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The Graceless Trio: Donald Trump – King Salman – Benjamin Netanyahu Love Fest – The Political Economy of Trump’s Middle East Trip. KGNU’s “Hemispheres – Middle East Dialogues” ; Tuesday, May 23, 2017; 6-7 pm Mountain Standard Time. On KGNU – 88.5 FM, 1390 AM; Live Streaming at

May 22, 2017

Trump and the Saudi’s – Waltzing With Swords

The Graceless Trio: Donald Trump – King Salman – Benjamin Netanyahu Love Fest – The Political Economy of Trump’s Middle East Trip.

Hear Ibrahim Kazerooni and Rob Prince on KGNU’s “Hemispheres – Middle East Dialogues” with Jim Nelson. Tuesday, May 23, 2017; 6-7 pm Mountain Standard Time. On KGNU – 88.5 FM, 1390 AM; Live Streaming at

The Owls of Estes…

May 22, 2017

Estes Park’s Great Horned Owls: owlets on the left, Mama on the right

A couple of days ago I was complaining to a friend about how few owls I’d ever seen in Colorado – although I’ve been here now for 48 years – and have been told that owls abound. There was one – a small one – who held court for a few short days in a hole in a large maple tree across the street from our home. But that was ten years ago. College friends, Nancy and Bob Stocker, serious wild life photographers, have studied small burrowing owls just off of Pena Blvd on the way to Denver International Airport. I keep thinking of asking to go out with them on one of their sojourns, but then, as usual, forget to do so.

My owl drought ended yesterday, here in Estes Park. Ran into an owl bonanza after a visit and hike in Rocky Mountain National Park, a week prior to the opening of the tourist season. First a bit about the Park, then the owls. Read more…

Goat Hill and Our Lady of Visitation Parish: Part Four: Demonstrating on Archdiocese. Property..The March That Almost, But Didn’t, Happen

May 6, 2017

Sole Garcia addressing the April 30, 2017 rally in front of the Denver Archdiocese


(The experience of excommunicated Cleveland priest, Father Robert Marrone, at St. Peter’s Church, parallels the forced closing of Our Lady of Visitation in Colorado.)

“We didn’t leave the church; We were shoved outside because we wanted to stay together.” As a March 5, 2012 article in the National Catholic Reporter noted: “This separation was not about any hot-button issue, as has been the case elsewhere. It wasn’t about ordination of women or married men or anger at what a new pastor was doing. It was about wanting to remain in the community.”



It – a demonstration on Denver Archdiocese property – had been planned, announced for some time, giving the Archbishop something to think about.

After what was mandated by the Denver Archdiocese to be the last mass of Our Lady of Visitation Parish  (OLV), in Southwest Adams County, Colorado, the parishioners would go to the spacious grounds of the Archdiocese to protest the decision and ask for a reversal – that their parish should remain open and continue as it had in the past. The parish council and the parishioners as a whole had already  convincingly countered all the arguments the Archdiocese had given for closing OLV. Their repeated requests for a meeting with the Archbishop, the Most Reverend Samuel J. Aquila, had met with a five month wall of silence.

Armed with 1200 signatures of parishioners and Goat Hill supporters calling on the archbishop to reverse his decision, the entire congregation had mobilized to have ” a prayer-vigil-demonstration at the archbishop’s residential complex down at South Steele St. in southeast Denver. It was a well-organized, politically carefully targeted action.The press was notified, buses and vans loaded up after the “last mass” and a group of about fifty supporters was waiting at the Archdiocese’s entrance.

At the last minute things changed. Read more…

Goat Hill and Our Lady of Visitation Parish: Part Three: Jerry Roys’ Brief History of Goat Hill and Our Lady of Visitation

May 2, 2017

Jerry Roys (center with sun glasses), Goat Hill Historian, in the midst of a April 30, 2017 demonstration in front of the Archdiocese of Denver, protesting the closing of Our Lady of Visitation Parish

by Jerry Roys.

(Jerry Roys, a roofing contractor by trade, a local historian by passion and competence. Roys grew up in Goat Hill and attended Our Lady of Visitation where he was a choir boy. )

Former Colorado House Legislator and Senator, Polly Baca grew up in Greeley, Colorado Polly says living in a bigoted town was not easy, even when it came to attending church. Polly’s parents were parishioners at Saint Peter, the only Catholic Church in Greeley. One of her earliest memories is attending church with her parents. The church was segregated and says in those days everything was segregated; even the Catholic school allowed only Anglo children to attend.

