“Compassion as Foundation” by DT Strain

A simple statement but so true…compassion is missing on all sides

Humanistic Paganism

This essay was originally published at The Spiritual Naturalist Society.

Compassion is under assault in our media, entertainment, and politics. Meanwhile the faceless nature of the internet often encourages even greater levels of meanness and vitriol than would normally occur in human interactions, and this negativity unavoidably spills into other parts of our lives.

Yet, compassion is an essential part of our nature as social animals and moral beings. Thomas Merton wrote that compassion is, “the keen awareness of the interdependence of all things”. Called Rahmah in Islam, compassion is considered a major trait of God, who they call “the merciful and compassionate”. Hinduism has a principle of doing no harm called Ahimsa and their word for compassion is Daya. In Buddhism, you have the notion of wishing a release from suffering in others, called Karuna, and the notion of wishing happiness for others – loving…

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Post-Racial America and the Rev. Al Sharpton

Post Racial America Alert


I have read and heard a lot of Criticism of Rev. Al Sharpton from the Left and right..But, i must say at least, he’s the one that the family invited to the funeral on Monday, (of Michael Brown) in Missouri. He also happens to be the ‘center‘ of the story, wherever he is.. AND…. he is a SPOKESMAN for African Americans on the topic of Civil rights, Inequality, and Hate… Thus, he MUST speak out.. He’s a great speaker… no matter the content. I heard him once in person at a NAACP rally, against ‘stop and frisk’ in NYC a few years ago.
There IS and will continue to be Criticism of him no matter where is..He is not perfect, he takes ‘advantage’ of situations, because he CAN and because he is ‘asked’ to. I don’t agree with a lot of things he says,but he is the PreEminent speaker on Civil Rights today, like him or not.. Is he a ‘race baitor’? Stupid statement or question. He’s black, he’s in America, He will always be the subject of mistrust, hate and more …..nothing we can do about it.
My differences with him, come from the ‘corporate’ (MSNBC ,like it or not, they sell Fossil Fuels industry ‘lies’ all the time)….BS that he spouts sometimes… Can I judge him as civil rights spokesperson, and African American, speaking for his (and MY) people, NO.
Thus as the writer here says:
“The ongoing protests over the tragic shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., have brought much-needed attention to racial tensions as well as the militarization of police forces all over America. “
We need to , as a people, at least to listen to all voices on this, expose hatred, LIES, and Racism wherever we see it… At least that’s how i feel. So, we are stuck with Al. He’s not perfect, many others can do it better. But, Rev. Al is the ‘center of attention’ wherever he is… as I said,, We must not Let HE be the message,but listen to all voices of reason. Just my HO.


From Ferguson To Palestine Occupation Is a Crime

Something is happening… are we ‘out of gas’ as a people? forget the nation… have we just had it…

The Acronym Journal

After five hours of rallies and marches on justice for Palestine and Ferguson, 1,500 protesters were in Union Square park in Manhattan, all with their hands up for Mike Brown. When the crowd took their hands down, a voice from the crowd told them “Mike Brown never took his hands down. The dead children in Gaza did not get to take their hands down.”

And so it was on this dramatic ending to a long day of complimentary marches in New York Wednesday: the NYC Solidarity with Palestine March over the Brooklyn Bridge and the Hands Up/ Turn Up march in remembrance of Mike Brown energized activists and community members who stood up to racism and oppression “from Ferguson to Palestine.”

A highlight of the solidarity with Palestine march came when activists were able to drop a large banner with the colors of the Palestinian flag from the Manhattan Bridge…

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Did Reagan support an assault-weapons ban or any Gun control bill?



FROM ‘POLIIFACT’, an independent, non partisan fact checking site.

In a 1991 New York Times op-ed titled “Why I’m For the Brady Bill,” Reagan detailed his support of a seven-day waiting period for gun buyers. “Every year, an average of 9,200 Americans are murdered by handguns, according to Department of Justice statistics,” Reagan said in the op-ed. “… If the passage of the Brady bill were to result in a reduction of only 10 or 15 percent of those numbers (and it could be a good deal greater), it would be well worth making it the law of the land.”

“Reagan supported the Brady Bill. That was after he had left office, but he did support it,” said Allan Lichtman, a professor of history at American University. “His views are a little complicated because he also signed legislation easing the (1968) Gun Control Act, so you can take Reagan either way.”

he said more about the bill here.
“Reagan said the following: It would allow local law enforcement officials to do background checks for criminal records or known histories of mental disturbances. Those with such records would be prohibited from buying the handguns.

