Friday, December 31, 2010

aiming higher

Each age, each definition
describes in colloquial metaphor
what is all ways known
A poem expresses experience more directly, more evocatively, than prose is meant to. It is an experience in itself, that plays with perception to, when the magic happens, make a leap at telepathic insight.
The guilt The blame The don't know what causes it The this is what causes it The industry quacks The ignorant hacks The pills that are miracles The relapse when all seemed well Break out of the spell We're humans living out what we've learned, mislearned, gotten confused in a confusing world Give it a rest Give it a break Stop blaming Guilt-tripping Joining one defensive position or another Stop Look Listen Breathe Find out how to behave well with each other.
Tell me I can dance
The world becomes a mystery
an ecstasy, a history
of all who dance
for the joy
for the taste
of pure enchantment
in midst of the everyday
in this instant every wish
is granted
in the play
-- body with bliss --
of celebration
We are told we need to be treated like cattle because of terrorist violence. The kind of terrorist violence that actually happens (more than once and then boosters of fake attack scares), that actually results in the deaths of innocent bystanders in the USA is the lone lunatic who has had too much going berserk with firearms in crowded public venues before offing themselves as well. Then we hear all kinds of outcry if Second Amendment rights are called into question. Apparently we care a lot more about the Second Amendment than the Fourth -- and about property rights over privacy freedoms or common decency. Don't tell me our troops are fighting for freedom. Wars as we know them are not for the benefit of we the people, but for the powerful.
This is far from a nonissue. This goes to the heart of government intrusion to make it look like it is helping us to be more secure while actually seeing how far we will allow our civil liberties, and even common decency, be eroded. Or maybe that is what all the fuss about "safety" is supposed to divert our attention away from.
Do you have any idea how many people are involved in this. Just by averages and a dim knowledge of human behavior we can assume that not every single TSA/public encounter is fully without lascivious content or otherwise demeaning to the hapless traveler. Then there are the actual accounts, even if it didn't happen to the people you talk to. Are your son's friends large and or otherwise dangerous looking? Or perhaps they are lovely, friendly types who no one would want to harm in any way? Some passengers are old and cranky. Some are mentally ill. You have to take the public as you get them. Some TSA agents are cranky, especially after being verbally abused by irate travelers; and some are mean or otherwise motivated against purely proper behavior.
OK, let's count: How many 9/11 type attacks have we had in the whole of the USA, ever? How many unsuccessful fools have been found with explosives by alert normal everyday public people and arrested without harm to anyone? How many successful bombers have blown planes out of the sky from within the plane? It might take just one, if someone you care about is on that plane (or on the plane that goes down for mechanical, or pilot error, or other normal reasons, or the train that goes off the tracks, or the auto collision, or the drunk driver, or, or, or ...) But frisking every passenger won't prevent or even address most of the ways that could happen. Meanwhile, we are consciously, even conscientiously, destroying the rule of law and freedoms that we are so frightened the terrorists want to deprive us of. Look how well they are doing, and so amazingly cheaply.  Because, you know, before we had this "security" suicide bombers were regularly blasting our planes out of the sky.
"Look! There goes another one. Wonder how many Donnie Darkos were made today."
Shoe bomber, underwear bomber: I count two irretrievably non-bombing fools quickly subjected to social scrutiny. That all you got? Anything since last Christmas, like the 3 year old terrorists we are desperately trying to protect ourselves from? They aren't even beginning to try to actually hurt us -- they are happy (chortling no doubt) to let us take care of destroying ourselves.
Of course we don't want racial profiling. That would be counter-productive as well. Crazies come in all colors. However, generally encouraging the public to keep watch for inappropriate behavior and having well-trained security watching and responding to public concerns does not require profiling at all and is what really does keep us as safe as we reasonably ought to expect (because, you know, everybody dies and not always in bed surrounded by family).
There are plenty of people all over the political spectrum screaming about this. In fact, I would think it would be an excellent issue over which right and left could bond, perhaps grow some common understanding of fellow feeling.
Since many do need to fly, why not make the policy that is best for the many -- actual measures that improve safety without trampling civil liberties, 4th Amendment rights and common decency.
Pointing out that the "defense" is really quite offensive is not the same as being uncaring. I do care. I want the military to be available for actual defense, and helping out in emergencies -- not dying for an irrational war of convenience to some arms dealers and agitators for profit and power.
Who decides: What morality is; what morality looks like; what kinds of issues are moral; who decides who and what fits the "moral" frame; why anyone has any obligation to live up to another (person's or group's) moral code? There are certainly religions with a moral imperative to destroy nonbelievers. Is that an example of the morality of the religious?
But there are values and values: the ones we like to think we have, and the ones that actually motivate us (like the salivary glands of Pavlov's dogs, helplessly in thrall to a technician's bell).
Truly. Let god be god. Let us use our free will to find better ways to live together.
It seems to me that in most cases some people doing one, some another, would lead not only to better outcomes, but to better discoveries of what could be possible; and would be the outcome of admitting that one size never fits all.
 I don't think even Darwin was a "Darwinian". And as far as "Social Darwinism" is concerned, people get all caught up in an ill-fitting metaphor. Evolution is not about rights, morality, or who is better. It is about adaptation to the local environment, which can vary considerably and change suddenly. Thus, mutations that might ordinarily seem counter-survival in some unexpected surrounding might save the day -- or not.
The thing with Social Darwinism is that it is about adapting to a social environment. As we who have any familiarity with history know, many social customs, social "knowledge," accepted ways of behaving, can be quite harmful to the society and its ecosphere, even more so to individuals who might otherwise have benefited said society enormously.
Candidate Obama was against the requirement. Perhaps if everyone is not required to buy health insurance from the insurers, they will start to understand the need to present a better product choice.
It's letting insurers call the shots. Everyone does not use "the" healthcare system. There is no such system that everyone can benefit from.
It's a sick care system based on often faulty precepts and that results in a great deal of sickness and death. Instead of concentrating on everyone funneling through the funds, we ought to be working on real health care available to all.
Pulling your own weight can be taking care of yourself, paying at point of service, doing what you can to encourage what healthcare would really be for the people -- community healthcare facilities (that sell healthcare, not insurance) on a sliding scale, perhaps with subscriptions or with funding from government/private sources. 
Simple, no health insurance, you get billed for your care. Then, you and the care providers can hash it out. Instead of requiring people to buy private goods they don't want, let's get free/low cost/sliding scale medical care available to all who need it. If we keep our minds on that model, it could all be good.
 And we need better education (not legal mandates) for people to be able to better take care of ourselves. There are so many innovations that could be considered that would improve actual care and greatly lower costs. No one seems interested.
The Commerce Clause has been stretched beyond all possible sanity for years. It should be reigned back to where it belongs. If lawmakers have nothing better, perhaps they shouldn't be making these laws.
There is the philosophy of pragmatism that says in order for all of us to be more healthy, all of our health issues need to be appropriately addressed. When segments of the population are not able to access appropriate healthcare resources, the general population is prone to more spread of disease, less productivity by those who are not healthy, a more malaise driven environment for all of us, as well as a population more susceptible to parasitic growth and empowerment -- along with a host of other and related ills.
I think we need to admit the system is not working for us, and get together individual community systems that do.
The problem is we think there is this monolithic "government" that acts and we must obey. Think, rather, we are the people, the actors, the thinkers, the innovators. We don't need no stinking government out there telling us how to grovel. If we are taking care of our communities, the greater community will eventually be as we make it.

President Obama is neither Wimpish or Machiavellian. He is a centrist who believes his job is to bring this country together. He is working very hard on very difficult situations he inherited from our dysfunctional tearing apart. As far as I am aware, he is the best person for the job, though the cost to him may be severe.
He has a pair. It is the Senate Democrats that need to weigh in harder, like Bernie Sanders yesterday. The President is only one branch, separated more to keep change slow than to accelerate an agenda. Of course, what could really make a difference for Progressive politics is for the movement to grow a pair and make the so-called conservatives look like the fools they are with a show of the people's power. The vote is only the beginning of political involvement. Making a real case that cannot be denied takes work and courage. It's up to the people to lead the politicians, because we are the ones who have to live with the consequences.
This silly little midterm switch is the norm, as is disgruntlement which leads to it. You elect a President, all warm and fuzzy with victory and hope. He turns out not to be a wizard magically correcting and turning all the world into utopia. Ugh! He's no good! Let's show him and let the other side get some more clout to do what they claim they can and he can't. Yeah, all warm and oppositional -- until, you know, the other side isn't made of wizards either. Happens ALL the time.
I would have some respect for Republican filibusters if they would actually stand up and tell their story like Senator Sanders rather than having a "filibuster" without redeeming social value.
pols and pundits keep "ohhhhhhhhh, Tea Party. We have to go to the anti-gov extremes or get outed by the ridiculous right." stupid excuse, but all the whining lefties (or at least left of extreme right) just cry "it's so unfair" like two year olds. Where is the movement, the empowering of the sane?
You have to admire their steadfast bullheadedness and organizational skills. Then, you have to learn from their organizational skills.
Drifts of fairy lace grin
Sorrowing wings splayed upon spun altar
Tell me, Hold me, Save me
for cattail dreams, sweet rainbow river
Fat toads, swift dancing dragonflies,
beauty's buzz electric
What do boys battling their faces
to manhood
 Stem cells can be harvested from other sources than discarded fetuses. This need not be the issue.  Although I would think a discarded fetus, were it to have consciousness, would be happier to contribute to saving lives than to have such opportunity wasted for it.
A name is a trap is a portent
Tangled in verbiage, wasted from sight
Kept close, forever haunted
Let loose, as free as the night
I had recently been reflecting about the ways we damage kids while they are too young and powerless to resist. Parents insist that kids eat junk, learn to get by on null calories and little exercise, not because they are "bad" parents, but because all the pressure of surrounding messaging keeps many of us ignorant, because all the pressures of trying to keep family/work/personal life together leave little energy for doing better. If Mrs. President wants to send a message to the citizenry about possibilities of living better, why not applaud that effort? It doesn't mean we can't have our empty calories and mesmerizing screens. It just means that maybe sometimes we will think about what we are doing to ourselves and our powerless kids, and do better.
JFK inspired us to improve our primary education with a dream of reaching the Moon. Then, what happened?

