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 a quote by George Bernard Shaw:

"Self-sacrifice enables us to sacrifice other people without blushing."

Now, think about that. Very interesting. Pretty radical? Blasphemous, even, especially to all the martyrs of the world. The great Irish playwright is saying in most simple terms that those who sacrifice themselves feel justified in sacrificing others. If this is so, can we not conversely conclude that self-love and healthy self-centeredness must lead us to do what benefits all others, as well?

Here's an extensive excerpt from a Pathwork Guide lecture on the "MISCONCEPTION ABOUT SELFISHNESS."

The Guide:

"People very frequently think -- and if they do not do so consciously, they feel it unconsciously -- that whatever brings them happiness must be damaging to someone else. Hence, it is inevitable that your conscience bothers you every time you are happy, whether you were actually selfish or not. This guilt is bound to afflict your inner will for happiness.

Your unconscious concept is that if you enjoy something, your pleasure will automatically be at the expense of somebody else. Since you were taught that it is wrong to be selfish, you feel you must suppress your 'selfish' desire. You fail to distinguish whether your desires are actually selfish or not, and you indiscriminately suppress all desires. In the belief that all desires for happiness are selfish, you do not dare to desire at all. In the process of suppression, unable to distinguish one from the other, you lump together the really selfish with the really healthy desires which have nothing whatever to do with selfishness. Thus, you have no way of sorting them out, of judging, of coming to terms with them. Only then would you be in a position to freely decide for some desires and against some others.

In short, this is the unconscious concept: since desires aim for happiness and wanting happiness is selfish, I must suppress all desires. You do not realize that as they are driven out they continue their existence underground. The really selfish desires in your unconscious make you feel guilty, but so also do the rightful desires. Both continue to claim and clamor inside of you, often without your awareness. On top of all this, the prohibition you inflict on them makes you resentful. You resent the world for not allowing you to be happy, while in reality it is your wrong conclusion about happiness that is the cause. In the process of suppression of all desires and impulses, the childish and therefore actually selfish ones cannot mature and refine themselves. This can happen only if they are faced and dealt with in awareness. As a consequence, your legitimate and healthy desires and impulses, which are not selfish in the least, cannot find fulfillment.

You are all weighed down by the unconscious conclusion that something is selfish merely because it makes you happy. This is very tragic, my friends. It is a needless cost you pay in happiness and joy. You dare not wish for happiness simply because you fail to discriminate between actual and imagined selfishness. Every time a rightful and healthy impulse for self-expression manifests, you feel and think of it as if it were your really immature and crude selfishness.

The question now is how to treat the real selfishness that exists in the immature part of every human being. The usual and wrong way to handle this is to suppress it and superimpose a compulsive unselfishness that is not genuine. Out of the superimposition stems the unconscious concept that it would actually be very pleasant to be allowed to be selfish. This notion gets a foothold within you, and you unconsciously believe that to be selfish would bring you happiness, but alas, you are not allowed to be happy. You wrongly think that should you give in to your desire for happiness, you would not be loved or approved of. Since love and approval are so necessary for you, you would rather forsake 'happiness.' The inner conflict can be stated in this way: 'If I could be selfish, I could do anything I wanted. That would mean happiness. On the other hand, I cannot be happy if I am not loved and approved of. Therefore, I must become unhappy, in order to be happy.' This sounds completely illogical, but the immature unconscious is this illogical and this contradictory. You can now see what utter confusion exists in the human soul. I am sure, you will not have too much trouble confirming similar feelings in yourself. I venture to say that this conflict exists to some extent in all human beings.