While there has been a Federal law on the books for more than 20 years that prohibits the sale of firearms to felons, fugitives, drug addicts and the mentally ill, it has no enforcement mechanism and basically works on the honor system, with the purchaser filling out a statement that the gun dealer sticks in a drawer.

The Brady bill would require the handgun dealer to provide a copy of the prospective purchaser’s sworn statement to local law enforcement authorities so that background checks could be made. Based upon the evidence in states that already have handgun purchase waiting periods, this bill — on a nationwide scale — can’t help but stop thousands of illegal handgun purchases.

And, since many handguns are acquired in the heat of passion (to settle a quarrel, for example) or at times of depression brought on by potential suicide, the Brady bill would provide a cooling-off period that would certainly have the effect of reducing the number of handgun deaths.

Critics claim that “waiting period” legislation in the states that have it doesn’t work, that criminals just go to nearby states that lack such laws to buy their weapons. True enough, and all the more reason to have a Federal law that fills the gaps. While the Brady bill would not apply to states that already have waiting periods of at least seven days or that already require background checks, it would automatically cover the states that don’t. The effect would be a uniform standard across the country.

Even with the current gaps among states, those that have waiting periods report some success. California, which has a 15-day waiting period that I supported and signed into law while Governor, stopped nearly 1,800 prohibited handgun sales in 1989. New Jersey has had a permit-to-purchase system for more than two decades. During that time, according to the state police, more than 10,000 convicted felons have been caught trying to buy handguns.

Every year, an average of 9,200 Americans are murdered by handguns, according to Department of Justice statistics. This does not include suicides or the tens of thousands of robberies, rapes and assaults committed with handguns.

This level of violence must be stopped. Sarah and Jim Brady are working hard to do that, and I say more power to them. If the passage of the Brady bill were to result in a reduction of only 10 or 15 percent of those numbers (and it could be a good deal greater), it would be well worth making it the law of the land.” ( in, ‘Why I am for the Brady bill’… http://www.nytimes.com/1991/03/29/opinion/why-i-m-for-the-brady-bill.html)

So, yes, Reagan, the ‘small government’ icon of the conservative movement in this country, did support the Brady bill.. which has since been dropped, in that it wasn’t renewed by Congress.


Ferguson: 10 WordPress.com Bloggers Speak Out

Just some thoughts expressed on the last two weeks of events in Ferguson, MO that have gone universal…

The WordPress.com Blog

Many details about the violent death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, remain unclear. What is beyond doubt is the intensity of reactions to this story — in the media and in neighborhoods all over the US (and beyond). Here are ten personal perspectives on this event and its aftermath, from writers representing a diverse cross-section of the WordPress.com community.

14938226361_6a7a43dfda_oImage by Shawn Semmler (CC BY 2.0)


Writer and scholar Keguro Macharia reacts with his usual incisiveness to one of the signature chants of post-Ferguson protests :

If “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” is an expression of “humanity,” as one tweet has it, we must ask for whom that humanity is available. In fact, the insistent repetition of “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” by black bodies across the U.S. might offer a less promising narrative: it might suggest the banality with which black life forms can never gain access to the vernaculars of the human.

hands up, don’t shoot

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Stop the Violence from Ferguson to Gaza: 90-Year-Old Holocaust Survivor Arrested in St. Louis

Have to share this excellent story I heard from Democracy Now today, Wed., August 20, 2014..

[Hedy Epstein, 90-year-old Holocaust survivor who was arrested Monday at a protest outside Gov. Jay Nixon’s office in St. Louis. She is a co-founder of the St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee and St. Louis branch of Jewish Voice for Peace.]

I want to link to the most excellent take and one that speaks for my heart on the wider situation in Ferguson, MO< but moreso in our country..
An interview on Democracy now today, Amy Goodman in Fergson, interviewing a 90 year old Holocaust survivor arrested last night, while protesting in Ferguson, who also has been in Palestine, supporting their cause and more… THIS IS AMAZING.. I provide the link, please read or listen to it all..
“HEDY EPSTEIN: The ongoing violence and the ongoing oppression that has been taking place in Ferguson of the African-American community. And that has to end. The whole structure of oppression there has to end. And right now, that’s the long-range problem. But at present now, the violence has to de-escalate. Instead of it, it’s being escalated. And the police chief of Ferguson has been trained in Israel how to mishandle, I’m sorry to have to say—”

