Monday, December 29, 2008
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
The article is a very detailed investigation of the white vigilante groups that formed, with police approval, in the white enclave of Algiers Point in New Orleans in the days after Hurrican Katrina. Although authorities had designated the area -- which had largely escaped damage in the storm and flood -- as a vital evacuation point for those trapped in the city, a group of white residents seized the opportunity to declare open season on anyone with black skin. Many African-Americans were shot and several were killed; but no one knows the exact number, because New Orleans police have refused to investigate any of the incidents, and coroner's records of the gun-blasted bodies that showed up in the area have unaccountably gone missing.
Article HERE Read more!
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Congressional investigators have found alarming weaknesses in security procedures at two top laboratories that work with the world’s most dangerous biological agents and diseases. As the country races to open more labs to develop vaccines and treatments for exotic diseases and potential biological weapons, the government clearly has a lot more work to do to ensure that dangerous materials cannot fall into terrorists’ hands.
link Read more!
Posted by Mr. Barbarian at 5:25 AM
Thursday, October 9, 2008
"The truth is, there is no Islamic army or terrorist group called Al Qaida. And any informed intelligence officer knows this. But there is a propaganda campaign to make the public believe in the presence of an identified entity representing the 'devil' only in order to drive the 'TV watcher' to accept a unified international leadership for a war against terrorism..."
link Read more!
Posted by Mr. Barbarian at 7:35 PM
A curious article discussing the nature of the film 'Obsession'. I had never heard of it until reading this article, but it is distressing to know such misleading propaganda is being spread concerning "Islamo-Fascism"; particularly among susceptible voting blocs.
link Read more!
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
one of the more informative takes on this crisis
Before I start with anything about the banks and the financial markets and this whole mess, I should start at the beginning of all this. On the news the words are flashed, subprime, subprime, mortgage, housing crisis. Crisis crisis crisis! Well just what the hell is the subprime mortgage crisis?
link Read more!
Monday, September 29, 2008
Friday, September 26, 2008
Roger Shawyer has developed an engine with no moving parts that he believes can replace rockets and make trains, planes and automobiles obsolete. "The end of wings and wheels" is how he puts it. It's a bold claim.
link Read more!
Thursday, September 25, 2008
craayzee....(link has video)
WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio — It may look like a futuristic arcade game, but it's a scene from an official Air Force animated video: Bad guys of indiscernible origin being shadowed, from a careful distance, by small robotic drones designed to resemble birds and insects.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
There is a busy little private company you probably never have heard about, but which you should. Its name is the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation. See their website. Looks pretty boring. Some kind of financial service thing, with a positive slogan and out there to make a little business. You can even get a job there. Now, go and take a look at their annual report. Starts with a nice litte Flash presentation and has a nice message from the CEO. And take a look at the numbers. It turns out that this company holds 23 trillion dollars in assets, and had 917 trillion dollars worth of transactions in 2002. That's trillions, as in thousands of thousands of millions. 23,000,000,000,000 dollars in assets.
# 1 Over One Million Iraqi Deaths Caused by US Occupation
# 2. Security and Prosperity Partnership: Militarized NAFTA
# 3. InfraGard: The FBI Deputizes Business
# 4. ILEA: Is the US Restarting Dirty Wars in Latin America?
# 5. Seizing War Protesters’ Assets
# 6. The Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act
# 7. Guest Workers Inc.: Fraud and Human Trafficking
# 8. Executive Orders Can Be Changed Secretly
# 9. Iraq and Afghanistan Vets Testify
# 10. APA Complicit in CIA Torture
# 11. El Salvador’s Water Privatization and the Global War on Terror
# 12. Bush Profiteers Collect Billions From No Child Left Behind
# 13. Tracking Billions of Dollars Lost in Iraq
# 14. Mainstreaming Nuclear Waste
# 15. Worldwide Slavery
# 16. Annual Survey on Trade Union Rights
# 17. UN’s Empty Declaration of Indigenous Rights
# 18. Cruelty and Death in Juvenile Detention Centers
# 19. Indigenous Herders and Small Farmers Fight Livestock Extinction
# 20. Marijuana Arrests Set New Record
# 21. NATO Considers “First Strike” Nuclear Option
# 22. CARE Rejects US Food Aid
# 23. FDA Complicit in Pushing Pharmaceutical Drugs
# 24. Japan Questions 9/11 and the Global War on Terror
# 25. Bush’s Real Problem with Eliot Spitzer Read more!
found on davidicke.com
World history is spotted with stories of political conquests: Attila the Hun, Genghis Khan, the Pharaohs, Alexander the Great, and Roman Caesars, each who seized physical control of a country, its economy and assets. History holds no story of a take over based solely on a country’s assets, until now. The modern day Attila’s, Genghis Khan’s, Pharaoh’s, and Caesar’s are the men who own and control the Central Banks of the world. America’s Central Bank is the Federal Reserve, which controls our monetary system, is not part of our governmental system, and, although its name would imply, it has no reserves.
The 13th month of America’s credit crisis may hold its own in history as a country whose economic power and bulk of wealth overnight become the assets of the Federal Reserve. This may well be the finest coup d’état.
rest of the article is here
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
On April 26, 2008, the BBC Alabama arrived in Longview, Wash., carrying 6,700 tons of Kuwaiti sand. The sand had become contaminated with depleted uranium when U.S. military vehicles and munitions caught fire at Doha Army base in Kuwait during the 1991 Gulf War. The depleted uranium was being repatriated. The sand was a gift of the Kuwaiti government.
So was the cost of repatriation. Neither government will discuss just how much the tab was.
The Longview Daily News reported that Mike Wilcox, vice president of the International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union Local 21, initially had been "concerned about the safety of longshoremen and the entire community when he heard a shipment of depleted uranium was coming into Longview."
But the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission determined that the sand contained "unimportant quantities" of radioactive material, and officials from the Department of Health would be available to test radiation levels -- just in case any of the sand spilled.
At the last minute, the Army notified port authorities that tests had revealed that the sand was also contaminated with lead -- in fact, four times more lead than the EPA's limit for hazardous materials. Transshipment was delayed for a few days awaiting a green light from the EPA.
Wilcox told the Daily News that he hoped the delivery would be a one-time thing.
Over the next month, longshoremen loaded 160 containers onto railcars bound for an Idaho-based waste disposal site owned by a company called American Ecology. When the sand arrived at the Idaho site, the company did its own tests and, as Chad Hyslop, project director for American Ecology, told the Daily News, "found no hazardous levels of lead."
Doug Rokke, who quit his job directing the cleanup of radioactive battlefields for the Army, contacted American Ecology and discovered "that they had absolutely no knowledge of U.S. Army Regulation 700-48, U.S. Army PAM 700-48, U.S. Army Technical Bulletin 9-1300-278, and all of the medical orders dealing with depleted uranium contamination, environmental remediation procedures, safety and medical care."
Hazardous materials storage has become a lucrative and growing business, especially since Donald Rumsfeld began implementing his plans for a sleek new "global cavalry" capable of swift and lethal response from strategically placed "frontier stockades" to punish bad guys whenever and wherever they have been bad. According to the Pentagon's annual "Base Structure Report," which itemizes its foreign and domestic military real estate, the Department of Defense currently operates more than 800 such bases around the world; 5,311 if you count the ones in American territories and on the U.S. mainland; probably well over 6,000 if you count the ones, like Doha in Kuwait, that for some reason didn't make the list. (Similarly omitted are all U.S. bases in Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, Kyrgyzstan, Qatar and Uzbekistan.)
Rumsfeld, coyly switching metaphors, referred to them as "lily pads," which is about as convincing a euphemism as "American Ecology." Lily pads may sound greener and friendlier than, say, "footprint," which makes one at least think of boot heels, but it is safe to assume -- because there has never been an exception -- that every one of those bases is an environmental disaster area. The U.S. military is the most profligate polluter on the planet.
The Thule base in Greenland, for example, was sort of a pioneer lily pad. In the '40s, it was a convenient hop, skip and a bomber run to Berlin, and later it was part of the Cold War surveillance network. In 1953, the U.S. Navy sailed into Thule Harbor and informed the local Inughuit community that they had 48 hours to leave. Sorry for the inconvenience, folks, but there are houses 100 miles north of here with your names on them. We promise.
"Everyone packed what they could on their dogsleds and set off north across the ice," remembers Aron Qaavigaq, who was 12 at the time. "After a while, my father stopped and looked back. He and my mother were crying. ... We were young and very excited to be going somewhere new. But they kept crying, so we knew there was something wrong."
There were no houses. Qaavigaq and his family spent the winter in tents 695 miles north of the Arctic Circle. The hunting and fishing was lousy, and now the ice is melting. After 55 years, Qaavigaq and the rest of the Inughuit still want to go home. But first they want the United States to clean up the mess they have made: thousands of barrels of toxic chemistry, rubbish heaps, electrical equipment contaminated with PCBs, and one whole hydrogen bomb -- serial number 78252 -- which was never recovered when a B-52 crashed upon landing in 1968.
Unfortunately, unlike the emir of Kuwait, the Inughuits are poor and not very many of them survived the transplant. In a deal struck with the Danish government in 2003, the Bush administration agreed to return the original Inughuit community land in return for continued use of the base.
But the administration insists it is not responsible for any cleanup. "They said if they were to clean up after themselves at Thule, then they would be met by similar demands in the Philippines, Japan and elsewhere in the world," Svend Auken, Denmark's former minister of the environment, told the Christian Science Monitor in August. "They didn't want to set that precedent." CSM also quotes Cheryl Irwin, a spokeswoman for the secretary of defense, opining that cleanup costs "reflected a shared burden with our host nation for our contribution for defense of the free world." The United States has, however, agreed to forgo "any claims for residual value of improvements made while there."
There is a growing resistance to the omnipresence of U.S. military installations around the world. The coalition, though practically invisible in the United States, is evident elsewhere. NOBASES seeks "an end to military domination and intimidation and an end to the social, environmental and economic consequences of these bases in the host countries." The coalition has recently organized massive demonstrations in Italy, Poland, the Czech Republic and elsewhere, and though few have ultimately been successful, they have made acquiescing to American military expansion an increasingly expensive political choice for foreign leaders.
Here at home in Idaho, however, raping the land is cheap. American Ecology supplies the lubricant, and Idaho's Republican officials bend over. Senators Mike Crapo and Larry Craig, Representatives Mike Simpson and Bill Sali, and Gov. Butch Otter and Lt. Gov. Jim Risch have all benefited from American Ecology's generosity.
In the first quarter of 2008, American Ecology reported a record disposal volume and a $13.4 million profit, a 17 percent increase over the same quarter last year.
Asked if the sand is dangerous, Hyslop said, "It's not something you want laying around in Kuwait." So, send it to Idaho instead!
If American Ecology were really thinking outside the litter box, it would be supporting the NOBASES effort to repatriate all our military’s leavings.
