open menu: feel free to contribute, (includes Bratton & ISIS, Bomb Iran!, and US mega-drought)


The last Open Menu can be found here, with 119 comments.

A few entries that I’d like to bring are:

Bill Bratton Jumps the Shark, Says He Needs More Cops to Fight ISIS, because the Magic Word ISIS brings home the bacon every time.  The video at the link shows anti-police brutality protestors engaging in civil disobedience at a recent Public ‘Safety’ meeting.  The chairperson finally cleared the council chambers when the NYC Police Chief made his pitch:

Ironically, given what the protesters had to say, the commissioner said he had finally concluded after a year-long study that the NYPD does need more cops. At 34,000, it’s down 6,000 from his pre-911 high.

“The Department will be seeking additional officers,” Bratton said.

It was a 180 for Bratton, who last year said he didn’t need more manpower when the Council wanted to add 1,000 new officers, Kramer reported.

The commissioner was non-committal about just how many he needs, but one thing he wants is 350 more officers to fight ISIS and other terror groups.

“This is intended to address the changing face of terrorism that changed dramatically in 2014. When I appeared before you last year, the threat was primarily from al Qaeda,” Bratton said. “Certainly the ISIS threat has morphed significantly over the last year.”

The multi-million dollar question is whether Mayor Bill de Blasio will put more cops in the budget and if so, how many?

Digging back a bit in time, I found Smilin’ Billy on abcnewsISIS: 3 New York Men Arrested in Alleged Plot to Join Terror Group, Feds Say, Feb 25, 2015

The video shows exactly how a compromised, corporate-funded press is easy as pie to manipulate through fear.  Watch the scary ISIS footage, listen to the questions.  “How many are there you haven’t caught?!?

Quite exquisitely related is Margaret Kimberly’s (BAR) Media Silence on Libya, including:

“The ISIS story has been dumbed down to tired analysis about a clash of civilizations and whether or not Islam is a religion of peace. Muslims can be peaceful or warlike but the hand of American involvement and the silence about it is the real story.

Therein lies the perennial problem. This is not the first time in history that an administration directed what the media does and doesn’t report. Journalists know that they have to play ball so to speak. If they want the good gig and access to senior officials they will write only what they are told to write. They won’t stray from the script or tell any inconvenient truths like the United States spending the last nearly forty years supporting jihadists who they later end up fighting.

When the next ISIS video of immolation or beheading is released, the history of American involvement ought to be told too. But no one should hold their breath and think that the press will report on any such thing.

Related to Billy Bratton: (heh): Bratton friend’s firm to get no-bid deal from NYPD

Now remember that Bratton was chief in LA forever, cops as brutal as hell.  H e was made an ‘advisor’ in Oakland, and replaced Ray Kelly in New Yawk City.

“The department plans to sign the deal with Strategic Policy Partnerships to fulfill Bratton and Mayor Bill de Blasio’s mandate to fix community policing in the wake of the Eric Garner case.

The firm would help high-ranking officers mend community relations and enhance cadet training, among other tasks, according to a Dec. 19 notice in the City Record, the city’s official publication for procurements.

The consulting firm is run by Bratton friend Robert Wasserman. Bratton — who ran his own law enforcement consulting firm, the Bratton Group, before taking over the NYPD’s top job last January — raked in more than $53,000 while working with Wasserman on a contract with the Baltimore Police Department in 2013.”

DeBlasio, the Librul populist plus Billy B.:  De Blasio forming legal team to fight ‘frivolous’ cop suits, Jan. 31, 2015

“The city will shell out $4.5 million to hire a legal team to specifically fight “frivolous” lawsuits targeting cops, a spokesman for Mayor de Blasio said Friday.

The move came the day after The Post exclusively reported that city lawyers actually paid $5,000 to a thug who menaced cops with a machete rather take his outrageous lawsuit to court.”

So Bill Bratton erupted in rage when he read the story in the Post, and even had a bout of the Blue Flu that kept him from the day’s promotion ceremony.  Never willing to let a kerfuffle with Bratton go to waste when genuflection is in order, DeBlasio announced the new legal team.  But at the end of the article, it also says:

On Thursday, Bratton had said that an anti-terror Strategic Response Group, or SRG, would be devoted to “advanced disorder control and counterterrorism protection” — and its members would ride around in vehicles equipped with machine guns and riot gear.

But O’Neill said Friday that the special squad would only be handling terror-related activities, while a separate group will deal with protests.”

Under the category of Scary, media freakout themes is also: Iran is close to getting nukes!!!

And right on cue with the Senators (R’s, I believe) trying to derail nuke talks with that nation comes this from the Washington Post:  War with Iran is probably our best option by March 13

Joshua Muravchik is a fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute of Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies.

Endless lists of TINA, judging any deal a bad deal ahead of time, Iranians are sneaky bastards, ya know, but better than none) as per the sainted idiot Susan Rice, on and on…and ending with these gems:

“And finally, wouldn’t Iran retaliate by using its own forces or proxies to attack Americans — as it has done in Lebanon, Iraq and Saudi Arabia — with new ferocity? Probably. We could attempt to deter this by warning that we would respond by targeting other military and infrastructure facilities.

