Another Bozo On The Bus

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The Geography of Dreamland

I have PTSD from childhood abuse - physical, sexual and emotional. The perpetrators were members of my immediate family.For most of my life the world seemed a very dangerous place and often I was ashamed to just be alive. Things seem to be changing now. For the first time I am working with a therapist who specializes in trauma. One of the things that's changing is in my dream realm, there are many more places where I feel safe, protected, cared for, where I can take refuge. I believe this is happening in my waking life as well, but being a receiver of trauma (don't like calling myself a "victim") it takes awhile, sometimes forever, to trust anything good.
Wed, January 11, 2012 - 11:44 PM — permalink - 1 comments - add a comment

'They Should Have Shot Them All' - 30 Years of Radical Righters Who Incite Murder

www.bilerico.com/2011/02/3...murder.php

'They Should Have Shot Them All' - 30 Years of Radical Righters Who Incite Murder
Filed by: Patricia Nell Warren
February 22, 2011 7:00 PM


On January 28, with the world in a flurry over whether the UK would deport Ugandan refugee Brenda Namigadde back to certain death in Uganda, few reasonable people were doubting the criminal culpability of extremist religious righters who preach death to those they hate.

Uganda is a glaring example of how that perilous preaching works -- its deadly domino effect. The country's extremist threats to Brenda in far-off England were aimed from the same threat machine that caused the murder of gay activist David Kato right in Uganda. David Bahati, jesus-with-gun.jpgextremist MP who sponsored the country's anti-gay bill, publicly called on Brenda to "repent or reform" from being a lesbian, and said she would be punished if she didn't.

Despite police allegations that Kato was killed by a burglar, the fact is this: Uganda's leadership is driven by a extremist "Christian" movement that believes gays are possessed by demons and must be destroyed. Kato's murder was the logical repercussion of Bahati's law, and of government, media and church bigotry. With Brenda, that bigotry is now on a roll. No wonder Uganda is billed as "the world's worst country to live in if you're gay."

In turn, Uganda bigotry is incited by extremist Americans like Scott Lively, Rick Warren and Lou Engle, as well as various Congressmembers. These, and others, have visited Uganda. They have politicked there, converted Uganda's president and his influential wife, and openly supported the growth of a lethal anti-gay policy there. Bahati hauled his anti-gay bill into Parliament as a direct result of the Americans' activities.

Here in the U.S., we have our own home-grown Bahatis who incite violence against gays and other groups as well. For 30 years now, they've been brazenly building their nationwide falling-domino machine, inciting murder of certain U.S. citizens. And they've been exporting their hate speech to other countries through missionary work.

So far, the American people have let them get away with it.
Inciting the "Expendables"

By "hate speech," I mean that brand of rhetoric that goes beyond mere disagreement, to advocating injury and death for certain groups of people. Any religion is capable of hate speech, no matter what they believe in. But in the U.S. we have a specific problem with extremist Bible-based religion, because of the powerful missionary spirit that drives it.

Righters who incite murder usually deny their guilt to the face of the God in whom they say they believe. After all -- they have no blood on their personal hands! The purpose of their maneuver is to incite others -- nobody believers who are expendable, and passionate enough to do the dirty work for them. While the nobodies go to prison, or even death row, the inciters go free, so they can continue preaching their poison in freedom, power and wealth. It's one of the oldest political tricks on the planet.

The inciters don't even care when the "nobodies" are children -- like Brandon McInerney, who was 15 in 2008 when he executed classmate Lawrence King right in their classroom with a pistol shot to the head. As investigators later learned, McInerney's mind had been twisted by long-time family associations with white-supremacist groups. Three years later, McInerney's trial is still going on. If convicted, Nobody McInerney faces 53 years in prison for hate crime and first-degree murder. But the inciters who poisoned this kid's mind with religious hatred for gays will go scot free. McInerney was just another grunt in the Hate Brigade, who got the job done.

We've seen a whole range of local nobodies who were clearly given a cue by extremist church preaching -- notably the two bar flies who dragged Matthew Shepard out in a Wyoming field to his death on October 12, 1998. This happened in a West where Focus on the Family had just established its base in nearby Colorado, and had helped Colorado for Family Values do the propagandizing needed to pass that anti-gay Amendment 2 of the '90s. FOTF and its fellow orgs brought a new intensity of anti-gay hate to the West.

FBI hate-crime statistics for 1995-2008 tell us that, during those 13 years alone, over 20,000 Americans were victims of crimes against sexual orientation, including numerous community leaders besides Harvey Milk. Side by side with religious issues polarizing the country more and more, the stats show these crimes happening more and more in recent years. And those 20,000+ are just the crimes that got counted. Hundreds more violent assaults and murders of LGBT people have never been investigated as hate crimes.

Personally, I'm convinced that today's religious righters know exactly what they're doing when they scream for "death to gays" from the safety of the pulpit or the political podium, or even the TV media desk.

