Monday, November 29, 2010

Full of Thanks!


Reflecting on all the good things in life!


Full of Thanks

I’m full
Full of thanks
Full of dreams, full of memories
And full of the cool air I breathed today.

Full of the earth under my feet
And the touch of a friend reaching out
Full of the child that looked at me with wonder
More and more I see how much I really have
I have more books than I’ll ever read
More clothes than I have occasion
More light shining upon me than I will ever see
I have more food than I can savor
I have more memories than I can remember
I have more dreams than I can live
I am full . . .
full of thanks . . .
and thank-full!

Thanks!

~Ilan Shamir ~



Rumi: On a Day When the Wind is Perfect



ON A DAY WHEN THE WIND IS PERFECT

On a day
when the wind is perfect,
the sail just needs to open and the world is full of beauty.
Today is such a
day.

My eyes are like the sun that makes promises;
the promise of life
that it always
keeps

each morning.

The living heart gives to us as does that luminous sphere,
both caress the earth with great
tenderness.

This is a breeze that can enter the soul.
This love I know plays a drum. Arms move around me;
who can contain their self before my beauty?

Peace is wonderful,
but ecstatic dance is more fun, and less narcissistic;
gregarious He makes our lips.

On a day when the wind is perfect,
the sail just needs to open
and the love starts.

Today is such
a day.

~ Rumi ~

(Love Poems From God: Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West by Daniel Ladinsky)


Web version:
www.panhala.net/Archive/On_a_Day.html

Friday, November 26, 2010

"Deadly Spin: An Insurance Company Insider Speaks" by Wendell Potter


Photo I took of Wendell Potter 8/29/09, Portland, Oregon
I had the privilege of seeing Wendell Potter speak here in Portland in August 2009. He is a truthteller and American hero. Wendell Potter's journey from the "dark side" to the "insurance industry's worst nightmare" speaks powerfully of this man's integrity, courage, caring, and commitment to work for a just world. I am now very excited to learn of his new book and that he will again be touring all over the country, including here in Portland again on Tuesday, December 7th at Powell’s Books at 7:30 pm. I hope to see some of you there. For a complete list of appearances, please go here: http://wendellpotter.com/media-events/. Peace ~ Molly

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"My name is Wendell Potter and for 20 years I worked as a senior executive at health insurance companies, and I saw how they confuse their customers and dump the sick -- all so they can satisfy their Wall Street investors."

That's how he introduced himself to a Senate committee.

As a senior vice president of CIGNA, Potter had access to the inner workings of major insurance companies.

He had walked away from a six-figure salary and two decades as an insurance executive because he could no longer abide the routine practices of an industry where the needs of sick and suffering Americans take a backseat to the bottom line. The last straw: when he visited a rural health clinic and saw hundreds of Americans standing in line in the rain to receive treatment in stalls built for livestock.

Now, Wendell Potter is the insurance industry's worst nightmare.

Potter first made national headlines with his scorching testimony before the Senate panel on health care reform. This credible managed care insider explained to the senators how health insurers make promises they have no intention of keeping, how they flout regulations designed to protect patients, and how they skew and corrupt the political debate with multibillion-dollar PR campaigns designed to spread disinformation.


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

One isn't necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest. ~ Maya Angelou

It takes two to speak truth -- one to speak and another to hear. ~ Henry David Thoreau

"Death of the Liberal Class" by Chris Hedges


I have met Chris Hedges and, several times, Thom Hartmann, and also have several books by both authors. On Thanksgiving day I was grateful to have listened to an interview on Thom's national radio show that Thom did with Chris Hedges on his Chris' latest book. The American media does not interview the likes of Chris Hedges, Amy Goodman, Bill Moyers, Arundhati Roy, David Korten, Riane Eisler, or Howard Zinn (now deceased). Truthtellers who illuminate shadows along with strengths and hope are essential. Yet, we Americans remain largely uninformed, and I share this with the humility of knowing I have also been deeply in the dark about so much of what matters. There can be no solutions for problems denied or unknown. And, meanwhile on Thanksgiving day while many of us were blessed with being brim-full of yummy meals and loving company, millions more in America and worldwide suffer in poverty. I post this in honor and deep caring for their suffering. And I ask what compassionate action each of us can take in light of their plight? What does caring look like for you? For me, today, I am called to share this post.

Peace ~ Molly

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Book Excerpt
Death of the Liberal Class by Chris Hedges
published on truthdig

In a traditional democracy, the liberal class functions as a safety valve. It makes piecemeal and incremental reform possible. It offers hope for change and proposes gradual steps toward greater equality. It endows the state and the mechanisms of power with virtue. It also serves as an attack dog that discredits radical social movements, making the liberal class a useful component within the power elite.

