We white folks have several among us who are too touchy to function wisely.

A handout photo provided by the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office Detention Center, shows Dylann Storm Roof after he was apprehended as the main suspect in the mass shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church that killed nine people on June 18, 2015 in Charleston, South Carolina.
Credit: Charleston County Sheriff’s Office

Turns out people get angry when you say white Americans are terrorists, too

“Other readers were mad. Really mad. 
Some of them objected to our decision to call the terrorists “white Americans” instead of “some white Americans” or “white American extremists.” Without qualifying the term, they argued, we were claiming that ALL white Americans were a terror threat. Other readers worried that the headline, though correct, was unnecessarily divisive. Some thought it was unfair to focus on racial data when the study’s summary didn’t call attention to it.

Other readers reported us to Facebook for posting hate speech. They called us racists and race-baiters. They said we were ignoring “white genocide.” They asked why were weren’t talking about “black-on-white crime.” One person threatened to file a discrimination lawsuit.
… It was a powerful reaction, and one we thought merited more discussion. So let’s take a closer look at the study and why we framed our story the way we did.”

“As Americans, we should never be afraid to say our culture, country and way of life is better than others.”

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Turning Point USA is an American conservative, right-wing nonprofit organization whose stated mission is “to educate students about true free market values.” It was founded by conservative activist Charlie Kirk, who recently published the tweet shown.
Others have responded more powerfully and directly with tweets of their own. But since my FB timeline is essentially a Sunday School class where I ought not swear, I will only say the following.

My dear Mr. Kirk, you should tell the truth as it happened and has been recorded by real historians: Our culture began with genocide and was built on slavery. American nationalism that thinks we are the most exceptional people on earth is silly and nothing more than fake news.

how zero tolerance regarding the law and a nation’s lack of humanity is somehow “Amerikan” – whatever that hell that would ever mean.

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Jim Martin is with Jared S Polis and Phil Weiser.July 2 at 7:13 PM
This is a memorial to the truth that real facts matter:
Over a third of Americans now don’t believe in the Holocaust of the Jews, but on 2 July 1942, 82 children from Lidice — a small village in Czechoslovakia — were transferred to the Łódź Gestapo office. Those 82 boys and girls were then transported to an extermination camp at Chełmno 34 miles away. They were gassed shortly after their arrival. This remarkable sculpture by Marie Uchytilová commemorates them. What you ignore you empower. 
Never Again.

There’s a comparative here. I would ask the President, the administration, ICE, childish Fox News Pundits and those who offer nothing but foolish rationalizations about how zero tolerance regarding the law and a nation’s lack of humanity is somehow “Amerikan” – whatever that hell that would ever mean.
Thank you to Jim Martin, Jared S. Polis and Phil Weiser for these images.

Hmmm … more comparative from Business Insider journal

Immigrant children detained in Virginia facility say they were beaten while handcuffed and left nude in concrete cells

So how come the “greatest country in the world” is afraid of women worldwide practicing natural breastfeeding? 

UPDATE: 07/08/18 : “It was the Russians who ultimately stepped in to introduce the measure — and the Americans did not threaten them,” the report said.

(Earlier I published the following.)
Just published today in the New York Times: U.S. Opposition to Breast-Feeding Resolution Stuns World Health Officials  One of the Ugliest Undersides of American Corporate Welfare

So how come the “greatest country in the world” is afraid of women worldwide practicing natural breastfeeding?
Oh … probably national security.
I get it.

If capitalism loses any kind of profit anywhere, the mighty might fall. That of course is the art of the deal. Look out for number one. We’re number one! To hell with all the other number twos and beyond.

Excerpt:

A resolution to encourage breast-feeding was expected to be approved quickly and easily by the hundreds of government delegates who gathered this spring in Geneva for the United Nations-affiliated World Health Assembly.

Based on decades of research, the resolution says that mother’s milk is healthiest for children and countries should strive to limit the inaccurate or misleading marketing of breast milk substitutes.

“Then the United States delegation, embracing the interests of infant formula manufacturers, upended the deliberations.

American officials sought to water down the resolution by removing language that called on governments to “protect, promote and support breast-feeding” and another passage that called on policymakers to restrict the promotion of food products that many experts say can have deleterious effects on young children.”

Right!

Gosh, the cowardly silence is deafening.

Public embarrassment in Montana. Tell me again, what part of our President’s character and behavior makes America great again in the eyes of its citizens and the globe? ….. Gosh, the cowardly silence is deafening.

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Yep … and I see where some senators of the make-America-great-again party went over there and set them dang Rooskies straight.
 

My nomination for this week’s required reading. In fact, John’s blog out to be required reading every time he publishes.

God bless America Yall

The Heresy of Christian Nationalism

Excerpt:

“God loved the world.
God is in the world-loving business—not the America-blessing business.

You remember the world, don’t you; that massive, spinning sphere of 7.6 billion disparate human beings: brown people, Muslims, LGBTQ folks, Atheists, shithole countries—and lots and lots of non-English speaking, non-Americans?

Check out the Old and New Testaments again.
Read through the Gospels a few times.
Use any translation you’d like:
No America First.
No Making America Great Again (or at all.)
No flags or national anthems to pledge allegiance to.

A few other bits of news from the Scriptures:
Jesus was born in the Middle East.
He didn’t speak English.
He wasn’t white.
He wasn’t Southern Baptist.
He wasn’t a Republican.
Heck, he wasn’t even Christian.”

A change in attitude and behavior is necessary in order for Christianity to maintain a strong and positive influence in the world. Though not in agreement with Bishop Spong who stated that “Christianity must change or die,” I am in harmony with his understanding that literalist Christians may very well literalize themselves into inconsequential roles, or worse, becoming the cause of highly negative consequential events.

A preacher who labors based on an innerant Bible ends up, as Watts wrote, attempting to “tell God what to do and the people how to behave.”

For a long time the second part of that phrase had more impact than the first. However, attempting to tell God what to do because the Bible is inerrant reveals itself more and more as faulty doctrine.

Part of perception is that the interpretation of what we perceive is primarily driven by what we expect to see, i.e. our own internal assumptions. The assumption that the Bible is inerrant then drives the expectations one has as to what God does or will say, what God actually wills, and what God deems as important.

The logic of this is inescapable. If God were to somehow make known a concept not found in the Bible (and I’m not talking about a concept contrary to something in the Bible, but, for example a concept more apropos to 21st century living), how would a culture totally based on an inerrant Bible be ever able to accept it?

“Dogmatic” for me consists of rigidity and inflexibility. I am dogmatic when it comes to my perception of the Bible as something more than a law book limited to its literal statements. I am dogmatic when it comes to viewing the Bible as but one of many powerful means of achieving on-going communion with God.

A church full of Bibles is not a stable full of animals all wearing one harness. It is a place where each person has an individual relationship via his or her personal scripture with the source of the scripture. Otherwise we reduce the Bible to a course in Religion 101, denying ourselves the advanced knowledge to be gained through experientially living religion 201, 301, 401, 100001 and more.

Why would we deliberately remain in shallow water where only splashing is allowed when we can venture into deeper waters, learn to swim and discover the ocean?

What is true is that all religions conflict with each other. In the end, all we have are religions that some claim yes to a thing, and others claim no to a thing and so on and so forth. God cannot be and then not be. He either is or He is not. Therefore by definition, multiple religions mean multiple paths to God.

Literalists are left in an either/or world defined in black and white terms by an inerrant Bible and specific assumptions that cannot be proven. In this circumstance the human mind – where the Holy Spirit is truly sensed and experienced – remains tragically closed.

You ain’t the only pebble on the beach

When you leave your cosy little corner where most folks either agree with you or, regardless, possess mostly similar understandings of what the world is like, you learn stuff.

Mark Twain wrote in Innocents Abroad an almost precise expression of what was on my mind during most of our recent journey.

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”

Reach for success friends … motivate yourself by tracking markers … measure what you can brag about … self-help narcissism.

Self-help advice reflects the beliefs and priorities of the era that spawned it.Illustration by Nishant Choksi

New breakdown of the old thinking that has led to a nation of gullibles whose tradition goes way back to the ideas of success formulas leading to a shopping list of hopes all under the guise of an American Dream.

