Explorations of New and Old Ideas

HELLO. I HAVE DECIDED TO RUN A COUPLE OF PREVIOUS POSTS BECAUSE THEY SEEM RELEVANT AGAIN.

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I have placed quotes in italics with citations beneath the quotes. My comments are in boldface.

 

At least twenty state legislatures have recently seen measures introduced to secede from the Union. This should be the top story on every front page and home page of every media outlet in the country. Instead, it has become so commonplace that it warrants at best a few hours of chuckles on social media platforms.

“As the dust settles in the wake of President Obama’s decisive reelection last Tuesday, the White House petition website has been flooded by a series of secession requests, with malcontents from New Jersey to North Dakota submitting petitions to allow their states to withdraw from the union.

Most of the petitions submitted thus far have come from solidly conservative states, including most of the Deep South and reliably separatist Texas. But a handful come from the heart of blue America – relatively progressive enclaves like Oregon and New York.

All told, petitions have been filed on behalf of 20 states: Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, South  Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.”

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-250_162-57548572/states-petition-to-secede-from-union/

Texas, of course, has many proponents of secession. Barry Smitherman, a candidate for attorney general, suggested this month that Texas could secede without harming itself.

“We are uniquely situated because we have energy resources, fossil and otherwise, and our own independent electrical grid,” Smitherman told World Net Daily. “Generally speaking, we have made great progress in becoming an independent nation, an ‘island nation’ if you will, and I think we want to continue down that path so that if the rest of the country falls apart, Texas can operate as a stand-alone entity with energy, food, water and roads as if we were a closed-loop system.”

 

Smitherman isn’t the first Texas official to mention the state’s future sans the rest of the union. In 2009, Republican Gov. Rick Perry said that Texans may want to secede because of their dissatisfaction with Washington politicians.”

http://redalertpolitics.com/2013/09/08/texas-politician-prepares-state-to-secede-from-union/

These politicians do not see that preparing for secession is not free speech, but rather sedition and the first step on a worrisome journey towards treason. This should be cause for legal action and certainly for removal from elected office. Any oath of office they swore had at its core a presumption of loyalty to the state and the Union to which it belongs. If they wish to secede, to withdraw from that Union, they as individuals are free to leave at any time. In fact, they should leave rather than trying to destroy this country that many have fought and made the ultimate sacrifice to sustain. To stay in office while working to break up the United States is beyond insult; it is abhorrent behavior and should not be tolerated.

The White House petition site had more than 85,000 people sign a request to allow Texas to secede.

“Texas has no right to secede. The bottom line is that any state — or confederation of states — can illegally secede from the Union. But the result, as we discovered in 1861, is Civil War.”

http://www.dallasnews.com/news/state/headlines/20121113-some-facts-and-fiction-for-texans-who-want-state-to-secede-f rom-u.s.ece

Colorado, too, has its secessionists. Most simply want to form a new state, North Colorado. They seem to be organized around their opposition to regulations on the energy industries of oil and gas. This is strongest in rural areas.

“ ‘We really feel in northern and northeastern Colorado that we are ignored — citizens’ concerns are ignored, and we truly feel disenfranchised’ Weld County Commissioner Sean Conway said.

Conway said the new laws don’t support the interests of the northern part of the state, which is rich in agricultural history.

Conway said that’s why he and others are proposing to break away from Colorado to form a new state.

‘This is not a stunt. This is a very serious deliberative discussion that’s going on,’ he said. ‘There’s a real feeling that a lot of folks who come from the urban areas don’t appreciate the contribution that many Coloradans contribute.’

Parts of Nebraska are also apparently interested in joining in on what would be a new state.”

–http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57588393/several-counties-want-to-secede-from-colorado/

Speaking about secession is not illegal. Openly working towards that end by introducing measures in state legislatures is. By any understanding, that is an attempt at a coup d’état. It should be handled as such, with the perpetrators not only removed from office but also incarcerated or worse.

We must understand what secession is and what makes it illegal.

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Here are some definitions that might be useful. All are taken from the Merriam-Webster online dictionary at :
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ .

The Merriam-Webster online dictionary provides many helpful links for your research.

Anarchy
‘a situation of confusion and wild behavior in which the people in a country, group, organization, etc., are not controlled by rules or laws”

Coup d’état
(French: “stroke of state”)
“Sudden overthrow, often violent, of an existing government by a group of conspirators. Coups are most common in countries with unstable governments and in countries with little experience of successful democracy. Their success depends on surprise and speed. Coups rarely alter a nation’s fundamental social and economic policies or significantly redistribute power. See also military government, revolution.”

Insurrection
“a usually violent attempt to take control of a government
an act or instance of revolting against civil authority or an established government”

Malfeasance
“wrongdoing or misconduct especially by a public official
legal term: illegal or dishonest activity especially by a public official or a corporation”

Rebellion
“an effort by many people to change the government or leader of a country by the use of protest or violence
open opposition toward a person or group in authority
refusal to obey rules or accept normal standards of behavior, dress, etc.
1 opposition to one in authority or dominance
2a open, armed, and usually unsuccessful defiance of or resistance to an established government
2b an instance of such defiance or resistance”

Revolution
“the usually violent attempt by many people to end the rule of one government and start a new one

a fundamental change in political organization; especially: the overthrow or renunciation of one government or ruler and the substitution of another by the governed
activity or movement designed to effect fundamental changes in the socioeconomic situation”

“In politics, fundamental, rapid, and often irreversible change in the established order. Revolution involves a radical change in government, usually accomplished through violence, that may also result in changes to the economic system, social structure, and cultural values.”

Secede
“to withdraw from an organization (as a religious communion or political party or federation)”

Secession
the act of separating from a nation or state and becoming independent
1 withdrawal into privacy or solitude : retirement
2 formal withdrawal from an organization

Sedition
“the crime of saying, writing, or doing something that encourages people to disobey their government
1 incitement of resistance to or insurrection against lawful authority”

Traitor
“a person who is not loyal to his or her own country, friends, etc. : a person who betrays a country or group of people by helping or supporting an enemy

1 one who betrays another’s trust or is false to an obligation”

Treason
“the crime of trying to overthrow your country’s government or of helping your country’s enemies during war
1 the betrayal of a trust : treachery
2 the offense of attempting by overt acts to overthrow the government of the state to which the offender owes allegiance or to kill or personally injure the sovereign or the sovereign’s family”

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Here are links to information about some of the groups advocating anarchy or attempting to control government and corporate entities. Most are from WikiPedia. I chose that source because it provides links to so many other important topics. I could never include all the information that is available related to this research. You will find your own areas of interest and WikiPedia is a good starting place. I strongly urge you to verify everything with at least three sources, preferably more. This is not a comprehensive list. It is intended to give readers a starting point to learn more and to encourage discussion.

Anonymous

“We are Anonymous. We are Legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anonymous_(group)

“Broadly speaking, Anons oppose internet censorship and control, and the majority of their actions target governments, organizations, and corporations that they accuse of censorship. Anons were early supporters of the global Occupy movement and the Arab Spring. Since 2008, a frequent subject of disagreement within Anonymous is whether members should focus on pranking and entertainment or more serious activism.

We [Anonymous] just happen to be a group of people on the internet who need—just kind of an outlet to do as we wish, that we wouldn’t be able to do in regular society. …That’s more or less the point of it. Do as you wish. … There’s a common phrase: ‘we are doing it for the lulz.’ ”

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Anonymous-Militia/215977138492110

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=du1uUIEZ0Xc
Anonymous defends itself against accusations that it was involved in Boston Marathon bombings (Note that I did a quick search and did not find any accusations. I don’t know why they felt they needed to do this, but it is interesting.)

