Review of “American Character”, A History of the Epic Struggle Between Individual Liberty and the Common Good by Colin Woodard

I highly recommend this book if you’re somewhat mystified regarding how we go into the political quagmire we’re currently in.  Woodard has divided the book into nine chapters:

  1.  Maintaining Freedom
  2. Two Paths to Tyranny
  3. The Rival Americas
  4. The Elite and the Masses (1607-1876)
  5. The Rise and Fall of Lassez-Faire (1877-1930) ******
  6. The Rise and Fall of National Liberalism (1933-1967) FASCINATING!!!
  7. Dixie Takes Over (1968-2008) REALLY PAINFUL-Hard to read
  8. Rise of the Radicals (2008-)  Unbelievable, including Obama
  9. A Lasting Union

If you can get through the hard parts after everybody was assassinated during Liberalism (1933-67), Chapter 9, where he puts forward his ideas is great!

Democracy is no easy task and we are struggling.  That is clear from all the facts and quotes he has footnoted.  This book brings to light the fact that only watching the way the media portrays the behavior and action of politicians are very misleading.  You have to read FACTS, quotes, proof of what they’ve said and done to have the full picture.  Unless you read American History you won’t know the truth.

Woodard is an excellent writer and knows his history.  He puts the facts right out there for us to chew on and couches nothing at all.  It’s amazing to me that in 150 years (1877-2017), the forces of oligarchy, plutocracy, and Gilded Age Lassez-faire capitalism are still trying to squash individuals like a bug, despite the realities of the French Revolution and the like.  You would think these tyrannical evil ones would get a clue but they have not. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.  They all seem to have more time to meet in their groups to try to keep us all down and throw us out on the street while we stare at our tech toy.

At some point here, we better start talking to each other and our neighbors again so that we can agree on what the Common Good looks like and what we need the role of government to be in the meantime.  It is exceeding constitutional reach but that is due to pluralism!!  That’s a good reason!

For the first time in my life (B: 1963), I feel like the American Commune is falling apart due to incredible dysfunction, cynicism and just pure evil from the Federal Government and this handful of right wing nut bags.  The majority of Americans are not like this.  We cannot just default to someone like Trump as many did this last time.

Get to Woodard’s Chapter 9 and the wheels will start turning.

One quote, “The Deep South’s tradition of hierarchical libertarianism is profoundly un-American, being authoritarian in governance, oligarchic in economics, retrograde in human rights”

Yet all of our Presidents from 1968-2008 have been from the south:

  • LBJ
  • Nixon
  • Carter
  • Bush I
  • Clinton
  • Bush II

Woodard contends that despite their party, their record shows that they have done their best to pare down The New Deal put in place by FDR, have given the private sector, Wall St., and the banks more leverage and in some manner, want to de-centralize the government.  The civil war isn’t over.

Book Review of “Synchronicity”

Lisa Townsend’s Reviews > Synchronicity: Through the Eyes of Science, Myth, and the Trickster

Synchronicity by Allan Combs
Synchronicity: Through the Eyes of Science, Myth, and the Trickster
by Allan Combs, Mark Holland, Robin Robertson (Introduction)

19380980

Lisa Townsend‘s review

Jun 02, 2017  ·  edit
FIVE STARS

bookshelves: read, synchronicity, Tzolkin


Excellent book. But I don’t think most people will understand what it’s talking about. Synchronicity is a hard subject in a world where people are hypnotized to believe that what they SEE around them is real instead of feeling their way through.
Symbols and archetypes figure into the text.

I highly recommend this book to challenge your world view.

Book Review for “The Lost Symbol” by Dan Brown

(The Lost Symbol came out in 2009, but I found some issues to be pertinent today in this book review I wrote that year)

The previous 2 books that I’ve read by Dan Brown; “Angels & Demons” and “Da Vinci Code” were quite riveting and fast reads, but “The Lost Symbol” rivaled them.  In addition, Brown chose to write chapter after chapter as a type of sound-bite; a quickly changing scene to keep the attention of the reader.  That was very clever and it worked! The trade-off was character and scene development.  Even though we all know Langdon from the other books, people do grow and evolve.

