true? What if terrorism is largely blowback? What if the United States has indeed routinely undermined governments in the former colonies, including Venezuela? What if members of Congress generally appear more loyal to Israel than to their constituents? What if many Americans are indeed ignorant, and if those cages on our border – those baby prisons and child detention facilities – are actually concentration camps?

If we seriously entertained those possibilities, dealing with the problems in question would involve change – not principally on the part of our designated enemies – but on our own part. (Imagine that!) It would compel us to terminate uninvited involvement in the affairs of other nations. It would have us cease and desist, for instance, from regime change strategies, from support of Israel’s oppression of Palestinians, and from abusing children by separating infants from their mothers.

In theological terms as understood in ACIM, accepting 100% responsibility for the world’s problems would involve:

  • Prioritizing the world as God created it, belonging to everyone and perfect before humans appeared – without borders, which (though useful for commerce and travel) are not part of the Love’s unchallengeable order
  • Admitting that we are not an exceptional nation – or as ACIM puts it: No one is special, while everyone is special
  • Forgiving those we habitually blame – meaning treating them exactly as we would like to be treated
  • Realizing that no one is attacking us without provocation
  • Yet being willing to treat genuine criminality (e.g. as represented by those cages on the border or by the 9/11 attacks) with humanely retributive imprisonment (and/or impeachment)

Put more practically (according to the points distinguishing Williamson’s platform from that of others who also advocate the Green New Deal, etc.), admitting our responsibility for the world’s problems entails:

  • Paying reparations especially to African Americans, but also to indigenous tribes and to the countries our unprovoked regime-change wars have destroyed.
  • Creating a cabinet-level Department of Children and Youth intent on making our schools “palaces of learning” and our libraries “temples of literature and art”
  • Funding a Department of Peace at the same level as the so-called Defense Department

Imagine a world in which we took 100% responsibility for climate change, nuclear disarmament, immigration, and all the other problems represented by those we habitually blame. Imagine a president using her bully pulpit to set a constructive national tone (vs. the destructive tone set by Mr. Trump) and helping us all to accept 100% responsibility not only for the world’s problems but for our personal conflicts as well. What would happen to our marriages, to our families, to our local communities?

Answers to those musings constitute the reasons why Marianne Williamson, far from deserving ridicule, is the very candidate our country needs.  

P.S. Watch how Marianne knocked it out of the park on Colbert last Monday night:

AOC & Joey B. (with apologies to Dudley Randall)

The present rift between establishment Democrats represented by Joe Biden on the one hand and progressive insurgents led by Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (A.O.C.) on the other, focuses on the Green New Deal. The debate seems to reprise a similar divide in the Black community between W.E.B. Dubois and Booker T. Washington. Their issue at the turn of the 20th century was education and whether African Americans were better served by a vocational curriculum or by the liberal arts. Dubois favored the latter approach, Washington, the former. In 1969 Dudley Randall wrote a famous poem encapsulating the controversy between cautious conservatives and more revolutionary leaders. It was entitled “W.E.B. and Booker T.” Here, I borrow heavily from Mr. Randall to similarly encapsulate the current debate between the Biden and AOC forces.

 “It seems to me,” said Joey B.
“It shows a mighty lot of cheek
“For someone young like you to speak                          
“Of Green New Deals and rising wage
“When all big donors shout with rage
“At Marxist thoughts of equal share
“Of voting rights and Medicare.
“That’s not the way to win the vote
“We’re better served to go by rote.
“And simply do what we’ve done before.”
 
 
“I don’t agree,” said A.O.C.
“We need new vision, words and plan
“Remember our loss when Hillary ran
“Saying words like yours so ‘tried and true.’
“She lost to Donald and so would you.
“And besides, Mother Earth has raised her voice
“To tell us all we have no choice.
“Time’s running short the experts say.
“My Green New Deal will save the day.”
 
“It seems to me,” said Joey B.
“That folks like you have missed the point
“Who tell us ‘Times are out of joint’
“And spend vain days and sleepless
“In uproar over workers’ rights
“Let’s keep mouths shut, and do not grouse,
“Be content to know you’ve won the House.”
 
 
“I don’t agree,” said A.O.C.
“For what can winning votes avail
“If all earth’s systems drown and fail?
“Unless we join to change our way,
“Your grandkids and mine will surely pay
“For the near-sight vision of pols like you.
“But as for me I’ll choose the New.
“I’ll take my chances that people know
“The Green New Deal’s is the way to go
 
“It seems to me,” said Joey B. –
“I don’t agree,” said AOC.

Marianne Williamson & the Immigration Crisis (Sunday Homily)

Readings for 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time: IS 66:10-14C; PS 66: 1-7, 16, 20; GAL 6: 14-18; LK 10: 1-12, 17-20.

The theme of today’s liturgy of the word is exile and deliverance from captivity. In its light, I can’t help thinking of all those refugees at our southern border and of Marianne Williamson’s wise and unique response in last week’s second Democratic Debate.

