Here's Rick:

"I read your entry about being a disgruntled curmudgeon with great interest and, as with many of your posts, you get me asking many questions, scratching my head in bewilderment and even laughing.

You certainly detailed a lifetime of negative experiences, false promises and crushed dreams. Who would fault anyone for being a curmudgeon if the world was seen through these eyes? What you detailed could be shared by millions of people growing up in the 60’ + 70’s. Does this mean it is ok to be permanently be in that state? Does it give one license to paint, with a broad brush, the negatives in all parents, relatives, all doctors, all teachers, all politicians? Ok I might be convinced that ALL politicians are corrupt!

You have made a choice to hang onto the negatives of your history without deference to some of the great people that have shaped your generation. There weren’t any happily married couples? No open and accepting relatives? No priests or nuns that made a positive impact on your generation? No doctor that was admirable? No teacher that was inspiring? If this is true, you have every right to be the curmudgeon. Hell, you have every right to be worse than that! You got a raw deal! Blast away!

You ironically end your post with, “Love is the essence of All That Is and We are all one”. I am a teacher first and am always wondering what is the best way to present an issue on position “X” so that people will gain some understanding. I wonder if I used your tactics, how would my students respond? In most cases, they would never get the message because I would lose them with the tone.

Is calling someone stupid “All that is” and loving? Is slamming all doctors, particularly the ones who have dedicated their lives to helping those less fortunate oftentimes without just compensation if any at all, the essence of love and all that is? Even some politicians have done some great things. Most religious leaders truly serve humanity and the common good. I have worked with the best teachers education has to offer.On the flip side, I have experienced very bad and hurtful people in all of these areas too.

A good friend of mine wondered if people are just hardwired a certain way and can't escape the trappings of their DNA. Nature vs nurture? Or would it be the trappings of negative experiences? If 99% of children are abused, is it surprising that so many negative and abusive (intentional and unintentional) acts are committed towards others? But do those acts define the whole person and the truth?

I believe in the human spirit and that people, of all walks of life, are generally good hearted. Does that mean they don’t do very hurtful things? No. Does that mean they are balanced? No. Sometimes, spouses/partners and parents, don’t have the tools in their toolbox to “properly” fulfill their role, whatever that is. They had poor role models themselves. Should we condemn them while they’re trying to figure out what tools to get or how to use them?

If love is the essence of all that is and we are all one, then we have no choice but to be forgiving and understanding of the shortcomings we all have. I try to be a good person/husband/father/brother/son/friend/teacher/coach etc. Have I hurt people? Yes. Have I been mean to others? Yes. Have I abused my son? According to Alexander Lowen, chances are I have or will.

Does that make me an evil person? Does that exclude me from the “We” in “We are one”? I’d like to think not.

Nobody is perfect but we should strive for perfection. People have hurt me terribly. We all get hurt and are disappointed. It wasn’t until I was able to understand and/or forgive those people that I was able to begin healing and feeling that “We are all One”.

I'll follow this up with the rule of 80!"


Very thoughtful and heartfelt as usual, Rick.

To be fair to myself, though, I did say "that many parents suck the life out their children and that many doctors exploit their patients for money and don't have a clue about real healing."

To point out the negative doesn't negate the positive anymore than focusing on the old stuff in my closet that needs to be thrown away or cleaned up negates the nice things in there. In fact, all we really have to do is clean out the negative in ourselves and the positive will shine forth. That's what is meant by "Love is the essence of All That Is." We don't have to learn how to be loving; we just need to unlearn how to be defensive, fearful and needy.

People often ask me "What do I have to do?" in order to be happy, loving, healthy, wealthy and wise? I say, just surface and face and clear out the negative in your false self and the beauty and truth in your real self will take over. You'll just know what to do then. And when you're coming from a place of love, yes, you can even helpfully call someone stupid! LOL!!

There are good people everywhere, Rick, in every profession an in every institution, but many professions taken as a whole are corrupt and riddled with complacency and/or greed. Flushing that out will never negate the positiveness.

By the way, one priest who really helped me a lot in my young life as a college student, offering me invaluable guidance and wisdom at a time when I really needed it, ended up leaving the priesthood because its constructs and dogma were too confining.

"The rule of 80?" Hmmm... can't wait to hear!


Over the last few weeks here in our home, we've been watching the 1995 DVD set, "THE BEATLES ANTHOLOGY," with our 11-year old son (He's been a fan of the Beatles' music for a few years, now, so he was definitely into the idea of watching the story of their origins, evolution and ending).

Many aspects were striking about watching the anthology today, and revisiting the events that changed the music world forever during The Beatles' brief 10-year reign in the 1960's.

All these years later, the first amazing thing that hit me was how young "the boys" were - ranging in age from 20 to 22 - when they first appeared on the Ed Sullivan show. Striking because in 1963, I was 9 years old as I sat mesmerized in front of our black and white TV, and their music, their clothes, their hair couldn't have been cooler or more mature to me. They didn't seem young to me. No. Their rhythms and voices seemed to vibrate through my entire being, while the poetry of their lyrics blew my mind open, even at age nine. Their songs so often made love and life seem like a jubilant thing - "And when I touch you, I feel happy inside. It's such a feeling that my love I can't hide..." - and that materialism wasn't as important as love - "I don't care too much for money, 'cause money can't buy me love."

40 years after their break-up, the Beatles' songs still resonate - to a fifty-something, and to a pre-adolescent, both in the process of finding ourselves on the threshold of a new stage of life. We both lament about the "Nowhere Man" for different reasons. "Isn't he a bit like you and me?"

The Beatles were channeling, that's for sure. The compositions and innovative arrangements were pouring out of them so fast, and the hurricane they created culturally so enormous, that John, Paul, George and Ringo couldn't truly know what was happening. They couldn't. But they rode the wave. That's what greatness is.

Another aspect that was newly clear from my perspective today was that The Beatles had to break up when they did. That's a revelation to me. Back in 1969, I couldn't have been sadder when the group made their last album, "ABBEY ROAD." I couldn't really understand at age 15 why they wouldn't just stay together. A couple of years later, I likewise couldn't understand why my parents couldn't just stay together. There was still a lot I didn't know at age 17.

But here's what I can see now: the four young men evolved and outgrew each other. That was the inevitable result of riding the big wave. They spent several incredible years creating and growing together musically and spiritually, but they were very different individuals, personality-wise, with very different destinies, and so of course, their inclinations as performers and songwriters diverged. They had to keep growing, but as is so often the case in relationships, I've learned, without each other. The Rolling Stones, the Beatles' contemporary rock icons, by contrast, never really changed and never really broke up. They are now the old married couple who've been together for 40 years, still doing the same things with each other that they've always done.

Lennon, at times inclined towards depression and a darker perspective than his writing cohort, McCartney, once said in disdain that the Beatles were just a rock'n'roll band and that their break-up was no big thing. Even back then, I knew John was wrong about that, that he must be bitter and in pain about something. After all, he's the Beatle who wrote "HELP!"

Paul understood better, and when he wrote what would become the group's elegy, it moved me to my core, beginning with "Once there was a way to get back homeward...", implying the irrevocable endings that are thrust upon us in life, and concluding with this most poignant and famous of hopeful last lines: "And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make."

I still try to remember that message every day, forty years hence. I hope the eleven year old sitting next to me will also remember it.


Here's the guy who's really concerned about racism in this country:

"I mean, let’s face it, we didn’t have slavery in this country for over 100 years because it was a bad thing. Quite the opposite: slavery built the South. I’m not saying we should bring it back; I’m just saying it had its merits. For one thing, the streets were safer after dark."
Rush Limbaugh

"You know who deserves a posthumous Medal of Honor? James Earl Ray. We miss you, James. Godspeed."
Rush Limbaugh

"Have you ever noticed how all composite pictures of wanted criminals resemble Jesse Jackson?"
Rush Limbaugh

"The NAACP should have riot rehearsal. They should get a liquor store and practice robberies."
Rush Limbaugh

"They’re 12 percent of the population. Who the hell cares?"
Rush Limbaugh

"I disagree fervently with the people on our side of the aisle who have caved and who say, 'Well, I hope he [Barack Obama] succeeds.' Okay, I'll send you a response, but I don't need 400 words, I need four: 'I hope he fails.”



"When we have taken steps that have violated the Geneva Conventions we rightly have been criticized, so as we move forward I think it's important to again live our values, to live the agreements that we have made in the international justice arena and to practice those."
General David Petreaus (on the Bush-Cheney sanctioned abuses of detainees)


On SALON.COM is this piece by Mike Madden that just makes you want to LOL at the lunatic right wing fringe:

"THE WHITE MAN IS BEING OPPRESSED: Rush, Newt and other right-wingers decide that Sonia Sotomayor is a racist. Project much?"


