Saturday, April 28, 2007

About the War -- Stop Bush Now

It's been SO LONG since my husband I started supporting the withdrawal of our troops from Iraq that it feels like our troops have been out there in deadly limbo forever. Most Americans are not suffering at all. I think it's wrong that we are asking our troops to sacrifice their lives while we go shopping as our "sacrifice" (I must credit John Edwards for that stream of thought).

I predicted that Americans would be in the streets by March asking for us to pull out, alas, despite the "Honk to stop the war," protestors on a street corner in Echo Park yesterday, it looks like most Democrats are hoping Democrats in Congress will change Bush's mind.

Who could ask us to protest that would get us all protesting? Colin Powell? Who is a beloved American right now? Are we too partisan, too divided? [I was really sad yesterday when I heard a bunch of yuppies calling a union picket line "crazy!" How crazy is it not being able to make a living wage in L.A.?]

Yes, I do believe Democrats in Congress are working on stopping the war (yawn), and as Hillary pointed out during the Thursday night debate, those Democrats are facing a lot of Republicans in lock-step trying to thwart their efforts (she asked for their help, she was very good that night). I have hope that this veto (has it happened already?), and Tenet's (et. al) testimony, is going to bring Bush's war to an end within the month (just call me a perpetual optimist).

I was very sad to learn of the death of the journalist (car accident), David Halberstam, who was a critic of this war. Peace be with you and yours. He leaves us with this legacy:

"In both Vietnam and Baghdad, you have American governments constructing their policies out of mendacity and delusion, and young men and women are dying for that lethal combination."

Mendacity, I had to look that up (doesn't it look like a combination of the phrase, "the audacity of men?") but I think I understood what he meant. Lying, but more than that, the TENDENCY to lie. The ongoing nature of LYING. CONTINUING the lies.

The fact that most Americans do not support our President and his job, and do not support the war, or his surge, means to me that Americans should be holding our President accountable for all of this NOW!!! We have an unrealistic, menacious and delusional man, pursuing this war by using American troops to carry out his corrupt, deadly plans. He is making it more and more HIS war every day.


Thursday, April 26, 2007

Newsweek and introverts

So parents, an article in Newsweek informs us, if your child is "pathologically" introverted (God help me), just encourage the extroverted tendencies that you want and all will be well. Otherwise, he will be socially unacceptable.

It sounds so easy, doesn't it? Does that feel like 1958 to you?

It implies that we're all socially and emotionally smart and it's just those pesky introverts that are causing US problems, and occassionally, mass murders.

How about we suggest educating PARENTS to actively seek and learn about what it means to be socially and emotionally healthy, and then it will rub off? A good start, and the only start, I think.

Monday, April 23, 2007

On being racist

[I wrote this on 4/15, but had to think about it and come back to it because it's so emotional for me]

I don't get how someone can say something racist but not BE a racist. I'll work on that one for my kid (not). I'm actually teaching him to believe what people say about themselves and others, it's usually pretty revealing. Imus said something mean that was particularly, stereotypically BLACK AND misogynistic. He said that about good people.

I'm already sick of "white" people running around trying to defend him by saying, "He's not racist," as if they are the world's honest purveyors of such a judgement, "You can believe me because I know him, and I'm 'white'!" I don't believe you, and I don't even care if he's racist or not, and that point doesn't even matter.

This guy made a disgusting racial slur, what are we going to say about it?

It doesn't matter that other people have said worse things. Yep, they are wrong too.

Yeah, there are worse problems in the world, but what are we going to do about this one? It seems like an even bigger problem that white people are giving it because no one wants to deal with it--all the "white" people sound so f-ing clueless about why this HURTS black people. Where is empathy? Where is acceptance? Where is understanding?

It's like there's this collective media, "Oh damn, we can't get away with hurting people anymore without getting punished for it."


I sat and watched Glen Iffil on Meet the Press gracefully tolerate, and pointedly grill, her blabbering colleagues as they seemed to cry, "No fair!" because rappers get away with murder, but not their innocent, elite, mean, "cool" political shock jock. How anyone equated rap with what's going on in political dialogue (uncivil discourse) escapes me...Don Imus is more like Ann Coulter or Michael Savage (who did not get named) than Snoop Dog (who did).