According to our readings, the immigrants and refugees our politicians want us to hate are exiles like the ancient Hebrews in Babylon. They are the victims of the rich and powerful as were the Jews in Jesus’ day, when Rome occupied his homeland aided and abetted by the Temple clergy. That is, today’s biblical selections say that the poorest and most vulnerable among us are God’s own people.

Yet incredibly, the richest and most invulnerable at the top of our contemporary social order – the very ones who crashed our economy, looted our common treasury, and escaped unscathed with the handouts we ourselves provided – somehow want us to believe that the poor exiles from their beloved homes in Central America are the cause of all our problems.

But remember: the home lands of these exiles from Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua are the very countries whose economies our government purposely and permanently crashed in the 1980s. Then, the Reagan and Bush I administrations used drug money to finance illegal wars that ended up killing hundreds of thousands and replacing governments and social movements whose primary beneficiaries would have been the parents of those at our borders today. The latter are victims of the drug lords we established and supported during the ‘80s and who today are doing the same things they did 40 years ago – marketing drugs while terrorizing and murdering the innocent. I’m talking about the generals and other military officers who are now the drug kingpins.

That’s the point Marianne Williamson tried to make at the first Democratic debate. But no one picked it up. None of the other candidates elaborated on Ms. Williamson’s observation that today’s immigration “crisis” amounts to our government’s reaping what it sowed. The other candidates still haven’t seconded Marianne’s point. Instead, they and their interlocutors remain stuck in the same old, same old. They mouth the standard political platitudes while ignoring the shameful history that explains today’s headlines.

It’s been that way from biblical times and before – rich foreigners oppressing poor locals. Listen to today’s readings. Or, rather, read them for yourself. Here are my “translations.”

IS 66:10-14c

These are the words
Of Isaiah’s prophecy
To all in captivity
By Powers
Foreign and domestic:
“Your time of desperation
Is nearly over.
You will soon
Return home
Like starving infants
To Mother-Jerusalem.
With hunger satisfied
And prosperity
Incredible
Along with joy
And comfort, comfort, comfort
At last!”
 
PS 66: 1-7, 16, 20
 
Our liberator
From exile
So kind and powerful
Is the answer
To the prayers
Of captive people
And a source of joy
For the whole
Human race
And all of creation.
No obstacle
Can impede
God’s destiny
Of liberation
Joy and freedom
From oppression.
 
GAL 6: 14-18

Yes, our destiny
Is an entirely
New World!
Where the world’s distinctions
Are meaningless.
Acting accordingly
Now
Will bring
Everyone
Compassion and peace.
However,
The World
Crucifies us
For this belief.
Nonetheless,
We’re called to
Bear its torture
And scars
Gladly
As Jesus did.
 
LK 10: 1-12, 17-20

Paul’s words
Agree with Jesus
Who sent
Thirty-six pairs
Of “advance men”
And women
To announce
(Like Isaiah)
Liberation
From oppression
By powers imperial.
Like lambs among wolves
Like monks
With begging bowls,
They healed and proclaimed
God’s Great Cleanup
Of a world
Infested by demonic
Imperial oppressors.
And it worked!
Every one of those 72
Cast out evil spirits
Just like Jesus.
(Despite powerful opposition
And crucifixion.)
Some have ridiculed Marianne's debate performance. However, that only shows how our country thought-leaders have become tone-deaf to biblical values. They consider them ludicrous.

For me, that only signals the necessity of doubling-down on support for the only one in the crowded Democratic field who courageously insists on the values embedded in today's readings which identify the keys for solving the problems caused by "experienced" politicians. As Marianne says, those keys are love and forgiveness precisely for and of those the rich and powerful vilify.

U.S. Concentration Camps Are Already Worse than Hitler’s

Recently Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (AOC) stirred controversy by characterizing U.S. immigration detention facilities as concentration camps. Critics said her comparison was over the top

It was an insult, some said, to families of Holocaust survivors. After all, none of the U.S. detention facilities is an extermination camp like Auschwitz or Buchenwald.

In response, AOC doubled down on her charge. Along with others, she was joined by historians, and even by the editors of The National Catholic Reporter in affirming her accusation. Concentration camps, they all said, are not synonymous with extermination camps. In essence, the former are locations where prisoners are held without charge. In that sense, the U.S. indeed maintains concentration camps, but nothing like German practice. The intention in making that distinction was evidently to distance U.S. camps from the horrors and death of Hitler’s infamous hell-holes.

The argument here takes issue with that distinction. It maintains instead that our burgeoning camps are every bit as brutal as Hitler’s. In fact, the number of deaths connected with the U.S. system dwarf the iconic number of six million incinerated, gassed, shot, or otherwise executed.

To begin with, we must first of all realize that U.S. concentration camps are not a new phenomenon begun with the presidency of Donald Trump. No, they have been with us at least since the end of the Second Inter-Capitalist War in 1945.

In fact, the argument can be credibly made that our country was explicitly founded on extermination, genocide and concentration camps. Using rationale supplied by John Locke, our Founding Fathers wiped out 90% of North America’s indigenous peoples, eventually confining survivors and their descendants in concentration camps (called “reservations”). They employed the same logic to enslave workers kidnapped from Africa imprisoning them in labor camps (called “plantations”).

