Blessed Unrest and Wiser Earth; Paul Hawken and Us

Paul Hawken, Blessed Unrest and Wiser Earth

copyright © 2007 Betsy L. Angert

Each day you and I work towards peace.  On occasion we stand in protest.  At times, amongst a throng of individuals we march.  We demonstrate and proclaim global harmony is possible.  Some of us research before we rant.  Numerous read.  Millions reflect in isolation, then, share their thoughts with a few like-minded souls.  Thousands write.  People reach out.  Individuals invite discussion.  Yet, it seems only one or two respond.

Often, those that strive for worldwide tranquility feel as though their efforts do little to bring about change.  As people, we seek serenity.  In small groups, we gather to spread the word.  Frequently there is a sense of isolation.  Does anyone hear us?  Will others care?  As crowds whiz past us, it seems there is scant concern.  People are too busy to stop.  No one has time or the energy to care.  We are spiritually destitute and disturbed.  Unity will not be.  There is no hope, no accord.  Americans, and perhaps internationally the average man, woman, and child is apathetic, egocentric, or just lost in daily deeds.

Movements are not orchestrated.  All is haphazard.  How can we achieve stability if we do not organize and coordinate our activities.  Many of us feel so very alone and defeated as we fight to better society.  True peace will never come.  Few think the vision can be achieved.

Enter Paul Hawken.  A environmentalist, and social activist, was as you and I.  For years he spoke and shared his message.  Yet, he did not realize the effect.  All seemed to occur in seclusion.  Then he realized all these single events, each meeting, every encounter was indeed connected.  Paul Hawken finally thought to examine the parts.  He discovered a whole, a worldwide movement for social and environmental change.  ?The story astounds.

I have given hundreds of talks about the environment in the past fifteen years, I’m not sure how many.  After talks people come up to talk, ask questions, or exchange business cards.  People are creatures and we like to exchange, meet, touch our antennae.  Many of my friends to this day I met this way.  Those offering their cards work on the most salient issues of our day: climate change, poverty, deforestation, peace, water, hunger, conservation, human rights, and more.

They were from the non-profit and non-governmental world, also known as civil society, and they looked after rivers and bays, educated consumers about sustainable agriculture, retrofitted houses with solar panels, lobbied state legislatures about pollution, fought against corporate-weighted trade policies, were studying hard at school, worked to green inner cities, or taught children about the environment.  Quite simply, they were trying to safeguard nature and justice.

This was the 1990s, and the media largely ignored them.  (Al Gore was so derided for Earth in the Balance, his prescient book on climate change, that he didn’t mention it in his 2000 campaign.)

In those small meetings I had a chance to listen to the audience.  They were students, grandmothers, teenagers, tribal members, businesspeople, architects, teachers, retired professors, and worried mothers and fathers.  They were informed, imaginative and vital, and offered tips, ideas, and information.  They had a lot to say.

My new friends would thrust articles and books in my hand, tuck small gifts into my knapsack, or pass along plans for green companies.  A Native-American taught me that the division between ecology and human rights was an artificial one, that the environmental and social justice movements addressed two sides of a larger dilemma.

The way we harm the earth affects all people, and how we treat each other is how we treat the earth.  As my talks mirrored this realization, the hands offering cards grew more diverse.

I would get from five to thirty cards per speech, and after being on the road for a week or two, I would return with a couple hundred cards stuffed into various pockets.  Since I wasn’t a salesman or running for office, I had no need to record them, but I couldn’t throw them away.  I would lay them out on the table in my kitchen, read the names, look at the logos, envisage the mission, and marvel at what groups do on behalf of others.

Later, I would put them into drawers or paper bags, keepsakes of the journey.  In the years that followed the cards mounted into the thousands, and whenever I glanced at the bags of cards in my closet, I kept coming back to one question: Did anyone know how many groups and organizations there were?  And did it matter?

At first, this was a matter of curiosity, but it slowly grew into a hunch that something larger was afoot, a large networked movement that was eluding the radar of mainstream culture.

I began to count.  I looked at government records for different countries and using various methods to approximate the number of environmental and social justice groups from tax census data, I initially estimated that there were 30,000 environmental organizations strung around the globe; when I added social justice and indigenous organizations, the number exceeded 100,000.  I then researched past social movements to see if there were any equal in scale or scope, but I couldn’t find anything, past or present.

The more I probed, the more I unearthed, and the numbers continued to climb.  In trying to pick up a stone, I found the exposed tip of a geological formation.  I discovered lists, indexes and small databases specific to certain sectors or geographic areas, but no set of data came close to describing the movement’s breadth.  Extrapolating from the records being accessed, I realized that the initial estimate of 100,000 organizations was off by at least a factor of ten.  I now believe there are over one million organizations working towards ecological sustainability and social justice.  Maybe two.

Imagine; each of us independently envisions and endeavors to achieve peace and social justice.  We are one.  Just as is true of any organism, the movement towards solidarity is composed of millions of parts.  Separately we function; however, not as fully as we would like.  We may not see that down the street, around the corner, in a basement, high on a hill, deep in a valley, in the hall miles away, others do just as we do.  They touch their neighbors sensibility, caress the minds of people in their community.  Still, the persons outside our world feel frustrated.

They as we do not realize, word travels, as do folks.  Slowly and surely the message moves.  Mountains become molehills.  The progress towards peace endures, slow as it is.  Evolution are not necessarily visible to the eye.  Change will not come in a moment.  Please be patient and trust.  The transformation is real.  Together we can and do create calm.  We are wise.  We are one.

Peace and Social Justice; From One and All, to One and All . . .

A New Year’s Wishing

copyright © 2007 Jerry Northington.  campaign website or on the campaign blog.

For quite some time now I have been feeling like a lost soul wandering in the wilderness.  Life has changed over the past few years from what I believed we as a nation had become in past times.  I grew up in small town America where everyone in town knew everyone else.  People in need in those days were often looked after by a neighbor or a friend.  The government stood as a last safety net for those who fell through the social cracks.  The general feeling was one of respect for one another and of well wishing toward one another.

Over the course of years a measure of competition has entered our lives.  Big business these days seems to be more about the bottom line than about the welfare of the employees.  Outsourcing for a lower price is the name of the game.  American production of goods is falling rapidly.  Here in Delaware we have news of an auto plant’s closing and no real promise that a second plant will continue in operation.  Two local corporations are reducing their worldwide staff numbers and will no doubt shed some Delaware workers as well.

