July 20th, 2008

Book Cover

Peace!


guinnevere_b commented this morning that "When the power of love is greater than the love of power the world will know peace."

I decided to look for the source, and came across this site. I choose two powerful statements from two powerful, wise, and knowing men. How can we not listen? It is hard to understand how we continue to ignore what is so obvious. Perhaps now, we won't.

http://www.imaginepeace.net/quotes.html




He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would fully suffice. This disgrace to civilization should be done away with at once. Heroism at command, senseless brutality, deplorable love-of-country stance, how violently I hate all this, how despicable and ignoble war is; I would rather be torn to shreds than be a part of so base an action! It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder.


— Albert Einstein

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron.

— Dwight Eisenhower, 1953 speech
barack obama

The election -




It is hard for those I know to imagine anyone could vote for McCain at this point.   This op-ed confirms it.


Op-Ed Columnist

It’s the Economic Stupidity, Stupid


Published: July 20, 2008

THE best thing to happen to John McCain was for the three network anchors to leave him in the dust this week while they chase Barack Obama on his global Lollapalooza tour. Were voters forced to actually focus on Mr. McCain’s response to our spiraling economic crisis at home, the prospect of his ascension to the Oval Office could set off a panic that would make the IndyMac Bank bust in Pasadena look as merry as the Rose Bowl.

“In a time of war,” Mr. McCain said last week, “the commander in chief doesn’t get a learning curve.” Fair enough, but he imparted this wisdom in a speech that was almost a year behind Mr. Obama in recognizing Afghanistan as the central front in the war against Al Qaeda. Given that it took the deadliest Taliban suicide bombing in Kabul since 9/11 to get Mr. McCain’s attention, you have to wonder if even General Custer’s learning curve was faster than his.

Mr. McCain still doesn’t understand that we can’t send troops to Afghanistan unless they’re shifted from Iraq. But simple math, to put it charitably, has never been his forte. When it comes to the central front of American anxiety — the economy — his learning curve has flat-lined.

In 2000, he told an interviewer that he would make up for his lack of attention to “those issues.” As he entered the 2008 campaign, Mr. McCain was still saying the same, vowing to read “Greenspan’s book” as a tutorial. Last weekend, the resolutely analog candidate told The New York Times he is at last starting to learn how “to get online myself.” Perhaps he’ll retire his abacus by Election Day.

Mr. McCain’s fiscal ineptitude has received so little scrutiny in some press quarters that his chief economic adviser, the former Senator Phil Gramm of Texas, got a free pass until the moment he self-immolated on video by whining about “a nation of whiners.” The McCain-Gramm bond, dating back 15 years, is more scandalous than Mr. Obama’s connection with his pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Mr. McCain has been so dependent on Mr. Gramm for economic policy that he sent him to newspaper editorial board meetings, no doubt to correct the candidate’s numbers much as Joe Lieberman cleans up after his confusions of Sunni and Shia.

Just two weeks before publicly sharing his thoughts about America’s “mental recession,” Mr. Gramm laid out equally incendiary views in a Wall Street Journal profile that portrayed him as “almost certainly” the McCain choice for Treasury secretary. Mr. Gramm said that the former chief executive of AT&T, Ed Whitacre, was “probably the most exploited worker in American history” since he received only a $158 million pay package rather than the “billions” he deserved for his success in growing Southwestern Bell.

But no one in the news media seemed to notice Mr. Gramm’s naked expression of the mind-set he’d bring to a McCain White House. And few journalists have vetted the presumptive Treasury secretary’s post-Senate history as an executive at UBS. The stock of that banking giant has lost 70 percent of its value in a year after its reckless adventures in the subprime lending market. It’s now fending off federal investigation for helping the megarich avoid taxes.

Mr. McCain made a big show of banishing Mr. Gramm after his whining “gaffe,” but it’s surely at most a temporary suspension. When the candidate said back in January that there’s nobody he knows who is stronger on economic issues than his old Senate pal, he was telling the truth. Left to his own devices — or those of his new No. 1 economic surrogate, Carly Fiorina — Mr. McCain is clueless. Even Arnold Schwarzenegger, a supporter, said that Mr. McCain’s latest panacea for high gas prices, offshore drilling, is snake oil — and then announced his availability to serve as energy czar in an Obama administration.

