THINK ABOUT THIS!!

Exxon Mobil Reports Record $45.2 Billion Profit For 2008 WHILE... The economy shrank at a 3.8 percent pace in the last quarter of 2008, the worst showing in a quarter-century, as the deepening recession forced consumers and businesses to throttle back spending.

Today's Abundance Quote

“Abundance doesn't follow giving until giving becomes its own reward.”
Jan Denise

OH, AND FOR ATTORNEY GENERAL?


THE REPUBLICAN TICKET FOR 2012?




FINALLY, WILMA HAS FOUND HER FRED!

I LIKE IKE!

BUT WHO ARE THESE OTHER GUYS?!
CLICK ON THE PICTURE and consider that in Ike's last address to America, he sternly warned us about the "military-industrial complex" taking hold of our government. Then, think about the history of the U.S. for the last forty years.

LOFF56 on the Recession-Proof Billionaires!

Here's L56:

"Or... $18.4 Billion is roughly 61 dollars for EVERYONE IN THE UNITED STATES!!! But more importantly, I wonder how much that would be divided amongst the employees of all those companies? Again, what is it exactly that makes one of these corporations different from a kingdom in the Middle Ages?"

THINK ABOUT THIS!!

Here's an article from yesterday's news, called "What Red Ink? Wall Street Paid Hefty Bonuses."

"By almost any measure, 2008 was a complete disaster for Wall Street — except, that is, when the bonuses arrived.
Despite crippling losses, multibillion-dollar bailouts and the passing of some of the most prominent names in the business, employees at financial companies in New York, the now-diminished world capital of capital, collected an estimated $18.4 billion in bonuses for the year.
That was the sixth-largest haul on record, according to a report released Wednesday by the New York State comptroller.
While the payouts paled next to the riches of recent years, Wall Street workers still took home about as much as they did in 2004, when the Dow Jones industrial average was flying above 10,000, on its way to a record high.
Some bankers took home millions last year even as their employers lost billions."

Just to put it in perspective: if you had just one billion dollars, and you lived another fifty years, you would have about $385,000 a week to live on. Not bad, huh?!

TODAY'S "QUOTE?"



ENOUGH SAID?

TODAY'S INSANE MEDICAL ESTABLISHMENT FACT!

75% of oncologists said that if they had cancer, they would not use chemotherapy treatment due to its ineffectiveness and its unacceptable toxicity.

75% of Americans diagnosed with cancer receive chemotherapy treatment suggested by their oncologists!

Source: McGill Cancer Center survey cited in the book, "Reclaiming Our Health," by John Robbins.

NO, YOU CAN'T HAVE ANOTHER NEW TOY!!

A firm parent talking to a greedy, acting out child? No, President Obama talking to Citibank!

That's right. According to a report from ABC News, President Obama is not taking kindly to corporate greed, especially when it's funded by taxpayer money. The high-flying execs at Citigroup caved under pressure from President Obama and decided today to abandon plans for a luxurious new $50 million corporate jet from France. ABC News has learned that Monday officials of the Obama administration called Citigroup about the company's new $50 million corporate jet and told execs to "fix it."
On Monday, the news broke that bailed out bank was going through with its $50 million private jet purchase even though it had received $45 billion in government funds.

Now, clean up your room, do your homework and take a bath. You're filthy!

MORE EVIDENCE ON SEXUAL HEALING! CUMMING AFTER FIFTY PREVENTS CANCER!!

It's no joke, folks. I have been saying for years to anyone who will listen that a good sex life is not a luxury, but an essential ingredient to physical, emotional and mental health and well-being. I have talked often about how children suffer at the hands of parents who don't have a fulfilling sex-life, how success in other areas of one's life directly relates to one's gratification in the Love-Eros-sex department, how the social conservatives and religious right actually do want to make war because they don't want to make love.

Well, yesterday more news confirming an earlier bulletin that I published last April: regular ejaculation by men over fifty prevents prostate cancer!

Einstein once said that "God doesn't play dice with the Universe." And I have frequently said that nature doesn't fuck up, people's egos do. Human beings don't have powerfully compelling sex-drives in order to overcome them. HELLO?! The pleasure of sex is nature's way of saying: "Hey! This is good! Do it!!"

Please!

Today's Truth Quote

“Integrity is telling myself the truth. And honesty is telling the truth to other people.”
Spencer Johnson

RUSH ON RUSH


Let the man speak for himself:

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.”
RUSH LIMBAUGH!!

RICK ON RUSH

Here is a thoughtful and genuinely patriotic comment from Rick, who unlike the likes of Rush Limbaugh and others, actually cares about his country more than his own ego:

"When Obama won the election, I read and heard the same kind of nonsense I heard when Bush was elected. Having a desire to see the President of the United States fail just because he wasn't your choice seems unjustifiable to say the least, particularly with the lack of a track record. We all knew he can win an election and move the spirit of a nation. We need to give him time to prove he can govern it. With his momentum, he has what Clinton pissed away, an opportunity to become one of the great presidents.
I lost respect for some "journalists" and commentators who have tried to take Obama down before he's even started. However, I do understand the self-serving need to make such statements. For better or worse, the man who wins is our President and it is incumbent upon us all to see that person succeed.
Given the impact Obama's candidacy had on you, I was pleasantly surprised to read your election eve post, 'Whoever is elected, it is merely a reflection of our current state of consciousness and therefore only another measure of where we are and where we need to go.'
Obama is in and this is where we need to go. I didn't vote for him nor McCain although I like and dislike certain things about each.
I can and will support Obama during this unique and special time in history."

BONNI ON RUSH & PL' RESPONSE - IT'S A FREAK SHOW!

Here's Bonni:

"Some people just cannot tolerate the idea that they might not have been 100% "right" (whatever 'right' is supposed to mean). Rush Limbaugh is a man who bases his entire identity on being "right". If he ever had to admit that he was wrong about something, he might vanish in a puff of foul-smelling smoke."

PL:

I only wish it were so, Bonni, that the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck were simply pundits with a different opinion to be shared, but they are not. They are psychologically disturbed people being put on display in the media circus in the same way that people with physical deformities used to be put on display in "freak shows" at old time traveling circuses.

David Brooks, George Will, William F. Buckley, William Safire - these are serious conservative pundits with a particular point of view.

Don't mistake the bearded lady for a serious opinionator.

Thanks.

Today's Quote

"Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life; everyone must carry out a concrete assignment that demands fulfillment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated, thus, everyone's task is unique as his specific opportunity." Viktor Frankl

STILL DOING IT FOR LOVE!

Here's a perfect follow-up to my recent post: "GIVING TO GET OR DOING IT FOR LOVE." It's by Jason Mannino and it's entitled: "HOW DOING WHAT YOU LOVE SERVES HUMANITY."

I've been on this subject a lot lately, and over the years, the subject of giving, and how it's not about "doing good deeds" or "self-sacrifice," but about genuinely doing what you love to do, what your particular gifts are about. So, come on folks, no more excuses. If you've got a talent, or a passion, give it up. The world could use you!

Here's a delicious taste from the piece by Mannino:

"When you are living in your center in connection with your true self, you are also directly connected to the part of you that knows the gifts and talents you were born to share in this lifetime. This is your life's calling. More often than not it is also your dream, the thing that you love to do, and the thing that makes you feel alive, inspired, and jump out of bed in the morning. The great news is that what you are born to do in this life is how you serve humanity."

Tonight's "HELLO?!" Quote

"You can't just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done."
Barack Obama

Today's Quote

"The time has come to set aside childish things.”
Barack Obama (First Inaugural Address)

SOMETHING DEEPER!

Bob Herbert nails it in his op-ed piece this morning: " More Than Charisma."

Here he is in his own words:

"I’ve seen charismatic politicians and pretty families come and go like sunrises and sunsets over the years. There was something more that was making people go ga-ga over Obama. Something deeper.
We’ve been watching that something this week, and it’s called leadership. Mr. Obama has been feeding the almost desperate hunger in this country for mature leadership, for someone who is not reckless and clownish, shortsighted and self-absorbed."

I couldn't agree more.

This is a must read.

Thanks, Bob!

REPOST: "GIVING TO GET OR DOING IT FOR LOVE?"

