April 12th, 2006

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Good Morning!!

I'm getting a slow start on the day as I stayed up late, and then, early, reading The Man Who Listens to Horses by Monty Robert. I have read it before, and it is just as exciting and exchanting the second time. It is the story of a "real-life horse whisperer," and quite an amazing guy.

Because I was awake, I know it rained most of the night, and it is still drizzling and dripping this morning. It sounds like the pawing of horse feet. I feel like I should feed the rain, but I'm not sure what it likes to eat. Well, time to get myself up to radiation. I seem to be feeling okay with it. I'm in the loop now.

Let us all take care, kick up our feet, and rejoice at all life brings.
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It's raining!! What a Surprise!!

Today, someone brought three kinds of cookies to the radiation waiting room, Easter bunnies, Key Lime Mexican hats, and another yummy looking kind. I learned it is traditional to bring something on your last day. This was Gretchen's last treatment. Yesterday, someone brought champagne for their last one. I guess that was really appreciated by the nurses and staff, though I'm not sure what I think of them drinking when their work seems so precise. I got pictures taken again today. I feel like a movie star. They tell me I am.

I noticed a new painting today, a little guy with this quote by Isabel Allende next to it. "....she is lost in the labyrinth of reason and all her security now lies in affection and love."

Now, that feels just right. Affection and love to you, and thank you for all you do for everyone and everything. Connection is a joyful swing.
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Art from Tape -

Check this out. It is photos of wonderful art made from tape.


I especially enjoyed it, because each day I am radiated bare, and then, with a what seems like a jellyfish placed upon me and taped so it can't slide off. I, too, am an artwork, for a time, or maybe all the time. Maybe that is the point. We are ART!!

Have a lollipop licking day! Enjoy being Art!!
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Rainy Day thoughts!

Today the Two Cents question is "Do you feel threatened by Iran's nuclear capabilities?" I find the question so inane, I don't even bother to respond, though I suppose I could type NO in a giant font. There is so much to be concerned about that Iran certainly is not top of my list. I think Jon Carroll does a good job today on the subject of fear, and what each of us might do, must do, in our response to what is going on in, and with, the Bush administration. Here's Jon!


Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Let us review. According to several sources, most notably Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, the president has the right to arrest and hold anyone he chooses, without charge, for as long as he wants, without access to a lawyer and without any kind of public judicial proceeding -- or, in a pinch, without even a private judicial proceeding. He has the right to tap the telephone, read the e-mail and examine the financial records of anyone he chooses.

It now appears that he also has the right to selectively declassify intelligence documents to obtain political goals, even if (or perhaps particularly if) the intelligence in question is suspect. He has the right to lie to the American people in order to enter into a war of unknown intensity and duration.

The president does not yet have an ermine robe and a gold crown, but no one can say for sure that plans to obtain such trappings of state are not already under way. Heck, no one can say for sure anything at all because the quality of information is so degraded that it's hard to know what's going to happen until it happens, and sometimes not even then. We can say this: No one ever went broke not trusting George W. Bush.

None of this is news. The question, really, is not "Why has the president's approval rating dipped to 36 percent?" but "Why hasn't it dipped lower?" Why do people continue to support him? He has taken unto himself vast amounts of power not ever granted in the Constitution. Surely people treasure democracy, love the system of checks and balances, are afraid of tyrants.

History suggests otherwise. History suggests that, in times of trouble, people like a strong leader. People are willing to give up their autonomy in order to strengthen their leader. Democracy is a messy and confusing business. Maybe it's OK some of the time, but when malign enemies are roaming the streets, when our very way of life is threatened by shadowy figures of menace -- we want Daddy. Most of the world is run by Daddy, one way or the other.

Political society tends to devolve back to dictatorship. The standard pattern seems to be war followed by confusion followed by a coalition government followed by Daddy. Of course this is not inevitable, but it happens often enough that the basic urge should not be surprising.

The Founders understood that. They debated, they pondered, and they came up with a firm rule: no more kings. That idea is all over the Constitution. Presidents almost immediately began trying to find ways to circumvent the Constitution. It's so hard to get things done. I have a dream -- I want neither a check nor a balance.

Most people would rather cede control than exercise it. Responsibility is hard and shopping is easy. Most people are sheep -- heck, most sheep are sheep. Sheepiness is the default mammalian mode. I wish I didn't think that was true, but look at the evidence; it's hard to be optimistic. We should keep our ideals, but we should realize that the reason we call them "ideals" is that they're not very real.

One thing Daddy has to convince his subjects about: He is just like them. He believes what they believe. He will fight for whatever it is they would also fight for. If that's true, then what does it matter how much power we give him -- he's going to use it just the way we would. He's going to uphold our values and smite our enemies. That's why George Bush got elected. I doubt that any of his supporters thought he was competent; they just thought he was unwavering in his beliefs. And he is. He has done what he was elected to do.

The delusion is circular and complete: When he says he's going to tap telephones, he doesn't mean your telephone, he means other people's phones. He's not going to throw you in jail for ever and ever; it's not you he's after. When the people who are in jail say, "I was just like you, trying to lead my life in America," you can say, "You're not like me -- you're in jail."

I was 18 when I first heard the famous quote from Martin Niemoeller. I was gobsmacked. There are several versions; this one's from Bartlett's: "In Germany they came first for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up."

Democracy is neither natural nor easy; that's why we really can't do it very well. It's like playing the bassoon, only with more speeches. Democracy will never be an Olympic sport -- although, come to think of it, neither will playing the bassoon.
It would be madness to let the purposes or the methods of private enterprise set the habits of jcarroll@sfchronicle.com
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and here's a way to live -

When you allow yourself to experience that there is enough of what you once thought there was not enough of, extraordinary changes occur in the way you live your life.
When you know that there is enough, you stop competing with others. You stop competing for love, or money, or sex, or power, or whatever it is you felt there was not enough of.
The competition is over.
This alters everything. Now instead of competing with others to get what you want, you begin to give what you want away. Instead of fighting for more love, you begin giving more love away. Instead of struggling for success, you begin making sure that everyone else is successful, instead of grasping for power, you begin empowering others.
Instead of seeking affection, attention, sexual satisfaction, and emotional security, you find yourself being the source of it. Indeed everything you ever wanted, you are now supplying to others. And the wonder of it all is that, as you give, so you receive. You suddenly have more of what ever you are giving away.
The reason for this is clear. It has nothing to do with the fact that what you have done is “morally right” or “spiritually enlightened” or the, ”Will of God.” It has to do with the simple truth: There is no one else in the room.

From "Communion with God" by Neale Donald Walsch
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This evening -

I have spent some hours now reading about Iran. The New Yorker article by Seymour Hersh is certainly upsetting. I truly do not understand what is going on. I read that and then, the article on Pete Seeger, who at 84 stands on the side of the road with a sign that says, "Peace," and he has been doing that for years, and yes, maybe it truly has made a difference. How would things be without the Pete Seeger's of the world?

Ah, I want to offer something positive for this evening, something about balance and goodness and the need in each of us for ease.

Perhaps, Nijinski. "I merely leap and pause."

Perhaps that is enough. Leap, and pause.