Nonetheless, we might absorb some strikes. Wrenchingly, that might be the price of averting the heavier losses that we and others would suffer in the larger Middle Eastern conflagration that is the likely outcome of Iran’s drive to the bomb. Were Iran, which is already embroiled in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and Gaza, further emboldened by becoming a “nuclear threshold state,” it would probably overreach, kindling bigger wars — with Israel, Arab states or both. The United States would probably be drawn in, just as we have been in many other wars from which we had hoped to remain aloof.Yes, there are risks to military action. But Iran’s nuclear program and vaunting ambitions have made the world a more dangerous place. Its achievement of a bomb would magnify that danger manyfold. Alas, sanctions and deals will not prevent this.”Who the hell are these people advocating War Everywhere? Bomb them into thinking OUR way, because we are Exceptional, moral, and resolute.Will Muravchick and his pals sign up to go fight for the Imperium?  Good god all-friday; they are all insane…batshit crazy, and should be committed to mental hospitals, not directing foreign policy via war-profiteering think tanks.  And boy, howdy, does he have the “unintended consequences” wrong, imo.From RT:  Mega drought: US southwest set for worst water shortage in 1,000 years.main-header,.page{display: none;} .chromeFrameOverlayContent{width: auto;}
// // // // // //, and from 2014:  CALIFORNIA: Central Valley sinks as parched farms wring water from aquifers — Friday, January 3, 2014“FIREBAUGH, Calif. — A large swath of Central Valley is sinking as farms pump groundwater in the face of searing drought, sparking a scramble for solutions as forecasts show no end to dry conditions.

So says the U.S. Geological Survey, whose research shows land near the San Joaquin River sank by nearly a foot per year from 2008 to 2010, one of the most dramatic rates ever measured in the San Joaquin Valley.Using satellite imagery, scientists identified a sinking bowl that sprawls more than 1,200 square miles and includes five towns, part of the San Joaquin River and a network of canals used for irrigation and flood control. USGS had studied the area a half-century or so ago.”CA now has enacted laws regulating the drilling and use of sub-surface  water but the laws won’t really be put into actual effect for five more years.also from NOAA on twitter:

57 responses to “open menu: feel free to contribute, (includes Bratton & ISIS, Bomb Iran!, and US mega-drought)


    Today, the finance committee of the Chicago City Council announced that it will hold a hearing on the Burge Torture Reparations Ordinance on April 14. The announcement was made at today’s finance committee meeting. Several organizers and activists were present to demand a hearing and demonstrate their support for the reparations ordinance…
    The ordinance has been stalled in the finance committee since it was filed in city council on October 16, 2013…

  2. What makes the right whale “right”?
    Same as a lampooned Tea-partier; it Floats BELLY-UP, like all their batshit insane:

  3. thanks for that news, marym. it’s hard to see how far the $20 million would stretch to *personal* compensations with all the institutional places that are included, but…perhaps the apology is almost equally important. somehow i hadn’t gotten that burge & co. had tortured for such a long time. one wonders if there may be more survivors than the hundred, as well.

    but step by step we may be heading toward some reparations and recompense (not that the deep pain, ptsd, and emotional scars will ever be truly healed.) do think of fania davis,’s ‘restorative justice’ sometimes, though, and wonder what part that could play in the healing.

  4. how interesting, bruce; i know nothing of that digger history, only the 1960’s san francisco ones. heady quotes, wiki says ‘agrarian socialist anarchists’. cool.

    egad, i only out up the noaa whale tweet for the photo, since the octopus one was cool, but a little on the creepy side. tea party floaters; i can get behind that.

    on edit: i read the wiki, and the 60’s diggers were apparently modeling themselves after the originals. thanks for the wee history lesson.

  5. So umm hello all. Wendy dear, the article about police brutality has been published. I will send to ya soon. Probably Sunday as i will have access to my sons computer – which I can use to copy, paste articles. i don’t know how on my own. LOL

    Best to you and the ever so fortunate Mr Wendy Davis. :)

  6. ‘allo, michael cavlan. we’ll look forward to it. perhaps your son could teach you how to copy/paste on yer own computer. i will say that mr. wd was giddy as a school girl when he learned to do it, and the same for learning how to check his Sent Messages. often it seems that he thinks the latter is a potential cure for any computer malady, and of course i tease him mercilessly about it. ain’t he fortunate? lololol.

    and mr. wd says: “ya better wish him happy saint paddy’s day!” tip a guinness (veritable mother’s milk, eh?) for us.

  7. Good evening people, from counterpunch and getting to be one of my favorite truth tellers…

    Truth is Our Country
    PCR was given the International Award for Excellence in Journalism. Here is a transcript of his acceptance speech at the Club De Periodistas De Mexico, March 12, 2015.

    Media covering for and being controlled by the government, bleak outlook for the internet news, reporters intimidated by the ptb, etc.

    …not knowing all that much history or being able to easily remember what I thought I learned, PCR has a genuine appearance of a politician that has reformed himself in his later years and I do trust the thrust of his sentiments.

  8. yah, people freak out that he was an under-secretary of the treasury (iirc) under reagan. odd that so many other “offishull whistleblowwers™” are given free passes later in the ‘librul’ blogopher. i know that mafr loves him.. but oy; last night mr. wd wanted me to read the same PCR piece. i was so very otherwise engaged, and am soooo behind on my reading, that i had to pass up his mike whitney rec as well.

    after a looooong day virtually blogging ABQ, i asked him politely not to give me anything else for homework. ;-)

    srsly, i’m almost finished with my piece, so i will promise to try to read it tomorrow. others may jump right ahead, so i’m glad you brought it, *nonq*.

  9. Paul Gottinger’s post at CP about Liberal Racism in Madison is worth reading if you have the time.

    There is no such thing as a “reformed politician” so beware of PCR, he sounds good but his eyes bug out way too much for my trust.

  10. ha; i always saw him as nostrils flared, exuding smoke like a dragon. perhaps not a politician, but a technocrat? still, we might read his column and decide.

    but otoh, as for ugleee!! it’s hard to click into TRNN and see chris hedges’ visage. oh wait! i forgot! i detest the man!

    as for the gottinger piece, i will read it, and add this for ‘just in case’: Wisconsin Cop Shot a Man, Got Two Weeks Paid Leave, Just Came Back To Work and Shot Someone Else

    and yes, i was gonna add it my abq apd tribunal piece, with a couple other items.

  11. This is just awful. ( Not referring to the consulate bombing specifically, but all the other stuff the article details. If you don’t have time to read the whole thing, scroll down to the letter from the Yemeni father.)

