Monday, July 30, 2007
More weapons will help bring peace? When in the course of human history has building stocks of weapons ever led to a more peaceful world? The recent announcement by U.S. Secretary of State Rice to send more military aid to Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other Middle Eastern countries defies all logic and reason.
Our growing fear of Iran is used as the excuse to send more than $50 billion in military assistance and weapons in order to “stabilize” Iraq. They say that if we bolster the forces of moderation in the region that it will serve as a hedge against al Qaeda and Hezbollah. One cannot ask the obvious question as to where these more militant groups get their weapons and what is to prevent them from getting even more?
If history is any lesson this move must be labeled absurd. We gave the Taliban weapons to fight the former Soviet Union. We gave weapons to Panama’s Noriega. Many U.S weapons are killing people in Darfur. Probably half of the arms in Africa are American made. What ever happened to the weapons we gave to the former Shah of Iran? The build up of weapons has never, in the long term, stabilized any place on the planet.
Iran is not particularly happy over the weapons increase and Israel, even though their military assistance from the U.S. will reach record numbers, is not particularly thrilled with the arms deals either. What is to prevent any of the nations to which weapons are being given from turning those weapons on the U.S.? Will the Saudi Monarchy last forever? Is Egypt really that politically stable? It would seem a much wiser course of action to try to eliminate the shipment of all arms to the Middle East rather then to add more ammunition, literally, to the most politically unstable place on the planet.
Much of the weapons package must be approved by the U.S. Congress. It will certainly be interesting to see the reaction from this Democrat controlled institution. Will they buy into the Bush Administration approach of guns, guns and more guns? Is it even remotely possible that the Congress might decide to use funding that would go to the crazed Middle East to help the victims from Hurricane Katrina? Victims that are little better off than they were several years ago. Instead of guns, is the Congress willing to invest in food aid, housing, better jobs and health care for all? How about using some of that money towards improving our capability to respond to future environmental disasters? In my new book, RAPING LOUISIANA: A DIARY OF DECEIT (to be released by Cambridge Books late fall), a first hand account is given of the overall government ineptitude in handling responses to large scale catastrophes. Given now accepted climate change scenarios, can any of this money for more bombs and missiles be used instead to reduce greenhouse gasses and support non-polluting and renewable energy?
The end result of building and supplying more weapons has historically been the use of those weapons. Oftentimes, they are used against the supplier. If Congress approves all of these arms deals, then perhaps we deserve the fruits of our labor.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
I RECEIVED THIS EXCELLENT RESPONSE TO MY BLOG ON THE WITCHCRAFT SUPPRESSION ACT IN SOUTH AFRICA. It explains more about what is happening and why. It is still important that governments not lump all types of thoughts and practices into one generic category. The results often have unforseen consequences.
I'm a long-time Wicca-type witch with friends in South Africa. While I appreciate your sympathy and support, your opening question "What harm has the Pagan faith ever done?" makes me believe that you don’t fully understand what the issue is about.
The South African government are not talking about Euro-centric NeoPaganism as you and I understand it. They are talking about Tribal practices native to their area, specifically, native customs rooted in the belief that *without exception* all ill-fortune is caused by 'black magic.' There are practitioners there who, for a fee, will identify the so-called witch who caused your bad luck. Most often this will turn out to be a solitary old person, a single woman, and more and more often as the AIDS epidemic creates a generation of orphans, a child: in other words, people who will not be missed. The perceived 'witch' is then not just killed but horrifically murdered, as the folk belief also says that more violent the death of the 'witch' the more firmly the 'curse' will be broken. The bloodshed is wide-spread and is a law enforcement problem on the same magnitude as, say, the gangs are in L.A.
The idea behind the Anti Witchcraft Law is that by outlawing all forms of witchcraft equally they will eliminate the attacks both by and on 'witches.' It's perhaps the single most naïve and ill-considered piece of legislation in the last 400 years. Not only that, but the legislators who dreamed it up had no idea that there were EuroPagan-style Witches in South Africa who would abject. Now they're talking about ways to stop the traditional practices causing all the bloodshed while wording the law in such a way as to exempt the EuroPagans. This approach would create the perception, among a general populace to whom the very word 'witch' is frightening, that white people's witchcraft is permitted but black people's is against the law. Given how recently South Africa broke the chains of Apartheid, this is an extremely unwise direction for its government to be moving.
It seems to me that a great part of the problem is the use of the word 'witchcraft.' The Native practices of black magic, 'witch-finding' and curse-breaking all have their own names in the various Tribal dialects. The Europeans who colonized Africa and translated its many languages mistakenly lumped them all together as 'witchcraft' or its cognates in Dutch, German, French, etc. Any law attempting to stop the current witch hysteria needs to address the specific practices it wishes to ban by their correct names.
