Helen of Marlowe's Blog

The Perspective of Time

Posted in Literature, poetry by helenofmarlowe on August 4, 2017

If I could go back in time
and speak to my teenage self,
I thought last night,
I would say to her
When you are 70,
You will define happiness as
lying half asleep at 5:00 a.m.
listening to soft, gentle
snoring on your left,
listening to a woodthrush in the distant woods
and hearing the early songs of wrens
and cardinals and towhees through four open windows
on your right,
with a yellow cat curled up at your feet.

Helen Etters
3/4/17
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Living in the Anthropocene

Posted in Ecology, Environment by helenofmarlowe on July 5, 2017

We’ve all heard the oft-quoted aphorism that if you don’t vote, you don’t have the right to complain.

I’ve never subscribed to that stance.

But there is a parallel philosophy that is harder to dismiss.

If we decry the hunger of 1 million people on this planet, and the trashing of the oceans and the destruction of the rain forests, the extinction of species and the wasting of water – and yet we choose to participate in the causes, do we have the right to decry? Or must we say, Well, I sort of care, a little bit, but not much – not enough to give up some of the pleasures I’m accustomed to.

I have this on my mind because a friend sent me a link to a November 10 New York Times article,

Learning How to Die in the Anthropocene, by Roy Scranton.
A brief excerpt:

The biggest problem climate change poses isn’t how the Department of Defense should plan for resource wars, or how we should put up sea walls to protect Alphabet City, or when we should evacuate Hoboken. It won’t be addressed by buying a Prius, signing a treaty, or turning off the air-conditioning. The biggest problem we face is a philosophical one: understanding that this civilization is  already dead.

Our leaders ignored the warnings while there was still time.

And still, most of us are choosing, not from necessity but because we like the taste of other animals, to continue unraveling the web of life on this planet that we will leave to our children and grandchildren.

We know that greenhouse gasses accumulate in the atmosphere and remain there for centuries as they are slowly absorbed by plants and oceans, and yet we continue the destruction of the rain forest, the lungs of the planet.

There is much information about the connections between eating meat and climate change, some of it published by the Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office. Here is a 4-minute video that the UU UNO makes available on its website.

http://climate.uu-uno.org/topics/view/524759010cf264abcd860045/#resources

It’s  taken from this  slightly longer (12 minute) video.

Some of the points made in this video (video number 5 in the list of resources):

While we are being encouraged to change our lightbulbs and drive hybrid cars, the united nations found that raising animals for human food contributes more to global warming than all the planes, cars, and trucks on the planet combined. Forty % more.

You can leave your shower running for 24 hours a day every day of the year and you would still not waste as much water as when you include meat in your diet.

Many of us recycle paper because we want to save trees. But the number one reason for cutting down trees, including the destruction of the rain forest, is to clear land for grazing meat animals and growing corn to feed to animals that we will slaughter and eat.

40,000 people on this planet starve to death every day! This does not happen because there is not enough food for everyone – this happens because, while people are starving, we are wasting enormous amounts of food to feed cows, pigs, chickens and other animals so that we can satisfy our desire (not need) for meat.

Today, we look back on behaviors of humans in previous centuries and wonder how they could participate in some of the cruel practices common to the culture in early American history.

Now, we persistently put our frivolous desires above the indisputable needs and rights of many who go hungry while we support a meat industry that metes out to us vastly more of the world’s resources than is our just portion.

As we continue to eat animals even knowing that a vegetarian diet is healthier, and knowing that factory farming is the greatest contributor to water pollution and climate change, and knowing the pain and suffering inflicted on other sentient beings who want to live, I believe history will judge us harshly.

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What would we have done?

Posted in Government, Politics by helenofmarlowe on July 2, 2017

At our UU forum this morning, the topic was Current Events, and we
were led in our excellent discussion by a member who is a US attorney. We
didn’t spend most of our time talking about our president who
tweets up storms almost daily, but that topic did take some of
our time. And I have a question I’d like to toss out to
anyone who will give thought to this question:
What would we, as a nation, have done, if President Obama had
talked about women (and others) the way Trump does?
I constantly hear people say, of Trump’s behavior, that this is
not acceptable. And I think, yes, apparently, it is acceptable,
because we are accepting it.  So I ask, if President Obama had
said these things, what would we have done? My reason for
asking is because I say, whatever it is that we would have done,
let’s do it.
I don’t want hyperbolic answers such as “shoot him” and I will
delete any such, but I want to think about what we, officially, as a nation,
would have done.
What would we have done?

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Democracy in North Carolina

Posted in "North Carolina", Government, NC by helenofmarlowe on December 26, 2016


Why did NC bother to hold an election?