Yet he portrayed Langdon very 2 dimensional and much the same. I got the sense he was really tired of this character and it showed in the writing.  This was by no means a visionary work, but it was revealing and fun to read.  Inquiring minds want to know!  When you open the book, read the fiction disclaimer and then read the FACT page.

There was an advantage of the setting being on home turf; Washington D.C.  As Americans, the revelation of the inner workings of our government is personal.  Indeed, many of our family members are Masons.  Many of our towns have “Masonic meeting halls”.  In my hometown, there was a “Masonic Temple”.  As a child I was taken by my Mother and Grandmother to many a community concert.  But chapter 82, page 304 was especially personal for me.

At the opening of the chapter was the 10,647 rank organ that my cousin, Wayne Dirksen played and built as Music Director for The Washington National Cathedral in real life.  His father founded the Freeport Organ Co. and taught him.  Wayne was the music presenter for the Cathedral.  Then as the characters proceeded into the Cathedral kitchen to reveal a very telling clue about “the pyramid”, I thought, “I wonder how many church suppers my relatives had in this hall and never imagined it would be the setting for revealing part of the secret about The Masons in a best-selling book?”  When you read the section, you may hear the church women forever making jokes about cooking something in the big pots that might rival a secret Masonic Pyramid-hold the carrot!  I don’t want to be a spoiler, so you’ll have to read the book to see what I’m talking about.  The point is, the Washington National Cathedral is a Masonic stronghold-including the altar of the church, and my family has roots there.

What strikes me after having read these three books is in “Angels and Demons”, Brown deals with the secrets of The Illuminati and the Catholic Church.  In “DaVinci Code” the antagonist power structure is The Catholic Church and finally, in “The Lost Symbol”-he deals with the secrets of The Masons, but they are protagonists and Protestant.  What do all of these institutions have in common?  They are male dominated with exclusive male membership.  Albeit, DaVinci Code “suggested” the existence of the sacred feminine, but what conclusive power did she have?  There was no real proof of her role.

For all the puzzle jumbling, blood, violence, and torture, there has never been a bigger scandal since the time of Christ than the absolute power vacuum of women in institutions of spiritual power.  There has never been such an insulting, blatant, patronizing lack of comment on the real mystery behind the reason for male dominance in these institutions.  In fact, the reason Dan Brown even HAS a story to write about, even HAS all these mounds of puzzles and symbols to decipher and secrets to root out is because the female has not been portrayed in the real light she holds in the evolution of spiritual power on this planet!

These books lean heavily on the “sacrifice model” to tell the story.  That is because they leave the female out. The Bible completely leaves the female out as an equal to the male.  And the Apostle Paul and Thomas Aquinas have a heyday denigrating her.  That being said, the reason the Catholics can continue to hold power in the world is because their focus remains on the person of Christ and the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, as well as revering Mary.  Yet they are the holdout for ordaining women.

For all the Universal ecumenism propounded by the Masons and some Protestants, what do they have to say about Christ?  Do they think that he was “just another Master” walking the planet or do they really believe, as suggested in the book, that we could each be like him with that level of healing power and love in our hearts? Not if they keep playing their sacrifice rituals over and over as shown in the book!

Love is yielding, not sacrifice.  It is the love that causes one to yield in order to teach a lesson, to further the cause, rather than resist; not sacrifice.  The concept of sacrifice is violent and male.  His death was not a sacrifice.  The sacrificial focus of all the Pagan religions is over.  Give Jesus some credit.  Most of the time, he did not yield.  Take one look at scripture and you’ll see how he laid into the Pharisees and Sadducees when they were wrong; but not at the end.  He yielded and it was heinous.  It was the most scandalous torture of an innocent man, not just on this planet, but in the Universe.  Will this planet ever live it down?

Maybe that’s why so many humans like to believe the cross is so beautiful and venerate it.  It’s a type of denial to try to cleanse it of what it REALLY was; abysmal.  It seems to me that by venerating it you also approve of the enacting of sacrifice.