A large percentage of the people I see in my therapy practice are professional artists - actors and film makers, writers and musicians, dancers and painters - and many more are amateur artists, often just as gifted, but not making an income from their gifts directly. So, I have spent a lot of time exploring the nature of creativity over the years, and addressing the various internal forces that can block its fullest expression.

The best book I've ever read on this subject is "The War of Art," by Steven Pressfield, who also wrote one of my favorite novels, "The Legend of Baggar Vance." (The movie with Will Smith and Matt Damon is great, too.)

Pressfield understands something that is key to understanding why artists struggle - that the greatest resistance in each of us is to the greatest calling in our soul.

Pressfield: "The more you love your art/ calling/ enterprise, the more important its accomplishment to the evolution of your soul, the more you will fear it and the more Resistance you will experience facing it."

Most often, that resistance specifically manifests itself in not experiencing creative expression as a giving process.

Here's Pressfield again:

"Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It's a gift to the world and every being in it."

This not only applies to artists, of course. All adults need to "give," to arrive to a place that Erik Erickson called "generativity," a developmental stage of adulthood in which giving back to the world is the compelling desire. Adults who are still trying to get the unmet needs of their childhood fulfilled are going against the tide of their development, and that is why they are frustrated, and that is why they suffer. Creative blocks are the soul's way of letting us know we're going against the flow. We're not giving.

Now, "giving" is a tricky word, so let me clarify. Giving is not doing good deeds. Nor does giving involve "sacrifice" or altruism or self-denial. No. Martyrdom is an elaborate attempt by the ego to get something. Giving in its truest form is the celebration of yourself with others through the loving and joyful expression of your particular gifts. If you are a singer, it means singing. If you are a painter it means painting. If you are an actor it means acting. If you are a teacher, it means teaching. If you are a carpenter, it means building. If you are a chef, it means cooking. And you're doing it because you love to do it, because to be happy you have to do it. You're not doing it to get praise or find self-worth. You're not doing it for the money, but neither are you refusing the money. You receive and enjoy the money as a demonstration of the principle that for adults, giving and receiving are parts of the same motion, like inhaling and exhaling are both part of breathing.

Pressfield: "To labor in the arts for any reason other than love is prostitution."

I would add that, finally, to do anything for any reason other than love is against our true nature.

So, my fellow artists, my fellow adults, conduct this experiment: do only what you love to do in life and see what happens. Discover the support that comes to you when you stop trying to get what you think you don't have and start giving what you truly desire to give.

REPOST: "NOW THAT'S DEPRESSING: ANTIDEPRESSANTS KILL YOUR SEX-LIFE!"

As if being depressed weren't depressing enough, the medications euphemistically known as "anti-depressants" kill one of the best remedies for depression - great sex!

This is from an article that was in the Boston Globe:

"Sexual numbness. Lack of libido. Arousal that stalls.Such sexual symptoms have long been known side effects of the popular Prozac class of antidepressants. 'This is such an upsetting issue," said Aline Zoldbrod, a Lexington psychologist and sex therapist, "with millions of affected sex lives"

People? Hello?! Depression is caused by turning anger and sadness inward, and, of course, one of the effects of that emotional suppression is to inhibit emotional functioning and our ability to experience pleasure in all areas of life including sex. Anti-depressants don't eliminate anger and sadness; they numb and bury it deeper inside of you. This is the exact opposite of the movement needed to heal and - YES! - cure depression. Through a holistic therapy process, you can get that stockpiled rage and hurt out of your body and live emotionally free, full of joy and pleasure. How utterly ludicrous to manufacture a drug, let alone actually ingest one, that not only deepens a serious problem, but even eliminates one of the most powerful antidotes to that problem - sexual healing! Killing off your sex drive while trying to solve your depression problem is as ridiculous as destroying your immune system with radiation while trying to solve your cancer problem.
Just because the medical establishment and the pharmaceutical industry have gone insane, folks, doesn't mean you have to be crazy, too.

HERE'S A TRUE "PATRIOT" ON HIS HOPES FOR AN OBAMA PRESIDENCY!

"I disagree fervently with the people on our side of the aisle who have caved and who say, ‘Well, I hope he succeeds.’ Okay, I'll send you a response, but I don't need 400 words, I need four: 'I hope he fails.'”
RUSH LIMBAUGH Now, use your associative capacities and just look at this man, and then ask yourself who he reminds you of from high school, and you'll understand exactly who he is. Remember?

AIN'T THAT AMERICA?

TODAY'S REPUBLICAN QUOTE

Here's Joe "Morning Joe" Scarborough on yesterday's inauguration of Barack Obama:

"What can a good Republican say about the week that has unfolded? I'm not sure.
Barack Obama has captured the imagination not only of Washington and America, but also of the world. He has delivered the most compelling inaugural speech in 48 years. He has brought an era of good feelings to Washington that Pat Buchanan says he has never seen in his seven decades in Washington. Barack Obama has also broken racial and generational barriers. Has laid waste to a generation of ideological battles born in the streets of the 1960s. And he's brought a young, beautiful family to the White House. There will be partisan battles. Jefferson, Madison and Washington would expect nothing less. But for today, this all leads back to the question of 'what is a Republican to think?' I don't know. But speaking as an American, all I can say is that I'm damn proud to be a part of this great republic."

Now, you're smelling the coffee, Joe!

MY FRIEND, STEVE

My best friend for the last 30 years is a man named Steve.

Steve and I worked together as street social workers in the trenches of New York's foster care system in the 1970's. We played semi-professional softball together in the 1980's. We pursued our past lives and endured group therapy together in the 1990's. We attended acting class together in the 2000's.

I am a white man, an Italian-American, who grew up in the suburbs. Steve is a black man, an African-American, who grew up in Harlem. While Steve and I were always humorously aware of our racial differences, it never occurred to either of us over these three decades that our ethnicities represented a barrier between us. Quite the contrary. Whether we sat together in case conferences with child welfare bureaucrats, or in team meetings with grizzled jocks, or in channeling sessions with mediums contacting disembodied spirits, Steve and I were kindred spirits, comrades in arms, best friends. We laughed through it all.

Tonight, after the inauguration of Barack Obama, Steve and I laughed and cried together. We somehow knew this day would one day come, but yet we never knew if it would ever really come. We expressed our love for each other and for humanity. We expressed our hope for America, a hope that we always had, but yet couldn't wait for in evolving our friendship.

Today, my friendship with Steve seems like a footnote to the great shift in consciousness that has occurred. But perhaps it is in such friendships that all shifts in consciousness occur.

I love you, Steve.

HOW LONG I'VE BEEN WAITING TO HEAR THIS FROM A LEADER: "THE TIME HAS COME TO SET ASIDE CHILDISH THINGS!"

TODAY'S RENEWEL QUOTES

"The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew."
Abraham Lincoln

“So as long as a person is capable of self-renewal, they are a living being.”
Henri Frederic Amiel

"There's only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that's your own self."
Aldous Huxley

"When I despair, I remember that all through history, the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time they seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it, always."
Gandhi

"It's been a long, long time comin', but change gonna come."
Sam Cooke

A DAY TO RESONATE - CONGRATULATIONS, AMERICA!

I'm taking most of tomorrow - Inauguration Day - off from my usual work. Something has shifted in America, and I want to align my consciousness with it, contemplate it, be one with it.

Early on in the 2008 campaign for the presidency, many of my friends were surprised to find me so caught up in anything "political." Those who really knew me, knew that I long ago had eschewed the ego-driven, negatively impulse-ridden game that politics had become. With a determined intent, I decided almost three decades ago that my contribution to our evolution as a race of beings was to help others, and myself, to evolve their own individual consciousnesses, to facilitate change one person at a time.

Then, one day, I looked up last year and there was Barack Obama. A politician, yes, but a very different one. It's not just that he was a different color, or that he was talking about oneness. It's what I saw when I looked at him with the scrutiny that I had developed in my training as an expert in body language. Here was an adult, an emotional adult, in an harmonious adult body. He wasn't riddled with the distortions, deformities and ticks that a person displays when they are holding lies just beneath the surface of awareness, when they are impacted and contracted from sitting on suppressed rage and pain for years. This man was remarkably free of those tells compared to most politicians, in fact, compared to most people I know.