I have said for years to my "conservative" friends that I am not political, that I thought most politicians of whatever leaning were crooks and liars, and as such, for years, I didn't vote for either party's candidates in national elections. I refused to give in to the lesser of two evil arguments in 1984, '88, '92, '96, '00 or '04. Yes, I thought Reagan was an ideological buffoon, Bush senior was an elitist criminal, Clinton was a pathological, ego-driven liar, and Bush, Jr. was an out-and-out intellectual infant, but I also thought Mondale, Dukakis, Gore and Kerry were two-faced wimps, and Bob Dole in 1996? I would have voted for my own grandfather before I voted for that cranky nut-job!

However, in 2008, for the first time in my adult life, I saw an actual adult running for president and so, I voted for Barack Obama. I've written about the reasons why, including what constitutes an emotional adult.

Of course, my right wing friends immediately jumped on my vote as proof that I was a "liberal democrat" all along. Well, to that I say... whatever.

I also say this regarding certain things the president has done recently: Obama is wrong.

He is wrong for protecting the people involved in authorizing and implementing a policy of torture and illegal spying on U.S. citizens in the United States, and he is wrong for continuing the illegal confinement of prisoners at Gitmo who can't be tried in court, now, because of that torture.

Can I understand his possible rational, adult reasons for these positions? Yes. Perhaps he doesn't want to inflame radical, fundamentalists groups further against the U.S. than his predecessors did, and perhaps he believes some of the detainees at Gitmo are extremists who want to harm America, and certainly, he is weighing the political fall-out from a public Bush-Cheney administration legal laundry cleaning which some people will find very distasteful, not to mention that it will surely expose many wimpy Democrats who knew about the Bush-Cheney crimes and looked the other way.

But it doesn't matter.

President Obama is still wrong - because you cannot have a rule of law, especially when it comes to war crimes and crimes against humanity, and selectively break those laws because of a political agenda or because it is inconvenient or even potentially dangerous. A nation, just like an individual, cannot grow and prosper and be healthy while selectively acting out psychopathically. Can't happen. It must and will come back to haunt you when you try to have it both ways. Playing it that way may help Obama politically, in the short-run, as Bill Clinton's two-faced, please-everybody policies helped him get elected twice, but the karma to come will be swift, as the Clinton's discovered. But more importantly, that karma will fall on all of us as citizens of this country.

As I say to many people I work with in therapy - there are no end runs or short-cuts around the healing process or the truth. Same thing applies to healing ourselves en masse as a nation.

That's it.




I'm putting it out there - Am I rude? Harsh? Hostile? Am I just a disgruntled, middle-aged curmudgeon?

On this blog, I lambaste parents on a regular basis. I take frequent hard shots at teachers and doctors, religious leaders, pundits and politicians, of course, even therapists. Especially therapists! I often declare that if you're not self-actualized and you're not engaged in some kind of self-work to get there, then you should just shut-up on most subjects of importance.

So, what's up with me? Why do I do this? Why do I get people mad at me?

Well, here it is.

As a kid, I saw that grown-ups habitually lied - to their kids, to each other, to themselves. Parents were either overly enmeshed with their kids or mean to their kids... and as well, to each other. Married adults often fought bitterly and often cheated on each other. My relatives seemed to despise people who didn't look like them or talk like them for no reason other than that. In church, every Sunday, the priests, and especially the nuns, were abusive to kids, but even worse, I would listen to what Jesus said in the Gospel, and then I would listen to what the priests said in their sermons, and they were often completely contradictory. Doctors did cigarette commercials, while their patients' bodies were in all kinds of a mess. My elementary school gym coach was a nearly psychotic sadist, forcing kids to abuse and humiliate each other in public. And Cool Whip was passed off as food!

In junior high and high school, I watched every progressive leader of import in the country get assassinated - President John F. Kennedy, future president, Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcom X... right there in broad daylight. And no one ever talked about why right wing leaders were never gunned down.

In college, in the early Seventies, while soldiers killed un-armed students on the Kent State campus, this guy - - elected TWICE - was illegally trying to steal an election and lying about it, reassuring us that he was "not a crook."

In the Eighties, as a social worker on the streets of New York City, I watched homelessness become a phenomenon almost overnight from the defunding of in-patient psychiatric and rehabilitation programs, while this guy - - said it was "Morning in America!"

In the Nineties, this pubescent, impulse-ridden guy's ego was the only thing bigger than his... ... and his most famous line after eight years was "I did not have sex with that woman."

And worst of all, in the 00's, there was (and still is) this guy - Enough said?!

Meanwhile, throughout my adult life, I worked on myself, in therapy, in spiritual practices, through studying nutrition and how the body and mind works, by getting degrees in sociology and social work and more, and I worked with the inner lives of many people, of all ages and backgrounds, year after year.

And what I found is what has led me to become the writer that I am today.

Most people lie. Not always consciously, in fact, usually unconsciously. Most people don't want to know the truth - about most things, but especially about themselves. Many people even rework it to believe that there's no such thing as the truth - there's just "my opinion" and "your opinion." "It's all relative." And the louder and more pompously one voices those opinions, the righter people think they will be.

Well, it's not all relative.

Alexander Lowen, a brilliant man, once wrote that "99% of all children are abused." He was right. It's not an opinion. Once you include squashing your child's spirit with your own ungratified expectations and fantasies from your life, it makes the 99% number a no-brainer.

So, I write.

I write that many parents suck the life out their children. I write that many doctors exploit their patients for money and don't have a clue about real healing. I write that politicians support corrupt businessmen who vacuum up all the resources for themselves and pay the least amount proportionally in taxes. And they support the politicians. I write that religious zealots are the biggest sinners and hypocrites, that homophobes are closeted homosexuals, that people who want to own guns actually DO want to kill something - for "fun." I write that using the word "stupid" to describe certain people is constructive, that smiling through your teeth is destructive.

And I write that I hold these truths to be self-evident: Love is the essence of All That Is and We are all one.

Until we all get that, I will keep writing.COOL WHIP INGREDIENTS: water, corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated coconut and palm kernel oil (CPKO), sodium caseinate (a milk derivative), vanilla extract, xanthan and guar gums, polysorbate 60 (glycosperse), and beta carotene. YUM!




The big gay shrug: Sorry, enemies of gay marriage. Prop 8 or no, you've already lost


"Gay marriage is a foregone conclusion. It's a done deal. It's just a matter of time. For the next generation in particular, equal rights for gays is not even a question or a serious issue, much less a sinful hysterical conundrum that can only be answered by terrified Mormons and confused old people and inane referendums funded by same. It's just obvious, inevitable, a given. A new campaign in the fight for marriage equality is already taking shape. Evolution is happening, the energy and momentum are unstoppable. Simply put, the ignorance and homophobia that fueled and funded Prop 8 in the first place will not stand. Don't believe it? Hey, just ask your kids."


Here's Anonymous:

"Agreeing with Pocayenta, I've been a lurker since around October, and usually your blogs (agree or disagree on my part) leave little if any room for comment. You stand by what you say, and I respect that. I've spent almost six months in therapy trying to undo what my loving parents unknowingly did to me. In the event I ever have kids, I'll spend just as much effort fixing myself as I do raising them. Thanks, Peter.
Also, nice mention of Alexander Lowen. I picked up a copy of Betrayal of the Body for a buck out of curiosity and told myself, 'this guy makes a lot of sense.' I've seen his detractors here and there, but I just laugh and go on."


By the way, I met Lowen about ten years ago at a workshop he was giving. He was 88 years young at the time, looking as spry as could be, demonstrating a new position for grounding oneself in the body. The best part was after one of the work days, this vibrant, healthy expert on the language of the body told his assistant he was ready for a whiskey!
Thanks for the thoughtful comment and especially, thanks for doing that work on yourself!


"Putting the emphasis on the final syllable of Sotomayor is unnatural in English... and insisting on an unnatural pronunciation is something we shouldn't be giving in to." Mark Krikorian (right wing pundit for the National Review Online)


"Remember this: it is not nearly so important how well a message is received as how well it is sent."


U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal, a Republican candidate for governor of Georgia, has proposed changing the long-standing federal policy that automatically grants citizenship to any baby born on U.S. soil.


