War in Iraq

War in Iraq

56: WAR IN IRAQ: It was clear

from the get go that the Bush administration was lying about their reasons to go to war. It was equally clear that the opposition to the war was

disingenuous. I was squarely on the fence on this one. I didn't like being lied to, but I don't approve of a philosophy that said. "We

don't need to go to IRAQ because we are not in immediate danger." In the meantime, the people of IRAQ were living under an incredibly brutal

regime, the likes of which had not been seen since Hitler. The massive environmental damage that was caused by the draining of the swamp alone was

worthy of international intervention, let alone the cultural loss of a 10,000 year-old civilization that was still living in the swamps. I think that

there are good strategic reasons why we went in to IRAQ, and it upsets me that we lost the public relations battle because this administration is so

fond of lying that they lied when they didn't have to.


See essay to understand Jen's plan to deal with the current situation in Iraq

(ie: the quagmire):

Jen's Plans for Iraq

The Middle East

The Middle East

58: THE MIDDLE EAST:

There is a very interesting essay available on the UN website that does a great job of describing the history of the conflict going all the way back to

pre-WWI. This accurate background information is essential for anyone thinking about creating a workable solution. Unfortunately our policy towards the

Middle East has been based on misinformation, and a complete unwillingness to understand the valid concerns of the Palestinians. I am in favor of a

single state solution. This state would have the accepted international boundaries set up by the British protectorate. It would be a secular state, with

secular courts. A 2-state solution, and or any solution that does not involve making a secular state will not be able to end the violence. The problem

is that any non-Jew in Israel as a Jewish state is by definition a second-class citizen. Same with any non-Muslim in a Muslim Palestinian state. It is

impossible to have a just society when people are discriminated against, and a state that practices discrimination of any kind (including religious)

should expect violence for the people being discriminated against. And, it is this religious discrimination on the part of the Zionists that is the root

cause of this problem.

Continue reading “The Middle East”

Taxes

Taxes

59: TAXES:
Nothing is certain but

death and taxes. Theoretically, there is an optimal level of taxes that maximizes revenues, and minimizes the negative effects that taxes have, by

creating a disincentive to creating wealth. The conservative argument is that taxes are too high, thus creating a disincentive and therefore should be

cut. I believe that taxes are currently too low and need to be raised slightly. We had a progressive tax system but are in the process of reverting to a

regressive system. Our society can easily tolerate increased taxes on the wealthiest members of society (and prominent individuals in this tax group

have indicated that they don't mind paying more). Having myself been in several different tax brackets, I can honestly say that I don't mind

paying the higher taxes as my income level rises. It has been much easier for me to pay higher taxes and still have better quality of life as my income

level has risen. It is when I was poorest that I could not afford to pay taxes. I am thrilled to pay my taxes and to be in a higher bracket. Some of our

most prominent individuals in the highest tax bracket have said that we should not cut their taxes as they can easily afford to pay, and that a tax

break to them does not provide an additional incentive to spend more to move the economy, since they are already spending their capacity to consume.

Presidential Promises

Campaign Promises

My Five Most

Important Campaign Promises (from the American Candidate questionaire (2004))


60: PLEASE LIST YOUR FIVE MOST IMPORTANT CAMPAIGN

PROMISES:
(i) AS PRESIDENT I PROMISE TO: Uphold the wall of separation between church and state, which is essential to maintain our freedom of

religion or belief.

(ii) AS PRESIDENT I PROMISE TO:
Engage America in the global community and regain our position as a leader in

creating a peaceful and just society.

(iii) AS PRESIDENT I PROMISE TO:
Send important treaties to the senate for ratification. For far too

long we have signed international treaties and not encouraged our congress to ratify them. Some of these are important and by not ratifying these

treaties, we loose our ability to influence global politics. My first priority will be the ratification of the International Convention on the Rights of

the Child.

(iv) AS PRESIDENT I PROMISE TO:
Find a solution to the health care crisis Americans are facing. We need to figure out how to

fulfill the promise of Health Care as a Human Right will maintaining the innovation that comes from health care being a commodity. This is one of the

most important issues facing our country and so far, we have not been able to come up with an effective solution.

(v) AS PRESIDENT I PROMISE

TO:
Re-instate environmental protections that this administration took away and fully fund the EPA enforcement of existing regulations and give

them back their autonomy they need in order to properly protect Americans from environmental hazards.

Spirituality

Religion/Spirituality

HOW DO YOU DEFINE

YOUR RELIGION/SPIRITUALITY? I am an atheist and an agnostic. I don't know if there is a god or gods, but I don't believe that there are. That

being said, I don't think the question of is there or isn't there is a very interesting question to discuss. It is a personal matter of opinion,

nothing more. I agree with the Universal Church Triumphant of the Apathetic Agnostic. I don't know and I don't care. To me it is more important

to know if a person is a good person and it is perfectly clear to me that belief or non-belief is not an accurate predictor of goodness. As I said, no

group corners the market on stupidity. What I care about, and is a requirement for friendship with me is 3 basic qualities, that are independent of any

religion or creed. If a person is ethical, responsible and compassionate, they are a good person. If they are lacking even one of these qualities, they

are not someone I will trust or be friends with. Religious beliefs are irrelevant. I don't care how someone gets to the point that they have these

qualities, just that they have them.

 Philosophically – I am a Humanist!

Personal Qualities

Personal Qualities

67: WHAT ARE

YOUR THREE BEST QUALITIES?
1. Ethical

2. Responsible

3. Compassionate


68: WHAT ARE YOUR THREE WORST

QUALITIES?
1. Confidence that can be read as being egotistical

2. Self centered at times, it's all about me

3. I can be short with

people sometimes

69: DO YOU CONSIDER ANY TOPICS TO BE OFF-LIMITS IN CONVERSATION? No, but then again, there are plenty of topics I will not

introduce into a conversation myself. But if someone else brings up a subject, I will be happy to discuss it with him or her.

70: WHAT KINDS OF

SUBJECTS DO YOU TALK MOST ABOUT AROUND YOUR FRIENDS? Politics, movies, music, food.

71: WHAT KINDS OF SUBJECTS DO YOU TALK MOST ABOUT AROUND

YOUR FAMILY?
Science, politics, our work, and our suspicion that cats are superior creatures and are really gods, TV shows, bad commercials, what

we want to eat.

72: DO YOU EVER FEEL INTIMIDATED BY OTHER PEOPLE? IN WHAT KINDS OF SITUATIONS? Not normally. I am comfortable around all sorts. I

have dealt with people from all economic backgrounds and have stood my ground against people who have millions of dollars. I have quite an ego on me,

and view myself as the equal of any person. And, as a humanist I know that people are just people, they have the same concerns and fears I have, and

they all have to use the bathroom, same as me. I remember feeling really nervous when I met Spandau Ballet when I was younger. Martin tried to talk to

me and I was so nervous I just shrugged in answer to his question. I did manage to share a couple of words with Tony, but with Martin and Gary, I was

incapacitated by nerves.

Best and Worst Days

Best Day/Worst Day

74: DESCRIBE THE BEST DAY

OF YOUR LIFE THUS FAR: There are many days, like the day I first saw Loretta move on an ultrasound. The day I got married, or the day I met my first

dolphin. However, I have to say, my best ever day was a day I had while living in Los Angeles, which was a day I could only have in Los Angeles. I went

cross-country skiing in the morning. Went boogie boarding in the afternoon and went dancing at a club at night. It was a great day.

75: DESCRIBE

THE WORST DAY OF YOUR LIFE THUS FAR: Loosing my daughter Loretta.  

Crazy

Craziness

76: WHAT'S THE CRAZIEST THING

YOU'VE EVER DONE? Chinese Fire Drill on a bus in Shanghai or Hiking nude in Hawaii.

77: WHAT'S THE BIGGEST SCAM YOU'VE EVER PULLED?

It was more of an April Fools Day joke. There was a very bad volunteer I inherited when I began work at the LASPCA. Her name was Donna. Anyway, it

didn't take me long to fire her (and yes, you can and should fire volunteers when they are more trouble then help and this one definitely fit that

qualification). My boss, Lt. Havard, took some flack from Donna's supporters to keep her on, and I told him that I would not be responsible for her

actions, since she did not recognize the authority of any of the staff that had supervised her. He fired her the next week after she refused to adopt a

dog to Shari Bellefonte, despite the fact that it was not her decision to make. April 1st 2 years later, me and the shelter supervisor played a joke on

Lt.Havard and told him that Donna had called and was planning to come by and that she had something to discuss with him. He was so nervous he had a

really long meeting with our President in order to plan and prepare for Donna's arrival. He was so nervous and upset that we broke the joke early.

It was really funny because he was really upset.

Accomplishments and Regrets

Accomplishments and Regrets

78: WHAT

WAS YOUR MOST HUMBLING MOMENT? This is an interesting question since I am aware that I am a dork and I have known this for years. So, when I do

something stupid, I am not at all surprised, because, I am a dork, what would people expect? I struggled to come up with an answer to this question,

because to say I have never been humbled sounds egotistical, but because I am aware of my fallibility, when I fail, I am not shocked, so… it is

hard to be humble. I would rather not list all of the stupid things I have done over my life, despite not being humbled by them. The only incident I can

think of is one time I was talking to my friend Jason. I was talking about how selfish I am and how "it is all about me," and he rejoined that

I was one of the most giving people he knew. I was really taken aback because that was not how I thought about myself. I like to think of myself being a

firm believer in enlightened self-interest. I also like people to do nice things for me. I hadn't realized how much I gave back to my friends. I

mean, I have always been proud of my friends and the fact that every friend I have ever had has become friends with my other friends. I have excellent

taste in friends. But, I was shocked that they got something out of being friends with me and that it wasn't just me taking from them.

79:

WHAT ACTION(S) OR ACCOMPLISHMENT(S) IN YOUR LIFE ARE YOU PROUDEST OF? Feral Cat Management programs. As the Director of Volunteer Services at the Los

Angeles SPCA, I wrote their Feral Cat Management program. This program was very successful and reduced our cat population by 18% over a 5-year period.

In practical terms, it meant cat season went from a 5 – 6 month long affair (where litter after litter is brought into the shelter for euthanasia, to

about a 2 week period where we actually had too many cats, and during some months, actually had no cats to adopt in the shelter. All at a cost of only

$10,000/year to administrate. My management system and description of what and why was adopted by the California Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA),

and eventually the American VMA. I have seen copies of my program put into practice all over the country and around the world. Every once in a while I

get sent a copy of a program by a friend, as they want to know if I think the program is operating ethically, and I always laugh because it is almost

always my exact program photocopied with a different logo on it. I am proud of this not only because it worked so well and was extremely cost effective,

but also because it is the one thing I have done that has reduce suffering for cats all over the world.

80: WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST REGRET? This

might seem strange, but I strive to live a life without regret, so I don't have many. People regret what they don't do, not what they do. I have

known this for years. The truth of this is that my greatest regret is that I went to a club in Los Angeles one time with some friends. I remember we

went to go see a band called Babushka. I think it was at the tick tock. Anyway, we got there and sat down at a long table and I sat next to a woman and

we immediately hit it off. It was like we were old friends. So immediate was our friendship that the guys I had come with couldn't understand why I

didn't introduce them to what was obviously a good friend of mine. The reason I didn't is because I was just getting to know her myself. At the

end of the evening, I wanted to get her phone number and keep in touch, but felt weird because I didn't know how to ask without it seeming like I

was hitting on her, which I wasn't because I am hopelessly heterosexual. Anyway, we didn't exchange numbers and I never saw her again. My

greatest regret is not just being forward and suggesting we keep in touch and become friends. I know I lost out on a good

friend.

What Shaped Me

What Shaped Me

81: DESCRIBE A MAJOR EVENT OR

ISSUE THAT'S AFFECTED YOU PERSONALLY: The Women's lib movement. I would not be who I am today if it had not been for the women who came before

me who worked to free women from a narrowly defined life of marriage and children. Women of my generation and those that come after us should be

eternally grateful to the women who fought to make us free to make our own choices about what kind of life we want for ourselves. Along these same

lines, we are no longer chained to motherhood, and instead, for educated women in western societies, we can decide if and when to become a mother making

society better for everyone.

82: WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ISSUE OR PROBLEM FACING YOU TODAY? My husband and I need to decide if we want to try

and get pregnant again.

83: WHAT IS THE BIGGEST OBSTACLE YOU'VE HAD TO OVERCOME IN YOUR LIFE? The terror of being stalked and coming to terms

with the after effects of this sort of mental abuse. It took me a couple of years to come to terms with the constant terror I was experiencing. I found

a very good therapist, who had experience with PTS, and she helped me learn some coping techniques and within a month my panic attacks had stopped

completely. The most important moment in my emotional recovery occurred in England in 2001. I had a consulting job in Swindon and was taking weekends to

do some sightseeing. I re-found myself and shed the fear that had been my constant companion for the previous few years. I rediscovered my wonder and

the confidence that I could make my way safely in the world. I no longer needed to be the prisoner of my fears that I had become. It was truly

liberating.

84: IF YOU COULD CHANGE ONE THING ABOUT YOURSELF, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
I would have the body I had when I was about 34. I think

that was about the height of my physical best. I was no longer the scrawny little girl, but I hadn't yet put on extra weight. I was a woman at her

physical peak.