A Real Leader - Why I Am Supporting Barack Obama by Rep. Lois Capps

The whole article is at: "A Real Leader."

I'll just let the Congresswoman speak for herself (and me):

"Today, I am announcing my endorsement of Barack Obama for President.

This wasn't an easy decision for me. Democrats were blessed this year with many talented and capable candidates, and I believe both Sen. Clinton and Sen. Obama would make fine presidents. But Sen. Obama's proven judgment, his hopeful vision for America, and his unmatched ability to motivate millions of Americans eager for change made the choice for me.
I came to Washington 10 years ago after winning the seat my husband Walter held. In office for a mere 10 months before he died, he had lost none of the idealism and faith in American democracy that propelled his life. Quite frankly, I don't believe he ever would have and I know that I have tried to keep that fire burning. But I'll admit it's hard, when so much of what's going on around you is less about meeting our country's challenges and more about demonizing your political opponents.

Walter once said that 'we are strongest as people when we are directed by that which unites us, rather than giving into the fears, suspicions, innuendos and paranoias that divide.' For years I have been waiting for a president that speaks to that vision. I believe Barack Obama may very well be that rare leader."

Who is Lois Capps?

Congresswoman Lois Capps was sworn in as a Freshman Member of the 105th Congress on March 17, 1998, succeeding her late husband, Congressman Walter Capps. She was the Representative of California’s 22nd District from 1998 to 2002.
Since January, 2003, Capps has served as the Representative of the 23rd District. Her district includes portions of San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura Counties.
Lois Capps is committed to helping people improve their daily lives through better schools, quality health care, and a cleaner environment. Capps is a respected leader in Congress on issues of public health, passing legislation to address the national nursing shortage, detect and prevent domestic violence against women, curb underage drinking, improve mental health services, provide emergency defibrillators to local communities, bring CPR instruction to schools, and provide immediate Medicare coverage to patients suffering from Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Capps has also been at the forefront of efforts to protect the environment. She led efforts to stop new oil and gas drilling off our coasts, reduce the amount of new oil drilling in Los Padres National Park, and protect consumers from shouldering the financial burden of cleaning up MTBE contamination in their water supplies.
Capps serves on the powerful Committee on Energy and Commerce and its Subcommittees on Telecommunications and the Internet; Health; and Environment and Hazardous Materials. From these posts, Capps continues to focus on Medicare reform, the nursing shortage, cancer, mental health, energy policy, the environment and telecommunications issues. Capps also serves on the influential Natural Resources Committee and its Subcommittees on Fisheries, Wildlife and Oceans and National Parks, Forests and Public Lands.

Today's Quote

"Here is a test to find whether your mission on Earth is finished:
If you're alive, it isn't."
Richard Bach

Nice comment by "Amarilla" on "Teach Your Children? Please Don't!" & PL's response


"You have so much more trust in kids than she does. Not only does she lack respect for a child's innate sensitivity, she's scared of children. She's not the only one. Children can be so irrational! Especially when, like my 3 year old, they go through phases where they want to argue with you about all the things that to you seem so obvious. I relate to her fear, and I relate to your trust.
It's not always easy to have faith in the wisdom of a child or in oneself for that matter. A lot of us are scared of kids and what they might become. A lot of us are scared of ourselves and what we might become (if we don't go to the gym!)
It's a good and complicated challenge you are outlining here."


Thanks, Amarilla - I agree and I agree and I agree. Many, many parents have a very hard time understanding the negative underlying messages they are actually giving to children. Indoctrination is indoctrination and it can't be good.

Here's a beautiful passage from Kalhil Gibran:

"Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let our bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable."

Okay - I want your opinions on this...

Check out this video on Tango.com called: "A Polyamorous Couple Makes Their Case."

What I see here is a disconnected, arrogant, narcissistic man idealizing his intimacy problems, and a masochistic, beaten down, sexually deprived married woman trying desperately to make lemonade out of lemons. All under the guise of being "polyamorous." And mind you, I'm no fan of contractual relationships (of any kind), and support only spontaneous monogamy in that regard.

Let me know what you think.

In the Words of John Lennon

"You say you want a revolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world.
You tell me that it's evolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world.
But when you talk about destruction
Don't you know that you can count me out.
Don't you know it's gonna be all right?

You say you got a real solution
Well, you know
We'd all love to see the plan.
You ask me for a contribution
Well, you know
We're doing what we can.
But when you want money
for people with minds that hate
All I can tell is brother you have to wait.
Don't you know it's gonna be all right?

You say you'll change the constitution
Well, you know
We all want to change your head.
You tell me it's the institution
Well, you know
You better free your mind instead.
But if you go carrying pictures of chairman Mao
You ain't going to make it with anyone anyhow.
Don't you know it's gonna be all right?"

Conscious Politics? Mind your own!

In an interesting piece recently on the Huffington Post called, "Conscious Politics: Transcending Party Identity," Stacey Lawson says this:

"Politically speaking, I was raised in a moderately Republican yet generally apolitical household. 'Work hard, make your own way, and mind your own,' were the general rules of thumb in the blue collar mill town of my youth. Given the disheveled state of humanity, however, it seemed both right and imperative to embrace an expanded set of social and humanitarian values. 'Minding our own' is essential for personal transformation, but not enough to mend our troubled world. We are all stewards of social and planetary well-being. Conscious evolution must meet compassionate action to create a world that works for everyone."

I have thought about this subject a lot over the course of my adult life. Well, somehow "thought" doesn't do it justice. I have "lived" this subject. As a teenager in the 1960's, I was steeped in the notion of social and political movements as the way to improve society. That's why I got a degree in sociology, became a social worker, worked on the streets of Times Square at night in the 1970's, when Times Square was still a seedy Mecca for pimps, prostitutes and drug dealers. In those early years, I would have agreed with Ms. Lawson's statement that "Minding our own is essential for personal transformation, but not enough to mend our troubled world."

Now, after three more decades of living, observing society and working with my own and other people's inner lives, I have come to the conclusion that personal transformation is not only essential for "mending our troubled world," but it is sufficient. In fact, it is the one and only solution to our personal and mass problems.

We have had social and political movements aplenty in my lifetime. Civil Rights, Feminist, Anti-War, Gay and Lesbian, Green, to name just a few of the prominent ones. Yet, our governmental, business and religious leaders and institutions are more cynical, corrupt and un-evolved than ever. (At least Richard Nixon broke into a sweat when he was lying. I don't think Dick Cheney even has sweat glands!) In fact, the forces of greed, bigotry, hate and deceit have prospered because of the above-mentioned movements for "social justice."


Because hating war is not the same as loving peace. Because "fighting" for anything - good or bad, right or left - is still fighting. It's giving necessary energy, life, fuel to the very things you seek to eliminate. It's focusing on what you "want" (lack) instead of focusing on becoming who you desire to "be." The lunatic fringe of the far right - in politics, religion and business - have advanced mightily over the last forty years in direct proportion to the advancement of "movement politics" on the left. They actually go hand in hand.

I reference Gandhi often on this blog because he is an example of how not fighting, but rather living in accordance with inner Truth without fear of death or ostracism, can be extraordinarily effective in creating change. If you truly love peace and nature, and genuinely seek to find the oneness with all others, you won't choose war or hate, nor will you steal or despoil the environment. If, in other words, you become your true self, which is your highest self, and therefore no longer live in fear of the consequences of living "outside of the box," you will be changing the world, and engaging in "compassionate action," as Stacey Lawson calls it, in a very powerful way.

There are some fabulous statistics about this, which I reference in my recent screenplay, "HEARTLESS," that show that in cities where there is a decline in the number of recruits joining the police academy, there follows a decline in the crime rate. Check it out. Less cops leads to less crime! If one person at a time refused to enlist not only in police academies, but in the military or the priesthood, or take jobs in pharmaceutical companies, what would happen?

Think about it. Really. Think about it.

And reread John's lyrics above.

Today's Quote

"Our principal challenge is to create some form of governance that allows each stage of consciousness to be itself...and yet governs from the highest, widest, deepest, and most encompassing level of development emerged to date."
Ken Wilbur

Fair and Balanced?

Hmmm... what do you think of these statements?

"The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this [the 9/11 attacks] because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way -- all of them who have tried to secularize America -- I point the finger in their face and say 'you helped this happen."

"The idea that religion and politics don't mix was invented by the Devil to keep Christians from running their own country."

"The ACLU is to Christians what the American Nazi party is to Jews."

"I hope I live to see the day when, as in the early days of our country, we won't have any public schools. The churches will have taken them over again and Christians will be running them. What a happy day that will be!"

"AIDS is the wrath of a just God against homosexuals. To oppose it would be like an Israelite jumping in the Red Sea to save one of Pharaoh's charioteers ... AIDS is not just God's punishment for homosexuals; it is God's punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals."

How about these remarks?

"Just like what Nazi Germany did to the Jews, so liberal America is now doing to the evangelical Christians. It's no different. It is the same thing. It is happening all over again. It is the Democratic Congress, the liberal-based media and the homosexuals who want to destroy the Christians.

"The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians."

"I know this is painful for the ladies to hear, but if you get married, you have accepted the headship of a man, your husband. Christ is the head of the household and the husband is the head of the wife, and that's the way it is, period."

US President George W Bush paid tribute, sought advice from and welcomed to the White House the men who spoke the above words, Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell, who Mr. Bush once said lived a life of "faith, family, and freedom" and "taught young people to remain true to their convictions and rely upon God's word throughout each stage of their lives." George W. Bush was elected president twice, having never disowned these lunatics in the way that the media is demanding of Barack Obama regarding Jeremiah Wright.
Why is that?

Today's Quote

"Horse sense is the thing a horse has which keeps it from betting on people."
W. C. Fields

More Interesting News Clips

From Newsweek: The Natural No More

"What has happened to Bill Clinton? For months, it's been a great mystery in a mystifying campaign how the most gifted politician of a generation could become an unceasing gaffe machine. Was it the Bubble—had a post-presidency spent with global do-gooders and fawning billionaires made Bubba lose his touch for the common man? Was it Freudian destiny, Hillary's husband subconsciously sabotaging her, breaking her heart yet again? Or was it karma, someone sending the Starr Report to the gods?"

From the Huffington Post:
Resolve It, Then Dissolve It

"We've got to learn to declare things DONE. Especially when they're not. Not completed, that is, to the level of perfection or result that we initially visualized or committed to. The world changes, and our creative focus changes with it. So do our standards. We will always maintain some inventory or backlog of projects to complete, of things to do. But if we're not careful to take responsibility for unhooking from those projects that have outlived their seat on our real list, they can easily constipate our creative process."

From the Huffington Post: Sex-Starved Women: America's Best Kept Secret?

Psychology Today blogger Michelle Weiner Davis addresses what may be a growing epidemic.

"As someone who is in the front lines with couples, I have grown increasingly aware that women have no corner on the low libido market. In fact, based on my clinical observations and casual conversations with colleagues, I'd say that low desire in men is America's best kept secret. After all, in a culture where virility is inextricably connected with masculinity, why would any man want to broadcast his drop in desire? Most of the data available on the incidence of low libido in men is based on self-report and estimates vary widely. Do we really know what goes on behind bedroom doors? I don't think so."

A Handful of Interesting Newsclips

This is in today's Boston Globe: "Hillary Strangelove"

"AMERICANS have learned to take with a grain of salt much of the rhetoric in a campaign like the current Democratic donnybrook between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Still, there are some red lines that should never be crossed. Clinton did so Tuesday morning, the day of the Pennsylvania primary, when she told ABC's 'Good Morning America' that, if she were president, she would 'totally obliterate' Iran if Iran attacked Israel. This foolish and dangerous threat was muted in domestic media coverage. But it reverberated in headlines around the world."

This is on Yahoo News: "Lying? Your face will give you away"

"Liars might think they are good at covering up their deceit but a new Canadian study shows there's one thing they can't control that will give them away -- flashes of emotion in their faces. Researchers at Dalhousie University's Forensic Psychology Lab in Halifax conducted the first detailed study on the secrets revealed when people put on a false face or inhibit various emotions, and found their faces told the truth."

This is from the Huffington Post: "How Boring Jobs Make Us Dumber"

"Are you bored at work right now? Perhaps the reason you're reading this is because you're bored at work right now. And if that's the case, there's good news and bad news. First, the bad: Boring jobs turn our mind to autopilot, say scientists - and it means we can seriously mess up some simple tasks.
Monotonous duties switch our brain to 'rest mode,' whether we like it or not, the researchers report in Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences. They found mistakes can be predicted up to 30 seconds before we make them, by patterns in our brain activity."

Also from the Huff Post: "What Your Sleep Position Says About You"

"Do you know what position you regularly take up in bed when you drop off to sleep? According to veteran sleep researcher, Dr. Samuel Dunkell, the position you choose in bed each night echoes the way you deal with your daytime waking hours. Invariably, you often sleep as you live. These chronic sleep positions can affect your sleep - positively and negatively.
A highly private matter, choice of sleep position, the theory goes, gives insight not only into sleep patterns, sleep history, and sleep difficulties but also personality traits and those of your sleep partner's. And yes, it can even delve into hidden subconscious secrets buried in your relationship."

One more from the HP: "You Are What You Eat? No, You Eat What You Are!"

"Okay, so before you think I have totally gone off the deep end now, I will explain myself. I am big, big, big, into the idea, scratch that, no absolute conviction that to eat well for your life, you need to really know yourself. No, I am not talking deep, soulful existential, what kind of philosopher are you into, kind of knowing yourself, we can get a bit more basic here. I am talking, know yourself like: Do you know when you are hungry or full? Tired or Sick? Do you know what you FEEL like eating most times? (Mushy, comfort food vs. crunchy salad? A heavy steak with fries for the salty taste vs. a lighter, fish and veggies meal?) Are you aware of the subtle gradations and shifts from starving to stuffed, or tired to sick from exhaustion?"

Teach Your Children? Please don't!

Jenny Block ,writing in a piece on the Huffington Post called, "Indoctrinate Your Children Before It's Too Late", says this:

"I think we should indoctrinate our children from the moment they are born. I think we should tell them that all people are equal and that skin color is just a matter of pigment distribution. I think we should tell them that all religion is faith, nothing more and nothing less, and that there is no ultimate truth and that no religion is more 'right' than another. I think we should tell them that life isn't fair but that they should work to make it more so. I think we should tell them that you can't trust everyone but that there is nothing more important than building trusting relationships. I think we should teach them that love is plentiful and that there are endless permutations that a family can take. And we should assure them that anyone who tells them otherwise is merely frightened and deserves our understanding and our patience."

And on and on Jenny goes for SIX more paragraphs beginning with "I think we should tell them that..."

My question to you, Jenny, is WHY? Why should we tell our children how and what to think? Because your values are "good?" Because your thoughts are those of an "open" mind? Because "progressive" positions are better than retrogressive ones? And mind you, most of what you believe in IS good. But here's what's WRONG with your position - You presume that children have no soul, that they come into life without an innate inner guidance system based on love and trust. That they have to be taught acceptance and tolerance. What you don't realize in all of your misguided "good" intentions is that children always respond to the deeper messages adults are giving them, and "indoctrinating" children, no matter what your overt philosophy, is primarily telling children that they cannot trust themselves, that they are not naturally loving and cooperative, etc., that they "need" to be "taught" by "you" how to be "better" than they naturally are.

Jenny, please, in the words of Pink Floyd: "Leave those kids alone."

Today's Quote

"I will be as good unto ye as ever a Queen was unto her people. No will in me can lack, neither do I trust shall there lack any power. And persuade yourselves that for the safety and quietness of you all I will not spare if need be to spend my blood."
Queen Elizabeth I

A Day at the Movies with Red Rountree & Queen Elizabeth

I saw two wonderful and very different movies yesterday, and I'm wondering how they are connected in the larger scheme of things in my consciousness today.

In the afternoon, I saw a very interesting documentary at the Tribeca Film Festival called, "This Is Not A Robbery," directed by Lucas Jansen and Adam Kurland, and produced by Andrew Lauren. The film is about an otherwise law-abiding citizen and beloved family man who unapologetically takes up bank-robbing - in his eighties! Presented with a bit of tongue-in-cheek amusement, no attempts at psychological explanations and gratefully, without any moral judgments, the film examines the life of one J.L. "Red" Rountree.

Red, who admits in an excellent interview with him in prison that he didn't need the money, but that he "got a rush" from robbing banks, claims to be certain that he is destined to go to Heaven when he dies because "there's nothing in the Bible that says anything about bank-robbing." When his adept interviewer gently poses, "Uhh...Thou shalt not steal?" Red simply responds "Oh. I like to steal." It was my favorite moment in a very fascinating portrayal of a human being who doesn't overtly seem to be suffering from any particular medical or psychiatric diagnosis, and without a prior history of sociopathic behavior, yet still embarks on a wanton criminal enterprise as the finale to his life.

At home in the evening, I watched "Elizabeth: The Golden Age," a stunningly beautiful movie about the fabled virgin Queen of England during a powerful and most significant moment in World History, the later half of the 16th Century, when the Catholic Church was perhaps at its most corrupt and, with the help of Spain at its craziest, was attempting to crush the Reformation permanently.

Elizabeth, played by Cate Blanchett in a performance that defies words, more than just saves Britain from defeat at the hands of the powerful Spanish Armada, she stops the Inquisition in its tracks and saves the world from potential papal domination. Elizabeth is more a Goddess than mere monarch. Unmarried, without child, perhaps even a virgin, she is accepting of a spiritual mission that leaves her bereft of Eros and sex, even though she is presented here as a very sensual and passionate woman.

So, anyway, what am I talking about? Red Rountree and Elizabeth? An elderly bank robber from the 20th Century and a virgin Queen from the 16th Century?! What do they have in common?

Well, for one thing, they both seemed to have understood, without self-consciousness, that they were here to deliver a message, to assume a spiritual task, one seemingly ironic and eccentric, one seemingly grave and of the utmost import. Red believed that he was going to Heaven because God wouldn't judge him for breaking the laws of man. The Protestant Reformation also put forth the proposition that our relationships with God were personal, beyond the purview of priests or saints of the laws of a church hierarchy.

If God is God, first and foremost, God does not judge. The notion is absurd, on the face of it, really, that All That Is could judge a particular expression of Itself? It would be like me judging one of my fingernails, as if it were not part of me. Ah, but that's what human beings do, right? In this current place in our evolution, having only recently developed a reflective consciousness and an ego, we judge and judge and judge - ourselves, each other, everyone and everything - as if they were truly separate and apart from us. This is the basis for war, poverty, crime and bigotry.

Near the end of every episode of "The Actors Studio" with James Lipton, the host always asks his famous guest what they would want to hear God say to them when they reach the "Pearly Gates." Although I don't expect to be on show anytime soon, I have nonetheless asked myself the question in preparation for a possible appearance. What I have come to is this: God wouldn't say anything to me. Neither "Great job, Pete!" nor "You really fucked up big time, buddy!" God doesn't judge. I believe God wouldn't say anything to any of us, but rather would simply ask us all the exact same question: "What did you do and how did it feel?" That's it. What did you do and how did it feel? And I've realized that if we only asked ourselves that question about all of our actions, from a place of being truly connected to ourselves, we wouldn't need the laws of man or moral judgments. (How we become truly connected to ourselves is a larger topic for another discussion.)

Red Rountree, Queen Elizabeth, I thank you for an enlightening day at the movies. James Lipton, you ARE God!

Today's Quote

"You've achieved success in your field when you don't know whether what you're doing is work or play."
Warren Beatty

The Importance of Play

These are excerpts from a class I taught on development, in particular on the key role of play. Thought it would be a good reminder with which to start the weekend.

Caplan - We believe the power of play to be extraordinary and supremely serious. Play is a child’s way of life practically from infancy to his eighth year.

The young child plays from early morning until he goes to sleep at night. It is the most natural way for a child to use his capacities, to grow, and to learn many skills. What is it that gives play its exceptional power? Playtime aids growth. An important by-product of play is the feeling of power it gives a child, offering soothing relief from the sense of inadequacy and frustration that many children experience as junior members of a well ordered adult society. In play, the child is free from environmental threats. Play reduces the stress of anticipating success or failure. Play aids learning. The infant lives essentially in a play environment. Little is expected of her except she thrive and learn to amuse herself. By and large, she accomplishes this by responding well to her nurture and choosing her own way to play with the people and objects at hand. The infant selects those activities she can manipulate and control to her own satisfaction. Here is a “self-choice” environment, and her play is voluntary, self-directed, and intensely personal. Therefore it has a high degree of motivation. Because of the self-choice, she builds confidence in her own powers.
No one knows for sure what is the price of stopping young children’s play, of curbing their initiative and spontaneity, of deadening their energy, of blocking their social exploration. We are playing with fire when we skip the years two, three, four, and five, and hurry children into being age six.”
There is a small but knowledgeable group of early childhood educators who would purposely delay academic work until the child’s seventh birthday (the beginning of second grade) because they have found from long experience that children can acquire these “tool” subjects much more efficiently when they have more physical and mental maturity than during their earlier years. And some researchers in the field of play have found that six-year-olds are still actively involved with play and fantasy, and are not prepared to abandon this medium of expression simply because school bells are ringing. Throughout our presentation of the early childhood years, we sometimes go beyond the twenty-fifth to seventy-second months of life because there is no sharp break in the time a child gives up pure play and begins to concentrate on symbols. Moreover, the age at which various achievements can be noted may vary considerably from one child to another.

Play is investigative.
Play encourages deep interest and close attention.
Play is a voluntary activity.
Play offers a child freedom of action.
Play provides an imaginary world even a child can master.
Play provides a base for language building.
Play has unique power for building interpersonal relations.
Play offers opportunities for mastery of the physical self.
Play is a way of learning adult roles.
Play is vitalizing.
Play enables children to learn and polish physical, mental, social, and emotional skills.

Epstein – The work done by the therapist is directed towards bringing the patient from a state of not being able to play into a state of being able to play. Both therapy and meditation, as disciplines, require the gentle coaxing and cajoling of the mind from a contracted state to a momentarily open and playful one.

Lowen – Playfulness actually begins in childhood, but reaches its full development after this phase has passed. The consciousness of play and the feeling of joy are characteristic of the young boy or girl rather than of the child. The boy or girl challenges its personal world in its play. The increasing mastery of motor skills and the games with other children constitute a form of playing that is joyful because it is free and richly rewarding. There is a higher degree of excitement in the play of boys and girls than in that of younger children.

Roberts (“Seth”) - Play is a very important, indeed vital attribute in the development of growth and fulfillment. Children play naturally and so do animals. Creatures play because the activity is joyful and spontaneous and beneficial, because it activates all portions of the organism. Children utilize a remarkable imaginative freedom, so that they can experience alternate events with as much focus, strength and vitality as that which with they experience ordinary life. When a child is playing, its sense of joy or anger or danger is very strongly felt. The child’s body will reflect those conditions that would be elicited as if the so-called “play” events were real.

Transformation? NOT!

Paul Krugman almost got it right in his op-ed piece, "Self-Inflicted Confusion," in the NY Times this AM, in which he states that maybe Barack Obama's "transformational campaign isn’t winning over working-class voters because transformation isn’t what they’re looking for." That statement is the truest yet from a pundit on why Obama isn't winning in certain enclaves of the so-called "working class." But from reading the rest of Krugman's article, what is clear is that Mr. Krugman didn't grow up in a "working class" environment (or if he did, he's so distant from it now that he's forgotten what actually goes on.) He ludicrously suggests that said voters won't support Obama because they like Hillary's health care plan better, or that they buy into her "no-nonsense style." What? Oh, right, she downed some beer and whiskey without flinching. I forgot.
Listen Paul, I grew up in a working class family in a working class neighborhood, and I can tell you, emphatically, that "transformation" is anethema there. Transformation, which means change stemming from a desire to go beyond where one has been, implies a certain amount of self-reflection as a precursor. Believe me when I tell you that whether it's in rural Pennsylvania or Staten Island, what makes working class people "proud" is to be able to point out how their values and mindsets haven't changed in several generations, and that furthermore, they see no need to change or reflect on their attitudes. And guess what? Part of that "We'll never change" attitude includes not accepting a person of color or a woman as their leader. Which means that I can also tell you, emphatically, that Hillary will never win over this crowd in the general election because after Obama is gotten rid of, the people who voted for Hillary are going to vote for John McCain for president.
Bet the ranch house on it, Mr. Krugman.

Oh, and another thing...

A news flash, Mr. Krugman, from another "working class" neighborhood of Queens: Three detectives were just acquitted of all charges today in the 50-SHOT KILLING of an UNARMED GROOM-TO-BE ON HIS WEDDING DAY, a case that put the NYPD at the center of ANOTHER DISPUTE involving allegations of EXCESSIVE FIREPOWER.
I'll repeat this again - so-called "working class" people, like all abused children - will support until their dying breath their abusive parents. And the Republicans know this.

On the other hand..?

Andy Stern, in a piece called "The Moment for Change," speaking for the Service Employees International Union, which is endorsing Barack Obama, offers a ray of hope.


"One thing is clear: the stakes are too high for workers, for us to get sidetracked by personal differences and disagreements."

If only...?

Today's Quote

"Remember: one man's ceiling is another man's floor."
Paul Simon

American Tune

Went to the Paul Simon concert and tribute at BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) last night. It was great.
The depth and breadth of Simon's music over four decades ranks him as the greatest American songwriter of all time, in my book, and maybe the greatest songwriter period of all time. At once intelligent and sophisticated and yet accessible and infectious, so many of his compositions stand the test of time. But I must say, of all of the amazing songs, from "The Boxer," "Sounds of Silence" and "Bridge Over Troubled Waters" to "Still Crazy After All These Years," the whole "Graceland" album, on and on, the song that inexorably haunts me everytime I hear it - and on this night, it was beautifully sung by The Roches - is "American Tune."
The title alone brings a tear to my eye. The image of the Statue of Liberty sailing away? Forget it - it is too heartbreaking.
American Tune. Released in 1973, it hit the charts as the Sixties came crashing down on the heels of Kent State, the second election of Richard Nixon, the Watergate revelations - which re-invented cynicism in politics at a whole new level not topped until the current Bush/Cheney administration - and the humiliating end to a humiliating war in Viet Nam. American Tune was an anthem of disenchantment and exhaustion, sadly bemoaning yet accepting the loss of American idealism. To hear the song today, and to read the lyrics now, you'd think it was written just yesterday, what with government sanctioned torture, a useless, debased war and institutional corruption as a matter of course. Read them and weep.

Many's the time I've been mistaken
And many times confused
Yes, and I've often felt forsaken
And certainly misused
Oh, but I'm all right, I'm all right
I'm just weary to my bones
Still, you don't expect to be
Bright and bon vivant
So far away from home, so far away from home

And I don't know a soul who's not been battered
I don't have a friend who feels at ease
I don't know a dream that's not been shattered
or driven to its knees
but it's all right, it's all right
for we lived so well so long
Still, when I think of the
road we're traveling on
I wonder what's gone wrong
I can't help it, I wonder what's gone wrong

And I dreamed I was dying
I dreamed that my soul rose unexpectedly
And looking back down at me
Smiled reassuringly
And I dreamed I was flying
And high up above my eyes could clearly see
The Statue of Liberty
Sailing away to sea
And I dreamed I was flying

We come on the ship they call the Mayflower
We come on the ship that sailed the moon
We come in the age's most uncertain hours
and sing an American tune
Oh, and it's alright, it's all right, it's all right
You can't be forever blessed
Still, tomorrow's going to be another working day
And I'm trying to get some rest
That's all I'm trying to get some rest

Today's Quote

"People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar."
Thich Nhat Hanh

Today's Quote

"A house divided against itself cannot stand."
Abraham Lincoln


"He lies. He lies, lies, lies. The man is a liar. He just is. But ninety-five percent of the time, he's a good president."

That was an actual clip from a discussion I heard on the subway recently between two "blue-collar voters," as they're now being euphemistically called in the press coverage analysing the Pennsylvania primary results yesterday. Those particular guys I overheard on the F Train were talking about G.W. Bush, of course, but they might as well have been talking about H.R. Clinton. Exit polls showed that 70% of the voting Democrats yesterday found Senator Clinton "untrustworthy," but nonetheless a good candidate. Yep. She actually garnered 55% of the vote. In an article in the NY Times decrying what the Clintons are doing to the Democratic Party, and effectively un-endorsing Slick Hilly, Adam Nagourney writes: "Mrs. Clinton showed again that she is a tenacious campaigner with an ability to connect with the blue-collar voters Mr. Obama has found elusive and who could be critical to a Democratic victory in November." (NY Times)

What does that mean? Or, more precisely, how could that be?

Well, as a therapist, I can tell you that I have heard countless stories of abuse, some subtle, some not so subtle, some horrific, endured by children at the hands of their parents. Yet, almost invariably, said offspring in their own adulthood will tell me what a fine childhood they had and how great their parents were. It's a common syndrome. Ask any therapist. Or ask anyone who has studied people in prison, POW's, hostages or children who've been kidnapped. It's known as the Stockholm Syndrome, a psychological response seen in an abducted hostage, in which the hostage shows signs of loyalty to the hostage-taker, regardless of the danger in which the hostage has been placed. Stockholm syndrome also occurs in battered persons, rape cases, child abuse cases, bride kidnapping, etc. In psychological terms, it is also known as "identifying with the aggressor." In the schoolyard, it is like trying to align yourself with the bully, so you don't become the bully's next victim.

Listen, I grew up in a blue-collar family in a blue-collar neighborhood, in one of the white, Catholic enclaves that have reportedly been going head over heels for Hillary.
It's brutal. The macho, mysogynist, homophobic, anti-intellectual, sado-masochistic mentality and the Lord of the Flies rights of passage leave you scarred. I put in nearly twenty long years of therapy and self-work as an adult, so I could break free to the point where I could live neither as a victim or a bully myself, and even slap a few bullies down now and again, if need be. Turns out bullies are always cowards, always living in that fragile house of cards of inflated ego and narcissism to cover up massive insecurity.
The Clintons are psychopaths, clinically speaking. As such, they know how to bully, how to exploit masochists, how to use the Stockholm Syndrome effectively. "You're either with us or against us, and you don't want to be against us." That's the approach they take, not unlike the abusive parents in the White House that the blue collar voters strongly supported for the last eight years. (W to the World: "You're either with us or with the terrorists.")

So, what's going to be? Well, I mainly keep thinking that we're just not ready yet. Not ready to break free, not ready to be treated like adults, which is how several commentators frequently refer to Barack Obama's approach to the electorate. Idiotic pundits like Joe Scarborough keep blaming Obama for not delivering the "knock-out punch" to Hillary, for giving her too much respect, even as she and Slick Willy throw mud in his face. Scarborough thinks this a sign of Obama's weakness. Well, what I know is this - after five years of attempted bullying, we're still dying and being humiliated in Iraq. Yet, without one act of violence, Ghandi forced the British to leave India, and Martin Luther King forced the U.S. government to pass civil rights legislation.

Hey, "Morning Joe," wake up and smell the coffee.

Levels of Consciousness versus Levels of Ignorance

In an Op-ed piece in today's NY Times, called "Clueless in America," Bob Herbert decries the falling levels of knowledge about the basic facts of history in our school-age children, and the rising levels of high school drop-outs, especially in poor or rural areas. (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/22/opinion/22herbert.html?ref=opinion)

Mr. Herbert writes:

"Ignorance in the United States is not just bliss, it’s widespread. A recent survey of teenagers by the education advocacy group Common Core found that a quarter could not identify Adolf Hitler, a third did not know that the Bill of Rights guaranteed freedom of speech and religion, and fewer than half knew that the Civil War took place between 1850 and 1900. An American kid drops out of high school every 26 seconds. That’s more than a million every year."

This is certainly a troubling statistic, and does represent an unnecessary condition of ignorance educationally. But there is yet a deeper level of ignorance afflicting the United States. This is from an AP-Yahoo poll conducted between April 2 and April 12:

“About 8 percent of whites would be uncomfortable voting for a black for president (and it is believed that the actual number is higher) and incredibly, a full 15 percent of voters think Obama is a Muslim. He is, in fact, a Christian.

Can there actually be a level of ignorance that is even lower than that, lower than blind bigotry? Well, this is perhaps too downward-looking a perspective for this blog. Let's remove the perjorative tone from the discussion and examine things instead in the reverse order, in terms of evolving "levels of consciousness," rather than devolving levels of ignorance.

In a class I taught on this subject, I described five levels of consciousness: reflex - awareness - understanding - knowing - being.

Reflex is the level of consciousness attained by most animals, and all human beings. It is akin to instinct, though in human beings operating at this level it can be distorted by a primitive ego with its irrational fears and stock-piles of rage. We all know individuals who are easily proned to explosive outbursts or who become paralysed with fear in the blink of an eye.
They are reacting reflexively to imagined threats usually (like bigots and perpetrators of most violent crimes), and this tends to become a chronic state for such people, unlike animals in the wild who react to actual threats in the immediate present, then return to a relaxed state when the danger is passed.
Awareness and understanding are the next two higher levels of consciousness. They are arrived at by freeing up the mind. This is accomplished first by clearly seeing what is going on in one's inner and outer life (awareness), and then making the cause and effect connections about the events (understanding).

Awareness can begin increasing right right from the get-go in a self-work process. Often, even in a first session, a patient may say in response to a therapist's observations about something, “Oh! I never realized that before.” His awareness has been activated and increased.

Understanding comes somewhat afterwards as connections are made mentally and repetitive patterns that were previously thought of as mysterious or cruelly random are seen in their predictable light. Hidden agendas, intentions and beliefs are accepted as personal realities.

Knowing comes with freeing up the emotions in the body. It is only from our gut, from within our bodies, that we can ever say “I know” something with certainty. That is why we say, “I just feel it”, when we are definite about something. The person who truly feels, knows their own truth confidently. Getting to a place of knowing takes hard work and determined effort. In addition to developing awareness and understanding, one must now undertake the “breaking” of the body's defenses and armoring, and really feel, especially, at first, the difficult feelings of sorrow, rage and fear. This is the “point of no return.” If a person breaks through here - and it could take several years - they will never go back to their previous levels of functioning. They are on their way to being.

Being is simply living, spontaneously and naturally, and comes from letting go. Of everything! It is living without attachment. Although awareness, understanding and knowing are part of being, they are incorporated now without effort, without thinking in the usual sense. Basic trust has been firmly re-established, but now combined with the knowledge, courage and wisdom of an adult.

The re-establishment of basic trust leads to the rediscovery that at its root, life “works”, and that at our own cores, we are loving, creative, compassionate beings. At this phase of development, a person knows that he or she creates their own reality and accepts responsibility for one's creations without judgement or blame. This person lives without attachment to outcomes, without regrets about past events, without worry about future happenings. Dualistic thinking falls by the wayside, and there is a true sense of oneness felt in connection with all others and with life. Body, mind and spirit are felt to be one. The person here doesn't think of themselves as “sick” when having a symptom, but rather experiences pain as information and guidance. There is no irrational fear of death…or life. Perfection is not demanded from oneself or others. Life is lived spontaneously.


Today's Quote

"The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie -- deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Belief in myths allows the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought."
John F. Kennedy

Michael Moore: Hillary's tactics "disgusting"

The filmmaker writes that he meant to stay neutral in the primary, but Hillary pushed him off the fence:

"Over the past two months, the actions and words of Hillary Clinton have gone from being merely disappointing to downright disgusting. I guess the debate last week was the final straw. I've watched Senator Clinton and her husband play this game of appealing to the worst side of white people, but last Wednesday, when she hurled the name "Farrakhan" out of nowhere, well that's when the silly season came to an early end for me. She said the "F" word to scare white people, pure and simple. Of course, Obama has no connection to Farrakhan. But, according to Senator Clinton, Obama's pastor does -- AND the "church bulletin" once included a Los Angeles Times op-ed from some guy with Hamas! No, not the church bulletin!"

Moore on Hillary

Today's Quote

"Oh, posterity, you will never know how much it cost us to preserve your freedom. I hope that you will make a good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven that I ever took half the pains to preserve it."
John Adams

Died On The Fourth Of July

Did anybody watch the finale of the "John Adams " miniseries on HBO last night? It was beautiful. Consider this - John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, two enormously important figures in the American Revolution and the founding of our country, the second and third presidents of the United States, dearest of friends and fierce political rivals, both died on July 4th,1826, exactly fifty years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The spiritual, karmic significance of this is mind-boggling.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

These great souls, the men and women who began this country, mere mortals at one level with deep human flaws, were here to announce something to the world. It is true that we have not fully lived up to these ideals, not by a long shot, but nonetheless, they were heralds for the future, as were the words and deeds of other great spiritual leaders throughout history - Jesus, Buddha, Ghandi, Martin Luther King and others - whose words and deeds we also have not lived up to.

The amazing non-coincidence of the timing of the deaths of Adams and Jefferson was meant to tell us something, that it was the magnificent voice of All That Is, the Universe, the Collective Consciousness, God, whatever you want to call it speaking through these two human beings, foretelling us why we are here and where we are heading. Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. These are not political goals. These are not issues of the left or right. These are "unalienable Rights," beyond ideology, beyond dogma.

Life. Liberty. Happiness. That's why we're here, and to secure these rights: "Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."

Wow! How about that? According to our most sacred laws, the government only has the power that we give it, and that power is to secure for us that which fulfills our lives. Were you thinking about that when you cowered in fear last week filing your taxes? How did that get flipped over? Yeah, that's right, your taxes in reality are correctly what you're paying an employee who works for you! Wasn't that what you were thinking when you wrote the check? Right.

So, I ask you, whoever you are, Democrat or Republican, candidate or voter, man or woman, young person or elder - what the fuck is going on?! How did we get here? We scratch and claw and clutch onto our opinions and our turf and our fleeting fifteen minutes of fame, while our lives, our liberties and our happiness slip away.

John Adams emplored us to make good use of the freedom that cost so dearly to attain. Lest he repent in Heaven that he ever took half the pains to preserve it, people, open your minds, elevate your consciousness, connect to your feelings, free up your spirit. Become a true American by becoming a fully alive, free, happy human being. Really, you're meant to do it, and you won't need to put a flag pin on your lapel!

Guys - doing housework gets you laid!

Check out the post on "The Love We Make" blog about how a man doing housework gets him sex!

Preaching to the Choir? Yes, but...

An essay in the LA Times today bemoans the fact that Americans today seem to only be interested in hearing opinions from others that reinforce what they already believe. ("Talking to Ourselves")

Susan Jacoby writes:

"As dumbness has been defined downward in American public life during the last two decades, one of the most important and frequently overlooked culprits is the public's increasing reluctance to give a fair hearing -- or any hearing at all -- to opposing points of view. Whether watching television news, consulting political blogs or (more rarely) reading books, Americans today have become a people in search of validation for opinions that they already hold. This absence of curiosity about other points of view is the essence of anti-intellectualism and represents a major departure from the nation's best cultural traditions."

Well, I agree with Jacoby, on the one hand, that most people seek, often desperately so, to only have their already established, long-held beliefs validated by others. On the other hand, I also know that opening up to different opinions is merely a half-way step towards an enlightened society. A truly enlightened society, or person, would strive to eliminate beliefs and opinions altogether, and seek... the Truth.
Ah, the Truth. Relativists would say that truth is personal, subjective, and therefore relative, right? "Your truth" versus "my truth," etc. But "Truth,"with a capital "T," does not exist, does it?
Well, let's make it really simple. If it's 45 degrees outside and raining, my truth is that it's a lousy day, weather-wise. But I have crazy friends who love cool, rainy days, so for them, the truth is it's a nice day. My truth versus their truth. But THE Truth is it's 45 degrees and raining. Get it? On a larger scale, one person may say the war in Iraq is justified because it may be protecting American interests. Another person says the war is unjust and damaging American interests. The Truth is that many thousands of people have been killed in a war whose initiators lied about the reasons for starting it. Get it? That's not an opinion. It's just the Truth. Some people say Hillary Clinton would be a better president than Barack Obama. Some people say Obama would be better. Opinions, nothing more, and useless as far as the Truth is concerned. What I know is that I haven't voted for a president since I voted for Jimmy Carter in 1980 (Who ran on a platform of telling the truth, by the way). I voted for Obama in the NY State primary this year because I was moved to do so by the Truth of what I saw and heard. A friend of mine, distressed at my choice, asked me at the time: "But do you know and agree with all of his policies?" I answered that I didn't need to know all of that in full detail because I could see the Truth of who he was as a potential leader, and that's why I was voting again for the first time in twenty years. I could also see the Truth that Hillary and Bill Clinton are a driven, dysfunctional folie a deux for whom the Truth is merely a potential interference to their ambition.
The Truth will set you free, folks, but your beliefs and opinions will keep you trapped in an endless search for others who agree with you. That is a lonely endeavor, ultimately, because when we are rooted in beliefs, and therefore not in Truth, we are alienated from ourselves, and there is nothing more lonely than that.

Frank's comment on "Cumming... good for your health."

Hey Peter, l liked your article this morning. Made me think of something funny l wanted to share with you. When l was in my early to mid 20's ( either divorvced or seperated already ), my Nana's husband, a cranky, old, gingker who worked as a tin knocker at the casino's said to me one day as we sat alone in my Nana's TV room in Atlantic City watching the Philles and he sipped his Schiltz: " You jerkin' off ?" " What? " l said. He wasn't much for personality and this came out of Greg Luzinski's leftfield. "Ya gotta jerkoff, it's good for ya; ya can't let that stuff build up, you'll get sick. " "Okay" l said. " l gotta book on it here if ya want". "Okay, thanks." That was it. He must have known something. Have a great day. Frank

Cumming and nursing good for your health. HELLO!

Okay, this is a beauty! There's a news piece on the BBC proclaiming that regular ejaculation decreases the risk of prostate cancer. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/3072021.stm)
Yep. Australian researchers found that cancer-causing chemicals could build up in the prostate if men do not ejaculate regularly.

Here's more from the piece:

"The researchers suggest that ejaculating may prevent carcinogens accumulating in the prostate gland. The prostate provides a fluid into semen during ejaculation that activates sperm and prevents them sticking together. The fluid has high concentrations of substances including potassium, zinc, fructose and citric acid, which are drawn from the bloodstream. But animal studies have shown carcinogens such as 3-methylchloranthrene, found in cigarette smoke, are also concentrated in the prostate."

According to the article, fewer ejaculations may mean that carcinogens build up. Right. The human body has to frequently be flushed, whether it's though excretory channels, through sweat and tears or through orgasm and lactation. We are fluid beings, and we all know what happens to stagnant fluids, right? Yuck! So, if you're not cumming, crying or moving your bowels regularly, you need to do some self-work and get those juices flowing.

Here's a bit more from the BBC piece:

"It's a prostatic stagnation hypothesis. The more you flush the ducts out, the less there is to hang around and damage the cells that line them. A similar connection has been found between breast cancer and breastfeeding, where lactating appeared to flush out carcinogens, reduce a woman's risk of the disease, New Scientist reports."

Another theory put forward by the researchers is that ejaculation may induce prostate glands to mature fully, making them less susceptible to carcinogens. Yes. In other words, use it or lose it! Listen, I have been saying for years that a healthy sex life is not a luxury. It is essential to our mental, emotional and physical health, and it is crucial to the psychological well-being of children that their parents have gratifying sex lives. When that powerful "chi" moves through your body during orgasm (and the fuller and more connected to love and Eros the better), you are doing wonders for every aspect of yourself. Sexual healing is not a metaphor made up by Marvin Gaye, folks. It is a reality, a fact of life, so to speak.

Here's Marvin:

"Baby I got sick this morning
A sea was storming inside of me
Baby I think I'm capsizing
The waves are rising and rising
And when I get that feeling
I want Sexual Healing
Sexual Healing is good for me.
Get up, Get up, Get up, Get up, let's make love tonight.
Sexual Healing is good for me."

Today's Quote

"Patience serves as a protection against wrongs as clothes do against cold. For if you put on more clothes as the cold increases, it will have no power to hurt you. So in like manner you must grow in patience when you meet with great wrongs, and they will then be powerless to vex your mind."
Leonardo da Vinci

The Joy of Quitting Part 2

Bill Maher makes a good comparison of the war in Iraq to a bad marriage, and how sometimes, the solution to the problem is to get out.

Here's Bill:

"Sometimes divorce isn't a surrender or a defeat; it's a simple recognition that the whole idea was a mistake in the first place."

The rest of the entry is at: http://www.236.com/blog/w/bill_maher/divorcing_iraq_5964.php

Today's Quote

"I shall tell you a great secret, my friend. Do not wait for the last judgment, it takes place every day. Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower."
Albert Camus

Woah! Check this out - Instant Karma for the Clintons!

Robert Reich, Bill Clinton's first Secretary of Labor and a friend of both the former president and his wife for four decades is declaring his support for... Barack Obama! (http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2008/04/heilemann_robert_reich_to_endo.html)

Here's Reich in his own words:

"I saw the ads" — the negative man-on-street commercials that the Clinton campaign put up in Pennsylvania in the wake of Obama's bitter/cling comments a week ago — "and I was appalled, frankly. I thought it represented the nadir of mean-spirited, negative politics. And also of the politics of distraction, of gotcha politics. It's the worst of all worlds. We have three terrible traditions that we've developed in American campaigns. One is outright meanness and negativity. The second is taking out of context something your opponent said, maybe inartfully, and blowing it up into something your opponent doesn't possibly believe and doesn't possibly represent. And third is a kind of tradition of distraction, of getting off the big subject with sideshows that have nothing to do with what matters. And these three aspects of the old politics I've seen growing in Hillary's campaign. And I've come to the point, after seeing those ads, where I can't in good conscience not say out loud what I believe about who should be president. Those ads are nothing but Republicanism. They're lending legitimacy to a Republican message that's wrong to begin with, and they harken back to the past 20 years of demagoguery on guns and religion. It's old politics at its worst — and old Republican politics, not even old Democratic politics. It's just so deeply cynical."

Instant Karma's gonna get you!

