Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Oh, and another Nutball to visit

Love this one. Ohio Neocon is well worth the visit. He's new, he's straight-faced, and he's gonna be hilarious.

How did we get here?

An Iranian blogger that I like, Naj, of Neo-Resistance, has a long post about an article by R. K. Ramazani called "An Iran-US Partnership: Thinking the Unthinkable. Professor Ramazani writes "Anti-Iran hawks will be horrified at the idea to partner with Iran against al-Qaida. Iran’s ties to Hezbollah and Hamas, they will claim, establish Iran and al-Qaida as woven from the same terrorist cloth.

But such charges gravely distort reality. There is no such a thing as good and bad terrorism; terrorism kills and maims innocent civilians, regardless of the cause. But failure to grasp the importance of conflicts between al-Qaida and Iran benefits al-Qaida and blinds us to common American and Iran-ian interests in the peace, security and stability of Iraq."

If the common goal is to defeat al-Qaida, I am for it. But I fear that Bush wants to invade Iran. For the USA, it has never really been about al-Quaida; that terrorist group was a convenient excuse to invade Iraq, and will be a convenient excuse to invade Iran.

Naj's blog is quite interesting, and she speaks eloquently about looking at many sides of issues. On her homepage, she writes: "I strongly believe that the path to peace crosses through the battle with self."

In my own battle with self, I am struggling with the moral disintegration of my country's government. I struggle with it because there is a part of me that believes nothing has changed, despite all the facts of the last six years of Bush's regime. Our Constitution has been rendered nothing more than a useless piece of paper. We live in a climate of fear: fear of an unseen "enemy" and fear of attacks that may or may not happen, depending on the needs of our President. Is that too cynical, even for me?

Why does Lindsay Lohan make front page news? Why does anyone give a rat's ass about Paris Hilton? How can we have a climate where people become famous for being famous, yet we can't afford our prescription medicines? Why do I wonder if I am doing enough, if I could do more, to try and heal what's wrong?

In sobriety, I know that all I really can control are my own actions. I can vote, I can speak out, I can live my life according to a code of ethics that matters, I can be of maximum service to those around me. I can be an example of what I want to see in the world. But is this enough?

So one more time, I wonder: how did we get here?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Tuesday Topics - Summer of Love, 40 years later

It was to be a "Gathering of the Tribes." The Human Be-In featured Timothy Leary, Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder, Richard (Ram Dass) Alpert, Dick Gregory, Lenore Kandel, Jerry Ruben, and All SF Rock Bands January 14, 1967, 1 to 5 pm in Golden Gate Park. 30,000 people showed up. Thus began the Summer of Love.

It was a nano-second in a decade of turmoil. For those of us who came of age in the sixties, this is what we faced: racism; sexism; class differences; political upheavel; the assassinations of President Kennedy, Senator Robert F. Kennedy, and Martin Luther King, Jr.; televised nightly body counts of soldiers killed in action in Viet Nam.

We got high to expand our consciousness - turning on, tuning in, and dropping out until drugs became so commonplace that it was easier than going drinking. Then we just got high. We just turned on and dropped out.

By my freshman year of college, 1967, 400,000 troops had been sent to Viet Nam. We watched Buddhist monks self-immolate as a political statement about conditions in Viet Nam. North and South Viet Nam were in a Civil War, and our Government had chosen sides. We burned draft cards. Our young men moved to Canada to avoid the draft. We lived in communes, and we had compassion. Eventually, our protests brought down a President, forcing Lyndon Johnson to not run for re-election.

Forty years later, many of us are successful, wealthy and suffer from compassion fatigue. Among my friends are Viet Nam Vets, and they suffer terribly from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. They are just finding their way into mental health programs that the government really didn't tell them about; they learn of the programs by word of mouth.

You would think that after all we went through in the Viet Nam years, our Nation and our elected leaders would have learned what paths to avoid. Apparently not, and here we are enmeshed in another Civil War, letting our soldiers kill and be killed, for nothing.

If you have not joined One Million Blogs for Peace, why not? Use your voice. Use your considerable power of conviction to bring an end to this unlawful war, and this unlawful Regime in Washington.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Memorial Day Weekend

image courtesy of Mirth:

Image courtesy of Peacechick Mary:

What we need:

Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Separation Barrier

Over at Liberally Mirth's place, a heated discussion took place about the Israel/Palestinian Conflict, specific to the so-called "Separation Barrier" which Israel is building between itself and the West Bank. Israel has the right and duty to protect its citizens from attacks. However, the building of the Separation Barrier as a means to prevent attacks inside Israel is the most extreme solution that causes the greatest harm to the local population.

B'tselem, The Israeli Information Center For Human Rights In The Occupied Territories, is an organization that was created in 1989 "to document and educate the Israeli public and policymakers about human rights violations in the Occupied Territories, combat the phenomenon of denial prevalent among the Israeli public, and help create a human rights culture in Israel."

This wall is a shonda - a shame - upon Israel, and construction must be stopped. It creates a Ghetto - something Jews are all too familiar with - and construction must be stopped. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that "All human beings are born equal in dignity and rights." This doesn't mean that some human beings are a little more equal than others. This means that ALL human beings are born equal in dignity and rights. We have our own version going up between the US/Mexican border. DBK at Blanton & Ashton's has a powerful post on Bush's fence, called "Fight The Fence", from May 22. Shame, shame on what we've become.

I tend to get very defensive when I hear (or read) non-Jews criticizing Israel; I am very much pro-Israel, but let me explain what that means. To me, and to many Jews living in, and outside, of Israel, this means that Israel above all MUST stand for human rights and dignity. Our history has been filled with being persecuted for being Jewish, and we above all must stand for human rights. Somehow, the Israeli government has taken a terrible turn and become what we should abhor, and this is not the land I lived in when I was on Kibbutz. But I want Israel to survive, to remain as a country for Jews, and to be a safe haven for Jews. The ONLY way for this to happen is to make Israel open for Palestinians, and a safe haven for Palestinians as well. To share this homeland, and to make it bloom.

How? Restore power in Gaza. Provide health and human services in Gaza and the West Bank. Establish funds for schools. Give Palestinians citizenship. Open the borders. Speak peace, be peaceful, put down the hatred and break bread.

The Israel/Palestinian Center for Research and Information's June 5th Initinative marks the 40th anniversary of the Israeli Occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. The initiative is based on the understanding that both Jews and Palestinians understand that we have no other national home; that neither side is going to leave their homes and it is past time to find a peaceful resolution to end the conflict. They refer to it as "two states, two peoples," but I would even say "ONE state, two peoples."

There are partners for peace on both sides. June 5th, 2007, will send a loud and clear message to the peoples and leaders of the region and around that world that the silent majorities of Israelis and Palestinians accept a peaceful compromise based on the 1967 borders.

The reason I become defensive, and quite hot under the collar, when I read or hear my fellow leftists criticize Israel is that I hear them call for an end of Israel as a sovereign nation. I hear the absolute pro-Palestinian stance without any reference to the illegal and unspeakable acts of terrorism the Palestinians have taken. Or, at best, acknowledging those acts but justifying them as acts of desperation.

Terrorism is never justified. Murder is never justified. Acts of civil disobedience I understand and support. But blowing up a school, absolutely not. And dissolving Israel is not a solution either. Bombing Gaza over and over is not a solution, either. The solution is in the hands of the people - Israel and Palestine - rather than in the hands of their leaders.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Friday Grandbaby Blogging

Hi everybody. I like to climb on things which I am doing right now in this picture and probably at home too because it is really fun. But anyway I am trying the potty out sometimes, and the other day my mommy was making dinner and I had no toys to play with in the kitchen so I went to the bathroom and sat down on my potty chair. My mommy didn't know where I was so she came looking and she started to laugh. So I looked up from my newspaper that I was reading the pictures in and gave her a look like "Don't you knock?" and she laughed even harder. She laughed so hard she forgot to take a picture of me reading the newspaper on my potty but she made me laugh too. Also, my baba said that she's all done with Mr. Barak Obama because he was a sissy with his vote last night waiting til it made no difference and then looking like he was all against that lilylivered bill. So she's voting for Dennis I can't spell his last name but it starts with K. I can't really spell or read anything, because I'm two. But Baba and me we like Dennis K.

Okay I'm done. Bye bye, I have to go play now.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

How did we get here?

We are at a precipice as a Nation. Is that overly optimistic? Have we already fallen over the edge into disgrace? How did we get here?

Remember when you were a student? Your teacher explains some elaborate concept or idea, and asks "are there any questions?" The response is deafening silence, even though at least one student doesn't understand. But rather than expose him or herself, that student remains silent in order to blend into the group.

According to, the largest site in the world on all aspects of how we change what others think, believe, feel and do:

"Groups all have norms of attitude and behavior which are shared and which help form the identity of the group. Adopting these norms, even if you do not agree with them, is a part of the individual sacrifice that people accept as a price of group membership. It is thus possible for groups to have norms which hardly anyone agrees with, but with which everyone conforms. These situations typically occur when the norms are older than all members of the group or when one member or a small group is dominant and can force their attitudes on the rest of the group."

Innocuous examples include office chatter - all your colleagues are chatting about American Idol, and you join in even though you think it's banal, stupid, and an assault on real music. They include Homeowner Associations (Condos) - which usually have a high level of consensus unless there is an overzealous board or a particularly contentious homeowner in the group.

This phenomena is called "pluralistic ignorance" (PI) by social psychologists. In this state of mind, people mistakenly believe their own thoughts and feelings are different from everyone around them. They look to others for cues instead of trusting their own instincts. PI is particularly disturbing when the situation involves imminent danger. When the danger appears to be ambiguous (think about the Bush rhetoric of terrorism), the social rules of belonging and acceptance trump looking different or alarmist. This also creates the "bystander" effect: people are more likely intervene in an emergency if there is nobody else watching. In a crowd, people monitor the reactions of everyone around them. If no one steps forward, the PI factor creates non-action, because the shared belief becomes that it is not necessary. Think of "gaper's blocks" on the freeway when there's been an accident on the other side.

And so here we are. I go back to September 11, 2001. I remember clearly how I sat in an AA meeting, sobbing. A friend of mine had been on American Airlines flight 11, the first plane hit the World Trade Center. A friend of mine said to me at that meeting "We have the right man for the job, don't you think?" She was referring to Bush. Horrified, I said to her "Absolutely not." And I watched as this entire circle followed her lead. Except for me. And it silenced me for a long, long time. I was new in Los Angeles, and I needed to be part of a group - but it swallowed my voice. PI swallowed my voice.

Not any more. I've been very vocal for the last couple of years, and find that I am effectively changing minds and creating action within my own circle. But this phenomena is bigger than me. It has silenced our media. It has silenced our elected Representatives, and Senators. It has silenced our students. Our nation has become riddled with fear, and fear keeps us silent as Bush grabs more and more power. Have we gone over that edge? Is there no emergency brake on this collective thinking?

My friend, the one who thought Bush was the right man, has long since changed her mind and asked me to help her become a Democrat. But I'm not sure I'm even a Democrat any longer - they've become so weak, they no longer really stand for what I believe. The issues are so huge, and who has the voice? AND the ability to change?

We did not get here overnight. If we did, McDonalds would not have sold billions and billions of burgers; we would not all have Pottery Barn furnishings in most of our homes; we would not all be seeking out the next franchise; we would not give a shit who danced with which D-list star. Who cares if Brangelina split or adopt or eat mudpies? Who really cares if TomKat divorces, or get pregnant?

Apparently, the majority of US Citizens, because despite only having a 28% approval rating, Bush has managed to railroad through some very dangerous directives. And it slipped through, with little attention to it.

So. Solutions? There is nothing better than the truth.

'You must be the change you wish to see in the world.’

— Mahatma Gandhi

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

National Continuity Policy

Anyone know how THIS hasn't received much attention? It's the National Continuity Policy, which flew in under the radar on May 9th.

The directive, signed by President Bush on May 9th, "... establishes a comprehensive national policy on the continuity of Federal Government structures and operations and a single National Continuity Coordinator responsible for coordinating the development and implementation of Federal continuity policies. This policy establishes 'National Essential Functions,' prescribes continuity requirements for all executive departments and agencies, and provides guidance for State, local, territorial, and tribal governments, and private sector organizations in order to ensure a comprehensive and integrated national continuity program that will enhance the credibility of our national security posture and enable a more rapid and effective response to and recovery from a national emergency."

This assigns sole power to the Executive Branch of government. It revokes the National Security Act of 1947 and the Presidential Decision Directive 67 of October 21, 1998 (Enduring Constitutional Government and Continuity of Government Operations), "including all Annexes thereto".

And it effectively allows Bush to seize complete control of all branches of government should the United States suffer a catastrophic emergency.

"Catastrophic Emergency" means any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government functions.

"Continuity of Government," or "COG," means a coordinated effort within the Federal Government's executive branch to ensure that National Essential Functions continue to be performed during a Catastrophic Emergency.

October surprise, anyone?

cross posted at The Katrinacrat

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

One Million Blogs for Peace: Tuesday Topic

The Peace symbol is 50 years old. A simple design that carries a powerful message, and it grew out of the personal despair of artist Gerald Holtom, a professional graphic designer who had been commissioned by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in 1957 to design their logo.

The source of the logo is a semaphore for the letters Nuclear and Disarmament, but also it’s a self portrait. Holtom said: "I was in despair. Deep despair. I drew myself: the representative of an individual in despair, with hands palm outstretched outwards and downwards in the manner of Goya’s peasant before the firing squad. I formalised the drawing into a line and put a circle round it.”

Although specifically designed for the anti-nuclear movement it has never been copyrighted. No one has to pay or to seek permission before they use it. A symbol of freedom, it is free for anyone to use, to display proudly.

I realize that this isn't the topic posted over at One Million Blogs for Peace, but this symbol, this simple symbol is universally a statement of peace. It crosses every language barrier. It crosses every religious barrier. When I see a Peace Symbol, I feel connected to a greater good. In the '60s, it was everywhere. We need to show it everywhere again.

Read more about the history here and get your own.

If you haven't signed up for One Million Blogs for Peace, you can do so HERE.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Nominate Pete Seeger for a Nobel Prize

There is a petition to nominate Pete Seeger for a Nobel Prize. Pete has been a tireless crusader for peace, social justice, and tolerance for his lifetime. As a member of the Weavers, he and the group were blacklisted during the McCarthy paranoia, and it was many years before Pete would appear on television as a result of that blacklist. When I was a young girl, trying to buy a guitar, I wrote him a letter seeking advice. He answered, hand-written in a rather elegant script, telling me the various things I should look for - and suggested a smaller, less expensive choice since I was only 13 years old and didn't know if I would like the guitar.

The campaign for Pete's nomination for a Nobel Prize will go on for a year, hoping to influence the committee for the 2008 nominations. You can sign it HERE.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

(Didn't Know I Was) Unamerican

Check out this blog

Some of you may wonder why I have Cheney's the Man listed on my blogroll. No, I don't support Dick Cheney. I want to see him, and Bush, impeached and tried on war crimes internationally. But I do think that it is important to read what Cheney's one and only supporter has to say. It will make you loathe Dick Cheney even more, and really, the blog is good for a laugh.

On today's post, Richard Bruce shows the aft end of a horse riding a horse.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Biopsy results on a soft news day

I hate not having 100% good health.
I hate having Fibromyalgia.
I hate going to doctors, getting poked, scanned, x-rayed and tested.

But having done all that, this is what's up:
The biopsy on my liver showed a bit of fibrosis on the liver, and minimal shrinkage of the bile ducts. This is good news, because although it could not difinitavely rule out PBC, if that's what it is it is in such an early stage that I will respond well to the medication. So I am now on Urso 250 and Urso 500 Forte - synthetic bile - to keep my liver healthy. I am now on Lipitor for the cholesterol - and even though my GOOD Cholesterol (HDL) is outstanding, my bad Cholesterol (LDL) is too high to manage with diet and exercise. I need to get that down from 173 to around 100 - 115. All these things contribute to the chronic pain of Fibro, but, if they are managed, I should be able to manage the Fibro without having to go on pain medication. So I am exercising, and eating healthily, and feeling really relieved. And I'm sneaking this in on a Saturday because everyone should be out in the nice Spring weather, having fun and NOT reading this self indulgent drivel about me.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Friday Grandbaby Blogging

When my baba visited me in March for my birthday we went to the park every day because I love to go swing and I love to go to the pool for my swimming class too. This is me swinging, not swimming. They sound a little bit alike but I have to wear clothes when I swing and I wear a swimming suit when I go to the pool. Pool pool pool pool pool. The other day I told my mommy "uh-oh, pee pee" and pulled at my diaper. So she went to change me, but my diaper was dry and then I went pee-pee on the floor but we were in the bathroom and she said it was okay and she went to clean it up and she was happy I told her but then I sat down on my potty and said "pee pee" again and she thought I was just so cute but I really went pee pee in my potty chair too. Mommy was so happy, and she hugged me and that made me happy too. It was my first time using my potty chair and really going pee pee and telling somebody before I had to go. Grownups get so happy about it and they hug me a lot.

Okay, and this is a picture of a binky. My uncle used to have two, and my mommy like to suck her fingers instead. But I like my binky.

Okay I have to go play now. I go to day care three days a week and today is one of those days and we play and I have to nap and I don't like naptime there because they don't always let me suck on my binky but I don't cry anymore. Bye bye.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Yolanda King, May her Memory be for a Blessing

Nov. 17, 1955 - May 15, 2007

They say deaths come in threes. That some people are forever linked in death in ways they were not linked in life. So I wonder: did Yolanda King die on Tuesday in order to teach Jerry Falwell a message of peace, love and tolerance in an afterlife?

She was the eldest child of Dr. Martin Luther King, of whom she told the New York Daily News in 1996: "My father was bigger than life, an entity and everyone expected us, as his offspring, to be saintettes, these little carbon copies. They're pleasantly surprised that I'm just really down-to-earth, open." She was born two weeks before Rosa Parks, in a quiet act of courage, refused to stand so a white man could sit on a bus.

Yolanda's life was shaped by her father's legacy. She lived the Civil Rights movement, and she carried on as a motivational speaker and actor. In a statement, the King family called her an "advocate for peace and nonviolence, who was known and loved for her motivational and inspirational contributions to society."

So this week, we see the deaths of someone who thrived on teaching hate, ignorance, and intolerance with Jerry Falwell; and someone who taught, and lived, a life of peace and tolerance and love with Yolanda King. Here is a woman who lived with dignity and grace; it shows in her face. It shows in her actions. Let her be my example, let her be my teacher.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Jerry Falwell dead at 73

Jerry Falwell died yesterday. He was co-founder of the "Moral Majority," which was neither. He brought the religious right into Politics. And here is his real legacy: Three of the Republican Candidates for President do not believe in evolution. That's right. Candidates Huckabee, Brownback and Tancredo reject evolution. The others seem to feel it's okay to teach both evolution and "intelligent design."

This is Falwell's true legacy: the embracing of ignorance.

cross posted at The Fat Lady Sings

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Tuesday Topic: One Million Blogs for Peace

More foreign soldiers have now been killed in Iraq than were killed in the 9/11 attacks. While there are obvious distinctions in the manner of death and status of the dead (civilian vs. military), the fact remains that each dead person leaves a gaping and torturous hole in the world of the people they leave behind.

Could you imagine politicians leveling the same rhetoric against the Iraq War that was leveled against 9/11?

Do you feel that those responsible for perpetrating the war have any sense of this responsibility they bear?

Those are the questions raised today at One Million Blogs for Peace. Well, apparently the neoconservatives who have hijacked don't have any remorse. In an article in "The American Conservative" on June 30th, 2003, John Laughland refers to Michael Ledeen, leading neocon theoretician, expert on Machiavelli, holder of the Freedom Chair at the American Enterprise Institute, regular columnist for National Review—and the principal cheerleader today for an extension of the war on terror to include regime change in Iran. Laughland quotes from Ledeen's book, The War Against the Terror Masters:

Creative destruction is our middle name, both within our own society and abroad. We tear down the old order every day, from business to science, literature, art, architecture, and cinema to politics and the law. Our enemies have always hated this whirlwind of energy and creativity, which menaces their traditions (whatever they may be) and shames them for their inability to keep pace. Seeing America undo traditional societies, they fear us, for they do not wish to be undone. They cannot feel secure so long as we are there, for our very existence—our existence, not our politics—threatens their legitimacy. They must attack us in order to survive, just as we must destroy them to advance our historic mission.

These architects of war relish in the destruction of everything and anyone they deem "other" - anyone not Neocon. Anyone not White and American. They are not Conservatives, they are the radical right. They have hijacked not only The United States, they've hijacked the Republican Party. And, in case Cheney08 wants to pipe up here, his boy Dick Cheney is one of the architects of the destruction the Neoconservatives cherish.

So, no. I don't believe that the neocons who have orchestrated the war in Iraq have any sense of the responsibility they bear. They think they are right, and justified, and on a holy mission. They are exactly the same as ANYONE so filled with hate that they would destroy what is different from themselves. The neocons are just like Saadam Hussein; they are just like Hezbollah; they are just like the late Mullah Dadullah; they are just like Adolph Hitler. They are evil, cruel beyond conscience. They love war and hate peace.

On Sunday night, I watched The Sopranos. In this 4th to last episode, Tony kills his nephew Christopher. And I finally see that this show is a microcosm of our current government. Creative destruction indeed.

I am angry. I am outraged that my country, my home, has been hijacked by evil and we stood by and let it happen. On September 11, 2001, we were anesthetized by what the Neocons deemed a lucky act. And now we are a nation being ripped apart by the administration's evil.

I stand for peace. But I am outraged. Our voices will get stronger. Join One Million Blogs for Peace. Be the change you want to see in the world.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Congressman Ron Paul, MD (R-TX): We've been Neo-Conned

Big thank you to PeaceChick Mary for providing the link to Congressman Paul's 2003 speech before Congress. It is found over at Calgary 9/11 Truth, and it's the speech that the mainstream media does not want you to see.

I'll tell you this: it is just over 51 minutes, and he's not a compelling speaker. But what he says, what he identifies, is compelling. Congressman Paul frequently quotes Michael Ledeen, a current leader of the neoconservative movement to underscore how dangerous the Neoconservative movement is. He quotes Ledeen here about war: “Creative destruction…both within our own society and abroad…(foreigners) seeing America undo traditional societies may fear us, for they do not wish to be undone.” Amazingly, Ledeen concludes: “They must attack us in order to survive, just as we must destroy them to advance our historic mission.”

Congressman Paul says, "If those words don’t scare you, nothing will. If they are not a clear warning, I don’t know what could be. It sounds like both sides of each disagreement in the world will be following the principle of preemptive war. The world is certainly a less safe place for it."

Paul says that war is an essential part of the Neocon philosophy. Again, quoting Ledeen: “…peace increases our peril by making discipline less urgent, encouraging some of our worst instincts, in depriving us of some of our best leaders.”

Congressman Paul shows repeatedly how the Neocons believe that mankind is essentialy evil, and must be led by a strong leader - lied to, even when not necessary - and that Civil Liberties are a threat to us. He shows us how the Neocons believe we must have a "Christian God", a theocracy, in order to maintain a strong state. Again, quoting Ledeen: “Dying for one’s country doesn’t come naturally. Modern armies, raised from the populace, must be inspired, motivated, indoctrinated. Religion is central to the military enterprise, for men are more likely to risk their lives if they believe they will be rewarded forever after for serving their country.” Congressman Paul, a Conservative, asks how this differs from an Islamic Jihadist? He asks, and I agree. How do the Neocons differ from their "enemies?"

This is from the full transcript of Paul's speech:
This country still allows open discourse – though less everyday – and we who disagree should push the discussion and expose those who drive our policies. It is getting more difficult to get fair and balanced discussion on the issues, because it has become routine for the hegemons to label those who object to preemptive war and domestic surveillance as traitors, unpatriotic and un-American. The uniformity of support for our current foreign policy by major and cable-news networks should concern every American. We should all be thankful for C-SPAN and the Internet.

If you can't maintain the patience to listen to the entire speech, then read the full transcript. Put it on your blog. Get his message out there, because it is hard to find, and needs to be heard. Congressman Paul is running for President as a Republican; he clearly feels his party, and our Nation, have been hijacked.

Let's all pay attention!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mothers Day

Today, my day began with a phone call from my daughter which was exhausting. A liteny of "who is the matter with her", and I just could not listen to it. It was as follows: "Hi Mom. Happy Mother's Day. Whine whine whine whine me me me me me." I was less than warm and cuddly. In the background, Beanie was playing with her doggie, and laughing. I wanted to listen to Beanie laugh, because SHE is what is right with the world.

Then I did laundry. I don't know about you, but I love the smell of fresh laundry out of the dryer. I have always loved that smell - when I was a girl at overnight camp, we all had to be on "crews" and the one everyone seemed to hate was Laundry - I volunteered, and was on it, three years in a row - I LOVED it. I know, I'm a bit daft.

And then to the Farmer's Market. Today the peaches were coming in - and cherries, and tons of strawberries - yum. Nothing like fresh vegetables and fruits from the local farmers. Almost all organic. Yum.

And then, and then, a little before one, to the Korean Friendship Bell to stand for five minutes in silence for peace.

Today is a perfect Los Angeles day: sun is shining, not too hot, not too cold - clear, except over Catalina Island which is still completely shrouded in smoke from the fire that nearly destroyed Avalon. I stood silently for five minutes, and considered this: if I want Peace, I must be at peace.

Across the globe, at 1 PM local time, women are standing in silence for five minutes, standing for peace. This energy is being put out into the universe, and I believe at core that we will have an effect.

How was your mother's day?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Paying too much at the pump?

hat tip to Kvatch for raising the question

Bush Tries to Console Tornado Victims

In a rare moment of astute awareness, Mr. Bush said it's a damn good thing these people got basements and took to 'em. But he chastized those people who either didn't have basements or didn't get to their basement in time. He went on to say "Them ijits who didn't get into a basement got themselves kilt by this big Tornado."

When asked why he was there, Bush said he came to Kansas to tour the wreckage in the hopes that he could “touch somebody’s soul by representing our country.”

Huh? I always thought that a President visited a disaster area to assess damage and to help expidite recovery by mustering the National Guard. But Bush did promise Gov. Kathleen Sebelius that he would “get whatever help is appropriate here … as quickly as possible.” Sorta like he did along the Gulf Coast and New Orleans two years ago, right? Heckuva job, Brownie.

“I don’t think there is any question that if you are missing trucks, Humvees and helicopters that the response is going to be slower,” Sebelius told reporters Monday. “The real victims here will be the residents of Greensburg because the recovery will be at a slower pace.”

Meanwhile, the cost of the Iraq war has topped $424,443,928,212.00 and rising. And at home, climate related natural disasters are also on the rise: stronger and earlier tropical storms (hurricane season actually begins in June); wildfires plague bone-dry California; honeybees are dying off, affecting our food supply. I could go on, but what's the point? Our nation's resources are all tied up in Iraq - are we still looking for WMDs there? Personally, I think the Weapons of Mass Destruction are in the White House. But George W. Bush has the arrogance to think he can touch people's soul as he makes his cursory visit to Kansas.

Makes me sick.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Peace through Tourism

The International Institute for Peace Through Tourism is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to fostering and facilitating tourism initiatives which contribute to international understanding and cooperation, an improved quality of environment, the preservation of heritage, and through these initiatives, helping to bring about a peaceful and sustainable world.

It is based on a vision of the world's largest industry, travel and tourism - becoming the world's first global peace industry; and the belief that every traveler is potentially an "Ambassador for Peace."

A primary goal of IIPT is to mobilize the travel and tourism industry as a leading force for poverty reduction.

I became a travel agent in 1991. I believe strongly that travel is the first step in creating peace because it can open your heart. IIPT is the strongest organization out there to train the travel industry and the traveler on taking action to create peace. What shocks me on a daily basis is how thoughtless (without thought) so many people in my industry actually are. I believe I have an obligation to gently guide my clients to travel with a gentle heart and open eyes.

This is IIPT's Credo for the Peaceful Traveler:

Grateful for the opportunity to travel and experience the world and because peace begins with the individual, I affirm my personal responsibility and commitment to:

Journey with an open mind and gentle heart

Accept with grace and gratitude the diversity I encounter

Revere and protect the natural environment which sustains all life

Appreciate all cultures I discover

Respect and thank my hosts for their welcome

Offer my hand in friendship to everyone I meet

Support travel services that share these views and act upon them and,

By my spirit, words and actions, encourage others to travel the world in peace

cross posted at The Fat Lady Sings and The Katrinacrat

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

One Million Blogs For Peace

Describe the political and governmental format for Iraq that you feel gives Iraq its best chance at long-term peace.

What do you see as potential pitfalls of other systems?

This is an interesting topic raised by One Million Blogs For Peace for today's Tuesday Topics. My question is this: how can I, with my Western mind, presume to know what is best for a Muslim country? I know that there has to be some kind of acceptance between Sunni and Shi'a Muslims - they need to stop hating each other. But the reason we invaded Iraq in the first place was because King George presumed to know what was best for Iraq.

We can't presume to know. Or, at least, I can't.

If you haven't joined One Million Blogs For Peace, go do it now. Mention my name, you'll get a good seat.

The Montreal Wedding

First, thanks everybody for the well-wishes. It was a great mini-vacation, not work-related in any way, shape or form. I had a ball.

The groom, my cousin, is a really nice young man. He's quite intelligent, as is his bride; they are a pair of liberals, with strong political opinions. One of the guests was from the Illinois State House (a Democrat). Everyone was in a state of shock about the outcome of the French election - with murmurings of "fix" running through the group. Someone wondered if the French were using Diebold machines to count votes.

Anyway, my cousin also follows directions from the bride, her family and the Wedding Planner. The cake was gorgeous (not the one shown) - and when the time came to cut it, the WP told my cousin to cut into the bottom layer. He began - it would not give. His bride began to help. They sawed away, and finally, they cut into STYROFOAM. She fell on the floor laughing - the Wedding Planner ran over and said "NO, the bottom layer of CAKE, NOT THE BASE!" It was hilarious.

Montreal is a beautiful city - we walked at least five miles each day exploring. It is France, only closer. I feel like I've renewed.

Thursday, May 03, 2007


A real, non-work related, honest vacation.

Biopsy results can wait - don't have them, not thinking about it.

Packing with a carry-on - I am a travel professional, don't try this at home, but I can do the entire trip with a carry on - including my perfect little black dress for the wedding. I've checked the weather report (all good, not too hot, not too cold, and sunny.) Wedding gift was sent, and thank you note received.

Au revoir, see you next week.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Being good when times are bad

Last night, I attended a lecture by Professor Anthony Long. The topic, Being Good When Times Are Bad: Stoic Questions and Responses, asks crucial questions about our responsibilities as human beings.

Who are we? Indeed, who are we, and what is our profession? We are human beings, our profession is to be human. As such, we are part of a larger whole - a community. Marcus Aurelius said "If intelligence is something we share, so too is the rationality that makes us rational beings. If so, we also share the reasoning that tells us what should or should not be done. If so, we also share law. If so, we are citizens. If so, we participate in a commonwealth. If so, the entire world is a kind of community."

Apparently, the Bush Administration forgets that we participate in a commonwealth. In Stoic thought, what matters most is HOW WE TREAT OTHERS, not how they treat us. What needs to temper our actions is Compassion. A compassionate heart will respond peacefully even when hatred would be an easier option. And that is what the Bush Administration lacks: a compassionate heart.

Stoic thought contends that as human beings we need the idea of a higher being, lest we succumb to our own arrogance. And it contends that the idea of God is not the same as belief. Bush claims belief in God - that God talks to him. And in my own limited opinion, this strikes me as complete arrogance and utter disdain for the idea of a higher being. Who is Bush to have a direct pipeline to a God? He's nothing more than a hateful bigot who spreads fear; who lies when the truth would be easier. He fuels a climate of fear and he surrounds himself with like-minded people lacking in compassion. And so we have been brought to the edge of disaster.

Earl at The Peace Train posted this powerful video in response to a thread over there - and it needs to be seen.

Yesterday was the fourth anniversary of Bush's "Mission Accomplished" moment. What, what, what have we accomplished?

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Please call Speaker Pelosi's office

House Speaker Pelosi's office is taking calls voting for Impeachment of Bush/Cheney at 202-225-0100.

This is the full body of an email I received this morning:

"Sparked by an insurgency among delegates,the California Democratic Party has taken
an historic step forward on the issue of impeachment. In a resolution affirmed by
the full state party convention Sunday, the Democrats called on the U.S. Congress to use its subpoena power to investigate misdeeds of President Bush and Vice President Cheney – and to hold the Administration accountable “with appropriate remedies and
punishment, including impeachment.” The delegate insurgency was coordinated by PDA and our allies.

While Speaker Pelosi had declared impeachment “off the table,” the Democratic Party rank-and-file has demonstrated its commitment to putting the issue “on” the
table. And it’s no longer just the rank-and-file: Even among the members of the
convention’s Resolutions Committee (appointed by the California Party chair),
the impeachment resolution was the top vote-getter (tied with one other resolution).
Please continue to support our efforts nation-wide, by making a quick donation:


Coming on the heels of mass actions and resolutions across the country in support of
impeachment, and Congressman Dennis Kucinich’s introduction of Articles of
Impeachment against Cheney, this action by the powerful California Democratic Party
builds on the pro-impeachment momentum.

The resolution refers to Bush and Cheney having acted in a manner “subversive of the
Constitution” by. . .

1) using false information to justify the invasion of Iraq

2) authorizing “the torture of prisoners of war”

3) “authorizing wiretaps on U.S. citizens without obtaining a warrant”

4) “disclosing the name of an undercover CIA operative”

5) suspending “the historic Writ of Habeas Corpus by ordering the indefinite detention of so-called enemy combatants”

6) “signing statements used to ignore or circumvent portions of over 750
Congressional statutes”

The resolution ends by calling for “vigorous investigation” and “appropriate remedies and punishment, including impeachment.” (Read the resolution)

This was an example of the Party grassroots speaking its mind, and the Party officials responding to the call. This action represents the successful culmination of PDA’s one-month, eleven-city barnstorming tour across California – aimed at putting impeachment and ending the occupation of Iraq at the top of the Party’s agenda.

Thanks to all your help and support - we really are making a difference!

In Solidarity,
Tim Carpenter

Progressive Democrats of America is a grassroots PAC that works both inside the
Democratic Party and outside in movements for peace and justice. Our goal: Extend the victory of Nov. 2006 into a permanent,progressive majority. PDA’s advisory board
includes six members of Congress and activist leaders such as Tom Hayden, Cindy
Sheehan, Medea Benjamin and Rev. Lennox Yearwood. More info: PDAmerica.

Full Text of the Resolution"