Wednesday, March 22, 2017
An offshoot of Yoga - Laughter Yoga - will be embraced this summer a means of dealing with the President Donald Trump election and both houses of Congress now in Republican hands!
Take a hike career EPA, State Department bureaucrats, ha, ha, ha
Culturally Appropriate Renaming Workshops
- Hurry up or you’ll be left out!
- Where did that idea come from, out of left field?
- See the world, or what’s left of it.
- What’s for dinner, honey? Sorry, leftovers.
- We were on our way to the horizon of happiness and mental health when suddenly we made a hard left turn into crazy town.
NYYM proposes - A Socialist Revolution at the AFSC
What with a closed-shop employee union dictating to the Board who can and can’t volunteer for the historic ‘service’ projects, Friends have come to the consensus that the acronym - AFSC - can still be so, but the dishonest paid ministers who make their living there, have decided AFSC be renamed according to its new mission – Left-wing political agitation.
|Quakers: Where the lights are on but nobody's home!|
Since there are so many small Meetings (groups of Friends) within
graduate of William Penn Charter School
Thursday, December 27, 2012
NYYM (New York Yearly Meeting) of the Religious Society of Friends, proclaims:
Well now we can - and we will, Friends!
And who better to lead a protest against something - especially Global Warming - than the dwindling group of greying hippie Flaky-Quakers?
We'll protest - and prove - human control of the earth and its destiny: with a silent methane alarm ! (methane is 5x more dangerous than CO2)
for Absurd and
Protest Global Warming Now
April 1, 2014 - 12:00 Noon EDT
The Friendly alternative to FACEBOOK, now Friends will also network on ASSBOOK to crowdsource a flashmob of F.A.R.T. ers - non-violent mind you, a peaceful silent and effective F.A.R.T moment when multitudes will expel in smelly silent witness a tremendous and stinky volume of methane greenhouse gas at one time.
Social networking will enable this long-forgotten and irrelevant group and their further-co-opted f/Friends to expel enough greenhouse gas through human activism to affect more than their affected selves.
F.A.R.T. will potentially change the inclination of the earth's axis!
- F.A.R.T. could possibly reverse the geomagnetic polarity between the north and south poles!
We'll show the world and those that refuse to believe which end is up.
Don't forget - Friends tell your Flaky-Friends and we'll all draw recognition to the fact that :
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Why a Quaker would vote for Michael R. Bloomberg
The incumbent New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg convinced enough City Council members to overturn term limits and allow our emerging everyman King, to run for a third term. And His Honor is ahead by almost 20 percent in the polls. Michael Bloomberg has now spent more of his own money (over $100 million in the current election, and almost $250 million for all three mayoral campaigns) than any other individual in United States history in the pursuit of public office.
And, if I weren’t a Quaker, I’d definitely vote – for Mike.
I live in New York City. A vote for Mike would be easier. I would know what life to expect with him in office. We’d most probably continue making the same progress that has been made in the last 8 years. And we would allow him to dole out just enough taxpayer money to quell the law-and-order interests that hold the most leverage, and hear him vanquish all the other special interests vying to take us back to the bad old days with his ubiquitous, confident, plain speaking.
And I’d vote for Mike, because he is simply the antithesis of a paid minister. His mayoral salary is one dollar per year. And he’s got his own money, thank you very much. And he loves New York City. I would imagine when Mike said that “I love this city” in one of his many ads that he paid for out of his own pocket running on TV and the radio that he didn’t mean the agape love that Jesus showed us, but most probably he meant a king-like love. This benevolent kingly vision condescends to those of mortal means and vision, to rule and regulate those same mortals with fallible desires, who if elected themselves, would appropriate other people’s money to themselves and their friends and those who paid to put them in office.
Yes, Quakers are not supposed to vote, because it enables the majority to force its will over the minority creating an environment which nurtures sore losers, later to possibly use violence or force back on the majority. ‘Force’ is the Quaker ‘F’ word.
The Quaker orthodoxy goes like this: all people contain ‘that of God’ or ‘the Seed of God’ or the ‘Light of Christ’ which is good and which grows if the right external conditions nurture this growing of the ‘good’ to continue. We all have the internal choice to do right or wrong or to open ourselves to The Light and come closer to God or use exercise our own will and force, and close ourselves off to The Light and go the other way.
Voting can make one feel mildly empowered yet make one feel dirty at the same time. Politics are dirty. One goes in a little booth behind a curtain and comes out a participant in politics flexing his own little muscles, glowing with endorphins from flipping those little levers and wrist-wrestling that large arm which records the votes, clears the slate and opens the curtain at the end of it all.
Quakers are not supposed to vote (in their religious affairs) or participate in this ‘force’ over the minority, and should feel a clean conscience that they have not forced anyone to do anything. Feeling dirty is because politics is about some winning and others losing - about humans’ base need to dominate others and appropriate resources to themselves and their friends, and those who helped put them in office. In Spanish a derivative of Latin, Vencer means to conquer, Con-vencer means to Convince, or conquer with their permission. Quakers convince, most others conquer.