We, the people of NC, voted for Roy Cooper, a Democrat, to be our next Governor.
In response, our legislators called emergency session and hurriedly, without
public discussion, passed bills that undermine the will of the voters.
The people voted for a Democrat to replace a Republican on the NC Supreme Court,
so the legislation will require constitutional challenges, now, to go to the
Republican majority Court of Appeals before a case can be heard by the NC Supreme court, where our votes created a Democratic majority. The legislators stripped our new governor of the power to appoint a majority to the state Board of Elections.
They stripped the governor of his ability to name members of the boards of state universities. They reduced the number of state employees the governor can appoint from 1,500, under McCrory, to 425 for Governor Cooper, and they will require Cooper’s appointments to agencies to be approved by legislators.
A Democrat won the office of Governor, so the Republican legislators will stop him, to the extent possible, from being able to perform the duties of the office he was elected to.
Andrew Reynolds, a Professor of Political Science at the UNC Chapel Hill and an expert on democracy and democratic systems, says that NC can no longer be considered a democracy.
This institutional brinksmanship in NC is being discussed on national news, the entire nation is looking at how we are losing our democracy in NC, and we must, in all seriousness, ask whether our elections matter and whether we want our democratic rule of law to continue to be eroded.

Think it doesn’t matter who is president?

Posted in "North Carolina", Ecology, Environment, Politics by helenofmarlowe on October 7, 2016

I have heard intelligent people in recent weeks say that it doesn’t matter who the president is. It troubles me. I want to say to them, imagine if Al Gore had actually taken the White House when he won at least the popular vote and maybe the electoral vote. Do you think the US would have gone to war in Iraq? Think about all the repercussions of that misguided decision to take our country to war.

And climate change: If Gore had taken his place in the White House, we would be much further down the path to dealing with climate change, which is surely the most urgent issue confronting our world.

One of our candidates has said that climate change is a Chinese hoax. He has said that he will get rid of the EPA. EPA doesn’t just invent regulations, it enforces laws passed by congress. (He has also said he’d tear up the Paris climate agreement. Perhaps he doesn’t understand that he can’t do that, but he can take our country out of it.)

As The Guardian says, “Scrapping the EPA … would cause an unravelling of basic protections of air and water. …Trump is demagoguing. It plays to the far-right base but it would have enormous consequences for people’s health.”

And, from The Washington Post,

But more prosaic powers also present grave dangers. U.S. prosecutors have enormous discretion to investigate, or not investigate, and Mr. Trump would appoint his attorney general and a raft of new U.S. attorneys. These have to be confirmed by the Senate; but if you take comfort in that, simply imagine a Gov. Chris “Bridgegate” Christie at the Justice Department, or a Newt Gingrich — who, in Mr. Trump’s thrall, has advocated expelling any American who believes in sharia law — as homeland security secretary.

If Mr. Trump wanted to wield the IRS against that Chicago family; if he tried to use U.S. diplomats to help his hotel business in Russia or Azerbaijan; if he barred disfavored reporters from the White House; if he ignored a judge who told him, say, that immigrants had to be given hearings before being deported — what recourse would Americans have?

We should take comfort in the polls which show Trump unlikely to win. But then,look at the surprising Brexit vote, and the surprising Colombian vote against the peace agreement. Polls can make very very wrong predictions.

Think it doesn’t matter who is president? I go back to Al Gore, and the reminder that we would not have had the war with Iraq, and we would be working seriously on climate change, if the candidate who won the people’s vote had taken his place in the White House.

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Empirical Data on the Health Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet

Posted in "North Carolina" by helenofmarlowe on September 23, 2016

Resources on the Benefits of a Plant-Based (Vegan) Diet I. American Dietetic Association, “Position of the American Dietetic Association: vegetarian diets” “It is the position of the American Diete…

Source: Empirical Data on the Health Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet

Armed America

Posted in "North Carolina" by helenofmarlowe on July 25, 2016

Published in Winston-Salem Journal, Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Readers’ Forum: Sunday letters

Correspondent of the week

HELEN ETTERS, Winston-Salem

Armed America

Protests over police brutality? Mass killings? This is America.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that guns kill 30,000Americans per year. Less than 3 percent of these are self-defense.

This is America. This does not happen in Canada or Australia or Spain or any other industrialized nation. This is America! In other countries, police approach a car or a suspect and don’t have to wonder whether this person is carrying a gun. They assume the citizen is not, and that is almost always correct. In America, police approach a car or a suspect and they assume the person they are stopping, for perhaps a broken turn signal, is likely carrying a gun.

They have to fear for their lives every time they stop someone for speeding, and when they expect that the citizen probably has a gun, they are more likely to use their own. When our own NC state legislators prevent the public from seeing the police-cam recordings, they only make matters worse.

As Ronald Reagan said in May, 1967, “There’s no reason why on the street today a citizen should be carrying loaded weapons.”

If we don’t like this armed America, if we want to protect our police officers, if we want a safe country, then we have to get rid of the guns. Get rid of the guns.

Helen Etters
Winston-Salem
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Former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke to Run for US Senate; Says Trump Acceptance Speech Inspired Him

Posted in "North Carolina" by helenofmarlowe on July 23, 2016

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any scarier – The “sheriff’s star” incident drew praise from white supremacist leader David Duke, and now Duke says the country is moving in his direction.The former Ku Klux Klan leader is running for the U.S. Senate, linking his decision to Donald Trump. Every time I think “this will be the end of Trump” I am proven wrong. I ran across Mercedes Schneider’s EduBlog and thought this worth reblogging.

deutsch29

The 1992 Louisiana governors race put former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke against known crooked former Louisiana governor, Edwin Edwards.

