Final Version of the Economic Stimulus Plan: How It Impacts Your County (e.g., Jackson County, Oregon)

President Obama has just signed a $790+ billion “stimulus” package for the economy, but do you really believe that will actually help our local economy (or just make government bigger, increase the debt and put more burden than ever on the rest of us)?

If you want to see where the money is being spent (your share of the $2,600 per capita increase in the federal debt) for the “Economic Stimulus Bill” read the following summary:

Senate Final Stimulus Bill Summary

Oregon Governor Targets Federal Stimulus Dollars
Senate Stimulus Bill

Your fair share?

The State of Oregon will have to compete for it’s share of the $30 billion slated for the states. At last count Jackson County was slated to receive only $400,000 of that money.

Since the federal debt is increasing at $2,600 per capita for this single expenditure alone (that’s a future obligation for each individual in the country, every man, woman and child), wouldn’t it be a better idea to organize our own local capital and resources to provide for our own needs instead of relying on government to do this for us?

Wouldn’t it make more sense to stop relying on the federal government to bail us out, and start doing this ourselves?

So let’s do the math.

According to the 2006 census Jackson County has a population of 197,071 (updated to 198,615 according to recent statistics on the county website). In effect each of us in Jackson County owes an additional $2,600 to the Federal Reserve Bank (or roughly $520,000,000 given a population of 200,000). That’s a lot of money theoretically leaving Jackson County (if indeed the Fed ever called in the debt).

If each of us in Jackson County had the ability (and the desire) to pool our own local capital of $2,600 per capita and funded our own developments and capital projects (instead of the trickle down effect from Washington DC), we’d have a capital fund in excess of $520,000,000 (that’s right millions of dollars, five times the annual budget of the City of Ashland) instead of a mere trickle down of $400,000 from the Economic Stimulus Plan.

Something is terribly wrong with this economic picture.

  • Problem 1 is we cannot create money out of thin air the way the government and banks do.
  • Problem 2 is government spending at this magnitude will not only increase the debt per capita, but devalue the currency (meaning you’ll get less bang for the buck, in effect less purchasing power). This will make the economy worse, not better for most of the people.

Yet all those smart people in Washington DC (and a few newly elected) don’t seem to understand the consequences of such spending for the rest of us. You get my drift?

Now, it’s up to us to do something about it.

How can we refocus our efforts to the LOCAL AND REGIONAL community? What positive and hopeful visions and projects would you like to bring to the table and invest your time, effort, energy and resources (including money)?

U.S. Public Debt

The United States total public debt, commonly called the national debt, or U.S. government debt, is the amount of money owed by the federal government of the United States to holders of U.S. debt instruments. Debt held by the public is all federal debt held by states, corporations, individuals, and foreign governments, but does not include intragovernmental debt obligations or debt held in the Social Security Trust Fund. Types of securities held by the public include, but are not limited to, Treasury Bills, Notes, Bonds, TIPS, United States Savings Bonds, and State and Local Government Series securities.[1]

As of February 12, 2009, the total U.S. federal debt was $10.76 trillion [2], or about $37,703 per capita. Of this amount, debt held by the public was roughly $6.45 trillion.[3] In 2007, the public debt was 36.8 percent of GDP [4], with a total debt of 65.5 percent of GDP.[5] The CIA Factbook ranked the total percentage as 23rd in the world.[6]

Public debt is the amount owed by the government to its creditors, whether they are nationals or foreigners. External debt is the debt of all sectors of the economy (public and private), owed to foreigners. In the U.S., foreign ownership of the public debt is a significant part of the nation’s external debt. The Bureau of the Public Debt, a division of the Department of the Treasury, calculates the amount of money owed by the national government on a daily basis.[7][8][9][10] Source: U.S. Public Debt

The estimated population of the United States is 305,670,162 so each citizen’s share of this debt is $35,252.68.
Source: U.S. Debt Clock

Strengthening or Weakening the Economy?

Ben BernankeThe economic situation continues to deteriorate this week as past and future bailouts were discussed on Capitol Hill.  The debate was over the accountability of already disbursed TARP money, and on whether or not to release remaining funds.   Banks that had already been bailed out before are looking for more money to fill the black holes that are their balance sheets, warning that they are simply too big to fail.  However, whatever ‘devastating’ consequences these banks are dreaming up and pushing on Capitol Hill regarding their own collapse will be nothing compared to the collapse of our currency if we keep debasing it through these foolish bailouts.  It should be that they are too big to bailout.  The world will not come to an end without this or that bank.  The most troubling thing to me is this rhetoric that only government can save the economy, and must act.  This is so counter-productive.

