Friday, August 11, 2006


A moment of clarity -- a Joe-free comment

Sometimes people commit suicide.  Sometimes they do it passively.   Sometimes they do it deliberately.   Sometimes it is over in an instant.   Sometimes it takes years.  Sometimes it is done out of anger, or desperation, or madness, or ignorance.   Sometimes it is a final defiant act in the face of untenable choices.   But one thing never changes.   It always hurts the people left behind.

When I think about the Hezbollah rockets and the recent Israeli cabinet vote to expand the fighting, they both strike me as suicidal, but in very different ways.  This brings to mind a third example very different from either of those two.

I was very young when it happened.  But the image left an impression on me and everyone who saw it.  I guess it comes to mind because like a finger pointing to the Moon, it points to A Third Way - a way out of this mess.

One summer day much like today, an aged Buddhist monk sat down in the middle of a busy intersection. As a large crowd of Buddhists and reporters watched, another monk poured gasoline over him. Seated in the traditional lotus position, clutching Buddhist prayer-beads in one hand and a box of matches in the other, he gently lit a match and burst into flames.

A New York Times reporter, David Halberstam, later wrote:

I was too shocked to cry, too confused to take notes or ask questions, too bewildered to even think.... As he burned he never moved a muscle, never uttered a sound, his outward composure in sharp contrast to the wailing people around him."
There was no note, no polemic, no explanation.  This forced people to confront the disturbing image and meditate on its significance.  Many interpreted this act as a  protest against the intolerable gap between morality and the reality of the Diem regime. It was later explained that by taking the pose of Buddha, Thich Quang Duc was "indicating to both Vietnamese and Americans a morality and a responsibility for others that lay beyond the divisions of political systems and culture."

When Most Venerable Thich Quang Duc was later cremated for burial, his heart did not burn.

This sacred relic is revered in Viet Nam as a symbol of the Holy Heart, the Buddhist version of the Catholic's Sagrado Corazón, or Sacred Heart of Jesus.

In the hustle and bustle of the digital age, when honest-to-goodness discussions are becoming as antiquated and quaint as tea parties and calling cards, Most Venerable Thich Quang Duc reaches across time and space to remind us there is more to life than politics.  The real key is connection.


"That which is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor.
That is the whole Torah; the rest is commentary." -- Hillel

Monday, August 07, 2006


No body. No crime.
How to get away with murder.

Most of you may not recognize this image:

Those are US National Guardsmen in the foreground attacking unarmed students on the hill at Ohio's Kent State University in May, 1970.  Seems like ancient history, doesn't it?  Times have changed, right?

From Kent State to Police State
Some will say, "We're focused on the future!  We are working to win back the congress!"  Who cares history?  Well, you should care -- if you care about what congress will be able to achieve in 2007 and beyond.   Let me show you.  Come with me to the scene of another crime against citizens of the republic that recently happened in Ohio: The theft of the 2004 election  You need to hurry up.  In 30 days the smoking gun will be history.   Unless you act now.

Here's the good news:  You can help preserve the evidence we need to bring criminals to justice.
Here's the bad news: We've only got 30 days to act.  

I'm talking about impeachment.I'm talking about jail-time.  Some may think that once Democrats gain control of the Congress, Conyers' excellent tome with all its footnotes and extensive leg-work is going to be enough to hang the bastards who have been working nonstop to bury the constitution.   Unfortunately, that is necessary but not sufficient.

If we are going to have support for that, we need something concrete people can sink their teeth into and the opposition can't ignore, spin, or deny.  Think about the reaction of people to $300,000,000,000.00 in supplemental spendings... a big yawn.  $3 a gallon... that's a whole different matter.  People can relate to that.

We can talk about voter fraud and Diebold hacking with flash memory cards or the need for a paper trail, but you quickly get PEGO (People's Eyes Glazing Over) after about 10 seconds.  We need a smoking gun.  We need something for people to relate to.  We need evidence they can put their hands on and go "Holy Cow! It's true!"

What would the evidence look like? It would look like the contents of this box:

Pretty boring looking, isn't it? Well what if I told you those are the actual ballots from the Ohio election?  What if I told you they are slated for destruction on September 3, 2006?  

What if I told you, there is something you can do to help preserve this evidence?  Would you do it?  Or would you walk on by and look for something fun to rant about from the safety of your keyboard?
Make no mistake.

It's time to make a choice: Pre-emptive action now, or Perennial Whining later?  If you are even thinking about acting, now is the time. Click on the image below to make your voice heard.

The Columbus Institue for Contemporary Journalism

I don't believe in soliciting for people unless I can tell you who they are and where the money is going.  You may not know who the people behind CICJ are, so let me tell you a bit about their history.  CICJ is the nonprofit arm of the Columbus Free Press.

The original Columbus Free Press grew out of the anti-war movement on the campus of Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio in October 1970. Inspired by the activism against the Vietnam War and the senseless killings at Kent State, the underground paper was published for 25-years (1970-1995).

The Free Press published it's 25th anniversary edition in 1995 and temporarily folded.  Fortunately, they were early adopters to technology.  The Free Press was resurrected as a website in early 1996. The website grew and now includes articles by such notable writers as Molly Ivins, George Palast, and Harvey Wasserman.  The printed publication re-emerged as a quarterly journal in the Winter of 1998.

With time, the Free Press founders grew older, less militant, and got jobs.  But the paper survived. The Columbus Institute for Contemporary Journalism,a nonprofit organization, was founded in 1986 as the sponsor of the Free Press newspaper.  Today it is embroiled in the fight to protect the vote.

We are talking about a classic grass-roots organization forged in the cauldron of dissent and watered with the blood of patriots.

We are talking about a continuous thread of participatory democracy.

We are talking about journalists who fight valiantly for the rights of citizens long after the corporate media packs up its bags.

We are talking about survivors who refuse to back down from a tough fight.

We are talking about the last best chance to secure evidence we need to bring people to justice and restore the Republic.

These aren't merely Ivory Tower academics.  The executive director for the Columbus Institute of Contemporary Journalism is Bob Fitrakis and he is running for Governor of Ohio.  He has been fighting against Diebold for years. "How a Republican Election Supervisor Manipulated the 2004 Central Ohio Vote" was Project Censored's #3 Most Censored story in the world in 2005!  In the WORLD!!!!

These people in Ohio are fighting for our rights.    These people deserve our support.  These people are running out of time.  Will you give them your support or will you change the channel? Corporations exercise their free speech with their wallets. Now you can too.


Clean Energy, Clean Environment, Clean Politics, Clean House!

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