Saturday, November 10, 2018

CELEBRATING MANY BIG VICTORIES of the PEOPLE

2018--YEAR OF THE PEOPLE

In previous posts I've been makin' a list and posting it twice      😁      of peoples' issues for governments in 2018. After the November 6, 2018 elections in the U.S., let's pause and measure the FANTASTIC STRIDES that we, the people, have made this year.

Here's a consolidated list of peoples' priority issues in the U.S. If these issues are addressed, then the Year of the People is making progress.

  • Family safety (guns)
  • Education for all
  • Up-to-date health care
  • Jobs and adequate income (include Social Security)
  • Creation Care / Environmental
  • Immigration
  • Respect from government for the governed.
These issues aren't just American. I derive them out of religious and humanitarian traditions from across the world. However, the U.S. elections were a kind of global litmus test so let's take the patient's pulse rate, based on November election results.


WINS of the PEOPLE

Very heartening: the election of many women to the U.S. Congress. Most heartening story of all: the fantastic win of  Rep.-elect, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, in Brooklyn, New York City. Not only for her enthusiasm, energy level and the win over an entrenched opponent, but also for her political positions, which reflect the Year of the People positions to a "T." 


U.S. Rep.-Elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Creative Commons CCO 1.0 Universal Public Domain Deducation via Wikimedia Commons

Another example from across the continent in Washington State. A progressive woman , Kim Schrier, M.D., replaces affable but regressive Rep. Dave Reichert, 8th Congressional District. There are many other examples. Most important for the priorities of the people: a majority in the House of Representatives will share the peoples' priority goals.

WE THE PEOPLE ARE DOIN' GREAT! 

You did great, American volunteers, voters, candidates, donors. The battle of democracy of the people, for the people, by the people, continues. We, the people, want the House of Representatives to work for our priority issues. Protect us from White House. Convert the White House.

Good Work, everyone!  Now take some time, enjoy the holidays, get some R. and R., then back to the hard work. In the U.S. it's work toward the all-important 2020 national election. 

 VISUALIZE THE PEOPLES' WORK AHEAD

We're working for national governments everywhere of, by, for the people. We have more work cut out for us, wherever we and our families live.

In the U.S. it's soon back to work toward the presidential election of 2020. Cap the victory of 2018 with a decisive peoples' victory in 2020. We must elect a peoples' president and many senators who share the peoples' agenda.

Meantime, we need to protect ourselves against the anti-peoples' agenda of the current White House. Let's be optimistic and expect the President of the U.S. to repent and convert. Donald, here's notice to you: You're Trumped. You're a politician, right?Read the tea leaves and adopt our Peoples' agenda and values.  You're now stuck in a box of your own creation. Reform your program, get  yourself under control, and govern FOR THE PEOPLE. Same for other national leaders worldwide.

Readers: thanks for visiting here today. Just below, click on a media symbol or two to share the post and encourage your followers. 



Friday, November 2, 2018

VOTE IN TODAY'S ELECTION SO AS TO SHOW THAT GOD IS FOR REAL

Live to show that God is real. But "vote to show that God is for real?" I say yes!, because voting is an important part of living.

Voting is an important part of living in a democracy. So "Vote to show God is real."

You might well ask, "Just how does my voting show that God is for real?" For guidance, look to the values expressed in the holy scriptures and saints of your particular faith.

Here's how. List sainted figures of your faith, such as the Buddha, Jesus, Khalil Gibran, Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Saint Francis. Ask: what makes these model human beings unique? By their actions they showed that God is real, but how?  Khalil Gibran spanned religious divides in Lebanon. Bonhoeffer resisted Hitler in Germany. Saint Francis pled for peace in the Holy Land. What we know of the values of our saints can guide us directly in our voting.








IMAGE OF SAINT FRANCIS
Friend of animals, 12th Century Peace activist 


Ask "Well, what did they say/do to convey that God is real?"

They decided to and acted out lives of love.  Especially, they avoided and abhorred hate and evil. The diametrical opposite of the American president, who is trying to get votes by running a pitiful campaign of fear. We are to fear the so-called "caravan" 1,000 miles away in southern Mexico, and therefore to fear immigrants in general.  Who among us is stupid enough to fall for that line?

In our times, voting  as an act of love, true love, confidence that shows that God is real.

A huge V-wing of geese just flew overhead. I watched from my window. I’m glad I could watch watch them, and also glad just to see the oak tree in the yard. Through the very same window I see the intensive care facility located just across the street. I watch ambulance crew and relatives and staff who arrive when needed to care for the sick. People caring for people show that God is for real.


Health Center across the Street
People caring for people in this place

Ordinary human beings, not just saints and emergency crews but you and me--we can show that God is for real.