We must ask ourselves what strengthens this country, and what weakens it.

Government is a monumental drag on this economy.  Government at all levels currently absorbs about 35-40 percent of GDP, which is still not enough for its voracious appetite. While productivity is already overtaxed, the government routinely spends more than it takes in and makes up for the shortfall by constantly borrowing or debasing our dollars through inflation.  It pains me to think of all the opportunities for productive economic growth we have given up simply because our government is super-sized instead of Constitution-sized.  There are just a few constitutionally sanctioned activities for government to engage in, but it is so overstretched with unconstitutional encroachments that what it is legitimately supposed to do, it does very badly.  And yet we are to believe the solution to our problems is to make government bigger.  On the contrary, government makes our problems bigger.  The central bank’s meddling with monetary policy led to overheated lending, and now massive defaults.  The government used manipulative tax policy to distort the housing market which has had many unintended consequences, and here we are.  Government is quick to enact and slow to correct bad policy.  Yet in spite of government’s failures, it flourishes and grows, thanks to the continual bailouts from the unwitting taxpayer.

Big government has been tried and has failed miserably.  What we need now is small government, and freedom.  We need the freedom to pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps again, as we traditionally do in this country.  But try to start a business or charity today, and you will understand how little economic freedom we really have left.  Freedom, not government, made this the land of opportunity.  Freedom laid the foundation that catapulted us to becoming the strongest economic power in the world.  The American people are strong and capable.  We can pull ourselves out of this mess.  All we need is for the nanny-state to get out of the way and allow us to do it.  Freedom is our strength, government is our weakness.  Only by recognizing this and unleashing our strengths will we solve the problems we face today.

Source: Dr. Ron Paul’s Straight Talk and Campaign for Liberty

Obama’s Inner Circle

Obama VictoryBy Victor Thorn

Americans have heard an unrelenting mantra of change emanating from the campaign trail. But now that President-elect Barack Obama has begun forming his cabinet, we’re seeing a cadre of more deeply entrenched insiders than any administration that has preceded it.

In regard to key foreign policy advisors, all three of Obama’s selections either initially supported the Iraq war, or still do. On the economic front, each appointee maintains a close relationship with the triad of Ben Bernanke, Robert Rubin and Alan Greenspan—as well as bailout engineer Henry Paulson. Barack Obama himself is a Council on Foreign Relations member, has strong ties to Zbigniew Brzezinski, and participated in a clandestine meeting with Hillary Clinton at Bilderberg member Diane Feinstein’s house at the time when 2008 Bilderberg members were congregating only a few miles away.

Below is an overview of Obama’s top 14 selections to date. When considering their collective histories, a trend becomes clear, proving that the more things change under Obama, the more they stay the same.


Bilderberg, Council on Foreign Relations, Trilateral Commission, president and CEO of Federal Reserve Bank of New York, director of policy development for IMF, member Group of Thirty (G30), employed at Kissinger & Associates, architect of the recent 2008 financial bailouts, mentored by Lawrence Summers and Robert Rubin.


Bilderberg, Council on Foreign Relations, North American chairman of Trilateral Commission, Federal Reserve chairman during Carter and Reagan administrations, president of Federal Reserve Bank of New York, G30 member, chairman Rothschild Wolfensohn Company, key figure in the collapse of the gold standard during the Nixon administration, longtime associate of the Rockefeller family.


Member of Israeli Defense Force, staunch Zionist, senator, Board of Directors for Freddie Mac, member of Bill Clinton’s finance campaign committee, made $16.2 million during 2.5 years as an investment banker for Wasserstein Perella. His father was a member of the Israeli Irgun terrorist group.


Bilderberg, Council on Foreign Relations, Trilateral Commission, treasury secretary during Clinton administration, chief economist at World Bank, former president of Harvard University, Brookings Institute board member, huge proponent of globalization while working for the IMF, protg of David Rockefeller, mentored by Robert Rubin.