Edwards was known for lining his pockets with public money, but the prospect of Duke as governor was just plain scary.

Knowing Edwards would rip off Louisana, and familiar with the political catch of really wanting neither candidate but knowing one must be elected, people circulated bumper stickers that read, “Vote for the crook. It’s important.” (Indeed, Edwards ended up serving eight years in federal prison, 2002-2011, for corruption.)

I was thinking of that 1992 Louisiana governor’s race today as I read yet another piece (I have read many) that offer concern of Donald Trump in the White House as frightening.

And wouldn’t you know, even as I was thinking of the similar current of fear shared by the Trump for Prez and Duke for Gov campaigns…

View original post 612 more words

Richard Groves: A question about terrorism

Posted in "North Carolina" by helenofmarlowe on December 22, 2015

Richard Groves is a local (Winston-Salem) former pastor with whom I have only a casual acquaintance.   I think his observations here regarding our understanding of terrorism are astute and worth sharing.  This was published in The Winston-Salem Journal on December 18.

Donald Trump, along with the entire right wing of the Republican Party, has been hammering President Obama for refusing to use the words “Muslim (or Islamic) extremists (or terrorists),” sometimes arguing that you can’t fight something until you can call it by its correct name, which makes no sense, but this is campaign season, lest we forget.

I have a different question: Why isn’t anybody willing to use the words “Christian terrorists”? Have you ever seen those words in print or heard them in a network’s “breaking news”?

The chapter on terrorism in the U.S. Code defines terrorist acts as “violent acts or acts dangerous to human life that … appear to be intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping …”

Terrorism is about intimidating or coercing a population or a government through the use of violence.

Make no mistake about it, terrorism works. Take it from an expert, the online al-Qaida magazine Inspire. In issue 9 (2012) writers gloated, “This is the life of Americans, transformed into fear of either an internal or external attack,” and “The terror felt amongst the people when an assassin strikes in the enemy’s land is of much greater proportion than him striking the enemy on the battlefield.”

The fear that is rampant across America, fear that leads many to advocate banning all Muslims from entering our country, is testimony that terror works.

But what should we call terrorists?

Two scenarios.

Scenario one: A man and his wife walk into a meeting room in San Bernardino, Calif., and open fire on unsuspecting holiday partiers, killing 14 and wounding 21. The community, indeed the entire nation, is terrorized. In seeming contradiction, there is urgent talk about tougher gun laws even as gun sales soar. The couple appears to have been inspired by an interpretation (or misinterpretation) of Islam. They are quickly branded Islamic terrorists.

Scenario two: A man walks into an abortion clinic armed with an assault rifle and opens fire on staff and patients alike, killing several and wounding many more. The community is terrorized. Potential patients stay away from the clinic and others like it. The assailant was inspired by an interpretation (or misinterpretation) of Christianity. He is quickly branded — a domestic terrorist.

Why isn’t he labeled a Christian terrorist?

The answer, of course, is that to do so would invite a firestorm of objections from Christians, claiming that the perpetrators of violence in the name of Jesus do not represent authentic Christianity.  [Jesus] was, after all, the Prince of Peace. Theirs is a perverted form of the faith. To attach “Christian” to their terrorist acts would be to associate all Christians everywhere with obscene acts of violence.

But that is the same argument that mainstream Muslims use when they condemn the bloody acts of jihadists.

According to the World Post (a partner of the Huffington Post), almost 70,000 Muslim clerics recently met in India and passed “a fatwa against global terrorist organizations, including the Taliban, al Qaeda and the militant group that calls itself the Islamic State.” One of the clerics said that he and others who voted to pass the fatwa wanted to say to the world that they don’t consider groups like the Islamic State to be true Islamic organizations — nor do they view members of these organizations as Muslims.

Why does the argument carry weight when it is used in defense of one religion, Christianity, and not when it is used in defense of another, Islam?

Logic and consistency of thought would seem to require that if we are going to speak of Islamic terrorists we should also speak of Christian terrorists when the situation requires us to do so. Or we should fall back on the religiously neutral and much less volatile domestic terrorists and international terrorists, which is the distinction made in the U.S. Code.

But logic and consistency of thought are early victims of rampant, debilitating fear. And this is campaign season, lest we forget.

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A Petition Regarding the NRA

Posted in "North Carolina" by helenofmarlowe on December 15, 2015

Recently, our local (Winston-Salem) paper had a Letter to the Editor from Steve Wishnevsky saying he had created a petition at whitehouse.gov to ask the government to remove the NRA’s nonprofit status.  It needs 150 signatures to be posted on the wall, and 100,000 to get action. I don’t know Steve Wishnevsky but it seems like a good idea. So for the first time ever, I’ve signed a whitehouse.gov petition.

It says

We petition the obama administration to remove the nonprofit status of the National Rifle Association for enabling terrorism, both Foreign and Domestic.

His petition can be found at

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/remove-nonprofit-status-national-rifle-association-enabling-terrorism-both-foreign-and-domestic

It has 692 signatures. Only 99,308 to go ….

 

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