We have met the enemy, and he is us.

When I heard that organizers were encouraging people to travel to NYC for a climate march, I cringed. The greatest enemy of rational environmental and climate policies is not Senator Inhoff and his ilk. In the words of the immortal Pogo, we have met the enemy , and he is us.

In this day and age, authenticity is the only coin of the realm that is worth much in the public square. By sponsoring this march in NYC, the climate movement did major damage to itself, as noted in this editorial from today’s Oklahoman.

Sometimes I think the problem with our movement begins with the leaders, but then I remember that the leaders of a movement are reflections of those within the movement. Too many of us have a sense of narcissistic entitlement when it comes to hopping on airplanes and flying all over the world, who cares about the cost to the environment.

For several years, I have been exploring the Benedictine vow of stability. I wrote the Abbot of the Monastery of Our Lady of the Annunciation of Clear Creek last year to apologize for not visiting them for several years. I said words to this effect — “The older I get, the more interesting and valuable the Benedictine emphasis on stability seems to me.” The Abbot wrote back, “I think John Senior would say this is a sign of increasing sanity in your life.” (John Senior being the K-State professor who was instrumental in the formation of the young men who went to France for the summer and ended up staying and becoming monks, and who then came back here in the 1990s to start a traditional Benedictine monastery, one of them being said abbot.

The more that the climate movement practices what it preaches, the more credible it will be. Likewise, the less we practice what we preach, the more hypocritical we will appear in the public square, and the less influence we will have on public policy. If we encourage people to travel across the country, and then leave a trail of trash behind us, we announce to the world that we just aren’t very serious about the situation.

Which is to say. . . everyone should think thrice before they fly anywhere. and if your life is impossible without air travel, then you should redesign your life.

http://newsok.com/scissortales-environmental-double-standard/article/5345946

Posted in Good and Frugal Government, Climate Instability, Collapse, Environmental Sustainability, Peak Oil | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

A less respectful response to the Secretary of State Chris Benge’s constitutional incompetence

This is a not-very-respectful response to the incompetence of Secretary of State Chris Benge which has shut down the No Sun Tax referendum campaign.  The press release just posted here is marginally more respectful.  But only marginally.

In any event. . . in honor of this august occasion, I have written a limerick.  I believe it’s the first limerick that I’ve ever written and published.  It’s only mildly naughty, so I think it is OK to publish here.

Chris Benge is our Secretary of State.
Of the Constitution he knows nothing of late.
When the people petition,
He declares it his mission,
Where the sun doesn’t shine, he will procreate.

 

Posted in Good and Frugal Government, Campaign News, Climate Instability, Collapse, Corporation shenanigans, Economic Prosperity, Environmental Sustainability, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Living, Peak Oil, Press Releases | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Secretary of State’s incompetence shuts down No Sun Tax petition campaign.

Press Release — for immediate distribution – September 24, 2014

Secretary of State gives bad deadline to No Sun Tax Petition, causes petition to fail.

For more info contact:
Jonathon Pollnow, 405-762-0591, jonathan.pollnow@okstate.edu
Bob Waldrop, 405-200-8155, bob@bobwaldrop.net

The “No Sun Tax” petition was an attempt to call a statewide vote on SB 1456 passed by the 2014 session of the Legislature, allowing electric utility corporations to add a surcharge to the bills of customers who use grid tied solar panels or wind generators, under the questionable economic assumption that such customers are somehow being “subsidized” by other classes of ratepayers.

On September 12th, Bob Waldrop received a copy of a letter from the Secretary of State Chris Benge to attorney Glenn Coffee, in response to his letter of August 24th requesting a clarification” of the deadline for submitting a referendum petition. Mr. Benge forwarded the request to the Attorney General’s office and the Attorney General  responded on September 8th.

In the letter, Tom Bates, First Assistant Attorney General, reports that there are two deadlines for referendum petitions. One is in Title 34, the law regulating petitions, which says 90 days after the adjournment of the Legislature OR 90 days after it has been cleared for circulation by the Oklahoma Supreme Court. However, the Constitution says that such petitions must be submitted within 90 days of the adjournment of the Legislature.  Since the State Constitution is supreme in such matters, the conclusion of the Attorney General’s office, dated September 8, 2014, is that the deadline was August 21, 2014, 90 days after the legislative session closed.

Pollnow and Waldrop released this statement about the situation.

STATEMENT REGARDING THE CONSTITUTIONAL IGNORANCE OF CHRIS BENGE, OKLAHOMA SECRETARY OF STATE

We started this petition because SB 1456 is an outrageous abuse of the common good that was rooted in unproven economic assumptions.

The real threats to electrical rates are the capital costs of building new generation
capacity and the price of natural gas. By making private investments in electrical
generation capacity, that will feed electricity into the grid at the times it is most needed –
hot afternoons in the summer — these customers, over the long term, may help eliminate
the need for future rate increases due to power plant construction costs. They should
not be punished with a solar surcharge. They are not being subsidized by anyone.

When we asked the Secretary of State’s people questions about procedures and deadlines,
they repeatedly referred us to Title 34. We assumed that the Secretary was competent
and knowledgeable and had ensured that his people were properly trained in procedures
and legal requirements. At no time did anyone suggest that there was information in the State Constitution pertinent to this petition. Because of the incomplete information given to us by employees of the Office of the Secretary of State, we had to stop our referendum petition effort because the deadline was already past.

We feel bad that we naively trusted the competency of the Secretary of State and didn’t
think about reading the Constitution itself.  But we feel worse about the evident incompetence and constitutional ignorance of the Secretary of State, Chris Benge.  One would think that all cabinet-level officers in Governor Fallin’s administration would have at least read the State Constitution and have some understanding of its requirements — especially one with so many constitutional duties as our Secretary of State. They would then ensure that all of their people were properly trained in the demands of the Constitution.  That evidently did not happen in the Secretary of State’s office.