Political consultant whose past clients include Sens. Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and Christopher Dodd; main Obama fixer in the William Ayers and Reverend Wright scandals.


Bilderberg, Council on Foreign Relations, Trilateral Commission, clandestine CIA asset used to infiltrate the anti-war movement at Yale University and the Watergate hearings, senior partner at the Rose Law Firm, key figure in the Mena drug trafficking affair, architect of the Waco disaster, implicated in the murder/ cover-up of Vince Foster, and many other deaths.


Bilderberg, Council on Foreign Relations, U.S. Senator since 1972, member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, current chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, strong Zionist sympathizer who recently told Rabbi Mark S. Golub of Shalom TV, “I am a Zionist. You don’t have to be a Jew to be a Zionist.”


Bilderberg, Council on Foreign Relations, former U.S. congressman, chairman of the Democratic National Convention in 2004, employee of Kissinger Associates, UN ambassador, governor of New Mexico, energy secretary, major player in the Monica Lewinsky cover-up with Bilderberg luminary Vernon Jordan.


Bilderberg, Council on Foreign Relations, former CIA Director, defense secretary under President Bush, co-chaired CFR task force with Zbigniew Brzezinski, knee-deep in the Iran-Contra scandal, named in a 1999 class action lawsuit pertaining to the Mena drug trafficking affair.


Bilderberg, Council on Foreign Relations, former Senate majority leader, Citibank lackey, mentored by Robert Rubin.


Key person in the pardon of racketeer Marc Rich, deputy attorney general under Janet Reno, facilitated the pardon of 16 Puerto Rican FALN terrorists under Bill Clinton.


Council on Foreign Relations, Arizona governor, attorney for Anita Hill during the Clarence Thomas hearings, U.S. attorney during the Clinton administration, instrumental in the OKC cover-up, where she declared, “We’ll pursue every bit of evidence and every lead,” described as another Janet Reno, soft on illegal immigration (i.e. pro-amnesty and drivers licenses to illegals).


Bilderberg, Trilateral Commission, European supreme allied commander, special envoy for Middle-East Security during Bush administration, board of directors for Chevron and Boeing, NATO commander, member of Brent Scowcroft’s Institute for International Affairs along with Zbigniew Brzezinski, Bobby Ray Inman, Bilderberg luminary Henry Kissinger and former CIA Director John Deutch.


Council on Foreign Relations, Rhodes scholar, campaign foreign policy advisor to presidential candidates John Kerry and Michael Dukakis, member of Bill Clinton’s National Security Council and assistant secretary of state for Africa, member of the Brookings Institute (funded by the Ford Foundation and the Rockefellers), and member of the Aspen Strategy Group (teeming with Bilderberg insiders such as Richard Armitage, Brent Scowcroft, and Madeleine Albright).

Source: Ashland Resource Center

On Obama’s Victory by Marianne Williamson

America has had a non-violent revolution.

As long as there are historians writing about the United States, this moment of fundamental re-alignment of our national purpose will be remembered, pored over and analyzed. It will be seen as one of the shining points along the evolutionary arc of the American story. Yet it will never submit itself to being summed up in a nice little package that reason alone can understand.

“It’s been noted before that Americans get excited about politics every forty years.” Then, in the words of comedian Will Rogers, “We have to go sleep it off.”

We were certainly excited in the l960’s. And this is 2008; exactly forty years since the most dramatic and violent year of the Sixties decade: the year when both Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. were literally killed before our eyes.

At that point, a generation of young people — looking much like the youthful army so out in full force today, only grungier — marched in the streets to repudiate an oppressive system and to try to stop an unjust war.

And then bullets stopped us. The shots that killed the Kennedys and King carried a loud, unspoken message for all of us: that we were to go home now, that we were to do whatever we wanted within the private sector, yet leave
the public sector to whomever wanted it so much that they were willing to kill for it. And for all intents and purposes, we did as we were told. According to ancient Asian philosophers, history moves not in a circle but in a spiral. Whether as an individual or as a nation, whatever lessons we were presented once and failed to learn will come back again but in a different form. For the generation of the Sixties and for our children, the lessons of that time — as well as its hopes and dreams and idealism — came back in 2008.

During our forty years in the desert, we learned many things. Then, we marched in the streets; this time, we marched to the polls. Then, we shouted, Hell no, we won’t go! This time, we shouted, Yes, we can. Then, we were so angry that our anger consumed us. This time, we made a more compassionate humanity the means by which we sought our goal as well as the goal itself.

In the words of Gloria Steinem, I feel like our future has come back. And indeed it has. For in the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., No lie can last forever. What Bobby Kennedy tried to do, and was killed for trying; what Martin Luther King tried to do, and was killed for trying; what the students at Kent state were trying to protest, and were killed for daring to; Barack Obama and his army of millions of idealists with the audacity to hope have now succeeded at doing.

Praise God. Praise God.

And that praise to God didn’t just go out last night, when Obama’s election to the Presidency was finally achieved. That praise was part of what allowed the waters to part here in the first place. Millions of Americans have been deeply aware that this kind of historic and fundamentally positive effort has not gone well in the recent past, and the
spiritual understanding of this generation of Americans — an understanding not yet fully formed forty years ago — created an invisible light around the Obama campaign. How many people over the last twenty-one months have
posted, in their own way, angels to Obama’s left and angels to his right, angels in front of him and angels behind him, angels above him and angels below him. I know I have, and so has everyone I know. Hopefully we will continue to do so.

The Obama phenomenon did not come out of nowhere. It emerged as much from our story as from his — as much from our yearning for meaning as from his ambition to be President; as much from our determination to achieve
collective redemption as from his determination to achieve an individual accomplishment. And those who fail to recognize the invisible powers at work here — who see the external drama of a political win yet fail to discern the profound forces that moved mountains by moving the American heart — well, they’re just like Bob Dylan’s Thin Man to whom he sang, You don’t know what’s going on here, do you, Mr. Jones?

Back then, Mr. Jones didn’t know what was going on, but many of us did. We knew what was going on then and we knew what needed to happen; we simply weren’t mature enough and we were too wounded then, as people
and as a culture, to pull it off.

This time, we both knew and we did. We knew who we had to become and we knew what we had to do. The violent American revolution of 1776 entailed separating from another country. The non-violent revolution of 2008 — a
non-violent revolution that did not quite fail, yet also did not quite succeed in the l960’s — has entailed separating from who we used to be.

In the l960’s, we wanted peace but we ourselves were angry. This time, after hearing Gandhi’s call that we must be the change we want to see happen in the world, we came to our political efforts with an understanding that we
must cast violence from our hearts and minds if we are to cast it from our world; that we must try to love our enemies as well as our friends; and that when a genius of world-historic proportions emerges among us, we
cannot and we must not fail to do everything humanly and spiritually possible to support him. For his sake.. and for ours.

Having gone to a higher place within ourselves, a higher level of leadership began to emerge among us. A higher level of leader now having emerged among us, he calls us to an even higher place within ourselves. These two forces together can and will, as Obama has said, truly change the world. Having moved one mountain, we’ll now remove the ones that remain. With God’s help, yes we can. Yes we did. And yes we will.

Source: Ashland Resource Center

Here’s part of the Big Chance we won last week | Ashland Daily Tidings

obamasuperheroBy Jeff Golden

Author’s Note: Obama’s reminded us every way he can that he’s not Superman. Hearing the bliss of the last week, I’m not sure we’ve fully heard him. He aptly pointed out last week that what we’ve won is not change, but the chance to create change.

Last week I used this space to write to Joe the Plumber.  I asked if he’d be willing to cool his jets before jumping on the campaign to make life as miserable as possible for the new administration.

I asked him to “try on the possibility that Barack Obama is not an agent of evil.  That his plan to raise the marginal tax rate — the rate paid on just the highest increment of income — on the wealthiest Americans from 35% back up to 39%, where it was ten years ago and less than the top rate in almost every other democracy, doesn’t qualify as raging socialism or class warfare.  That his plan to withdraw gradually from Iraq in deliberate cooperation with Iraq’s neighbors may not be surrendering to terrorism or trashing our national security.  That a full-on plan to develop green energy won’t send you and your family into a cold cave to eat roots and berries.  That we’ll have to step outside our comfort zones — yours, mine, everyone’s — to deal effectively with what’s coming.”

I haven’t heard back from him yet.  But think how busy the poor guy’s been.

