Archive for February, 2020

As the twig is (violently) bent . . .

February 27, 2020

As a twig is bent, so shall the tree grow.

In 1917, Vladimir Lenin and his Bolshevik revolutionaries  launched an armed insurrection to overthrow the fledgeling post-Czarist government of Russia; the Bolsheviks imposed a Communist dictatorship.

Lenin’s very forceful leadership extinguished what would have been a more democratic form of government. Up until the moment when the Bolsheviks grabbed control, there was a deliberative congress, composed of several political parties.

Lenin’s strong-man tactics nipped-in-the-bud that nascent Russian representative  congress. From the moment of Lenin and the Bolsheviks’ commandeering of the revolution, the emerging Soviet regime was fatefully routed into a tyrannical authoritarian path—in spite of the supposed “masses,” who would have–or so it was assumed according to Marxist doctrine– established a “dictatorship of the proletariat.”

The dictatorship that became entrenched following Lenin’s bully tactics became an actual “dictatorship” controlled one man–Vladimir Lenin.

The subsequent development of the Soviet State never escaped dictatorial  control by (first) Lenin, then (second) Stalin, until Stalin died in 1953.

I recently watched an excellent documentary series on Amazon:

Red Chapters: Turning Points in the History of Communism.

This 6-part work of historical video includes, in its first two episodes,  a very informative and concise explanation of the fatefully oppressive forces that were set in motion in St. Petersburg (Petrograd), beginning on the night of October 24, 1917.

At that nocturnal turning point, the Bolsheviks were absconding control of an emerging popular revolution. They wrested power from a multi-partied congress and dumped it into the hands of the dictator, Vladimir Lenin.

According to Red Chapters narrator Daniel Evans, on the fateful night of October 24, 1917 . . .

“Lenin’s left-wing delegates doubted the delegates’ resolve to oust (provisional government head Alexander) Kerensky.” . . .

“Paradoxically, Lenin did not want the Congress to vote for Soviet power. A ‘yes’ vote by the ballot box would translate into a coalition government, in which the Bolsheviks would be only one of many parties represented” (in that congress.) Lenin would not be the central figure. He might not even get into the cabinet . . . But if he seized power before the congress met, he could dictate the terms of government and open the way to a Bolshevik dictatorship.”

“Lenin harangued the party members to seize power.”

Red Chapters scholar-contributor Orlando Figes clarifies:

“Everything suggests that what he (Lenin) wanted was a Bolshevik dictatorship from the start, and that’s precisely why it was so important for him to seize power before the congress opened, to provoke the other socialist parties to walking out in protest.”

Red Chapters narrator Daniel Evans continues their account of what happened on that fateful night:

“ (Julius) Martov, the leader of the Menshevik party, proposed the formation of a coalition Soviet government. His proposal was greeted with a great cheer, and passed without a vote.

But this was not the Soviet power Lenin had intended.”

RussiaLenin

Leon Trotsky, Lenin’s #2 revolutionary intimidator, shouted down  Menshevik party leader Julius Martov. As Martov was taking leave of the assembly room, Trotsky commanded:

“Go where you belong, into the dustbin of history.”

Julius Martov headed for the back door. Here’s the video overlay as Martov’s face appears in the Red Chaptersdocumentary:

RussiaMartov

Red Chapters Narrator Daniel Evans explains,

“Walking toward the door, Martov warned the remaining delegates, ‘One day, you will understand the crime in which you are taking part.’

And it was indeed a crime, which would be cruelly perpetrated for several generations upon the entirety of the Russian people.

Ultimately, Lenin’s strong-arm tactics dictated the oppression by which  Kerensky, and later many others, were ousted. By the same means, Trotsky would also later be ostracized.  By 1938 fellow-dissident-leaders Liev Kamenev and Grigory Zinoviev would likewise be purged out by Stalin’s post-Lenin manipulations.

The Lenin-Stalin hegemony became the dark heart and soul of Soviet oppression in the USSR for many decades to come.

