An Open Letter to President Obama …from Michael Moore
Monday, November 19th, 2012
Dear President Obama:
Good luck on your journeys overseas this week, and congratulations on decisively winning your second term as our president! The first time you won four years ago, most of us couldn’t contain our joy and found ourselves literally in tears over your victory.
This time, it was more like breathing a huge sigh of relief. But, like the smooth guy you are, you scored the highest percentage of the vote of any Democrat since Lyndon Johnson, and you racked up the most votes for a Democratic president in the history of the United States (the only one to receive more votes than you was … you, in ’08!). You are the first Democrat to get more than 50% of the vote twice in a row since Franklin D. Roosevelt.
This was truly another historic election and I would like to take a few minutes of your time to respectfully ask that your second term not resemble your first term.
It’s not that you didn’t get anything done. You got A LOT done. But there are some very huge issues that have been left unresolved and, dammit, we need you to get some fight in you. Wall Street and the uber-rich have been conducting a bloody class war for over 30 years and it’s about time they were stopped.
I know it is not in your nature to be aggressive or confrontational. But, please, Barack – DO NOT listen to the pundits who are telling you to make the “grand compromise” or move to the “center” (FYI – you’re already there). Your fellow citizens have spoken and we have rejected the crazed ideology of this Republican Party and we insist that you forcefully proceed in bringing about profound change that will improve the lives of the 99%. We’re done hoping. We want real change. And, if we can’t get it in the second term of a great and good man like you, then really – what’s the use? Why are we even bothering? Yes, we’re that discouraged and disenchanted.
At your first post-election press conference last Wednesday you were on fire. The way you went all “Taxi Driver” on McCain and company (“You talkin’ to me?”) was so brilliant and breathtaking I had to play it back a dozen times just to maintain the contact high. Jesus, that look – for a second I thought laser beams would be shooting out of your eyes! MORE OF THAT!! PLEASE!!
In the weeks after your first election you celebrated by hiring the Goldman Sachs boys and Wall Street darlings to run our economy. Talk about a buzzkill that I never fully recovered from. Please – not this time. This time take a stand for all the rest of us – and if you do, tens of millions of us will not only have your back, we will swoop down on Congress in a force so large they won’t know what hit them (that’s right, McConnell – you’re on the retirement list we’ve put together for 2014).
BUT – first you have to do the job we elected you to do. You have to take your massive 126-electoral vote margin and just go for it.
Here are my suggestions:
1. DRIVE THE RICH RIGHT OFF THEIR FISCAL CLIFF. The “fiscal cliff” is a ruse, an invention by the Right and the rich, to try and keep their huge tax breaks. On December 31, let ALL the tax cuts expire. Then, on January 1, put forth a bill that restores the tax cuts for 98% of the public. I dare the Republicans to vote against that! They can’t and they won’t. As for the spending cuts, the 2011 agreement states that, for every domestic program dollar the Republicans want to cut, a Pentagon dollar must also be cut. See, you are a genius! No way will the Right vote against the masters of war. And if by some chance they do, you can immediately put forth legislation to restore all the programs we, the majority, approve of. And for God’s sake, man – declare Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid untouchable. They’re not bankrupt or anywhere near it. If the rich paid the same percentage of Social Security tax on their entire income – the same exact rate everyone else pays – then there will suddenly be enough money in Social Security to last til at least the year 2080!
2. END ALL THE WARS NOW. Do not continue the war in Afghanistan (a thoroughly losing proposition if ever there was one) for two full more years! Why should one single more person have to die FOR NO REASON? Stop it. You know it’s wrong. Bin Laden’s dead, al Qaeda is decimated and the Afghans have to work out their own problems. Also, end the drone strikes and other covert military activities you are conducting in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Colombia and God knows where else. You think history is going to remember the United States as a great democracy? No, they’re going to think of us as a nation that became addicted to war. They’ll call us warlords. They’ll say that in the 21st century America was so in need of oil that we’d kill anyone to get it. You know that’s where this is going. This has to stop. Now.
