December 25, 2004
Below is an article I wrote for today's Detroit News. I send it to you with my deepest wishes that this be a blessed and joyous day in your life.
AND PEACE SHALL REIGN FOREVER AND EVER
For all the material hoopla associated with Christmas, the holiday itself is a spiritual reality. Its meaning doesn't lie in Christmas trees and ribbons and bows, but in the birth of something fantastic and new inside the human heart.
If we're not careful, we can get so tied up with the outer that we forget the inner. And thus the point is lost.
There is a painful disconnect between the joy of Christmas and the horror of war, between sleigh bells ringing and our soldiers coming home dead and maimed. And there in that disconnect lies the tragedy of human life. The point of Christmas is not to blot that painful realization from our minds. The point of Christmas is to provide the only real joy there is: the hope that humanity will have a change of heart, and war shall be no more.
Otherwise, the joy of Christmas is more a mockery of God than an embrace of Him. The joy of Christmas is not a response to how the world is, but rather to how it can be and shall be when our hearts have been transformed by love.
The significance and power of the light of Christmas is that it emerged into the midst of darkness. The birth of Christ two thousand years ago did not occur at a time when things were good, but at a time when things seemed hopeless -- as to many they seem now. Suddenly, there was hope and its name was love. The star of Bethlehem led to our salvation in the tender scene of a mother having given birth, not to a council of men planning war. It bespoke the miracle of love, not the willfulness of brute force. The way some people talk today, you'd think that when the shepherds got to the manger, they found there a cache of AK-47s and a sign that said, "Go kill the bad guys. Convert the other ones. That will save the world."
What to some sounds like blasphemy, to others sounds like truth.
The birth of Jesus is more than a historical reality. It is a spiritual reality, that occurs every moment when our hearts are open to love. Many who proclaim Him do not give Him birth, and many give Him birth who do not proclaim Him. Where there is love, God is.
So how do we allow love to actually be our salvation, in a world where hatred and attack and war rage around us? We have seen it, but we have ignored it; we have been shown, but we refused to see. On the days after the catastrophe of September 11, 2001, in a state of utter pain and heartbreak, America was thrown right into its heart. And in response, the world joined with us. There, in that moment of universal compassion, we were touched by angels in our heartache and grief. We were delivered to a sense of our oneness, our nationhood, and the fragility of life. And had we stayed there - had we allowed those feelings of tenderness and love to guide our thoughts - we would have found a wisdom and divine intelligence to move forward in the direction of genuine triumph. As it is, we found what is actually true: in the final analysis, we often give lip service to love. We think it's great until things get truly serious. And then, when things get really rough, we think hatred is a greater power, do we not? And so we went with that. We looked to war to save us.
Yet be not dismayed, for the light of Christmas is a light that emerges into the darkness. There is no greater darkness than hatred, yet there is no greater light than God's love in our hearts. And the light shall shine away the darkness. That is the promise of Christmas. If hatred is the greatest sin, then who among us is not a sinner? May God forgive us for our hatred, have mercy upon us and show us His love. Having felt it, may we learn to share it.
And war shall be no more.
Posted by Marianne at 9:53 PM
December 18, 2004
War and Empathy by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer
Here's a wonderful new article by my friend Wayne Dyer. We need to breathe in every word...
War and Empathy by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer
The war in Iraq, specifically America's role of leadership in this war, is a painful invitation to ask ourselves what, if anything, we've learned from previous wars. I, like you, am revolted by the brutal killing of hundreds of thousands of innocent people during any war. And, like you, I'm saddened by the apparent inability of human beings to find less violent solutions to conflict and terrorism. What can we learn from previous wars? Are there lessons from past experiences that can help reduce or minimize the likelihood of excessive and unnecessary destruction and devastation of lives and countries, and our future on Earth? I believe the answer is yes! We can learn, and there are lessons available.
In an interview with Errol Morris, Robert McNamara, the former Secretary of Defense during the Vietnam War and the Cuban missile crisis, delineated some lessons from both events. Eighty-five-year-old McNamara, in Morris's Academy Award-winning documentary, The Fog of War, looks back at the crucial mistakes made by our government in failing to understand our supposed enemy, and even more egregiously, our failure to communicate with those Vietnamese leaders we were assigned to hate and destroy. The lesson? Empathize with your enemy.
Meeting with his North Vietnamese counterpart, described by McNamara as "a wonderful man named Thach," almost 30 years after pulling out of Vietnam, Thach still insisted that America's mission was to colonize and enslave the Vietnamese. Thirty years later, McNamara couldn't convince his former enemy that we believed we were there to protect them from Communist control. In all those years of conflict and killing on both sides, we had never successfully communicated to our enemy why we were fighting and killing them, and we were unable to empathize with what they were experiencing as a civil war. Thach felt they were fighting for their independence and we were fighting to enslave them. Total misunderstanding is the result of failure to empathize. We must learn to find out why we're so hated and make an attempt to understand each other.
Today we are once again engaged in a gigantic battle with people that we've dubbed insurgents or resistance fighters, who seem to be so filled with rancor and rage that they're willing to sacrifice themselves and their loved ones to destroy the hated Americans. Are we making an effort to understand and empathize with our new enemy; to communicate with those who want to destroy us? Sadly, the first lesson of war offered by an octogenarian who's been there and seen the folly of fighting an enemy you cannot comprehend, let alone, understand, is still being ignored at a horrendous cost.
Our strategy today, just as it was some 40-plus years ago, is to kill the insurgents even if we must destroy the villages - including schools, mosques, homes, and businesses in the process. After all, we can always rebuild what we've torn down. Yet the hatred remains, and force gives birth to counter force. The killing and destruction go on, and the people who witness the total annihilation of their land are future insurgents in the making.
We're told by those who represent us that the insurgents and the average Iraqi and Middle Easterner hate us because we stand for freedom and democracy. It's my contention that we have it backwards. We're hated because we fail to stand for freedom and democracy. In fact, what we do stand for is whatever is best for American financial interests. Under the Shah of Iran, freedom and democracy didn't exist, yet we supported that regime. The Saudi royal family certainly doesn't stand for freedom and democracy, yet we have no quarrel with them. The Emir of Kuwait is not about freedom and democracy, and he has our undying loyalty.
The average person on the streets of Iraq isn't fooled by our occupation of their country. They hate us throughout the Middle East and the Moslem world because we care most about how to make money in foreign lands. They know it and we should know it. But we're told that it's our freedom and democracy that engenders this animosity toward us. Residents of Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, Syria, and other countries throughout the Middle East hate us vehemently because they believe that Americans simply can't figure out how all that American oil got under their sand. They believe that we're acting in our own self-interest and that we justify destroying their villages and killing insurgents by convincing ourselves that it's in the name of freedom and democracy.
If all of this is blatantly untrue, and we have no monetary motives in our continual clean-up campaigns that are leaving corpses and severely wounded people by the hundreds of thousands, then let's make an effort to communicate with those whom we're now aimlessly killing. I ask each and every person who conducts this war under the guise of Christian principles to answer this question: How much time have you spent praying for your enemy today? Read Jesus in Matthew 5:43-44: You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.
Throughout our history, there has been a long list of those we've been conditioned to hate. The British, French, Spanish, Germans, Japanese, Russians, Communists, Northern Koreans, Vietnamese, Iranians, Taliban, and both northerners and southerners in our own country are some of the people we've been encouraged at various times to call enemies and to hate. The list is long, and as time passes, those we were assigned to hate we later were told should be removed from our hate list. The enemy is obviously hatred itself, and the glassy eyes and the tears rolling down the face of a former wartime Secretary of Defense say it all to me. Have empathy for your assigned enemy.
With empathy you know in your heart that it's not a sign of weakness to attempt to understand that the people we call terrorists have placed the same label on us, and that the use of force will create a counter force, a never-ending saga of killing and hate. Ending war involves cultivating empathy in our policies and the love of God in our hearts. As the Native Americans reminded us: No tree has branches so foolish as to fight among themselves.
Posted by Marianne at 10:09 PM
December 16, 2004
Ride Out to Meet Them: Some Post-Election Thoughts
I like Starhawk. Let's listen...
Ride Out to Meet Them: Some Post-Election Thoughts
On my way to New York last summer to help organize protests against the Republican National Convention, I found myself on a plane watching Lord of the Rings over and over again. One thing struck me: every time the heroes were in deep troubled, surrounded, outnumbered, trying desperately to hold off ten thousand orcs and all the forces of evil, their leader Aragorn would turn to the others and say, "Let's ride out to meet them!" Let's take the offensive, go forward courageously instead of cowering in fear, and meet the enemy on our terms.
While the movie, and the books, can rightly be critiqued for their gender and racial stereotypes, I think a little of that heroic spirit is what we need now, as the forces of destruction close ranks around us, smirking to boot. In the last month, since the election, I've been on the road touring with my new book, The Earth Path, speaking to groups just about every night, listening to the deep despair that has settled over progressives across the land. I see the stricken faces and hear people asking what to do, where to go? Can't we just curl up under the covers and moan for a while, or move to Canada? Where do we flee to when there's nowhere to go?
Maybe we need to retreat, moan, and regroupâ€”for a while, but not for long. Counterintuitive as it may seem, this is a crucial time to ride out and meet the onslaught head-on, not to run away. In doing so, we should not buy into the media propaganda that the left is somehow 'out of touch' with Real America. Our strength is precisely that we are in touch with realities the neocons refuse to acknowledge or face, and reality eventually catches up with even the most entrenched power. So here are some key fronts that we can advance upon:
Election Fraud and Voter Repression: It becomes clearer and clearer that there are massive, unexplained discrepancies between exit polls (historically quite accurate and used in many countriesâ€”Ukraine, for example-- to verify election results) and vote counts, too many black box machines that leave no paper trail, too many stories of ballots disappearing, of counts in locked rooms from which observers are excluded. And there are the thousands of out front, obvious attempts to intimidate, confuse and discourage voters from targeted groupsâ€”communities of color and students. Absentee ballots that disappeared, the 'challengers' inside polling places, the lack of machines in key areas leading to lines hours long, the clearly partisan election officials: all of this needs to be challenged. We can actively pressure the mainstream media to start covering these scandals. They are reluctant to do soâ€”but organize even a small demonstration on their doorstep and you can suddenly find yourself on the evening news. And we can pressure our Democratic representatives to step up and demand a full Congressional investigation.
In waging this fight, we should not define victory as overturning the election results. This is a for the future, to assure that elections cannot be stolen, that at least the small aspect of democracy that voting represents is open to all. And this is a battle to reframe the election, to make clear that Bush and Co. did not win because they suddenly have a huge mandate for their policies, but squeaked by on a narrow margin they achieved through lying, cheating and outright fraud. Success is the chipping away of their legitimacy, laying the groundwork for a possible new Watergate. We need to wage a long term campaign not just to remove the current neocons from power but to utterly discredit their philosophies and policies. Since 'morals' are being put forward as a rationale for right-wing success, we need to put this forward also in moral termsâ€” Stealing elections is morally wrong. Intimidating voters, the whole toolbox of dirty tricks and intimidation, T.V. ads that lie, misrepresentation of issues and factsâ€”these are all moral issues, whatever your religion or lack thereof.
The War in Iraq: Since we're talking about morals, what about closing hospitals, killing civilians, denying the Red Cross access to provide aid to the wounded, physical and psychological torture of prisoners? All of these are moral issues, and against international law as well.
Tom Hayden, in a recent article for AlterNet, suggests that we can bring an end to the war by denying funding, troops, alliances and political standing to the Bush administration. We know the war is not going to go wellâ€”and we need neither prophets nor the now-purged CIA to tell us so. Our long term strategy, again, is to discredit the whole idea of pre-emptive war, of Empire building through military adventurism, of the US as the global bully superpower commandeering the resources of the rest of the world. We can do this by constantly revealing the truth of the war's human, economic and environmental costs, by supporting the veterans who resist the war and those who return home broken and wounded to face inadequate medical, psychological and economic resources.
What else do we know that Bush & Co. don't know or refuse to know? We know that global warming and climate change are a reality, are happening faster than hoped for, and are scary enough to make Al Quaeda look like a bunch of kids knocking over blocks. To stabilize the climate would require not the 5% reduction of carbon emissions in the Kyoto treaty, but a 50-70% reduction. We also know that oil will become more and more expensive to extract and will eventually run out, and that our present way of life is not sustainable. Technologies exist that could help us make a transition into an oil-free economy of environmental balance and energy independence. The future belongs to those who anticipate and invest resources, energy and planning into that change. So we can push for those policies on local and state levels, work to develop those alternatives, and support efforts like the Apollo Alliance, www.apolloalliance.org , which calls for massive investment in renewable energy and sustainable technologies to create good jobs in economically depressed communities and exciting opportunities for youth.
These are just a few of the ways we can move forward. The characters currently controlling the political scene are more frightening than all the trolls and monsters of fairy tales, and we are not mythic heroes, alas. If we ride into the face of all the forces ranged against us, no white wizard on a shining horse will appear to save the day. But the momentum of courageous action will call forth all those energies, within and around us, that can shift fate, generate surprises, kindle hope, and bring about change.
Some good links re election issues: www.blackboxvoting.org
Posted by Marianne at 12:58 PM
Concerns About Our Voting System
If you have concerns that our voting system is not quite right, then please support Rep. John Conyers in his efforts to hold hearings in Congress about the 2004 elections. Rep. Conyers feels he needs a million e-mails to compel the House Judiciary Committee to hold the hearings. Your email will make a difference; without our support, he cannot move forward.
Go here:and tell the Judiciary Committee you want hearings on Ohio!
You can copy and paste in this sample message:
I am writing to urge the House Judiciary Committee to hold
hearings as soon as possible on the irregularities of the 2004
election. I need not remind the Judiciary Committee members that the
United States is a beacon of democracy for the rest of the world. If
we truly wish to remain the embodiment of democratic values, then we
must treat the right of every citizen to vote and for their vote to
count as sacred. Ample evidence has arisen that this right was
violated or undermined for many Americans in the 2004 election. I
strongly believe that holding hearings to investigate and resolve
these irregularities would be an act of tremendous patriotism on the
part of Congress, and would serve as a declaration that we are the
world's greatest democracy not only in word, but in deed.
- - - - - - - -
Please spread this message among your list of friends and associates.
There's a growing awareness, with increasing coverage now in national
papers such as the Washington Post and LA Times, that we need an
investigation of the voter suppression and other fraud in Ohio and
Like Watergate, this issue will build momentum -- and we, the people,
to keep it alive until it can no longer be ignored.
Posted by Marianne at 12:54 PM
December 9, 2004
Praying for a Miracle in Iraq
I want to check in with you about this week's experience praying for a miracle in Iraq. I hope you can feel the subtle but powerful force of hundreds of us praying for this. At different times throughout the day, all in our own way, we are building a wall of prayer.
Study after study has revealed that prayer works -- people who are prayed for get out of intensive care units faster, need fewer antibiotics, etc. And all of us have experienced prayer's miraculous power in healing our own lives. Ghandhi's great contribution to the human race was his assertion that the force of non-violence (love, God, source, etc.) can heal all political and social relationships as well.
While the human drama in Iraq is tragic, we remember the first principle of Miracles: "There is no order of difficulty in miracles." And prayer is the medium of miracles. We pray as a way of dismantling the thought forms, in ourselves and others, that keep the separation in place and thus war inevitable. This occurs within a quantum vortex, beyond the mortal mind; in ways we cannot rationally understand, our prayers are undermining the thoughts of war that hold its manifestation in place.
Think of Iraq, then pour light all over it.
Think of Iraq, and ask God for a miracle.
Think of Iraq, and remember that there is nothing our holiness cannot do.
Let us pray without ceasing, and this war will end.
All my best,
We place the war in Iraq
in Your hands.
and heal all things.
Turn fear to love,
and war to peace.
Posted by Marianne at 6:00 PM
Two Book Recommendations
A book recommendation:
Revelations, Illusions and True Confessions, by Sarah Eames.