The definition of politics above comes from our imperfect campaign financing statutes, which enables professional paid politicians (ministers). These ‘public servants’ don’t come to politics unwillingly, to serve for a limited time, and then go back to their lives they had before civil politics or Church hierarchy. Consider General Secretaries of Yearly Meetings who can’t do anything else, who are not in a progression of job opportunity within an organization, and which leads nowhere else outside of that organization, and hence try to hold on to their jobs at all costs, even to the detriment of a Yearly Meeting, like would anyone else who needs a job. Politicians come to politics of their own self-serving desires to line their own and their friend’s pockets with other people’s money while in and after office - if sadly they are ever voted out or removed by some exposed corruption. New York Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (NYYM) does very much the same thing: where a small group of paid insiders insinuates itself into power by the appropriation of money to itself and its faraway central activities. NYYM, a 1500 member association trying to be a centralized government as it loses even more members at local levels, contains all the trappings of civil politics and big business. NYYM keeps silent about some truths while it churns other truths that will maintain the select few in power. It’s the same spin that happens in civil government by political press officers and in business by corporate communications departments.
One Long Island New York Friend I served with on a committee once called the NYYM insiders ‘the Politburo’ or the ‘Supreme Soviet’ I can’t remember which, but the intent of this central committee comes forth - with succinct reference to those on the farm who are of course – more equal, who’s tyranny reside at the mother of all high-priced dachas of Annual Meetings, held at a summer resort at Lake George in the Adirondack mountains.
In the decentralized model of Quaker Yearly Meetings, all effectively compete and collaborate with each other on the best ways to run a Yearly Meeting. Strangely though, some Yearly Meetings are sadly following the paid minister, big-budget, high-cost, centralized control model of New York Yearly Meeting. NYYM leads other Meetings like a Quaker flagship of dying membership, sailing out into a vast sea of absurdity and irrelevance, and flushing time, talent and money into the bilge head somewhere vaguely out there. This instead of other Yearly Meetings showing the example of a lower-cost, limited government, but full participation, volunteer service, bringing-emphasis-back-to-local-Monthly-Meeting-concerns example - and helping to reform the misled New York (and north New Jersey) Quakers.
It’s not like I agree with everything Mike has tried to do for New York City – the 2012 Olympics, thank God (who overruled Mike on that one), will be held somewhere else, I forget where, and I don’t really care. I prefer we not be a target more than we already are.
Thankfully also, now that I no longer attend Quaker Meeting here, I don’t have to listen to the incessant background psychologically depressed leftist hum of how ‘we deserved 9/11’ in group psychotherapy in or at any social gathering after a New York City Quaker Meeting for Worship. I remember coming to New York City in 1980 and a Dean who helped me get a scholarship at NYU telling me Washington Square Park, on which I lived at that time, the bohemian hub of the past century (still within 5 minutes walk from my apartment) was targeted by the Soviets as Ground Zero for their first-strike atom bomb. I always thought that was strange, how all the leftist and anarchists pontificating on soap boxes and strumming their guitars would be evaporated first by our former nemesis, the former communist Soviet Union.
I sometimes think about George Fox railing against the paid ministers and professors, and I then think about how Quakerism is now rife with the same ‘professional politicians’ and ‘professors’ which plague our civil governments. I think about how George Fox called Oliver Cromwell, maybe like an historical Michael Bloomberg, his “Lord Protector”. I remember also how royalty freed 700 Quakers who were in prison after Cromwell’s death, when Fox declared (in The Peace Testimony) that the Friends had no reason nor desire to participate in outward wars or strife (like politics and protest marching, etc)
And Mike protects us assuredly from corruption – he himself can’t be bought, and he’s so king-rich, he is not beholden to self-serving minority special interests who are lurking in the shadows, warming their hot little hands to go back into our pockets if Mike’s major challenger (a Democrat) is elected. Mike has a lot to do with trimming size of government if he feels that is what should be done. Period. There is always the whining and crying within serfdom of 9 million people, but that’s all it amounts to, and life goes on according to Mike’s supreme vision.
However, surprisingly, I’m still positively impressed mostly with those I’ve met and spoken to in the Evangelical Friends International who pay ministers in what are known as Friends Churches. It appears mostly EFI Friends don’t tax their membership too heavily to pay their ministers and ministers get paid in amounts that indicate the ministers are truly serving their flocks – not building large budget businesses around themselves and their careers.
Large budget Quaker businesses include such as New York Yearly Meeting, but the real big bucks budgets are maintained by Friends organizations. The top of the list is the now-evolved nakedly politically partisan American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and Friends General Conference (FGC). The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) is third on this list, being a legally incorporated partisan political organization which somehow commands respect as 'leaders' of Friends or our 'paid ministers' in the modern Quaker Faith.
