Friday, June 02, 2006

Dept. Of Peace/Poem/Al Gore Gaining

(P1) Philosophical

A Department of Peace will work to:

-- Provide much-needed assistance to efforts by city, county, and state governments in coordinating existing programs; as well as develop new programs based on best practices nationally

-- Teach violence prevention and mediation to America's school children

-- Effectively treat and dismantle gang psychology

-- Rehabilitate the prison population

-- Build peace-making efforts among conflicting cultures both here and abroad

-- Support our military with complementary approaches to peace-building.

-- Create and administer a U.S. Peace Academy, acting as a sister organization to the U.S. Military Academy.

-- And more.

For information and to get involved, go to

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(P2) Poetical

Although It's June, Here's April

From Twelve Month I Ching Poem


If we wish to compress something
we must first let it fully expand.

- Lao tse

The stars appearing fixed
travel doggedly
shedding light.
Collect this as it falls.
Do not rush to gather stars.
Instead glean
their gleaming sticky lint,
roll it about in your own hands
over and over;
watch a new small sun flame
oh, you wondrous creator, you!

Edward Coletti (2006)

(P3) Political

My Choice For 2008 Going Strong (despite what you thought)

Check out Arianna Huffington's great blog post on Al Gore's ascendency -

The Huffington Post

May 27, 2006

Arianna Huffington

Al Gore Takes Cannes by Storm -- Will the Oval Office Be Next?

May 22 -- Over the weekend, I flew from Washington to Cannes. In Washington, the talk was all about 2006. In Cannes, the talk is all about 2008.

That's because even with Tom Hanks, Bruce Willis, Penelope Cruz, Jamie Foxx, and Halle Berry here for the film festival, the hottest star in town is Al Gore.

In Cannes for the European premiere of his powerful global warming documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, Gore has been surrounded by adoring crowds and deluged with interview requests. He told me that he gave 23 back-to-back-to-back interviews on Sunday, Hollywood junket-style (all on only one hour's sleep), and had another 23 scheduled for Monday. "This is my second visit to Cannes," he said. "The first was when I was fifteen years old and came here for the summer to study the existentialists -- Sartre, Camus... We were not allowed to speak anything but French!" Which may explain his pitch-perfect French accent.

It's clear that the film, and the engaging "New Gore" on display both in the film and his public appearances promoting it, have connected with people in a big way.

The film is an environmental punch in the gut. Gore 2.0 is a revelation, and a critical smash. When asked at his press conference how he should be addressed, he replied "Your Adequacy." "Hanks himself could not have delivered the line more smoothly," gushed The Guardian. The Washington Post's Sebastian Mallaby labeled him "a hero." Time's Anne Marie Cox called himNew York magazine touted his "amazing comeback." And even Fox News' Roger Friedman described him as "funny and relaxed." Talk about killer reviews. "a rock star."

Of course, as potent as the film is (Friedman says the minds of skeptics "will be changed in a nanosecond" and Franklin Foer says "it will certainly change elite opinion"), the other reason is the "Will he or Won't he?" speculation about 2008.

He's saying no -- but you can hear the "Run, Al, Run" chant growing louder.

"Democrats are looking everywhere to find their presidential candidate," Graydon Carter told me. "But the solution may be right under their noses."

And I think that the pressure on Gore to run will only increase as we move toward 2008.

Sure, that's a lifetime away in politics. And the shelf-life of movie buzz isn't very long -- I doubt people will be debating the relative merits of X-Men 3 and The Break-Up two months from now, let alone a year and a half.

But the debate over global warming is only going to heat up -- and Gore has a whole campaign planned to ensure that it does.

"We are planning to train a thousand people to be able to deliver the presentation all over the country," he told me, "so we can more quickly reach the tipping point."

With An Inconvenient Truth likely to move the discussion about global warming toward critical mass -- and the White House and the oil companies and the likes of Sen. James 'Global Warming is a Hoax' Inhofe making a mockery of the crisis -- the issue, with Gore as its leading spokesman, will remain in the spotlight.

So at no moment between now and the Democratic convention in the summer of 2008 will those eyeing the Democratic nomination be able to fully relax about not having Gore as a potential rival.

Because of his unique position in the political landscape -- i.e. the 2000 White House winner who wasn't allowed to move in -- and because of the platform his environmental moral crusade provides, Gore won't have to abide by the standard running-for-president timetable. He won't have to hit the usual marks of when to form an exploratory committee, when to officially announce, when to show up in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Instead, he can lay back, bide his time, continue doing what he's doing -- and is so clearly passionate about -- and perhaps be able to chart a path to the Oval Office while avoiding the things about politics that he says "feel toxic" to him.

So today's repeated denials don't really mean very much. Not because he doesn't mean it, but because so much can happen between now and the convention.

Especially if it appears that Hillary is close to securing the nomination. Then the pressure for him to enter the race -- to act as the anti-Hillary -- will increase significantly.

But it's not just that so many Democrats fear a Hillary-led ticket.

The pressure on Gore to run will continue to grow because watching him speak out so eloquently, so passionately, and so personally on this issue -- in other words, displaying real leadership -- is like suddenly being served a steak after a steady diet of fast-food burgers. It's a stark reminder of just how far we've lowered the bar on what we expect from those we elect.

It's as if we've been so pummeled by ersatz candidates espousing focus-group approved piffle that we've come to accept as normal the idea that if you are going to be in politics you are going to have to sell out -- shaped and molded by campaign consultants and pollsters, your ideals and principles wrung out by the very process of becoming a candidate. Each disappointment (et tu, John McCain?) is like a wound, and the scar tissue that remains has desensitized us.

When people are exposed to the new Gore -- authentic, funny, self-deprecating -- you can almost feel their relief and surprise as they suddenly come to face to face with what a real leader could be.

Even major skeptics like myself (and I've never been shy about attacking Gore, as you can see here, here, here, and here) can't help but be affected. It's why he suddenly finds himself surrounded by people all but begging him to run.

And here's an interesting grace note from Cannes: One of the films generating the biggest buzz at the festival is Climate, by Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan. Despite its title, the film has absolutely nothing to do with global warming or climate change. Rather it's the story of a man's inner change. Festival audiences have been mesmerized by the powerful rendering of his transformation.

Is this a cinematic omen of things to come in 2008?

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Monty Honig said...


Thank you for this valuable information. I to feel that fighting for peace is not the way.

I will be supporting "The Department Of Peace" organization.

Katherine H. said...

Hi, Ed.

Thanks for this.

Your poem is lovely, and the Huffington article on Gore is wonderful -- any bit of hope is appreciated. I've forwarded that link on to several people. Wouldn't it be FABULOUS?!?

The idea of a department of peace is wonderful, but the language around it needs to be much more specific in order for people to begin to believe in the possibility, don't you think? Otherwise, it just seems idealistic in the pipe dream sense of the word. Oh gawd, I sound cynical...wonder why? No matter the wording, just to HAVE a peace department is a step in the right direction. Can you see the two factions -- war and peace departments -- in a conference room communicating with each other? Perhaps in the Tolstoy Room?

Don W. said...

Thanks for that review. I plan on seeing that movie


Sara Byrnes said...

Hi Ed,
I saw the movie Friday when it opened in town. The TRUTH speaks for itself.
The movie is very clear and an important message for everyone to hear. The messenger (Al Gore) really inspired me. It shows clearly his own "path" of awakending to the importance
of protecting the earth and providing a legacy for our children. I would vote for him in a minute, he is intelligent, compassionate, humble and passionate about protecting Life! We need this kind of leadership in our world. It cnnot be politics as usual when we are facing the possible devestation
of our planet if we do not take appropriate action. By the wya if you haven't seen the movie, he doesn't "just point at problems", but remind us we have the solutions within our grasp and only lack the moral and political will to implement them. Thanks for keeping this subject as a conversation.

Duncan said...

A few weeks ago on this blog I mentioned a congressman from Tennessee now running for the Senate. I named him Harrison Ford. His name is Harold Ford. This movie star/politician association shows the power of actor politicians.
Maybe that will get Al Gore elected in '08. He thinking, "Gee, if a non-citizen can get elected governor of California just because he's a movie star maybe I should become a movie star." I'm being fecitious, of course. Or.....

Anyway, good old cynical me thinks the movie, no matter how good it is will not elect Al Gore. First, it's not a movie-movie, it's a documentary, so the audience is limited and limited to those who want confirmation that they are right about global warming and the environment.

Okay, something positive. Well, not exactly, but what Al Gore, or ANYBODY running against the other side needs and needs NOW, is a PLAN. Gore can talk all day about glaciers melting and rain forests disappearing, but where the f... is his PLAN to fix it?

Sorry, that's not positive, but as I have said here before, to bring about change from the White House, one must first get elected. And if Democrats don't get that, they won't get elected at all.

Bush ran on a campaign of compassionate conservatism. What the hell is that? Who cares, now, the guy got elected. Clinton ran on a campaign of the economy, remember, stupid? By January, 2001, the economy was in a free fall to recession. But he got elected.

Al Gore will have to do more than do a good movie narration. Dennis Quaid would get more votes because he protrayed a take-action guy in
Day After Tomorrow, a movie, in case you missed it, about a catastrophic ice storm caused by global warming.

Sorry for the negativism and cynicism, but maybe tomorrow something will cheer me up.

Anonymous said...

Hi Ed,

The idea of a Department of Peace, while noble, seems to fall short in practice.

I did some research into the Department of Peace and found some interesting stuff. The bill was first introduced in July 2001 by Dennis Kucinich (H.R.2459), again in 2003 (H.R.1673), and again in 2005 (H.R.3760).

The fact that the bill was introduced shortly before 9/11 should serve as a reminder that violent people who do not seek peace do not care about the idea. I know it's not a really strong argument, but ties back to a previous blog comment about dealing with people who do not want peace.

The more compelling argument aginst the bill is organizational. The Department, as described in the bill, seems to encroach on multiple departments within government (State, Education,Justice, etc..). I suspect the department would be mired in turf wars for the rest of its life and unable to focus on its mission.

I also am curious why the Department Secreteray would need to "develop policies to address violence against animals" as part of the domestic responsibilities. Will the department promote vegetarianism as an answer for peace?!

Ed, I love the idea of peace; I just wish our elected representatives could come up with a viable plan. This isn't it. Symbolic gestures are NOT the seeds of good policy. Dennis should know that after introducing this bill three times with no results.

My two cents,


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Edward Coletti said...


I disagree with you that one should give up after having a proposal "defeated" several times. Each time the proposal gains a wider audience and is further refined. I was told that it has over 60 votes in the Senate. I have not checked into that claim, but, if true, that's a sign of some major support.

The greater issue, however, is what do you propose to DO in the interest of peace? I had become somewhat despairing on the subject. The Department of Peace idea is the first concrete idea I've found, and I'll work in its support. Who can object to attempts to work, along with existing programs to use national resources to look at the roots of gang and family violence, try for true rehab in the prisons to do somthing about rampant recidivism, teach children better ways to relate to each other, and, above all espouse a positive view of life?

As to a Peace Academy, I say "Bravo!" One institution, among 3 War Schools (not even counting numerous smaller ones) - One school where college kids concentrate on going around the world to work in Constructive programs actually IMPROVING the image of the United States -- are you kidding? Of course not! Let's go for it!

Just because there are aspects you don't agree with, Paul, why not work to influence the legislation in ways you'd like to see it go? Nobody's going to make you stop eating Italian sausage : )

Yours for Peace and Love,


Duncan said...

I'm all for peace. War is good for absolutely nothin'.

But another federal bureaocracy turns me off big. Of the objectives stated on the Dept. of Peace website and by this blog, some can and should be addressed under current departments and existing laws. If these problems are not now being addressed under existing laws it is the fault of the elected federal government.

As for the last two objectives, I don't understand them. The primary mission of the U.S. military is to keep the peace. If the commander in chief uses the military in ways not consistent with that mission, then it is he who is at fault, not the system.

The U.S. Peace Academy as a sister to West Point? I just don't get that at all. I perceive an attitude that makes me uncomfortable.

I'm all for peace and I'm all for making programs work. The federal government is now so huge and so overlapping and so cumbersome and so self-defeating that adding another bureacracy on top of it all will not, in my opinion, accomplish the goals.

My answer? Find right-minded, qualified individuals in your community to run for office and elect them. Uh...I think that's the way our goverment is supposed to work.

First step, make sure Harold Ford, Jr., of TN, gets elected to the U.S. Senate.

Anonymous said...

Hi Ed!

"... what do you propose to DO in the interest of peace?"

I have to admit this comment caught me by surprise. I've never really thought about what I'm directly doing for peace.

After some reflection, I would say I've been employng the same strategy as Duncan for a long time; I've been researching the issues and political candidates trying to find bills and people to establish and maintain peace. Reading and understanding the differing opinions on this blog is another way I'm looking for viable peace making ideas.

For example, more research concluded that this bill has NOT evolved from the first submission and that is has never moved past committee consideration. The number of co-sponsors has increased modestly, but is not a consensus (70 sponsers currently).

In my opinion, this bill is a great idea that should be converted into guiding policy for the various existing departments it seems to conflict with, but nothing more.

I think the more informed we become as citizens, the better our chances to support peace initiatives that are viable and will take root.

My two cents,


Bob Fischer said...

Do you really think Gore can win? I would have thought the Dems would draft McCain. It seems he has set his jib in that direction.


Edward Coletti said...

Yes, Bob. Gore. As to McCain, his jib is all over the compass but mostly sails way to the right!