Here's Pocayenta:

"Great post, PL, you've been on a roll lately! I've been a loyal lurker here for months, enjoying your 'disgruntled, curmudgeonly rants'. I was finally (almost!) moved to comment by your fine take on that yutz with the anorexic daughter: 'PARENTS ARE (STILL) ALWAYS PART OF THE PROBLEM! (EXCEPT FOR LAURA COLLINS LYSTER-MENSH?!)'. I saw that piece on the Huffpo and was stunned by her ignorant, clearly self-serving agenda. Needless to say, I feel for her daughter. I had an eating disorder in days of yore when I was a teen (fully recovered!). Your statement of the problem strikes me as absolutely spot on: 'I intuitively understood that her efforts at self-destruction had a connection to her early relationship with her parents, that she had negated her own need for emotional nourishment in favor of what she perceived to be the emotional needs of her parents, and then translated that self-negation into not even needing physical nourishment.' Your memorial day post re: idealizing our kiddie soldiers was also excellent. Keep up the good work! Cheers from 'Pocayenta' on the Lower East Side."


Thanks a lot, Pocayenta! Love to know the meaning of that name!


This is from an article full of painful facts, not fantasy, entitled: "AN INSULT TO SERVICE" by Jayne Lyn Stahl.

FACT: "As of this month, according to the Veterans Administration's own Web site, about one-third of the adult homeless population has been in the armed forces. Current population estimates are that, on any given night, as many as 154,000 veterans, of both genders, are homeless, and possibly twice as many experience homelessness during the year."

FACT: "Soldiers, age 20-24, who served during the 'war on terror,' now have the highest suicide rate of all vets. The suicide rate among Iraq war veterans is egregiously high, and growing."

FACT: "The Bush-Cheney administration roundly rejected expanding benefits under the GI Bill throughout their TWO TERMS!" [Psst... that guy avoided Viet Nam by having strings pulled to get into the National Guard, and then he went AWOL from the National Guard. He also read "My Pet Goat" while 3,000 American civilians were killed on his watch on 9/11/01, and finally, he has overseen the subsequent deaths of over 4,000 more Americans in a war started under false pretenses. But at least he refused to pony up any bucks for the soldiers and their families whose lives were destroyed by his delusional fantasies. And hey, that man loved to wave the flag!]


Here's auntlori:

"I would say to Dadloff that living in upstate NY is not necessarily a picture of cleaning living, with pure air and water, in and of itself. I've spent enough time in upstate NY to know that the people up there are not necessarily a reflection of any sort of clean pure living.
I would say to PL that living in Manhattan is also not necessarily a picture of openmindedness, in and of itself. I grew up outside of Manhattan and spent plenty of time there as an adult to know that while the people of Manhattan may be more liberal in their thinking, they can be just as close minded about how others think as the people in upstate NY.
So, while it seems you two are arguing different viewpoints, you are taking the same stance, which actually leaves you both sounding a bit close minded."

THANKS auntlori!


"The notion that a radical is one who hates his country is naïve and usually idiotic. He is, more likely, one who likes his country more than the rest of us, and is thus more disturbed than the rest of us when he sees it debauched. He is not a bad citizen turning to crime; he is a good citizen driven to despair."
H. L. Mencken

"I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually."
James Baldwin

"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public."
Theodore Roosevelt

"What do we mean by patriotism in the context of our times? I venture to suggest that what we mean is a sense of national responsibility ... a patriotism which is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime."
Adlai Stevenson

"No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots."
Barbara Ehrenreich

"My country, right or wrong' is a thing no patriot would ever think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying 'My mother, drunk or sober."
G. K. Chesterton

"Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all others because you were born in it."
George Bernard Shaw


Let's get real.

Take a moment. Take a break from your patriotic beer-guzzling and flag waving and look in the mirror this Memorial Day. As an American. As a human being.

Unlike Dick Cheney, I've actually worked with soldiers as a clinical social worker in a V.A. Hospital, both on a psychiatric ward, and in an outpatient drug treatment clinic. I counseled mostly Vietnam vets, but also some Korea veterans. I hung out on the Army base and played basketball in the gym, side by side with the soldiers. I was in my early thirties back then. A lot of my patients were in their early twenties.

Who are they, "The Troops?" You know the exalted ones that so many politicians - who did everything in their power to avoid serving in the military themselves - are always "honoring?" Who are The Troops, and how should we really honor them this Memorial Day?

Let's start by being honest for a change, folks, what do you say?

Idealization is a major defense mechanism, and a dangerous one that causes a lot of damage in our world. When we idealize someone, we dehumanize them in the same way as when we demonize someone. In other words, we make them into something other than real human beings.

The reality? Soldiers, first and foremost are kids. Kids. In most cases, TEENAGERS! By definition, they are fledgling human beings just beginning their search to find themselves, and as such, they are very impressionable and easily influenced. This is one of the main reasons - and please, again, let's be honest - that we recruit kids to fight in the military. We can control them, shape their minds to do our bidding. We can use them because they don't know any better. They are exploitable.

And even better, kids don't understand the concept of mortality, yet. They don't really grasp the preciousness of life. They don't really know that they will die in combat, and simultaneously, they are methodically misled into thinking that anyone they kill is not a real human being, just "The Enemy." Any adult military commander and any politician will admit this if pressed - mature individuals do not make good soldiers. Why? Because they are mature! Because they know better.

So, we send these kids off to fight (We can't even say "off to war" anymore, because it has been more than sixty years since we've fought in a legitimate war.), and then when they come back home, these "heroes," broken physically, shattered mentally, maimed and addicted and plagued with waking nightmares, we neglect them. We do everything in our power to pretend that they're okay. We even badger them not to give in to a diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Of course we do. Because except for the likes of sociopaths like Dick Cheney, who could look these destroyed kids in the eyes and face the impossible task of trying to rehabilitate their crushed humanity?

No. We instead idealize these kids as "Heroes" and "The Troops," so we can ignore their suffering, and we demonize the people they killed as "The Enemy" or "Terrorists," so we can ignore what's been done by our unsuspecting kids in our name.

This Memorial Day, you want to honor The Troops? Then give up your childish fantasy lives. Throw away your G.I. Joe dolls and video games. Stop watching Fox News or listening to bloated, drug-addicted lunatics for your information. Face the facts - not just that Ronald Reagan was an B actor who called his wife "Mommy," that George Bush was a spoon-fed nincompoop, and that John Wayne was gay (do the research) - but that The Troops are kids. They need your help to heal, and for all the generations of kids to come, they need you to work on yourself and give up your need for idealized others to act out your violent, heroic fantasies because you feel impotent.

Happy Memorial Day!


"I'm sure he's just terribly sexually repressed, and it comes out in all sorts of hatred and vile and bile."
Bill Maher (on Sean "Lou Costello" Hannity's criticism of Bill Maher)



"I love how they're trying to exclaim that working by yourself and caffeine are part of the risk factors for these increased suicides. I wonder if there's an elevated suicide rate for night security men. Or truck drivers?
At least they admit that the three or four consecutive tours of duty is a "problem". Although the solution, just add more therapists, seems incredibly stupid. It's like putting a guy in front of a bus and determining the best way to make sure he doesn't get killed is to just add padding. How about, take him out of the street? Or maybe, don't send these guys out for three or four tours of duty in a row!!! Duh!!!"


I agree, L56, there's an enormous amount of denial going on about what's causing this much life-threatening distress. I'd like to think, though, that adding therapists to the situation is a bit more than "padding!" But you know, I'm a bit biased.



CLICK HERE FOR ARTICLE: Number Of US Army Suicides Continues To Climb



"As rational, soaring, and adult-ready as Barack Obama's speech before the shrine of the Constitution in the National Archives was--and, in contrast, as full of retreaded lies as Dick Cheney's Personal Prosecution Protection Plan before the rightwing American Enterprise Institute was--the former vice was already hanging ten on a fear wave. The day before, the Republicans drew a blind fear response from the Democratically controlled Senate, which voted 90-6 against funding the closing of Guantanamo.

With that vote, the Dems returned to their customary defensive crouch. But it's not entirely their fault. Obama's White House made a basic mistake when it failed to recognize that if you leave a bunch of beaten dogs alone in the backyard for a week with the person who beat them, they'll whine and mewl and suck up to that abusive master all over again.

It doesn't matter that Cheney is on the other side of the fence now and can no longer hurt them. Old habits die hard, and it takes a firm hand to get a yellow dog up out of the middle of the road and home where it belongs."



Not exactly, Annie Lennox, or whoever wrote that song. But hate is a reaction to an aspect of love, specifically the “feminine” expression of it.

Let me be as direct and hard-hitting as I can about this, because we are seeing a destructive and dangerous rash of hatred coming out of the lower-functioning end of the far right since Barack Obama has become president.

There is no rational explanation related to policy positions or political philosophy for the vile and vicious tenor of the attacks by what’s left of the right wing in this country. This is way beyond debate or heated discourse. This is becoming violently moronic and desperately out of control. Now that every thinking conservative has either outright declared support for President Obama, or at the least, decried the current Orwellian screeds of Dick Cheney and the regressive crop of prehistoric primates like Sarah “Wilma Flintstone” Palin as beyond the pale, only a bestial group of paranoid, hate-mongers remains.

But what is fueling their terror and hatred really? Since this is clearly not about politics, and it certainly isn’t about “love of country” or patriotism, what is it about?

Folks, here I go again - it’s about love and sex, and sexual identity.

Over a hundred years ago, Freud postulated that the root cause of paranoia in men was extreme “homosexual anxiety.” So fearful are some men about the feminine side of their emotional/sexual life, so tortured are they by their identifications with their mothers, rather than their fathers, that these men adopt a hyper-masculine (macho) persona to disguise the deeper tendencies which they fear would destroy their fragile egos and gutted sense of self (The childrearing causes of this dysfunction are a discussion for another day.). The terror in response to their own “softer” feelings in this extreme male personality is inevitably projected outwards, so any other men who show signs of the feminine – cooperativeness instead of competitiveness, receptiveness instead of aggressiveness, openness and communicativeness, instead of bullishness and power-grabbing control – threaten to upset the house of cards of their own sexual identity. Other men who are comfortable with both their masculine and feminine sides, like Barack Obama, must, therefore, be destroyed at all costs.

Okay. And what about the women? Well, just take a look at the nearly psychotic Republican congresswoman, Michelle Bachman, who called all liberals traitors, or the already psychotic Ann Coulter, who called John Edwards a “fagot” during the campaign last year. With bone-hard features on their chiseled faces, and blazing, penetrating eyes, these women have thoroughly eradicated their feminine sides. It has long been understood that while the women of the far right are so opposed to abortion and birth control, women like Bachman, Coulter and Sarah Palin, they are not in practice “pro-life.” In fact, these hyper-masculine women are as gleeful about executions and war (and killing doctors who respect a woman’s right to choose) as any of the craven neo-con men. These women, overly identified with their fathers, and in deep conflict about it, are in the same paranoid quandary as their homophobic male counterparts. (Oh, and why doesn't anyone find it surprising anymore when yet another right wing politician or religious fundamentalist is discovered having closeted gay sex?)

But this is not about being gay. This is about sexuality. And love. And sex. Real sex. Loving, soul-quenching, gut-wrenching, bliss-inducing sex (Not sex as conquest or sex for ego inflation.) As I’ve said and written many times before, nobody who is having mind-blowing orgasms with someone they love ever feels inspired to go out and kill someone or throw toxic waste into a river or steal someone’s life savings... or call another person a traitor or a fagot. Only sexually dysfunctional, homophobic, emotionally distorted rage-aholics do those things.

This is a potentially wondrous time we are living in. The shift in consciousness that Barack Obama represents can be a real pendulum swing towards a cooperative, inclusive, open society, the kind once envisioned by the founders of our country.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident...”



Here's DADLOFF's response, unedited for spelling, grammar and punctuation:

"maybe you should re-locate to upstate NY here, the air, water and living is pure and clean and you probably will not find crazy mothers with SUV strollers disrupting your visits to starbucks and the book stores here they are welcome in all places with open arms many folks up here fly the AMERICAN FLAG and are proud to be AMERICANS I don't think I have heard people up here. reps or dems talking about our ex pres and wanting to send him to prison and everyone he was connected with no one, that I know of wanted to send Truman for what he did in korea or Kennedy for cuba and vietnam and johnson for vietnam to prison
why do you think that I like all these conservative or liberal talk show hosts personally, I think they are commedians and are good for a laugh now and then I think you may want to let a couple of years go bye before you pass judgement on Obama or for that matter Bush"


Let me just address this statement of yours, DL, because in and of itself, it's the most inane of the unthinking, jingoistic blather that's bit the dust in the last year - "many folks up here fly the AMERICAN FLAG and are proud to be AMERICANS." Sounds good, huh? If your country is a football team, and if symbolism was a good replacement for mature, adult thoughtfulness. What has waving a flag got to do with anything? And what "country" do your "folks" love? The one that was formed around these words?

"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. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness."

WOAH! How unbelievably "liberal" is that?

Yes, that's the Declaration of Independence, DL, the words that formed our country. Governments get their power from the governed, see? And their job description is the Constitution of the United States.

Presidents are elected officials working for the people, and their oath of office says that they agree to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." Take a breath and re-read that, DL. It is the Constitution that presidents swear to protect - the rule of law in this land. Not what they think is best for the country, regardless of those laws, not what their ideology or their place in history or the world should be, but what serves the people and those laws.

Get it? Your childish, flag-waving "folks" want a king they can worship, or a quarterback they can root for, or a big daddy that can do no wrong, even when they are abusive and acting out their own craven power trips, rather than an intelligent, enlightened president working for the people and the Constitution. George Bush, Dick Cheney, et al, broke the law and violated the Constitution. They therefore committed treason. They should be held accountable. It doesn't matter what their motive was. They were servants of the people and they violated their oaths, and our country's laws.

P.S. It's a tough choice, DL - for a second - the fresh air and simplistic flag-waving of upstate New York versus the dirty streets and open minds of New York City, but I'll take Manhattan. It's a lot easier to find a good therapist here.


"Who is this Dick Cheeny guy and why should I give a flying purple goddamn what he thinks? Do people believe he's important? Because he sounds like someone who lives on the subway and wears origami sailor hats made out of Soldier of Fortune magazines."
David Rees


Here's Keith Olbermann's Special Comment piece on Dick from Countdown last night:



False to fact and false to reason...

Forever self-rationalizing...

His inner rage at his own impotence and failure dripping from every word...

And as irrational, as separated from the real world, as dishonest, as insane, as any terrorist...

The former Vice President has today humiliated himself beyond redemption.

The delusional claims he has made this day could be proved by documentation and first-hand testimony to be the literal truth, and still he himself would be wrong, because the America he sought to impose upon the world and upon its own citizens, the dark hateful place of Dick Cheney's own soul, the place he to this hour defends and to this day prefers, is a repudiation of all that our ancestors, all that for which our brave troops of 200 years ago and two minutes ago, have sacrificed and fought.

I do have to congratulate you, Sir. No man living or dead could have passed the buck more often than you did in 35 minutes this morning.

It's not your fault we water-boarded people, you said.

It isn't torture, you said, even though it is based on 111 years of American military prosecutions.

It was in the Constitution that you could do it, even if our laws told you, you could not.It was in the language of the 2001 military authorization you force-fed the Congress that you could do it, even if our international treaties told you, you could not.

It produced invaluable information, you said, even though the first-hand witnesses, the interrogators of these beasts, said the information preceded the torture and ended when it began.

It was authorized, you said, by careful legal opinion, even though the legal opinions were dictated by you and your cronies, and, oh by the way, the torture began before the legal opinions were even written.

It was authorized, you said, and you imply even if it really wasn't, it was done to "only detainees of the highest intelligence value."

It was more necessary, you said, because of the revelation of another program by the real villains, the New York Times, even though that revelation was possible because the program was detailed on the front page of the website of a defense department sub-contractor.

It was all the fault of your predecessors, you said, who tried to treat terror as a "law enforcement problem," before you came to office and rode to the rescue... after you totally ignored terrorism for the first 20 percent of your first term and the worst attack on this nation in its history unfolded on **your** watch."

9/11 caused everyone to take a **serious second look at threats that had been gathering for awhile," you said today, "and enemies whose plans were getting bolder and more sophisticated."

Gee, thanks for being motivated, by the deaths of nearly 3,000 Americans, to go so far as to "take a serious second look." And thank you, Sir, for admitting, obviously inadvertently, that you did not take a serious **first** look in the seven months and 23 days between your inauguration and 9/11.

For that attack, Sir, you are culpable, morally, ethically. At best you were guilty of malfeasance and eternally-lasting stupidity. At worst, Sir, in the deaths of 9/11, you are negligent.

