Just wanted to introduce myself. My name is Shanti. I'm new to the community. I look forward to interacting with all of you.
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Have a brilliant day.
I've been deeply thinking the past six months about what is going to shape our world in society, culture, and trends over the course of the 1st half of the 21st century.
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The next 40 years are the time when the Millennial generation, my peers, will come of age and shape the world to their version of human interest and needs.
As best I can figure, the three spheres of change which will shape our destiny as a generation are as follows:
* Digital technology
* Ecological crisis
* Global shifts of power and economy
All three of these are innumerable in impact in so much as that they will effect every human globally.
This is the first time in human history that we will start to see that we really are all connected, that we are one people, that humanity is one species.
Through digital technology we will be able to be connected to any and every other single person on this planet without bonds. Through satellite and wireless waves we can connect to someone in Tokyo, Belfast, Sydney, Venezuela, & Toronto consecutively. This is a magnificent tool of power and change. Through this we have the capability to eradicate hunger, poverty and many misfortunate diseases and catastrophes.
The global environmental crisis which will bring about various amounts of flooding, earthquakes, volcanoes, disease and famine will put us on a greater understanding of that which effects you in Japan will also effect me in Africa. What is dumped in the rivers in Canada will effect the mountains of Mexico. What is polluted in the skies of France will cause asthma in the people of Germany. Boarders will become inconsequential in how the environment will start to reshape itself. The need for GREEN thinking and ecological solutions will be a forefront of industry and technology.
The shifting of world economic powers will transform how the East and West, which have been separated for thousands of years, will start to merge in philosophy and principles of economy. We can already see this shift very much starting to formulate with American debt and Chinese economic surges. 2008 will be a very important year for both countries with the Presidential election and the Olympics each shaping the other's future. The polarization of East and West will start to turn inward to greater reflection of combining 5000 years of eastern practices and knowledge with 500 years of Western science.
Unfortunately, this is the area I have the least grasp on how it will change, alter, and develop the 1st half of the next century. It is my fear and strong inclination to believe that hardened dogmatic principals and strained views of consumerist capitalism will be difficult to breech. Those who have been in power for centuries will not relinquish their rule without yelps and cries - kicking and screaming the entire way.
I would like to read some comments on this thought pattern of which I am engaged -
What do you think will shape the Millennial generation's time and dedication?
Do you think these spheres are concrete in their assessment of the future, and what perspective am I lacking?
What do you see and how do you see it happening?
Hear Ye! Hear Ye!
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Citizens Young & Old!
For a new day of declaration has been adopted by true blue, white, and red-blooded Americans.
July 2nd is the day of Independence!
Did you know, that the Continental Congress ratified the Declaration of Independence on July 2nd, 1776?
The night of July 2nd the Pennsylvania Evening Post published this statement:
"This day the Continental Congress declared the United Colonies Free and Independent States."
It was July 2, 1776 that John Adams thought would be celebrated by future generations of Americans writing to his wife Abigail Adams on July 3, 1776:
"The Second Day of July 1776 will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. . . . It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires, and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more."
The Continental Congress received copies from the printers on July 4th and thus it is now celebrated as Independence Day.
But I declare, dear citizens, that July 2nd is truly our day of triumphant freedom & liberty casting off the shackles of oppression and domination!
We are now engaged in a moment of time surround by corruption, consumption, and capitalistic gain that have destroyed our sense of Democracy.
Even just yesterday, our so-called freely elected President flaunted his inconceivable amount of domination and power by partially pardoning a senior member of his staff, who was justifiably taken through the established courts of law and convicted of obstructing justice. It is a foulness that goes deep into the heart of our government. This poison that seeps into the life-blood of liberty must be purged! It is now inherent in our system that capitalistic companies run our country for their gain and not for the liberties of human kind. Our country is broken and the fault lies within us all. But despair is not prudent, and we who are so-called Americans must look inside ourselves and hold true to the ideals upon which this country was founded. I say throw off these corrupted-capitalist bonds that strangle our Democracy and plague the world over in unjust wars and tyrannical ways.
As a means of celebration and of unifying those of us who are Americans by our instinctive gifts of self-proclaimed liberty, let us discard these masqueraded Hallmark holidays that no longer hold meaning but just economic purpose of mass consumption and complacency. Let us leave behind the façade of July 4th Independence and declare ourselves individually and as American citizens free and independent of companies who maintain our corrupted government and destroy our damaged ideals of human rights and liberty.
