Monthly Archives: March 2007

Conservativism is the disease

Bush is just a symptom – indeed. Bush is the logical conclusion of all the conservatives’ ideals.

Daily Kos: Trying to unload Bush

Republicans are in a bind — they want to disown Bush and throw him to the wolves. They want to blame him for all the problems they’ve had the past few years governing the country and save their own hides, but they still can’t find the strength to oppose his Iraq efforts. They are attached to his hip, yet they want to pretend that Bush is the cause of all the nation’s problems. Complicating things, they’ve had a governmental trifecta, so they don’t have their usual Democratic Party foils to blame. They’re on their own and isolated on this one.

But ultimately, Bush is a symptom of the problem, not the cause. The cause is conservatism. How can an ideology that holds as a truism that government can’t work, work? If Republicans ran the country smoothly and ably, it would lay waste to their claims that government is the enemy and can’t make people’s lives better. In that regards, Bush hasn’t been incompetent. He’s been wildly successful.

So yes, what we have just witnessed is the logical conclusion of effective conservative governance, and things would look the same way today whether we had President McCain, President Lott, President Jeb, President Romney, President Thompson, or whichever other anti-government Republican we slotted in.

This is what conservatives want for America. We’re seeing it in the most vivid of colors. Blaming Bush for doing exactly what conservatives wanted to the country would be like, well, blaming Gonzales for doing exactly what Bush ordered him to do.

UPDATE:

“I think it’s probably possible to be a conservative without appearing to be an idiot.”

– Roscoe Bartlett, a Republican Representative, at a U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on global warming, 21 Mar 2007, following criticism of witness Al Gore.

Me too. But not to be a Bush supporter.

Reaganomics was a fraud, too


Kudos, John Pierce

Damn shame we can’t indict Stockman for that as well…

Stockman Is Charged With Fraud – New York Times

About a month before his company filed for bankruptcy protection, the chief executive of Collins & Aikman, a maker of vehicle instrument panels and floor mats, made a last-ditch attempt for a loan.

The chief, David A. Stockman, the former Michigan congressman and budget director for President Ronald Reagan, got on the phone in early April 2005 with bankers from Credit Suisse. The parts supplier had about $110 million in liquidity, he told the bankers, according to court papers. He reassured them that his forecasts were sound.

But according to an eight-count indictment unsealed in court yesterday, that was not true: the company had already borrowed so much that it could not take on new debt without violating existing loan agreements. It had exhausted its credit.

Based on Mr. Stockman’s assurances, Credit Suisse gave Collins & Aikman $75 million. By May, however, all of it was gone. The board forced Mr. Stockman to resign and the company filed for bankruptcy protection five days later.

Mr. Stockman, 60, of Greenwich, Conn., and three others — J. Michael Stepp, the chief financial officer; David R. Cosgrove, the controller; and Paul C. Barnaba, director of purchasing — now face charges that include bank fraud and conspiracy and obstruction of justice.

Asana

When the energy simply flows through us, just as it flows through the grass and the trees and the ravens and the bears and the moose and the ocean and the rocks, we discover that we are not solid at all. If we sit still like the mountain Gampo Lhatse in a hurricane, if we don’t protect ourselves from the trueness and the vividness and the immediacy and the lack of confirmation of simply being part of life, then we are not this separate being who has to have things turn out our way.

The essence of the fourth noble truth is the eightfold path. Everything we do — our discipline, effort, meditation, livelihood, and every single thing that we do from the moment we’re born until the moment we die — we can use to help us to realize our unity and our completeness with all things. We can use our lives, in other words, to wake up to the fact that we’re not separate: the energy that causes us to live and be whole and awake and alive is just the energy that creates everything, and we’re part of that. We can use our lives to connect with that, or we can use them to become resentful, alienated, resistant, angry, bitter. As always, it’s up to us.

Awakening Loving-Kindness Pema Chodron

The unconscious wants truth. It ceases to speak to those who want something else more than truth. — Adrienne Rich

Asana is to be seated in a position which is firm but relaxed. — Yoga Sutras

In our culture, results get all the attention and the process is overlooked. Approach both your life and your postures with an eye to the process, and let go of the results. Stand easy in all the postures of your life, firm but relaxed. — Rolf Gates, Meditations from the Mat

Here, look in my garden bed…

Here, look in my garden bed —
Something beautiful is growing!
Bright shaped like a cup of red
Tulips open to the sun!

Last night it was small and green,
flame-like now it is a-growing,
This one is the first I’ve seen,
Now sweet weather has begun!

— a song we used to sing in girl scouts

Isvara-pranidhana

Surrender to God brings perfection in samadhi — Yoga Sutras

The nature of the universe is such that the ends can never justify the means. On the contrary, the means always determine the end. — Aldous Huxley

Amy Mathews:

Isvarapranidhana is the fifth of the five niyamas (observances toward our selves). It is about the quality of intention that we bring to our actions. This quality of awareness can be quite variable; sometimes we are busy with activities and yet hardly conscious of what we are doing, and sometimes we are aggressively focused on our actions as we fiercely work toward our goals. With isvarapranidhana, we aim to balance out these extreme tendencies.