American inciters who violate their own commandment "Thou shalt not kill" are nothing new in the U.S. Throughout our history, they have made their dark presence felt. They stirred up violence against everyone from alleged witches in colonial New England, to blacks in the Jim Crow South, to suffragettes in the early 1900s and labor-union organizers in the '30s. But up until the '70s, ultraconservative churchgoing Americans had avoided a massively visible and direct participation in politics. Even during the 1950s, with their opposition to "godless communism and socialism" through organizations like the John Birch Society, they had kept a lower profile.

it was in the 1970s that today's inciter movement left its first visible tracks in America's trampled social mud.
Warning From a Conservative Author

For me, the first glimpses of that new inciting came after May 4, 1970, when the Ohio National Guard opened fire on anti-war protesters and innocent bystanders across the grassy lawns of Kent State campus.

On that day, four students were killed and 7 wounded, including several who weren't even involved in the protests. No Guardsman was ever charged. News reports left most Americans with the impression that the massacre was the result of a regrettable "oops" -- that no order to fire was actually given, that perhaps some Guardsman had simply panicked, touching off the deadly rain of fire on unarmed students. It would be 40 years before a student's old tape recording of the event surfaced, Forensically enhanced by experts, it appears to reveal that an order to fire was given.

On that day the Guardsmen pulled their triggers, the "radical religious right" still didn't officially exist yet.

Under President Nixon, a conservative administration had been keeping the country stirred up against the New Left -- notably Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and its radical offshoot, Weatherman. These organizations actually aimed to ignite a national youth revolution and overthrow the government by violence. Dissenting students who protested over any legitimate issue, like the Vietnam draft, free speech, etc. but who didn't go so far as to advocate overthrow of the government, were tarred by conservative authorities as being in league with SDS and Weatherman. This was how the Kent State students wound up that rain of bullets.

At the time, I was 34. I was about to publish my first novel, The Last Centennial, and was working as a Reader's Digest book editor.

During fall 1970, I found myself on the margins of the book department's newest project. The Digest had commissioned bestselling author James Michener to write a book titled Kent State: What Happened and Why. President Nixon had personally contacted Digest editors and asked them to get the book written. Its original intent, as dictated by the Nixon administration, was to "prove" that "outside agitators" like SDS and Weatherman had come onto the Kent State campus to unduly influence the demonstrating students. It was a not-too-subtle way of excusing the National Guard's violence. Michener had already spent several months interviewing people at the university and around the town.

One day that fall, the famous author came to a luncheon meeting with the RD Book Department to give us a progress report. We were struck by the perturbed and somber mood he was in. As a junior editor, I was expected to sit quietly at the table, amidst the clinking of fine china, and listen and learn. And I did that...with my hair standing on end. So did the other editors.

Feelingly, Michener described his shock at hearing conservative parents of Kent State students say things like, "They should have shot them all." According to Michener, some parents were even calling for death to their own children -- for hippie transgressions as trifling as a girl not wearing a bra, or a boy going barefoot and smoking pot. Michener quoted a number of parents word for word from his research notes.

Suddenly, with Kent State, the national issue was no longer "defeating the radical revolutionary left." There was a new issue in town. The first bloodthirsty voices had been heard, loud and clear, from right-wing Americans who felt that America was no longer "their America" -- who were eager that violence be done to others, on behalf of their religious beliefs and their "moral values." They were even okay with their own children being murdered. And it was okay with them if somebody else pulled the trigger.

The Digest decision-makers had hoped that Michener would take a solidly conservative tack on the Kent State events. And he did. But the famous author also told my bosses point-blank that the book was going to include these bloodthirsty snarls from fathers and mothers who were supposedly such devout and law-abiding people. The Digest had to go along.

Looking back on it now, I remember Kent State as my own first look at that ugly face of "shoot them all." It was the same contorted face that we see today on the Ugandan parliamentarians, clergy and media writers who clamor for "death to all gays" in Uganda. Here in the U.S., we see that same look on the faces of Tea-Partiers and other radical-right groups emerging across the country who advocate open violence against anybody they hate.
How the Radical Right Got Started

Like a flash of lightning on a dark night, Kent State revealed a seismic shift happening in our social landscape. It was the beginning of a ferocious church-organized resistance to what was viewed as a broad liberal/leftist/socialist/Marxist attack on "American values." In certain Americans' minds, all these things were lumped together -- if you were a liberal, you were also a Marxist and an atheist, hence an evil person.

This pushback by the far right had started in the '60s with their attempts to justify the Vietnam War as a "crusade against godless communism." It had boiled more deeply into fulminations against sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll. Now, with Kent State -- the first-ever shootings of students right on a campus by armed military personnel -- these ultra-rightists were not in the least embarrassed or troubled by the National Guard's overreaction. To Americans accustomed to thinking of Biblical Protestantism as the sole foundation of our history, "socialism" was a foreign and secular heresy invented by bad guys in Europe. In their view, "socialism" was brought here from Europe in order to promote anti-religious changes.

