STOP THE WARS 

Quaker Anti War Lawn Poster



The Quakers have it right! Their poster pictured on our Oliver Street lawn is clear. WAR IS NOT THE ANSWER. During most of my adult life we have been at war. Since the end of the Cold War we have not been able to win a single one of these wars. We lost the war in Vietnam; the incursions in Somalia and Lebanon. We continue to lose the on going twin wars are in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Unfortunately our newly elected President Obama took ownership of the war in Afghanistan on February 2009 when he ordered 17,000 new soldiers to the 36,000 U.S. soldiers already in Afghanistan. He has vowed to exit Iraq after 6 1/2 years of combat and 35,810 American casualties plus hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraq citizens. The later incidentally are listed as Collateral Damage. The casualties continue to accumulate with no firm exit date.

Critics of America are correct when they note that when it comes to history we are ignorant. When we do not understand the past is very difficult to deal with the future. For example the Vietnamese defeated and humbled the French Colonialists Army. Mindlessly we jumped right in and took their place for almost another bloody decade.

In Afghanistan with massive American assistance and the help of terrorist Osama bin Laden the Afghanistan’s forced the invading Russians out. This defeat was a major factor in the collapse of communism and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
The Russians paid a terrible price for their blunders. They officially reported the loss of 13,833 soldiers killed. The propaganda free estimate of losses is several times higher. They paid a huge price with the loss of 118 jets; 333 helicopters; 147 tanks and massive amounts of other material. We ignores the Russian esperienc and jumped into Afghanistan anyway.

We are not even that good at war anymore. We are the most powerful military force ever assembled and yet after all these years our military has not conquered Iraq or Afghanistan small counties with no air force, navy, missiles or even much of an army..
It is my personal belief that we are fortunate to have elected Barrack Obama with the potential of being a truly great President in a time of desperate financial downdraft. This inherited crisis is correctly at center stage in the minds and hearts of all Americans. First things first! Let's first get Americans back to work and the economy out of the clutches of obscenely greedy Wall Street manipulators. At the same times it is vital to bring our military home.

I hope this happens in my lifetime but at my age in all candor odds are against it. However it turns out I think the Quakers have it right and I'm going to bequeath my Quaker lawn signs to my children and grandchildren.






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SQUEAKY’S LIST? 

SQUEAKY’S LIST?


It has just been announced that Lynette A. Fromme a would-be assassin will be released from federal prison on August 16. Also known as Squeaky, she was part of a group known as the Manson family some of whose members killed the actress Sharon Tate and six other people in California in 1975. On September 5, 1975 in a Sacramento, California she pointed a 45 caliber semiautomatic pistol at President Gerald Ford from about 2 feet away. A Secret Service agent grabbed the gun and no shots were fired. She was sentenced to life in prison. She escaped from Anderson prison in 1987 was recaptured and 15 months in were added to her sentence.

Soon after her arrest I received a call from an FBI agent who asked for an appointment. He asked me many questions about Squeaky. I told them all I knew about her is what I had read in the newspapers. He then told me that in searching her belongings they found what appeared to be a hit list. My name was among several. He asked me if I had any ideas of why I made the last. I could think of none then or now. I told him I was editor of a national magazine and it was possible that she took offense at something I had written.

I asked the agent if he had any advice for me. He said yes. “Be Careful”.


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MAKING LIFE MEANINGFUL 

MAKING LIFE MEANINGFUL

My good friend and neighbor Allan Kiron is both a survivor of Auschwitz but a poet as well. More than this he is an inspiration on how to make life meaningful. He is full of compassion but is also full of fight. He is guided by high ideals but keenly aware of “man’s inhumanity to man”. To me his latest poem calls for both compassion for those in need and fierce battle against the unimaginable greed of those who have brought such terrible consequence for our country and the world.


Beasts

I can see the beast in humans
Not their cruelty or lies
Or their greed, hate and malice
In their double faced eyes

I can see the missing link
The kind we could have been
To help and love each other
In times of thick and thin

How do you teach a beast to love
How do you correct God’s errors
How do we stop the hiding beasts
From committing other terrors?