One reader didn’t think it’s realistic to ask Joe to give any slack when he’s apparently not getting any in return:  Obama is off to a bad start in reaching out to conservatives, or anyone who thinks he should not have been elected. 1. Choosing homeboy pitbull armtwister Emmanuel [sic] as CoS (a man who said “F**k Republicans” on the record); (2) not calling on a Fox News reporter at his presser…  (3) evading a question on taxes, despite changed economic realities since Aug; (4) dissing Nancy Reagan.

jeffgoldenWhich just shows how much is in the eye of the beholder: people I know see the selection of Rahm Emanuel and other early Obama moves as worrisome steps towards Clintonian pragmatism that leans more right than left. continued

Source: Ashland Daily Tidings

Jeff Golden is the author of As If We Were Grownups, Forest Blood and the new novel Unafraid (with excerpts at

Some Advice on Forging a Common Way Ahead | Commonway Institute

By Sharif Abdullah


Yes, congratulations, you made history, yada, yada, yada.  Not to diminish your amazing accomplishment, but since you’ve heard it all so many times by now, I won’t dwell on it (although, if you and I had a few hours, I COULD!)

No, I would rather not take up your time on that.  I have a few pieces of advice for you.  If I had five minutes of your time, the following is what I would say to you directly.

But first, who am I to be offering you advice?  I have been exploring our need for a value-driven, inclusive and sustainable society for decades, including as Founder and Executive Director of Commonway Institute.  The title to my second book sums up my philosophy and my life goal: “Creating a World That Works for All”.  I offer my counsel to you.


This part goes without saying: while you are in fact the first African-American President (Elect) of the US, that is an IDENTITY, it is not the core essence of who you are.  One day, even being President will be a past accomplishment.  You, however, will still be you.

You are the first President (Elect) of the 21st Century – I expect you to act like it. (We obviously aren’t going to count the last 8 years.  We are now seeing the close of the last Presidency of the 19th Century). As the first 21st Century President, you will set the model for all of the other Presidents to follow. Aim high.

Bill Clinton was a very admirable bridge between the 20th and 21st Centuries.  There are many advisors around you who would like to copy those times.  Don’t listen to them.  Your arc must be higher.


In our days of fear and ignorance, many Americans needed a “Commander in Chief”, the father figure to command and control their lives.  Now, we have just elected you, our first “Catalyst in Chief”.  We don’t need you to “lead” or “command”.  We know that the federal bureaucracy is virtually ungovernable and incomprehensible.  (Of course, we do expect you to do your job and govern as best as a human being can.)

We most need you to display the skills that you demonstrated so well during the primaries and election: the ability to inspire, to engage and to motivate an entire movement of people to act.

It is indeed comforting that your heroes are similar to mine.  I too am inspired by the words and deeds of Abraham Lincoln. He presided over the US when it underwent its most painful transition (to date).  Now seen as one of our greatest Presidents, he was HATED by half of the country – the half that could not face the future, the half that could not live up to the vision laid down by the Founders in the Declaration of Independence.

I remind you of Lincoln so that you can remember to inspire – even though many of our fellow citizens would rather revile you than listen to you. Right now, they CAN’T listen to you – they can’t get past the color of your skin.  However, they too will change.  They too are caught on the arc of history.  They will forget their hate – it simply is not sustainable.  We can wait them out – time is on our side.


You are a man, a model and a symbol.  You symbolize and personify our quest for a new vision for our society, a vision that is hopeful, practical, inclusive and sustainable.

You need advisors who hold all of the above qualities, who can think outside the box.

I know that you have many “real-world” political advisors surrounding you – they are needed, they are necessary and you could not effectively govern without them.  But, don’t let them be your sole source of advice – we didn’t vote for you so that you could fill the White House with the old political crowd (Democrats or Republicans).

You need advisors who can think outside the box (who actually don’t even recognize that there IS a box!)  Balance your team with visionaries, ones with some dirt under their fingernails from doing real work in the world.  There is a real difference between a visionary with achievements versus a visionary with just dreams.  You need doers, not just talkers.


Neither the “Right” nor the “Left” have the vision for an America that works for all.  Both the Left and the Right have flawed, myopic, partial viewpoints. But, paradoxically, both the Left and the Right hold key elements to the future of this country; they hold parts of the solution.  Neither side should be dismissed out of hand.