In the end, though, such a law no matter how it is worded would be pointless and possibly more harmful than the ills it tries to redress. You cannot make laws against beliefs, you have to re-educate the people. That takes at least a generation. In the meantime, there are laws against murder and attempted murder; they should be enforced.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Barack Obama will not win the Democratic nomination for president. All biases and prejudices aside on the part of the American voting public, there is something about Obama that is not trust worthy. He reminds me of the Manchurian Candidate, well groomed, very slick, always the right answers but not real. Coming out of nowhere, there is just something that I do not trust about him. The sad part is the pundits and the press seem to think that he is a breath of fresh air in what has become the stagnant pool of American politics.
The man is well spoken and his presence is impressive. If he had been around in politics longer I might take a second look but he has too many answers for someone so new to the political arena. What is amazing is that people think that his get tough on Washington and its special interests are something new. Here is a quote from the Washington Post referencing the recent YouTube debate:
Time and time again Obama sought to take specific questions and broaden them into a conversation over who represented real change in the field. He castigated lobbyists and special interests in Washington, offering a sweeping condemnation of business as usual (by both parties) in the nation’s capitol. “We don’t just need a change in political parties,” said Obama. “We need a change in attitudes of people representing Americans.”
Chris Cillizza, Washington Post
It is unfortunate that memories are so short. Every candidate for president in the past thirty years has used that same refrain; time to change the way business is done in Washington. And, every president has failed to make any change-it continues to be business as usual. When the Republicans controlled the Congress and the White House, no real changes were made. Now the Democrats control Congress and there are no real changes. We heard the same promises from Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, Bush II and we are hearing it again.
The basic premise on the part of Obama and his predecessors are wrong. There will always be special interests and to say that you are going to do away with their influence is naïve and is contrary to American politics 101. To say that we need a change in the attitudes of those representing Americans is only partially correct. Elected officials in Washington merely reflect the mirror image of the American public. That image is one of apathy, confusion, lack of conviction and it lacks direction. The American public does not know what it wants and is trying to get someone to tell them what they should do and how they should think. They feel that life has gotten so complex and the issues so confusing that they have abrogated responsibility for almost every aspect of their lives to Washington. As long as that hold true, Washington will continue to be the battleground for competing special interests and the promises of candidates to change this are simply wishful thinking. After all, how are their campaigns funded?
While Obama puts on a good show, I cannot help but wonder who is behind the scenes of his campaign. If someone gives a pitch that is too good to be true, especially in politics, it raises red flags. The field of democratic candidates are not impressive, but it is probably a given they will win the White House in ’08. Of course, they have been known to blow solid leads. If Hillary is nominated she would be wise not to choose Obama as VP. I am sure that there would be a lot of pressure to do that but it would be her undoing. Then we can watch Obama and see if he is a real politician or, just another Manchurian Candidate.
Friday, July 20, 2007
A MEMBER OF A YAHOO GROUP I BELONG TOO PASSED ALONG THE FOLLOWING EMAIL. I FOUND IT QUITE DISTURBING THAT IN THIS DAY AN AGE, SUCH IGNORANCE ON THE PART OF GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS IN WHAT IS FAR FROM A BACKWARD NATION STILL EXISTS. WHAT HARM HAS THE PAGAN FAITH EVER DONE? COMPARE THEIR HISTORY TO THAT OF THE CHRISTIANS OR MUSLIMS IN TERMS OF PERSECUTION AND WARS. LOOK AT THE MIDDLE EAST AND THE TRAIL OF RELIGIOUS IGNORANCE IS STILL EVIDENT.
I AM NOT A PAGAN, ALTHOUGH I KNOW OF THEIR BEAUTIFUL BELIEFS AND THEIR RESPECT FOR OUR BEAUTIFUL PLANET; A PLANET THAT IS DEFINITELY IN NEED OF RESPECT IF WE ARE TO CONTINUE TO LIVE HERE. I URGE EVEYONE WHO READS THIS BLOG TO FOLLOW THE REQUEST THAT IS ASKED. IF WE, AS A CIVILIZED SOCIETY, ALLOW THESE TYPES OF LAWS TO PASS, WHAT BELIEF SYSTEM WILL BE OUTLAWED NEXT? YOU THINK THINK THAT SOUTH AFRICA IS TOO DISTANT FOR YOUR CONCERN. BUT IN THIS MODERN AGE, IDEAS CAN SPREAD VERY QUICKLY-AND THEY ARE NOT ALWAYS GOOD IDEAS!
