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No snow either and quite a bit of sun early on. I felt a little tired at church today and had some trouble singing but I came through well enough, even if with a slightly scratchy throat. Charles Howes did the service and had an excellent program about the importance of love, “standing on the side of love” as the UU’s say.

Charles reminded us of the nastiness and evil prevalent because of lack of love. For example, in Boston people stealing parking spaces and breaking windows because of frustration with the snow, and three young people in North Carolina senselessly murdered by a frustrated person who felt they took his parking space and that they deserved to die because they were Muslims. Very very sad and very tragic. Lives at basically their beginnings, early twenties, wiped out. Whole futures that now never will come to be.

How incredibly precious is life. To waste it is the ultimate tragedy.

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War Requiem

In the last couple days I’ve listened to Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem (85 minutes, completed in 1962) twice. It’s earth shattering, deeply moving music all the way through. How did I come to listen to this?

A week ago today I attending a Senior College event in Bridgton, encouraged by a friend named Joan, in which a man named Homer spoke on opera and illustrated his talk with DVD selections from three operas, Idomeneo by Mozart, The Flying Dutchman by Wagner, and Peter Grimes by Benjamin Britten. It was the last opera that really got to me and it reminded me that I had a copy of Britten’s War Requiem at home.

So, that’s why I started listening to it.

You can look up War Requiem on Wikipedia and get lots of details. Here’s the first sentence from the Musical Analysis section of the Wikipedia: “The interval of a tritone between C and F♯ is a recurring motif, the occurrence of which unifies the entire work.” This makes the work eerie and fascinating but mainly it provides the substratum for the anger of the piece against war, the futility, stupidity, and horrendous evil of war.

The recording I have features Galina Vishnevskaya, Peter Pears, and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, all fantastically great singers. Vishnevskaya in particular blows my mind. Never have I heard such incredible power in a soprano. The poetry of the great anti-war war poet, Wilfred Owen, of the First (Great) World War, is incorporated into the music. Ironically he was killed a week before the armistice was signed.

So, all in all I could say this music gives me a deeply spiritual, hypnotic experience, and I’m with the music all the way in its intense, earth shattering anger against war.

Hey, give it a whirl?

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Introduction to Maine Beyond War’s free online seminars on taking the first steps in a plan for world peace:

There are millions of groups and agencies world-wide working for peace. For the most part their goal is to end war. Certainly ending our current wars is a good thing. However, ending wars will not produce a peaceful world. All wars end eventually. Throughout history the period following the end of one war has been simply an interstice between wars. A culture of war exists and always has where the use of violence to resolve conflicts or to gain profit has been a preferred mode of goal achievement.

A culture of war is one in which materialism prevails, where there must be winners and losers, where fear is a prominent means of maintaining control of others. As long as that culture is allowed to persist, wars will persist.

Cultural change can occur as a response to a major crisis or it can occur as a result of planning. Given the mounting destructiveness of modern war with the risk of nuclear annihilation a real possibility, it makes sense to plan for change.

Change needs to begin with our attitudes, beliefs and values. If we can allow ourselves to be known, if we can be afraid only when we are in actual danger, if we can experience our uniqueness and find it good, then we may be at peace. If we can learn to trust, to forgive, to love and respect each other, then we may be at peace.

If we are at peace within ourselves it is easier to be at peace with others. Being at peace with our selves, others will be drawn to us and find comfort in our peace.

At peace, we can look at our culture and avoid its relentless drive for dominion over the earth’s human and physical resources. We can reject our knee-jerk choice of violence in favor of life enhancing human fellowship.

At peace, we can help build a world that is at peace. Starting with ourselves, we can take the first step in a plan for world peace.

Sample topics for Maine Beyond War’s Seminars in Inner Peace

Introduction to deep peace: the emotional basis of peace

The power of peace in daily life – hope is key

Safety – an emotional cycle: need for equilibrium, boredom, need for stimulation, reach a point of stress, need for equilibrium

Source of emotions and their effects

Emotions and the power therein – faith, compassion, mutuality, love, respect, forgiveness

Personal responsibility in a life of peace

Peaceful communication – Speaking from the heart

Family and community – mutually supportive networks

Making your personal peace public – advocacy

To register for the seminars:
e-mail Bert Kauffman at [email protected]

If you have questions about the program, contact Richard Beal at [email protected] or Bert Kauffman at [email protected]

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Here’s my old “buddy” Joan Baez, singing We Shall Overcome, partly in Persian, in support of the Iranians campaigning for more rights. Hat tip to Juan Cole. (Back in 1962 I went to the Brookline Public Library in Brookline, Mass., with a friend and watched the young Joan Baez do some songs.)


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Why Oh Why?

Why oh why do I keep getting hits for aaron hodgins davis, sometimes mis-spelled as aaron hodgkins davis? Getclicky says in the last four weeks 8.9% of my search hits were for these two, 7.4% for the correctly spelled one, 1.5% for the other. Even today I’ve already gotten three search hits for these two (two for the first, one for the second).