So, as Bill Gordon (author of Four Dead in Ohio) put it, the Kent State shootings were "the most popular murders ever committed in the United States."

Through the 1970s, this new churchism -- which was equally unembarrassed by the Watergate scandal and Republicans' fall from grace for a while -- got more traction. It gelled around three issues that were outraging ultra-conservatives more than peaceniks and pot -- namely, the legalizing of abortion, the feminist movement, and that LGBT-rights movement sparked by the 1969 Stonewall riot in New York City. As justification for their extreme attitude, these radical righters cited the Old Testament, which -- in their opinion -- gave them permission to call for violent divinely-mandated punishments on the "transgressors." So the grim refrain "they should have shot them all" would now be echoed against any person of whom ultraconservatives morally disapproved.

By 1972, I started moving towards coming out and writing a novel (The Front Runner) about conservative opposition to out athletes in American sports. I had no trouble figuring out what sort of man would try to stop my fictional gay track coach and his gay runner from competing at the Olympic Games.

So I created the character of Richard Mech. He was a right-wing Bible-believing shooter who saw himself as an avenging angel sent to rid the world of flagrant "sodomist" relationships. The Front Runner was published in 1974.
Those Early Incitings

Meanwhile, the religious righters were organizing. At key meetings in the late 1970s, early figures like Pat Robertson and Anita Bryant openly declared war on abortion, feminism and gays. A number of the movement's more shadowy figures financed and launched the Moral Majority. For those Bilerico readers who are too young to remember, this was the first church-based activist nonprofit organization of its kind, headed by a young radio preacher named Jerry Falwell.

By 1979, the formal anti-gay incitings had started. Falwell's fundraising literature included a a "Declaration of War" on homosexuality. "War" means killing your enemy. Indeed, Falwell would cite Bible passages and make the stunning statement, "God is pro-war." By 1985, as the AIDS epidemic got under way, Paul Cameron spoke at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference and announced that "the extermination of homosexuals" might become necessary. It was clear that this new movement wasn't talking in metaphors.

Soon there was a whole phalanx of these organizations -- all aiming at not only restrictive new federal and state legislation that favored Catholic and Protestant church teachings, but also at stirring up violent feelings. Through the '80s and '90s, the extremists were also building their base with distribution of voter guides and open political talk from pulpits and getting their own candidates into office or onto the bench -- all in defiance of IRS strictures on political activity by churches.

Among the Protestant extremists, evangelicals and Pentecostals started coalescing under an international umbrella that has become known as the New Apostolic Reformation, aka Joel's Army. These all share a belief that they have a Biblical mandate to battle demon powers everywhere and establish new governments in the name of Jesus -- by violence and force of arms, if necessary. They are convinced that they battle the Anti-Christ as they fight our present style of government and anything in our society that they believe is demon-possessed -- including LGBT people, of course. They are anti-democracy, and aim to set up Bible-based police states run by themselves.
Two Opposing Movements

The 1960s-70s radical left had aimed for young Americans to rise in revolt against conservative American authority and establish a socialist revolution. But that revolution never happened. Most liberal American youth of those times who hit the streets to protest on issues didn't want to destroy our existing government -- they just wanted to fix it.

As a result -- by the 1980s, leftist revolutionary leaders found themselves left high and dry. They went underground or surrendered to the FBI. Some were charged and did prison time.

By contrast, the radical-right revolution was doing just fine, thank you. Whereas SDS and Weatherman members were criminally charged with advocating violent overthrow of the government, no radical righter (that I know of) has been charged with verbally advocating violence against minorities that they hate. Despite the dark lessons of history that violent talk leads to violent actions, and the passage of hate-crime laws, many in our society continue to deny the fatal connection between words and bullets.

So, the radical righters have spent the last 2-3 decades building a broad power base for themselves, in order to make America safe for their activities. In so doing, they have gotten leverage that was never available to the radical left. Examples: They've expanded their influence in the U.S. military, from chaplains to commanding officers to troops that they have proselytized. They now have members and allies in state legislatures, governor's mansions, Congress, the Supreme Court, as well as the major media. The IRS has done nothing major to stop the illegal fundraising and politicking by churches and church-run nonprofits. American voters have done nothing to stop it either.

To get this leverage, these groups focus on highly emotional wedge issues like "baby killing." When it's okay to shoot "baby killers" (as Scott Roeder did to abortion doctor George Tiller), it is also okay to shoot "perverted sodomists" (LGBT leader Harvey Milk). Or to shoot women leaders like Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who had already gotten many death threats before Jared Loughner finally took aim at her on January 8 in Tucson, AZ. Like Kent State, such acts are "popular murders."