FreedomWorks

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FreedomWorks

“FreedomWorks originated from a Koch-funded conservative political group called Citizens for a Sound Economy, which in 2004 split into Americans for Prosperity, led by President Nancy Pfotenhauer, and a remainder group which merged with Empower America and was renamed FreedomWorks, led by President and CEO Matt Kibbe. Dick Armey, Jack Kemp and C. Boyden Gray served as co-chairmen of the new organization with Bill Bennett focusing on school choice as a Senior Fellow. Empower America had been founded in 1993 by Bennett, former Secretary of HUD Jack Kemp, former Ambassador Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, and former Representative Vin Weber. In December 2006, Steve Forbes joined the FreedomWorks board of directors.

The ‘FreedomWorks’ name was derived from a common Armey saying: ‘Freedom works. Freedom is good policy and good politics.’ ”

Freemen on the Land

This group now exists on two continents.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freemen_on_the_land

“ ‘Freemen on the land’ are people who claim that all statute law is contractual, and that such law is applicable only if an individual consents to be governed by it. They believe that they can therefore declare themselves independent of government jurisdiction, holding that the only “true” law is common law, as they define it. The ‘Freeman on the land’ movement has its origins in various United States-based groups in the 1970s and 1980s, reaching Ireland and the United Kingdom soon after 2000.”

Posse Comitatus

This is one of the more disturbing groups. Its beliefs are reminiscent of those of the so-called ‘2%’ wealthy individuals and corporations in the United States: few regulations, little to no taxation, and as little federal-level government as possible (if at all).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Posse_Comitatus_(organization)

“The Posse Comitatus (from the Latin phrase meaning “force of the county”) is a loosely organized far right social movement that opposes the Federal government of the United States and believes in localism. There is no single national group, and local units are autonomous.

Posse charters were issued in 1969 in Portland, Oregon, by Henry Lamont Beach, “a retired dry cleaner and one-time member of the Silver Shirts, a Nazi-inspired organization that was established in America after Hitler took power in Germany”. William Potter Gale has been described by one expert as the founder of the movement.”

“Posse members believe that there is no legitimate form of government above that of the county level and no higher law authority than the county sheriff.”

“Many Posse members practice survivalism and played a role in the formation of the armed citizens’ militias in the 1990s. The Posse Comitatus pioneered the use of false liens and other paper terrorism.”

Sovereign Citizens

This group has origins in the Posse Comitatus. Much of their belief system is economic in nature, including a hatred of taxation.

The movement has attracted some very unsavory types. Read the ‘incidents’ section to get an idea of this.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sovereign_Citizen_Movement

“The sovereign citizen movement is a loose grouping of American litigants, commentators, and financial scheme promoters. Self-described sovereign citizens take the position that they are answerable only to common law and are not subject to any statutes or proceedings at the federal, state or municipal levels, or that they do not recognize U.S. currency and that they are “free of any legal constraints”. They especially reject most forms of taxation as illegitimate. Participants in the movement argue this concept in opposition to “federal citizens” who, they say, have unknowingly forfeited their rights by accepting some aspect of federal law.”

“The concept of a sovereign citizen originated in the Posse Comitatus movement as a teaching of Christian Identity minister William P. Gale. The concept has influenced the tax protester movement, the Christian Patriot movement, and the redemption movement—the last of which claims that the U.S. government uses its citizens as collateral against foreign debt.”

Tea Party

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tea_Party_movement

“Fox News commentator Juan Williams argues that the Tea Party movement emerged from the ‘ashes’ of Ron Paul’s 2008 presidential primary campaign. Others have argued that the Koch brothers were essential in fostering the movement. In 2013, a study published in the journal Tobacco Control concluded that organizations within the movement were connected with non-profit organizations that the tobacco industry and other corporate interests worked with and provided funding for, including groups Citizens for a Sound Economy (founded by the Koch brothers).”

“In an August 30, 2010, article in The New Yorker, Jane Mayer said that the billionaire brothers David H. Koch and Charles G. Koch and Koch Industries are providing financial and organizational support to the Tea Party movement through Americans for Prosperity, which David founded. The AFP’s ‘Hot Air Tour’ was organized to fight against taxes on carbon use and the activation of a cap and trade program. In 1984, David Koch also founded Citizens for a Sound Economy, part of which became FreedomWorks in a 2004 split, another group that organized and supports the movement. Koch Industries issued a press release stating that the Kochs have ‘no ties to and have never given money to FreedomWorks’. Former ambassador Christopher Meyer wrote in the Daily Mail that the Tea Party movement is a mix of ‘grassroots populism, professional conservative politics, and big money’, the last supplied in part by the Kochs. Mayer says that the Koch brothers’ political involvement with the Tea Party has been so secretive that she labels it ‘covert’.”

Vox Populi

Anonymous Vox Populi
commits to armed destruction of US government
“you must have weapons”

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Melanie:

Exactly!

Originally posted on Windows Toward the World:

When we live our lives as missions, we become aware that there is a home from where we are sent and to where we have to return.  We start thinking about ourselves as people who are in a faraway country to bring a message or work on a project, but only for a certain amount of time.  When the message has been delivered and the project is finished, we want to return home to give an account of our mission and to rest from our labours.

One of the most important spiritual disciplines is to develop the knowledge that the years of our lives are years “on a mission.”

emphasis mine

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Melanie:

Dancing beluga!

Originally posted on Spiritbath:

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I Hope…

Melanie:

I think this is the way spiritual exploration must proceed if we are to survive as thinking creatures.

Originally posted on Doug Does Life:

old fence

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Inspiring new work from Shelby Stephenson: The Hunger of Freedom.

Chapter 50 from Country*.

There is a part of me that finds bullying so reprehensible in any form that I have trouble not wishing bad things would happen to some of its perpetrators. A report out of Utah about school children being publicly humiliated by the cafeteria workers and school administrators because they didn’t have money in their accounts to pay for their meals is one such incident. [i]

The people, and I use that term guardedly, who did this to these children had lists of the affected children. These children could have been taken aside and told what was happening and given their milk-and-fruit-because-you-have-no-money in a separate classroom rather than having their meals yanked away in front of their friends and thrown in the trash. Their parents, many of whom did not receive any notification in the one day time between the school’s alleged sending of a notification and the date the food was discarded publicly, could have received a quick call that morning to confirm what was to be done to their children.

Essentially, the only fact that I can corroborate is that the children may or may not have had money in their accounts. At least one parent complained to the administrator and it was discovered that, as she stated, her child’s account was paid up. Whether the other children’s parents were able to pay, had forgotten to pay, or were just careless about the status of their children’s accounts is unclear to me. I did a good bit of research and could not find verification of anything.

For me, that is not the essential question.

No child, regardless of their parent’s income or attentiveness, should be publicly humiliated. This sort of bullying by school personnel is the kind that leads children to hate school. It is a highly effective way to set children on the path to school avoidance and eventual ‘dropping out.’

For me the most appalling aspect is that the children seem to have seen it for what it was. I did find multiple reports of children sharing their own lunches with the victims of the involved school personnel. Those cafeteria workers, as well as the administrators who did not publicly call them out for their uncivilized and just plain mean behavior, need the strongest reprimands placed in their permanent personnel files. It is difficult for me to be satisfied with such a simple and inadequate punishment, but I am loathe to put anyone out of work in the current economy.

An article in the Carolina Public Press about employment in North Carolina included some very interesting statistics.

While our GOP-led government, with control of both houses of the Legislature and the Governor’s office, would like us to believe that unemployment declined in 2013, the first year of their complete control of our state’s economy, the facts prove that is not the case.

In addition to a net reduction in job creation from 2012 (89,000 new positions) to 2013 (64,000)[i], the number of unemployed persons did not significantly fall. North Carolina’s unemployment rate fell due to the large number of people who gave up and left the labor market entirely.

Those of us who have been in the labor market in the last several years are familiar with one significant factor in the unemployment rate: the number of older workers displaced by the economic collapse. An article on Business Insider examines a chart from Reuters, indicating clearly that the inclusion of older workers who have given up on finding work would raise the unemployment rate in the United States from 6.7 percent to 10.8%. (Let us not agree to pretend it was a ‘Great Recession;’ it was for many, if not most, of us a devastating collapse of our financial world.)[ii]

The GOP-overwhelmed North Carolina legislature has instituted many policies that will further harm the state’s people. Among them are the more obvious focus of the new Department of Commerce chairwoman, Sharon Decker, on bringing in more large corporations by granting them the rights not to pay taxes, not to abide by local regulations, and other ‘incentives.’

Governor McCrory and his North Carolina GOP bosses receive their orders from big business through the contributions made to the GOP during the 2012 election. Whether it is wise to trust big business is certainly not an issue that is settled. Many of us have watched these companies’ wanton destruction of the United States economy with distrust at best and outrage at worst.[iii]

Moreover, the North Carolina Legislature chose to cut benefits to the unemployed, particularly the long-term unemployed, as well as turning down Medicaid expansions that would have helped those unable to afford ‘Big Pharma’s’ extraordinary gluttony for more money. With so many large drug firms in the state, there is little doubt who issued those marching orders to the North Carolina GOP.

Only time will tell how deep the damage done truly is.


[i]  http://www.carolinapublicpress.org/17542/state-unemployment-rate-hits-low-but-recovery-still-elusive

“John Quinterno, an economist with Triangle-based South by North Strategies, has been tracking the labor force issues as the state’s economy recovers. An analysis released Tuesday notes that the 64,000 jobs created in 2013 was a reduction from 2012’s 89,000 new jobs.”

“While the unemployment rate did fall sharply over the course of 2013, the number of employed persons barely changed, meaning that unemployment fell due to people leaving the labor market altogether rather than finding work,” he said. “None of the 2013 data suggests that North Carolina’s labor market has turned a corner and has moved onto a more robust, more sustainable trajectory.”

[ii] http://www.businessinsider.com/unemployment-labor-force-participation-2014-1

“Take a look at this Reuters chart via Twitter user/trader Reinman_MT. When you combine the unemployment rate with the 30 year average labor force participation rate, it shows a vastly worse employment situation (10.8% unemployment!). It’s not age-adjusted, so we can’t tell how much has to do with demographics versus the economy. It’s still a sobering chart for anyone getting too jazzed about the recovery.”

“And though Gov. Pat McCrory talked about economic development in his campaigns, his experience in that area is not deep. Decker and Lindenmuth might have lots of private business experience, but there is a world of difference in the executive suite and the public service arena, most notably the fact that public officials in North Carolina report to the people, not to boards of directors.

McCrory’s breathless enthusiasm for running government like a business is something he picked up as mayor of Charlotte, where the business community didn’t hesitate to offer him marching orders. Government needs to be efficient, to be sure, but it isn’t a business. Its main function is delivering services, not turning a profit.”

Originally posted on Words From There.:

I have learned that the Lord is willing to guide all men into obedience.  But I did not learn that at first.  Perhaps those who taught me didn’t know.  Perhaps I didn’t phrase the question correctly.  I don’t know.

But when He speaks to us, it is unmistakable.   What He says is pointedly Right and to the moment.  He guides actively, anyone who wills to listen and do.

The reason I bring this up is that many (most) rely on the Bible as their guide.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  Certainly we should know what the Bible says, from cover to cover.  But to get stuck in that and think that reading is the sum of what God has to say is foolish.  Look what the Lord said:

39 “You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that…

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My prayers for 2014 are simple, but I am almost certain they will go unanswered.

