For many years I have been a member of the Wednesday Clergy Fellowship a group of largely African-American pastors with active church ministries in the Washington DC metropolitan area. Its major purpose is spiritual. Each weekly meeting begins in the sanctuary of various hosting Congregations. There are prayers, hymn singing and testimonies in support of our Christian ministries. After an ample breakfast the conference session begins with a spiritual presentation by our Facilitator. This is usually followed by often passionate discussion. The public policy portion usually involves a presentation by one or more spokesman for an affinity group. They support community action in areas like housing, employment, and a great array of social concerns particularly with emphasis upon the plight of the poor. The meeting ends in about two hours with a spiritual message delivered to one of the members.

On September 16 at the first summer post-vacation session the major concern expressed by the Facilitator and the members was a very distressing demonstration of hatred and animosity dramatized in the series of public meetings on medical reform. There is deep concern about this substitution of ugliness for informed public debate. There is also a strong suspicion that a major part of this ugliness is based on racism and sponsored by Republican Right wingers like talk show haters like Rush Limbaugh.

One of the summers triggering incidences was an outburst by South Carolina Congressman Wilson during Pres. Barrack Obama's Joint Congressional session on medical reform. He shouted “You Lie” before the entire leadership of the federal government and televised to the entire world.

The president through his spokesman Ron Emanuel immediately accepted Wilson's prompt apology. The president noted that all of us make mistakes. The House of Representatives however voted principally along party lines to reprimand the Congressman. Again the president in keeping with his almost 2 year long campaign absolutely refuse to get into any race baiting. At this writing he gives every indication of letting the matter rest.

It should be noted that the photograph above was taken in the parking area of the 19th St., Baptist Church size of our meeting. The question of what church the Obamas will attend while in Washington is still not known. The President and his family have attended this church which is a former synagogue now operated as a Baptist church.

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Church Meeting 

My friend Alphonso Harrod seen at church reunion.
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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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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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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.


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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