Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A Way Forward for Ukraine, Russia, and the Nations of the World



by Madison Reed

Ms. Grytsenko's article that just appeared in the Kyiv Post today, offers some important insights into what is driving peoples' anger in eastern Ukraine.  It reveals the complexity of the Ukrainian people and Ukrainian society - especially in the East.

The old, typically haughty behavior of governments worldwide is no longer effective with people today.  The solutions from the previous age do not yield good results now.

Governments need to learn wisdom and humility, and consult with their people truthfully and compassionately, laying all the cards out on the table.  For the people and the government in any negotiation, the parties must make an honest assessment of what is be best for the advancement, well-being and tranquility of the people and whole world, in alignment with the great principle of Unity in Diversity.

Shoghi Effendi, 1930s
"If long-cherished ideals and time-honored institutions, if certain social assumptions and religious formulae have ceased to promote the welfare of the generality of mankind, if they no longer minister to the needs of a continually evolving humanity, let them be swept away and relegated to the limbo of obsolescent and forgotten doctrines. Why should these, in a world subject to the immutable law of change and decay, be exempt from the deterioration that must needs overtake every human institution? For legal standards, political and economic theories are solely designed to safeguard the interests of humanity as a whole, and not humanity to be crucified for the preservation of the integrity of any particular law or doctrine."  ~Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baha'u'llah, 1938, p.41-42

Mikhail Gorbachev, 1950s

"Peace is not unity in similarity but unity in diversity, in the comparison and conciliation of differences."  ~Mikhail Gorbachev, December 7, 1988 speech to the World at the United Nations General Assembly
These must be the goals for arriving at a solution to any problem - NOT for the sake of one side winning any argument or worshiping any man-made laws.  All parties must be flexible, and open to receive new information and ideas.




Related news:   Oksana Grytsenko: What drives the hate in eastern Ukraine

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Sunday, December 8, 2013

Lenin is Down in Kiev. Ukrainians Topple and Decapitate Lenin Statue

Just after 6 pm Kiev time today, cheering, "Revolution!" shouting, pro-E.U. Ukrainian citizens pulled down the statue of Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin in Bessarabskaya Square.  Watch the videos of this remarkable chapter in the Ukrainian struggle to choose their destiny, here:


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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Yanukovych's way out


I agree with Kyiv Post's chief editor, Brian Bonner.  Were Yanukovych to do what he proposes, it would be a watershed event that would have very positive repercussions worldwide, and a healing and regenerative effect in the Russian speaking world. 

This is that time when human beings all over the planet are learning from each other on a massive scale; when higher consciousness and hearts are opening right before our astonished eyes, revealing the steps the human collective needs to take next.  Both crisis and chaos are opportunities for further advancement.   ~Madison Reed
© AFP.  Ukrainian citizen talks to police after the Nov. 30 brutal crackdown on demonstrators at Independence Square.


by Brian Bonner

President Viktor Yanukovych still may have a way out.

If I were him, and I am glad that I am not, I would hightail it to Brussels, plead for forgiveness and put the association agreement agenda he spurned in Vilnius before parliament right away.

I think that’s his only way at the moment. He has, belatedly, seemed to recognize as much when he talked on Dec. 2 about going to back to the European Union and trying to restart negotiations for an association agreement.

It may not be enough.

He can continue to tough it out and hope the protesters will go away. They may or may not, but their anger with him will stay – right through the January 2015 presidential elections that are now right around the corner. Yanukovych knows he must win those elections or face the prospect of going to prison, like his defeated 2010 rival, ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

In this high-stakes game, the momentum seems to be with the people on the streets at the moment.

Yanukovych can crack down on the protesters, as police did on Nov. 30, but that will only bring him more isolation and more protesters on the street – as people demonstrated on Dec. 1. Opposition leader Arseniy Yatseniuk says every police crackdown will inspire more protesters, and he seems right. For the moment, it looks like Yanukovych doesn’t have the appetite for violence.

