Attending a healing gathering for peace
RAINBOW … Every year it’s a different spot, and a different event. This year’s gathering on the flanks of Mount St. Helen’s in Skamania County, Washington, not far from the mountain town of Cougar had its own flavor. Parking was far from the camp – some four to five miles. Gorio and I made it close, but we ended up camping outside the gathering, in a lovely spot in the trees. We walked into the camp on the 4th and made it for the noon circle, although because of late snows the big meadow was actually a bog, and there were several circles, which meant things were a bit disconnected. But we did dance around the peace pole in the second meadow, and we did meet up with our good friend Jim Rosenthal from Norwood … A lovely (very cold) stream wound through the forests, meadows and camps of the site. Chuck and Linda Parry, formerly of Telluride, were there with their Bread of Life kitchen – feeding thousands of people. Jim volunteered and helped them, as he’s done for several years. We’d hoped to join them this year, but we weren’t able to get our load of stuff into the site, due to the distance and a late start. Still, we got great hugs and lots of loving energy from everyone. And met up with a number of special friends … Rainbow’s healing love energy continues strong, even with 20,000 strangers gathering in the woods year after year. And that’s a beautiful thing, no matter how hard the way in can be.
BUDGET … In his proposal to balance the federal budget, Columbia Law School professor Michael J. Graetz’s first recommendation is to enact a value-added tax (a tax on sales of finished goods and services) such as exists in 150 countries worldwide. Exported goods are exempted from the VAT, making them more competitive in the world market against our goods, which have our domestic business and raw materials sales taxes built into their cost … His second proposal is to exempt families earning $100,000 or less from the federal income tax. He would drop the corporate tax rate to 15-20% and get rid of the earned income tax credit (naturally, since people under $100,000 income wouldn’t pay income tax), instead providing lower-income families with relief from the VAT burden through payroll tax credits and other tax mechanisms.
GREEN PARTY … It’s a good measure of a group if it can weather controversy and conflict. The state Green Party has had its share of both, and for the last year or so been mired in internal issues … But a day-long meeting in Longmont last month served to heal some of the rifts and provide majority support for a restructuring of the party … I was pleased to be elected co-chair, along with Poudre Valley Green Bill Bartlett, for the next several years (an earlier election was only temporary). For more info, check the state Green website <www.coloradogreenparty.org>
CARBON TAX … Back in February, I wrote about a carbon tax proposal by my friend Lance Christie of Moab (who’s now passed on, bless him). His proposal was for a carbon tax of $300 per ton of CO2. Bryan Cashion of Montrose wrote back to question the math on that figure … While supportive of the idea of a carbon tax to lower people’s energy usage, Bryan was critical of the numbers Lance had proposed. Pointing out that my 60 kWh per day for the month of January that I myself used at Cloud Acre (“Confessions of an Energy Pig”) would have cost me an extra $434, if Lance’s proposed carbon tax had been in effect. It turns out that one kilowatt hour of use translates to 1.606 pounds of CO2, according to one source. Multiply that times 30 days in a month, and understanding that 2000 pounds equals a ton, I suddenly have a very large power bill (with the tax) – something in the neighborhood of $600 for one month … Clearly, even phasing such a tax into place over several years would be pretty onerous for small power users, like myself … So, anyone out there have a better figure on what a realistic carbon tax might be? (and thank you, Bryan)
WEEKLY QUOTA … "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." -Maya Angelou (thanks to Facebook friend Tammy Ruppert of Minnesota)
THUMBS DOWN … Former California Governor and U.S. President Ronald Reagan, “Mr. Teflon”, whose Hollywood charm and 20-mule-train “Mr. Clean” look (while pimping for General Electric) made him an American icon of the Right (in an ironic spin of the universe at its most resilient, it’s Ronald’s John Hancock that seals my Bachelor of Arts degree); when, for those of us on the Left, it was the Raygun administration (so named for his boondoggle Star Wars proposal to militarize space) that began the rise of what many are calling the “imperial presidency”, starting with his illegal drugs-for-guns Contra operation -- funding guerrilla thugs to terrorize the Nicaraguan countryside, killing doctors, nurses and teachers, in a proxy war with Russia … Now comes even our own progressive hope for president, Mr. Barack Obama, continuing to bomb Tripoli without seeking congressional approval, as our Constitution and the War Powers Act demands … Left / Right – it doesn’t seem to matter. When it comes to power, both sides of the aisle are seduced and act unilaterally … Someone in Willapa Bay on our trip to the Northwest suggested that the Tea Party and the Green Party ought to unite and form the Green Tea movement, and see if we can get our federal union back in control of the people, instead of the banks and the military-industrial complex.
THE TALKING GOURD
Father Sebastian sits
in the burn-black corridors of his mind
and hauls out his spiny dreams.
He wants to become a mirage
scrambling over the desert
just out of reach,
to whisper like a loom
when it licks
to be a hawk
whose search for a mate
flogs its iron wings,
or the beast of evening
when it crawls over trembling hills,
casting rosaries around its feet.