“Religion can never reform mankind because religion is slavery. It is far better to be free, to leave the forts and barricades of fear, to stand erect and face the future with a smile. It is far better to give yourself sometimes to negligence, to drift with wave and tide, with the blind force of the world, to think and dream, to forget the chains and limitations of the breathing life, to forget purpose and object, to lounge in the picture gallery of the brain, to feel once more the clasps and kisses of the past, to bring life’s morning back, to see again the forms and faces of the dead, to paint fair pictures for the coming years, to forget all Gods, their promises and threats, to feel within your veins life’s joyous stream and hear the martial music, the rhythmic beating of your fearless heart. And then to rouse yourself to do all useful things, to reach with thought and deed the ideal in your brain, to give your fancies wing, that they, like chemist bees, may find art’s nectar in the weeds of common things, to look with trained and steady eyes for facts, to find the subtle threads that join the distant with the now, to increase knowledge, to take burdens from the weak, to develop the brain, to defend the right, to make a palace for the soul. This is real religion. This is real worship”

Robert Green Ingersoll

courtesy of the Centre of Applied Jungian Studies

It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.

Upton Sinclair

PS: If you’ve not seen “There Will Be Blood” – you should. The world will make a lot more sense to you when you do ~ G

Did The Lord Say To Be A Greedy A$$hole?

contributor Lee Camp

Are being rich and Christian mutually exclusive?  I did the research so you wouldn’t have to.  I’m not usually into Bible quotes, but you have to hear these!

For Samuel

The War Prayer
by Mark Twain
It was a time of exalting excitement.
The country was up in arms,
the war was on,
in every breast
burned the holy fire of patriotism;
the drums were playing,
the toy pistols popping,
the bunched firecrackers
hissing and spluttering;
on every hand and far down
the receding and fading spread
of roofs and balconies
a fluttering wilderness of flags
flashed in the sun;
daily the young volunteers marched
down the wide avenue
gay and fine in their new uniforms,
the proud fathers and mothers
and sisters and sweethearts
cheering them with voices
choked with happy emotion
as they swung by;
nightly the packed mass meetings
listened, panting, to patriot oratory
which stirred the deepest deeps
of their hearts
and which they interrupted
at the briefest intervals
with cyclones of applause,
the tears running down their cheeks
the while;
in the churches the pastors preached
devotion to flag and country
and invoked the God of Battles,
beseeching His aid in our good cause
in outpouring of fervid eloquence
which moved every listener.
It was indeed a glad and gracious time,
and the half-dozen rash spirits
that ventured to disapprove of the war
and cast a doubt upon its righteousness
straightway got such a stern
and angry warning
that for their personal safety’s sake
they quickly shrank out of sight
and offended no more in that way.
Sunday morning came –
next day the battalions would leave
for the front’
the church was filled;
the volunteers were there,
their young faces
alight with martial dreams –
visions of stern advance,
the gathering momentum,
the rushing charge, the flashing sabers,
the flight of the foe, the tumult,
the enveloping smoke, the fierce pursuit,
the surrender! –
then home from the war,
bronzed heroes, welcomed, adored,
submerged in golden seas of glory!
With the volunteers sat their dear ones,
proud, happy, and envied
by the neighbors and friends
who had no sons and brothers
to send forth to the field of honor,
there to win for the flag or failing,
die the noblest of noble deaths.
The service proceeded; a war chapter
from the Old Testament was read;
the first prayer was said;
it was followed by an organ burst
that shook the building,
and with one impulse the house rose,
with glowing eyes and beating hearts,
and poured out
that tremendous invocation –
 
God the all-terrible!
Thou who ordainest,
Thunder thy clarion
and lightening thy sword!
Then came the “long” prayer.
None could remember the like of it
for passionate pleading
and moving and beautiful language.
The burden of its supplication was
that an ever-merciful and benignant
Father of us all would watch over
our noble young soldiers
and aid, comfort, and encourage them
in their patriotic work;
bless them, shield them in the day
of battle and the hour of peril,
bear them in His mighty hand,
make them strong and confident,
invincible in the bloody onset;
help them to crush the foe,
grant to them
and to their flag and country
imperishable honor and glory –
An aged stranger entered and moved
with slow and noiseless step
up the main aisle,
his eyes fixed upon the minister,
his long body clothed in a robe
that reached to his feet, his head bare,
his white hair descending
in a frothy cataract to his shoulders,
his seamy face unnaturally pale,
pale even to ghastliness.
With all eyes following him
and wondering,
he made his silent way;
without pausing, he ascended
to the preacher’s side
and stood there, waiting.
With shut lids the preacher,
unconscious of his presence,
continued his prayer,
and at last finished it with the words,
uttered in fervent appeal,
“Bless our arms,
grant us the victory.
O Lord our God,
Father and Protector
of our land and flag!”
The stranger touched his arm,
motioned for him to step aside –
which the startled minister did –
and took his place.
During some moments
he surveyed the spellbound audience
with solemn eyes in which burned
an uncanny light;
then in a deep voice he said:
“I come from the Throne –
bearing a message from Almighty God!”
The words smote the house with a shock;
if the stranger perceived it
he gave no attention.
“He has heard the prayer
of His servant your shepherd
and will grant it
if such shall be your desire
after I, His messenger,
shall have explained to you its import –
that is to say, its full import.
For it is like unto
many of the prayers of men,
in that it asks for more
than he who utters it is aware of –
except he pause and think.
“God’s servant and yours
has prayed his prayer.
Has he paused and taken thought?
Is it one prayer?
No, it is two –
one uttered, the other not.
Both have reached the ear
of Him Who heareth all supplications,
the spoken and the unspoken.
Ponder this – keep it in mind.
And ignorantly and unthinkingly?
God grant that it was so!
You heard these words:
‘Grant us the victory,
O Lord our God!’
That is sufficient.
The whole of the uttered prayer
is compact into those pregnant words.
Elaborations were not necessary.
When you have prayed for victory
you have prayed for
many unmentioned results
which follow victory – must follow it,
cannot help but follow it.
Upon the listening spirit
of God the Father fell also
the unspoken part of the prayer.
He commandeth me
to put it into words.
LISTEN!

