“Scapegoat Theory”; Evangelism; Enough!

Vietnam era helicopter, Harrod, Ohio …photo by Joe

Catching up on the last month…

I was interviewed by a newspaper reporter in Defiance, Ohio, who is a member of the international group: “Colloquium on Violence and Religion.” The essence of this, the reporter said, is that the founder, Rene Girard, holds to, among other things, a: “scapegoat theory.” Scapegoating is used by, say, a country to demonize another country — so the country going to war against the other doesn’t have to look at it’s own, often glaring, faults. I told the reporter that our position paper on Terrorism cites famous author/monk Thomas Merton, who held the same theory. During a graduate Law Class I sat in on at Notre Dame University, during a campaign swing through the Midwest several years ago, I noted that America got nuts when Hussein gassed the Kurds. And, indeed, that was unconscionable. Yet, conversely, America is “gassing the world” with its exorbitant carbon emissions, which is leading to super-charged hurricanes, more drought, more famine. (There was an uncomfortable silence in the room for a few moments.) Our administration would look at this through clear eyes, or at least a lot clearer than its been looked at previously… I approached a table in McDonald’s here on a Wednesday night. Six people were sitting with their heads all bowed in prayer. When they finished, I asked. They are part of Good Shepherd Community Church, this was the Evangelism Team, and they were meeting in public because, well, this is the “Evangelism Team,” and they were maximizing their chances of interfacing with others. Had they inter-faced with anyone this night? I asked. No, except of course, they smiled, for me. Well, I said: “Why don’t we just multiply this a bit.” I then interviewed them about their team and a front-page story ran the next week. Amazing how God works! Note: Just above their story, there was an article I wrote about the rather famous “Great 1934 Onion Strike.” After a rather large marsh was drained here, leaving rich soil. People came from a tri-state area to labor in the marsh onion fields during the Great Depression. At one point, the laborers went on strike for higher pay. There was violence around people breaking the picket line. And more violence (beatings, knifings, shootings…) throughout the town in general. Then the mayor’s house was bombed — and that was enough. A vigilante group of 500 local men formed, swept into the town, and, basically, said enough was enough. The strike ended.

…a Consistent Life Ethic

Catching up on the last month, or so… During this time, I decided to vie for the presidential candidate nomination with the American Solidarity Party. The party is in “solidarity” with the unborn, with the poor, with the struggling immigrant, with traditional families, with a healthy economy, with a green environment. In other words, whether it’s life issues, family issues, environmental stewardship issues, help for the poor… the party is in line, across the board, with the Gospel message. And it embodies what is referred to as a: “Consistent Life Ethic.”

Nationalizing ‘Walmart syndrome’ banks

The Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) of 2008, essentially, nationalized the banks, because the $700 billion infusion from the federal government came with strings attached. The initial intent of this was to purchase toxic assets and equity from financial institutions to strengthen, as a whole, the financial sector. It was done hastily in the wake of Lehman Brothers going bankrupt, so there wasn’t a cascading effect with other banks at the time. In turn, Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform & Consumer Protection followed shortly after. However, what we continue to see on the front end, is the larger banks buying up more and more of the smaller banks, creating, in essence, another Walmart syndrome with the banking institutions. Note: If there was any stimulus at this point, it should be debt free/no strings attached stimulus money to local banks and credit unions to stimulate lending, within the context of a “Main Street Market Economy.”

Are we all living in East Palestine?

vnexplorer.net photo

In the wake of the catastrophic train derailment at East Palestine last week, I wrote a newspaper column that asked a question that, well, no one seems to be asking: WHY ARE WE USING THESE TOXIC CHEMICALS IN THE FIRST PLACE?! I mean, we have the technological smarts to send spacecraft to Mars, but we can’t come up with, say, paint that doesn’t “…cause cancer in rats in California”? This is absolutely nuts! In a sense, with our cleaning fluids, paints, plastics… virtually all having some of these chemicals, it’s like we’re all living in East Palestine. One in three people get cancer in a lifetime in America now… In one of the towns that I cover as a reporter, a billboard recently went up with a photo of a homeless man, with the words: “Veterans, you’re not alone.” One would wonder, at least in part. That is, I did some research. In 2019, as an example, 17 U.S. Veterans, on average, committed suicide each day. Uh… I also wrote an article about a local, Christian book study group. They were reading the book: Live Your Truth (and Other Lies). The premise of the book is, basically, that some modern, pop-culture, self-improvement philosophies, and such, may actually be antithetical to the Gospel message. For instance, one of the slogans alluded to in the book is: “You only have one life to live…” With the attendant message being to grab for all the pleasure and material wealth you can. Note: I gave up a profession and my hometown to go out onto the roads of America to do all the stuff you see in this website, since I “…only had one life to live.” Part of the journey/sacrifice is contained on the following page…

Hypersonic Cold-War

Ronald Reagan Nuclear Missile Test Site (Marshall Islands)

