Sunday, January 30, 2005

Change

We are not educated for Change.

A friend and I talked about it today.

She had just been to a yoga class.

Where the vedantic philosopher said the same thing.

We are not taught how to deal with it.

We think that if we can keep things

the way they were,

that it is good.

I hate change.

I hate it when my hairstylist retires.

I hate it when my lawyer stops working so much.

I hate it when my girl friend goes away.

I hate it when my gardener quits.

I hate it when my battery goes dead.

I hate it when the blog post disappears,

I hate it when I can't explain this extra weight

after I have run 30 miles this week.

I hate it when the restaurant runs out of bread,

I hate it when the new security guard doesn't know me.

I hate it when the gorilla peaks around the corner

and says,

I'm coming for you someday.

And he will.

That probably won't change.

But then,

I find

a new hairstylist,

I use my lawyer less,

my girl friend comes back,

my new gardener is better,

I get a free battery,

the rewritten post is better,

and the lack of bread

helps me drop those two pounds.

And the new guard is a nice guy,

And the Gorilla goes back into the brush.

And the Change

is

good.


I try to get used to it.

Maybe that will change.





Saturday, January 29, 2005

The Perfect Storm

Yesterday, over lunch, I found myself saying something I have not been able to say out loud. And after I said it, I saw the truth of it in the eyes of my lunch guest.

We were talking about the future and how there are some major drivers that are beginning to come together in what might be characterized as a perfect storm.

Most of us know this term because of the 1991 storm that was labeled the "perfect storm" by the National Weather Service. The storm sank the swordfishing boat Andrea Gail, whose story became the basis for the best-selling novel "The Perfect Storm" by Sebastian Junger. The resulting movie impressed me mostly with its terrific giant wave scenes. The storm was actually a "storm within a storm" and it ultimately became a true "extratropical hurricane" that became famous in meteorological circles for many reasons, including the oddity that it was never officially named.

These major policy drivers I speak of are Climate Change, Peak Oil, and the Collapse of the Dollar. They make for a different kind of Perfect Storm, but no less ferocious or dangerous.

Instead of the Collapse of the Dollar, I could use a "very irresponsible government in Washington". I say irresponsible because this government pays attention only to what it believes and says, not the facts or the realities of the event or issue. Some have referred to this government as the worst in American History and they may be right. There is some pretty good competition though.

So we have three very large, very ill timed events coming together.

All three are somewhat undeniable.

And, they all are remarkably and profoundly interrelated.

First, there is Climate Change, which, to quote the Republican Senator from Maine, is a environmental timb bomb for the entire planet. But, climate change payouts by insurance companies are already beginning to add up. This puts pressure on the Financial Markets.

So, it is not just a time bomb for the environment, it is a financial time bomb.

And then there is the issue of Peak Oil. Two years ago, Peak Oil was on the lips of crack pots and the terminally negative. Now, the issue is appearing in M I T's Technology Review this month. Books such as the End of Oil, and the Party is Over have brought the Hubbert Curve to the front burner of many a board room and policy meeting.

Peak Oil means permanently high oil prices as resource depletion begins to work its way into the mature oil fields of the mid east and the rest of the world. Few would believe that the great North Sea Field, seemingly just discovered, is now past its prime, but it is true. The United States saw the peak in its oil fields in 1973, just as Hubbert predicted. We use 84 million barrels a day in the world and some say that 84 to 90 million is all the world can produce.

Couple this limit with growing demand from China and India and you have a perilous intersection of supply and demand curves.

Then, there is the decline of the dollar. After President Clinton left office, you could buy a Euro for 84 cents. Today, you need a $1.30 something to buy a Euro. That means the dollar is worth 62% of what is was worth four years ago. That means the Dow Jones Average from the perspective of an European is actually at 6470 not 10,400.

To compound the issue, you have the unique relationship of the dollar to the price of oil. Oil is traded in dollars. It's been that way since World War II. Oil is the largest commodity traded in the world. Therefore, in order to buy oil, you must have dollars. This makes the dollar a valuable thing. When the dollar goes down, oil prices go down for everyone whose currency is going up against it.

So, just like the stock market is actually down, the real price of oil is actually less. Oil at 50 dollars a barrel to a European is actually more like 31 dollar oil. And that is the price that OPEC has pegged as their price target.

Part of the reason the dollar is collapsing is the resumption of historically high deficits coming from the government of the geographic state of the United States since the end of the Clinton administration. A substantial part of these deficits come from the Tax deferment policies of the Bush Administration. (Tax relief for the wealthy is actually just tax deferment and redistribution of future burden.) Much of the rest is military spending.

So a weak dollar makes oil cheaper for Europeans and Japanese, therefore sending the wrong pricing signals that oil is about to become more and more valuable because of the supply demand curve intersection.

Meantime, the world spends its time worrying about how to get more oil when they should be concentrating on how to quit using oil and coal completely.

At the same time, the most powerful military force in the world is in the hands of a bunch of oil and gas gizzards from Texas who can't tell their assets from a hole in the ground.

The result is a big bad storm.

A Perfect Storm.

So what happens?

The most powerful military force in the world will make up a bunch of goofy reasons to put a huge military force in the region where 2/3 s of the World's remaining oil remains. They will croon about democracy and freedom, but they really just want the oil.

Meanwhile, their currency is collapsing and the World hates them.

They get bogged down, and they need more troops.

Some geographic states, who are not that sympathetic,

secretly help the neighbor nations.

The Worst Government in American History seemingly gets re-elected.

Then they get cocky.

They can do no wrong.

It reminds me of the story of the German General with his girlfriend.

He tells the girlfriend, who really knows nothing about geopolitics,

that the Fuhrer is going to invade Russia.

He proudly shows her the invasion map.

The girlfriend looks at the map and at the scope of the task.

And then looks at the General, just a little confused.

She asks,

Mein General, has the Fuhrer seen this map?

Humankind saw 15 million deaths in the

War to End all Wars.

We experienced 55 million deaths in

World War II.

How many deaths might come from

World War III?

In the meantime,

Everyone is worried about Social Security.

So am I.







Friday, January 28, 2005

Compassion

In times when my mind runs off, I often remember the words of the Dalai Lama in response to the question of how he feels about the Chinese who invaded his country thus taking away his ancestral home and seat of spiritual government. His response was

They have already taken my country, I will not let them take my mind.

Some of us feel like that right now.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama writes,

"In my own experience, the period of greatest gain in knowledge and experience is the most difficult period in one's life. If you go along in an easy way, with everything okay, you feel everything is just fine. Then one day, when you encounter problems, you feel depressed and hopeless. Through a difficult period, you can learn, you can develop inner strength, determination, and courage to face the problem. Who gives you this chance? Your enemy."

This is what His Holiness means when he refers to the Chinese as "my friends, the enemy."

The heart of compassion is purified in the fire of suffering.

"This does not mean that you obey or bow down to your enemy. In fact, sometimes, according to the enemy's attitude, you may have to react strongly. But deep down, calmness and compassion must not be lost. This is possible If you practice this, if you test it in your own experience, you can feel it yourself.

