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

A Solitary Episcopal Witness — to the protection of all human life, including those in the way of the US imperial juggernaut.

Below is the text of an email I received from Fr. Emmanuel Charles McCarthy, an Eastern Rite Catholic priest who is a leading advocate for peace and like me, a critic of the poor response of the US Catholic Bishops to the unjust wars of the United States government.  His work has been important to my own spiritual formation as a peacemaker. Begin forward. . .

Christ is risen! He is truly risen! Friends, I hope you will be able to find the time to view this short documentary, In Solitary Episcopal Witness,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8DC0LTzOtA

on Bishop John Botean’s 2003 Pastoral Letter morally denouncing the War on Iraq as gravely evil. Bishop Botean, being a summa cum laude graduate in philosophy from the Catholic University of America, being an award-winning musician and being multi-lingual is as cognitively capable as any other Catholic bishop or priest. Yet, it is he alone who on March 7, AD 2003, less than two weeks before the government of the United States launched its invasion of Iraq on March 19, 2003, wrote a Pastoral Letter* to the people of his diocese which was publicly read from every pulpit in every Romanian Catholic Church in the U.S. on Sunday, March 9, 2003.

In it Bishop Botean communicated to the people in his pastoral care that participation in the coming U.S. War against the people of Iraq would be participating in an unjust war, that is, in an intrinsically grave evil, by all the traditional moral standards of the Catholic Church. No other sitting Catholic Bishop of a diocese in the United States told his people before, or even during this decade long war, that this was by the standards of Jesus and Catholic moral theology an unjust war, and that therefore the killing and maiming done by those directly participating in it at any level was participation in unjustified homicide, which is always and under all circumstances gravely intrinsically evil and never morally permissible.

This mini-documentary, In Solitary Episcopal Witness, on Bishop John Botean and the source of his decision to publicly morally condemn the War on Iraq, is so titled as an allusion to Gordon Zahn’s seminal biography on Blessed Franz Jagerstatter, which is titled In Solitary Witness.

The title was chosen not only because Bishop Botean is the only Catholic Bishop, who is the Ordinary of a diocese in the U.S., who so spoke about U.S. Catholic participation in the War in Iraq, but also, because like the decision of Blessed Franz Jagerstatter to reject Hitler’s call to arms, Bishop Botean’s Pastoral Letter on this matter did not find much support from many quarters from which vigorous support would have normally been expected.

I suspect part of the reason for this is that in our gong-booming, cymbal-clashing, hyper-partisan politicized secular and religious society, Bishop Botean’s Pastoral Letter morally denouncing the War against Iraq finds little to nothing of its source, purpose, motivation or end in the world of governmental politics. Hence, liberal Catholic and Christian professional and amateur politicos and mass media pundits, and conservative Catholic and Christian politicos and mass media pundits—minus a few exceptions here and there—relegated this unique episcopal document in the history of the American Catholic Church to the “not-in-our-interests bin.”

Maybe this thirty-minute documentary can help make a bit clearer the whys and wherefores of Bishop Botean’s Pastoral Letter. And, maybe with such awareness it might be transferred to the “urgently-in-our-interests bin.” There is much, much to ponder, personally and as Church, in this short video-documentary on the writing of a Pastoral Letter.

I hope you will ponder it, share it and dialogue on it in light of the millions of human beings killed and maimed in Iraq since the day this Pastoral Letter was read from all the pulpits of one diocese in the United States. I hope you will do this because in the end this Pastoral and video are not exclusively, or even primarily, about a war or war. They are about the salvation of souls, the redemption of all humanity, by the only means by which the Nonviolent Jesus of the Gospels taught that humanity could be redeemed: love, love as He, who is the visible image of the invisible God, loved us.

+ Emmanuel Charles McCarthy

Posted in Catholic, international issues, Middle East, Peace, Peak Oil, Social Justice, War and Peace | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Got my goobermint paper!

Now I have the City’s permission to build a life-saving structure on my property.  I had an email from the contractor who said they had been trying to fax the needed paperwork but the City’s fax machine wasn’t cooperating.  She called the developmental services dept, and “talked with someone who was not very nice,” (surprise!), who would only clarify that yes she was dialing the right number.

Something must have worked because the code technician called me yesterday and said I was good to go at the price of $53.50, so I gave them my debit card number and that was that.

I guess I should have asked if they are going to mail me some paper or something.  In 2005, I had a real sheet of paper, inscribed with the appropriate bureaucratic incantantations, certifying that I had placated the appropriate powers and paid my dues.  I was required “by law” to post it where it could be seen from the street.  So I made a copy and posted the copy on a stake in the middle of a garden bed. If the paper was that valuable, I didn’t want some heathen running off with the original like someone did with my rosemary bush a while back.  Who knows what would happen. Maybe the same people who come and take you away if you tear that tag off your pillow would have swooped down and done something nefarious to me and my household.

So it is all over except for the actual installation, Deo gratias. And truthfully it was much less of a hassle than last time, so I’m glad they’re learning a few things.

Now I have will have room for 14 adults standing. Or some combination of adults, kids, dogs, cats, and whatever other critter might be brought. It will also eventually have some jugs of wine and beer that will be aging down there, and the occasional basket of apples and some winter squash. So if we do have to dive into the ‘fraidy hole’ as they are sometimes known around these parts, we may have to pass some time passing the bottle. Yes, I will also have a bucket filled with leaves in case our stay is prolonged.

