Aug 20, 2017

The Great American Eclipse

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.




The last total eclipse of the sun to be visible in the United States was in 1979. Above is a little nostalgia viewing on the eclipse that was. Walter Cronkite's reassuring voice is sorely missed. But it was a calmer time, a time when all we had to worry about was the Cold War and the looming threat of a nuclear holocaust. They seem like halcyon days to me now.

For Americans, this eclipse may be more relevant than any we've seen in nearly a hundred years, because this one will cross the entire continental United States. Astrologers are predicting massive change and upheaval. In particular, there are warning signs for the Trump presidency and for the man himself. In the interest of full disclosure, I am not an astrologer, so I cannot vouch for their accuracy.

According to astrologer Donna Woodwell, in the most comprehensive analysis I've seen, the eclipse means "massive changes for the U.S."

First, the location from which an eclipse is visible indicates the areas of the world ripe for changes in society, cultures or leadership.

. . .

Of course, the “Great American Eclipse” puts the U.S. in the crosshairs of change.

It’s the first total solar eclipse to be visible coast-to-coast across the U.S. in nearly 100 years; the last time was in June 1918. Another pivotal year in U.S. history, 1918 saw a dramatic increase in the size of the U.S. government and armed forces, as the nation sent the first major deployment of troops overseas in the nation’s history.

The Aug. 21 eclipse is also the first total solar eclipse to be visible in totality only from the U.S. since the nation was founded in 1776.

Aug 9, 2017

That Time Blake Tried Blogging



It did not go well.

Blake Dyer is Teal Bosworth Scott Swan's long-time friend, roommate, ex-boyfriend, and business partner. You may remember Blake from such hits as Jason Freedman: Freelance Reporter, Blake and the Unanswered Questions, and Stop Destroying Teal With Your Worsening Depression. Now he brings you... a very thorough scolding. There is trouble in Teal Tribe and it's all because of "haters." People just seem to turn on teal, but it's never her fault. As she explained it, in one of her blog posts:

Again and again, I experience “haters”.  I especially experience people turning on me.  I guess you could call it a form of betrayal.  They go from being very close to me and “loving” me to “hating” me with verve and passion.  They go out of their way to try to injure my credibility or my success.

What can a very, very famous spiritual luminary do but respond in kind? Of course she doesn't do that dirty work herself, not publicly. She has people for that. For instance, her current and fourth husband Ale Gicqueu took on husband number three in a biting, personal attack on his blog, which has since been taken private. Now it falls to Blake, her all around guy Friday, to devote a very long post to taking on her growing list of "betrayers."

Blake explains that this pattern of betrayal stems from deep, unhealed wounds in the collective psyche, including his own. He further explains that the people who've turned on teal did so because of their own unwillingness to self-reflect.

Blake's claim that no one else takes personal responsibility is ironic (note the correct use of the term), given that the entire blog post is devoted to blaming everyone but himself and teal for everything. Nowhere in the entire post does he describe a single action that they took that just might account for these people breaking from teal. It's all blame throwing. The only thing Blake takes partial responsibility for is his own "personality disorder," for which he blames his parents. He's learned his tealisms well.


The Taofighter Interview

As discussed in my post about Blake Dyer's foray into blogging, there is an unpublished interview with Cameron Clark, which addresses her break with Guru Ethics. She was approached by a teal follower who calls himself taofighter. She agreed to respond to his questions, provided they both had publishing rights to the interview.

I have selected excerpts which address the claims Debra appears to have made to Blake, the reasons for the dispute and how that led to legal action. I am not publishing the entirety of the interview. It was never previously edited or published. It is repetitive and and bit confusing. It spanned over a month of emails back and forth. Cameron copied and pasted those emails into a document to which she has given me access. I apologize for any typographical errors which may have occurred in the cutting and pasting process, transitioning from one format to another. I have slightly edited some of these to improve readability. I have not addressed spelling or grammatical errors. I don't believe English is taofighter's first language. A pdf of the raw document is available upon request.


********
 

November 17, 2015

TAOFIGHTER: Hi Cameron,

I wanted to inform you that I am working on an infovideo about you.

I expect this to have quite some impact, as it will provide people with a new way to look at things. A lot of people will probably see it. Although I am afraid my perspective of your actions against Teal Swan will not be very favourable for you I still want to do it fair.

You don't need to be afraid that I will look in your private letters and I will back up what I say. This is about arguments. I will work with what you have published and how you have worked. So no unfair tactics but there is a lot to say.

If you want you can share your point of view and I will take it into consideration and feature it as I strongly believe that people really should make up their minds for themselves after looking at different perspectives. I also might not see everything in the right light. If you don't answer to my email, you will have to live with the result.

. . .


Jul 28, 2017

In Salem a New Memorial and a Chilling Reminder



Last week a new memorial was dedicated to victims of the Salem witch trials. Wednesday, July 19 marked the 325th anniversary of the first five hangings, a number that would expand to 19 in a series of public executions.

