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I have noticed that Next Theology still gets hits from search engines, and I want interested readers to know that I’m not featuring new content here anymore. If you are one of these interested readers, you might take a look at my new site, Everyday Apocalypse

Hope to see you there!

-John

I’m reblogging this from my new ‘world politics’ blog – where I’ve been a little distracted lately trying to expose the global domination game being played by state-busting Neo-cons in Syria. It’s complicated by the fact that a one-sided corporate media coverage of atrocities has co-opted millions of careless ‘humanitarians’ and liberals who would ordinarily be against the destruction of the last secular Arab state in the world.

CounterNarratives

Every humanitarian who trusts the current commentary associated with the bloody images coming out of Syria could very well be getting played for a fool.

There is not enough public questioning of the motives of Western intelligence agencies and their proxy fighters, who are largely responsible for the images of violence in the media.

Independent observers continue to cast doubt upon this Western misinformation campaign against the government and the loyal citizenry of the last secular Arab state in the world.

There are a lot of soldiers of fortune [in Syria]… Chechens, Romanians, French, Libyans, and Afghans… A few Afghans were caught and asked, ‘What are you doing here?’ They replied, ‘We were told that we came to Israel, and at night we are shooting at Israeli buses. We are fighting with the enemy to liberate Palestine.’ It might be funny, but it is true. The guys were really surprised, ‘Are…

View original post 453 more words

The Syrian people of Maaloula tell the story of anti-Assad outsiders who tried to enlist the townspeople as agitators against the President and his government.  Both Muslim and Christian citizens rejected their invitation.

Correspondent Maria Finoshina gives a video report from the town, alleged to be the only place in the world where an entire community still speaks Aramaic as a living language (most scholars believe a form of Aramaic was the native tongue of Jesus of Nazareth).

Interviewed in the clip is Mother Pelagia Sayaf, Christian nun and schoolteacher at the town’s Monastery of St. Thekla:

“There were people who came here, they wanted to push us against the government, the President, the army… these people are receiving money and listening to orders.”

The town’s Muslim Imam reports the same:

“I remember last April, there were several men after Friday prayers, they tried to persuade Muslims to protest against the government, encouraging them to go and make trouble.”

The Imam said they had never seen most of those people before and had not seen them again since. “We are not talking about normal Muslims, but people with an extremist way of thinking…  We had a meeting with residents, and the people agreed to support the leadership [Assad].”

Mother Pelagia said “If you hear that the army enters this city and kills people, believe me – this is a mistake [a lie]… Our country before the crisis was going forward, now we are all losing ground… God bless Assad.”

In the words of another citizen interviewed:

“We used to live in peace – Muslims and Christians – of course we’re afraid people from outside the city and this country may come and destroy this unity. Assad became more than just the head of State. He’s a kind of international symbol of this fight for our life.”

My Comment: Prior to the rise of the NATO-backed and NATO financed Syrian ‘insurgency’, Assad’s secular state was one of the last governments in the Arab world under which a citizenry enjoyed peaceful coexistence of diverse religious and ethnic communities. The people know this, and they also know that the violent and random provocations of the murderous Arab mercenaries and outsiders (and the still bigger violence planned by their NATO handlers) have threatened the whole secular foundation for this peace.

In my unprofessional opinion, I think what we’re looking at in Syria is a fraudulent program of regime change.  Like Iran in 1953, Guatemala in 1954, Vietnam in 1963, El Salvador, Angola, etc., etc.  The Cold Warrior and Neocon do not understand true democracy or humanitarianism, and we see his/her unmistakeable signature in the great civilian tragedies resulting from all of the above covert actions, no less than in the more recently broken and utterly failed states of Iraq and Libya.

One can always spot the Neocon footprint in the wake of US/NATO’s self-serving efforts to effect changes in non-NATO countries: fraudulent opposition movements, phony replacement governments, ruined sovereignty, co-opted national resources, and untold civilian death .

Source page for this post.

We don’t want lawmakers to get a foothold on Internet regulation, my friends, under this white knight pretence of fighting piracy.

What initial legislation will do is simply set up a precedent for continued intervention, so that each new session of lawmakers may proceed to do the bidding of their handlers and paymasters, to change and tighten the rules.

The owners of our government representatives are the real pirates in this world.

If we allow the real pirates to put their legislative lackeys in play on the issue of Internet independence, it will be the beginning of a process of selective censorship by which future generations will lose control again of what we now know about these prima donas (if we care to search).  Their aim is to get back their control of what we don’t know – about their covert stonewalling and assassination of progressives and whistleblowers, and about their cyclic rip-offs of the millions of tax payers who play by the rules, through the looting of national and corporate treasuries, of banks and savings companies, and of natural resources and public lands.