“I grew up in Greeley, Colorado. My earliest memory was when I was three years old. We went to church, the only Catholic church in town. I saw these little girls in white dresses and knew they were going to march around the church, and I wanted to watch them from both sides. You know how little kids are, I insisted on sitting in the center and my parents went to the center pew. The usher told us we couldn’t sit there, because the church was segregated. Mexicans, Mexican Americans, Latinos, and Spanish Americans all had to sit in the side aisles. The center aisles were reserved for the Anglos in the community.”(Polly Baca recorded interview, August 5, 2013, August 13, 2013, and August 25, 2013). Read more…

Kingmakers: The Invention of the Modern Middle East by Karl E. Meyer & Shareen Blair Brysac. (Norton: 2008. ISBN 978-0-393-06199-4) – An Extended Review

April 30, 2017

Kingmakers: The Invention of the Modern Middle East by Karl E. Meyer & Shareen Blair Brysac. (Norton: 2008. ISBN 978-0-393-06199-4) – An Extended Review


One comes across good histories of the Middle East infrequently. Books are rare that offer some perspective on the current mess in the region, that provide some insights into how the history of the past 150 years can be explained to develop a framework to understand the present realities. But every once in a while a gem is produced that hits the nail on the head. Needless to say, no 423 pages of text can cover more than an outline of the region’s history, yet, a well-structured book can help readers make some sense of it all.

Karl E. Meyer and Shareen Blair-Brysac have produced such a volume in their Kingmakers: The Invention of the Modern Middle East which was published by Norton in 2008. Nearly a decade later, the book still resonates. Were I still teaching “History of the Modern Middle East Since 1800″ Meyer and Brysac would be one of the chosen texts, if not the main one. Besides the fact that it is gracefully written and well researched, in probing the lives of the so-called “kingmakers” it provides biographies of some of the people in the context of the times in which they lived and worked. The book focuses on mostly British colonial administrators with a few American C.I.A. operatives thrown in towards the end. They were all instrumental in shaping the region since the late 19th century. Read more…

Support Our Lady of Visitation in its Protest Against the Archdiocese’s Decision To Close It – Tomorrow – Sunday, April 30 at 12:45 1300 S Steele St, Denver, CO 80210

April 29, 2017

OLV parishioner at April 27 press conference outside the church hall. The Archdiocese prohibited the parishioners from holding it in the hall itself

Dear Friends…

Tomorrow, Sunday, April 30 at around 12:45, after what might be the last mass that the Archdiocese will permit at their church, the congregation of a small Catholic parish< Our Lady of Visitation, just north of Denver in an overwhelmingly working class Chicano neighborhood called Goat Hill is going to engage in what they call a “prayer-vigil-demonstration” at the residential complex of the Archbishop of Denver, Samuel J. Aquila at 1300 S. Steele Street.
The parish is the center of this community. The community itself is quite unique – as if northern New Mexico (Taos-Mora) and Southern Colorado was transplanted in this small but lively neighborhood (approximately from 64 to 72 avenues east and west of Federal Blvd in Adams County. It was built by the parishioners who are, to put it mildly, deeply upset that it is being closed down by the Archdiocese. It is unusual to see a Catholic congregation to oppose a local archbishop and even more so that deeply religious Catholics would protest at his residence. Deciding to do so was not easily arrived at.
Of course the religious element of what the OLV parishioners are doing is central, but beyond that I want to emphasize that this is more than a church – it is the heart of a community. I don’t need to emphasize that in the era of Trumpty-Dumpty how vital it is to maintain such institutions that by their very nature will be in the forefront of defending the economic, social and spiritual rights of this population.
The parishioners and Church Council of OLV have asked for public support. I hope that you will join me in a show of solidarity.
My support is guided by knowing how precious this church is to its membership and of course, by the famous quote by Bonhoffer, on display at the U.S. Holocaust Museum

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Hope to see you there.

For more information I include the following links:


Rob P.

Poetry Reading: May 4, 2017; Westside Books.3434 W 32nd Ave. Denver, CO 80211 (303-480-0220)

April 29, 2017