The circular logic, and the self-righteous sophistry, falls from a copy of Mr. Cheney's speech like bugs from a book on a moldy shelf. He still believes in "dictators like Saddam Hussein with known ties to Mideast terrorists." He still assumes everyone we captured is guilty without charge or trial, but that to prosecute law-breaking by government officials is "to have an incoming administration criminalize the policy decisions of its predecessors."

And most sleazy of all, while calling the CIA torturers "honorable," he insists the grunts at Abu Ghraib were "a few sadistic prison guards (who) abused inmates in violation of American law, military regulations, and simple decency" even though -- and maybe he doesn't know we know this -- even though there is documentary proof that those guards were acting on orders originating in the office of Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld.

It is, in short, madness. Madness, Sir. Mr. Cheney, your speech was almost entirely about you...There are only five or six other people even mentioned, and only two quoted at any length.And why would you have quoted, as you did, the man who said this" I know that this program saved lives. I know we've disrupted plots. I know this program alone is worth more than the FBI, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the National Security Agency put together have been able to tell us."

As you know, Sir, you are quoting former CIA Director George Tenet.That would be the George Tenet who told Congress, on February 11th, 2003, quote:"Iraq is harboring senior members of a terrorist network led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a close associate of al Qaeda."

Mr. Tenet then went into elaborate detail about the Iraq/Al-Qaeda connection.None of it was true.This is your source.As he was your boss's source."

George, how confident are you?" President Bush asked Tenet about Saddam Hussein's Weapons of Mass Destruction, just before the Iraq war, according to Bob Woodward's book "Plan Of Attack."

"Don't worry," Tenet answered. "It's a slam-dunk."That is your independent authority on how well torture worked.Next time you see him, Mr. Cheney, you might as well ask Mr. Tenet if he thinks he is Napoleon.

I don't want to know who you think you are:"...those are the basic facts on enhanced interrogations," you concluded. "And to call this a program of torture is to libel the dedicated professionals who saved American lives, and to cast terrorists and murderers as innocent victims."

You saved no one, Sir.

If the classified documents you seek released really did detail plots other than those manufactured by drowning men in order to get it to stop, or if they truly did note plans beyond the laughable ones you and President Bush already revealed -- hijackers without passports targeting a building whose name Mr. Bush couldn't remember, clowns who thought they could destroy airports by dropping matches in fuel pipelines 30 miles away, men who planned to attack a military base dressed as Pizza delivery boys forgetting that every man there was armed, and today: the four would-be Synagogue bombers, one of whom turns out to keep bottles of urine in his apartment, and to be on schizophrenia medicine--

If those documents contained anything of value... you would have leaked them already! As you leaked those revenge fantasies of the Library Tower and the J-F-K Bomber, and the Fort Dix Six. "When they (terrorists) see the American government caught up in arguments about interrogations, or whether foreign terrorists have constitutional rights, they don't stand back in awe of our legal system and wonder whether they had misjudged us all along."

Instead the terrorists see just what they were hoping for - our unity gone, our resolve shaken, our leaders distracted. In short, they see weakness and opportunity."

The weakness the terrorists see, Sir, is the weakness of blind rage replacing essential cold logic.

The weakness the terrorists see, Sir, is the weakness of judgment suspended, in favor of self-fulfilling prophecy.The weakness the terrorists see, Sir, is the weakness of moral force supplanted by violence and revenge fantasies.The weakness the terrorists see, Sir, is the weakness... of Dick Cheney.

And yet, still, ceaselessly, indefatigably, you moralize and lie to us. "I might add," someone said today, "that people who consistently distort the truth in this way are in no position to lecture anyone about 'values.'"

Very apt.The quote is from your speech...Your speech, which was at essence, about your fantasy that you and Mr. Bush were not negligent...

About your pig-headed certainty first that these attacks were impossible, then that they were a good excuse for a war you had already planned in Iraq, and finally that they were to be imminently repeated and only you knew whence the next threat would next come.

You saved no one, Mr. Cheney.

All you did... was help kill Americans.

You were negligent before 9/11.

Your response to your complicity by omission on 9/11, was panic, and shame, and insanity, and lying this country into a war that did nothing but kill 4,299 more of us.We will take no further instruction from you, Sir.

Let me again quote Oliver Cromwell to you, Mr. Cheney:

You have sat too long for any good you have been doing lately... Depart, I say; and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!"






DADLOFF sent in this unbelievable screed last night:

"If you watched CNN tonight, at the end of Lou Dobbs and the beginning of 'No Bias, No Bull,' you would have seen that 87% of the people that called in were in favor of torture. Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that CNN is ultra liberal, in favor of all dems and against all reps. A perfect example tonight is when Roland showed at least 20 minutes of Obama and about 2 minutes of Cheney in the debate over the closing of the prison in Cuba. Again, correct me if I am wrong."


Well, since you ask twice to be corrected, DL, you must suspect yourself, eh? (Sorry, but I am a therapist by trade.)

First off, Lou Dobbs and CNN are "ultra liberal?!!?" I guess you must think Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh are moderates, that Sean Hannity isn't Lou Costello, and that Glenn Beck is sane! Wow!

Watching Lou Dobbs' blathering, stupifying hate-mongering every evening in itself would be worse than water-boarding. I'm surprised that the full 100% of Dobb's viewers aren't in favor of torture, but enough about the sex lives of old right wingers.

Secondly, you think it's "bias" that the President of the United States, as in PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, got more air time than the snarling, depressed, lunatic FORMER vice president?! This wasn't a debate. Dick's not in government anymore, and when he was, he hid behind the scenes like some evil Wizard of Oz trying to destroy all that was healthy and evolved about America. Nobody respected or liked Dick before he went on this Tourette's tour, which is all about him trying to save his sorry, criminal ass from spending the rest of his life in a Spanish prison.

I don't know what's in the water up there in farm country, DL, but I wouldn't be surprised if Dick Cheney put it there!

I repeat - WHEW!!


Here's an article by Jane Smiley, called "DICK CHENEY IS CRAZY, REALLY."

Worth taking a look at, because I can tell you as a clinician, that Dick is certifiable, a borderline personality disorder with a psychopathic character structure of the "ominous sociopathic" sub-type. We're lucky we're still alive, folks.


"I know some have argued that brutal methods like water-boarding were necessary to keep us safe. I could not disagree more. As Commander-in-Chief, I see the intelligence, I bear responsibility for keeping this country safe, and I reject the assertion that these are the most effective means of interrogation. What's more, they undermine the rule of law. They alienate us in the world. They serve as a recruitment tool for terrorists, and increase the will of our enemies to fight us, while decreasing the will of others to work with America. They risk the lives of our troops by making it less likely that others will surrender to them in battle, and more likely that Americans will be mistreated if they are captured. In short, they did not advance our war and counter-terrorism efforts - they undermined them, and that is why I ended them once and for all."


Here's two headines from this afternoon's news:




"HYPOCRISY: the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one's own behavior does not conform."



Here's a surprising development. From time to time, I will comment on a piece on someone else's blog by writing about it only on their blog, in the comments section, rather than post my comment on my own blog. Said comments invariably get printed because while my writings may be controversial, they're never obscene or inappropriate.

But for the last two days, I have left comments on a piece by one Laura Collins Lyster-Mensh, an activist in the area of eating disorders, and they have not been printed. In her essay, called "She's Anorexic, and You're a Bad Mother," (the title meant to be sarcastic), Laura basically heaves a sigh of relief because she claims it is now unequivocal that "Eating disorders are brain disorders...biologically based and genetically transmitted. This isn't opinion," Laura says, "it is fact." How does she know that this is so? Because "Dr. Thomas Insel, head of the National Institute for Mental Health, says so."

Having worked with many young people (mostly women) with such disorders over the last thirty years, I challenged the absoluteness of Laura's assertion with my own considerable experience and research in this area. I mentioned such well-known books by people with hands-on practice with anorexics like "THE SECRET LANGUAGE OF EATING DISORDERS," by Peggy Claude-Pierre, and "THE BEST LITTLE GIRL IN THE WORLD." by Steven Levenkron (also a movie), and "WHEN FOOD IS LOVE," by Geneen Roth. There are many more books and studies about the psychological and emotional underpinnings of anorexia, bulimia and other eating disorders.

I began my own career as a clinical social worker and psychotherapist working with a young woman in a psychiatric hospital who was anorexic and bulimic. Her condition was life-threatening, but I intuitively understood that her efforts at self-destruction had a connection to her early relationship with her parents, that she had negated her own need for emotional nourishment in favor of what she perceived to be the emotional needs of her parents, and then translated that self-negation into not even needing physical nourishment. By working with her strictly on an interpersonal basis over the course of a month, spending a lot of time with her each day, establishing a therapeutic alliance she could trust, she became able to eat and hold her food down to the point where she gained enough weight to be discharged and continue on in outpatient psychotherapy successfully.