As most of you know, many of us are deeply concerned about a proposed amendment to the Witchcraft Suppression Act in one of the provinces here in South Africa. In a nut-shell, if the Bill is passed, many of our spiritual practices will be outlawed. As Pagans and friends of Pagans we simply cannot allow this to happen... I am therefore appealing to each and every one of you to email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. za in order to join our growing list of objectors against such an atrocity. Please, every individual who lends support to this cause will add weight to our argument that our freedom to practice our spirituality should be protected. I personally guarantee that nobody's contact details will be made public, as I have registered several groups as Interested & Affected Parties under who's banner individual members or objectors can be listed. For example, the CNCI (Correllian Nativist Church International, inc) is a registered I&AP, all CNCI members and supporters who object will be listed by (craft) name only, giving my personal contact details not the individual objector's. I will however need your names and email addresses to prove - in the event that I need to - that I did not make-up objectors to simply boost the numbers on the petition. I have also registered the Universal Spirit Sanctuary as an I&AP, under which all USS members who agree to participate can object to the Bill. The Universal Spirit Sanctuary is a non-denominational, all inclusive spiritual community that recognizes all paths as valid. The 5Feathers community will be listed under the banner of the USS or CNCI for this cause.
South Africa may sound like a far-away country who's laws cannot affect you. However, international objectors will be recognized as interested and affected parties simply because if/when you do have the occasion to visit this country, you will not - as Pagans - be allowed to gather in circle, participate in divination or practice any of your (Pagan) spiritual practices - if this Bill is passed. We cannot allow this to happen...
I therefore appeal to each of you to lend your support to our plight. Traditional Healers and Pagans in South Africa are fighting this fight, please help us by adding your name to the list of objectors too.
Send me a short email with your name (either craft name or mundane name) so that I can add you to the list of objectors. The more petitions we can present to parliament, the more likely they will be to seriously re-consider passing this Bill and thereby outlaw our practices.
We depend on and look forward to your support.
Blessings, in Love & Light
Rt. Rev. Andi Fisher, Archpriestess / Interfaith Minister
Chief Director & Priestess, CNCI - RSA
Matriarch: Universal Spirit Sanctuary
Tel: +27 21 686 8241
Mobile: +27 766866286
Skype ID: andi.fisher
Email: email@example.com. za
Website: www.correllian. org
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Religious extremism is not confined to fundamentalist terrorists. By its very nature, organized religions are destined to foster division and hatred between competing faiths. A new study commissioned by the EastWest Institute says that, “Violent Muslim, Christian and Jewish extremists invoke the same rhetoric of good and evil” in their efforts to recruit followers to address their perceived social, economic and political inequities. The questions is, “are these extremists actually going against their religious beliefs or are their actions the natural outcome of those beliefs?”
The authors of the report compared fundamentalist movements in the U.S., Britain and Israel with the focus upon Christian, Jews and Muslims. It went on to say that while the current focus has been on Muslim extremists, the other religions also have similar tendencies. The perpetuation of the “us versus them” mentality seems to lie at the root of the problem. In her book, “Terror in the Name of God: Why Religious Militants Kill,” keynote speaker and author Jessica Stern said, “it was dangerous for U.S. President George W. Bush to use terms such as "crusade" or "ridding the world of evil.” This raises the question as to whether President Bush would be considered a religious extremist.
The basic problem arises when the “message” turns into an institution. There is little doubt in my mind that that those whose words have been perverted by organized religions to create an “us versus them” mentality would totally disassociate themselves from the modern religions founded in their name. We are all familiar with atrocities committed in the name of religion and with religions turning a blind eye to atrocities.
The notion that religious extremists are on the fringe of their faiths makes me wonder. We have “the chosen people” versus the “born agains” versus the orthodox versus the faithful. When we have the president of this country referring to an “axis of evil” and a Pope bad mouthing Muslims, is there any wonder why zealots and extremists emerge from their infested holes? Extremism is the natural outcome, the consequence of those who have taught violence and hatred in the name of God.
If “terror in the name of God” is the excuse, then the root cause of the terrorism fostered by religious extremists must lie in religious perceptions. Where did those perceptions arise? Who has taught them those perceptions? When you can only get to heaven through Jesus or by martyrdom to Allah, what is the message we are giving to those with differing religious concepts? If there is a “chosen people,” then what about the rest of the world and those who are not chosen?
