The Conversation: Making Sense of These Times

A Mighty Companions Project




Listed below are Five Star Pieces by women, written from what might be characterized as a "feminine perspective," which are getting singled out in their own section. The agony of the world situation comes through in these writings in a way that perhaps, reading them sequentially, might melt hard hearts and open closed minds. It is interesting food for thought that these works do not lend themselves to excerpting. In what men write, it's easy to pull bullets and points. What women produce, however, although comparably full of information, tends to be a weaving, where you get a whole picture rather than a compartmentalized one. This is true of Arianna's column, as well – you will find far less pulled from her columns that ends up in our Quotes section than from Geov's, not because she has less valuable points to make, but because everything is so textured with cross references that quoting from her for the most part just doesn't make sense.

Terror's Prognosis, Jill Rachel Jacobs

I am so resonant with this piece – it's what I have been posting about, brought up to the present moment, and eloquently expressed. The writer is not only articulate, but also is female, and the agony of our times comes out especially poignantly in the women's voices that are crying at this time. "...dividing the world into good and bad, returning to domestic spying tactics from the last half-century – is reminiscent of the Cold War. This reflex to look backwards for strategies and responses comes at a real peril. Such easy answers to complex problems verge on denial and tend to minimize the severity of our current plight. They also keep us removed from the world's current ills...Without insight and foresight, I'm afraid our future prognosis is bleak, perhaps, even terminal."

Under the Nuclear Shadow, Arundhati Roy

Another cry of agony from the female side, this from the outstanding Indian writer, Arundhati Roy. ("The Algebra of Infinite Justice," widely circulated last September, is in our Quotes section.) With apologies to the wonderful men who are out there, how can we bear what the others are doing to us? "Isn't nuclear war a real possibility? It is, but where shall I go? If I go away and everything and every one, every friend, every tree, every home, every dog, squirrel and bird that I have known and loved is incinerated, how shall I live on? Who shall I love, and who will love me back?"

No Glory in Unjust War on the Weak, Barbara Kingsolver

A real straight talker, with a penetrating voice of outrage at the folly of this war. "We've answered one terrorist act with another, raining death on the most war-scarred, terrified populace that ever crept to a doorway and looked out. The small plastic boxes of food we also dropped are a travesty... It is not naive to propose alternatives to war."

A Widow's Plea for Non-Violence, Amber Amundson

A vital voice – a plea for peaceful means from someone widowed by the tragedy, who has the most provocation to urge retaliation. " anguish is compounded exponentially by fear that his death will be used to justify new violence against other innocent perpetuating violence against other innocent human beings, you may not do so in the name of justice for my husband."

More Shock and Horror, E. van Loon

This may be the juiciest piece I've seen. Maybe the breakthrough to higher consciousness will involve the ascendancy of the female. "...if we women don't get very busy, very organized, and very strong – very fast – it will probably be correct to say, just a little while from now, that the men of our species finally killed us all off..."

The most recent pieces are posted are at the top

Revolting Elites
Robert Kuttner

This is a very cogent explanation of the sorry state we are in politically, explaining more about the Democrats having collapsed as the party of opposition. This is important to understand; if dissenters are to have a chance to be of influence, we need to be smart about the lay of the land. " Robert Kuttner is one of the founders of "The American Prospect," my favorite political magazine.

You are either with us, or you're fired!
Michael Moore

Sometimes I think I can't stand being in this world, but, when I read Michael Moore, at least I know that a giant voice is speaking for me. He has my vote as the leader of this pack. I am campaigning for everyone to do as he says -- let him lead to develop a united force. After the satisfaction of hearing him tell it like it is -- re the collapse of the Democrats and thus any resistance to Bush -- in his latest mailing to his list here, you get to do something about it. Sign his petition: We need one thing that all of us support, or we are just little pockets of resistance. I hope Michael Moore is THE ONE! How about cutting and pasting this and send it around?

Albert Interviews Chomsky on Iraq

I almost cried reading this, I was so grateful for clear thinking about what is involved in the Iraq situation. Chomsky is my man. Thanks to listmember Michael Albert, editor of ZNet and co-editor and co-founder of Z Magazine, who conducted this interview. Chomsky isn't arguing about whether to invade, but giving the history and parameters for understanding all the aspects of this situation so that we can see where the wisdom lies. "[Saddam Hussein] is as evil as they come, ranking with Suharto and other monsters of the modern era. No one would want to be within his reach. But fortunately, his reach does not extend very far."

On The Way to Telluride, On My Way Back to the World, Michael Moore

If you care about my hero, Michael Moore, but aren't on his mailing list, and you want to guarantee yourself a cry along with your irritation at the state of the world, read this very poignant first communication in a long time from him. There are so many aspects to how this man serves us all, many of which are reflected here. Although he makes salient points along the way, I don't want to extract quotes -- this is poetry and I want you to read the whole thing.

The Long and Short of It, Robert G. Kaiser

This is a good overview of what's going on as we are poising to invade Iraq. However, at one point it offended me. It was when the author praised the early success of the war in Afghanistan, measured in so few American causalities, with no regard for the suffering and devastation it inflicted on thousands of Afghans. And then his glee over people "dancing in the streets," when the new regime hardly was worth cheering about, bothered me, too. He says:

"That first phase was triumphant. The anxiety of last fall that somehow America and its allies would be stymied in Afghanistan, as the Soviets were two decades earlier, now seems silly. Routing al Qaeda and its protector, the Taliban regime in Kabul, proved remarkably easy. Watching joyful Afghans dancing in the streets was a joyful experience. The first phase has cost more than $30 billion and 51 American lives, but the initial mission was accomplished: no more Taliban, no more safe haven for al Qaeda."

But then he went on to document how we have cut ourselves off from the rest of the world in a withdrawal into unilateralism, leading to how misguided we are in what he thinks is a done deal to invade Iraq. "What is the purpose of poking an American finger in the eye of just about every country in the world? What does the administration hope to gain by emphasizing unilateral options, from declaring war without Congress to telling other nations to sign up or get out of the way? Does such bullying ever pay off in politics, domestic or international?"

We the People, We the Warriors, Talbot Brewer

This call to intelligence, occasioned by Iraq, will make you think. (Actually, I thought about war not being an option, which goes beyond the purview of this piece as further food for thought.) "...we have fallen from this democratic element of our own Constitution to the point at which the public expresses little or no outrage when the president speaks and acts as though he has the unilateral prerogative to initiate a war in nonemergency conditions."

The Logic of Empire, George Monbiot

This is a scathing piece, urging non-cooperation with the U.S. in an invasion of Iraq, from an award winning UK journalist who writes a weekly column in The Guardian. "...the greatest threat to world peace is not Saddam Hussein, but George Bush. The nation that in the past has been our firmest friend is becoming instead our foremost enemy."

Powell: 'bastards won't drive me out', David Wastell

I was surprised that I hadn't seen this story about Colin Powell in the American press. Did I miss it, or is this oh so American tale too hot for the American media to handle? This is details aboout Colin Powell's war with the administration. Wow. "Colin Powell, the beleaguered Secretary of State, has delivered an angry riposte to the Pentagon hardliners responsible for his recent string of policy defeats - insisting to allies that he 'won't let those bastards drive me out.'"

Market Extremists Amok and How Best to Dethrone Them, Kevin Phillips

More of my education, and perhaps yours. Do you know the history of our market economy that has America so twisted in the wrong ideology? Read this to understand how we got to this untenable place, where our democracy has been co-opted by the elite. And think of subscribing to the "The American Prospect," an excellent biweekly magazine where this article appears. "Market mania has emerged as the both the pivotal crippler of U.S. democracy and the driving force behind the upward redistribution of U.S. wealth. It has made the egalitarian principles and patterns of the 1950s and 1960s vanish in a cloud of dust."

The Insider Game, Paul Krugman

More exposure of the insider corporate game that Bush now presides over. Hopefully, layer by layer, the protections that have served him will be peeled away by great journalists like Paul Krugman. I think most of us are getting a real education in what has been murky about just how the game is played. I know I am. This piece contributes. "The current crisis in American capitalism isn't just about the specific details – about tricky accounting, stock options, loans to executives, and so on. It's about the way the game has been rigged on behalf of insiders. And the Bush administration is full of such insiders."

Clearing the Air: Why I quit Bush's EPA, Eric Schaeffer

This is a shocking eye-opener, as only someone from the front lines could report. If you've got your dander up about what Bush has let corporations get away with, it may pale by comparison to what he's doing to environmental controls. This piece, by the resigned director of the EPA's Office of Regulatory Enforcement, is a clear, detailed indictment of this beyond the beyond administration. Read it and weep for our beautiful world. "The administration's own tone-deafness to the frequent conflict between the public good and private interests – reminiscent of the early Reagan years – have made this a 'teachable moment' for those who believe that big companies need oversight...the White House won't support a federal environmental enforcement program unless failing to do so will carry political costs. But as that example showed, pressure from Democrats and voters can force positive changes."

A Break-in For Peace, Howard Zinn

This came to me from William Golden, with this comment from the person who sent it to him: "It is not often that reading an article, either on line or in a magazine, brings tears to my eyes. This one did." It made me cry, too. Here's a great history lesson, from one of our best progressive voices, about a pivotal moment in the Vietnam War. The startling outcome of the trial of the Camden 28, who broke into a federal building to destroy draft records – "an act of symbolic sabotage, designed to dramatize the anguish felt by these people over the death and suffering taking place in Vietnam" – perhaps can give us some faith in the possibility that what is so misguided now can take a turn to the light. "As today we watch with some alarm a nation mobilized for war, the politicians of both parties in cowardly acquiescence, the media going timorously along, it is good to keep in mind that things do change. People learn, little by little. Lies are exposed. Wars once popular gradually come under suspicion. That happens when enough people speak and act in accord with their conscience, appealing to the American jury with the power of truth."

A Conversation with Justin Podur in Gaza, Justin Podur and Cynthia Peters

This is a snapshot of what it's actally like in Gaza, where you get a real feel for how dangerously self-defeating a policy Israel has in play. This has that ring of tell-it-like-it-is truth to it that the Net is so good for. What a horrible life has been inflicted on more than a million Palestinian everyday citizens. "You can't construct two of the world's largest prisons and then call it a state, and expect that it has anything to do with peace or justice for Palestinians...I've heard many young men and even children give voice to the idea that they have nothing left to choose but how they die."

The Corporate Abuse-reform Cycle, Edward Herman

A great history lesson about capitalism and the market – you really get the historical moment we're in, and how it is, that in spite of the outrages making headlines, nothing much figures to change in this stranglehold that our corporate culture has us in. A very informative piece by a listmember, who is long-term pre-eminent voice speaking for how our American culture, as a model, should be. "The needed reforms enumerated by 'Business Week,' suggested by the New York Stock Exchange, Business Roundtable, and various business reformers, are exceedingly modest, and the reformers are perfectly frank that the important thing is 'renewing confidence' rather than doing much of substance."

Flavors of Fraud, Paul Krugman

Paul Krugman and I are on the same page. He says, "Six months ago, in a widely denounced column, I suggested that in the end the Enron scandal would mark a bigger turning point for America's perception of itself than Sept. 11 did." This is a short sweet piece by one of our smart watchdogs that puts the schemes of recent corporate perpetrators into lay language, so we get a sense of the breadth of creative accounting that has been going on. The complicity of so many executives in these companies is what knocks me out – that thievery in high places has become such an acceptable standard. "...each of the major business scandals to emerge so far involved a different scam. So there's no comfort in saying that few other companies could have employed the same tricks used by Enron or WorldCom – surely other companies found other tricks. Second, the scams shouldn't have been all that hard to spot. For example, WorldCom now says that 40 percent of its investment last year was bogus, that it was really operating expenses. How could the people who should have been alert to the possibility of corporate fraud – auditors, banks and government regulators – miss something that big?"

Corporations Have Chokehold on U.S. Media, Rep. Bernie Sanders

Here's another tell-it-like-it-is bottom liner, this one about the stranglehold that just a few giant conglomerates have on our media so that we are not seeing a reflection of reality that could help us address the problems with the status quo. Pay attention here also to author Bernie Sanders, a name all liberals should know. He's the only person in the House who ran as an independent, and when you hear him talk you know we would be well taken care of if all legislators were like him. "The essential problem with television is not just a right-wing bias in news and programming, or the transformation of politics and government into entertainment and sensationalism. Nor is it just the constant bombardment of advertising, much of it directed at children. It's that the most important issues facing the middle-class and working people of our country are rarely discussed."

The Age of Acquiescence, Maureen Dowd

Maureen Dowd is one of the pre-eminent voices of our day. She's eloquent here – she melted my heart, and that's a good place to engage one another. Treat yourself to this rueful reminiscence about where the flower children have gone. "...we've turned into the same selfish people we thought we were against."

A New Movement for Peace, Marianne Williamson

This is a teaching speech, giving us new ways to hold the stalemates of our day. It fits well with Maureen Dowd's piece, providing some interesting speculations about how the flower children "turned into the same selfish people we thought we were against." Marianne takes us way out – or way in – to where we are solving the problems from a different level of consciousness that the one in which they were created (her homage and mine to Einstein here). "I am of a generation, which thought that we could bring peace to the world, and we didn't think it mattered if we ourselves were angry. What we learned is that an angry generation cannot bring peace."

Calm Down a Little, Stephen Huyler

I was concerned about passing this piece on. A nuclear incident is such a serious prospect that it perhaps isn't appropriate to bandy about any individual's two cents. However, this letter, about a media-hype regarding the imminence of the threat from India and Pakistan, was written by a friend of a friend – Michael Hathaway says, "Stephen Huyler is originally from Ojai, California, where our families have known each other since the mid-fifties." Seeing as I know it comes from a credible source, it seems like a valuable contribution. "I am appalled by the approach of the American media to the current violence in Kashmir. It is deeply irresponsible, sensationalistic and condescending for our headlines and reports to emphasize the 'likelihood' or 'extreme possibility' of nuclear war between India and Pakistan."

Conspiracies Or Institutions: 9-11 and Beyond, Stephen R. Shalom and Michael Albert

This is the last part of an encyclopedic rundown of all you'd ever want to know about conspiracy theorizing and its appeal to progressives. I think this is an important sobering influence that will mitigate against what I think is an unfortunate tendency. After years of grasping at explanations myself for my aversion to this practice, I am relieved at finding such a clear rundown of a position I agree with. It's not that any particular horror story couldn't be true, but something beyond that, where there is this huge band of surging conspiracy energy that fills my emails and the minds of many people who dwell on these things. I think we by and large have better things to do, and my hat's off to Stephen R. Shalom and Michael Albert for this first rate explanation of why that's so.

The Fake Persuaders, George Monbiot

This has me agog. That the Internet could be used so deviously is testimony to the supra-selfish streak that runs through humanity and makes for companies like Enron, with a corporate culture where so many individuals are complicit. That is scary. Remember the science journal, Nature, for the first time had to retract a paper about genetically modified crops fertilizing other fields? Well, just look at how Monsanto and The Bivings Group, that specializes in "internet lobbying" – read "internet deception" – engineered the campaign that got the retraction. This is a heads up piece to alert us to how shrewd deceptions can be in this brave new cyberworld. "Sometimes...real people have no idea that they are being managed by fake ones."

"Bowling for Columbine" Wins Cannes Prize, Michael Moore

Thank God for some good news. Michael Moore, whose Stupid White Men has topped best seller lists for 15 weeks, has done it again in terms of popular appeal for a pull no punches anti-Bush stance, this time with a film documentary. It will thrill you to read this – a good antidote to the rest of the news. " new film, Bowling for Columbine, was awarded the Special Prize of the 55th Cannes Film Festival. It had already made history by being the first documentary chosen to be part of the official festival competition in almost 50 years. And, last night, it was the only prize awarded that received a unanimous decision from the festival jury."

Don't Wag Your Finger at Us, Mr. Bush, Henry Porter

Is the Bush tide turning? You can see how he's headed to hit the wall in this intelligent observation about who Bush is, and of his attempt to enroll Europe in his plans for Iraq. "The President's lecture tour of Europe and Russia reminds us how little experience he has of foreign affairs and how recent is his discovery of the history and complexities of issues which have been unquestionably better covered and probably better understood in Europe than in the US. As if to underline this point, the US Joint Chiefs of Staff have used the Commander-in-Chief's absence from Washington to reveal their deep concerns about any attack on Iraq."

What Did Bush Know? Michael Albert

A great piece for progressives to recalibrate, so we all can stay on the same page. This cuts through the fascination with what Bush knew when, which moves incompetence centerstage, and takes the spotlight off the real crimes of commission, not omission. "Of course these agencies lack competence. Moreover, what good does demonstrating the incompetence of U.S. intelligence agencies do peace and justice?...The irony is that the question 'what did Bush know before 9/11?' may be the only 'what did he know' question that Bush can answer without revealing a grotesque value system."

Apartheid in the Holy Land, Desmond Tutu

Would that the world were populated by people like Desmond Tutu. It is hard for me to conceive of anyone arguing with his perspective on the Middle East. (See our Conversation on the Middle East for someone who did.) "I am not pro-this people or that. I am pro-justice, pro-freedom. I am anti- injustice, anti-oppression."

How Wal-Mart is Remaking our World, Jim Hightower

Jim Hightower is a great read, and this piece, which is the centerpiece of his current newsletter, the "Hightower Lowdown," will hold your attention. The price being paid in human misery for us to get cheap goods at Walmart is a sad commentary on the state of the world of oneness – not. "Corporations rule...The media and politicians won’t discuss this, for obvious reasons, but we must if we’re actually to be a self-governing people. That’s why the Lowdown is launching this occasional series of corporate profiles. And why not start with the biggest and one of the worst actors?"

Gaza City: Sharon's War On The Future – An Eyewitness Recounts Israel's Military Action, Benjamin Dov Granby

This is a first hand account from a Palestinian about Ramallah. I wonder if anyone would dispute it. This story portrays the outrage Sharon's Israelis are perpetrating, that only can destroy hopes for any peaceful, negotiated resolution – confirming that Sharon's idea is to resolve the situation by destroying this generation of Palestinians. I hope it is a help in seeing that the Israel we love is being steered by the reprehensible behavior of this Israeli government. "...under the cloak of a 'war against terrorism,' Sharon, ever the pragmatist, took the opportunity to also destroy any vestige of a viable Palestinian society, one that could someday flourish as an independent nation. By rhetorically subsuming all Palestinian citizenry into the archetype of bloodthirsty terrorists, he has gotten away with sabotaging any future alternatives to Yassir Arafat, be they lawyers, doctors or educators, and he has forever embittered the whole of Palestinian society."

If You Want a Free Vote, Ask Nicely, Terry Jones

I've been waiting for the right piece on Venezuela. How much horror about what America does in meddling where we have no business can we stand to read about? This was a breath of funny air – well, sort of funny. At least it's through a relatable lens, with a delicious tongue in its cheek. "...although Mr. Chavez 'was democratically elected' one had to bear in mind that 'legitimacy is something that is conferred not just by a majority of the voters, however' [sic]. Clearly, this involves a fundamental re-evaluation of what we understand by democracy, and I offer here some thoughts on the principles - other than counting votes - which might confer legitimacy."

To the Courageous Soldiers Who Say "NO!", Benjamin von Mendelssohn

This made me cry – beyond who is right and who is wrong and which side anyone is on is the pure horror of war. (I wrote a little piece about it in November, 2001, Making War Unthinkable). May the call swell in volume till it is heard round the world. "This is the disease of a male society. We get trained what it means to be a man right from the beginning. We hardly get trained what it means to be a human. But we young men should grow up instead of just growing old."

U.S. Jews Cannot Acquiesce to Sharon's Monstrous Behavior, Robert Scheer

I get some flack for taking sides, but I do so openly. This Website is for peope who think like I do – not in black and white, in an old paradigm win and lose mentality, but in reverence for the oneness in which we must find the love of ourselves, each other, and our home on this planet. I am on that side. Now, how we operate in support of this ideology is indeed what this website is here to discern, and there can be disagreement and colloquy about that. However, in our oneness, morality is its core, and there is still right and wrong. And, inside that idea of oneness based on morality, I am in shock and horror at what my fellow Jews are doing to the Arabs in the Middle East. If you find this too oppositional – too contrary to my stated ideals – well, either we can hash it out or you can go where you find someplace you would not consider so biased. But, from my perspective, blessings on Robert Scheer for his L.A. Times Opinion piece that is what I think all us Jewish people should hearken to: "Not that anyone asked me, but those are not my tanks careening around the West Bank bringing fear and havoc in their wake. Yet they are marked as Jewish tanks and consequently they and I bear some familial resemblance on my mother's side. I am thus obligated to consider what cruelty is being done in the name of defending my people."

Open Letter to American Jews, Assaf Oron, a Jewish refusenik

The Israeli/Palestinian plight is a situation far more complex than I have any right to be definitive about. Still it seems that a tide is turning to feeling compassion for the suffering on the Palestinian side. In that light, I was very moved by this letter by a disaffected Israeli, thinking it provides unusual insight into the human drama going on.

This Sinking Ship of Fools, William Rivers Pitt

William Rivers Pitt, with this piece, catches up with Robert Jensen as having the most Five Star Pieces (3) on our site. I don't know how this guy can be so smart (I asked him – stay tuned – good news is that he's on our list so I look forward to getting an answer). The bad news is how depressing this piece is. But if you want to look an impossible reality square on, with all its twisted turns (read Palestine and Israel, Afghanistan and Iraq ), give yourself a headache paying attention to this. "American blood will be spent in a too little-too late engagement between Israel and Palestine to assure that more American blood will be spent in a cynically-conceived attack on Iraq. Add to this scenario the fact that our war in Afghanistan is far from over – indeed, it may not be finished for a long time if 100 years of regional history holds true – and that the administration foolishly and dangerously put the nuclear option on the table...This is not foreign policy. It is chaos."


Stupid White Men Shoots to #1 on New York Times Bestseller List – Bush/Cheney Prepare to Weep and Leave, Michael Moore

Ten Star Piece. This is thrilling. It is such obvious evidence of widespread belief that opposition to this administration is not unpatriotic. It is our doorway out of despair, where we believed ourselves to be powerless. Once we get it that there is another side, we can start to strengthen it. Dennis Kucinich and Barbara Lee are other cornerstones. Stay tuned for what we can do!!!

Enron: The Slow Burn, William Rivers Pitt

If you were wondering if Enron was not going to fulfill its promise to become this administration's Watergate – or, perhaps more precisely, this democracy's Watergate – take heed of William Pitt's sharp reportage (there's another Five Star piece of his we posted, Hell to Pay, a chilling perspective on how 9/11 came to pass). "Watergate burned slow and hot for two years before it lit the sky. The deliberate process behind Congress's Enron investigation is eerily reminiscent of this. One thing is certain: the ground in Washington is slowly heating up. One does not need to see a pillar of smoke to know a fire is burning."

Axis Of Evil – in Washington, D.C., Edward Herman

Wow. This is a pull-no-puncher. It's hard to read because it rings so true – a truth telling that Michael Moore does funnier, but it is the same story. We are imperiled by this administration, and you will never get a clearer picture than this. Put it in the treasure chest of the new uprising of true patriotism to create the world that conscious, heartfelt people want. "What is notable about their agenda is that it flies in the face of all of the requirements for peace, global democracy, economic equity and justice, ecological and environmental protection, and global stability. It represents the choice of an overpowerful country's elite, determined to consolidate their economic and political advantage in the short run, at whatever cost to global society."

US Morality Distorted by September 11, Robert Fisk

If this plea to Europe to step in to take over from an America that has lost its moral compass were not written by Robert Fisk, I would think it was Arab propaganda – but Fisk is the eminent English journalist who was badly beaten in Afghanistan awhile back. When he excoriates America more bitingly and universally than I have read from any Western journalist, best the world listen. "When Washington’s top military men are so dishonest, is it any surprise that Israeli tanks can open fire on refugee camps without any serious response from the US or blast cars carrying children because they want to kill their father?...I’m beginning to suspect that Sept. 11 is turning into a curse far greater than the original bloodbath of that day, that America’s absorption with that terrible event is in danger of distorting our morality. Is the anarchy of Afghanistan and the continuing slaughter in the Middle East really to be the memorial for the thousands who died on Sept. 11?"

Kucinich Rocks the Boat, John Nichols

This is a perfect companion piece to Michael Moore's letter, our last Five Star Piece. It reports on the overwhelming response to a speech by Dennis Kucinich – again, we see that those who oppose the Bush mania for war and other atrocities are very alive and very well. Next thing you know, we could become a force. This report gets it right – after umpteen emails that have it wrong – that Barbara Lee was the first heroic Congressperson to oppose giving Bush war power. With people like Barbara and Dennis and Michael out there, we can all breathe a little easier – and step up our efforts to rally ourselves. "[Kucinich] admits he underestimated the depth of the discomfort until February 17, when he delivered a speech to the Southern California Americans for Democratic Action, in which he declared, 'Let us pray that our country will stop this war.' ...Kucinich's 'Prayer for America' speech was interrupted by repeated standing ovations. But the real measure of the message's resonance came as the text of the speech circulated on the Internet - -where a genuine worldwide web of opposition to the Administration's actions led to the posting of Kucinich's words on websites and dispatched them via e-mail."

Re STUPID WHITE MEN...And Other Sorry Excuses for the State of the Nation! – a Letter from Michael Moore

I am posting this letter a month after it was widely circulated in email – just before publication of STUPID WHITE MEN, – because of heartening developments since then. After the book came out, February 19, 2002, having narrowly averted shredding as out-of-keeping with post 9/11 patriotism, lo and behold it shot to the top of best seller lists. On his site, Mike says, "Pundits and publishers are stunned. 'But the president has an 80% approval rating!' There's something going on here, and they don't know what it is." It's life-giving to know we are not some teeny fringe, where we would not think we could muster opposition. People are applauding Mike's message (I was at the talk he gave to more than a thousand cheering people in Los Angeles last Friday night) – that we need a bigger tent than narrow two-party politics, to hold all the people of goodwill who want what neither party supplies. And, his encouragement of individuals and small groups to take action, with dramatic examples from his life of how powerful feisty truthtellers can be. Applause and appreciation for a message we here take to heart, feisty as we are.

Allies Hear Sour Notes in 'Axis of Evil' Chorus, David E. Sanger

This is a compelling composite of the alarm from the rest of the world that was triggered by the Bush "Axis of Evil" speech, where, after a new found American spirit of alliance, post 9/11, Bush is reverting to an America-first braggadocio. "...a new and glaring rift emerges between the White House and America's allies over how to pursue the next phase of the war on terrorism...In appearances across the country, he has built on the 'axis of evil' phraseology of his State of the Union address, knowing full well that each repetition irritates and divides the countries he once hailed as his great coalition partners."

Bush Counts on a War Without End, Thomas Walkom

Here's an example of what they are saying outside America – this from the mainstream Canadian press – that runs counter to the unbridled enthusiasm in this country for the Bush war machine. Reading this makes you cringe for how shallow the thinking is here, where we don't recognize how useful this war is to the administration. "It has provided oomph to the sagging U.S. economy and a new raison d'etre for the alliance of politicos, defence contractors and security specialists who make up what former U.S. president Dwight Eisenhower christened the military-industrial complex."

State of the Enron, Frank Rich

OK, it's more Enronitis, but too bitingly delicious not to add to your reading pleasure. When writers as good as Frank Rich show up this visibly (i.e. the New York Times), can serious attention to government corruption not be far behind? "Enron may be as much a cultural scandal as it is a business and political scandal. It is, as one friend puts it, as if a window had opened and revealed the way it all really works. What we see is a world in which insiders get to play by one set of rules – entrée to Enron side partnerships that could turn minimal investments into millions overnight – while the unconnected and uninitiated pick up the bill."

Pricey Prime Time Propaganda: Anti-Drug Adverts and the Super Bowl, Zara Gelsey

As the crises of our day call for fundamental rethinking of our policies, here's a discouraging report. All our government seems to know how to do is make war, which precludes what it could be doing that actually solves things. This piece, about TV ads that will run during the Super Bowl, is a clear articulation of the folly of our nation's drug policies. "...message: if you use illegal drugs, then you support is not users of illegal drugs who are supporting terrorism, but the ONDCP’s [Office of National Drug Control Policy] own prohibition policies. By its very nature, drug prohibition creates inflated prices and a black market through which billions of untraceable dollars flow...Rather than paint illegal drug use as unpatriotic, the U.S. government should recognize that the freedom to control one’s own consciousness is a fundamental right."

Crime in the Suites, William Greider

On the road to another Watergate – not Whitewater – you could not have better reading material than this. It is hard to extract quotes from a piece so densely packed with condemnations of all aspects of our power-brokering system, and mind-boggling examples of how the super-rich soak the world. "Enron makes visible a more profound scandal – the failure of market orthodoxy itself. Enron, accompanied by a supporting cast from banking, accounting and Washington politics, is a virtual piñata of corrupt practices and betrayed obligations to investors, taxpayers and voters...The corporate transgressions could not have occurred if the supposedly independent watchdogs in the system had not failed to execute their obligations...Do not count on 'independent' auditors, as Arthur Andersen vividly demonstrated at Enron...The other obvious deformity exposed by Enron is the insidious corruption of democracy by political money...The market ideology has produced the best government that money can buy. The looting is unlikely to end so long as democracy is for sale."

Hell to Pay, William Rivers Pitt

This may be too hot to handle, but I am a sizzly sort. And I like the tongue this author has in his incendiary cheek – this is one good read. "O'Neill quit the FBI in protest two weeks before the destruction of the World Trade Center towers. He did so because his investigation was hindered by the Bush administration's connections to the Taliban, and by the interests of American petroleum companies...In essence, the Federal agent who knew more about bin Laden than any living American was kept from investigating terrorist threats against this country...If these allegations prove true, Bush and his friends allowed this affinity to hamstring investigations that could have thwarted bin Laden's September plans."

Muslims and the West After September 11, Pervez Hoodbhoy

This is a clearly written history of the rise and fall of the Islamic world by someone vitally absorbed in what he writes about. It is nuanced thinking that we desperately need to grapple realistically with the complex realities of our day. It argues that terrorism cannot be resolved simply through military domination, but that a critical re-examination of US imperial arrogance and Islamic religious fanaticism is imperative if the roots of terrorism are to be fully understood and an imminent 'Century of Terror' to be avoided. Its radical conclusion is, "Our collective survival lies in recognizing that religion is not the solution; neither is nationalism. Both are divisive, embedding within us false notions of superiority and arrogant pride that are difficult to erase. We have but one choice: the path of secular humanism, based upon the principles of logic and reason."

[Click here to read Suzanne's response to this piece.]

The Innocent Dead in a Coward's War, Seumas Milne

I wonder if anyone can read this and stay dry-eyed. Do we as a people deserve to prevail with our unspeakable disdain for the oneness and sacredness of human life? " least 3,767 civilians were killed by US bombs between October 7 and December 10...The figure does not include those who died later of bomb injuries; nor those killed in the past 10 days; nor those who have died from cold and hunger because of the interruption of aid supplies or because they were forced to become refugees by the bombardment. It does not include military deaths...or those prisoners who were slaughtered in Mazar-i-Sharif, Qala-i-Janghi, Kandahar airport and elsewhere."