But, possibly the most chagrining examples of big Quaker businesses are the (large) Eastern U.S. and British urban elite Friends schools. Some of the most reviling Quakers fancy themselves important Friends School literati, collecting their salaries from the rich patrons of Friends Schools, rich parents who send their children there, and large trust funds set up by formerly alive Quakers. Plain and simple – these are the elite Friends – our modern day ministers paid by the wealthy to interpret the Faith for how the rich would like it and for the rest of us – the declining group of mere mortals who can’t govern ourselves without their expertise and esoteric insight.
One who has read my writings and known me might ask, how then Glenn, can you openly criticize those Quakers who have done the same thing as Mike, by changing the rules when the rules (NYYM has revised its Handbook recently) don’t suit themselves, and continue power for themselves.
Plain and simple is that Mike has his own money, and he’d rather be managing his philanthropic life after politics than continuing in the fray. He does care for the city, he doesn’t need my money or those lesser rich folks’ money who would try to influence him to what they need to make almost as much money as Mike has. NYYM has declined and the top down force of NYYM (where the General Secretary makes 80,000 times what Mike Bloomberg makes, plus a wealth of expense reimbursements) on its constituent Monthly Meetings continues that decline.
But NYC has progressed, become cleaner, better educated, more orderly, possibly in the near future to be funded by taxes generated mostly by tourists only after Wall Street dissipates into an electronic trading cloud in the sky. (Because none of the candidates talks about how to bring back NYC as actually making anything that the rest of the world would buy.) In both cases, NYYM and NYC may be past being able to govern themselves primarily at local levels and then upward – it is just very hard work that people would rather not do. People are happier to be told what to think, believe and do from somewhere on high because it is easier than doing the hard work of organic, bottom up, grass roots government.
Some have our own lives to improve. As much as NYYM and NYC and possibly the U.S. are Rome repeating itself, individuals, hopefully including myself, are doing what we do to address closer priorities and our personal relationship with God, without preoccupation with New York Yearly Meeting, New York City, United States or world politics.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
What Friends Should Know about NYYM Finances before Silver Bay 2008
I just read the Treasurer’s Report, the Audit Committee Report, and the Financial Services Report in the Advance Reports for this year’s Silver Bay Annual Sessions. These three committees are none too sexy, yet they are the power centers which determine whether New York Yearly Meeting (NYYM) practices good governance.
- The Treasurer’s report for 2007 compared with the Operating Budget for 2007 is a sham. This sham is nothing new, yet it continues because a dying organization needs deception, especially around money, to keep itself in business, and maintain the facade of legitimacy.
- The newly reconstituted Financial Services Committee will be preparing the 2009 budget at the Annual Sessions at Silver Bay in July 2008. Will you be there? The sham continues with the names changed, but the fact is that the NYYM Treasurer and Clerk of General Services have been and still are clearly in power and in collusion to misrepresent both the Operating Budget and the Treasurer’s report. (The new NYYM Treasurer and the Clerk of General Services [a former NYYM Treasurer and current Treasurer of the NYYM Trustees] are members of the same Monthly Meeting)
- The NYYM budget numbers have been manipulated / padded for at least 20 years such that even when Meetings did not give what was asked, the Yearly Meeting still made a profit to add to its bank balance and carry forward.
- NYYM has been in substantial budget deficit for 3 out of the last 4 years and its total cash on hand from operations has only fallen by $1,000. The beginning balance on 1/1/2004, the year the General Secretary was hired was $204,000. The ending balance of cash on hand in 2007 was $203,000
- Money is being spent ‘cross’ budget lines, not accountable to the populous.
- The rank and file members of the Financial Services Committee, a committee with no authority to reduce expenses when they have not been presented with due evidence for such funding requests, are literal nothings in decision making. Finance meetings are held as far away as possible from the most Friends, in with purposeful intent to limit participation by committee members and regional Treasurers.
- The Clerk of the Financial Services Committee usually has to be the third leg of the stool of malfeasance, part and parcel to the sham carried on by the other two power brokers named above. The former Clerk of Financial Services conveniently left town, was originally a dedicated NYYM team player. He was a made man who asked me to resign multiple times when I made what were objectively helpful observations about the insular nature of NYYM and what could be done to cure it. Nothing that was new about the insularity, but the what to do about it, was simply heresy to those who feel that the yearly meeting should exist without any mandate or covenant, bottom-up, financing from Monthly Meetings, which New York Quarterly Meeting Friends and I began in September 2004. (A covenant contribution is something that a Monthly Meeting agrees in advance to contribute to the Yearly Meeting as simply one of the Monthly Meeting’s expenses, as part of grass roots authority to the Yearly Meeting wider body.) The struggle with me and with the groundswell that began in September 2004, began to turn the former Clerk of Financial Services toward the right order of Quaker authority and mandate, from bottom up, which will eventually heal the malfeasance of governance that still exists. So I say, convenient for him to be off the hook as he has moved to be closer to family.
- The Clerk of Financial Services is a member of the same Monthly Meeting as the Clerk of the Nurture Coordinating Committee. The latter is a rah-rah NYYM devotee who refuses to see malfeasance of NYYM that cuts her own Nurture budget in most of the recent years to support office salaries, office expenses and other centralized costs.
- The current new Clerk of Financial Services has yet to be proven as a made-man. We’ll see if he has the ‘cojones’ to stand up to the other two thirds of the power triumvirate. He’ll also contend with the General Secretary who is ‘thankful’ for his $80,000 and going up salary and undefined job description according to the first sentence of the General Secretary's Report in the Advance Reports. Will the new Clerk of Financial Services be an agent for positive change, or will he be able to suppress any further dissent which is trying to bring NYYM back to good governance?
- The Audit Committee says it hires a CPA for $3,000 per year budgeted ($3,075 actual in 2007). What CPA will audit thoroughly for that low amount? Ask to have a copy of the Audit Report filed by the Auditor. Not to see a copy, to have a copy. The Clerk of the Audit Committee, also in the manner of NYYM, Clerk equals Captain mentality, is too much a same-old same old, a paid professional Quaker with the mentality of continuing institutions as ends in themselves, and should not be nominated again for any central power position. It’s amazing what churches can hide because they don’t have to file public statements with the IRS and hence be truly accountable to the public let alone the Church’s own members. While you’re at it, ask to have a copy of the Financial Management Guidelines which will surely expose the scam $30,000 per year Bookkeeping service hired by a former Treasurer, now the Clerk of General Services Committee. If NYYM has less than 50 transactions per month, why shouldn’t it hire a $5,000 per year bookkeeper? Where is the other $25,000?
My advice to any Friends who read this: Go to the Financial Services Meeting(s) at Silver Bay. Take time out from sailing, windsurfing, swimming, shuffleboarding, chasing fireflies or whatever and go sweat a little bit with those who are trying to help NYYM achieve vitality. Does the Financial Services Committee offer teleconferencing into the Finance Meetings at Silver Bay? Why not? Silver Bay a conference center isn’t it?
Ask the hard questions that have to be asked in order for NYYM to come clean and achieve accountability and truth in what it really is.
Here is the forensic evidence of the continuing sham of Operating Budget and Treasurer’s Report:
- Audit – already mentioned. It’s a joke.
- Junior Yearly Meeting – could the Silver Bay portion of this actual cost of be funny money or money that does not get spent, just applied as an expense if Silver Bay Association ‘gives’ NYYM rooms? NYYM is Silver Bay’s biggest customer, there is some kind of bartering going on, rest assured, where money is not changing hands where it should.
- Could money be changing hands toward NYYM members, possibly illegally, on the Sessions Committee for keeping the conference at this facility, so far away, and so un-competitively priced compared with other Yearly Meeting annual sessions?
- Has anyone determined which (powerful) NYYM Friends own property or houses near Silver Bay?
- Administrative Expenses – what are these $13,847, almost $2,000 over budget, broken down into? This is a very vague category which should be specified out in future budgets and reports.
- Did any committee have to approve this over budget spending or was this done behind the scenes?
- Rent and Utilities at 15th St. $23,800 Budget 2007, $23,800 Actual 2007. When I was on the Finance Committee I obtained a document from the office landlord, New York Quarterly Meeting, which stated in June of 2005, that the office rent for NYYM would not change in 2006 from the 2005 rent of $25,800, however electric charges would be metered and paid directly by NYYM to the utility in 2006. The rent number on the line in 2005 was misrepresented as $23,800 and inconsequential Friends objected that the wrong number was on the budget line. But the budget line stayed the same because of the power triumvirate, and General Secretary, named above who simply authorized the wrong number to stay on the budget and hence the Treasurer's Report. Is NYYM saying that rent has not gone up since 2005 (even when the rent was misrepresented low purposely in 2005 to deflect concern over paying so much money for rent when much cheaper and more central space is surely to be had?) The General Secretary, salary is around $80,000, although hired to live in NYC and did not, does not attend the office much. He is not called a Field Secretary, which would normally work out of his home like he does, and is not paid like one ($45,000) Why can’t the office be moved closer to this Rock Star where he can be in the office to supervise those under him who, like him, are accountable to no time and task specific job descriptions?
- A round and even actual number for rent plus utilities is highly suspect here and is most probably purposely misrepresented.
- Considering the utilities component of this actual cost which is obviously being paid from some other budget line, an actual number that equals the budget number to the dollar and cent in the Treasurer's Report is also even more suspect in being inaccurate at best and purposely misrepresented at worst.