“O Lord our Father,
our young patriots,
idols of our hearts,
go forth to battle –
be Thou near them!
With them in spirit,
we also go forth
from the sweet peace
of our beloved firesides
to smite the foe.

 

O Lord our God,
help us
to tear their soldiers
to bloody shreds
with our shells;
help us
to cover their smiling fields
with the pale forms
of their patriot dead;
help us
to drown the thunder
of the guns
with the shrieks
of their wounded,
writhing in pain;
help us
to lay waste
their humble homes
with a hurricane of fire;
help us
to wring the hearts
of their unoffending widows
with unavailing grief,
help us
to turn them out roofless
with their little children
to wander unfriended
the wastes
of their desolated land
in rags and hunger
and thirst,
sports of the sun flames
of summer
and the icy winds
of winter,
broken in spirit,
worn with travail,
imploring Thee
for the refuge of the grave
and denied it –
for our sakes
who adore Thee, Lord,
blast their hopes,
blight their lives,
protract their bitter pilgrimage,
make heavy their steps,
water their way with tears,
stain the white snow
with the blood
of their wounded feet!
We ask it,
in the spirit of love,
of Him Who is the Source of Love,
and Who is the ever-faithful
refuge and friend
of all that are sore beset
and seek His aid
with humble and contrite hearts.
AMEN.”


After a pause:
“Ye have prayed it;
if ye still desire it,
speak!
The messenger of the
Most High waits.”

 

