Saturday, January 31, 2009

A Blessing Prayer

My twin brother died 31 years ago yesterday. I dedicate this prayer to John...

What is a blessing
but a rain of grace
falling generously upon those who are in need;
And who among us is without need?

May this day be a pathway strewn with blessings.

May your work this day be your love made visible.

May you breathe upon the wounds of those you live and work with.

May your breath be the breath of God.

May your own wounds feel the breath of God.

May you honor the flame of love that burns inside you.

May your voice this day be a voice of encouragement.

May your life be an answer to someone’s prayer.

May you own a grateful heart.

May you have enough joy to give you hope,
enough pain to make you wise.

May there be no room in your heart for hatred.

May you be free from violent thoughts.

When you look into the window of your soul
may you see the face of God.

May the lamp of your life shine kindly upon all who cross your path.

May you be a good memory in someone’s life today.

@ Macrina Wiederkehr
A Blessing Prayer for All Who Come to Macrina's Window...

Friday, January 30, 2009

What Would Molly Think?

I loved Molly Ivins, and I continue to miss her. She will always be
one of my heroes...
* * *

Published on Friday, January 30, 2009 by
by Betsy Moon

AUSTIN, Texas -- The question I have been asked most often during the last two years is, "What would Molly think about this?" Molly Ivins would have loved this election. She would have loved the beautiful sight of "We the People" finally stepping up to become the real deciders. She would have loved the drama, the comedy and the characters.

We miss her regular twice-weekly comments and insights, and want to hear her dissect, slice and dice, and make fun of the events and revelations of the week. No one could do it like she did. She made us feel like we weren't alone. She made us want to be our better selves and stand up and use our power. She would be so proud that we finally woke up and worked to make this happen.

In many of her lectures, she would exhort her audience to believe in their power. She'd say: "I hear people whine: 'I can't do anything. I'm just one person.'" Then she'd lift her head high and quote from the Declaration of Independence in her Barbara Jordon voice and remind them, "as a U.S. citizen, you have more political power than most humans who've ever lived on this earth."

In fact, we know how she would have felt, because she was as prescient about this election before her death two years ago as she was about all the other tragedies of the Bush years. Carlton Carl, CEO/publisher at Molly's beloved Texas Observer, recalls her saying after Obama's 2004 speech at the Democratic convention, "You know ... that young man could be president some day."

Before Barack Obama announced his candidacy, Chicago Magazine asked a number of luminaries if they thought he should run. Opinions varied. Molly was succinct and direct, and with her usual wit and certainty said: "Yes, he should run. He's the only Democrat with any Elvis to him."

And, in her column on Jan. 20, 2006, she said: "It's about political courage and heroes, and when a country is desperate for leadership. There are times when regular politics will not do, and this is one of those times. There are times a country is so tired of bull that only the truth can provide relief. If no one in conventional-wisdom politics has the courage to speak up and say what needs to be said, then you go out and find some obscure junior senator ... with the guts to do it." She was speaking about Gene McCarthy then, but it might as well have been Barack Obama.

She'd be so happy that her beloved Constitution (she donated one speech a month to groups working to preserve and maintain the First Amendment) is in safer hands -- that some of the worst things ever done in our name are over. She'd love that Barack Obama began his community organizing knowing that power lies in all of us united, and that he continues to remind us that we are the deciders.

I saw and heard many interviews after Nov. 4 and during inaugural celebrations with people who all said they wished their mother or father or grandmother or friend had been here to witness this history in the making. Tens of thousands of us wished that Molly could have been here to see it.

I choose to believe she and all of them did see it because they live on in our hearts, minds and actions. Molly is honored with awards, lectures and scholarships in her name. Many of her readers formed "Pots & Pans" Brigades, following the advice in her final two columns to take to the streets and demand an end to the Iraq war. She always signed her books and her letters with, "Raise more hell," and you can make her live on by doing just that.

She lives in everyone who took courage in who they are and what they thought when they read her columns and books, and knew they weren't alone and they weren't crazy. She lives on in The Texas Observer and the ACLU, to whom she left a large portion of her estate.

In a letter for the ACLU, she says: "Every time someone down the line is irreverent about authority, I'll have my monument. Every time some kid who was born a nigger, a kike, a wop, a Polack, a gook, a gimp, a fag, or just a plain maverick lifts up her head and dares anyone to stop her, I'll have my monument. Every time they peaceably assemble to petition their government for redress of a grievance, I'll be there. Whenever they worship as they please (or not at all), I'll be there. Whenever they speak up and speak out and raise hell, I'll be there. And every time some blue-bellied, full-blooded nincompoop who holds elected office is called to the floor for deciding to keep us safe by rewriting the Constitution, or by suspending due process and holding a citizen indefinitely without legal representation, I'll be there. Now that is immortality. I don't have any children, so I've decided to claim all the future freedom-fighters and hell-raisers as my kin. I figure freedom and justice beat having my name in marble any day. Besides, if there is another life after this one, think how much we'll get to laugh watching it all."

Ken Bunting, an old friend of Molly's who's now associate publisher of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, said of Molly on Election Day, "I'm not much of a believer, but I think our friend is looking down and smiling right along with Barack's grandma." You know, I think he is right.

This article was distributed by Creative Writers Syndicate, Inc.
Betsy Moon was Molly Ivin's former assistant and "Chief of Stuff" from 2001 to 2006.

* * *

It is possible to read the history of this country as one long struggle to extend the liberties established in our Constitution to everyone in America. ~ Molly Ivins

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Radical Conservative

Vietnam veteran and author Andrew Bacevich on American decadence
and the failure of the Iraq War.

At least at first glance, Andrew Bacevich might seem an unlikely candidate to have become one of the Iraq War’s fiercest critics. A graduate of West Point and a Vietnam War veteran, Bacevich spent 23 years in the military before retiring as a colonel. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, he contributed to the conservative Weekly Standard and National Review. These days, however, his writing is much more likely to appear in The Nation.

But it’s difficult to say whether this marks a change in Bacevich’s principles or those of the American conservative movement. As he wrote in his 2005 book, The New American Militarism, “My disenchantment with what passes for mainstream conservatism, embodied in the present Bush administration and its groupies, is just about absolute. … [M]y views have come to coincide with the critique long offered by the radical left: It is the mainstream itself, the professional liberals as well as professional conservative who define the problem.”

A professor of history and international relations at Boston University, Bacevich’s latest book is The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism, which draws on the philosopher Reinhold Niebuhr’s warnings against “our dreams of managing history.”

He recently spoke with In These Times about conservatives’ response to his book, Iraq and why we shouldn’t expect too much change from an Obama administration.

In The Limits Of Power, you look at the consumption patterns of the average American citizen today. Given the urgency of a wartime situation, you’re very critical.

It’s not simply that I’m troubled by consumption in the context of a global war. I’m troubled by the patterns of consumption even apart from the war—in that we have come to expect that it is our due to live beyond our means, both as individuals and as a nation.

I’m not some kind of ascetic monk. I don’t live in a cave. I probably enjoy a pretty good standard of living relative to many other people. Nonetheless, one senses a kind of a compulsion to acquire in our society. There is a mindlessness about it that I find troubling. Maybe that’s just me admitting that I’m kind of an old-fashioned cultural conservative, but it’s a concern especially because we can’t pay for all the stuff that we’re buying.

Add the war on top of that, and it does become more troubling...

I have really appreciated David Barsamian and the interviews he has done over the years. For the full interview, please go here: The Radical Conservative

* * *

When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace. ~ Jimi Hendrix

This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness. ~ The Dalai Lama

The Big Glow

Thank you to Diana for sharing this one...
* * *

From the book "The Big Glow"
By Brian Piergrossi

Love Now
On the surface of the world right now there is war and
violence and things seem dark
But calmly and quietly, at the same time, something
else is happening underground
An inner revolution is taking place and certain individuals
are being called to a higher light
It is a silent revolution
From the inside out
From the ground up

You won't see us on the T.V.
You won't read about us in the newspaper
You won't hear about us on the radio

We don't seek any glory
We don't wear any uniform
We come in all shapes and sizes
Colors and styles

Most of us work anonymously
We are quietly working behind the scenes in every country
and culture of the world
Cities big and small, mountains and valleys, in farms and
villages, tribes and remote islands

You could pass by one of us on the street and not even notice
We go undercover
We remain behind the scenes
It is of no concern to us who takes the final credit
But simply that the work gets done

Occasionally we spot each other in the street
We give a quiet nod and continue on our way so no one will notice.
During the day many of us pretend we have normal jobs
But behind the false storefront, at night is where the real work
takes place

Some call us the 'Conscious Army'
We are slowly creating a new world with the
power of our minds and hearts
We follow, with passion and joy
Our orders from the Central Command
The Spiritual Intelligence Agency

We are dropping soft, secret love bombs when no one is looking:
Kind words
Meditation and prayer
Social activism
Random acts of kindness

Our work is slow and meticulous
Like the formation of mountains
It is not even visible at first glance
And yet with it...entire tectonic plates shall be moved
in the centuries to come

Love is the new religion of the 21st century
You don't have to be a highly educated person
Or have any exceptional knowledge to understand it
It comes from the intelligence of the heart
Embedded in the timeless evolutionary pulse of all human beings

Be the change you want to see in the world
Nobody else can do it for you
We are now recruiting
Perhaps you will join us
Or already have....
The door is open
All are welcome...
* * *

Everybody can be great... because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Many an individual has turned from the mean, personal, acquisitive point of view to one that sees society as a whole and works for its benefit. If there has been such a change in one person, there can be the same change in many. ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Obama Aims to Overturn the Reagan Revolution, Quietly


January 22, 2009

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama intends to use conservative values for progressive ends. He will cast extreme individualism as an infantile approach to politics that must be supplanted by a more adult sense of personal and collective responsibility. He will honor government's role in our democracy and not degrade it. He wants America to lead the world, but as much by example as by force.

And in trying to do all these things, he will confuse a lot of people.

One of the wondrous aspects of Obama's inaugural address is the extent to which those on the left and those on the right both claimed our new president as their own.

Many conservatives were eager to argue that Obama is destined to disappoint his friends on the left because the president who now wields power will be far more careful than the candidate who deployed rhetoric so ecstatically.

Their evidence included Obama's stout defense of old-fashioned values -- "honesty and hard work, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism."

"These things are old," Obama declared. "These things are true." It was one of the most powerfully conservative sentiments ever to pass any president's lips.

But note the nature of that list: "tolerance and curiosity" in particular are values notoriously associated with the adventurous, with those who seek out the new and the novel. "Hard work" and "fair play" have long been invoked by egalitarians on behalf of those who are the salt of the earth.

And Obama told us straight out the ends toward which he was conscripting the old virtues: "They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history."

The emphasis on progress pervaded what was in many ways a radical speech. Obama clearly broke with the conservative past, more recently associated with George W. Bush and more distantly with Ronald Reagan.

As he has done so often, Obama pronounced debates about the size of government as irrelevant. What matters is "whether it works." Quietly but purposefully, he was overturning the Reagan revolution.

He announced the repeal of the Bush-Cheney approach to domestic security with these words: "we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals." And while celebrating America's power, he broke with the past again by saying "that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please."

Finally, American presidents rarely ask explicitly whether "the market is a force for good or ill." Obama acknowledged its "power to generate wealth and expand freedom" but warned that without regulation, the market could "spin out of control." He also counseled against rampant inequality, insisting that "the nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous."

What makes Obama a radical, albeit of the careful and deliberate variety, is his effort to reverse the two kinds of extreme individualism that have permeated the American political soul for perhaps four decades.

He sets his face against the expressive individualism of the 1960s that defined "do your own thing" as the highest form of freedom. On the contrary, Obama speaks of responsibilities, of doing things for others, even of that classic bourgeois obligation, "a parent's willingness to nurture a child."

But he also rejects the economic individualism that took root in the 1980s. He specifically listed "the greed and irresponsibility on the part of some" as a cause for our economic distress. He discounted "the pleasures of riches and fame." He spoke of Americans not as consumers but as citizens. His references to freedom were glowing but he emphasized far more our "duties" to preserve it than the rights it conveys.

This communitarian vision fits poorly with "the stale political arguments" between liberals and conservatives that Obama condemned, because they are really arguments between these two varieties of individualism. Their quarrel has been fierce not only because of how the two sides differ, but also because they share so many assumptions. Family feuds and civil wars can be especially brutal.

For now, each side in the old debate can enlist aspects of Obama's rhetoric in their polemics against the other. But in associating our recent past with "childish things," in insisting that greatness is "never a given" and always "must be earned," Obama is challenging the very basis of their conflict.

It is a worthy fight. It will also be a hard fight to win because rights are so much easier to talk about than duties, and freedom's gifts are always more prized than its obligations.

* * *

There is not a liberal America and a conservative America - there is the United States of America. There is not a black America and a white America and Latino America and Asian America - there's the United States of America. ~ Barack Obama

I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. Each of us must learn to work not just for oneself, one's own family or nation, but for the benefit of all humankind. Universal responsibility is the key to human survival. It is the best foundation for world peace. ~ H. H. the Dalai Lama

Beautiful Gifts For Yourself and Others: Himalayan Crystal Salt Lamps

Warmest Greetings

As some of you know, it has been a great blessing for me to make a new connection with Kathleen Whalen, who lives in Seattle and who, among other things, has amazing gifts to share. For Christmas gifts this year, I purchased a total of seven Himalayan salt lamps. They are incredibly reasonably priced, and I paid much less than I would have at somewhere like New Renaissance Bookshop here in Portland.

Here is what Kathleen writes about the Himalayan Crystal Salt Lamps and Abundance Bowls:

These salt lamps are made from all natural, hand-mined salt found deep within the pristine Himalayan Mountains. These large veins of salt were formed approximately 250 million years ago, during the Jurrassic era.

These salt lamps are cyrstals, give off negative ions and balance the energy of your home or office. They are often used to revitalize rooms.

This is unique salt; it is not only ancient, it is also crystalline in structure. Crystals are formed from heat and pressure in just the right environment.

These salt crystals are from ancient sea water caught within the mountains, exposed to intense pressure and heat over time, only to be unearthed today. There are up to 84 trace elements and iron in these rock crystals. The high mineral content is what gives each piece its unique coloring; ranging from sheer white to shades of pink, rose, and deep reds.

The lamp is soothing just from its natural glow, and it is an air freshener. They transform your environment by putting off negative ions.

When salt is warmed, the crystal releases negative ions as part of the natural process of evaporating water particles. Negative ions have been associated with creating relaxation while balancing the positive ions in the air associated with toxicity and technology by-products and the oxidation of modern living. Negative ions are what we feel and smell after a rain or near mist of a waterfall.

Salt crystals have been used historically for their healing properties and are used in spas by health professionals and individuals. Underground salt caves in Germany and Eastern Europe are commonly used to treat asthama patients. It is interesting to not that the air in the caves is evidently free from any bacteria.

For more information, please go here or email Kathleen at It isn't often that I feel moved to actively promote products, but this is definitely an exception.

Brightest blessings ~ Molly

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others. ~ Marianne Williamson

February 13th: Matthew Fox at Natural Way Fundraiser

Natural Way: Indigenous Voices is Honored to Present

Matthew Fox at Natural Way Fundraiser

Matthew Fox is a former Dominican priest who was silenced by the Vatican and later received as an Episcopalian priest. A dynamic and inspiring speaker, Fox is a spiritual theologian and author of 28 books.

Lecture: Return of the Sacred Masculine: Marriage with the Divine Feminine
Friday, February 13, 2009 , 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.

Matthew Fox’s presentation explores ancient archetypes of the sacred masculine including Father Sky, the Green Man, the Spiritual Warrior, Hunter-gatherer, the Fatherly Heart, the Grandfatherly heart (eldership), and more. The “sacred marriage” of the masculine and the feminine: will also be addressed. Much of what passes for masculinity in our culture and religion is anything but sacred. It is toxic, and this toxicity affects not only men but also women in their roles as mothers, sisters, spouses, and human beings. This lecture is based on Matthew Fox’s new book, “The Hidden Spirituality of Men.”

Location: Sanctuary, First Unitarian Church, 1011 SW 12th Av., Portland, OR
Cost: $10-$12; Click Here for tickets.
Advance ticket purchases are encouraged for this well-attended fundraiser.

