Friday, December 21, 2007


It is a spiritual law that in the midst of love, everything that is unlike love, must come up for healing. In other words, all the ugliness we are seeing right now in the world, is erupting in order for it to be purged, healed and done away with.

Despite catastrophic events such as the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, civil unrest in nuclear Pakistan and the myriad crimes of the Bush regime — good things are coming, and are actually here. We have to open our eyes and see that in the midst of turmoil, actual change for the good is taking place.

In a diverse society, the only moral tenet we need to practice is the Golden Rule. What if God is simply love and prayer is the invisible transfer of love to another? By taking leaps of faith, I've somehow been able to transform the deadening illusion of "reality" by changing my viewpoint. (Reality is actually beauty, goodness, love, truth, harmony.) We can physically change our experience of the world by changing our view. The key to this is to simply stop rehearsing turbulent thoughts, and to be grateful for the good in our lives. The past two years have been brutal, full of tears and prayers for our dying troops, orphaned Iraqi children, Katrina and Darfur victims. I've succumbed to hopelessness at times. But I've been experimenting with new thought again. For example, whenever I have a fear-based or depressed thought I stop in my tracks and instantly reverse the thought — see the other side. See the beauty in the present moment, relax and realize the sky is not falling. It helps to find humor anywhere you can find it. There is abundant good in the world and it becomes visible the more you choose to see it.

Enigma4Ever at Watergate Summer has an amazing post about Benazir Butto's assassination. What an epic tragedy. Everyone must read Arianna Huffington's post about this amazing woman, head of the debating team at Oxford while Arianna was head of the Cambridge union. Butto managed to be the first woman leader in the Muslim world, while raising three children.

From Arianna at HuffPo:
The world is debating the political fallout from Benazir Bhutto's assassination -- from fear of chaos in Pakistan to the impact of her death in Iowa. There is already no shortage of analysis about the national security implications of her death, but I want to write about the young woman I met in England before she became a player on the world stage.

She was at Oxford. I was at Cambridge. And by a strange coincidence I became president of the Cambridge Union and she became president of the Oxford Union. The anomaly of two foreign women heading the two unions meant that we ended up debating each other around England on topics ranging from British politics to broad generalities about the impact of technological advance on mankind.

When I checked my blackberry this morning at 5:28 am LA time there was an e-mail from our news editor Katherine Zaleski: "Benazir Bhutto killed by bombing." As we found out afterwards she was killed by an assassin's bullet. But just as the news was filled with the details of her death, my mind was filled with how full of life she had been every time I had seen her, including the last time in 1998 when she came to my home in Los Angeles for a dinner (which Harry Shearer, also there, wrote about). She was in exile, her husband in jail, and she was separated from her children. But still, there was an incredible life force about her, a sense that no matter what life brought her way, whether a tough debating argument, or exile, or her father's death by hanging, or the deaths of her two brothers -- she could deal with it, and she would prevail. Until the rally in Rawalpindi.

Watched SICKO again last night. This should be required watching in all schools and universities and for all Americans. France, England, Canada and all civilized nations take care of their citizens. They have a "we" mentality not a greed-based "I" mentality. They make sure everyone is taken care of no matter what income level, class, race, gender or pre-existing condition. (More on Sicko below.)

May all the gifts hidden inside you make their way into the world and may all your dreams come true.

Christmas was very peaceful at our house — except for the kids who woke us up at 5:30 AM screaming, "Hurry, hurry, the living room is full of presents... come on wake up!" A new puppy (a rescue) literally arrived on our doorstep. This is an adorable 3 month old half Shepherd, half Chihauhau. Wait, this isn't possible. Can you imagine a Chihauhau mating with a German Shepherd? Impossible in either combination. We're having the DNA checked. In any case, now our youngest son has the dog he always wanted. Our other dog Chazzie, an imperial Shih-tzu, is thoroughy appalled by the intruder.

We had family and friends over for roast turkey and mounds of chocolate truffles. Our children still retain the magic of faith because we talk to them about the spiritual power they have inside — how the invisible healing forces of love, hope and charity are more powerful than anything in the material world. We try to teach them that no matter what happens in the outside world, no external circumstance must be allowed to upset their internal harmony, or control their life. We can't let ourselves be blown about by the wind. And of course there are always a few mysterious gifts under the tree. No one knows where these gifts come from, but the tags say "North Pole." We allowed them to open one gift every half hour until 7 AM when we joined them. I took pictures of the front yard, where we threw huge amounts of wrapping paper out the door.

MORE ON "SICKO": Stress is the number one cause of all illness; in fact, a genetic scientist once told me that stress and worry are the root cause of more disease than any other factor. It seems these civilized, democratic nations make sure their citizens are stress-free in regards to health care, thereby increasing the productivity and good will of the workforce. In these countries the will of the people is more important than the will of the government. They live longer than we do: they are less sick, less obese and less drug-addicted.

What is amazing is that if you are in an accident or sick, you get full pay, time to heal, preventative care - and help with maternity leave. These are truly democratic nations, in which the PEOPLE RUN THE COUNTRY. The government serves the people. THEY ARE NOT RULED BY A PRIVILEGED ELITE. They are patriotic, productive and happy. THeir children are never denied coverage for life-threatening illnesses as our children in America are. What a difference.