It isn’t that I believe God won’t grant them, though. I hope that my prayers follow His wishes for the future. It is we humans who won’t let them happen, who will not work together to make them happen, who brush off the difficult as impossible. Worse, there are many who do not share these tenets I learned through study and much personal reflection.

candleFirst, when I go to sleep at night, I would like to know that every person on Earth has shelter and food and is healthy. I want to know that no one is hungry, or frightened, or sick because they cannot afford those basics of life. Moreover, it is not the right of any individual or group of individuals to determine whether anyone else deserves to exist. If that person exists, we must acknowledge their humanity and its attendant fundamental rights to shelter, food, and medical care. Cost should not figure into the equation.

Second, I want every person on Earth to have meaning and purpose in their life. Whether it comes through the work they do to provide for life’s necessities or through avocations that nurture their souls, I want all people to know that they matter. Their ideas, their actions, and their existence matter. No one is unimportant. Worth is not based on how much or in what way one contributes to society. Many are incapable physically or mentally of ‘giving back.’ Yet those who cannot contribute in tangible ways actually do by their existence; they remind us that all life is sacred and that our needs are truly simple. We live, with grace, because we want everyone to live, want it badly enough to work to make it happen, and that makes us all better people.

Third, my heart longs for the day when fear doesn’t drive us to actions and thoughts that we seemingly cannot control. I want all people to feel safe in their own bodies. I want them to be judged on what Martin Luther King called ‘the content of their character.’ Lengthy lists of whom we cannot discriminate against should disappear. We should not discriminate against anyone. Rather, I would welcome the day when we no longer accept any mistreatment or shunning of someone based on race, gender, sexual orientation, age, intellectual capacity or attainment, religion or lack thereof, political views, wealth or poverty, health or sickness, or any of the myriad other characteristics by which our arrogance leads us to judge people.

Fourth, we must work together. The unwillingness to accept each other’s strengths and weaknesses has brought stagnation to humanity. If we cast aside our fears, we can learn to accept our differences. If we stand together hand-in-hand for solidarity and, when life is dangerous, back-to-back for safety, we will do more than survive. We will move forward to a future we truly want to leave to our children. Without cooperation, we will not survive.

Finally, conflict must not become war. Disagreements must be solved with words, not weapons. This lesson appears in most religions, yet we still ignore it. We teach it to our children: “Use your words, not your fists!” Still we adults ignore it. Whether we create groups of people or use existing agencies such as the United Nations, it is time to ‘give peace a chance.’

Burning Candles in Menorah

All-or-nothing thinking is a common problem in logic and rhetorical debate. It refers to thinking that sees no middle ground in an argument or person, only bipolar or extreme positions.

An example is the concept of good versus evil. Few people or situations are entirely evil or entirely good. Most are somewhere in the middle, a blend of multiple personality traits and life experiences that results in sometimes contradictory actions and beliefs in the individual.

Other examples might be seeing life as “hopeless” or “perfect,” but not including awareness that life has elements of both perceptions. This black-or-white thinking tends to use words that are opposite in meaning and excludes descriptives that represent the many shades of grey. These extreme viewpoints make compromise, perseverance, and tranquility difficult. They promulgate an extreme approach to living that can make, to use another expression, mountains out of mole hills.

When we only permit ourselves to see limited alternatives, we deny ourselves the many choices and possible solutions of more rational thought.

In logic, the creation of a false dichotomy (also called false dilemma, either-or fallacy, fallacy of false choice, fallacy of the excluded middle) is limiting to discussion. Its opposite is argument to moderation.

Sometimes the characterization of an issue as “either-or” is intentional. It distracts an opponent in an argument from seeing that other options exist. This is seen in many sound bites in media and political phrasings. For instance:

  • “If you aren’t for us, you’re against us.”
  • “Either you’re progressive or you’re conservative.”
  • “If you don’t go to church, you aren’t spiritual.”
  • “You always do that. You never listen to me.”

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