“…if we concentrate more on the quality of our steps along the way than on the goal itself, then we also avoid being disappointed if we perhaps cannot attain the exact goal that we had set for ourselves. Paying more attention to the spirit in which we act and looking less to the results our actions may bring us – this is the meaning of isvarapranidhana.” ~ TKV Desikachar, Heart of Yoga

In his book The Heart of Yoga, TKV Desikachar says “Our normal course of action is first to decide on a goal and then, bearing it in mind, start working toward it.” There is a lot of value in having goals for ourselves. Often, however, we can cling to our specific vision of our goal, and not recognize other options that are open to us. We run the risk of missing any happy accidents or discoveries along the way. When we allow our minds and spirits to open up to the limitless possibilities around us, we are able to soften habits of excessive resistance and control. Ideally, we can set forth toward our goals by focusing our attention of the effort and intention of each step along the way, and leaving the outcome open to be discovered later.

“Isvarapranidhana is a statement of the means and the ends. Surrender to God is the means; samadhi is the end. In samadhi there is no longer a distinction between the person who sees and what is being seen. Samadhi is union with the divine, a deep-rooted knowledge that I am that, you are that, all is that, and that is all there is. In samadhi, the separation between ourselves and the universe dissolves. This is what is meant by surrender to God. Many of my students find this outlandish. They come from this or that religious tradition, this or that experience, and what they have learned makes it impossible for them to believe that the God of their understanding and samadhi have anything to do with each other. If you are alienated by the God of your childhood, try coming up with another God.” — Rolf Gates, Meditations from the Mat

And there are so many choices! Looking at the vast texts of all the different religious traditions, you can find a God that suits whatever you want to believe in.
But why anyone would want to believe in a God that makes them feel alienated, well, I don’t know. For me, I like being able to go in my garden and talk to the flowers, or go to the ocean and talk with the surf. One time I was sitting in my garden thinking how ungrateful the hummingbirds were for all the flowers I grew for them, and one of them came over and hovered a foot from my face for almost a full minute. Boy, I believed in God being everywhere that day! And of course I have great conversations with my golden retrievers. Yup, God is everywhere…

Gone fishin'

Via Bartcop

Obsidian Wings speculates on possible reason’s for Rove’s “fishing expedition”….

(c) The reason the administration wanted to make Tim Griffin a US Attorney in Arkansas was to send their chief opposition researcher to the state where Hillary Clinton, then the presumptive frontrunner for the Democratic nomination, had spent most of her adult life; and to send him not as a campaign employee but as a US Attorney with subpoena power.

Is this explanation true? I don’t have any evidence of it. I suspect that if it were true, there would not be any evidence. But it makes sense, both because the administration has in fact appointed its chief oppo researcher to the US Attorney’ job in Eastern Arkansas, and because it fits Rove’s modus operandi. (See below.) And if it is, it’s very, very bad.

Why Having More No Longer Makes Us Happy

Interesting article that gets quite a few points right:

AlterNet: EnviroHealth: Why Having More No Longer Makes Us Happy

We assume, because it makes a certain kind of intuitive sense, that industrialized farming is the most productive farming. A vast Midwestern field filled with high-tech equipment ought to produce more food than someone with a hoe in a small garden. Yet the opposite is true. If you are after getting the greatest yield from the land, then smaller farms in fact produce more food.

If you are one guy on a tractor responsible for thousands of acres, you grow your corn and that’s all you can do — make pass after pass with the gargantuan machine across a sea of crop. But if you’re working 10 acres, then you have time to really know the land, and to make it work harder. You can intercrop all kinds of plants — their roots will go to different depths, or they’ll thrive in each other’s shade, or they’ll make use of different nutrients in the soil. You can also walk your fields, over and over, noticing.

According to the government’s most recent agricultural census, smaller farms produce far more food per acre, whether you measure in tons, calories, or dollars. In the process, they use land, water, and oil much more efficiently; if they have animals, the manure is a gift, not a threat to public health. To feed the world, we may actually need lots more small farms.

But if this is true, then why do we have large farms? Why the relentless consolidation? There are many reasons, including the way farm subsidies have been structured, the easier access to bank loans (and politicians) for the big guys, and the convenience for food-processing companies of dealing with a few big suppliers. But the basic reason is this: We substituted oil for people. Tractors and synthetic fertilizer instead of farmers and animals. Could we take away the fossil fuel, put people back on the land in larger numbers, and have enough to eat?

Pretty found that over the past decade, almost 12 million farmers had begun using sustainable practices on about 90 million acres. Even more remarkably, sustainable agriculture increased food production by 79 percent per acre. These were not tiny isolated demonstration farms — Pretty studied 14 projects where 146,000 farmers across a broad swath of the developing world were raising potatoes, sweet potatoes, and cassava, and he found that practices such as cover-cropping and fighting pests with natural adversaries had increased production 150 percent — 17 tons per household. With 4.5 million small Asian grain farmers, average yields rose 73 percent. When Indonesian rice farmers got rid of pesticides, their yields stayed the same but their costs fell sharply.