In 1692, when children often died young, Rebecca Nurse’s lived. During the Salem witch trials, this was one of the reasons locals were convinced that Nurse was a witch, according to Benita Towle, her granddaughter nine generations removed.

“I was told that people were jealous of her,” said Towle, a Milford, Conn., resident.

Exactly 325 years since Nurse’s execution, dozens of people gathered at the spot of her death Wednesday for a dedication of the new Salem Witch Trials Memorial at Proctor’s Ledge, where 19 were executed because of accusations of witchcraft.

Wednesday’s event began at noon, around the same time the first of three mass executions took place on the site on July 19, 1692, when five women accused of witchcraft were hanged: Nurse, Sarah Good, Elizabeth Howe, Susannah Martin, and Sarah Wildes. In addition to those executed at Proctor’s Ledge, at least five died in jail, and one was crushed to death.

I started out to write a brief acknowledgment of this new monument. But each time I turned my hand to it, the more the strange tendrils of this story tugged at me. Salem is iconic, not only for its tragic history, but for its enduring lessons about human nature.


Jul 8, 2017

Hobby Lobby Goes to the Black Market for Jesus



Note to Hobby Lobby: Please stick to arts and crafts and leave archaeology to the professionals.

Hobby Lobby purchased thousands of ancient artifacts smuggled out of modern-day Iraq via the United Arab Emirates and Israel in 2010 and 2011, attorneys for the Eastern District of New York announced on Wednesday. As part of a settlement, the American craft-supply mega-chain will pay $3 million and the U.S. government will seize the illicit artifacts. Technically, the defendants in the civil-forfeiture action are the objects themselves, yielding an incredible case name: The United States of America v. Approximately Four Hundred Fifty (450) Ancient Cuneiform Tablets; and Approximately Three Thousand (3,000) Ancient-Clay Bullae.

Under any circumstances, this case would be wild: It involves thousands of ancient artifacts that seem to have been stolen from Iraq, where the pillaging of antiquities has been rampant. The longstanding trade in antiquities of dubious provenance has become an especially sensitive topic in recent years, and a target of increased law-enforcement scrutiny: ISIS has made some untold millions—or billions—by selling ancient goods. While nothing in the case indicates that these objects were associated with any terrorist group, the very nature of smuggled goods means their provenance is muddy.

But the case really matters because of who’s involved. The members of the Green family, which owns the Hobby Lobby chain, are committed evangelical Christians who are probably most famous for their participation in a 2014 Supreme Court case, Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, which helped dismantle certain birth-control-coverage requirements of the Affordable Care Act. The Greens are big collectors of ancient antiquities; they’re also the primary visionaries and contributors behind the Museum of the Bible opening in Washington, D.C., this fall. Steve Green is the chairman of the board. The family’s famous name, now tied to a story of dealer intrigue and black markets, is likely to bring even further scrutiny and attention as they prepare to open their museum.

Jul 6, 2017

Vatican's Ticking Gay Bomb Goes Off



The Catholic Church has a gay problem. I'm not talking about its regressive, homophobic doctrine, but about the sheer hypocrisy. Openly gay, former friar Mark Dowd called it a "ticking gay bomb." By his estimation, about half of the men drawn to Catholic seminaries and monastic orders are gay. Leave say there have long been rumors of an underground gay scene for some time, even of a gay "lobby" at the highest levels. Now the implicit has become explicit with a widely publicized bust.

Vatican police raided a drug-fueled gay-sex party at an apartment belonging to an aide of one of Pope Francis’ key advisers, according to a new report.

The Holy Father is “enraged,” since the home, inhabited by Francesco Cardinal Coccopalmerio’s secretary, belongs to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith — the arm charged with tackling clerical sex abuse, the Italian paper Il Fatto Quotidiano reported.

Cops raided the apartment in late June after neighbors voiced concern about multiple people acting strangely while streaming in and out of the residence, the newspaper reported Wednesday.

Once police were inside the apartment, they said they found multiple men engaged in rampant drug use and homosexual activity.

Jun 24, 2017

The C of E Calls Itself to Account

Canturbury


The Church of England has made a clean breast of it, but for the many victims of Bishop Peter Ball, it comes far too late. When it mattered, the Church enabled and colluded with a pederast who exploited young men and boys for years. When it mattered, they put the reputation of the Church before the emotional and spiritual well-being of the vulnerable.

The archbishop of Canterbury has asked his predecessor George Carey to step down as an honorary assistant bishop after a damning independent report found that senior figures in the Church of England colluded over a 20-year period with a disgraced former bishop who sexually abused boys and men.

Justin Welby said the report on the church’s handling of former bishop Peter Ball made harrowing reading. “The church colluded and concealed rather than seeking to help those who were brave enough to come forward. This is inexcusable and shocking behaviour,” Welby said.

“To the survivors who were brave enough to share their story and bring Peter Ball to justice, I once again offer an unreserved apology. There are no excuses whatsoever for what took place and the systemic abuse of trust perpetrated by Peter Ball over decades.”