Lenin imposed his dictatorial will by violent rejection of what would have been a nascent representative government. After Lenin’s death, Stalin continued and extended the pattern of tyranny; he wrested control of their dictatorial  party machine and established hundreds of gulag prisons where millions perished.

In the Russian revolution, Bolshevik violence begat a very long legacy of USSR violence and oppression.

Government reaps what government sows.

As the twig is violently bent, so shall the tree distortedly grow.

As societal control is established through tyrannical cruelty and violence, government tyranny expands accordingly–by the extension of force and violence.

The American revolution, on the other hand, brought forth a bi-cameral representative democracy with judicial oversight.

Rule of Law

Liberty begat liberty. Lawful rule begat Rule of Law (not dictatorial tyranny.)

A nation reaps what it sows.

As the twig is bent, so shall the tree grow.

In Russia’s case, Lenin’s dictatorial tyranny brought forth an abusive system of imprisonment.

We Americans should help the Russians to overcome their past mistakes of Lenin and Stalin.

Glass half-Full

Portrait of New Orleans

February 25, 2020

Since this is Mardi Gras, and while listening to appropriate music on downhome grassroots radio WNCW. . . I slipped into reminiscent mood about days gone by . . . re when I lived in Luzianna back in the day, long time ago, in the days of my youth and . . . remembering that a few years ago–2008– I got a wild hair and wrote a novel about genetic engineering and buried treasure back in that fabled bayou state. The story takes place in and near that historic Miss’ippi River Crescent city of N’Awlins.

In this scene, clipped from chapter 26, we find the silverspoon banker reprobate bad guy, Mick Basker, as he is recovering from a gun shot wound that he had gotten only because he stabbed the protagonist, Robby, in a moment of poor decision enflamed by a not-small nip of wine.

Now he’s laid up in a hospital room, until he receives a visit from Ophelia, a nice anthropologist lady (long story) and he asks her to give him a ride back to his warehouse where he has some stealthy business too attend to before it is too late. So Miss Ophelia obliges him. In this scene he is giving her the driving instructions to . . .

             “Turn right out of here. Take this street to Carrollton. Then turn right again.”  He slid the seat back as far as it would go, and stretched his right leg out. It was obvious Mick was dealing with some pain.

“You might have rushed it a bit, checking out of the hospital so soon,” said Opelia. Mick didn’t say anything. Driving the Jaguar was a new experience for Ophelia.  I could get used to this.    When they reached Carrollton Avenue, she turned right.

“Go up to the expressway, and turn right onto it.” They rode in silence for a few minutes.  Mick was nervous.  And so was Ophelia, not knowing what she had gotten herself into.  She had entered his room on an impulse about an hour and a half ago.  Now she was breezing along in control of a Jaguar on a concrete ribbon that stretched eastward, just a little higher than the funky city below.  It was about four in the afternoon. The city was hazy, like the unclear sort of agenda that seemed to hang over their expedition.  Or maybe the unclear agenda was in her mind. Ophelia had no idea where they were headed.   Over to the right were the brown and grey, dated, middle of the pack skyscraping obelisks of an old city whose glory days had checked out about 1965 or so, leaving generous tips for the bellmen and the cab drivers and the dancers and the jazzmen on the street and providing suitable gratuities for the artists and fortune tellers on Jackson Square, but no guaranteed income for those citizens born into the metropolis where every man is a king, and the queen of hearts trumps spades with the everpresent  half-empty glass in her hand and a gaggle of Mardi Gras beads coiled around her neck while the jack of diamonds stands outside  a strip club on Bourbon Street summoning desperate souls.

But it wasn’t entirely dicey.  New Orleans’ irresistible character  and native nobility was—in  spite of the worn-out rehearsals of a painted lady personsa whose playbill was perpetually posted on that old streetcar named desire—despite all that hurley-burley girly exploitation, its future  hung  upon, still, the solid hopes and noble dreams of a million creole souls whose thin checkbooks and postage stamp  domiciles sheltered them from the same deluge of disaster that lapped upon the levees or bridges or subways or suburbs or cul-de-sacs of any city in the wounded, wound-up  world.  Furthermore, there was still a place there where you could hear old colored men and young, hopeful white guys and gals who had a thing or two to learn about authentic music sing   Just a Closer Walk with Thee. There’s always hope. There’s always hope for a great city.  And I told him that.

“Take this exit,” said Mick.

GlassChpic

One more note about that New Orleans: have a listen:  When the Saints Go Marchin’ In!

Glass Chimera

And that’s the way it is

February 23, 2020

The editor said if it bleeds,

it leads . . .

talkin’ bout them newsworthy stories

when journalists  were in their glory,

back in the day

before this present cranked-up fray.

Oh, but

that newsworthy rule was back in the former times,

when readers paid in nickels and dimes;

reporters had a pencil tucked o’er their ear,

and readers held our heritage dear.

Nowadays, if it provokes,

it’ll stoke

the facebook fire

and whip up tweeter ire,

as our frantically repulsing extremities

drum up crank polarities.

I hate to break it to ya

but here’s our newsworthy brouhaha:

The user who insults

gets results.

Read ‘em and weep

I said;

watch a talking video creep

instead.

Now fake news and hyped-up spin

constitute our gravest social media sin.

Meanwhile . . .

and I do mean mean,

Journalism gets lowered to the grave,

final resting place of the brave.

In this land of the free,

internet froth is mainly

what we see . . .

in this republic, if we can keep it,

‘though as we sow

we’ll surely reap it.

And that’s the way it is

in  21st-century democracy shobiz. . .

Cronkite2

(as Cronkite might have said

if Uncle Walter were not dead.)

Glass half-Full

The Senator from Minnesota

February 12, 2020

Just a few days ago,  we were walking around in Haifa, Israel. That port city is really thriving with energy and productivity.

As we strolled near the Mediterranean shore, we came upon a cable-lift, which we rode upwards to a point about halfway up Mt. Carmel, passing in the air over a cave that is traditionally called “Elijah’s cave.”

Whether in that cave, or some other, the prophet Elijah heard a “still, small voice” of divine encouragement, while he happened to be at that moment in an hour of great need of some help from above. . . or whether Elijah’s word from the Lord happened in some other cave, I don’t really know. But I do believe, like Elijah of old, in God who is watching over us daily, and encouraging us if we listen in the Spirit for that still, small voice.

Moving right along . . .

Before we hopped on that cable-lift, I noticed this sign:

HHsignHaifa

Of course I was reminded of the Senator from Minnesota. He was Vice President under Lyndon Johnson, back in the day.

You know, Humphrey got a bad deal. He might have been President. While the Democrats were trying to have a convention in 1968, their public persona was severely damaged because the heavy-handed Mayor Daley of Chicago was sending his police out in great numbers to whack the protesting kids who were trying to end the Vietnam War.

Meanwhile, behind the scenes in the other political party in ’68, the Republican nominee Nixon was tampering inappropriately with the peace talks that our diplomats were trying to conduct with the North Vietnamese in Paris.

In Chicago, Hubert was trying to establish his own peace-cultivating identity at the donkey convention. He was laboring under the duress of heavy-handed Lyndon’s invisible hand manipulating the convention to his own ends.

Long story short, Hubert got a bad deal and Nixon ended up getting the Presidency, only to be run off during his second term for sending some crooks to break into Democratic offices.

Humphrey, had he won, might have been a better President than Nixon. But some things we’ll never know, like who was behind the murder of JFK and so forth  and so on . . .

Well now we have another Senator from Minnesota who rises into the national limelight after New Hampshire, and I’m taking a close look at her candidacy. Maybe Amy will pull a Jimmy Carter on us and somehow take the White House.

Anyway, when Pat and I arrived back in USA a few days ago, having spent two weeks in the amazing country of Israel, lo and behold if we didn’t return to a situation where all hell was breaking loose and some folks are even talking about civil war between the elephants and the donkeys.

This is not good.

Now I am proud to be a political moderate, altough I have for a long time been registered as a Republican.