Politics is a tough vocation. Many politicians by their decisions, their rants, phony tweets, their  outright lies--well, they deny the Ten Commandments, the Beatitudes, the very reality of God. Test your candidates and don't vote for them if they fail the test.



So, do support candidates who will legislate consistently with justice, truth, affordable health care. Who'll  oppose tax cuts that funnel money from poor to the rich. Those who seek to strengthen families, and wish to empower the mid- and lower-income people of our societies.  

Avoid pulling the lever those shouting "fake news" at reputable journalists, seeking white supremacy,  building walls, moats and minefields justified by make-believe fears. Fear campaigns are old political techniques to hijack democracy, copies of Hitler in Germany and Mussolini in Italy in the previous century. 

Look to history and learn how democracies in Europe were hijacked in the 1930s. Start here: watch "Rick Steves: The Story of Fascism in Europe," produced 2018. Perhaps the best available 60-minute recap of the campaigns for fascism. 

Conclusion: voting for political candidates is an act of spiritual/religious discernment and stewardship. Vote with your head, your heart, your soul.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

LIFT US AND UNITE OUR DREAMS


All over the globe people share a dream--the dream of a better life. That includes the emigrants fleeing Honduras.

Parts of the dream: family safety, education, medical care, jobs, adequate income, dependable social security, and respect from the government. Sub-dreams that fit into a package of  lifetime desires. It's always been that way. Politicians have a constitutional and God-given purpose: to help people to realize our dreams. Currently that burden/opportunity rests on Donald Trump.

President Trump's just now ordering troops to border to stop immigrants. Clever, duplicitous timing because the caravan is 1,000 miles south of border! No urgency. Bottom line: Trump is using govt. funds to win Nov. 6 votes. This makes all taxpayers into campaign donors whether they like it or not.

Consider this scenario. Recently I met an American woman with an amazing personal history. She lived in Liberia, West Africa, in 1961-63 as one of the first two Peace Corps volunteers in that country. (The other volunteer was her young husband.)

By chance I was in West Africa at the same time studying Christian ministries as part of my training for pastoring. When the former Peace Corps volunteer and I met a few months ago we had many similar memories to share. For one, we celebrated the positive worldwide impact of the Peace Corps.

President Kennedy founded the Peace Corps. I remember his message: "Do not ask what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country."

A few years later in my life when I'd become a professor in a fine liberal arts college, the University of Puget Sound, other faculty and I encouraged our students to volunteer for Peace Corps service. The University produced many volunteers. And, nationwide, according to Wikipedia, more than 220,000 Americans have serve in Peace Corps. What a success!


President John F. Kennedy greeting Peace Corps volunteers

Still today, people worldwide admire John F. Kennedy. He unified our dreams. 

This past week, I looked for a list of the most admired living person worldwide. Guess who's in first place. It's a corporate: Bill Gates, 

Bill, of course, developed software and built a great company, Microsoft. In the spirit of Kennedy and of Christian service, Bill and his wife Melinda went on to direct the Gates Foundation. The Foundation supports development projects worldwide. Example: I'm acquainted with the "Nothing but Nets" campaign, sponsored by Gates Foundation in cooperation with religious organizations to provide malaria nets in tropical Africa. Result: millions are living safer lives and realizing their dreams.

Now shift back to that list of the world's most admired persons. President Barack Obama is up on the list even though he's out of office now. President Donald Trump is 'way down the list. Actually, Chinese Premier Xi Jinping ranks fourth, 'way above Trump at seventeenth place. 

Trump's low rating is a tragicomedy because his apparent quest to become the most powerful man in the world. When people try for the wrong goal, well, life goes sour. 

Why isn't Trump at the top of the list? I think it's his inferior goal and message. He seems attention-seeking, divisive, bellicose and prideful. Histrionic.  

I hope that Trump will find healing for his prideful attention-getting approach. Because it's not working. He can change and succeed in lifting us and unifying our dreams. 

Donald, lift us and unify our dreams. QUIT RULING BY DIVIDING US. 

How could such a shift ever happen? Today through November 6, 2018, American citizens can help Trump find healing for himself and unity for us by voting for U.S. House and Senate candidates. Choose those committed to unite us and fulfill our dreams. 

My advice to Trump: if you want to change, go visit President Carter in his home in  Plains, Georgia.  Attend the Sunday school class Carter teaches. Ponder his teaching: "We should live our lives as though we believe Christ were coming this afternoon." Jimmy can help you, Donald.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

IMMIGRATION OPPORTUNITY AND AVOIDANCE

Do you think our president is mixing up water and gas?

He is finding all kinds of ways to mix up  immigration and terrorism - his goal seems to be to scare us into keeping immigrants out. History teaches us that fear of immigrants is a regular and regrettable occurrence.  

