We Need A Global Peace Congress

In the past when things got too complicated to be resolved among a few parties, there were peace congresses and many entities were involved in efforts to resolve problems.

One might argue that with the UN we do not need such congresses. But today the factors calling for some special and dramatic event are beyond the capacity of the UN to highlite and seek to resolve. Much of what we need in the world is already on paper because of UN work over the last half century.

A Congress might suggest the will of world leaders to resolve the conflicts and get going on what we know needs to be done.


Abba, The Lord’s Prayer and Heaven

Jesus creates a revolution by addressing prayer to the one he calls Abba — a term so familiar that the church will generally use the term which follows it the three times it appears in the New Testament — … Father.

In response to my query regarding Abba and Our Father, in Aramaic, Vic Alexander wrote:

“The opening of the prayer is: Avvoon d’bish-may-yah…

“Awoon or Aavoon is written: Abboon = our Father. Abba is = Father. The conjugation changes; the word is the same. However, it’s pronunciation is Avvoon or Awwoon, depending on dialect. The soft b is typical of Galilean and Ninevite Aramaic. The hard b is typical of Chaldean Aramaic, which tends to be more like Arabic. The Galilean is a Jewish dialect of the time of Jesus.”

The Lord’s Prayer is as close to being the world’s central theological document as any other text. If one accords to Jesus even the secondary importance given to him by religions that are not Christian, and if one believes as I do that he is more important than that, then we need to pay attention to the words he would have us pray.

Every time we can cut through the creedal-messianic overlay that accompanies the New Testament narrative — not “word of god” but reconstructions of us — we get to a stratum that is Abba-related. We get to Jesus not being the third person of a Trinity, but the first person to claim that God is not who we say he is, but rather Abba in heaven.

Where is this heaven where Abba is?

This is a key question. A place is the general answer given. Not here. Somewhere out there. Or up there. A close person dies and looks down on us from heaven. Even if you are cremated you are up there … maybe.

Funny, though. Jesus does not talk about this idealized, religious heaven so much. For him at least half the time heaven is at hand at hand. In other words, heaven is closer to us than we think if we open our eyes.

If one is a spectrum thinker, as I believe all thinkers should be, then heaven is not out there but all around, at the end of the spectrum where things are as Jesus would have them. It is not that heaven cannot be at all places in the spectrum, but that earth becomes heavenly when Abba’s will is done here.

The original gospel of Jesus is that the kingdom of Abba is at hand. Abba is the father in the Prodigal Son story. When that story is repeated, Abba is manifesting. When we worship no graven images, Abba is near by. When we do not maim, rape and murder, Abba is not far away.

So where is heaven? It is in us, around us and beyond us.

So what is the Lord’s Prayer? Incendiary. A baptism of fire to those with eyes to see and ears to hear.


Big Corporate Move Back To NYC

Columnists are waxing enthusiastic about the vaunted corporate move back to New York City.

My guess is that while CEOs and their ilk may be occupying the expensive real estate that is being developed and/or upgraded in midtown, the new wave may well herald a far more significant migration.

Imagine that many corporations simply cannot or will not afford to field an old-style office anywhere and that the suburbs begin to house decentralized nodes of corporations so that lower level functionaries who live around these places will have a shorter commute, but still have supervision and the aura of an office away from home.

A further step, of course, is domestic outsourcing, where preference goes to persons who are as, or more, effective working at home at their own pace than spending half a day getting to and from work and wandering off on breaks or social calls during business hours.

My guess is that economies — and, possibly, sensible thought — will propel a rollback of long and arduous commutes by car (mainly) in favor of a Web-driven mode of decentralization.

The reason corporations may be moving back to Manhattan is that we are talking pricey CEOs and their entourages for whom a midtown address and the expenditure of millions annually to keep up with other CEOs is simply par for the course. The next conspicuous thing.

Meanwhile, perhaps the nation will turn to such matters as the Sputnik-like decline in education that leaves us lacking compared with rising powers. Or the shameful policy of throwing anyone you are not willing to help into prison for the duration. Or the tragic disconnect between the bold assertion of national power and the actual interface between that power and its victims.

The world apparently lacks the capacity to stem the genocide in Darfur. Nick Kristof has been reduced to advocating that the bodies of the Darfur decimated be displayed in NYC to raise consciousness. It is not that the power is lacking. It is that it is more important to put it into moving back to Manhattan.

By the way, when will that damned space be remodeled so I can move in? And where is the nearest decent gym? Or will we have our own?


Idiot Golf Coverage


Now ABC has decided to intersect its coverage of the Western Open with the final of the World Cup. If one wishes to watch the golf they can tune in later and see whatever paltry reruns the channel decides to put up.