We live during a time when things are different. Education does not have to be about schooling as we seem to know it. We are in the information age -- anyone can find the tools, the facts, the ideas and arguments, then devise the curricula and find the resources for practical courses.
Education as a priority is not about funding. It is about actually giving kids the opportunities to learn -- not just repeat what they are told. In the 60s there were storefront free schools in many cities, no funds whatsoever. People taught what they knew in a spirit of community. Everyone learned, and learned how to learn and teach. [They do say the best way to learn something is to teach it.]
Team teachers with team students, project based; community based projects utilizing local resources of knowledge and experience; excellent teaching broadcast by internet into classrooms with local team leaders bringing out questions, discussions, looking into facts on 'net; active dancing in the classroom at regular intervals to bring oxygen back to the brain and move active young bodies; respect for students, teachers, and others actively modeled; ...
feel free to add
If freedoms and rights to privacy are things of the past, it is not because of internet technology, but because of the technologies our government is legally (apparently) using under the guise of anti-terrorism.
we refuse to cut off the cartels at their knees by simply getting rid of incredibly stupid laws against substances people choose to use which could be lawful commodities under control and not incentives to violence.
Actually, research with meditation suggests depression can much more successfully (no nasty "side" effects either) be ameliorated with these kinds of mental exercises than with drugs or invasive "therapies".  Yes, chemical imbalances are physical; they are physical manifestations of overwhelmed coping mechanisms.
Meditation, moving one's mind in a conscious awareness direction, is amazing. Perhaps it is just becoming who we are.
Exercise, it seems to be a cure all, or, more likely, a health maximizer. We were made to move.
It is not about being at fault because of wrong ideas. It is about realization that ideas (the map) are not the same as the real (the territory). Thus, someone who may blame themselves for actions taken against them is in the thrall of "wrong" ideas.
Karma is not about blame. It is about the simple physics of rippling effect, thus that all acts meet their response. If we do reincarnate, the lessons we work out in the new life are still the lessons we need to work out -- no blame.
How can you love Jesus and not the Church? Probably the way you could love a lover, but not the institution of marriage. You know, Jesus did not create Christianity. He lived and died a Jew, who happened to have a great deal of nondenominational wisdom to impart. The Church was created by lesser men.
Let's make it clear: We are not talking about raising taxes, but about an experiment in lowering taxes which did not result in job creation lapsing after its appointed time.
I think, if we must give "tax relief" to the wealthy it ought to come as US Government Bonds.  We are so concerned with our debt to China and other not so friendly nations.  Why isn't the US debt in the hands of US citizens who have a stake in what happens to this country?
There is no possible way to save ourselves out of the deficit. The only way out is up -- increasing the general pool of resources by bringing more people into higher earning and higher spending. So, of course, we keep trying to convince each other that we only have to tighten our belts, when loosening them would give us a better outlook.
As to these tax cuts -- they were created with an expiration date for good reasons. Let them expire. If we want a new tax policy, let's create a better one. There are plenty of well thought out ideas to look at and debate, rather than going round and round and round and nowhere.
runaway spending is easily cut -- get out of Afghanistan and the other foreign lands where we are not wanted and only looking worse and worse to the world. Then cut out all corporate welfare, subsidies to bribe business, when what business ought to be is organically grown from the needs and desires of, for, by the people -- all of us.
We could have a permanent lowering of payroll taxes for the great majority of workers while fully funding Social Security by getting rid of the cap. This might also increase employment, since lower level employees would cost the business less, while these employees would be taking home more and be able to buy more.

The tax giveaways to the rich are not about creating jobs. They are about paying political debts to wealthy contributors.
The threat to Social Security is not in temporary payroll tax relief for those making too little to get payroll tax relief through the cut-off. Instead of this being a path to eroding Social Security income, it could be a rallying point for those who want to remove the cut-off and lower the individual rate for everyone. This would help to create jobs both by putting more money immediately into the hands of lower income workers and by lowering the employers' rate of their share of the payroll taxes for lower income employees. This would be a good way to help ameliorate the wealthy income tax break. It would also help to end all this catastrophizing about Social Security funds availability for future retirees.
I think most of the economic-political world fail to understand that money is not a commodity which can be owned. It is a social construct totally dependent upon social agreement. The wealthy do not own the resources they exploit. They are not entitled to their profits in some existential or moral sense. They are only entitled in the sense of "I claim this, so it is mine -- until someone realizes the joke and refuses to accept my statement of ownership as some kind of irrefutable fact."

It's not that they are doing well. They are simply doing very poorly at a totally different level. If we would cast the planks from our eyes and see that this money game is just gambling, that real useful work is what is of value, we might have the makings of a saner world.
It's not so much about "laziness" as "Divine Providence" from the Puritan Protestant theory of predestination. God lets us know who is good by elevating them. Unfortunately, the part they forget is that the point of elevating the "good" is so that they can give more to the community.
"Socialist" along with many other words have been co-opted for partisan purpose. It's getting so words no longer have useful definitions. We need to define our terms for each conversation if we mean to communicate at all.

Apparently there is a divide between those who believe that life is about winning all the toys, and those who believe life is about improving the lot for all (and those who believe life is about other kinds of things, like, maybe, just, you know, living ...)
We are doing quite well on our way to devastation in 2012 -- all that climate changing will make this planet a different place than we have become used to. It will be up to us, now that our environment is shifting, to adapt.
It is important that we grow our economy because we are so far in debt that the only way out is up. For instance, I have enormous credit card debt that I have been paying the minimum of, thus getting nowhere but behind. I can't save my way out of that debt. I have to find more income to pay it off. The government gets income from revenues that go up when the whole economy goes up.
Growth does not have to be about using resources (especially about misusing resources). That has to do with the greed-based market -- owning all the toys to be on top. Growth of an economy means more trade. Trade these days is often knowledge-based. Or, it could mean clever ways of reusing resources.
A great deal of trade these days is in intangibles. The major resource used is infinitely reusable -- thought, imagination, information
I miss the space, open and free and wild
I miss the marvel in exploration of each child
I miss the sky of stars unmarred by jets
I miss a market based on trade instead of bets
I miss people happily about their work
without expressing through their inner jerk
I miss sentimental time not on tv
I miss the way we thought by now we'd be
Long has the dance entertained
Sol to Gaea, flirting seasons, night and day
Eons slip through alignment
Mud to worm
to facile mind
wondering at starlight
as constellations parade
Still again that long cold night
rearrives, retells stories
spun from fire 
The problem with materialism is not so much that it denies the spiritual (perhaps it is a different understanding of spirit). It is that it does not honor the physical or the best practices for health on any level. The mind/body/spirit can be accessed, manipulated in a sense, from any point of the triangle, and thus influence the whole system. Concentration upon the mantras of materialist philosophy, though, denies the realities and lets the system flail helplessly in its own restricted fantasy world.
May we all relax into happiness as often as it suits us
I have wandered empty city streets
long before the noise of congested confusion
Flowed through rivers of sparkle, of delight
Tasted breath infused with green salvation
and longed for a touch to say
"Aren't we what we have always promised?
Sweetly dancing moonlight into dreams ..."
Many people do go into the mental health profession because they are trying to work out their own issues. I don't know if they turn out better or worse than those who are only in it for the money. Probably self-help groups are at least as effective as most "therapists" though occasionally (like decent gurus of any stripe) you find someone who is both compassionate and sane.
No judge, no jury, no executioner We are leaves in the wind Remarking upon the windsong
It doesn't matter that they don't get it.  It
matters that we/I ("we" of me and any imaginary audience) get it.  It's not
about fearing or obeying, "respecting authority" "respect for power"
It's not about getting anything back.  By ALL, I don't mean Homo sapiens.  I
mean ALL (whether you take that "spiritually" or ecologically).  When one
(we or me or some abstract sentient being) defaults to respect, that is
respect first for that one's own self, which then can hear that quiet voice
which is one's essence.  One can feel/act/live in tune to one's own
harmonies.  It doesn't mean I give up to or in to or over to or try to
"make" a difference.  It means the difference is that quiet voice and how
one lives listening.

Now, practical, real word ways -- because I don't want another woo woo,
mystical, spiritual one-upmanship way, but what works because it is real,
practical, grounded.  Enlightened self-interest -- because what goes around
comes around not in some "karmic" theater, but simply because that is
reality.  Not "namaste" and smile; but I am the spirit and the world is the
spirit and the cosmos is the spirit and you are the spirit and that dog
peeing in the street is the spirit and so forth because that is reality,
practical reality, if I truly mean to get my way, to live as best suits me
(or you or we or ALL)

"The point of the story," she insisted, would not let us laugh and wink beyond, is not to deny you your pain. It is to feel so deeply ..." and she paused in thought, scrinching up her brain to explain in words that would impale ... "that the lightest caress, the most exquisite gentleness, the wave from light within a minutely eternal eye can take hold
we need our stories -- like blood running through feeding and
maintaining continuity, to keep us warm.
ensorcelling sacred spider weavings into a lucky (and utterly loverly) 2011
come, weave with me ~

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