Am I questioning Jesus decision to yield; no-of course not.  I do question the efficacy and intent of Christ to interpret it as a sacrifice.  He went knowingly and on purpose.  If it was a sacrifice, he was a martyr.  If he yielded, he was a Rabbi and a lover of humans, come to regain power over our planet and vanquish Lucifer.  He did accomplish that no matter how much Christians want to keep talking about him.  It’s finished!

I am grateful for every single speck of who he was, what he did, and what he said.  But I feel, as a follower, that his teaching should no longer be denigrated by organized religion with its pagan symbols and interpretations, much less sensationalized in books such as Dan Brown’s.  Power goes to the one who yields in love.  That is what Christ did.  Neither the Catholics, nor the Masons, nor the Protestants get it.  The hubris of the Masonic thinking has indeed crept into the Protestant church.  There is a huge misunderstanding here about what Christ actually taught.  And to boot, it’s not being taught by the Catholic or Protestant Church either.

Michelangelo portrays the mystery of this yielding in the astounding “Pieta”.  I’ve stared at that statue quite awhile to receive its deeper meaning.  I’ve thought about all I’ve read in Dan Brown’s books about religion, symbolism, the sacred feminine, antagonist/protagonist, and the real meaning of Christ’s death.

The message I received was the need for “balance”.  There needed to be balance brought to this planet between the male and the female.  As Christ’s body lay dead in the lap of Mary in the Michelangelos Sculpture, “Pieta”, I see him yielding to the sacred feminine, to Mother Spirit, to his Mother Mary in the hopes that with the release of his soul, she would come forth and help him bring balance to this troubled sphere.  Was that his core message?  So once again, the two shall become one.  He yielded his body to her, knowing that SHE was the author of his life, from which all life comes, in conjunction with The Father.  It is the great mystery yet to be unraveled, the great secret yet to be told on Planet Earth, the story that Dan Brown hasn’t told that underpins all spiritual institutions, all symbols, and all religions.  Maybe I’ll have to write a book then.

pietathelostsymbol

 

Bruce Lipton’s book “The Biology of Belief”

The Biology of Belief

I read Bruce’s 1st edition of this book several years ago when it came out and now finished his latest one with changes just now.  I recommend this new 10th Anniversary Edition.

I was reading it because I’m writing my own book that is a memoir encompassing the first half of my life, with the theme of synchronicity cues I saw throughout my life that helped me navigate family and relationship scenarios.  His recent research on epigenetics and the subconscious mind really opened up another panorama for me as I was raised in a genealogically myopic family.  Ancestry was a very big deal.  It was all well intended, not to be elitist or biased in any way, as my family heartily embraces other cultures.  But it was still overkill.

In my family, I think the purpose was to sweep some skeletons back into their graves; to portray a picture of our family as better than it was in terms of behavior.  This is nothing new.  Welcome to the human family on this planet!  Everyone wants others to believe they’re better than the other guy, that their family is somehow exceptional.  God it’s nauseating.

So, here’s the new deal though.  Bruce has scientific study upon scientific study showing that we are in the 2:98 ratio.  Meaning, 2% of our DNA is from our family and 98% of our DNA is from our environment.  What we hear, learn, see, speak, do, pick up like a sponge and imprint on and continue to morph ourselves on is mostly what makes us who we are.  Your DNA keeps changing after birth and throughout your life.  DNA is not static; it’s active!  Your birth genes are practically squat.  All they did was give you a blueprint for your body, but they don’t control your body.  That’s the first breakthrough.  YOWSA!!  Right?

The 2nd big piece of news is that again, tons of studies have shown that your subconscious mind, as a baby, and even pre-conception, conception, pre-natal, and early post-natal are completely formed by your mother and father.  Holy crap Batman we are SCREWED!  Right? No.  You still have a conscious mind and free will, if you use it and activate it.  What your mother thought, felt, watched, said, experienced, ate, the people she hung around, imprinted your subconscious mind that you have no control over and cannot change.  I thought I was going to fall off of my chair when I read that.  The best thing you can do with this is have a good power sharing relationship between your conscious self (your will) and your subconscious mind (your programming).