Figures like Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck now feel comfortable inciting in front of a crowd and a battery of news cameras. Belatedly, Palin surely realized that her website's picture of rifle crosshairs trained on Gifford's office location was an incitement to murder, because it was hastily taken down. MSNBC commentator Rachel Maddow said recently, "I get hate mail from all sort of conservatives, but it is the hate mail from self-proclaimed fans of Mr. Beck that is most likely to contain death threats and threats of violence against me." Beck's attacks also prompted death threats to a 78-year-old NYU professor who writes about poverty.

Ironically, America has exported this violence against gays into African countries, along with the more virulent missionaries that went there. Today there are the ultra-conservative African Catholics and Episcopalians (like Episcopal Archbishop Akinola of Nigeria) who have all fueled the explosive anti-gay climate that is building across central Africa, not only in Uganda, but other countries as well. But it is the American NAR, with their goal of setting up puppet "governments for Jesus" everywhere in Africa, who have done the most to unleash all that inciting against LGBT activists. So far, our government has done nothing to muzzle the American politicians and missionaries who have gotten so directly involved with setting up and supporting Bible-based police states in African countries.

How ironic that a conservative author with a conscience gave America the early storm warning on where "shoot them all" was going to go.
Avoiding the Issue

One more point: Radical-right loudmouths like Glenn Beck try to justify rightist hate speech by the fact that the Left has incited Americans to murder too. Beck points out that some liberal and leftist commentators, like Mike Malloy, indulge in their own brand of hate speech.

And Beck is right to some degree. I'm not a fan of today's leftist inciters like Mike Malloy. The SDS and Weatherman not only carried out a series of bombings, but incited others to violence as well -- to "kill pigs" (police) and destroy the Establishment, so they could replace it with a socialist government.

But the Radical Left lasted only a couple of decades, and it didn't go unscathed. Whereas the Radical Right has been allowed to get away with inciting murder, ever since their movement went public in the 1970s.

The one exception has been federal efforts, under President Clinton, to prosecute violent crimes by anti-abortionists. Unfortunately, prosecution has never stemmed the flood of anti-abortion inciting. The "expendable nobodies" like Scott Roeder have been happy to go to jail for their beliefs. As a result of this ongoing terrorism against abortion clinics, these crimes are still happening today -- eight doctors dead so far, and dozens of other clinic personnel injured and clinics bombed. As a result, the right is winning its war against abortion without even getting anti-abortion laws passed. Abortion-clinic personnel are now so fearful of violence that abortion infrastructure has withered away in most states, to the point where most American women now have little access to this medical procedure that technically is still legal.

Why this stark contrast between the way our justice system treated the radical Left , and the way it treated the radical Right? Why have the American people done so little to stop this deadly trend?

It is politically difficult to attack the Bible as the source of radical-right incitings for violent death, when so many moderate Americans have warm fuzzies about the Bible. Since childhood they've felt a naive Sunday School reverence for what they call "the Good Book." They don't mind promoting the idea that the Bible should have a central place in our culture and our public life. Never mind that the Bible was imported here from Europe too, along with the brand of fundamentalist Protestantism that believes every word of that book. The Bible is a paradox -- along with its inspiring passages of spiritual wisdom, it has many venomous passages that amount to a primordial primer for religious inciting, a handbook for hate speech. There is page after page of gory Old Testament episodes that can be cited by believers as examples of "what God wants done to his enemies."

But most Americans have never actually bothered to read the Bible cover to cover. If they did, they might see the passages where all the hate speech is coming from, and their warm fuzzies for the Good Book might vanish overnight.

Today, any efforts to prohibit Americans from advocating gory religious massacre, or to punish them if their words have provably led to someone's death, raises a daunting issue of free speech.

Our country has yet to deal with this speech issue in a courageous and clear-minded manner. If a flagrant case were to come before the U.S. Supreme Court, I doubt that our present High Court would be high-minded enough to rule on it in a way that solves the problem. Meanwhile, as conservatives work to restore Bible teachings in U.S. public schools, and more students start resonating to those specific violent passages in the Bible, the anti-gay climate in the U.S. is going to get worse. Much worse.
Who Murdered Hypatia?

It's also important to look at the more distant past. Long before our own national founding, there is the gory historical record of conservative Christianity and its incitings over 2000 years.

For most of those centuries, both the Catholic and Protestant varieties have been driving Western governments and empires. They have enjoyed the lion's share of control over "the history of Western civilization." Through missionaries, the radical righters of these different denominations were spending long centuries looking to funnel the boiling acid of punitive preachings into non-Christian parts of the world, like Asia and Africa. Whereas "liberalism" and socialism" -- the formal brands that they hate so much, because these movements aimed at the dis-establishment of church power in European governments -- are only recent developments.

So the ancestors of today's radical righters have been at it for most of those 2000 years. They've had lots of time to practice.