We have no inside knowledge about why this mistake was made, so we are making the charitable assumption that the problem was the constitutional ignorance of Secretary Benge. He is the Secretary of State and so the buck stops on his desk for mistakes of this magnitude.   The alternative to constitutional ignorance, of course, is that he deliberately sabotaged our petition effort.  Business doesn’t get much bigger in Oklahoma than the monopoly electric utility conglomerates and we know which side of those arguments the Fallin administration is on.

Going forward, the only hope to have this law repealed is to defeat the legislators and governor who enacted it into law and elect new legislators and a new governor who are not the bought and  sold property of rent-seeking monopolistic business conglomerates who distort the public process  for their own private gain.

We are grateful for all of the support we received from people who circulated the petitions and from those willing to sign the petition.

And to all of them we say, “Our time will come!”

(end)

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Another splendid little war.

lady of sorrows profileThey will receive justice without mercy who have shown no mercy. James 2:13

Her nobles within her are like wolves that tear prey, shedding blood and destroying lives to get unjust gain. Ezekiel 22:27

So we have another splendid little war.  Our Tyrant Emperor himself himself assures us it will be a very antiseptic splendid little war.  No ground troops.  We will simply stand afar off and throw high explosive ordinance at our enemies and their wives and their children and any innocent bystanders who happen to be living in the area.

And this time our enemies are REALLY demented and evil — EVEN MORE demented and evil than our previous bad guys.

Notice what Der Fuhrer neglected to say.  He did NOT announce a major airlift to bring the Iraqi Christians and Yezidis here to safety in the United States.  When it comes to the Christians of Iraq, our policy is the same policy we had in the 1930s towards the Jews in Germany.  So sorry folks, but there is no room at this inn for y’all.

Also absent from our Tyrant Emperor’s remarks was any reference to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Recently, a group of Middle Eastern Christians gathered in Washington, D.C. for a summit.  Here is what one of their leaders had to say about the proper response to the crisis:

Earlier, in a homily at an ecumenical prayer service, Maronite Bishop Gregory J. Mansour of Brooklyn, New York, reflected on the Gospel reading of the beatitudes, which he called “a way of life for Christians.” He said even if a person was angry — and those looking at recent events had a right to be angry — it was hard to stay angry after listening to the reading.

He suggested to about 500 people gathered at Washington’s Omni Shoreham Hotel that there were three ways to respond when Christians and other minorities are persecuted:

– Pray and do nothing, “and say to ourselves, ‘Christianity was made for suffering.’” But, he added, “that is not the way of Jesus.”

– Declare war, fight with every tool available and “destroy those who destroy us. … But that’s not the way of Jesus, either.”

– Nonviolent resistance, which he said worked for Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi and St. John Paul II. This requires “much prayer, much fasting, much building of solidarity.”

“This nonviolent resistance can be powerful,” he said.

Supposedly we have some “allies,” but today’s news says “not really.”  Those closest to the problem — Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the Gulf states, etc. — are the most lukewarm of all.  The United Nations, which one would think is the proper place to plan an organized response? Well, we are the Imperial United States of America.  We don’t need no stinkin’ UN. We’ll go anywhere we want, and bomb anyone we want, and kill any number of women and children that we want, and our President doesn’t even have to ask for a declaration of war from Congress.

So right there we see that this latest escalation fails the Catholic just war tests: it has not been declared by lawful authority, because the Constitution clearly states that only Congress can declare war.

The end result?  Well, years ago I predicted that no good would come from our intervention in Iraq and that in fact we would drive the situation from bad to worse.  And that is what will happen here. Tomorrow and the day after will bring even more terror nightmares.  If we wanted a better result for Iraq, we should have started by NOT invading the country back in 2003. It’s hard to remember, since its been all of 13 years ago. . . but Iraq did not attack us on September 11, 2001.  Our war against them was the result of deliberate lies told by the Tyrant Emperor George Bush II  – the same man that Catholic leaders such as His Eminence Francis Cardinal George, the Catholic Archbishop of Chicago, proclaimed as the “most pro-life president ever.”

I checked the US bishops’ website, and there’s nothing there about this latest splendid little war, which alas is all too typical of the moral cowardice of the US Catholic Bishops when it comes to the Splendid Little Wars of the American Imperium.

The pro-war propaganda crusade is well advanced.  Some of its elements were documented by Daniel Nichols  at his blog, Caelum et Terra in a post “The Drums of War.”

This news brings a certain poignancy to this last novena in our 81 days of summer novenas for justice, peace, and Creation — the Novena to Our Lady of Sorrows and Oscar Romero.  We daily pray the prayer I wrote all the way back in 1998 during a previous escalation in the troubles of Iraq.  How great the judgment United States is accumulating, as we continue to sow bitter seeds in furrows of injustice.  When it falls upon us, we will all wish we had made better choices.

Our Lady of Sorrows, most holy and afflicted mother of martyrs, you stood beneath the cross and witnessed the agony of your dying Son. We pray for those who will die today because of war, economic chaos, injustice, and exploitation, especially the children.

Prepare them for the agony, despair, and terror of the violence that is upon them. Comfort them and hold them close to the bosom of thy Wounded Heart as they drink deeply of the bitter cup which is forced upon them.

Wipe their tears, calm their fears, welcome them to peace and safety. Eternal rest grant to them, and may perpetual light shine upon them. Amen.

O God, call all people to rise in judgment against the the wickedness that brings violence upon the world. Overturn the thrones of tyranny, scatter the unjust, judge the bloody rulers who make the cry of the widow and orphan rise to heaven. Give us your grace and strength to stand against the demonic powers which prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. May peace with justice come to the Persian Gulf. Amen.

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Hope and Despair.

twosmallheartsTomorrow is the last day of the first Novena of the summer Novena of Novenas for Justice, Peace, and Creation. During these nine days, we have prayed the Magnificat of Mary every night, as well as prayers to Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin, founders of the Catholic Worker movement, and St. John Chrysostom.