Now, before we all panic, do you really know your facts here?  What year were you born? Now go back 12 months (or so) and FIND OUT, if you don’t already know, what your mother was doing, thinking, feeling, and experienced a few months before you were conceived, and then when you were in utero.  That is, if you can. This is big information for you because the way it works is, when you as a personality are not consciously picking your life today, willing the way you want things to go, making decisions, etc., you mind relaxes into vigilant subconscious mode, which  you are not in the least aware of, controlled by…your parents.  Holy crap!!  This is frightening to me. When you wonder why you do something that you did not choose…look at your parents.  You imprinted on it like a sponge in utero!  It’s not your fault and you can’t change it.

I was born in 1963.  My mother’s conscious mind, while I was in utero was in the 1950’s world.  That is accurate.  My house today tends to be retro, I’m traditional, love baking, home-making, cooking, gardening, eating, Leave it To Beaver nauseating stuff feels natural to me.  I can’t help it!  My conscious, birth personality is the opposite, thank god.  I’m a free spirit gypsy, end of the line hippie, artist, dreamer, holistic, musician.  Ah…that’s better.  June Cleaver with hippie flowers and peace sign tatooed on her back is more like it.  I will be going toward that light from now on.

So, if you want to understand yourself better, take your birth year and go backwards into your mother’s time, her way of thinking, and what mindset she was in when you were in her and you will find some BIG answers.  Secondary to her is your father and then all the others in the home and others around them.

 

 

Review of “Throw Away Sisters” by Debbie Winnekins Deutch

A real page turner. I read it in one day! Deb did a great job moving the conversation along and giving voice to each character. It felt like these people were real. Even though it was fiction, the story reads as though it’s true. And sadly, her portrayal of child neglect and sexual abuse are accurate.

These are such difficult subjects, it’s not something most writers will touch. It’s hard to read when you first start the book. Deb obviously has a passion for the needs of children, revealing the lies of adults who appear one way and act another way at home, and giving voice to the older generation of women who’ve been raped without recourse. Kudos to Deb on a great book.

“Inferno” by Dan Brown

Inferno cover

I will not be “a spoiler” in this book review.  You may proceed.  

Once again, Dan Brown has written a remarkable thriller that moves at the speed of light!  I read it in three days.  You have to wonder how his library at home looks and how much he has traveled and read himself in order to come up with all the facts in his novels.  It’s a delight to go on these whirlwind globe trekking adventures with him.  I dare say, it’s the main reason we bother with some of the predictable “Brownian” features in his books.  He’s always with a woman antagonist or cohort in the adventure.  You always feel like you’re in a “Clue Game” where the clues are in the form of a symbol hidden in a secret passageway or doorway.  A villain is always chasing him and trying to kill him.  There is always an evil institution with lots of money and power behind the conspiracy.  And Langdon always has his tweed coat and loafers on.  I think it’s cute.

But in this particular novel, I was starting to unravel as a reader, even getting frustrated.  During the whole story, 80% into the book, Langdon has amnesia, he doesn’t know why everyone is trying to kill him, he doesn’t remember the last 2 days of his life, he doesn’t know why he is where he is, and we have no answers.  We’re not sure who anyone is or why!  Brown delays wrapping things up for all of that time.  I found it un-nerving; even passive.  In every other Brown novel, Langdon was lucid.  In this one, he is passive.  His female cohort, Sienna Brooks is very smart, very assertive, and controls their every move!

None of the reviewers (New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, or the Boston Globe) made mention of the fact that Brown seems to have put the female gender in the spotlight, front and center in this book.  Other than his buddy Sienna, the head of the W.H.O. is a female, Elizabeth Sinsky, and the woman in black leather on the motorcycle working for the Provost is a very assertive character. The book ends with the two of them on top, shaking things up.  No one mentioned that.  Well, now I have.

I heartily recommend this book.  Try to stay with it and don’t make any assumptions about how it’s going to end.  The way he wound it down surprised and pleased me.  Now, it’s food for thought.  The subject of over-population and genetic manipulation looms large in “Inferno”.  Brown could have made it loom larger, but I guess Langdon forgot about it due to his amnesia.  Pity.