- These two coincidences together represent an absurdity to any reasonable person.
- Salary and Wage Related Expenses – Budget $43,000. Actual $36,299. That Budget has stayed flat for at least 3 years (2005 Budget was $42,275) when salaries have risen by 3-5% per year indicates a blatant misrepresentation of budget expectations.
- An employer is required to pay an additional 1/2 of the Social Security payment, or 7.5% of an employee’s salary to Social Security. So if salaries for the 3 full-time employees rise, as they have over the last 3 years, so do the employers Wage Related Expenses.
- Hourly employee wages have stayed more or less flat since 2005
- Add to this that the actual numbers in the Treasurer’s report have also stayed flat when they should have grown (2005 Actual was $36,457) and we have a likely pattern of deception, in rerouting other budget lines to pay what should look like wage related expenses without showing the truth.
- Rationale was used in 2005 to say that two of the three employees are not taking their full time health insurance benefits and if new employees were to be hired the money to pay the new people is needed in the budget. This phantom budget bubble money was supposedly taken out of the budget to help alleviate previous budget deficits, again out of view of the inconsequential people, years ago. So don't buy it when they feed the same song and dance to you again this year.
- Office Staff Travel – was the actual vs. budget 15% overage approved by the Financial Services Committee at some point?
- Office Equipment – again an even number $1,800 budget and $1,800 actual that is equal to the dollar and cents to the budgeted number for office equipment? Guess again.
- Computer Consultation – Budget $1,000. Actual $0 How many years has this actual been zero? Who has been paid as a computer consultant and what did they do? Get rid of this bogus budget line.
- Hourly Staff – what do these people do? Who are these people? Need Job descriptions, accountability.$21,000 Budget. $21,315 Actual.
- Volunteer Support – $500 Budget. $264 Actual. What can NYYM Friends do to volunteer? What kind of work is needed and when? Who is chosen for this work and what is this money spent on? Do these volunteers get special favors in any other way?
- Bookkeeping Service – $28,200 Budget. $28,200 Actual. is there a conflict of interest here where an important NYYM person is familiar with a principal of the bookkeeping service, where budgeted number equals the actual number spent? Does the ‘independent’ vendor raise prices and the Yearly Meeting simply concede, or do the owner of the ‘independent’ bookkeeping service collude with someone at NYYM to make the actual cost equal the budget number? Are there not any busier periods when the costs of bookkeeping would go up or down as per the amount of work? Isn’t this cost astronomically high which could also suggest potentially illegal kickbacks or other importune activity?
- Who are the principals of this firm?
- What is the name of the firm?
- Do the principals of this obviously overpaid firm have any personal or family relationships with important NYYM Friends?
- Advancement Committee - $7,000 Budget. $7,000 Actual. Again, any kind of reimbursement for Silver Bay is done in uneven numbers based on what Monthly Meetings give. Reimbursements for travel for the ‘approved ministers’ to travel to Monthly Meetings would be in odd numbers.
- For the actual in dollars and cents to be a round number is odd
- money is to be spent from the trust fund associated with this budget line before the operating funds are spent
- for both a + b to be true is an inaccurate reportage
- That other actual numbers which normally should be odd, but are even round numbers, indicates a pattern of deception.
- Low numbers for FWCC, FUM and FGC Budget and Actual indicate that the Yearly Meeting is out of control and does not fund its ‘wider bodies’ sufficiently to support good Quaker governance at wider levels.
- Wouldn’t the current ‘gay crisis’ of FUM have been staved off if NYYM would have represented itself better in the past with concomitant funding and representation to the levels of at least NEYM or BaltYM?
- These low amounts are a joke and allow NYYM to retain money which is inherently money given by Monthly Meetings to wider bodies, that should be passed on to such. But the money is diverted instead to fund NYYM’s unaccountable internal operations.
- There is no committee to set these donation amounts, there are only those power players in the behind the scenes closed door negotiations which set these numbers.
- One Friend, a member of one of these three ‘wider bodies’ told me once, “We are not a governing body (of Yearly Meetings), per se. We just hold meetings to allow Friends to get together and discuss what’s on their minds. If we relied on money from Yearly Meetings for all of our funding, we’d be out of business.”
- Eric Hoffer once said, “Every good cause starts as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.”
- Can NYYM stop itself from becoming in business (possibly even a racket) to provide a nice church vacation for the elect, the elite few who have broken into the pantheon of ‘higher’ Friends?
- Powell House - $67,020 Budget. $67.018.33 Actual This is a strange twist in that a donation to Powell House budgeted number should be a round number. What is the $20 in the budget added to $67,000? What is the odd number as the actual, when a large round number given to Powell House is what the Meeting should have mandated?
- Something is amiss here and should be investigated.
- Powell House should receive less funding each year until it’s subsidy is zero.
- Registration Fees fell short of budget by 25%. Could this money have been stolen or misappropriated? Again, there are not many or any objective people in the position to see details of what is going on in the NYYM office.