This wrong conclusion accounts for the utter hopelessness you so often feel -- a hopelessness that finds an outlet in occasional moods for which you sometimes find outer reasons and rationalizations. This very conflict is the underlying reality of your hopelessness. Were your misconception true, happiness would indeed be an impossibility. You would be justified in being hopeless if you couldn't be happy without being loved, and you cannot be loved when you are happy, for happiness is selfish according to this erroneous concept. There is unhappiness either way. You may fluctuate between the two alternatives, but whichever way you turn you find yourself unhappy and frustrated. You often rebel inwardly and try to force the people around you to break this law, or what seems to you a law. But your conviction that you are in an insoluble situation causes you to try to get out of it in the wrong way. The irony is that you try to come out of it by sometimes actually acting out your most childish and selfish impulses rather than your legitimate and healthy ones. This must offend others and provoke them to react negatively toward you. And this, in turn, convinces you anew that your predicament is indeed hopeless. Since the cause of your rebellion is unconscious, it does not occur to you to choose to act upon your healthy impulses; instead, you pick the most drastic examples for your experiment. The drastic examples are the selfish impulses. Only by a growing awareness and conscious discrimination can you be in a position to make the proper choices and so receive the proof that your conclusion was wrong. It becomes self-evident that this conflict frustrates your inner will and prohibits the deserved fulfillment of your desire.

The idea that selfishness, if allowed, would be a happier state, may be only in your unconscious mind, while consciously you know all the right answers. In that case, questioning yourself in the proper way will bring you closer to the inner contradiction. By going deeply enough, your answers will be less and less convincing, even to yourself. When this happens, you are approaching the afflicted area. Some of you, if you but took the trouble to think about it, might even find a consciously-held belief that you would be happier if you were allowed to be selfish.

Whether this misconception exists in your conscious or in your unconscious mind, how can you be freely unselfish in your actions day in and day out? Not doing the unselfish act makes you feel guilty, doing it seems to be a violation of your will and conviction. It cannot be a free act, independently chosen. Whenever you do something out of compulsion and not because you say yes to it, you cannot be at one with yourself. You must be divided, in conflict, you must lose your inner peace and your sense of rightness. How can you be happy either in doing something that makes you feel guilty, or in doing something that appears to be against your personal interests? Either alternative brings dissatisfaction.

Let us now examine why this concept is wrong. I am addressing that part of your personality where you hold the misconception. First, not everything that makes you happy is automatically selfish and damaging to another merely because it makes you happy. Quite the contrary. As a happy person, you are better able to bring happiness and joy to others. You are entitled to the same consideration for yourself as another person. Only as a free, strong, and happy person can you have fulfillment in life and be constructive in your environment. In order to accomplish this, you have to give yourself consideration, you have to respect your own rights, and they will not conflict with the interests and rights of others. If sometimes it appears that way, ascertain the truth with absolute self-honesty. There are no fixed rules to determine whether actions are right or wrong when they appear to be against the interests of another person. However, it is essential to become completely aware of all your wishes, impulses, and motives. Only in that way can you discriminate and judge which one is selfish and which one is not.

As to the actual selfishness that seems, consciously or unconsciously, so advantageous and desirable: In reality selfishness cannot offer any advantage to you, even if it seems so at the moment. The higher your consciousness is, the more absolute will this conviction be in you. At the moment it may be difficult for you to understand this truth, and then you should just strive toward this fuller vision as a goal. But the true concept cannot become part of you as long as you try to force it upon yourself; as long as you act in the right way because you think you should; as long as the decision is not wholly your own and therefore free. In the meantime, all you can and should do is to be honest with yourself.

When it still seems to you that the selfish act would be more desirable, contemplate the following: An isolated event, with all its causes and effects, will have a different aspect than the same event would in its larger context. In other words, a particular incident may actually seem to warrant the view that selfishness is advantageous. But if you follow through the chain reactions, you are bound to gain a different perspective. The different view will give you the desire and activate the free will to decide for the unselfish act rather than be driven to it as before. This in itself will make a tremendous difference. It will automatically open a new vista, showing you that selfishness is not advantageous, either now or in the long run. It is divorced from reality. As long as you see only the first effects of an action, you do not possess a view of the whole picture. It is only a segment, and the segment cannot convey the whole.

Let us say, you are shown a little stone from a big house. You can tell certain facts by looking at the stone: the quality and material, as well as the color. But you cannot tell what the house looks like from seeing the stone. You can judge neither its beauty, its architecture, nor the proportions and furnishings of the rooms.

It is the same with the inner and outer actions, attitudes, and reactions of the human being. By considering only the immediate effect, you take it upon yourself to pronounce judgment upon the whole picture with only a segment available. You need to extend your view, so that you are in a position to have a truer vision. This does not mean to accept something on faith; nor does it mean that by being good, you will be rewarded in the hereafter. The effect of right action can be seen here and now, while you are still on this earth plane.

When you think or feel that selfishness would be to your advantage, you are leaving out the obvious. You fail to connect cause and effect, and therefore your view is blurred. But you do not need supernatural vision or metaphysical knowledge to put two and two together. You need only to think, reach a little further, and see what is right in front of your eyes.

Let us suppose you have to make a choice between a selfish and an unselfish act. The unselfish act does not seem to bring you benefit, at least not directly. However, if you are objectively convinced that it is beneficial as such, be it for the world at large or for a small group, or for one other person, it is bound to benefit you too in some way, perhaps not always immediately, but often much sooner than you think. This conviction will grow in you. It will become an inner fact, but only if you have made a full and wholehearted decision for the unselfish act. Decide for it only because you are convinced it is right, and not compulsively, because you want to receive a reward, whether in the form of affection, love, approval, or to obligate others, or because you believe that God will reward you for having been a good child. Your action must be self-chosen for its own sake, regardless who seems to benefit from it immediately. When you do so, you will be at one with yourself. This will widen your horizon and raise your consciousness to the necessary maturity. The truth will then dawn on you that selfishness is not advantageous and is definitely not in your interest. Or, to put it differently, unselfishness is healthily "selfish."

I said before that performing an unselfish act for a reward turns the act into a selfish one. However, if you do the right thing in the right and mature way without ulterior motives and out of free choice, you will reap a reward of another sort, namely the good feeling of being at one with yourself, the security that only self-respect can offer. To do something wholeheartedly gives added self-respect that is a decided advantage manifesting in many ways. It will give you, among other things, the strength to overcome many a weakness for which you may despise yourself. It will reduce certain fears and anxieties, especially when dealing with other people. Your fear of others is always based on your feeling weak and inadequate. By coming to terms with your confusions, by making independent decisions for carrying out unselfish acts, thus being at one with yourself, you gain the self-respect which reduces the very inadequacy and self-contempt that make you weak and fearful toward others.

I cannot emphasize strongly enough that it is all-important whether or not you act unselfishly because you truly want to or because you think you have to. As long as the conviction that makes you want to is lacking, you have to continue the work of self-search, of examining your motives and concepts in comparison with objective truth, until you arrive at the point of conviction. Only then are you capable of making a free choice that is not driven by compulsion. This, in turn, will show you that unselfishness is not a yoke that you have to take on against your inner conviction. Instead, you will see without a doubt that unselfishness is really "selfish" in a healthy sense, and that it is to your advantage, provided your motives are right, your decision free, your reactions mature.

This will free you of the misconception that selfishness could make you happy if you were allowed to indulge in it. The other misconception, that happiness is selfish and is therefore forbidden, exists because of this misconception. Because of these wrong conclusions, your inner will cannot function, cannot flow out of you. Each time the desire for happiness manifests, a little inner voice prohibits it so that the inner will is broken. The desire may be reborn on an outer level, but, as I said before, the outer will cannot suffice in bringing you to any goal: it will only tear you apart; it will destroy your inner strength, serenity, and peace.

Try, all of you, to recognize your will; where it comes from, how it feels. If and when you find the inner will blocked, examine where and why you have doubts about the rightfulness of your desire. At times this suspicion may be justified because your desire may actually be harmful to others or to yourself. At times, your desire may be justified, but many unconscious, unhealthy motives may exist together with the healthy ones. At times, a wish may be wholly right and good, but your misconceptions -- about selfishness as well as in other areas -- may prohibit the inner will to function."


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.

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