When I saw the clarity in his eyes, the steadiness in his demeanor, the relaxed firmness in his tone, just like when I saw him sink that 3-point shot in Kuwait, I knew I was seeing something extraordinary. It has been a very long time since we actually had an emotional adult in the White House. In fact, it has been a persistent, steady decline in that area during my adult years, culminating in the tenures of Bill Clinton, the hormone-ridden adolescent, and the completely devolved child who is leaving tomorrow.

But yesterday in Washington, there were hundreds of thousands of people singing and dancing outdoors as if suddenly they had awakened to a new world. (The HBO tape of the concert left me sobbing. Worth seeing.) People were gathered in Washington in celebration rather than protest, in light-hearted optimism instead of grim negativism. People were actually happy - in Washington! I haven't been to Washington since the 1970's and amazingly, I found myself wanting to plan a trip there. The monuments to Washington, Lincoln and Jefferson suddenly looked so beautiful, like they'd been washed or renewed. They glowed with the light of an awakened spirit.

So, I'm taking a time out tomorrow to join with that spirit, to contribute to it with my focus and intentions.

Congratulations, America!

TODAY'S QUOTE



"LET FREEDOM RING!"

THE UNIVERSE BOOKENDS HISTORY!

It struck me like a lightening bolt while catching up with a friend today on recent events in the world.

The miraculous safe landing of the passenger plane in the Hudson River two days ago, just as the Obama Era is about to begin, was the perfect symbolic bookend to the Bush Era, which began with a calamity of enormous proportions involving passenger airplanes.

The last eight years have been an unbridled manifestation of what leadership by ego, ignorance and distorted impulses looks like. So many things have fallen since the fall of the Twin Towers, because the Universe of consciousness around us is always a perfect mirror of our collective inner state.

Perhaps, we are ready, now, to connect to our oneness with everyone, with All That Is, and so our perfect mirror has let us know that if we do, miracles are indeed possible.

Today's Truth Quotes

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

"When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. Unarmed Truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality."
Martin Luther King Jr.

“Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the Truth. There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to Truth; not going all the way, and not starting.”
Buddha

"And ye shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall make you free."
Jesus

"SEEK AND YOU SHALL KICK ASS!"

This is a response to both RICK and LOFF56, though not a complete response.

First of all, if you read the texts of the actual words of - take your pick - Gandhi, Buddha, Jesus, Martin Luther King, or many lesser known spiritual conduits, they never say that anything is their "opinion." Never. Find me one passage from any of them where they equivocate on what they know is the Truth. No. They simply impart the Truth to any who would listen, and furthermore, they all make the point that said Truth isn't only available to them, the spiritual masters, but to anyone willing to seek it. Our own Founding Fathers started out this country by saying - "We hold these Truths to be self-evident. Indeed, all Truths are.

I am not claiming to be Jesus or Gandhi, boys. I am claiming only to be a genuine and honest seeker of Truth, and I am willing to share that Truth when I find it, regardless of the slings and arrows of criticism that may come my way. That is what the great teachers wanted us to do, and that is why most of them were killed.

I would rather be accused of arrogance for speaking the Truth than of ignorance for not knowing it.

My attitude isn't "my way or the highway." It's that there is a way, and it's not all subjective or relative.

Listen, I understand that a lot of harm has been done and a lot of atrocities committed by people who claimed to know the truth. Our current president and vice-president are two of the worst perpetrators in recent times of creating such harm by lying and calling it truth. But if we let ourselves become unable or unwilling to call anything The Truth as a result of these abuses, then the abusers have prevailed.

Only when one is thinking dualistically does everything seem to be a matter of opinion. For example, LOFF56, the idea that the "good side" of organized religion should be considered with the bad when evaluating the viability of said institution is representative of a split in consciousness. If Bernard Madoff rips off investors of $50 billion dollars, or a mafiosi kills a few people a year, but they donate lots of money to a charity that does good work for some people, should we take that into consideration when we evaluate said crook or killer? Really?

This kind of thinking reminds me of an excellently executed film I saw last night called "You Kill Me," with Ben Kingsley. He plays an alcoholic who temporarily loses his job as a hitman for the mob because of his drinking, so he is forced to go into AA to get sober. With superb irony, Kingsley's character goes through all the stages of recovery, including making amends to the families of people he killed "badly" (6 bullets instead of one) because he was drunk. The AA folks are in conflict initially, but because they are so invested in his "recovery" from alcohol, they accept his being a professional killer.

The evil that religion has perpetrated is not mitigated by the good it has done, just as any negative things I have done personally in my life are not mitigated by the good I have done. I am a whole person, and until I become wholly (holy) cleared of my negativity, I must continue to work on myself and seek the Truth. That does not mean I need to be punished by guilt or any externally applied suffering, at least not as long as I am continuing to examine myself and heal and grow.

I am only saying on this blog what the aforementioned spiritual masters have said: "Seek and ye shall find."

And mind you, every one of them was quite willing to kick ass!

THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES?

Friday night on Countdown, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann provided a most remarkable summary of the Bush era. If you didn't see it, here is a transcript of Keith's segment, "Eight Years in Eight Minutes."

Here's Keith:

Early in 2001, the U.S. fingered Al Qaeda
for the bombing of the USS Cole.
Bush counterterrorism adviser Richard Clarke
had a plan to take down Al Qaeda.
Instead by February the NSC
had already discussed invading Iraq,
and had a plan for post-Saddam Iraq.

By March 5 Bush had a map ready for Iraqi oil exploration
and a list of companies.
Al Qaeda?
Rice told Clarke not to give Bush a lot of long memos.
not a big reader.

August 6, 2001
a CIA analyst briefs Bush on vacation:
"Bin Laden determined to strike in U.S."
Bush takes no action tells the briefer—quote
all right, you've covered your ass now.

next month Clarke requests
using new predator drones to kill Bin Laden
the Pentagon and CIA
say no.

September 11th
Bush remains seated for several minutes
to avoid scaring school children
by getting up and leaving.
he then flies around the country
and promises quote a full scale investigation to find
those folks who did it

Rumsfeld says Afghanistan does not have enough targets
we've got to do Iraq.
when the CIA traps Bin Laden at Tora Bora
it asks for 800 rangers to cut off his escape
Bush outsources the job to Pakistanis
sympathetic to the Taliban
Bin Laden
gets away

in February General Tommy Franks tells a visiting Senator
Bush is moving equipment out of Afghanistan
so he can invade Iraq.
one of the men who prepped Rice for her testimony
that Bush did not ignore pre 9-11 warnings
later explains quote we cherry picked things
to make it look like the president
had been actually concerned about Al Qaeda
they didn't give a bleep about Al Qaeda

July and Britain's intel chief says Bush is
fixing intelligence and facts around the policy to take out Saddam
January 03
Bush and Blair agree to invade in March
Mr. Bush still telling us he has not decided
telling Blair they should paint an airplane in UN colors
fly it over Iraq and provoke a response
a pretext for invasion

the man who said it would take several hundred thousand troops
fired
the man who said it would cost more than a hundred billion
fired
the man who revealed Bush's yellowcake lie
smeared
his wife's covert status
exposed
the White House liars who did it
and covered it up
not fired
one convicted
Bush commutes his sentence

then in Iraq, stuff happens:
Iraq's army, disbanded
the government de-Baathified
200,000 weapons, billions of dollars just
lost
foreign mercenaries immunized from justice
political hacks run the Green Zone
religious cleansing forcing one out of six Iraqis from their homes
Abu Ghraib
the insurgency
Al Qaeda in Iraq

other stuff does not happen:
WMD
post-war planning
body armor
vehicular armor

the payoff?
oil
and billions for Halliburton, Blackwater and other companies
while Mr. Bush denies VA healthcare to 450,000 veterans
tries to raise their healthcare fees
blocks the new G.I. Bill
and increases his own power with the USA PATRIOT Act
with the Military Commissions Act
public orders exempting himself from a thousand laws
and secretly from the Presidential Records Act
The Geneva Conventions
FISA
sparking a mass rebellion at the Justice Department

secret star chambers for terrorism suspects,
overturned by Hamdan v Rumsfeld.
denying habeas corpus,
overturned by Boumediene v Bush.
200 renditionings
sleep deprivation
abuse

Rumsfeld warned in 2002 that he was torturing
that it would jeopardize convictions
out of 550 at Gitmo
hundreds ultimately go free with no charges
dozens are tortured
eight fatally
three are convicted

on U.S. soil twelve hundred immigrants rounded up
without due process
without bail
without court dates
without a single charge of terrorism

it wasn't just Mr. Bush no longer subject to the rule of law
he slashed regulations on everyone from banks to mining companies
appointed 98 lobbyists to oversee their own industries
weakening emission standards for mercury
and 650 different toxic chemicals
regulators shared drugs
and their beds
with industry reps
the Crandall Canyon mine owner told inspectors to back up
because his buddy, Republican Mitch McConnell
was sleeping with their boss
McConnell's wife is Bush Labor Secretary Elaine Chao
her agency overruled engineer concerns about Crandall Canyon
and was found negligent
after nine miners died in the collapse there

Mr. Bush's hands off
as Enron blacks out California
doubling electric bills
after months of rejecting price caps Mr. Bush bows to pressure

the blackouts end

Mr. Bush further deregulates commodity futures
midwifing the birth of unregulated oil markets
which just like Enron jack up prices to an all time high
until Congress and both presidential candidates call for regulations

and the prices fall

deregulating financial services and lax enforcement of remaining rules
created a housing bubble
creating the mortgage crisis
creating then a credit crisis
devastating industries that rely on credit
from student loans to car dealers

firms that had survived the Great Depression could not survive Bush
those that did got
seven hundred billion dollars
no strings, no transparency
no idea whether it worked

unlike the auto bailout
which cut workers' salaries.
a GOP memo called it
a chance to punish unions

but Bush failed even when his party and his patrons
did not stand to profit
investigators blamed management cost cutting communication
for missed warnings about Columbia
Bush administration convicts include
sex offenders at Homeland Security
convicted liars
every kind of thief in the calendar
and if you count things that were not prosecuted
the vice president of the United States actually
shot a man in the face

the man apologized.

Mr. Bush faked the truth
with paid propaganda in Iraq
on his education policy

tried to silence the truth about global warming
rocket fuel in our water
industry influence on energy policy

politicized the truth of science at NASA, the EPA,
the National Cancer Institute, Fish and Wildlife
and the FDA

his lies
exposed by whistleblowers from the cabinet down
"complete BS" the treasury secretary said
of Mr. Bush on his tax cuts.

Rice's mushroom cloud
Powell's mobile labs
Iraq and 9-11
Jack Abramoff
Jessica Lynch

Pat Tillman
Pat Tillman again
Pat Tillman, again.

the air at Ground Zero
most responders still suffering respiratory problems.

global warming
carbon emissions
a Clear Skies initiative lowering air quality standards
the Healthy Forests initiative increasing logging
faith based initiatives
the cost of medicare reform
fired US attorneys
politically synchronized terror alerts

the surge causing insurgents to switch sides
that abortion causes breast cancer
that his first recession began under Clinton
that he did not wiretap without warrants
that we do not torture.

that American citizen John Walker Lindh's rights
were not violated
that he refused the right to counsel

heckuva job Brownie
some survivors still in trailers
New Orleans still at just two-thirds its usual population

the lie that no one could have predicted the economic crisis
except
the economists who did
no one could have predicted 9-11 except
one ass-covering CIA analyst
or thirty
no one could have predicted the levee breach
except literally
Mr. Bill
in a PSA that aired on TV a year before Katrina

Bush actually admitted that he lied about not firing Rumsfeld
because he did not want to tell the truth.
look it up.

all of it
all of it and more leaving us with
ten trillion in debt
to pay for 31% more in discretionary spending
the Iraq War
a 1.3 trillion dollar tax cut

median income down two thousand dollars
three-quarters of all income gains under Bush
going to the richest one percent
unemployment up from 4.2 to 7.2 percent

the Dow, down from ten thousand five hundred eighty seven
to eighty two hundred seventy seven
six million now more in poverty
seven million more now without health care

buying toxic goods from China
deadly cribs
outsourcing security to Dubai
still unsecure in our ports
and at our nuclear plants
more dependent on foreign oil
out of the international criminal court
off the anti ballistic missle treaty
military readiness and standards down

with two unfinished wars
a nuclear North Korea
disengaged from the Palestinian problem
destabilizing eastern european diplomacy with
anti missile plans
and unable to keep Russia out of Georgia

2000 miles of Appalachian streams
destroyed by rubble from mountaintop mining
at his last G-8 summit,
he actually bid farewell to other world leaders
saying quote—goodbye from the world's greatest polluter

consistently undermining historic American reverence
for the institutions that empower us
education, now "academic elites"
and the law, "activist judges"
capping jury awards

and Bin Laden?
living today unmolested in a Pakistani safe haven
created by a truce endorsed and defended by George W. Bush

and among all the gifts he gave to Bin Laden
the most awful, the most damaging not just to America
but to the American ideal
was to further Bin Laden's goal
by making us act out of fear rather than fortitude

leaving us with precious little to cling to tonight
save the one thing that might yet suffice:

hope.

LOFF56 ON "SEEK AND YOU SHALL KICK ASS!" - NO RESPONSE FROM PL

I'm going to let L56's response below stand alone without a response from me. At this point, I suggest that anyone who wants to pursue this discussion should reread what's been written so far, and the Truth will out. And of course, feel free to comment.

Here's the unedited loff56:

"PL: "I would rather be accused of arrogance for speaking the Truth than of ignorance for not knowing it."

To be quite blunt, the accusation is specifically that your search for the Truth has led you to believe that the Truth that you have found is applicable to all of us. In turn making our own hard fought search for the Truth (assuming it turns out to be different than yours) irrelevant.

And no one would ever accuse you (or anyone for that matter) of not knowing the truth. (Not making an effort to search for the truth on the other hand is definitely accusation worthy. But you're definitely not shirking your responsibility there, in fact I commend you for your vigorous searching!)

PL: "I am not claiming to be Jesus or Gandhi, boys."

Actually you did. And your point about them saying that they never claimed to be speaking "opinion" but rather spoke just the "Truth" is totally irrelevant. Adolf Hitler never claimed he was speaking opinion either. I don't recall Hitler saying, "In my opinion our race is superior." I'm pretty sure he claimed that as Truth. Sometimes Truth is very right or very wrong. Martin Luther King's Truth was very right, Hitler's Truth was very wrong. The point is that just because you claim the Truth doesn't automatically make it just or universal. History is the only judge of that. But it seems you already conceded this point in the 6th paragraph of your last post.

So, OK, claim to know the "Truth" as much as you want, but understand that it's still subject to judgment. And with that in mind, don't be so quick to dismiss the Truth that others have found through their own hard searching, even, (especially), if it does differ from yours.

I'm just sayin'."

Thanks, L56... I think?

LOFF56 JOINS IN THE FRAY - UNEDITED

LOFF56:

Well...
I have to agree with most of what Rick said. Especially regarding the idea that Pete does tend to elevate his opinion to the status of "Universal Truth".
There always is more than one way to skin a cat, several ways to go from point "a" to point "b", and numerous ways to solve any problem that exists.
Pete may have some valid points to prove, just as Christianity for example does have some valid moral stances. But as soon as it's "my way or the highway", that's when we get The Crusades. Which, as we know, was a severe contradiction to the peaceful message that Jesus Christ tried to espouse in the first place.
Rick is partially wrong in the assumption that everyone that reads the blog is "drinking the Kool-Aid" though. I for one have been able to sift through the "my way or the highway" tone and have been able to glean the sometimes interesting opinions of the writer. I would like to think that many other readers have also taken this approach and have not taken it too literately. But of course the danger is, (as with religion), it tends to be people of weaker will that do take things literately and do take things totally at face value. I would hope that most of Pete's readers don't fit into that category.
In Pete's plea to have his readers respond, I hope he's not looking for a rebuttal to validate his tact. Or worse: evidence to invalidate Rick's point. Validation (or invalidation for that matter) of the masses, (pun intended), does not necessarily justify the preachers gospel.
Rick is definitely on to something here though. And in a round about way he fortifies my earlier point about relativity. There is no such thing as Right and Wrong (in the absolute sense) in this world. No matter how enlightened you think you may be, and no matter how hard you study humanity, Right and Wrong just like Black and White is simply an illusion and at best a carrot on a stick. Truth with a capital "T" is a fallacy that should be left to the dogma of religion and the ideology of politics.
I do appreciate the opinion, but I, like Rick, also wish that it would be presented more as opinion and less as "Fact".

RICK UNEDITED - READERS PLEASE RESPOND!

Everything that follows is strictly the text sent over by Rick, including the selected quotes of mine that he chose. I will respond in a separate posting, but I would like to invite any readers of my blog to join in and respond to Rick, because after all, when he talks about "Kool-Aide," he's talking about any of you who resonate with what I am saying on my blog as the prospective drinkers of said toxic potion. So... here's Rick on "parenting, truth, dogmatism and Kool-Aid":

PL-"... I definitely see healthy anger and ass-kicking as part of my tool box when it comes to guiding people on their paths. My aggression isn't "displaced" - it's meant for the people I'm directing it at, and calling someone who's acting like a fool a "fool" isn't "attacking," it's making an accurate assessment.

For you and all of your readers, if your son or daughter was in my class and, I took them aside and called him/her "an insensitive jerk", " a fool", "stupid" or " an idiot" because they were acting as such, would you take that as good effective teaching or demand my resignation? Would you just tell your child, “Well if you were acting that way, then it is ok for the teacher to call you that.” Would you accept that as the teacher, I am just making an “accurate assessment"? I, of course would use other tools as PL does, but, in this example, I don’t feel that those would be as effective to get my point across. If so, then you agree with the methods by this blogger and I respect that you are not hypocritical even though I disagree with your thinking.

PL, if you see healthy anger and ass-kicking as effective ways to guide people on their paths, should we take your lead and do the same as parents? Would that put us in line with what good parenting should be? i.e. the “TRUTH”? Just because your patient/client is 30,40 or 50 years old doesn't mean that he/she won't feel the same as a 5,10 or 15 year old would when this approached is used. As I said before, I think there is a place for this. SOME clients or SOME children would respond well to getting their “ass kicked”. Others wouldn't. That is one of the many challenges of parenting; figuring out what style or "tool" to use with each child. It is simply not in some of use to use some tools but we can acheive the results by using other tools with which we are comfortable.

PL- "I'm not serving any Kool-Aide here, and I challenge you to identify what you think my "dogma" is."

I warned you about challenging me, I bat 1000. I will call it just a continuation of a discussion, lest no one feels as though they won or lost.

First we need to define dogma/dogmatic. "Characterized by or given to the expression of opinions very strongly or positively as IF they were facts." - Webster's

Now, here are some supporting examples:

1. Your entire take on the Democrats and Republicans and failure to accept their negative/positive similarities as Loff56 clearly pointed out. (They really are much more closely aligned than what is being portrayed. No one should be surprised by Obama's recent appointees. Politics as usual. There can be no other way as long as there are only two significant political parties)

2. Your take on parenting has so much to be desired. Yet you hail it as the one and only truth and then try to make us drink the Kool-Aid which is, because someone else writes an article about the same idea you stated, it becomes even “truer”. Sorry, ain’t happenin’.

I could list several articles that substantiate that marriage must be preserved or marriage can't be preserved. Palestinians are wrong, Israelis are wrong. The death penalty is right or the death penalty is wrong. Pro Choice is right or pro choice is wrong. etc. Just becasue I can substantiate with other people's opinion doesn't allow me to say, "See, I'm not the only one thinking of this, so it must be the Truth and Reality."

3. Providing justification for name calling and belittling all your patients without accepting that may have the adverse effect on some is another example.

4. Your take on several religions are so one-sided it doesn't allow for the good or bad to be presented (see #1). I taught World Religions and my 9th graders would have a field day with your assertions regarding Buddhism, Christianity and other religions etc.

The bottom line is, this blog reads as "my way or you are just stupid" and then “See, other people feel the same as me. See, I’m right again!”. You have written that. It absolutely wreaks of the dogma you challenged me to explain. Anyone can see that.

However, as previously written, if your intent is to elicit responses, continue your dogmatic ways. Then it becomes sport and it is fun. Just as it is to listen/read crazy conservatives or crazy liberals. They are dogmatic, but equally amusing. They certainly get people riled up because they do not always present the truth, but claim it as such.

Lest I be one sided, I would be remiss not to mention the several times you have relented on some of your “facts” only after they have been questioned on some of your very strong opinions. I wonder if you could articulate your initial opinions as you do when questioned. Your several responses to my posts usually are less dogmatic and certainly don’t have the same BS of your originals. I continue to read this blog because you do accept "other facts" even though it is after the fact. Here is where entertaining ends and learning begins. Hey, That’s Entertainment!

Keep the faith Brother!

GIVING TO GET OR DOING IT FOR LOVE?

A large percentage of the people I see in my therapy practice are professional artists - actors and film makers, writers and musicians, dancers and painters - and many more are amateur artists, often just as gifted, but not making an income from their gifts directly. So, I have spent a lot of time exploring the nature of creativity over the years, and addressing the various internal forces that can block its fullest expression.

The best book I've ever read on this subject is "The War of Art," by Steven Pressfield, who also wrote one of my favorite novels, "The Legend of Baggar Vance." (The movie with Will Smith and Matt Damon is great, too.)

Pressfield understands something that is key to understanding why artists struggle - that the greatest resistance in each of us is to the greatest calling in our soul.

Pressfield: "The more you love your art/ calling/ enterprise, the more important its accomplishment to the evolution of your soul, the more you will fear it and the more Resistance you will experience facing it."

Most often, that resistance specifically manifests itself in not experiencing creative expression as a giving process.

Here's Pressfield again:

"Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It's a gift to the world and every being in it."

This not only applies to artists, of course. All adults need to "give," to arrive to a place that Erik Erickson called "generativity," a developmental stage of adulthood in which giving back to the world is the compelling desire. Adults who are still trying to get the unmet needs of their childhood fulfilled are going against the tide of their development, and that is why they are frustrated, and that is why they suffer. Creative blocks are the soul's way of letting us know we're going against the flow. We're not giving.

Now, "giving" is a tricky word, so let me clarify. Giving is not doing good deeds. Nor does giving involve "sacrifice" or altruism or self-denial. No. Martyrdom is an elaborate attempt by the ego to get something. Giving in its truest form is the celebration of yourself with others through the loving and joyful expression of your particular gifts. If you are a singer, it means singing. If you are a painter it means painting. If you are an actor it means acting. If you are a teacher, it means teaching. If you are a carpenter, it means building. If you are a chef, it means cooking. And you're doing it because you love to do it, because to be happy you have to do it. You're not doing it to get praise or find self-worth. You're not doing it for the money, but neither are you refusing the money. You receive and enjoy the money as a demonstration of the principle that for adults, giving and receiving are parts of the same motion, like inhaling and exhaling are both part of breathing.

Pressfield: "To labor in the arts for any reason other than love is prostitution."

I would add that, finally, to do anything for any reason other than love is against our true nature.

So, my fellow artists, my fellow adults, conduct this experiment: do only what you love to do in life and see what happens. Discover the support that comes to you when you stop trying to get what you think you don't have and start giving what you truly desire to give.

AND WHILE WE'RE AT IT - LET'S FINISH IT!

This is from a piece on the Huffington Post by Robert Creamer, entitled, THE ONE THING GEORGE W. BUSH DID RIGHT:

"History will record that George W. Bush made one critically important contribution to our country -- and to the entire world. He and his administration provided unquestionable proof of the bankruptcy of radical-conservative ideology, and set the stage for a qualitatively different progressive era in American politics.
History is not linear. It is not gradual or evolutionary. Human progress proceeds in fits and starts like a volcano, where pressure gradually builds over years and then erupts with enormous power.
Very often those explosions of progress -- periods when we expand the realm of democratic values, human dignity, economic opportunity and optimism -- are precipitated by periods of domination by the forces of privilege, inequality and selfishness.
By assuring that all of the fruits of the growth of productivity in our economy went to the wealthiest 2% of our population, the Bush administration set the stage for the current economic collapse.
By actually putting into practice the Neo-Conservative theories of pre-emptive war and unilateralism, George W. Bush demonstrated their failure more persuasively than could the most articulate progressive critic.
By abandoning our historic commitment to due process and sinking into the dark world of torture, George W. Bush and his partner Dick Cheney isolated themselves from the growing worldwide commitment to human rights."

THIS IS SO TRAGIC!!

A friend of mine who calls himself a conservative recently suggested to me that we should just leave George Bush alone, now, presumably meaning we should just let him slink out of town and not hold him responsible for the wreckage he presided over. I don't think so. The damage we're talking about wasn't esoteric or symbolic. This administration cost lives. Many lives.

I have written many posts on the insane "abstinence only" crowd and the horrors they have caused among young people. You can read a collection of some of my posts here: http://fullpermissionliving.blogspot.com/search?q=abstinence+only

Here's another example.

The CDC just released new data showing that teen birth rates rose in more than half the states in the country in 2006 hitting hardest the South, the region most loyal to Bush and his abstinence-only mission. Meanwhile, the pro-choice, comprehensive sex ed supporting Northeastern states had the lowest teen birth rates. Another CDC study released days ago discovered STDs are on the rise also. Medical experts continually sounded the alarm during the Bush years, warning that the abstinence-only approach would sow the seeds of ignorance in teenagers. Those seeds are finally bearing fruit. In the South, where abstinence-only was promoted as the only safe way to avoid pregnancy and STDs, it has yielded bitter fruit.

HOORAY FOR THE GOOD GUYS AGAINST CRAZY PARENTS!!

Adolf Hitler - the three year old, that is - is back in the news. According to New Jersey police, the state's Division of Youth and Family Services took Adolf and his two sisters, one-year-old Joyce Lynn Aryan Nation Campbell and 8-month-old Honszlynn Hinler Jeannie Campbell, from their parents' home Tuesday night.

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! On behalf of kids everywhere.

A month ago, I wrote the entry below, so this is very gratifying. Parents are not sacred simply by virtue of biology. As I've been saying in my "ALL YOU NEED TO DO IS GET LAID" series, we have to stop idealizing parenthood and treat it like any other profession crucial to the well-being of our society.

Here's last month's entry:

EVERYDAY CHILD ABUSE
How is THIS not child abuse?!

Yes, naming your innocent newborn "Adolf Hitler," per the news story linked here, is an extreme example, but it is only the grossest manifestation of what constitutes socially acceptable and legal child abuse committed every day by everyday parents. Vicariously acting out through one's offspring is one of the most insidious and common ways that "good" parents gut their children's self-esteem. By identifying with your kids and projecting your own fears, wishes and other feelings rooted in your own unmet needs and wounds from childhood onto them, and then, by living out the idealizations of yourself meant to compensate for those unmet needs through your children, you are repeating the damage that your parents inflicted on you.

Alexander Lowen, famed psychologist and author, once said that over 90% of children are effectively abused by their parents. I agree.

Something to think about.

Today's Presidential Quote

"When I do good, I feel good; when I do bad, I feel bad, and that is my religion."
Abraham Lincoln

Today's Presidential Quote

"Sometimes you misunderestimated me."
George W. Bush (in his final press conference this morning) Just take a moment or two between now and next Tuesday's inauguration, and ask: "How did this happen?!"

"BONNI" on "Today's Presidential Quote"

Here's bonni:

"Loathe as I am to stand up for Dubya, it seems that this was deliberate. One of his most famous "dumb quotes" is the one about "misunderestimating" and it seems that this time he was using the word he coined as something of a joke. Mind you, he did use the word to begin with so...
As for how it happened, here's the best explanation I've ever seen, written many, many years prior to Dubya's ascension:
'As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.' — H. L. Mencken"

LOFF56 FOLLOW-UP ON RELATIVITY AND REALITY

HERE'S LOFF56:

"Hmmm.... Interesting...

Re: Einstein and relative experience vs. relative reality. You are correct, to a certain extent, Einstein did formulate a Reality with a capital R. But as mere humans, how can we possibly live outside of our experiences?

Einstein's absolute "T"ruth equates (I think) with my postulation about an "average reality". He indeed did say that there is an absolute "T"ruth, and he even told us what some of that is. But even Einstein still had only his relative view of the world in which to personally experience. If he felt that he was only sitting with a girl for a minute he wouldn't be able to change his feelings to abide by the universal truth that it was an hour. He would still FEEL the minute. And that was his reality (with a lower case r).

I think what I'm saying ultimately is that our relative realities are much more pragmatic constructs than a Reality (with a capital R) which is constantly in need of revision. (By the way, even some of Einstein's equations which he postulated as "T"ruth are still being modified and refined today to reflect new discoveries.) Especially when it comes to sociological issues. Physics is one thing because experimentation can (more or less) prove or disprove "T"ruths. But Sociological problems are much more complicated and can't be solved to a "T"ruth through experimentation.

Hence I still stand by my stance that everything is relative.

Also I don't think we get into arguments with other nations (or people) because both sides think that everything is a matter of opinion. I think we get into arguments because both sides think that their side is correct as a matter of FACT. It's not an opinion to a Muslim that they will be met by 17 virgins in heaven, it's a FACT to them. It's not an opinion that Jesus Christ is the Lord and Savior to a devout Christian, it's a FACT. We'd be a lot better off if both sides said: "you've got your opinion, I've got mine."

Overall though I see your point, and I'm not ruling out that we might both be speaking the t(T)ruth... both with a lower case "t" and a relatively uppercase "T"."

PL:

And your points are well-taken, L56. Thanks for the follow-up.

"LOFF56 WEIGHS IN ON REALITY AND RELATIVITY

Here's LOFF56:

"Hey Pete,
I've been a long time away, but I've been following this interesting exchange between you and Rick...

Here's my two sense...

Actually I'm going to ignore the main part of the debate about licensing parents.

But I'm interested in your statement about Reality with a capital "R". In your previous entry you used gravity as an example of an unquestionable "R"eality. You also stated that "it (reality) is not all subjective or relative".

I actually strongly disagree with this.

Even with something as simple as saying gravity has only one effect (that of a person falling towards earth) is technically wrong. Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein said that it's just as correct to say that the earth falls up towards you as it is to say that you fall down towards the earth. Gravity is relative. And everything in the universe is relative according to Einstein.
I believe that this applies very importantly on a human level as well. If you and I have two different opinions on a given topic, my opinion doesn't exist only in the framework of your "R"eality and your opinion doesn't exist only in the framework of my "R"eality. We could be saying two completely contradictory things, the sky is blue and the sky is red, but within the contexts of our own realities we are both correct no matter how disparate the facts are. Think about it... If for some reason, I've learned for as long as I can remember that the sky is red, how absurd would your claim be that the sky is blue? It's all relative.
This plays an important role when dealing with other people or groups of people. If a group of people believe that they will be received by 17 virgins when they die, and we simply dismiss that idea as heathen, surprise surprise, they get mad and eventually start throwing bombs at us. But the fact is we don't know anymore than they do about what happens to you (if anything) when you die. Our insistence to constantly ignore the relative nature of reality is what isolates us and causes us harm.
Now I would postulate perhaps that the collective conscious of the world does in fact have a "R"eality, an average reality if you will, but I think if any one person postulates that they are tapped in to that, I'd say that they are... well... living in their own reality.
We all have to accept our humble relative view of reality, and understand that as much as we know individually and as a whole we will never be fully aware of the absolute truth. No matter how sure we are.

600 years ago 100% of all people in the world believed that the sun revolved around the earth. And they were absolutely correct in relation to their relative understanding of their Reality (with a capital R). And not one person would have ever been deemed unenlightened based solely on that belief.

Everything is relative. Period. Ask Einstein."

PL's response:

Hey L56 - Welcome back!

What Einstein said actually about things being "relative" was that our experience of things was relative, not that Reality (capital "R") was relative.

Einstein: "Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. THAT'S relativity."

Einstein also said that E=mc2 (that the energy in matter is equal to its matter times the speed of light squared), and he said he knew that this was True (capital "T"), and he would leave it to the scientists to take ten years in the laboratory to prove him right. (In fact, they just proved it last year!)

The reason we get people in other cultures so mad at us (and visa versa) is because we in fact act like everything is relative, like it's all a matter of opinion, and so it becomes a shouting or shooting match as to who's right, instead of a genuine search for the Truth together. In this galaxy, in this Universe, in this dimension, L56, the sun never revolved around the earth, no matter how many people thought so.

How do I know? Ah! That's the real issue at hand for you, I sense. How can anyone know anything for certain? Well, I refer you back to Einstein who said many things from a place of definitive knowing, including this: "Imagination is more important than knowledge."