On Monday we begin the second summer Novena, as we call upon Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Martyrs of Latin America as companions in our journey.

The general intention of this Novenas was — for the redemption of structures of violence, oppression, exploitation, and despair with beauty, goodness, mercy and peace. Reparations for all sins against life.

This intention goes right to root of the problem of the world. It is way too easy to do evil and it is often way too difficult to do good. The more we commit evil, the easier it becomes to commit more evil. But the same is true on the other side — the more good we do, the easier it becomes to do more good.

These novenas are not just pious exercises, although I certainly hope that we have an attitude of piety about them. The prayer ultimately is for the conversion of our ways and manners of living. It doesn’t matter if we are new to this journey or have walked it for many decades. There is always more to be done. For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God — but we also know that with the Blood of Christ God is reconciling the world to himself.

It’s easy to fall into despair; hope is sometimes a difficult road to walk. Yet it is the path that leads to the peace that passes human understanding. We may not understand the path that is ahead of us. It may lead us to places that are unknown. We may not be able to see very far ahead of us and our steps may thus be tentative and unsure. Nevertheless, even when we don’t know what to pray for, the Spirit intercedes for us before the Throne of Grace.

The Novena of Novenas is well begun. May God, who has seen fit to set our steps on this path, give us the hope to see us through to the end.

Novena of Novenas for Justice, Peace, and Creation

Posted in Catholic, Climate Instability, Collapse, Environmental Sustainability, Middle East, Peace, Social Justice, War and Peace | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

100 years ago today, a century of war, bloodshed and agony began with the assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand.

 

Today is a day fraught with many layers of meaning.  It is the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  We begin today our “Novena of Novenas for Justice, Peace, and Creation.”  And 100 years ago today, the assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand kicked of World War I, which led to the Bolshevik revolution in Russia, and all the evil that came after it, and also to the rise of Nazism and all the evil that flowed from that, and World War II, and the U.S. Military Empire, and etc. down a very long line of people dead.

Below is a guest column, authored by Fr. Emmanuel Charles McCarthy, one of the leading spiritual guides to the Catholic peace movement, who can be found online at www.centerforchristiannonviolence.org or www.emmanuelcharlesmccarthy.org.

NB:  There are some photographs that accompany this text but for reasons unknown to me I am getting an error message when I try to insert them into this blog post. I have contacted technical assistance and hope to add them soon.  RMW

 AD June 28 1914: May they all rest in peace,through the Mercy of God, who is love

100 years ago today, on June 28,1914, an Orthodox Christian man, Gavrilo Princip, shot and killed a Catholic Christian man, Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo. This lit the fuse that the arms dealers, called ‘the merchants of death’ after the war, had been trying to light for some time. A feverish frenzy of mutual homicidal violence and destruction, on a scale never before seen, began to engulf Europe. World War I had commenced.

Approximately 65 million combatants fought in Word War I, each of whom was the precious and beloved child of some mother or father, each of whom was deceived by the rulers of their states and their Churches to believe that what they were embarking upon was a holy war for God and country. Bishops, priests and minister on all sides blessed, in the name of Jesus, their choice to do their manly duty in spreading the heinous conflagration of World War I.

Central Powers: 22,850,000 

  • Germany – 11,000,000
  • Austria-Hungary – 7,800,000
  • Ottoman Empire – 2,850,000
  • Bulgaria – 1,200,000

Allied Powers: 42,632,000 

  • Russia – 12,000,000
  • British Empire – 8,904,000
  • France – 8,410,000
  • Italy – 5,615,000
  • United States – 4,744,000
  • Japan – 800,000
  • Romania – 740,000
  • Serbia – 707,000
  • Belgium – 267,000
  • Greece – 230,000
  • Portugal – 65,000
  • Montenegro – 50,000

With the exception of the Ottoman Empire all the nations on both sides in this campaign of mass human slaughter and destruction were ruled by Christians and had majority Christian populations. 

These were the Christians who in 1914-1918 were “our heroes.” They are all now dead. Each is now where he wanted to put the enemy a hundred years ago—in the grave. So, where are they now besides the grave? Heaven? Hell? Are they now? Who cares now? Who will ever care? But “our heroes” of today, 2014, will never be forgotten! They will forever live in glory in the hearts and minds of future generations. What claptrap! This is just the ancient deceitful patriotic and military propaganda ploy used to snookers young people into laying down their lives, their sanity, their health, their time, their family, the truth taught by Jesus and their consciences for the “state,” and to abandon themselves to the whims and wishes and interests and orders of the local economic, military and political titans.

Starting on this date, a hundred years ago, sixty-five million human beings, mostly Baptized Christians, fell for this lie and went the way of achieving everlasting glory by killing, terrorizing, torturing and maiming tens upon tens of millions of their fellow human beings and fellow Christians—with Jesus as their spiritual support person. These Christian went from glory to glory via homicidal violence in the Verdun, at the Somme, in Ypres, to name but a few stops on the glory road “our heroes” traveled between 1914-1918.

Of course such a road to glory would have been considered asinine by any sane follower of Jesus, if the states and the institutional Churches had not unrelentingly worked together to craft from the cradle the minds and souls of children, through the glorification of militarism, into the lie that the road to glory lay not in unconditional fidelity to the Way of the Nonviolent King of Glory, Jesus, but rather in unconditional obedience to the way to glory as taught by the entrenched sociopaths at the top of the economic, political, military and church institutions of their individual tribes. Such brain washing was so successful because the Churches’ leaders cooperated fully in hardwiring into children the absurdity that the way to glory as taught by the local big shots was the same way to glory as the Way of Jesus. And, as Voltaire with prophetic clarity observed hundreds of years earlier, “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.” As history makes clear, holy atrocities, Christlike atrocities, as a way to everlasting glory were the bread and butter of WW I. But, there is nothing new here! Atrocities root in absurdities is Constantinian Christianity has engaged in since it came on stage as a faux witness to Jesus and His Way seventeen hundred years ago.

Below is a photo of the grave of Gavrilo Princip at St. Mark’s Orthodox Serbian Cemetery in Sarajevo. As noted above he is the man who fired the first shot in the deranged orgy of homicidal violence that left fourteen million human beings dead and thirty-seven million human beings maimed in a four years period. The cenotaph at the grave was erected in 1914 by the Orthodox Community of St. Mark’s to honor Gavrilo Princip and his fellow assassins, most of whom were executed in 1914. The marker at the gravesite reads, Heroes of Vidovdan. Vidovdan is a Serbian Orthodox religious holiday in honor of St. Vitus, whose feast day is June 28.

Such are the glories of Constantinian Christianity Orthodox style. But Catholic and Protestant Christianity matched in infidelity and in blood the glories of Orthodox Christianity during World War I. The most famous Protestant preacher in the United States at the time was Billy Sunday. He pretty much summed up Protestant infidelity to the Jesus of the Gospels and His Teaching during WW I by exciting crowds of Christians to a fever pitch with such evocative sound bites as, “I tell you brothers and sisters, it is [Kaiser] Bill against Woodrow, Germany against America, Hell against Heaven.”

The American Catholic Church leadership jumped in to do its part in plowing under the road to glory approved and taught by Jesus. On April 18, 1917, Cardinal Gibbons, the Archbishop of Baltimore, wrote in a letter to President Woodrow Wilson, which is signed not only by him but also by all the other U.S. Archbishops. It reads, “We are all true Americans … Inspired by the holy sentiments of truest patriotic fervor and zeal, we stand ready, we and all the flock committed to our keeping, to cooperate in everyway possible with our President and our national government, to the end that the great and holy cause of liberty may triumph. Our people, as ever, will rise as one man to serve the nation.” Cardinal Gibbons, on the threshold of the U.S. entrance into the demented hellhole of WWI in 1917, continually and sternly told Catholics that when war is declared “the duty of a citizen [is] absolute and unreserved obedience to his country’s call.”

In England during WW I the notion of a Christian duty to fight in homicidal warfare was nearly universal among the Anglican clergy. Those expressing Christian pacifism as a possible alternative were virtually nonexistent during the war. In fact, academic history is unable to find a single man who had taken Anglican Orders who denounced the war for the reasons traditionally put forth by those who believed that Jesus was nonviolent and commanded a Way of Nonviolent love of friends and enemies for His disciples. However, the theology that it was a Christian duty to fight for God and King was all but universal among Anglican clergy and their congregations.

In 1915 the Anglican Bishop of London, Arthur Winnington-Ingram, called for the men of England to “band in a great crusade -we cannot deny it- to kill Germans. To kill them, not for the sake of killing, but to save the world; to kill the good as well as the bad; to kill the young men as well as the old, to kill those who have showed kindness to our wounded as well as those fiends who crucified the Canadian sergeant, who superintended the Armenian massacres, who sank the Lusitania… and to kill them

lest the civilization of the world should itself be killed.” His Excellency went further, giving the war a crusading touch the equal of Billy Sunday’s, by adding, “As I have said a thousand times, I look upon it as a war for purity, I look upon everyone who dies in it as a martyr.”

In France belief that Germany was an amoral nation unified not only French Catholics, but also the nation as a whole, and it gave the country a moral obligation to win the war. Modris Eksteins wrote “French clergymen dressed Jesus in khaki and had him firing machine guns. The war became one not of justice but of righteousness. To kill Germans was to purge the world of the Antichrist…and to herald the New Jerusalem.”

In Germany the pulpits and the Christians were inebriated on the same drug of self righteous, homicidal Constantinian Christian violence as were their enemies in France, England, Russia and the United States.

Adolf Hitler at a rally in the Munich Odeonsplatz to celebrate the declaration of war, August 2, 1914. It is the great deception of evil that it convinces people that once they choose it, they can control it.

How blind must the blindness have been of those Christian prelates of distinction—and of no distinction—who believed they could serve two masters, Jesus and a nation engaged in a glorious homicidal orgy? How terrible that they used their office to pied-pipered millions of mothers’ son down the garden path to physical, mental, moral and spiritual destruction—and all in the name of Jesus.

In summing up why he wrote his most recent book, The Great and Holy War: World War I a Religious Crusade, Philip Jenkins says,

The most important thing is to understand what shapes the world’s modern religious history. This story is important for any efforts at interreligious dialogue and understanding. Westerners today often assume that Islam is some dark militaristic doomsday cult because of its willingness to support armed violence, but just a hundred years ago, Christian nations were doing very much the same thing. We don’t have to go back to the Crusades to find eerie parallels among Christians to the jihadi mind set.”

I would add that Christianity today does not even have to go as far back as World War I to find such parallels. Today’s newspaper, secular or Christian, will reveal both a latent and active Christian jihadi mindset among ecclesiastics and laity, for those who have eyes to see and a mind to understand.

In fairness, before concluding this reflection on WW I, it should be specifically noted that Pope Benedict XV (1914-1923) subordinated everything to the moral and evangelical condemnation of war. In language that other Popes have reserved for the Mafia, Benedict XV said to the heads of nations and the world at large,The rulers of the peoples should be satisfied with the ruin already wrought.” To everyone he proclaimed, “You are children of the same Father in Heaven.” In a public Mass at St. Peter’s in July of 1916 at which five thousand children received their First Holy Communion, Benedict XV said to the children and to the world, “You know, my children, how for two long years men who were once innocent and affectionate like you, and are so no longer, have been tearing each other apart and killing each other… May God spare you and your household and the entire world from this.” But alas, what he said and what he called for, “Peace without victory,” the economic, political and military elites on all side, as well as, all clergy on all sides utterly ignored, even his own Catholic bishops and priests.