Force will only bring him international isolation and condemnation. Ukraine is not only not Russia, it is not Uzbekistan, Belarus, Kazakhstan or Azerbaijan or any of the other former Soviet republis where dictators rule by fear and violence.

When hundreds of thousands of your citizens are willing to risk their physical safety to get rid of you, your political career is imperiled.

When they’re willing to do it day after dayour political career is on life support.

When they’re calling for you to serve a third term in prison, look out.

Yanukovych’s three most recent big blunders:  Brian's article continues here.

Get live updates of the EuroMaidan rallies from the KyivPost.

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Halloween Group Therapy



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Friday, October 11, 2013

A Religion Doesn't Destroy Itself - The Believers Destroy It




"A religion doesn't destroy itself.
       The believers destroy it."  ~Madison Reed 



"Religion should unite all hearts and cause wars and disputes to vanish from the face of the earth, give birth to spirituality, and bring life and light to each heart. If religion becomes a cause of dislike, hatred and division, it were better to be without it, and to withdraw from such a religion would be a truly religious act. For it is clear that the purpose of a remedy is to cure; but if the remedy should only aggravate the complaint it had better be left alone. Any religion which is not a cause of love and unity is no religion. All the holy prophets were as doctors to the soul; they gave prescriptions for the healing of mankind; thus any remedy that causes disease does not come from the great and supreme Physician."

~ 'Abdu'l-Baha'







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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Christianity's Demise? New Discovery Proves that Jesus Never Lived, but was a Roman Fabrication

Biblical scholars will be appearing at the 'Covert Messiah' Conference at Conway Hall in London on the 19th of October to present this controversial discovery to the British public.


"How well we know what a profitable superstition this fable of Christ has been for us and our predecessors."
~Pope Leo X, Good Friday, Year  1514 (Annales Ecclesiastici, Caesar Baronius, Folio Antwerp, 1597, tome 14)

American Biblical scholar Joseph Atwill will be appearing before the British public for the first time in London on the 19th of October to present a controversial new discovery: ancient confessions recently uncovered now prove, according to Atwill, that the New Testament was written by first-century Roman aristocrats and that they fabricated the entire story of Jesus Christ. His presentation will be part of a one-day symposium entitled "Covert Messiah" at Conway Hall in Holborn (full details can be found at http://www.covertmessiah.com).
Although to many scholars his theory seems outlandish, and is sure to upset some believers, Atwill regards his evidence as conclusive and is confident its acceptance is only a matter of time. "I present my work with some ambivalence, as I do not want to directly cause Christians any harm," he acknowledges, "but this is important for our culture. Alert citizens need to know the truth about our past so we can understand how and why governments create false histories and false gods. They often do it to obtain a social order that is against the best interests of the common people."
Atwill asserts that Christianity did not really begin as a religion, but a sophisticated government project, a kind of propaganda exercise used to pacify the subjects of the Roman Empire. "Jewish sects in Palestine at the time, who were waiting for a prophesied warrior Messiah, were a constant source of violent insurrection during the first century," he explains. "When the Romans had exhausted conventional means of quashing rebellion, they switched to psychological warfare. They surmised that the way to stop the spread of zealous Jewish missionary activity was to create a competing belief system. That's when the 'peaceful' Messiah story was invented. Instead of inspiring warfare, this Messiah urged turn-the-other-cheek pacifism and encouraged Jews to 'give onto Caesar' and pay their taxes to Rome."
Titus Flavius Domitianus - The Christ
Was Jesus based on a real person from history? "The short answer is no," Atwill insists, "in fact he may be the only fictional character in literature whose entire life story can be traced to other sources. Once those sources are all laid bare, there's simply nothing left."
Atwill's most intriguing discovery came to him while he was studying "Wars of the Jews" by Josephus [the only surviving first-person historical account of first-century Judea] alongside the New Testament. "I started to notice a sequence of parallels between the two texts," he recounts. "Although it's been recognised by Christian scholars for centuries that the prophesies of Jesus appear to be fulfilled by what Josephus wrote about in the First Jewish-Roman war, I was seeing dozens more. What seems to have eluded many scholars is that the sequence of events and locations of Jesus ministry are more or less the same as the sequence of events and locations of the military campaign of [Emperor] Titus Flavius as described by Josephus. This is clear evidence of a deliberately constructed pattern. The biography of Jesus is actually constructed, tip to stern, on prior stories, but especially on the biography of a Roman Caesar."