My first recommended mandatory reading of 2018. Your loss if you don’t but if you don’t, by no means walk around thinking you are smart,  hep and keeping up with the in crowd.

Improving Ourselves to Death:  What the self-help gurus and their critics reveal about our times.

Excerpts:

you’ve made new resolutions for 2018, and the first one is not to make resolutions. Instead, you’re going to “set goals,” in the terminology of the productivity guru Tim Ferriss—preferably ones that are measurable and have timelines, so you can keep track of your success.

Reach for success friends … motivate yourself by tracking markers … measure what you can brag about … self-help narcissism.

Once your goals are in place, it might be smart to design a methodology that will encourage you to accomplish them. Charles Duhigg, the author of “The Power of Habit,” recommends a three-step self-conditioning process. You want to get to the gym more? Pick a cue (sneakers by the door); choose a reward that will motivate you to act on it (a piece of chocolate); execute. Bravo! You are now Pavlov and his dog.

So what’s the secret for aspiring to POSITIVELY THOUGHT OUT desires for prosperity and success?

In retrospect, “The Secret,” which sold more than twenty million copies worldwide, seems a testament to the predatory optimism that characterized the years leading up to the financial crisis. People dreamed big, and, in a day of easy money, found that their dreams could come true. Then the global economy crashed, and we were shaken violently awake—at least for a time.

This article is a different way of whispering to us that our own new clothes aren’t real … we are still naked.

The desire to achieve and to demonstrate perfection is not simply stressful; it can also be fatal, according to the British journalist Will Storr. His forthcoming book, “Selfie: How We Became So Self-Obsessed and What It’s Doing to Us” (Overlook), opens, alarmingly, with a chapter on suicide. Storr is disturbed by the prevalence of suicide in the United States and Britain, and blames the horror and shame of failing to meet the sky-high expectations we set for ourselves. He cites surveys that show that adolescent girls are increasingly unhappy with their bodies, and that a growing number of men are suffering from muscle dysmorphia; he interviews psychologists and professors who describe an epidemic of crippling anxiety among university students yoked to the phenomenon of “perfectionist presentation”—the tendency, especially on social media, to make life look like a string of enviable triumphs. Storr confesses that he, too, is dogged by self-loathing and suicidal thoughts. “We’re living in an age of perfectionism, and perfection is the idea that kills,” he writes. “People are suffering and dying under the torture of the fantasy self they’re failing to become.”

Storr’s explanation for how we got into this predicament has three strands. First, there is nature. “Because of the way our brains function, our sense of ‘me’ naturally runs in narrative mode,” he writes; studies show that we are hardwired to see life as a story in which we star. At the same time, he says, we are tribal creatures, evolved during our hunter-gatherer years to value coöperation and, at the same time, to respect hierarchy and covet status—“to get along and get ahead.”

Next comes culture—a trajectory that wends its way from the ancient Greeks, with their idea that humans are rational creatures who must strive in order to fulfill their highest potential, to Christianity, with its doctrine of a sinful self that requires salvation, to Freud, who’s “just a self-hating, sex-afeared, secular reinvention” of the same, and, finally, to the perilous American pursuit of happiness. Storr has conflicted feelings about the American view that the self is fundamentally good, and thus worthy of comfort and satisfaction. On the one hand, it’s a nice change from Christian guilt. On the other, it has “infected” the rest of the world with aspirational narcissism. Storr has harsh words for positive psychology, and for the self-esteem movement. He reserves special scorn for the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, which pioneered the Human Potential Movement back in the nineteen-sixties and has recently gained popularity with the Silicon Valley crowd.

Finally, there’s the economy. Survival in the hypercompetitive, globalized economy, where workers have fewer protections and are more disposable than ever, requires that we try to become faster, smarter, and more creative. (To this list of marketable qualities I’d add one with a softer edge: niceness, which the gig economy and its five-star rating system have made indispensable to everyone from cabdrivers to plumbers.) Anything less than our best won’t cut it.

Read it and weep … then wake up … and don’t look in the mirror with an eye to who you might see behind you watching your reaching for success.