Your blessing priest, make haste!

For we have no time to waste;

We must be dying, dying, dying,

Our Emperor’s greatness glorifying!

-Bertolt Brecht (Germany, 1917)

To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle,” writes George Orwell. One would think that the carnage and agony of World War I, produced and suffered by mostly Christians, would awaken the leadership of the Churches to the fact that it is preposterous and monstrous for them to maintain that war, and the acts that war requires, are consistent with the teaching of Jesus, with the Will and Way of God as reveled by Jesus in the Gospels, with following Jesus, with fidelity to Jesus, with loving Jesus. But, it didn’t and it hasn’t! Why does this depravity, of Churches justifying their communicants participating in war as a way of following Jesus, still find a welcoming abode in the institutional Churches and in the hearts of their leaders? This is a mystery, a mystery only a scintilla short of the mystery of evil itself.

On June 28, 1914, a Christian man killed another Christian man and woman. His Church honors him as a hero for his homicidal deed on behalf of the local Christians. Nothing new here! Christians and Churches have done the same things ten of millions of times during the last seventeen centuries. Open the newspaper for June 28, 2014, and you will find one or many reports of the same charade of glory and faithful discipleship.

I will leave the second last word in this reflection on the hundredth anniversary of the culturally accepted date for the beginning of World War I to Jonathan Dyson, who lived a hundred years before World War I in England. He was a Quaker, who wrote a few well thought out monographs on Christian pacifism and the way of peace. The following is from his An Inquiry into the Accordancy of War:

It is the will of God that war be eventually abolished and Christianity is the means by which this is to occur. Christianity with its present principle and obligations is to produce universal peace. It is because we violate the principle of religion, because we are not what they require us to be, that wars continue.”

The last word belongs to the Word, Jesus:

As He drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, “If only this day you knew what makes for peace” (Lk 19:41-42)

-Emmanuel Charles McCarthy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Good and Frugal Government, Catholic, Collapse, international issues, Peace, Social Justice, War and Peace | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

US Catholic Bishops signal the prolongation of their Republican captivity.

Your holidays and festivals I detest, they weigh me down, I tire of the load. When you spread out your hands, I close my eyes to you; though you pray the more, I will not listen. Your hands are full of blood! Wash yourselves clean! Put away your misdeeds before my eyes; cease doing evil, learn to do good. Make justice your aim, redress the wronged, hear the orphan’s plea, defend the widow. Isaiah 1

In Catholic Church history, the period of time 1309 – 1377 is known as the “Babylonian Captivity of the Papacy.”  Seven bishops of Rome reigned, not in Rome, but in Avignon, France where they were firmly under the thumb of the King of France. In the future, when sufficient time has passed that historians can reflect on this era, I think their judgment will be that during these critical and turbulent times, one of the great historical tragedies has been the “Republican Captivity” of the United States Catholic Bishops.

We are not lacking in evidence of this assertion.  Consider the continued crusade of the Bishops against “gay marriage.” Let it be said that I am obedient to the Church’s teachings on marriage and sexual morality. When I read the Gospel, I see the call of Jesus to holiness — “Be ye therefore perfect, even as my Father in heaven is perfect.”  But when I think about the proclamation of the Gospel, I recall the words of Paul to the church in Corinth:

 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

So it seems to me that walking in the footsteps of Jesus, our attitude towards those who disagree with us on moral issues should be a proclamation of the love of God as revealed in Christ Jesus, a love which should be as evident in our deeds as in our words. But instead of a loving proclamation of the Gospel towards gay people, our Bishops are running up and down the land crying out with loud voices that gay marriage is somehow a threat to the sacrament of marriage.  The language of the bishops’ crusade is not the language of the Gospel. It is the dehumanizing political rhetoric of the Republican Party. Can it be that the Roman Catholic Bishops of these United States have forgotten what Christ said to Peter?

I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. Matthew 16:18

That seems pretty clear to me. Nothing on this earth in the temporal realm, and no combination of demon hordes from Hell, can “threaten” the sacrament of marriage because it is part of the Deposit of Faith, an integral component of the Church, and it is protected by supernatural graces.  To suggest that a secular political issue “threatens” a sacrament is hubris and shows a marked lack of faith.  That in itself is disturbing coming from our own bishops.

Further, since when did we decide that the involvement of the State had something to do with the Sacrament of Marriage?  We don’t get a Baptism License for our children, nor an Ordination license for our seminarians. And we don’t pay a tax to the State to go to Confession nor do we apply to a bureaucrat for the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. Our confirmandi do not require state paperwork to receive Confirmation and we celebrate the Eucharist without the permission of the state authorities.

So why this weeping and wailing and much gnashing of teeth about state-issued marriage licenses and the sacrament of Marriage? In many other countries, the “legal” marriage is completely separate from the sacramental marriage.  Couples do a “state marriage” before a magistrate and then go before a priest or deacon to celebrate the Sacrament of Marriage.

If we want to talk about religious liberty and the Catholic Faith, perhaps we should begin by getting the State out of the business of “licensing” marriages, since the requirement to get a license from the State to contract a Catholic marriage seems to me to infringe upon our rights as Catholic Christians to celebrate the sacrament of marriage.

I do not doubt we have problems within and without the Catholic Church in regard to marriage. But those problems are not the fault of gay people and gay marriage has nothing to do with our marital problems.  About 1/3 of Catholic marriages end in divorce.  With only 6% of the world Catholic population, the diocesan courts of the United States grant 60%+ of the Catholic world’s annulments. By some estimates, American Catholic dioceses have annulled more marriages than the entire Church has done since its founding.