Your job is to get the dinosaurs to play well together.  Only together can those Left-Right viewpoints be transcended, harmonized, and resolved into one greater image.

You know that the traditional “Democratic” and “Republican” parties are outmoded and out of step with 21st Century realities.  You know that your campaign for the Presidency has ignited a passion for politics (with the small “p”) that the major parties cannot understand, let alone harness.  You know that you can harness this energy.

Your job is not to sit between these two warring camps.  Your job is to sit ABOVE them.  You are not a “centrist”.  You are a “trans-centrist”.  Let’s elevate the conversations beyond the uninspiring rhetoric that has been such a turn-off for many in the electorate.  (I quote in my book a line from the movie “Slackers”: “Withdrawing in disgust is not the same thing as apathy”.)  Your candidacy hit the “on” switch for tens of millions of us.  And, you can help keep us turned on.

Of course, you will have to drag the mainstream media, kicking and screaming, into this new viewpoint. They still can’t comprehend what your victory means for America.  Yesterday, CNN was reporting on how “black” churches were celebrating your election, completely missing the fact that there were at least a few “white” churches that were just as celebratory.  They can’t see it.  You can. WE can.  And the media will, too… eventually.


As you correctly stated, your job as President doesn’t start until mid-January.  (Do not deny Bush the opportunity to further lower his poll ratings or to increase his historic position as the worst president in modern history.  It’s his karma.)

However, you are not just “President” — you are also the leader of a movement.  That job started decades, perhaps centuries, ago – it has just reached a powerful nexus point.

I started in this movement to save our human family and our planet 45 years ago (yes, you were 2 years old). The movement will continue when both of us are dust.  This movement is the legacy that we leave to your daughters and my grandsons.

Unless there is a transformation in how we interact with each other, with our neighbors, with the Earth and with the Divine, those young ones have no future.  Once we make these transformations, the future for our children and grandchildren is limitless.

Your role in the movement is obvious: KEEP IT MOVING.  The politicos will want the people to sit down, shut up, and “leave it to the pros”. RESIST THIS.  The movement for an inclusive, sustainable and loving society will not wait.  Leading this movement is the single most important thing that you can do as President. It far exceeds any piece of legislation, any Executive Order, any policy initiative of your Administration.

Although you take the Oath of Office in January, you can stimulate and catalyze this movement RIGHT NOW. Don’t wait for the Inauguration – put us to work.


What you can do, right now, is catalyze a community, regional and national dialog on the fundamental issues facing us as we enter the 21st Century.  (Given your present world stature, this dialog could be global.)  Ask us: what can we do, on the local level, to address our social, political, economic, ecological and spiritual mega-crises?

This dialog would NOT be: “What must government do for us?”  (You are about to find out how little government can actually do!)  But, by bringing the conversation to the local level, you can catalyze building the most powerful people’s movement America (and the world) has yet seen.

So, what are these first steps?

  1. Dialogs on Food, Water and Energy Security.  Every community should know where its food, water and energy come from.  Every community should launch discussions on how they can achieve sustainability on the local and regional levels.  From these dialogs, each community should develop plans for local sustainability for food, water and energy.
  2. Dialogs on the Future of Economics.  All of our media-driven discussions on our economics have been focused on fear and insecurity.  Most of our “rescue” attempts are aimed at reviving a system based in waste and greed. It’s time to re-define economics, to focus on hope, vision, and the realities human beings in the 21st Century.
  3. In my work with Sarvodaya in Sri Lanka, we are experimenting with something I’m calling “relational economics”.  The economics of people who are in actual relationship with each other.  Economics not controlled by individuals, corporations or by the State.  Economics at the community level.  (A side piece of advice for you: to stimulate a community-based relational economics, your stimulus packages should be based on community, not on individuals or governments.)
  4. Dialogs on Healing.  How do we heal our society?  After years spent in a wrong-headed and meaningless war, the men and women in our military are hurt, bruised, confused, angry and sick.  After decades of divisiveness, our politics is fractured and visionless.  Our legacy of slavery and American-style Apartheid continues to haunt us.  The pending economic collapse hangs over our head like a crushing weight.  We must atone for the pain and damage we have caused the Earth. In the face of this, healing is necessary.  We all share the pain and we all can, through the exercise of compassion, share in the healing.  Asking us to engage in healing dialogs can serve as a start to this long-term process.
  5. Dialogs on Our Vision for Our Society.  According to Thomas Jefferson, our present Constitution was meant to last only one generation.  He believed that every generation should re-write the Constitution.