The Department of Homeland Security was in attendance at the conference where religious extremism was discussed. The goal was to find the common root causes of this phenomena and presumably ways to address those causes. Will the Department take on organized religions who give with one hand while robbing the widow with the other? Very doubtful! Perhaps our hope lies in a simple trend. If you Google “Christianity some 54 million web site are listed. But, if you Google “spirituality” there are 86 million sites. If the world can evolve away from “us versus them” dogma into a higher level of spirituality, there may be hope. Given that “religious extremists in three religions share views,” according to an article by Claudia Parsons of Reuters on 6/13/07, then we must certainly at least explore the notion that the religions are the spawning grounds of that extremism.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
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Sunday, July 15, 2007
Newly released scientific data concludes that we, earth and our solar system are aliens to the Milky Way galaxy. In a study conducted by the University of Massachusetts called the TWO-Micron All Star Survey it was concluded that our solar system was actually born in a galaxy called the Sagittarius Dwarf. This small galaxy, some 10,000 times less dense than the Milky Way, was actually orbiting the much bigger and stronger Milky Way. Over time, the power of the Milky Way’s gravitational force began to pull in and pull apart the dwarf. We were actually created in that dwarf galaxy and have been sucked into the Milky Way.
Ever wonder why the Milky Way appears at right angles to the earth? This finding solves the mystery. We actually are a part of the Sagittarius System and rather than circling around the Milky Way we have been moving somewhat perpendicular. But now our home system is so depleted and torn apart it is near its end as the Milky Way consumes the stars.
If this is true then our entire way of thinking about our place in the Universe must be revisited. We are not from where we think we were from. We have been part of a different galaxy that has been trapped nearly destroyed by the Milky Way. We are only just now settling into our new position that is aligned with the ecliptic of the Milk Way and our solar system is being exposed to massive amounts of new cosmic energy.
There is a lot of science going on here and I do not pretend to fathom all of its implications. What is certain is that science will have to think anew about thinks like dark matter and the way in which galaxies merge.
Are there implications for earth? The study says yes. Since we are now in a more energetic system, our sun is burning hotter. Recent changes have been observed on Pluto, new auroras have emerged on Saturn, Uranus and Neptune have undergone polar shifts, Jupiter’s energy is growing, biosphere quality is changing on Mars, and an early stage atmosphere is appearing on our moon. Basically, energy shifts are occurring throughout the solar system and we are not immune.
The study says that we of the Sagittarius Dwarf have only just now settled into the powerful arms of the Milky Way. We will experience higher energy levels and do not rule out the current global warming as a partial consequence of being adopted into our new home; all the more reason not to exacerbate the problem with our polluting ways. It is even suggested that the Mayan calendar may end in 2012 because they did not know the consequences of entering into our new home. Is polarity shift possible? It has happened on two other planets so there is no reason to think it will not happen here. Actually, new NASA information has already picked a movement in the Earth’s poles.
Is all of this the End of Days? The answer has to be yes and no. It is the end of days as a solar system in the Sagittarian Dwarf, but is the beginning of a new day in the more energetic Milky Way. One cannot help but wonder why this information is not getting more air time on the news. This is a happening on a galactic scale but little seems to be in the news. What do they know that we don’t? I would suggest that we all hold on to our hats as we may be in for one hell of a galactic ride.
Monday, July 9, 2007
They say ignorance is bliss but when it comes to the weather it ignorance can be a bitter pill to swallow. I normally keep up on the latest news and I especially keep an eye on the weather since climate change is a frequent topic in my articles and blogs. For the past few weeks I had been busy readying the release of my next book, “Jesus Taught It, Too: The Early Roots of the Law of Attraction” and signing a contract for another book to be released late fall called, “Raping Louisiana: A Diary of Deceit.” While I was well aware of the heat wave out West and the deluge in Texas and other Western states, all had seemed relatively quiet on the climate change front-at I thought all was quiet.
Last night I went to check the weather on the internet and decided to take a look at the latest weather headlines. I have to admit to having been shocked to see so many weather disaster stories. I listen to NPR each morning and glance at our local paper everyday but with one or two exceptions, I did not pick up any of the headlines that follow. When the stories are scattered between many news reports I guess the enormity of the issue gets diluted. But when you begin to list the headlines in one place, a totally different picture emerges. On one site, these were the weather related stories and headlines:
94 Dead in China floods, landslides
South Dakota floods kill…
Indian floods death toll up…
Bush declares disaster area in Oklahoma…
Texas declares worst flooding in 50 years…
Heat moving eastward…
Flooded city in Kansas assesses damage…
Western US states swelter under record heat wave…
Country’s wettest June on record…
Tornado kills…in China…
Pakistanis set up flood rescue…
Weather extremes whither LA…
Pakistani monsoon victims riot…
Dallas looks like Seattle…
Climate change factor in Chile’s lake vanishing…
2007 seen as second warmest year…
Fires rage across sizzling Greece…
Scorching heat, floods wreak havoc across Europe…
Indian flood toll up, millions left stranded…
More heat ahead for sweltering west…
If you look a little deeper, even more stories arise concerning possible flooding from melting glaciers in Tibet, floods and deaths in England and Europe and general horror stories that are climate related.