3. END THE DRUG WAR. It is not only an abysmal failure, it has returned us to the days of slavery. We have locked up millions of African-Americans and Latinos and now fund a private prison-industrial complex that makes billions for a few lucky rich people. There are other ways to deal with the drugs that do cause harm – ways built around a sense of decency and compassion. We look like a bunch of sadistic racists. Stop it.
4. DECLARE A MORATORIUM ON HOME FORECLOSURES AND EVICTIONS. Millions of people are facing homelessness because of a crooked system enacted by the major banks and Wall Street firms. Put a pause on this and take 12 months to work out a different way (like, restructuring families’ mortgages to reflect the true worth of their homes).
5. GET MONEY OUT OF POLITICS. You already know this one. The public is sick of it. Now’s the time to act.
6. EXPAND OBAMACARE. Your health care law doesn’t cover everyone. It is a cash cow for the insurance industry. Push for a single-payer system – Medicare for All – and include dentistry and mental health. This is the single biggest thing you could do to reduce the country’s deficit.
7. RESTORE GLASS-STEAGALL. You must put back all the rigid controls on Wall Street that Reagan, Clinton and the Bushes removed – or else we face the possibility of another, much worse, crash. If they break the law, prosecute them the way you currently go after whistleblowers and medical marijuana dispensaries.
8. REDUCE STUDENT LOAN DEBT. No 22-year-old should have to enter the real world already in a virtual debtors’ prison. This is cruel and no other democracy does this like we do. You were right to eliminate the banks as the profit-gouging lenders, but now you have to bring us back to the days when you and I were of college age and a good education cost us little or next to nothing. A few less wars would go a long to way to being able to afford this.
9. FREE BRADLEY MANNING. End the persecution and prosecution of an American hero. Bush and Cheney lied to a nation to convince us to go to war. Manning allegedly hacked the war criminals’ files and then shared them with the American public (and the world) so that we could learn the truth about Iraq and Afghanistan. Our history is full of such people who “break the law” for the greater good of humanity. Army Specialist Bradley Manning deserves a medal, not prison.
10. ASK US TO DO SOMETHING. One thing is clear: none of the above is going to happen if you don’t immediately mobilize the 63,500,000 who voted for you (and the other 40 million who are for you but didn’t vote). You can’t go this alone. You need an army of everyday Americans who will fight alongside you to make this a more just and peaceful nation. In your 2008 campaign, you were a pioneer in using social media to win the election. Over 15 million of us gave you our cell numbers or email addresses so you could send us texts and emails telling us what needed to be done to win the election. Then, as soon as you won, it was as if you hit the delete button. We never heard from you again. (Until this past year when you kept texting us to send you $25. Inspiring.) Whoever your internet and social media people were should have been given their own office in the West Wing – and we should have heard from you. Constantly. Need a bill passed? Text us and we will mobilize! The Republicans are filibustering? We can stop them! They won’t approve your choice for Secretary of State? We’ll see about that! You say you were a community organizer. Please – start acting like one.
The next four years can be one of those presidential terms that changed the course of America. I’m sure you will want to be judged on how you stood up for us, restored the middle class, ended the s***ting on the poor and made us a friend to the rest of the world instead of a threat. You can do this. We can do it with you. All that stands in the way is your understandable desire to sing “Kumbaya” with the Republicans. Don’t waste your breath. Their professed love of America is negated by their profound hatred of you. Don’t waste a minute on them. Fix the sad mess we’re in. Go back and read this month’s election results. We’re with you.
Principles of Personal Transformation
Profound personal transformation is initiated by the realization that you are capable of direct access to the Divine. This is the realization that the wisdom of the Divine can be discovered deep within you. There is a wide range of means that can facilitate self-mastery through personal transformation. Though the means may vary, the intent behind the means is quite narrowly defined as the intent to expand into a state of integration whereby all aspects of your conscious self become increasingly aligned with your divine essence.
There are three particular life principles that help to align your perspective with the perspective of divine essence and thus inspire profound personal transformation. They are: 1) seeing the Divine in all; 2) nurturance of life; and 3) gratitude. When you apply these principles, a deeper meaning will be revealed to the seemingly random events of your life experience.
Seeing the Divine in All
This is the principle that the Divine is present and can be seen everywhere and in all manifestations of life. It is interwoven in all things like an intricate mosaic whose pieces adhere to the same wall, and are thus unified. However, it is not the picture that unifies the mosaic, but the wall upon which its pieces adhere. Similarly, the Divine paints a picture so diverse and seemingly unrelated that there appears to be no unification. Yet it is not the outward manifestations that unify. It is the inward center of divine energy that unifies all life.
Seeing the Divine in all is the principle that all manifestations of life convey an expression of All That Is. It does not matter how far the unifying energy has been distorted; the Divine can be observed. It is the action of perceiving unification even when the outward manifestations appear random, distorted, or chaotic. The principle of seeing the Divine in all is the perception that life is perfect in its expression because it flows from perfection, and that no matter how divergent its manifestations are, all life is an extension of the Divine.
In light of the obvious turmoil and destruction that are apparent on Earth, this is an outlook or perception that may seem naive. How can life in all its forms and expressions be perceived as optimal or perfect? This is the great paradox of life, and it cannot be reconciled with your mental or emotional capabilities. It can only be understood in the context of the soul, which is deathless, timeless, and limitless.
Calling forth the divine perceptions of the soul is actualized through looking for both the inward and outward manifestations of the Divine. It is not only that the Divine is found within you and within every individual manifestation of life; it is also in itself the wholeness of all life. Thus, this principle of transformation calls for seeing the Divine in all its diverse forms of manifestation, as well as in the wholeness of life itself.
Nurturance of Life
Life, in this definition, is an individual’s sovereign reality. It is subjective and impressionable. Life is the wholeness of experience flowing past the individual’s field of perception in the present moment. Nurturance of life is the principle whereby an individual is in alignment with the natural expansion of intelligence inherent within all life. This alignment enhances the life energy that flows past the individual with the clear intent of gentle support. It is the action of opening to the highest motive in all people and in all life and supporting the flow of this highest intention towards its ultimate expression. In so doing, the action is performed without judgment, analysis, or attachment to outcome. It involves simply nurturing the highest energy that flows from all people and thus supporting the fullest expression of their deepest essence.
This is a departure from the normal perception that nurturing support can only be granted when others are in alignment with your personal will and desires. When, instead, you view everything in your life as an integrated energy flowing as an expression of ever-expanding divine intelligence, all life is honored as an extension of the Divine. All people and all forms of life can be nurtured and supported to their highest expression.
Energy is an element of life that is so subtly interwoven with form that it is one, in much the same manner as space and time are inextricably linked in union. Life energy is always in a state of becoming. It is never static or regressive in its natural state. You are very capable of nurturing this natural expansion of energy to forge new channels of expression and experience.
There are many specific actions that can be taken to nurture life. Each soul can transform energy through a wide variety of means. Working through your body, your soul is able to collect and store energy and redirect its purpose or application. This transformation of energy can occur on both personal and universal levels of expression. That is, within an individual’s field of awareness at any time, energy can be transformed to conform more to a vision of personal welfare or aligned with a vision of universal welfare and goodwill.
One of the best methods to transform energy is through one’s belief system. All beliefs have energy systems that act like birthing chambers for the manifestation of your perceived reality. Within these energy systems are currents that direct life experience. Your soul is aware of these currents either consciously or unconsciously and allows them to carry you into realms of experience that engage your core belief system. By consciously cultivating beliefs that expand and transform energy, you are more able to explore energy systems that are nurturing to life in all its myriad forms. When beliefs are clearly defined as intentions, your life energy engages fully in the present moment. Clarity of intention is essential to engaging the energy system of your core beliefs, and to allowing the nurturance of life to prevail in all activities.
If you are aware – or at least interested in having the awareness – of how perfectly the Divine supports your sovereign reality, there is a powerful and natural sense of gratitude that flows from you to the Divine. It is this wellspring of gratitude that opens the channel of support from the Divine to the individual and establishes a collaboration of purpose to transform the individual soul into a pure expression of divine essence. It is principally gratitude that opens you to connection and alignment with your divine essence.