Small wonder, therefore, that Archbishop Vincenzo Fagiolo, head of the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts, was moved to refer to the volume of annulments in the United States as a “grave scandal.”  What God Has Joined Together: the annulment crisis in American Catholicism. Robert Vasoli, Oxford University Press, 1998.

But of course, let’s not talk about this gigantic I-beam proceeding out of the eyes of every Catholic bishop. Let’s ignore the catechetical failures of the Catholic clergy of these United States regarding marriage formation. Instead. . .  let’s pick away at the specks in the eyes of others, over which we have no control, and sign up for a hysterical political agenda that conceals ulterior motives.

Why would we do this if not at the behest of our political master manipulators in the Republican Party?

This naked emperor should be publicly called out. The crusade against “gay marriage” is not about protecting marriage. It’s about getting votes for Republican politicians.

If it were a crusade to protect marriage, we would have started with a deep and thorough examination of conscience regarding the role of the clergy in the devastating problems of married families in these United States. We didn’t do that.  The Bishops’ crusade, of course, is a great distraction from their own failures as pastors and teachers.

The Bishops also renewed their “Fortnight of Freedom for Religious Liberty.”  Here again it is not hard to see the directing hand of the Republican magisterium. I am all in favor of religious liberty and I think the government should leave the Catholic Church alone when it comes to the issue of mandating contraception coverage in our insurance policies.

However . . .  I must ask — where was our “Fortnight for Life” when the United States rolled into Iraq with a war that was condemned as unjust by the two most eminent moral authorities of the first decade of the 21st century? I am speaking of Pope John Paul II and then Cardinal Ratzinger, the cardinal-prefect of the Congregation for the Defense of the Faith.

Over the last 14 years, I have written in excruciating detail about the moral relativism of the US bishops regarding unjust war. Where were these bishops and their talk about the non-negotiable right to life from the moment of conception to the time of natural death when the bombs rained down on the civilian population of Iraq and people died in their hundreds of thousands as a consequence of our unjust war? I’ll tell you where they were — they were sacrificing their moral authority on the altars of the false gods of Political Expediency and American Military Nationalism.

They praised the war with their very timid comments about it, they proceeded to say almost nothing about it for the rest of the war, and they remain silent today about our continued involvement with the unjust war in Afghanistan. There was no Fortnight for Peace or Fortnight for Life to remind the Catholic people of our teachings on unjust war. There was no bishops’ crusade up and down the land in defense of peace and life in the face of war. It was business as usual as the bishops abandoned the people of Iraq and Afghanistan and our own soldiers to the not-very-tender mercies of unjust war.

Why would the Bishops have become so “negotiable” on the “non-negotiable right to life” of the people of Afghanistan and Iraq and our soldiers if not at the behest of the political magisterium of the Republican Party?

Nothing about this political captivity has benefited the Catholic Church. The Bishops have frittered away their authority and abandoned their authenticity to the point that people no longer see them as moral authorities.  The clergy-led catechetical collapse continues its devolution of our faith. In an era when the signs of these times call us to renewed holiness and an orthodox praxis of our faith, the US Catholic Bishops remain stuck in a rut of political rhetoric that benefits no one but the powers that be in the Republican Party.

Thus, I think this reading from the third chapter of the book of Micah the prophet is an appropriate conclusion for this reflection.

And I said, Listen you leaders of Jacob, house of Israel! Is it not your duty to know what is right, you who hate what is good, and love evil? . . .  When they cry to the Lord, he shall not answer them, rather shall God hide from them at that time, because of the evil they have done. Thus says the LORD regarding the prophets who lead my people astray. . .

Therefore you shall have night, not vision, darkness, not divination; The sun shall go down upon the prophets, and the day shall be dark for them. Therefore, because of you, Zion shall be plowed like a field, and Jerusalem reduced to rubble, And the mount of the temple to a forest ridge.

Novena to St. John Chrysostom on behalf of the United States Catholic bishops.

P.S. I am not a Democrat nor do I advocate voting for Democratic candidates. For an example of my commentary about Democrats, see my Open Letter to VP Biden.

Posted in Catholic, international issues, Peace, War and Peace | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Ten days car free in Okie City.

Ten days “car free” in Okie City ended today when my mechanic called and said they had finally figured out all the little problems that resulted from the attempt on May 25th to steal my car, the second such event in three months, and the car would now reliably start.  The first time the thieves got away with the car, but it was recovered.  However, there was a $280 repair bill to replace the steering column. The mechanics installed a kill switch, which disconnects the ignition so that even if hot wired, the would-be thieves would not be able to start the car, and that kept the car in my driveway.  It didn’t stop them from destroying the steering column AND the car’s computer, so this time the bail was $573. In the meantime, I had an interesting time getting around without the use of a car.