- Meeting Receipts: All Friends and Purchase Quarters are paying way under what they should pay according indices tied to median incomes in their zip codes (these zip codes have much higher median incomes and home prices than New York City, for example)
- Many powerful or ‘made’ NYYM Friends come from these two regions.
- The Clerk of General Services and the NYYM Treasurer come from All Friends, as well as the same Monthly Meeting
What more can be said? Does the inurement of vacation dull your intellect and reason, and the understanding of right and wrong?
Sunday, June 1, 2008
What Happened: Inside a Culture of Deception
Should New England Quakers be worried?
New York Yearly Meeting (NYYM) and New England Yearly Meeting (NEYM) of the of the Religious Society of Friends are talking at ‘high levels’ such as at a recent retreat in Connecticut. The Clerk of NYYM is the featured guest at NEYM’s annual sessions in summer 2008.
Should NEYM be worried that NYYM is exporting its malfeasance of finances and of governance? (Hint: Yes.)
Scott McLellan, a former United States White House Press Secretary was criticized today for staying in his high-paying job and reaping the benefits of the luxe-life of a presidential administration, quietly leaving, then coming out later and making another fortune writing a kiss-and-tell book named – “What Happened”.
At least I publicly quit and didn’t continue to receive scholarships to go on boondoggle vacations to New York Yearly Meeting’s 20% more expensive annual sessions location, rotate off my committee service then tell all. I quit when it was obvious that reasoning and cajoling in New York Yearly Meeting Financial Services Committee didn’t work and when I was finally uninvited from a critical budget meeting for asking the Treasurer a serious question regarding a perpetually recurring large expense.*
I quit after a year earlier enduring a gang-banging by goons who stood against me and by those who enabled them without my presence in any clearness, for a financial position in the big-time dollars arena of New York (City) Quarterly Meeting. I was gang-banged a third time at the local level when I was asked to audit the books, and would not let go of evidence of theft that came forth in my own Monthly Meeting. But I did begin, with other Friends' support, the bottom-up financing that will be NYYM’s savior, if the movement back to the manner of Friends is not crushed in the near future by the self-serving elite who care not a bit for the governed in local communities. The ministers care about the money that the locals send them, however.
Lies are endemic within NYYM, and to this Friend, they are not unlike those by the current presidential administration. Granted, people died and continue to die as a result of lies in the U.S. government. But lies are lies, the lack of integrity shown in both NYYM, a Quaker organization, for God's sake, and the lies from the U.S. government - grow up from simple lies - later into big lies.
So, consider this: We’ve been told again this week what we already knew – every centralized government administration is insular, seeking only to protect itself, and lies to the people through what is called a press secretary. CEO’s of big corporations lie to the public through their public relations or ‘corporate communications’ chief. Do you think lying stops with civil government and big business? Look at the stakes (the money) for any organization and you’ll see the reasons to lie no matter if they are a church or not. NYYM’s modicum of lies is via paid employees.
How about the lies by church governments, non-profit and religious organizations who want to maintain high-paying, unaccountable undefined, sometimes no-show jobs? Some of these are paid positions which the holders also serve on committees (in an obvious conflict of interest) which make decisions to distribute other people’s money? Why do these inured people continue to maintain themselves even when they no longer or poorly serve the public or their constituency? This instead of waking up one day and realizing to themselves “Gee, our group or organization is just not relevant anymore, let’s go our separate ways, join other groups that are managed better and are relevant.” and lay themselves down? (Or at least find another annual meeting site where it costs less to arrive, costs less to spend time there and there are more places to camp?)
"In the bullshit department, a businessman can’t hold a candle to a clergyman [religious government]. When it comes to bullshit, big-time, major league bullshit, you have to stand in awe of religion.
…. religion takes in billions or dollars, they pay no taxes, and they always need a little more – you talk about a good bullshit story – holy shit."
The reasons New York Yearly Meeting lies (or maybe just gives out bullshit) is that the insular self-serving elite that run it and who are engineering its demise – whom the employees truly work for – is propped up by a vacation and a retreat center where there will always be wealthy folks who will get a good deal on a cheap vacation, get a chance to sail, swim, or sit on the front porch looking out over Lake George with their kids and grandkids and get the added bonus of feeling religious at the same time. But the hard truth is that lies have to be told in order to maintain NYYM as a religious government. The declining and apathetic constituency mostly still continues to send in its money, based on what a committee of a few decides.
NYYM and NEYM are talking at ‘high levels’ such as at the recent retreat in Connecticut. The Clerk of NYYM is the featured speaker at NEYM’s annual sessions this summer. Should NEYM be worried that NYYM is exporting its malfeasance to NEYM? (Hint: Yes.)