Hey Mr. [looking up his name], let me know the secret about how you can tell the Nazi killers from the Jew-haters, and I'll work on separating the misogynists from the rapists and murderers.

Words matter, yes, words matter.

"Let one therefore keep the mind pure, for what a man thinks, that he becomes." Upanishads

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Social hell for the quiet among us

I only skimmed the New Republic's article about Blacksburg, but it seems to sum up the events of that day as a kind of "evil in man" that can't be avoided...pity the Columbine generation.

That is such BS and a cop out, no, we can't control the hearts of men, bla, bla, bla, but shouldn't we at least try to understand man? What do we know about humankind?!! Why don't we all know it?!

An event such as this, in its extremity, in its direct and fatal attack on our social agreements (love, friendship, learning), shines a bright light on exactly these aspects of this world, that the Columbine generation, and the rest of us, have to endure.

I've read SO many books on childrearing because, frankly, healthy childrearing didn't go in (which is a big part of the reason I rant on this blog).

The bottom line is this: What goes in, comes out, what doesn't go in, doesn't come out.

In essence, we are, with some genetic influence, what our parents and the adults around us, create. I humbly think that most of us need to give parenting a hell a lot of thought and work, and that means mostly on ourselves.

As for parenting/adult influences on children, the most eye opening thing I've learned since my son was born is that boys are born more emotionally sensitive than girls, and guess what? We generally ask them, more than girls, to stifle/ignore their feelings for their entire childhood (albeit this very often happens to girls, too). That's a powder keg in the making. Most people wind up raging at their own kids, and themselves (you probably know them, you're lucky if you don't, and wow, do I crave that community), but some, like Cho, take out their rage on the rest of us.

As for the genetic influence, this can compound the environmental influences:

We are a society that loves EXTROVERTS.

Most experts believe that we are either born extroverts or introverts. The majority of us our extroverts. The extroverts normally make it very difficult for introverts. And, low and behold, introverts are MORE EMOTIONALLY SENSITIVE than extroverts.

Introverts are prudent, they think before they speak, they take time to process what they experience, and being around people drains their energy.

Extroverts speak as they are thinking, they don't take much time to make decisions, and being around people increases their energy.

In other words, extroverts and introverts are nearly opposites. It becomes painfully clear how an extrovert, or extroverts, can dominate an introvert and make life difficult for them. I am an extrovert with introverted preferences, and I've seen how Generation Y, more than any other generation before it, has been defined by its "team" mentality. One could also read that as "clique city." There is enormous pressure on young people, even my young son who will be TWO this year, to JOIN THE GROUP. He can manage it, but he still needs breaks from the crowd that his teachers don't see or get. I can spot the introverted children, they are so genuine they haven't learned to hide their preferences yet, they make it clear to us that they want to be alone with us, or by themselves, and it makes me sad that parents are constantly haranging them to join the group, go play, be with those children, JOIN! I know the parents don't mean any harm, but this is such a symptom of how we are taught so little about ourselves, or how to understand ourselves and our children. How to accept our DIFFERENCES!

I'm just thinking about how we could go a long way as a nation by becoming emotionally aware, understanding different personalities, and by making way for and accepting that normal people need space alone, away from the group.

My brother is one of the happiest introverts I know and he says, "I enjoy being by myself for hours." He admitted to me recently how he was a very emotionally sensitive child. How often do you hear people say that?

Bullets vs. Will

From the New Republic, the rightwing's mouthpiece (they are gearing up for 2008), "Not that gun control isn't a worthy issue, but 32 innocents didn't die only because there are too many guns in the world; they died because Cho decided to kill them."

Dear NR, 32 innocents died because there are too many guns in AMERICA.

Swiftspeech!: A Taste of Things to Come

Swiftspeech!: A Taste of Things to Come

My Commentary Below.

The Edwardian Purse

I was going to ignore this issue because it is so silly, but it has come to Vigilante's attention and I'm sure others. I saw the L.A. Times cover this ridiculous "story."

This "story" is full of blatant hypocrisy and a shell game at that. John Edwards is not the big spender in this campaign.

John Edwards is the epitome of the American Dream--he was born poor and became rich.

John Edwards is substantively, a Democratic populist, who wants universal healthcare and a peaceful nation and world.

Rich conservatives hate that he didn't inherit his wealth, and hate that he knows what it is to be poor, which suggests that he might impliment policies that will make them LESS RICH.

Make no mistake about it, most everything Republicans do in this society has to do with THEIR MONEY.

That's why we are talking about a $200 haircut.

Tell me, rich conservative, or anyone, if you can afford the best hair stylist, do you go to the $20 hair stylist just to prove the point that most people can't afford a $200 haircut?

Do you go to the $20 hair stylist when you're running for President? Should the candidate not take care of himself? I'm close to some of his campaign people and they complained that Edwards takes time every day to exercise, which is very inconvenient for staffers--but isn't that kind of commitment to health and wellbeing something we WANT in a President?


The other thing people are complaining about is Edwards' mansion. Tell me, rich conservative, or anyone, if you can afford the best house in your city, do you buy a house in the poor part just to prove that not everyone can afford to live in a safe neighborhood [I can't buy a house in a nice neighborhood, should I hate someone for that?]?

Tell me this, rich conservative, or anyone, do you think we should tell other people how to SPEND their money?

Are you actually saying that the American Dream goes something like this:

You are born poor, you get rich, then you live poor. Huh?


Supreme Mess

The radically conservative appointments to the Supreme Court are beginning to pay off on the social side, in short, minorities and women are getting shafted. Welcome to the New American Century.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Politics R Us

The worst offender is the L.A. Times who asks us all to refrain from political analysis of this mass murder and then proceeds to outline political arguments based on this mass murder. Huh?

And to anyone else in the press or politics who attempts to silence political analysis of this tragic event, I ask:

Since when is life separate from politics?

Where do YOU stand on mental health issues, community problems, and guns?

I cannot imagine the grief of parents, friends and relatives of the murdered. But I do imagine that at least of few of them are thinking: Maybe this could have been prevented; how? At the very least, can't the loss of these precious young lives compel us learn from this tragedy?

How do we become a responsible society that heals unhealthy people? Isn't that what we ALL need?

I've mourned someone close to me, and I wanted the world to stop, too, and I wanted to know WHY? Those who must tragically mourn, will mourn. But to those of you, who are unrelated to the victims, and who are saying to the rest of us (our society), "Don't ask any questions!!!" I say, "You're either part of the future or get out of the way." (Thanks again, John Mellencamp)

Emotional chaos + guns = Blacksburg

When I realized that scientists who study human behavior have concluded that we are not evolved enough to use guns responsibly (let alone nuclear weapons), I knew then that there would be gun victims over and over.

So, do we ban the guns* or evolve?


*Just those guns designed to kill people

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Today I will call my Congressmen and Congresswomen

"We are the people who run this country. We are the deciders. And every single day, every single one of us needs to step outside and take some action to help stop this war. Raise hell. Think of something to make the ridiculous look ridiculous. Make our troops know we're for them and trying to get them out of there. Hit the streets to protest Bush's proposed surge...We need people in the streets, banging pots and pans and demanding, 'Stop it, now!'"

Excerpted from Molly Ivins last column (I'll post a link later)

Monday, April 09, 2007

Hatch Job

I've had very little respect for Sen. Orrin Hatch ever since the bizarro Thomas hearings, but nevertheless, my husband and I have both remarked on how acceptable he looks when he's speaking on a political topic. That doesn't mean that we aren't suspicious of every word that comes out of his mouth, he seems to be an uncomfortable shill for the Bushes. I wonder if he's always been a shill for Republican leaders or if it's just Bush that inspires him to throw his credibility into chaos. I swear, do they have state secrets on everybody? Is that why almost every Republican, including McCain and Guiliani, is lining up for these historically monster crackpots? Or are they just lemmings by nature? Anyway, Hatch was angrily spinning the Gonzales attorney firings last week on Meet the Press and he attempted to undercut the fired attorneys and the whole issue, which seemed really, well, like a series of big, defensive lies at the time.

It turns out that for anyone who may have been watching this past Sunday, he did issue a statement admitting that he had "accidentally" used Carol Lam's name instead of who he really meant. What? He totally misrepresented her career--and he now "regrets making an error:" Hatch Letter I don't think I've ever seen the propoganda machine so clearly illuminated. If it weren't for bloggers and Air America, the lies would have gone unreported. At least we're making some progress in bringing the truth, or rather the lies, to light on Meet the Press (unfortunately, it's just a chip in the iceberg of media propoganda)!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Authentic and honest

Okay, so I'm going around supporting John Edwards and calling him authentic and honest. I hope I don't regret that! People are never perfect, I have learned that.

I found a blog that exists to undermine John Edwards with the Iraq vote. I submitted a comment but don't expect it to be shown because the blogger is not posting personal attacks or arguments without documentation. Philosophy doesn't get published, I can only assume.

Happy Easter to those of you who celebrate it!

Happy Passover to those of you who celebrate it!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

From the New Republic, on Hillary.

This is alarming. If she has not developed a principled, thoughtful policy among her own staff, how will she relate to her cabinet? I would hope that I would be able to confidently expound my leader's theories and vision, or at least take a shot at a general take of it, if I worked for a presidential candidate!!!

It's hard to get a handle on Clinton's foreign policy. That's partly because it's hard even to get a handle on the identity of her foreign policy advisers. "Look, I don't fucking know!" barks one former Clintonite when queried about whom Clinton relies on. "No one knows!" The topic breeds deep paranoia, as Hillary's campaign has been known to rebuke those who speak publicly without explicit license. The result is a confounding omertà code: Whereas other politicians eagerly expound on their worldviews and policy deliberations, asking Democrats about Hillary's foreign policy consultations sometimes feels like inquiring after Whitey Bulger in Irish South Boston. "Please don't take this conversation as confirming anything," pleaded one person I contacted, who would only identify himself as being in the "very distant, outermost, orbital region" of the campaign. "I don't know how they want us to handle it." Such nervousness is a testament to the continued belief, despite the rise of Barack Obama, that Hillary will probably be the Democratic nominee--and that, if she wins, she'll have an administration full of jobs to fill. "This is one of those subjects where people are disinclined to say anything," explains Les Gelb of the Council on Foreign Relations. "People are very cautious when jobs are at stake."

Newsweek and Cancer

Wow, I really am shocked and saddened but also glad that Newsweek is covering Jonathan Alter's cancer experiences. It is a sobering article that really gave me a small sense of what it means to be diagnosed with cancer. I thought Lance Armstrong's opinion was right on, and I had no idea that the leading cause of cancer in this country is breast cancer (23% breast cancer, 19% prostate cancer). So that tells me that if women try to seek prevention of breast cancer, and men try to seek prevention of prostate cancer, we'll all be better off!! It's my view that fighting any kind of cancer with prevention can stave off many kinds of cancer--Dr. Andrew Weil is a wonderful advocate for prevention. His "8 Weeks to Optimum Health," and "Spontaneous Healing" are life guides for me.

I am also taking my supscripton to the Breast Cancer Awareness website much more seriously. It's amazing how much we have to avoid to keep healthy:

Toxic Plastics found where we'd least expect them

But I'm feeling less like there is a conspiracy against us to kill us all, or control our population, with cancer (it seems like it when I think about Nutrasweet and Don Rumsfeld's connection to it). I seem to have grown this awareness that we have so MUCH, that so many new products are produced and available every day that it is US who have to negotiate their safety. WE have to know where and how our food is farmed, WE have to know what chemicals are toxic in our products. It's a lot of work. In fact, that's enough to do every day of the year. Maybe someday our government will do this for us, but not yet.

One Solution

Campaign Finance Reform:

I've signed up on Democratic Party Builder and am communicating with people who support John Edwards, Obama, etc. It's pretty cool. A Californian led me to this You Tube link, useful!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Upside Down World

I was at the airport today and heard a talking head on CNN (I don't knew who) basically saying our congress should be listening to Saudi Arabia's advice on our military policy in Iraq!!!!! What?! If a liberal advocated that he'd be called a traitor!