Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Mary Oliver: Evidence (Part I)

Pyramid Lake, Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada



Where do I live? If I had no address, as many people
do not, I could nevertheless say that I lived in the
same town as the lilies of the field, and the still

Spring, and all through the neighborhood now there are
strong men tending flowers.

Beauty without purpose is beauty without virtue. But
all beautiful things, inherently, have this function -
to excite the viewers toward sublime thought. Glory
to the world, that good teacher.

Among the swans there is none called the least, or
the greatest.

I believe in kindness. Also in mischief. Also in
singing, especially when singing is not necessarily

As for the body, it is solid and strong and curious
and full of detail; it wants to polish itself; it
wants to love another body; it is the only vessel in
the world that can hold, in a a mix of power and
sweetness: words, song, gesture, passion, ideas,
ingenuity, devotion, merriment, vanity, and virtue.

Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.

~ Mary Oliver ~


Sunday, September 26, 2010



These shriveled seeds we plant,
corn kernel, dried bean,
poke into loosened soil,
cover over with measured fingertips

These T-shirts we fold into
perfect white squares

These tortillas we slice and fry to crisp strips
This rich egg scrambled in a gray clay bowl

This bed whose covers I straighten
smoothing edges till blue quilt fits brown blanket
and nothing hangs out

This envelope I address
so the name balances like a cloud
in the center of sky

This page I type and retype
This table I dust till the scarred wood shines
This bundle of clothes I wash and hang and wash again
like flags we share, a country so close
no one needs to name it

The days are nouns: touch them
The hands are churches that worship the world

~ Naomi Shihab Nye ~

(The Words Under the Words)

Web version:

We Need Millennium Development RIGHTS, Not Just Goals

Millennium Development Rights would transform the global struggle against poverty and provide accountability for governments, corporations, and others who deny those rights.

by Phyllis Bennis

President Obama’s speech at the UN’s summit on development acknowledged the “progress that has been made toward achieving certain Millennium Development Goals,” but cautioned that “we must also face the fact that progress towards other goals that were set has not come nearly fast enough. Not for the hundreds of thousands of women who lose their lives every year simply giving birth. Not for the millions of children who die from the agony of malnutrition. Not for the nearly one billion people who endure the misery of chronic hunger.”

The Millennium Development Goals, or MDGs, were part of the UN’s ambitious yet profoundly insufficient fifteen-year anti-poverty plan of 2000. The MDGs set out the goals of eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education, promoting gender equality, reducing child mortality, improving maternal mortality, combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, ensuring environmental sustainability, and creating a global partnership for development—all by 2015.

But except for some anecdotal improvements in a few countries, the MDGs as a global effort to end extreme poverty by 2015 have so far failed. President Obama was, however understated, absolutely right when he said that the goals have not been met “nearly fast enough.” UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon sounded a note of desperation, telling the summit that it was essential that “promises made become promises kept,” because the “consequences of doing otherwise are profound: death, illness and despair, needless suffering, lost opportunities for millions upon millions of people.”


Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere... A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. On the one hand, we are called to play the Good Samaritan on life's roadside, but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho Road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life's highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Hope is a state of mind, not of the world. Hope, in this deep and powerful sense, is not the same as joy that things are going well, or willingness to invest in enterprises that are obviously heading for success, but rather an ability to work for something because it is good. ~ Vaclav Havel

One of the Most Important Issues Impacting American Democracy

I am very disheartened with the news that the passage of the Disclosure Act has failed. And this on the heals of the Citizens United successful fight in which the Supreme Court voted 5-4 on January 21, 2010 to grant the rights of people to corporations. Many of us know how threatened, how increasingly imperiled the American democracy is. And many do not. And of the many Americans who know something is wrong, a large percentage also believe the corporate funded media propaganda that it is Muslims or liberals or gays or Obama, etc., etc. who are the real threat. I am compelled to do this post as one small way to stand up to the huge forces who are rooted in greed and power, who disseminate vast misinformation, distraction, and propaganda on the American public, and who want anything but democracy in America or anywhere else. May we all increasingly inform ourselves and spread the word in ways that are in support of creating a nation and a world that works for all.
Peace ~ Molly


Corporations vs People

"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." - Benito Mussolini.