  12. in the end, it wasn’t really a long piece. yes, it’s abominable, including the execution by withheld medicines and medical treatment. i did find news just now that both russian and indian planes have taken off from cairo to airlift staff and families, and in india’s case…keralites, although i dunno who they are.

    not having any clue why the saudis and egyptians were tasked by the US and israel to bomb the hell outta the houthis to begin with, i was glad to find this piece by jeff mackler giving an historical overview from early colonial days until the present.

    his well-constructed opinion is that oh, no: it’s not anything like a holy war clash between sunnis and zaidi shiites, but *a class war* by houthis against austerity, poverty, and joblessness, and the imperialists asserting their capitalist dominance once again.

    how apt pepé escobar’s sobriquet ‘the empire of chaos’ is. goddam.

    oh, yes, ‘operation determination storm’ coalition of the Killing includes the finest tyrants ever, and mackel’s reminder of the barbaric crushing of the most recent attempt at self-liberation of the shiites in bahrain was another punch in the gut in the morning:

    “Yemen is now subject to what amounts to a full naval blockade, accompanied by almost total control of its airspace. This is enforced by 100 Saudi warplanes, supplemented by fighter jets from its “coalition partners” and U.S. “allies”—the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Jordan, Morocco, and Sudan.”

    oh, and insult to injury: not only has the US sold the sauds many billions of $s worth of military hardware and fighter planes, so has russia. now pakistan is on track to sell them more.

    on edit: the BAR newsletter came in, and i tried to make sense of ford’s ‘when the jihadists turn on their masters’ or close, but this interview was on the right side bar. haven’t watched it yet.

  13. Abdulaziz, King of the War FRONTIER! Who coulda known; Condee, baby? And who sez W was a dry drunk with no imagination? At least he initially crusaded into Iraq 2.0 under Operation Iraqi ‘Liberation’ (OIL)! His Poppy and bully Puppet Barry-0 have three Saudi ODS to their credit (Operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm and now the laughable Determination Storm). They’re becoming terminal ODS, now (love DEM acronyms)! Of course, DingleBarry also claims “Odyssey Dawn” over Hillaryous’ Libya!

    Now, ask the Yemeni Houthis.

  14. i’d thought it was ‘iraqi freedom’, but that they internally used ‘turn the desert to glass’. ish on the hillary video; almost too creepy. rivaled only by ‘it was worth it’ albright.

    ctuttle posted this one for another author, but even scanning (it’s a veritable tome), he has a bit different take, so… nope, this word doc is nine pages already, and i cannae find it. oh, well.

  15. margo schulter just emailed that babylon folks might like to made aware of the blood moon total eclipse over the US tonight, most visible in the western states. yes, indeed, although it’s going to be during the wee small hours.

  16. Wendy. I wondered why the Saudis would start this war with the Houthis so I did some research and it has to do with the US but not in the way you think.

    Back in late 2013 the Saudis rebuked the UN for not acting forcefully on removing Assad from Syria, they rejected their SC seat, and declared a new foreign policy that was a response to the US being unable or unwilling to lead interventions in the ME. They called for the creation of a Pan-Arab Army to remove Assad, counter the growing influence of Iran and confront, what at the time was called al Qaeda in the Levant, now known as the IS and al Nusra..

    Iran’s involvement with the Houthi revolt, however small, was the perfect casus bellum to further their larger goal of leading this new Arab Army that few in the region supported before this conflict. That lack of support for the new army was reversed at the Arab League meeting and there is now a plan to build this force under Saudi leadership and direction.

    The Houthis may have been an irritant on the Saudi border but they are now a tool being cleverly used by the Saudis to achieve their much larger goal of becoming the predominant Arab military power in the region.

  17. wendydavis, on the eclipse, the story is that the partial eclipse begins at 03:15 PDT (10:15 UTC) in the morning, with totality at 04:57-05:02 PDT (11:57-12:02 UTC). This will evidently be the shortest duration of totality for a total lunar eclipse in the 21st century, and there’s a bit of debate among those getting into the fine points as to whether this may actually be a very deep partial eclipse rather than a true total eclipse, depending on things like the precise shape of the Earth and its umbra or shadow. One comment suggested that while there may be some theoretical uncertainty, and also different possible definitions of whether the umbra is covering the entire Moon, there’s a 95% probability that this will indeed be total (presumably by some criteria on which people in the dialogue would agree upon).
    Maybe it’s a sign of the times when people are debating whether an eclipse will be total or partial — this is the first time I can recall such a question being raised about a lunar eclipse. Would that the climate change trends were so debatable.
    Anyway, from the maps I’ve seen so far, it looks like the western portion of the U.S.A. should have a view of totality before the Moon sets, local weather permitting — out to Colorado, at any rate.

  18. peter, i can’t parse what you’re saying, to say the truth. but i will add this from the angry arab (and it’s by way of empire burlesque) warning: confirmation bias afloat:

    “This war is also an American war: it is a gift from the US to the GCC countries who didn’t like US policies in Egypt, Syria, and Yemen. The Saudi regime is now pursuing the Israeli option: that it will now be more clearly aligned with the Israeli interests in the region and that it will also be aggressive and violent in pursuing regime interests. … On every issue in Arab politics, the Saudi regime is aligned with Israel. Make no mistake about it: Israel is the secret member of the GCC coalition bombing Yemen.

    In the 1960s, the Saudi regime ignited a war in Yemen to thwart a progressive and republican alternative to the reactionary immamate regime (and Israel supplied weapons to the Saudi side in that war). In this war, the GCC countries are supporting a corrupt and reactionary puppet regime created by Saudi Arabia and the US. Saudi Arabia never allowed Yemen to enjoy independence. It saw in itself the legitimate heir to the British imperial power in peninsula. The Houthis (with whom I share absolutely nothing) are a bunch of reactionaries but were created due to the very policies and war pursued by the Saudi regime in Yemen and their then puppet, Ali Abdullah Salih. South Yemen had the only Marxist state in the Arab wold and the experiment was sabotaged by the reactionary House of Saud.

    In all the Yemeni wars, the Saudi regime always sponsored the option that guaranteed more longevity for war and destruction. This is no exception.”

    he also quoted simon tisdall, surprisingly or not:
    “The group was radicalised by the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq. Anti-American demonstrations brought the group into conflict with the government of the then president, Ali Abdullah Saleh. In 2004, it launched a fully-fledged insurgency. The group has sporadically battled both government forces, which have been backed in recent years by US special forces and drones, and Sunni Muslim extremists belonging to al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, which set up bases in Yemen after being expelled from Afghanistan.”

    …which matches up with jeff mackler in the main. i’ve been accused many times of believing that the Empire of Chaos is at the center of the worst cavalier human devastations by war, but it’d hard not to see things that way.

    OT, but i am sincerely pissed that jeremy scahill, ‘dirty wars’ is being self-veal-penned at ‘the intercept’, and writing nothing about any of it. pffft.

    On morning edit: is this the pan-arab army piece? on the sidebar was also: ‘who are the houthis?‘ lots of different takes on the history, aren’t there? ;-)

  19. hmmmm; odd-bodkins indeed. when i rose this morning as the moon was about to set in the west, to me, it looked like a 7/8 moon or so, and triggered trying to remember how to bisect a crescent moon to see where it would set exactly.

    but i do often get up to have a wee about 3 or 4, so i will try to go and see…what i see…in my stupor. i have enjoyed seeing scorpio on the southern horizon when i light from my bed, and arcturus in the northeast to send me to sleep as it winks orange and greenish-blue.

    but yes, how odd the various discussions are, although all must agree that this is the third eclipse in the tetrad, yes? one website says that the eclipse will be total for four minutes jut as it sets, so i may see it thru the trees. ;-)

  20. Good Morning wendyedavis,

    31) That is why I said to you, Be of good courage, and if you are discouraged be encouraged in the presence of the different forms of nature.

    Saw this post today, and enjoyed reading it. Got me thinking as many things do. I am no intellectual, gospel nor religious scholar, but I was brought up in the doctrine of the rcc and my inauspicious beginning happens to coincide with the date of a noted celebration tomorrow.

  21. thank you for the chance to read it, mi amigo. i’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that even a former rcc might have an easier time grasping it than i did. but heh; when i’d seen karen’s intro asking what else the bible might have actually said given (x,y, or z) i thought of my friend in california who promotes and loves the gnostics. and there they were by the end!

    we used to email over some of these issues, as she’d been engaged off and on to mr. wd’s nephew, who is a fundie if i ever met one, and was taught at that hideous racist church in idaho somewhere, by the odious ‘pastor doug brooks’, so we tried to examine some of it. well, TMI, but tracy’s take was that for the gnostics, god was not external, but internal (or was it both?), which idea of course pleases me, as it tracks well with so many other spiritual ideologies.

    i loved that levi called out the male chauvinists, too. ;-) and a happy easter to you.

    but yes: as spring springs, we do indeed contemplate the various forms of nature, señor scapé.

  22. Brought up in, certainly not adhering to that or any particular doctrine, but still a curiosity when it comes to discussions of actual, or thought to be actual historical figures mentioned along various religious lines and humanly recorded events.

    Ah yes, levi (I recalled reading this previously, and I forget more than I remember from day to day), and similarly acknowledging the gender possesing the ability to understand (translate) the message(s) and meaning. ;^)

    Still working up to the outdoor physical work a little at a time. A wander through the woods is in the mix.

  23. some of the translation took me aback, i’ll admit, like the savior having said that non-belief (or close) was was led folks to sickness and death. eeep, part of the plan *has* to be that people die, as plants dies, the seasons turn, any or all of that. i did send the gnostics page to myself and mr. wd for further perusal…sometime. ;-)

    ach, i dunno. for now, this can stand as my credo, i reckon. at least for this week… or iris dement’s ‘let the mystery be’. yeah, i’m in ‘a place’, i s’pose.

  24. Would be entirely remiss to fail to mention the sad anniversary of Dr King’s demise.

  25. ah, nonq; i was looking at photos from the day on twitter earlier. thank you immensely for the reminder.

    yeah, i’m bummed that deray is an obama supporter, but i still check his account along with five or six others here and there. *especially* wikileaks.

  26. mr. wd began to read karen king’s essay ‘the gospel of mary magdela;, and we’ve been discussing it. i’d be remiss (ha!) not to discuss a tad of it.

    he cited a paragraph that has long bothered both of us, though in rather different contexts given our early exposures to both church and those of apparent ‘christian religious persuasion’. my hypocrisy radar began quite early, but is tangential to this paragraph, but relevant to other ones:

    “Yet these scant pages provide an intriguing glimpse into a kind of Christianity lost for almost fifteen hundred years. This astonishingly brief narrative presents a radical interpretation of Jesus’ teachings as a path to inner spiritual knowledge; it rejects his suffering and death as the path to eternal life; it exposes the erroneous view that Mary of Magdala was a prostitute for what it is-a piece of theological fiction; it presents the most straightforward and convincing argument in any early Christian writing for the legitimacy of women’s leadership; it offers a sharp critique of illegitimate power and a utopian vision of spiritual perfection; it challenges our rather romantic views about the harmony and unanimity of the first Christians; and it asks us to rethink the basis for church authority. All written in the name of a woman.”

    that is all for now, but the gnostics find ‘atonement’ invalid.

  27. With you on my very early notice of the contradictions and hypocrisy. Subtle clues like the local clergy getting through a high mass in 15 minutes to make their Sunday golf tee times. Free rounds for all clergy around the northern part of the county back in my youth. Ha! Atonement at the 19th hole.