(Just How Much is Trump overstating the threat to scare us? Read at this link:  https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/army-assessment-of-migrant-caravans-undermines-trump’s-rhetoric/ar-BBPhoPf?ocid=spartandhp. Turns out that the U.S. Army believes Trump is 'way overstating the number of caravan migrants likely to reach the U.S. border. Typical fear mongering.  --Ed.) 

A few weeks ago our President banned travel from seven Muslim-majority nations to "[PROTECT] THE NATION FROM FOREIGN TERRORISTS". The intent is certainly noble, but the idea is full of problems.

1) Muslim foreigners don’t cause much terrorism. 

After hearing over and over about the dangers of Islamic jJihadists coming to the U.S. from over seas, I took a look at the data myself. 

Click here for an interactive version including details on the incidents.



As you can see, foreign jihadis caused 21 deaths in the ten years between 2005 and 2015. In the same period, the average number of murders and non-negligent manslaughters by Americans was 15,587 per year.

While deaths caused by terrorism are tragic, they are a tiny percentage of bigger problems. Foreign jihadis cause less than 20% of the total.  (I calculate 20 / 155870 = less than 1% of the ten year total. Please double check your calculation.)


2) The immigrants today fear to become our peaceful, productive neighbors.

When the President tells us about the dangers of allowing Muslims to immigrate, you should hear the echoes of the past.

In the 1840s and 1850s, fear of Catholic immigration was so strong a political party called the Know Nothings came into existence on the platform of keeping them out. Churches were destroyed in riots. Priests were tarred and feathered.

In 1871 horrific terrorism was inflicted upon the Los Angeles Chinese community.
On May 4, 1886 German Anarchists were blamed for the Haymarket Bombing

In 1881, U.S. based Irish terrorists built a submarine to sink British ships coming to U.S. ports. (The Fenians were caught before the Fenian Ram could be put to use).

Such incidents weren’t limited to the 1800s, they were just slightly less dramatic. [Please rephrase to communicate the meaning. “they” refers to what? Incidents beyond the 1800s?]

In the 1920s, the U.S. and Japan agreed to limit Japanese Immigration. The immediate cause of the Agreement was anti-Japanese nativism in California.

And let’s not forget what happened to Japanese-Americans in 1942.

The opposite case is also true: The U.S. accepted large numbers of immigrants from countries suffering international terrorism on a huge scale in the 1980s and 1990s. The difference seems to be in those cases that the U.S. government was actually complicit in the terrorism.

Ask yourself this question: Why would we block the immigration of 40,000 Muslims if we allowed hundreds of thousands of Colombians in when their country was rife with terrorism?

This story has a happy ending: Catholics are our neighbors, we eat at German and Italian restaurants, and we visit Chinatown for dim sum. All of these cultures contribute to the diversity and success of the United States. Muslim culture have also done this and will continue to do so.

Immigration bans will end up on the wrong side of history. The big question now is how wrong, and how long? It appears we are about to find out.
  

The ban is misguided--seeking to solve a very rare problem in the United States, something that occurs far less often than murders. Remember: between 2005-2015 in the U.S. only 21 U.S. Citizens died at the hands of foreign Jihadi terrorists. In the same time there were over 155,000 Murders and non-negligent manslaughters as recorded by the FBI.

But far from merely being misguided, the ban falls on the wrong side of history. Once upon a time, Irish were considered such a threat that they inspired an entire political party - the Know Nothings.  [

The Irish are not alone. In 1882 Chinese were blocked from immigration amid concerns they were taking jobs.


The travel ban has other problems: The foreign terrorists who have killed recently are not from the countries on the ban.

The U.S. has a long history of immigrant fear, but we've managed to keep our borders open and develop a diverse society. History teaches us not to make the mistake

Saturday, October 20, 2018

MOST EFFECTIVE THING YOU CAN DO BEFORE 8 P.M. NOVEMBER 6 2018

AMERICANS VOTE ON NOVEMBER 6, 2018

Join The Year of the People. Vote! Encourage others to vote!

I live in Oregon,  U.S.A., where we voters have already received their mail ballots.   If your state does not use paper ballots I thought you might like to see one. Just below, here's a photo of an Oregon paper ballot. You vote in privacy at home; you return your ballot in its secrecy envelope to your county auditor.




For comparison, here's an image of a voting booth in Summit, New Jersey, U.S.A. You enter, pull the curtain shut, and vote in privacy.




Available in a school gymnasium for voting 
Creative Commons Public Domain license

Wherever you live, and whether you vote by ballot or by machine, if you have the right to vote use it  especially in November 2018! 