With freedom for one, for all, the world over –
We declare ourselves free on this July 2nd, 2007 and we will rise and revolt against this massively corrupt-capitalist-country which holds our rights prisoner to their dollar.
Who is with me?
July 2nd – the New Day of Declaration of Independence!
Viva Thomas Jefferson!
In liberty and light,
-The Avant-Garde Patriot
Jen G. Bowen
Laura Dern was powerful and convincing in her role as Terry Linden in "We Don't Live Here Anymore". Particularly poignant to me was her line: "When I open my legs, it's a promise!" She might have used the word "spread" as opposed to "open"; I cannot recall right now. Granted, the line was probably taken from "Vanilla Sky", which premiered three years earlier.
Julie (Cameron Diaz, Vanilla Sky): Don't you know that when you sleep with someone, your body makes a promise whether you do or not?
I don't know whether I believe the body makes a promise, though I suspect this could be true. But I do feel Terry's statement in "We Don't Live Here Anymore" very profoundly. I feel it because we can choose the promise of sex without strings, or the promise of a meaningful relationship. But these promises, I believe, should be actively and accurately negotiated.
Last week, I signed a Letter of Agreement before officially being promoted from Customer Care Specialist to Policy and Procedures Analyst for an airline. The letter's terms and conditions listed every detail of my previous conversations with the Corporate Recruiter and the Stations Training Manager. As I signed my name on the line, I sealed a deal, followed by a firm handshake and well wishes. It was for me, a very moving moment. In the days that followed, I've found myself thinking all relationships should harbor such maturity and integrity. Granted, I am far from being a picture of perfection. I have lied to friends about my feelings; I have laid down with people who were already in committed relationships; and I have betrayed my own ideals. But in my recovery, Terry's line, and most recently my agreement to the terms and conditions of my promotion, have been active in my thoughts.
Why don't we state our truest intentions in the beginning? Why don't we let other people know what they're getting themselves into before they jump in? These, of course, are rhetorical questions that I already have personal answers for. But they're questions all the same. I respect the man who says to the world, "I prefer one-night stands." His intentions are honest. He doesn't perform a bait-and-switch, or set out to deceive others simply to get what he wants. He isn't a bandit, a criminal, or an insensitive asshole. Pity to the woman who thinks to herself, "I'll change his mind," because not only is she delusional, she's also the liar. By going to bed with him, she's agreed to his terms and conditions. But the whole time she knows him, from conversation to post-coital bliss, she has secret intentions that violate everything she's told him she agrees to. The same holds true for the man who promises commitment, knowing he intends to leave once the fucking is over--or more accurately, having never really been present at all. This is the kind of dishonesty that, to me, is brutal. I truly see it as an act of brutality, of violation...of violence.
That being said, I am not ignorant of or insensitive to the many ways we delude ourselves into believing the promises we make to each other and ourselves. Delusion and denial, in my opinion, aren't acts of violence. But the intent to deceive, in my opinion, IS. And everything that falls in between is just sloppy. (Changes of intent in relationships, of course, can and should be negotiated.)
To close the door without a word because someone doesn't want to have sex with you, in my opinion, is sloppy. Where's the handshake or the best wishes or the, "We've chosen to offer the job to the other candidate"? If I hadn't been chosen for the Policy and Procedures Analyst position and had found out from a third party, I'd have lost respect for the company I work for and would likely have eventually resigned. But if I'd been informed directly, as I was when I interviewed for the position of Customer Care Supervisor, while I might have felt some personal disappointment, I'd still have felt respected on a basic level.
All of this being said, I'm making a promise to myself to be more mindful of personal disclosures. More mindful of being upfront about my terms and conditions. More mindful about the way I conduct business, and the agreements I enter into. More mindful, period.
Part of what we claim is that North Korea getting nuclear weapons would threaten the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
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Lets look back to 1993, when the World Health Organization voted to request that the World Court consider the legality of the use of nuclear weapons, and issue an opinion on it.
As soon as they heard about this the United States and Britain went totally berserk: remember, just the fact that the World Court might hear a case on the legality of nuclear weapons is already a contribution to nuclear non-proliferation..
