Terror in Spain, Cultural war in U.S., fighting in Nepal


The bombings in Madrid wounded more than the victims on the trains. It wounded the psyche of Spain. And it illustrates again Winston Churchill's quote: "A war upon terror can never be won." That is because it is like declaring war on ideas. It is like declaring war on unhappiness or hatred. These kinds of "wars" make good political rhetoric, but can never be won with police, and guns and government regulation. The world of ideas is a world of constant conflict and change. Thus, the war on Terror must be fought on an intellectual and spiritual level, the very arena that the current leaders of the world are least qualified to work in.

The train bombings in Madrid, SpainWe cannot fully imagine what hatred or radical darkness would drive people to place bombs in areas where innocents would be killed in mass. If it is driven by intellect, one would think that it must be an evil intellect. Yet, to respond to it with sophomoric rhetoric, saber rattling, or greater government "crack downs" only plays into the hands of those who wish to destabilize or discredit governments.

Consider the opposite of terror. Consider what fundamental intellectual steps are required to achieve the opposite of terror. Then we begin to see the beginning of ideas that can lead to solutions.


Nepal is a land of stunning beauty and lovely people with a rich tradition and devotion to their religion. Yet Maoist rebels still fight, still terrorize and continue to try to destabilize the government of Nepal. Hardly a week goes by without another report of a military skirmish where yet more Nepali are killed. Repeated efforts to negotiate to bring peace have failed, and new efforts to deal with this conflict are underway. Nepal needs peace.


There is no doubt that in the United States there is a cultural war being fought and that the Presidential elections symbolize this war. The results of this election could be a milestone, or a turning point in the cultural war of America.

The United States has always had a cultural war bubbling. When Theodore Roosevelt recognized the corruption of big business in New York City and New York State, he caused great consternation when he left his wealthy friends of big business to attack corruption and greed. When Abraham Lincoln stood up for "freedom of slaves" he did so in the face of scathing criticism by the conservatives and wealthy elites that held much of the power in the United States at the time. Examples of cultural war run throughout American history. When John F. Kennedy attacked big steel and automotive companies for price gouging, he was fighting a cultural war for consumers and labor. When the singing group, Peter, Paul and Mary visited El Salvador, they were shocked at the foreign policy of the United States, that had sponsored the suppression of thousands of poor Salvadorians. They wrote a song, defining their outrage and soon, they were called: "Communists" and "Anti-Americans" because they stood up for the rights of freedom of speech and freedom of people to live without the repression of corrupt governments. Later, Paul Stookey said: "We made it clear, that the unique thing about being an American was our freedom of speech. We were not communists, we were more American than ever when we criticized America's mistaken foreign policy". Only years later were they vindicated.

Today, there is a cultural war going on. It is a strange war, with contradictions and inconsistencies on both sides of the battleground. Conservative Christians, who preach that the "Prince of Peace" is their only savior, are the first to promote and support war. Liberal Atheists, who claim to have no religion, are the first to call for "peace" and quote religious ethics to protect their individual rights to live in freedom. Conservative politicians are defending ever-greater government spending and deficits, and Liberal politicians are calling for balancing budgets and greater social responsibility. Conservative gun associations who historically worship the outdoors are supporting efforts to cut down the forests and corrupt the environment, while liberal "greens" that call themselves pacifists violently harass hunters in the forests. Liberal Gays (who for years rejected social marriage convention) now want to be married, and Conservative Christians (who for years said they were living in sin) don't want them to get married. Who can ever sort it all out? There is definitely a war going on. Conservative groups want to impose controls, regulations, religion, and government power on the people, and moderate and liberal groups are calling for a "live and let live" atmosphere, less government intrusion and a more enlightened response to the challenges that we face. While "moderates" and "liberals" are being attacked and persecuted, "fundamentalists" have new power and louder voices than ever in America, and throughout the world. It is a dangerous time for thinking people around the world. Just trying to understand all the nuances of the conflicts gives me a headache. I was recently in Asia for two months, and when I returned, I noticed a subtle change in Television in the D/FW area. One of the public TV stations has been replaced by a conservative religious broadcasting service. So now, instead of programs of educational TV and public service programs, the airways on that channel are dominated by preachers of fringe groups, shouting about sin, speaking in tongues and denigrating anyone with a different view point. What a change. Furthermore it is a great loss to the community.

We can only hope, that the "better nature of mankind" that if filled with tolerance, grace, spirituality and intellect will prevail over the reactionary, shallow, fundamentalists who are determined to dominate every aspect of culture in America. Our advice is the same to the extreme conservative fundamentalists and to the extreme liberals. Chill out.


Alan Greenspan continues to tell Congress that new jobs are coming. In spite of a huge 3 million job loss in the past 3 years, there are areas that have shown some job expansion. Nursing jobs have increased 27%. Teachers 38%. Retail clerks 15%. Food preparation 24%. Janitors 18%. Unfortunately, the areas that are showing job increases are low wage jobs, where the areas of industrial manufacturing (losses of 2.8 million jobs) , middle management, and other areas of greatest job losses are of higher wage scales. The net result? There may be more jobs coming, and more people will have to have 2 or more jobs to maintain their current lifestyles.


The highest trade gap ever reported in American history occurred in January, according to the U.S. Commerce Department. Imports were 132.2 billion, the second highest ever reported, and imports from China increased the monthly trade deficit to $11.5 billion.