Posted by Mr. Barbarian at 8:53 PM
The program — which Woodward compares to the World War II era Manhattan Project that developed the atomic bomb — must remain secret for now or it would "get people killed," Woodward said Monday on CNN’s Larry King Live.
"The top secret operations will "some day in history … be described to people’s amazement," Woodward told King.
While he would not reveal the details, Woodward said the terrorists who have been targeted were already aware of the capabilities.
"The enemy has a heads up because they’ve been getting wiped out and a lot of them have been killed," he said. "It’s not news to them."
here Read more!
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Posted on: August 28, 2008 9:09 AM, by Ed Brayton
Then again, it may not be a slip. Maybe the guy is just ignorant.
In an alley behind a non-descript row of brick buildings on North Speer Boulevard, and on the other side of a large metal gate with armed guards standing in front, Republicans have set up a "war room" in Denver...
Republican National Committee Chairman Mike Duncan said the team of nearly two dozen staffers at the opposition headquarters will be "fact-checking" statements made by the Obama campaign and by speakers during the convention.
"Just consider this the Ministry of Truth," quipped Dick Wadhams, chairman of the Colorado Republican Party.
A) That may be the funniest name I've seen in months. B) Someone needs to tell him that the Ministry of Truth in Orwell's book was the place where they crafted lies.
copied from this site: http://scienceblogs.com/dispatches/2008/08/best_freudian_slip_ever.php Read more!
Monday, August 18, 2008
"Most working families today do not have homes that have anywhere near ten rooms. John McCain has ten houses. Many working people in America have to work two and three jobs to provide for their families and pay their car loans. John McCain hops on a private jet. Is it any wonder why McCain champions a George Bush agenda of cutting taxes for corporations and the wealthy, helping oil companies turn record profits, and leaving working families to fend for themselves? McCain's velvet world leaves him utterly unprepared to make the tough choices we need to restore the middle class and ensure that everyone in America has quality, affordable health insurance."
- Andy Stern, President, Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
Posted by Leslie A at 4:34 PM
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
* Story Highlights
* Israel's prime minister announces he will not be party leader at the next election
* Ehud Olmert has been embroiled in a corruption probe
* He said he will resign once his Kadima party elects a new chairman
* Kadima has agreed to hold primary elections by September 17
JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Scandal-hit Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced Wednesday that he will not be his party's leader going into the next election.
Citing "a wave of investigations and criticism" at the hands of his political opponents, he said he will resign once his Kadima party elects a new chairman.
"I am not doing this out of a feeling that I cannot do my job. ... I believe in my ability to continue," he said at his official residence.
"When forced to choose between my own personal standing and considerations that relate to the welfare of the state, it is the latter that will take precedence."
There has been a slew of inquiries into allegations against Olmert. He denies any wrongdoing and has never been convicted of a crime.
Last month, Israeli lawmakers reached a deal that will allow Olmert to stay in power for a few more months. In exchange, Olmert's party agreed to hold primary elections by September 17.
No date has been set for general elections, which will have to be held by sometime next year. VideoWatch Olmert explain why he is stepping down »
Olmert has been embroiled in a corruption inquiry, and Defense Minister Ehud Barak had said he would pursue new elections if Olmert didn't step down.
Barak's office said after the announcement, "Prime Minister Olmert made a right and appropriate decision.''
Barak is the leader of the Labor party, Olmert's chief coalition partner, and a former prime minister himself.
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, one of Olmert's top rivals within Kadima, said in May that the party needed to be ready to replace the prime minister should he step down. There was no immediate reaction Wednesday from Livni.
Olmert had said he would resign only if he is indicted on corruption charges.
Israeli authorities are investigating allegations that Olmert, while serving as Jerusalem mayor and a government minister, asked various public organizations to cover the same expenses and pocketed the extra money.
In May, a U.S. businessman testified that he gave cash-filled envelopes to Olmert.
Olmert was Jerusalem's mayor from 1993 to 2003 and served in several cabinet posts from 2003 to 2006. He took over as prime minister after a 2006 stroke left then-premier Ariel Sharon in a coma from which he has never recovered.
CNN's Atika Shubert in Jerusalem said the allegations surrounding Olmert had made him deeply unpopular with Israelis.
Olmert's announcement comes as the United States is pushing for an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement before President Bush leaves office in January.
U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Washington remains committed to working with Israel, and "the Israelis will work out their own politics."
And a White House official said Wednesday that Bush spoke with Olmert to wish him well after he announced his decision to step down.
"Relations between the United States and Israel during Prime Minister Olmert's tenure have been exceptionally close and cooperative, and the president has appreciated his friendship, his leadership, and his work for peace," National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe said.
Let's hope the next prime minister is a little more justice and tolerance inclined. I doubt it but fingers will remain crossed. Read more!
Friday, July 25, 2008
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
From Jack Cafferty's CNN blog:
"In case you’re wondering why our economy is in the toilet, President Bush had the explanation at a closed Republican fund-raiser in Houston last week:
”Wall Street got drunk – it’s one of the reasons I asked you to turn off your TV cameras. It got drunk and now it’s got a hangover. The question is: how long will it sober up.”
The depth of the intellect at the very top of our nation’s government is staggering, isn’t it? Quite an assessment coming from a reformed alcoholic. The president had apparently requested that those attending the event turn off their cameras, but the comments were recorded and started popping up on Texas news outlets.
The White House grabbed their brooms and immediately began sweeping up after him. They say Mr. Bush was referring to the fact that, “the markets were using very complex financial instruments that had grown up over the years, and when confronted with the shock of this housing downturn, they did not fully understand what the consequences were going to be.”
Problem is, that doesn’t sound at all like the president saying “Wall Street got drunk.” It’s that kind of shallowness that has created an appetite in the American public and overseas for someone like Barack Obama.
King Abdullah of Jordan actually cut short his vacation this week so he could meet with Obama. It must be like someone who works in a nursery all week finally getting a chance to have a conversation with an adult." Read more!
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Waxman Threatens Mukasey With Contempt Over Cheney's FBI Interview on CIA Leak Probe
Karl Rove's Contempt for the Constitution and the Public's Right to Know
Did you know that Karl Rove was relatively recently added to the cast of the illustrious quality fair television programming that is the Fox News Channel? I don't know what to say about that. I think you understand. They're ON THE WRONG SIDE! Or are we the enemy? Read more!
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
From the preface to the 1900 edition of Leaves of Grass, by Walt Whitman:
"The rhyme and uniformity of perfect poems show the free growth of metrical laws and bud from them as unerringly and loosely as lilacs and roses on a bush, and take shapes as compact as the shapes of chestnuts and oranges and melons and pears, and shed the perfume impalpable to form. The fluency and ornaments of the finest poems or music or orations or recitations are not independent but dependent. All beauty comes from beautiful blood and a beautiful brain. If the greatnesses are in conjunction in a man or woman it is enough … the fact will prevail through the universe … but the gaggery and gilt of a million years will not prevail. Who troubles himself about his ornaments or fluency is lost. This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul; and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body… . The poet shall not spend his time in unneeded work. He shall know that the ground is always ready ploughed and manured … others may not know it but he shall. He shall go directly to the creation. His trust shall master the trust of everything he touches … and shall master all attachment." Read more!
Thursday, May 29, 2008
By LESLIE KAUFMAN
New York Times
JILL BOLTE TAYLOR was a neuroscientist working at Harvard’s brain research center when she experienced nirvana.
But she did it by having a stroke.
On Dec. 10, 1996, Dr. Taylor, then 37, woke up in her apartment near Boston with a piercing pain behind her eye. A blood vessel in her brain had popped. Within minutes, her left lobe — the source of ego, analysis, judgment and context — began to fail her. Oddly, it felt great.
The incessant chatter that normally filled her mind disappeared. Her everyday worries — about a brother with schizophrenia and her high-powered job — untethered themselves from her and slid away.
Her perceptions changed, too. She could see that the atoms and molecules making up her body blended with the space around her; the whole world and the creatures in it were all part of the same magnificent field of shimmering energy.
“My perception of physical boundaries was no longer limited to where my skin met air,” she has written in her memoir, “My Stroke of Insight,” which was just published by Viking.
After experiencing intense pain, she said, her body disconnected from her mind. “I felt like a genie liberated from its bottle,” she wrote in her book. “The energy of my spirit seemed to flow like a great whale gliding through a sea of silent euphoria.”
While her spirit soared, her body struggled to live. She had a clot the size of a golf ball in her head, and without the use of her left hemisphere she lost basic analytical functions like her ability to speak, to understand numbers or letters, and even, at first, to recognize her mother. A friend took her to the hospital. Surgery and eight years of recovery followed.
Her desire to teach others about nirvana, Dr. Taylor said, strongly motivated her to squeeze her spirit back into her body and to get well.
This story is not typical of stroke victims. Left-brain injuries don’t necessarily lead to blissful enlightenment; people sometimes sink into a helplessly moody state: their emotions run riot. Dr. Taylor was also helped because her left hemisphere was not destroyed, and that probably explains how she was able to recover fully.
Today, she says, she is a new person, one who “can step into the consciousness of my right hemisphere” on command and be “one with all that is.”
To her it is not faith, but science. She brings a deep personal understanding to something she long studied: that the two lobes of the brain have very different personalities. Generally, the left brain gives us context, ego, time, logic. The right brain gives us creativity and empathy. For most English-speakers, the left brain, which processes language, is dominant. Dr. Taylor’s insight is that it doesn’t have to be so.
Her message, that people can choose to live a more peaceful, spiritual life by sidestepping their left brain, has resonated widely.
In February, Dr. Taylor spoke at the Technology, Entertainment, Design conference (known as TED), the annual forum for presenting innovative scientific ideas. The result was electric. After her 18-minute address was posted as a video on TED’s Web site, she become a mini-celebrity. More than two million viewers have watched her talk, and about 20,000 more a day continue to do so. An interview with her was also posted on Oprah Winfrey’s Web site, and she was chosen as one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world for 2008.
She also receives more than 100 e-mail messages a day from fans. Some are brain scientists, who are fascinated that one of their own has had a stroke and can now come back and translate the experience in terms they can use. Some are stroke victims or their caregivers who want to share their stories and thank her for her openness.
But many reaching out are spiritual seekers, particularly Buddhists and meditation practitioners, who say her experience confirms their belief that there is an attainable state of joy.
“People are so taken with it,” said Sharon Salzberg, a founder of the Insight Mediation Society in Barre, Mass. “I keep getting that video in e-mail. I must have 100 copies.”
She is excited by Dr. Taylor’s speech because it uses the language of science to describe an occurrence that is normally ethereal. Dr. Taylor shows the less mystically inclined, she said, that this experience of deep contentment “is part of the capacity of the human mind.”
Since the stroke, Dr. Taylor has moved to Bloomington, Ind., an hour from where she was raised in Terre Haute and where her mother, Gladys Gillman Taylor, who nursed her back to health, still lives.
Originally, Dr. Taylor became a brain scientist — she has a Ph.D. in life sciences with a specialty in neuroanatomy — because she has a mentally ill brother who suffers from delusions that he is in direct contact with Jesus. And for her old research lab at Harvard, she continues to speak on behalf of the mentally ill.
But otherwise, she has dialed back her once loaded work schedule. Her house is on a leafy cul-de-sac minutes from Indiana University, which she attended as an undergraduate and where she now teaches at the medical school.
Her foyer is painted a vibrant purple. She greets a stranger at the door with a warm hug. When she talks, her pale blue eyes make extended contact.
Never married, she lives with her dog and two cats. She unselfconsciously calls her mother, 82, her best friend.
She seems bemused but not at all put off by the hundreds who have reached out to her on a spiritual level. Religious ecstatics who claim to see angels have asked her to appear on their radio and television programs.
She has declined these offers. Although her father is an Episcopal minister and she was raised in his church, she cannot be counted among the traditionally faithful. “Religion is a story that the left brain tells the right brain,” she said.
Still, Dr. Taylor says, “nirvana exists right now.”
“There is no doubt that it is a beautiful state and that we can get there,” she said.
That belief has certainly sparked debate. On Web sites like evolvingbeings.com and in Eckhart Tolle discussion groups, people debate whether she is truly enlightened or just physically damaged and confused.
Even her own scientific brethren have wondered.
“When I saw her on the TED video, at first I thought, Oh my god, is she losing it,” said Dr. Francine M. Benes, director of the Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Center, where Dr. Taylor once worked.
Dr. Benes makes clear that she still thinks Dr. Taylor is an extraordinary and competent woman. “It is just that the mystical side was not apparent when she was at Harvard,” Dr. Benes said.
Dr. Taylor makes no excuses or apologies, or even explanations. She says instead that she continues to battle her left brain for the better. She gently offers tips on how it might be done.
“As the child of divorced parents and a mentally ill brother, I was angry,” she said. Now when she feels anger rising, she trumps it with a thought of a person or activity that brings her pleasure. No meditation necessary, she says, just the belief that the left brain can be tamed.
Her newfound connection to other living beings means that she is no longer interested in performing experiments on live rat brains, which she did as a researcher.
She is committed to making time for passions — physical and visual — that she believes exercise her right brain, including water-skiing, guitar playing and stained-glass making. A picture of one of her intricate stained-glass pieces — of a brain — graces the cover of her book.
Karen Armstrong, a religious historian who has written several popular books including one on the Buddha, says there are odd parallels between his story and Dr. Taylor’s.
“Like this lady, he was reluctant to return to this world,” she said. “He wanted to luxuriate in the sense of enlightenment.”
But, she said, “the dynamic of the religious required that he go out into the world and share his sense of compassion.”
And in the end, compassion is why Dr. Taylor says she wrote her memoir. She thinks there is much to be mined from her experience on how brain-trauma patients might best recover and, in fact, she hopes to open a center in Indiana to treat such patients based on those principles.
And then there is the question of world peace. No, Dr. Taylor doesn’t know how to attain that, but she does think the right hemisphere could help. Or as she told the TED conference:
“I believe that the more time we spend choosing to run the deep inner peace circuitry of our right hemispheres, the more peace we will project into the world, and the more peaceful our planet will be.”
video: http://www.ted.com/talks/view/id/229 Read more!
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
The world's rubbish dump: a garbage tip that stretches from Hawaii to Japan
By Kathy Marks, Asia-Pacific Correspondent, and Daniel Howden
Tuesday, 5 February 2008
A "plastic soup" of waste floating in the Pacific Ocean is growing at an alarming rate and now covers an area twice the size of the continental United States, scientists have said.
The vast expanse of debris – in effect the world's largest rubbish dump – is held in place by swirling underwater currents. This drifting "soup" stretches from about 500 nautical miles off the Californian coast, across the northern Pacific, past Hawaii and almost as far as Japan.
Charles Moore, an American oceanographer who discovered the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch" or "trash vortex", believes that about 100 million tons of flotsam are circulating in the region. Marcus Eriksen, a research director of the US-based Algalita Marine Research Foundation, which Mr Moore founded, said yesterday: "The original idea that people had was that it was an island of plastic garbage that you could almost walk on. It is not quite like that. It is almost like a plastic soup. It is endless for an area that is maybe twice the size as continental United States."
Curtis Ebbesmeyer, an oceanographer and leading authority on flotsam, has tracked the build-up of plastics in the seas for more than 15 years and compares the trash vortex to a living entity: "It moves around like a big animal without a leash." When that animal comes close to land, as it does at the Hawaiian archipelago, the results are dramatic. "The garbage patch barfs, and you get a beach covered with this confetti of plastic," he added.
The "soup" is actually two linked areas, either side of the islands of Hawaii, known as the Western and Eastern Pacific Garbage Patches. About one-fifth of the junk – which includes everything from footballs and kayaks to Lego blocks and carrier bags – is thrown off ships or oil platforms. The rest comes from land.
Mr Moore, a former sailor, came across the sea of waste by chance in 1997, while taking a short cut home from a Los Angeles to Hawaii yacht race. He had steered his craft into the "North Pacific gyre" – a vortex where the ocean circulates slowly because of little wind and extreme high pressure systems. Usually sailors avoid it.
He was astonished to find himself surrounded by rubbish, day after day, thousands of miles from land. "Every time I came on deck, there was trash floating by," he said in an interview. "How could we have fouled such a huge area? How could this go on for a week?"
Mr Moore, the heir to a family fortune from the oil industry, subsequently sold his business interests and became an environmental activist. He warned yesterday that unless consumers cut back on their use of disposable plastics, the plastic stew would double in size over the next decade.
Professor David Karl, an oceanographer at the University of Hawaii, said more research was needed to establish the size and nature of the plastic soup but that there was "no reason to doubt" Algalita's findings.
"After all, the plastic trash is going somewhere and it is about time we get a full accounting of the distribution of plastic in the marine ecosystem and especially its fate and impact on marine ecosystems."
Professor Karl is co-ordinating an expedition with Algalita in search of the garbage patch later this year and believes the expanse of junk actually represents a new habitat. Historically, rubbish that ends up in oceanic gyres has biodegraded. But modern plastics are so durable that objects half-a-century old have been found in the north Pacific dump. "Every little piece of plastic manufactured in the past 50 years that made it into the ocean is still out there somewhere," said Tony Andrady, a chemist with the US-based Research Triangle Institute.
Mr Moore said that because the sea of rubbish is translucent and lies just below the water's surface, it is not detectable in satellite photographs. "You only see it from the bows of ships," he said.
According to the UN Environment Programme, plastic debris causes the deaths of more than a million seabirds every year, as well as more than 100,000 marine mammals. Syringes, cigarette lighters and toothbrushes have been found inside the stomachs of dead seabirds, which mistake them for food.
Plastic is believed to constitute 90 per cent of all rubbish floating in the oceans. The UN Environment Programme estimated in 2006 that every square mile of ocean contains 46,000 pieces of floating plastic,
Dr Eriksen said the slowly rotating mass of rubbish-laden water poses a risk to human health, too. Hundreds of millions of tiny plastic pellets, or nurdles – the raw materials for the plastic industry – are lost or spilled every year, working their way into the sea. These pollutants act as chemical sponges attracting man-made chemicals such as hydrocarbons and the pesticide DDT. They then enter the food chain. "What goes into the ocean goes into these animals and onto your dinner plate. It's that simple," said Dr Eriksen.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
How Much Is Your Time Worth?
I've been meaning to write this article for about six years. I
kept "not quite getting around to it" and putting it off, sometimes to
a degree that I find maddening.
To put it into my perspective, roughly 87,660,000 children
have died of starvation in the time that I've been not writing this
article. That's a population roughly the 3.5 times the size of Mexico
City, the most populous city currently on the planet.
When I first wrote this article in early 1999, I pointed out
that roughly 40,000 children die of starvation every day on this
planet. I learned this fact in the late 1980's or very early
1990's, when I began studying global health and housing issues.
Happily, those numbers are changing for the better, and less
people are starving to death each day. Unhappily, they aren't changing
very quickly, so we're still losing 24,000/day as of this update in
mid-May, 2003. As a result, some of the figures in the examples are a
bit out of date. However, the general point of this essay stands, so
I'll keep the original figures, and leave calculating the current
rates as an exercise for the reader in whatever time you're reading
this. Hopefully, all of this will seem like quaint history before much
longer, and no one will be dying of starvation anymore, but there's
still a lot of work left to do.
I bought a book called "Ending Hunger: An idea whose time has
come" (ISBN 0-03-006189-X) from a thrift-store on May 3, 1999, just a
month and a half after writing the first draft of this article. I
found it for $2.29, and it's a fantastic resource for those interested
in hunger issues and information. As of this update (mid-May, 2003),
Amazon.com has 49 new & used copies available, starting at $0.95.
The book was published and (c) 1985 by Praeger Publishers, and
author credit goes simply to "The Hunger Project". On page 2 it states
as its reference numbers the following statistics:
* 1 billion of us chronically undernourished
* 13-18 million of us dead a year
* 35,000 of us a day
* 24 of us (18 of whom are children) a minute
Then continues with:
"Yet because we view hunger in the background of life, this
terrible toll does not enter our headlines, nor, for most of us, our
For most of us. But not for all."
If you're interested in finding out the current hunger
numbers, I'd recommend starting with the Worldwatch Institute at
http://www.worldwatch.org/ (While there, you might also want to pick
up a copy of the current edition of their book, "State of the World".)
For about as close to "live" data as you'll likely find, check
out o.s.Earth's "Worldometers". Their Food Supply meters are at
there are many other ones to check out. Please do.
Another good reference, and excellent project, is The Hunger
Site, at http://www.thehungersite.com/ There, you can click on links
that will cause internet advertisers to donate money that buys food
for starving people. (This is about the only good use I've ever seen
for advertising on the Internet. <*grin*> )
The Hunger Site states: "About 24,000 people die every day
from hunger or hunger-related causes. This is down from 35,000 ten
years ago, and 41,000 twenty years ago. Three-fourths of the deaths
are children under the age of five."
At the beginning of the article, I made the claim that
87,660,000 children had died in the time I'd spent *not* writing this
piece. Here's my original math, using the 40,000/day figure:
40,000 people (I said "children", but the 75% figure from
"Ending Hunger" might make that only 30,000 children) starve to death
There are 365.25 days in a year (the .25 adds up to one leap
year every four years.)
(6)*(365.25)*(40,000)=87,660,000 children who've starved to
death in the past six years on planet earth. The numbers are a bit
rough, but don't worry, it will be larger by the time you read this,
and should cover any discrepancy.
Sorry to start this whole thing off on such a down note, but
it really is frustrating, and maddening.
Anyway, 40,000 per day is roughly 1,666 per hour, which is
roughly 28 per minute, which is roughly one child dying every 2
seconds. Mind you, this is only death from starvation and
malnutrition. Not disease, or accident, or war, or any of the litany
of other things that can kill children. It also doesn't cover adults
or senior citizens, just kids. It's a whole lot of kids, though.
So, roughly six years ago (from the initial writing - early
1993), I was walking down a street in San Jose, California, working in
a job I didn't like very much, fresh out of college with a head full
of ideas and ideals. I was calculating exactly how much I was making
per hour doing what I was doing (a dismal number somewhere in the
single-digit dollars per hour), and then calculating what I figured
was the potential value to society if I were able to pursue my chosen
work of finding solutions that would keep those kids from starving to
Know what hourly rate I came up with?
$1.66 billion/hour. In long form, that's roughly
Here's my math:
40,000 dead kids per day equals 40,000 people who can't ever
contribute to society, per day. That's lost value to society as a
whole. This is calculated by looking at a "standard" working-life of
approximately 40 years per person, and a rough estimate of a person
earning roughly $1,000,000 in their lifetime (a conservative estimate,
since that would average to about $25,000 per year for 40 years with
no raise, ever, in that entire time). It also doesn't take into
account the fact that society generally figures they're getting MORE
out of a person than they're paying that person, otherwise, it's not a
profitable venture for them.
So, we end up with (40,000/day)*($1,000,000 potential personal
income)=$40,000,000,000 day, or $1,666,666,666/hour lost to society.
Of course, I don't actually expect anyone to PAY me $1.66
billion per hour to go work on figuring out how to feed the world, or
to eliminate homelessness, ensure clean drinking water for all, or
similar things. To be quite frank, there's no one in the world,
individual or government, who can afford such rates. I'm merely
calculating the potential worth to society, and quietly wondering to
myself if we can afford NOT to be addressing these issues.
These are merely the things that I'd RATHER be doing with my
time, if I, like most others, wasn't worrying about how to pay the
rent, power, phone and grocery bills, and all the other things that
pop up unexpectedly. It also causes me to wonder about all those other
billions of people out there, and what it would be that THEY would do,
if they didn't have to worry about scraping out a living in an office,
or a factory, or a field, or an alleyway. What would happen if
EVERYONE had the means to support themselves indefinitely, and could
really turn their attention to whatever it was that their
inner-compass pointed them towards?
How much is it worth to society to develop a cure to AIDS? How
about cancer? How about antigravity or interstellar travel? How about
new music? New art? Perhaps teaching the future generations of
scientists, doctors, lawyers, and parents? How about writers?
Programmers? Designers? Space Technicians? Much much is it worth to us
to negotiate an end to the constant bickering between countries? To
stop genocide and conflict between nations who have historically
battled over who-knows-what?
I don't know if these things HAVE a price, but I'm certain
that they're worth a lot. An awful lot.
My main curiousity is in figuring out ways to make sure that
people have their basic needs met. That they have a roof over their
heads, clean water to drink, plentiful food to fill their bellies, and
lots of new ideas to fill their minds. I want to see people who have
lots of leisure time to ask themselves and each other "What if...?",
then try to find new answers. Having people punch clocks and then
stand around for 8 hours per day doing robot work seems better just
left for robots. I think that people, and the minds that those people
posess, have far more important things to be doing with their
time. And I think that their time is probably worth a LOT more to
society than whatever the going rate is in the job market.
So I ask you, and I ask you to ask yourself: What is it that
you'd REALLY rather be doing, if you had your choice? What sort of
changes might that activity bring about? Who might it benefit (think
BIG!), and how would it help? Then ask yourself if you (and we) can
really afford NOT having you follow your chosen path?
In short, I'd like you to figure out:
"How much is your time REALLY worth?"
___________________Think For Yourself____________________
Patrick G. Salsbury - http://reality.sculptors.com/~salsbury/
Check out the Reality Sculptors Project: http://reality.sculptors.com/
"Kick your own ass. Live up to your true potential."
-World Entertainment War
Most Recent Update: 11-05-03 Read more!
Posted by Sylvia at 5:45 PM
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Sunday, May 11, 2008
YANGON, Myanmar May 12, 2008, 12:38 am ET
Myanmar's monumental task of feeding and sheltering 1.5 million cyclone survivors suffered yet another blow Sunday when a boat laden with relief supplies — one of the first international shipments — sank on its way to the disaster zone.
The death toll jumped to more than 28,000 and British Foreign Secretary David Miliband warned that "malign neglect" by the isolated nation's military rulers was creating a "humanitarian catastrophe of genuinely epic proportions."
The junta has been sharply criticized for its handling of the May 3 disaster, from failing to provide adequate warnings about the pending storm to responding slowly to offers of help.
Though international assistance has started trickling in, the few foreign relief workers who have been allowed entry into Myanmar have been restricted to the largest city of Yangon. Only a handful have succeeded in getting past checkpoints into the worst-affected areas.
But in what was seen as a huge concession by the junta, the United States finally got the go-ahead to send a C-130 cargo plane packed with supplies to Yangon on Monday, with two more air shipments scheduled to land Tuesday.
At the Thai air force base in Utapao, the C-130 was loaded with 28,000 pounds of supplies, including mosquito nets, blankets and water. Lt. Col. Douglas Powell, U.S. Marines spokesman for the operation, said the plane was carrying U.S. government, not military, supplies and was unarmed.
Myanmar's military rulers are deeply suspicious of Washington, which has long been one of the junta's biggest critics, pointing to human rights abuses and its failure to hand over power to a democratically elected government.
"We hope that this is the beginning of a long line of assistance from the United States," White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe told reporters in Crawford, Texas over the weekend. "They're going to need our help for a long time."
Highlighting the many challenges ahead, however, a Red Cross boat carrying rice, drinking water and other goods for more than 1,000 people sank Sunday near hard-hit Bogalay town. All four aid workers on board were safe.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies could not say how much of the cargo has been lost, but it said the food supplies were contaminated by river water.
"Apart from the delay in getting aid to people we may now have to re-evaluate how we transport that aid," said Michael Annear, the IFRC's disaster manager in Yangon, who described the sinking as "a big blow."
Other aid was increasingly getting through, the group said, but on "nowhere near the scale required."
Heavy showers were forecast for the coming week, further complicating delivery of aid that is still barely reaching victims in the Irrawaddy delta, which was pounded by 120 mph winds and 12-foot-high storm surges from the sea.
In hard hit Laputta, hundreds of survivors crowded the floor of a monastery's open-air hall, the sound of hungry children wailing. Many people tried to sleep sitting up because of lack of space.
Pain Na Kon, a tiny nearby village of just 300, was completely obliterated. The only 12 known survivors huddled together in a tent set up in a rice field, sharing a small portion of biscuits and watery soup handed out at a local monastery.
"We don't know when they will also run out of food," said U Nyo, casting glances at his 6-year-old niece, Mien Mien, who lost both her parents in the cyclone and sat outside in the dark.
U Nyo called out to her gently, but Mien Mien stared emptily into the darkness. Overcome with emotion, U Nyo walked, teary-eyed, over to the girl and sat beside her in silence.
His wife, Saw San Myant, described in a hushed voice what had happened to Mien Mien's father.
"We hung together on a coconut tree as the tide continued to rise. Her father was separated. He tried to hang onto a pole of the hut but that was broken. The wind was too strong. She saw her father swept away by the water but we didn't see anyone else. We think they are all dead," she said.
On Sunday, Myanmar's state television said the death toll from Cyclone Nargis had gone up by about 5,000 to 28,458 — with another 33,416 missing — though some experts said it could be 15 times that if people do not get clean water and sanitation soon. The U.N. said about 2 million people were severely affected by the storm.
"A natural disaster is turning into a humanitarian catastrophe of genuinely epic proportions in significant part because of the malign neglect of the regime," said British Foreign Secretary David Miliband.
"I would be amazed if there hadn't been about 100,000 who had died already ... what's more, hundreds of thousands more are at risk," he told British Broadcasting Corp. television.
Meanwhile, aid was piling up in foreign countries, awaiting approval from the junta.
The country's main airport in Yangon is incapable of handling more than five flights a day, when it should be taking in at least one every hour, said PLAN, a London-based children's aid group.
"Logistically, the situation looks bleak," it said in a statement. "In short, they have one congested airport, ill equipped to deal with the influx of cargo, no port, restricted fuel and no trucks."
Aid group World Vision said it has requested visas for 20 people and received approval for two, while the U.N. World Food Program had one approved out of the 16 it requested. Still, the U.N. was making some progress in aid delivery.
The junta released 38 tons of high-energy biscuits to the WFP that were confiscated on Friday and several other shipments were on their way.
"We're delighted and very encouraged by what is a very positive sign," said the group's spokesman, Marcus Prior.
But World Vision, which has a big presence in Myanmar, said relief material delivered so far is a tiny fraction of what is needed.
The junta says it wants to hand out all donated supplies on its own.
But many survivors have been without help for more than a week after fleeing their inundated villages to take shelter in monasteries and schools in towns. The canals and flooded roads to higher ground were littered with the bloated bodies of humans. The stench was everywhere.
"The first few we saw, we were all very shocked," said U Pinyatale, a monk living near the Pyapon River, where dozens of corpses floated in the brackish waters. "After a while, there were just too many." Read more!
Posted by Giancarlo at 10:06 PM
Monday, April 28, 2008
I find it sickening, however, not surprising, that the U.S can get away with the building up of a ridiculous pretext in order to rationalize a totally inhuman attack resulting in the deaths of thousands of innocent victims, not to mention the displacement of thousands more. It's interesting to note that the motive behind this attack, comically named "operation just cause," is very much so parallel to interventions in the Middle East and everywhere else the U.S sees an opportunity to profit off the suffering of others. I suggest you guys take a gander at this "hidden horror."
Posted by Sylvia at 11:49 PM
Monday, April 14, 2008
This is apparently old news, but I hadn't heard of it until now. From the little that I've read on it so far there seems to be the question of how this would work without using electricity to generate the radio waves needed. Regardless, it's pretty interesting and worth taking a look at.
'World peace' hitcher is murdered
An Italian woman artist who was hitch-hiking to the Middle East dressed as a bride to promote world peace has been found murdered in Turkey.
The naked body of Giuseppina Pasqualino di Marineo, 33, known as Pippa Bacca, was found in bushes near the northern city of Gebze on Friday.
She had said she wanted to show that she could put her trust in the kindness of local people.
Turkish police say they have detained a man in connection with the killing.
Reports say the man led the police to the body.
Ms di Marineo was hitch-hiking from Milan to Israel and the Palestinian Territories with a fellow artist on their "Brides on Tour" project.
They had separated in Istanbul, planning to reunite in Beirut.
Ms di Marineo was last seen on 31 March in Gebze.
An Italian embassy official told the Associated Press news agency police tracked the man when he put a new SIM card into Ms di Marineo's mobile phone.
Local media identified the suspect only by the initials MK and said he had a previous conviction for theft.
Ms di Marineo's sister, who had gone to Turkey to look for her, identified the body. An autopsy is being conducted in Istanbul.
"Her travels were for an artistic performance and to give a message of peace and of trust, but not everyone deserves trust," another sister, Maria, told the Italian news agency, Ansa.
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2008/04/12 14:42:57 GMT
© BBC MMVIII Read more!
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
I don't know about you, but I sometimes feel as though my life is dictated by my relationship with the bank that alternates between only two possible situations: the instance in which they hold my money and the one in which I owe them money. It seems as though there is a balance so delicate between these two that it's nearly impossible to achieve a stable and lasting security within that relationship. But there's something about it that doesn't feel right. I mean, I suck at handling money but I'm capable of learning a lesson, especially after overdraft fee #68. Alas, it may be time for a breakup, and this one might be awkward because, as it turns out, it's not me--it's them.
For those who can relate, and for anyone currently involved with a bank, these may be things you know already but it never hurts to remind yourself of who you're dealing with and to be sure to, erm, check yourself before your wreck yourself--financially speaking.
These facts were taken from the site for the documentary film above -- overdrawnmovie.net:
-- Banks make approximately anywhere from $17 to more than $50 billion per year (depending on who you talk to) from Overdraft (or Non Sufficient Fund, NSF) Fees, which represents roughly 30% of their fee revenues. Almost all of this (80% by one estimate), comes from low-income consumers. In the case of Washington Mutual, they make about $1 billion from their 10 million checking account customers, which comes to about $100 per customer, per year. These accounts are advertised as "free checking".
--Though the banks continue to call overdraft charges 'fees', they are in fact loans (which is stated in three different places in documents of the Federal Reserve and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency), which means that they should be covered under the Truth in Lending Act. A loophole currently exists which allows them to continue to call advancing credit to consumers 'fees'.
--Banks have been chastised by the US Government for misleading advertising practices, insuffiently informing account holders of the nature of their "Overdraft Protection" programs, and turning an old system of ad-hoc bounced check policies into a major new sourc of revenue.
--The average NSF fee has more than quintupled in the last twenty years, from around $4 to more than $20. Read more!
Posted by Jade at 12:02 AM
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
NPR.org, March 19, 2008
· British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Wednesday that the Chinese government is willing to hold discussions about Tibet with exiled spiritual leader Dalai Lama.
Brown said China's Prime Minister Wen Jiabao set two conditions for the talks, which have already been met.
"The premier told me that, subject to two things that the Dalai Lama has already said — that he does not support the total independence of Tibet and that he renounces violence — that he would be prepared to enter into dialogue with the Dalai Lama," Brown told parliament.
Brown said during a conversation with Wen on Wednesday that he made it clear the violence in Tibet must end.
Protests against Chinese rule reached a peak Friday in a riot in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa. The Dalai Lama's government-in-exile — based in the Indian town of Dharamsala — said 99 people died when Chinese security forces tried to break up the riot. The Chinese government put the death toll at fewer than 20.
The official China News Service reported that 160 Lhasa rioters had so far given themselves up to authorities. The Tibet government set a deadline of midnight Monday for those involved to surrender or face harsh punishment.
On Tuesday, Wen accused the Dalai Lama's supporters of organizing the violent clashes in hopes of sabotaging the Olympics and bolstering their campaign for independence in the Himalayan territory.
The protests, which are the most serious challenge to China's rule in the region in almost two decades, are forcing human rights campaigners to re-examine their approach to the Aug. 8-24 games.
The Dalai Lama has said he wants only greater autonomy for his homeland, not independence from China.
Meanwhile, the Chinese government insisted that the unrest in Tibet would not deter plans to take the Olympic torch to the top of Mount Everest.
Brown plans to meet with the Dalai Lama when the Buddhist leader visits London in May — a move that could undermine Brown's efforts to strengthen relations with China.
Brown visited Beijing in January, stressing that Britain is open to Chinese trade and investment and lobbying for China's new $200 billion sovereign wealth fund to open an office in London.
From NPR staff and wire reports Read more!
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
...because it's not you, your people, your country, your liberty, or your life. But when it comes to that point, what will we say then, that we were silent now; that a distance of a few thousand miles absolves us from responsibility; that if we believe in what we say we believe, spiritually and politically, we have a responsibility to talk about it, educate one another, and at the very least feel empathy and compassion for the suffering of ALL living beings.
Today, the Dalai Lama warned that if the violence didn't end soon, he would resign the head of the Tibetan government-in-exile.
People have been putting footage of the uprisings in Dharamsala and Lhasa on Youtube. Google owns Youtube, and thanks to Google's recent deal with the Chinese government, the Chinese Communist Party today has blocked all access to Youtube to Chinese citizens. SAY SOMETHING. Read more!
Monday, March 3, 2008
I'm sure you have heard about this but just in case...
NEW YORK (AP) -- For the first time in history, more than one in every 100 American adults is in jail or prison, according to a new report.
San Quentin State Prison in California holds more than 5,200 inmates.
The report, released Thursday by the Pew Center on the States, said the 50 states spent more than $49 billion on corrections last year, up from less than $11 billion 20 years earlier. The rate of increase for prison costs was six times greater than for higher education spending, the report said.
Using updated state-by-state data, the report said 2,319,258 adults were held in U.S. prisons or jails at the start of 2008 -- one out of every 99.1 adults, and more than any other country in the world.
The steadily growing inmate population "is saddling cash-strapped states with soaring costs they can ill afford and failing to have a clear impact either on recidivism or overall crime," the report said.
Susan Urahn, managing director of the Pew Center on the States, said budget woes are prompting officials in many states to consider new, cost-saving corrections policies that might have been shunned in the recent past for fear of appearing soft in crime.
"We're seeing more and more states being creative because of tight budgets," she said in an interview. "They want to be tough on crime, they want to be a law-and-order state -- but they also want to save money, and they want to be effective."
The report cited Kansas and Texas as states which have acted decisively to slow the growth of their inmate population. Their actions include greater use of community supervision for low-risk offenders and employing sanctions other than reimprisonment for ex-offenders who commit technical violations of parole and probation rules.
"The new approach, born of bipartisan leadership, is allowing the two states to ensure they have enough prison beds for violent offenders while helping less dangerous lawbreakers become productive, taxpaying citizens," the report said.
While many state governments have shown bipartisan interest in curbing prison growth, there also are persistent calls to proceed cautiously.
"We need to be smarter," said David Muhlhausen, a criminal justice expert with the conservative Heritage Foundation. "We're not incarcerating all the people who commit serious crimes -- but we're also probably incarcerating people who don't need to be."
According to the report, the inmate population increased last year in 36 states and the federal prison system.
The largest percentage increase -- 12 percent -- was in Kentucky, where Gov. Steve Beshear highlighted the cost of corrections in his budget speech last month. He noted that the state's crime rate had increased only about 3 percent in the past 30 years, while the state's inmate population has increased by 600 percent.
The Pew report was compiled by the Center on the State's Public Safety Performance Project, which is working directly with 13 states on developing programs to divert offenders from prison without jeopardizing public safety.
"For all the money spent on corrections today, there hasn't been a clear and convincing return for public safety," said the project's director, Adam Gelb. "More and more states are beginning to rethink their reliance on prisons for lower-level offenders and finding strategies that are tough on crime without being so tough on taxpayers."
The report said prison growth and higher incarceration rates do not reflect a parallel increase in crime or in the nation's overall population. Instead, it said, more people are behind bars mainly because of tough sentencing measures, such as "three-strikes" laws, that result in longer prison stays.
"For some groups, the incarceration numbers are especially startling," the report said. "While one in 30 men between the ages of 20 and 34 is behind bars, for black males in that age group the figure is one in nine."
The nationwide figures, as of January 1, include 1,596,127 people in state and federal prisons and 723,131 in local jails -- a total 2,319,258 out of almost 230 million American adults.
The report said the United States is the world's incarceration leader, far ahead of more populous China with 1.5 million people behind bars. It said the U.S. also is the leader in inmates per capita (750 per 100,000 people), ahead of Russia (628 per 100,000) and other former Soviet bloc nations which make up the rest of the Top 10. Read more!
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
[col. writ. 2/19/08] (c) '08 Mumia Abu-Jamal
As news flashed of the formal resignation of Cuba's Fidel Castro from the office of the President, morbid celebrations broke out in 'Little Havana' (Miami), Florida, the U.S. capital of the Cuban exile anti-Castro movement. Just as they rejoiced at his illness in 2006, they reveled at his resignation.
But, Fidel's almost 50-year run as Cuban head-of-state has had a momentous impact, not just in Cuba, but in Latin America, and the vast world beyond.
For as Fidel steps down from power, almost a 1/2 dozen of his ideological sons and daughters have come to power throughout Latin America. While nominally socialist, and deeply nationalist, many of them were inspired by the Cuban Revolution. Some, like Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, have embraced a continental and internationalist perspective, one that is overtly opposed to the interventionist policies of the U.S. backed IMF (International Monetary Fund) and the World Bank.
Latin America, largely through Cuba's steadfast example, has turned away from the draconian U.S. backed rule of the generals, to the rule of democratic and leftist populists.*
In the realm of education, Cuba's performance has been exemplary. In Central and South America, the average literacy rate is 86.4 percent. Cuba's literacy rate is 98%.
Under its socialist system all education is free. In fact, Cuba is the educator of choice for thousands of people from around the world, especially in higher, and medical education. All of this --for free!
Castro didn't inherit a country with such a high literacy rate. Indeed, in 1981 over a million Cubans (mostly folks in the nations's rural areas) were illiterate. Over 100,000 children over 10 years of age volunteered to participate in the "literacy brigadistas" covering the country to teach the poor and the peasants how to read and to write.
One such man, an alfabetizado (or student) named Juan Martinez wrote, in one of the first sentences of his life, "Nunca me he sentido cubano hasta que aprendi a leer y a escribir..." (In English his words meant, "I never really felt Cuban until I learned to read and write." (Keeble, 54)
In foreign affairs, Cuba put her considerable military power in the front ranks against the racist apartheid system of South Africa. Cuba, supporting the armed forces of Angola, fought South Africa at a place called Cuite Carnivals, inflicting such losses on the apartheid army that it began the long road to negotiation, settlement, and dissolution.
Yes, Castro is laying aside his office, a process which, for U.S. presidents usually means the opportunity to accrue obscene amounts of money. But he leaves a proud tradition of Latin American sovereignty, impressive successes in the field's of education and medicine, and revolutionary resistance to the racist apartheid regime of South Africa.
In large part, his efforts paved the way to peace and democracy in South Africa.
His name, and his example will be remembered for centuries, for the ability of the small to stand up to the mighty.
http://www.prisonradio.org/CastroCubaMumia.htm Read more!
Posted by Leslie A at 2:04 PM
Friday, February 22, 2008
Jay Electronica and Erykah Badu cover URB’s Next 100 issue, due out the first week of March.
Here’s a quick quote from the cover story. He’s talking about how he envisions a Jay Electronica concert.
“It’s like a revue from the ’30s or ’40s that comes to town for maybe three days…You sit down and you’re served food and a curtain opens and I come out and talk to the people. A ventriloquist’s dummy might walk out of a wooden cabinet and perform ‘Voodoo Man.’ The curtains may open and you see me performing a song chained in a tank of water. I’ll be performing magic.”
Link in the trunk
A bigger picture
Posted by Mr. Barbarian at 1:49 AM
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Monday, February 18, 2008
"Since the invasion of Tibet over 50 years ago, China has systematically destroyed the Tibetan culture. One of the most profound losses is the tradition of the great master yogis. The entire system which supported these fascinating mind masters has been inexorably eliminated. In order to record these mystical practitioners for posterity, the filmmakers were given permission to film heretofore secret demonstrations and to conduct interviews on subject matter rarely discussed. This profound historical, spiritual and educational film will someday be the last remnant of these amazing practitioners."
Friday, February 15, 2008
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
The Rumors are true, there will be a new Immortal Technique CD coming out at the end of this Spring. And I am going on a short tour to promote it before I go back and finish the next CD. I have partnered with Green Lantern to bring you the new project entitled
“The 3rd World”
It is an album/mixtape of all original tracks. Political but something very brutal and street orientated like I mentioned in earlier interviews.
I was told that for every page you write in a journal you lose readers, and while I don’t expect you all to sit here for 20 minutes in your busy day to read this entry... It costs less than a stamp to print this up and read in the bathroom or on a break to spread the word.
Now… all of the journal entries that I have made on this page have been toward a specific cause or a subject matter that I have found integral to the survival, advancement, and the education of the Revolutionary spirit of my people. When I say “my people” though, I have already lost some of the more cynical and semantic-driven individuals who would answer, “Are we not all Americans?” Or even deeper and more placating to philosophical means, “Are we not all human beings?” And what of the class structured divisions? Am I to resent another because they were born into wealth, by no fault of their own, as are those who are looked down upon by this society because they are born naked into the world screaming in a refugee camp? Is it not my responsibility to educate those that are kept in a prison of opportunity and blind ignorance to the outside world much like the prince Siddhartha before his divine revelation? Who are “my people?”
It took me most of my young life to begin understanding and learning the extremely long and painful history behind the concept of race. That it was built around the necessity to justify slavery and religious superiority for something beyond the visible goals mentioned. It was created to enforce economic and political domination. When I acknowledged that, it shone a light on a great many things. We must understand that the countries that we immigrate from to America are the bread basket for this empire, and without them there wouldn’t be a fraction of the luxuries, culture and food we have now. The propaganda behind immigration is a necessity for some to drum up because there is a fear of our culture. But if we take away the influence of Latino, African, Asian and Middle Eastern cultures what do the xenophobic racists who hide behind the preservation of “American Culture” really have. I am not threatened by other people’s beliefs and their religious preferences because my convictions are strong, because I have faith in my perspective and I welcome the ideological challenges and historical debate. Were I weak and fearful of confronting those changes perhaps I would fear the addition of more opinions. Such the same are people with allowing others to practice their own culture, because in truth American culture is essentially to many uneducated white Americans supposed to be centered in European culture. Which has never really been true, but has been perceived that way for the past couple of centuries. But now we are calling on America to fulfill it’s promise or wear the crown of hypocrisy it has been ducking and dodging for years.
It was Leo Strauss, one of the surrogate fathers of modern conservatism that suggested that liberalism had failed in the 60’s and 70’s because of the social revolt and apparent movement towards nihilism and hedonistic impulses that tried to devoid the nation of a moral foundation. But there is no greater mischaracterization. The nation was not led astray or conflicted but was in fact schizophrenic during that Revolutionary era. It was torn between the identity it claimed as the Land of the Free and that of the violent oppressor of it’s own people and those with a desire of self-governing over the 3rd World. There are people who have been naïve enough to believe the subtle propaganda thrown out there that attempts to marginalize people who speak about the method in which Communism and Capitalism served the great empires of the world. In such a manner was their service rendered that too many people behind the scenes grew rich at the expense of vassal states that served one or the other side. They were dedicated to the doctrine but unable to look beyond the meaning of their own significance when confronted with the reality that they were pawns in a much larger game. And while the people who lived through such chaos begin to realize the cause and effect in their old age sometimes their children forget. The second generation immigrants that come here from Latin American, Middle Eastern, African and Asian countries sometimes have only have a pedestrian understanding of what past US interventionism has been a part of, in order to protect what it calls “it’s interests.”
With the dollar in the toilet and the subject of the economy FINALLY becoming a national issue the ideas on how to rebuild an economy, and define our foreign policy are still muddled. Some proposed that a low dollar is good for business because others can now buy American products cheaper and it helps us sell goods abroad, until it began to sink like the Lusitania and the average persons savings account lost a significant % on the global market. But since that idiot Brit Hume and the rest of the Right Wing fluff girls on Fox aren’t missing a meal and, none of their friends are struggling to make ends meet, they kept proposing that the economy was doing fine… Unless of course you asked a regular person, and regular people I’m glad to see have finally started making issues like these and healthcare a part of the election instead of nonsense sidelines distractions like missions to Mars and constitutional amendments to ban gay marriage or the big illegal immigrant scare which I’ll discuss shortly…
I recently walked into a store downtown the other day because it was cold as hell outside and I wanted to buy a hat. I found two that looked identical, one was a little thicker than the other and hat a larger brim on it. I picked the heavier hat and looked it over, it had a big sticker that said “Made in America” and named a factory in Michigan where it was made. And right next to it there was another hat with some famous name brand that was thinner and looked kinda flimsy. I looked inside the hat and it said “Made in Vietnam.” Vietnam is a country that this nation once lost a Guerilla war against, (for a variety of reasons) but while the fall of Saigon symbolized the end of Americas forced occupation of the country it was a pyrrhic victory for that nation and its neighbors that had their entire infrastructure obliterated after relentless bombing runs and years of fighting the colonial powers who have historically profited from this political love/hate relationship.
I compared the hats in price and I saw that this item that was made for and handful of pennies in a foreign country with a brand name was selling for about $16 while the sturdier American made $4 hat stood unassumingly right next to it.
I usually buy hats, gloves and mixtapes all from the street vendors on 125th to offset the gentrification perpetuated by the corporate investments in the neighborhoods ruthless gentrification. Harlem is certainly not the same crime ridden area that had left murdered people on our front door when I was a child, but it was made into a nicer place for the specific purpose of moving certain people out and replacing the population of the area. All the while skyrocketing the cost of living. The equivalent of me coming over to your house renovating and cleaning it and you thinking I’m so nice for doing so, until you realize my ulterior motives. That I’m planning on eating in your kitchen, sleeping in your bedroom and living in your living room, but don’t worry I left you a little spot to sleep, next to the shitter. I often explain to my friends in the music business that soon there will be no more “hood” in New York City of which to speak in their rhymes, only to reminisce about. As outsourcing increases and technological revolution sets in workers find their job skills obsolete and their rents quadruples. But, like so many other things this is just a microcosm of a global effort to ethnically cleanse populations.
US economists have always “conveniently” seen the nationalization of natural resources as bad for the 3rd world because it is said to limit competition and stifle the growth of the global market. Unless of course you are CITGO or have control of your own nation with the sphere of influence and authority to create a national policy around your own market. These are the same people that advocate the exploitation of foreign workers under the premise that those are the best paying jobs in the developing world’s sector and that they are doing the local population a favor by being there. And the 3rd world governments are usually compliant, not because of the economic growth to the nation itself, but rather they look the other way from substandard conditions and outlawed unionizing because of the massive amount of corporate kick-backs they get. The responsibility for unbridled corruption falls on the shoulders of both laissez fair economics practicing companies and installed regimes that are “friendly” to what we call “US interests.” Maybe that’s why we forcefully install and protect so many dictatorships and look away from the abuses of those authoritarian regimes we try to pass of as democracies engage in.
Some will point out that I could have saved you all about 3 or 4 paragraphs by concluding that we go to war for money. Some people have told me that these long dissertations of mine are too complicated to read and that they should be simplified because somehow I’m “less from the streets” if I express myself in these terms. But I’m writing this from Harlem right now. I’m still back and forth from South America where the ghettos are tougher than anything ever seen in the States. And the purpose for this was to express that the economic downturn and outsourcing in this nation does NOT strengthen the local structure but reverses the functionality of labor practices, democracy and human rights law in the developing world.
Global trickle down economics shouldn’t be the mantra of 21st century society.
Needless to say I bought the $4 hat and I left and it left me thinking about the rational behind the debasement of our currency. I also thought about how whenever I did any of the prison programs I do for young Black and Latino people and walked through all the neighborhoods in America I saw people of all so called races, and social walks of life who gained nothing but suffering from our foreign policy.
So naturally the question that always comes to mind when I read about protecting US interests is “Just whose interests in the US are we protecting?” It’s most certainly not the interests of the people at the bottom of the de facto caste system. They are not on the board of directors at the Banks that give developing countries loans to pay off the interest from the loans they were previously given a few decades ago. And they aren’t ones who have been selling you a $5 cup of coffee that costs a fraction of a penny to produce while starving out their workers and blocking their collective bargaining. People who argue that the middle class would enjoy discounts by way of cheaper products because of outsourcing jobs are useless. Their like an asshole who roots for a sports team with the logic that if they win the superbowl, or the world series they will personally inherit the economic boom enjoyed by the city itself. Local businesses have a good day but, sports stores sell Jersey’s, the city pays for a new stadium sometimes. But after that the painfully obvious fact that there is little gain sinks in and someone’s who just lost their 401K ‘s gotta clean up the ticker tape parade. Mind you this coming from a man who put up dough on the Giant’s for 17-1 odds, so it’s not about me hating on sports.
The average American citizen shares probably about a fraction of a percentage, an almost negligible amount of profit for what we achieve abroad. Compared to those sitting on the top of the pyramid that it is. Everything that we touch is imported from the far reaches of the world. Here it provides us with a variety of goods, but what do we trade for that? When did turning a blind eye to Pakistan’s political assassinations while dumping money in the hands of warlords and funding the political “stability” (ie: payoffs to heads of state that allow horribly sub-standards conditions of work) suddenly become in the interest of all the Black and Latino and even middle class white communities???
They aren’t protecting us from terrorism. As a matter of fact it’s become apparent that whether they like to admit it or not the end result of them shielding extremists and militants justifies our presence in the region. We have trouble even deciding what that word and torture means anymore. It isn’t even in the interest of any of the Semitic Diaspora here of either Jewish or Palestinian descent who wish to find a lasting peace when we fund billions of dollars to an IDF war machine. But it’s still actually seen as the “duty” of American according to the corporate media to sponsor that. (Both Hillary and Obama are staunch supporters of Israel by the way)
It’s interesting that the ratio of the population would really have us sending more money to a variety of other countries that have a higher number of representatives among our constituency. This unbalance wouldn’t bother me so much as a taxpayer except that when the inner city communities ask for money from the Federal Government it’s characterized as welfare by the pious GOP and even some Democrats and Libertarians. I think back to the people of El Salvador and those in Nicaragua whose right to elect whatever form of government suited their economy best was blocked. A civil war was funded to a degree that I don’t think modern historian really have the intellectual courage to come to terms with yet. But they have to now. Because the restructuring of 500 yr old class and racial structures perpetrated by European nations during the age of Conquest is the right of every 3rd World nation. It is not our right to be hateful and racist in a reactionary manner but it is our right to be offensive with facts to the oppressor if that means taking back what was stolen from us during the era of Colonialism.
Colonialism. I am one of many who have suggested that this word doesn’t do the period of 1492 to 1994 justice. It doesn’t embody the same awe inspiring terror that words and phrases like “Genocide” or “Systematic Rape” do. But that is exactly what it is. It is decorated with high interest loans that modernize a small % of the country, it is littered with so-called missionaries, it even though it exchanged military presence for a more subtle mercantile monopoly it cannot hide. It coats the concept of ruthless and deceptive control with sweet sugar, but the sugar itself was probably processed through the backbreaking slave labor that our ancestors toiled in during the age of our physical bondage. And now to escape mental slavery we must understand the various dimensions of this foreign policy. We must comprehend the history that mutated a free nation into a slave state after years of violating the land and the people who lived on it.
Around the world there are those who don’t live in the safety of a college dorm or the shelter of even pubic housing and whose Revolutionary ideas, are not sabotaged by the super powers that be. To understand instead of romanticize why people in developing countries Revolt and yet are fearful of Revolution for a good reason we must destroy the mythology of such a struggle. For innocent people always die and innocent women are always raped, even in fighting for the most just causes. I have stated before that this has happened in all Revolutions dating back to the dawn of organized government and tribal society. But when a system has become so corrupt, so blatantly abusive of the people and their capacity to endure the hypocrisy and burden of a nonfunctional or non-believable centralized system, the people chose to risk it all. They risk death, misery torture, and they risk uncertainty. They risk starvation and annihilation for a new life, not just for themselves, but more importantly for their children. But when governments are overthrown by outside sources for the purpose of regime change the economic motivations far outweighs the peoples’ interests.
That is the difference in between a Revolution, and what the ideal that the right wing asks the people of Iraq to pay for. In the end it is someone else’s vision of their country and the control of their oil supply. The concept of Freedom is a propaganda tool rather than a symbiotic partner of Democracy. The Revolution is betrayed and the war exists to prolong war itself and consolidate power, not abroad, but here.
Trying to understand the dynamic of our relationship as a Federal Republic, whose corporations are its image abroad as much as it’s military presence around the world without digesting these facts is nonsensical. In order to understand Christianity for example or even Islam, one must understand the history of their regions of origin. One must learn the history of the Egyptian Dynasty’s, the Roman Empire, the Parthian Empire, Zoroastrianism, The Khazars, The Byzantine Empire, the Caliphate and the Northern African nations who adopted all these religions at one point in time. One must be able to grasp the idea of what the world that these faiths were born into was like. Judaism admiringly has the benefit of the Old Testament, which is intertwined with the historical essence of a people and the geopolitical reality of migration, survival and knowledge of self. Something I wish my people had more of. A Cultural Revolution without the destruction of ancient artifacts and the violation of human rights to bring a people struggling with their identity a new idea of who they were as a point of trajectory to not just see who they are, but who they will become in the future.
End of Part 1.
This political season because of the amount of influence that I guess I have with people who choose to immerse themselves in the culture and roots of Hip Hop, Supporters of Street Organizations, Youth in general and specifically the young Latino, Black & Middle Eastern intellectual base, I have been approached by many representatives for the people who are running for office. Some have asked me for endorsements, and some have just wanted to talk. (Note: Hillary Clinton and the Major Republican factions were not among them.) I have, been approached the most though by Cynthia McKinney, Obama and Ron Paul supporters who are either former Democrats or Republicans, (I have right wing acquaintances believe it or not…) I had a small debate with a select few of the more heavily involved upper tier of them about some serious issues I had with Ron Paul as a political entity. Even though some people throw their support behind him because of his libertarian and fiscal conservatism, we must be clear that he doesn’t pose a threat to the structure of the right wing as much as he poses a threat to the balance of the left wing. Libertarian doesn’t mean liberal after all, and it’s not synonymous with Revolutionary.
If there are young and impressionable people coming from the left and the democratic party to support a man who claimed to be “the most conservative member of the Republican Party” during the presidential debates. There is something wrong with that. That’s not hip, sexy or cool. Stripping down the Dept. of Education and replacing it with some bone marrow devoid femur of a tax credit borders on ludicrous and I don’t mean the rapper muthafucka. He may speak volumes of truth about some domestic issues and the foreign policy that we have concerning Iraq. But it’s not enough.
I won’t vote for someone just because they wish to end the war and talk about bringing the troops home, because so does Obama and even Clinton alludes to downsizing. But think about it, without that message, without his call for the ending of the war in Iraq and talking about the causes for 9/11, he would not be in the limelight or have garnered a tenth of the support that he had. It would be the equivalent, numerically, although not ideologically to George Bush not being an evangelical Christian and seeking the nomination back in 2000. I’m not suggesting that people who support him are all naïve and stupid, not at all. But I have only met a handful of people who knew the extent of his positions besides a “humble foreign policy” and closing the borders. Sure I read the websites and watched the debates, read all his platforms but I also did research. This debate is interesting on all key issues especially for Republicans.
I can applaud Dr. Paul’s theorized ideas about US policy abroad and while I will admit that his ideas about tax reform are very interesting especially about deconstructing the IMF (which I’m sure would cost him his life,) some of his domestic policies are an indefensible failure. Sadly some have even become the safe haven for white people who like to hide their bigotry and small-minded uncultured ideas about the principles of democracy and the historical context of immigration behind his message. And I’m not saying he’s a racist, because first of all that terminology itself is so overused it needs to be updated and redefined as much the phrase “Real Hip Hop.” I’m not mad because he got money and refused to give it back to white supremacists. I understood his reasoning. I didn’t, however buy his rationale that claimed a, ‘property rights’, issue as the reason he voted against the 1964 Civil Rights Bill. The bill that allows Black, Brown and White people to eat at the same places, go to the same schools and drink at the same fountains, that legislation that hate it or love it, forced integration. That’s something confederate flag waving whites have associated with “big government” and have hated Democrats for, ever since in the South was occupied by General Grants Army.
No, we didn’t need to go to “white schools” to get a better education, (“I’ve heard this attempt at a logical argument by conservative African Americans) we needed the same resources and attention that this fundamentally racist government thought we didn’t need because we were slated to be a permanent underclass in the land of the free. Blacks and Indigenous people were purported by Eugenicists during the early 20th century to become extinct, so therefore no effort was made to preserve their condition. And even without that theory there was no real expectation for us to join the elite that’s why education was seen as a farfetched idea for our populations.
The Civil Rights Bill and the way it was implemented as well as Affirmative Action are as I stated before, are a pathetic excuse for reparations, but without it we would be a modernized version of South Africa during the early 1980’s.
There is little justification for this issue so I refuse to be mischaracterized as someone who “Doesn’t get it” or is “confused” about his position. No son, I know what they are and apparently if your reading this and you are in disagreement then there is a question about your Revolutionary nature...not mine.
I would love to see Cynthia McKinney get some more light in the press considering that if we are talking about standing up for your principles and putting it all on the line, none of them hold a candle to this woman. But I would also love to see Obama get the nomination and win, I liked his reps very much, just like the Ron Paul supporters ( who were very respectful and debated well), very dedicated to changing the direction of this nation. I just think that whoever Republicans are hoping to win they must have an agenda behind it and right now they are attacking Clinton hard because they want her to lose against Obama. I think they still believe she has a better shot of getting independent votes than McCain. Although, pay attention… McCain was smart enough to not feed into the negative media about illegal immigration. After his endorsement meeting with Arnold Schwarzenegger who beat native Californian Cruz Bustamante it became obvious that he plans to go after minorities by splitting the Latino vote almost in half the way Schwarzenegger did. McCain hopes to achieve the same result knowing that even if Clinton wins instead of Obama he is still not going to get any significant % of the African American vote. So that’s why banking on the Nation’s largest minority will be a must.
Some people are taken aback by McCain’s ideas about being in Iraq for 100 years, but I think that in some capacity we will remain there for a considerable amount of time regardless of who is president. After all the war in Germany has been over for about 60 years and we still have almost 80,000 troops there and the German government foots a 1 billion $ a year bill for their presence. We have 40,000 troops in South Korea and another 40,000 or so in Japan…We have thousands in Italy, Panama, Afghanistan, the Balkans etc… Essentially everywhere that we have gone to war or “intervened” so I think whether we are ready to accept it or not unless someone who has no strings attached wins this race it will be the same thing over and over again.
That’s why, I can heavily appreciate any message about America not being in Iraq, although having a non interventionist policy in these terms of absolutism leaves questions about what one would do in cases like Rwanda and Darfur. But realize that when you decide to police the world and reap the economic benefits of having a capitalist scaffold built around the world you have to pay maintenance of an empire. If nothing else for the illusion that you really represent freedom and liberty for the people around the world, but when we go to Kuwait and not to Rwanda it makes things to obvious... Anything else gives us the same Clintonesque lateness that brought us to Bosnia a couple of years AFTER the massacres to overthrow an old fraction of a man who had already committed atrocities in the face of the world unchallenged. The question was posed here…
http://www.pbs.org/kcet/tavissmiley/special/forums/video.html Check the Darfur q&a
I think this debate is important to keep having, in order to better understand when and how to intervene, when or when not to send US troops or when to work with the UN to give food or supplies to a cause. It is objectionable to anyone with a conscious to NOT think we should have done more or should be doing more all these scenarios. But the question becomes, when do we run in to provide aid for the sake of our moral responsibility and when is it a question of our selfish corporate interests? What litmus test can be run to determine the global consequence and the genuine cause that precedes any other agenda when we enter another nation?
That is the real debate we need to have.
A charismatic leader who is true to his or her ideals, and doesn’t betray them for the sake of money or comfort is admirable. But that doesn’t imply they are Revolutionary. Ron Paul was a breath of fresh air in some domestic respects and when it comes to his position on world issues he was often mischaracterized and slandered as a, “Neville Chamberlain” of the Right Wing when he is just a man who understands the fiscal reality of this mess in Iraq. He was right on when he was talking about repealing federal drug laws that are fundamentally racist, I thought his honest views about abortion brought legal issues into question and he admirably changed his position on the death penalty. But he and other conservatives and libertarians are not at all progressive or Revolutionary as some call them when it comes to the issues of immigration. Unless Revolutionary involves repealing the citizenship of children here in American born to undocumented parents and shipping them back home. He’s definitely not as intellectually backward enough to think we can round people up with the Army so I can applaud that because he was definitely not as one dimensional as say this screaming harpy below.
Who I’m going to present now, not because there is an ounce of validity that can even be considered, but to show how conservatives invent people. This woman had NO political leverage whatsoever. She didn’t even have a reason for being on the air. She’s helped nobody but herself talking about (just like Lou Dobbs) and yet FOX and others have decided to give people like this a platform. Because it is a divisive issue for whites in America and it is becoming so for Blacks especially where there are issues of Black/Brown violence growing in the communities. She reportedly endorsed Ron Paul openly once after Tom Tancredo (long overdue to) threw in his chips but the endorsement was asked to be rescinded, and subsequently was, because to put it quite frankly, they thought the bitch was a liability.
None of my criticisms of any of the politicians I have mentioned are said out of disrespect, so I don’t think it’s possible to marginalize or attempt to defame me as an individual for having a mind of my own and not wanting to be a part of the “Young Libertarian Republican Revolution.” Because to be quite honest I’d rather shoot heroin...
But, I do have a great amount of esteem for any man who will stand among the people in his own party or political wing and fight vigorously against pure illogicality.
For example I have argued hard with a lot of rebels and historically challenged militants about how white people are not devils. I’ve definitely had the ongoing discussion about Marx’s economic principles being flawed and how socialism itself needs a new definition and new understanding, a new testament if you will. I’ve argued about Che Guevara’s mishandling of the Cuban economy and his marriage to Communism instead of Revolutionary independence even though he was right about the Sino Soviet dispute. I’ve argued about how Islam, although incredibly revolutionary in its context as a spiritual and social mechanism for people who live under oppression still has the capacity as it has proven in the past to be an agent of conquest in Africa just as Christianity once was. And although my mind was opened to another chamber by reading the Qu’ran, you cannot talk to me about it as a religious faith without speaking on the history of Islam, Arabs and The Middle East in general and the entire region in historical perspective. If you are majoring in the subject or would like to learn more I would suggest reading at least couple of volumes of Al-Tabari’s (838-923) “The History of Prophets and Kings”. I highly recommend Volume 36, “The Revolt of the Zanj”, for those who are more advanced in this area of study.
****I will NOT tolerate someone’s misinterpretation of what I just said, because all versions of history are my greatest ally. Virtually all religions after all are brought to people by their conquerors. And any religion can be used by an imperial power’s tool to reinforce it’s sphere of influence over a region much like the Ottoman Empire did in the Balkans, Spain did with Christianity in the Americas. So whether in violent campaigns or through the condescension of missionary agents that come into a country to offset the cruelty of the colonial powers the result is the same... a consolidation of political power through the use of religion.****
But this is not a criticism of any religion in specific terms but rather the idea that anyone who would follow a prophet or a doctrine is flawed from the moment they are born. They are human after all and so when unquestionable divinity is attributed to anyone or anything besides God, it is often the benchmark for where the excuses and indulgences of civic and economic practice begin. A prophet of God is a man of peace but his followers are almost always men who use the divine power of the message to satisfy their thirst for power. And then it is no longer God making man in his own image but rather man who makes and then remakes God in HIS own image to suit whatever military, economic or social agenda he has planned.
We all have our hypocrisies and flaws. But I’m not conceited or easily disillusioned so I don’t shy away from addressing them and trying to fix them when they are pointed out, that’s the process of growing intellectually. I think anyone who would take offense to my honest and fair questions would do themselves, their ideas and their favored candidate a great disservice.
After all I can at least validate the honesty of the opinions given by John McCain, Ron Paul, Colin Powell and others who walked their talk and went to fight in Vietnam. However misguided that war really was, at least they stood by what they preached, it actually makes a debate with their ideas more constructive. Unlike the college Republican chicken hawks who cloud issues to avoid debate and ramble about Islamo-Fascism but would rather get raped with a paddle at a Fraternity initiation than fight in the desert against the, “mortal enemies of America.” I would think they’d be the first in line to raise arms against those who attacked us because they were jealous of our freedom and driven insane by the fact that we have cable TV.
As an apprentice of Revolution I train, and I read a lot. The master teachers I have studied from like John Henrik Clarke and others, opened doors to the past and helped me gain a perspective of my peoples past. But this also left me and other Revolutionaries with the responsibility of our nation’s future. A revolutionary owes his allegiance to the people, and therefore, I cannot be the champion of a privileged class of American citizens before those in our country that suffer the greatest weight of what this Federal Republic requires in order for them to earn their right to live here.
I fight for the working class and the immigrant in America who built and is building our future as we speak. I don’t think that everyone who has issues with immigration is a racist, that’s just not true. After all you can have serious issues with the domestic and foreign policy of Israel and not be Anti-Semetic (no matter what AIPAC says), and you don’t have to hate Blacks to question Affirmative action. But I spit in the face of those who would persecute immigrants under the guise of legality. So don’t think you can fuckin’ toy with me with your sheetrock-thin talking points. After all, how many Native American treaties and international laws has the US violated? I fight for both the documented and undocumented that live in this far reaching empire, those of all colors who have found their calling in a Revolutionary spirit.
Some people think I hate America. But I just see her for what she was, I see her for more than what she is, and I see what she still could be. I see potential for advancement in the way we think as human beings, while others just see the opportunity to keep using her like a whore until there is nothing left. Before of course they discard her and move on through the evolution of globalization that makes corporations gods and nations the lowly servants of false idol. I guess it makes it easier to marginalize my positions by calling me a conspiracy theorist for believing that government lies to it’s people, than it is to talk truth. It’s easier to send me death threats and bullshit emails about immigration, messages about being a nigger and spic instead of discussing the past 2000 years. I guess you forgot that I passed The Point of No Return…
And I think the people of this nation deserve better than what they have. They deserve to pay less taxes, and to have more accountability from their government. To have more efficient service and to stop the political nepotism that exists in Washington and, that has ruled this country incompetently for too long. America can be better than this. And its problems do not stem from people coming here to work. After all most of us immigrated here because our countries were taken over in a post-colonial age with the help of this and other former imperial powers for the express, purpose of exploiting our nations’ resources. Much like the music industry comes to the Underground to try and prostitute our talent. We come here for a new life, for freedom from fake democracy and the repression both political and religious of our people. We come here for the promise. But that promise is sometimes a lie.
The immigration issue is not a simple legal issue, it is a complex human rights question and a global reality that repeats itself every generational cycle. And now it is a tool to dismantle progressive ideas and to dismantle a nation of people who are on the brink of Revolution but choose to go backwards and forget what it was supposed to mean to be an “American”. I am not opposed to having immigrants learn English, after all I did. Spanish was my first language. But the attitude that we must give up all our culture just to assimilate is the testament to the racism sometimes involved with the immigration issue, because white Europeans didn’t have to give up theirs completely.
Our lengthy, often ignored, proud history before enslavement is who we really are spiritually, maybe that’s the problem. Maybe if we had a less important role in defining what it means to actually be a human being they wouldn’t give a fuck about us learning it. Those who worked here for over 10 years to build America should be able to celebrate that just as others here do without being deported. Spare the children who are innocent in all this prison camp like imprisonment and homelessness when you ship their parents back with these ICE traps. Learn, that if there is a God he surely would not smile down on a nation that cast out his poorest and humblest, and those that are stronger in their practice of faith than much of this nation. But even if we take religion out of the equation completely, one day the climate of this Earth will change. Remember that the only thing that protects us from the merciless radiation of the Sun is the magnetic field around Earth, which is theoretically caused by the constant revolutions of molten iron. Interestingly enough due to our slightly elliptical shape, the most protection garnered from this field, is at our equator, the center of the 3rd world. Perhaps one day we will be crossing the border South instead of North for survival, and I’m sure someone will come up with an excuse to take our land again.
I could go on for about 30 more pages of history and rip apart the general consensus on immigration held by those who favor deportation in America. But I won’t I’ll just say that we as so called Latino people are not the first to receive this treatment, all South Eastern Europeans (and Middle Easterners) including Italians, Armenians, Slavs, Greeks, etc were portrayed in the same light when they first came here. Immigrants are the life and blood of America, and yet we must suffer as many others did before us, the torments of the establishments that finds us incapable of assimilating to the American family and championing their selfish angry Eurocentric nationalist ideas. Interestingly enough while these nationalities I mentioned were eventually incorporated into America through the idea of a “melting pot”, we indigenous people were never meant to be a part of the melting pot idea. That was reserved for European immigrants. We were just the brown wood destined to be fuel for the fire. It is a destiny we now have the power to change and that we need to change. After all the real victims of the worst economies in America are those who are at the bottom, not the upper or middle class.
My people are suffering the most in this country, more than anyone. And regardless of your skin color, or religious affiliation, if you are strong willed, mature, progressive, intelligent, compassionate and Revolutionary, if you are someone who believes in truth and freedom, they are YOUR people too. And that in turn answers the initial question about who “my people” are.
I hear the word “change” being thrown around so much, repeated over and over by candidates, but nothing too specific about what exactly they will change. Ending the occupation in Iraq is a good change, but cutting funding for the Dept. of Education (whose teachers are severely underpaid and not given resources for better education as it is) because its BIG government isn’t a good change. Neither is repealing Roe Vs. Wade, and taking a woman’s right to a terminate pregnancy when she is the victim of rape or incest because of some theological doctrine that people who run as the Christian candidates like to use selectively. While I am not personally in favor of abortion that is my personal choice (that I will speak of on a later day) that I cannot apply to others. I think there is something to be said about the legality of life in the womb. But I sometimes wonder though how these individuals who have run on these strict pro-life tickets like Rick Santorum, Sam Brownback, Fred Thompson and Dick Cheney would’ve reacted if their wife or daughter was raped and she became pregnant, or if she was knocked up by some “swarthy non-English speaking sweaty illegal alien.” Someone that makes everything in their home including their dinner but they resent having to treat at the same hospitals or teach at the same schools.
My experience has taught me that people’s self-righteous, sanctimonious nature is usually only applicable in a vacuum, because in real life you have to bleed for it. So it’s easy for some people to think like this. It’s also easy for them to chant “stay the course”, most of them never picked up a rifle or stayed on extended tours in 120 degree weather while their families suffered back in the states, otherwise they might understand what it feels like to want to come home. It’s easy to think that “surge is working” until you realize that your tax dollars you don’t want going to “big government” are in Iraq buying off street gangs, Extremist Militia’s, with monthly stipends to decrease violence against US troops. Then again this war being conceived and then run by people who dipped out when it was their chance to serve still amazes me.
Next thing you know they’ll be putting Arabian Horse racers in charge of FEMA and hooking their girlfriends up with high paying jobs at the World Bank.
The world is a cold place sometime. I’m glad I bought that $4 hat.
Con Amor de Revolucion,
President of Viper Records
PLEEEEEEEEEEASE read the rest. Read more!