Honor the day by hearing these ominous and generally unknown points of evidence and circumstance being entered into the record during the King family’s 1999 civil finding of wrongful death for the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The clip presents only an 8 1/2 minute portion of attorney William Pepper’s closing summation of evidence to the jury – given before they delivered a verdict against the defendant, Loyd Jowers.  All ten clips are available on YouTube.

Loyd Jowers?  Funny I don’t remember any fuss over this on TV at the time. In fact I am ashamed to admit that I have been walking around for over 12 years having no idea how much evidence this Memphis jury heard; evidence that not only pointed to shooters not named James Earl Ray, but also implicated local, state, and federal law enforcement personnel in complicity with shooters not named James Earl Ray.

At least we now see how important it was for a lot of people that James Earl Ray never got a jury trial. It should make us think twice whenever an alleged assassin does not go to trial – whether he is shot dead at the scene or while in custody, or maybe is declared mentally insane and unable to stand trial. In Ray’s case it appears he was just allowed to run – I’m guessing someone gave him tickets to a place where an accident could be arranged for him.  Except that on the way to the accident he was snared at a checkpoint that was out of their control – Heathrow Airport – and returned to them. Awkward moment!

After the British government expedited the lone gunman back to the states, normal preparations for his defense where begun.  But these preparations were brought to an end quickly by Texas attorney Percy Foreman, who showed up uninvited and convinced Ray to fire his legal team, telling him that he could get him off.  Then, on the day before scheduled arraignment with his fancy new attorney, Ray was very suddenly told by him that he must plead guilty or face the electric chair. When Ray discovered that he had not been allowed to say anything on his own behalf during the plea bargain, he recanted his guilty plea, and spent the rest of his life in prison requesting a trial.

At least the King family’s civil trial 30 years later has cleared Ray’s name of all Federal charges except the purchase of a rifle alleged to be the murder weapon (a rifle with a scope that had never been ‘sighted in’ and arguably was never fired in the direction of the Lorraine Motel).

Swedish Blogger and philosopher Jan Olof Bengtsson finds a book of interest:

Edward F. Kelly et al.: Irreducible Mind.

Meanwhile I have recently run out my own set of ‘irreducibles’ while following the thoughts of Matthew David Segal over at Footnotes to Plato

 

 

I think the meaning of Luke 18:10-14 remains unchanged even when the roles are reversed. Here’s what I mean: What if Jesus had told the story this way?

… The tax collector stood and prayed thus with himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not as other men are, extortionists, unjust, adulterers, or even as this Pharisee.  I fast twice in the week. I give tithes of all that comes into my possession.’

But the Pharisee, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner.’

I tell you this man went down to his house justified rather than the other.

I doubt any of my readers would argue that switching the lines spoken by the two men has subtracted anything from the essential teaching of Jesus, but I’d be interested to hear.  The idea occurred to me while reading the following in a chapter on Prayer in the New Testament in a now-obscure 1926 book by W.F. Tillett.

“It is well for us to remember that there is no sin in being a Pharisee, and no saintliness in being a publican.  It is that for which one prays that reveals his real character and the quality of his religion… Thanksgiving is often the best kind of prayer, but such thanksgiving as this man offered was nothing but an offensive expression of self-conceit and complacent pride… The one supreme object of prayer is, first of all, to get rid of sin and to be justified before God.  Prayers that are directed toward this end are effectual and saintly, whether they be offered by Pharisees or publicans.” (Providence Prayer and Power, p. 214).

It is just as easy to detect the gist of the divine message when the Pharisee’s lines are placed on the lips of the wealthy publican. Because it’s not merely about the justification of the ‘outcast’ publican (although that element might have appealed to Luke) but about the inefficacious mindset of the self-congratulatory do-gooder at prayer – whoever he may be.

My role reversal does lose the implied criticism of the Pharisee as a religious type, but I doubt such a negative stereotype can explain everything – especially in view of the high probability that there were decent Pharisees among his own followers.

However, I admit that the New Testament version bears a glint of religious genius to which my role-reversal cannot attain – the added irony of the superior wealth of the ‘justified’ in the Gospel account.  The special shock-value contributed to the story by the wealth of the publican was a factor which I think cannot have escaped the mind of Jesus.  I’ve seen uninspired visual portrayals of the story which fail to deliver this irony because they depict the Pharisee as the far better-dressed man.

Wilbur Fisk Tillett  (1854-1936) was dean of the Theological faculty and professor of Christian doctrine at Vanderbilt University, Tennessee.