And then we have our national political scene.  Campaigns for President this year are marked by entertainment value rather than real issues of substance.  The process has degenerated into a popularity contest rather than a selection of the most fit to serve in the job.  Once again money is the ruler and the yardstick by which campaign success is being measured by most of the media.  

And once politicians are elected these days too many seem to take over the seat and forget the people who voted in their favor.  Those elected positions belong to the people of this nation.  Elected officials are seat warmers keeping those positions alive and well for us, the voting public.  Our politicians need to be reminded who are the owners and to whom elected officials are responsible.

The state of our nation’s international relations is at an all time low.  We as nation are more hated than at any time in the past.  And no wonder.  We have invaded a country (Iraq) without any attack or even credible threat as justification.  We have tortured many and continue to imprison hundreds without charges or the smallest measures of justice.  The actions of this nation make me ashamed today.

I want my country back.  I wish only that we return to being once again a world leader instead of the biggest bully in the neighborhood.  If nothing else happens in 2008 I hope we see a turn toward the light and away from the darkness that hangs over our heads today.  As in the image at the heading of this posting, I wonder if we are facing a dawning or a conflagration.  Time will tell.  

I believe the nation has both the strength and the resiliency to recover from these times and to return to a state of greatness one day.  There is much work to be done.  Recovery will not come easily.  We must all prepare to work very hard to see we turn the corner and let the dawning continue.  If fail, we may not endure as a nation.

Today and every day this year I implore every reader to do your very best to make a difference in our world.  Talk to people.  Work for a political campaign.  Give money to your favorite charities and to your favorite politicians but beyond all give a bit of yourself.  One mind, one heart at a time we will make the ripples that will return the nation to the people once again.  And that is the one greatest wish of my life today.

Peace to one and all.  May all the blessings of the New Year be yours to enjoy.

I Am One, Many, More Than Enough One-By-One

copyright © 2007 Betsy L. Angert

They tell me to vote, to speak, to write, to shout, to act.  However, I am but a grain of sand, a wave in the vast blue-green of the ocean.  I have no power over those that hold greater might.  I have no weaponry, no wealth, and no strength to wield.  I am but a cog in a giant machine.  I am a drone, a worker, a peon, and a pupil.  I learn only what I am taught.  Those who instruct me, invest in me, also intentionally inhibit me.  I am a slave, enslaved.  As industrialists capitalize on me, the commodity of a free enterprise system, I waver at  their whim.

I cannot be bothered to express myself, to march, to protest, to join hands with my fellow American.  I cannot care for those that live on the other side of the planet.  Nor do I have reason to think about them, the impoverished or ill miles away. I live in fear as I attempt to control the chaos that is my life.  

I make decisions so that I might survive.  No one takes care of me.  I take no handouts, not that they are offered.  If they were, I would stand proud; say no.  I must remain strong or appear to be.  However, I do understand my life lies in the balance.  All is tenuous.  In a moment I might be stricken with a terminal infirmity, one that I can ill afford financially or emotionally.  Intellectually, I accept,  I toil as I must.  Security is a hope and excellence is but a dream.  A turn in the wind might cause my demise.  My existence is sustained from paycheck to paycheck.  Thus, I must remain vigilant.  “Self” is my primary interest.

Organizations ask for charity.  Associations demand that I give.  I have no allegiance, other than to myself.  I cannot extend to those who do not provide for my needs.  Family may free me to serve beyond my reach.  Yet, they also hinder my truer success.  They are a burden, the beauty.  My loved ones give me reason to live.  Hence, I spill blood; I sweat and I tear to secure the sanity of self.

Give, grant you my time, bequeath my voice with vigor, why?  I forget what I never knew or had reason to understand.  I am not one.  I am not alone.  It is not I against them.  My will is as potent as theirs.

My family and I are more than a fraction.  I am, we, are part of a whole.  Without us, there is no strength, for  potency is a joint venture.

No power, no millionaires, billionaires, and no business prosper without us, the little ones who support them through either our apathy or our actions.  We are the people!  If we remain silent we are puppets and pawns.  

I am more than a buyer, more than an employee.  I am one with the ability to articulate.  I have a mind, a heart, and a soul.  I can speak, think, and do.  I choose to allow what is, or to advance the change I wish to see.  I am more than me.  I am part of this planet, the universe.  When I share, I have influence.  I am more than one.

When I reach out and share my sorrow  the world may only whisper in acknowledgement.  However, the story I tell travels through the universe.  One person tells another.  The next narrates the yarn ever so well.  He mouths the missive.  She states the obvious.  They hear the hidden.  Together we become the strength, we always were; yet never accepted.  

When I serve my fellow man to the extent I might, I bestow a sense of benevolence that moves like a wave.  There is energy is each small gesture. The momentum builds.  Please let us each lend a hand, write a letter, share a moment, and give voice to what ails our brethren and us.  Let us begin to heal a nation, a world that wails out in pain.  Goodness and growth begin with you and me together.

“I heard a nice little story the other day,” Morrie says. He closes his eyes for a moment and I wait.

“Okay. The story is about a little wave, bobbing along in the ocean, having a grand old time. He’s enjoying the wind and the fresh air — until he notices the other waves in front of him, crashing against the shore.”

“‘My God, this is terrible,’ the wave says ‘Look what’s going to happen to me!'”

“Then along comes another wave. It sees the first wave, looking grim, and it says to him, ‘Why do you look so sad?'”

“The first wave says, ‘You don’t understand! We’re all going to crash! All of us waves are going to be nothing! Isn’t it terrible?'”

“The second wave says, ‘No, you don’t understand. You’re not a wave, you’re part of the ocean.'”

I smile. Morrie closes his eyes again.

“Part of the ocean,” he says. “Part of the ocean.” I watch him breathe, in and out, in and out.

– Tuesdays with Morrie, page 179

I am one.  We are many.  As a whole, we are more than enough.  

Let The People Awaken

copyright © 2007 Jerry Northington.  campaign website or on the campaign blog.

Copyright 2007, Paul Kane.  All rights reserved.  Used by permission.

For the past few years the Bush administration in concert with Congress has led America down a path based on fear backed with little in terms of real facts.  As the truth begins to be seen over time we find much of what we were assured was factual in nature was in honest truth distorted or fabricated in many instances.  We, the people, were misled into a war of aggression in Iraq.  Today we find our military stretched to the limits as the situation collapses before our eyes.  Violence within the country continues with attacks against civilian populations on a near daily basis.  American deaths are increasing and now exceed 3800.  Death of and injury to military contractors are increasing in numbers, too, even though those numbers are not in the news these days.

Hurricane Katrina destroyed much of New Orleans more than 2 years ago.  At the time the administration promised real and rapid restoration of the city.  Instead today we hear tales of displaced persons not allowed any return to their homes and communities while developers salivate at the prospect of new properties to build for profit.  Much of New Orleans city once was occupied by low income housing in which there was a sense of real community.  Today those doors are padlocked, the residents not allowed to return, and are being displaced from the FEMA trailers given as temporary housing.  The plan is to build condiminiums that may sell for as much as $400,000 and up.

Park land and open federal lands are being sold to the highest bidder around the country.  Once again we see new housing and commercial development taking the place of once reserved open lands.

The president’s most recent budget requires the US Forest Service to sell 300,000 acres and the Bureau of Land Management to raise $350 million from auctioning some of its holdings.

The Veterans’ Administration is struggling with the healthcare needs of veterans returning in increasing numbers from Iraq with both mental and physical needs.  All we hear from the administration is about how well we support our troops.  The news tells a different story in many instances as our veterans sent to war by Uncle Sam are finding Uncle Scrooge to be their new host.

America must awaken from its slumber.  The strength of America is in its people.  We have shown our resilience and strength over the years as a variety of foes were presented.  Today the real foe is in our own government.  The administration is failing to offer real leadership and real solutions to national problems while continuing to promote the occupation of Iraq.  We can no longer afford to continue this course.  The costs in both manpower and dollars exceed our ability to pay.

Polls demonstrate an increasing disconnect between the desires of the voting public and the actions of elected officials.  Who are those officials representing these days?  Many are working to see themselves continue a career in office.  To that end support goes to the highest bidders from the corporate world or the military industrial complex.  Others may only hear from the loudest voices.  In either case the public is not being well served.

For the people of America it is important to take on our responsibility as citizens.  We must accept our part in the actions of our nation.  We as voters and as citizens are the first line of any political action in our country.  We must take action and take action today.  We cannot be sure what our actions will bring as a result.  Uncertainty and doubt will always be part of any decision making process.  We must not allow these feelings to reign.  But we CAN be sure that if we

do not take responsibility for the future of our Nation, others will.   If we do not lead, we will be led.

Political leaders all across the landscape today talk to us, the voting public of the country, as though we cannot understand the issues of the day, as if we are not able to grasp complex ideas and formulate solutions.  Instead of real leadership we are treated to a pep rally rather than national conversation.

We are strong in our inner beings.  The time has come to shed our sheep skin use our strength to benefit the nation.  We can no longer sit quietly by and allow ourselves to be led like sheep (sheeple, really) to the slaughter.  We are better than that.

I urge each and ever one to stand up today, right now, and take action.  Fear, uncertainty, doubt, and hesitation will take your life away if you allow that to happen.  Let these feelings prod you to seek greater knowledge and involvement and always remember action is the antidote to all our woes.  Action will change the world IF we get moving.  

Let the world see real Citizens in action.  Let the world once again see real leadership as we begin to move the globe to a new status of security and economic development.  We can shed our sheep’s clothing and lose our fears along the way.  Together we can move the world once we get up and get ourselves moving.

What Can We Do To End The War?

October 27th Mobilization To End The War

copyright © 2007 Betsy L. Angert

I offer information, an opportunity,  and an option for participation.  At times, the voice of the people is muffled.  We stand alone, and are silenced by the hum of the masses.  When we join as one, we are the throng that roars.  As we walk peacefully, united in a cause, harmony is the hum.  A crowd calmly chanting, “Give peace a chance” can create a vibration like no other.  When people walk in peace, the volume is deafening.  There is no sound greater than that of tranquility.  Come together my friends and stand in support of soldiers and civilians alike.

Robert Greenwald, Jim Miller, and the Brave New Foundation Team invite each of us to join hands and speak as we have never spoken before.  It has been too long.  The battlefields are bloody.  Homes and families have been destroyed.  Lives and limbs are lost.  The nation suffers from a financial, physical, and intellectual debt.  We borrowed against our better judgment.  Oh, how deep is this emotional quagmire.

It is time to regain our strength and sensibility.  You may believe as I do, we have delayed for too long.  Perhaps, you too have asked, if not now, when do we bring our troops home.  We each recognize tomorrow never comes.  Let us hope that October 27, 2007 will.  With war in the wind, we never know what is next.  Nonetheless, let us plan to protest this protracted and prolonged battle and do it together.  If we do not, we can be certain peace will never come.

Dear activists, colleagues and friends . . .

It has been over 4 and a half years since the invasion of Iraq.  3,835 U.S. soldiers and over 1 million Iraqi citizens have lost their lives.  U.S. taxpayers have spent over $600 billion on this war with no end in sight.
This Saturday, October 27th, you can take a stand.  United for Peace and Justice is coordinating over 150 peace groups across the country for demonstrations in 11 cities.

Boston, Chicago, Jonesborough Tennessee, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York City, Orlando, Philadelphia, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, and Seattle.

There are also events in Fairbanks, Tucson, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Denver, Kapaa Hawaii, Des Moines, Smithfield NC, and Oklahoma City.

We made a video to help get the word out.  Watch it here and recruit your friends to come:

Please come!  Four years ago this month we documented the lies that led us into this war in “Uncovered: The War on Iraq,” and last year we took on the mercenaries, cost-plus contracts, Blackwater and Halliburton in “Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers.”
Both of these stories are now widely known in the broader media thanks to your efforts in screening the films and organizing with them.

This new video is about getting people into the streets and DOING SOMETHING.

See you on Saturday!

Robert Greenwald, Jim Miller, and the Brave New Foundation Team

P.S. Click that forward button!

All I am saying is what many have been said before.  I request as the Brave New Foundation Team does.  They ask us to consider the statement;  “Give peace a chance.”  Pound the pavement.  Walk with wisdom.  Do not incite.  Invite harmony.  Please help us, them, we, she, he, our brothers, and sisters worldwide. 