But the assault by the corporate state on the democratic state has claimed the liberal class as one of its victims. Corporate power forgot that the liberal class, when it functions, gives legitimacy to the power elite. And reducing the liberal class to courtiers or mandarins, who have nothing to offer but empty rhetoric, shuts off this safety valve and forces discontent to find other outlets that often end in violence. The inability of the liberal class to acknowledge that corporations have wrested power from the hands of citizens, that the Constitution and its guarantees of personal liberty have become irrelevant, and that the phrase consent of the governed is meaningless, has left it speaking and acting in ways that no longer correspond to reality. It has lent its voice to hollow acts of political theater, and the pretense that democratic debate and choice continue to exist.

The liberal class refuses to recognize the obvious because it does not want to lose its comfortable and often well-paid perch. Churches and universities—in elite schools such as Princeton, professors can earn $180,000 a year—enjoy tax-exempt status as long as they refrain from overt political critiques. Labor leaders make lavish salaries and are considered junior partners within corporate capitalism as long as they do not speak in the language of class struggle. Politicians, like generals, are loyal to the demands of the corporate state in power and retire to become millionaires as lobbyists or corporate managers. Artists who use their talents to foster the myths and illusions that bombard our society live comfortably in the Hollywood Hills.

The media, the church, the university, the Democratic Party, the arts, and labor unions—the pillars of the liberal class—have been bought off with corporate money and promises of scraps tossed to them by the narrow circles of power. Journalists, who prize access to the powerful more than they prize truth, report lies and propaganda to propel us into a war in Iraq. Many of these same journalists assured us it was prudent to entrust our life savings to a financial system run by speculators and thieves. Those life savings were gutted. The media, catering to corporate advertisers and sponsors, at the same time renders invisible whole sections of the population whose misery, poverty, and grievances should be the principal focus of journalism.

In the name of tolerance—a word the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., never used—the liberal church and the synagogue refuse to denounce Christian heretics who acculturate the Christian religion with the worst aspects of consumerism, nationalism, greed, imperial hubris, violence, and bigotry. These institutions accept globalization and unfettered capitalism as natural law. Liberal religious institutions, which should concern themselves with justice, embrace a cloying personal piety expressed in a how-is-it-with-me kind of spirituality and small, self-righteous acts of publicly conspicuous charity. Years spent in seminary or rabbinical schools, years devoted to the study of ethics, justice, and morality, prove useless when it comes time to stand up to corporate forces that usurp religious and moral language for financial and political gain.

Universities no longer train students to think critically, to examine and critique systems of power and cultural and political assumptions, to ask the broad questions of meaning and morality once sustained by the humanities. These institutions have transformed themselves into vocational schools. They have become breeding grounds for systems managers trained to serve the corporate state. In a Faustian bargain with corporate power, many of these universities have swelled their endowments and the budgets of many of their departments with billions in corporate and government dollars. College presidents, paid enormous salaries as if they were the heads of corporations, are judged almost solely on their ability to raise money. In return, these universities, like the media and religious institutions, not only remain silent about corporate power but also condemn as “political” all within their walls who question corporate malfeasance and the excesses of unfettered capitalism.


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The political and commercial morals of the United States are not merely food for laughter, they are an entire banquet. ~ Mark Twain

We stand now where two roads diverge. But unlike the roads in Robert Frost's familiar poem, they are not equally fair. The road we have long been traveling is deceptively easy, a smooth superhighway on which we progress with great speed, but at its end lies disaster. The other fork of the road -- the one less traveled by -- offers our last, our only chance to reach a destination that assures the preservation of the earth. ~ Rachel Carson

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Prayer for Thanksgiving



A Prayer

Let me do my work each day;
And if the darkened hours of despair overcome me,
May I not forget the strength that comforted me
In the desolation of other times.

May I still remember the bright hours that found me
Walking over the silent hills of my childhood,
Or dreaming on the margin of the quiet river,
When a light glowed within me,
And I promised my early God to have courage
Amid the tempests of the changing years.
Spare me from bitterness
And from the sharp passions of unguarded moments.

May I not forget that poverty and riches are of the spirit.
Though the world may know me not,
May my thoughts and actions be such
As shall keep me friendly with myself.
Lift my eyes from the earth,
And let me not forget the uses of the stars.
Forbid that I should judge others,
Lest I condemn myself.

Let me not follow the clamor of the world,
But walk calmly in my path.
Give me a few good friends who will love me for what I am;
And keep ever burning before my vagrant steps
The kindly light of hope.
And though age and infirmity overtake me,
And I come not within sight of the castle of my dreams,
Teach me still to be thankful for life,
And for times olden memories that are good and sweet;
And may the evening's twilight find me gentle still.

