Stopping Violence

Tax Madness

This is a guest column from Lynn Fitz-Hugh.

While you pay taxes today, Bank of America, G.E. and other major corporations dodge. Bank of America, the 9th largest corporation in America, last year paid no taxes while receiving $1 billion in US taxpayer subsidies!  This year they made 4.4 billion and expect again to pay nothing in taxes.  G.E. earned 10.3 billion in pretax income, but paid nothing and in fact received a tax benefit of 1.1 billion!  This is an outrage when Congress is poised to cut all kinds of vital human services because the Federal Government does not have enough money.

black-earth-woman1Bring the Billions home: bring our needed tax monies back from the wars into our communities.  WA state plans to cut schools, healthcare, public safety and other programs by more than $5.7 billion.  Yet Washington voters have paid $28.6 billion to date for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with $3.9 billion projected for next year!   We pay 1.2 million per year per solider in Afghanistan.  Bringing home just 2,083 soldiers would pay for WA's total state deficit.  (To find out how many soliders would need to come home to end your state deficit clink on this great link for the Global day of action on Tax Day  https://demilitarize.org/fact-sheets/fact-sheet-state-buEnding the Afghanistan war would pay for every state in the union's shortfall and leave an extra $8 billion for nationwide social spending!  Self serving politicians tell us they must cut the State and national budget because there is no money.   There is plenty of money and over 59% of it is being spent by the Pentagon!  We the taxpayers are fed up.  A poll at the end of March shows 64% of Americans feel the war has not been worth it for the US.

Meanwhile public records show Bank of America has both received defense contracts in Charlotte, NC and has provided debt financing for Cerberus Capital Management to buy out DynaCorp International, a defense contractor.  G.E. directly contracts with the Pentagon and builds weapons systems. So these Mega corporations while paying no taxes is busy making profit off of war, not to mention homeowners, etc.

We want the American tax payer to understand how this works - the middle class are taxed to death.  59% of their money goes to pay for wars that polls show the majority do not support, while Corporate giants skip out on their taxes and continue to show healthy profit dividends for the rich stock holders.  Let's bring equity, fairness and human services back into paying taxes.  Everyone who benefits from US services should pay for them - no free ride for corporations or the rich! Visit Lynn's blog site at https://home.earthlink.net/~totheroots/


Horses on Wings in Libya 2011BC-2011AD

This March, the US and Europe entered into the Libyan civil war. Western civilization has a long history with Libya and only a pittance is studied in classrooms today.Libya plays a stellar role in ancient mythology. Does Libya play the dark cousin to Greek and Roman philosophy?

Five thousand years ago, Libya was covered by lakes, forests, and grasslands.pegasus Now it’s 90% desert with nomadic Berbers. Eastern Libya in 500 BC, with its famous 5 cities (near Benghazi), was a magnificent mecca for fine arts, learned academies and medical schools. Can we appreciate the magnificence of this civilization where we currently drop cluster bombs? During the Roman Empire, Tripoli reached a golden age about 200 AD. Tripolitania and Cyrenaica were part of a cosmopolitan state with language, Roman forums and legal courts. Libyans exported olive oil, wines, horses and ivory to European cities. Libya has been ruled by Greece, Rome, Turkey (Ottomans), and Italy. Finally in 1952, the UN declared Libya to be a sovereign nation.

According to the Pelasgians (who are early Greeks), the goddess Athena was born in the womb of Lake Tritonis in Libya. How fascinating. I found that Athena, Medusa and the magical horse Pegasus all were born in Libya. Athena was raised by three nymphs there. Tritonis means Three Queens or the Triple Goddess. Was she Libyan? According to an ancient tradition (Herod, Apollon), a nymph of Lake Tritonis in Libya and Poseidon were the parents of Athena.Later Greeks claim Athena sprung full-grown out of Zeus’ head, after Zeus swallowed Athena’s mother, Medea aka Medusa.

What about Medusa? She also lived in Libya, which in Homer’s time meant the land west of Egypt. We are taught only that she was a fearsome gorgon monster who turns men to stone. She was a power house and a ravaging beauty. Medusa means “royal female wisdom” in Sanskrit. Libyans worshiped Medusa and Athena. The earlier stories from Libya show Medusa with snakes curled around her waist, in a sacred knot. Snakes refer to healing like the spiral snakes formedicine Athena was a warrior and also a symbol of wisdom. Athena punished imedusa-snakeMedusa. Her dred locks turned to snakes, her beauty to a hideous face according to Homer. All who look at her directly turned to stone (as happened to enemies of White Witch in Narnia).


Perseus, on a quest, beheaded Medusa and bags her head as a trophy. But the myth has 2 interesting births from her beheading. First, at her death, the winged horse Pegasus is born. Second as Perseus flies over Libya, blood drips from Medusa’s severed head. Drops of blood become poisonous snakes infesting the Mediterranean coast of Libya. The horse, white with bright wings, carries off Perseus who delivers the head to Athena. Death does not defeat Medusa. She retains the power to paralyze others (stonewall them); even in death she gives birth (a horse).