Citizens United v Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 50 (2010), was a landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court holding that corporate funding of independent political broadcasts in candidate elections cannot be limited under the First Amendment.

The dissenting opinion by
Justice Stevens[21] was joined by Justice Ginsburg, Justice Breyer, and Justice Sotomayor. It concurred in the Court's decision to sustain BCRA's disclosure provisions and in Part IV of its opinion, but dissented with the principal holding of the majority opinion. The 90-page dissent held that the Court's ruling "threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions across the Nation. The path it has taken to reach its outcome will, I fear, do damage to this institution." The dissent also argued that the Court's declaring of BCRA §203 to be facially unconstitutional was a ruling on a question not brought before them by the litigants, and so they "changed the case to give themselves an opportunity to change the law."

Stevens concluded his dissent with:
At bottom, the Court's opinion is thus a rejection of the common sense of the American people, who have recognized a need to prevent corporations from undermining self government since the founding, and who have fought against the distinctive corrupting potential of corporate electioneering since the days of Theodore Roosevelt. It is a strange time to repudiate that common sense. While American democracy is imperfect, few outside the majority of this Court would have thought its flaws included a dearth of corporate money in politics.


This landmark decision, approved by a 5-4 margin (with all 5 conservative Supreme Court Justices voting in favor), could unleash a torrent of corporate and union cash into the political realm and transform how campaigns for president and Congress are fought in the coming years.

"It's the most major Supreme Court decision in the area of campaign finance in decades — and a significant First Amendment decision," says Nathaniel Persily, a political scientist and law professor at Columbia University.

The new ruling blurs the lines between corporate and individual contributions in political campaigns. It also strikes down part of the 2002 McCain-Feingold campaign finance law that banned unions and corporations from paying for political ads in the waning days of campaigns.


What we are seeing are just the initial stages of what will result in, among other things, a flood of corporate campaign cash. Conservative groups, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Karl Rove-backed
American Crossroads, are gearing up to spend $300 million to hammer Democratic candidates in 2010, according to a Democratic Party memo obtained by The Washington Post.

There is no way private citizens can match the resources available to corporations to make their voices heard. That's why a public backlash against the Citizens United decision is so critical. Progressives -- galvanized by the brazen activism of the court -- have responded by organizing around a far-reaching pro-democracy platform and have already scored some important wins.

MoveOn has also embarked on what it calls its "most ambitious campaign ever" -- focused on overturning the court's decision through a constitutional amendment and passing the
Fair Elections Now Act, which would bar participating congressional candidates from accepting contributions larger than $100 and allow them to run honest campaigns with a blend of small donations and public funds. (The Nation, of which I am the editor and publisher, is a coalition partner in this campaign.) Right now, the campaign is pursuing a goal of getting 100 members of Congress and candidates to sign a pledge endorsing this agenda before the congressional recess ends on Sept. 10.

Passing the Disclose Act -- which was recently defeated by yet another Republican filibuster -- would be a modest step in the right direction; it requires corporations to show how they spend money in elections. But the deep reforms needed to truly put democracy back in the hands of the people will require a long and tough-minded struggle by all small-d democrats.

In the mean time, corporations are free to do a lot more than just donate to less-regulated 527's. They have a blank check. As President Obama noted in his most
recent weekly address, the Citizens United decision "allows big corporations to . . . buy millions of dollars worth of TV ads -- and worst of all, they don't even have to reveal who is actually paying for them. You don't know if it's a foreign-controlled corporation. You don't know if it's BP. You don't know if it's a big insurance company or a Wall Street bank. A group can hide behind a phony name like 'Citizens for a Better Future,' even if a more accurate name would be 'Corporations for Weaker Oversight.' "


President Barack Obama is imploring Republican senators to allow a vote on new campaign finance disclosure requirements, warning them not to resort to political delaying tactics that would block the legislation.

Speaking in the Rose Garden on Monday, Obama said that by standing in the way of the bill, Republicans would be giving special interest groups increased sway in Washington.
"Corporate lobbyists will be able to tell members of Congress, if they don't vote the right way, they will face an onslaught of negative ads in their next campaign," Obama said. "And all too often, no one will actually know who's behind those ads."

The bill would impose new donor and contribution disclosure requirements on nearly all organizations that air political ads independently of candidates or the political parties. The legislation would require the sponsor of the ad to appear in it and take responsibility for it. Obama argued that the bill would also reduce foreign influence over American elections.


Other important resources:
- Citizens United: People Strike Back
- Real People v. Corporate “People”: The Fight Is On
- U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 111th Congress - 2nd Session (who voted for and against the Disclosure Act)
-GOP lives up to expectations in votes today


The crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism. Our whole educational system suffers from this evil. An exaggerated competitive attitude is inculcated into the student, who is trained to worship acquisitive success as a preparation for his future career. - Albert Einstein

We need to find the courage to say NO to the things and people that are not serving us if we want to rediscover ourselves and live our lives with authenticity. - Barbara De Angelis

This is a very important practice. Live your daily life in a way that you never lose yourself. When you are carried away with your worries, fears, cravings, anger, and desire, you run away from yourself and you lose yourself. The practice is always to go back to oneself. - Thich Nhat Hanh

Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth. - Albert Einstein

Hope arouses, as nothing else can arouse, a passion for the possible. - William Sloane Coffin

Wednesday, September 22, 2010



On a gray day, when the sun
has been abducted, and it’s chill
end-of-the-world weather,
I must be the sun.
I must be the one
to encourage the young
sidetracked physicist
working his father’s cash register
to come up with a law of nature
that says brain waves can change
the dismal sky. I must be the one
to remind the ginger plant
not to rest on the reputation
of its pungent roots, but to unveil
those buttery tendrils from the other world.
When the sky is an iron lid
I must be the one to simmer
in the piquant juices of possibility,
though the ingredients are unknown
and the day begins with a yawn.
I must issue forth a warmth
without discrimination, and any guarantee
it will come back to me.
On a dark day I must be willing
to keep my disposition light,
I have to be at the very least
on stray intact ray
of local energy, one small
but critical fraction
of illumination. Even on a day
that doesn’t look gray
but still lacks comfort or sense,
I have to be the sun,
I have to shine as if
sorry life itself depended on it.
I have to make all the difference.

~ Thomas Centolella ~

(Views from along the Middle Way)

Web version:

Envisioning MLK’s Dream in Today's World

This woman is one of my heroes...

by Grace Lee Boggs

We must begin the radical revolution of values
that King called for, against the giant triplets of
racism, materialism, and militarism.

What might Martin Luther King Jr. have said of the demonstrations in Washington two weeks ago?

This is a question worth exploring because King’s legacy was claimed by participants in both demonstrations: the massive, overwhelmingly white “Restore Honor to America/Turn back to God” rally at the Lincoln Memorial, promoted by Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin AND the much smaller, mostly African American one in the football field of nearby Dunbar High School, led by Al Sharpton.

To begin with, I believe King would have made the same speech to both gatherings. The secret of his leadership was that he spoke to the humanity in everyone, regardless of race or class. That’s why a national holiday has been named for him.

I also believe that in 2010, 47 years after King’s famous “I have a Dream” speech, given during the 1963 March on Washington, he would have talked mainly not about his and our dream for overcoming racial discrimination and segregation, but about the huge and unprecedented challenges, choices and responsibilities we face in the light of today’s grim realities:

- Our two lost wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, in which we have not only killed and wounded thousands of Americans, but killed, wounded, and ruined the lives of millions of Iraqis;
- The
billions of dollars we have squandered on these wars of choice to the point that we are now forced to cut back on elementary domestic needs like fire stations, street lighting, and salaries for teachers and other public employees;
- The
floods and mudslides in Pakistan, China and Iowa that are the result of global warming, i.e., our refusal to acknowledge ecological limits to economic growth;
- The
tens of millions of Americans who are unemployed and underemployed because we have allowed corporations not only to replace human beings with robots but also to export jobs overseas in order to make higher profits;
- The escalating violence against Latinos and Arab Americans as times get tougher.

These catastrophes have made it increasingly urgent that we Americans begin making the radical revolution of values against the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism which King called for in his 1967 “Time to break the silence” anti-Vietnam War speech at Riverside Church.

How do we begin this radical revolution?

I believe that MLK would have recognized that this crisis, like most crises, is not only a danger but an opportunity.

It is our opportunity to recognize that by giving priority to economics over community in the last 300-400 years we have deviated from the path that has enabled the human race to survive and evolve.


I was born female 94 years ago to immigrant parents above my father’s Chinese American restaurant in Providence, R.I. My mother could not read or write because there were no schools for females in her little Chinese village. When I cried, the waiters said, “Leave her on the hillside to die; she’s only a girl.” That’s how I learned early on about living for change.

... In the last 25 years my life has centered around the movement to rebuild, redefine and respirit a de-industrialized Detroit from the ground up. Because Detroit is so devastated, it is a city where you sink into despair or embrace the conviction that, as human beings, we have the power within us to build the world anew.

~ Grace Lee Boggs ~

A Physics

Lower Yellowstone Falls

A Physics

When you get down to it, Earth
has our own great ranges
of feeling - Rocky, Smoky, Blue -
and a heart that can melt stones.

The still pools fill with sky,
as if aloof, and we have eyes
for all of this - and more, for Earth's
reminding moon. We too are ruled

by such attractions - spun and swaddled,
rocked and lent a light. We run
our clocks on wheels, our trains
on time. But all the while we want

to love each other endlessly - not only for
a hundred years, not only six feet up and down.
We want the suns and moons of silver
in ourselves, not only counted coins in a cup. The whole

idea of love was not to fall. And neither was
the whole idea of God. We put him well
above ourselves, because we meant,
in time, to measure up.

~ Heather McHugh ~

(Hinge and Sign: Poems, 1968-1993)

Web version:

The New McCarthyism

by Peter Beinart

The politics of mosques and Korans show America to be in
the worst spasm of paranoia and bigotry since the Cold War.
Peter Beinart on the political roots of the enemy within.

With each new attack on a mosque, each new anti-Muslim slur by a prominent politician or pundit, each new poll showing that large swaths of Americans think President Obama is lying about his faith, it becomes clearer that we are in the midst of a national psychosis: the worst spasm of paranoia and bigotry of the post-Cold War age. The interesting question is: Why now?

The answer lies in the intersection of isolationism and war. At first glance, it seems odd that America is witnessing this eruption of anti-Muslim hate now rather than
immediately after the 9/11 attacks. But historically, it’s not odd at all. Consider the “red scares” of the early and mid-20th century. In April 1917, the United States entered World War I. That fall, the Bolsheviks seized power in Russia. But it wasn’t until more than a year later, in November 1919, that Woodrow Wilson’s attorney general, A. Mitchell Palmer, began arresting and deporting thousands of communists, anarchists, immigrants, and labor radicals.

The hysteria that fueled the
Palmer Raids resulted partly from World War I itself, which produced a wave of ultra-nationalism, initially targeting Americans of German descent. But by late 1919, Americans had soured on the war. Palmer’s raids began, in fact, the very month that the Senate rejected the Treaty of Versailles, thus spurning Wilson’s effort to permanently entangle the United States in European affairs. Less than 18 months after that, Congress passed the Emergency Quota Act of 1921, which virtually cut off immigration from Eastern and Southern Europe. The paranoid anti-communism of the Palmer Raids, in other words, represented an inversion of the jingoism spawned by war. Frustrated in their efforts to remake Europe, Americans turned their fury inward, redirecting it toward the “enemy within,” which could be defeated at lower cost in money and blood.

The awful irony is that persecuting Muslims at home
actually endangers American security, just as the
red scares of the mid-20th century aided the USSR.


On the morning of Yom Kippur, we Jews read the following, from Leviticus: “The he-goat designated by lot for Azazel shall be stood alive before Hashem, to provide atonement through it.” It’s an ancient idea, the scapegoat, onto which the nation transfers its burdens and sins. Now we Americans have a new one, the American Muslim, and a new set of sins for which we will, I pray, one day atone. ~ Peter Beinart

Thursday, September 16, 2010



Love wants to reach out and manhandle us,
Break all our teacup talk of God.

If you had the courage and
Could give the Beloved His choice, some nights,
He would just drag you around the room
By your hair,
Ripping from your grip all those toys in the world
That bring you no joy.

Love sometimes gets tired of speaking sweetly
And wants to rip to shreds
All your erroneous notions of truth

That make you fight within yourself, dear one,
And with others,

Causing the world to weep
On too many fine days.

God wants to manhandle us,
Lock us inside of a tiny room with Himself
And practice His dropkick.

The Beloved sometimes wants
To do us a great favor:

Hold us upside down
And shake all the nonsense out.

But when we hear
He is in such a “playful drunken mood”
Most everyone I know
Quickly packs their bags and hightails it
Out of town.

~ Hafiz ~

(The Gift – versions of Hafiz by Daniel Ladinsky)

Web version:

We Are Many: Chris Jordan Captures Our Blessed Unrest

A striking depiction of one million organizations
working for a better world.

Photographer Chris Jordan is most famous for his efforts to portray the enormous and usually incomprehensible scale of human impact on the Earth. His shots of albatross choked by plastic on Midway Island create a personal connection to a global problem; his Running the Numbers series brings statistics about material consumption to life.

Jordan recently released a new work that tries to convey a fact that's just as mind-boggling, but much more heartening: the number of people working to build a more just and sustainable world. E Pluribus Unum is 24 feet square, composed of aluminum panels laser etched with the names of "one million organizations around the world that are devoted to peace, environmental stewardship, social justice, and the preservation of diverse and indigenous culture. The actual number of such organizations is unknown, but estimates range between one and two million, and growing."

Jordan pulled on the work of Paul Hawken, author of Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being and Why No One Saw It Coming, who has created a database of 130,000 such organizations. Jordan writes:
The purpose of this piece is to visualize the vast network of altruistic human organizations in every country, city, and community around the world, all working in parallel together. Despite their enormous diversity of size, focus, and geographic location, these organizations are all united around a set of core values that places compassion and stewardship as highest priorities. The hundreds of millions of individuals who are creating and running these organizations bring a nourishing culture of passion, imagination, and citizenship to this process. In that way I think of this piece as being like a compass, pointing toward a true source of hope and inspiration for our times.


An interview with Chris Jordan


"One of the fundamental problems of our world, underlying a lot of the disasters that are happening, is that we’re disconnected from what we feel. I think it would be fair to say that American culture is the culture that is most detached from its feelings of any culture in the world. We've become separated from nature and urbanized in this weird, new, overwhelming way—and the only way many of us have found to cope is to disconnect from the anxiety and the fear." ~ Chris Jordan

America Without a Middle Class

Chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel created to
oversee the banking bailouts

Can you imagine an America without a strong middle class? If you can, would it still be America as we know it?

Today, one in five Americans is unemployed, underemployed or just plain out of work. One in nine families can't make the minimum payment on their credit cards. One in eight mortgages is in default or foreclosure. One in eight Americans is on food stamps. More than 120,000 families are filing for bankruptcy every month. The economic crisis has wiped more than $5 trillion from pensions and savings, has left family balance sheets upside down, and threatens to put ten million homeowners out on the street.

Families have survived the ups and downs of economic booms and busts for a long time, but the fall-behind during the busts has gotten worse while the surge-ahead during the booms has stalled out. In the boom of the 1960s, for example, median family income jumped by 33% (adjusted for inflation). But the boom of the 2000s resulted in an almost-imperceptible 1.6% increase for the typical family. While Wall Street executives and others who owned lots of stock celebrated how good the recovery was for them, middle class families were left empty-handed.
The crisis facing the middle class started more than a generation ago. Even as productivity rose, the wages of the average fully-employed male have been flat since the 1970s.


Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
~ Martin Luther King Jr.
Letter from Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

White House Taps Warren To Set Up Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

I am thrilled with this news!! I've been watching Elizabeth Warren for years AND I trust her! As disappointing as Obama has been at times, this truly gives me renewed hope for real change. REAL change. Elizabeth Warren is not going to take any corporate side - be it Republican or Democratic - that has been part of the great redistribution of wealth upward that has been taking place over the last 30 years. She is the real thing - Elizabeth Warren is actually going to act in the best interests of Americans. Perhaps this will not include the top 2% whose greed and addiction to power and things fuels an immoral bottomless pit feeling endlessly entitled to more, but rather the rest of us. This is truly great news!! Peace... Molly


The White House has tapped Elizabeth Warren as a special adviser to help set up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, affirming its support for a tough new agency charged with protecting consumers from abusive lenders.

The move allows her to act as an interim head of the CFPB and will enable her to begin setting up the agency immediately and prevent the GOP from filibustering her nomination. Warren could serve until President Barack Obama nominates a permanent director to serve the five-year term -- a nomination he's not required to make for some time. Obama also could nominate her as the permanent director in the near future, a prospect that has been discussed among top aides, according to a person familiar with White House deliberations. Warren formally will be named as a special adviser reporting directly to Obama, and serving in a similar capacity to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, later this week.

The CFPB was a cornerstone of Obama's financial reform package and Warren is credited as the intellectual founder of the agency -- a proposal she advocated three years ago. The ability of the administration to nominate an acting director to serve while the agency is launched within the Treasury Department was first reported by HuffPost in July.


Redistribution of wealth upward has been happening under our noses for decades. May we all grow more informed and fierce in our passion and action for change... "Today, one in five Americans is unemployed, underemployed or just plain out of work. One in nine families can't make the minimum payment on their credit cards. One in eight mortgages is in default or foreclosure. One in eight Americans is on food stamps. More than 120,000 families are filing for bankruptcy every month. The economic crisis has wiped more than $5 trillion from pensions and savings, has left family balance sheets upside down, and threatens to put ten million homeowners out on the street." ~ Elizabeth Warren

The Great American Stickup

By Robert Scheer
Editor’s note: This excerpt originally ran on The Huffington Post.
Excerpted fromThe Great American Stickup.”

They did it.

Yes, there is a “they”: the captains of finance, their lobbyists, and allies among leading politicians of both parties, who together destroyed an American regulatory system that had been functioning splendidly for most of the six decades since it was enacted in the 1930s.

The big cop-out in much of what has been written about the banking meltdown has been the argument by those most complicit that there was “enough blame to go around” and that no institution or individual should be singled out for accountability. “How could we have known?” is the refrain of those who continue to pose as all-knowing experts. “Everybody made mistakes,” they say.

Nonsense. This was a giant hustle that served the richest of the rich and left the rest of us holding the bag, a life-altering game of musical chairs in which the American public was the one forced out. Worst of all, legislators from both political parties we elect and pay to protect our interests from the pirates who assaulted us instead changed our laws to enable them.

The most pathetic of excuses is the one provided by Robert Rubin, who fathered “Rubinomics,” the economy policy of President Clinton’s two-term administration: The economy ran into a “perfect storm,” a combination of unforeseen but disastrously interrelated events. This rationalization is all too readily accepted by the mass media, which is not surprising, given that it neatly absolves the majority of business reporters and editors who had missed the story for years until it was too late.

The facts are otherwise. It is not conspiratorial but rather accurate to suggest that blame can be assigned to those who consciously developed and implemented a policy of radical financial deregulation that led to a global recession. As President Clinton’s Treasury secretary, Rubin, the former cochair of Goldman Sachs, led the fight to free the financial markets from regulation and then went on to a $15-million-a-year job with Citigroup, the company that had most energetically lobbied for that deregulation. He should remember the line from the old cartoon strip Pogo: “We have met the enemy and he is us.”


Three key myths consistently propagated about the financial markets proved devastating in this event. The first is that buyers and sellers are all logical and well informed about what they are doing, so the markets will always be “corrected” to provide accurate price values. The second is that whatever happens in these “free markets,” the general public will not be hurt—only irresponsible gamblers will lose their shirts. The third is that whenever the government gets involved, it will only screw things up; even if regulators only ask questions, it will poison the pond and spook the fish, to everybody’s detriment. ~ Robert Scheer

Never Forget: Bad Wars Aren't Possible Unless Good People Back Them

I know we've been "free" of the Iraq War for two weeks now and our minds have turned to the new football season and Fashion Week in New York. And how exciting that the new fall TV season is just days away!

But before we get too far away from something we would all just like to forget, will you please allow me to just say something plain and blunt and necessary:

We invaded Iraq because most Americans -- including good liberals like Al Franken, Nicholas Kristof & Bill Keller of the New York Times, David Remnick of the New Yorker, the editors of the Atlantic and the New Republic, Harvey Weinstein, Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer and John Kerry -- wanted to.

Of course the actual blame for the war goes to Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Wolfowitz because they ordered the "precision" bombing, the invasion, the occupation and the theft of our national treasury. I have no doubt that history will record that they committed the undisputed Crime of the (young) Century.

But how did they get away with it, considering they'd lost the presidential election by 543,895 votes? They also knew that the majority of the country probably wouldn't back them in such a war (a Newsweek poll in October 2002 showed 61% thought it was "very important" for Bush to get formal approval from the United Nations for war -- but that never happened). So how did they pull it off?


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.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Hafiz: Act Great

"When I despair, I remember that all through history the ways of truth
and love have always won. There have been tyrants, and murderers, and
for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall.
Think of it ... always."

~ Mahatma Gandhi ~

Photograph taken at a candlelight vigil outside the firehouse of Squad 18, NYFD, September 11, 2001.


What is the key
To untie the knot of your mind’s suffering?

Is the esoteric secret
To slay the crazed one whom each of us
Did wed

And who can ruin
Our heart’s and eye’s exquisite tender

Hafiz has found
Two emerald words that

That I now cling to as I would sacred
Tresses of my Beloved’s

Act great.
My dear, always act great.

What is the key
To untie the knot of the mind’s suffering?

Benevolent thought, sound
And movement.

~ Hafiz ~

(The Gift – versions of Hafiz by Daniel Ladinsky)

Web archive of Panhala postings:

Unison Benediction

Unison Benediction

Return to the most human,
nothing less will nourish the torn spirit,
the bewildered heart,
the angry mind:
and from the ultimate duress,
pierced with the breath of anguish,
speak of love.

Return, return to the deep sources,
nothing less will teach the stiff hands a new way to serve,
to carve into our lives the forms of tenderness
and still that ancient necessary pain preserve.

Return to the most human,
nothing less will teach the angry spirit,
the bewildered heart;
the torn mind,
to accept the whole of its duress,
and pierced with anguish…
at last, act for love.

~ May Sarton ~

(Collected Poems 1930-1993)

Web version: