Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Innocent Blood on the Ice

Canada's annual seal hunt is set to begin at the end of next month. An estimated 300,000 baby seals will be shot and bludgeoned to death for
their fur by fishermen.

Take action!


In just a few weeks, the largest commercial slaughter of marine mammals is set to begin on the ice off Canada's East Coast.

By the end of the hunt, it's predicted that more than 300,000 seals will be clubbed or shot to death by Canadian fishermen seeking to pick up a
few extra dollars by selling their fur.

Almost all of these seals will be babies - some as young as 12 days old.

Last year, The Humane Society of the United States documented the carnage firsthand and what they saw was shocking: Most of these baby seals were cut open while they were conscious and still struggling.

While most Canadians surveyed are against the hunt, the Canadian government and fishing industry refuse to end it.

But this year, there is new hope on the ice. Canada recently elected a new prime minister. With enough public support, there's a good chance they may end this terrible hunt forever.

Tell Canada's new Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, that you do not support the annual slaughter of seals for their fur. Join The Humane Society of the United States in fighting to end the seal hunt now and forever by signing the petition!

It's time to stop this horrific cruelty against Canada's seals...Are you with me?

Lauren Alvarez
Care2 and ThePetitionSite Team

The Cost of Republican Corruption

A letter from Rep. Louise M. Slaughter:

Last week, my office from the House Rules Committee released a report, America for Sale: The Cost of Republican Corruption , which explains how the Republican culture of corruption is harming our country. For the first time, this report tries to quantify the damage the Republican Congress and Bush White House have inflicted on our country. It shows how the harmful policies Republicans have passed into law over the past few years are the result of a corrupt process that gives "K Street Project" lobbyists [corporations] more power to shape legislation...

I urge you to read this report, and share it with your family, friends, and neighbors who might not be as politically plugged in as you. Invite
them to read this important report today by using this link:

They have a right to know that their government is working on behalf of the special interests, not the public interest. Our report clearly demonstrates that when the GOP Congressional leaders allow Republican lobbyists to set the agenda and write the bills, the American people suffer the consequences. While the special interests walk away with billions of dollars in tax breaks, subsidies, and federal contracts, Americans must live with the bad laws this system produces. The political corruption we associate with now-notorious figures such as Duke Cunningham and Jack Abramoff comes at a very real cost to each and every one of us.

"America for Sale" explains in detail how, under the control of the Republican party:

14.2 million American seniors (including millions of our sickest and most vulnerable) are stuck in a complicated, expensive, and inefficient Medicare prescription drug program. This is because the Republican Congress and the Bush Administration allowed lobbyists from the insurance and pharmaceutical industries to design this program.

Sixty million American families who heat with natural gas and eight million who heat with heating oil are paying higher bills this winter,even though the Republican Congress recently passed their "national energy plan" into law. Although this plan gives the energy industry billions in new tax breaks and subsidies, it doesn't lower prices for consumers or make our country more energy independent.

The 150,000 U.S. troops currently deployed in Iraq do not have the equipment that they need because of waste, fraud and cronyism by the Republican Congress. While Halliburton and other companies with Republican connections get their contracts, our soldiers still don't have the body armor and armored vehicles they need to fight the war.

Seven hundred fifty thousand households in the Gulf regions are still displaced today, more than five months after Hurricane Katrina hit that region. This is so at least in part because the political hacks that the Bush Administration put in charge of crucial homeland security were not adequately prepared to respond to this disaster.

More than ten million students and their families will have larger student loans to repay. This serious disabling of education occurred because House Republicans, led by John Boehner, working hand-in-hand with his commercial-loan industry allies, cut twelve billion dollars from the student loan program.

These are just some of the examples from the report which shows how the recent unprecedented, subversion of our legislative process and federal government is not simply an "inside the beltway" problem.

Thank you again for all you do to restore faith in our democracy.

In Solidarity,

Rep. Louise M. Slaughter

Sunday, February 26, 2006

"Weight of the Soul"?


Some empirical observations imply that there is a weight loss at the time of death. Some have said this is a few ounces (figures vary). But this in no way reflects the "weight" of the soul. The soul is intangible and possesses no physical attributes such as weight. In fact, the soul is a deep level of mind, even deeper than the personal unconscious. So, then, what is the source of this weight loss? At times it may have been due to imprecise measurements. There might also have been other factors, but I am not qualified to pass scientific judgments on these technical matters. But I do not believe that the weight-experiment is replicable; therefore it is not "scientific."

Stop Billions in Medicare Spending Cuts

Does George Bush really expect American seniors, and other Americans, to sacrifice desperately needed medical supplies so that he can continue to finance his obscene war? He has already murdered 100,000 innocent Iraqis. Isn't that enough to satisfy his bloodlust and his greed or will there ever be enough?

Tell the Congress to protect seniors from these harmful Medicare cuts

(from Care2.com and thePetitionSite, sponsored by the Democratic Congressonal Campaign Committee)

The Bush Administration released its fiscal year 2007 budget which slashed Medicare by $36 billion over the next five years and $105 billion over the next ten years.

These are cuts to hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, ambulance services, and other providers and increases in Medicare premiums for certain beneficiaries. At the same time that the budget slashes Medicare funding, it protects the special interests, leaving intact the $10 billion Medicare slush fund for HMOs. We can't let our parents and grandparents pay the price for Republican corruption.

We must stop the reckless Bush Administration agenda. Join the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) in sending this petition to tell Congress to put our seniors ahead of their big industry donors. Democrats are ready to act but need Republicans to vote against it as well. There are simply not enough Democrats to stop it without bipartisan support. Helping elect Democrats in the November election will ensure a Democratic Majority who would restore the People's House once again to the people putting our seniors first.

Sign the petition and tell Congress to Protect our Seniors from Billions In Harmful Medicare Cuts!

Who Would Jesus Torture?

From Faithful America:

New photos of detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib Prison in Iraq and a blistering United Nations Report calling on the U.S. to shut down the Guantanamo Prison in Cuba have once again reminded us that this chapter in our nation's history is a moral disgrace and must end.

A few days ago the National Council of Churches' General Secretary, the Rev. Dr. Bob Edgar, sent a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urging compliance with the United Nations recommendations. Edgar also renewed a request to allow an interfaith delegation to Guantanamo to monitor the physical, mental, and spiritual condition of the detainees.

We are asking for your endorsement of this important letter. Please read, then sign. Your name, with thousands of others, will be forwarded to the U.S. State Department supporting the NCC letter.

Read the letter and Sign the endorsement

Stop AOL's Email Scheme

AOL is threatening the Internet as we know it. They want to charge an "email tax" for sending email. Those who don't pay would risk their emails not being delivered.Can you help change AOL's mind by signing this emergency petition?

The very existence of online civic participation and the free Internet as we know it are under attack by America Online.

AOL recently announced what amounts to an "email tax." Under this pay-to-send system, large emailers willing to pay an "email tax" can bypass spam filters and get guaranteed access to people's inboxes—with their messages having a preferential high-priority designation. 1

Charities, small businesses, civic organizing groups, and even families with mailing lists will inevitably be left with inferior Internet service unless they are willing to pay the "email tax" to AOL. We need to stop AOL immediately so other email hosts know that following AOL's lead would be a mistake.

Can you sign this emergency petition to America Online and forward it to your friends?

Sign here:

Petition statement: "AOL, don't auction off preferential access to people's inboxes to giant emailers, while leaving people's friends, families, and favorite causes wondering if their emails are being delivered at all. The Internet is a force for democracy and economic innovation only because it is open to all Internet users equally—we must not let it become an unlevel playing field."

AOL is one of the biggest email hosts in the world—if we stop them from unleashing this threat to the Internet, others will know not to try it. Everyone who signs this petition will be sent information on how to contact AOL directly, as well as future steps that can be taken until AOL drops its new "email tax" policy.

AOL's proposed pay-to-send system is the first step down the slippery slope toward dividing the Internet into two classes of users—those who get preferential treatment and those who are left behind. AOL pretends nothing would change for senders who don't pay, but that's not reality. The moment AOL switches to a world where giant emailers pay for preferential treatment, AOL faces this internal choice: spend money to keep spam filters up-to-date so legitimate email isn't identified as spam, or make money by neglecting their spam filters and pushing more senders to pay for guaranteed delivery. Which do you think they'll choose?

If AOL has its way, the big loser will be regular email users—whose email from friends, family, and favorite causes will increasingly go undelivered and disappear into the black hole of a neglected spam filter. Another loser will be democracy and economic innovation on the Internet—where small ideas become big ideas specifically because regular people can spread ideas freely on a level playing field.

If an "email tax" existed when MoveOn began, we never would have gotten off the ground—indeed, AOL's proposal will hurt every membership group, regardless of political affiliation. That's why groups all across the political spectrum are joining together with charities, non-profits, small businesses, labor unions, and Internet watchdog groups in opposition to AOL's "email tax."

The president of the Association for Cancer Online Resources (ACOR) points out the real-world urgency of this issue:

In essence, this is going to block every AOL subscriber suffering from any form of cancer from receiving potentially life-saving information they may not be able to get from any other source, simply because a non-profit like ACOR—which serves more than 55,000 cancer patients and caregivers every day—cannot afford to pay the fee. 2

Can you sign this emergency petition to America Online and forward it to your friends?

Thank you for all you do.
–Eli Pariser, Noah T. Winer, Adam Green, and the MoveOn.org Civic Action team, Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006

P.S. The Electronic Frontier Foundation summed up the "email tax" issue beautifully:

Email being basically free isn't a bug. It's a feature that has driven the digital revolution. It allows groups to scale up from a dozen friends to a hundred people who love knitting to half-a-million concerned citizens without a major bankroll...

Once a pay-to-speak system like this gets going, it will be increasing difficult for people who don't pay to get their mail through. The system has no way to distinguish between ordinary mail and bulk mail, spam and non-spam, personal and commercial mail. It just gives preference to people who pay...3

1. "Postage is due for companies sending e-mail," New York Times, February 4, 2006

2. "AOL's New Email Certification Program: Good Mail or Goodfellas?" L-Soft Release, February 2, 2006

3. "AOL, Yahoo and Goodmail: Taxing Your Email for Fun and Profit," Electronic Frontier Foundation, February 8, 2006

CDC Warning

The Center for Disease Control has issued a warning about a new virulent strain of Sexually Transmitted Disease. The disease is contracted through dangerous and high-risk behavior. It is called Gonorrhea Lectim and pronounced "gonna re-elect him."

Many victims contracted it in 2004, after having been screwed daily for the previous four years. Cognitive characteristics of individuals infected include: anti-social personality disorders, delusions of grandeur with messianic overtones, extreme cognitive dissonance, inability to
incorporate new information, pronounced xenophobia and paranoia, inability to accept responsibility for own actions, cowardice masked by misplaced bravado, uncontrolled facial smirking, ignorance of geography, history, and English, tendencies towards evangelical theocracy, and Categorical all-or-nothing behavior. Naturalists and epidemiologists say this disase spread with unusual rapidity after originating only a few years ago from a bush found in Texas.

(Thanks to Teresa Ramsey)

Brother Pig: A Sunless Hell

Brother Pig: A Sunless Hell
Confronting the cruel facts of factory-farmed meat

Is there absolutely nothing that people will not do to increase profits? And the gov is supporting this monstrous nightmare. You can fall on your knees and thank Love if you are a vegetarian! For this treatment fills human-consumed meat with some horrific chemicals!

Thanks to Matthew Scully.
Special for the Arizona Republic
Feb. 19, 2006 12:00 AM

Arizona voters will be asked this fall to weigh in on a ballot measure called the Humane Treatment of Farm Animals Act, which is now in the signature-gathering stage but, by November, is certain to be one of our livelier election-year debates.

The initiative, modeled on a reform passed by Florida voters, would prohibit the factory-farming practice of confining pigs and veal calves in crates so small that the animals cannot even turn around or extend their limbs.

Factory farming, in general, is no one's favorite subject, and the details here are particularly unpleasant to think about: masses of creatures enduring lives of unrelieved confinement and deprivation. But if you're in need of reasons to sign the petitions and vote for the initiative, they are easy to find, and our discomfort with the subject is a good place to start.

Known in the trade as "intensive confinement" or "mass confinement," it sounds pretty rough. And as we're seeing already, pork producers and the PR firms in their hire do not take well to criticism of what they regard as "standard practice."

Just this month, the industry's allies in the Arizona Legislature proposed a constitutional amendment to bar the public from passing any laws promoting the humane treatment of farm animals, effective Jan. 1, 2006. Nice to have a fallback position: Even if the humane-farming initiative passes by vote of the people, as industry lobbyists apparently fear it will, they plan to nullify the law retroactively.

Basically, pork producers figured out some years ago that if they packed the maximum number of pigs into the minimum amount of space, if they pinned the creatures down into fit-to-size iron crates above slatted floors and carved out giant "lagoons" to contain the manure - if they turned the "farm," in short, into a sunless hell of metal and concrete -it made everything so much more efficient. An obvious cost-saver, and from the industry's standpoint, that should settle the matter.

Veal, by definition, is the product of a sick, anemic, deliberately malnourished calf, a newborn dragged away from his mother in the first hours of life. Veal calves are dealt the harshest of punishments for the least essential of meats. And if you think people can get too sentimental about animals, try listening sometime to chefs and gourmands going on about the "velvety smooth succulence" of their favorite fare.

"Cost-saver" in industrial livestock agriculture may usually be taken to mean "moral shortcut." For all of its "science-based" pretensions, factory farming is really just an elaborate, endless series of evasions from the most elementary duties of honest animal husbandry. Man, the rationalizing creature, can justify just about anything when there is money in sight. It's only easier when your victims are so completely out of sight and unable to speak for themselves.

Over the years, one miserly deprivation led to another, ever harsher methods were applied to force costs lower and lower, and so on until the animals ceased to be understood as living creatures at all. Pigs, for example, aren't even "raised" anymore, a term that once conveyed some human attention and care. These days, in America's 395,000-kills-per-day pork industry, pigs are "grown," crowded together by the hundreds in the automated, scientifically based intensive-confinement facilities formerly known as barns.

To the factory farmer, in contrast to the traditional farmer with his sense of honor and obligation, the animals are "production units," and accorded all the sympathy that term suggests. As conservative commentator Fred Barnes put it in the Wall Street Journal, "On the old family farms, pigs and cattle and chickens were raised for food, but they were free for a time; they mated, raised piglets, calves and chicks and were protected by the farmers . . . . They had a life. On industrial farms, they don't."

Among the more disreputable claims made to justify intensive confinement is that it's actually for the benefit of the pigs. They "prefer" confinement to grazing outdoors. They need "protection" from each other's aggression.

If you know absolutely nothing about pigs, this has a vaguely comforting ring to it - that is, until the moment you step into a factory farm, as I have had occasion to do. Inside, it becomes dramatically obvious that their ceaseless, merciless confinement is the cause of the pigs' aggression, and by no stretch a protective measure. It turns out that when you trap intelligent, 400- to 500-pound mammals in gestation crates 22 inches wide and 7 feet long, when their limbs are broken from trying to turn or escape and they are covered in sores, blood, tumors, "pus pockets," and their own urine and excrement, they tend to act up a bit.

Indeed, the most notable thing is how the appearance of any human being causes a violent panic. A mere opening of the door brings on a horrific wave of roars, squeals and cage-rattling from the sows. Another memorable sight is the "cull pen," wherein each and every day, the dead or dying bodies of the weak are placed, the ones who expired from the sheer, unrelenting agony of it.

It takes a well-practiced dishonesty to insist with a straight face that intensive confinement is "for their own good," and almost as brazen is the libertarian case for factory farming, which may be summed up as "mind your own business." Along with this comes a haughty little reminder that we're all the beneficiaries of factory farming, and where do you think all that cheap meat comes from, and why don't we just be
grateful and let them manage their own affairs?

The argument has a certain practical appeal, provided you forget that factory farming is propped up by tens of billions of dollars in annual federal subsidies, which are very definitely our business. Much as the immiserated animals are kept on four legs by hormones and antibiotics, the entire enterprise is sustained by those federal subsidies and billions more paid by government to repair industrial farming's immense collateral damage to land, water and air.

The illusion of consumer savings depends not only on unscrupulous corporate farmers, but also on complaisant citizens and blithely indifferent consumers who don't ask too many questions - least of all moral questions. And the industry wants to keep it that way. Just buy the "cheap" meat, forget the damned animals, and keep the subsidies coming.

Once the details are known, in short, it all becomes a very tough sell for factory farmers. And so far their quaint-sounding "Campaign for Arizona Farmers and Ranchers" (brought to you by the National Pork Producers Council and other agribusiness trade groups) is not going

Industry lobbyist Jim Klinker, now director of the Arizona Farm Bureau and lead spokesman against the humane-farming initiative, started things off with a blunt reminder that farm animals aren't pets, and so our sympathy for them is misplaced. "These people," Klinker told Tucson Weekly, "want these animals raised the same way we raise our dogs and cats. I think most people understand that's not how food is produced."

When you want people to harden their hearts, however, it's probably not such a good idea to invite comparisons between farm animals and dogs or cats. How would your dog react if you stuffed her into a crate in which she could not even stretch or turn around, and never let her out? No human attention or companionship with other animals. No bedding, straw to lie on. No single moment outdoors, ever, to feel the breeze or the warmth of the sun.

What if it were a dog?

Your dog, a being of intelligence and emotional capacities entirely comparable to those of a pig, would beg and wail and whimper and finally fall silent into a state of complete brokenness. And anyone who inflicted such tortures on that animal, no matter what excuses might be offered, would be guilty of a felony. If the creatures are comparable, and the conditions identical, and the suffering equal, how can the one be "standard practice" and the other a crime?

Next, in an interview with Arizona Capitol Times, Klinker tried out the "sentimentalist" line. The initiative, he scoffed, is based on "pure emotions" - as opposed to factory farming itself, which we are to assume is guided at every grim stage by the light of pure reason.

He followed up with a little warning that the Humane Treatment of Farm Animals Act is all the doing of "outsiders" anyway, by which he means various cranks, subversives, and social misfits who apparently are conspiring at this very moment to "impose the values of a vegetarian society on all Arizonans."

One problem here is that if Klinker is going to be our defender of true Arizona values against "outsiders," then he needs to hear from a broader range of outside opinion. And it may surprise him to learn that the problems of factory farming are becoming more apparent, and more abhorrent, to people of every political stripe.

When the conservative columnist George Will, for example, calls cruelty to animals "an intrinsic evil," citing the "pain-inflicting confinements and mutilations" of factory farming, you know it can no longer be shrugged off as the concern of a faint-hearted few.

Factory farming, Mr. Will observed in Newsweek not long ago, has become a "serious issue of public policy." And conservatives in particular, applying that uncompromising moral clarity on which they pride themselves, should not be afraid to call "vicious" things what they are.

Another conservative writer, Andrew Ferguson of Bloomberg News, challenged the "hyper-efficient agricultural economy" and "the cruel innovations the modern industrial farm depends upon." And Father Richard John Neuhaus, writing in the conservative National Review, expressed his disgust at "the horrors perpetuated against pigs on industrial farms," a matter "that warrants public and governmental attention."

Neuhaus could cite, if he needed further authority, Pope Benedict XVI, who has warned against the "degrading of living creatures to a commodity" entailed in factory farming. And Protestant Christians could hear a similar message from one of their own most respected figures, Charles Colson, the conservative evangelist who cautions that "When it comes to animal welfare today, Christians have allowed the secular world to set the agenda. ... We need to get involved in shaping laws that determine animal treatment. But first we must make it our business to
find out how the ... cattle of the earth are treated on factory farms."

Christians especially, declared Colson, "have a duty to prevent the needless torment of animals."

"Outsiders," all of them, but not to my knowledge collaborators in any effort, [are not trying] to impose "the values of a vegetarian society" on Arizona. For Klinker and other lobbyists for factory farming, surely the lesson is that they should spend a little less time warning about other people's values, and a little more time examining their own.

It is true, as he reminds us, that other states have far larger "herds" than in Arizona's $40 million-a-year pork industry. But this is hardly a thought to put one's mind at rest. The same was also true, until recently, of Utah, now home to a sprawling network of nightmarish "mega-farms," all of them built and run by giant corporations like Smithfield Foods, the real outsiders in all of this. The largest of these places, a sort of gulag for pigs, holds 1.3 million in confinement and produces more waste every year than metropolitan Los Angeles.

Why, Klinker wonders, enact a law here instead of in Iowa, North Carolina or Utah? Well, for starters, maybe Arizonans do not want to go the way of Utah. And in that case, now would be a good time to bar the door.

Prepare yourself to hear, in the coming months, these arguments and similar rubbish from industry lobbyists, their shill veterinarians, and
anyone else they can trot out to make something pernicious and contemptible seem decent and praiseworthy. Then in the quiet of the voting booth ask yourself why any creature of God, however humble, should be made to endure the dark, lonely, tortured existence of the factory farm, and what kind of people build their fortunes upon such misery.

The answer will send an unequivocal message, to factory farmers here and to all concerned, that unbridled arrogance, bad faith, and rank cruelty are not Arizona values.

Matthew Scully worked for Arizona governors Mecham, Mofford, and Symington. A former special assistant and deputy director of speechwriting for President Bush, he is the author of "Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy."

Jake Oster
Grassroots Coordinator
Government Affairs
The Humane Society of the United States
519 C Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002
202-955-3672 voice
301-529-2987 cell
202-676-2301 fax

Interested in a Lobby 101 in your area, let us know and maybe we willcome to your town.
Interested in taking action online to help animals? Then join our online
community and sign up for our Humane Action Network. Go to

Bush's Budget: A Weapon of Mass Destruction

From Women’s Action for New Direction, Care2 and ThePetitionSite Team

Often in his speeches, President Bush stresses the dangers of terrorist attacks – using the “War on Terror” as a justification for the biggest increase in military expenditures since the Cold War.

But to sustain the exorbitant $28 billion increase he has proposed this year, Bush is placing an undue burden on Americans. Some of his most notable cuts affect our nation’s children by slashing funding for public education. Take action!

Think about this:

For the cost of one F-22 fighter jet, we could build 31 new elementaryschools.

Instead of buying two aircraft carriers, we could hire 65,000 newteachers.

For the amount spent on ballistic missile defense, nearly 6 million children could be receiving health care.

The message is clear: by crippling public education and social services to funnel more money into the Pentagon, Bush's budget will not secure the future of our nation.

Join Women’s Action for New Directions and urge Congress and the President to retool the budget, to reflect our values and priorities.

Tell your lawmakers that you don’t want your tax dollars to fund $28 billion dollars worth of new weaponry when the lives and futures of
America’s families are the compromise.

Here's to securing America at home…Are you with me?

More Bombs and Death, or More Schools?

From the TrueMajorityACTION PAC

Imagine If Congress Had More of Us
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Donate to win in 2006.

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Thursday, February 23, 2006

Politics and Spiritual Calling


There are no simplistic answers in politics. So, there are no consistent "good" or "bad" guys! People are always changing affiliations and ideas.

No one-- least of all, a person who claims spirituality, who claims to care for people-- should ideally be stuck forever in concrete. For that is clearly anti-growth, and this cosmos is all about growth. So are our spiritual journeys. You can expect consistency from a spiritual person, but that is nowhere the same as static immobility. She who does not change cannot grow; and she who does not grow is left behind by the cosmos.

You seem to have an ideal of a "spiritual" being as a total neutral. But many highly spiritual persons-- including Gandhi-- were anything but political neutrals.

Please do not try to "pigeon-hole" people. Often, they are not any particular species or variety of democrat or republican. They are people trying to use wisdom and compassion to try to cultivate a personal political philosophy. Politics are people, and a truly caring person cannot afford not to care about politics, for that is another way of not caring for people!

I do not apologize for holding some political opinions. But neither do I claim to be omniscient, to have always the "right" answer. Without such absurd claims, however, I do recognize greed, immorality, lies, and related qualities when I see them. To be a spiritual person does not make one "unplugged" or uncaring; it does not transform one into an ignoramus with the head buried, ostrich-like, in the sand.

Truth is reality, and this idea that spiritual people should turn away from reality does not make sense to me. I am obligated to do the very best that I honestly can, to gather and assimilate as much data as possible, for a factual basis for my beliefs.

But no one is "perfect," and there comes a point-- or, at least, it came in this life-- when Love Itself called to the path of political activism. In the cult in which I was reared, all political action was said to be from satan. It is understandable why a person might come to this conclusion! But indifference, apathy, and complacency are the opposite of active caring. So, I do not say that anyone else is necessarily called to make political decisions, but I have been called by the Mind to do exactly that. And whether anyone approves or disapproves, I must follow that still, small voice of the calling.

I know that politics are corrupt, and that no one has all the answers. But it is my calling to stand up for what I regard as justice, and against what I regard as injustice. The bottom line for me is this: The administration killed over a hundred thousand (mostly innocent) people for its oil-money. This I regard as the very height of obscenity and immorality. Also, bush claims to represent Jesus Christ, so the Way of this great sage also needs to be defended, as a part of my public ministry.

But each adult must make decisions in his/her life, and make the best ones possible, based on the knowledge, understanding, and wisdom that can be gathered. I am honestly making the best decisions of which I am capable. Is every decision perfect? No, and I do not claim that it is. But at least, give me the same benefit of the doubt that I am willing to grant to you: I believe that you are doing the best that you can, being the person you are, and having the data that you have. I do not question your honest motives, and do not call into question your value as a human being.

Let us reason together, each sharing his best, and let us keep the peace in our friendship. Soon, all political questions will be nothing but history, but our friendship can continue to exist even after all this "stuff" is gone.:)

If there is anything that you do not understand, please ask me for more detail.

For me to be silent about all this is to demand that I silence a spiritual part of my spiritual being. It is no longer "merely political." Bush has acted as an anti-human president in the name of being a "good Christian."

I did not write anything in the uld to hurt you or anyone else. But if you truly do support this nightmarish president, I was trying to do you a favor by showing you his "other side," his "hidden underbelly."

I have had far more feedback, btw, when I presented a pro-bush article in a recent uld. Now, that really stirred up a hornet's nest! Guess you can't please all the people all the time. And know what? I've given up even trying.

Since you like bush, you are a member of a rapidly-shrinking minority. Every day, the criminal and immoral behavior of this man and his cronies are being publicly revealed. Soon, you are going to have nothing left to like about the man, who has few if any socially redeeming values. In
fact, by what I can see, his only "values" are personal greed for money and power.

Parable: The Rich Man and Lazarus


The story of the rich man and Lazarus was a parable. This means that it contained symbolic elements. Even the most rabid rightwing conservative does not insist that parables are literal. A parable contains symbolic or allegorical components.

In the story, a rich man ignores the poor. (The current administration had better be listening, as, for example, regarding its attitude towards New Orleans' inhabitants.)

Lazarus was a poor beggar ignored and neglected by the rich man. But when both died, their positions were completely reversed. Lazarus was in a position of favor, or "heaven," although this word is never used in the parable. It uses Jewish symbolism to say that Lazarus was "in the bosom of Abraham."

But the rich man, due to his insensitivity, finds himself in a hellish condition. This symbolized the inevitable karma of a person who does not actively care for other human beings: We cannot, must not, simply turn our backs on the poor, and pretend complacently that poverty simply does not exist; if we do, we are promised to "go to hell." That is, mere complacency is "active sin," according to Jesus. For the account does not say that the rich man attacked or harmed the poor, but simply ignored them. So, let us all take a warning.

Misrepresentation of God


As you just might be well aware, I do not believe that God (Love) punishes people for ignorance. And Love does not really "become upset" at even stupid human behavior. As for Katrina, you also know my feelings that "God" had nothing to do with this horrible disaster. God appeared in the help that arrived after the storm.

Graham's statement that we pushed God out of our lives and schools, and then, God abandoned us, is utter foolishness, if not blasphemy! God is Love, and never, under any conditions, abandons Her children to horrors created by nature. God had nothing to do with Katrina, and to see it as either divine "punishment" or "neglect" is to prove oneself ignorant and myopic. A person, in pain and ignorance, can deny God a thousand times, and push God out of her life, and reject God.

But God's actions are not controlled by human behaviors. For God is supremely independent, and acts as unconditional Love despite human weaknesses and foolishness. A person can deny God a thousand times, but, being infinite and unconditional Love, God will never abandon her. This mini-article that you forwarded represents a tragic misunderstanding of a petty and punitive god. This is a god who is petulant and peevish, who responds with the "vengeance" of an arrested human being.

It cannot be overemphasized, in the light of such gross misunderstanding and misrepresentation, that God's Love is infinite (limitless) and totally unconditional. Our society's rejection of religion has not affected God a molecule! God remains always loving, always open, always forgiving. Misunderstandings such as those supported by Graham only make people nervous, uncertain, and morose. The only way to invite God into our lives is by striving fora higher nature, not yielding to simplistic and naive "explanations" that deny God's abundance of Love. It is the religious leaders who are denying God, by portraying God as a spoiled brat who throws temper-tantrums! How lost, how confused, can you possibly get?

Port Security Action

Turning Ports over to Potential Terrorists


Just when you thought homeland security couldn't get more inept and incompetent, we find out: The Bush administration casually, secretly formed a plan. It approved the sale of control of six major ports to a company. This company was controlled by The United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Isn't this the same United Arab Emirates that was one of the few to recognize the Taliban regime in Afghanistan? Isn't this the same United Arab Emirates that has been the transfer point for rogue nuclear weapons components, and who have harbored al Qaeda terrorists?

ACTION PAGE: http://www.nocrony.com/port_security.php

Are they completely out of their minds? Or are we, for allowing the Bush administration to remain in power even one single additional day? There is already a bi-partisan coalition forming to demand that there be an immediate investigation of why such a deal was even considered, let alone waved through without a concern in the world. There are already many who believe that 9/11 attacks could not have succeeded without a deliberate stand down by our own government. Is this yet another example of that?

Please take action NOW, so we can win all victories that are supposed to be ours, and forward this message to everyone else you know.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Democrats Should Be Ashamed

Article attributed to John Townley, received via email.

We should be ashamed and embarrassed, due to ignorance-supporting apathy!

Where is the vision articulated by Democrats in the 2004 Democrat National Convention?

Where is the party wide outrage when Bush gives a speech about making America more competitive in the global economy on the same day he signs legislation slashing funding for college scholarships?

Where are our leaders when Bush/Cheney illegally spy on Americans?

Where is the outrage when Bush, virtually quoting Nixon, says if he does something, it cannot be illegal because he's the president?

Where is the outrage when Bush signs bi-partisan legislation banning the use of torture by Americans, yet says he does not have to comply with the provisions?

Where are our leaders when Bush continues pushing for more tax cuts for his rich cronies while proposing funding cuts for Head Start, Medicaid, food stamps, community action agencies, energy assistance programs, and many other programs designed to help the most needy among us? He's hurting senior citizens, kids, the poor, and veterans, among many others.

Where are our leaders when statistics show the number of Americans living below the poverty level continues to increase?

Where are our leaders when the Republican led state legislature passes a late night bill giving them huge salary increases, and illegally taking the raises in the same term of office via unvouchered expenses?

Where is the outrage when more and more companies dump pension plans, leaving many hard working Americans with little or no retirement income?

After posting record profits in 2005, IBM announces a freeze on pensions starting in 2007. Their current CEO is slated to receive a pension of $75,000 per week.
Where is the outrage when airlines and other big companies file for bankruptcy and dump their pension plans on the taxpayers? Yet Congress passes legislation making it more difficult for Americans to file bankruptcy when hit with overwhelming medical bills, or even financial hardship caused by their loved one's serving his/her country?

Where is the outrage when mine tragedies in West Virginia kill over a dozen miners in the first month of the year, while the companies are
slapped with minimal fines for safety violations?

Where is the outrage when miners trapped in a mine in Canada are saved because they were able to retreat to a safe room inside the mine, complete with oxygen supplies, yet American companies are not required to to meet similar standards because it might be too difficult or expensive?

Where is a leader offering a policy to truly make America safer, including an exit strategy from Iraq, true homeland security plans, and a strategy to capture or kill Osama Bin Laden and not ignore him because his continued existence benefits political goals?

Where is a Democrat leader offering a vision for America based on hope and cooperation, and not on fear and divisiveness?

The American people are ready, but the so-called leaders are too afraid of being "Roved" if they speak out. The American people deserve

Bush Plans to Sell National Forests

Bush Plans to Sell our National Forests - Take Action Alert from Care2.com and The Petition Site

The Bush administration plans to sell more than 300,000 acres of national forests and public lands to raise money for the federal treasury.

This would be a shortsighted, irresponsible shift in federal land-management policy. The monetary gains would be temporary, but the land would be gone forever!

The Bush administration recently announced its proposal to sell more than 300,000 acres of national forests and public lands. The land sales could total more than $1 billion and would be the largest sale of forestland in decades. Take Action!

Forest Service officials say the sales are needed to raise $800 million over the next five years to pay for schools and roads in rural counties
hurt by logging cutbacks on federal land. While increasing military funding by 6.9%, the Bush administration has cut education spending by 3.8% in this FY2007 budget … and now they want to sell our forests to pick up the slack? This is a serious confusion of priorities.

Selling public land to pay down the deficit would be a shortsighted and irresponsible shift in federal land-management policy. The monetary gains would be temporary, but the land would be gone forever. There are better ways to fund public schooling.

The public has until late March to comment on the sales. Urge your Senator to oppose this reckless effort.

Tell Bush that our National Forests are NOT FOR SALE.

Friday, February 17, 2006

God and World: Reflections


I do not want to make a "federal case" out of any of our disagreements, if indeed we actually do disagree. I can see much in both of your letters with which I am in most firm agreement. I suspect that we agree far more than we disagree.

You are right: I do not know you, and I do not have deep familiarity with your ideas. I can "go on" only what I read-- on the words that you choose to use. Everyone else must do the same, so I do not apologize for this. If there exists a problem in understanding between us, I submit that you are at least half responsible. You will note that I accept fifty percent of the responsibility. Clearer expression leads to more lucid understanding. If you see yourself as a teacher, you owe it to all your students and clients to express yourself clearly. You must work to eradicate illucidity and ambiguity. At times, when you are misunderstood, it is because you need to express yourself with greater clarity.

You write, "...without infriging on others." This is one of the many areas in which we are in full agreement. I do not believe it right to "infringe" upon the rights of any other adult. I feel that sharing among adults can be productive, but no one should ever try to "take over the mind" of another.

You write, "I believe religion is the problem NOT SPIRITUALITY." Here, my friend, we are in perfect agreement. Spirituality is a solution for human problems, and is not the challenge. It is religion that divides people, while spirituality, as compassion, brings people together to try to find agreements.

You write, "Oh, and you seem to run over the dinosaur explanation, can you explain where > they fall in?" If the question is understood correctly, you are inquiring about the place of dinosaurs relative to other species of organism. It appears from the paleontological record that the dinosaurs were a "failed experiment." Most of them perished when a huge meteor or asteroid struck the earth during the Jurassic, about sixty-five million years ago. Had they survived and continued to evolve, the dominant life-form on our planet might not have been mammalian, but a humanoid reptilian. Dinosaurs exploded into thousands of species, but still never evolved towards a sentient (selfaware) form capable of spirituality in the human sense.

You write, "murder is malicouse, killing is natural." There is no distinction when you are talking about a member of the human species. Killing is the same as, is synonymous with, murder! So, you cannot possibly believe, with any logic or reason,that killing is okay, but murder evil. And I am still stymied: What is the advantage to trying to "justify" killing as "natural"? It sounds again as if you are trying to say that killing can be justified, or that it might be even "okay." Even if this is a correct understanding of your argument, what is its advantage? Of what practical good is such an argument? Can it make you a better, or happier, person?

You write, "Greed is mainly the problem, but religion gives them the power to enforce > their wars, spirituality does not." Once again, my friend, we are in total agreement with both parts of this statement. Greed is hideous psychospiritual infection. It is often approved or justified by religion, but never by spirituality!

You write, "I do though, believe in a higher power. That is why I do not follow it [the formal Church], but i do discuss it with those that are delved into it and I am currently reading the bible, the universal type for catholics..." Again, we are in full agreement. I do not belong to any form of organized religion, but spirituality is the very center of my existence. It is Love, and it is the most important aspect of this life. I also do not believe in cults or cult-leaders, as I belonged to a cult until I was in my early twenties. Reading the Bible can be an enlightening experience, although I do not usually read the Hebrew Scriptures. There is a good reason for this: That part of the Bible was the sacred Scripture for the Jewish religion, and I have never belonged to that faith. The Christian Scriptures (usually called by the biased name "New Testament") contain much deep spiritual truth. And I do still consider myself a "Jesus-Christian," even though I belong to no official, orthodox form of historical "Christianity."

You write, "and can you explain evolution?" I have come, after years of research and contemplation, to a compromise-theory called "edit." This is the "evolution-design integrative theory." I accept the truth of evolution, but I still believe that living things, with enormous and beautiful structure, do reflect intelligent design. So, some process caused evolution to occur. It might have been interatomic, intermolecular, or intercellular. But life is simply far too fantastically complex for evolution to have occurred through purely random processes.

You write, "Oh and saying that nature believes we should be here, doesn't that go against what you beleive?" I think that you meant to question what I "believe." And no, this does not in any way go against what I believe. The fact that God used nature to create us implies that both God and nature do indeed "want" us to exist. Both have invested millions of years in creating you, and me. That implies that a higher Power, working through nature's processes, wants us to be here.

You write, "is was GODS CHOICE FOR US TO BE HERE not natures..." Now, because God is fully capable of using nature to do his will, it is an artificial and shallow argument that you must so divide God and nature. This statement implies that if God wants something, nature cannot; and if nature wants it, God cannot. I submit that the opposite is usually true: When God wants something, nature also wants it; and when nature wants it, God also wants it. I do not say that this is always the case, but it is so more often than not. So, this "either or" choice violates the laws of both nature and logic.

You write, "don't push this past Noah after he tried to destroy us because it was his choice again to leave us here." This sentence is not at all clear. What does it mean to "push this past Noah"? Do you believe that the flood-account in Genesis was a literal flood, and that it was sent by the Lord of Love to murder all his children? I see this as more symbolic or allegorical writing. The first parts of Genesis were never intended to be a history- or science-textbook. The ancient stories told there are designed to teach lessons about spirituality. But I do not believe that they represent literal history.

You write, "I see that you agreed on spots that were kept correct by previous." This sentence is not clear to me, but it does seem to recognize the fact that has already been stated in this letter: You and I are in full agreement about many, perhaps most, matters. There is
little disagreement.

You write, "you seemed to have missed that point." First, your assumption that I read your blog was mistaken. Since I did not read it, it would have been impossible for me to have "missed" any "point" that you might have been trying to make.

Evolution and Philosophy


That which is "natural" is not always positive or conducive to a good life. Freezing to death in winter is also natural. Arsenic is also natural. Upset bears and tigers are also natural.

We do not believe that people can be reduced to animals. The human mind does have biological components, but it is arrested, simplistic, and reductionistic to dwindle the human brain to the status of an "animal" brain. For, in common parlance, animals are creatures that respond to only hormonal and other biochemical factors, without reflection. It is philosophically dangerous to place human beings in this category "animal." For they behave without reflective thought or ruminative consideration of their actions. So do human beings, often, but we do have the abillity to consider consequences before we murder, rape, or otherwise respond to the "animal nature." It is not necessarily the "master" of every human being, in all circumstances. It is simply sophomoric to repeat like a mantra, "people are animals." It solves nothing, and only compounds the problems.

You write, "Religion has its good as well as bad. What do you think causes 99 percent of the wars in the world?" Since you ask, I will answer: War is caused by greed.

You write, "Killing and Murder Malicously is wrong, having EVOLVED, not been formed from nothingness by a master which is contradicted by fossils of dinosaurs." Your connection between God and dinosaur-fossils is obscure, to say the least. To say the most, it is confusing and obfuscating. You seem to reflect the nineteenth-century perspective that, because dinosaurs existed, that somehow "disproves" the existence of God. No modern scientist or theologian believes this any more, and if you do, you need to do some research.

You write, "Belief in a higher power is good, self evident truths are good, the ten commandments are good, the deadly sins are correct in that they are bad." You have passed some rather sweeping judgments here. Certainly, I do not disagree with these premises. But the Ten Commandments were not created for twenty-first century society. Do you, for example, carefully observe the Sabbath every week? Jesus did not, and that got him in all sorts of trouble.

You write, "A higher power there could be yes, mans interpretation of how it was done incorrect IN MY OPINION, its a self truth that everyone is allowed their OWN OPINION, and should they clash turn to the other things we have found to be 'Right'" Here, you write as if here is only one opinion about the higher Power; actually, there are hundreds! I certainly agree that each is free, and should be, to hold and express personal opinions.

You write, "Right is in the eye of the beholder." This sounds smart, at first glance. But historical and philosophic studies make it clear that this "moral relativism" is counterproductive, historically dangerous and harmful, and without deep intellectual roots. It is like a pattern of life made up by a ten-year-old. It really does not work, in real life. For it does nothing to satisfy the human need for order, beauty, or meaning. It is emotionally exhausting and morally and legally worthless.

You write, "The standard is set by society, though they may think they are RIGHT, in their ANSWERS, it doesn't mean it is CORRECT." I agree that society is usually wrong. This has been so throughout history, when great men and women have had to face the disapprobation of the current social order. But some standards are not simply "set by society." Some arise from our very biological nature. This is the positive side to our "animal-nature." Study, for example, how animal-parents care for their offspring. In many cases, you will find that animal parents care well for their offspring. If you ascribe this to species-survival, which you likely do, it is still a manifestation of caring.

You write, "The NAZI's thought their ANSWER was RIGHT, but it wasn't CORRECT." I fully and heartily agree! But they actually followed your idea that "right is in the eye of the beholder." This allowed them to engage in enormous cruelty and gigantic stupidity. They had to get rid of any idea of God, or of any moral justice, to engage in their social idiocy and depravity. I do not believe that God is some invisible critter in the sky. But I do believe that God is Love.

It is a very old and tired misunderstanding of bio-evolution to assert that, as your letter does, "It goes against a self evident truth of the evolution of mankind that murder is bad because it hinders our self rights." No, my friend, in biological terms, murder is bad because it kills off even the best, most well-adapted, of any species. Kill off enough of them, and murder becomes maladaptive in the extreme. Why are you trying to justify murder?

You write, "What is our rights, our rights are standards set by society, does it mean they are correct?" I have already answered this earlier, but our rights have some biological antecedents also. Nature gives us the right to survive, by having formed us as physical beings. If nature did not want us here, she would not have formed us as physical bodies. If nature itself wants an individual to exist, it follows that no one has an overriding "right" to murder her.

Materialism a Path to Nowhere


You have already learned much of great value, my friend. Just to know that materialism is hollow (and, in time, boring and unsatisfying) means that you are already on the right path. Your sagittarius-nature wants to be free of the utter, immobilizing slavery that material "masters" demand. The material world will draw away all your time and energy, leaving you zero freedom, if you let it. So, this insistence on your sacred freedom is a fine application of this sagittarius-energy!!

The world is filled with so many distractions because we find our lower natures attracted to them. That is why an important step in the Way is to minimize personal desires. Don't misunderstand: The enlightened being can have hundreds of desires, but they must all be what Love desires. It is an ignorant caricature to portray the enlightened mystic as having no desire. But the truth is, she has given up all personal desires, and this increases her happiness and tranquility. Most people try to "get happy" by trying to "get" all the "stuff" that they want. But, when they do, they are still miserable. What went wrong?

Happiness is an interior state of mind. It is not changed by the material world. So, there are as many wealthy people who are totally unhappy and miserable as there are poor people, although they have different reasons for their frustrations and misery. Getting "more stuff" does not make life richer or happier. Only increasing friendships and service can do that. Why?

Because this is what we were created to do. It is what we all, deep down, really want to do. For friendship and service are the two practical manifestations of Love in our world.

The world is beautiful. Especially nature is filled with many kinds of beauty. Even the material world is good. But what is not good is what most people do. They allow the material world to become their master. Serving money fulltime, these people no longer have any time to serve Love. This exhausts them, and leaves them bitter and frustrated. These people live lives of "isolated splendor," surrounded by a huge house and luxurious car, but having no one with whom to share them. They are lonely because they have invested not a minute in Love. They do not really value or treasure Love, and soon, find themselves without it. No matter what you have, it all feels and tastes like sawdust if you do not have a life filled with Love.

Bush Review by Boxer

Barbara Boxer Reviews Bush
If you recall, a year ago, I had just completed questioning Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at her confirmation hearing about how the Bush Administration had misled us into the Iraq war, how they had failed to plan for winning the peace, and how they had no timetable for bringing our troops home. With your help, I was able to ask the tough questions and hold the Administration accountable for its mistakes, missteps, and misleading statements.

Unfortunately, not much has changed in the last year. Yes, we've heard the President acknowledge that "mistakes were made" in Iraq -- but in no way does this amount to "accountability." If the president truly believed in taking responsibility, he would have made some dramatic changes to remedy his many mistakes. Instead, all we've seen and heard is "stay the course."

Yesterday, a little more than a year since I first questioned her about Iraq, I once again had the opportunity to question Secretary Rice at a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee -- yet one more chance for her to set the record straight, and another chance she has

I gave Secretary Rice another chance to take responsibility for the Administration's failed policy for winning the peace, as our occupation has now created a hotbed for insurgents and terrorists in Iraq; by the Administration's own acknowledgement, it didn't exist before our invasion -- not to mention the thousands of lives that have been lost and hundreds of billions of dollars that have been wasted there.

I gave Secretary Rice another chance to tell us what the Administration's plan is for bringing our brave men and women in uniform home, after more than three years of long and difficult duty in Iraq.

You can read my statement from today's hearing below. Needless to say, Secretary of State Rice failed to take responsibility for the Bush Administration's mistakes. So it's up to you and me to keep speaking out and setting the record straight.
"Administration's Tin Ear on the Middle East is Making America Less Safe"
Opening Statement of Senator Barbara Boxer
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing
February 15, 2006

Madam Secretary, the president said during his State of the Union address that we are winning in Iraq; and he is confident in his plan for victory.

Unfortunately, the American people don't share this confidence. A recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll conducted January 26th through the
29th shows that a majority of Americans... believe the president has failed to give good reasons why the U.S. must keep troops in Iraq. Similarly, 53 percent of Americans are less confident that Iraq will come to a successful conclusion. They don't share his confidence because they see what is happening on the ground. They see brave men [such as] ABC's Bob Woodruff and his cameraman seriously injured while trying to record on, "the good news coming out of Iraq."

They see Jill Carroll of the Christian Science Monitor, a young woman who went to Iraq to tell the story of the Iraqi people, kidnapped and begging or her life -- and we pray for her safe return. And, of course, the deaths and the injuries keep climbing -- up to 19,000 Americans either dead or wounded. This Administration's rosy scenarios like the Vice President's statement that the insurgency was in the last throes, your statement in '05 that the insurgency has been dealt several blows, just don't match realities on the ground.

The number of attacks against coalition troops, Iraqi security forces, and civilians increased by 29 percent last year.
Let me give you specifics:
Insurgents launched 34,000 plus attacks in 2005, an increase of 8,000 from 2004. Last year, the number of car bombs more than doubled from 420 to 873. The number of suicide car bombs went from 133 to 411. 67 attackers wore suicide vests last year, up from seven in 2004. Roadside bombs increased from 5,000-plus to 10,000-plus. Last week, a chart appeared in the New York Times depicting the extent of casualties just in one month. And I just want you to see this, because sometimes we don't recognize what's going on there. More than 800 people were killed as a result of the insurgency.

And what do the Iraqi people think of all this? 64 percent of Iraqis believe that crime and violent attacks will decrease when the United States redeploys out of Iraq. Perhaps more important[ly], 73 percent of Iraqis believe there will be greater cooperation among Iraq's political factions when the United States redeploys.

So I say to you, if we're in Iraq to help the Iraqi people, then we ought to start listening to the Iraqi people and start a redeployment. Now, success in Iraq also depends greatly on the ability of our forces to better secure Iraq's oil infrastructure. Paul Wolfowitz told Congress in 2003, "We're dealing with a country that can finance its own reconstruction with oil, and relatively soon." That was another rosy scenario. The reality is [that] Iraq's oil production has dropped from pre-war levels.

And I want to show you a headline from the New York Times a little more than a week ago: "Oil graft fuels the insurgency." The Iraqi finance minister has estimated that insurgents receive 40... to 50 percent of all oil smuggling profits in the country. So not only is the oil not financing the reconstruction; it is financing the insurgency that is killing American troops. Our main reason for going to Iraq was to get rid of the WMDs, or, as you said, not to wait for the smoking gun to become the mushroom cloud. That was a farce. And the truth is coming out.

The CIA intelligence officer in charge of the Middle East intelligence from 2000 to 2005 wrote, "Intelligence was misused publicly to justify decisions already made."

Our standing in the world is low, according to the Pew Research Center, and the American people know it. Two-thirds of Americans say [that] there is less international respect for the U.S. than in the past. And when asked why, a strong majority, seven in 10 Americans, cite the war in Iraq. The war in Iraq is bringing our standing down in the world. American people are smart.

Now you have cited elections in the Middle East as a sign that, "The neighborhood is changing." But is the neighborhood changing for the better? It doesn't appear so.

You have admitted to being blindsided by the Hamas victory -- saying, "I've asked why nobody saw it coming. It does say something about us [sic] not having a good pulse."

And I do appreciate your candor there. But this has become a pattern.

This Administration was shocked by Hamas, shocked by the election of the Iranian leader, shocked that Iraqis voted for conservative religious parties with ties to Iran instead of secular candidates like Ahmed Chalabi, whose party got not one single vote in the Iraqi parliament. I remember when he sat behind the first lady in 2004 at the State of the Union address. This Administration seems to have a tin ear when it comes to the Middle East, and that tin ear is making us less safe.

Paid for by PAC for a Change, www.barbaraboxer.com, Treasurer Sim Farar.

Not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee

Thoughts on "Christian War"

Thanks to Mick Gallagher.
Thoughts on "Christian War"
Prior to our invasion of Iraq, war correspondent Chris Hedges, citing decades of first hand observation from all parts of the world, wrote:

"War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning'....
[This includes] the myths presented in war; the plague of ignorance created by irrational nationalism and how it's both used and fomented by powerful interests who gain from military conflict; the relinquishment of individual judgment and liberty; the pornographic and ubiquitous tortures; the mass amnesia; the hijacking and destruction of culture--it's all there.

I find it ironic but telling that elements of our body politic found antiwar sentiments expressed at Coretta Scott King's funeral too "political."

As Hedges points out, there is no point of view more taboo to the nation state than pacifism.

Yet, in a nation that claims to be Christian, in a nation whose Christian coalitions are said to be responsible for reelecting president bush, I have to ask what such Biblical injunctions as "turn the other cheek," "resist not evil," and blessed are the peacemakers, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven" mean! In our nation, currently, there is the belief that despite what individuals say about the meaning of Islam, its adherents are warmongers. Can one imagine, after two thousand years, what non Christians must think about the legacy of Christianity? "Ye shall know them by their fruits."

Yes, "those who live by the sword, will die by the sword," and until humanity gets hip to that,... we have a long, hard and bloody slog ahead.

Posted by: barryology.

"Why We Fight." think back to 1990. The curtain was coming down on the Soviet Union. They had been the focus of the Military Industrial Complex for over 40 years. All politicians had used them as the excuse for spending untold billions for our "protection." Bomber Gap, Missile Gap, Window of Vulnerability-- all [were] lies to perpetuate endless spending. The military-industrial complex was then facing its greatest enemy-- peace.

During the previous 7 years, Reagan and Bush the First had supported Saddam with no consideration of morality. Now with his army on the border of Kuwait, Saddam inquired about the U.S. stance on his further aggression.

The response from the Bush administration was, "We have no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts, like your border disagreement with Kuwait." One week later, Iraq attacked Kuwait. [It became the] instant "bogeyman"! As we watched the Soviet Union crumble in our rearview mirrors, we moved ahead to our next foe.

Did anyone ask any questions? Hell, no! And it was a "splendid little war"! Why didn't we get rid of Saddam? The rationale for not removing Saddam had nothing to do with being "smart enough" not to get mired in a quagmire. But [it had] everything to do with military spending. And [it was about] a "projection of our power."

With Saddam in power, Iraq could be used as the target of sanctions, no-fly zones, and weapons inspections.

We spent about a trillion dollars "containing Saddam" between the wars! Was it any wonder that we allowed the Shiites to be slaughtered after their uprising.

Now the cherry on the whip cream is bin Laden. His war against the U.S. was prompted in part by our support for corrupt Middle Eastern Leaders, setting up military bases in countries ruled by these leaders, and our treatment of the Iraqi people. All of which was brought about by "containing Saddam" and our love affair with Big Oil.

It is no secret that Bush and his cronies wanted to go after Iraq (and Syria and Iran). The events of 9/11 provided the spring board for the series of lies that formed the pretext for the War in Iraq.

The current "War on Terror" and its bastard stepchild in Iraq are now being used to "justify" the massive spending by the Military Industrial Complex. This will continue until we admit to ourselves and the rest of the World our true motivations and our incredible stupidity. Or [until] China pulls the plug on our debt, and forces us into receivership.

--Posted by olephart.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Agreement in Love


It is wonderful and delightful when the Holy Spirit leads two souls into full agreement!:) That is worth celebrating!

But this does not always necessarily happen. For the Spirit is very subtle, and there can exist resistances to it that are even unconscious. (We are not even aware of them.) There can also exist, in the busy mind, an inability even to "hear" the "still, small voice" of Love in the heart.

For this and other reasons, it is possible for two good, sincere, and intelligent people to disagree about doctrines. Holy Spirit does not always guide people into doctrinal conformity, but often leaves it up to our free will to decide what we want to believe. Even "obvious" truths are not obvious to all, and some misunderstandings can be very attractive to our lower nature. So, it is possible to celebrate a diversity of variety within the family or communion of Love.

While we do not try to force doctrinal conformity, we do respond, as loving people, to wisdom and reason. Still, the goal of the Lord of Love is to create as much Love, and as powerful a Love, as possible among God's children. This Love is the motive, and the only motive, of a truly spiritual teacher. She cares about your mind and its content, for she knows that what you hold to be true can ruin or energize your life. So, the function of the Spirit is not to create doctrinal conformity, but only Love. Those who love each other will naturally seek compromise and as much agreement as possible.

Harmony is the Way of Love, and always feels great!:)

Some Secret Service like Bush

Thanks to Barb Cole, a dear friend who is a member of that minority that actually likes George Bush. This little story shows that a person can be incompetent and personally kind, periodically, at the same time.

Observations by Dave Kulow (source unknown, status unknown)

We had a neighbor when I lived in DC who was part of the secret service presidential detail for many years. His stories of Kennedy and Johnson were the same as those I heard from the guys who flew the presidents' plane.

Yes, Kennedy did have Marilyn Monroe flown in for secret "dates," and LBJ was a typical Texas "good ole boy" womanizer. Nixon, Bush 41 & Carter never cheated on their wives. Clinton cheated, but couldn't match Kennedy or LBJ in style or variety.

The information below is accurate: The elder Bush & current president Bush make it a point to thank and take care of the air crews who fly them around. When the president flies, there are several planes that also go one carries the armored limo, another the security detail, plus usually a press aircraft. Both Bush's made it a point to stay home on holidays, so the Air Force and security people could have a day with their families.


Hillary Clinton was arrogant and orally abusive to her security detail. She forbade her daughter, Chelsea, from exchanging pleasantries with them. Sometimes Chelsea, miffed at her mother's obvious conceit and mean spiritedness ignored her demands and exchanged pleasantries regardless, but never in her mother's presence.

Chelsea really was a nice, kindhearted, and lovely young lady. The consensus opinion was that Chelsea loved her Mom but did not like her. Hillary Clinton was continuously rude and abrasive to those who were charged to protect her life. Her security detail dutifully did their job, as professionals should, but they all loathed her and wanted to be on a different detail. Hillary Clinton was despised by the Secret Service as a whole.

Former President Bill Clinton was much more amiable than his wife. Often the Secret Service would cringe at the verbal attacks Hillary would use against her husband. They were embarrassed for his sake by the manner and frequency in which she verbally insulted him, sometimes in the presence of the Secret Service, and sometimes behind closed doors. Even behind closed doors Hillary Clinton would scream and holler so loudly that everyone could hear what she was saying.

Many felt sorry for President Clinton and most wondered why he tolerated it instead of just divorcing his "attack dog" wife. It was crystal clear that the Clinton's neither liked nor respected each other and this was true long before the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Theirs was genuinely a "marriage of convenience."

Chelsea was much closer to her father than her mother, even after the Lewinsky scandal, which hurt her gravely. Bill Clinton did in fact have charisma, and occasionally would smile at or shake hands with his security detail. Still, he always displayed an obvious air of superiority towards them. His security detail uniformly believed him to be disingenuous, false, and that he did nothing without a motive that in some way would enhance his image and political career. He was polite, but not kind. They did not particularly like him and nobody trusted him.


Al Gore was the male version of Hillary Clinton. They were more friendly toward each other than either of them were towards former President Clinton. They were not intimate, so please don't read that in. They were very close in a political way. Tipper Gore was generally nice and pleasant. She initially liked Hillary but soon after the election she had her "pegged" and no longer liked her or associated with her except for events that were politically obligatory.

Al Gore was far more left wing than Bill Clinton. Al Gore resented Bill Clinton and thought he was too "centrist." He despised all Republicans. His hatred was bitter and this was long before he announced for the Presidency. This hatred was something that he and Hillary had in common. They often said as much, even in the presence of their security detail. Neither of them trusted Bill Clinton and, the Secret Service opined, neither of them even liked Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton did have some good qualities, whereas Al Gore and Hillary had none, in the view of their security details.

Al Gore, like Hillary, was very rude and arrogant toward his security detail. He was extremely unappreciative and would not hesitate to scold them in the presence of their peers for minor details over which they had no control. Al Gore also looked down on them, as they finally observed and learned with certainty on one occasion. Al got angry at his offspring and pointed at his security detail and said, "Do you want to grow up and be like them?" Word of this insult by the former Vice-president quickly spread and he became as disliked by the Secret Service as Hillary. Most of them prayed Al Gore would not be elected President, and they really did have private celebrations in a few of their homes after President Bush won. This was not necessarily to celebrate President Bush's election, but to celebrate Al Gore's defeat.


Everyone in the Secret Service wants to be on First Lady Laura Bush's detail. Without exception, they concede that she is perhaps the nicest and most kind person they have ever had the privilege of serving. Where Hillary patently refused to allow her picture to be taken with her ecurity detail, Laura Bush doesn't even have to be asked, she offers. She doesn't just shake their hand and say, "Thank you." Very often, she will give members of her detail a kindhearted hug to express her appreciation.

There is nothing false about her. This is her genuine nature. Her security detail considers her to be a "breath of fresh air." They joke that comparing Laura Bush with Hillary Clinton is like comparing "Mother Teresa" with the "Wicked Witch of the North."

Likewise, the Secret Service considers President Bush to be a gem of a man to work for. He always treats them with genuine respect and he always trusts and listens to their expert advice. They really like the Crawford, Texas detail. Every time the president goes to Crawford he has a Bar-B-Q for his security detail and he helps serve their meals. He sits with them, eats with them, and talks with them. He knows each of them by their first name, and calls them by their first name as a show of affection. He always asks about their family, the names of which he always remembers.

They believe that he is deeply and genuinely appreciative of their service. They could not like, love, or respect anyone more than President Bush. Most of them did not know they would feel this way, until they had an opportunity to work for him and learn that his manner was genuine and consistent. It has never changed since he began his Presidency. He always treats them with the utmost respect, kindness, and compassion.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

The Lord's Prayer: Temptation


The Lord's Prayer contains the phrase, "Lead us not into temptation" because the Lord of Love is the Fountain and Source of the world-dream. (This is the everyday world.) So, God is ultimately responsible for whatever "temptations" that we encounter, although we are personally responsible for our reactions.

Here is how it works: The world, or cosmos, is dreamed into being by the One, the Lord of Love. This is the great Mind at the Center of all minds. (It is collective, or shared.) This Lord dreams up an utterly perfect universe. But, before it can become conscious, it must pass through the filter of the soul, a personal factor (not collective, also in the Unconscious). When it passes through this altering filter, the world is changed so that it reflects our personal karmic pattern. It dreams into being our karma, and plays that back to us. That is why the experienced world is so far from perfect.

In all history among the monotheisms, there has been only one Creator, and that is this Mindlevel called "Spirit." So, whatever temptation exist must be created by God or Lovemind.

Christian Variations


Nothing seems "easy" for complex human societies. I am not certain that there are 23,000 "denominations" of Christianity, but there probably are that many sects, cults, and certainly variations of understanding. (A "denomination" is a larger group, such as Methodism, Presbyterianism, Lutheranism, etc.)

This is because, despite its simplicity as the Way of Love plus nothing, Christianity has been interpreted as necessarily implying many other teachings. These are usually called "doctrines," and here, almost no one agrees with anyone else! Doctrines are further subdivided into smaller teachings, microdoctrines, in which infinite variability, and unlimited disagreement become possible! Since it is human nature to bicker, disagree, quarrel, and fight, whenever anyone has disagreed with anyone else-- about virtually anything-- the disagreement would result in a new group. So, sects, cults, and individual explanations of the microdetails of Christianity result in hopeless multiplication of groups, each disagreeing with all the others. Christianity has been a very vociferous and disagreeable group almost from the beginning, shortly after the death of Jesus.

That fact of history does nothing to alter the sweet simplicity of the message of Jesus. In trying to get it "exactly right" through attention to microdetails, ironically, most have managed completely to miss the gigantic Center of the faith. That is, of course, Love. If you do not get that one right, it hardly matters how "right" you are about all the other stuff. And if you do get that right, the details no longer count for anything.

The Christian Scriptures have been mistaken, in an old Jewish approach, for a "textbook." They are not; they are a reminder of the cruciality of Love. Life is the school, and life the "textbook," and the Bible is not a manual. It is instead a group of wisdom-discoveries made by some great Love-mystics, including Jesus. To pick apart the Bible, letter by letter, does not produce Love, but only divisions. This is antiagapic. That is why I have pointed out, repeatedly, that the entire spectrum of doctrines is optional for the mystic. If she wants to embrace a particular teaching, she does so, for she is free to do so. If a doctrine seems unloving, and she turns away from it as false, that is also within her right. God simply does not care what you believe; God cares about only how you live or behave. If you act consistently in Love, from Love, God is active within you. If you do not, then God is not activating you.

To "get it right" has never been about intellectual doctrines and dogma. It has been all about the exercise of compassion, goodness, kindness, and related qualities. When you turn Christianity into a thing of intellect, it becomes a subject of disagreement-- even, by extension, violence and even warfare! This occurs when you lose the focus, which is always Love.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Murdering Evil?


Each person must respond to the guidance of the Spirit (Love) as she understands and "hears" it. In complex moral decisions, such as, Should I kill Hitler?" the factors involved are very intricate, interwoven, interactive, and of enormous complexity. Not knowing the future, we can say with absolute certainty that murder is always the "wrong" activity.

Our lower nature (fear-nature) would love to kill someone such as Hitler or binladen. Many would like to kill bush as well. But we have zero guarantee that killing Hitler would have stopped the madness of Germany and its crazy antisemitism. He was only one man, after all, and easily replaced.

Still, it is impossible for human beings to speak in absolutes. Hitler, if killed, would likely have been immediately replaced by someone just as nuts! On the other hand, it is possible that killing such a violent psychotic could well have saved many lives. Ignorance of the outcome is not exactly bliss, but it does prevent us from thinking in simplistic, naive "black and white" terms of "right and wrong."

Murder is always wrong. But can there be mitigating factors? No doubt there can be. Besides, when we look at our model in nature (as divine expression), it can be argued that it is simply a matter of time until "she" (nature) kills us all.

But to use this as a rationalization to take a life is nightmarishly dangerous. However evil the person, we must admit that nature has given him/her life, and no one has the right voluntarily, deliberately to take that life. As noted, in time, nature will do the job for us. And, through disease and genetic mechanisms, nature often takes a person out of this world "before his time." (This is never literally true, of course, since no one ever exits early.)

To sum up, killing one person voluntarily, with premeditation would certainly sow the seeds of future painful karma, and would definitely not solve anything. When an evil person is removed, another, just as evil, immediately "pops up" to take his/her place. So, murder is not only bad politics and bad policy; it is just plain "bad." It is evil, a violation of all that the enlighten hold to be sacred. Nothing-- no behavior-- is powerful enough to "justify" murder. For if the good guys start to murder the bad guys, they have themselves become the "new" bad guys!