Jeffersonian Democrat-Republicans. It’s a party.

I’m done reading “Thomas Jefferson-The Art of Power” by Pulitzer Prize winner Jon Meacham. It’s a great read.  I highly recommend it if you are on the fence politically and want to know what underlies the tension between the two parties.  I’m an Independent.

Thomas Jefferson was a Democratic Republican and was the 3rd President from 1800-1808. He was a Republican in the true meaning of the word, not the modern meaning of the word.  But he was a very progressive man; especially for his time.  A republic is a state in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives, and which has an elected or nominated president rather than a monarch (i.e. Queen Elizabeth). Our system in the U.S. is a Republic. In a democratic republic, you debate and discuss matters in a civilized manner, 1 person, 1 vote, the society is orderly, and everyone’s rights are respected per the law.  That is democratic behavior. The Republicans are not behaving democratically at all at the moment, thus our system is thwarted.

What you are witnessing right now in the government is extreme sabotage on the part of the modern day Republicans toward the President and the people by not FUNCTIONING as elected representatives as called for in The Constitution of the U.S.  As we all know, they aren’t doing their job.  That forces the hand of the President and makes him look like a dictator because Congress will not cooperate.  In a democracy, you accept who won the election, bellyache about it,  make decisions anyway, vote, and get some work done for the good of the people.  There is work to do! The Republicans in Congress will not cooperate because they don’t believe it’s in their interest to do so.  They know who their voting base is. Their mantra is, “Do not cooperate with that man!”

What’s clear to me after reading this book is that not much has changed!  Thomas Jefferson’s concept of a Democratically run Republic is extremely progressive and civilized.  He was 500 years ahead of his time.  His vision calls for an educated, civilized electorate for all; all races, genders, and proclivities.  We don’t have that yet.  The U.S. is still very regional and provincial.  Jefferson’s vision is still unacceptable to most Americans as it was back in his day by some of the Republicans and the Federalists (pre-cursor party to the Democrats).  People loved and hated Jefferson.  He was such a great, humble, intelligent, civilized man!  He didn’t want to conflict with or offend anyone so he didn’t talk much.  He just wrote a lot.  The gun slingers, cowboys, farmers, soldiers, and wild west types who think you should marry your cousin that looks exactly like you wanted to string him up because he wasn’t violent and vulgar enough.  He wasn’t provincial enough.  He was too open-minded and tolerant. He received a lot of death threats.  So it goes on this planet.

Most Americans are stuck in a 2 party system in their minds. They believe that if you are a Republican, you are the enemy of the Democratics and should be wiped off the planet. Some also feel that the Democrats are the party of Jesus Christ and can do no wrong in the rainbow nation utopia.  Neither one is in reality.  The U.S. is set up to be a Democratic Republic; equally.

Jefferson’s vision, elucidated in the Bill of Rights and the U.S. Constitution is exact.  He saw the way past monarchy.  It’s only been 263 years!  We need to keep reading those documents and discussing them.  We need to keep reading the stories of our ancestors, time travelling in them in our minds, and having gratitude for how much they accomplished and how much of their lives they dedicated to the cause of human freedom and progress.  Our children need to know these stories.  I’m very moved when I read them.  I was very moved when i read Jefferson’s inaugural address.  I’m moved when he was confronted with terrible slander and judgment from very bad people during his life and laughed it off with no resentment.

Jefferson knew that in order to make a difference he had to garner power and he did it in a non-confrontational way.  That said, he was always at the ready with the militia if Britain or France threatened us.  Having survived the Revolutionary War, he didn’t rush headlong into the war with Great Britain that would come in 1812 under James Madison.  Instead he instituted a questionable embargo on British goods.  He wasn’t perfect and made some mistakes.  But on the whole, I found Jefferson to be a man of the Enlightenment, having a dedication to Love and Freedom, a passionate and learned man who tried to bring civility to society in a time of colonial strife and a wild land.  I’m grateful for his life and work.