"The development of love and compassion is basic and … compassion is the essence of religion…. What is needed is compassion, without dogmatism, without complicated philosophy; just understanding that others are … brothers and sisters, and respecting their rights and … dignity…

To bring about … change is difficult,but it is absolutely worthwhile to try…. what is important is that we try our best. Whether we succeed or not is a different question. Even if we could not achieve what we seek within this life, it is all right; at least we have made the attempt to form a better ... society on the basis of love – true love – and less selfishness."

from "Religious Values and Human Society,"

"My spiritual friends, whether it is we or others who are suffering, the enlightened response is compassion: love, sympathy, and the intention to ease the ache. To be on a spiritual path means to be awake both to suffering and to the possibility of the end of suffering, asking of us to embrace both – to include everything in the circle of our care. We are deeply interconnected with one another.

When we cultivate wise minds and open hearts, we will know what to do with our hands."

Rev. Kim K. Crawford Harvie

Without compassion, we are less than nothing.

We have taken the oneness

and pseudo severed ourselves from it.

Without compassion, the Heart of Wisdom

Becomes a deep Well of Uncaring.

Without compassion, our love

is a billboard slogan or

a relief effort with no soul.

It becomes too easy to be hard.

And even harder to be soft.

And after a while,

You get to where,

You just don't care.

Thursday, January 27, 2005


Do You Care? Posted by Hello

Caring

Yesterday, after posting the climate change story, I just couldn't seem to get in a good mood. At the gym where I work out, my workout buddies would ask how I was, and would say that I was grumpy. Almost everyone I saw, I told about the new Climate Change Report.

Upstairs in the lounge of the Hotel where I workout, I ran into a corporate lawyer, whom I know well, and another young, rather successful republican writer. I told them about the report.

The lawyer said, he wasn't going to stop driving his 10 mile per gallon vehicle. He even went so far as to say, that there was nothing he could do about it.

I told him how he could buy green energy from the local utility at a slightly higher rate that would allow the utility to invest in more renewable energy. In fact that day, the Utility had announced the addition of another 125 MWs of windpower to its generation portfolio.He wasn't aware of the program, even though the five star hotel we were talking in purchases its electricity on the utility's green rate. The young successful republican writer type didn't know about it either.

This particular green pricing program is the most successful in the country, so some people know about it. The Utility runs large billboards throughout the town promoting the wind and the people and companies that buy it.

Now, this lawyer and this writer are not stupid or uncaring.

They may be a little insensitive, but they are basically good guys.

But they are totally oblivious to the present and future danger of climate change to their comfortable way of life. And they are a very long way from considering what they need to do to respond to it, either proactively or retroactively.

All night, as I ran into people, I told them about the report. I told them that the NYT had not published a thing about the story, that practically no American media had covered the story at all.

No one really cared that much.

Some thought is was sad that our media was so controlled.

Others just looked at me with that look.

They hated to see me in a bad mood.

I have been writing about climate change for 20 years now.

And sometimes I feel like the geophysicists

who called the interior ministers of the governments of

Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, and said,

There is a tsunami coming!

Tell the people to prepare by leaving the coast immediately.

Of course, there was no tsunami to be seen.

But there was a huge burst of energy traveling

under the water at just under the speed of sound.

The wave did not appear until it was upon its victims.

That's when
they care.

The climate change wave may not appear until it is upon us.

And that's when
we will care.






Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Polluters

When I was a young boy in the 50s, I remember how we would be driving down the road, and then my Dad would roll down the window and throw out a bag of trash with maybe the last remains of our hamburgers with the tomatoes and pickles I wouldn't eat.

I would look back from the back seat and see the bag hit the ground, roll along for a moment, and then rest on the side of the road. It seems like I remember seeing the bag explode once, with trash blowing all over the field, but I probably just made that up. I do remember being confused by it though. I could not throw trash into my bedroom or into our yard.

Why could we throw trash out of the car?

I don't know why we did it, surely we knew better.

Maybe it's because Moses didn't put it in the top ten. If he had room for one more, he might have added thou shalt not trash thy neighbors field.

As the 50s turned into the 60s, it was no longer acceptable to throw trash out of the car. Maybe it was because the sides of the roads were beginning to look like trash dumps. Soon, it was illegal and signs sprung up that said Littering is Unlawful.

In the early days of the industrial revolution, the cities in England were significantly polluted from coal smoke. As lung disease and morbitity increased, it became clear that, at the very least, smokestacks would need to be higher.

Even earlier in the 1300s, when England began to use coal instead of wood for heat, there were major air pollution problems. To clean up London's air, King Edward I, outlawed coal burning exclaiming, "…whosoever shall be found guilty of burning coal shall suffer the loss of his head."

Known today as "The London Fog," London experienced the worst air pollution disaster ever reported from December 5 to 8, 1952. With daily temperatures below average, fireplaces and industries supplied pollutants that combined with condensation in the air to form a dense fog. Concentrations of pollutants reached very high levels under these adverse conditions. The fog finally cleared away, but four thousand Londoners had perished.

In 1948, the United States experienced its first major air pollution catastrophe in Donora, Pennsylvania. Effluents from a number of industries, including a sulfuric acid plant, a steel mill, and a zinc production plant, became trapped in a valley by a temperature inversion and produced an un-breathable mixture of fog and pollution. Six-thousand suffered illnesses ranging from sore throats to nausea. There were 20 deaths in three days.

According to the World Health Organization, Global Warming killed 150,000 people in 2000 and the death toll could double again in the next 30 years if current trends are not reversed.

One heatwave killed 20,000 people in Europe alone this year, the WHO said.

Pollution should not be regulated.

It should be unlawful.

Littering is unlawful.

Imagine if other crimes were regulated and not made unlawful.

We could issue robbery credits to all the known thieves and robbers.

Those who were known to rob the most, would get the most credits.

We could initiate a cap and trade system.

If they do not need to rob their full allotment,

they can sell their robbery credits to someone

who needs to steal a little more this year.

And once again,

the miracle of the market is revealed.

Local authorities are thinking about regulating murder.




Monday, January 24, 2005

Climate Change

I have long said that Climate Change was the issue of our generation, and our children's generation, and their children's generation.

In the last few years, I have noticed that the usual increase of CO2 in the environment of just over a part per million had suddenly started to increase to 1.6, then 1.8, then in 2002 it was over 2, and perhaps in 2004, it may increase by 2.3 parts per million. Although hardly positive, this is what scientists call positive feedback. It means that as we get warmer, more CO2 is emitted.

This could be a runaway.

That means our time to deal with this issue is approaching criticality.

Tomorrow, a report from the International Climate Change Task Force, co-chaired, by the way, by Senator Olympia Snowe will say something very close to that.

Reuters, Al Jazeera, and The Independent are running the story, as is this site.