Today's Quote

"Convinced myself, I seek not to convince."
Edgar Allan Poe

That's the fact, Jack!

"You can't handle the truth!" said Jack Nicolson's character in "A Few Good Men."
That's the bottom line of what I came away with after Wednesday night's sad excuse for a debate between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Sad because Barack Obama is actually getting lambasted on a regular basis because he at least tries to tell the truth. He hasn't yet given up on the idea that the truth is actually a winning strategy. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand is ruthlessly fighting on and still holding onto support, in spite of the fact that, even moreso than her putative husband, Slick Willy, Slick Hillary wouldn't know a lie if it was coming out of her own mouth. Oh, right...
OF COURSE working class people who are regularly exploited and bamboozled by the psychopathic Machiavelli's who've dominated our political process for 40 years are "BITTER," and so, OF COURSE they are going to cling to religious dogma to find solace and explanation for their deprivation, to guns to counteract their feelings of powerlessness, and to xenophobia and intolerance as an easy way to avoid seeing who's really hurting them: the very pols they've been tricked into voting for year after year since Richard Nixon.

This is today's news: "The public's ratings of the national economy continue to sour, with assessments deteriorating faster than at any point in Washington Post-ABC News polling. Nine in 10 Americans now give the economy a negative rating, with a majority saying it is in poor shape, the most to say so in more than 15 years. And the sense that things are bad has spread swiftly. The percentage who hold a negative view of the economy is up 33 points over the past year, and the percentage who rate the economy poor has increased 13 points in the past two months. That is the quickest 60-day decline since The Post and ABC started asking the question, in 1985.

The crudely disguised, greedy but rationalizing sadists, who are no different than the typical abusive fathers who tell their children they do it to them out of love, have been ruling the roost and gleefully presiding over this economic debacle since the last Kennedy was killed 40 years ago.
The truth? The economic policies of these so-called "conservatives," reborn as "neocons" ("neo-CONMEN" is more like it) have uttely decimated the financial well-being of the working class, over and over again with each successive decade. But beginning with Nixon's "Southern Strategy," the ironically labelled "right" have successfully manipulated the struggling masses by stirring up their irrational fears of death and The Other.
But all of this is just one truth at one particular level. What's the deeper truth we REALLY can't handle, Jack? That most of us somewhere deep inside want to believe in a Daddy who is all powerful, a Daddy who, even though he hurts us, lies to us, robs us of our automony and self-confidence, somehow still loves us and really will come through for us in the end. I have seen countless numbers of individuals ruin their lives on that altar, waiting for the Big Guy to come through and finally stop using and abusing us. But know this - It never happens. Ever. Whether it's a happy, fulfilling adult life you want to have or a sane, humane, responsible government, you have to let go of your Daddy (and Mommy, of course!) Let go, America. Grow up!

Today's Quote

"Our life is a long and arduous quest after Truth."
Mahatma Gandhi

The BOSS Picks a BOSS

Here's Bruce Springsteen on his pick of Barack Obama for president:

"Like most of you, I've been following the campaign and I have now seen and heard enough to know where I stand. Senator Obama, in my view, is head and shoulders above the rest. He has the depth, the reflectiveness, and the resilience to be our next President. He speaks to the America I've envisioned in my music for the past 35 years, a generous nation with a citizenry willing to tackle nuanced and complex problems, a country that's interested in its collective destiny and in the potential of its gathered spirit. "

Full article at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/04/16/bruce-springsteen-endorse_n_96933.html

PL to the NY Times in response to Maureen Dowd on Barack's "elitism"

To the Editor:
I for one am totally over the discussion of Barack Obama's "elitism." As Jon Stewart asked so perfectly the other night: "Don't we want someone 'elite' running our country?" Whatever happened to the best and the brightest? I don't want a president I can drink beer (or Royal Crown shots) with. I can drink beer with my best friend, Steve.
I want a president who is exceptional in his or her intelligence and wisdom, maturity and emotional stability, someone with grace under pressure and flexibility mixed with determination, and finally, someone with honesty and integrity. I don't care a bit whether my president can bowl or windsurf or knock down whiskey. What's going on around here?!
Peter Loffredo
Brooklyn, NY

Today's Quote

"It isn't necessary to have relatives in Kansas City in order to be unhappy."
Groucho Marx

Can't Buy Me Love?

Two interesting articles I came across this morning, with contradictory conclusions on the same subject: Does having more money lead to greater happiness? One article, in today's NY Times, "Money Doesn’t Buy Happiness. Well, on Second Thought ..." by DAVID LEONHARDT (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/16/business/16leonhardt.html) first says yes, then no, then yes. Leonhardt initially refers to a 1974 landmark study called the "Easterlin paradox," which showed that economic growth didn’t necessarily lead to more personal satisfaction, and an article in the Financial Times in 2006 called: "The hippies were right all along about happiness" (http://search.ft.com/ftArticle?queryText=Hippies+were+right&y=5&aje=true&x=14&id=060118009254&ct=0)
However, last week, at the Brookings Institution in Washington, two young economists argue in a paper on the results of a new study showing that money indeed tends to bring happiness, even if it doesn’t guarantee it.
Well, who's right?
This reminds me that in a very short period of time, the Beatles wrote two songs on this subject that contradicted each other: "Can't buy me love" ("I don't care too much for money, money can't buy me love.") and "Money" ("Money don't get everything it's true, but what it don't get, I can't use.").
It appears that people at all levels of success can be ambivalent about wealth, but actually, what I've discovered is that what underlies that conflict is that people are actually ambivalent about happiness. Yes, that's right. Many people not only avoid happiness like the plague, but they are drawn to unhappiness! In fact, according to Eva Broch, in an excellent channeled Pathwork Guide lecture, there is an actual "desire for unhappiness." (http://www.path-work.info/pathworksearch/lectures/058.htm)

Here's how she explains it:

"The desire for happiness already exists in the small infant. The infant's idea of happiness is fulfillment of all its desires instantly and in exactly the way it wants it. The infant realizes very early that the kind of happiness it wants is unattainable. The child feels dependent on a cruel world which denies it what it thinks it needs and could have if the world were less cruel. Regardless of how adult a person may be, a remnant of this infant remains with him for the rest of his life."

That inner, undeveloped voice cries out: "Only if I can have what I want, the way I want it, and when I want it, can I have happiness. I will be unhappy with any way other than this.' Included in this statement is the demand for absolute approval, admiration, and love by everybody. The moment anyone seems to fail to meet this requirement, the person's world crumbles. Happiness becomes an impossibility, not just for the time being, but forever after. This, of course, is never the intellectual conviction of an adult human being, but emotionally it holds true; for when everything seems hopeless, the mood becomes desperate."

This is one of the reasons I rail on and on to parents today about the damage they're doing by being overinvolved with and overindulgent of their children. A key part of life is learning how to develop both frustration tolerance and optimism about one's needs and desires eventually being met. Too many parents seek to falsely encourage children to believe in instant gratification, and of course, said children only become intensely frustrated because in a physical world, regardless of a parent's intentions, you cannot always manifest what you desire immediately.

That pained, inner, undeveloped voice continues:

"Since happiness is denied me and unhappiness is inevitable and inflicted on me against my will, I may just as well make the best of it and turn a liability into an asset by trying to enjoy unhappiness. Furthermore, I want to alleviate the humiliation that the unhappiness is inflicting upon me against my will, making me a helpless prey, so I will call forth the unhappiness myself! Then I am not quite so helpless."