  28. ‘subtle clues’, oh me oh my. and atonement at the 19 hole: priceless. barry mcguire:

    “hate your next door neighbors…but don’t forget to say grace”

  29. Too good not to post Snowden monument.


  30. And apropos, a virtual Snowden busts the porkers’ chops! :

  31. ho ho ho; how nice for me that i’m still on my tax break, and i can breeze right by anything ‘snowden’.

    sleep well.

  32. Sorry to be late to this chat again – I have to report that as my frozen feet attested, I did watch that eclipse and it was total – took ages to happen and I did not therefore watch it unhappen, (spent what was left of the night thawing out my feet.) I would say an eclipse is total when that spark of light that stays forever so you don’t see the three dimensional aspect winks out, and it did. The strange duration was said to be because the moon was furthest away from the earth when it occurred.

  33. Separate comment on Mary Magdalene – I’d be very disappointed if that ancient text was other than spurious. She’s a much greater personage than that, really she is. If you note the women represented in Russian iconography as the myrrhbearers, she among them is dressed in a gorgeous orange robe and is called on an icon of her “Equal to the Apostles” which is pretty high praise. Indeed she was beloved of Jesus, and it is she who first sees him Easter morning and takes the message to the rest of the disciples, who at first do not believe her.

    It’s fascinating, though, that this among many other texts were actively discussed in the early years of the church – they were not edited but rejected outright. You can read the arguments as to why that happened in the records of the ecumenical councils, and indeed there was much disagreement and a few false paths were followed early on. The standard used, however, was that of the ‘eye witness’ gospels, which were commonly in use way before any of the councils came to be.

    I have a tome that shows photographs of the earliest fragments discovered I think in Egypt, dating from the second century, of the Gospel of John. Paul, by the way, wasn’t an eye witness per se, and his writings aren’t considered the standard by which others are measured as are the four Gospels. If it doesn’t agree with them it isn’t Christianity but something else.

    I don’t know really why it would matter whether she was a prostitute or not. It was among the tax collectors and prostitutes that Jesus often dined. With fishermen and publicans as well. The Samaritan woman had had five husbands and the one she presently had wasn’t her husband, and she had the longest conversation with Jesus. Women are pretty highly regarded in these texts.

    Today is Holy Thursday in my faith. Twelve Gospel readings tonight. Happy Holy Week, all!

  34. To keep your ‘blood’ from freezing as well during the 4th such lunar eclipse of this biennium, Sept. 27-8; suggest you view the simulcast (then step out for totality, when it arrives). Then, back in to come “undone”.

  35. Oops, fergot the freedom music accompaniment:

  36. well, i saw almost the whole event, but i confess, it was nowhere near as fun as an earlier full moon eclipse that happened much earlier in the night, thus, for us: being a huge moon! and the russet color was far more noticeable.

    i dunno why it mattered whether magdala were a prostitute or not- except to her.but i did love levi callin’ out the others as chauvinists. ;-)

    i likely won’t get this right, but as mr. wd followed links within links, one of the features of gnosticism seemed to be that it was jettisoned due to their belief that faith was one thing, but a separate thing was that it was just fine to keep the debates alive, as they were healthy. but that the eventually ‘acceptable’ christians wanted certain dogma (for lack of the proper word) included in the bible. dunno if i absorbed what he told me correctly, though.

    mr. wd is a Urantia book reader, and its take is more aligned with the gnostics, if i understand correctly, most especially that jesus (whom they call ‘michael’) didn’t die for humanity’s sins. but i did put a painting of magdala in the ‘eater byne’ diary. a lovely thing it is, too.

    happy almost easter, juliania!

    mr. wd is outside sawing up some antique full 4 x 12 planks i scavenged years ago…to make me a small raised-bed garden at the foot of the two small deer-fenced gardens. he’s already hit a few snafus, but seems hell-bent on carrying on. he says some of them have begun to rot slightly, but the bed will last until we die. i quipped: “if we die soon, i assume.”

    on edit: i just went out to see how the project was going, and mr. wd was thrilled, as am i, to have discovered that the planks are not pine, but douglas fir. mmmmm, what a heady scent! and they will be that much more resilient.

  37. Yes, your Eater diary painting of Mary Magdalene is beautiful, and was the reason I posted the Creation stitchery video – a similar symbolic iconography of color, I thought.

    A question, though: Who is Levi and who are ‘the others’? The Gospel writers weren’t chauvinists, if it is they. Plenty of examples – I just gave a few. Of course, one does have to read them, so that might be an obstacle ;)

    I’ve just been gifted a wonderful exemplary Magdalene-type life and was last night reading her writings at the Orthodox wikipedia (yes, there is one.) Her name is Maria Skobtsova, and her dissertations on motherhood and sonship reminded me greatly of your diary about your son, wendye, which I will never forget for the power of it.

    Maria makes the comparison of cross and sword as they are presented “journalistically”, (especially in her era which was World War II time,) and as they are found in the four Gospels which are the foundation of Christianity:

    ‘When our journalists say “cross and sword”, they presuppose under the cross a passive endurance of suffering, and the sword appears to them a symbol of activity. But in the Gospel it is not so. In it, the cross is something voluntary – and that means actively – that it is lifted up by the Son of Man. The sword, however, delivers the blow, it cuts within the soul, which passively accepts it . . . the double-edged sword transfixing the soul of his Mother, not because she voluntarily chooses it, but because she cannot not suffer the sufferings of her Son. . .’

    This I think is writing worthy of a Magdalene. The other is not. Blessings to you all on this our great, good and holy Good Friday.

  38. ah, it came from nonquixote’s link up yonder: Mary Easter

    Chaper 9, and when i got to levi’s (levi-matthew, did mr. wd say?) counter-argument, i said that he called out the others as chauvinists.