I’ve mentioned him only in one of my posts, Dangerous McCain on August 11, 2008. I include in this post the remarkable YouTube film by Aaron Hodgins Davis with the title, Republicans and military men on John McCain, and I spell out that the film is by Davis with the soundtrack, Lux Aeterna by Clint Mansell.

Just now I listened to the video again and it is indeed breathtakingly powerful with that soundtrack adding enormously to the film’s message. Perhaps this is indeed why I do get so many hits for it.

Another great film by Davis with the Mansell soundtrack is Operation Anthropoid on the plot to assassinate the Nazi, Reinhard Heydrich, known as Hitler’s butcher. Chilling!

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Here’s part of what Lee Iacocca said in his recent book:

‘ “Am I the only guy in this country who’s fed up with what’s happening? Where the hell is our outrage? We should be screaming bloody murder. We’ve got a gang of clueless bozos steering our ship of state right over a cliff, we’ve got corporate gangsters stealing us blind, and we can’t even clean up after a hurricane much less build a hybrid car. But instead of getting mad, everyone sits around and nods their heads when the politicians say, “Stay the course.”
“And don’t tell me it’s all the fault of right-wing Republicans or liberal Democrats. That’s an intellectually lazy argument, and it’s part of the reason we’re in this stew. We’re not just a nation of factions. We’re a people. We share common principles and ideals. And we rise and fall together.

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Jesse Ventura, remember him?, tells it like it is!
How come more Dems aren’t talking like this? Forget the Repugs, but geez, can’t we get a single Dem to get this pissed off once in a while?

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Ted’s successful brain surgery today is great news. How many remember his great speech of nearly six years ago? Perhaps if he had been listened to then we might have avoided the debacle that is Iraq. Thanks to Brian Donohue for reminding us of this on his blog. Here’s the link to Ted’s speech. That the MSM not only ignored the speech at the time, but essentially ridiculed it as some far out leftist tripe has been brought out by Eric Boehlert. Thanks again to Brian Donohue for this link.

Here are some of the key passages in Kennedy’s September 27, 2002, speech, as listed by Eric Boehlert:

* “[T]he Administration has not made a convincing case that we face such an imminent threat to our national security that a unilateral, pre-emptive American strike and an immediate war are necessary.”

* “[T]he Administration has not explicitly acknowledged, let alone explained to the American people, the immense post-war commitment that will be required to create a stable Iraq.”

* “A largely unilateral American war that is widely perceived in the Muslim world as untimely or unjust could worsen not lessen the threat of terrorism.”

* “War with Iraq before a genuine attempt at inspection and disarmament, or without genuine international support — could swell the ranks of Al Qaeda sympathizers and trigger an escalation in terrorist acts.”

* “[I]nformation from the intelligence community over the past six months does not point to Iraq as an imminent threat to the United States or a major proliferator of weapons of mass destruction.”

* “[T]here is no clear and convincing pattern of Iraqi relations with either Al Qaeda or the Taliban.”

And this great foresight was essentially ignored by the MSM and/or referred to as unpatriotic ranting.
👿 :mrgreen:

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OK, I’ve had about enough of this nonsense. The Horror! It has to stop. War has to stop. We have to get the hell out of Iraq, lock stock and barrel, period.

I’m dropping my support of Obama and will support neither Clinton nor Obama. Instead pressure has to be applied on both of them to promise to really get us out of Iraq.

Cennad has a post A Peace Movement… ‘So’ which contains a link to this great article by Naomi Klein and Jeremy Scahill, Anti-war campaigners have to change electoral tactics.

Klein and Scahill state that “Neither Clinton nor Obama has a real plan to end the occupation of Iraq, but they could be forced to change position”. Let’s hope this is possible.

Here’s the key paragraph from Klein and Scahill:

In sharp contrast to this downsized occupation is the unequivocal message coming from hundreds of soldiers who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Iraq Veterans Against the War which, earlier this month, held the Winter Soldier hearings in Silver Spring, Maryland – modelled on the 1971 Winter Soldier investigation, in which veterans testified about US atrocities in Vietnam – are not supporting any candidate or party. Instead they are calling for immediate, unconditional withdrawal of all US soldiers and contractors. Coming from peace activists, the “out now” position has been dismissed as naive. It is harder to ignore coming from the hundreds who have served – and continue to serve – on the frontlines.

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Juan Cole gives an impassioned discussion of this speech and what it means in America, with the city of Detroit as an example. Well worth a read. Here’s the first paragraph:

Barack Obama was talking about something very personal to him, about being rooted in family and community. He recognizes that race had shaped both and had wounded both. He refuses to give up on the communities in which he is rooted even if they sometimes act out on issues of race. He cannot, he says, afford to give up, and neither can we. No matter what happens in electoral politics, on March 18, 2008, Barack Obama entered the American history books with his brilliant, searingly honest speech on race.

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