Monday, February 28, 2011
Sunday, February 27, 2011
The theoretical divide between the parties is immense; however, in practical terms there is not much difference between them in that the leadership of both parties is wholly dependent upon the financial largesse provided by special interests that, for the most part, represent the wealthy, i.e. the corporate class.
The current ideas regarding the role of government are for this reason terribly flawed. They do not work, for neither viewpoint is grounded upon the unerring commitment to ethical and moral principles. This is the core of the dilemma not only within the borders of the United States, but also in human societies in general. It is the mindless pursuit of national self interest, geopolitical-inspired policies, empire building and a blind and a myopic view of national sovereignty that has led to exorbitant military budgets, the stockpiling of weapons of mass destruction and ultimately war. It is militarism that thwarts and often negates human progress; it is the unbounded use of violence to achieve selfish ends that undermines our collective humanity.
I propose a radically different reason d'être for government. In my mind, the motivating force in government needs to be the global eradication of all the inequities that thwart human progress. Billions of the world's people are suffering needlessly from abject poverty, preventable diseases, avoidable hunger, environmental degradation and political oppression. It is completely unacceptable that the fate of so many human beings is dependent upon their place of origin. These inequities are especially aggravated by the siphoning off of so much of the global wealth towards military expenditures, corporate welfare and by the apparent insensitivity of the affluent class to the plight of the world's people including those who live within their own countries.
There is no real reason why humans cannot collectively create a better world for their own species and, likewise, accommodate and sustain the wondrous diversity of life on the planet. We are in desperate need of a new paradigm to frame human existence. Currently, so much of public policy throughout the world is driven by crazed and, often times, delusional thinking. There is, however, a definite path towards collective sanity.
The primary incentive for change is the unavoidable reality that if the global status quo remains intact, the future for humanity is particularly grim. Short term thinking and analysis especially from the sole perspective of profit and loss has already shown itself to be inadequate and disastrous. At this juncture, it seems quite obvious that beneficial change will be in the hands of future generations. There are numerous signs that a significant proportion of the younger generation has become acutely aware of the fragility of the environment and the severe plight of those less fortunate. They have many tools available to them in terms of information about the world they live in provided by the Internet and they are highly connected with each other globally through the wonder of what is referred to as "social networking." Significant and lasting change is, by its nature, cumbersome and slow, for it must work its way through the hearts and minds of the population. As we have seen on numerous occasions, reform imposed from above is not necessarily the best approach.
There is a deep-seated and persistent hunger that manifests itself globally; this hunger is for a more equitable, just, peaceful and saner world. There are many communities throughout the planet that are working towards this goal in innumerable ways. These organizations are clearly growing in size and number and they are becoming more and more interconnected. If this trend continues, it offers significant hope for meaningful change, for it may ultimately expand the idea of family beyond the rigid boundaries of genetic affiliation to encompass all of humanity.
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Friday, February 25, 2011
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Monday, February 21, 2011
During the Apollo 11 mission Houston radioed to Apollo 11: "We've got an observation you can make if you have some time up there. There's been some lunar transient events reported in the vicinity of Aristarchus." Astronomers in Bochum, West Germany, had observed a bright glow on the lunar surface—the same sort of eerie luminescence that has intrigued moon watchers for centuries. The report was passed on to Houston and thence to the astronauts. Almost immediately, Armstrong reported back, "Hey, Houston, I'm looking north up toward Aristarchus now, and there's an area that is considerably more illuminated than the surrounding area. It seems to have a slight amount of fluorescence."
Sunday, February 20, 2011
Saturday, February 19, 2011
The Wisconsin State Capitol bulged with thousands of union members, including teachers, Thursday protesting Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's bill that would limit union bargaining rights.
Wisconsin is one of about 30 states with collective bargaining laws covering state and local workers. The Wisconsin Education Association Council, the biggest teachers union in the state, says they understand the budget crisis but feel the legislation will strip away the rights of workers.
"We know these are tough times and we have made it clear to the governor and legislators that we are prepared to do our part to help our state recover. This isn't about protecting pay and benefits - it's about protecting the right to collectively bargain. That's what's being stripped away here - the rights to be represented," council president told ABC News.
President Obama told WTMJ-TV in Milwaukee that public workers should be ready to give up some slack. He did, however, call Walker's plan "unduly harsh."
Today, it was widely reported that Senate Democrats disappeared as a protest, making a vote on the bill impossible. (read more)
A trade union (British English) or labor union (American English) is an organization of workers that have banded together to achieve common goals such as better working conditions. The trade union, through its leadership, bargains with the employer on behalf of union members (rank and file members) and negotiates labour contracts (collective bargaining) with employers. This may include the negotiation of wages, work rules, complaint procedures, rules governing hiring, firing and promotion of workers, benefits, workplace safety and policies. The agreements negotiated by the union leaders are binding on the rank and file members and the employer and in some cases on other non-member workers.
The origins of unions' existence can be traced from the 18th century, where the rapid expansion of industrial society drew women, children, rural workers, and immigrants to the work force in numbers and in new roles. This pool of unskilled and semi-skilled labour spontaneously organized in fits and starts throughout its beginnings, and would later be an important arena for the development of trade unions. Trade unions as such were endorsed by the Catholic Church towards the end of the 19th Century. Pope Leo XIII in his "Magna Carta"—Rerum Novarum—spoke against the atrocities workers faced and demanded that workers should be granted certain rights and safety regulations. (read more)
Friday, February 18, 2011
Illustration of Love
Message from above
Out of your soul
Into my heart
Hungry for kisses
Driving me wild
Soothing my hurts
Sharing my life
Enjoying your wiles
Wise little Guru,
Heart's on the mend
You be my doggie
And I'll be your friend.
Conservative ideology clearly and unambiguously supports this dogma. Furthermore, it is this idea that has been used by many Presidents over the nation’s past to rationalize the unilateral use of force against other nation states even when such action has been condemned by the international community, and in spite of the fact that such behavior represented a flagrant violation of international laws and treaties.
Like all ideas that spring from dogmatic principles, this belief ignores all those aspects of reality that argue against its veracity. American Exceptionalism is not an innocuous idea, for it inspires irrational and destructive behavior and tends to isolate the United States from the community of nations. We are, in fact, a nation among nations, and we would better serve ourselves and our future by accepting this obvious truth.
For these reasons, I was quite distressed to learn that the current American, Barrack Obama, has embraced this idea like his predecessors.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Monday, February 14, 2011
The outline of the cuts to the national budget proposed by the Republican-led House of Representatives was recently posted. The proposed changes include the elimination of AmeriCorps, High-speed Rail, Family Planning and the Corporation of Public Broadcasting as well as significant reductions in Food Aid for Pregnant Women and Children, the Environmental Protection Agency, Centers for Disease Control, Legal Aid for the Poor, the Food and Drug Administration, the Community Development Fund and Community Health Centers.
It should be noted that The Defense Budget would remain untouched as well as the many subsidies afforded large corporate business interests. The House members who are responsible for these proposals were also adamant in their support for continued tax breaks for the wealthiest in the nation.
The overwhelming majority of these proposals adversely impact that segment of the population that represents the neediest among us. These proposals also seek to undermine the role of science, the need for regulation in the face of accelerating environmental degradation and the essential role of the commons in regards to the welfare of all our citizens. This is especially distressing given the current state of the national economy. It reflects a mean-spirited worldview that is fueled by an extremist interpretation of the Constitution and an exceedingly narrow view of the role of government. It is, in essence, class warfare of the most pernicious kind, for it sustains and adds to the exorbitant wealth of the few at the expense of the many.
If the national constituency behind this Republican majority continues to support their chosen leadership, given the real nature of their policies, then they will inevitably witness an accelerated decline in the well being of a vast number of individuals and the continued evisceration of the middle class.
This political reality is especially disheartening, for the human suffering that will result from these policies, should they be implemented, is completely avoidable if there were but a modicum of true compassion and generosity among those who hold real political and economic power in this country.
Sunday, February 13, 2011
One Human Family
"Whether we like it or not, we have all been born on this earth as part of one great human family. Rich or poor, educated or uneducated, belonging to one nation or another, to one religion or another, adhering to this ideology or that, ultimately each of us is just a human being like everyone else: we all desire happiness and do not want suffering. Furthermore, each of us has an equal right to pursue these goals.
Today's world requires that we accept the oneness of humanity. In the past, isolated communities could afford to think of one another as fundamentally separate and even existed in total isolation. Nowadays, however, events in one part of the world eventually affect the entire planet. Therefore we have to treat each major local problem as a global concern from the moment it begins. We can no longer invoke the national, racial or ideological barriers that separate us without destructive repercussion. In the context of our new interdependence, considering the interests of others is clearly the best form of self-interest.
I view this fact as a source of hope. The necessity for cooperation can only strengthen mankind, because it helps us recognize that the most secure foundation for the new world order is not simply broader political and economic alliances, but rather each individual's genuine practice of love and compassion. For a better, happier, more stable and civilized future, each of us must develop a sincere, warm-hearted feeling of brother and sisterhood"...Dalai Lama. (read more)
Saturday, February 12, 2011
My perfect Pico de gallo recipe
10-12 tomatoes or two big cans petite diced
2 good sized white onions
8-16 serrano peppers
4-8 cloves garlic
two large limes
I like canned tomatoes because they're already chopped, skinned and de-seeded but you can't beat fresh grown tomatoes. Drain the diced tomatoes and salt and pepper to taste. Add the chopped onions, and finely chopped peppers, garlic and a handful of finely chopped cilantro. Drizzle liberally with olive oil and add the juice of two large limes. Mix ingredients and refridgerate for one hour. Enjoy with corn chips, tacos, burritos and guacamole dips.
Friday, February 11, 2011
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Or is it open for interpretation
Is this a geographical question;
Does the appearance of the Moon change
Depending on where you're standing?
If it's true that lightning never strikes
The same place twice
Does that mean there are already a predetermined supply of lightning bolts
Equal to the sum of their collective necessary square footage?
Or is there some kind of cap
On lightning strikes?
One day, when we've had enough,
Two people are standing next to one another
During a magnificent lightning storm.
Are they safe
Knowing what we all know
About the unique lightning strike zones
If that spot has been hit before?
What if one person sees a waxing Moon
And the other person
Sees it waning?
“High school is closer to the core of the American experience than anything else I can think of.” – Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
When I hear someone in position of authority say “I’m going to rigorously enforce [this particular law] because, without laws ..we’d be a country of anarchy” – then I watch them go out and prosecute offenders in a manner that’s way out-of-proportion to the offense – I don’t believe they’re really acting out of fondness for the law. They’re acting out of aggression that is typical of teenagers climbing the social network in high school or adults climbing the hierarchy of power in politics.
Last year, LA Dist Atty Steve Cooley waged sudden war on marijuana dispensaries because they were accepting cash instead of trading in goods and services. Apparently the law didn’t spell out an exact currency and the term ‘co-op’ could be interpreted to mean a system of barter. Turns out he was planning to run for Attorney General of California.
Arizona Sen Russell Pearce and Kris Kobach co-sponsored Arizona SB 1070 giving police the authority of INS agents to detain Hispanics where the sole probable cause is “..looking illegal.” This certainly is a subjective cause, prone to the bias of a police officer with no training as a federal immigration officer. To me, it’s the same as detaining someone on suspicion of dealing drugs because their hair’s too long. Turns out both sponsors have political ambitions. Kris Kobach is running for Secretary of State in Kansas and Pearce plans to run for president of the Senate and someday hopes to get elected Sheriff of Maricopa County.
Last week Orange County Dist Atty Tony Rackauckas decided to file criminal conspiracy charges against a group of UCI students who protested a speech on campus last year. They face both six months in jail and, as felons, diminished prospects for the future over a nonviolent protest, which may have been rude, but certainly not criminal. I suspect that Rackauckas is also seeking higher office.
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Monday, February 7, 2011
Secretary of State Hilary Rodman Clinton speaking at a Munich security conference and commenting on the seemingly inevitable change of government said, “That takes time. There are certain things that have to be done in order to prepare.”
One might enquire as to why this is the business of the United States and the European Union; is this not an internal State issue? The people of Egypt are calling for significant reform. In that case, why is the West engaging in “conversations” with the government currently in power and attempting to forestall what appears to be inevitable? Isn’t Egypt a sovereign State among the community of nations and capable of taking care of its own political and social evolution without interference from outside interests?
These questions can only be answered, if the real underlying relationship between the West and those who have ruled Egypt is examined.
Omar Suleiman, the newly appointed Vice President - January 29, 2011 - previously was Minister without Portfolio and Director of the Egyptian General Intelligence Directorate (EGID), the national intelligence agency, from 1993 to 2011. In this role he was responsible for the systematic implementation of torture of male and female detainees, many of whom were never found guilty of any crimes within the judicial system. It is believed that he often acted in the interests of western intelligence agencies and has been linked to the CIA’s notorious rendition program. It seems that Suleiman will be Mubarak’s most likely successor.
In response to the growing unrest, Mr. Suleiman accused the demonstrators in Tahrir Square of implementing foreign agendas." and claimed that, "certain friendly nations who have television channels, they're not friendly at all, who have intensified the youth against the nation and the state". This does not sound like a leader who holds the interests of the Egyptian people foremost in his thinking. Quite to the contrary, he will more than likely continue the policies of his predecessor if he should come to power.
With these realities in mind, it then becomes clear as to why the United States and the European powers are engaged in discussions with Suleiman and others in the Mubarak government, for they see the implementation of the kinds of significant reforms that the Egyptian people are demanding as a possible threat to Western interests and influence in the region. Old style colonialism is not dead; it has merely taken on a new face.
Sunday, February 6, 2011
Bradley E. Manning (born December 17, 1987) is a United States Army soldier who was charged in July 2010 with the unauthorized disclosure of classified information. He is being held in "maximum custody" at the Marine Corps Brig, Quantico, Virginia, and is expected to face a pre-trial hearing in May 2011 to determine whether he should be court-martialed.
Manning was assigned to a support battalion with the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, based at Contingency Operating Station Hammer, Iraq, which gave him access to SIPRNet—the Secret Internet Protocol Router Network—used by the U.S. Department of Defense and Department of State to transmit classified information. He was arrested in May 2010 after Adrian Lamo, a former computer hacker, reported to authorities that Manning had told him during an online chat that he had downloaded material from SIPRNet and passed it to WikiLeaks. The material included the so-called "Collateral Murder" video—the video of a July 2007 helicopter airstrike in Baghdad—which WikiLeaks published in April 2010; a video of the Granai airstrike in Afghanistan; and a large number of diplomatic cables.
On July 5, 2010 Manning was charged under the Uniform Code of Military Justice for transferring classified data onto his personal computer and communicating national defense information to an unauthorized source between November 19, 2009 and May 27, 2010.
On May 21, 2010, Manning is alleged to have gone online to chat with Adrian Lamo, a former hacker. Lamo had been profiled the day before by Kevin Poulsen in Wired magazine, after being hospitalized and diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome. According to The Washington Post, Manning subsequently e-mailed Lamo, introducing himself as "an army intelligence analyst, deployed to eastern baghdad, pending discharge for 'adjustment disorder.'"
In a series of chats over a period of a week, he told Lamo what he had done. He asked Lamo: "If you had unprecedented access to classified networks 14 hours a day 7 days a week for 8+ months, what would you do?" He told Lamo that he felt isolated and ignored at work, and was angered by some of the classified material he had read. He said he was a "wreck": "Ive been isolated so long ... i just wanted to figure out ways to survive ... smart enough to know whats going on, but helpless to do anything ... no-one took any notice of me," he wrote. He said he had been leaking files to a "white haired aussie," Julian Assange of WikiLeaks. He said: "i'm exhausted ... in desperation to get somewhere in life ... i joined the army ... and that's proven to be a disaster now ... and now i'm quite possibly on the verge of being the most notorious 'hacktivist' or whatever you want to call it ... its all a big mess i've created."