    “1) When Mary had said this, she fell silent, since it was to this point that the Savior had spoken with her.
    2) But Andrew answered and said to the brethren, Say what you wish to say about what she has said. I at least do not believe that the Savior said this. For certainly these teachings are strange ideas.
    3) Peter answered and spoke concerning these same things.
    4) He questioned them about the Savior: Did He really speak privately with a woman and not openly to us? Are we to turn about and all listen to her? Did He prefer her to us?
    5) Then Mary wept and said to Peter, My brother Peter, what do you think? Do you think that I have thought this up myself in my heart, or that I am lying about the Savior?
    6) Levi answered and said to Peter, Peter you have always been hot tempered.
    7) Now I see you contending against the woman like the adversaries.
    8) But if the Savior made her worthy, who are you indeed to reject her? Surely the Savior knows her very well.
    9) That is why He loved her more than us. Rather let us be ashamed and put on the perfect Man, and separate as He commanded us and preach the gospel, not laying down any other rule or other law beyond what the Savior said.”

    karen king had wondered: “What kind of Christianity may have been developed if the writings by which the Bible was formed had been edited differently?” (meaning the gnostic texts included)

    i used to go to a bookstore in boulder called ‘lilith’, which turns out to be a sort of succubus whose story is in the midrash. she was apparently the first feminist, lol. but i’d just listen to some of the women at the store speaking of their fervent belief that chrisitianity stole the power of the goddesses, and the gnostic pages reminded me of it a bit, not that i remember much of their talks.

    and a good friday to you, juliania.

  39. Yes, then Mary wept, (laughed until she cried?) ;)

    Morning people, sun finally shining after about three days of rain, snow and heavy mist. At least an inch of much needed precipitation. Working small portions of the raised beds with a broad-fork technique. Again, a little at a time to attempt to regain some muscle tone. Ha!

    First inch or so of the tulips and daffodils, crocus popping through. Some greening of ground covers. Feeling blessed.

    Peace and resolve.

  40. This is important – Apache Leap in jeopardy:

  41. ‘allo, nonq. mary in a state of sartori, perhaps?

    ah, juliania; yes, i’d seen the news via a different website. insane mccrankypants and ex-senator jon kyl have done just about all they could to screw the arizona tribes, including uranium mining on the rim of the grand canyon, and more.

    will there never be an end to the indian wars? the good news is that if there’s a healthy revolution on the way, i believe that the indigenous (and especially tribal women) will have been those who’ve planted the seeds.

    (questionable images, but:)

    and thanks; sigh.

  42. Thanks for the explanation, wendye. To me all those sayings were a patchwork of actual Gospel sayings – for instance, as Jesus has his long conversation with the Samaritan woman in John’s Gospel, the following verse:

    “Just then his disciples came. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but none said, ‘What do you wish?’ or ‘Why are you talking with her?'”

    It is the tone of the narrative that makes me suspect it is not authentic rather than any of the actual messages. It just seems too wordy to have been in the mind of the Magdalene. Her encounter with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane is beautiful in its brevity and directness. They indeed understood one another there in very few words, as would be the case for a very deep relationship.

    I think it is in Luke’s Gospel that she is the woman who weeps at the feet of Jesus and anoints them with her hair – his response is to ask his host (who has mentally derided her – ‘If you knew what sort of woman this is…’ that sort of thing) – “Do you see this woman?” and thereupon gives her his acclaim for having loved much.

    She seems a bit too ordinary in the quoted conversation. She wasn’t ordinary, and Orthodoxy at least recognizes that fact, as do the Gospel writers. It is to the women who are Jesus’ companions that the angels are sent and it is in conversation with women that many of his messages are set down by the Gospel writers.

    So to me, the entirety of that Gospel preaching is the good news that women and men move back into a partnership of spiritual equality that replaces what had come before, either in the Greek world or in that of the Jews. No goddesses needed; the womenfolk in the texts stand on their own merit, equal partners in the dance. Humanity stands on its own merits through them, as well as the good earth and all living things, which suffer along with us now so grievously from all our very evident mistakes and shortcomings.

  43. yes, among the jews women were rather feared and scorned in rabbinical teachings , and oy: goddesses were *pagans*. ;-)

    you express yourself well, as always, in your final paragraph.just for fun, i’d looked up some o what the urantia book chronicles in the way of christ michael and women, and it tallies with your take in many respects in *his time* and the apostles time, but notes that past that time, his messages were forgotten.

    “The apostles were at first shocked by, but early became accustomed to, Jesus’ treatment of women; he made it very clear to them that women were to be accorded equal rights with men in the kingdom. ~ The Urantia Book, (138:8.11)

    The apostles never ceased to be shocked by Jesus’ willingness to talk with women, women of questionable character, even immoral women. It was very difficult for Jesus to teach his apostles that women, even so-called immoral women, have souls which can choose God as their Father, thereby becoming daughters of God and candidates for life everlasting. Even nineteen centuries later many show the same unwillingness to grasp the Master’s teachings. ~ The Urantia Book, (143:5.11)” and

    “In one generation Jesus lifted women out of the disrespectful oblivion and the slavish drudgery of the ages. And it is the one shameful thing about the religion that presumed to take Jesus’ name that it lacked the moral courage to follow this noble example in its subsequent attitude toward women. ~ The Urantia Book, (149:2.9)”

    and i realize that you may disagree with it entirely, but some of this actually has tweaked my curiosity. the sword and the cross? a bit too out of my ken.

    the book’s section on “the tomb” was interesting mainly for what it said the authors *didn’t know*, and that list was long, iirc. and just for fun, i’ll add that even the uranita book readers have split into two supporting organizations, with some of the disputes we see so very often when churches split (as they do here so very often.) in fact, we have a new catholic church four doors up our road. ;-) i’d bet our valley has more churches per capita than any place in the usa.