It was believed afterward
that the man was a lunatic,
because there was no sense
in what he said.

~~~

To Dan Beard, who dropped in to see him, Clemens read the “War Prayer,” stating that he had read it to his daughter Jean, and others, who had told him he must not print it, for it would be regarded as sacrilege.
“Still, you are going to publish it, are you not?”
Clemens, pacing up and down the room in his dressing-gown and slippers, shook his head.
“No,” he said, “I have told the whole truth in that, and only dead men can tell the truth in this world.
It can be published after I am dead.”
~ from Mark Twain, A Biography by Albert Bigelow Paine, 1912
 

Mitch Daniels Not Running for Captain of the Titanic

 

Aside from the recent news from Washington that The Health and Human Services Department rejected changes in Indiana’s Medicaid plan Wednesday, saying it illegally bans funding for Planned Parenthood, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels has also made headlines by stating he will not be running for the White House next year.

Good news for women on both counts…but I’m not getting too excited, Hoosier ladies…he is still in office, can still pander to the Right and can still touch stuff.

What caught my eye recently were statements he made regarding his decision not to run in 2012.  Specifically, in regards to the economy; something Mitch should know something about as former Budget Director for the Bush White House.  This also means he’s familiar with changing the story when it suits PR.

My question is if he’s not running and can’t seek re-election here in Indiana, these recent statements and pandering are all for what, exactly?

In a recent piece of commentary in my blessedly local county paper; respect for Gov. Daniels shines through as well as disappointment for Mitch not taking that ‘road untraveled’ to the White House.  I myself have much more relief than disappointment.

After doing a lot of research about the current Gov. Daniel’s time in the former Bush White House, I wasn’t surprised to find myself looking directly at yet another inconsistency in his statements.  Seems I can’t even escape fact checking over morning coffee with a weekly suburban paper.  One of Daniels’ statements makes me scratch my head as to what on earth he’s planning to do next because I don’t trust the man as far as I could throw him.  I don’t care how cool his motorcycle is.

This isn’t about why he said he wouldn’t run;  this is obvious from his statements about his family, which (aside from his Planned Parenthood decision) most find noble. But it was the statements about our national economic crisis that continue to leave me questioning his logic. The same logic of wanting a “truce on divisive social issues” to focus on the financial challenge that “threatens us all” yet Indiana women got no such ‘truce’ when he pandered to the Right (breaking federal law) and never planned to run for the White House?

You have to wonder.

In regards to not seeking a White House run, Daniels’ stated, “The answer is that I will not be a candidate. What could have been a complicated decision was in the end very simple: on matters affecting us all, our family constitution gives a veto to the women’s caucus, and there is no override provision.” [Mitch is the only male in his family unit. Many Indiana women are curious if the decision about Planned Parenthood was discussed with that mini-caucus.] “Simply put, I find myself caught between two duties. I love my country; I love my family more.”

Daniels continues, “I am deeply concerned, for the first time in my life, about the future of our Republic.” Speaking at an Indiana Education Roundtable meeting at IUPUI, Daniels said, “This nation is facing what the president’s own Deficit Commission Chairman says is the most predictable crisis in history and we’re not doing anything about it. And that’s why I thought about it [running] at all.”

Here is the part where I explain why that particular statement made coffee come out of my nose.

After the 2003 Bush Administration budget release, Mitch Daniels went to Capitol Hill to testify and put on the most ridiculous display of his tenure, refusing to admit the role of the tax cut in the country’s fiscal deterioration. When Senator Kent Conrad, D-ND, asked Daniels about the deficit during a Senate Budget Committee hearing on February 5, 2003, the OMB director simply denied the role of the 2001 legislation, claiming that “it simply is not true that any policy, let alone the tax cuts, is responsible for the deficit we’re facing today.” Conrad incredulously asked, “The tax cuts have no part of the deficits going forward?” Daniels denied he meant this, but when Conrad said, “I am talking about the ten years of this budget window. The tax cuts have played a major role in the return to deficits and burgeoning debt,” Daniels’ reply was “Well, sir, your comment moves me to use a four letter word: bunk,” to which he later added, “The only deficit we know about is the deficit we’re experiencing right now, perhaps the deficit for next year. Let’s be a little humble about what we can and cannot see going forward.”

 

So now Mitch is deeply concerned about the “most predictable crisis in history”? The hubris was at full speed when the Titanic slammed into the iceberg. Mitch has to see the folly of fighting for that public spot at the Captian’s table, especially since he helped provide the fuel for the ‘full steam ahead’ Bush tax cut policy…the one that has continued to this day.  I’m sure he’s deeply concerned that many of the passengers aboard know just how predictable this part of the crisis was.  Add throwing the ‘national’ female caucus overboard by breaking his own ‘truce’ during such a colossal economic disaster – and ‘humble guy on motorcycle’ really doesn’t fly.

It’s certainly not the first time for many of us ‘out here’ to be deeply concerned. Media is just one aspect of my concern for the Republic. I’m glad Mitch is not running; for whatever reason it is he tells the short-attention-span press, his family or the public. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what the Gov. has up his sleeve next that made him pander to the Right. A cushy corporate job promised? Perhaps a lobbyist? Or could it have been as simple as a dig at the current administration?

I’d like to suggest a new line of work for the future ‘former’ Governor – something socially harmless, like motorcycle sales. Time to earn those cool points back, Mitch.

The last thing the Republic needs while taking on water is to watch ‘yes men’rearranging deck chairs, pandering to religious zealots, worried only about keeping their political careers afloat while praying on their knees that the ‘too big to fail’ ship really isn’t sinking, but sucking up to the shortsighted assholes that built the thing to fail without regulations in place to prevent it. But who needs regulations when you can kiss some ass to get room on the best lifeboats, right?

Most predictable crisis in history, indeed. And there are other icebergs not being discussed that led to this – but the important thing to know is how to get through it. Molly Brown would have been wise enough to see why Wall Street, Big Banks, Congress, politicians, even the President won’t warn the public. It’s because they don’t have enough lifeboats. They are ill-prepared to deal with a panicked Republic tugging at them for safety. They are in ‘save yourself’ mode.

Which is where we all have to be. We are all going to have to build our own lifeboats, in our states and local communities. If the heart and soul of the Republic is going to make it, we have to focus on our local elections more than ever, grow our own food, know our local farmers, community organizations, banks, police, firefighters and our neighbors. The world is about to get a whole lot smaller and a whole lot simpler. I can’t think of too many people who think that’s a bad thing at all.

Does Mitch have some plan for Indiana that reflects his deep concerns? I don’t know and don’t care because he was not concerned about the national economy a decade ago or my health in this current failed economic decade. So I’m not one for waiting around in chest high water for some guy in the engine room, or Captain Obama himself to tell me I need a lifeboat. I’m happy to report that there are many of us who saw the damn iceberg and are far away from the sinking ship.

The Refreshment Center is transitioning in our lifeboat and connecting with others who are doing the same all over the country and around the world. Make no mistake, this is a global economic crisis – the Republic isn’t alone but it is waking up and catching up with the rest of the world now. And we’re finding we want the same things.

Democracy, accountability, sustainability and peaceful community.

We’ve got a lot of work to do.

Got Lifeboat?

_________________________________________________________________________
What happens next is up to all of us. You can help The Refreshment Center get the word out by donating during our June ‘angel donor’ fund drive – where all donations are DOUBLED through June 29th to launch the The Refreshment Center – Transition News You Can Use radio station on the web. We’re all in this together, let’s prepare, prepare, prepare!