How could this go unnoticed in the most scrutinised books of all time? "Many of the parallels are conceptual or poetic, so they aren't all immediately obvious. After all, the authors did not want the average believer to see what they were doing, but they did want the alert reader to see it. An educated Roman in the ruling class would probably have recognised the literary game being played." Atwill maintains he can demonstrate that "the Roman Caesars left us a kind of puzzle literature that was meant to be solved by future generations, and the solution to that puzzle is 'We invented Jesus Christ, and we're proud of it.'"

Is this the beginning of the end of Christianity? "Probably not," grants Atwill, "but what my work has done is give permission to many of those ready to leave the religion to make a clean break. We've got the evidence now to show exactly where the story of Jesus came from. Although Christianity can be a comfort to some, it can also be very damaging and repressive, an insidious form of mind control that has led to blind acceptance of serfdom, poverty, and war throughout history. To this day, especially in the United States, it is used to create support for war in the Middle East."

Atwill encourages skeptics to challenge him at Conway Hall, where after the presentations there is likely to be a lively Q&A session. Joining Mr. Atwill will be fellow scholar Kenneth Humphreys, author of the book "Jesus Never Existed."

Further information can be found at http://www.covertmessiah.com.

About Joseph Atwill: Joseph Atwill is the author of the best-selling book "Caesar's Messiah" (Amazon Order Link) and its upcoming sequel "The Single Strand."


Source: http://uk.prweb.com/

Contact: Ryan Gilmore

+44 7854966520

Email

Related:

Atheists respond:

Acharya S:  Acharya S. interviews Joseph Atwill about his Caesar's Messiah thesis (Video: 11 minute excerpt of 68 minutes)
J.T. Eberhard:  Joseph Atwill has not proven that Jesus was made up by the Romans.

Richard Carrier:  Atwill's Cranked Up Jesus


 




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Sunday, July 21, 2013

Obama's remarks on race resonate with many


by Madison Reed

I was moved by the President's words concerning his own personal experience as a young African American man growing up in the United States. We all know all that's true, and we should know the effect that has on our fellow Americans who are Black. It's painful to think about it, but I'm happy that we are doing more talking about it than I've seen in my entire life. On the other hand though, not all of those people who lock their cars when young Black men walk by, or who are more fearful or suspicious of them, or profile them in their minds, are doing it because they are racists. And they're not all White. It's fear, and some of it comes from experience, and statistics that tell us that the Black community has a problem.

The best thing that we can all do is start talking to each other about these issues. Don't fear it or think that something is off limits to say because of the color of our skin. There's been suffering on both sides, but we should NEVER underestimate the suffering that an entire race of human beings have had to go through as a result of the color of their skin!
I believe we can unravel almost all of what remains of our country's racial divide. Just think about the progress we've made in 50 years!? In West Virginia for instance - a state that still has racial issues, you can go into some small, off-the-beaten-path towns and find that a significant part of the population, youth and children are born of mixed-race parentage. Racial problems in those areas that used to be places that African Americans would dare enter, are almost non-existent. The problems now stem from drug-related crimes related to unemployment, poverty and dysfunctional families. Now, African-Americans don't march alone for their equality. They are joined with huge numbers of European-Americans and Hispanic Americans. And now, we have an African-American President - probably the best president in at least a century - who can help us with this process.


Obama's remarks on race resonate with many

 
by Christine Armario, AP

MIAMI (AP) — When President Barack Obama told the nation on Friday that slain black teenager Trayvon Martin could have been him 35 years ago, many black Americans across the nation nodded their head in silent understanding.