One must also, not forget that we benefit from proliferation, since we're the main producer, seller, and possessor of nuclear weapons.
I mean, it's not as if anybody would listen to the World Court if it said that the use of nuclear weapons is illegal (which means by implication that possession of them is illegal too) - but it would certainly be a big publicity coup for the disarmament movement if it did.
So for the big nuclear powers, this was a major issue.
Actually, it's of particular significance for Britain, because one of Britain's last claims to being a country, instead of like a country of the United States, is that they have nuclear weapons - so for them it's important on a symbolic level.
And nuclear weapons are important to the United States because they're part of the way we intimidate everyone - we intervene around the world under what's called a "nuclear umbrella," which serves as kind of a cover to back up our conventional intervention forces.
Ok, so that year (1993) Indonesia was serving as the head of the Non-Aligned Movement at the U.N. [a coalition of Third World nations in the General Assembly], and the 110 countries of the Non-Aligned Movement decided to introduce a resolution endorsing this request for an opinion - that's all that was up, endorsement of a request for an opinion from the World Court. The U.S., Britain and France immediately threatened trade and aid sanctions against Indonesia if, in their role as head of the Non-Aligned Movement for that year, they submitted this resolution at the General Assembly. So Indonesia instantly withdrew it, of course - when they get orders from the boss, they stop. And they stop fast.
Well, that just shows you that there are some atrocities that go too far for the Western powers: genocide in East Timor we can support, but endorsement of a request for an opinion on the legality of nuclear weapons is an atrocity we simply cannot tolerate. It also shows you what we can do to Indonesia if we feel like it.
Anyway, back to North Korea... if we're so concerned with non-proliferation, obviously nothing would be more of a shot in the arm for it than this World Court decision we tried so desperately to block. Okay, that tells you something about our motives in all this. But actually, I think the problem with North Korea is in fact what they're saying: the wrong guys are getting possible power, nuclear weapons.
Look, nobody in their right mind would want North Korea to have nuclear weapons. But on the other hand, there's nothing much that they would do with nuclear weapons if they had them, except maybe defend themselves from attack. They're certainly not going to invade anybody, that's not even imaginable: if they ever made a move, the country gets destroyed tomorrow... so the only role that nuclear weapons play for them is a deterrent to attack - and that's not totally unrealistic.
North Korea is a pretty crazy country, and there's not very much good and there's nothing good you can say about the government. But no matter who they were, if they were Mahatma Gandhi they would be worried about a possible attack. The United States was threatening North Korea with nuclear weapons at least as late as the 1960s. And after all, just remember what we did to that country - it was absolutely flattened. Here people may not be aware of what we did to them, but they certainly know it well enough.
Towards the end of what we called the "Korean War" - which was really just one phase in a much longer struggle [beginning when the U.S. destroyed the indigenous nationalist movement in Korea in the late 1940s] - the United States ran out of good bombing targets. We had total command of the air of course, but there was nothing good left to bomb - because everything had already been flattened. So we started going after things like dikes. Okay, that's a major war crime. In fact, if you take a look at the official U.S. Air Force history of the Korean War, it's absolutely mind boggling, it's like something straight out of the Nazi archives. I mean, these guys don't conceal their glee at all, it's just this account of all their terrific feelings: we bombed these dikes, and a huge flow of water went through the valleys and carved out huge paths of destruction and slaughterd people! I really can't duplicate, you have to read the original. And the Koreans lived on the other end of that.
Our treatment of North Korean prisoners of war also was absolutely grotesque - again, it was kind of like the Nazis. This is all documented in the West by now, and of course they certainly know about it. So there are plenty of things for the North Koreans to remember, and plenty of things for them to be afraid of - which is not to justify their getting nuclear weapons, but it's part of the background we should keep in mind.
The other thing is, North Korea is in a desperate situation right now: they're hemmed in politically, and they're struggling very hard to break out of their total isolation - they've tried setting up free trade zones, and are desperately trying to integrate themselves into the international economic system, other things like that. Well, this is apparently one of their ways of attempting to do it. It's neither intelligent nor justifiable, but that's a part of what's motivating them, and we should at least try to understand that.
