Friday, November 4, 2016



Berkeley Fellowship
Cedar at Bonita
Saturday, November 19,  4 – 5:30 PM           

Book Launch: Cecile Pineda's Three Tides: Writing at the Edge of Being

Cecile Pineda touches on issues of displacement as she talks about 40 years of the writing life, the breakthroughs, the discourage- ments, and the daily practice. She will read and sign copies of Three Tides: Writing at the Edge of Being. Time will be set aside for questions and answers. 
Pineda is widely recognized as the author of nine published works of fiction and non-fiction. She is the winner of the Gold Medal from the California Commonwealth Club and nominee for the 2015 Neustadt International Prize.


I like keeping up with all the news that’s unfit for the big media to print.  I picked up this funny rumor, allegedly from SETI, the acronym for Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence which is supposed to be transmitting a message from the U.S.A. (presumably addressing the Entire Universe) “Help. I’ve fallen down and I can’t get up.”

Presumably SETI’s doesn’t expect the Entire Universe hastening to come to our aid with a cosmic load of Viagra. But assuming for the moment that underlying the message is an ominous implication that indeed the days of the Late Great Empire of Fighting Seven Simultaneous Wars With Its Left Hand Tied Behind its Back (LGEFSSWWLHTBB) may be numbered, I would like to share perspectives from a couple of articles I considered worth saving from the shredder this week.

On inequality, Nicholas Kristof  writes in the 1.2.11 NYT: “A long-term study of British civil servants found that messengers, doormen, and others with low status were much more likely to die of heart disease, suicide, and some cancers, and had substantially worse overall health.” In other words, emiseration kills. It guarantees more mental illness, infant mortality, high school dropouts, teenage births and homicides according to Kristof. Its stresses lead to the release of cortisol, and to the accumulation of the abdominal fat that kills (obesity in preparation for long lean winters). It is what he calls a “Sprit Leveler” that breaks down social trust, and community life, corroding societies from inside.

On globalized mayhem, John McMurty writes for the CanadianCenter for Policy Alternatives, p. 40  in February, 2015 “From Africa to Europe to the Middle East to Latin America, the unspoken macrotrend of U.S. intervention abroad is society destruction….Not only is the society decapitated.., [its] civil bonds are rent asunder, its productive base is sabotaged, its social life supports are stripped, its government is made a permanent debt servant, and its environment and resources are hollowed out.” And as a footnote he adds: “The U.S. government has systematically undermined virtually all international laws to protect human life: treaties and conventions against landmines, against biological weapons, against international ballistic missiles, against small arms, against torture, against racism, against arbitrary seizure and imprisonment against military weather distortions, against biodiversity loss, against climate destabilization, and even international agreements on the rights of children and women.”

Inequality's Pincer Movement

How does the macrotrend of U.S. globalized mayhem relate to the societal inequality decried by Nicholas Kristof?  Both destroy the collective spirit, one by reminding us of the enormous economic disparity that now exists within the U.S.; the other by reminding every U. S. citizen of conscience how unequal we are to stand against the power of the State (the Great Empire of Fighting Seven Simultaneous Wars with its Left Hand Tied Behind its Back) when we want to change the course of what was once our government. Because foreign intervention affects the peoples of other countries, it re-enforces our feelings of inequality from the outside.

There is more to “Inequality” than just access to the good things of life. Citizens of conscience add to that: Access to a condition of world peace, to a political and social climate which promotes the welfare and enrichment of all people and all living things. Where all that is life affirming can flourish. Without such a condition, life on the planet cannot hold.


1. Do not wait for government to do anything to relieve a situation that serves it so well.

2. Listen. Learn about Frances Peavey’s listening project. More than anything, people in distress need to find people willing to listen. You don’t have to go to Osaka, Japan as Peavey did. There are plenty  of distressed people right where you live.

3. Think of greeting the folks you come in contact with everyday with a “how are you doing?” before getting down to business.

4. On your daily rounds, lend a helping hand to someone in distress. It’s fun, it’s a learning opportunity, you may make someone’s day, and your adventure may make your day.

5. Find something you have too much of. Find someone who doesn’t have enough of it and find a comfortable way to share.

6. Keep going! Find a group working for peace-on-Earth. Find a group working to end wars. Find a group working to help all our returning GIs suffering from PTSD and suicidal thoughts. Find a prison near you that needs something you can offer, if just your listening ear.

7. And for a parting “feel good” Check out what Citizens Environmental Legal Defense Fund is doing.

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