Point of No Return for Climate Change Will Be Reached in 10 Years

Author: Institute for Public Policy Research
Published on Jan 24, 2005, 06:57

As chair of the G8, the Prime Minister should seek agreement to create a G8-Plus Climate Group to engage the US and major developing countries in action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to a high-level taskforce established by the Institute for Public Policy Research (ippr), the Centre for American Progress and the Australia Institute.

In its report out tomorrow (Tuesday), the International Climate Change Taskforce concludes such a group would provide a way for G8 countries and other major economies - including India and China - to take action that would lead to large-scale reductions in emissions. The G8-Plus Climate Group would pursue partnerships to achieve immediate deployment of existing low-carbon energy technologies, including agreements to shift agricultural subsidies from food crops to biofuels and promote sales of highly efficient cars.

The report also argues that all G8 countries should set a lead by adopting national targets to generate at least 25 per cent of electricity from renewable energy sources by 2025 and mandatory cap-and-trade schemes for emissions, like the EU scheme.

The Taskforce also calls on governments to agree to a long-term objective of preventing global temperature from rising by more than 2 C above pre-industrial levels.

Rt Hon Stephen Byers MP, co-chair of the Taskforce with US Republican Senator Olympia Snowe, said:

"Our planet is at risk. With climate change, there is an ecological time-bomb ticking away, and people are becoming increasingly concerned by the changes and extreme weather events they are already seeing. Urgent action is required if we are to win the battle against this problem.

World leaders need to recognise that climate change is the single most important long term issue that the planet faces and to discharge their responsibilities to the people they represent by agreeing to concerted international action to tackle climate change."

The Al Jazeera story goes on:

It says the danger point will be signalled when temperatures rise by two degrees Celsius above the average world temperature in 1750, before the industrial revolution.

The report says that global average temperature has already risen by 0.8C since then, so the world has little more than a single degree of temperature latitude before the crucial point is reached.

The consequences of such a rise could include widespread agricultural failure, water shortages and major droughts, increased disease, sea-level rise and the death of forests, according to the report.

There are only a few people around now who even try to debate this.

Most of them are carbon guys.

I remember when the cigarette company guys stood in front of that Congressional Panel and they all said, "Nicotine is not an addictive drug".

When you are a smoker, you will believe anything.

Just as long as you can keep on smoking.

Where do you think we got the phrase

blowing smoke?








Sunday, January 23, 2005

The Teaching

I had written a post on polluters and pressed publish and it disappeared.

So, here is the core Teaching of J Krishnamurti , one of my very favorites.

Krishnamurti was born in 1895 in south India, the eighth child in a middle-class family. At an early age he was adopted by Annie Besant, then the President of the Theosophical Society. She took Krishnamurti and his brother Nitya to England where she had them educated privately.

On Krishnamurti's return to India while still in his teens, Theosophists proclaimed him to be the world teacher whose coming they had been awaiting. They built a large and rich order round him, with many thousands of followers. But in 1929, in a rather famous speech, Krishnamurti disbanded the organisation, returned the estates and monies that had been given to him, and declared that his only purpose was to set human beings unconditionally free from psychological limitations.

Krishnamurti wrote this in 1981.

‘Truth is a pathless land'.

Man cannot come to it through any organization, through any creed, through any dogma, priest or ritual, not through any philosophic knowledge or psychological technique.He has to find it through the mirror of relationship, through the understanding of the contents of his own mind, through observation and not through intellectual analysis or introspective dissection.

Man has built in himself images as a fence of security - religious, political, personal. These manifest as symbols, ideas, beliefs. The burden of these images dominates man’s thinking, his relationships, and his daily life. These images are the causes of our problems for they divide man from man. His perception of life is shaped by the concepts already established in his mind.

The content of his consciousness is his entire existence.

This content is common to all humanity. The individuality is the name, the form and superficial culture he acquires from tradition and environment. The uniqueness of man does not lie in the superficial but in complete freedom from the content of his consciousness, which is common to all mankind. So he is not an individual.

Freedom is not a reaction; freedom is not a choice. It is man’s pretense that because he has choice he is free. Freedom is pure observation without direction, without fear of punishment and reward. Freedom is without motive; freedom is not at the end of the evolution of man but lies in the first step of his existence. In observation one begins to discover the lack of freedom. Freedom is found in the choiceless awareness of our daily existence and activity.

Thought is time.

Thought is born of experience and knowledge, which are inseparable from time and the past. Time is the psychological enemy of man. Our action is based on knowledge and therefore time, so man is always a slave to the past. Thought is ever-limited and so we live in constant conflict and struggle. There is no psychological evolution.

When man becomes aware of the movement of his own thoughts, he will see the division between the thinker and thought, the observer and the observed, the experiencer and the experience. He will discover that this division is an illusion. Then only is there pure observation which is insight without any shadow of the past or of time.

This timeless insight brings about a deep, radical mutation in the mind.

Total negation is the essence of the positive. When there is negation of all those things that thought has brought about psychologically, only then is there love, which is compassion and intelligence.

Krishnamurti belonged to no religion, sect or country, nor did he subscribe to any school of political or ideological thought. Instead, he stated that these are the very factors that divide us from one another and bring about personal and social conflict and ultimately war.

His talks and discussions were not based on any authority of tradition or academic knowledge, but arose out of his own insights into the human mind and his own relation with the sacred.

Perhaps he was the World Teacher.

And Annie got it right after all.





Friday, January 21, 2005

Deep Impact

Tonight at dinner, a friend asked me about a comet.

There has been a little talk about comets lately,

And, we are assured that chances of a comet hitting the earth are low.

But, chances of us hitting a comet have gone way up as of January 12.

This story is from the AP:

LOS ANGELES (AP) - A spacecraft named Deep Impact will fire a 1,100-pound copper bullet at the nucleus of a comet, blasting out a crater the size of a football field and as deep as a seven-story building.

The radical $240 million mission, approved Wednesday by NASA administrators, may sound more like fiction than science, but its primary purpose will be to study the makeup of comets.

It's a coincidence that the project has the same name as last summer's disaster movie ``Deep Impact,'' which was about a comet smacking Earth, mission planners said Thursday.

"The name was selected prior to the movie,'' said James Graf, Deep Impact's project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "It wasn't inspired by it. "

Deep Impact is scheduled to be launched in January 2004 and will arrive at comet Tempel 1 on July 4, 2005. The projectile will separate from the spacecraft and hit the comet at 22,300 mph.

Shortly after impact, the craft will come within 300 miles of the comet surface and send back data and pictures of the debris and crater. It will eventually zoom off into space.

Comets are believed to be remnants from the early days of the solar system, and several missions are planned to observe them close-up. Deep Impact's projectile, however, will be the first to crash into one.

Deep Impact will allow scientists to study the inside of a comet by observing the debris ejected from the crater.

"It can give us an understanding of what the solar system looked like during its formation, and what contributions comets may have made to our life here on Earth,'' Graf said.

The impact should be visible from Earth - 83 million miles away - with the aid of a telescope.

The mission poses no threat to Earth, Graf said. The impact crater will be small compared with the overall size of the comet's nucleus.

NASA's approval of Deep Impact was made less than two weeks after the space agency pulled the plug on another mission to the same comet. Space Technology 4/Champollion would have landed on Tempel 1 and drilled beneath the surface.

NASA administrators decided to favor Deep Impact because it was focused solely on science and fit into existing budget plans, said Doug Isbell, a NASA spokesman in Washington, D.C.

As you might imagine, this has caused some concern in those circles where deep concerns abound.

Some astronomers and scientists have incorrectly assumed that comets are made of matter rather than antimatter. Their misinterpretation has lead NASA's plan to collide a 350 kilogram spacecraft into the Comet Tempel 1. The spacecraft's impact with the comet will result in a 15,000 Megatons nuclear explosion fracturing the 125 billion metric ton comet into millions of fragments. The antimatter fragments will subsequently collide with earth producing nuclear explosions that will completely destroy life on earth as we know it.

Life on Earth as we know it?

Deep Impact Day is July 4th of this year.

We may have some real fireworks to watch.

Could have an effect on the Earthfamily.



Thursday, January 20, 2005


it is finished Posted by Hello

Civil Liberties

On this day, in 1920, the American Civil Liberties Union was formed.

The ACLU was founded by American civil liberties advocate Roger Baldwin and other social reformers as an outgrowth of the American Union Against Militarism. That organization had been formed during World War I to seek amnesty for conscientous objectors-those citizens who refused to participate in military combat for moral reasons. The ACLU was created to preserve the civil liberties guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, which include such rights as freedom of speech, press, religion, and separation of church and state; equal protection of the law for all citizens;due process of law such as the right to be treated fairly when facing criminal charges or other serious accusations; and the individual’s right to privacy.

Baldwin led the ACLU for its first 30 years

One of the organization’s most famous test cases took place in 1925 when ACLU attorney Clarence Darrow defended evolution teacher John Scopes in Tennessee v. John Scopes, often known as the Monkey Trial. Scopes violated a state law that prohibited teaching the theory of evolution in public schools because it contradicted the Bible’s account of creation.

The ACLU fought to keep church and state issues separate and allow freedom of speech. Scopes was convicted of violating the law, but it was overturned a year later on a technicality. Although the ACLU did not succeed in changing the state law that year, the trial brought the organization national attention.

In 1954 the ACLU joined the legal battle to prohibit racial segregation in public schools in the case Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. The ACLU filed a friend-of-the-court-brief in support of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), which argued for the desegregation of schools. In its decision on Brown the Supreme Court struck down segregation laws, declaring that separate educational facilities were “inherently unequal” by definition.

In 1973 the ACLU joined the legal battle to abolish criminal abortion laws in the landmark Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade. The ACLU filed a friend-of-the-court brief to urge the Court to recognize a woman’s right to an abortion based on the constitutional right to privacy. The Supreme Court ruled that a woman has a right to an abortion during the first six months of pregnancy.

Criticism of the ACLU also came from the highest levels of government in the 1980s. In 1981 U.S. Attorney General Ed Meese, who served under President Ronald Reagan, called the ACLU "a criminals’ lobby." Meese claimed the organization was too liberal. However, the ACLU often criticized Meese for not supporting various civil liberties.

In 1988 Reagan’s eventual successor, George Bush, made a high-profile campaign issue out of the fact that his election opponent, Democratic Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis, was a “card-carrying member of the ACLU.” However, Bush’s campaign did not hurt the ACLU.

More than 50,000 people joined the organization in 1988 and 1989.

By the 1990s, the ACLU had argued more cases before the U.S. Supreme Court than any other entity except the U.S. Department of Justice.

The ACLU really has its hands full today.

And , it's just going to get worse.

Today is also not one damn dime day.

Fourty four years ago, John Kennedy made history.

Today's party will be really expensive.

Party hardy.

Civil Liberty is drowning in security.

Peace is a prisoner of War.

Hubris is King.

Rome is burning.

Party hardy.

The rest of us will pray.





Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Born into This

There is a new Charles Bukowski movie out.

I saw it

while my friend

who went with me

slept.

It is pretty good.

Here's a standard review:

Many consider Charles Bukowski (1920-1994) one of the greatest poets of the twentieth century. His poems were simple, raw, and brought the hoity-toity art of poetry down to the masses. He was notorious for drinking, cussing, womanizing, and fighting, which undoubtedly increased his popularity over the years.

Bukowski: Born into This is an excellent introduction to Bukowski. It demonstrates who he is, how he came to be, and best of all, it has lots of footage of the Bukowski himself reading his poems. His voice is raw, hoarse, and he lingers slowly over his words. He gracefully, almost tenderly reads his works, which contrasts sharply with the blunt, dark imagery of his words.

Bluebird

there's a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I'm too tough for him,
I say, stay in there, I'm not going
to let anybody see
you.
there's a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I pur whiskey on him and inhale
cigarette smoke
and the whores and the bartenders
and the grocery clerks
never know that
he's
in there.

there's a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I'm too tough for him,
I say,
stay down, do you want to mess
me up?
you want to screw up the
works?
you want to blow my book sales in
Europe?
there's a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I'm too clever, I only let him out
at night sometimes
when everybody's asleep.
I say, I know that you're there,
so don't be
sad.
then I put him back,
but he's singing a little
in there, I haven't quite let him
die
and we sleep together like
that
with our
secret pact
and it's nice enough to
make a man
weep, but I don't
weep, do
you?

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Earthfamily Principles

redirect to new page

The Awakened Mind

So what does an Awakened Mind look like?

There are some who think they may know.

It is a group of practitioners who have studied the brain wave patterns of many of our great saints and thinkers and have developed a brain profile of such thinkings.

The original discovery of the awakened mind brain wave pattern is attributed to the British psychobiologist and biophysicist C. Maxwell Cade in the early 1970s. Cade measured the brain wave patterns of many healers, spiritual teachers and advanced meditators as well as 300 of his own students. He found a pattern that he identified as a step beyond meditation that exhibits the "lucid awareness" of meditation "coexistent with thought processes". Cade presented his discovery in his book, The Awakened Mind: Biofeedback and the Development of Higher States of Awareness, which he co-authored with Nona Coxhead (Dell, 1979).

Here he stated that the awakened mind state "shows high amplitude alpha accompanied by two side bands of about 30 to 60 percent of the alpha amplitude, continuous and of steady frequency -- one at usually 16 to 18 hertz in the beta spectrum, the other usually at 4 to 6 hertz in the theta spectrum." Of the then current research in alpha he observed, "It seemed that most researchers in this area had failed to note the simultaneous presence of other relevant frequencies... namely theta, beta or even delta waves."

Anna Wise, a friend and follower of Cade continues:

I had the great good fortune to be very close to Max Cade for most of his early research period. I worked closely with him from 1973 to 1981, and had the opportunity to be part of his early research and discoveries. I developed a complete understanding of the awakened mind both as he saw it through his research and as I learned to experience it within myself.

In 1981, I returned to the United States with Max's blessings and a Mind Mirror, to develop my own work with the awakened mind. I began expanding the research into areas other than spirituality and healing. I measured artists, composers, dancers, inventors, mathematicians, and scientists. I measured CEOs in the boardroom and presidents of corporations. I found that the brain wave patterns of high performance, of creativity, the bursts of peak experience, were the same patterns that the yogis and swamis lived in. I measured the “ah-ha” or the “eureka” experience and found that the brain waves flared into an awakened mind at the exact moment of insight.

The many varieties and forms of the awakened mind, depend on the individual’s own personal development, on his or her intention or need at the time, and on his or her normal signature pattern. Patterns that were mistaken for an awakened mind invariably had subtle forms of bottlenecks or blockages in the flow of information between the conscious, subconscious, and the unconscious mind.

You can keep going here.

I also found music designed to awaken the mind, and brain wave generators, and of course, you need the brain monitors. It sounds a little like Scientology, but on steroids. Obviously, Buddhists chant and ring bells, and Christians sing, and Catholics recite, so the idea of using sound to enhance consciousness is pretty well established. This brain wave stimulation is a new thing though. Couple brain wave stimulation with cyberconnectivity and the superhuman is closer than the next Bruce Willis movie.

Now, I am all for awakening from the dream and for making your brain as good as it can be. That would probably include not leaving the several hundred thousand brain cells that fall on your pillow each night from that bottle of wine the night before. It seems like a good idea to get the best bio-computer communication architecture established that you can ,which could very likely be like this alpha, beta, theta, delta balance that Mr. Cade discovered.

But you also need to look at the contents of your thinking, once your brain if functioning at its peak. Even though it certainly can be argued that this content might be nudged on to greater heights if your brain is hitting on all cylinders, what and how you are thinking seems to be every bit as important as the brain wave signature of your thinking.

Often, before I write, I play the piano, and get my left side working with the right side. I sing and I create. I get attuned to the harmonies and I attune myself. Perhaps my brain wave patterns are close to what Cade found. Perhaps not. Maybe I should get one of those mind mirror things.

This may sound tautological, and perhaps it is.

I think the awakened mind comes from a mind that is no longer asleep.

It comes from a mind that sees the shaped story telling all around it,

And knows that even though it is a nice story,

It is not the truth.

You see through the Media's lies about the War.

You see through the fiction of exporting Democracy

with the killing end of a gun.

You see through those destructive scripts

That pull you down like diver's weights.

You see through the lies in your own life.

You see through the lies in your own love.

You see through the lies in your own story.

You see through the lies in your own thoughts.

You see the lies laying at the core of your being,

And then you become the stalker.

It isn't easy and it isn't pretty.

Then, it all changes.

And the dream falls away,

And the mind awakes.

And it is beautiful.

Monday, January 17, 2005

The Dream

This is my most favorite holiday.

You don't have to buy anybody anything.

You don't have to eat dinner with anybody.

You don't have to decorate your house with all kinds of sillyness.

You don't have to do anything.

In Texas, I kid you not,

If you don't want to celebrate the life of Martin Luther King,

you can celebrate Confederate Veterans Day.

If you choose to, you can listen to perhaps some of the most inspired oration in the history of the geographic state of the United States or for that matter, the World.

Last year, I saw a really great MLK parade.

So you might want to find a parade where you are.

Otherwise, just listen to the speeches.

Here is the audio link with the text of the Dream Speech.

It always gives me shivers up my spine and then I cry.

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves, who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we've come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds."

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so we have come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.

We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must ever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.
And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?"


We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecutions and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends. And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal.

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right down in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I will go back to the South with.

With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.

With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.

With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

And this will be the day, this will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning, "My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring!"

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.

And so let freedom ring -- from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.

Let freedom ring -- from the mighty mountains of New York.

Let freedom ring -- from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

Let freedom ring -- from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.

Let freedom ring -- from the curvaceous slopes of California.

But not only that.

Let freedom ring -- from Stone Mountain of Georgia.

Let freedom ring -- from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring -- from every hill and molehill of Mississippi,

from every mountainside, let freedom ring!

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual,

"Free at last, free at last.

Thank God Almighty, we are free at last."

Christ! This is good.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Reality

Last night, after dinner, a friend and I went back to the house, lit the fire and the candles, and we"talked". I put on the always haunting Nick Drake. I am always amazed at the way the same reality can be interpreted in such different ways. The mystic in me knows that reality is subjective...that the Observer is the Observed. But the engineer in me has a real problem letting go of the notion that there is an objective reality out there that can be described rather accurately and that once described, can be manipulated and managed in some rational and productive way.

This morning, I pulled out a book by Don Miguel Ruiz, who is a pop shaman writer, probably mostly famous for the Four Agreements.

I began reading in the seventh chapter of the Mastery of Love, intitled the Dream Master.

It goes:

Every relationship in your life can be healed, every realionship can be wonderful, but it always is going to begin with you. You need to have the courage to use the truth, to talk to yourself with the truth, to be completely honest with yourself. Perhaps you don't have to be honest with the whole world, but you can be honest with yourself. Perhaps you cannot control what is going on around you, but you can control your own reactions. Those reactions are going to guide the dream of your life, your personal dream. Its your reactions that make you so unhappy or make you so happy.

You are responsible for the conseqences of what ever you do, think, say, and feel. You can control your personal dream by making choices. You have to see if you like the consequences of your choices or not. If it's a consequence that you enjoy, the keep doing what you are doing.

But if you don't like what is happening in your life, if you aren't enjoying your dream, then try to find out what is causing the consequences you don't like.

This is the way to transform your dream.

The way we learn to dream is a set up.

With all the beliefs we have that nothing is possible, it's hard to escape the Dream of Fear. In order to awake from the Dream, you need to master the Dream.

That is why the Toltec created the Mastery of Transformation, to break free of the old Dream and to create a new dream where everything is possible, including escaping from the Dream.

In the Mastery of Transformation, the Toltec divide people into Dreamers and Stalkers. The Dreamers know that the dream is an illusion, and they play in that world of illusion, knowing it's an illusion.

The Stalkers are like a tiger, or a jaguar, stalking every action and reaction.

You have to stalk your reactions; you have to work yourself every moment. It takes a lot of time and courage, because its easier to take things personally and react the way you always react. These reactions may only generate more emotional poison and increase the drama.

If you control your reactions, you will find that soon you are going to see, meaning to perceive things as they really are. The mind normally perceives things as they really are, but because of all the programming, all the beliefs we have, we make interpretations of what we perceive, of what we hear, and mainly of what we see.

There is a big difference between seeing the way people see the Dream,

and seeing without judgement,

as it is.


"There is no worse blind man, than the one who doesn't want to see."

Religions say that when humans were created,

that God gave us "free will".

This is true, but the Dream took it away from us and kept it.

because the Dream controls the will of most humans.

We can awake from the Dream.

And create our own dream.




Friday, January 14, 2005

The Future

Predicting is very difficult, especially when you are talking about the future. Yogi Berra

I just got a piece in the mail from the World Future Society. It is their special report for the Winter of 2005.

