October 5th, 2006

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Good Morning!!

    My book group met here last night and we shared a wonderful time.  It has been a long while since I was able to host, and it felt good.   The discussion was of Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemna, and I must admit I didn't get it read, but I will now.   As much as this group is aware of healthful eating, those who read it still found the book transformative.   The farmer's market is certainly key to good health, and each bite we eat, has repercussions as we know, and it is important to remind ourselves of how deeply connected we are.

    We chose No god but God by Reza Aslan for next time, and I think it is an important read.  I want to better understand "The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam."

    One member lost her mother recently, and she spoke of the pain of the loss, even though she knows her mother had a good life and died easily, as she wanted.  I understand.  I miss my mother tremendously, and I am grateful for the lovely life she lived, and the ease of her death.   We spoke of bonding, of what it means to be bonded, connected and love another.  We survive because of it, and the loss of one is a loss.   We toasted our sisterhood, the love of our women friends, and men are essential and key, too, as we know, and there was something deeply shared last night here among we women.  We have known each other a long, long time now.  I felt Sally, the member of our group, who died three years ago, strongly with us, tying us in a love of the feminine as we navigate life and change.   We have lived many years, and we are now the elders.   I feel the change in my stance, and the rhythm of my dance.   There is gravity and lightness, responsibility and care.   How do we lead our children, and allow them their own exploration and time to dare?

    The kittens entertained the group and we all saw how we are using our pets to absorb the energy that might go into grandchildren if they were here.   We each have such a tremendous gift of love, and need to share.  


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Bush's Legacy -

The legacy of Bush is frightening in many ways.  I do not understand leading this nation into debt, and to this extent, and for what?   He leaves a legacy of financial distress and hate.   It does amaze.


Deeper and Deeper

Published: October 5, 2006

There is fresh evidence, if any more were needed, that excessive borrowing during the Bush years will make the nation poorer.

For most of the past five and a half years, interest rates have been low, allowing the government to borrow more and more — to cut taxes while fighting two expensive wars — without having to shoulder higher interest payments.

That’s over now. For the first time during President Bush’s tenure, the government’s interest bill is expected to rise in 2006, from $184 billion in 2005 to $220 billion this year, up nearly 20 percent. That increase — $36 billion — makes interest the fastest-growing component of federal spending, and continued brisk growth is likely. According to projections by Congress’s budget office, the interest bill will grow to $249 billion in 2007, and $270 billion in 2008.

All of that is money the government won’t have available to spend on other needs and priorities. And much of it won’t even be recycled back into the United States economy. That’s because borrowing from foreign countries has exploded during the Bush years. In 2005, the government paid about $77 billion in interest to foreign creditors in China, Japan and elsewhere.

And that’s not the worst of it. While foreign investors were putting up most of the $1.5 trillion the federal government has borrowed since 2001, they were also snapping up hundreds of billions of dollars in private sector securities, transactions that have been a big source of the easy money that allowed Americans to borrow heavily against their homes.

The result, as The Wall Street Journal reported last week, is that for the first time in at least 90 years, the United States is now paying noticeably more to foreign creditors than it receives from its investments abroad. That is a momentous shift. It means that a growing share of America’s future collective income will flow abroad, leading to a lower standard of living in the United States than would otherwise have been achieved. Americans deserve better than this financial mess.

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To counteract - live here -

"When you are aware that you are the force that is Life, anything is possible. Miracles happen all the time, because those miracles are performed by the heart. The heart is in direct communion with the human soul, and when the heart speaks, even with the resistance of the head, something inside you changes; your heart opens another heart, and true love is possible."

-- Don Miguel Ruiz

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Bill Moyers -

Here are the words of Bill Moyers, an ethical, compassionate,  and kind elder -

 Lincoln Weeps
    By Bill Moyers

    Tuesday 03 October 2006

    Back in 1954, when I was a summer employee on Capitol Hill, I made my first visit to the Lincoln Memorial. I have returned many times since, most recently while I was in Washington filming for a documentary about how Tom DeLay, Jack Abramoff, Ralph Reed and Grover Norquist, among others, turned the conservative revolution into a racket - the biggest political scandal since Watergate.

    If democracy can be said to have temples, the Lincoln Memorial is our most sacred. You stand there silently contemplating the words that gave voice to Lincoln's fierce determination to save the union - his resolve that "government of, by, and for the people shall not perish from the earth." On this latest visit, I was overcome by a sense of melancholy. Lincoln looks out now on a city where those words are daily mocked. This is no longer his city. And those people from all walks of life making their way up the steps to pay their respect to the martyred president - it's not their city, either. Or their government. This is an occupied city, a company town, and government is a subservient subsidiary of richly endowed patrons.

    Once upon a time the House of Representatives was known as "the people's house." No more. It belongs to K Street now. That's the address of the lobbyists who swarm all over Capitol Hill. There are 65 lobbyists for every member of Congress. They spend $200 million per month wining, dining and seducing federal officials. Per month!

    Of course they're just doing their job. It's impossible to commit bribery, legal or otherwise, unless someone's on the take, and with campaign costs soaring, our politicians always have their hands out. One representative confessed that members of Congress are the only people in the world expected to take large amounts of money from strangers and then act as if it has no effect on their behavior. This explains why Democrats are having a hard time exploiting the culture of corruption embodied in the scandalous behavior of DeLay and Abramoff. Democrats are themselves up to their necks in the sludge. Just the other day one of the most powerful Democrats in the House bragged to reporters about tapping "uncharted donor fields in the financial industry" - reminding them, not so subtlely, of the possibility that after November the majority leader just might be a Democrat.

    When it comes to selling influence, both parties have defined deviancy up, and Tony Soprano himself couldn't get away with some of the things that pass for business as usual in Washington. We have now learned that Jack Abramoff had almost 500 contacts with the Bush White House over the three years before his fall, and that Karl Rove and other presidential staff were treated to his favors and often intervened on his behalf. So brazen a pirate would have been forced to walk the plank long ago if Washington had not thrown its moral compass overboard.

    Alas, despite all these disclosures, nothing is happening to clean up the place. Just as the Republicans in charge of the House kept secret those dirty emails sent to young pages by Rep. Mark Foley - a cover-up aimed at getting them past the election and holding his seat for the party - they are now trying to sweep the DeLay-Abramoff-Reed-and-Norquist scandals under the rug until after Nov. 7, hoping the public at large doesn't notice that the House is being run by Tom DeLay's team, minus DeLay. All the talk about reform is placebo.

    The only way to counter the power of organized money is with organized and outraged people. Believe me, what members of Congress fear most is a grassroots movement that demands clean elections and an end to the buying and selling of influence - or else! If we leave it to the powers that be to clean up the mess that greed and chicanery have given us, we will wake up one day with a real Frankenstein of a system - a monster worse than the one created by Abramoff, DeLay and their cronies. By then it will be too late to save Lincoln's hope for "government of, by, and for the people."

    The Schumann Center for Media and Democracy gives financial support to TomPaine.com.


    Bill Moyers is a veteran television journalist for PBS and the president of the Schumann Center for Media and Democracy. "Capitol Crimes," the first episode of Bill Moyers' latest series of documentary specials, airs Wednesday on PBS. (Check local listings.) Click here to listen to an audio version of this commentary.