Soldiers and civilians embroiled in battle depend on those that want no war to speak for them.  Stop the bombs.  Block the bullets.  Cut the funds.  Bring our boys and girls home.  Let the Iraqis be.  This was never our battle and certainly, we brought no peace.  Combat can never create calm.  Let us take a stand and deliver our message.  Serenity for all.

Not In My Name? I Am An American; I am Culpable

copyright © 2007 Betsy L. Angert

I hear the claims and the clamor.  “This is George Bush’s war!”  This Administration instituted a “war on science.”  Federal funding for research was reduced in recent years.  Laws meant to protect the environment were repealed.  I would love to say that much of what occurs in America today is not done in my name. It is not my fault or folly.  However, I cannot make this assertion.  I am an American; I am culpable.

Granted, I do not support the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan.  The possibility of a mêlée in Iran, Korea, Lebanon, Israel, here, or aboard I think abhorrent.  For me, armed combat is not an option.  It never was or will be in my mind.  Congress does not represent me when they continue to fund brutal battles.  Nevertheless, I believe this war is mine.  I cannot blame it on George W. Bush, the House, or the Senate.  I am an American.  My country is directly responsible for the havoc we see in Iraq and Afghanistan.  By extension, I believe we, as a nation, are answerable for the attacks we initiated and the aftermath.

My own certainty that I could do nothing more than I do allows those in office to act in my name.  The sense of futility I feel gives credence to the concept that I cannot control the Commander-In-Chief, his counsel, or the Congress. Yet I am liable for my lack of initiative, for the lax I let be me.

I do not understand why this nation went into debt to fund a futile war.  Had the battle been a breeze and America retreated triumphant, I would feel no different.  Financial obligations, purchases made on credit are not as I crave.  Conservatives may declare fiscal responsibility; however, it seems, if profits can be made from combat, then in debt we go.  I believe this construct is foolish.

I have no ability to comprehend the love of victory.  For me, wars are never won.

Perchance, that is why I struggle with the Presidential campaign.  Political lines are drawn.  Party’s part ways.  People cannot see the similarities within their stances.  The differences, the depth of their division drives competitive combative persons on.  The supposed need to succeed separates us.  From the President to the people, the phrase “You are either with me or against me” dominates. 

Democrats smell a Republican defeat and are happy to embrace any of three candidates that will not commit to exit Iraq.  Fifty three percent of Progressives prefer the candidate that proudly proclaims, we need more troops in Afghanistan.  It is craziness to me.  I would love to say, this election is not being held in my name.  Yet, I am a citizen of the United States.  What happens in my homeland is, in part, my doing. 

As an American, I am culpable for all that occurs in my country and for all that my nation does. 

I do not grasp the logic that led members of the House and Senate to compromise on the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.  Why would anyone advocate to increase funds for Abstinence Only Sex Education classes, that have proven to be ineffective,  is beyond me.  I heard the excuses.  Democrats declare Republicans will support the measure if .

The obsession to cut taxes makes no sense to me.  We watch the infrastructure crumble around us and still we say, “No new taxes.”

As I observe millions of people enter Wal-Mart, I wonder.  Why might they complain of imports and then purchase these wares with glee.

I read the statistics.  Forty-nine percent of immigrants are hired to do work in American homes.  Businesses only bear a portion of the “burden” or benefit from a “cheap” labor force.  Yet, wherever I travel Americans speak of the need to close borders. 

Bigotry is in bloom in this nation.  I would like to say xenophobia is not wrought in my name.  Yet, I am an American.  This is my country; I am culpable.

I recognize that I feel as though I do not have the power to change what is; however, I know to my core that change begins with me.  As long as I blame, the President, the Bush Dynasty, the Clinton Clan, Congress, Vice President Cheney, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi or you, I cannot, and will not do, as I must.  Only when I accept that I am an American; I am culpable will I commit to change what causes my fellow man and me great harm.

I invite you do dream, to embrace the unattainable, and the ridiculous.  Walk the streets in support of peace.  Write letters to the editors, your Congressmen, and women.  If a General Strike appeals to you, engage.  November 6, 2007 offers an opportunity for protest.  Whatever action you choose please be the serenity you wish to see.  March in harmony.  When someone shrilly speaks to you, do not respond in kind.  If you believe in peace, let that path be your eternal guide.

With thanks to Congressman Dennis Kucinich, Don Quixote, and Miguel de Unamuno  . . .

“Only he who attempts the absurd is capable of achieving the impossible.”
  ~ Miguel de Unamuno [Spanish Philosopher and Writer]

Not In My Name . . .

  • Not In Our Names.
  • Clinton Blasts Bush’s ‘War on Science,’ By Cornelia Dean and Patrick Healy.  The New York Times. October 4, 2007
  • Front-runner Clinton still needs to watch her words, By Steve Huntley.  The Chicago Sun Times.  June 15, 2007
  • Plans For Iraq Attack Began On 9/11. Exclusive: Rumsfeld Sought Plan For Iraq Strike Hours After 9/11 Attack.  CBS News. September 4, 2002
  • Afghanistan wakes after night of intense bombings. Cable News Network. October 7, 2001
  • US ‘Iran attack plans’ revealed. British Broadcasting Company. February 20, 2007
    October 7, 2001