How can we survive this world
With such beastly gifts from God?
Sweetened with soothing empty words
Making the truth strangely odd?

The road to a perfect world
Is paved with a sad delusion
With beastly potholes and bumps
The missing link is the solution

Selfless deeds for those with needs
Can change the pages of history
If we ignore the missing link
What follows will be no mystery

To survive and beat this beastly trap
Be the best angel when you with angels dwell
But when you have to deal with beasts
Be the meanest beast and give them Hell

Your cup will seem less empty
Even more than half full
Because the true meaning of life
Is to make life meaningful.

Allan Kiron

Auschwitz survivor




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AN INSPIRING OPTIMIST  

I served as Associate Pastor of Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church. It is a magnificent building on Washington’s Massachusetts Ave. a few blocks from the White House. It stands out with its gigantic Greek columns. As the cornice indicates it is the
Methodist Episcopal Church South. This was a group that favored slavery and broke away from John Wesley’s Methodist Church.

One of the most delightful persons in my parish was Mabel Wright. This still beautiful southern woman has just turned 100 years. Here is the message from her Christmas card.

“What a grand world it is. Yes, I know that this has been a troubling year economically and I know that there is evil in the world to be sure, but I have seen good times and bad times, and I am optimistic about our future. Most of you know that I am a lifelong Democrat, and so I am particularly thrilled by the election of the Barack Obama -- the first African/American President. Now, truly all of God's children in America can dream big dreams and know that they can come true. I am unspeakably happy to see this day arrive.”

And so say seventy per cent of Americans.

Mable Wright at 100 years
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KENNEDY’S INAGURAL 

As we approach the historic moment of inaugurating our first African-American president I think back to the famous inauguration of President John F. Kennedy. It was enormously important for me personally because the event killed forever the idea that we could never have a Roman Catholic president.. I of course my whole family were Roman Catholic.

I was then Executive Director of the National Association of Counties. Mayor Beverly Briley of Nashville, Tennessee and Commissioner Dan W. Gray of Anniston Alabama two of my officers were in town for the great event. Our offices were off Connecticut Avenue on De Sale St. adjacent to the Mayflower Hotel. On the evening before the inaugural at dusk we got into my car to drive them to their Hotel just across the Potomac in Arlington , Virginia . A great snow storm was in progress. Dan Gray noted that he had no bourbon in his room and asked to stop the car at the liquor store across the street. He quickly returned with a whole bag of liquor.

We passed onto Pennsylvania Ave at the White House and started towards the Key Bridge. In two hours we reached Washington Square a few blocks for the White House and were completely stopped.. A long convoy of Army trucks was stalled on its way to the White House. We did the logical thing. We decided to share our refreshments and party with our soldiers. .We passed the bottle of bourbon around to the whole group. It was another first. Most of the soldiers were black and they joined two devout Southerners to drink to our new Commander in Chief. .

It took hours but we finally got down to Georgetown at the bottom of the steep hill Pennsylvania Avenue. No one was able to make the grade in the now deep snow. I got the idea of all of all of us pulling together and pushing the cars one at a time to the top. By the time it was our chance the group lost interest. I abandoned the car underneath the overpass at a Boat House.


We made our way very slowly up the hill to the end of the Key Bridge. There was an old man in a beat up truck filled with trash. We gave him $20 to drive us to the hotel across the bridge. The three of us jumped in on top of all the junk finally after about an hour in the wind got to the hotel. We discover that all of the telephone lines were so jammed with traffic that I couldn't get through to home and I would have to spend the night ..

The next morning we got to the inaugural site somehow in deep snow and our seats were literally within the baseball throwing distance of the podium. These choice seats were courtesy of Dan Gray's close friend former Vice Presidential candidate Senator John Sparkman (D-Ala. The he podium stand caught fire as Robert Frost delivered his poem. The inspiriting moment however came when the handsome young Irish Catholic President said” Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your count


A small group at Oliver St. celebrating the Inauguation of President Obama
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