[I have to say, that I have perhaps, or perhaps not lost some FB friends – whom I never met anyway – by seeing Bigotry and racism from people I didnt expect it from and saying so. That’ is how I see it when one strictly keeps lamenting the very few incidences of ‘looting’ – Fox/Faux news’ spectacular ‘meme’ – while the wider picture of ‘militarized’ police shooting young black males in the streets, while being incapable of speaking to the people whom they are supposed to ‘protect and SERVE’.. I know there is provocation on all sides, but that is because of the lack of  ‘De escalation’ of this madness from the overreacting police force, has pushed the people to the edge.. I know I will be criticized by some, over analysed and detracted, but I believe more, I will be Approved.] Read or listen to the interview. I heard it on the podcast, as I was walking today and it resonated so deeply with me, I was nearly in tears.. ‘BLEEDING HEART LIBERAL’ I’ll be called or worse by some, but, I speak from a sense of HUMANITY…People who speak out against Animal cruelty and some cannot see the Inhumanity of what’s going on? Please… Dont’ listen to me, listen to 90 year old Hedy Epstein.. she has my heart.



Well the KKK has chimed in: Klan heading to Ferguson to ‘guard white businesses,’ back shooting of ‘n*gger criminal’
On Friday, the New Empire Knights announced. that it would be holding a fundraiser on August 23-24 in Sullivan, about 60 miles from Ferguson. “With the police state in Ferguson, we will be holding our fundraiser in Sullivan City, MO,” the announcement said. “Donations of $10 and up. All money will go to the cop who did his job against the negro criminal.” (http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/08/18/klan-heading-to-ferguson-to-guard-white-businesses-back-shooting-of-ngger-criminal/)
Our national Psychological take from Laura Ingraham. “Laura Ingraham’s opinion on the merits of a protest movement seem to vary considerably from month to month. Ingraham recently characterized protestors in Ferguson, Missouri as a “lynch mob” and downplayed the story as a “local, criminal” story, but in April the radio host helped to elevate the standoff between scofflaw rancher Cliven Bundy and federal law enforcement agents while suggesting his supporters’ violent threats against the government constituted a mere “act of civil disobedience.” (http://mediamatters.org/blog/2014/08/14/lynch-mob-or-freedom-riders-laura-ingrahams-tak/200440)\

Meanwhile, Fox ‘News’ * Fox News Tries To Justify Militarization and Violence of Ferguson Police . “Fox News is once again stirring up racial animus and using one specific outlier as an excuse for consistently and inherently bad behavior by the police.
Filing in for the vacationing Megyn Kelly, Fox News’ Martha MacCallum drummed up Black Panther fears by claiming they are pushing racial violence in Ferguson, based on an FBI report that ONE member of the fringe Black Panthers group is in Ferguson.” Black Panthers? Really? (http://www.politicususa.com/2014/08/14/fox-news-justify-militarization-violence-ferguson-police.html)

On the ‘religious’ side.. (at least the Far Right Evangelical take). Pat Robertson: Michael Brown ‘probably was high on something’ and wasn’t ‘assassinated’.
TV preacher Pat Robertson asserted this week that Ferguson police had been right to kill Michael Brown because the unarmed teen was “probably high on something” and “charged the police officer.” So much for the ‘Christian’ viewpoint…. (http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/08/19/pat-robertson-michael-brown-probably-was-high-on-something-and-wasnt-assassinated/)
Missouri Lt Governor, a gentleman, I am sure, said, “… We need ‘Anglo-American’ justice in Ferguson, not racial protests.” (http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/08/19/missouri-lt-gov-we-need-anglo-american-justice-in-ferguson-not-racial-protests/). Now, I’m not exactly sure what ‘Anglo-American’ justice is… it doesn’t seem to be in the Constitution, either the Federal or Missouri state, that I can read.
On the other hand,,, the Official Attorney General’s press release… here.. Statement by Attorney General Eric Holder on Latest Developments in Ferguson, Missouri. After saying “This morning, I met with President Obama to discuss the events in Ferguson, Missouri. Like the President, I extend my heartfelt condolences to the family of Michael Brown.  While his death has understandably caused heartache within the community, it is clear that the scenes playing out in the streets of Ferguson over the last several nights cannot continue.’ … He continued, “For one thing, while the vast majority of protests have been peaceful, acts of violence by members of the public cannot be condoned. Looting and willful efforts to antagonize law enforcement officers who are genuinely trying to protect the public do nothing to remember the young man who has died. Such conduct is unacceptable and must be unequivocally condemned” and, then said the following.
“At a time when we must seek to rebuild trust between law enforcement and the local community, I am deeply concerned that the deployment of military equipment and vehicles sends a conflicting message. At my direction, Department officials have conveyed these concerns to local authorities. Also at my direction, the Department is offering – through our COPS office and Office of Justice Programs – technical assistance to local authorities in order to help conduct crowd control and maintain public safety without relying on unnecessarily extreme displays of force. The local authorities in Missouri have accepted this offer of assistance as of this afternoon.”
( http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2014/August/14-ag-854.html). The President’s comments yesterday, said virtually the same, without the mention of ‘military equipment, etc.”….