Workshop: Change and Transformation: A Spirituality for the 21st Century
Saturday, February 14, 2009, 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

The workshop addresses the change from mere knowledge – which the modern age developed at length – to wisdom. Fox believes that knowledge without wisdom brings us ecological disaster, destitution, loneliness and a loss of meaning and shared values in our lives. Religions have too often promoted an exclusivity that tears the human family apart and separates us from what unites us. The workshop focuses on a spirituality that brings wisdom back to our relationship with nature, our work, our educational systems, and “all our relations” so that we can become transformative agents of healing and wholeness in the 21st Century.

Location: B302-303, Buchan Bldg, First Unitarian Church, 1011 SW 12th Ave., Portland, OR
Cost: $60; Click Here for tickets.
Advance ticket purchases are required. Seating is limited to 50 participants.

Co-sponsors: Earth & Spirit Council at, and The First Unitarian Church

* * *

Compassion is the essence of Jesus' teaching, and indeed of the teaching of all great spiritual figures from Mohammed to Isaiah, from Lao Tzu to Chief Seattle. Yet compassion has been sentimentalized and severed from its relationship to justice-making and celebration. Creation Spirituality links the struggle for justice with the yearning for mysticism. ~ Matthew Fox

Obama's First Week: Taking on Torture, Guantanamo, Wall Street, Lobbyists, Ethics, Transparency, & More

This has been an amazing and hopeful week. I feel like I'm waking up from a nightmare, like I'm able to breathe again and have a genuine depth of hope for our nation and beyond. I actually feel more proud to be an American than I ever have before. In his first week in office, President Barack Obama took immediate actions to begin to unravel the profound harm done to our nation, our standing in the world, and the planet. His message is strong and clear that America is being restored to a nation of laws, integrity, justice, and will increasingly be living up to our values and ideals. Here is a glimpse of this first week:

On Guantanamo and Torture

Obama orders Guantanamo Bay closed, bans torture:

With a few strokes of a pen, President Obama this morning reversed linchpins of the Bush administration's war on terror.
He signed executive orders to shut down the Guantanamo Bay terrorist detention center within a year and to ban harsh interrogations -- what critics say are tantamount to torture .
Obama signed the orders after meeting with 16 retired military officers, who he said pleaded with him to stand up for human rights and American values in combating terrorism.
"They made an extraordinary impression on me," said Obama, as they stood behind him and applauded.
After signing the orders, Obama said, "the message we are sending around the world is that the United States intends to prosecute the ongoing struggle against violence and terrorism, and we are going to do so vigilantly; we are going to do so effectively; and we are going to do so in a manner that is consistent with our values and our ideals."

On transparency, ethics, limits on lobbyists

On First Day, Obama Quickly Sets a New Tone: - President Obama moved swiftly on Wednesday to impose new rules on government transparency and ethics, using his first full day in office to freeze the salaries of his senior aides, mandate new limits on lobbyists and demand that the government disclose more information.... “Transparency and rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.”

On the Economy and Wall Street

Obama is going to put the CLAMP DOWN on Wall Street: A theme of that report, that many major companies and financial instruments now mostly unsupervised must be swept back under a larger regulatory umbrella, has been embraced as a guiding principle by the administration, officials said.

Plans Fast Action to Tighten Financial Rules - The Obama administration plans to move quickly to tighten the nation’s financial regulatory system.

For more, please go here:


Civil Rights
Energy & Environment
Foreign Policy
Health Care
Homeland Security
Seniors & Social Security
Urban Policy
Additional Issues

* * *

Today we are engaged in a deadly global struggle for those who would intimidate, torture, and murder people for exercising the most basic freedoms. If we are to win this struggle and spread those freedoms, we must keep our own moral compass pointed in a true direction. ~ Barack Obama

The President's American Recovery And Reinvestment Plan

With each passing day, families across America are watching their bills pile up and their savings disappear.

President Obama believes that if we do not act quickly, this recession could linger for years – and America could lose the competitive edge that has served as the foundation for our strength and standing in the world.

That's why the President has put forth an American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan that will jumpstart job creation and long-term growth by:

- Doubling the production of alternative energy in the next three years.
- Modernizing more than 75% of federal buildings and improve the energy efficiency of two million American homes, saving consumers and taxpayers billions on our energy bills.
- Making the immediate investments necessary to ensure that within five years, all of America’s medical records are computerized.
- Equipping tens of thousands of schools, community colleges, and public universities with 21st century classrooms, labs, and libraries.
- Expanding broadband across America, so that a small business in a rural town can connect and compete with their counterparts anywhere in the world.
- Investing in the science, research, and technology that will lead to new medical breakthroughs, new discoveries, and entire new industries.

President Barack Obama's Radio Address, January 24, 2009 (Video and Transcript)

* * *

Focusing your life solely on making a buck shows a certain poverty of ambition. It asks too little of yourself. Because it's only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you realize your true potential. ~ Barack Obama

It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get to where we are today, but we have just begun. Today we begin in earnest the work of making sure that the world we leave our children is just a little bit better than the one we inhabit today. ~ Barack Obama

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Muslim Americans Welcome Presidential Executive Orders Restoring The Rule Of Law And Human Dignity

January 22, 2009

Muslim Americans Welcome Presidential Executive Orders Restoring the Rule of Law and Human Dignity

The Islamic Society of North America congratulates President Barack Obama for acting swiftly to restore the rule of law and human dignity with the four executive orders he signed today. In ordering the closure of the Guantanamo detention facility and the implementation of a just process for the detention and prosecution of those held there, the President reaffirms the American commitment to due process. The order that all interrogations must conform to the US Army Field Manual restores the dignity of the person by prohibiting torture and harsh and degrading treatment.

In signing the orders, the President reiterated his belief, stated in his inaugural address, that America cannot continue with a "false choice" between our safety and our ideals. Muslim Americans agree that our strength as a nation is rooted in our commitment to our constitutional principles and the rights and dignity of all people. We agree that America's moral standing in the world will improve with the implementation of the executive orders.

The Islamic Society of North America, a founding member of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (, has been a strong advocate for the prohibition of torture. ISNA's President, Dr. Ingrid Mattson, is also a member of the Leadership Group of the US-Muslim Engagement Project ( whose recommendations for improving relations with global Muslim communities are in consonance with the steps President Obama has taken in his first days in office. ISNA is committed to furthering understanding and good relations between our country and Muslims in other parts of the world.

Contact:Mohamed El-sanousi,

* * * * * *

Thou shalt not be a victim. Thou shalt not be a perpetrator. Above all, thou shalt not be a bystander. ~ Holocaust Museum, Washington, DC

If your heart were sincere and upright, every creature would be unto you a looking-glass of life and a book of holy doctrine. ~ Thomas Kempis

Forgiveness will not be possible until compassion is born
in your heart. ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

An Extraordinary Person... Who Reminds Us To Embrace What Is Extraordinary in Ourselves

Thank you to my friend Diana for sharing this with me:

Are You Going to Finish Strong? - Video


And something to pass on, including to our children.

Brightest blessings,


* * * * * *

From experience we know that whenever we are truly awake and alive,
we are also truly grateful.
~ David Steindl-RastGratefulness, The Heart of Prayer

Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you really love.

~ Rumi

A Brave New Era for America: How Are You Called to Serve?

Making Peace the Way We Live

"Let it be said by our children's children
that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end,
that we did not turn back nor did we falter;
and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us,
we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it
safely to future generations."
President Barack Obama - Inaugural Address

A message from the Peace Company
January 23, 2009

Dear Friends of Peace,

This unprecedented week marks the advent of a brave new era in American history. No doubt all of us will remember this time with pride and reverence, recalling years from now where we were on "that day" when the dreams of Martin Luther King Jr., and all who love peace and justice, took a giant leap forward into living reality.

Millions across the nation and around the world are weeping and rejoicing, even those who do not agree on politics or ideology; not because a Party advanced its mission, but because the People did. This Inauguration was less about a transition of power and more about a translation of Hope. And the whole world is watching to see what we'll make of it.

Pundits are already asking "Will this momentum last?" And the answer is soberingly simple: It depends on us.

Throughout his inaugural speech, our President forewarned the road ahead will not be easy. He challenged us to rise above partisanship, set aside childish things and choose our better history. He implored us to "reaffirm our enduring spirit and choose unity of purpose over conflict and discord." While the tone was inspiring, the edict was clear: We must take responsibility. The time to Be the Change has come.

That the task may not be easy does not mean the journey cannot be glorious. Gandhi said "The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others." And anyone who has ever helped a friend in need, or volunteered for even a single day, can attest this principle is true.

The question before us is: How May I Serve? For some it is organizing a community project. For others it is nurturing and mentoring a child. For one it is building a school. For another it is re-building a relationship. Some are called to meditation and prayer. Others are called to the mission field or the military. The Call is uniquely different for each individual, but one thing is certain: All have been Called.

As we renew our commitment to rebuild America and restore our world, let us remember that everything thing we do -- so long as we do it with a heart of compassion and an attitude of joy -- will be returned to us a hundred-fold in ways we can neither image or measure. There is no small act when the force behind it is Love.

However we choose to serve this day, may we do it with Gratitude.May we do it with Love.

Peace and Blessings,

Kimberly King, Co-President
Brent Bisson, Co-President
and The Peace Company Team

Following are links to projects and opportunities in your region or area of interest. We will be sharing more ideas and success stories in the weeks to come.

- Volunteer Match: North America's Largest Volunteer Matching Service with 60,000+ participating non-profits and community projects. Write to us at The Peace Company about listing YOUR project or organization. Find Your Volunteer Opportunity
- Renew America Together: Created by the new US Administration to help provide info on volunteer opportunities in your area and region. (Similar to Volunteer Match. Still growing in size and reach. Click
- USA Freedom Corps: President Bush created USA Freedom Corps (USAFC) to build on the countless acts of service, sacrifice and generosity that followed September 11th.
- Volunteers for Peace: non-profit membership organization working in over 100 countries.
- Volunteer Africa: A listing of quality volunteer, work, and research programs available in various locations in Africa.
- Peace Corps: Established by President John F. Kennedy to assist underdeveloped countries in meeting their needs for trained manpower. (Long Term project commitments.)
- Sophia Action Circles: A growing Education and Action Network for projects and issues pertaining to Women and Girls worldwide. Currently seeking program leaders, members, and volunteers. (A Member of the Volunteer Match network).
- The Peace Company & Peace Leadership Institute: Currently seeking interns, Advisors, Teachers, and Collaborators Please email us if you are interested in exploring:

* * *

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. ~ Anne Frank

We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make which, over time, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee. ~ Marian Wright Edelman

The Patriotism, Courage, and Gift of NSA Whistleblower Russell Tice

This post is, I believe, likely - hopefully! - just a tiny glimpse into what will increasingly emerge as a tsunami of the news we Americans have been deprived of knowing in the "liberal media", which in truth, of course, is the corporate media. With tremendous gratitude for, and in honor of, Russell Tice, I share the resources below. May more and more have the courage to step forward, as Russell Tice has done, to expose the truth of criminal acts done by our government over the past eight years. May truth and justice prevail. And may we all actively and increasingly participate in this collective journey to live up to our country's ideals and to demand change when those ideals are in peril and accountability and justice when they have been violated. Peace ~ Molly

* * *

Exposed: NSA Watching Everything on Anyone Illegally!:
A former NSA analyst, Russell Tice, confirmed to Kieth Olberman what so many "tinfoliers" already believed: The NSA is listening, watching and reading communications from citizens in the United States posing no security threat, and doing it illegally in staggering volume.
Transcript: (They must work for the NSA because I can't find the transcript on MSNBC)
This is without FISA, warrants, or any other Constitutional protections. This isn't even with the BS special situation exemptions the former administration had tried to rationalize.

NSA Whistleblower Alleges Illegal Spying:
Former Employee Admits to Being a Source for the New York Times
Russell Tice, a longtime insider at the National Security Agency, is now a whistleblower the agency would like to keep quiet.

NSA Spied on Journalists? Whistleblower Reveals Surveillance Target:
In an exclusive interview tonight on MSNBC's "Countdown with Keith Olbermann," former NSA analyst Russell Tice says that the agency under the Bush administration secretly collected communications data on civilians, including journalists.

Whistleblower Tells Olbermann NSA Spied On Journalists (VIDEO):
On Keith Olbermann's show Wednesday night, former National Security Agency analyst Russell Tice said that reporters were spied on inside the United States.
Former NSA analyst Russell Tice, who has claimed to be a source for the NY Times explosive 2005 story, told Keith Olbermann last night that the NSA collected information on journalists.

Olbermann Interviews NSA Whistleblower on Wiretaps: Part II:
Kim Zetter, Wired: "NSA whistleblower Russell Tice was back on Keith Olbermann's MSNBC program Thursday evening to expand on his Wednesday revelations that the National Security Agency spied on individual US journalists, entire US news agencies as well as 'tens of thousands' of other Americans."

A Legal Defense of Russell Tice, the Whistleblower who Revealed the President's Authorization of NSA's Warrantless Domestic Wiretapping:
Russell Tice, one of the whistleblowers who revealed the National Security Agency's program of warrantless domestic wiretapping to the New York Times, now faces the full fury and force of the Executive Branch. His revelation - one that was intensely in the public interest, as it exposed blatant lawbreaking by the President himself - has brought FBI agents to his door.

* * *

Well, you know, I raised my hand, just like the president, and my oath was to support and defend the Constitution, not a director of an agency, not a classification on a piece of paper, but ultimately the Constitution. And these things were against the law that were happening. So I was just doing my job, really. ~ Russell Tice, in response to Keith Olbermann thanking Mr. Tice "for doing this for the country".

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our founding fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. ~ President Barack Obama

Inside Iran's Fury

Warmest Greetings

I was inspired to do this piece after hearing an interview today on Ring of Fire Radio with Stephen Kinzer, author of All the Shah's Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror. I know that I have been among the majority of Americans who have not understood the roots of anger directed by Iranians toward Americans. Among those who deeply know the history between our nations, Stephen Kinzer clearly describes why the relationship between the United States and Iran went from cordial to hostile... It is so helpful to me in an on-going way to do the footwork of actively seeking to replace, as best as possible, my ignorance, judgments, misinformation, and fears with understanding, knowledge, empathy, compassion and caring. President Obama further fuels my passion to open my heart toward others, to identify and let go of the prejudices which have taken root in my fears and ignorance, and to instead embrace respect and caring and the values of my highest self. I share this article in the spirit of working toward a world that works and cares for all beings.

Peace & blessings ~ Molly

* * * *

Scholars trace the nation's antagonism to its history
of domination by foreign powers
By Stephen Kinzer
Smithsonian magazine, October 2008

No American who was alive and alert in the early 1980s will ever forget the Iran hostage crisis. Militants stormed the U.S. embassy in Tehran, captured American diplomats and staff and held 52 of them captive for 444 days. In the United States, the television news program "Nightline" emerged to give nightly updates on the crisis, with anchorman Ted Koppel beginning each report by announcing that it was now "Day 53" or "Day 318" of the crisis. For Americans, still recovering from defeat in Vietnam, the hostage crisis was a searing ordeal. It stunned the nation and undermined Jimmy Carter's presidency. Many Americans see it as the pivotal episode in the history of U.S.-Iranian relations.

Iranians, however, have a very different view.
Bruce Laingen, a career diplomat who was chief of the U.S. embassy staff, was the highest-ranking hostage. One day, after Laingen had spent more than a year as a hostage, one of his captors visited him in his solitary cell. Laingen exploded in rage, shouting at his jailer that this hostage-taking was immoral, illegal and "totally wrong." The jailer waited for him to finish, then replied without sympathy.

"You have nothing to complain about," he told Laingen. "The United States took our whole country hostage in 1953."

Few Americans remembered that Iran had descended into dictatorship after the United States overthrew the most democratic government it had ever known. "Mr. President, do you think it was proper for the United States to restore the shah to the throne in 1953 against the popular will within Iran?" a reporter asked President Carter at a news conference during the hostage crisis. "That's ancient history," Carter replied.
Not for Iranians. "In the popular mind, the hostage crisis was seen as justified by what had happened in 1953," says Vali Nasr, an Iranian-born professor at Tufts University's Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in Massachusetts. "People saw it as an act of national assertiveness, of Iran standing up and taking charge of its own destiny. The humiliation of 1953 was exorcised by the taking of American hostages in 1979."

This chasm of perception reflects the enormous gap in the way Americans and Iranians viewed—and continue to view—one another. It will be hard for them to reconcile their differences unless they begin seeing the world through each other's eyes.

For the entire article, please go here :

For Stephen Kinzer's website, please go here:

* * *

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.