I was just watching a pretty damning “Dartmouth Films” documentary in regard to the U.S. Military involvement in the Marshall Islands during the last six decades, starting with the detonation of 23 nuclear weapons on the Bikini Atoll between 1946 and 1958. Not only was everything (knowingly) radiated within a huge radius of the blasts, but the surrounding islanders (just as knowingly) were used as test subjects to monitor the effects of radiation on humans. Cancer rates were off the charts, birth defects were off the charts… It was totally unconscionable. Actually, closer to the truth, it was pure: evil. And that was us, read: U.S. But it didn’t stop in 1958. No. Staying in the Marshall Islands, the Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site was set up on the Kwajalein Atoll. It’s used for missile testing, for missile launches, and science experiments for the U.S. Department of Defense. The documentary said the overall mission there is described as: “Vision 2020: Full Spectrum Dominance.” And, as just one example, as the U.S. is racing to develop “offensive hypersonic missiles,” so is Russia and China. It’s, in essence, now a Hypersonic-Cold-War. The answer? For us to stop, unilaterally, put the billions of dollars intended for this into global humanitarian aid projects, and trust God. For our overall position paper on the military, see…

Memphis (and Clev.) on My Mind

Cleveland Rec. Center coaching

Memphis on My Mind… Memphis is now 65% Black. Our family moved into a hardscrabble area of Cleveland that was, at least, 50% Black. We moved there to do outreach volunteer work with a group called the “Catholic Workers.” And we were there for some five years. Many people in this part of Cleveland, like, I’m sure in Memphis, are trapped in trans-generational poverty loops. What’s more, kids down there are faced with trying, daily, to dodge hunger, needles and bullets. It’s a systemic problem that needs a systemic solution, not just social service Band-Aids. Our campaign has not only thought hard about the situation, we have, again, lived in the midst of it. Our position paper provides a multi-dimensional approach to the real solution to all this.

Smart policing

speed radar sign

Smart policing. On a micro-level, each community, in large part, is responsible for its own safety. And the police in Ada, Ohio, have come up with a common-sense strategy to enhance safety in that village. They just put in two speed radar signs at the village limits on major roads coming into town. The police chief told me that this, in fact, does two things. One, a good number of motorists slow down when they see their digital speed. And two, instead of having squad cars regularly posted at each of these locations, police are now freed up to do more of other sorts of policing throughout the village. Note: Ada also has a SAFER Program, which is part of a Community Oriented Policing model. Liaisons, through regular meetings, and such, are established between village residents, businesses, school officials and the police. The synergy of these groups working together has created, well, a much ‘safer’ environment here. Note 2: Our campaign is big on backing Community Oriented Policing programs. See our position paper on crime…

Winter bicycling?

winter biking couple …photo by Joe

If we are serious about reducing our carbon footprints, we have to change our individual lifestyle patterns and, basically, get tougher in some areas. I, for instance, ride my mountain bicycle around town about 50% of the time — during winter. What’s more, I interviewed our local bicycle store owner for an article on “winter bicycling,” and he said with the proper thermal attire, studded tires, fat tires, and the like, winter biking is, indeed, quite doable. We keep pointing at the next Climate Summit emission reduction promises, which we should. But pointing at these, we have to also realize there are three fingers (Covered with thermal bicycle gloves, hopefully.) pointing back at us. Incidentally, as president, I’ll be bicycling around DC in the winter as well. And won’t that be fun for the Secret Service. LOL. Can’t you just hear that: “He’s going to do what?”

eco-webs and ‘stealing’

biology book excerpt

I was doing some research this afternoon, in the context of how man-made pollution is disrupting “eco-webs.” And, as this diagram illustrates: “…energy moves through an eco-system in a complex network of feeding relationships called a food web.” God has set it up this way. The above illustration is particularly about ocean life and the healthy balance needed to maintain this eco-system. However, massive amounts of toxic chemical farm run-off, massive amounts of plastics, and so on, are being injected into this eco-system, majorly affecting the balance. And coupled with this, when it comes to the oceans, there’s a massive amount of over-fishing as well. Disrupting these balances, on these levels, are having major consequences now, and potentially catastrophic consequences for generations to come. Psalm 14:1 — “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.” We are like teenagers trashing one of the rooms (the earth) in God’s universe. What’s more, the Catholic Catechism draws the 7th Commandment into this mix: “Thou shalt not steal.” The Catechism notes that we are “…to have concern for the quality of life of our neighbors, including generations to come.” We are, in essence, in the above illustration: stealing clean water. That simple, and that sinful. For more on our stance on the environment, see…

Ethical global trade…

…photo by Joe

In doing a series of stories about small, local businesses, one of the ones I focused on was Ten Thousand Villages. Ten Thousand Villages (there are 100 stores nationwide) contracts with Third World artisans and offers them, not sub-standard, but rather “fair” prices for their products. In “caring for the earth,” Ten Thousand Villages often contracts with artisans who use locally sourced, recycled and renewable resources. Ten Thousand Villages is non-profit, and also often contracts with the disabled, women, “…and others often excluded from the global economy.” The store manager noted that the organization provides 50% of the purchase price up-front to artisans for materials, and such — because often these people can’t get small business loans from their local banks. What’s more, the other 50% is paid when the product is complete — whether it sells, or not. Note: Our administration’s global trade policies, in part, would embody this kind of ethos, simply because it makes ethical/spiritual sense.