It is tragic that parents, abetted by doctors who are lazy and greedy, so desperately seek to be not culpable to any degree in their children's dysfunctions that they have created a whole movement whose credo amounts to: "It's not my fault; it's nature." Which, of course, to the abundant joy of the AMA and Big Pharma, has to lead to the use of drugs and other applied methods without the use at all of insight into the nature of the emotional connection between parent and child and how that can go awry.

It is hard work, as a therapist and a parent, to go down into the emotional depths of a deep-rooted psychological condition with a child. It requires a level of self-penetration and healing that medical science is no longer interested in. There's no money in it, and it's just too difficult for the aggrandized ego to withstand.

So, Laura Collins Lyster-Mensh has a blog with comments only cheering her on and nothing from me. So be it. But it doesn't change the truth: parents are always part of the problem.


Yep. "IN TREATMENT" is back, in a shorter more compressed season and format, but still with the same intensity and intelligence it demonstrated in the first season last year.

This time around, though, Gabriel Byrne's character, psychologist Paul Weston, is really unraveling, and with good reason. No, not the provocations of his patients, or his recent divorce or even the death of his father. Paul is breaking down for two main reasons apart from his outer circumstances - one, he is an empathetically connected therapist who feels his patients' pain, and two, he is fifty three and hasn't done anywhere near enough work on his own inner life. As a result, he is over-involved emotionally with many of his patients, desperate to save them from their fates, and as such, in conflict because he also knows that he must observe the "prime directive" of good therapy - do not interfere directly in a patient's choices.

But... is Paul a "good" therapist?

Well, yes and no.

Unlike the stereotypical psychoanalytic shrink who remains aloof, the proverbial blank screen, while the patient lies passive on the couch, not even allowed to look at the God-like therapist, Paul Weston is feeling, involved and directive at times with his patients. In other words, he is actively human with them. As such, he makes mistakes, but like a real-life human being, he admits those mistakes and even - Woah! - apologizes for them. All of this is helpful to his patients, because above all else, the only real deep healing that can occur in therapy is in the context of a real relationship between the people involved. In traditional therapy, inner conflicts are only analyzed intellectually, resulting in more awareness, yes, but not in deep personal change or lasting emotional freedom.

The problem is, if you're going to be the kind of therapist Byrne portrays, it means that you are going to be bombarded with feelings from within and without on a daily basis, and to survive such an onslaught, you must be an open system whose inner conflicts are easily accessible to your conscious mind and whose emotions are not blocked in your body. That's where Paul falls short. He is not fully open and he is not freed-up enough emotionally to sustain any kind of balance in his practice. So, he acts out impulsively at times, unable to process what his patients are stirring up in him.

That being said, if I had to choose between the lesser of two evils - an aloof, emotionally detached analyst or a sloppy, emotionally connected and empathetic therapist - I'd go with the latter.

Carry on, Paul, but please, get serious about your work with Gina!


"The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it."
Steven Pressfield


News Headline: "Gallup Poll: GOP Support Down For All But Elderly & Church-Going Base"


Here's L56:

"For me this is an issue of politics not morality. Period. I don't think it's a coincidence that two of the arguably most divisive people in politics are interested in having this debate opened up. Cheney for one is so clearly on the wrong moral side of this whole thing and yet still insists on releasing evidence that would further bury his moral case. Why would he do something so stupid? And Pelosi has been so battered into partisan submission that she will do anything to have her ego coddled with a big old, "you were right". Both of them, although polar opposites politically, have one thing in common, their egos have a better chance of being "vindicated" when the country is divided and everyone "takes a side". For these two narcissists, they only "win" if there are two sides to fight each other.
"Why else would Cheney so brazenly come out and ask for evidence to be released that without a question would make him look like the devil himself. It's stupid!!! But he's not stupid. Evil, maybe; stupid, no. Let me explain... I once saw a chart that listed which states voted for Bush and which states voted for Kerry and what those states' average IQs were. I'm not making this up, every state that was below a certain line (somewhere around 100) voted for Bush, and the ones above voted for Kerry. There was no overlap, a very clear demarcation. The unfortunate implication was that dumber people wanted a dumber president and a dumber party in charge. Politically, Cheney and the GOP understand this. Cheney's attempt to open this debate up is an attempt to once again widen the rift and inflame the dumb with retarded talking points and a big ol' healthy dose of victimization. Dumb people love partisanship, victimization etc... It's easy to understand. Us versus them. Vote for a guy you can have a beer with, etc...
"(I suppose I should insert a disclosure here. I'm not suggesting that everyone that votes Republican is dumb. There are some very bright people who just see things differently. But I can't make up that data. It simply and unfortunately states that this demographic is strongly in the Republican camp.)
"Cheney might lose the battle on this particular debate, but if he succeeds in helping the country once again become divided he wins the Republicans back the only chance in hell they have of winning back the White House. This is not unfamiliar territory for him either. The BIG lie about WMDs in Iraq obviously came back to bite him in the ass. Even AS IT WAS BEING SAID we all knew it was BS, and we all crucified him for it, but nevertheless he got what he wanted, a war with Iraq.
"It's so morally incomprehensible, the whole idea of doing something so obviously wrong in order to get what you want, but it's the only tool these narcissists have, and it works!!! We have to take these tools out of their hands, and that means doing everything in our power to avoid partisanship. I contend very strongly that a vast inquiry will re-spark a rampant partisanship. If that happens, they win, and Obama can't get anything done... ever...
"Now, I do agree with Frank Rich on a few things for sure. Actually the thesis statement is very true, Obama can't turn the page on Bush. The ghost of everything that Bush did, will continue to haunt him at every turn. It's an incredible challenge that Obama faces. But, I'm not so sure that an inquiry, even convictions, of all these guys will actually exercise those ghosts. That seems at best an idealized outcome. (Politically speaking)
"In some ways Obama will be successful if he manages only to just neutralize the damage that Bush did. Everything else is almost gravy. But by far the biggest thing he needs to fix in order to move us forward in a positive direction is to fix the "us versus them" mentality that's pervaded our country for the last 8 years.
"I truly believe that this is of utmost importance. I don't disagree that the past administration should be held accountable, and maybe they should be dragged before the justice systems of the world to be held accountable. But if in that process we in anyway risk Obama's efforts to "heal the divide" we're doing it at a great disservice to our nation's well being.
"I'm just not sure that the American people have had the hindsight needed yet to understand that the Bush administrations' greatest failure was pitting us against each other. We may not figure that out until we're actually not pitted against each other anymore. At that moment in time, Obama and all of us will all share the political capital to pursue those guys to the fullest extent of the law.
"Obama's got a big dilemma on his hands with this, the mounting pressure is getting palpable. And he's sort of in a spot where he's damned if he does, damned if he doesn't. But I think he's got to keep his cool, lead by example and calmly triage this situation. To use the metaphor of a suicide patient, you have to stitch up the razor blade wounds first before you can deal with the underlying psychological problems.
"I do agree with you though, he does need to be ahead of the revelations. Blocking the release of those pictures is not such a great move.
"As to your last statement, I think he has to be a great politician IN ORDER TO BE a great leader in this current environment."


It's a tough one, L56, I agree. In Bill Clinton, we had a great politician and a horrible leader; in Ronald Reagan, we had a great leader with stupid ideas. We do need both a great leader and a great politician right now, and it's a delicate balance. More than any president in my lifetime (which is getting longer and longer!), Barack Obama shows the potential to be both, plus he has intelligent, progressive ideas at a time when the U.S. has fallen far behind the developed world in the idea department. That being said, I am hopeful for the first time in a long time when it comes to national politics.


"Abortion is advocated only by persons who have themselves been born."
Ronald Reagan????????????????!


"I used to agree with President Obama, that it was better to keep moving and focus on our myriad problems than wallow in the darkness of the past. But now I want a full accounting."
Maureen Dowd (NY Times columnist)


FRANK RICH has a searing piece in the Op-Ed section of today's Sunday Times, entitled "OBAMA CAN'T TURN THE PAGE ON BUSH."

Rich begins the editorial with this statement:

"No matter how hard President Obama tries to turn the page on the previous administration, he can’t. Until there is true transparency and true accountability, revelations of that unresolved eight-year nightmare will keep raining down drip by drip, disrupting the new administration’s high ambitions."