Jun 15, 2017

Lyle Jeffs In Custody, Not Raptured

Lyle Jeffs Mug


Acting on a tip from a pawn shop in South Dakota, the FBI has captured fugitive Lyle Jeffs. It appears that the disgraced FLDS leader did not in fact experience "the miracle of rapture" as his attorney had speculated. He was found living in his car, not a heavenly chariot.

The owner of a small-town South Dakota pawn shop says Lyle Jeffs revealed who he was on Tuesday when he pawned two pairs of Leatherman pliers for $37 and provided identification.

River City Treasures and Pawn owner Kevin Haug says a store employee in the small town of Yankton notified him that Jeffs was wanted by the FBI after Jeffs had left the store.

Haug says Jeffs provided his last name as his first name, going by Jeffs Lyle Steed.

. . .

He says Jeffs during his first visit was fidgeting, seemed nervous and "acting like a freak."

May 20, 2017

Bleeding the Beast That Is Warren Jeffs




Members of the FLDS really don't like to pay taxes. They don't readily cooperate with the government, or acknowledge its authority. FLDS children are taught that Warren Jeffs is president of the United States. They will take financial support from illicit government forces, though, as we recently saw with the food stamp case, which ended in generous plea deals and the possible rapture of Lyle Jeffs. Their pattern of tax evasion and collecting millions in benefits is part of a "bleeding the beast" philosophy.

FLDS may be waging a slow war of attrition against the government, but it's one they appear to be losing. That sword cuts both ways. In fact, their lack of cooperation with federal and state government can mean that they're cutting off their noses to spite their collective face. Secular forces are gradually eating up their land and property wealth and it's their own refusal to cooperate with these forces, which in many cases are trying to help them, that could cost them everything.

Case in point, Short Creek, the FLDS stronghold made up of Hilldale, UT, and Colorado City, AZ,  is currently seeing an exodus of FLDS faithful. They would rather leave their homes than sign agreements and pay their property taxes.

"The Crick" is managed through a trust called the UEP (United Effort Plan). Originally set up by Warren Jeffs, the UEP was seized by the State of Utah, which argued that it was being egregiously mismanaged. Among the problems, those who were excommunicated were made homeless. As a state run trust, the UEP no longer applies a religious test, and some FLDS "apostates" have been able to reclaim homes in their old community, alongside those who remain devoted to "Prophet" Warren Jeffs. But FLDS members are in arrears.

Feb 28, 2017

Is Pope Francis Too Soft on Pedophile Priests?

 photo PopeFrancisMiracle_zpskrpe1zb2.jpg


Over the weekend, I read that Pope Francis is backtracking on pedophile priests, trimming their sentences and showing them "mercy." I was saddened. I am not Catholic. I have never particularly "liked" a pope, but there is much about this one that I admire. I like that he takes his vows of poverty seriously. I like his compassion for the poor and disenfranchised. I like that, although he has not significantly changed Church policy on LGBT issues, he has urged compassion and lack of judgment. I have not cared for his stance on women in the priesthood and I have not been impressed with the pace or tenor of his approach to the sex abuse crisis. So when I saw these words, my heart sank.

Pope Francis has quietly reduced sanctions against a handful of pedophile priests, applying his vision of a merciful church even to its worst offenders in ways that survivors of abuse and the pope’s own advisers question.

Worse, his leniency has already backfired, according to the article.

One case has come back to haunt him: An Italian priest who received the pope’s clemency was later convicted by an Italian criminal court for his sex crimes against children as young as 12. The Rev. Mauro Inzoli is now facing a second church trial after new evidence emerged against him, The Associated Press has learned.

But the more I read, and I read several articles, the less substantive this story seemed to be. The new charges against Rev. Inzoli appeared to come from new information, not from re-offense. In fact, there is no evidence that these changes have put any children at risk.

Feb 1, 2017

James Arthur Ray's Alternative Facts




Yesterday James Ray went before a judge to argue that he was unfairly burdened by his felony conviction and that it should be set aside. But unlike the recent documentary Enlighten Us, that enabled Ray to play the victim without challenge or rebuttal, the judge allowed the family members of his victims to speak. It did not go his way. Some of his civil rights were restored, but his conviction was not vacated and his travel restrictions remain in place.

A victory and a defeat for convicted self- help entrepreneur James Arthur Ray.

A Yavapai County Superior Court judge restored Ray’s civil rights, except his right to carry a gun, but he denied Ray’s request to have his convictions set aside.

. . .

Ray told the judge he wanted his convictions set aside because the international travel restrictions on him were limiting his ability to rebuild his self-help enterprise.

“It will help me in some countries and it will help me in Canada. That's why I’m asking for this,” Ray told Yavapai Superior Court Judge Michael R. Bluff.

In James Ray's alternate universe, his work was never on trial. (It was.) And his conviction for "negligence" means he didn't kill anyone. (He was convicted on three counts of negligent HOMICIDE.)