  • If Necessary, Strike and Destroy, North Korea Cannot Be Allowed to Test This Missile.  By Ashton B. Carter and William J. Perry.  Washington Post. Thursday, June 22, 2006; Page A29
  • pdf If Necessary, Strike and Destroy, North Korea Cannot Be Allowed to Test This Missile.  By Ashton B. Carter and William J. Perry.  Washington Post. Thursday, June 22, 2006; Page A29
  • Watching Lebanon, Washington’s interests in Israel’s war. By Seymour M. Hersh.  The New Yorker. August 21, 2006
  • Israel’s Next War?  Frontline. April 5, 2005
  • Post coverage of the worst terrorist attack on American soil. Washington Post.
  • House Passes Children’s Health Insurance Bill That Would Extend Abstinence Education Program for Two Years..  Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. August 02, 2007
  • On the Corner: Day Labor in the United States.  By Abel Valenzuela Jr., Nik Theodore, Edwin Meléndez, Ana Luz Gonzalez.  The Ford Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region’s Washington Area Partnership for Immigrants and UCLA’s Center for the Study of Urban Poverty January 2006
  • Noose Sent to Black Principal at Brooklyn School, By Jennifer Medina.  The New York Times. October 22, 2007
  • pdf Noose Sent to Black Principal at Brooklyn School, By Jennifer Medina.  The New York Times. October 22, 2007
  • Clinton Widens Lead In Poll. Senator Also Tops Obama in Latest Fundraising Data. By Jon Cohen and Anne E. Kornblut. Washington Post.?Wednesday, October 3, 2007; Page A01
  • pdf Clinton Widens Lead In Poll. Senator Also Tops Obama in Latest Fundraising Data. By Jon Cohen and Anne E. Kornblut. Washington Post.  Wednesday, October 3, 2007; Page A01
  • Bayh, Clinton Call for More Troops in Afghanistan. Hillary Rodham Clinton.  January 17, 2007
  • Wal-Mart CEO defends low-cost imports. Cable News Network. October 12, 2007
  • Wal-Mart’s Imports Lead to U.S. Jobs Exports. American Federation of Labor – Congress of Industrial Organizations.
  • Specific Suggestion: General Strike. Give Peace A Chance. By Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink September 29, 2007
  • Cindy Sheehan. The Plea, Promote Harmony Peacefully

    Cindy Sheehan Quits

    copyright © 2007 Betsy L. Angert

    Dearest Cindy . . .

    I meant to write this letter days ago after reading your farewell “Good Riddance Attention Whore.”  I watched as the number of electronic communiqués in response to your essay mounted.  I thought my message might be lost and perhaps was not important.  I decided to forego a seemingly fruitless endeavor.

    Yet, as I reflected on my reading of your words, and those writing in reply, I was haunted.  Still, I hesitated.  I was drowning in sorrow as I observed the interchanges.  Ultimately, I concluded I can stay silent no longer, for if I do I endorse the verbal struggle.  Oh, how I long for peace, harmony, and tranquility in every aspect of life.  I hope to express my thoughts in a manner that honors calm and furthers a shared understanding.  However, if the present is as the past, what are meant to be peaceful ponderings may provoke.

    Cindy, the chatter surrounding your letter of resignation reminded of what struck me most in your offering.  I experience as you mention.

    [T]he “left” started labeling me with the same slurs that the right used.  I guess no one paid attention to me when I said that the issue of peace and people dying for no reason is not a matter of “right or left”, but “right and wrong.”

    I experience this as well.  More often than not, my missives bring talk of divisiveness.  When I am critical of those that send our young and now older to combat, I receive comments  of how “evil” the right is.  I may frequently speak of the neoconservatives with disdain; however, I think the Left is no less liable.  For me, any being that thinks war is ever an option allows for the practice.

    I have also been slammed for calling the Commander and his Cabinet criminal.  While I do believe that all beings have the potential for enlightenment, some are extremely slow to evolve.  The ego delays their ascent.  I have faith that each of us will make errors repeatedly as we travel through this Earthly existence; nonetheless, when these blunders take sweet and vulnerable men and women into battle, I think that iniquitous.

    For me, it matters not the Party affiliation; harming another is errant.  I experience as you have.

    I am deemed a radical because I believe that partisan politics should be left to the wayside when hundreds of thousands of people are dying for a war based on lies that is supported by Democrats and Republican alike.

    I cannot comprehend the reprimands of one that thinks I am too harsh verbally, when I, without swearing explain my disdain for any being that is willing to hurt others.  Merely calling for censure or impeachment, a nonviolent means for ending mass murder, is considered illogical and disappointing to this self-defined contrarian.  Apparently for this self-proclaimed Buddhist, placing the onus on me seems apt.  I am bombarded with barbs while men and women die on battlefields abroad.

    It amazes me that people who are sharp on the issues and can zero in like a laser beam on lies, misrepresentations, and political expediency when it comes to one party refuse to recognize it in their own party.

    The mad cap fellow I mention and I would each agree with this statement.  However, he would remind me that the philosophical form of Zen, Hinduism that I hold dear is deeply flawed for it differs from the religious sect of Buddhism he prefers.

    I sigh  deeply.  I trust that as much as I appreciate many of this man’s musings, the need to be right or reproach drains me.  I want no part of such exchanges.  I long for peace in every effort eternally.

    I am not a competitive person and have no interest in engaging is dialogues where one is left the victor, and the other defeated.  I prefer peace.  For me, even an arraignment is an opportunity for growth.  It need not be confrontational.  I only wish to lessen the power of those that think we have the right to punish another nation or our own citizens by putting them to death, or torturing them until they talk.  Yet, consistently I realize bringing about harmony is not the intent of many in the movement.

    I have also tried to work within a peace movement that often puts personal egos above peace and human life. This group won?t work with that group; he won?t attend an event if she is going to be there; and why does Cindy Sheehan get all the attention anyway? It is hard to work for peace when the very movement that is named after it has so many divisions.

    When working with an organization devoted to harmony, the two persons prominent is coordinating the events argued vehemently.  Those assisting with the installation project then took sides.  There was no tranquility among the pacifists; yet, they claimed to be people of peace.

    While walking with a group dedicated to calm, marchers called out to the law officers.  These peace protesters preferred to fight the fuzz.  The antics of those supporting an end to war actually promoted the same on local streets.

    Cindy, I relent as you have.

    [N]o matter how much I sacrifice, I can?t make you be that [peaceful, loving] country unless you want it.

    Persons and political structures are as they wish to be.  I cannot change them; nor do I desire to try.  I speak out for I trust that my silence will not benefit them or me.  In my own life much has been said when I was not ready to understand the meaning or significance.  I trust that people and policies are in flux.  They are evolving as am I.  I can only hope that my love of peace will be honored within my lifetime.  I accept that this may not be so.  Nonetheless, for me and I trust the same is true for you Cindy Sheehan, I will continue to do as I can.  However, I cannot sacrifice my own soul.  If I am to stay strong, I cannot continually allow others to deplete my spirit.

    Cindy, I thank you so much for sharing your self, your strength, and for remaining vigilant.  I believe peace will come.  You will be among those that made the transition possible.  I am grateful.

    Sincerely, with great respect . . .

    Betsy L. Angert

  • “Good Riddance Attention Whore.”  By Cindy Sheehan. Daily Kos.  May 28, 2007
  • An Alert. Activism, Immigration. April 10, Here Again


    Coverage of Spring 2006 Immigration Rally in DC

    April 10 is here again.  We must assess ourselves, our principles, this our nation of immigrants.  As you listen to the voices, you may hear your own voice, or realize that others are thinking as you never have.  Please reflect and revisit the issue of immigration in America.  Events are scheduled in 2007.  Perhaps Immigration laws affect a person near and dear to you.  Might you participate and make a difference.

    Please peruse the details below.  Travel through cyberspace and find a community near you.  They are seeking your assistance.

    April 10 is a day for action.  the Fair Immigration Reform Movement is asking for your assistance.  Activities are planned throughout the country.  Some occur today, others in the days to come.  It is never too late to be involved in Immigration Reform.

    Coordinated by the Fair Immigration Reform Movement, the Gamaliel Foundation, National Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Communities, the Border Communities Alliance for Human Rights and hundreds of grassroots organizations around the nation, immigrant communities and allies will call on Washington to deliver Comprehensive Immigration Reform NOW!!
    Stop Tearing Apart Families!?
    Stop the Raids and Deportations!?
    Pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform Now!

    Find An Event Near You!

    On April 10 – 1-year commemoration of our massive mobilizations against hate, HR4437

    During the current Congressional Easter Recess (April 2 – April 13)- we are calling on organizations from across the country to engage in the following actions:

  • On April 10 kick off of a major letter writing, e-mails, and personal items campaign
  • Organize Town hall meetings with Members of Congress to ask for their commitment to family unity,
    an end to raids,
    to deportations and to pass CIR

  • Organize Marches and rallies with children and families
  • Educate our communities on the immigration reform bills being introduced
  • Display of images of families and children impacted by raids

  • Assist if you are able or spread the word.  Perhaps, a person you know is waiting for this information.  They know an immigrant, are a migrant, speak with émigrés and wish to help reform current laws.  Please share this information with a friend, a family member, or one familiar with the current circumstances.  America thanks you for caring, sharing, and sending your thoughts to our representatives.

    Eight Wishes. Ten Thousand Miles. Pedaling For Dyslexia

    8 wishes & 10,000 miles !!NEW DEADLINE 08/08/2008!!!

    © copyright 2007 Betsy L. Angert

    Paul Sanchez had a wish, a hope, a dream, and a bicycle.  In 2004, he began a quest different than his earlier diagnosis.  As a child, he was labeled dyslexic.  He was told this dire condition would hold him back.  Paul and his parents were also informed, Paul has Attention Deficit Disorder.  He struggled with these and yet, still dreamt of being more than a characterization.

    Mister Sanchez understood that many successful persons were pigeonholed as he had been.  Alexandra Knight, an entrepreneur expecting to earn $2 [two] million dollars in handbag sales this year was diagnosed dyslexic at the age of thirteen.  Apparently, this reading disability or difference in learning styles is common among entrepreneurs.  The United Kingdom researched and reported on this dynamic. 

    Entrepreneurs five times more likely to suffer from dyslexia

    What makes Sir Richard Branson, Sir Alan Sugar, and Sir Norman Foster special? New research links entrepreneurship and dyslexia
    Monday, 22 November, 2004

    For the first time, new research shows that entrepreneurs are five times more likely to suffer from dyslexia then your average UK citizen and this has major implications for this Government’s key aim of creating a more entrepreneurial British society through initiatives such as this week’s National Enterprise week.

    The research carried out by Simfonec, a science research centre based at Cass Business School, found that 20% of entrepreneurs (business owners employing at least one person) studied were dyslexic whereas employed managers (those who supervise at least one person) reflected the UK national dyslexia incidence level of 4%.

    The research also found that 70% of dyslexic entrepreneurs who participated in the second, more in depth stage of the research, did not succeed at school.  Researcher and Director of Simfonec, Dr Julie Logan notes that some of the UK’s leading entrepreneurs such as Sir Richard Branson, Sir Alan Sugar, Anita Roddick and Sir Norman Foster allegedly suffer from dyslexia and says this research not only links dyslexia and entrepreneurship for the first time but it also has fundamental implications about how entrepreneurship should be fostered.

    Perhaps those that struggle with conventions can create what most rarely imagine.  The aforementioned Missis Knight is one among many success stories in the United Sates.  Numerous American industrialists help illustrate that Learning Difficulties need not hold an individual back.  There are ample instances in this and every nation; a disruptive, less than diligent learner can soar to heights his or her classmates cannot or will not, merely because they are mired in conventions.

    ADD in the Corner Office: Five Top Executives Discovered that an LD can be a Capitalist Tool

    As students, they seemed to be heading nowhere – fast.  A teacher hurled an eraser at one of them, and asked, “Time passes, will you?” Another graduated at the bottom of his high school class and was strongly advised by his principal to go into carpet laying.  A third was labeled lazy by her teachers because she had trouble memorizing basic math facts.  A fourth was a whiz with numbers but found reading a book a difficult task.  The last was always falling behind in his schoolwork and concluded that he was stupid.  “How am I going to be successful in anything if I can’t read and write?” he wondered.

    You might say that these nowhere kids turned their lives around.  They are, in order, Alan Meckler, chairman and CEO of Jupitermedia; Paul Orfalea, founder of the copying empire, Kinko’s; Diane Swonk, a world-renowned economist; Charles Schwab, a pioneer in the discount brokerage business; and David Neeleman, founder and CEO of JetBlue Airways.

    Besides having difficulty in school, these executives share another thing in common: They all suffer from AD/HD or learning disabilities.  Neeleman has AD/HD; Swonk, Meckler, and Schwab have dyslexia, and Orfalea has both.  Each managed to turn his or her liabilities into assets on their respective career paths.  If you have difficulty with organization, reading, or remembering math facts, these entrepreneurs prove that such limitations don’t preclude a bright future.

    Paul Sanchez is well aware that many succeed, although they were told they would not.  He is among these.  Unlike many, that profit personally, Paul wants to do more.  Mister Sanchez wishes to help those that suffer as he has.  This man may have begun riding solo; however, as he traveled the perimeter of the United States, he gathered forces.  He rode with the wind at his back and continues on his expedition.