The term flip-flopping doesn’t do justice to Mr. McCain’s self-contradictory economic pronouncements because that implies there’s some rational, if hypocritical, logic at work. What he serves up instead is plain old incoherence, as if he were compulsively consulting one of those old Magic 8 Balls. In a single 24-hour period in April, Mr. McCain went from saying there’s been “great economic progress” during the Bush presidency to saying “Americans are not better off than they were eight years ago.” He reversed his initial condemnation of mortgage bailouts in just two weeks.

In February Mr. McCain said he would balance the federal budget by the end of his first term even while extending the gargantuan Bush tax cuts. In April he said he’d accomplish this by the end of his second term. In July he’s again saying he’ll do it in his first term. Why not just say he’ll do it on Inauguration Day? It really doesn’t matter since he’s never supplied real numbers that would give this promise even a patina of credibility.

Mr. McCain’s plan for Social Security reform is “along the lines that President Bush proposed.” Or so he said in March. He came out against such “privatization” in June (though his policy descriptions still support it). Last week he indicated he isn’t completely clear on what Social Security does. He called the program’s premise — young taxpayers foot the bill for their elders (including him) — an “absolute disgrace.”

Given that Mr. McCain’s sole private-sector job was a fleeting stint in public relations at his father-in-law’s beer distributorship, he comes by his economic ignorance honestly. But there’s no A team aboard the Straight Talk Express to fill him in. His campaign economist, the former Bush adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin, could be found in the June 5 issue of American Banker suggesting even at that late date that we still don’t know “the depth of the housing crisis” and proposing that “monitoring is the right thing to do in these circumstances.”

Ms. Fiorina, the ubiquitous new public face of McCain economic policy, adds nothing to the mix beyond her incessant display of corporate jargon, from “trend lines” to “start-ups.” Before she was fired at Hewlett-Packard, its stock had declined 50 percent during her five-plus years in charge. She missed earning projections — by 23 percent in one quarter — much as she now misrepresents both the Obama and McCain records. This month she said Mr. McCain wanted to require insurance plans to cover birth control medications along with Viagra, when in fact he had voted against it.

Ms. Fiorina received a $42 million payout (half in cash) from H.P., according to a shareholders’ subsequent lawsuit. With this inspiring résumé, she now aspires to be Mr. McCain’s running mate. So does the irrepressible Mitt Romney, who actually was a business whiz before serving as Massachusetts’s governor. Beltway wisdom has it that the addition of such a corporate star will remedy Mr. McCain’s fiscal flatulence.

But Mr. Romney, while more plausible than Ms. Fiorina, is hardly what America wants at this desperate time. His leveraged buyout dealings as co-founder of Bain Capital induced plant closings, mass layoffs and outsourcing. If Mr. McCain truly intends to “put our country’s interests” above politics and reach across the aisle to move the nation forward, as he constantly tells us, why not go for a vice president who’s the very best fit for the huge challenges at hand?

The obvious choice would be Michael Bloomberg — who, as a former Republican turned independent, would necessitate that Mr. McCain reach only halfway across the aisle, and to someone who is his friend rather than a vanquished rival he is learning to tolerate.

Romney vs. Bloomberg is not a close contest. Bloomberg L.P. has roughly three times the revenues and employees of Bain & Company, where Mr. Romney ultimately served as chief executive. Mr. Romney rescued the Salt Lake City Olympics while running it in 2002, but Mayor Bloomberg revitalized New York, the nation’s largest metropolis, after the most devastating attack in our history. The city he manages has more than twice the budget of Mr. Romney’s state.

Yes, Mr. Bloomberg is a closet Democrat and an alpha dog who doesn’t want to be a second banana. And his views on gay civil rights and abortion would roil the G.O.P. base. But Mr. Romney shared some of those same views before he flip-flopped, and besides, these are not ordinary times. Millions of Americans are losing their homes and jobs. Whole industries are going belly up. The national crisis at hand, not yesterday’s culture wars, should drive the vice-presidential pick.

Mr. McCain reminds us every day how principled he is. That presumably means he’d risk a revolt by his party’s dwindling agents of intolerance and do everything in his power to persuade Mr. Bloomberg to join his ticket in the spirit of patriotic sacrifice. The politics could be advantageous too. A Bloomberg surprise could impress independents and keep the television audience tuned in to a G.O.P. convention that will unfold in the shadow of Mr. Obama’s address to 75,000 screaming fans in Denver.