Just as wireless is for many the solution that was needed when dialup was proving horrendous, so too the capacity to watch what you want when it is happening cannot be low on the great to-do list bubbling under the surface of reality.



The accented voice comes from the tube, focussed on the Western Open.

It is supercilious, condescending and so essentially biased that it really favors the mute button.

Of course I among of those who sees gold in Tiger terms so if coverage is unfair to him I react. This is unfair in spades. Try comparing it to what is given to Phil.

Maybe the producers think this is class. I think of it as the same sort of thing that happened when Tiger was deeemed to be in a fatal slump.

Tiger’s project is perfection. It involved default birdies. He may never get there. But that is the golf story, When he makes something he is deemed to be amazing. When he works like mad to get ther, he is deemed wierd.

He may win on the golf course. But I doubt he ever will with these yo yos.



Finally it is becoming clear.

I originally noted that 2004 was Hillary’s year and she did not agree. Should she become the nominee in 2008, it may well be like other nominations in which the result is a numerical but not a political victory.

My personal choice for a ticket at this point is Al Gore and Barack Obama.

Gore is not subject to Hillary-hatred or Willie Horton-type dissing of the Roger Ailes variety.

It is time for his eco-agenda to surface. He is intelligent enough to wage a war on terror that moves our of the nursery and into a rational arena.

His candidacy would benefit from an early stated intention to run with Barack Obama, the Illinois Senator who to date has made no glaring mistakes and emerges as a sort of Tiger Woods figure of the Third Millennium. That is a remark unfair to both but I am speaking in cultural and political terms.

Gore would be given an opportunity to pay back the Republicans for the probable theft of two Presidential elections. Running against a McCain he would have a chance whereas Hillary would more than likely stumble.

I would be happy to have Hillary in 2008 but I do not believe she has as good a chance of winning as a Gore-Obama ticket.

If Gore had a single term and set Obama up to succeed, I believe we would see a viable basis for developing a party and platform that would segue with the probable swing of the country back to a more sane and public interest mentality.


The Limits of Philanthropy

The New York Times did not see fit to publish any letters regarding Professor Nasaw’s article, including mine, below:

Re: David Nasaw’s op-ed, “Billionaires To The Rescue” (July 4).

The world suffers from a failure to copiously examine the question Professor Nasaw raises: “What becomes of a society that must rely on ‘gifts’ from a handful of socially conscious billionaires?”.

Reliance on the philanthropic enterprise is capitalism’s MO in rationalizing a worldwide failure to address a pandemic made up of deep poverty, unaddressed disease and the effects of disaster which might be minimzed by more adequate planning.

The annual mortality benchmarks of Unicef are bleak testimony to the limits of today’s philanthropy to clean up after the incompetence of governments, the cynical disregard of corporate enterprises and the often-ambiguous performances of the not-for-profit world.

Continued failure to seriously examine this huge issue is part of the problem.

New York City, July 4 2006
Stephen C.Rose was a consultant at the UN. His
books include Abba’s Way, The Development
Apocalypse and Coping with A Negative World
in A Positive Way.


Lieberman’s Misbegotten Independent Bid

Lieberman should read recent history.

The last time a Senate race in Connecticut race went to the Republicans as the result of a Democratic squabble was in 1970 when Senator Thomas Dodd launched an independent candidacy and helped to ensure that the race would go to the Republican candidate, who was the ultimate victor, Lowell Weicker.

I was at that time the idea person and speech writer for the Democratic nominee, Joe Duffey. Duffey defeated Dodd in the primary running on a pro Gene McCarthy platform combined with a pretty hard-headed centrist position on many economic matters and liberalism on social issues.

As soon as Dodd’s initiative was announced, I pleaded with Joe and his campaign manager and future wife Anne Wexler to plead, in turn, to John Bailey, the state’s then-Democratic boss, to prevail on Dodd to get the blazes out of the race.

But they did not, at least to my knowledge. There was no more reason to run save for the various victories that come with depeat.

The predictable happened. Weicker won. The combined Dodd-Duffey total would have carried easily. Joe would have won but for Dodd’s egotistical kamikaze play.

And that is exactly what will happen if the present incumbent Lieberman decided to go independent and the leading Democrat, Mr. Ned Lamont, decides that that is just fine. The primary is yet to be (8 August) but it can be assumed that Lamont will win.

The issue is democracy, not Mr. Lieberman’s position in Iraq. Dodd subverted the Democratic process in 1970. Lieberman may be doing it yet again to salve a damaged ego.

It is time for Lieberman to look back and shelve this idiotic intent. It will only help ensure that the Democrats retain a blissful capacity to shoot themselves in the foot with impunity.