* And that question I asked in order to be uninvited to the NYYM budget meeting in September 2006? It has to do with the bookkeeping service, part of the waste in government, that NEYM has contemplated or has hired on recommendation by the head honcho string-puller at NYYM. See all the questions including this big question.
Eric Hoffer had something to say about propaganda that we’re fed by U.S. Presidents and high-minded, powerful Quakers - “Propaganda does not deceive people; it merely helps them to deceive themselves.”
Saturday, May 3, 2008
The Quaker Culture, the Quaker Community and the Quaker Faith
This is to draw your attention to a feature recently published in the New York Times. Here we find a quote about the mutual exclusivity of one's professed Quaker Faith, with that person's Jewish culture and community. By the public speech in a venerable journal, and the quoted person in control of the keys to an historic meetinghouse - there is the insinuation that the quoted knows something about the Quaker Faith. What might be more absurd (than to believe everything you read in the NYTimes) is the clear quote that her membership is solely in the Jewish community.
Some know, at the same time, she has been appointed with her own consent, and continues to be appointed as a Quaker minister to positions of authority (once as the head Quaker Minister) in the New York Quaker community. When one is quoted unmistakably to say they are of one community only, but are in reality of two, what should a reasonable person think? Which community takes higher precedence in one's mind and action? Can one always be true to both?
We know that humans form groups or communities mainly for self-protection. What differentiates Quakers or any group who form a community from devolving into a gang or a an illegitimate government which unfairly enforces ways of life and ways of action, and which protects and controls resources? The answer is force - whether or not it is physical or implied in the threat of punishment or disownment for speaking critically of the group.
The Jewish person quoted in the New York Times below is a official Quaker member of the local Flushing Meeting in New York City, and is now also a member of the General Secretary’s Committee, one of a few powerful, and central New York Yearly Meeting Committees. To refresh your memory - New York Yearly Meeting (NYYM) is a Quaker regional body and (New York State, North New Jersey, Southern CT) is supposed to be a religious governing body in grass roots style. However, NYYM has devolved into group of unconnected Quaker elite who get together for a nice vacation/expensive governing session each summer in the Adirondacks. NYYM insinuates in some false manner, that it speaks morally for the whole declining Quaker population within its geographic turf. (Membership most likely now is at about 1,500 actual members, down from 6,500 in 1955.)
This clearly quoted Jewish person quoted by the first-class newspaper was the Clerk (a position of high esteem and authority) of Ministry and Counsel (the Ministers) for New York Quarterly Meeting (of New York City) when she stood against two Quaker Friends (something rarely done against one, let alone two, in Friends' Society) in a public Friends meeting for business in 10th Month 2005. She must have felt she was important enough to do so, even as New York Quarterly Meeting Nominating Committee most probably still sits around wringing its hands and going over the handful of same-old potential nominees for the same-old open positions it can’t fill. (The author was once a member of the New York Quarterly Meeting Nominating Committee.)
In fact there was evidence the person who has publicly denied her membership in the Quaker community (most would believe one's faith is private, but one's membership in community is not) in the New York Times this past week, premeditatedly contemplated standing against the two Quaker Friends, whom she finally stood against in that fateful public meeting in 2005. The weighty members of New York Quarterly Meeting who did not question her accusation at that moment of standing against, must have believed they understood good Quaker order. And later, those same ministers who did not permit the accused or ‘stood-against’ to hear the accuser's (mentioned in the news article below) concerns face-to-face, about their ability to serve on the New York Quarterly Meeting Audit Committee and New York Quarterly Meeting Trustees - believed they still understood Friendly practice. Maybe the ministers did believe it (because she was the 'head' minister)?
But the sound judgment of the other weighty Friends or 'ministers' around the 'head minister' quoted below in the New York Times, was evidently suspended, to ignore the ultimate absurdity - the ‘elephant in the room’ - in order keep up their morally superior appearance. In other words, the New York City Quaker heavyweights went along silently with the avoidance of potentially explosive exposure of the truth of financial impropriety hidden within the New York Quaker government. The 'accused' Friends who were stood against would have surely not tolerated such - so they were effectively disowned - or forced out. There it is, the 'F' word which indicates a gang.
The truth is that this political jockeying was done for money - to perpetuate what Samuel Caldwell called – The Quaker Culture. Although Caldwell spoke of the Philadelphia Friends, his concept applies to New York Friends also. The common factor in Quaker Culture between these two Societies is expressed in the fine art of the dance - around the big pot of other people’s money each has at its disposal. So in effect, the quoted person below was apparently acting as a hatchet lady with authority from the defective mind of a debilitated body. But, somehow her 'Community' is not the Quaker Community? Maybe it is easier to be a hatchet person when one is not truly a part of a given community?
