Friday, December 30, 2011

Being Knowledgeable

After watching Turtle: The Incredible Journey, a story that chronicles the life of a single loggerhead sea turtle who shortly after being born embarks upon an extraordinary seafaring odyssey over thousands of miles, spanning many years, having never gone before, yet never losing her way, I couldn't help but wonder about the knowledge that we are born with, yet and still we lose our way. Being thrown off our journey is not being lost. But knowing the difference is key. Our purpose is within. Know yourself.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Friday, December 23, 2011

Being Sophie Scholl

"The real damage is done by those millions who want to 'survive.' The honest men who just want to be left in peace. Those who don’t want their little lives disturbed by anything bigger than themselves. Those with no sides and no causes. Those who won’t take measure of their own strength, for fear of antagonizing their own weakness. Those who don’t like to make waves — or enemies. Those for whom freedom, honor, truth, and principles are only literature. Those who live small, mate small, die small. It’s the reductionist approach to life: if you keep it small, you’ll keep it under control. If you don’t make any noise, the bogeyman won’t find you. But it’s all an illusion, because they die too, those people who roll up their spirits into tiny little balls so as to be safe. Safe?! From what? Life is always on the edge of death; narrow streets lead to the same place as wide avenues, and a little candle burns itself out just like a flaming torch does. I choose my own way to burn." – Sophie Scholl

Being Ron Paul

Let me begin by saying I am not a fan of the mainstream news media and have not watched television in almost a year. But I do keep up with national and international news via the Internet through mostly alternative news sources.

Ron Paul recently stormed out of the CNN studio after being asked about the racist newsletter circulating for many years that bore his name and his affiliation with racist organizations who support him. His response was not presidential. As a presidential candidate or the president himself, it would not matter how many times a question has been answered, it should be answered yet again. Perhaps there are those among the over 300 million Americans who have not heard the answer. Why not just answer the question?

Paul's response begs the question of not only poor temperament, but how he will handle issues as president that are unfavorable to him or that he deems insignificant. By his ill-tempered behavior, he seems to think that the presidency is about him. While he positions himself as the outsider, his response reveals him as the typical insider.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Being a Police State

Let it be known that Senator Lindsey Graham and other Republicans, along with 16 Democrats and 1 Independent, believe that if captured by your government under the mere suspicion of terror--whose suspicion, by the way?--that you have no rights.

The Senate passed a bill on Tuesday which would allow the military detain Americans indefinitely.

"The enemy is all over the world. Here at home. And when people take up arms against the United States and [are] captured within the United States, why should we not be able to use our military and intelligence community to question that person as to what they know about enemy activity?" Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said.

"They should not be read their Miranda Rights. They should not be given a lawyer," Graham said. "They should be held humanely in military custody and interrogated about why they joined al Qaeda and what they were going to do to all of us."

Do we need more proof that we will soon live in a Police State? This bill is an outrage.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Being Thankful

For many years I have been thinking about family and what makes it. I have been thinking about the ties that bind, love, responsibility, forgiveness, and care. I love my siblings dearly because I know them intimately. I trust them. But is there something greater than trust which allows us to give of ourselves freely without recrimination or fear? While wisdom is the principle thing, love is its guide and it needs no history, just familiarity. We are one. Happy Thanksgiving. I love you.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Being a Police State

A Police State has one purpose: to protect the powerful. And there is only one reason to fear peaceful protestors: if the powerful are threatened.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Being Partisan

While we fight the not so good fight of partisan politics, those who are defending on the same side. How do we know these? We know them by the millions they receive as former congresspersons now consultants and lobbyists, and the apparent quid pro quo of present congresspersons exonerated by the body that governs itself. Newt Gingrich (R) served as a consultant for Freddie Mac receiving $1.6 million from this quasi-government agency marred in the subprime scandal. Kent Conrad (D), along with former senator Chris Dodd (D), were handling the negotiations for Country Wide while apparently receiving personal favors from this embattled institution. The Senate Ethics Committee saw no wrong doing. There is nothing new about any of this, but what is old is our ongoing fight of who's better when both parties have repeatedly failed us.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Being Open to the Opinions of Others Matters

Much to my surprise I was called a "leftard" this morning after questioning a photo that included the caption "socialism has a documented record of colossal failure. World history has proven that. Socialism is NOT AN OPTION in America. Capitalism is how America became a super power." These early morning discussions are probably not for me as I would rather not do such ideological battles so early.For example:

"It is an inescapable fact of life" that "all wealth comes from thrift and productivity" I was told in a discussion about the ills of socialism in praise of capitalism. I pointed out that historically the statement was patently false. The Wealth of Nations has been built on centuries of free labor and indentured servitude, and that big banks and big business have always run the government. I included the Theodore Roosevelt quote that "behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people." I identified this "invisible government" as big business.

In the praise of American capitalism and the decline of socialist states in Europe, I countered that we are presently in economic decline because of a system of capital sanctioned by the government that allows "too big to fail" and disables us from making our own toilet bowl brushes. I noted that there are no pure -isms of any sort. I pointed out that Iceland had a booming economy, clean energy initiatives, and a great educational system. Then entered Goldman Sachs. I quoted Nassim Nicholas Taleb that we "socialize debts and privatize profits."

Regarding big business and small business, I made the distinction that "thrift and productivity" has been the hallmark of small business success, but not so much with big business. Government through trade policies tinker with productivity (often immorally when you consider the success of companies like Apple's production in Asia--as I type on my MacBook--sigh!), and bailout to the likes of GE to the tune of billions when thrift has long not been a hallmark of business and the engineering that once made that company great has largely been replaced with financial engineering tantamount to Wall Street gambling.

There were several replies that insisted that after all of the above and more that I had not answer the "simple" question about where wealth comes from. The discussion ended for me with jingoism about freedom and capitalism, and how Beijing after embracing capitalism soars. Differences of opinions I do not oppose, but often our differences are packaged in idealism and ideology which do not move discussions forward. How do we extract ourselves in order to really hear what others are saying? I suppose humility is a big factor here. I will examine myself further.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Being the People We Have Been Waiting For

While we need to draw attention to legislation that have made investment banks and corporations such as GE and AIG like commercial banks with depositors with the protection of the government that are themselves now too big to fail, why don’t communities do something about this? Commercial banks couldn’t survive without our deposits and investment banks couldn’t subsist without our investment. Goldman Sachs, for example, is heavily invested in cities throughout the country and many throughout the globe. We have to get creative and rebuild smaller thriving communities and essentially create the likes of Black Wall Street. But this time the segregation will be by choice. (Desegregation, by the way, helped to destroy the concentrated wealth of Black Wall Street.) We need to collectively segregate our capital and pool it in ways that will directly benefit the communities where we live. We are indeed the people we have been waiting for and in this regard it has nothing or little to do with elected officials and chief executive officers.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Being Healthy

"Let food be thy medicine."

--Hippocrates, ancient Greek physician (460-377 BC)

Monday, July 4, 2011

Monday, May 30, 2011

Being Mindful of Others

Some years ago I met a distinguished looking young man in the library. He had a strong physique, but a slight twitch. I wanted to know more. Once an elite member of the Armed Forces, he was now living in motels. He had seen war when war wasn't declared. "Unspeakable," he kept saying. I looked for him daily, placing his hands in mine. One day he wasn’t there. I said a prayer.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Being Honest

Healthy skepticism necessary for democracy is not the same as the masquerading of righteousness for the purpose of attaining power.

Being Dishonest

Within the seed of every dishonest act is a kernel of our own destruction.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Being Liberals

Arianna Huffington's quote in New York Times that "the whole point that American policy needs to be redefined beyond left and right" seems to have gotten liberals riled up. But I find it interesting that these same people make excuses for the right-leaning policies of Barack Obama. Now, she's a media person and he's the president. Which has more power? Perhaps she does according to the outcry.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Being Corrupt

Have unions become just as corrupt as big governments and big corporations? What does 21st century organizing look like? The people's needs are the same. If big governments and big corporations are the same, and unions are aligned with these, who truly speaks on behalf of the people and where do we go from here?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Being Neighborly

A gorgeous oak tree in my yard seemed lower than usual. As I acknowledged its beauty, my 85-year-old neighbor called. "Don't you see that tree has fallen on the power lines?" She asked. "I thought it was lower," I said. "You thought?" She said. "Get on the phone and call DTE." "Yes, ma'am," I said. How did she know that I hadn't already called DTE? Her binoculars were broken last week. I suppose they're fixed this week. She watches the goings on in my house daily from her window. Sometimes we like to give her a bit of a thrill.

Being President Obama

George Soros has said that President Obama has "lost control of the agenda." But did we need Soros to tell us this? I was talking with a friend who said that President Obama was just posturing waiting for the Republicans to move. Posturing? For what? The wars continue to the tune of trillions as welfare for the rich, needed social programs are on the chopping block for the middle class and poor, and a near trillion dollars were given with the extension of the Bush tax cuts for the rich. If this is posturing, we need President Obama to act.

Being Considered a Number

The country is in trouble. In the prison industrial complex forces converge to create a growth stock by the numbers created and the rate of recidivism aided by laws and the courts that uphold them. In the online education complex students are marketed to rocking the hip hop beat in a continual influx of non-graduates. Sheer numbers create economic value. The growth of the country is never considered. It's an American Shame.

Being Supportive

My sister Dellanne who lives in Houston wanted to know why I was depositing money into her account. She and her husband have essentially moved in with Haywood and his wife while he goes through treatment. Love, gratitude, and peace of mind are priceless. Support those who support you, and support others too.

Being Hoodwinked

Americans have been hoodwinked. We've moved from the Gold Standard to the Debt Standard, constantly purchasing products via a credit card, giving us the euphoric sense of ownership. But who benefits most from this Debt Standard and do we still believe the Billy Preston song that "nothing from nothing leaves nothing?" The real sinister element is that we're numbed into inaction by the sense of having something.

Being a Wall Street Executive

For those sensitive to such language and graphics excuse me, but I think the message is quite clear: "You put Lloyd Blankfein in a pound-me-in-the-ass-prison for one six-month term, and all this bullshit would stop, all over Wall Street," says a former congressional aide in a Rolling Stone interview. "That's all it would take. Just once." Here is the complete article, Why Isn't Wall Street in Jail? I think it is pretty clear. Wall Street is essentially the government if you look in the case of Bill Clinton's Treasury Secretary who went to Citigroup or Goldman Sach's Hank Paulson who became Treasury Secretary under George Bush.