But this is fantasy political baseball, not reality. Mr. McCain, sad to say, hung up his old maverick’s spurs the day he embraced the Bush tax cuts he had once opposed as “too tilted to the wealthy.” And Mr. Bloomberg? It’s hard to picture a titan who built his empire on computer terminals investing any capital, political or otherwise, in a chief executive who is still learning how to do, as Mr. McCain puts it, “a Google.”

ashes and snow - wings

Journeyed -



I journeyed over to Kinko's in Emeryville today to meet with Jane and get some copies of Breast Stroke printed.   We realize it has taken us this long to feel the book was finished, and now, we invest in printing it out and seeing how it looks.

We'll pick up twenty copies on Wednesday.

These words of William Blake from The Marriage of Heaven and Hell are with me.


"If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things through narrow chinks of his cavern."

May each of us continue to open so there are more openings in our cavern so we see even more clearly the hills in which we enclose.




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The Forgiveness Practice -



I encountered Fred Luskin years ago at a conference at Asilomar.   He seemed a kid then as he enthusiastically shared what his research at Stanford was showing as to the importance of forgiveness.  We do it for ourselves.

He has a book out now that emphasizes these 9 points of the Forgiveness Practice.

You can view them here if you are interested: http://www.learningtoforgive.com/steps.htm
Book Cover

The Heart



The Velveteen Rabbit is one of my favorite books.   I have read it many times.

Today I read The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo.  It is another book about a rabbit that breaks open the heart.  It is recommended for seven and up, and the up is certainly true.  Anyone would love this book!!


alexander calder

Taxes -




"The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the skin."


    Mark Twain - (1835-1910)



alan's marigolds

A line was crossed -


If you are upset by this and have some extra money to donate, you can send it to:

Postville Food Pantry, C/O   Pastor Steve Brackett, 
St Paul Tutheran Church, 116 Military, Postville,  Iowa, 52162

The money will go to help the families of those who are incarcerated due to the "raids." 



Editorial in the NY Times

The Shame of Postville, Iowa


Published: July 13, 2008

Anyone who has doubts that this country is abusing and terrorizing undocumented immigrant workers should read an essay by Erik Camayd-Freixas, a professor and Spanish-language court interpreter who witnessed the aftermath of a huge immigration workplace raid at a meatpacking plant in Iowa.

The essay chillingly describes what Dr. Camayd-Freixas saw and heard as he translated for some of the nearly 400 undocumented workers who were seized by federal agents at the Agriprocessors kosher plant in Postville in May.

Under the old way of doing things, the workers, nearly all Guatemalans, would have been simply and swiftly deported. But in a twist of Dickensian cruelty, more than 260 were charged as serious criminals for using false Social Security numbers or residency papers, and most were sentenced to five months in prison.

What is worse, Dr. Camayd-Freixas wrote, is that the system was clearly rigged for the wholesale imposition of mass guilt. He said the court-appointed lawyers had little time in the raids’ hectic aftermath to meet with the workers, many of whom ended up waiving their rights and seemed not to understand the complicated charges against them.

Dr. Camayd-Freixas’s essay describes “the saddest procession I have ever witnessed, which the public would never see” — because cameras were forbidden.

“Driven single-file in groups of 10, shackled at the wrists, waist and ankles, chains dragging as they shuffled through, the slaughterhouse workers were brought in for arraignment, sat and listened through headsets to the interpreted initial appearance, before marching out again to be bused to different county jails, only to make room for the next row of 10.”

He wrote that they had waived their rights in hopes of being quickly deported, “since they had families to support back home.” He said that they did not understand the charges they faced, adding, “and, frankly, neither could I.”

No one is denying that the workers were on the wrong side of the law. But there is a profound difference between stealing people’s identities to rob them of money and property, and using false papers to merely get a job. It is a distinction that the Bush administration, goaded by immigration extremists, has willfully ignored. Deporting unauthorized workers is one thing; sending desperate breadwinners to prison, and their families deeper into poverty, is another.

Court interpreters are normally impartial participants and keep their opinions to themselves. But Dr. Camayd-Freixas, a professor of Spanish at Florida International University, said he was so offended by the cruelty of the prosecutions that he felt compelled to break his silence. “A line was crossed at Postville,” he wrote.


blue jellyfish

Manhole covers -


Every once in awhile I am struck with the image of myself lifting a manhole cover, and emerging onto a wider plane of life, one completely blank and open for me to do with it as I will.

I decided to google manhole, wondering if there are any womanholes, which, of course, there are, but wanting to be politically correct about it, so maybe personholes, and I discover some very interesting facts.

Check it out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manhole_cover