Thursday, March 31, 2016

Bernie Sanders Is Not Campaigning Against a Republican Or a Democrat


May more and more of us become aware of the bigger picture behind the one we see, then the larger picture beyond that, and on and on. There are so many layers, so much depth, so much opportunity in the change that is birthing itself now, in these times. Because more and more of us are finding courage deep inside ourselves. And waking up.

Bless us all ~ Molly 
 

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Carlos Santana: The Most Valuable Possession


The most valuable possession you can own is an open heart. 
The most powerful weapon you can be is an instrument of peace.
 
- Carlos Santana

Tariq Ali: The Tension That Lies At the Heart of a Capitalistic Democracy


To fight tyranny and oppression by using tyrannical and oppressive means, to combat a single-minded and ruthless fanaticism by becoming equally fanatical and ruthless, will not further the cause of justice or bring about a meaningful democracy. It can only prolong the cycle of violence...

The main implication is a remapping of the world in line with American policy and American interests. Natural resources are limited, and the United States wants to make sure that its own population is kept supplied. The principle effect of this will be for the United States to control large parts of the oil which the world possesses...
  
The function of a bourgeois democracy is to secure the consent of the masses to their own exploitation and oppression...

This is the permanent tension that lies at the heart of a capitalist democracy and is exacerbated in times of crisis. In order to ensure the survival of the richest, it is democracy that has to be heavily regulated rather than capitalism.

- Tariq Ali

The Smart Con: Clinton vs. Trump

Trump’s outlandishness may get more press but Clinton’s 
intelligence act might be just as dangerous

If Clinton "is really the most experienced and informed candidate," asks Bloom, "than why has she shown such consistently poor judgment when it mattered?" (Photo: Ronald Woan/flickr/cc)

Even in the face of Bernie Sanders recent blowout victories, the pundits continue to proclaim that the 2016 presidential race is now firmly between Secretary Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. The stakes of this contest supposedly go far beyond conventional partisanship. It is a struggle for the soul of American politics, pitting principled – yet “boring” – moderation against an alluring but profoundly dangerous extremism.
Indeed, as the general election season approaches, the main storyline seems to be whether a “boring” policy wonk can defeat an inciting demagogue. Clinton is portrayed as above all informed and reasonable. Trump, by contrast, is lambasted as ignorant and irrational.
At least for Trump, some have come to wonder whether this is more caricature than reality. Is it all an act that stirs up the crowds but masks a genuine streak of thoughtfulness and knowledge? Whether this is true or not, of course, hardly justifies his populist appeal to racism and xenophobia.
However, it is telling that remarkably fewer voices have asked if Clinton’s widespread depiction as the most informed candidate is also being propagated to similar political effect? Undoubtedly, the Secretary is quite well-versed on the issues. Still does her moderate veneer mask a less knowledgeable and more extreme agenda than is popularly assumed?

Clinton’s Intelligence Act

The idea that Clinton is the most informed candidate has been repeated so much and with such conviction that it is now almost unconsciously accepted without question. She is seen as not only having vast experience but also a deep understanding of the country’s problems along with a well thought out set of policy solutions ready to address them.
"Undoubtedly, the Secretary is quite well-versed on the issues. Still does her moderate veneer mask a less knowledgeable and more extreme agenda than is popularly assumed?"
Clinton and her campaign, for their part, have increasingly drawn on this reputation for expertise as part of its public pitch to voters. The former first lady, Senator and Secretary of State admits that she is “not a natural politician”. She claims though that she makes up for this lack of charisma by her exceptional competency once she is given the job.
Her opponents are portrayed by comparison as unwitting idealists – as is the case with Sanders – or willfully ignorant manipulators in the mode of Trump. Clinton stands out for her “hardheaded realism” and erudition. Even if one disagrees with her positions, it is seemingly impossible to argue with the idea that they are unsubstantiated or not based on evidence.
This perception is implicitly challenged by the fact that her views seem to be consistently changing. She has famously “evolved” on LGTB rights and now decries the racially charged strategies of mass incarceration that she once vigorously promoted. The same holds true for economic issues like free trade and environmental ones such as the keystone pipeline.
A charitable reading of these substantial policy shifts would be to say that her opinions change as she learns more about a subject. Yet there is a worrying and far to common to be mere coincidental trend that these adaptations adhere to whatever is politically popular at the moment rather than informed principle.
Moreover, the sharp discrepancy between perception and reality raises broader questions regarding the degree to which this reputation for policy acumen is political theater as much as it is fact.

Extremely (mis)informed

There are far worse political sins, of course, then exaggerating your strengths. And it is not mutually exclusive to conclude that Clinton is both extremely informed and driven by an overriding desire to win elections. Still it presents voters with a potentially skewed version of her credentials and the credibility of her stated positions.
Most notably, it justifies a rather narrow reform agenda as being “pragmatic” rather than guided by special interests. Her rejection of free college tuition and single payer health care are seen as the result of a deep study of the issue as opposed to her ties to the health care lobby and for profit colleges, respectively.
It leaves these arguably quite realistic proposals seem not only politically inexpedient but fundamentally unviable. It is a picture that Clinton works hard to perpetuate. Her attacks against Sanders idealism are reminiscent of those she leveled at Obama in 2008 when shemockingly declared
    “Let's just get everybody together. Let's get unified. The sky will open. The light will come down. Celestial choirs will be singing, and everyone will know we should do the right thing and the world will be perfect.”
This now well-trodden narrative is especially problematic in the present campaign. Her opponent Bernie Sanders has directly questioned her judgment, noting that despite having the same information as lawmakers she was as disastrously wrong about Iraq as he was presciently correct.

Published on Monday, March 28, 2016 by Common Dreams

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

May Sarton: If We Are To Understand the Human Condition


If we are to understand the human condition, and if we are to accept ourselves in all the complexity, self-doubt, extravagance of feeling, guilt, joy, the slow freeing of the self to its full capacity for action and creation, both as human being and as artist, we have to know all we can about each other, and we have to be willing to go naked.
 
- May Sarton
 

May Sarton: Like a Tree That Sows Seed Every Spring


I would like to believe when I die that I have given myself away 
like a tree that sows seed every spring and never counts 
the loss, because it is not loss, it is adding to future life. 
It is the tree's way of being. Strongly rooted perhaps, 
but spilling out its treasure on the wind.
 
- May Sarton 



May Sarton: Without Darkness


Without darkness, nothing comes to birth, 
As without light, nothing flowers.
 
- May Sarton

Monday, March 28, 2016

Eve Ensler: Let Donald Trump Be Our Unifier

This presidential election is America's reckoning. What mighty love will we
summon to ensure the ending of this violence, this hate?

What is America? What kind of country do we want this to be? What values and principles do we hold and cherish?’ Photograph: Pacific Pre/Rex/Shutterstock
 By Eve Ensler
Donald Trump is not a leader or a presidential candidate. He is an outcome, a viral manifestation of a serious malignant illness. He is the mirror of our emptiness, the emptying out that has been happening to our country for a very long time.
He is an outcome of a two-party system that has consistently ignored the needs and wishes of the majority of Americans for generations.
He is the manifestation of celebrity culture where those that have everything are worshipped for their shiny success and in the world of celebrity that shininess is a stand in for principles, substance and moral values.
He is personality over planning, symbol over substance, insipidness over insightfulness.
He is the outcome of the rich being able to buy anything, including our democracy.
He is an outcome of centuries of underlying unaddressed, massively denied and metastasized racism.
He is the hatred of the poor and the needy, the denigration of immigrants and those seeking refuge from the devastation of US wars and imperialism.
He is the outcome of an insidious exceptionalism – the bedrock belief that American lives are more precious and valuable than any Others, those that we stigmatize, bomb, torture, murder, control, invade and whose economies we trash, whose resources we devour, whose futures we steal.
He is the outcome of fear which masquerades as bullying.
He is the manifestation of patriarchy and the endlessly indoctrinated belief that only a father will save us even though the mainly men who have been determining reality for this country and the planet have led us to near ruin.
He is the outcome of high tech fantasy, virtual disconnection, TV reality shows.
He is proof of the duplicity of corporate sponsored media that claim “neutrality” while reaping profits from propping up racists, tyrants, fascists, haters and those that would seek to destroy the country.
He is the outcome of an insanely violent culture, increasingly unkind with more bullying, that normalizes cruelty, industrializes punishment and declares endless war on its own citizens.
He is the consolidation of a government that devotes huge portions of its budget to building an imperial military rather than feeding and educating its own people, that wreaks havoc on the world rather than fighting climate change, that promotes the pillaging of the earth rather than ending violence against the people who inhabit it, that forces working people to police the world rather than providing them with meaningful work.
He is the product of a country with the most number of armed citizens in the world, where the average of 89 firearms for every 100 people leads to more deaths at the hands of fellow countrymen every year than international terrorists have killed ever.
He is the outcome of a country where police consistently murder Black women and men with little to no repercussions and millions are living in perpetual incarceration.
He is the outcome of corrupt, self-seeking, extremist politicians who ignore the constitution and make it their business to refuse any meaningful legislation from getting passed.
He is the outcome of an insidious, selfish morality where getting what you want, making money at any expense is the credo and how we behave, who we hurt, or destroy, what earth we eviscerate is inconsequential.
He is the holographic representation of the failure of a country, our denial, our refusal to act and rise for each other and to take responsibility for what our government, corporations, military are doing across the world.
He is a symptom of what happens when collective consciousness has divided and subdivided so many times within this neoliberal psychosis that we no longer know how to make alliances, build coalitions and have each other’s backs or stand with each other when the going gets rough.
He is an outcome of a country with denial as thick as its amnesia. We come to honor and idolize war criminals and racists and sexists and corporates who’ve destroyed the lives of millions.
He is an outcome of years and years of each of us being taught to fend for ourselves, fight for our own share, step over those who we are told are slower or weaker but who may in fact be deeper, more moral or more considered.
He is an outcome of a world divided between winners and losers.
He is an outcome of fatigue and privilege and disenchantment and hopelessness and exclusion.
He is an outcome of cynicism and an imposed belief that there is nothing we can really do to overcome this corporate neoliberal imperialist racist sexist homphobic earth-hating transphobic system.
The moment of America has arrived. This is our reckoning, our karma come to roost. It is way beyond the question of who we vote for in the upcoming election.
It is a question of who we are. What is America? What kind of country do we want this to be? What values and principles do we hold and cherish?
What will we do and what lengths will we go to, what collective imagination will we employ, what mighty love will we summon to ensure the ending of this violence, this hate, this destruction of our mother earth, this grotesque inequality of wealth, this mad and ferocious drive to our end?
Here’s what Donald Trump is not:
He is not us.
He is not all of us.
He is not the best of us.
He is not inevitable.
Let us take Trump at his word. Let him be our Unifier.
**************

May Sarton: 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
  

Grace Lee Boggs: We Can Grow Our Souls


I think people are really looking for some way whereby we can grow our souls rather than our economy. I think that at some level, people recognize that growing our economy is destroying us. It's destroying us as human beings, it's destroying our planet. I think there's a great human desire for solutions, for profound solutions - and that nothing simple will do it. It really requires some very great searching of our souls.

- Grace Lee Boggs
 

Grace Lee Boggs: To Make a Revolution


To make a revolution, people must not only struggle against existing 
institutions. They must make a philosophical/ spiritual leap and 
become more 'human' human beings. In order to change/ transform 
the world, they must change/ transform themselves.
 
- Grace Lee Boggs

Assata Shakur: It's Not Enough Just To Change the System


We need to be weapons of mass construction, 
weapons of mass love. It's not enough just to change 
the system. We need to change ourselves.
 
- Assata Shakur 
 

Angela Davis: Democracy Needs To Be Emancipated From Capitalism


I believe profoundly in the possibilities of democracy, but democracy needs to be emancipated from capitalism. As long as we inhabit a capitalist democracy, a future of racial equality, gender equality, economic equality will elude us.

- Angela Davis

Angela Davis: You Have To Act As If

 
You have to act as if 
it were possible to radically transform the world. 
And you have to do it all the time.
 
- Angela Davis
 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Mary Oliver: Spring


Spring
   
Somewhere
a black bear
has just risen from sleep
and is staring
 
down the mountain.
All night
in the brisk and shallow restlessness
of early spring
 
I think of her,
her four black fists
flicking the gravel,
her tongue
 
like a red fire
touching the grass,
the cold water.
There is only one question:
 
how to love this world.
I think of her 
rising
like a black and leafy ledge
 
to sharpen her claws against 
the silence
of the trees.
Whatever else
 
my life is
with its poems
and its music
and its cities,
 
it is also this dazzling darkness
coming 
down the mountain,
breathing and tasting;
 
all day I think of her –
her white teeth,
her wordlessness,
her perfect love.
 
- Mary Oliver

e. e. cummings: The First Step To Expanding Your Reality


The first step to expanding your reality is to discard the 
tendency to exclude things from possibility.
 
- e. e. cummings 
 

David Bowie: Aging Is An Extraordinary Process


It takes courage  
to grow up and become 
who you really are.
 
- e. e. cummings