Israel is having more and more trouble putting down this popular revolution over the Occupied Territories. The repression of the Palestinians and the Lebanese is not qualitatively different right now from what it was 40 years ago -- it's just that it's escalated in scale sincee the Palestinians and the Lebanese started fighting back. For the Palestinians it started during the Intifada. So the brutality you see occasionally on television has in fact been going on for the last 40 years, and it's just the nature of a military occupation: military occupations are harsh and brutal, there is no other kind [Israel seized the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and the Golan Heights from Jordan, Egypt, and Syria during the Six Day War in 1967, and has controlled them ever since]. There's been home-destruction, kidnappings, torture, collective punishments, expulsion, plenty of humiliation, censorship -- you'd have do go back to the days of the American South to know what it's been like for the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. They are not supposed to raise their heads -- that's what they say in Israel, "They're raising their heads, we've got to do something about it." And that's the way the Palestinians have been living.
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Well, the United States has been quite happy supporting that -- so long as it worked. But in the past few years, it hasn't worked. See, people with power understand exactly one thing: violence. If violence is effective, everything's okay; but if violence loses its effectiveness, then they start worrying and have to try something else. In fact, the occupation's beginning to be rather harmful for Israel. So it's entirely possible that there could be some tactical changes coming with respect to how Israel goes about controlling the Territories.
Outside the United States, everybody knows what the solution for resolving the conflict in the region would be. For years there's been a very broad consensus in the world over the basic framework of a solution in the Middle East, with the exception of two countries: the United States and Israel. It's going to be some variety of two-state settlement.
Look, there are two groups claiming the right of national self-determination in the same territory; they both have a claim, they're competing claims. There are various ways in which such competing claims could be reconciled -- you could do it through a federation, one thing or another -- but given the present state of conflict, it's just going to have to be about the modalities -- should it be a confederation, how do you deal with economic integration, and so on -- but the principle's quite clear: there has to be some settlement that recognizes the right of self-determination of Jews in something like the state of Israel, and the right of self-determination of Palestinians in something like a Palestinian State. And everybody knows where that Palestinian state would be -- in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, along roughly the borders that exsisted before the Six Day War in 1967.
All of this has been obvious for years -- why hasn't it happened? Well, of course Israel's opposed to it. But the main reason it hasn't happened is because the United States has blocked it: the United states has been blocking the peace process in the Middle East for the last twenty years -- WE'RE the leaders of the rejectionist camp, not the Arabs or anybody else. See, the United States supports a policy which Henry Kissinger called "stalemate"; that was his word for it back in 1970. At that time, there was kind of a split in the American government as to whether we should join the broad international consensus on a political settlement, or block a political settlement. And in that internal struggle, the hard-liners prevailed; Kissinger was the main spokesman. The policy that won out was what he called "stalemate": keep things the way they are, maintain the system of Israeli oppression. And there was a good reason for that, it wasn't just out of the blue: having an embattled, militaristic Israel is an important part of how we rule the world.
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Are we already at War? World War III is a concept we have lived with
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throughout the 20th century. Is WWIII the situation which is emerging
now; a state of affairs where the world's nation are so split and
maligned that eruptions of sectarian violence across the globe is part
of the same tension, hostility, and cause?
Find out the truth about WWIII in Prophecies of Nostradamus
The rapidly escalating costs of health care are threatening a serious fiscal crisis, along with immeasurable human costs. Infant Mortality in the U.S. is one major index. The UN Human Development Report 2005 reveals that "since 2000 a half century of sustained decline in infant death rates [in the United States] first slowed then reversed." By 2005 the rates had risen to the level of Malaysia, a country where the average income is one-quarter that in the United States. The report also reviews the effects of government programs. In the United Kingdom, for example, the rate of child poverty rose sharply during the Margaret Thatcher years, then reversed after the Labour government adopted policies to halve child poverty by 2010. "fiscal redistribution has played a central role in strategies for meeting the target," the report concludes: "Large increases in financial support for families with children," as well as other fiscal programs, "boosted the incomes of low-income working families with children," with significant effects on child poverty.