I'm not telling you how to vote, except to vote for candidates you trust to uphold the promise of the American values of liberty and justice for all. Keeping American values straight is the main issue of the 2018 election. I want you to have your say.

Sounds simple but be discerning. If you want to go a bit further, vote for candidates committed to maintaining truth in government, justice for the poor and middle classes (Social Security, Medicare at present levels or better) and to environmental preservation. Let's make 2018 the YEAR OF THE PEOPLE. VOTE.

If you're a registered American voter, exercise your right by the deadline on November 6, 2018. This could be the most important election of your lifetime. Important for your kids. Important for your planet. Important for your own personal finances. VOTE BY THE DEADLINE ON NOVEMBER 6. 

Updating on October: thoughtful votes hugely needed in U.S. Senate races. You can read  Reliable projections here at "538." 

MAKE 2018 THE YEAR OF THE PEOPLE by exercising Your Right to vote. JOIN THE YEAR OF THE PEOPLE by Encourage Others to vote.  (I've marked my mail ballot and dropped it off at the county auditor's box.)

Saturday, October 13, 2018

STOCK MARKETS FALL ON TRADE WARS

The stock market has fallen from its high point. The 7% fall in stock values isn’t unusual. For instance, a 6% fall occurred in January-February 2018 before an uptrend resumed.

A lesson: one has to accept that stock investments are risky.

But one should also ask a question: why the recent plunge these past two weeks? Analysts are pointing to a couple of factors:

First: trade wars. The outcome is unpredictable.

Second: interest rates are on the risk globally.

As a stock market watcher and participant, I see that Trump called the “Forward March” Trade war on China, the world’s second largest economy. The ensuing back-and-forth imposition of ever-higher tariffs has upset a mutually-beneficial equilibrium. The war has harmed and will harm the financial interests of American consumers (your budgets will buy less as prices rise). The war’s already hit the stock values of companies in which you might be invested.

Trump has intervened in the business of the independent Federal Reserve Board, calling out that it’s “gone crazy” and “loco.” The “Fed” staff and governors are experts and don’t need lectures of this sort.

Trump’s “wonderful economic initiatives" reportedly also include an exhortation to “print money” to lower the national debt. That remedy would have the lamentable consequence of devaluing the dollar supply and relative value of workers’ retirement accounts. 

The current stock market uptrend began in 2009. Obama was president then. In reality, Trump is coasting on Obama’s successes. Trump’s chaotic trade wars put us all (Americans and all other human beings) at higher economic risk.



Please read the disclosure:  Neither Darrell Reeck nor Growing Green Two Ways is a registered investment adviser. Financial information published here is educational only. All investments involve risk. Before investing consult your registered investment adviser. Writers and the blog disclaim responsiblity for loss in connection with use of information posted here.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

HEALING PRAYERS AFTER AN HORRIFIC WEEK OF OCTOBER 2018

This weekend, as many across our nation and around the world struggle with the reality of sexual abuse and exploitation in our communities, our churches, our homes and in the highest levels of our national life, we pray for all victims of abuse and violence. For those who have had violence perpetrated on their bodies and their souls in both horrific and in more subtle ways. For those who have been afraid to come forward with their stories. For those who have come forward and have experienced persecution, and for those who have persecuted them, that God might turn the hearts of abusers to contrition and repentance and that God might work through our struggle and our grief to accomplish God’s purposes on earth. Let us pray.



Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Portland, Oregon
Photo by Calan via Wikipedia
Posted under terms of Creative Commons License


Holy One, you do not distance yourself from the pain of your people but in Jesus bear that pain along with us, blessing all who suffer at the hands of another. For to you, O God, all flesh is sacred and all creation worthy of the care and respect. In your love and your compassion, bring healing and strength to those who have suffered abuse, and by your mighty justice lift them up, that in the bodies you have given them they may rejoice. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

In the midst of these difficult days, we pray once again for our nation, that in the midst of our brokenness and anguish we might not lose hope.

O God, we pray for all communities divided by strife, especially for these United States of America. Where we are corrupt, purify us; where we are in error, direct us; where in any thing we are amiss, reform us. Where we are right, strengthen us; where we are in want, provide for us; where we are divided, reunite us; for the sake of Jesus Christ thy Son our Savior. Amen


Finally, this weekend marks the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, lover of God and of all God’s creatures. In words attributed to St. Francis, we pray for the wisdom and the courage to be makers of peace, bringing God’s compassion and justice to the world in the name of Christ. Let us pray.





 Posted under terms of Creative Commons Share and Share Alike license
via Wikimedia Commons


O God, make us instruments of thy peace. Where there is hatred, may we sew love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is pardoning that we are pardoned and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.

The Very Rev'd. Nathan LeRud, Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Portland, OR.  Evensong prayers posted with permission.