There are some things I like about Mr. Trump’s take-charge attitude, but generally I don’t think his Presidency is good for our country. He is too divisive, and destructive, like a bull in a china shop. And I don’t give a hoot about his damn wall. I say let ‘em in.

“Send me your tired and weary, your huddled masses yearning to be free.”

So this morning I wake up and Bernie has won the New Hampshire primary.

Well good for him and all those young people—like we were in ’68—who propelled him into this victory. But New Hampshire is his home state and this victory is a flash-in-the-pan because he is too far left, and propagating socialistic programs, to win the electorate across these here entire confederation of states that we call USA.

Therefore, in the interests of our already-great nation, I think I’ll vote for a moderate Democrat rather than take a chance on another divisitory four years with the Donald.

I’ll have to switch my party affiliation to Democrat, of course, to vote for Amy Klobuchar, but it seems to me to be the best thing we can do to keep this still-great nation from falling apart at the seams.

I’ll go with the Senator from Minnesota.

Amy Klobucher

 Think about it, although we still have a long way to go before November, and a lot of bad and good things could happen along the way. Amy’s moderate history indicates, it seems to me, that hers is a better direction than what is now tearing us apart at the seams.

Glass half-Full 

DemmieAss v. RepubliBrawn

February 9, 2020

While Republicans skate perilously closely to an imperial presidency with a chief executive whose escape from impeachment cultivates inappropriately excessive inflated hot-air hubris. . . Democrats must ask themselves if the United States of America is  really ready for a Chief Executive who is: 

a) a silver-tongued socialist?, or

b) a smooth-talkin’ gay mayor who would bring a first-man to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave?, or

c) a fem-firebrand whose hot-air pop-culture propulsion allows  no admission of real budget-balancing?, or

d) a white-privileged-Establishment guy who thinks he can waltz into the nomination without any early primary kudos because the other prospective candidates are operating on the loosey leftist fringe of lala land?

Ass v brawn

. . . and they slog cluelessly through the detritus of what used to be conscientious, responsible American guvment.

Meanwhile, hunkered-down in the flyover outback, their hulking Gross Ole Party  nemesis inflates itself with visceral followers whose clueless devotion to their intrepid bull in the china shop commander drives up the ante on an impending viral-video-driven quasi-final episode of russian-assisted rulette!

Glass Chimera

What is Fulfillment?

February 6, 2020

Isaiah set the stage for fulfillment thousands of years ago . . .

Isaiah

Among many other attributes, fulfillment means the Old . . .

IsOldJerus

. . . giving rise to the new:

Nations will come to your light,
    and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

Lift up your eyes and look about you:
    All assemble and come to you;

your sons come from afar,

    and your daughters are carried on the hip.

IsShineCity

Other visionaries catch a glimpse along the way . . .

Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’  Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel.  Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord.

EzekielYadV

But the process is indeed a long one, requiring very burdensome periods of human history. Inevitably, and predictably, the going is tough.

But our Creator has a scenario set up where adversity brings forth endurance in the worst conditions, and creativity to produce tangible evidence of forward progress. The striving to fulfill any great, worthwhile endeavor is arduous and prolonged. It is not given to any one generation to construct; nor is it given to any one people-group to fulfill.

Fulfillment of  prophecy and human destiny is distributed  over many generations of people and time.

IsStairway

Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins

and will raise up the age-old foundations;

you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,

Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

IsDamascusGat

Glass half-Full

A World-class Sacred Mountain

February 4, 2020

About 27 centuries ago, the Jewish prophet Isaiah urged his people to live righteously, according to the laws that God had delivered earlier to the prophet, Moses.

By his use of predictive prophecy, Isaiah reinforced his exhortations toward the necessity  of holy living. As his biblical message has been brought down to us through history–even to this day–actual fulfillments of Isaiah’s predictions lent credence to the legitimacy of his message.

Consider this prediction:

“And it shall be at the end of days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be firmly established at the top of the mountains, and it shall be raised above the hills, and all the nations shall stream to it.”