  • I bought a bus pass — although that took two trips downtown, since on the first trip I didn’t have cash or a check on me and as it turns out, the city bus system does not take debit cards.  They did give me a day pass free as a consolation prize.  A second trip to the downtown city bus center was successful.  I also picked up all the route schedules while there at the center and wandered around downtown a bit.  I used the free downtown bus system to go to the food court at the Park and Robinson for lunch.
  • The bus pass is good for 30 days from when it is first used.  So you can buy it any time in the month; it’s not bound to the calendar month.  For those of us over 60, it’s half price — $25 — which is quite the good deal.   To qualify for the senior pass, you have to bring your ID and fill out a form at the downtown transit center, and there is about a 5-10 minute wait. If you lose it, it’s $5 to replace.  It’s good for 3 years before it has to be renewed.
  • The first time you use your bus pass, you insert it into a slot on the fare box and it disappears down into the machine and then is regurgitated with the date and time of the first ride on the back.  On subsequent rides, you run it through a magnetic strip reader with the magnetic strip facing towards you.  If on the senior or special needs ride, you’re supposed to carry your transit ID with you, although none of the bus drivers asked me for mine.
  • Generally, the buses arrived within 5-10 minutes of the scheduled time.  The transit management’s advice is always to be there 10 minutes in advance, but that isn’t always possible on transfers.  The East West NW 23rd route usually crosses Classen only 2-3 minutes ahead of the scheduled time for the North or South bound Route 5 (which runs up and down Classen eventually on the outbound side ending up at Mercy Hospital).  So I missed some of those connections and made some.
  • It pays to invest in a messenger bag, or over the shoulder bag, or something similar.  I got nicely caught up on my periodical reading.  Depending on the purpose and length of the trip, I loaded it with my lunch, extra reading material, calendar, etc.
  • It helps to have some portable music or radio.  I have a little transistor radio, well, it’s not actually a transistor radio, but it looks just like one I had back in the 60s and is about the same size, lol.  Am-Fm-shortwave. If you must know, I got it from http://www.ccrane.com which is where I typically buy electronic stuff online that isn’t computer-related.  I’ve been buying from them for years and have always been happy, even when I had to return something because it quit working.  You have to have earbuds as silence is the rule on the bus as far as radios and other electric devices are concerned.
  • Carry refreshing liquids!  Especially if your outing involves walking.  I carried an insulated cup of iced non-sweet tea with lemon or lime.  I often had to stop and refill it when passing a convenience store.
  • I had lots of nice conversations with people of all races both on the bus and waiting at the bus stops.
  • The walk to Epiphany, from Lyrewood and Wilshire (last outbound stop on Route 8 and closest to my work), always went faster and easier than the walk back, which always took longer and was more grueling.  The former was typically in the morning, the latter the evening.  It would take 30 minutes to walk to the church and 45 to walk from the church to the bus stop.  The only sidewalk runs along Wilshire from Lyrewood to Rockwell, and there are pedestrian amenities at the Rockwell and Lyrewood intersection, but that’s it.  Not one additional inch of sidewalk and no pedestrian crosswalks from Lyrewood and Rockwell to Epiphany, whether I went up Rockwell and cut across the New Church property, or went up NW Expressway and cut through the Archdiocesan pastoral center property to get to Epiphany.  Got lots of strange looks from drivers, so much so that I stopped looking at the drivers, lol.  There are some disturbed people driving along NW Expressway is all I can say about that experience.
  • All the walking was good for me.  The least I walked on any day of the last ten was 1 hour, and several days involved 1-1/2 to 2 hours walking.  All my doctors are texting me — “Sell the car Bob, sell the car.”  ;).
  • A friend gave me a ride to church on Sunday AM and a coop board member gave me a ride home Sunday evening after a Coop board meeting at Epiphany.  Otherwise I would have had to use Uber or Yellow Cab.
  • I did one ride on Uber, to go to a party on Saturday night. Then I walked home (from 47th and Shartel) and it was a nice evening walk.
  • Doing anything that going somewhere took Planning.  First I decided the time I needed to be somewhere (if the trip was time bound in any way).  Then a look at the system map at http://www.embarkok.com  to see what routes were needed.  I typically used routes 5, 8, and 23 for most of my travels.  Next was figuring times and connections to get me there and making an estimate of the walking time at the end of the bus journey.  I used a rule of thumb of 1.5 to 2 minutes walking per block.  So if I needed to walk from NW 23 to NW 33, that’s 15 minutes of walking.
  • I estimate the cost of a year without a car for me at $4,415, most of which would be for the estimated 168 cab rides that I would need to go back and forth to my job at Epiphany on Sunday, and come home from work on evening after rehearsals and meetings (36 choir rehearsals/year, 10 parish councils, 10 liturgy boards, 52 Sundays, etc). The other costs are $300 for 12 $25 bus passes and monthly home delivery for my food coop order.
  • If the city extends bus service to midnight, and if the #8 route is one of the evening routes, then my annual cost goes to $3,040.  If they add Sunday service, that knocks my transit cost to $1,790.  Even if there was Sunday service, I would still take a taxi to work, as I have to be there at 730 AM and the Sunday bus is unlikely to run early enough for me to walk 30-45 minutes at the end of the rout eto Epiphany.
  • The annual cost for me operating a car, based on the average monthly cost for the first five months of 2014, times 12 months, is $4,305.  If the capital cost of a car is added to that expense, then car-free is a clear winner.  The $4,350 included $280 for this latest repair, but it turned out to be more expensive, $573.
  • You can’t be in a hurry if you’re not driving a car.  Well, you could get in a hurry I suppose but it wouldn’t do you much good unless you called a cab or Uber.  That’s an interesting psychological side-effect that I wasn’t expecting.
  • If you signal for a stop, check to make sure the electronic display above the driver says STOP REQUESTED.  If not, you might not have pulled the cord hard enough or the pull cord may be out of order (it was out of order on one bus I read).  So don’t be afraid to holler out “You passed up my stop” if the bus driver doesn’t stop.  I ended up doing that a couple of times.  The concept of where the buses stop as a “bus stop” seems a bit hazy, but generally it is at the far corner of an intersection or a place that is marked with a bus stop sign.
  • You have to carefully calculate how much you buy if you go shopping.  One trip to the Super Cao Nguyen almost was “too much fun” for the return walk lol.  So it’s useful to have sturdy reusable bags with straps that go over your shoulder, because you will get tired fast carrying bags in your hands.  Everyone has a cheap reusable shopping bag for sale, but I’ve never seen one with a shoulder strap.  Mine are home-made except for my messenger bag, which really isn’t suited for groceries, lol.  If I was going car free, I would buy one of those small fold-up carts.
  • You see the city from a much different vantage point with a car free lifestyle.  When seen via “street view,” Oklahoma City is a different place.  It is much more interesting.
  • People are shocked at news that you are without a car for an extended period.  Even for me, it’s considered “weird.”
  • There was only one “snafu” that caused me to be late.  I was waiting for the route 8 bus, and about the right time for it a bus pulled up, but it was labelled route 9. So I waved it on.  Then about 15 minutes went by with no bus and I’m thinking, “Hmmm. . . ” so I pulled out my stack of schedules and as it turned out, if that was a route 9 bus, it was way off course.  So I had to wait an hour for the next Lyrewood and Wilshire bus, which I did at the bus stop since to walk home and back would have consumed 40 minutes and I didn’t want to walk that much, lol, for 20 minutes at home. I had plenty to read and drink and NPR on the radio so I was relaxed and comfortable.  I don’t know why the snafu on the labeling of the bus. It was an electronic sign so probably someone just forgot to change it.  In the future, I am going to try to pay more attention to what routes might potentially come my way and if a bus stops that isn’t one of those routes, I’ll ask the driver what route he’s driving.
  • I think this would almost be impossible if I lived in the 73132 zip code. It was much easier to do from the 73106 zip code, since this zip code has high transit density (for OKC anyway), and most things I need are within walking distance — two major independent grocery stores, 4 pharmacies, the Asian district with all of its shopping and restaurants, OCU with its library and cultural amenities, the Plaza District, and downtown is a short bus ride away.
  • Non-money benefits from car-free living: better physical condition, lower blood sugar,more time to read, more opportunities to randomly meet interesting people, less of a feeling of hurry to my life.
  • So the third time will be the charm. I’m thinking if thieves trash my car again I’m going to sell it and stick with the bus, cab, and feet.  I may change my mind, and it remains to see how i would do in winter, but this was more do-able than I thought it was going to be.
Posted in Good and Frugal Government, Climate Instability, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Living, Peak Oil | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Public Ideological Masturbation at the Legislature

The Legislature has adjourned, thanks be to God.  The stench of its activities — and the wreckage of its inactivities — has been worse than usual.  There has been way too much Public Ideological Masturbation, and very little good governance. I’m thinking all these legislators who make so much of their “conservative” ideology are effectively traitors to the common good of the people of the state.  They are the Oklahoma equivalent of the commissars of the old Soviet Union — so blinded by their ideology they can’t see the realities of these times. The Preamble of the Constitution of the State of Oklahoma reads:

Invoking the guidance of Almighty God, in order to secure and perpetuate the blessing of liberty; to secure just and rightful government; to promote our mutual welfare and happiness, we, the people of the State of Oklahoma, do ordain and establish this Constitution.

“Mutual welfare and happiness” — a/k/a in the federal Constitution as “the general welfare” —  promoting and protecting the common good is among the most primary and fundamental purposes of government! Yet, these legislators crudely and without any shame put their personal political ideologies ahead of their sworn constitutional duty.  The Founding Fathers of the United States warned us against these kinds of politicians.  From Washington’s Farewell Address –

. . . I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the State. . .  Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party generally. . . the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it. . . It serves always to distract the public councils, and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms; kindles the animosity of one part against another; foments occasionally riot and insurrection.

John Adams said:

There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.

For my money, the most telling incident of the entire session was the passage of the bond proposal to fix up the state capitol, while turning down a bond proposal to fund storm shelters in schools.

One hundred twenty  million dollars to spiff up and repair their politicians palace?

And Not One Cent for storm shelters for schools.

Jesus said,”For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Posted in Good and Frugal Government, Collapse, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Living, Social Justice | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

A letter to the Oklahoma Corporation Commissioners regarding the security of our electrical grid

These questions are directed at all three of our Corporation Commissioners — Patrice Douglas, Bob Anthony, Dana Murphy. If this is not the right address to email for them, and if you are unable to forward this email, please inform me of their correct email contacts.

A Wall Street Journal story earlier this year reported that the country could be plunged into darkness by taking out nine critical substations:

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304020104579433670284061220

“The U.S. could suffer a coast-to-coast blackout if saboteurs knocked out just nine of the country’s 55,000 electric-transmission substations on a scorching summer day, according to a previously unreported federal analysis. The study by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission concluded that coordinated attacks in each of the nation’s three separate electric systems could cause the entire power network to collapse, people familiar with the research said. The U.S. could suffer a coast-to-coast blackout if saboteurs knocked out nine of the country’s electric-transmission substations on a summer day, according to a previously unreported federal analysis. National War College Professor Dr. Richard Andres discusses. A small number of the country’s substations play an outsize role in keeping power flowing across large regions. The FERC analysis indicates that knocking out nine of those key substations could plunge the country into darkness for weeks, if not months.”

  • What are the Oklahoma utility companies and the Oklahoma Corporation Commission doing to protect our state’s  electrical grid from this kind of attack?
  • Are the Commissioners holding hearings or doing other investigations of the security of Oklahoma’s grid?
  • If the eastern power grid is vulnerable to an attack on only four substations, how can we protect our grid from problems elsewhere?

I hope the Commissioners understand the gravity of a situation where the electrical grid across the state went down and stayed down for a considerable period of time. I hope they are actively involved with insuring that our electrical grid remains safe and secure.

Alas, as near as I can tell, there is zero security in place protecting the electrical substations that I frequently drive by here in Oklahoma City. Last year, an electrical substation in California was attacked with rifle fire, and it didn’t take long for that station to go down due to an attack with ordinary commercially available rifles.

Some may say that an attack on the electrical infrastructure of Oklahoma is a low probability event, but that’s what people said once upon a time about Pearl Harbor, and the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City. As a taxpaying citizen of the state of Oklahoma, I expect that my leaders are taking steps to protect us from this kind of high-impact threat. I would hate to wake up some morning and find out that I was wrong.

Thanks for your assistance. The Commissioners’ answers will be posted at my blog, http://www.bobwaldrop.net .

Bob Waldrop 1524 NW 21 Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 405-200-8155

Posted in Good and Frugal Government, Collapse, Corporation shenanigans, Middle East, Oklahoma City, Safe Community, War and Peace | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment