Thought for Today

"Do right and you will be conspicuous."
--Mark Twain

"Let Freedom Reign"

That was President Bush's three-word comment on the note Condi Rice passed to him, announcing that "control" of Iraq had been transferred to the Iraqis. (Proof that this note was totally staged: that word "reign." You just know that if he hadn't been rehearsed Bush would have written "rain." And his handwriting! It would have won the penmanship prize at any school Swami attended. But that's Bush--cool even in moments that test your deodorant. Like, say, in a Florida schoolroom on 9/11).

Where was Swami? Oh, in Iraq. The new Iraq, where Iyad Akmush Kanum, 23, learned the limits of sovereignty on Monday: American prosecutors refused to uphold an Iraqi judges' order acquitting him of attempted murder of coalition troops.

US prosecutors said that he was being returned to the controversial Abu Ghraib prison because under the Geneva Conventions they were not bound by Iraqi law...

"Iraqis who have been detained as a security threat can still be detained until firstly the coalition leaves or secondly they are considered to be no longer a threat," said Michael Frank, deputy special prosecutor for Multinational Force-Iraq (MNFI), who oversaw the case dressed in military fatigues.
Swami also finds himself shaking his head in sorrowful agreement with Christopher Dickey. From his Newsweek piece about Iraq's new prime minister:

Allawi is best understood as the anointed dictator in waiting. His job is to do whatever needs doing to impose order on the current chaos. Martial law, ruthless repression, you name it. With American firepower to back him up, he's more than ready to take the blame for any rough stuff. Allawi's defense minister proudly vows to chop off the hands and heads of terrorists. As Franklin Roosevelt is supposed to have said about an infamous Nicaraguan dictator, "He's a son of a bitch, but at least he's our son of a bitch."

Make Your Own Church Sign

Have you ever dreamed of borrowing the box of letters at your church, synagogue or mosque, and putting up your own church sign? Just imagine the chaos if we did that! WOMEN! JESUS SENT JOHN JONES TO YOU! or BOW DOWN TO MY WIFE, OR ELSE or OUTSOURCE THE PRESIDENT--and those are just warm-ups.

Well, now you can make your own church sign--without leaving your desk. Go to Church Sign Generator. (Forget the chain letters. This is something you really do want to share with friends.)

Swami's God (Part 2)

A friend of 40 years read yesterday's blog and wrote to ask: " really believe in God?" (Most of Swami's friends are, you may have guessed, in the agnostic/atheist camp.) Swami hemmed and hawed. Then he remembered the night he interviewed Thich Nhat Hanh, and TNH told him:

This body is not me. I am much more than this body. The space of 50 or 60 or 70 years is not my lifespan. It is not true that I did not exist before I was born. It is not true that I will no longer exist after the disintegration of this body. My ground of being is the reality of no birth, no death. No coming, no going. It is like water is the ground of being of a wave. The wave might be afraid of being or non-being. But if she knows that she is water, she will lose all her fear. Nothing is born...nothing dies. That is a statement made by the French scientist Lavoisier. The Heart Sutra uses exactly the same terms. The day of your so-called death is truly a day of continuation. Birth and death cannot really touch us. If you know that, you will be able to enjoy every second of your daily life--even if you are in terminal illness.
This is Swami's view, too. When he's not utterly freaked out, that is.

From Swami's Mailbag: "Create a Virtual Democracy!"

Unlike the all-knowing Bush Administration, Swami is just another befuddled citizen. (Hey, you were warned--in Swami's very first blog: "This fakir is a bit of a faker.") So he was pleased to get another perspective on saving America from a new Dark Ages from Beliefnet reader Hal McKenzie: