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Welcome to my blog, a quasi-weekly column on topics and issues that have my attention, or that are intended to inform or inspire--including the following reminder:

"Realize why you're here, and be about it!"

My enemy, myself

My weekly silent protest of the war in Afghanistan was cancelled last Friday due to rain.  Instead, I attended a Conflict Management workshop based on Marshall Rosenberg’s principles of Nonviolent Communication. 

Nonviolent Communication postulates that underneath every attack, complaint, or criticism is an unmet need.  If you can help someone articulate their unmet need and empathize with it (we all share common needs), you will go a long way towards defusing the conflict.  From there it might even be possible to move toward a mutually agreeable solution. 

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There is only one of us here to change

Not Doing

You may think that
if only we could oust some of our politicians
or the presidents and CEOs of multinational corporations
or even kill them...
yes, kill them all!
then we would have a better world
a cleaner world
a more equitable world.

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Consciousness is causal Meditations on protest

A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death. -- Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

For the last six weeks, I’ve been conducting my own silent protest of the war in Afghanistan.  On Fridays from noon to 1:00 p.m., I stand on a busy street corner in downtown Santa Barbara with two signs.  One reads, “The war in Afghanistan is wrong: morally, financially, and strategically.”  The other says, “We’re creating the enemy we’re trying to quell.”

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Consciousness is causal A world that works for all of us

Two thousand nine ended with a blue moon—a rarity that won’t occur again until 2027.  In some ways, the entire year was a rarity:  the United States inaugurated its first African-American President, suffered its worst recession since the Great Depression, foreclosed more homes than ever before, saw 49 million Americans face food “insecurity,” while 15.3 million joined the ranks of the unemployed.  We debated the adequacy of the nation’s resources to cover the basic health needs of all Americans, yet saw fit to earmark another $30 billion to escalate our military presence in Afghanistan and to pass the biggest defense budget in history (between $880 billion and $1.03 trillion depending upon how you define “defense”).  Although 2,973 Americans died in 9/11, we have killed more than 100,000 Iraqi civilians since and still have not achieved our idea of justice.  Now we’re dispatching 30,000 troops to hunt down less than 100 Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and sending drones to disrupt weddings in Pakistan.  There was an opportunity to channel some of this aggression into combating global warming at the International Conference in Copenhagen, but that opportunity went unfulfilled.


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