This prophecy of Isaiah has been fulfilled repeatedly for many centuries, and continues to be actualized every day of our 21st-century life.

In a steady stream of faces and pilgrims of all types, people from all over the world visit “the mountain of the Lord’s house” in Jerusalem.

Every day.

IsPlaza

In this large flat area, Jews from all over the world congregate to pray at their open-air synagogue, the Kotel, which is an ancient wall that retains the side of the mountain where their temple had stood in ancient times.

Christians also visit this site in great numbers. We  are welcomed every day by the Jewish people. Most Christians stroll through, gathering faithful inspiration, on their way to their own holy site nearby, in the Christian quarter of the Old City . . .

IsHSscene

where Christ was crucified almost 2000 years ago, and laid in a sepulchre, before rising from the dead on the third day after his death.

In my photo below. . .

IsPlaza1

. . .  notice the long ramp that connects the ground-level plaza to a higher location at the top of the wall. Through this stairway, the Muslims allow some visitors access, at certain times of the day, to their holy site, al-Haram al-Sharif, which happens to be the same location as the ancient Jewish temple. The Muslim shrine there, built in 692 c.e., is  known by us Christians as the Dome of the Rock. Believers of all three faiths— Jewish, Muslim and Christian— believe Abraham was led by the Eternal One up onto that high spot with his son.

In that world-famous episode, God revealed his will about ritual sacrifice; the Lord Himself provided an animal for Abraham to offer instead of his son. Muslims believe that the son was Ishmael. Jews and Christians believe it was Isaac. Whatever you believe about it, suffice it to say that the Eternal One thereby clarified once and for all: his call for sacrifice did not include any human victim.

A Christian rendering of that event is painted on a wall inside the nearby Christian Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

IsSepcIsac

This clarification from God about the offering of sacrifice took place on the mountain–called Mt. Moriah by Jews–and called al-Haram al-Sharif  by Muslims.

In our day and time, some visitors are more fortunate in the timing of their pilgrimage. At certain times of the day,  the Islamic-administered mountaintop is opened to visitors from other faiths. Christians and others may walk up the wooden-covered stairway to gain a limited access to the sacred mountaintop. Up there, they are allowed a brief access to Islam’s third-holiest site. They can amble for a while, to get a closer view of Al Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock. They can also stroll around and get a panoramic view of Jerusalem, from Mt. Scopus, toward the northeast, to Mt. Zion at the westward view.

After a brief time, they will be conducted away, back to their own quarters, by Islamic devotees, so that the followers of Mohammed may express their devotion to Allah among an exclusive gathering of the faithful.

Infidels who do not subscribe to Mohammed’s revelation are thus asked at the appointed  times to leave the mountaintop, al-Haram al-Sharif. This practice is more restrictive than what is allowed by  the Jews and Christians below.

Muslims arrive on the sacred height by other entrances, from the Muslim quarter. After being summoned by several muezzin callers who chant their calls through loudly amplified minaret towers, the Mohammedan faithful enter those two holy structures to pray.

All of this carefully controlled sharing of the sacred mountain takes place every day in Jerusalem. Thanks be to ____ that this happens peacefully.

And this Christian says, may it always be so! until ____ visits the place in a more persuasive way, and perhaps aligns us all on the same page.

Pray, pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

Back down at the lower plaza level, the Israeli administrators of this dividedly sacred mountain have posted a sign that acknowledges the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy so long ago.

IsIsaiah2

If you enjoying listening to music, you may appreciate hearing a song about this mountain. My friend David wrote and recorded it many years ago, with a little help from our friends, Danny, Donna and Jenny:

Aliyah Yerushalayim

Glass half-Full

The Story

February 1, 2020

The story goes way back.

For many, it started here . . .

IsEastGate

and ended here . . .

IsDeath

Many believe it began again here . . .

IsResu

The story was retold here. . .

AereopRoc

. . . and will arrive again by supernatural inspiration.

IsCloud

The Story goes on and on . . .

GrandView

To get a credible viewpoint , you may want to see the

Glass half-Full .