~ Max Ehrmann ~


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Two Most Essential, Abhorrent, Intolerable Lies Of George W. Bush's Memoir


I share this article because it is my experience that in every crisis there is both danger and opportunity. My belief is that the invitation to us all is to embrace what is to be learned from the trauma which has impacted us all through such things as war and torture. May there be more truth telling. May there be more and more of us who are courageous enough to hear, see, and bear the horrors of what truth can hold. And may we individually and collectively grow to step up to do our part in transforming such horrors by holding all of us accountable. May we work to create genuine transformation and a world which our grandchildren will be grateful to inherit.
Peace ~ Molly

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by Dan Froomkin

WASHINGTON -- These days, when we think of George W. Bush, we think mostly of what a horrible mess he made of the economy. But his even more tragic legacy is the loss of our moral authority, and the transformation of the United States of America from global champion of human rights into an outlaw nation.

History is likely to judge Bush most harshly for two things in particular: Launching a war against a country that had not attacked us, and approving the use of cruel and inhumane interrogation techniques.

And that's why the two most essential lies -- among the many -- in his new memoir are that he had a legitimate reason to invade Iraq, and that he had a legitimate reason to torture detainees.
Neither is remotely true. But Bush must figure that if he keeps making the case for himself -- particularly if it goes largely unrebutted by the traditional media, as it has thus far -- then perhaps he can blunt history's verdict.

It may even be working. Extrapolating from the response to the book, former vice president Dick Cheney on Tuesday told a crowd gathered for Bush's presidential library groundbreaking in Dallas that "judgments are a little more measured than they were" and that "history is coming around."

The 'Decision' to Go to War

In "Decision Points," Bush describes the invasion of Iraq as something he came to support only reluctantly and after a long period of reflection. This is a flat-out lie. Anyone who paid any attention to the news at the time knew Bush was dead-set on war long before he sent in the troops in March 2003. And there is now an abundant amount of documentation, in the form of leaks, unclassified memos, witness interviews and other people's memoirs to prove it.

The historical record clearly shows that Bush had long harbored a desire to strike out at Saddam Hussein, was trying to link Iraq to 9/11 within a day of the terrorist attacks, and finally found the excuse he was looking for in skewed intelligence about alleged Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

The only real question is whether he actively deceived the American public and the world -- or whether he was so passionate about selling the public on the war that he intentionally blinded himself to how brazenly Vice President Cheney had politicized and abused the intelligence process.

More: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/22/the-two-most-esssential-a_n_786219.html

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Do your little bit of good where you are; it's those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world. ~ Bishop Desmond Tutu

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Mary Oliver: Gratitude



Gratitude

What did you notice?

The dew snail;
the low-flying sparrow;
the bat, on the wind, in the dark;
big-chested geese, in the V of sleekest performance;
the soft toad, patient in the hot sand;
the sweet-hungry ants;
the uproar of mice in the empty house;
the tin music of the cricket’s body;
the blouse of the goldenrod.

What did you hear?

The thrush greeting the morning;
the little bluebirds in their hot box;
the salty talk of the wren,
then the deep cup of the hour of silence.

What did you admire?

The oaks, letting down their dark and hairy fruit;
the carrot, rising in its elongated waist;
the onion, sheet after sheet, curved inward to the
pale green wand;
at the end of summer the brassy dust, the almost liquid
beauty of the flowers;
then the ferns, scrawned black by the frost.

What astonished you?

The swallows making their dip and turn over the water.

What would you like to see again?

My dog: her energy and exuberance, her willingness,
her language beyond all nimbleness of tongue, her
recklessness, her loyalty, her sweetness, her
sturdy legs, her curled black lip, her snap.

What was most tender?

Queen Anne’s lace, with its parsnip root;
the everlasting in its bonnets of wool;
the kinks and turns of the tupelo’s body;
the tall, blank banks of sand;
the clam, clamped down.

What was most wonderful?

The sea, and its wide shoulders;
the sea and its triangles;
the sea lying back on its long athlete’s spine.

What did you think was happening?

The green breast of the hummingbird;
the eye of the pond;
the wet face of the lily;
the bright, puckered knee of the broken oak;
the red tulip of the fox’s mouth;
the up-swing, the down-pour, the frayed sleeve
of the first snow—

so the gods shake us from our sleep.

~ Mary Oliver ~

(What Do We Know)



Legal Pros Say No to Citizens United


by Jeffrey D. Clements and Ben T. Clements

Experts call for Constitutional amendment to take back democracy from corporations.

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC, corporate money has poured into the 2010 elections in unprecedented amounts. Now, a bipartisan group of leading law professors, former state attorneys general, former prosecutors, and prominent attorneys from across the country has signed a letter calling on Congress to consider a Constitutional amendment to overrule Citizens United and return elections and government to the people. We joined that call because the notion of “corporate rights” expressed in Citizens United is antithetical to Constitutional principles of free speech, democracy, and self-government.

In that case, the Court ruled that the First Amendment prohibits restrictions on so-called “independent expenditures” by corporations to attempt to defeat or elect candidates. The Court equated corporations with people for purposes of free speech rights and struck down key provisions of the federal Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act.

The creation of absolute corporate “speech” rights to spend money on elections is contrary to Constitutional principles and to the American vision of self-government by free people. That vision cannot coexist with elections dominated by hundreds of millions of dollars of corporate electioneering money.

More: http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/what-happy-families-know/legal-pros-say-no-to-citizens-united?utm_source=wkly20101119&utm_medium=yesemail&utm_campaign=titleClements

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What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy? ~ Mohandas K. Gandhi

The great danger for American democracy is not from the protesters. That democracy is too poorly realized for us to consider critics -- even rebels -- as the chief problem. Its fulfillment requires us all, living in an ossified system which sustains too much killing and too much selfishness, to join the protest. ~ Howard Zinn

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

Thursday, November 18, 2010

William Stafford: Cutting Loose



Cutting Loose

Sometimes from sorrow, for no reason,
you sing. For no reason, you accept
the way of being lost, cutting loose
from all else and electing a world
where you go where you want to.

Arbitrary, a sound comes, a reminder
that a steady center is holding
all else. If you listen, that sound
will tell you where it is and you
can slide your way past trouble.

Certain twisted monsters
always bar the path -- but that's when
you get going best, glad to be lost,
learning how real it is
here on earth, again and again.

~ William Stafford ~

(Dancing With Joy, ed. by Roger Housden)

World's Power Brokers Hold Annual Summit Where They Show Each Other Their Penises


Okay, this one's just a bit beyond my "norm"... but I just had to do it...!

International titans of industry, media, and politics examine one another's genitals.


ST. MORITZ, SWITZERLAND—One hundred fifty of the world's most powerful people in the fields of politics, banking, business, and media met this past weekend at an exclusive Swiss resort for the 54th annual invitation-only summit where they show each other their penises.

This year's meeting was chaired by a committee that included Rupert Murdoch, former U.S. national security adviser Brent Scowcroft, oil heir David H. Koch, and Japanese finance minister Yoshihiko Noda, all of whom presided over the traditional penis-showing ceremony that has for decades been a banner event for the most influential international power brokers.

"I always look forward to this crucial and productive gathering," said industrialist and banker Jacob Wallenberg of the Swedish Wallenbergs, a prominent European family that has wielded significant clout in global financial and political affairs for more than two centuries. "To see the penises of so many like-minded, forward-thinking men and to show them my own penis—this is what keeps the global wheels of industry and ingenuity turning."

"After all, these are inarguably the most important penises of our time," Wallenberg added before unzipping his tuxedo pants and heading back into a scrum of other immensely powerful and wealthy men already gazing contemplatively at one another's exposed genitalia.

As it does every year, the ceremony followed a strict a system of seniority wherein members first reveal their sex organs to the seated committee and assembled invitees before the floor is opened up for general penis exposition. The honor of the showing of the first penis this year was given to billionaire real estate mogul Leonard Litwin, 95, the oldest member in attendance.

The annual penis-showing summit has a rich history, having first been held in 1957 at a Lake Tahoe chateau owned by American banker David Rockefeller, Sr. of the hugely influential six-generation Rockefeller oil dynasty. According to Rockefeller, the gathering was born of the simple idea that "the people who hold the most sway over the direction of world affairs ought naturally to have some sense of what each other's penises look like."

More:
http://www.theonion.com/articles/worlds-power-brokers-hold-annual-summit-where-they,18474/

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I have always noticed that people will never laugh at anything that is not based on truth. ~ Will Rogers

A Poem...





Earth, isn't this what you want? To arise in us, invisible?
Is it not your dream, to enter us so wholly
there's nothing left outside us to see?
What, if not transformation,
is your deepest purpose? Earth, my love,
I want that too. Believe me,
no more of your springtimes are needed
to win me over - even one flower
is more than enough. Before I was named
I belonged to you. I seek no other law
but yours, and know I can trust
the death you will bring.


~ Rainer Maria Rilke ~

Saturday, November 13, 2010

BePeace & The Rasur Foundation International


This was so hopeful, so beautiful to hear of. May we follow these footsteps. Blessed be... Molly

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BePeace® is a practice that combines a scientifically proven method for "feeling peace" with a clear path for "speaking peace" that creates an authentic, compassionate connection. As we learn this practice, we are empowered to pass it on, to "teach peace".

The Rasur Foundation was founded by Rita Marie Johnson, a U.S. citizen who went to Costa Rica in 1993 to help strengthen its national model of peace. As a result, a new “peace package” is now being implemented: a Ministry for Peace that collaborates with a national Academy for Peace, which trains peace teachers in the schools to teach the practice of BePeace in each community. This new government infrastructure, coupled with grassroots peace skills, is inspiring hope around the world as people realize that similar models could be replicated in their countries.

The Rasur Foundation, named after the epic poem Rasur or Week of Splendor by Roberto Brenes Mesén, has inspired the foundation’s work. This prophetic poem tells the story of a master teacher, Rasur, who teaches the Costa Rican children how to be peacemakers. The children pass this knowledge on to their parents and soon their village is transformed into a culture of peace.

VISION: A world where every child practices peace and passes this gift to the next generation.

MISSION: Attracting, training and supporting natural peace teachers to evoke the wisdom and compassion in children through the practice of BePeace.

MOTTO: Before directing the lightning in the sky, we must first harness the storms in our own hearts.

In 2002, Johnson discovered a powerful synergy between coherence for “feeling peace” and connection to universal needs through empathy and honesty for “speaking peace.” Inspired by this combination, she developed the practice of BePeace. She founded the Academy for Peace of Costa Rica as a project of the Rasur Foundation, with the vision of developing Rasurs, master peace teachers to provide BePeace training in every community.

As teachers, students, parents and other citizens learn BePeace, their social and emotional intelligence is enhanced, empowering them to make conscious choices toward peace in their daily lives. Now the Ministry of Education in Costa Rica is implementingBePeace in the national school system. In 2009, Rasur Foundation International began supporting other countries to establish their own academies, which include developing Rasurs and teaching BePeace.

News of this practice is spreading rapidly. In the last three years, BePeace® has been taught to 26 graduate students from 16 countries at the United Nations University for Peace and 38 representatives from 10 countries at the 2009 Summit of the Global Alliance of Ministries and Departments for Peace. It has been initiated in ten states in the USA, as well as Canada, Europe and Central America.


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We believe that to become more peaceful nations we must begin within ourselves and that teaching our children is the logical first step to shifting generational violence into lasting peace.
~ Roberto Brenes Mesén


Thursday, November 11, 2010

William Stafford: The Way It Is



The Gift

Time wants to show you a different country. It's the one
that your life conceals, the one waiting outside
when curtains are drawn, the one Grandmother hinted at
in her crochet design, the one almost found
over at the edge of the music, after the sermon.

It's the way life is, and you have it, a few years given.
You get killed now and then, violated
in various ways. (And sometimes it's turn about.)
You get tired of that. Long-suffering, you wait
and pray, and maybe good things come - maybe
the hurt slackens and you hardly feel it any more.
You have a breath without pain. It is called happiness.

It's a balance, the taking and passing along,
the composting of where you've been and how people
and weather treated you. It's a country where
you already are, bringing where you have been.
Time offers this gift in its millions of ways,
turning the world, moving the air, calling,
every morning, "Here, take it, it's yours."

~ William Stafford ~

(The Way It Is)


Beatitudes for Veterans Day


This is a powerful, powerful article which I share in honor of all veterans and in honor of all who have been affected by war - which means all of us everywhere. The ripples of war know no bounds, as do those of peace. May we all grow in our capacity to be true peacemakers, beginning within our own hearts. Peace... Molly


by Patricia Hynes for Buzzflash

Blessed is the veteran of World War I, who spent his life exposing the horrors of war for those who fight in it and the willful deceit of those who declare it and seek stature from it. In his first anti-war novel, Erich Maria Remarque wrote "I see how peoples are set against each other...foolishly, innocently, obediently slaying each other ...While they [the promoters and boosters of war] continued to talk and write, we saw the wounded and dying...The wrong people do the fighting." All Quiet on the Western Front was banned in Nazi Germany.

Blessed are the children of veterans who break the code of silence on the war that never ends: Living with the "attendant nightmares" of their veteran fathers and being "the objects of their war-ridden rage and war-honed violence." War Is Not Over When It's Overchronicles, through interviews and photos, the spill over of brutal violence against girls and women in five war-ruined countries. The author Ann Jones' own life was "darkened by war." Her thrice-decorated WWI-veteran father turned his war-fed anger and violence on her and her mother.

Blessed is the World War II combat veteran who turned his revulsion at the racism of boot camp and the brutality of war into a life of non-violent activism for Civil Rights and radical witness for peace. Philip Berrigan believed "...there will be no healing for veterans until we disavow war completely, until we disarm the bomb and the killing machine and ourselves." His lifelong question: "Can I remedy my violence, can I heal myself until I try to heal the body of humankind from the curse of war?"

Blessed is the writer Anonymous for her courage in exposing a taboo subject: The mass rape of an estimated 100,000 women in Berlin (of which she was one) by conquering Russian soldiers over a period of 7 weeks, and the mass rejection of these women, as shameless and besmirched, by returning German men who were emasculated by defeat. A Woman in Berlin was rejected by German publishers and published only years later in the United States. The author did not reveal her name because of fear of threats and reprisals.

Blessed is the daughter of two hibakusha, the shunned Japanese survivors of atomic bombs, who has assumed the mantle of speaking out against nuclear weapons and for world peace. The bombs scarred her parents, both mentally and physically; her father lashed out and her mother withdrew into depression. "For me," says Miyako Taguchi, who is founder of Hibakusha Stories from Hiroshima and Nagasaki to Future Generations, "I always live with the effects, the reality of the bomb and the modern arsenals of more than 27,000 nuclear weapons. No matter who has them, we are all their victims."

Blessed are all the veterans against wars, current and past, and those who have returned to the countries and peoples they harmed to make reparation. Blessed are the Veterans for Peace who will walk from November 2-11 in rural Maine to bear witness to the human tragedy that recent wars have caused for local villages, towns and families, including unprecedented rates of suicide among soldiers serving in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars and the many suffering from war-related PTSD, head trauma, and sexual assault.


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A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr., Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?, 1967

America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and loose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves. ~ Abraham Lincoln

All beings tremble before violence. All fear death. All love life. See yourself in others. Then whom can you hurt? What harm can you do? ~ The Buddha

One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious. ~ Carl Jung

Heartland Security


On Veteran's Day I am filled with reflections. I remember walking the cemetery when we buried Brigadier General Frederick Smith Strong, Jr., my grandfather, on what would have been his 99th birthday at West Point to a 21 gun solute. So many crosses... As 1 in every 2-3 Americans will receive a diagnosis of cancer at some point in their lifetimes, my mind also moves to thoughts of how we passionately seek "the cure" for cancers while dancing around, at best, any conversation related to digging into the messiness of what can be the causes. There is this other side, this darker side of so much... which we often distract, deny, justify looking away from. Now, today, on Veteran's Day, I reflect on the deeper causes of war and what may ultimately lead us all to embrace, heal, and transform ourselves, creating ripples, actions, insights, wisdom that will lead us away from war and toward creating genuine peace. Namaste... Molly


America Needs a Department of Heartland Security!

by Steve Bhaerman
(also known as Swami Beyondananda, the "Cosmic Comic.")

Heartland Security is the love-based counterpoint to the fear-based context of "Homeland Security."

Both ancient spiritual wisdom and modern "new edge" science point us toward humanity's next evolutionary understanding that we are all cells in the body of humanity.

In recognizing we are interconnected and ultimately all benefit from the same beneficial conditions, we understand that our true security is in the land of the heart.

By seeing we are all in this together, and living our collective and individual lives from this understanding, we can evolve human life on this planet towards greater health, wealth, happiness and functionality.

Far from being a pie-in-the-sky ideal, this is a feet-on-the-ground real deal -- provided we learn to use the three most underutilized human resources on the planet: love, imagination and cooperation.

The world is being transformed before our very eyes, and right under our feet. Just as surely as the caterpillar becomes the butterfly, humankind is morphing into a new species. The old caterpillar structure is falling apart, and the new butterfly is cohering, coalescing and emerging. We are the "imaginal cells" that will become the butterfly.

Heartland Security: Who, What and Why?

The practical purpose of Heartland Security is to empower a new "moral majority" reflecting the values at the foundation of every religion, spiritual path and ethical system -- some version of the Golden Rule. In doing so, we seek to reestablish the missing piece in government by the people -- the "heart core" values of we the people!

In this next evolutionary phase, we collectively recognize that self-interest and planetary interest are one and the same. We empower individuals to gain greater freedom and greater security by weaving their own aspirations, skills and desires with the larger story being written.

With no imposition from the top down, this coherent "central voice" of humanity can arise from the grassroots up so we can achieve the highest potential of humanity -- to institute the practice of love and cultivate the Garden we have been given.

To do this, we must collectively withdraw our energy from trying to "fix" the caterpillar, and instead gather our energy, attention and resources so that the butterfly emerges. Heartland Security is a new context for refocusing our focus:
Heart represents our universal spiritual foundation, the vast and untapped resource of love and connection.

Land represents a restorative, sustainable economy that empowers a mutually beneficial partnership between human and biosphere.

Security represents our evolution from the single cell "every-cell-for-itself" philosophy to the multi-cell "we're-all-in-this-together." In doing so, we move from survival of the fittest to thrival of the fittingest, from mutually-assured destruction to mutually-assured survival.

More:
http://wakeuplaughing.com/heartland-security.php

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War and peace start in the human heart - and whether that heart is open or whether that heart closes has global implications. ~ Pema Chodron


Mary Oliver: The Journey


I have found that only by first attending to my own suffering
can I grow to live and spread peace...


The Journey

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice --
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do --
determined to save
the only life you could save.

~ Mary Oliver ~

(Dream Work)

http://www.panhala.net/Archive/The_Journey.html

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Rumi: Begin



BEGIN

This is now. Now is,
all there is. Don't wait for Then;
strike the spark, light the fire.

Sit at the Beloved's table,
feast with gusto, drink your fill

then dance
the way branches
of jasmine and cypress
dance in a spring wind.

The green earth
is your cloth;
tailor your robe
with dignity and grace.

~ Rumi ~

(adapted by Jose Orez from a version by Coleman Barks in The Soul of Rumi)

U.N. Human Rights Council Issues Recommendations To U.S.


Considering the often narcissistic tendencies of our nation, I found this illuminating, powerful, and true. Solutions only arise when problems are seen, named, embraced, healed, transformed. May we Americans increasingly have the courage to look in the mirror and make conscious choices to simply work to be kind and to truly care. May our grounding in compassionate action grow. Peace~ Molly

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GENEVA--(ENEWSPF)--November 9, 2010. The U.N. Human Rights Council (HRC) today issued a set of recommendations for the United States to bring its human rights policies and practices in line with international standards. The recommendations are the result of the first-ever participation by the U.S. in the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process, which involves a thorough assessment of a nation's human rights record. The American Civil Liberties Union, which was in Geneva last week to observe the UPR process, welcomed U.S. participation as an important step toward protecting human rights at home.

The following can be attributed to Laura W. Murphy, Director of the Washington Legislative Office:

"The UPR process provides an opportunity for the United States to identify human rights violations, develop real solutions and bring our policies in line with international human rights standards. The Obama administration should set a good example by working with Congress and state and local governments to translate human rights commitments into domestic laws and policies that will have a positive impact on all people in America.

"The following can be attributed to Jamil Dakwar, Director of the ACLU Human Rights Program:
"While the Obama administration should be commended for its participation in the UPR, in order to lead by example, this international engagement must be followed by concrete domestic policies and actions and a commitment to fixing all domestic human rights abuses. The administration must take immediate and specific presidential actions to ensure domestic human rights are effectively monitored and enforced within the United States."

The ACLU called on the government to heed the recommendations of the HRC, including to:

- ensure accountability for not just the interrogators who used torture but also the senior Bush administration officials who authorized it, provide reparations for victims of torture, close Guantánamo and end indefinite detention without charge or trial, and end the discredited military commissions;
- end racial and ethnic profiling, especially in the enforcement of immigration laws – including the termination of Secure Communities and 287(g) programs;
- impose a federal moratorium on the death penalty as a first step towards nationwide abolition, and address serious flaws in the administration of the death penalty including racial bias, under-funded indigent defense programs, conditions on death row and a lack of full access to federal courts;
- take concrete steps to ratify human rights treaties, especially the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities;
- take concrete measures to address racial and ethnic disparities in the criminal justice system, including the disproportionate representation of minorities and inhumane prison conditions;
enhance efforts to address disparities in access to social and economic rights and take concrete and effective measures to ensure that minorities enjoy equal access to quality education, health care and housing;
- establish a national civil and human rights commission by transforming the existing U.S. commission on civil rights into an independent human rights monitoring body; and
- issue an executive order on human rights to effectively and transparently coordinate U.S. follow-up on the UPR recommendations, as well as full implementation of ratified treaties including the Race Convention, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention against Torture on the federal, state and local levels.


Source: aclu.org

http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/latest-national/19773-un-human-rights-council-issues-recommendations-to-us-.html


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We stand now where two roads diverge. But unlike the roads in Robert Frost's familiar poem, they are not equally fair. The road we have long been traveling is deceptively easy, a smooth superhighway on which we progress with great speed, but at its end lies disaster. The other fork of the road -- the one less traveled by -- offers our last, our only chance to reach a destination that assures the preservation of the earth. ~ Rachel Carson

The most decisive actions of our life ... are most often unconsidered actions. ~ Andre Gide

Without courage, wisdom bears no fruit. ~ Baltasar Gracian

All serious daring starts from within. ~ Harriet Beecher Stowe

Missing: A Vision of Economic Possibility


by David Korten


This election showed us that neither of our two major parties has a credible vision for our economic future. And that’s why this is a moment of opportunity.

It is now the morning after. Republicans, as expected, are celebrating a sweeping victory. Democrats are licking their wounds. Meanwhile, record numbers of people are still contending with the hardships of unemployment and foreclosure with no relief in sight. And the nation braces for deepening political gridlock.

It is a moment of opportunity for America to set a new course and for a young President Barack Obama to establish his place in history as a path-breaking leader.

So how does electoral failure and political gridlock create a moment of opportunity?

We are a nation consumed by short-term thinking and fragmented political contests centered on narrowly defined issues. Neither of our two major parties has a credible vision for the economic future of our nation.

The Republicans offer only their standard prescription of tax cuts for the rich, a rollback of regulations on predatory corporations, and elimination of the social safety net—a proven prescription for further job loss and devastation of the middle class.

The Democrats have no identifiable program for economic recovery, let alone for adapting our economy to the dramatic demographic, environmental, economic, and political changes that rule out any chance of a return to pre-2008 business as usual.

In an insightful interview, Populist historian Lawrence Goodwyn suggests that this creates a historic opportunity. He observes that bankers have been a dominant ruling power throughout much of our national history and a barrier to realizing the democratic ideal on which our nation was founded. It has not been within the power of any American president to break their hold due to lack of an adequate public understanding of the nature of the problem.


David Korten is co-founder and board chair of YES! Magazine, co-chair of the New Economy Working Group, president of the People-Centered Development Forum, and a founding board member of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE). His books include Agenda for a New Economy: From Phantom Wealth to Real Wealth, The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community, and the international best seller When Corporations Rule the World.

*************************

The emerging vision calls for a fundamental economic restructuring to put life values ahead of financial values, give the creation of sustainable livelihoods for working people priority over bonuses for Wall Street traders, and root the power to create and allocate money in people and community rather than in Wall Street financial institutions. David Brancaccio has documented impressive examples in a PBS television special titled "Fixing the Future" scheduled to be aired on November 18, 2010. ~ David Korten

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Ranier Maria Rilke: I Love the Dark Hours



I love the dark hours of my being.
My mind deepens into them.
There I can find, as in old letters,
the days of my life, already lived,
and held like a legend, and understood.

Then the knowing comes: I can open
to another life that's wide and timeless.

So I am sometimes like a tree
rustling over a gravesite
and making real the dream
of the one its living roots
embrace:

a dream once lost
among sorrows and songs.

~ Ranier Maria Rilke ~

(Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God, trans. by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy)


Web version:
www.panhala.net/Archive/Love_the_Dark_Hours.html


Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Prayer



A Prayer

Let me do my work each day;
and if the darkened hours
of despair overcome me, may I
not forget the strength
that comforted me in the
desolation of other times.

May I still remember the bright
hours that found me walking
over the silent hills of my
childhood, or dreaming on the
margin of a quiet river,
when a light glowed within me,
and I promised my early God
to have courage amid the
tempests of the changing years.

Spare me from bitterness
and from the sharp passions of
unguarded moments. May
I not forget that poverty and
riches are of the spirit.
Though the world knows me not,
may my thoughts and actions
be such as shall keep me friendly
with myself.

Lift up my eyes
from the earth, and let me not
forget the uses of the stars.
Forbid that I should judge others
lest I condemn myself.
Let me not follow the clamor of
the world, but walk calmly
in my path.

Give me a few friends
who will love me for what
I am; and keep ever burning
before my vagrant steps
the kindly light of hope.

And though age and infirmity
overtake me, and I come not within
sight of the castle of my dreams,
teach me still to be thankful
for life, and for time's olden
memories that are good and
sweet; and may the evening's
twilight find me gentle still.

~ Max Ehrmann ~

(The Desiderata of Happiness)


Family of Secrets by Russ Baker


Book Bomb: Exposing the Bush Empire

After Barack Obama won the White House in 2008, many thought George Bush's political empire was over - like Darth Vader's Galactic Empire at the end of the original Star Wars.

But in last week's election, Bush's Empire Struck Back.

The "Architect" of stolen election 2010 was Karl Rove. He raised and spent hundreds of millions in secret money, sat at FOX spinning lies, and ran smear attack ads to defeat Democrats and elect a new generation of rightwing Republicans who are loyal to him.

Who is Karl Rove? The mastermind of the Bush Empire and strategist for the billionaires and bureaucrats behind it. Where did Rove's money come from? The same billionaires and bureaucrats who put the Bushes in power for 12 years - and are determined to do it again.

More: http://www.democrats.com/book-bomb-exposing-the-bush-empire

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In war, truth is the first casualty. ~ Aeschylus

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

One isn't necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest. ~ Maya Angelou

“Obama’s Wars”: The Real Story Bob Woodward Won’t Tell




Just one year before the publication of “Obama’s Wars,” Bob Woodward became a player in his own book-in-progress. He morphed into his true identity: Warrior Bob. Actually, there’s an even deeper persona, Agent Woodward — but we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

In June of 2009, Woodward traveled to Afghanistan with General Jim Jones, President Obama’s National Security adviser, to meet with General Stanley McChrystal, then the commander of forces there. Why did Jones allow this journalist to accompany him? Because Jones knew that Woodward could be counted on to deliver the company line — the military line. In fact, Jones was essentially Woodward’s patron.

The New Republic’s Gabriel Sherman wrote at the time that "…Jones was a guest of Woodward at his wife Elsa Walsh’s fiftieth birthday party held at Sally Quinn and Ben Bradlee’s house. He and Elsa were glued to Jones at the cocktail party before the dinner started…"

In September of last year, McChrystal (or someone close to him) leaked to Woodward a document that essentially forced President Obama’s hand. Obama wanted time to consider all options on what to do about Afghanistan. But the leak, publicizing the military’s “confidential” assertion that a troop increase was essential, cast the die, and Obama had to go along. Nobody was happier than the Pentagon — and, it should be said, its allies in the vast military contracting establishment.


**************

... And so things will continue, same as they ever were. Endless war, no substantive reforms. Unless we wake up to our own victimhood. ~ Russ Baker

Violence can only be concealed by a lie, and the lie can only be maintained by violence. ~ Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

To tell the truth is revolutionary. ~ Antonio Gramsci