Ivan's Place
In honor of the greatest moralist who never lived
Copyright © 2004 by Bill Becker

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Cool Quotes & Other Pith   (in alphabetical order)

Ecology and Environment




Solar cooking
Making A Solar Oven

1994 Northridge Earthquake
Data from the City of Los Angeles re-leveling of the San Fernando Valley
after the 1994 Northridge Earthquake.

Essays & other writings  (In chronological order)

Letter to a Caring Community    (1975)
The Handshake — A Pantomime    (1977)
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer— A Modern Fable    (1977)
Ethics: Why Bother With Them?  (1979) A tribute to the late Hazel Barnes, Jean-Paul Sartre's first American translator, and Professor of Philosophy at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Somozas, Sandinistas, Contras, and US    (1990)
The Nicaraguan Election — Fair or Foul?   (1990) A report on the Nicaraguan election of February 25, 1990, given at Emerson Unitarian Universalist Church, Canoga Park, CA.
Reflections on A Sunday Afternoon Bicycle Ride    (1991)
The Mystery of Moral Decision-Making    (1991)
Why We Live in the Best of All Possible Worlds   (1991) A talk given at the Sepulveda Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Los Angeles, CA.
The Basis of Everything Moral (1991) A talk given at the Anaheim Unitarian Universalist Church.
Nicaragua: Triumph and Tragedy —In That Order (1992) A talk given at the Chalice Unitarian Universalist Church, Poway, CA. This is in outline form; lots of information.
Ivan's Take on NAFTA    (1993)
Intellectual Suicide at the New Republic    Also on NAFTA (1994)
Parody on capital punishment    For Dennis Prager fans.   (2001)
Patriotism    (2004)
History Lesson    (Progressive Writers Bloc, 2004)
The Holy Land - Part I    (Progressive Writers Bloc, 2004)
The Holy Land - Part II    (Progressive Writers Bloc, 2004)
The Selfish, Greedy Rich    A no-spin, fair and balanced discussion.   (2004)
The Non-Selfish, Non-Greedy Rich    Another no-spin, fair and balanced discussion.   (2004)
Dumb or Dishonest?    A fair and balanced discussion of certain defenders of corporate America and laissez-faire capitalism.   (2005)
Operation Healthy Reunions    A plug for a National Mental Health Association program to help soldiers returning from battle—with a twist.  (2005)
The Real Adam Smith    Read this and you will understand the father of capitalism better than most of the economists who quote him.  (2006)
Excerpts from Wealth of Nations, by Adam Smith    The original text from which the previous essay was derived.  (2005)
Ralph Peters: Confused Patriot?    A fair and balanced look at one of America's most muscular right-wingers.  (2006)
Too Late for One Marine    (Progressive Writers Bloc, 2006)
Blessed Are The Peacemakers    (2006)
Open Letter to Michael Reagan   (2006)
American Theocracy    (Progressive Writers Bloc, 2006) A recommendation of Kevin Phillips's book of that title.
The Other War    (Progressive Writers Bloc, 2006) More commentary on, and recommendation of, Kevin Phillips's books. Phillips explains the current Republican coalition's role in enriching the top 1 percent of America's families at the expense of everyone else, and he warns of "plutocracy by some other name" if the current trajectory is not reversed.
Regressive Taxation    (Progressive Writers Bloc, 2006) On Measure R, a tax incentive for "major corporations" to locate in Tulare County, California. Written in anticipation of the 2006 mid-term election. Measure R was placed on the ballot by the directors of the Tulare County Association of Governments (TCAG).
Warriors Who Hate War   (April 10, 2008)
Is John McCain another Dwight D. Eisenhower? Let's hope not.
Arundhati Roy, Meet General William C. Westmoreland   (April 13, 2008)
The Seeds of Our Own Destruction   (June 7, 2008)
Is it too late to save our republic?
An Apology to Senator John McCain   (March 1, 2009)
Why I could not support Senator McCain's re-election effort.
The John Templeton Foundation's "Big Question": Does the Free Market Corrode Moral Character?   A Textual and Thematic Deconstruction of Responses by Sixteen Distinguished Scholars and Public Figures.   (May 24, 2009)
On the phony "House Bank Scandal" of 1992-93. My letter-to-the-editor of the Los Angeles Daily News criticizing the false image of corrupt lawmakers created by the mainstream press; my letters to Daily News editors themselves chastising them for unprofessional behavior and attitudes; and the response of a combative assistant managing editor defending the Daily News. (September 27, 2009)
Where's Joe? Swipe at then (1997) Los Angeles Daily News conservative columnist Joe Gelman, on his nasty attitude on feminists. (October 13, 2009)
On humility: Even Rocket Science Isn't Rocket Science   A challenge to the arrogant and the smug.   (June 4, 2010)
What is the "Only Thing Worth Dying For?"   A commentary on the title of a book by Eric Blehm.   (September 5, 2010)
On Politics   An explanation of how politics really works.   (September 11, 2010)
How to Think   Advice for the semantically and cognitively challenged.   (May 21, 2011)
On David Feherty   On the violent rhetoric of the American right. Slightly adapted from my blog post—The Steppes  (May 29, 2011)
The Last Farmer   A playlet.  (September 9, 2011)
The Working Poor in California's Central Valley   Reminiscent of Steinbeck's Harvest Gypsies.  (January 22, 2012)
Dear Mr. Coffee    A "thank you" letter to Mr. Coffee   (September 12, 2012)
Christabel.   From the BBC docudrama about Englishwoman Christabel Bielenberg, who married a German and lived through WWII in Germany. For me, this is the most powerful film sequence I have ever seen.
Krushchev On Stalin.    Soviet Premier Nikita Krushchev's denunciation of Joseph Stalin, at the 22nd Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
October 27, 1961.     In Russian.     I've been toting this around for probably 35 years.   My apologies for the less than professional scanning here.     I will try to fix it later, but that will require cutting and pasting.    Meanwhile, I hope this might be useful to Russian-language students.   (September 14, 2017)

Enron and the Republican Party.    Media references to the Enron scandal. Warning: some not nice language about Grandma Millie.     (June 10, 2022)

Jesus Chats With Mark Green.    At his campaign rallies for Tennessee's 7th Congressional district, physician Mark Green invokes God and the gospels in his opposition to the expansion of Medicare. As He once appeared to Dostoevsky's Grand Inquisitor, Jesus appears to Mark Green.

I Didn't Do It Alone.    Seriously rich people argue that they should pay more taxes. My deepest thanks to United for a Fair Economy for permission to post this report.

Viva La Paz.    Video: The International March for Peace in Central America, December 1985 - January 1986. My deepest thanks to Kelly Holland for permission to post this video on my website.

Three analyses of Los Angeles Times coverage of Nicaragua: 1987 — 2001. No compliments here. (Posted July 15, 2012.)
    1.    The Land Of The Free (press) — Part I
    2.    The Land Of The Free (press) — Part II
    3.    The Land Of The Free (press) — Part III

Letters      My letters to the editor, mostly during the Reagan years.

Music:      A page of mostly opera arias I transferred to my computer from tape and record in late 2008.

Social Activism     (The photos may take a while to load.)

Iraq War Memorial

Arlington Midwest Iraq War Memorial    This page is dedicated to friends in Wisconsin.

Central America     I went to Central America several times as a worker ant in the movement opposing President Reagan's policy in the region.

Guatemala: My trip to Guatemala and Mexico with Witness for Peace, December 1991 - January 1992.

Nicaragua: Introduction to photos and commentary on my several visits to Nicaragua. Proceed from there.

International March for Peace in Central America: Six-week trek from Panama to Mexico by international peace and justice advocates in support of self-determination in Central America.

The Home Front: A page showing some of the demonstrations in Los Angeles, a hotbed of opposition to President Reagan's brutal imperialist policy in Central America.

Fire From the Sky — Salvadoran Children's Drawings: Showing the extraordinary brutality and viciousness of the U.S.-funded Salvadoran Army toward civilians in rebel-held territory during the 1980s.     All with the knowledge and tacit approval of America's foreign policy and military establishments.   There were a few politicans who protested, but they were accused of being soft on communism and accordingly ignored.

Farm Worker Week: My week with the United Farm Workers Union in 1974. See also Dust Bowl Festival.

PeacefireII    April 29, 2006; Visalia, California. Meet some really great people who work for peace and justice in California's southern San Joaquin Valley.

Tribute to Crizel    My friend Lawrence "Butch" Turk pays a moving tribute to a brave little Filipino girl. Butch and I spent six weeks together on The International March for Peace in Central America from December 10, 1985 to January 24, 1986. (See link above.) Butch is one of those for whose being in the world I am deeply, profoundly, and inexpressibly grateful.

Veterans Fast for Life for Peace in Central America: Fall, 1986. Four U.S. veterans fast on the Capitol steps to protest President Reagan's Central America policy.

The Wimp Factor: American Heritage article on what it means to be a rootin', tootin' American male. (November 1989)

Recommended reading

Endless Enemies: The Making Of An Unfriendly World, by Jonathan Kwitny. (1984) New York, Congdon & Weed, Inc.
This is an extremely important book --- as relevant today as it was when it was written. I strongly recommend a search for the entire book, either in libraries or the aftermarket.

The Passing of the Idle Rich, by Frederick Townsend Martin. (1911) Martin was a seriously rich member of Society, and wrote to warn his seriously rich compatriots of the danger to their class posed by the "idle rich," a new, upstart minority whose crass flaunting of their riches were giving all of the wealthy a bad name. Martin foresaw class war and revolution if this corrupting trend of ostentatious display of wealth was not brought under control. He was wrong, of course. The working class that supported the progressive reforms of the last century became docile, passive, and antipathetic to the liberal cause after they had attained to a reasonably comfortable lifestyle due to post-war prosperity and the beneifts of the GI Bill. Today the wealthy are more firmly in control than ever before.

The book is available for on-line reading (the above link) or as a copyable text file. It is a product of the UCLA Southern Regional Library Facility, which scanned it an posted it to archive.org in 2007.
Four important books    explaining the whys and the wherefores of global anti-American sentiment, and where the Bush administration is leadng us.  Not for the timid.

(Note: The URL refers to "fourimportantbooks," but the page has been updated to discuss five important books. I did not want to go to the bother of redirecting previous visitors from the original page to a new page.)

Six books relevant to the "vast, right-wing conspiracy."

Wealth of Nations, by Adam Smith. Read these excerpts and you will understand Adam Smith better than Milton Friedman did.

Chilling National Catholic Reporter article on fundamentalist Protestant Christianity. .

Two chapters from The Brothers Karamazov: Rebellion, and The Grand Inquisitor. To my mind, the most powerful and profound prose ever written in any language.
(This is a PDF file, which requires the free Adobe Acrobat Reader. Click here to download the reader.)

Peroration The last chapter of The Intelligent Woman's Guide to Socialism and Capitalism, by George Bernard Shaw. (1927) (This is a PDF file, which requires the free Adobe Acrobat Reader. Click here to download the reader.)

Recommended sites     Some of my favorite sites.

Research & Surveys     Give us your opinions on issues not usually addressed by opinion polls.

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Page updated June 10, 2022