    Please partake in the pedaling.  Read of Paul’s promise to himself and others.  Pedal along with Paul Sanchez, as others have.  Perhaps, if enough of us care, contribute to a cause with cash or consciousness raising, if we share our stories, Learning Difficulties will not be considered a death sentence.  Perchance, we might give life to creative curriculums that further the hopes and dreams of all.

    Paul Sanchez invites you to see the sights and gain insight.  Please view his video travelogue and read of his reality.

    Sunday, December 10, 2006

    Welcome to 8 Wishes

      . . . a project raising awareness and funds for children with dyslexia and learning differences.

    By Paul Sanchez

    In 2004, I set out on a 10,000 mile bike ride around the perimeter of the United States to make a difference in the lives of children with dyslexia and learning differences.  During my trip, I met 13 children around the country who are chasing their dreams despite their learning differences, and I want every child to have the same opportunity.  I have suffered from dyslexia and ADD my entire life, and it held me back for too many years.

    Now, with the ride and these children as my impetus, I made 8 Wishes to raise awareness and funds trough social media and the Internet, as a prologue to my documentary, Solo Ride.  Each wish serves a specific purpose toward creating this documentary and reaching my goal of giving hope and support to these children.

    My 8 Wishes:

    1) Raise $1 million dollars.  All proceeds will be donated to the Dyslexia Awareness Resource Center (DARC) and the Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDA).

    2) 100 million views of the 10,000 Miles and 8 Wishes video.  Generate the greatest amount of visibility with minimal funding.

    3) Be interviewed by Oprah.  She has the power and the audience to make a real difference.

    4) Interview Paul Orfelea, founder of Kinkos with dyslexia (GRANTED)

    5) Interview Sir.  Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin with dyslexia

    6) Interview Charles Schwab, who also has dyslexia

    7) Be on 88 blogs and websites.  Together, we can prove the power of the Internet and social media.

    8) All in 88 days! I want to keep this fun and exciting, while creating a sense of urgency surrounding this issue.

    In the spirit of this project and the internet, you will see us make changes quickly and move with the response of our readers.  Our greatest advantage is our ability to be flexible and nimble.  Aside from our mission, nothing is set in stone.  If at times we appear unorganized or directionless, it’s because I’m letting you determine our direction – I want to create a fundraiser that’s fun for our supporters.  Our promise is to always be transparent and keep our supporters engaged in granting my 8 Wishes.

    Paul, may I share a secret?  Had these designations been more prevalent when I was a child, I am certain I would have been assigned each of these.  Fortunately, I was a quiet observer of life.  I was distracted by my own thoughts and investigation.  Actively engaging with other students did not interest me.  Often, pupil antics seemed silly to me.  I did not want attention from others.  I had much to attend to on my own.  Thus, educators did not think me a behavior problem.  Yet, I knew, I know, there was much I struggled with.

    My mind races.  I am easily bored.  The standard curriculum is as medication.  I feel sleepy, as though in a stupor when subjected to what for me seems silly and superficial.  My grades did suffer when I was not interested in a subject.  Yet, an instructor could intrigue me.  My saving grace was my parents.  They understood.  They let me be I!  Imagine, if educators offered a program of study that facilitated growth for every student as an individual.  What might the world experience if learning was our love, if we enjoyed the endeavor.

    I thank you Paul for reminding us, we can dream supposed impossible dreams.  We are able to tilt at windmills and give birth to the best.  Classifications need not be our fate.  Only when we accept these labels do we, and society as a whole, lose.  When we allow others to impose descriptions that then define us, we are defeated. 

    To be honest Paul, I wonder.  Who among us is not dyslexic., I suspect we are all impaired when working with words or symbols.  Attention Deficit Disorder is another humbling nomenclature. The brain takes in far more information than any of us can address.

    Might the diagnosis have more of an effect.  Could it be that labels deter learning.  Perchance, if we worked to battle the tendency to accept these characterizations life would be better for everyone.

    Once you label me, you negate me.
    ~ Soren Kierkegaard [Danish Philosopher]

    Wishes and Miles . . .

  • 8 Wishes, Volunteers-Friends
  • 8 Wishes By Paul Sanchez
  • Break into the $7,000 purse biz, in 5 not-so-easy steps,  By Jim Hopkins.  USA Today. May 9, 2005
  • Entrepreneurs five times more likely to suffer from dyslexia.  Cass Business School. Monday, 22 November, 2004
  • ADD in the Corner Office: Five Top Executives Discovered that an LD can be a Capitalist Tool, By Lois Gilman.  Written for ADDitude magazine.
  • Dyslexia
  • Myths about ADD and ADHD Attention Deficit Disorder Association.
  • Myth of ADD, Dr. Thomas Armstrong
  • Exercising a longer attention span DORE treatment gaining advocates, By Peter Schworm.  Boston Globe. May 21, 2006
  • pdf Exercising a longer attention span DORE treatment gaining advocates, By Peter Schworm.  Boston Globe. May 21, 2006
  • Brain Studies Reveal the Mechanisms of the Voluntary Control of Visual Attention, By Monte Basgall.  Duke University. Wednesday, January 3, 2007
  • Iraq, Four Years Later. All We Are Saying is “Give Peace A Chance!”

    © copyright 2007 Betsy L. Angert

    It may have been a January evening; perhaps it was earlier.  The year was 2003.  I was living in Orange County, California.  I saw Gretchen as I exited the pool.  She and I were newly acquainted.  Quickly we realized we shared a solid belief; war is not an option!  On this night, Gretchen mentioned there was a peace vigil at the corner of Anton and Bristol in Costa Mesa.  Protestors were gathering across from one of the swankiest market places in the nation, South Coast Plaza.  Certainly, Americans would be there, for in 2001, after the Twin Towers fell President Bush and Vice President Cheney encouraged citizens to go shopping. 

    In an afternoon conversation, Gretchen’s son spoke of the event.  He had been in the past and she was on her way there now.  She asked if I would like to join her.  I am as far from spontaneous as a person can be.  Nevertheless, there are times when principles are more important than habits.  Neither of us hesitated.  Gretchen did not have to convince me to go.  We attended our first peace vigil together.  We were there within minutes.  That was the beginning of an all too long and all too important series of protests. 

    The Orange County Peace Coalition organized that event and many others.  Gretchen and I attended most rallies.  We marched; we sat, and we sang, all in hopes of promoting the philosophy, “Give Peace a Chance!”

    Each of us was present at Coalition meetings.  We were willingly part of the peace movement!  Gretchen and I pleaded for harmony before the first bombs fell in Iraq.  We were appalled by the attacks in Afghanistan.  We had read too much.

    On Monday, October 29th [2001], citing Reuters, The Times of India reported from Kabul, “a US bomb flattened a flimsy mud-brick home in Kabul on Sunday blowing apart seven children as they ate breakfast with their father.  The blast shattered a neighbour’s house killing another two children . . . the houses were in a residential area called Qalaye Khatir near a hill where the hard-line Taliban militia had placed an anti-aircraft gun.”

    The Afghan town of Charikar, 60 kms north of Kabul, has been the recipient of many US bombs and missiles.  On Saturday, November 17th, US bombs killed two entire families — one of 16 members and the other of 14 — perished, together in the same house.

    On the same day, bomb strikes in Khanabad near Kunduz, killed 100 people.  A refugee, Mohammed Rasul, recounts himself burying 11 people, pulled out of ruins there [ibid].

    Multiply these scenes by a couple hundred and the reality on-the-ground in the Afghan October and November is approximated.  This same reality is blithely dismissed by the Pentagon and the compliant U.S. corporate media with “the claims could not be independently verified.”  Whereas the military press calls reports of high civilian casualties as being “inflated by air.”  Another comments on the “humanity of the air war.”  Yet another, wails about too much press coverage of civilian casualties by a media unable to understand that some civilian casualties must occur but that “what IS newsworthy is that so many bombs hit their targets.”

    Afghanistan was and is a country living in the Stone Age. After eons of war, life is hard for all that live there. It is harder still since 2001.  With thanks to America there is a constant threat of death.  Yet, our Western civilized society bombs this nation, its homes, and inhabitants again and again. 

    Gretchen and I could not understand why further destruction was necessary.  Killing innocent non-combatants, mostly children seemed senseless to us.  It still does.  When considering the conditions in Afghanistan the need for civilian deaths is more confusing.

    Gretchen and I wanted no war.  Revenge did not and does not make sense to us.  Battle does not seem an apt solution.  Thus, we ventured out on that night and demonstrated against the war in the Middle East.  As we asked for withdrawal, Bush proposed escalation.  Gretchen and I participated each week in Friday night vigils.

    Then it was evident.  George W. Bush was planning an attack on Iraq.  There was no stopping him.  Nevertheless, we wanted to be heard.  On March 19, a special service was held.  We knew that the bombs would fall, now, over Iraq.

    Four years ago tonight, March 19, 2003, Gretchen, and I held our breath.  We still do.  However, throughout the years we tired at times.  Eggs were thrown at us.  A few times cars careened up onto the sidewalk, attempting to mow us down.  Police were called out to protect us, the protestors.  We wanted peace; however, we were very much alone.  The majority of Americans, or at least those in a conservative county, were against us.

    Life went on in America.  It seemed many were untouched by the wars.  However, Gretchen and I were in tatters.  Our hearts hurt.  We could not ignore what was, even if the combat took place on fields far from homes, it affected us.

    The war filled our minds and took up much of our time.  Gretchen and I were part of one event, then another.  Often, each week, hours of our lives were consumed in a “fight” against the wars.  Gretchen and I attended seminars, sought out information.  We painted signs, built crosses,  stars of David, and crescent moons.  We mounted these in the sand and presented a facsimile of Arlington Cemetery.  I logged the number of allied deaths, picked flowers for the fallen, and spoke in defense of the soldiers.  Gretchen was also vocal and active in her individual efforts.

    Weeks became months.  Months turned into years.  I moved to Florida.  Gretchen stayed in California and continued to speak out, though she chose to be slightly less involved.  As I acclimated to this new locale, I too reduced my participation.  I wrote more and marched less.  I looked for political activists and found most were nowhere near my neighborhood.  I did see some at the corner, across the street from a shopping center here.

    Tonight, I joined them.  I held a “Peace, not War!” sign on a local street corner.  My arm was extended.  My index and middle fingers formed the sign of peace.  Now living in a Red State, though a Blue community, horns were honking continuously.  The turn-out was not huge, though the Progressive population in Florida seems less politically involved.  Possibly, it is that I have not been here long enough to know what is happening.  It is my hope to learn more and to participate fully again.

    I suspect here in Florida, many were mired in Bush haze for years.  Perchance they had given up.  With George in the White House and Jeb in the State House, residents in Florida may have felt they had no power.  There was no reason to believe.  I know I was disillusioned this November as I read that twenty-three percent of the Democrats were planning to vote Republican.

    I understand from long time residents, change in this southern state is exceedingly slow.  Nevertheless,  in the last few months, I sense glimmers of hope.  A transformation seems possible.  Perhaps, that is just a dream, one that many of us share.  Nonetheless . . .

    Tonight, as I held my sign, fellow protestors spoke of this.  The times they are a changing.  Transformation is in the wind. The young and old are rising up.  Children gathered with their parents at the corner where we stood,  Youngsters, less than five years of age held up their signs and chanted words of peace.

    The white-haired man standing at my side said, this was his first time, his virginal vigil.  He grabbed a sign that expressed his sentiment, “Grandfather saying bring our troops home!”

    Later, a middle aged man pulled up near the curb in a late model Sports Utility Vehicle.  A elderly gentleman accompanied him; he was sitting in the passenger seat.  The light was red; the driver, the younger of the two, stopped.  He opened his car door, jumped out, and dashed to the far side of the vehicle.  In the back seat, there was a folding chair.  The younger man placed the structure on the lawn within the crowd of protestors.  The senior citizen exited the car, sat in the seat now stable on the grass.  He took a sign and joined those requesting “Exit Iraq!”

    This evening I thought of Gretchen.  I wondered; were Californians, even in a Republican ruled Orange County now ready to end this futile folly.  Were they too saying “It is time to leave!”  “Impeach Bush!”  “Bring our soldiers home now!”  Has this nation, long divided found a reason to unite?  Might peace be the answer.  Let us give peace a chance, please!

  • Orange County Peace Coalition.
  • Afghanistan. Reuters.
  • A Dossier on Civilian Victims of United States’ Aerial Bombing of Afghanistan: A Comprehensive Accounting.  By Professor Marc W. Herold  Ph.D., M.B.A., B.Sc. Whittemore School of Business & Economics. University of New Hampshire.