Meanwhile of late, and as the curfew set by Missouri Governor Nixon was lifted, Daily Kos reports “Ferguson curfew lifted, Nat’l Guard ordered to protect cops, state senator wants police chief out” Among other statements, the ACLU (one of the most hated institutions for the Right and Conservatives), said, “Meanwhile, the American Civil Liberties Union, NAACP Legal Defense fund, the Lawyers’ Committee For Civil Rights Under Law and 11 other organizations issued a joint statementMonday objecting to “the suspension of constitutional rights in Ferguson” and making several recommendations. “(http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/08/18/1322671/-Ferguson-curfew-lifted-Nat-l-Guard-ordered-to-protect-cops-state-senator-wants-police-chief-out)
A SALON article titled, Ferguson police chief’s mind-blowing statement: Everybody needs to “calm down” “OK, the sentiment is well-taken, but “calm down”? The protesters are supposed to calm down when during a mostly peaceful protest they were pelted with rubber bullets and assaulted with tear gas? The press is supposed to calm down when two reporters were arrested for not leaving a McDonald’s quickly enough?
Or, possibly, did Jackson mean that the police need to calm down?
“There is gunfire, there is firebombs being thrown at the police,” he said. “I understand that what it looks like — is not good. The whole situation is not good at this point. That’s why there’s several meetings going on right now to evaluate tactics, how we approach this.”(http://www.salon.com/2014/08/14/ferguson_police_chiefs_mind_blowing_statement_everybody_needs_to_calm_down/).

I have listed the above statements to allow us all just to see or hear, as if we haven’t if we have had any kind of news stations on at all, what is being said on different sides of the issue.
I, myself, to be open and honest agree with the article in THE DISSENTER… titled, “Why not arrest Ferguson Police Officer who killed Michael Brown to help bring Peace to the Community”
A private autopsy requested by Brown’s family shows that Brown was shot at least six times. Brown suffered a fatal shot that entered the top of his skull. Four shots also hit his right arm, which is consistent with eyewitness testimony claiming Brown put his arms in the air and said, “I don’t have a gun. Stop shooting!”
The family’s attorney, Daryl Parks, has contended that, given these facts, “This officer should have been arrested.”
Brown’s mother asked, “What else do we need to give them to arrest the killer of my child?”
There is a simple answer to why Wilson has not been arrested and also has been reportedly allowed to leave the city. Wilson is a white police officer and Brown was a black teenager. Police who kill black Americans are rarely held accountable for their crimes or are often able to take refuge in a legal system that will contort itself to protect them.
In 250 cases of extrajudicial killings in 2012, only eight police were charged with crimes [PDF]. This means about 3% of officers involved in killings faced charges for their conduct.”
Its greatly worth reading.. at this link: (http://dissenter.firedoglake.com/2014/08/18/why-not-arrest-ferguson-police-officer-who-killed-michael-brown-to-help-restore-peace-to-the-community/)
The facts so far as stated at the head of this article are, “In response to a community angered by a white police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, authorities in the St. Louis suburb have brought out dogs. Authorities have deployed military-grade equipment, including armored vehicles. Authorities have fired tear gas, smoke bombs and rubber bullets at demonstrators. Authorities have mobilized the highway patrol to escort protesters and deployed police in riot gear to guard businesses. Authorities have issued a state of emergency so a curfew could be imposed on residents. And now, authorities have ordered National Guard members to provide help with security. “
At this point, I have to agree with all of the above.. The Independent Autopsy has shown that Brown was shot 6 times, several in the head, almost assuredly meaning he was on his knees and probably surrendering at the time he was shot. (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/18/us/michael-brown-autopsy-shows-he-was-shot-at-least-6-times.html?_r=0)

While we wait for further events and evidence in this, noting that the Ferguson PD has released as few facts about this incident, waiting 5 days to even release the name of the officer who shot Mike Brown.
As the National guard has been added to the situation, we now see an unfortunate, preventable, emergency of Civil rights hardly seen since the protests of the 1960’s.