That one is the key. I have often said to people that one can choose to be right and seemingly "in control" or one can choose to be happy, but not both. Misery can be controlled, even sought after, as the Guide is suggesting, but happiness comes from the opposite movement - letting go and surrendering the control of the will and ego. Happiness comes from trusting life. The catch, of course, is that if you are operating unconsciously and not connected to your feelings, you cannot trust life because you're always getting slammed, seemingly out of left field, whether you're rich or poor or in-between. Indeed, I know many people in all income strata, who are struggling to be happy, while unconsciously working towards unhappiness.
If control is what you seek, yes, you may be able to "force" money to come to you at times, but your desire for unhappiness will always be ready to create a nice financial crisis to accomodate that opposite wish. But if happiness is truly what you seek inside, through surrender and trust, material abundance will come to you as a by-product of your openness and gratitude. Money, then, is neither the source of happiness, nor the root of all evil. Money is neutral, a tool of one's inner motivations.

Back to the Beatles, a reporter once asked them early on if they thought their huge success and wealth would somehow interfere with their art. John Lennon answered, saying that he found he could write music sitting on a soft cushion just as well as on a hard bench.

"All you need is love."

"Anonymous" responds to PL on "Screaming Kids, Deaf Parents" & PL responds

In response to PL's entry on parents who see fit to let their babies disrupt the performances of older kids, and to interfere with the desire of adults to enjoy said performances (http://fullpermissionliving.blogspot.com/2008/04/screaming-kids-deaf-parents.html), Anonymous writes:

"It must be nice to have the luxury of an on call babysitter (and the money to pay for one). My kids aren't at an age yet where one or the other is performing at an event like this, my fussy infant often barges in--as I imagine you would think of it--on events where my toddler should be center stage because there's no other way for me to manage it. If my toddler needs to be there, and I need to be there , and my husband is at work (or wants to be there too), then by necessity, my infant is often there.

It frightens me that you're a therapist working with children and you don't seem to grasp the hard economic reality of so many families today. Or maybe you've just been living in gentrified Brooklyn for too long."

PL writes:

Dear Anonymous: I wish I could believe you that the reason for so many parents' irresponsible and inconsiderate behavior is economic, but I don't. Nice try, though. If you don't have the economic means to raise more than one child properly, why do you have more than one child? Aren't we back to the vicarious, narcissistic issue at hand?

Today's Quote

"Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible."
Frank Zappa

More on "This Is Your Brain Lying..."

As a follow-up to my post on the distortions of the Clinton campaign (http://fullpermissionliving.blogspot.com/2008/04/this-is-your-brain-lying.html), go here and read and weep: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/arianna-huffington/john-mccain-should-go-on_b_96577.html

Today's Quote

"It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers."
James Thurber

Bloomberg running again?!

According to the Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/04/13/new-york-mayor-bloomberg_n_96443.html), Mayor Bloomberg is considering running for another term as our mayor. Here's my comment about that:

BOOO!!! I have been living in New York City for 30 years, through Mayors Koch, Dinkins, Guiliani and Bloomberg, and I have to say that the infrastructure and the schools are in the worst shape they've ever been in since 1978. Whether via subway, bus, cab or car, it is impossible to get around in this city and it is the most expensive it's ever been trying to boot. And with 2 kids in elementary school, in what is considered to be one of the better districts in town, I am appalled at what is passing for education. Uninspired curriculums, exhausted and harried teachers, mediocre at best art and athletic programs and crumbling buildings. Are you kidding me? Running for another term? I don't know anyone who has ever been able to tell me one thing Mr. Bloomberg has done to improve this city except ban smoking. Gimme a break!


Louise Crawford has a great piece on her blog (http://onlytheblogknowsbrooklyn.typepad.com/) about allowing kids to become independent. Her article comes from the Brooklyn Paper where she has a regular column called called "Smart Mom." I highly recommend it to all parents or prospective parents, or to anyone who ever had parents!

Today's Quote

"Originality is the fine art of remembering what you hear but forgetting where you heard it."
Laurence J. Peter

Tonight's quote

This is a short clip from a beautiful post on "The Love We Make" blog: http://thelovewemake.blogspot.com/

"The difference between Van Gogh and you and me is, that while we may look at the sky and think it is beautiful, we don’t go so far as to show someone else how it looks. One reason may be that we do not care enough about the sky or other people. But most often I think it is because we have been discouraged into thinking what we feel about the sky is not important."

This is your brain lying...

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton activated her entire campaign apparatus to portray Senator Barack Obama’s recent remarks about the desperation of working class and poor Americans as reflective of an elitist view of faith and community. Senator Obama said that economically oppressed people were "bitter" and as a result were inclined to "cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them.” Mrs. Clinton said that Mr. Obama was wrong to suggest that religious commitment, hunting and concern about immigration were emotional responses to economic strain rather than "deeply embedded values that transcend the moment."

Clinton: “I grew up in a church-going family, a family that believed in the importance of living out and expressing our faith,” she said at a rally in Indianapolis. “The people of faith I know don’t ‘cling to’ religion because they’re bitter. People embrace faith not because they are materially poor, but because they are spiritually rich.” She also "recalled" how her father taught her how to shoot when she was a young girl.

How can I say this without sounding too crude? Ah. Yes. What a rip-roaring crock of shit!! What a two-faced, forked-tongued, double-talking, bald-faced liar Slick Hillary has turned out to be. First of all, who does Hillary know that is "spiritually rich?" Her impulse-disordered putative husband? Her evil-incarnate, psychopathic "former" campaign director, Mark Penn? James "Nosferatu" Carville? Are you kidding me? The Clinton gang wouldn't know a "deeply embedded value" unless it had seven or eight figures and a dollar sign in front of it. And now she's running on the recollection that her father taught her how to shoot a gun? Not only have we learned that Hillary's "recollections" are about as reliable as the fantasies of my 6 year old daughter, but since when did knowing how to shoot a gun serve as a positive resume item for a Democratic candidate in the 21st Century?

Why am I putting this kind of diatribe on my blog, you may ask? Because I talk about certain disorders and character structures, especially narcissism and psychopathy, a lot. I chastise parents who are enmeshed and overly-indulgent of their children for vicarious purposes about the narcissists that they are creating. Here, in the public spotlight, we have two classic examples of what your child will grow up to be like if you don't do the hard work of setting boundaries and individuating: Hillary and Bill Clinton. Think about it.

Good Comment from "Loff56" on Creating Reality from Beliefs & PL's response


"I always find this discussion fascinating in what ever context it is in. The Dogma of religion, of course is always at the forefront of this discussion for obvious reasons. Beliefs are based on what other people tell you. Of course that is, has been and always will be such a destructive force in this world and fodder for constant debate about Reality versus Beliefs.

But here's the more interesting philosophical question that I always think about when pondering this idea of Reality versus Beliefs:

Before humans had the tools to figure out that the earth revolved around the sun, were the people living in that time actually not "living in reality" because they believed that the sun revolved around the earth? The fact of the matter is the only observation they could make is that the sun came up on one side of the earth and went down on the other side. Without telescopes and other tools to figure out this enormous blunder could they really be held accountable for being ignorant to reality? Then again the facts remain that their entire "reality" was completely wrong.

So is reality completely relative to what we can actually observe? Or are we always just going to be ignorant to the one true reality of it all?

Obviously science is continuously discovering new realities every day, so perhaps all of us are doomed to constantly live in a world where the sun revolves around the earth."


I would say that the less you hold onto beliefs of any kind, the closer you are to knowing the few simple truths that constitute Reality with a capital "R." (For me, so far they are: 1. Love is the essence of All That Is; 2. We create our own reality; 3. We are all one.) In the meantime, the wiser and more enlightened one becomes, the more beliefs are replaced with questions or open-ended statements. One of the hallmarks of a wise person, then, is the capacity to say "I don't know."
In response to your question: "So is reality completely relative to what we can actually observe?" I would say, first, I don't know, but I would also say that rarely would an enlightened person assume that reality consists only of what can be observed, although if the legend is true, Christopher Columbus concluded that the world wasn't flat by observing that ships appeared to be sinking slowly as they approached the horizon. In other words, he wasn't stuck in the popular mass belief of the time.
Thanks, Loff56!

blogger templates 3 columns | Make Money Online