We can start in 415 CE, with the most horrific act of inciting in the early Christian era. It took place in the city of Alexandria, when a mob was incited against famed pagan philosopher Hypatia. They dragged her out of her chariot, and tortured and murdered her. Today's conservative Catholic historians are still trying to get the alleged inciter, St. Cyril of Alexandria, off the hook by insisting that he was really a nice guy and didn't call for her death. One revisionist scholar, S. J. Davis, blames Hypatia's murder simply on "a volatile social environment."

In my opinion, the question of what local figure actually incited the mob to kill Hypatia is academic. Because the fact is -- by the late 300s, the Catholic Church had made itself the sole legal ruling force in the old Roman Empire. By 415, any practice of pagan spirituality was formally and universally declared to be a serious crime. Inflammatory church writers like Firmicus Maternus were calling for "paganism to be utterly destroyed." By Hypatia's time, all anybody had to do was point a finger.

On to post-medieval times, and Protestant inciting of violence against Jews.

The most venomous attack came from Reformation leader Martin Luther himself, and his 1543 tract, On the Jews and Their Lies. Anybody who thinks that Luther was a nice guy should read this piece. Luther urged that synagogues be burnt and Jews savaged for their alleged role in the death of Christ and their refusal to convert to Christianity. While Luther did not invent anti-Semitism, or bloody his own hands with murders, he was personally responsible for four centuries of post-Reformation pogroms...right up to the 1930s, when his tract was exploited by Nazi propagandists.

With such historic examples to "inspire" them, today's descendants of reactionary churchism have got their technique down pat. They feel very justified and comfortable in what they perceive as their "right" to go on pointing the finger...or to pretend they're not doing it even when they are.

So this is what we're really fighting as we mourn the violent death of David Kato in Uganda. This is what we truly fight as we experience the lengthening list of violent crimes against LGBT people in the U.S.. Like the dead students at Kent State, we are the "popular murders" of our time.
The Flashing Green Light

As I write this article in February 2011, America has taken another step towards a Bible-based society governed by religious vigilantism. In the South Dakota legislature, state representative Phil Jensen (R ) introduced HB 1171 making it "justifiable homicide" to kill someone in defense of an unborn fetus. Translation: it's okay to murder abortion-clinic personnel.

When news of HR 1171 hit the national media, a tornado of controversy engulfed Rep. Jensen. He insisted that his intention was not to advocate murdering abortion doctors. However, a move like this bill is always transparent, always part of the inciting process. HR 1171 had come out of committee with written support by 22 other representatives and four senators. It was buttressed by testimony from Concerned Women for America, Eagle Forum, Family Heritage Alliance, and Family Matters. These rightist supporters know exactly what they're supporting, and make no bones about it. Jensen himself has a track record of being anti-abortion.

The latest word is, that HR 1171 may be shelved. But it will be back...or something like it. Along other state laws that justify religion-driven "in-defense-of" killings of other hated groups. And the nobody shooters out there will know how to read the green light they're being given.

The American people had better wake up to what's happening right in their front yards. Americans who are more moderate than conservative, and who fondly believe that the "Good Book" is a good model for American society, need to start asking themselves if they want that book to be used as a murder weapon.

As long as there is a public policy that God "wants His people to violently destroy His enemies," some of us will pay the ultimate price for somebody else's perceived "right" to demand that all of us should be shot.
Wed, February 23, 2011 - 11:32 AM — permalink - 2 comments - add a comment

SHARE THE LOVE ... 14 WAYS TO LOVE CHILDREN ON VALENTINE'S DAY

1. Hug your child – often - for no specific reason. Just show your love.

2. Encourage your child. Use positive words often.

3. Place a valentine’s day card by their bed so they see it when they wake up on Valentine’s morning & feel special.

4. Make plans to spend at least half a day alone with your child doing something they enjoy.

5. Remove any & all put-downs from your mind & your parenting vocabulary.

6. When your child is angry, needy, argumentative or in a bad mood, the
most wonderful way of showing your love is a hug, cuddle, pat or gesture of affection.

7. Respond promptly and lovingly to your child's physical and emotional needs.

8. By making an extra effort to set a good example at home & out in public … saying "I'm sorry," "please," and "thank you"only goes a long way & will come back to you.

9. Use non-violent forms of discipline.

10. Encourage your child to cook with you. You'll both have fun and you’re promoting good food choices.

11. Take your child to the doctor regularly for consultations, keep them safe from accidents, provide a nutritious diet, and encourage exercise throughout childhood. You'll help protect & strengthen their body.

12. Whether or not you actively try to pass on your values and beliefs to your kids, they are bound to absorb some of them just by living with you.

13. One of your most important gifts as a parent is to help your child develop self-esteem. Kids need your constant support & encouragement to discover their strengths & weaknesses.

14. Reinforce their strengths & help them strengthen their weaknesses. They need you to believe in them as they learn to believe in themselves.