  44. oh, and on late night fdl last night, ctuttle said, and i quote even his punctuation:

    “We are moving to new digs in the very near future, and, with a whole new format, homer…! ;-)”

    Sat. morning edit: here ya go, ww; i reckon you’ll like this:

  45. Thank you for a fine conversation, wendye. It is very true that many who thought they were following in Jesus’ footsteps preferred the custom of the day, which was to ‘keep women in their place’ but they did so in spite of the Gospel teachings, not because of them. We know of only one writing that Jesus did, and that was his writing in the sand which my teacher expounded upon in the speech I gave you in my ‘Into Light’ series, and that had as its final icon the woman taken in adultery and how she was addressed. I have seen much commentary that this passage from John’s Gospel has often been omitted from the canon exactly for the reasons your Urantia scholars give – that to have accorded such respect even for a fallen woman was too much for some church leaderships to swallow.

    But not my church – not my church! We are really in agreement on this important matter, only I will disagree with the claim that the apostles did not follow Jesus teaching on this – John most certainly did, and it is he to whom final words from the Cross are spoken – “Woman, behold thy son” and “Son, behold thy mother” and he took her into his own home. There is even a house in Ephesus said to be by tradition where John and his Mother lived when the church was established there. (And by the way, in those early days, churches were in homes and often the women were deaconesses, participating fully in the rites of the service.)

    I know you will love the dissertation on the sword and the cross – it comes from Mother Maria’s seeing a military graveyard in which there are crosses over the dead that were fashioned out of swords plunged into the earth – her reflection on this is so anti-war and so of this our time that I want to present her insights in another piece, if I may, at some point. It would follow on from my maori war reflections. She refers to ‘the double-edged sword’ which is the allegorical sword that pierces the heart of the Mother as she stands at the foot of the cross. The importance of the Mother, not just the Son, and the love between them, that is her message.

    I only read about her life yesterday, Good Friday, a little bio online. She and her son and two others were giving baptismal certificates to the Parisian Jews terrified of incarceration in the German camps. Her son was discovered to have one of the letters asking for this help, so the four who ran her mission were taken. And as I am reading this, I come to the day they sent her to the gas chamber –

    Good Friday.

  46. Many thanks for the video, wendye! My goodness, what a crowd of crosses! In my chapel this morning, it being Holy Saturday, the still point of the cycle, I was thinking what a wonderful day this is to plant all the little potato ‘chitlings’ I have been cutting off my eagerly sprouting potatoes, to get them into the ground today. I do have a good bunch of plants coming up from the ones I put in last fall under leaves – not all of them but some anyway, so these will fill out the bed. Loved your Mr.’s efforts on garden boxes for you to last a lifetime – yes, indeed! My white lilacs are crowding in over the front gate to obliterate the view of Los Alamos as forcefully as only flowers can deliver that message – they would climb in my kitchen window if they could! (I would pick some, but they don’t last as long that way.)

    And you know, the silken piece so much resembles a stained glass window hanging down the side corner in my chapel; it’s beautiful – I do love it!

  47. in a morbid way, how fitting that they murdered her on good friday.

    absolutely feel free to write it, and i do like the imagery, although in general, as you know, i’m not overly keen on religious themes, being an apatheist and all. but as ever, i hope more folks will comment and discuss. parenthetically, i’ve sent out a few invitations for folks to come here now that my.fdl seems so iffy, knowing full well that people want to post and/or comment at a place with an immensely larger megaphone.

    i only have a few minutes just now, as i spent the morning baking a Very Large pumpkin pie for mr. wd for our anniversary tomorrow, and he’s due back from cortez any minute with groceries, and that leads to…more and more chores.

    but i did want to correct my goofball brain’s use of the term ‘goddesses’, when i’d meant to say ‘priestesses’, and more influential, thus powerful, pre-christianity. but that’s about as far as i can go with that subject in my ignorance.

    i do know that many justifications have been made for the reasons that women cannot be priests in the catholic and orthodox churches, and that may or may not ever change, but i’d think that it would be good, if the hierarchy sincerely believes that women are ‘spiritually’ equal.

    for now, in error i sent a rather jesus-centric link above, but the citations should hold, i’d guess. (; what an hubristic name, eh?)

    but may i laugh and say: Wot? you’re going to argue with a book that was written by celestial beings???

    the four sections (and see? i’d only remembered three) are:

    Four Parts of the Book
    • The Central and Superuniverses
    • The Local Universe
    • The History of Urantia
    • The Life and Teachings of Jesus

    more as i can manage it. or life can manage me…or something or other. ;-)

  48. the silky shawl would indeed create a stained glass effect; brilliant of you to think of it. and i envy you your lilacs, pear, and other fruit trees in your yard. our apples started blossoming yesterday, and i confess i fear that it’s so early that it’ll be another year without fruit.

    i’m totally stymied as to how to pace starting seedlings in the greenhouse, given that for the past two years the last freeze came so early. when to plant bulbs and tubers is also confusing.

    the raised bed is lookin’ good, but we decided to amend the plans, and make it a bit shorter after i met the first two courses of 4 x 12s in person.

    seriously, they’re not my urantia authors; mr. wd is ‘the reader’ of the book, although in the late 60s i went to a few classes about it. i’m as skeptical about it as i am about the bible, really. but the book does go into such detail about the organization of the universe, the various spirit beings, how many ‘sons of man’ there’ve been, etc., that it’s pretty impressive. i do like the idea of the ‘thought adjustor’ they say each of us has, a bit of the creator beside us, if only we would take heed.

    it does seem that ‘what christ wrote in the sand’ is a very personal and hotly debated topic, but sadly i’ve forgotten what your teacher said on the subject. but then, i forget almost everything a day later. ;-)

    happy easter. and oh, mr. wd brought home a gorgeous easter lily yesterday: on sale from $12 to $2. he reckoned we were worth that much.