In other words, if you are simply using your brain, your intellect, then it is true that you cannot know anything except how much change you have in your pocket, and even then you still have to count it. But if you are connected to your deeper self, to the part of you that has access to the universal truths that rule this realm of existence, you can know some things with certainty.

How to get there is another story, but a good story, about discovering what the human being is really capable of when unblocked emotionally and decongested from conditioning and archaic belief systems.

To be continued...

RICK IS STILL ROLLING!

Here's his latest:

"Thanks for entertaining my comments. I must admit my instincts as a teacher limits me from being able to gloss over unsubstantiated comments or points. So when there is simple ranting, sometimes I don't see it as such. Forgive me.
I just read that NY times article and the only "Truth" to be found is that criminals are criminals. It in no way parallels your overgeneralizations on parenting. She makes no case as to why or how parents should be licensed, she just puts up these examples of criminal or "overtired" neglectful parents. Does that mean all parents need licenses? No. It just means all criminals, who happen to be parents, act criminally. Her case is not that all parents act criminally/neglectful.
Here is my response to your last email in the parenting strand:
PL - 'So many political and religious bloviators talk about the 'sanctity' of marriage...'
Ok, now I see your real motivation here. It wasn't as clear to me the first time. I completely disagree with the notion that the sanctity of marriage should be ignored or even minimized. If fact, in the Catholic and Episcopalian religions require couples to go through some paces, BEFORE MARRIAGE, to further examine their commitment to it. I would expect you would applaud any organization that would support couples in examioning their relationship before they make it permanent. Should people stay in an abusive marriage because of it’s sanctity? No. Should people run for the hills at the first sign of trouble? No. As usual, there needs to be a reasonable balance.
PL - '...I am making my cause here is to stop the idealization of parenthood and treat it as we do any other significant 'occupation' that impacts on the welfare of our society, and subject the rearing of children to at least the minimum amount of scrutiny we give to the water pressure in our showers!'
Agreed. There are regulations for showers that are universal so the thing works. All plumbers need the same tools + stock and they have to be trained on only certain modes of assembly or leaks will be aplenty. However, when dealing with children or even people, I believe there are basically 4 different "types". Hippocrates categorized these types and were later redefined. (I'm sure there is research that could prove more or less types and it would take too much time to explain all of these but the point being, that there are different types of people).
If you accept that there are different people, you must accept that there are different ways of "parenting", "teaching" and "counseling". I will speak to teaching. I can't teach/motivate one student the same way I teach/motivate others. Some may be visual learners, others may be auditory, others may be verbal and others may be experiential. If I taught only in one mode, 75% of my students would not learn as easily as the students who love that one method. Can the others learn? Maybe, but it requires more work. Can I write or throw a baseball with my opposite hand? Yes, but it is difficult and the results are not the same. Ditto for learning.
Back to parenting. I ask those of us who have siblings to remember if the same approach used by our parents worked equally on us all? Did our parents treat us all the same? Did different approaches produce different results? There is much research on the birth order and personality/characteristics. Some need constant + harsh rules, others only need to be told once, still others need a different approach. Each of our parents has their own "tools" and different "water leaks". At the end of the day, if the shower works, all is well. I do not see how we could "TRY" to regulate, license or control parenting. There are too many types and what is right for one child may be totally wrong for another. Conversely, not all parents can "teach" in the same mode. I like the question because there really is no true answer. There can be no Truth with the exception of the outcome – happy, balanced + loved children. whatever gets you there is the "True" way.
Thanks for the opportunity Pete! There is more to follow......."

Thank you, Rick. I do wish more people gave this much thought to all of these subjects. I'm only going to say one short thing in response. The point I'm making isn't meant to be literal or technical as far as an actual licensing process for parenting is concerned. My point is that many people enter into parenting more haphazardly and with less forethought or capability or preparedness than they do many other less crucial things in life. People too often have kids to fulfill an image in their heads, a fairy tale from childhood that cannot be realized, and the kids suffer for it. That's it.

YOU WON'T BELIEVE THIS... BUT YOU SHOULD!!

I didn't write this, nor did I see it before I wrote my entry, "ALL YOU NEED TO DO IS GET LAID."

BUT... I just discovered that in the NY Times 2 days ago was a story entitled: "SHOULD PARENTING REQUIRE A LICENSE?" by Lisa Belkin. READ IT HERE: http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/01/08/should-parenting-require-a-license/

YOU SEE HERE'S THE THING - THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE.

Some people think that I'm coming from my ego on this blog, or from some theory or philosophy. But I hate theory and philosophy. That's ego. What I seek to learn about and to talk about is the truth. So when I discover that I'm onto something that others seeking the truth are also onto, I'm not at all surprised because the truth is the Truth and is accessible to anyone who really wants to know it.

Just like I said the other day to Rick, it's not all subjective or a matter of opinion. There is such a thing as Reality with a capital "R," and there is such a thing as Truth with a capital "T."

YOU WON'T BELIEVE THIS EITHER... BUT YOU SHOULD!!!

"BREAKING NEWS... JOE THE PLUMBER goes to Israel to cover the Gaza War for Pajamas TV... more to follow..."

QUESTIONS FROM RICK

Here's Rick:

"I'd like to hear your take on one of your quotes, 'Politeness is the most acceptable form of hypocrisy.' - Ambrose Bierce. A few questions: 1. Do you see any value in being polite? I'm having a very difficult time connecting kindness, respect and care for the common good and anything negative. 2. What is your motivation behind posting this quote? 3. Do you not want us to be polite? If so, what is the expected outcome of such interaction?"

PL's response:

1. The sardonic point made by Ambrose Bierce (best known for his "The Devil's Dictionary," which is where that quote came from) is that we often mistakenly equate politeness with sincerity, and of greater issue is that we often use politeness to mask our own hypocrisy; 2. My motivation for using this quote is to sardonically make the point that I know that I am often not polite is slamming what I see to be others' hypocrisies; 3. While politeness is nice, I prefer rough honesty or "tough love" than politely delivered half-truths or false affection.

It's all good, Rick! We've been getting our asses kicked for so long by the crooks and liars, why can't a few good people kick a little ass, too? Polite?! Not me, not now, not anymore!
Keep 'em coming!
Pete

GLAD TO HEAR THIS!

Anonymous left this comment today after reading my posting on the "Schizoid Character Structure":

"This is me. I've been dealing with a psychologist for the past three months trying to find out what is 'wrong' with me. This blog has helped me to put things I couldn't convey into proper words. It has also helped me to understand myself and why things don't work like they should. Thanks a lot for helping me."

PL's response:

You're quite welcome, and know that if you're willing to do whatever it takes to free yourself from the confines of character structure, you can.

Tomorrow's Quote This Morning

Here's The Buddha:

"If a bull goes straight when the herd is crossing a road, then they will all go straight because he leads the way. The same among people. If the one who is thought to be the highest lives in goodness, the others do so too. The whole realm lives happily if the ruler lives rightly."

Here's Dick Cheney on the above:

“I think we made good decisions. I think we knew what we were doing.”

ANOTHER COMEDY TEAM BREAKS UP!



SEE YA!
Hmmm...

Today's Quote

"Politeness is the most acceptable form of hypocrisy."
Ambrose Bierce

ALL YOU NEED TO DO IS GET LAID!

Okay, it's a new year, so I might as well go straight out on the farthest limb I can to get things going right away, so... here I go.

To drive a car, you have to take a knowledge test and a skills test in order to get the required license, and then over time, you have to get your eyes checked to make sure you're still fit. To become a white collar professional, you usually have to have some years of higher education, at great cost, and then you still have to demonstrate your capabilities in said field to advance up the ladder, let alone become respected or revered. To become a blue-collar working person, you have to learn a demonstrable skill and you have to put in some kind of time as an apprentice. And almost everyone starts at the bottom and has to earn their way up by proving their talent and efficiency, etc., regardless of the field.

Except for parenting.

All you have to do to become a parent is get laid. That's it. Get laid, get pregnant (or get somebody pregnant) and you're instantly in the exalted role of Mommy or Daddy. You instantly get tax benefits, cheaper insurance rates, and other special financial rights, you are honored as the Head of a Family, and you are instantly idealized by unsuspecting offspring. You might be abusive, alcoholic or narcissistic, you might be barely out of your own childhood, you might not have a clue about child development, you might not have a stitch of self-awareness, you could be borderline psychotic, but you are instantly awarded a Ph.D. in parenting with all the rights and privileges awarded any other highly accomplished professional.

Except... you're not a professional. Often times, you're barely even competent, and don't even know what competent parenting is anyway. And your reasons for becoming a parent can be as inane as "I wanted to have kids," or "I got pregnant by accident and I didn't want to have an abortion."

So, we raise kids - lots and lots of kids - with less skill and training than a plumber or a truck driver. Think about it. Really.

I would like to make one of my dedications this year, and in this lifetime, the elimination of the idealization of parents. I have been a parent three times over, and I have been a social worker and therapist for thirty years, so as both my peers and as my patients, I have known many parents, and I have know many kids of parents. And I want to tell you this - the state of our economy and our infrastructure and our political system might suck, but the state of parenting really sucks! And I'm talking about the "good" parents, too, the ones who think that coddling their kids at every turn, or going through rings of fire to get their toddlers into a $30,000 pre-school, or giving up their own adult sex lives so the kids can have full-time access to their bedrooms. Those really dedicated parents who've never considered how their ego-driven, vicarious living out their lives through their kids is actually gutting their kids of independence and a sense of self.

Hey, folks, I know that for the human race to continue, we need to procreate, but what kind of world do we want to populate when we copulate? If we insist that in order to become a lawyer, you have to get two or three degrees and then earn your way up to partner by working 60-hour weeks for years, why should something as crucial to the well-being of our planet as parenting be left to rank amateurs and incompetents? Shouldn't prospective parents have to have a minimum number of years of some kind of therapy or self-work? Shouldn't parents need to know the basics about child development? Shouldn't they have to have the same drug-tests imposed on them as professional athletes do? Shouldn't they need a licensing process?

Come on, parents! Challenge me. Come back with something. Because I'm coming after you!

RICK IS BACK & HE'S TAKING PL'S CHALLENGE TO PARENTS!

RICK WRITES:

"I had a snow day Wed, sorry for the verbosity!
PL writes, "Come on, parents! Challenge me. Come back with something. Because I'm coming after you!"

Challenge you? Well, I could get my Italian up, but, as I tell my students, if you want to argue, I bat 1000 and win every time. However, if you want to discuss something, both of us will win. Regardless, before I respond as a parent, I can't help notice that although we have entered a New Year, your attacking and belittling of others continues. Mr. Therapy of over 30 yrs, what is it about your own character that manifests itself in these putdowns? You wrote earlier that punching a pillow or screaming out loud might pacify one a bit, but it doesn't resolve the real issues. If your take on displaced aggression has any merit, what are your real problems? I would recommend punching a pillow and screaming for 5 minutes, before you begin writing. Maybe then, the value of all of those years of experience can be shared with us all as opposed to just slapping us around.

Back to PL’s “parents’ challenge”

Unfortunately, PL you have brought a knife to a gun fight. I hope other parents/patients do not sit back and just drink the Kool-Aid you’re mixing.

There are licensed teachers, plumbers, lawyers and doctors who have taken the necessary courses, have all the required certifications and still are horrible and immoral. There are parents who have taken the necessary courses, gone to therapy for, or have abundantly read on such topics as health, home safety, how to raise a child, be a good spouse/lover/parent etc. Unless we always try to be diligent in our responsibilities, and try to give of ourselves to others and try to do the right thing, you will see a leak in your pipes, a gauze left in your body after surgery and children who hate you. To be good at anything, it takes constant evaluation of what we do and a willingness to accept responsibility for our actions and admit we are wrong.

If you looked at my resume, one might think I am a more than well-qualified high school teacher. The problem is that I could just show up and play DVD’s or just be an ogre and keep the kids in line(I must admit, many an administrator judge a teacher’s worth on how well the students behave instead of what they actually learn). Is this good teaching? I have taught with some poor teachers who had much better “qualifications” than me. I have also taught with some better teachers than me, who have never taken an education course.

My brother is not a licensed plumber or mechanic but he has done excellent work in both fields. Look at all the licensed drivers out there? What makes one good or bad? They all have the same “qualifications”. The analogy loses credibility as soon as it is generally applied.

If the stork arrived on our door step, then I might agree that, “All you have to do to become a parent is get laid”. However, there is an education to be had and the lessons keep coming every day. If the father lives with the mother, there is a learning that takes place during the gestational period. There is more info than I care to think of on how to nurture the unborn and how to help the mother carry your child. If you want it, there is a preliminary license to be had during this phase.

Next opportunity for licensure? The birth. Those of us who have been intimately involved with or have even gone through the labor and delivery process, get an education in humility, irrational rage, intense love + emotion and complete dedication and sacrifice to something else (i.e. ego control). Some people are blessed with easy and supportive deliveries. For others, it can be lonely, terrifying and demoralizing. In either case, lessons about who we are and how to be a good parents are all around us. (I admit this needs to be flushed out more but I hope you can understand my point)

Next phase of licensing? It is the choice of the parents to be lifelong learners and continue to hone their skills as solid caregivers, nurturers and parents.

Look no further than our children’s faces, bodies and attitudes for learning opportunities. It is up to us to determine when our methods are helpful or hurtful. Sure they may get mad when we say no to staying out late, not get their way or make them eat Brussel sprouts. But at the end of the day, if we are reasonable, they realize we are parenting and not abusing/controlling/neglecting. There is support and lessons for us parents, we just have to find it and admit that we can make mistakes. Learning from those very mistakes us better parents + people, and garners us the elusive respect of our children (I guess they have to love us as PL declares). Ignoring our mistakes or trying to justify them or excuse them keeps us shackled.

PL wrote, “So, we raise kids - lots and lots of kids - with less skill and training than a plumber or a truck driver. Think about it. Really.”

Well, I have thought about it, really, and have come to the conclusion that very little in life is black + white and just because someone has the experience or the license, it isn’t a necessary indicator to one’s effectiveness in that field.

For those parents PL hates and wants to eliminate, lessons are all around. I thought the New Year would bring some of those lessons to this blog. If the writer can figure out why he feels compelled to write with such rage and anger, maybe all of those years as a therapist might mean something. If this tone is representative of his approach to therapy, it appears the license he has is just as bogus as the label he claims we parents have.

Buon Anno!

PL's RESPONSE TO RICK's CHALLENGE

Happy New Year to you, Rick! Glad to have your excoriating responses to kick off this year with me.

As is often the case regarding your responses to something I've written, my first response is - yes, yes, yes, I agree with much of what you say. But here's the thing - while, of course, it true that there are great people in every field, including parenting, who've had no formal training, and there are lousy people in every field who've had a lot of training, my point is that in terms of our priorities as a society, we are much more concerned about how good our lawyers and plumbers are than how good our parents are. Nothing is a panacea, and neither therapy nor education nor even experience guarantees enlightenment by itself, but couldn't we at least make an effort?

So many political and religious bloviators talk about the "sanctity" of marriage and the family, but what is that sanctity based on beyond the most base of animalistic instincts to copulate and procreate? I've been working in the human services field for a long time - 30 years as you often remind me - and I've seen kids kept in horrendous situations by our courts and institutions simply because the biological parents have the most highly valued and protected rights by virtue of nothing more than... their biology!

If you read carefully what I wrote, Rick, what I am making my cause here is to stop the idealization of parenthood and treat it as we do any other significant "occupation" that impacts on the welfare of our society, and subject the rearing of children to at least the minimum amount of scrutiny we give to the water pressure in our showers!

Finally, since you regularly bring it up, I don't know where you get your ideas about what constitutes being a good therapist, though it sounds kind of like the archaic "blank screen" approach to psychoanalysis that never did Woody Allen any good, but I definitely see healthy anger and ass-kicking as part of my tool box when it comes to guiding people on their paths. My aggression isn't "displaced" - it's meant for the people I'm directing it at, and calling someone who's acting like a fool a "fool" isn't "attacking," it's making an accurate assessment. I'm not serving any Kool-Aide here, and I challenge you to identify what you think my "dogma" is.

From my vantage point, there is such a thing as Reality with a capital "R." It's not all subjective or relative. No matter what anyone's opinion is, on this planet, there's gravity. If you jump out a window, regardless of your beliefs, you're going down. And so on.
 

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