You can find it at http://www.saraheames.com/revelations.html
Also, for those of you who haven't yet read Robert Perry's latest book on A Course in Miracles, entitled Path of Light: Stepping into Peace with 'A Course in Miracles,' I can heartily recommend it. You can find it at: www.circlepublishing.com.
All my best,
Posted by Marianne at 2:20 PM
written by a friend....
Be not deceived
by illusions of despair.
Doubt along the way
will come and go,
to go and come again.
once this journey is begun,
the end is certain.
No one can fail to do
what is appointed for them to do.
When you walk with him,
with his word upon your heart,
behind each illusion
is the reality of God.
Travel an instant further
on the road where all illusions end.
Now! You are just a step away
from that ancient door
that leads beyond the world
to the Holy of Holies
Gordon, Smiths Creek, MI
Posted by Marianne at 1:46 PM
From Selma to Ohio: A Report from the Conyers Hearing
Whether we're Democrats or Republicans (or neither), if we're Americans we should be interested in this.
From Selma to Ohio: A Report from the Conyers Hearing
By William Rivers Pitt
Wednesday 08 December 2004
It looked for all the world like a real hearing. Along the far wall were arrayed Congressional Representatives from the Judiciary Committee. Before them at a long table sat witnesses and experts in front of microphones, prepared to give testimony on the record. Behind the witnesses sat row upon row of everyday citizens who came out to watch the proceedings; the crowd was so large that an overflow room needed to be opened on another floor. Along both walls were arrayed more than a dozen television cameras.
It looked like a real hearing but it wasn't, because despite the issuing of invitations by the Democratic Minority members to their GOP Majority brethren on the Judiciary Committee, not one Republican congressman bothered to show up or give their blessing to the proceedings. Judiciary staffers from the Minority office told me the GOP majority would not even allow this hearing to be videotaped on the television equipment that came with the hearing room, and so they were forced to pester C-SPAN into showing up. They did, along with a number of other media outlets, but the effect was a quieting of the entire event.
In the official sense, then, this was not a true Congressional hearing. It bore no weight in law. One cannot overstate, however, the importance of what took place in room 2237 of the Rayburn House Office Building today. In this place was discussed the very future of participatory democracy in America, and the serious problems that future holds if the allegations of vote fraud in Ohio and elsewhere which were the subject of this hearing, are not dealt with in immediate and dynamic fashion.
It all began with a letter from Rep. John Conyers to Ohio Secretary of State Blackwell
The hearing itself was a showcase for both fact and passion. The witnesses, the Representatives before them, and the crowd that filled the room lit the place up with a concerned electricity. Some believed the irregularities and outright fraud which marred the Ohio vote require immediate redress, a successful completion of which could come to overthrow the results of last month's election. Others saw the hearings as a gift to their children and the future, a means to ensure that any and all elections to come will not suffer the kind of nonsense that afflicted both November of 2004 and November of 2000.
Jon Bonifaz, general counsel for the National Voting Institute, is bringing a lawsuit against Secretary of State Blackwell in order to bring about a full recount of the vote in Ohio. He said of the hearings today, "I think this moves the ball forward with respect to demonstrating that people in this country, throughout this nation, demand a full accounting of what happened on election day, and demand that all votes be properly counted. Until we get to that point of all votes being properly counted, we cannot declare this to be a legitimate election."
Some scattered observations from my notes of the proceedings:
Rep. Nadler: The right to vote and to have the votes counted is indispensable. Confidence in our election processes is on the wane, and the stability of our government is threatened. We do not have the luxury of waiting to fix all this, as the next national election comes in two years.
Rep. Scott: The complaints were not limited to Ohio. In his state of Virginia, some 500 complaints were made by voters. In his own district, voters were given ballots that did not have his name on them.
Rep. Watt: The basic premise of our democracy is the vote. If it is broken, it must be fixed, and we must institutionalize a process that continually evaluates the way we run elections. If we can deliver ballots to rural voters in Afghanistan on the backs of donkeys, surely we can make sure our elections are free and fair here in America.
Ralph Neas (President, People for the American Way): In Cuyahoga county, Ohio, there were fewer voting machines available to the voters during the Presidential election than there were during the primary election. Secretary of State Blackwell, he of the paper-weight obstructionism, wins the Katherine Harris award this time around. There should be prosecutions over all this, and people should go to jail.
Cliff Arnebeck (Chair, Common Cause Ohio): The fraud must be fixed. It must be fixed now, and not in the future. People cannot and will not accept a fraudulent election for the office of President. The best precedent that can be set is to state flatly that people will not tolerate fraud, and will not 'move on' until the problems are repaired. How can we, with a straight face, talk about democracy in Iraq when we cannot guarantee democracy here at home?
Shawnta Walcott (Zogby Inc.): This election has created an unprecedented level of suspicion that things did not go as they should have. Zogby Inc. wants to see a blue-ribbon panel created immediately to investigate the claims made at this hearing.
Rep. Jackson: We must have a standardized national voting process and take the matter out of the hands of individual states, which can keep the process "separate and unequal." We must have a constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to vote. How can people argue that the right to own a gun is implicitly stated in the constitution, and then turn around and say it is acceptable to have the right to vote only be 'implicit' in the constitution?
It was this last point, made over and over again by Reverend Jesse Jackson, that drew the most applause from the audience and attention from the Congressmen. In demanding a constitutional amendment cementing the simple right to vote, Jackson spoke of the long line that reached from Selma, Alabama to Ohio, and into this room. "This is not about who won or lost," he said. "This is about participating in democracy. The 2004 election is not past-tense. We are not whining. It is time to take this struggle to the streets and fully legitimize this struggle."
The importance of the presence of Reverend Jackson was described best by Cliff Arnebeck. "If you look at who was here," said Arnebeck, "you had leaders from the generally white political reform movement, and leaders from the black civil rights movement. This is a powerful coalition. We are not talking about one group having dominance over the other, but a real partnership of the traditional political reform community with the traditional civil rights community, and Reverend Jackson is the one that proposed it, has initiated the organization of it."
"Jesse Jackson, as you could see today, is giving tremendous moral leadership to this," continued Arnebeck. "He has tremendous credibility. This is a man who walked with Dr. Martin Luther King in the long civil rights struggle that we honor so much in our history now. This is the man who was holding Dr. King when he died. I was sitting right next to him when he talked about the fact that there aren't members of Congress with children dying in Iraq, and tears were in his eyes. This is a man who feels this stuff deeply, and when he talks about what is at stake, he means it in the deepest part of his being. It shows, and people respect that, and I feel privileged to be associated with him in this struggle."
The hearing today took place in a unique moment in our history. Election fraud and voter disenfranchisement are not new in our history, but have been as much a part of the process as campaign buttons and baby-kissing. The fact that the electorate's voting habits are becoming more clearly drawn, and the fact that so many were watching like hawks after Florida in 2000, means that the standard-issue fraud which has always existed now has a bright light shining upon it, and means the new kinds of fraud involving electronic machines and computer tabulators are likewise suffering intense scrutiny. In this moment, that bright light means the problems, both new and old, can and must be addressed, repaired, and purged from our democratic process.
Aspects of the hearing could have been better. There was a lot of heat from the panelists and from the crowd, but not nearly as much cold data delivered. Had the forum presented that cold data, had the forum made an irrefutable case, the process to come would have been better served. The data was there â€“ the panelists came armed with reams of paper and facts â€“ but needs to be more fully delivered to the public at large. There were also grumblings among the assembled about why it was that Dennis Kucinich was not in attendance, about why Howard Dean chose this day to hold a press conference that sucked some of the media oxygen out of the hearing room, and about why no Kerry campaign people or Senate staffers made any kind of public appearance at the event.
There was also a moment of deep frustration when the Representatives opened the floor to general questions from the audience. This led to something that always seems to happen when liberals and progressives get in a room together. Person after person came to the microphone not to ask questions, but to pontificate at length on whatever crossed their minds. As usual, this stole time from people who actually had questions, and led to a watering-down of the information at hand. When Conyers gently prodded people to move it along, some got openly aggressive and angry, despite the fact that they were riding roughshod over the stated process. Rep. Frank finally had to lay down the stomp on the quickly-unwinding process. The open forum could have been a beneficial addition to the hearing, but became in the end a waste of valuable time.
At the end of the day, the hearing was a beginning, a chance for those fighting this fight to look upon one another and know they are not alone. Rep. Conyers and his fellow Congressmen are to be commended for putting the process in motion. The most striking moment came when the hearing ended, and all of the people assembled began embracing one another. They had made their voices heard, they knew they were not alone, and it smelled like vindication in there when all was said and done.
The hearing was a beginning. There will be more, especially in Ohio. The lawsuits will continue. Rep. Conyers intimated today that he might object to the seating of the Ohio Electors when the certification process begins. The protests will continue to grow across the country. Perhaps, if we can follow through and accomplish the cleansing of our democratic process, we will look back on this day in room 2237 of the Rayburn House Office Building and know that yet another popular movement towards achieving that more perfect union began here, in this time, and in this place.
William Rivers Pitt
Posted by Marianne at 12:05 PM
December 7, 2004
Quotation from Thomas Jefferson
Re America today, here's a quotation from a letter that Thomas Jefferson wrote to John Taylor of Caroline in 1798, after the enactment of the Alien and Sedition Acts. Given our current state of affairs, I find them very helpful. They're the kind of thing to print out and look at every day, for courage:
"A little patience, and we shall see the reign of witches pass over, their spells dissolve, and the people, recovering their true sight, restore their government to its true principles. It is true that in the meantime we are suffering deeply in spirit, and incurring the horrors of a war and long oppressions of enormous public debt. If the game runs sometimes against us at home we must have patience till luck turns, and then we shall have an opportunity of winning back the principles we have lost, for this is a game where principles are the stake."
Posted by Marianne at 8:25 AM
December 6, 2004
Prayer for a Miraculous Solution to the War in Iraq
As we begin this week, please join with me in prayer for a miraculous solution to the war in Iraq. From a mortal perspective, the situation is an absolute mess -- both staying and leaving sound like terrible options.
And yet we have more than mortal options, and the point of the Matrix is that hundreds of us are joined together in calling forth a power from beyond our thought system, which can and will penetrate the layers of illusion that keep us bound.
Please, if you can, find a quiet time and space. There, take a deep breath and receive your commission from God himself, to pray over Iraq and ask for a miracle there. War is a veil, on the other side of which is a peace unending. Of ourselves, we cannot get there. But with Him, we cannot fail.
Please make of my mind
and instrument of Your peace.
Please make of my life
an instrument of Your love.
Please make of my heart
a birthplace for miracles.
This week, may my entire life transform
that I might be a conduit
for the transformation of the world.
Bless us all.
Posted by Marianne at 3:30 PM
December 4, 2004
My Friend Clariss Pinkola Estes
This was written by my friend Clariss Pinkola Estes, author of Women Who Run With the Wolves. It doesn't get better than this.
My friends, do not lose heart. We were made for these times. I have heard from so many recently who are deeply and properly bewildered. They are concerned about the state of affairs in our world right now. Ours is a time of almost daily astonishment and often righteous rage over the latest degradation's of what matters most to civilized, visionary people. You are right in your assessments. The luster and hubris some have aspired to while endorsing acts so heinous against children, elders, everyday people, the poor, the unguarded, the helpless, is breathtaking. Yet, I urge you dear folk, ask you, gentle you, to please not spend your spirit dry by bewailing these difficult times. Especially do not lose hope. Most particularly because, the fact is that we were made for these times. Yes. For years, we have been learning, practicing, been in training for and just waiting to meet on this exact plain of engagement...
I grew up on the Great Lakes and recognize a seaworthy vessel when I see one. Regarding awakened souls, there have never been more able vessels in the waters than there are right now across the world. And they are fully provisioned and able to signal one another as never before in the history of humankind... Look out over the prow; there are millions of boats of righteous souls on the waters with you. Even though your veneers may shiver from every wave in this stormy roil, I assure you that the long timbers composing your prow and rudder come from a greater forest. That long-grained lumber is known to withstand storms, to hold together, to hold its own, and to advance, regardless. In any dark time, there is a tendency to veer toward fainting over how much is wrong or unmended in the world. Do not focus on that. There is a tendency too to fall into being weakened by dwelling on what is outside your reach, by what cannot yet be. Do not focus there. That is spending the wind without raising the sails. We are needed, that is all we can know. And though we meet resistance, we more so will meet great souls who will hail us, love us and guide us, and we will know them when they appear. Didn't you say you were a believer? Didn't you say you pledged to listen to a voice greater? Didn't you ask for grace? Don't you remember that to be in grace means to submit to the voice greater? Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good. What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding more, continuing. We know that it does not take "everyone on Earth" to bring justice and peace, but only a small, determined group who will not give up during the first, second, or hundredth gale.
One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these to be fierce and to show mercy toward others, both, are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity. Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do.
There will always be times when you feel discouraged. I too have felt despair many times in my life, but I do not keep a chair for it; I will not entertain it. It is not allowed to eat from my plate. The reason is this: In my uttermost bones I know something, as do you. It is that there can be no despair when you remember why you came to Earth, who you serve, and who sent you here. The good words we say and the good deeds we do are not ours: They are the words and deeds of the One who brought us here. In that spirit, I hope you will write this on your wall: When a great ship is in harbor and moored, it is safe, there can be no doubt. But that is not what great ships are built for. This comes with much love and a prayer that you remember who you came from, and why you came to this beautiful, needful Earth.
Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D
Posted by Marianne at 4:22 PM
December 3, 2004
ACLU Seeks FBI Files on Activist Probes
I saw this article and thought it worth passing on. If it concerns you, please call your Congressperson and/or Senator's office (go to www.congress.org for the numbers), tell them you read the article and want to make sure that the FBI does not do domestic surveillence of this kind.
Remember: citizenship matters.
ACLU Seeks FBI Files on Activist Probes
By CURT ANDERSON, AP
WASHINGTON (Dec. 2) -- The American Civil Liberties Union is seeking information from the FBI on why bureau task forces set up to combat terrorism also looked into anti-war, animal rights and environmental groups.
Dozens of organizations have been subjected to scrutiny, according to the ACLU, which was filing Freedom of Information Act requests with the FBI on Thursday to try to find out why.
''We think it's clear that the public is interested in the possible return of FBI spying on political and religious groups,'' said Ann Beeson, the ACLU's associate legal counsel.
The FBI denies singling out individuals or groups for surveillance or investigation based solely on activities protected by the Constitution's guarantees of free speech.
Officials say agents adhere strictly to Justice Department guidelines requiring evidence of criminal activity or indications that a person may know something about a crime.
''Any investigation conducted by the FBI is done under the attorney general's guidelines and in full compliance with the guidelines,'' FBI spokesman Bill Carter said.
There are terrorism task forces in 100 cities and with more than 3,700 members, including at least 2,000 FBI agents, state and local police, and other federal law enforcement officials. More than half of the task forces were formed after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
The ACLU was seeking FBI files on a broad range of individuals and groups that have been interviewed, investigated or subjected to searches by the task forces. The requests also seek information on how the task forces are funded, to determine if they are rewarded with government money by labeling high numbers of cases as related to terrorism, Beeson said.
''What we're afraid is happening is that these cities and towns can get federal anti-terrorism money by identifying local groups as threats in their areas,'' Beeson said.
The ACLU provided a list of examples, including the Quaker-affiliated American Friends Service Committee that had been monitored by Denver police and was listed as an ''active case'' by a local terrorism task force.
Others who contend they were improperly monitored or investigated include Rocky Mountain Animal Defense, the Washington-based Campaign for Labor Rights and a number of peace and environmental activists.
The information requests were being filed with FBI headquarters in Washington as well as field offices in Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, Oregon, New York, Virginia and Massachusetts, Beeson said. ACLU affiliates in California and New Jersey have previously filed lawsuits seeking similar information.
If the FBI declines to turn over the information, the ACLU can sue in federal court.
Posted by Marianne at 6:02 AM