Forecast #1

By the year 2025, China will emit more carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide than the United States, Japan, and Canada combined--70% of the energy used in China comes from coal burning power plants, few of which are equiped with pollution controls.

Forecast #2

Hydrogen power will be cost competitive by 2018. New hydrogen generators that run on solar power will drive price breakthrough. The result will be affordable and nonpolluting cars that are ultimately powered by water.

Forecast #3

The US faces a tidal wave of e-waste. Some 3/4 of all the computers, televisions and PDAs ever sold in the US are no longer in use and await disposal.

Forecast #4

Even without dramatic advances in life extension, Baby Boomers are likely to live much longer, and in better health, than anyone now expects.

Now, I spoke not too long ago to members of this group and I found them to be a very savvy and sophisticated group. However, three of these predictions are not predictions, they are more like projections. If we continue to head on this heading at this speed we will be in Dakota by morning.

Predicting is much more difficult.

One reason predicting is so hard is because reality can't make up its mind.

Often, the competing forces are precariously balanced.

And even though everything is in everything,

And the oneness reveals itself always,

It only reveals itself once it knows for sure what it is there is to reveal.

Things can break one way or the other based on inches.

It really is like a football game or any other sporting event.

One little tiny thing, a bad call, a good break, a stupid fumble,

can completely change the momentum and alter the game,

and suddenly, one of the two relatively balanced teams

has the upper hand and it is beating the tar out of the other.

It's actually kind of scary.

So, we can be real smart and make projections about the future,

and we can be real lucky and make predictions about the future.

So, lets look at food projections.

Prediction #1

Feeding everyone in 20 years is going to take cooperation.

So, lets look at energy projections.

Here is the conventional view.

Here is the contrarian view.

Prediction #2

Providing energy for everyone in 20 years is going to take cooperation.

So, let's take a look at water supplies.

Prediction #3

Providing water for everyone in 20 years is going to take cooperation.

If you want to follow trends, I know of no better source than Worldwatch.

Lester Brown and Chris Flavin are doing their best

at watching the World for us.

If you want to predict the future,

I know of no better way than getting in the game.

It really is a game of inches.


Thursday, January 13, 2005

Power Paint

With todays increasing knowledge in materials and semiconductors, and our growing expertise in nanotechnology, it should be no surprise that there are various labs and working groups across the planet that are working on new, exciting photovoltaic devices and processes that can drasticly reduce the cost of solar power and virtually change everything else too.

Part of my daily routine envolves scanning worldwide for new announcements which support my belief that we truly are on the cusp of such devices and that there is every reason to be hopeful for their introduction and acceptance into the public and private energy infrastructure.

Imagine a power paint that can be applied to almost any man made surface that will turn that wall, that roof, that south facing shed roof into a solar generator. Even better, imagine that surface being in the fibers in your T Shirt.

Imagine these surfaces taking the energy in the deaccelerated photon

and converting that energy into electrical energy.

Imagine this material to be ubiquitous and more or less non toxic.

Imagine.

Here is a nice piece from last weekend:

TORONTO - Researchers at the University of Toronto have invented an infrared-sensitive material that's five times more efficient at turning the sun's power into electrical energy than current methods.

The discovery could lead to shirts and sweaters capable of recharging our cellphones and other wireless devices, said Ted Sargent, professor of electrical and computer engineering at the university.

Sargent and other researchers combined specially-designed minute particles called quantum dots, three to four nanometres across, with a polymer to make a plastic that can detect energy in the infrared.

Infrared light is not visible to the naked eye but it is what most remote controls emit, in small amounts, to control devices such as TVs and DVD players.

It also contains a huge untapped resource -- despite the surge in popularity of solar cells in the 1990s, we still miss half of the sun's power, Sargent said.

"In fact, there's enough power from the sun hitting the Earth every day to supply all the world's needs for energy 10,000 times over,'' Sargent said in a phone interview Sunday from Boston. He is currently a visiting professor of nanotechnology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Sargent said the new plastic composite is, in layman's terms, a layer of film that "catches'' solar energy. He said the film can be applied to any device, much like paint is coated on a wall.

"We've done the same thing, but not with something that just sit there on the wall the way paint does,'' said the Ottawa native.

"We've done it to make a device which actually harnesses the power in the room in the infrared.''

The film can convert up to 30 per cent of the sun's power into usable, electrical energy. Today's best plastic solar cells capture only about six per cent.

What is really fun about this heat based or infrared technology, is that it not only completely destroys any reason to produce electricity with coal, nuclear, or for that matter even wind, it also completely changes our air-conditioning industry too. That in turn, completely changes the loads that utilities must meet in warm climates.

Why spend energy to remove heat from a room when you can paint the walls and ceilings to suck the heat off of the body creating comfort at the skin level? Even better, that so called waste heat would then produce usable power to power the new solid state lights painted on the ceiling or on other walls that are simply the same product working in reverse! These devices could create usable light or heat or both.

They are a creme rinse, a floor wax, and a dessert topping.

These ideas were in my future log writings just three years ago.

Instead of being a "futurist", I am beginning to feel like a "nowist".

It certainly fires up the Hope.

For the earthfamily.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Hope

A friend asked me out to lunch several months back. He is in the solar business. Anyone in that business frequently finds themselves questioning what to heck they are doing.

He had read my writings and my books, and he wanted to know where my hope comes from. I don't remember what I told him, but I do know what I feel right now.

Hope comes from the Heart.

All human wisdom is summed up in two words - wait and hope.
--Alexander Dumas

Expect to have hope rekindled. Expect your prayers to be answered in wondrous ways. The dry seasons in life do not last. The spring rains will come again
--Sarah Ban Breathnach

Listen now to the gentle whispers of hope.
--Charles D. Brodhead

While there's life, there's hope!
--Ancient Roman Saying

Hope is the thing with feathers That perches in the soul And sings the tune without the words And never stops at all.
--Emily Dickenson

The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof.
--Barbara Kingsolver

True hope dwells on the possible, even when life seems to be a plot written by someone who wants to see how much adversity we can overcome True hope responds to the real world, to real life; it is an active effort
--Walter Anderson

Hope is necessary in every condition. The miseries of poverty, sickness and captivity would, without this comfort, be insupportable.
--Samuel Johnson

We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope.
--Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Everything that is done in the world is done by hope.
--Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is to not stop questioning.
--Albert Einstein

Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense regardless of how it turns out.
--Vaclav Havel

Your hopes, dreams and aspirations are legitimate. They are trying to take you airborne, above the clouds, above the storms, if you only let them.
--William James

We should not let our fears hold us back from pursuing our hopes.
--John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Every area of trouble gives out a ray of hope; and the one unchangeable certanity is that nothing is certain or unchangeable.
--John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Hope for the best but prepare for the worst.
--English Proverb

We cannot live our lives without hope and heart.

And we cannot live our lives blindly and thoughtlessly.

For our minds are a strong sword.

And our Heart is an infinite well.




Tuesday, January 11, 2005

The Sword

There are few archtypes in our language as strong as the sword.

Solomon would slay the baby in half with a sword.

Micah and Isaiah speak of swords to plowshares.

Joel even speaks of plowshares to swords.

Those who live by the sword, die by the sword.

One of the scariest suits in the Tarot is Swords.

Then, there is the Sword of Damocles

If you are familiar with allusions to the "sword of Damocles," you may know that to feel that the sword of Damocles is hanging over you is to have a sense of anxiety, of impending doom.

The reference is to a story recounted by the Roman writer Cicero in the first century B.C.

Damocles was a courtier in Syracuse during the reign of a powerful tyrant named Dionysius. Tired of hearing his young courtier go on and on about how wonderful the life of a ruler must be, Dionysius decided to teach Damocles a lesson. Damocles was treated to a lavish banquet in which he was to experience what it really felt like to be a ruler. In the midst of the festivities, he noticed a sword suspended overhead by a single horsehair.

You could say it ruined his party.

In this nuclear age, the Sword of Damocles has become a metaphor for our own perilous situation.

Practically every body has said something memorable with the word sword in it. Here are a few more:

"Beware of the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind. And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of the citizenry, [who] infused with fear and blinded by patriotism, will offer up all of their rights unto the leader and gladly so. How will I know? For this I have done. And I am Julius Caesar."
Julius Caesar

There are only two forces in the world, the sword and the spirit. In the long run the sword will always be conquered by the spirit.
Napoleon Bonaparte

Those who play with the devil's toys will be brought by degrees to wield his sword.
R. Buckminster Fuller

The pen is mightier than the sword.
Edward Bulwer-Lytton

There never was a time when, in my opinion, some way could not be found to prevent the drawing of the sword.
Ulysses S. Grant

The badge of the violent is his weapon, spear, sword or rifle. God is the shield of the non-violent.
Mohandas Gandhi

There seems to be pretty good agreement among our generals, our poets, our philosophers, and our spirtual leaders that using the sword to settle problems is at the very least, the very last option.

And even then, it may simply amplify the violence as it is passed to another time and generation.

Yet, we glorify our armed forces.

We allow our media to whip us into a frenzy with shock and awe.

We entice our young and our impoverished with commercials

to Be All You Can Be.

The geographic state of the United States

spends almost as much as the entire rest of the World on Weaponry

It spends eight times what the Chinese spend,

And they are in second place.

With the 200 Billion and counting we are spending on the War,

We could have built 300 Gigawatts of Windpower.

Which would, believe it or not,

provide enough energy to offset 1/3 of our oil imports,

and almost all of our oil imports from the Middle East.

We could be feeding, clothing, educating, and powering the planet.

Instead, we are swinging our sword.

This is not being All You Can Be.




Monday, January 10, 2005


The Sword of Damocles Posted by Hello

The Hero

I just watched a Quentin Tarantino movie presentation called Hero.

It’s one of those eastern super swashbuckling flying through the air extravaganzas.

The leaves swirl and the robes flow.

And, it is beautiful.

Here’s the blurb:

Master filmmaker Quentin Tarantino presents HERO -- starring martial arts legend Jet Li in a visually stunning martial arts epic where a fearless warrior rises up to defy an empire and unite a nation! With supernatural skill ... and no fear ... a nameless soldier (Jet Li) embarks on a mission of revenge against the fearsome army that massacred his people. Now, to achieve the justice he seeks, he must take on the empire's most ruthless assassins and reach the enemy he has sworn to defeat! Acclaimed by critics and honored with numerous awards, HERO was nominated for both an Oscar® (2002 Best Foreign Language Film)and Golden Globe!

I’m going to ruin the movie for you.

The Hero lays down his sword.

I have been carping for some time about how Hollywood always has and continues to glorify war and violence, even and especially in movies for the young. Lord of the Rings is my most unfavorite.

The moral of all those movies is that if you just kill enough and war enough you will finally get some peace.

This movie doesn’t support that myth.

The Hero lays down his sword.

And the spared evil ruler becomes a great emperor.

It’s practically biblical.

Christ! It is Biblical.

When Christians glorify War

They are thumbing their noses at the Boss.

Jesus never told anybody to kill anybody.

In fact, he told them to resist not evil.

That the day was evil enough as it is.

When I see those ribbon things on the back of bumpers

That say “support the troops”

I wonder if they realize they are really saying

“Support the illegal War.”

I wish someone would take one and reprint on it,

Bring them Home

And flip it around so it made an infinity sign

Out of the original ribbon.

It really gets my goat

For people to make war in the name of their God.

I bet Jesus thinks it sucks too.

The first peace, which is the most important, is that which comes within the souls of people when they realize their relationship, their oneness with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize that at the center of the universe dwells the Great Spirit, and that this center is really everywhere, it is within each of us.

Black Elk (1863-1950)

Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind...War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today."

John F. Kennedy

We need more Hero movies.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Goats

Astrologers believe that people whose birthdays fall between December 22 and January 19 are born under the sun sign of Capricorn. The planet Saturn rules Capricorn, which is an earth sign.

According to astrologers, Capricorns have responsible, disciplined, practical, methodical, cautious, serious, and sometimes pessimistic natures. Capricorns believe that anything worth having is worth working hard for, and they assign the highest value to things won through the hardest work. Typical Capricorns are aloof and shy, sometimes even awkward, because they stay so focused on responsibility. To them life is serious business, and they sometimes have difficulty relaxing and having fun. Because of this, Capricorns may be lonely.

Astrologers believe that Capricorns respect power, authority, structure, tradition, and old things whose value and durability are tested by time. Capricorns are ambitious, and they typically are not satisfied unless they have reached a level of power and authority. They have a deep need for security, especially financial, and often will work very hard to get rich. Professions traditionally associated with Capricorn include banking; government, big business, and other situations with power hierarchies; mining; farming; and construction.

Really famous Capricorns are Jesus and Elvis.

And of course, there is Richard Nixon, who was born on this day, which makes him a pretty famous Capricorn.

I don't know about the respect power, authority, and structure thing though.

I guess if you "are the power and the authority", you can pretty much do anything you need to do in order to maintain that power.

The first time I ever saw Richard Nixon was in 1968.

I was impressed mostly by how short he was.

Ah but I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now.

The United Nations is also a Capricorn. It opened its headquarters on this day in New York in 1951. I suppose you could argue that it is a Scorpio because United Nations Day is October 24.

It was in 1945 when representatives of 50 countries met in San Francisco at the United Nations Conference on International Organization to draw up the United Nations Charter. Those delegates deliberated on the basis of proposals worked out by the representatives of China, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States. (the winners)

That Charter was signed on June 26th, 1945 by the representatives of the 50 countries. Poland, which was not represented at the Conference, signed it later and became one of the original 51 Member States. But, as I mentioned earlier, the UN officially came into existence on October 24, 1945, when the Charter was ratified by China, France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, the United States and by a majority of other signatories.