  49. Happy anniversary, wendye and Mr. !

    No worries on the piece I had in mind – I want to do more research, so it might be a year or two ;) The lady in question was a most un-orthodox Orthodox nun, helped me to understand where those women who made a disturbance in the Moscow church were coming from – was it ‘pussy riot’? That she was accorded sainthood over many objections was controversial, but as she herself remarked, she was considered too leftist by her church peers and too churchist by leftists. I can identify with that!

    I hope you have had a wonderful day.

  50. i wasn’t worried about the piece per se, juliania. i was just trying (rather artlessly) to convey that i sometimes feel obliged to comment on other peoples’ diaries here even while i’m trying to write something, or take care of real life, whose chores i manage at a snail’s pace these days. write it when you’re ready, please.

    yes, pussy riot. i remember a photo of them harassing putin on the tarmac of an airport at which he’d just landed. and i believe i remember that he was reported to put one or more of them in jail. i saw a headline a year or so ago that they had broken up, whatever that entailed, and some of the originals were replaced by…i have no idea.

    well, if a nun/saint helped you grok pussy riot, she must have been a pip! ;-)

    and yes, we had a nice, quiet day yesterday. bit we sure wish it would rain.

  51. Indeed I join you on the rain thing. We have had more wildflowers this spring but it’s drier and hotter now, so things are not as they should be.

    I think Mother Maria would see Pussy Riot as the modern equivalent of the “Holy Fools” that were prevalent in Russia’s history. These were people who seemed, and sometimes were, quite mad, who disrupted the church services and went about the villages vociferously accusing all and sundry, priests and people alike, while themselves living very hard lives. These were also often accorded sainthood because they upset the status quo which needed to be constantly reminded that piety and the trappings of piety could become chains of self-glorification. She did a lot of the same thing herself, and was very contemptuous of the aesthetic side of church life, I think in imitation of the holy fools.

  52. hmmm; there is a tarot card called the fool, and the card connotes wisdom and vision demonstrated with jests and lightheartedness, iirc femen, the activists who challenge the global plutocrats bare-breasted are of the same sort, although i dunno what pussy riot’s message was, sad to say. they did make a video of a song called “i can’t breathe” in memory of eric garner, but somehow i missed listening to it.

    did you type ‘aesthetic’ and mean ‘ascetic’, perhaps?

  53. This is just a belated report on the brief total lunar eclipse of April 4, which I did manage to watch with 15×70 binoculars from my bedroom window.

    A couple of things were less favorable than for previous lunar eclipses. First, as I was fairly warned when I looked up the Moon’s declination on my astronomical calendar, the Moon was quite high, although I hoped that by 4:00 a.m. PDT or so (leftcoast U.S.A. time) it might be lower. Also, I was dealing with some kind of cold or flu that I’m still trying to get beyond. although I had enough energy to get up for the event.

    As I learned, by leaning back in bed just right, I could frame the Moon within my window, fortunately of high-quality glass, so that not only binoculars but lower telescopic magnifications are fine (although temperature inequalities can have effects for higher telescopic magnifications!). As it was, I was definitely viewing through that glass at a very shallow angle, but the Moon was visible enough.

    What struck me as the partial eclipse advanced was that the Moon seemed much more gray than red or brown, as in some previous eclipses. This was uniquely beautiful in its own way.

    As the expected period of totality drew near, I could see what seemed to be a total eclipse: a brighter gray near the last area to be clearly illumined, but no highlights of the kind I associate with a partial eclipse. There had been a bit of banter on the Web about whether this was really going to be a “true” total eclipse, or just a very close partial; I would cast my vote for totality as what I saw, an unscientific judgment, of course.

    About at the point where totality should have ended, the Moon was becoming less and less accessible to my frame of view: fortunately, I had been able to recline at an apt angle to follow totality and its prelude without causing myself undo muscle strain or the like (not something I would have welcomed while also dealing with a cold).

    So at this point, I decided to call it a night. The gray color of the Moon leading up to and during totality made this eclipse very distinctive, however much either atmospheric conditions, the astronomical line-up of Earth, Sun, and Moon, or the optics of my window viewing may have contributed to this effect.

  54. thanks for the report, margo schulter, and i sure hope your cold goes away. mr. wd is convinced that cold ease zinc lozenges help him. and olbas oil topical oil if he does get a cold.

  55. No, meant aesthetic as in ‘beauty will save the world.’ Russia is currently going overboard on the concept in renovating churches in my opinion, indeed they are beautiful but maybe too opulently so. I’ve always thought the beauty is and was in early iconography and development of the music which pervades any service. A little less gold leaf is a good thing, especially if you can’t afford it.

    I don’t really know pussyriot’s intent or ideology, which may be far from that of a holy fool. I didn’t see a connection until I read Mother Maria.

    • good-o, then, ww. i’d almost emailed you to make sure you hadn’t fallen off the map, but you know me and email… it seemed so long since i finally reread your counterpunch piece on body cameras, and responded (on some post or another) ;-)

      when you wrote “piety and the trappings of piety could become chains of self-glorification”, i thought of the folks who would scourge themselves, wear hair shirts, etc.

      yep, it’s long bothered me to see all the gold and jewels both in churches and on the bodies of the church hierarchy while people went hungry. but some folks say that parishoners like it that way, who knows if its so?

      i’ll take a peek at the rt piece when i can. mr. wd said he’d read both escobar’s piece and a companion from mike whitney, and was jerked into a heavy contemplative place. seeing finland in the title: the party in finland that won the recent election, and the party with which they might join to form a government both campaigned on getting out of nato. tsipris had as well, but i haven’t read much on that situation either. many posit that a grexit would include exiting nato as well.

      yeah, the balance is tipping, isn’t it?

  56. Another open subject:

    This short opinion piece goes with discussions about a new world order (as we work on a new order for the nation):

    Goes with Pepe Escobar’s Tuesday piece about the Brics, especially his last wonderings as to how China and Russia are going to swing their pivot. The people are watching and having their say.

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