Love them, spend time with them, listen to them and praise their accomplishments. Remember to say, "I love you" to kids of all ages!

Valentine's Day is a special day to remember the ones we love. And our children should be loved and nurtured every day! The benefits to you and your children are amazing!
Mon, February 7, 2011 - 5:55 PM — permalink - 2 comments - add a comment

Moving

So I've moved. I'm no longer in a room twice the size of my Queen (of course) -sized bed but I'm no longer in the beautiful and peaceful Pacific Heights either.

What I like about my new digs/neighborhood: ethnic diversity (the people, the stores, products and restaurants) convenient public transportation, proximity to the Castro and 12 step meetings, having an oven and closets and a bathroom I can walk to naked, having enough room to have a friend over, even 2 or 3.

What I'll miss about my old digs/neighborhood: the staff of the Hotel Drisco (some much more than others) the relative peace and quiet, the trees and flowers, finches and hummingbirds, dogs (especially Brady and Riley, the chocolate labs that live next door), some of the regular guests, the cool weather, saying I live in Pacific Heights.
Mon, August 16, 2010 - 9:06 AM — permalink - 0 comments - add a comment

Current Events

Today is Thursday July 1st, 2010. On Tuesday June 29th, 2010 I woke up and around 8am went upstairs to the dining room to get my 1st cupof coffee. Waiting for the elevator to return to my room, Gerard the General Manager of the hotel (Hotel Drisco) walked by. He smiled and said "good morning."
This was extraordinary since he usually acknowledges me with a scowl and if he does speak to me it's only to accuse me of being a liar and a thief. He let me know that it was OK with him if I wanted to replace the broken microwave and broken minibar fridge in my cooking area. I'd left a written note re. these needed repairs and my willingness to purchase these appliances myself before I knew i could deduct the cost from my rent if my landlord was negligent. He then reminded me that the sink in the kitchen nook needed cleaning. Me: "it's hard to keep clean with the water disconnected." He seemed surprised even though the sink was disconnected over 3 yrs ago. The new maintenance man Eduardo said he'd fix it when he was first hired 3 years ago but nothing ever happened. i started to use the sink in the laundry room to wash my dishes and produce. A few hours later Eduardo told me the plumber was called to fix the sink. It was fixed within the next 2 hours. Around 11am or so Mr Callanan the owner of the building knocks on my door. I step into the hall to talk to him. Victor, one of the asst managers is hovering at the end of the hall witnessing the conversation. Mr. C said he wanted me to move out within the next 3 months because they needed the space "back" for storage. I pointed out that the existing storerooms are half empty, that 3 other rooms that use to have tenants were converted to storage since I lived here (and the hotel didn't get any bigger) and that frankly i didn't believe storage room to be the reason.
He admitted that "we both know" there are other reasons. That I am "not a hotel guest" (news to me) and that I'm not suppose to go upstairs but restrtict myself to the basement level. I related that upon moving in Gerard told me I was allowed to have coffee or tea, as much as I wanted and at anytime and Gerard personally showed me the coffee/tea set up in the lobby level sitting room. Mr. C's response was to state that "this is set up (my facilities) to be a residence. I replied I lived here for 8 years now and it's my residence under the laws of San Francisco.
Now he offered to move me in another building he owns on Mission btwn 16th & 17th streets rent free if I'd be "on call" to the tenants. Don't know much more about that except it's an "efficiency" apartment whatever that means. His daughter meagan will show it to me next week since Mr C will be in Hawaii. I wished him a good time in Hawaii and he left.
Meagan called me the next day. I let her know my schedule's wide open. She said she'd call me early next week after checking her calendar and let me know when she could take me over to the apartment. End of story thus far.

Some background: About a year or 2 after i moved in Gerard let me know that he didn't like seeing me upstairs even though he was the one who invited me to partake of coffee, etc. He said it was the owners directive. So I still went for coffee but tried to do it when things weren't too busy. By the way did I mention that I was/am an employee of Joie de Vivre Hospitality, the outfit that is in charge of the hotel's management? On the night of there Christmas banquet 4 or 5 yrs ago I relieved Bobby at the front desk for 6 hours. Bobby paid me cash out of his own pocket but the whole thing was approved by Gerard. Also when my internet is down the desk sold me internet cards to be usd in the business center on the dining room level. Also I have to go to the front desk to pay my rent and collect my mail. Get the picture?
So a year ago I get a notice that my rent's going up $100. I went to the Housing Rights Committee and found out they can't do that. So my rent was raised the 1.3% allowed by the law. Oh BTW Gerard said he could do it because it was a hotel room like any other in the hotel. Which is it???

For months I was in a wheelchair and had to always enter and leave by the front door where there's a wheelchair lift. There are days still when the steep hill out the side basement entrance is difficult to impossible for me to navigate. November 2009 i went on permanent disability.