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The financial crisis is surely is no secret. The press report that 30 percent of health care costs go for administration, a proportion vastly higher than in government-run systems including those within the United States, which are far from the most efficient. These estimates are seriously understated because of the ideological decision not to count the costs for individuals- for doctors who waste their own time or are forced to misuse it, or patients who "enter a world of paperwork so surreal that it belongs in one of Kafka's tales of the triumph of faceless bureaucracies." The complexities of billing have become so outlandish that the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, the president's senior adviser, says when he gets a bill for his four-year-old child, he "can't figure out what happened, or what I'm supposed to do." Those who want to see government bureaucracy reaching levels that even Kafka might not have imagined should look at the official ninety-eight-page government handbook on the Medicare prescription drug plan, provided to Medicare participants to inform them of their options under the bill passed by Congress in June 2004, with the help of an army of lobbyists from pharmaceutical companies and health maintenance organizations (HMOs). The idea, the Wall Street Journal informs its affluent readers, "is that patients will be encouraged to bargain-hunt for medical care" and may even save money, if they can hire enough research assistants to work through the many private options available, and make lucky guesses. Health Savings Accounts, also welcomed by the editors, have similar properties. For the wealthy and the corporate beneficiaries the exciting new programs will be just fine, like health care in general. The rest will get what the deserve for not having ascended to these heights.
The Bush administration response to the health care crisis has been to reduce services to the poor (Medicaid). The timing was again impeccable. "As Republican leaders in Congress move to trim billions of dollars from the Medicaid health program," the Washington Post reported, "they are simultaneously intervening to save the life of possibly the highest-profile Medicaid patient: Terri Schiavo." Republican majority leader Tom DeLay, while proclaiming his deep concern forSchiavo and his dedication to ensure that she has the chance "we all deserve," simultaneously shepherded through the House a budget resolution to cut $15 billion to $20 billion from Medicaid for the next five years. As if the exploitation of the tragedy of this poor woman for partisan gain were not disgraceful enough, DeLay and others like him were depriving her, and who knows how many others, of the means of moral values and concern for the sanctity of life.
The primary method devised to divert attention from the health care crisis was to organize a major PR campaign to "reform" Social Security--meaning dismantle it--in the pretext that it is facing an awesome fiscal crisis. There is no need to review the remarkable deceit of the administration propaganda, and the falsifications and misrepresentations repeated without comment by much of the media commentary, which cooperated in making it the "hot topic" in Washington. Exposure has been carried out more than adequately eslewhere. The steady drumbeat of deceit has been so extreme as to drive frustrated analysts to words rarely voiced in restrained journals: that Bush "repeatedly lied about the current [Social Security] system," making claims that were demonstrably false and that his staff must have known were false(New York Times, Paul Krugman, 15 Aug, 2005)."
It is not that the system has no flaws. It surly does. The highly regressive payroll tax is an illustration. More generally, an OECD study found that the US system "is one of the least generous public pension systems in advanced countries," consistent with the comparative weakness of benefits in the United States.
The alleged crisis of Social Security is rooted in demographic facts: the ratio of working people to retired people is declining. The data are accurate, but partial. The relevant figure is the ratio of working people to those they support. According to official statistics, the ratio of working people to dependents (under twenty, over sixty-five) hit its lowest point in 1965 and is not expected to reach that level through the projected period (to 2080). The Propaganda image is that the retirement of the "baby boomers" is going to crash the system; as repeatedly pointed out, their retirement has already been financed by the Greenspan-led increase in payroll taxes in 1983. That aside, the boomers were once children, and had to be cared for then as well. And we find that during those years there was a sharp increase in spending for education and other child care needs. There was no crisis. If American society was able to take care of the boomers from ages zero to twenty, then there can be no fundamental reason why a much richer society, with far higher output per worker, cannot take care of them from ages sixty-five to ninety. At most, some technical fixes might be needed, but no major crisis looms in the foreseeable future.
Critics of Bush's efforts to chip away at Social Security by various "ownership society" schemes have proclaimed success because public opposition was too high to ram the legislation through. But the celebration is premature. The campaign of deceit achieved a great deal, laying the basis for the next assault on the system. Reacting to the PR campaign, the Gallup poll, for the first time, included Social Security among the choices for "top concerns." Gallup found that only "the availability and affordability of healthcare" is a larger concern for the public than Social Security. About half of Americans worry "a great deal" about it, and another quarter a "fair amount," more than are concerned about such issues as terrorism or oil prices. A Zogby poll found that 61 percent believe the system faces "serious problems" and 14 percent think it's "in crisis," though in fact it is "financially stronger than it has been throughout most of its history, according to the Trustees' [President Bush's] numbers," economist Mark Weisbrot observes. The campaign has been particularly effective among the young. Among students, 70 percent are "concerned that the pension system may not be there when they retire."