Take this feature story below as reason number ..... hmmm, has anyone counted all the reasons? – why New York Quakers are sadly but obviously corrupt and dying, a mere remembrance of an historically remarkable group. Yet now, New York Quakers are simply a few affected, vain, politically correct, elitist, not-for-profit, do-nothings, who maintain their once meaningful private schools and service organizations, turned political action groups as thinly-veiled money-making businesses. Notice how most of the focus of any mention about Quakers, including this one is 1) it is not a news report, because nothing is actually going on, and 1a.) the feature mentions leverage of Quaker integrity in some past time.
Long live the Quaker Community. When is the next ‘diversity’ discussion ad infinitum, where they decide certain people in our community are more equal because of their skin color, gender, sexual orientation, or religious background?
Long live the Quaker Culture, co-opted by United for Peace and Justice, and moveon.org. When is the next protest march?
Long live the Quaker Faith.
Quaker History / Flushing Meeting///Weekend Explorer: The Melting Pot on a High Boil in Flushing/ New York Times/New York/NY/USA/2-May-08/
…Naomi Paz Greenberg showed me the main meeting room, which looks much as it did in 1694, from the hand-cut nails in the plank floor to the wavy glass in the windows. The sturdy wooden benches date from the 1780s; British soldiers used the originals for firewood.
On a typical Sunday 18 to 25 Friends meet there, Ms. Greenberg said, adding: "Ours is an unprogrammed meeting, which means there are no prescribed prayers that must be said. There is no prepared sermon. There's no paid minister. We listen for the divine, and when there is a message that is irresistible to share, to deliver to the Friends in the meeting, we stand up and deliver the message."
Many members, like Ms. Greenberg, were drawn to Quakerism from other religious backgrounds.
"I was raised Jewish," she said. "I have never stopped being a Jew. That is my community. That is my culture. But my religion is Quakerism." ……
Monday, February 11, 2008
The New Stimulus Package - Your Money
The NYYM Emergency Stimulus Package
Over the last year, I’ve published observations about a dying Quaker Yearly Meeting, New York Yearly Meeting. I’ve made these almost in a clinical way, observing scientifically, measuring the evidence – from the outside. This viewpoint is sometimes called ‘objective’.
I’ve was on the ‘inside’ yet felt like an ‘outsider’ when a participant. I was the wrong age (my 30’s and 40’s when Quakers are mostly in their 50’s – 70’s ), asked the wrong (maybe the right) questions and I asked Friends to actually do something, and to change and to grow.
In essence, I’ve asked Friends to let their lives speak, in selfless individual acts, measured by money. This as opposed to speaking in a self-centered manner, throwing oneself into large, faraway faceless causes - by giving messages - politically-correct mealy-mouthed mumbo jumbo ad nauseum - in Meeting for Worship, holding up signs in loud protest marches, and sending other people’s money to dead, disconnected ‘higher’ and ‘wider’ bodies.
Your money is important. It represents life right here and right now, and it represents the connection to a Quaker Faith, which is both physical and spiritual, no matter how much many Friends want to excise anything physical from the Religious Society of Friends. You see, money represents and can measure what Friends actually do.
We Friends are not hostile to the scientific process, and to observable facts, are we? We constantly test the Truth, in Meeting for Worship, and we can similarly test our integrity of spirit and physical existence with how we use money. It is the real, sometimes brutal mirror on the wall. It can tell us to comb our hair when we forget before we go out, or tells us we aren’t the fairest of them all.
So, what Friends, and as have many others in today’s world have done, have relied on other people’s money to finance our Church. And we turn our attention away from this brutal fact by focusing on politically correct things that our paid ‘ministers’ suggest. It is much easier then.
We can go gentle, right into that cold dark night, co-opted by the Democratic party and Moveon.org, even the American Friends Service Committee, large wealthy Friends Schools, as elite proxies for our dead and gone Society - all the while we think we are alive. Our meetinghouses and our Faith will become curious historical niceties and quirky things kids will hear in school - and then forget.
Great. Let’s send our 'ministers' to more conferences, travel the world to FWCC which has, we’ve heard of late, found wealthy donors to finance itself. Now our widest of wide bodies no longer has any reason to be connected to our Yearly Meetings (whew, NYYM only gives a little, therefore it can now keep more money for itself) all the way back down the line to the Monthly Meetings and the local churches – the grass roots of the Quaker Faith.
So Friends, think about money. I know you don’t want to, and most of you won’t. My words are like that creaky uncomfortable bench you’re sitting on in Meeting for Worship. My words are your Stimulus Package. My words represent the one standing up and saying the emperor has no clothes and these Quaker ‘institutions’ have outrun their Guide. My words are your best chance to want to get off your rear, stop listening to false ministers living with the largesse of wider, disconnected Friends ‘institutions’.
In essence, what I’m saying is go to your Monthly Meeting, the grass roots, re-create each year what the Spirit calls Friends to create. Compare that to the Rule of Thirds. Stop your Monthly, Quarterly and Yearly Meetings living on other people’s money, get to work, and let your money and your lives speak.