Presently the microwave and the teeny tiny fridge are still broken. At least the fridge is functional. I still go get coffee and tea anytime I want. I still pay rent at the front desk and buy stamps and get my mail there though I've been informed they are no longer to sell me computer cards. Whatever.
2901 Pacific is the Hotel's address, my address. It's on my driver's license, it's where my mail's delivered and where I'm registered to vote. I've lived here about 8 years now. This is my home.
Thu, July 1, 2010 - 8:06 PM — permalink - 1 comments - add a comment

Childhood Obesity

I never was a skinny kid but I became fat when I was about 6 or 7. That's when I started Catholic school which I hated. The nuns and many of the other kids there were abusive, just plain mean. I'd tell my Mom and she'd just shrug. Also at this age is when my Dad started rejecting me showing him affection (no more hugs and kisses for or from Daddy). So I ate.
The year I was sent to live with an Aunt in Florida (my parents lived outside Philadelphia, PA) I lost weight and the next year when I was sent to live with my oldest brother and his family in SoCal I lost even more. But I was still a kid and wanted my parents to want me. I went back to live with Mom and Dad and my weight ballooned again. Being sent to live w/relatives at the age of 9 definitely gave me the message i wasn't wanted. Returning home at 12 only confirmed this. My parents did not spend any time with me. They'd become close to the childless couple next store and spent all their free time playing cards and drinking with them. They'd go into NYC to see a show and go to a nightclub and leave me at home alone for 10 hours or more. It was scary but I was 12 and didn't want to admit it. Christmas eve we were to open presents at midnight but they were next store and in spite of my phone calls reminding them to come home they were 2 hours late and I'd fallen asleep sitting by the aluminum Christmas tree.
I'm no longer bitter about all this. It's what happened. It's neutral. My folks did the best they could with they emotional maturity and intellectual capacity they had and with what they were handed by their folks.
Wed, June 30, 2010 - 8:00 AM — permalink - 2 comments - add a comment

PRACTICING FORGIVENESS By Lloyd J. Thomas, Ph.D.

Lloyd J. Thomas, Ph.D. has 30+ years experience as a Life Coach and


PRACTICING FORGIVENESS

By Lloyd J. Thomas, Ph.D.

For many people, practicing forgiveness is one of the most difficult
skills to master. In our journey toward peace of mind, happiness and
a fulfilling life, practicing forgiveness is essential. All of us
have been hurt. All of us have felt the anger resulting from such
hurt. If we are unable or unwilling to forgive those people who have
hurt us (including ourselves), we remain emotionally chained to the
"unforgiven." We give anger, resentment and the desire for vengeance
rent-free space in our minds and hearts. Such emotions are likely to
shackle our hearts and torment us in the small hours of the night.

When it is time to forgive...to move on...but forgiveness is still
too difficult, you may want to try some (or all ten) of the
suggestions below.

1) Understand that forgiving does not mean giving permission for the
hurtful behavior to be repeated. It does not mean believing that
whatever was done was acceptable. Forgiveness is needed for those
persons who hurt you (including yourself). It is not allowing the
painful behavior to be repeated.

2) Recognize exactly who is being hurt by your non-forgiveness.
Does the other person burn with your anger? Does the person(s) who
hurt you feel the knot in your stomach or experience the cycling and
recycling of your thoughts as you relive the painful events in your
mind? Do they stay awake as you rehearse in your mind what you would
like to say or do to punish or "get even" with them? No, the pain of
all this remains yours alone. Keeping vengeful, angry thoughts in
mind is like taking poison and hoping the other person will suffer and
die.

3) Do not demand to know "why" you were hurt as a prerequisite to
practicing for- giveness. Knowing why the behavior happened is
unlikely to lessen your pain, because the pain came at a time when you
did not know (or anticipate) why. Occasionally, there are times when
knowing why makes forgiveness unnecessary, but those times are rare.
Don't count on it, and don't count on the perpetrator knowing why
either.

4) Make a list of who and what you need to forgive. List what was
actually done that caused your pain... not what you felt (or thought)
was done. Many times, our perceptions of what happened do not reflect
the reality of what was done.

5) Acknowledge your part. Even if you were an "innocent victim,"
your presence in the situation (no matter how innocent or unaware you
were) contributed to the hurtful event. Forgiving requires you be
completely honest about your hurt. Did you hide or deny that the
behavior hurt you? Did you seek relief or healing by reassuring the
perpetrator that "it was all right?" If so, then you too, have some
responsibility. When you acknowledge your own responsibility (without
guilt), you begin to move away from being a victim and move toward
empowering yourself to respond in a forgiving way.

6) Write out a list of what you gained from the painful event. Many
people discover positive elements are gained from going through
painful events. Lance Armstrong, for example, now perceives his
cancer as a beneficial "gift." Looking back you may be focusing only
on the negatives...the hurts. You could just as easily focus on the
positive aspects of the painful event.

7) Write a letter to the person who hurt you. No need to mail it.
Do not expect a response. In the letter, acknowledge what you gained
from the event, and express forgiveness of that person for any hurt
s/he may have caused. Allow yourself to fully express all your
feelings. Don't focus only on the hurts.

8) Create a ceremony in which you get rid of your lists and the
above letter, so symbolizing the end of the link between you and your
pain... or its perpetrator. You may choose to visualize placing them
on a raft and watching them drift gently away down a river. You may
prefer to burn them and scatter the ashes. You may invent some other
form of ritualized separation.

9) Imagine the person(s) you are forgiving (including you) being
blessed by your forgiveness and, as a result, being freed from the
behavior that hurt you. Repeat until you are in fact, free from angry
and/or vengeful memories or thoughts.

10) Now that you are free from the painful links and have released
the anger and pain, let yourself grow emotionally lighter and more
joyous. Feel yourself free to move ahead with living your life
without that burden of hurt. Never look back in anger.

Practice the above 10 activities, and you will master the practice of
forgiveness. Start your practice on little hurts... little
resentments. When you are free of them, move on to the bigger ones.
Practice forgiveness regularly and often and you will enhance your own
peace of mind and enjoyment about being alive.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Dr. Thomas is a licensed psychologist, author, speaker, and life
coach. He serves on the faculty of the International University of
Professional Studies. He recently co-authored (with Patrick Williams)
the book: "Total Life Coaching: 50+ Life Lessons, Skills and
Techniques for Enhancing Your Practice...and Your Life!" (W.W. Norton
2005) It is available at your local bookstore or on Amazon.com.

If you found the above column useful, feel free to share it with
friends.

To subscribe yourself to Practical Life Coaching, click on the
following line (or copy and paste the address below into your web
browser):

lists.webvalence.com/listmgr/subscribe

Upon subscribing, you will receive Practical Life Coaching
approximately once a week.


Lloyd J. Thomas, Ph.D.
3421 Polk Circle West
Wellington, CO 80549
Tue, March 16, 2010 - 4:01 AM — permalink - 1 comments - add a comment

Depression

everytime I've gone off Prozac I've become suicidal. I've been taking it off and on for over 10 years now. but that's me, it's different for everybody. do what works for you and remember it really is trial and error. So don't kill yourself when something doesn't work, just try something else and give it a chance. living with depression is the shits but the times when I'm able to show up for someone else and do a good turn make sticking around worth it.
Wed, February 24, 2010 - 8:10 PM — permalink - 5 comments - add a comment

best part of a long dream

had another episodic dream. did a lot of traveling. went to visit my bro Joe somewhere I've never been before. set out on a walk to the city near by on a mountain trail with a few recent acquaintances. came to a peak where a half-opened gate crossed the path and inside the gate was an extremely large and threatening bull. the others scrambled down the mountainside but I remained. found a toy bull's head mounted on a broom handle. Tried to distract the bull with this and at the same time I began to pet him and scratch him. he was quite docile then and I continued on the trail down the mountainside toward the city. the terrain became rocky and then there was a river on either side of me. I could see that just ahead people were bathing in the rivers, some nude. lots of people enjoying the water and the sun and each other. it was lovely. beyond this rose the dazzling city.
i decided to turn back since it had been a long walk.
Mon, January 4, 2010 - 1:16 AM — permalink - 0 comments - add a comment

Native Americans Bewilder Officials

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) recently convened a public information session about the Secretary of Interior's proposed twenty-year ban on uranium mining in watersheds surrounding the Grand Canyon. Havasupai elders decided to express their support for the action by praying and singing in the middle of the meeting room.

Agency officials are seen in the photo conferring in the background as Dianna Sue Uqualla begins to pray. Despite uranium industry representatives' plea to stop the "uprising," federal officials opted not to intervene, citing the First Amendment.

Following the prayer, Havasupai elders began to drum and sing and concluded by inviting all those opposed to uranium mining to participate in a round dance. About a third of the crowd joined hands and danced in the traditional counter-clockwise circle while "no uranium mining" was chanted to the drumbeat. The unscheduled, half-hour event ended peacefully.

Earlier this year, the Trust was instrumental in getting the Secretary of the Interior to implement a two-year ban on uranium mining on approximately one million acres of federal land surrounding the Grand Canyon. During this period, the Department of Interior will study the potential impacts of uranium mining and decide whether or not to exercise the Secretary's ability to extend this ban for twenty years (the maximum number of years provided under this provision of law). Meanwhile, the Trust is working with Congress to pass the Grand Canyon Watershed Protection Act, which seeks to permanently ban uranium mining from this area. From the Trust's perspective, it is irresponsible and inappropriate to mine uranium on lands adjacent to the water supply for over twenty-five million people and one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
Thu, November 12, 2009 - 8:41 PM — permalink - 0 comments - add a comment
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