For Locke, who inspired Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence, the crucial and ironic pronouncement behind such operations was that “All men are created equal.” But note well that in his formulation, the statement had no liberating relevance for Native Americans, African slaves, women or propertyless whites. Instead, its expressed intention was to establish the right of imperialists like him and his cohorts to steal land and resources from the continent’s indigenous inhabitants and to exterminate resisters.

Locke’s point (as explained in my book, The Magic Glasses of Critical Thinking) was that just because the “Indians” were here first, they had no special claim on the lands they called home. That is, since (in Locke’s estimation) huge tracts were not being farmed as they would be in England, they were there for the taking by the Indians’ equals from Great Britain.

Locke said that a refusal by the Indians to recognize such equality amounted to a declaration of war against the British. So, the natives could be slaughtered with abandon – a task our country’s great Indian Fighters took on with enthusiasm and relish creating a holocaust that killed millions.

Adolph Hitler himself took inspiration from the examples just cited. He liked the concept of concentration and work camps. He was expressly impressed by the efficiency of U.S. extermination of our continent’s First Peoples. It inspired him and evidently the minds behind contemporary concentration camps.

With all this in mind, it is no exaggeration to say that the camps are reincarnating today before our very eyes. Our government has set them up world-wide. They are so ubiquitous and normalized that they remain practically invisible. But consider their contemporary equivalents in:

  • The U.S. prison-industrial complex itself for blacks, browns and poor whites transforming “Americans” into the most imprisoned population on the planet
  • Guantanamo Bay for holding “terrorists” who after years of internment and torture have yet to be charged with crime and which Fuhrer Trump promises to fill to the brim
  • Black Sites (sic!) concealed throughout the world where kidnapped Muslims and others disappear without a trace and are tortured without mercy
  • Fort Bliss (sic!), a concentration camp for immigrant children
  • Baby Prisons for infants as young as four months
  • Detention centers for refugees from U.S. wars of aggression in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen and elsewhere
  • Family prisons for immigrant workers from Mexico and Central America as they await trials which can be postponed indefinitely  
  • The Gaza Strip, the world’s largest open-air prison for Muslim Palestinians, “the Jews’ Jews” – unconditionally endorsed by U.S. politicians of all stripes

In such hell-holes the criminals (often the guards) commit murders, rapes and inflict torture with impunity. Nonetheless, after Hitler, it is no longer permissible for such polite company to crudely incinerate victims in ovens or to poison them in gas chambers. (That would be too “inhumane” and reminiscent of the unspeakable.) So, today’s executioners murder and incinerate Muslims (today’s “Jews”), and others on site. (It saves the trouble and expense of packing them into box cars.)

In other words, the executioners travel to the victims’ countries of origin in the Middle East and Africa and do the dirty work there – often from 10,000 feet in the air, where the screams of incinerated Muslim children cannot be heard. They cremate their victims more humanely in the  targets’ own homes with napalm and white phosphorous. Alternatively, “pilots” seated comfortably in their air-conditioned “theaters” send automated Gestapo (killer drones) to decapitate those suspected of evil thoughts. In the process, the system’s butchers have massacred millions far exceeding anything imagined by that little man with the toothbrush mustache:

  • Already by 1978, John Stockwell, the highly decorated ex-CIA Station Chief in Angola, estimated that his agency’s “Secret Wars” had killed more than six million in its dirty wars against the world’s poor. In Stockwell’s own words, every one of those wars was illegal and “bloody and gory and beyond comprehension almost.”
  • Add to that
    • The hundreds of thousands slaughtered during the 1980s in El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Honduras
    • More than a million victims in the completely illegal war in Iraq
    • Untold fatalities in Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Ethiopia,
    • The 10,000 already killed in Yemen, the poorest country in the Middle East – with the numbers increasing each day from cholera and intentionally-inflicted starvation

Again, the numbers are staggering – far beyond anything accomplished in Hitler’s death camps.

Meanwhile, at home, “Americans” are dissuaded from protest by a militarized skin-head police force of body-builders and thugs. “Dressed to kill” in their black or camouflaged flack suits, and anonymous under their helmets and behind polarized face-shields, they stand ready with batons, tasers, and AK47s – as well as employing surplus military tanks, and Humvees – to punish anyone who dares opposition.

So, congratulations to Ms. Ocasio-Cortez. She’s right again – this time about concentration camps. However, she and others are wrong to downplay the comparative horror of the U.S. system. It is every bit as horrendous as Hitler’s. To see the misery all one has to do is connect the dots. They’re there and though scattered are just waiting to be linked (exactly as they were in Germany during Hitler’s rise to power).

In fact, their presence is becoming more evident each day as is the emergence of Hitler-like fascism. We have only to open our eyes to see both phenomena, even though the camps, holocausts, and the system itself have been effectively renamed and camouflaged.

Thanks to AOC and others, the veils are beginning to fall; the issue is now before us. Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s message: It’s high time for the rest of us to take note before it’s too late!