Civil Liberties, Timothy Egan

This came in my email with this well put comment: "How possible will it prove to be for men and women of conscience and good will to continue standing up? We may be in for some scary times." It is hard for me to believe how far we are from living the greatness of our ideological underpinnings. Scary indeed. "'For the first time in my life, I can see how something like the Japanese internment camps could happen in our country.'"

Dispatch from Anthrakistan, Martin A. Lee

What's written about here is fast becoming THE story, only to be eclipsed if we get another attack. It is what will destroy us by our own hand if no one else does the job. "Let's proclaim him King George. It's a fitting appellation for a sovereign who rules by capricious whim and exercises power without judicial scrutiny or statutory authorization...."

After U.S. Massacre of Taliban POWs: The Stench of Death and More Media Lies, Jerry White

This has a horrible ring of truth to it. I keep thinking I am ashamed to be an American in the face of our government's policies. What this piece reports makes my mortified – and terrified at what we deserve to get back. "But the networks and newspapers refused to say what was obvious: that the bloodbath in Mazar-i-Sharif was a massacre, directed and chiefly carried out by the US–a war crime recalling such atrocities as the Nazi slaughters of World War II and the My Lai Massacre."

Clinton Calls Terror a US Debt to Past, Joseph Curl

"We've got to defeat people who think they can find their redemption in our destruction. And then we have to be smart enough to get rid of our arrogant self-righteousness so that we don't claim for ourselves things we deny for others." Woa. This is a hot shit Clinton. Does this make me see a role he could play – a real truth teller, not beholden to anyone to give us spin. His past still haunts, however – hard to cheer the truth teller when he was a liar a short time ago.

Al-Qaida is Winning War, Allies Warned, Tania Branigan

The authority that Sir Michael Howard has is valuable in reassuring us that antiwar feelings aren't misguided. "The British in their time have fought many such 'wars'; in Palestine, in Ireland, in Cyprus and in Malaya...we called them 'emergencies'. This meant that the police and intelligence services were provided with exceptional powers, and were reinforced where necessary by the armed forces, but all continued to operate within a peacetime framework of civil authority."

An opinion from the Netherlands, Anton Philips

This is a concise and cogent call to peacemakers: "Let's share ideas – feed each other with our thoughts and actions."

Keynote Address by Bill Moyers – Environmental Grantmakers Assn. Conference

This is so scathing that I might have thought it was biased if it came from someone else, but this is Bill Moyers, who is speaking more critically about the administration that any other mainstream journalist. This is a very eye-opening piece about the deadly folly of the Bush administration – and the beauty of the human spirit.

47 Questions and Answers, Michael Albert & Stephen R. Shalom

This is a great primer for "assistance in the difficult task of raising consciousness among those who don't yet oppose this war." I went to questions I'm shaky on and got very intelligent focus from their answers.

Killing Them Softly: Starvation And Dollar Bills For Afghan Kids, Norman Solomon

Straight talk. "...the Bush administration's aptitude for shameless propaganda. While the Pentagon keeps dropping tons of bombs, it scatters some meals to the winds. While the U.S. government persists with a bombing campaign that shows every sign of resulting in mass starvation, the president urges the young people of the United States to send in dollar bills – 'to join in a special effort to help the children of Afghanistan.'"

They Opted to Bomb; It Had Better Work, Simon Jenkins

A revealing and scathing expose about America, and the politics and folly of war – a surprising British point of view. "Those who wanted to concentrate on counter-terrorism, covert operations and 'coercive diplomacy' and who protested that bombing would endanger their work, have lost."

A New Marshall Plan, Dick Bell & Michael Renner

A compelling argument, drawing a parallel between the needs of our time and what gave rise to the Marshall Plan after World War II. "The United States and the other industrial nations should launch a global 'Marshall Plan' to provide everyone on earth with a decent standard of living."

War of Lies, Rahul Mahajan & Robert Jensen

Chilling pointing of fingers at the power elite, who gain from this war, and who sacrifice lives as they preach a self-serving humanitarianism. And a call for action: "The next step is for us to build a movement that can change our government’s barbaric and self-destructive policy...George Bush said we are not at war with the Afghan people...The hundreds of thousands of Afghans who fled the cities knew better..."

A Columbian Student Speaks His Mind, Filipe Toro

Revealing what is in the minds of nice people who hate us – posted on a list by someone from Colombia, who sees it firsthand. "...instead of a global army system that protect the 'civilized world' there should be a Global Education System that teach every young generation, no matter color or frontier, how to live in harmony with others, with nature."

A Public Talk by Thich Nhat Hanh

A teaching about a practice of compassionate concern that could be our new national modus operandi. "If we know how to water the seed of wisdom and compassion in will be able to bring relief right away to our nation, to our world. That is my conviction...if we know how to listen as a nation to their suffering, we can already bring a lot of relief. They will feel that they are being understood. That can diffuse the bomb already."

Welcome to the Relationship Age, Terry Mollner

This is a sophisticated body of thought, inviting us to come out of a familiar pattern governed by dualistic thinking into seeing in wholes. This piece is a teaching about the way we need to become in the one world we occupy. "...thinking at the level of maturity of the Relationship Age is the essential first step to be effective. Only unity around this pattern of thought will ultimately end war and terrorism..."

America's Unlimited War, Rahul Mahajan & Robert Jensen

More outrage and exposé about the folly of our just war. "Ordinary Americans are beginning to see that we are connected more to Afghan peasants, in our shared vulnerability, than to any of the people with the fingers on the triggers – the terrorists or the man in the White House."

Why I Will Not Rally Around the President, Robert Jensen

An anti-war paean. "We must also agree not to give in to the urge to value the lives of innocent Americans over the lives of innocent people in other countries...I am on the side of the people – no matter where they live – who will suffer the violence, not the leaders...I am on the side of peace, not war. I am on the side of justice, not vengeance."

Love and Fear, Yael Lachman

The value of this piece is that it doesn't just say to choose love over fear, which is a hard sell at such an incendiary time, but it shows you the landscape in which that can occur. "...plant yourself in the middle of that which you love will tell you exactly what this broken world needs from you. This is your holy work."

New Holy War Against Evil? A Buddhist Response, David R. Loy

Profound Buddhist sense making to let us see beneath the simplistic mask of good and evil that will keep us at war. "If the world is a battleground of good and evil forces, the evil that is in the world must be fought by any means necessary...It keeps us from looking deeper, from trying to discover causes...the introspection necessary to see our own karmic responsibility for the terrible acts that have befallen us."

Bomb Them with Butter, Bribe Them with Hope, Kent Madin

I would make this my chief advocacy – not the ineffective food drop we are engaged in, but something massive, like this piece describes. "We need to take away the well of despair, ignorance and brutality from which the Osama bin Laden's of the world water their gardens of terror."

Painful Roots, Camilo Belli

This is a special piece – a courageous and chilling voice that must be heard. Camilo Belli is "a memorable former student from 5-6 years ago" of a friend of mine who teaches high school at Crossroads, a very fine school in Los Angeles. "Growing up in Managua, Nicaragua in the 1980s, I was terrified by the American sponsored intervention in my country."

Unsettled Dust, Jon Ward

Jon Ward is a friend of a good friend of mine. This is a brave call to tell the truth about our weakness, recognizing that it's the truth that let's us discover the love that is our deeper resource. "To accept our powerlessness seems to me an urgent task because it is precisely what strips us to our common humanity. It mocks our tribalism and dissolves our hubris."

Ramblings, Allan Savory

If this "civilian strategy to win the peace we all seek" had been the one we adopted, all the wishes of the most intelligent anti-war advocates would have been fulfilled. This is a fast education on how the world works and how it could work. Because he made the kind of sense he's making about our situation when he was the opposition leader in their Parliament, Allan Savory was exiled from Rhodesia. "I only went into politics in my country as a junior army officer with a deep knowledge of guerrilla warfare to try to end a senseless war of self-destruction. But over the twenty years that I have been a ‘political has-been’ I have never ceased to try to think of ways nations might end such violence. And I have never ceased to work on the causes underlying most worldwide violence."

[For developing conversation between Suzanne and Allan, visit their conversation page..."I saw in the report from a client about your work that 'it truly provides a framework for saving our world.' My God, this is too good not to bring it to the fore." Suzanne]

The Deeper Wound, Deepak Chopra

Of all the pieces in the first outpourings, Deepak Chopra's, saying that what we are dealing with is our "collective soul," is the one that affected me most. If we don't look for root causes deep inside humanity, how will we ever get out of this? "None of us will feel safe again behind the shield of military might and stockpiled arsenals. There can be no safety until the root cause is faced." Someone liked this enough to print it in a full page ad in the New York Times.

Understanding Osama Bin Laden, William O. Beeman

The author has his lights on. He makes the invaluable point, which we still haven't gotten, that, "This event is not an isolated instance of violence. This is not an 'act of war.' It is one symptom of a cancer that threatens to metastasize." What good will our fingers in the dyke do us when the enemy relentlessly keeps opening more holes? "The perpetrators of the original attack on the World Trade Center in 1993 were caught and convicted. This did not stop the attack on Tuesday."


Message from the Inner Realms on the Attack on America, David Spangler

David Spangler is the philosopher from Findhorn who brought a spirit named John through, years ago, in two incredibly intelligent little pamphlets called, Conversations with John. " spite of what many may say about America's responsibility, this action was not primarily one of retribution or of paying a price. It was an act of sacrifice, a deliberate taking on of a portion of the world's hatred and suffering..."

Crop Circles and World War III, Doctress Neutopia

This poem came from a friend in email. "...Crop Circles is all I could think of since our madness is out of control and our love not strongth enough to create a vision of a new world. Their mysterious messages are the answer if we could only read!"

Loving the Terrorists, David Diggs

This should be a must read. Even though I'm Jewish, I recognize that David speaks profound truth of spirit, and galvanizes the anti war position better than anything I've read. I can picture us on our knees. Helpless. Where to turn but to love? Or, rather, what to fall into but love, that's deeper than the antagonism which is so understandable now?


Upon this gifted age, in its dark hour,
Rains from the sky a meteoric shower
Of facts...they lie unquestioned, uncombined.
Wisdom enough to leech us of our ill
Is daily spun, but there exists no loom
To weave it into fabric...

-Edna St. Vincent Millay-

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