More Insight

Saturday, October 27, 2007

New Rule - Don't Be Scared!

So now that we've prioritized, is it: 1) Global warming; 2) Mexicans; 3) Muslims;
or 1) Global warming; 2) Muslims; 3) Gay wizards?

Friday, October 26, 2007

News Roundup for 10/21-10/26 Part 1

World keeps on spinning

Governor Huckabee keeps an eye on babykillers, but can't condemn them all.

Holocaust of abortion aside, the Christian right is dissatisfied with the Republican candidates on sale at the Values Voters summit last weekend

Seventy percent of the American Public apparently highly boo-able

No end in sight as the military-industrial-Bush administration complex unveils more ambitious overstretching and overspending of your tax dollars

Freedom of the Press "threatens national security"

Naomi Klein should apologize
for her polarizing analysis of American corporatocracy and its genesis - as if that sort of thing could really happen! It could never be profitable, how could we afford it?

Is There Any Reason At All to be Frightened?

I doubt Osama talks about it this much

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Obstacle to Peace

Cheney, who some would label as such, today called Iran an obstacle to peace in the Middle East, supporting the rhetoric the president used earlier this week about WWIII.

If you apply all these measures it becomes immediately clear that the government of Iran falls far short and is a growing obstacle to peace in the Middle East

"The language on Iran is quite significant," said Dennis Ross, a peace mediator under former Presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton. "That's very strong words and it does have implications," referring to Cheney's warnings of serious consequences for Iran.

A clear message indeed

Quotes of the Day

War can only be understood and put an end to if you and all those who are concerned very deeply with the survival of man, feel that you are utterly responsible for killing others. What will make you change?
- J. Krishnamurti

The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood.
- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Only the wisest and stupidest of men never change.
- Confucius

The most important human endeavor is the striving for morality in our actions. Our inner balance and even our very existence depend on it. Only morality in our actions can give beauty and dignity to life.
- Albert Einstein

Being Patriotic About Something Other Than War

Crazy Senator Mike Gravel has not been invited to participate in the next democratic presidential debate next week because he didn't have enough money. He may sound crazy, but his stance on the issues is not.

Dennis "Rumpelstiltskin" Kucinich has deeper pockets than Gravel, but is viewed as too left-wing to win the popular vote. It is quite unfortunate - because despite his seeming social awkwardness, he is the best candidate and would make the best president of all the runners in this race.

That leaves us with our best chance, Senator John Edwards (D-NC), a responsible citizen who actually believes what he says:

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Everyone Around You Wants to Get You

In The Know: Is The Government Spying On Paranoid Schizophrenics Enough?

Which bus drivers hate you?

What Would Jesus Veto?

New Rule - Clarify "values" from "issues"

Jesus Christ: Wrong on gays; wrong on taxes; wrong on torture;
And Wrong for AMERICA!

Friday, October 19, 2007

End of Times

Deepak Chopra sums up nicely a fundamental conflict of religion, one which fuels conservative religions' influence and yearns for the anticipated end of the universe.

How Conservative are Thee?

Let me count the ways

Republicans competed for the crown of king of social conservative mountain, apparently leaving Giuliani stranded at base camp.

Romney's stool sample, however, floated to the top:
As he does often, he talks of "three legs of the Republican stool" -- a stronger military, a stronger economy, and stronger families -- that unite the three types of conservatives in the party, defense, economic and social.

Some Thoughts for the Day

I very recently started getting quotes of the day and such and found this coincidence amusing and worth dwelling on.

"When you give a shilling to a beggar - do you realize that you are giving it to yourself? When you help a lame dog over a stile - do you realize that you yourself are being helped? When you kick a man when he is down - do you realize that you are kicking yourself? Give him another kick - if you deserve it!" - Why Lazurus Laughed by Wei Wu Wei
From the Buddhist daily thought

"A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."
John 13:34-35

The parallels are not direct, but the Buddhist is in a way justifying this golden rule. You help these others, you don't kick them, you love them because how you treat others is not only a reflection of who you are, but we're all in this together, all connected, and it's gonna come back to you somehow. So pay attention, be aware, be mindful of these instances in our daily lives, these passing moments - they are not just your moments, you're sharing them with others, so love them for it.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Killing is My Business

And business is good.

At least, according to the UN it is

Once the guards are in areas of armed conflict, immunity granted under national laws to private security personnel can easily lead to uncontrolled behavior, the report said, with "these private soldiers appearing only to be accountable to the company which employs them."

Yeah for corporate responsibility!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Workers' Rights

The healthcare workforce in Boston is on the path to unionization, but as usual in these situations, executives are standing in the way.

Thank god for celebrity endorsements!

Actor/director Ben Affleck to the rescue! With the support of Mayor Menino, let's hope the workers get to exercise their right to decide themselves if unionization is in their best interest (my guess is...ya, it is)

If It Wasn't For the Media...

There'd be a lot less bullshit

Poll: Bullshit Is Most Important Issue For 2008 Voters

Not just talking the bullshit, but living it - presidential candidate style

What bullshit issue are you most concerned about?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Dear Iran

In case of any and all things "strategic," here are some things to keep in mind:

Market Responds to Money, Not Hunger

Today we (theoretically) celebrate World Food Day and its theme, The Right to Food. Unfortunately, it passes without fanfare and with the same notice paid to the 854 million hungry for whom it was established. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was signed almost 60 years ago, and yet we still have so far to go to ensure people's basic rights and needs (like food and health).

So, how do we guarantee food and other basic rights for all? It's the market stupid!

But the magic benevolent hand of the market hasn't fulfilled this duty we assigned it. Some of us have a hunch as to why, though. The hungry, and more generally, "the poor can't exert 'market demand,'" because the market responds to money, not to hunger.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Reflection on Thankfulness

I find myself today in the midst of an epiphany of great humility. After a couple hours of rewarding discussion with a group of colleagues, I reflected back on what was said, what was implied, and my part in it all:

I'm a taker. I gain so much more than what I contribute in return. For instance, yesterday afternoon I donated red blood cells by plasmaphoresis (what a cool experience and so interesting to watch it all happen up close). I thought I was just going to donate the blood, because for one reason or another, I somehow believe that's the right thing to do. But without a second thought, I accepted in addition to the food, a brand new shirt, a new hat, free drinks at an improv, and two movie passes. All for 503ml of red cells. To me, that just no longer feels like donation.

Today a friend told a story about calling one of his elementary school teachers to thank him - that he was on his way to becoming an M.D./PhD spinal surgeon, and it was that teacher's guidance so long ago that allowed him to be where he is today.

I am ashamed that I am not as appreciative as this young man, as I should be. I had realized before, but it didn't shatter my world until today that I am in extreme debt to those around me my whole life. I too have had several teachers who have been so incredibly influential in my life, and hadn't really understood their full impact till recently. They've never been thanked like they deserve. Others just as much - I disagree with my parents on a lot of things, including those as basic as what's right and wrong, but they've allowed me to forge my own path, to develop better understanding, and have overseen my maturation as an individual in ways I've never let on to them.

I am only now starting to realize how important exchanging knowledge with peers is, and how dependent I am on them, and how grateful I am to them. I have so much to learn from them - a lifetime of experience and knowledge from each one! People have so much to offer each other in ways of which they are unaware. But for those of us with that awareness, we have an obligation to share that knowledge with others; if not for their sake, then for the knowledge and ideas and opinions and insight themselves! This is the whole premise of education - there is a set of knowable things out there that needs to be retained. So those with the power that the knowledge bestows upon them must therefore pass it on to others - disciples, students - so that knowledge may endure history.

I'm realizing that I have no profound original thought to exchange for the vast, towering mountains of what I learn from others. Perhaps I have nothing personal to offer, but I can at least share some Nietzsche, Farmer, Sachs, Tocqueville, Buddha, Petrella, Christ, Stolt or Gildenlow with them instead.

And my sincere humble gratitude because it's such a privilege to know.

Spiritual Misappropriation

So we can feel good about getting drunk and spending $2,000 for organic lube

The marvelous innovations of marketing...

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Why Not Single Payer?

Or better yet, why it's good to avoid even talking about it anymore.

Happy Anniversary

Five years, seems like a lot longer. Let's hope we don't have to remember the date the Lieberman-Kyl act passed too.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The New American Lexicon

Have we as a nation figured out yet what we're actually being told in relation to what's being said?
Tom Gilroy breaks down some of the day's rhetoric and what to expect if nothing is done about it.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Can't We All Just Get Along (with Blackwater)?

At least that's what corporate democrat frontrunner Hillary Clinton seems to be thinking.

All joking and campaign bashing aside, it's really important for voters to know exactly who they think they're electing, and who will actually be running the country under his/her administration's guise.
(think Rove's Bush/Cheney '00 and what America has since turned into thanks to corporate sponsorship and nepotism)

Just because "Clinton" is followed by "D-NY" doesn't automatically mean her policies will be democratic and uphold the Constitution and the foundations that made this country great. With Hillary receiving the most campaign contributions from insurance and pharmaceutical industries, how much change and reform do you really expect to see in your healthcare, and how much should you expect to end up right back in campaign donors' pockets?

The reality is that campaigners are beholden to their donors, especially big corporate donors, whether openly or behind closed doors like the Clinton-Penn-Blackwater relationship.
With a Hillary White House, how likely is it really that we'd never have any more drunken murderers of vice presidential guards getting right back in the game after only a two month time out and no penalty?

This is not a Bush/Cheney/Rove administration issue. So don't fool yourself into thinking a white woman's democrat administration will operate any differently. It may look like a new starting lineup, but the play-callers are all still the same.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Divine Intervention

The next time God talks to you and tells you to raise $8 million or you'll die, think hard about how that money is gonna be spent. Jets, Mercedes, Lexus, and tens of thousands in clothing purchases may fly in God's tax free house, but not in America. Some one is bound to find out when you spend donated money that way.

Especially when you subsequently fire them and they sue you.

Standard Shmandard

You'd have to be crazy to believe we have the best way of doing capitalism. See the Greenspan post for some of the reasons why the value of the dollar seems to be dropping. Perhaps the Dow reaching 14,000 really wasn't the triumph of our economy Americans thought it was.

Beware the Chronic Illness Fairy

I sure hope people never stop smoking, it could be disastrous for our health.

The Hitmen's Hitman

Michael McConnell, the director of the secretive National Intelligence, may have gained infamy for his repeated threat that any discussion or debate about the NSA's domestic surveillance program that spies on it's own citizens would kill Americans, "Americans are going to die,"
But it gets juicier...

He also happens to be one of the "principal architect[s] of the system that led to the Blackwater USA disaster"
He is the former senior vice president of a 10,000-strong private army, Booz Allen Hamilton. Then he chaired the private security industry's lobby group, the Intelligence and National Security Alliance. He argues for privatization: government should outsource soldiering to private firms in the same spirit as it outsources weapons development. Is it still any surprise why the US government signs these lucrative no-bid contracts with private firms at the expense of the American tax-payer?

The mercenary firm Blackwater has been getting its share of heat recently for taking advantage of their unchallenged license to kill. Or maybe it's because American tax-payers fully subsidize that license, first by training most of the contractors in the US military, then by paying their hefty salaries in the private market afterwards.

Even Defense Secretary Gates laments that "sometimes the salaries (private firms) are able to pay in fact lure some of our soldiers out of the service to go to work for them."
As journalist Frank Viviano notes,

Blackwater USA charges an astronomical $1,222 per day for each of the security workers it provides to the State Department. By contrast, the pay, housing and support costs of a veteran U.S. Army sergeant in Iraq is around $150 per day, according to the Congressional Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

It's about time Congress does more to prevent such egregious, costly atrocities that have been sanctioned at the highest levels to this point.

War Hawks

The war on drugs is failing America.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom advocated Thursday for ending the war on drugs. It costs too much financially and socially.
While it is debatable whether or not crime rates would decline 70%, Newsom demonstrates a keen understanding of the big picture ramifications that the injustice of this war entail.

SF County sheriff Mike Hennessey told local reporters that 60-75% of inmates are incarcerated for drug offenses or have underlying substance abuse problems. The repercussions for someone convicted for drug-related violations perpetuate the spiral into stigma, unemployment, crime, and poverty. In essence, the war on drugs makes the war on poverty nearly impossible to win.

But this argument is not about legalization of harmful substances; it's about finding a better way to handle the problem. It's no secret that drug-use, drug-related crimes, and poverty are no strangers to each other. Prevention is certainly a worth-while venture. Drug rehabilitation programs address the problem head-on: substance abuse treatment. Is the sending of these offenders into isolation from society with violent offenders and sociopaths the best way to re-acquaint addicts with normative, law-abiding, socially acceptable behavior? My guess, and the re-incarceration rate and rise in drug-related violence, lean towards "no."

Spring Cleaning

How much really can be accomplished by this "get the job done" President domestically and globally this upcoming year before he clocks out?
White House correspondent Jennifer Loven analyzes some of his To-Do List for the next 15 months

Freedom Rock

Freedom Rock

by Tree
from Plant A Tree Or Die

Love it or leave it - that's what they say
Love it or leave it the American way
I love this country, I love this land
but tolerance for liars I won't stand
Not a ring of truth in the political lies
The rich get richer while the innocent die
Love it or leave it - that's what they say
Change it! Believe it!
It could happen today

If our founding fathers were alive today,
They'd all be rounded up and be locked away
Stripped of all the rights that they created
and everything they own would be confiscated

Love it or leave it - that's what they say
Change it! Believe it!
It could happen today

Question Abuse

What's it take to make you wake up and open your eyes?
How many beat on the street by the heat before you realize
that a violent crime at any time can never be endorsed?
What's the difference for a cop's excessive use of force?

Question abuse, question authority
Question abuse
Question abuse of authority and police's use of abuse

What you see on your TV is not your true reality
Conditioned by the system to brutality
Don't use your rights - you lose your rights and sell all self defenses
Now they have you where they want and are gonna beat you senseless

You have the right to remain silent; anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law,
but there's a flaw 'cause that long arm is armed with a claw


Thursday, October 4, 2007