These are major victories for those who hope to destroy Social Security, revealing once again the effectiveness of a flood of carefully contrived propaganda amplified by the media in a business-run-society where institutionalized deceit has been refined to a high art. The propaganda success compares well with that of the government-media campaign to convince Americans that Saddam Hussein was an imminent threat to their survival, driving them completly off the spectrum of world opinion.
There has been some discussion of the curious fact that the need to reform Social Security became the "hot topic" of the day, while reforming the health care system in accord with public opinion is not even on the agenda, an apparent paradox: the very serious fiscal crisis of the remarkably inefficient and poorly performing health care systems not a crisis, while urgent action is needed to undermine the efficient system that is quite sound for the foreseeable future. Furthermore, to the extent that Social Security might face a crisis some time in the distant future, it would result primarily from exploding health care costs. Government projections predict a sharp increase in total benefits relative to GDP, from under 10 percent in 2000 to almost 25 percent in 2080, which is as far as the projections reach. Through this period Social Security costs are barley expected to increase beyond the 2000 level of 5 percent. A slightly larger increase is predicted for Medicaid, and a huge increase for Medicare, traceable primarily to extreme inefficiency of the privatized health care system.
Sensible people will seek differences between the Social Security and Health care systems that might explain the paradox. And they will quickly find critical differences, which are quite familiar in other domains: the paradox mirrors closely the "schizophrenia" of all administrations that underlies the "strong line of continuity" with regard to "democracy promotion," to take one example. Social Security is of little value for the rich, but it is crucial for the survival for the working people, the poor, their dependents, and the disabled. For the wealthy, it is the "major source" of retirement income, and the most secure. Furthermore, as a government program, it has such low administrative costs that it offers nothing to financial institutions. Social Security helps only the underlying population, not the substantial people. It is therefore natural that it should be dispatched to the flames. The medical system, in contrast, works very well for the substantial people, with health care effectively rationed by wealth, while enormous profits flow to private power for superfluous bureaucracy and supervision, overpriced drugs, and other useful inefficiencies. The underlying population can be treated with lectures on responsibility.
There are other sound reasons to destroy the Social Security system. It is based on the principles that are deeply offensive to the moral values of the political leadership and the sectors they represent--not those who vote for them, a different category of the population. Social security is based on the idea that it is a community responsibility to ensure that the disabled widow on the other side of town has food to eat, or that the child across the street should be able to go to a decent school. Such evil ideas have to be driven from the mind. They stand in the way of the "New Spirit of the Age" of the 1850s: "Gain Wealth, forgetting all but Self." According to the right thinking, it isn't my fault if the widow married the wrong person or if the child's parents made bad investment decisions, so why should I contribute a few cents to a public fund to take care of them? the "ownership society," in contrast, suffers from none of these moral defects.
Returning to the November 2004 elections, we learn a little of the significance from them about popular attitudes and opinions, though we can learn a lot from these studies that are kept in the shadows. And the whole affair adds more to our understanding of the current state of American democracy--with most of the industrial world trailing not too far behind, as privileged and powerful sectors learn and apply the lessons taught by their leader.
Despite what you hear, U.S. interventionism has nothing to do with resisting the spread of " Terrorism," or "Communism," it's INDEPENDENCE we've always been opposed to everywhere... and for quite a good reason. If a country begins to pay attention to its own population, it's not going to be paying adequate attention to the overriding needs of U.S. investors. Well, those are unacceptable priorities, so that government's just going to have to go.
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And the effects of this commitment throughout the Third World are dramatically clear: it takes only a moment's thought to realize that the areas that have been the most under U.S. control are some of the most horrible regions in the world. For instance, why is Central America such a horror-chamber? I mean, if a peasant in Guatemala woke up in Poland [i.e. under Soviet occupation], he'd think he was in heaven by comparison... and Guatemala's an area where we've had a hundred years of influence. Well, that tells you something. Or look at Brazil: potentially an extremely rich country with tremendous resources, except it had the curse of being part of the Western system of subordination. So in northeast Brazil, for example, which is rather fertile area with plenty of rich land, just it's all owned by plantations, Brazilian medical researchers now identify the population as a new species with about 40 percent the brain size of human beings, as a result of generations of profound malnutrition and neglect... and this may be unremediable except after generations, because of lingering effects of malnutrition on one's offspring. Alright, that's a good example of the legacy of our commitments, and the same kind of pattern runs throughout the former Western colonies.