When you project gratitude, regardless of circumstance or condition, life becomes increasingly supportive. This feeling of gratitude coupled with the mental concept of appreciation is expressed like an invisible message in all directions and at all times. Gratitude is an essential facet of love that opens you to redefine your purpose as a supportive extension of the Divine, rather than the whimsical outreach of fate or the exacting reaction of a mechanical, detached universe. Establishing a relationship with the universe through the outflow of gratitude also attracts life experience that is deeply transformative – experience that is richly devoted to uncovering life’s deepest meaning and most formative purpose.
When you choose to align with divine essence and to live from this perspective as part of an ever-unfolding reality, you attract a natural state of harmony. This does not mean that your life is without problems or discomforts; rather it signifies a perception that there is an integral purpose in what life reveals. Life experience becomes meaningful to the extent that you choose to live in natural harmony with divine essence. When your personal reality flows in alignment with divine essence, you create lasting joy and inner peace.
It is the perspective of divine essence that all life is pure love in its fullest expression, and that in this single concept, all life is conceived and forever exists. This becomes the core belief from which all other beliefs arise. And as these beliefs expand outward, this core belief system emerges with a clear intent of supporting a fundamental perspective of seeing, nurturing, and appreciating the universe as the divine cradle from which all life is created and evolves.
These life principles are merely symbols represented in words and served to you as a potential recipe to stir awake the embers of light that tirelessly burn within. There are no specific techniques or rituals that are required to invoke their power. They are simply perspectives. In a real sense, they are intentions that attract experience that expands consciousness. They do not provide quick fixes or instant realizations. They are amplifiers of personal will and intention that clarify how one lives. Their profound transformative power is contained exclusively in the intent of their application.
Through these principles of transformation, you can become a master of empowering your deeper self. When you apply these principles with clear intent, you have the tools to accelerate the emergence of divine essence. You can awaken the perspective, insights, and empowered abilities of your divine essence to create new realms of possibility and shape them as learning adventures that expand and transform your consciousness. This is the underlying purpose of these principles, and perhaps the best reason to explore them.
For the full seven-page text of this transformational writing, click here
For a two-page summary of the second of this two-part essay, click here
For a free, inspiring online course and community based on these principles, click here
Principles of Personal Transformation – by Wingmakers
by Derrick Jensen
Published in the May/June 2006 issue of Orion magazine
THE MOST COMMON WORDS I hear spoken by any environmentalists anywhere are, We’re fucked. Most of these environmentalists are fighting desperately, using whatever tools they have—or rather whatever legal tools they have, which means whatever tools those in power grant them the right to use, which means whatever tools will be ultimately ineffective—to try to protect some piece of ground, to try to stop the manufacture or release of poisons, to try to stop civilized humans from tormenting some group of plants or animals. Sometimes they’re reduced to trying to protect just one tree.
Here’s how John Osborn, an extraordinary activist and friend, sums up his reasons for doing the work: “As things become increasingly chaotic, I want to make sure some doors remain open. If grizzly bears are still alive in twenty, thirty, and forty years, they may still be alive in fifty. If they’re gone in twenty, they’ll be gone forever.”
But no matter what environmentalists do, our best efforts are insufficient. We’re losing badly, on every front. Those in power are hell-bent on destroying the planet, and most people don’t care.
Frankly, I don’t have much hope. But I think that’s a good thing. Hope is what keeps us chained to the system, the conglomerate of people and ideas and ideals that is causing the destruction of the Earth.
To start, there is the false hope that suddenly somehow the system may inexplicably change. Or technology will save us. Or the Great Mother. Or beings from Alpha Centauri. Or Jesus Christ. Or Santa Claus. All of these false hopes lead to inaction, or at least to ineffectiveness. One reason my mother stayed with my abusive father was that there were no battered women’s shelters in the ‘50s and ‘60s, but another was her false hope that he would change. False hopes bind us to unlivable situations, and blind us to real possibilities.
Does anyone really believe that Weyerhaeuser is going to stop deforesting because we ask nicely? Does anyone really believe that Monsanto will stop Monsantoing because we ask nicely? If only we get a Democrat in the White House, things will be okay. If only we pass this or that piece of legislation, things will be okay. If only we defeat this or that piece of legislation, things will be okay. Nonsense. Things will not be okay. They are already not okay, and they’re getting worse. Rapidly.
But it isn’t only false hopes that keep those who go along enchained. It is hope itself. Hope, we are told, is our beacon in the dark. It is our light at the end of a long, dark tunnel. It is the beam of light that makes its way into our prison cells. It is our reason for persevering, our protection against despair (which must be avoided at all costs). How can we continue if we do not have hope?
We’ve all been taught that hope in some future condition—like hope in some future heaven—is and must be our refuge in current sorrow. I’m sure you remember the story of Pandora. She was given a tightly sealed box and was told never to open it. But, being curious, she did, and out flew plagues, sorrow, and mischief, probably not in that order. Too late she clamped down the lid. Only one thing remained in the box: hope. Hope, the story goes, was the only good the casket held among many evils, and it remains to this day mankind’s sole comfort in misfortune. No mention here of action being a comfort in misfortune, or of actually doing something to alleviate or eliminate one’s misfortune.
(to read the rest of the article click the link below to go to Orion Magazine)
I am reposting this whole since I don’t see a way to reblog as I can with other wordpress sites. There are quite a lot of interesting things on Sifu Anthony’s site “Flowing Zen” ( http://www.flowingzen.com ) so if you like this article I highly recommend checking out the rest of his site. (direct link to this article is below)
The 10 Shaolin Laws
Written by Sifu Anthony on July 10, 2011
The Ten Shaolin Laws are non-religious, and transcend cultural and linguistic differences. These simple laws promote values that are worthy and desirable in any culture. Laws, in the Shaolin tradition, are not meant to be restrictive; they are meant to help followers achieve set aims and objectives. In this case, the laws to help us to attain the best possible results in practicing Flowing Zen.
It may be tempting for Westerners to dismiss these laws as old fashioned, but that would be a mistake.
It is not without good reason that my teacher, Grandmaster Wong, wrote the following:
“The Shaolin Laws are meant for the student’s interest – a fact not many people may appreciate. Following the Ten Shaolin Laws is an excellent and practical way to help him in his cultivation – irrespective of whether the cultivation is for health, combat efficiency, daily performance, as well as spiritual development. Take, for example, the first Shaolin Law.
“Some students practice an exercise not according to what the master has instructed, but according to what they think is right. This is being disrespectful to the master, tacitly implying that he is not as smart as they themselves. Not only will they not get any benefits from the exercise, they may get harmful side-effects.
“The moral way refers to the Chinese concept of ‘wu de’, or high moral virtues traditionally accepted by ancient warriors. If a student goes against the moral way, like lying or being brutal towards others, then he will inevitably bring harm to himself.
“Basically, any actions that go against the moral way start with evil thoughts. The evil thoughts of that student, irrespective of whether he is consciously aware of them or not, and irrespective of the length of time involved, will generate events that will be evil to him – just as a film that has been imprinted with ugly images will result in pictures that are ugly when the film is developed.”
Thus, we can begin to see why my teacher is adamant that all of his students understand and practice the Ten Shaolin Laws:
1) Respect the master, honor the moral way, and love fellow students as you would your brothers and sisters.
2) Train the Shaolin arts diligently, and strive towards physical, mental, and emotional health.
3) Be filial towards your parents, respectful towards the elderly, and protective of the young.
4) Uphold righteousness, and strive to be both wise and courageous.
5) Do not be ungrateful or unscrupulous.
6) Never rape, molest, steal, rob, abduct, cheat, or lie.
7) Never associate yourself with evil people; never do any sort of evil yourself.
8) Never abuse power, be it official or physical; never oppress or bully people.
9) Be humane and compassionate; strive to spread peace and happiness.
10) Be chivalrous and generous, nurture talents in others, and help to spread the Shaolin arts to deserving students.