Category Archives: Agni ad Bellum/ The Lamb’s War

The Great Carolina HB2 Bathroom Bill “Repeal” Ripoff

The original idea was this: Wednesday morning, on the solstice, I’d drive into Raleigh, and watch the North Carolina Legislature repeal HB2, that awful bathroom Bill.  It shouldn’t take long, I figured. A  repeal bill could be as short as one sentence.
Then I’d hop back on the highway,  and head out to the country to meet my friend, a trans woman I’ll call Penelope. Living under HB2 has been hard for her. So we’d have a quiet victory lunch somewhere — she’d mentioned a Greek place in the county seat that sounded good.

Continue reading The Great Carolina HB2 Bathroom Bill “Repeal” Ripoff

Standing Rock, TigerSwan & the Dawn of Officially Occupied America

[NOTE: Originally posted on November 26, 2016; disappeared from the web for five days. Background on this disruption is here. The post has been slightly updated.]

Buried in an October report by local North Dakota investigators was the disclosure that: “TigerSwan Security” is in charge of the DAPL [Dakota Access Pipeline] Intelligence and overall supervisor of the other security companies” involved with the corporations that were in the long, often violent standoff with the native Americans at Standing Rock.

 

Who is TigerSwan? And what does its presence at Standing Rock portend for the new post-election era Americans are about to enter?

Continue reading Standing Rock, TigerSwan & the Dawn of Officially Occupied America

Catching Up With The Saga of TigerSwan, Standing Rock & My Blog

This is an overdue update on my Vanished TigerSwan post:  While everyone is rightly celebrating the current success at Standing Rock, I have an obscure (but not irrelevant) footnote to fit in somewhere:

Late on Saturday, November 26, I published a blog post about TigerSwan, the mercenary “security” company started and run by ex-special forces “operators”  that was overseeing the DAPL security efforts at Standing Rock. Two days later, the post disappeared, along with my entire blog. {Spoiler: it’s now back, right here.]

The missing post had filled in information about TigerSwan, its origins among veterans of the most secretive U.S. military units, with some context about these programs and their training programs in North Carolina. Among the “Solutions to Uncertainty” TigerSwan offers is the capability of spying on cell phones, apps, social media, and more.

All the information in the post was from public sources, yet it was not widely known, and the post quickly racked up many hits. In two days the hits were over a thousand (a lot for this blog), and still climbing. Then–nothing. Continue reading Catching Up With The Saga of TigerSwan, Standing Rock & My Blog

A Concentration Camp in California: The Past Haunts the present.

This post was drafted in 2016, after an accidental visit to Manzanar.  I was riding through the vast  flat openness of  east central California, with family. The Sierra Nevada peaks rimmed this area. The  mountains and the sky were brilliant; but they were far away. The land was tundra that seemed to stretch on forever.

We were on the way to either Reno or Yosemite, or maybe both. I knew vaguely that Manzanar was out here somewhere; but there’s so much “somewhere”/nowhere here, I wasn’t expecting to see it.

I was half-dozing; we’d been driving for several hours, with several more to go.

But then this sign flashed by, out of the blue. And as soon as I saw it, I sat up, wide awake, and demanded that we stop.

So we did. And it was an amazing, too short visit. Here are some glimpses of what we found there; Manzanar is now a national historic site, to preserve the memory of a shameful story that at least two presidents, Gerald Ford in 1976, and George H.W. Bush in 1991, declared was a horrible injustice and “will never be repeated.”

Their vow was backed up by payment of several billion dollars in reparations. Thousands of families had been rounded up and penned in here and ten other sites, held prisoner without having been charged or convicted of any crime.

But these presidents, however sincere, were wrong in their predictions. Something very like it is happening again. Which makes this visit more than history. I look at it from the standpoint of a Quaker, for reasons that will soon be clear enough; but Manzanar is a matter for all Americans.

Let’s Salute the Flag & Stand for the Anthem — Oh, Wait!

manzanar-with-snow

This flag was flying over the Manzanar relocation camp in California in 1942. Manzanar, as well as nine other camps were packed with more than 100,000 Japanese-Americans, who were taken from their homes shortly after the U.S. entered World War Two against Japan & Germany. Most lost everything they had owned.

Manzanar is now a National Historic Park. And it’s one that Quakers have a lot invested in, though not many of us know that.

Continue reading A Concentration Camp in California: The Past Haunts the present.

Arguing With God: Quaker House & My 9-11 Story

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“No,” I said. “No thank you.”

That’s how it started.

I said no to Chris Olson-Vickers. Chris was a mild-mannered social worker in Richmond, Virginia. She was also a Quaker, who in August of 2001 had agreed, perhaps rashly, to host an impecunious co-religionist  in need of shelter during the mid-Atlantic Quakers’ regional assembly, called Baltimore Yearly Meeting.

That impecunious co-religionist was me. Laid off and low on cash, I was too strapped to stay on-campus nearby, where our sessions were underway. I was packing lunches and avoiding the cafeteria.

sgt-abe-as-god-copy

Continue reading Arguing With God: Quaker House & My 9-11 Story

“Survival & Resistance” A Message from 2006 That is Timely Again

they thought they were free

[Note: This essay was originally published in Friends Journal; but it’s now behind their paywall. It still seems timely today; maybe more so.]

Quakerism was born in a time of revolutionary upheaval. Yet it learned how to survive when the revolution failed and was followed by decades of persecution.

I sometimes hear Quakers waxing nostalgic about recovering the fire and fervor of “early Friends.”

Continue reading “Survival & Resistance” A Message from 2006 That is Timely Again

An Indomitable Woman Friend: Five Dead Babies, Spiritualism & Reform

Adapted from the book, Remaking Friends: How Progressive Friends Changed Quakerism & Helped Save America

Elizabeth Buffum Chace, born in 1806, was a striking example of the Progressive Friends movement. Raised a Rhode Island Quaker, she imbibed the refining spirit from her Quaker forebears, especially a sense of mission to help abolish slavery. But this zeal soon put her at odds with the New England Quaker Establishment. While officially against slavery, the leading Friends, mostly persons of wealth, staunchly opposed the “modern” reformist movements, not only abolitionism, but temperance and women’s advancement as well.

Chase had watched in growing dismay as many abolition-oriented New England Friends were expelled or exiled by this powerful, anti-reform inner circle, and meetinghouses were ordered to exclude any abolitionist-oriented meetings and speakers.

Progressive Friends -- A Continuing Series

By late 1843, she had had enough. The letter she sent in Eleventh Month (November) to Providence, Rhode Island Meeting is still compelling.  It also capsulizes the personal pilgrimage of many other Friends who became part of the Progressive movement. A few excerpts: Continue reading An Indomitable Woman Friend: Five Dead Babies, Spiritualism & Reform

Dog Days Weekend Read: Hear The War Prophet: Chris Hedges

Chris Hedges covered wars close up for fifteen years.

Chris Hedges has been there. A war correspondent for many years, he carries a burden of closely-observed horror for which the term PTSD pales. You can see it in the hollows around his eyes.

Chris Hedges has also been through hell with religion. He’s not “religious” now in any conventional sense. Yet he’s not “anti-religious” either. He can’t leave the subject alone. In books and columns, he delivers impassioned oracles. One of his recent books is, “I Don’t Believe In Atheists.” Continue reading Dog Days Weekend Read: Hear The War Prophet: Chris Hedges