Like the president, they too have seen people walk across the street and lock their car doors as they got near. They, too, know what it's like to be followed while shopping in a department store.

In many ways, it was the frank talk on what it can be like to be black in America that many African Americans had been waiting to hear from Obama, especially since a Florida jury last weekend acquitted neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in Martin's shooting death. And it generated a range of reactions — a reflection of the diverse opinions and experiences the conversation on race in the U.S. provokes.

"I think he was trying to give the other side of the equation," Angela Bazemore, 56, an administrative assistant who lives in New York City, said. "Black people and brown people everywhere feel like they've been heard."

Others felt his comments, while helpful, still only scratched the surface of an issue that is inherently more complex than the color of one's skin.

"I was really happy with what he had to say, but I do feel like him being a multi-ethnic person and Zimmerman being multi-ethnic, are really downplayed when we talk about black and white," said Hank Willis Thomas, an artist whose work frequently focuses on themes of race and identity.

In the unscheduled appearance before reporters at The White House, Obama said the nation needed to look for ways to move forward after the shooting and trial in Florida and urged Americans to do some soul searching about their attitudes on race.

It was the first set of extended remarks Obama has made on the Martin case since Zimmerman was acquitted by a six-woman jury of second-degree murder and manslaughter charges in Martin's death last year. Jurors found that Zimmerman had acted in self-defense when he shot the unarmed teenager. Martin was black. Zimmerman identifies himself as Hispanic.

Obama issued a statement after the verdict that said in part, "I know this case has elicited strong passions. And in the wake of the verdict, I know those passions may be running even higher. But we are a nation of laws, and a jury has spoken."

He went much further on Friday.

"I think it's important to recognize that the African-American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that doesn't go away," he said.

Obama said that before becoming a senator, he himself experienced walking across the street and hearing the locks click on doors, among other similar situations. It's that set of experiences, he said, that informs how of the black Americans interpret what happened one night in Sanford, Fla.

While acknowledging racial disparities in how criminal laws are applied, the African-American community isn't "naive about the fact African-American young men are disproportionately involved in the criminal justice system, that they're disproportionately both victims and perpetrators of violence," he said.

He said race relations are, however, getting better.

Civil rights leader Al Sharpton, whose National Action Network is planning rallies in 100 cities to press for federal civil rights charges against Zimmerman on Saturday, said the president's words were historic.

"There is nothing more powerful than the president of the United States, for the first time in history, saying, 'I know how they feel,'" he said.

Martin's parents said Obama's words gave them strength.

"What touches people is that our son, Trayvon Benjamin Martin, could have been their son," they said in a statement. "President Obama sees himself in Trayvon and identifies with him. This is a beautiful tribute to our boy."

Zimmerman's defense attorneys said they acknowledged and understood the racial context of which Obama spoke, but wanted to "challenge people to look closely and dispassionately at the facts."

Those who do so, they said, will see it was a clear case of self-defense and that Zimmerman is a "young man with a diverse ethnic and racial background who is not a racist."

"While we acknowledge the racial context of the case, we hope that the president was not suggesting that this case fits a pattern of racial disparity, because we strongly contend that it does not," they said in a statement.

It wasn't the first time Obama has spoken about race to the nation. He delivered a speech on race during his 2008 presidential campaign after controversy arose around comments made by his former pastor. And the issue has surfaced from time to time during his presidency, including in 2009, when he invited black Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. and the white police sergeant who arrested him for disorderly conduct for a 40-minute chat on the Rose Garden patio.

But many in the African-American community have wanted more.

"I think African Americans in particular wanted him to speak to an issue that deals with race as African Americans see it, and I think African Americans are pleased he's done so," said Brenda Stevenson, a history professor at the University of California Los Angeles. "But I think the president wanted to do so without alienating other people."

Ana Navarro, a Republican consultant, said she cringed at first when she heard the president had spoken about the case.

"I cringed because I think the last thing we need is to insert politics into what is already a very divisive, emotional debate," she said. "When I actually read his words, I thought he had been measured, respectful of the legal process."

"I don't think he's asking white people to identify with black people," she added. "He's saying, 'This is a reality for some of us in America.'"

Some felt Obama still didn't go far enough.

"In a case that's just bristling with racial tension, this is probably a sane and reasonable statement that can be made, that we need to step into each other's shoes for a minute and understand through each other's eyes the impact of a particular situation, namely this trial and the killing of this boy," said Connie Rice, an African American civil rights attorney in Los Angeles. "The thing that he didn't say and perhaps he couldn't say is that this country is almost retarded when it comes to dealing with race."

She remembered how Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote about integration as the answer to America's racial problems.

"Well guess what?" she said. "We decided not to integrate. We decided to desegregate and we decided to end Jim Crow but we never integrated, we are not fluent in each other."

Stevenson said she wished he'd also addressed black women in his remarks.

Alexandra Grande, a 24-year-old law school student in Idaho, said she found Obama's remarks to be compelling.

"I think he was being very diplomatic," said Grande, watching as an ethnically mixed wedding party posed for pictures at a downtown Boise intersection. "But he also let his emotions play out, and that was interesting to see. At the end of the day, he is a man with emotions."

For Nolan V. Rollins, president and CEO of the Los Angeles Urban League, having the president of the U.S. talk about racial profiling in the first person is emblematic of two things.

"It says how far we've come, no question," he said. "But it also says how far we have to go."

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Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Future President of Egypt

Can you believe the eloquence of this little 12-year old Egyptian boy?  It is astonishing to listen to him.  How many Ali's has religious extremism and war in Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, and Afghanistan, already killed?  What is happening to the Human Race?  Our future is optimistic, because we now, collectively, are beginning to close the chapter on ignorance, hatred, and war - all rooted in religious extremism - forever.   ~Madison Reed



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Saudi Anthropologist Has the Key to Building a Vibrant, Attractive Islamic Civilization for the Future

Madison Reed

by Madison Reed

Thanks to my friends at the FreeArabsChannel for introducing me to this important 2008 video interview of professor of Anthropology and Folklore, Dr. Saad A. Sowayan, wherein he describes why Muslims must start interpreting the Qur'an according to the times they're living in - not through the past - or they will eventually cease to exist as a civilization.  I challenge my Muslim friends to make this video go viral.  I hope millions kick down the useless barriers in their minds, from what we've all been taught, and listen very carefully to Dr. Sowayan's wise counsel.

Dr. Sowayan argues that secularism is very compatible with Islam, and reminds listeners that the Prophet Muhammad consulted with people about worldly matters.  He says, "In religious matters related to  divine revelation, the Prophet was the ultimate authority.  But with regard to worldly matters, He turned to the relevant experts."


Related:


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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Christian "Gay Cure" Ministry Exodus International Announces Plans to Shut Down After Apologizing to Gay Community

“Exodus is an institution in the conservative Christian world, but we’ve ceased to be a living, breathing organism. For quite some time we’ve been imprisoned in a worldview that’s neither honoring toward our fellow human beings, nor biblical."  ~Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International

Exodus International President Alan Chambers with wife Leslie

By Robert J. Lopez

A controversial Christian ministry devoted to changing people "affected by homosexuality" announced Wednesday night that it was shutting its doors after operating for more than three decades.


The announcement by Exodus International came during its religious conference in Irvine and after its President Alan Chambers apologized to members of the gay community for "years of undue judgment by the organization and the Christian Church as a whole," the Florida-based ministry said in a statement.

"I am sorry I didn't stand up to people publicly 'on my side' who called you names.... I am sorry I have communicated that you and your families are less than me and mine," Chambers said in his apology.

"More than anything, I am sorry that so many have interpreted this religious rejection by Christians as God's rejection. I am profoundly sorry that many have walked away from their faith and that some have chosen to end their lives."

Chambers said in a statement that the organization's directors voted to shut down Exodus and start a new ministry that would would work with other churches to create "safe, welcoming and mutually transforming communities.”

Source: LA Times

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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

U.S. House of Representatives' Committee Attempts to Criminalize Being Undocumented


The Diversity of the U.S. Baha'i Community of New Orleans


~Madison Reed  
The United States will go to the center of hell very quickly if the kind of homophobic, racist mentality driving the cruel anti-immigrant frenzy responsible for the SAFE Act and the exclusion of same-sex binational couples from protection under the upcoming new immigration law ever manages to gain enough power.

Liberal immigration built the strength, success and wealth of the United States.  Even though it may not seem that this could be true, a result of our profound blessing of immigration is that what could have been a far worse future for the United States and the rest of mankind; greater and more prolonged wars, more holocausts, more dictatorships, greater poverty and famine, less progress in science, and far less freedom for the individual, has been averted.

People who were previously separated and powerless were brought together and given a new level of freedom and realistic hope that there was no end to what they could do.  Together we became a huge salmagundi of races, ethnicities, cultural traditions and religions.  And we and the new arrivals continue on this long journey of transformation together, as one diverse family and nation under one Constitution, whose loyalty and vision goes beyond just our love of the United States of America, but to the entire world. 

We are Americans, but we are also citizens of the Earth.  Those who call this kind of a diversity embracing, world embracing vision for the United States evil, or say that it is destroying the fabric of American society, were probably born and raised lost.  I'm not sure where they're heading, but it sure isn't where we're going.
                                                                                         
 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

U.S. House Panel Approves SAFE Act Which Makes Staying in the U.S. Unlawfully, a Federal Crime 


by Sreeja VN

A Republican-led House Judiciary Committee panel late on Tuesday night approved its first immigration bill, which seeks to make illegal immigration to the U.S. a federal crime, even as lawmakers in the Senate are debating the “Gang of Eight’s” comprehensive immigration reform bill.


The panel, after a day-long-markup, approved the SAFE Act, or H.R.2278 proposed by U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), in a 20-15 vote around 11 p.m. EDT on Tuesday.

“The SAFE Act maintains the integrity of our immigration system by granting states and local governments the authority to enforce federal immigration laws,” Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) said in a statement after the vote, The Hill reported. “The bill also strengthens national security and protects our communities from those who wish to cause us harm.”


The interior enforcement amendment bill, as the SAFE Act is also known, would allow state and local officials to enforce federal immigration laws, and provide grant funding to carry out the task. The legislation also would make illegal immigration to the country a federal crime instead of a civil offence, and punish states that have local laws to prevent authorities from enforcing the federal immigration law, by making them ineligible for grants and other funding.

“We have, and will continue, to take a step by step approach to immigration reform, thoroughly examining each piece in detail and working to find consensus on the other issues we need to fix,” Goodlatte said, according to The Hill report.

However, Democrats on the panel attacked the bill saying it would criminalize the immigrants and will lead to “widespread racial profiling.”

Gowdy’s bill “takes us back in time to an approach that has long been rejected by the American people,” Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), told The Hill. Lofgren, who has been negotiating the bipartisan immigration bill added that the SAFE Act's passing is disappointing as it comes at a time when "solid progress" is being made in solving the immigration problem in a bipartisan manner.

Immigration activists also have dismissed the SAFE Act, which is tougher on immigrants than the bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill currently being debated in the Senate.

The bipartisan bill, which has been proposed by eight lawmakers, four each from the Democrat and Republican parties who have come to be known as the "Gang of Eight," would help an estimated 8 million illegal immigrants living in the U.S. to get legal status.

The bill is also expected to reduce the federal budget deficit and lead to a net savings of $175 billion over the next decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the nonpartisan agency that provides economic data to Congress.


 Source: International Business Times (ibtimes.com)

 

 




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