Fast forward 3,000 years. In 2011, NATO has entered into the fight of a desperate dictator with Tomahawkmissiles and GPS guided bombs. Why? We are not on a humanitarian issue, there is no threat to the US. Obama says, “We are answering the calls of a threatened people” and he claims that “it’s for the good of all.”How can I believe such pig slop? It’s clearer every day that our stage entrance 6 weeks ago in Libya ago was to wage war against Muammar al Gaddafi. Gaddafi has been in office since 1969. Many Libyans want him to exit. But under what authority can NATO bomb a proud leader, a senior citizen, and the father of 8 kids. We have bombed his compound several times, and killed his grandchildren. We bombed his compound again in May 2011 with the death of his youngest childSaif al-Arab.

Stephen Hadley, former national security adviser warned against the assassination of Gaddafi. "The narrative we want to come out of this is that the Libyan people overthrew a dictator – not that the UN toppleda despot," he told CNN.

My plea is that the US let go of bullets and bombs. I plead for respect. I plead that we stop turning our children into murderers of strange people. Can the US stop dropping blood which turns the land into a place of plague. If Libya is filled with writhing snakes, it’s the snakes of European missiles. England, Italy and France sell millions of weapons to Libya. Now we are sending troops to Libya to be killed by those exact same weapons. NATO is strapped alongside its own weapons, rather like suicide bombers.

The US and its allies are re enacting a long battle of murder. We are not under Athena’s orders to kill any monster in Libya. We have spilled blood in the dessert. Our moral compass is lost in the Libya and the Middle East. The people cry- Get NATO out of Libya. We are not rescuers in Libya.  Let’s fly out of there. Let's transform our venomous weapons into winged horses. Like Icarus NATO has too much hubris flying so close to the penetrating North African sun.

EU Arms Exports to Libya

Value of export licenses granted. ---- All figures in €m. SOURCE: EUROPA

Country

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

Total

Total

72.19

59.03

108.8

250.78

343.73

834.54

Italy

14.97

56.72

93.22

111.8

276.7

France

12.88

36.75

17.66

112.32

30.54

210.15

UK

58.86

3.11

4.63

27.2

25.55

119.35

Germany

0.31

2

23.84

4.18

53.15

83.48

Malta

0.01

79.69

79.7

Belgium

0.21

0.45

22.32

23.02

pegasus-black2pegasus-black1


Weeping After bin Laden's Death

As a Quaker I vehemently disagree with Obama's killing of bin Laden. It is immoral and believe it or not, illogical. Barack Obama said on May 2, "The world is safer; it is a better place because of the death of Osama bin Laden. ...Today, we remember the sense of unity that defines us as Americans."

First, the world is less safe now. Was it a death? No. It was murder, even an assassination. Secondly, there is no unity." I and thousands of other Quakers cry out, "Stop. Treat your enemies justly, even if you do not follow Jesus' example of loving your enemy." Venomous violence against anyone contributes to a world living by vengefulness. If blood has been spilled by bin Laden, why not take him to the world court for justice? The Pentagon is not just nor do its actions speak for me. I as a person who yearns for justice I see no fairness in the furtive killing of a charismatic leader. By knocking off him with his wife, son and associates, I only see more pain. First of all, his loved ones witnessed the bloodshed, his followers have more reason to hate the US, and our country is continuing the chain of violence. If Al Queda kills US citizens, our Navy can't unilaterally kill Al Queda. That's the law of thugs and gangs. Our killing gives Al Queda more reason to retaliate. Is that not obvious? Bin Laden is not the anti-Christ. Vipers and moles act with more moral courage than the Navy Seals and its generals."

I used to think when watching the world news the US had a mob case of ADHD. Like a child with a Christmas stocking of GI JOEs and cowboy holsters, our army invades Iraq, in 2010 it pours in troops to Afghanistan, and then gleefully adds its deadly cluster bombings to Libya. We are mad buffalos tramping over the middle east. Starting in 1950s for 30 years the US stayed in the quagmire of the Korea-Vietnam-Cambodia war bringing poverty and habitat demolition. Now the US bounces around the Middle east firing the first shots and adding fuel to the wildfire. In 2011, we are involved in 3 countries, while supplying Israel annually with $3 billion for its arsenal, the biggest powder keg in the region.  I am angry. I apologize if I'm ranting. I'm not ballistically violent. I'm trying to use words, not Tomahawk missiles.