I agree.

My sense is that President Obama will not obstruct any investigations into the Bush-Cheney era crimes, whether those investigations be conducted by Congress or a special prosecutor or other nations whose citizens were the victims of war crimes. But Obama seems to be trying to maintain a political neutrality in his "not looking back" stance that is at best, costing him some credibility, and at worst, emboldening the psychopaths who gutted our nation of wealth, blood and esteem in the world for the past eight years.

If Barack Obama is to become the memorable leader that he is surely capable of becoming, he, like all great leaders, must be flexible and courageous enough to spend political capital in the short run for the greater good in the long run. Right wingers, neo-cons, and even moderates who simply don't have the stomach for facing the ugly truth of what so many, including the complacent press, were complicit in over the last eight years, may prefer to sweep the horror show under the rug and "move on," but that would be, as Frank Rich says, "a fool's errand."

Step up, Mr. President. On this one, you have to be out in front of the revelations, and be not just a great politician, but a great leader.


Here's Debra:

"My only response is to applaud you for this truthful post. You are saying what many are thinking. We have our politician, now we need to see his Leadership Power.
Hear the applause?"


Thought it might be useful to have all of the STAGES OF HEALING in one post, since I've posted them separately in the past. Its a full read, but since it's the weekend, here they are -


Basic trust is the first issue in therapy, just as it is the first issue in life. In a sense, a person coming to therapy initially is somewhat like a newly arriving human being in that the new patient is acting from her natural impulse to reach out in an act of trust when it is in crisis of need. That capacity is innate within all of us at birth. The first call to the therapist is an expression of basic trust. It is the first positive diagnostic sign. Even though the new patient doesn’t know the therapist, he still makes the call for help, somehow, just as a baby will reach out for the caregiving adults around it that it doesn’t really know in any way…except intuitively.
Indeed, intuition and gut feelings are strongly at play in the first contacts between a patient and therapist, beginning even before the first session, over the telephone. Little children and animals, naturally connected to their own “6th sense”, either trust you or “bark” at you almost immediately. This is often true of persons in an emotional crisis, when our guts are very active in providing guidance.
A patient in a first session will respond very strongly to energetic and aesthetic details in the same way, though perhaps less consciously, that you, the therapist, will assess a new patient’s presentation of self. Your office décor and ambiance, including colors, smells, knickknacks, pictures, etc., your clothes and general appearance, your body language and character structure, attitudes, etc., all will be reacted to by the person sitting across from you in those first moments. (Freud believed that there was a direct communication between the patient’s and the analyst’s unconscious.) However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that if a patient doesn’t take to you as a therapist or she decides not to see you that you are not trustworthy. It could just mean that the energetic chemistry wasn’t comfortable between you, as happens in any relationship. And the therapeutic relationship is a real relationship.
So…how does basic trust develop further, beyond the innate movement to reach out, and become the basis for a relationship that will prove beneficial for the individuals involved?
This is not a matter of technique, and technically, it can’t be taught. A therapist cannot learn how to act trustworthy toward a patient and expect to be experienced as genuine. A therapist can become able to trust herself in the same way that a patient does – through a process of discovering the inherently loving nature of who we truly are and the inner guidance that is always present within ourselves.
If a lack of basic trust develops in infancy, it is at first in relation to an environment that was hurtful, depriving, frightening, etc. – not trustworthy. Yet, it is mainly the infant’s not trusting its own impulses to reach out for help, nourishment, and love that become the lasting source of dysfunctional behavior and characterological problems. The main channel for healing, then, becomes the patient’s willingness and capacity to reach out, which will tend to be proportionally related to the therapist’s willingness and capacity to reach out…or reach back.
So, as the person doing the guiding, the therapist must have done and/or be doing that work on himself in order to help the patient to do it. Basic trust will develop in the therapeutic relationship, therefore, to the degree that therapist and patient become able to trust themselves as capable of giving and receiving.


Part of the healing of basic trust is accomplished by unlearning, or deconstructing, the beliefs and images one has held from childhood that have led to not trusting oneself (or others). Whatever the level of dysfunction, whatever the degree of obsessive or chaotic thinking, and however blocked emotionally, most people have some access to logic and some connection to reality. Therefore, there is a part of almost every adult patient in therapy that is capable of examining objectively the beliefs that they hold about life, others and themselves.
Very often, people are acting according to beliefs that they don’t even know are there, so initially, simply becoming aware of one’s beliefs advances the healing process. Insight-oriented therapies, in which the main therapeutic tool is exploring the mind, provide some relief from neurosis and free up some psychic energy primarily by increasing the patient’s level of self-awareness, particularly of what has been suppressed or repressed out of consciousness. To “not remember” or to dissociate from significant beliefs, memories, feelings or interactions with others depletes or fragments a person’s access to energy. Remembering and facing honestly the traumas that led to these defensive maneuvers furthers the healing process by returning some amount of access to psychic energy. It is not always necessary or possible, however, for a patient to specifically recall traumatic events. In most cases, a person cannot remember experiences from the pre-verbal times of the first few years of life. Traumatic memories are instead “stored” in the body, expressed through character structure features.
Helping a patient uncover beliefs does require technical skill on the part of the therapist. Particularly important is his ability to listen to, track and translate the coded language of a patient’s belief system. Crucial to identifying beliefs are hearing the key words that are reminiscent of the childish mind, which always thinks in absolutes and extremes, and without any real sense of past or future. Words like “always”, “never”, “all” or “nothing” in a statement about oneself or others or life are usually coming from an old childhood belief system. (“I will always have to struggle with money.” “Love is never easy.” “All men/women are__.” “Nothing gets done right unless I do it!”) Beliefs are always generalized to give the child some sense of predictability in an environment that was painfully unpredictable. Also, practically any statement that includes the word “should” is based on a child-created rule that is meant to control some painful aspect of life that, in fact, could not be controlled.
Many types of cognitive-rational therapies today work with beliefs, and up to a point, focusing on beliefs is an effective approach for creating some amount of change in a person’s life. Again, most people have some access to rational thinking, and by simply reflecting back to them what they are “really saying” and “really doing”, many patients will “get it.” Having achieved a level of self-awareness and understanding, however, isn’t “enough” for every person who comes to therapy.


Whatever the person’s stated reasons for coming to therapy are, and regardless of the symptoms, the main problem of every “patient” (person in pain) is that they are not as happy as they feel they could be. (This does not mean that every patient’s “goal” in therapy is going to be finding happiness, nor does it mean that every patient is going to stick around until they do.)
Emotions are the movements of energy in the body which are perceived and interpreted by the mind in order to decide upon an action relative to the emotion. Joy, pleasure, love and happiness are emotions which, under natural circumstances, move us toward the sources of the “positive” stimulation. Pain, fear and anger move us away from the catalysts of those feelings. However, if we are unable to move towards the sources of pleasure or away from the causes of pain, as is the case when we are helpless and dependent in childhood, we go into a crisis that feels life-threatening to the child. The only recourse to the child in such a situation is to try and move away from the feelings themselves. To do this, she will clench her muscles and distort her body structure to inhibit the flow of energy. While this approach seems to avoid the unpleasantness of the “negative” feelings, it also makes the experience of happiness and pleasure equally inhibited.
These characterological defensive structures are built into the body as well as the mind and therefore cannot be dismantled with insight and awareness (the mind) alone. The body must be engaged in a therapy process if the aim is to facilitate the person’s full capacity to experience real happiness and pleasure. Only minimal and partial relief can be attained through minimal and partial therapies, and very often, the positive results of limited therapies often don’t last because the person’s basic defensive structure has been left intact. (In many cases, however, patients - and therapists - are satisfied with Freud’s “goal” for therapy, once expressed in his famous quote that “the best psychoanalysis can offer is a return to a state of common unhappiness.”)
A fully therapeutic bodywork psychotherapy includes working with the physical/emotional aspects of the person in the following ways: 1. Unblocking, loosening and strengthening; 2. Expressing; and 3. Restructuring.
Knots, kinks, contracted or overextended muscles, etc., can be directly worked on by the therapist to aid the unblocking, loosening and strengthening. Hitting, kicking, stamping, jumping, screaming, shouting, biting, etc., can all be used to facilitate the expression and release of long-held emotions. Corrective breathing and vocal toning, various posture and movement techniques and skeletal adjustments, as well as detoxifying, internal cleansing programs can all be used to help the freeing-up person restructure their bodies to prepare for “full permission living.” (Rolling can be used for everything!)


If a person in therapy has developed basic trust and formed a genuine alliance with her therapist, has uncovered his inner beliefs and faced the childhood traumas they were based on without any glossing over, and finally, if he or she has freed herself up emotionally and physically, this person has broken through her character structure. This is an incredible and heroic accomplishment! If entering into therapy is reminiscent of the initial crisis of being born in a desperate state of need, then breaking free of one’s character structure is the equivalent experience to being “born again”, only this time into a healthy, loving inner environment with all the powers, faculties and wisdom of an adult.
This time around, the newly “born” person’s basic trust stays intact, because the patient has now become her own loving parent. So, the person can go about the business of exploring life, just like a well-loved and secure baby does, outside of the inhibiting armor of a defensive structure. Stimulation and sensations in the internal and external worlds are experienced as new again, and, as such, are felt to be both exciting and frightening at first. Just as the newborn child needs to learn how to walk and talk and orient himself to life on planet Earth, a newly opened adult needs to re-learn how to do those things outside of the cramped confines of an inhibited life and contracted or de-energized body.
Also like an infant who doesn’t have an identity based on roles or images yet, a newly released adult has a much more fluid and undefined sense of self. At first, many people at this stage of therapy complain that they feel “lost” or say, “I don’t know who I am anymore”, or “I don’t know where I’m going.” This feeling is not “replaced” with a new identity, however. Instead, the person, over time, gets used to living more like a spirit, free of the limited notions of a clearly defined self, and free from rigid ideas about space and time. More and more moments of exhilarating freedom and a humble but genuine self-confidence begin to infuse the person as a result.
Finally, like a baby who has no conception of the past or future but is totally in the moment, focused only on the immediate input to its five senses, the free adult is once again a sensate being, connected to the now. The richness of physical life and the importance of pleasure become clear. Judgments about one’s desires fall away. Ruminating about the past and worrying about the future no longer occupies the mind. The actualized adult’s ego is “repaired”, and assigned to its proper functions of observing, mediating and remembering, instead of controlling, punishing and suppressing.
This stage of the healing process is a time of getting used to expansive influxes of energy, and once again, as in infancy, it is a time of feeling emotions and sensations in one’s body intensely. The therapist needs to explain that the feelings of fear the patient is having now are not regressive, “old” feelings, but rather, they are appropriate, natural feelings of fear that anyone on a new adventure has. The therapist can reassure the patient that he or she will no longer be paralyzed by strong emotions, and that there is no longer the possibility of regression. This could take time, but now, for the person at this stage, time is an ally. The patient who has broken through his character structure has re-ignited his natural healing process and will only “get better” with the passage of time. This person will truly “age gracefully.”
Inevitably, at this time in the person’s development, sexual gratification and creative expression become paramount issues for the patient. No longer suffering “neurotically” (unconsciously repeating childhood scenarios symbolically over and over again), the patient now becomes focused on the adult needs to share deep intimacy and pleasure with another and to fulfill what Erikson called “generativity”, the desire to give back to the world and the next generation through creative expression. This will often be a time, regardless of the patient’s age, of going back to school, changing careers, and exploring one’s sexual nature, including for many, “learning” how to enjoy sex joyfully, without guilt or shame.
The therapist is mostly engaged in supportive counseling and “teaching” at this time, no longer needing to focus on uncovering hidden images and beliefs or unblocking feelings in the body. This patient knows her own story now and he can cry or laugh fully when the moment calls for it. Meditation and journal writing are very valuable tools to facilitate the process at this stage of development, because just as the body has to re-adjust to free living, so does the mind. Habitual ways of thinking and behaving will assert themselves occasionally, particularly under stress or fatigue, but since the person is now operating consciously, and not locked in her body, subtler techniques will bring him back to a centered, balanced place in shorter and shorter amounts of time.


What comes after re-alignment, a great accomplishment in itself? Well, once you've gone that far, it's likely, I'd say almost inevitable, that you're going all the way.

I’ve came to call this place of beingness: “Full Permission Living.” The phrase came to me spontaneously after I broke through my own character structure. I felt that I could now be more and more able, as time progressed post-character structure, to follow my desires, trust my impulses, act spontaneously – basically, do whatever I wanted – and that, in so doing, I could trust that I would be living in my own best interest, and in harmony with others and with life.
Full permission living is a place of being. Having moved from awareness to understanding to knowing, a person at this level of their development is simply a human…being. Eva Broch, in Pathwork Guide Lecture #127, delineates four stages of the evolution of consciousness: “automatic reflex, awareness, understanding and knowing.” (See Lecture #127 in this month’s reading assignment). Spinning off from that lecture, one can think of the movement through states of consciousness in the healing process as having four stages: awareness, understanding, knowing and being.
Awareness and understanding come 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 in the first therapy session with the therapist’s initial reflections and assessment. Often in a first session, a patient may say in response to the therapist’s observation about something, “Oh! I never realized that before.” His awareness has been activated.
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 6 or more years - they will never “go back” to their previous levels of functioning. They are on their way to being.
Being is just 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 base, 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 he accepts responsibility for his creations without judgement or blame. She 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 herself as “sick” when she has 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.
In one way, life at this point resembles life before therapy. Neurotic individuals operate pretty much automatically in their lives (coming from what the “Guide” calls automatic reflexes”), acting out the dictates of their unconscious mind unquestioningly. It is only the suffering that keeps intruding into their daily existence that makes them question what’s going on and seek out guidance. Their suffering is caused by the fact that the unconscious dictates they’re acting out are coming from the wounded child aspect of the personality. The healing of this wounded aspect in us requires a very intense and focused period of intrusive “excavation” into the unconscious mind and body. It is an immersion in self-examination, questioning, exposing, analyzing, surfacing, penetrating, releasing, cleansing, re-educating and re-aligning that takes years. (Sorry!)
However, once the “hard work” is done, in a sense the person can go back to living automatically again. Only this time, it is the most developed aspect of the self, the “higher self”, that is motivating actions more directly. This higher self aspect is also unconscious to the person for the most part, but the free adult can understand and sense its workings more clearly because now the ego has gone back to its original, natural function: observing. Whatever happens in the person’s life at this point, including what used to be thought of fretfully as obstacles, problems or illness, he just observes events without judgement or irrational fear, and accepts everything as information and guidance. The person here is identified with “that which observes”, rather than ‘that which is observed”, as Eva Broch puts it in Guide Lecture #189 (See this month’s reading assignment.) (Saint Thomas Aquinas described the realization at this level of consciousness this way: “Who we are looking for is who is looking.”)


How does the therapeutic relationship end? “Termination” is the ominous term used to describe the end-phase of conventional therapies. In this phase of therapy, the patient is thought to go through the final throws of separation and individuation issues, played out in transference with the therapist. This is also supposed to be a time when the patient will temporarily regress into a final crisis, until finally arriving to a state of autonomy. A requirement here, in traditional thinking, is that the patient and therapist must sever all contact after a formerly agreed-upon last session. Thus, the absoluteness of the word, “termination.”
Yet, it seems obvious that if a patient needs to have such an absolute cut-off dictated to them by a dictating “authority figure”, the implication is that the patient is still quite prone to dependency... so, how “successful” could the therapy have been? (Ironically, termination is thought of as one of the most important phases of the treatment process and yet, it is the least talked or written about in the psychotherapy profession.)
There often is a crisis period that occurs in the later stages of a full-spectrum healing process as well, but it is not precipitated by the pending “termination” of the relationship with the therapist. This crisis occurs within the context of the therapy at its own natural time, without needing to have set an ending date to initiate it. It occurs naturally when the person is strong enough and no longer needs to be defended and armored against deep feelings. It is a deeply healing crisis. It can be a final grieving for the losses of one’s early life, or a final release of the terror caused by childhood traumas, or perhaps a final expression of anxiety as a patient’s sexual feelings emerge in full force.
The actual ending, in whatever form it takes, of the therapeutic relationship becomes kind of anti-climactic, then, more like a transition experienced with a celebratory sigh and embrace, not with a somber tone of severance. Because neither the patient nor the therapist are neurotically dependent on one another, the ending need not be compulsorily absolute. What actually ends at the “end” of a successful therapy is the continued making of transferences to the therapist – and for that matter, to any other people in the patient’s life. The patient acknowledges comfortably at this point that the therapist and he or she are “equals”, adults who are not in need of parental figures anymore. So, the therapeutic relationship, like every relationship, can end or transform gracefully, according to the nature and purpose of the connection between the two individuals.
Posted by PETER LOFFREDO, LCSW at 10/13/2008 1 comments Links to this post

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