We have also heard about many scientists claiming that the world’s climate is nearing a catastrophic tipping point and that unless changes in our carbon emissions happen soon, we could be in for real trouble. Of course, looking at the above headlines it would appear that we are already in trouble. Of course other stories say that policy makers are working on finding ways to reduce carbon emissions and sometime in the next 20 years we might get 30 miles per gallon for fleet averages. It makes you want to shout, “Hello is anyone paying attention to what is happening to the climate right now?”
American auto makers complain that converting to alternative fuels of greatly increasing fleet mileages would be too costly. Producers of electricity that use coal as their energy source say that making coal plants cleaner will cost too much money. All of our political and industry leaders say that having a clean planet will cost too much money. It really begs the question. What is the cost of the floods, heat waves, raging fires in terms of property and lives? Florida officials say that they need “five feet” of rain to make up for water deficiencies to quench the thirst of existing populations and to accommodate new development. Perhaps if the sea rises, that will no longer be an issue. Millions, if not billions of dollars are being lost now to climate chaos.
Our actions and inactions of yesterday are causing the consequences of today. Today, we are doing little to alter our ways and have no real solid plans for change for at least the next twenty years. If the weather headlines we see now are the harbinger of things to come, everyone had better strap in for we are in for quite the ride. It is also said that knowledge is power but that is wrong. It is the use of knowledge that is power and one can only hope that people wake up and pay closer attention to what is happening in the world now if we want to still have a world tomorrow.
Thursday, July 5, 2007
The day was clear and cool and no humidity. Ususally, when it is time to get the hay in the temperature is in the 90's and it is humid as hell. No this time. Climate change, maybe! It is the fourth of July and haying has no use for calenders or holidays. You do what you must when the time is at hand.
The sweet smell of the newly cut and dried grass fills the nostrils and the horses sense an end to last years left overs. Oops, a broken bale. Oh well, the horses are watching and hoping for a taste of things to come. It has been dry and all of the new growth grass is down to the nub. Why not? The flakes are thrown to the curious and mouths hit the grown non-stop in a signal of approval.
The elevator cranks and the bales, like ducks in a row, make their way to the waiting safety of the mow above the horse stalls. At first they are just thrown to the side and they slide across a floor so polished by decades coarse grass it reminds you of the floor of a roller rink or bowling alley.
Finally, the last bale goes up the clanking elevator. The piles above are placed into neat stacks abd the air is filled with the scent of the tons of dried clover, june grass, timothy and an array of other field grasses and flowers.
When it is all said and done, there is a feeling not only of accomplishment, but of safety. The animals will be fed this winter. There is ample hay and some will be left into next summer. All is right in the world, at least for the horses
Monday, July 2, 2007
I am proud to announce that I have just signed a contract with Write Words, Inc. (Ebooksonthe.net/Cambridge Books) to publish my latest book, "RAPING LOUISIANA: A DIARY OF DECEIT." This will be my forth book since June'06 which include, WAKING GOD (Star Publish), A MAINE CHRISTMAS CAROL (Cambridge Books) and JESUS TAUGHT IT, TOO: THE EARLY ROOTS OF THE LAW OF ATTRACTION (scheduled for release in a few weeks by Avatar Publication). The hard copy (Advance) version book will be available late fall '07 with an official date set for early "08. It will appear as an ebook in the fall.
May we all experience publishing success!
The following is a book blurb.
“RAPING LOUISIANA : A DIARY OF DECEIT” by multi-published author Philip F. Harris is a non-fictional account of one man’s observations of the devastation left in the wake of hurricane Katrina. Through the eyes of a driver hired to help in the clean-up, we see a once beautiful and colorful landscape turned into a scene filled with the grays of sewage and chemical-soaked soils, water that is unfit to drink, and the remnants of the lives of thousands scattered along the countryside in heaps of rubble and debris. Observations in the “Diary” tell of the scope of the damage, mishandling of government resources and of the tragedies faced by those who were ill-treated and maligned by the media and public officials. In a tragedy that is still ongoing, the public has been duped into thinking that as a nation, we are ready to deal with the impacts of any natural or man-made emergency. If Louisiana is to offer any lessons, let it be that we are not prepared to face the growing dangers and humanitarian crises that lay ahead in a world under tremendous natural, social, economic, natural and political pressures.