Didn't Christians in the US just honor Jesus on Easter 10 days ago? Now we want to return to barbarian ways of destroying someone demonized as an enemy. All those memories of forgive 7 times 70  and Thou shalt not kill. Does the bible say, Don't murder except in cases of terrorism? Does killing a murderer repair anything? Nope. It increases hatred and makes the US the murderer.water-drops1

The USA is built on the principals of Life, Liberty and a pursuit of Happiness. This started in 1775 with a group of scattered patriots up and down the Eastern Atlantic Seaboard. The patriots were largely (exceptions like Crispus Attacks) Europeans who were illegal aliens. We were poaching on Algonquin land. In our land grab, didn't we kill and pillage the Indians for decades?  But we weren't terrorists, we were moral citizens. How fickle is history. Do murderers get forgiveness?

I hope so because many Americans seem to think killing is a good punishment. Secondly, Obama implies that all Americans are enthusiastic at this violent act. Really? The murder is wonderful and it's time to celebrate. It seems a bit bizarre almost gluttonous to cheer because of killing. I would like to mourn for all of us, especially for how far we've fallen from our beliefs that all humans are able to pursue happiness, work for Liberty, and LIFE. When there's life, there's hope. Death, like zombies and phantoms, only destroys. What Jesus says is -- attacking the attacker only destroys us. Get it? Please send me your response.



Eyanna and Amani

Eyanna Flonory was loved by many people. She was just 21, learning to be an adult. She had gone to Bunker Hill CC. She had a bent to study criminal justice. Her bright-eyed, son Amanihoteph Smith , was a gregarious 2 year old. Simba Martin (21) was Eyanna's new boyfriend.

The rain drove down from low, dark clouds. The ground was saturated with water. The water blipped from the sidewalk, pounded off the church roof, seeped around highly polished shoes. It rained for hours before dawn, the hour before Eyanna and Amani's funeral, during the burial and afterward. It seemed the insurmountable rain of a tempest minus the howling winds. Simba had been buried 2 days ago.

I went to the funeral of the 2 victims at the Baptist church in Mattapan, just 2 blocks away from the murders. Three of us from Friends Meeting went. The head minister, Bishop Borders, spoke of galvanizing the community to stop such violence. "I will go on a retreat and pray for one year. I am not the same person as I was last week....I'm asking God to change the city of Boston," he prayed.

'Yanna' had many friends and an adorable child. Both were bright and eager. Not eager for death. The rains portended the rage that many felt because of Yanna's death. The bloated leaden clouds witnessed our fear. The two were killed by gunfire while mother held her toddler. Four dead­ and one with a bullet in his head who is hanging on for his life at Boston Medical Center.

Morningstar Baptist Church 10/6/10
Morningstar Baptist Church 10/6/10

This city is filled with sleek cars; we have Astroturf football fields; we have I pads and social networking. We carry around encyclopedias on small chips. We have Ben Affleck and John Hancock. We access a library of music by pushing a button and using earphones. But we are short sighted and hard put.

Because we don't have 'Yanna studying justice at college. We don't have Amani giving his sponge painting to his grandmother. We don't know who killed these 4 people, in short order on a street in Mattapan. But it's not totally the murderers fault. We accept our children carrying guns. In 2010 almost 50 people have been killed on the streets of Boston; another 26 in MA have been killed in their homes. This is an increase from the death toll of 2009. So as a people we are spilling more blood, much of it our children's.

What a crazy way we humans treat each other. Even cows, horses and goats figure how to live in the same pasture. The carnage in our cities is worse than a jungle. Humans seem to be defying evolutionary paths. Our species quite primitive, prey on each other due to anger and revenge. Even sharks have a better code of behavior.

The 20th century brought us Gandhi and Hitler. We have MLK and Milosevic. All of them acted with a sense of justice. Which path will we follow to justice? John Borders proclaims in a loud voice to stop the violence. .... "We need to work with a mother's love....This is not a natural war we must fight, but a spiritual war." Too many of our country's laws reflect punishment and killing: the death penalty, flunking students, 3 strikes and you're out. That's not forgiving, it's derogatory.

Personally I usually live in denial of such violence. I don't walk down the street listening for gunshots like those on Woolsen St. on Sept 28th 2010. I work to stop greed, bloated military budget and family violence. I'm not a Mohandas Gandhi or a Mother Teresa to stop such senseless murders.

Stopping violence is not the same as working for peace. On October 6th I prayed for Amani and those murdered at the Morningstar Church in Mattapan. I prayed as the rain swiped across tall glass windows. I cried. My tears brought me out of shock: the pain hit hard, harder than denial. But a community needs to feel before it can heal.

Oh dear hearts, Let's try to be smarter than the lemmings who run themselves off cliffs. Let's reject homicide, suicide and infanticide as a species. The rain is appropriate. Our prayers are appropriate. The heavens are harbingers of change, but only humans are make it manifest. Our hands are made of love. Put our prayers into action. Let's put our two hands forward and surround this problem. Otherwise the rain will keep washing our tears.