We are long overdue.

We obviously cannot start with a Constitutional Convention – that would be suicidal.  Most Americans have spent so much time as “consumers” instead of “citizens”, we no longer recognize the principles that lie at the foundations of our society.  (This is why President Bush could get away with using the Constitution like toilet paper – most of us didn’t know what was in it to begin with.)  We are going to have to start over again – to teach ourselves to become the intelligent, informed citizenry that Jefferson and the other Founders envisioned.

We can start with an interactive national dialog on “American Vision and Values”.  According to the Bible, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” (Proverbs 29: 18).  You can catalyze a dialog process with teeth – the people need not perish.


I strongly encourage every person who works with me to have a daily meditation practice.  It is the best (perhaps only) way to stay focused on the long haul, to not get caught up in the swirling madness of our times.  It is the best way to stay true to our common mission: to create a world that truly works for all beings.

Sharif Abdullah
PS:  Incidentally – if you are interested in my help with any of the above, please do not hesitate to call.

Commonway Institute

The Day After the Election – USA


Today we’ve elected a new President of the United States of America and the tides of change are upon us. After listening to Barack Obama’s acceptance speech last night I was touched and inspired by new possibilities. I couldn’t remember ever having such a good feeling after an election in my entire lifetime. I was elated at this victory and hopeful.

I witnessed plentiful tears in the eyes of the people in the crowd cheering him on in Chicago last night. I caught a glimpse of Jesse Jackson and Oprah Winfrey in the crowd with a look of astonishment in their eyes. To have finally elected a black man to the White House was an achievement few of us thought possible in our lifetime. Tonight I was proud to stand here as an American and sing with them, “Yes, we can.”

Obama gave thanks to his supporters and friends. He acknowledged McCain as a great leader who’d sacrificed much for his country. He pledged to “renew this nations promise” and open doors of opportunity. He recognized the youth for their enormous activism and for rejecting the myth of apathy. He told the story of a 106 year old woman from Atlanta who’d cast her ballot and lived through so much change in her lifetime. He said our “destiny is shared with the world”.


This is the first time I’ve voted in a Presidential election since 1972. I didn’t pay much attention to 21 months of campaign rhetoric and media commentary. I knew intuitively though this was an important turning event for the country and the world.

I was confident Mr. Obama would get elected if indeed we could have a fair and honest election. Of course I don’t really know if my vote was counted or shredded given the evidence of vote manipulation and fraud. Apparently on this occasion the will of the people prevailed. In my opinion the better of two men got elected.


In the long distant past I got disillusioned by the electoral process when McGovern was defeated by Nixon in 1972. Of all the Presidents I liked Jimmy Carter the best. At least he saw the necessity of funding renewable energy projects during his term. I’d seen Clinton speak on the campaign trail in Oregon, but got disillusioned later on after his mishandling of Waco, the Oklahoma City bombing and signing off on the anti-terrorist laws which have been disastrous for our civil liberties (particularly rewriting the habeas corpus laws).

The Bush years were disastrous for the country. No further attention will be given them except to unravel and correct the damage done.

Now this is an opportunity for a shift in consciousness, to move beyond the despair, cynicism and jadedness many of us have felt for decades. Having been a political prisoner incarcerated for advocating accountability in government and sovereignty for all the people, this election was a healing for me – an opportunity to step away from the past and move into the future with a fresh viewpoint while “reality asserts inself.”


As of today I’m willing to turn over a new leaf and re-pledge my efforts, not to the political process or what government can do for us, but what I and this local community can do for yourselves so we are no longer reliant and dependent upon others to run our lives (food, water, energy, shelter, etc.).

In my opinion, regardless of what the federal government does over the next four years from the top-down, it’s still essential each of us takes complete responsibility for building our own self-reliant, local community infrastructure in all areas of our lives. So let’s dig in, get to know each other and work together. That’s what the Ashland Resource Center was designed for!

Edtor’s Note: For continued live and archived news coverage from an independent perspective we’ve embedded “The Real News Network“. This is a international organization worthy of your support.

Source: Ashland Resource Center