Beliefnet

Thought for Today


We fed the heart on fantasy, the heart grew brutal on the fare.
--- William Butler Yeats

Swami's Blood Pressure: 120/80, and Holding


The oddest thing has happened. Last Friday, Swami consulted with a woman who, for shorthand purposes, we'll call a "psychic," and, ever since, he's been in an odd state of calm. Not uninterested or uncaring --- Swami still devours more news and analysis than is probably good for him, or anyone. More like....calm. Like: Something big is working itself out, and it's better just to watch it than to get all riled and nutty. Do something? Of course. But not in some flailing, agitated, sure-to-be-useless way.

One reason for Swami's it's-all-okay-at-30,000-feet mood may well be that, out in the Real World, things have turn a big turn for the worse --- indeed, Reality is getting so ugly it's hard to know what one person can do about it. In Swami's city, about 16,000 kids sleep in shelters every night, but that's not even a conversational topic in the salons and restaurants Swami passes through. In politics, Republican officials in some states seem to be sending the message that cheating is the only way they know how to win. (Jon Stewart suggested a new slogan for the Republicans: "If we're evil, it's news to us.") And in Iraq... but let's polish off America first.

What If They Knew What Bush Actually Believed?


Longtime readers may recall that Swami has divided Americans into four categories.

There are the Smarties (people of whatever persuasion who Pay Attention and have a handle on The Facts).

There are the Stupids (people dumb enough to believe what their government tells them, no matter what their government tells them)

There are the True Believers, who can muster facts and statistics galore to support the view that their president, who has mastered none of these facts and statistics, is a Leader for the Ages.

And there are the Denyers (people who know better but cast their lot with the Stupids because the Smarties make them feel guilty about their I've-got-mine-so-who-cares attitude and, anyway, the Smarties are Volvo-driving, latte-drinking blah blah blahs).

The Smarties? God bless you, whatever your views; we, at least, can talk. Stupids? No need to figure out how to talk to them --- they're watching reality TV and, for brain food, Fox. But maybe the Denyers, who still read (and who, most definitely, like to think of themselves as Model Citizens) might be interested in this dispatch from Program on International Policy Attitudes:

A new PIPA-Knowledge Networks poll finds that Americans who plan to vote for President Bush have many incorrect assumptions about his foreign policy positions...

Majorities of Bush supporters incorrectly assumed that Bush favors including labor and environmental standards in trade agreements (84%), and the U.S. being part of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (69%), the International Criminal Court (66%), the treaty banning land mines (72%), and the Kyoto Treaty on global warming (51%). They were divided between those who knew that Bush favors building a new missile defense system now (44%) and those who incorrectly believe he wishes to do more research until its capabilities are proven (41%). However, majorities were correct that Bush favors increased defense spending (57%) and wants the US, not the UN, to take the stronger role in developing Iraq's new government (70%).

Tower to Denyers: You knew better, didn't you? So why do you vote with the Stupids? Swami can't figure it out.

Maybe This Will Help the Denyers: Iraq Today


A highly respected Wall Street Journal reporter sent an email from Baghdad. Not the same story Bush tells. Farnaz Fassihi writes:

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