On May 25, according to the chat log, he told Lamo he had taken CD-RWs containing music to work, erased them and rewrote them with the downloaded documents. According to Wired, he wrote that he "listened and lip-synced to Lady Gaga's 'Telephone' while exfiltrating possibly the largest data spillage in American history ... pretty simple, and unglamorous ..." Of the security he wrote: "it was vulnerable as fuck ... no-one suspected a thing ... kind of sad ... weak servers, weak logging, weak physical security, weak counter-intelligence, inattentive signal analysis... a perfect storm ". He asked Lamo "I mean what if I were someone more malicious," writing that he could have sold the material to Russia or China. When asked why he had not done that, he wrote: "it belongs in the public domain ... information should be free."
The chat logs partially released by Lamo said Manning had leaked the Baghdad airstrike video, a video of the Granai airstrike, and 260,000 diplomatic cables, and hoped the release of the material would lead to "worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms ... if not ... than [sic] we’re doomed ... as a species ... I will officially give up on the society we have if nothing happens." He told Lamo he felt encouraged by the response to the Baghdad airstrike video: "the reaction to the video gave me immense hope ... CNN’s iReport was overwhelmed ... Twitter exploded ..." He said Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and several thousand diplomats were "going to have a heart attack" when they discovered that an "entire repository of classified foreign policy is available, in searchable format to the public ... everywhere there's a US post ... there's a diplomatic scandal that will be revealed." He wrote: "I want people to see the truth regardless of who they are because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public."
Saturday, February 5, 2011
Friday, February 4, 2011
Amit Goswami is a theoretical nuclear physicist and member of The University of Oregon Institute for Theoretical Physics since 1968, teaching physics for 32 years. After a period of distress and frustration in his private and professional life starting at the age 38, his research interests shifted to quantum cosmology, quantum measurement theory, and applications of quantum mechanics to the mind-body problem. He became best known as one of the interviewed scientists featured in the 2004 film What the Bleep Do We Know!?. Goswami is also featured in the recent documentary about the Dalai Lama entitled Dalai Lama Renaissance, and stars in the newly released documentary "The Quantum Activist"
In the late 1980s Goswami developed an idealist interpretation of quantum mechanics, inspired in part by philosophical ideas drawn from Advaita Vedanta and theosophy. Calling his theory "monistic idealism", he claims it is not only "the basis of all religions worldwide" but also the correct philosophy for modern science. In contrast to materialistic conventional science, he claims that universal consciousness, not matter, is the ground of all existence, in congruence with mystic sages. Consciousness, deemed as the precursor of physicality, arises from conscious observation through a process intimately connected to wavefunction collapse in a quantum measurement. Once the assumption that there is an objective reality independent of consciousness is put aside, the paradoxes of quantum physics are explainable, according to Goswami.
As a pioneer of a self-styled multidisciplinary scientific paradigm, he refers to himself as a "quantum activist" engaging in research on the "Science within consciousness", which comprises and explains the "downward causation" and the upwards drift in the fields of physics, biology, and psychology and more recently the healing arts, thus resulting in varied theories of integral medicine based on five interchanging levels of existence: the physical, the vital, the mental, the supra-mental intellect and the limitless bliss state. (read more)
Thursday, February 3, 2011
"You're insane !...
insanity is wasting your life with the nothing...
when you have the blood of a killer in your veins...
insanity is being shit on, beat down, coasting through life...
in a miserable existence when you have a caged lion locked inside...
and the key to release it..."
If no one's feelings would be hurt
If no ill will would come your way
If nobody else really had a say
"What would you do if you were not afraid?"
It is never as bad as you anticipate
Even if it is
You handle it
And, eventually, everything will be okay
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Time Saving Truth from Falsehood and Envy
François Lemoyne, 1737
However, language and words are essentially "tools" by which humans convey information to one another. As such, "truth" must have a beneficial use in order to be retained within language. Defining this potency and applicability can be looked upon as "criteria", and the method used to recognize a "truth" is termed a criteria of truth. Since there is no single accepted criteria, they can all be considered "theories".
Various theories and views of truth continue to be debated among scholars and philosophers. There are differing claims on such questions as what constitutes truth; what things are truthbearers capable of being true or false; how to define and identify truth; the roles that revealed and acquired knowledge play; and whether truth is subjective, relative, objective, or absolute.
This article introduces the various perspectives and claims, both today and throughout history. (read more)