Tomorrow is the delivery day of the Oklahoma Food Cooperative and so I will be helping with the grand sorting that goes on at our operations center in the Old Farmers Market District.

Then after a few hours at work — which will involve rehearsing with a cantor for a wedding, working through the readings and liturgies for the summer and picking music and taking care of some miscellaneous musical odds and ends I will be off to the house of my friend the Reverend Deacon Aaron Taylor (of St Benedict’s Russian Orthodox Church here in central Oklahoma) for some, well, probably it will involve discussions and booze.  Fortunately he lives close enough to me that I can walk, lol, There and Back Again, hopefully with no adventures in between.  Well, meeting up with some hobbits would be fine, but the orcs can stay away.

The process of selecting music is an on-going project for my music ministry that never ends, because as soon as I am through with summer and fall ordinary time, well, here comes Advent and Christmas and then winter ordinary time, Lent, Easter. . . plus assorted and miscellaneous holy days, weddings, funerals, and etc.  Yes, I have 14 years of records of what I have chosen previously, but each year is a brand new opportunity to read the readings and see what speaks to the present time.  Sometimes I pick the same hymns.  Often I don’t. At times I look at what I picked in the past, and wonder, “What was I thinking of?”  Well, usually I have some methods to the madness of my musical selection process, but I don’t always remember what it is several years later.  IN ANY EVENT. . . The priests and deacons have their homilies, but I pick the hymns and anyone who thinks I don’t, at every liturgy that I plan,  preach a sermon with my hymn selections hasn’t paid any attention to their texts.

PS. Mark your calendars for BLESS THIS HOUSE — a musical offering for the 30th anniversary of the Dedication of Epiphany Church, Sunday, July 6th, 6 PM, potluck at 5 PM.  Featuring the choirs and musicians of the Church of the Epiphany.  And the only time you will ever get to sing We Three Kings in July.

Posted in Good and Frugal Government, Catholic, Climate Instability, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Living | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Storm Shelter Permit: Attempt the first — FAIL

This morning I made my first attempt to get the storm shelter permit/.

Letter from an engineer regarding the boyancy of the shelter (i.e. guaranteeing it won’t float out of the ground — CHECK!

Letter from an engineer certifying that the shelter is designed to meet or exceed the structural strength necessary to resist the combined load of concrete and soil plus 100 pounds/square foot load line, thus complying with the state’s storm shelter code — CHECK!

Letter from an engineer certifying that the shelter is designed to comply with FEMA shelter standards — OOPS!  I did have a letter from an engineer that states –

. . . The design for the construction of the storm shelters meets and or exceeds the FEMA Design Requirements or Standards.
Therefore, it is the opinion of this engineer that the construction and installation per theinstallation instructions should be considered appropriate for use in Oklahoma.

Alas, that wasn’t good enough.  The engineer should have stated which FEMA standard this design meets or exceeds.  My thought is — “Good grief folks, it is a structural steel shelter encased in six inches of concrete buried in the ground with a foot of dirt on the top.” What part of “this storm shelter works” does the City not understand?  If the engineer says it meets the FEMA statistics, what does it matter if an additional bureaucratic note of the identifying number of the standard?

At least I didn’t have to wait more than a couple of minutes and the lady was nice and said she would call me when the contractor faxes her the proper document and I would not have to make a second trip downtown.  So they have learned something since my last attempt at getting a permit from that office which involved THREE trips downtown because I was given THREE different demands for info.  There would have been a fourth if I hadn’t made a scene and a supervisor came out who determined that my original app was sufficient and the other two trips were not necessary because I was given bad info by the staff.

It is beyond my comprehension why there isn’t some sort of expedited system for tornado shelter applications.  We don’t have anything much in the way of public tornado shelters. As far as OKC government is concerned, everyone is On Their Own when the funnel clouds bear down on the City.  Thus, it seems to me that they should make it as easy as possible to get this permit.  I don’t understand why I even had to go downtown.

  • There are special permits to install a pool, fences and signs, but not shelter. For a shelter, I had to fill out the same form you would if had built a house. It asks “prior use of the area,” I wrote in “container garden”. I hope that info was informative and useful to them. Why not have a shelter permit?
  • There are FAXABLE (!!!!!!!) permits for electrical, plumbing, and mechanical work (and I think that is a good thing), but why not a faxable permit for storm shelters? I had to drive downtown, pay two dollars for parking. OK, I got to admire the new PARKING garage the city is building for God-Only-Knows how much money across the street (gotta keep those tax subsidies rolling for the cars you know), but still, it was  a waste of time and two dollars.

All in all, I am not persuaded that anything about this process really serves the common good. It just seems like bureaucratic make-work.   Oh, and let’s not forget Ka-Ching, the sound of the City’s cash register picking my pocket for (near as I can tell from the City’s website) $55 for the permit fee.

I suppose if this were the worst thing to happen to me this year, I’d be making out pretty much like phat rat.  But the part of me that strives for excellence wonders why Oklahoma City doesn’t analyze all of its rules and regulations and make some determination as to what actually is necessary and what isn’t.

For example, why not have the shelter contractors register with the city and provide the details for their plans?  Then, if a homeowner is using a City approved plan, there would be no need for a permit. The common good need — ensuring that shelters are adequate to the demands of the storm — is met, and much bureaucratic make-work and citizen annoyance is avoided.

Posted in Good and Frugal Government, Climate Instability, Environmental Sustainability, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Living, Safe Community | Tagged , , | Leave a comment