Using the charter signing date, the UN is a Cancer. But that seems like a conception /birth thing to me. Otherwise I would be a Capricorn like my x x. The ratification date seems arbitrary at best, so I'm sticking with the date that it opened its doors.

Except for blaming the UN for getting it right on the WMD in Iraq, there is a virtual news block in this country on the UN and its activities. If you would like to see what they really do, try watching their webcast here. It's bound to be better than cable.

The forerunner of the United Nations was the League of Nations (UN I), an organization conceived during the first World War, and established in 1919 under the Treaty of Versailles.

Its job, "to promote international cooperation and to achieve peace and security."

The League (UN I) ceased its activities after failing to prevent the Second World War.

Now there are 191 member states in UN II, with the most recent nations admitted being Palua, Kiribati, Nauru, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Switzerland. (talk about a hold out)

If Tonga and Tuvulu can join UN II, maybe earthfamilyalpha can join UN III.

We just need one of those country extension domains,

Like the Palistinians have.

Since they have no land,

They may already be the first cyberstate.

And yes, George Bush, the US, and my brother

are all Cancers.





Saturday, January 08, 2005

The Signs

Last night, while finishing dessert, some one asked about the future, so I took the sugar bowl full of those little packages of real sugar, fake sugars, and whatever else we sweeten with now and tumped it over. It seemed as good a divination device as any at the time. Some people can read the grinds of turkish coffee, others read tea leaves, some read tarot cards, some can see the future in the clouds.

The truth is, since everything is everything and everything is in everything, there should be no surprise that time too is everywhere. The Oneness reveals itself always.

But sometimes the signs are easy.

They scream to be noticed.

It's like the scene in the movie where William Hurt saw Bozo the Clown

driving the car down the street

as he was being taken to the cleaners by his black widow lover.

You know its happening, you just don't want to see it.

There are signs in the geographic state of the United States

that it is becoming a fascist state.

You decide.

Exuberant Nationalism

Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic images, slogans and symbols - National flags are seen everywhere in public display. Territorial aggression is explained to be mere destiny -- an unbidden greatness thrust upon the nation by history. It is this burden of unique responsibility that now raises the fascist state above all previous constraint, no longer bound by international obligations, treaties or law.

Enemies Identified

This national cause is identified as unity against enemies - The people are rallied around a unifying patriotism directed against some common threat: communists, liberals, a racial, ethnic or religious minority, intellectuals, homosexuals, terrorists, etc. The state's message is sometimes couched in an easily recognized religious theme. Amazingly, this language is used even when the full context of the teaching shows the meaning to be diametrically opposed. Any dissent is "siding with the enemy", and therefore treasonous.

Rights Disappear

Disdain for human and political rights - Fascist regimes foster an artificial climate of fear by intentionally amplifying stress and anxiety. Citizens naturally feel a strong need for security and are easily persuaded to ignore abuses in the name of safety. The few still willing to question are met with bullying and smear campaigns of intimidation. Legislative bodies, if still in existence at all, are cowed into rubber-stamp submission with occasional ceremonial opposition. The judiciary tends to become activist in support of state views. The public often looks away, or even enthusiastically approves as rights are stripped away. The concept of the individual inevitably yields ground, exchanged for the promised safety of the all-powerful state.

Secrecy Demanded

Obsession with secrecy and national security - The workings of government become increasingly hidden. Questioning of authority is discouraged at all levels of society. From office talk at the water cooler up through the entire apparatus of rule, guarded speech and secrecy become ends in themselves. Troubling questions are muted and entire areas of scrutiny are placed out of bounds by simply invoking "national security".

Military Glorified

Supremacy of the military - The military establishment receives a disproportionate share of government resources, even as pressing domestic needs are neglected. Individual soldiers and military culture are glamorized and made constantly visible. This provides both an object for public glorification, as well as sharp warning to possibly restless citizens that the power of the state stands close at hand, ready to use its great potential for violence.

Corporations Shielded

Corporate power is protected - Typically, a segment of the business elite plays a major role in bringing fascists to national leadership, often from an unsavory obscurity. This marriage of big money and raw violence is often considered by historians to be the hallmark and backbone of fascism. As these business-government-military interests meld, the significant threat of organized labor is clearly recognized. Labor unions and their support organizations are either co-opted successfully or ruthlessly suppressed and eliminated as soon as possible.

Corruption Unchecked

Rampant cronyism and corruption - Fascist states maintain power through this relatively small group of associates, mutually appointing each other to interlocking and rotating positions in government, business and the military. With this degree of control, they make full use of both official secrecy and the ready threat of state violence to insulate themselves from any meaningful criticism. They are not accountable and are shielded from scrutiny in a way unthinkable in a democratic society.

Media Controlled

Controlled mass media - Sometimes the media are controlled directly by clumsy government functionaries. At other times, sympathetic corporate media insiders shape the themes indirectly, and therefor more skillfully. Image regularly trumps content as the "news" is presented breathlessly and with flashy stage effects. A practiced formula of tenacious repetition brings even the most absurd lie into acceptance over time. By design, the very language itself and the coloration employed will push alternate views "out of the mainstream". The terms of any remaining debate are narrowly defined to the state's advantage, making it easy to marginalize a truly differing perspective. Censorship and "self-censorship", especially in wartime, is common.

Rampant Sexism

Rampant sexism - Governments of fascist states tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Traditional gender roles are made even more rigid and exaggerated. Condemnation of abortion and a virulent homophobia are commonly built into broad policy.

Intellectual Bullying

Disdain for intellectuals - Fascist society tends to create an environment of extreme hostility to critical thought in general, and to academics in particular. Ideologically driven "science" is elevated and lavishly funded, while any expression not in line with the state view is at first ignored, then challenged, then ridiculed and finally stamped out. It is not uncommon for academics to be pressured to attack the work of their insufficiently patriotic peers. Writings are censored; teachers are fired and arrested. Free artistic expression in new works is openly attacked, and existing works deemed unpatriotic are often publicly destroyed.

Militarized Police

Obsession with crime and punishment - Fascist society is often willing to overlook police abuses and forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. Long jail sentences for clearly political offenses, torture and then assassination are at first uncomfortably tolerated, and then start to pile up to become the norm. Often a national police force is given virtually unlimited power to snoop through the civilian population. Networks of surveillance and informers are employed, both for actual intelligence gathering and also as a means to keep neighbors and co-workers isolated and mistrustful of each other.

Elections Stolen

Fraudulent elections - In the disordered time as fascists are rising to power, the electoral arena becomes increasingly confusing, corrupted, and manipulated. There is rising public cynicism and distrust over what are widely believed to be phony elections manipulated by moneyed influence, obvious media bias, smear campaigns, ballot tampering, judicial interference, intimidation, or outright assassination of potential opposition. Fascists in power have been known to use this disorder as the rationale to delay elections indefinitely.

Sometimes its easier to hope something isn't true than face it.

Sometimes its easier to look the other way.

That strategy has a pretty bad track record.

Besides, the easy choice is rarely the best choice.

Let's hope they don't have any big bombs.