In our country, the managed health care system is rewarded for denying claims for life-saving procedures such as MRIs, brain scans, bone-marrow and liver transplants. In other words, in a country of so-called "family values" we throw away our children, deny them life-sustaining coverage and we have a much higher infant mortality rate.

Some CEOs of these managed health care firms like Kaiser and Cigna are speaking out. They can't live with themselves for denying coverage to people and then finding out they actually "killed" people. They are rewarded with huge pay raises and bonuses for denying coverage to desperate people who actually have health insurance but don't qualify for the procedures they need! One child died because Kaiser wouldn't cover her for antibiotics at a different hospital.

I'm beginning to believe that we are very naive when it comes to Washington, and the hidden secrets of what really makes America run. There are entrenched interests that can only be defeated by very smart, savvy politics. These are not normal people — these neocons who have designed the destruction of America and our constitution. Maybe someone who can walk the razor's edge is really the right choice.

I think there are some things that would chill us to the bone if we really knew the truth, and only a small circle of former White House residents knows these truths.

There is something that we do not know. There is some information told to the president when he takes office, and I believe Hilary, as a former wife, knows this.

There is also a reason Balad Air base is so incredibly large, like a small town with restaurants and golf course, movie theaters and over 20,000 troops who have never met an Iraqi.

We might be in Iraq forever.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS, MERRY CHRISTMAS, HAPPY HANNUKAH, SPLENDID NEW YEAR! Never give up hope. Now is the time to turn it all around.


Dear Editor:

I am 8 years old. Some of my friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says "If you see it in The Sun it's so."
Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?
Virginia O'Hanlon


Your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see.

No Santa Claus! Thank God, he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

The New York Sun
September 21, 1897

The following is by Regina Brett The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Ohio

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
4. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.
8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don't compare your life to others'. You have no ide a what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.
16. Life is too short for long pity parties. Get busy living, or get busy dying.
17. You can get through anything if you stay put in today.
18. A writer writes. If you want to be a writer, write.
19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.
21 Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Over-prepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: "In five years, will this matter?"
27. Always choose life, not suicide.
28. Forgive everyone everything.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.
34 God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.
35. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.
36. Growing old beats th e alternative -- dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood. Make it memorable.
38. Read the Psalms. They cover every human emotion. (Just cuz it's in the Bible, doesn't mean it's crazy. The Bible has immense, transformational wisdom, but needs a spiritual key. The fundamentalists have misinterpreted it. Just cuz atheism has become the new trend, that doesn't mean God is dead. - Lydia)
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywh ere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.
41. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
42. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
43. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
44. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
45. The best is yet to come.
46 No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
47. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
48. If you don't ask, you don't get.
49. Yield.
50. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.

This was our original Christmas photo taken on a trip to Belize last summer. We visited the Mayan ruins and went zip-lining and cave-tubing through the jungle. Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 14, 2007


Orphans photo

There was an ice storm and massive power outage last weekend, but it's over and our servers are back up. Sorry for being offline for so long.

On Saturday I took my kids and their friends for the second time to volunteer at Hope Gardens, a residence for homeless women and children. It is the partner of the rougher Union Rescue Mission downtown. Hope Gardens is is nestled in the hills, surrounded by trees, flowers and babbling brooks. Bel Air Presbyterian Church has adopted it as a partner, and my kids, who are in middle school, help out and earn community service points. I met two senior citizen women who had been homeless and found themselves living now in paradise. They were so beautiful, maybe in their late 70's or 80's -- but so full of gratitude. You could tell they had suffered major life losses. Maybe the loss of a spouse, a child or job? To be a woman alone with no possibility of making a living, and no family -- is such a tragedy. Women are less employable because an old woman is simply a throw-away. Our society, with its obsessive emphasis on youth, has no use for elderly women or men for that matter. What a world we live in. I pray for the homeless souls on the streets of cities covered in ice and snow this winter. How are people surviving with these power outages?

It is of vital importance that we support comprehensive programs like the Union Rescue Mission’s women and children program in Sylmar. These programs are saving lives....”

–Jan Perry, 9th District Los Angeles Councilwoman

"We won't have to worry about our kids--what they have to see on the street."
-Cheryl, a homeless mother of two

On over 70-acres of land next to the National Forest, Hope Gardens Family Center is a supportive housing
facility where 225 abandoned women and children will get away from the streets of Skid Row.

Families will learn to succeed financially, emotionally, physically, and academically in our 12-36 month program.

Monday, December 10, 2007



OUTRAGE! Kucinich, top-rated Democrat, excluded from Des Moines Register debate

DES MOINES, IA – The highest polling Democratic Presidential candidate among the Party’s progressive, grassroots, activist base, Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich, has been excluded from the Des Moines Register-sponsored Presidential debate here on Thursday because his Iowa field director operates from a home office rather than a rented storefront! 


The dismissive reference was to Kucinich Iowa Field Director and State Coordinator Marcos Rubinstein, who coordinates campaign activities from his home office in Dubuque, bolstered by a dozen-or-so other senior campaign staff who have traveled the state over the past several months.

Marty Kaplan on HuffPo: Oprah Is to Iraq as Cronkite Was to Vietnam - A HERO!

As I watched Oprah introduce Senator Obama in Iowa, revelation wasn't: Oprah is for Obama. It was: Oprah is against the war! Thank goodness!  Maybe, just maybe, Oprah's audience will take from this the message that their own opposition to the war isn't a betrayal of the troops, as the Republicans claim.

From NBC/NJ's Aswini Anburajan

COLUMBIA, SC -- Oprah Winfrey took the stage at William Bryce Football Stadium to deafening cheers. Over 29,000 people filled the risers, some having driven from as far as Savannah, GA, to see her appear with Barack Obama.

At what was the third campaign stop Oprah has made with Obama this weekend, she praised him as an "evolved leader," pinning her desire to support Obama on his ability to inspire people.

BEAUTIFUL WORDS FROM OPRAH: "For the first time, I'm stepping out of my pew because I've been inspired. I've been inspired to believe that a new vision is possible for America. Dr King dreamed the dream. But we don't have to just dream the dream anymore. We get to vote that dream into reality," she told the crowd.


For the holidays, 20% of all purchases on this website go directly to children's charities: Hope Gardens residence for homeless women and children; Feed the Children; Bel Air Presbyterian Church Missions and Imagine L.A.

Purchase photos and receive free gift DVDs of Lydia's original comedy "Relationshop," "Venus Conspiracy" and her funniest moments in TV and film. For a contribution to the Basham and Cornell Radio show, receive a CD of all our top-notch interviews of the presidential candidates, Senators, Congressmen, Valerie Plame, John Dean, Pat Buchanan, Pulitzer Prize winner Charlie Savage, etc.

Also you can purchase Kaufman Art here. Proceeds go to "GIVE KIDS A BREAK." Steve Kaufman worked with Andy Warhol and is the preeminent pop artist in America. He just did all the celebrities at the MGM Grand for their hall of fame, and is licensed for the Frank Sinatra estate and the Marilyn Monroe estate. Check out his art at

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Here's a photo of Dennis Kucinich and yours truly. Photo by Jane Shirek at


On Thursday December 6, 2007, Elizabeth Kucinich – wife of Democratic Presidential contender, Dennis Kucinich - was our guest on the Basham and Cornell Radio Show which airs daily at 8 am Pacific Time on AM 1230 KLAV in Las Vegas and is simulcast on the web. You can hear this and other brilliant interviews in the audio archives on our website at Basham and Cornell Progressive Talk If you've missed our show, check out the audio archives. We have interviewed John Edwards, John Dean, Valerie Plame, Dahr Jamail, Elizabeth Edwards, Mike Gravel; Pulitzer Prize winner Charlie Savage, Congressman Charlie Rangel, Senator Byron Dorgan; bestselling authors Greg Palast, Paul Krugman, Greg Anrig, Mikey Weinstein, Paul Krugman; Media Matters’ Eric Boehlert and Paul Waldman are regular guests. Upcoming: Obama and Hilary. If you missed any of these shows, check out the archives on our website.

This was Elizabeth’s second appearance on the show - however, her first - by herself.

Elizabeth attended the University of Kent at Canterbury in the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2001 and graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Religious Studies and Theology and a Master's degree in International Conflict Analysis.

Her thesis for her Master's was on "Conflict Resolution in World Politics".

In 1996 she went to Agra, India to volunteer at one of Mother Teresa's homes for India's poorest children. Upon earning her bachelor's and master's degrees at the University of Kent, she spent 16 months in a rural Tanzanian village and worked as an advocate for regional development.

After leaving Tanzania, she volunteered with a British Red Cross refugee unit; earned a certificate in Peace Studies from Coventry University; and got a job as a fund-raiser for a seafarer's charity in London.

Her volunteer work often brought her to the House of Lords. At that time she heard financial analyst Stephen Zarlenga speak about monetary reform. She was impressed and soon was hired to become Zarlenga's assistant at the Chicago-based American Monetary Institute. That work took her and Zarlenga to Dennis Kucinich's office. She married Dennis Kucinich, in 2005 in Congressman Kucinich's hometown of Cleveland, Ohio.


The NIE, our very best national intelligence, has finally released a top secret report that states unequivocally that Iran stopped all nuclear weapons aspirations over three years ago. But Bush, ever the optimist, wants to "keep worrying" that Iran might someday think about having the knowledge to one day think about making a nuclear weapon. What are we, the Thought Police? Bush refuses to accept the truth -- and instead opts to live in fear.

Bush lies and says he only got this NIE report last week. Despite this definitive evidence, which might have been leaked by some higher ups in the military, Bush says: "My opinion hasn't changed."

Now should we really trust a man who has been wrong on every single thing he ever said?

U.S. Report Contradicts Bush on Iran
By Matt Spetalnick

WASHINGTON (Dec. 3) - A new U.S. intelligence report says Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003 and it remains on hold, contradicting the Bush administration's earlier assertion that Tehran was intent on developing a bomb.