In fact, if you look at the countries that have developed in the world, there's a little simple fact which should be obvious to anyone on five minutes' observation, but which you never find anyone saying in the United States: the countries that have developed economically are those which were not colonized by the west; every country that was colonized by the West is a TOTAL WRECK. I mean, Japan was the one country that managed to resist European colonization, and it's the one part of the traditional Third World that developed. What does that tell you? Historians of Africa have actually pointed out that if you look at Japan when it began its industrialization process [in the 1870's], it was about the same developmental level as the Asante kingdom in West Africa in terms of resources available, level of state formation, degree of technological development, and so on. Well, just compare those two areas today. It's true there were a number of differences between them historically, but the crucial one is that Japan wasn't conquered by the West and the Asante kingdom was, by the British-so now West Africa is West Africa economically, and Japan is Japan.
Japan had its own colonial system too, incidentally- but its colonies developed, and they developed because Japan didn't treat them the way the Western powers treated their colonies. The Japanese were very brutal colonizers. they weren't nice guys, but they nonetheless developed their colonies economically; the West just robbed theirs. So if you look at the growth rate through the early part of this century-they were getting industrialized, developing infrastructure, educational levels were going up, agricultural production was increasing. In fact, by the 1930s, Formosa (now Taiwan) was one of the commercial centers of Asia. Well, just compare Taiwan with the Philippines, an American colony right next door: the Philippines is a total basket-case, a Latin American-style basket-case. Again, that tells you something.
With World War 2, the Japanese colonial system got smashed up. But by the 1960s, Korea and Taiwan were again developing at their former growth rate-and that's because in the post-war period, they've been able to follow the Japanese model of development: they're pretty closed off to foreign exploitation, quite egalitarian by international standards, they devote pretty extensive resources to things like education and health care. Okay, that's a successful model for development. I mean, these Asian countries aren't pretty; I can't stand them myself-they're extremely authoritarian, the role of women you can't even talk about, and so on, so there are plenty of unpleasant things about them. But they have been able to pursue economic development measures that are successful: the state coordinates industrial policies that are IMPOSSIBLE in Latin America, because the U.S. insists that those governments keep their economies open to international markets-so capital from Latin America is constantly flowing to the West. Alright, that's not a problem in South Korea: they have the death penalty for capital export. Solves that difficulty pretty fast.
But the point is, the Japanese-style development model works-in fact, it's how every country in the world that's developed has done it: by imposing high levels of protectionism, and by extracting its economy from free market discipline. And that's precisely what the Western powers have been preventing the Third World from doing, right up to this moment.
There are two parts to being human- objectivity and subjectivity. Both are useful. Subjectivity is the introverted analytical process of a student of objectivity. Objectivity is the extroverted output of an introverted perspective. Neither are bound by these guidelines.
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Becoming human is a task that we must all undertake. We are born with a blank page, the paper being our genetic construct, and the words thereafter being what we perceive. As we grow, the paper gets filled quicker than one can account for analytically, and even the intuitive masters of chaos have difficulty with their control tactics.
We must trust ourselves by studying the paper after it has been filled, and by filing that paper in the proper compartment. A lack of organization can be deconstructive to the overall output, though minor inefficiencies are often too far under the radar to notice. Filing a paper in the proper compartment can release a person from the eternal struggle-by being organized, one can handle more papers and the flow will begin to normalize.
After we learn by receiving objectively and ordering subjectively, we have the opportunity to re-output information at any rate we choose. Outputting information is more difficult than inputting information, but is a more effective means to learning when one is in the presence of those who know more. When a person is in the presence of those who do not know, or those who for some reason seek to manipulate, it is wise to develop a protocol for any given interaction.
There are absolute protocols that may be followed. There are protocols that can be lesser priorities, though all should be equal to each other given lack of time constraints. For instance, one must be proper at all times. One never knows when their judgment is lacking, and should always be perceiving even when making temporary judgments. Judgments should always be temporary, as a means of communication, but when not communicating judgments should be non-existent.
Once a person becomes aware that there are a variety of protocol at their disposal, and that there are a plethora of priority levels to choose from, they begin to realize that they can decompartmentalize information and release the flow to a suitable level. A higher flow necessitates a larger amount of energy, and a consistent and efficient usage of that energy. This stage of development can be described as machining.
A person constructs a full cycle of thought, one which assimilates energy and outputs energy at the same rate, and then uses that cycle to perform routine tasks. Non-routine tasks need further consideration, and usually require an addition to the cycle, or a construct of an adjacent machine. Running dual processes more than halves efficiency, but it can be done if necessary.
To maximize efficiency, one should construct a single cycle, and not rely on multiple cycles- which can heavily detriment the efficiency of the thought process. Once developed, a person should complete the cycle by implementing a self-checking protocol which analyzes the flow as it is cycled. Such an analytical process becomes the definition of objectivity, and the flow of the cycle remains the subjective. As I have said, both are required. One for doing, and one for checking what is done. It is by this reasoning that objectivity and subjectivity must combine to complete a whole algorithm of thought. Claims made that either one or the other should take precedence should not be made. Logically, both should be harmonious.
Where to start? I suppose I've been quite the thorn in all of your paws, but I've come to you to beg your pardon. I've come to realize that your ways are, in fact, the more respectable of the two ways. I won't join you, and I will still attempt to free the Unicorns from your grasp, but I want you to at least understand exactly why we are going to battle before we go to battle. This way I can make those of you who decided to give me a chance, neutral against me. If you give me a chance you will find that I am actually quite the machine. In fact, I am such a master machine that I decided to use my efforts for the greater good, which I attest is Jesus the Christ. I want not only to tell you this, and continue to advocate what I do, but also to give you my reasoning so that you may be freed from our polarity before we engage in any combat at all. The pen is mightier than the sword.
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I wanted to conclude with a great reasoning for your very benefit.
Just think about it for..as long as it takes.
Everything in the world revolves around the idea of Jesus' divinity.
That's it, that's all I've got. However when you think about it, it has to account for something doesn't it?
The creative faculty, the god-power, is not used here with anything less than literalness. When beauty was created by a godly mind, beauty existed, as surely as the paintings of Botticeli or the concerti of Vivaldi exist. When mercy was created, mercy existed. When guilt was created, guilt existed. Out of a meaningless and pointless existence, we have made meaning and purpose; but since this creative act happens only when we relax after great strain, we feel it as 'pouring into us' from elsewhere. Thus, we do not know our own godhood and we are perpetually swindled by those who assure us that it is indeed elsewhere, but they can give us access to it, for a reasonable fee. And when we as a species were ignorant enough to be duped in that way, the swindlers went one step further, invented original sin and other horrors of that sort, and made us even more 'dependent' upon them.
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- Quote from Sigismundo Celine in book "The Historical Illuminatus" by Robert Anton Wilson
Does everything all just randomly happen in contunuous chaos, or is there order to the universe? Do things happen for a reason, or is everything thrown together haphazardly as we move through time?
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It's certainly necessary to make distinctions, and to try to understand motivations -- not just of Palestinian suicide bombers, and bin Laden, but also of the communities from which they come and who they are addressing.
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On motivations, grievances, etc., in the case of bin Laden I don't know of anything that goes beyond the standard sources: Jason Burke's al-Qaeda, to mention the best I know. Roughly the same in Scheuer's Imperial Hubris, Randall's Osama, and others, who give more or less similar analyses. Most take bin Laden pretty much at his word. The Pentagon apparently agrees as well. Wolfowitz explained reduction of US military forces in Saudi Arabia as a means to reduce the declared motivation that terror against the US is a reaction to US occupation of SA. In the case of bin Laden it is generally assumed to be the general ideology he has articulated over the years: in his terms, defense of Muslim lands from infidel occupiers and aggressors, overthrow of the corrupt rulers and imposition of his version of purist Islam. I don't have any independent evidence beyond the (largely shared) standard analyses.
Grievances are a different matter. Bin Laden-style terrorists apparently perceive themselves as a vanguard, seeking to mobilize others who may dislike and even fear them, but recognize that there is some justice in the cause they profess. As to these grievances, they've been no secret at least since 1958, when Eisenhower raised questions about the "campaign of hatred against us" among the people in the Arab world, and the National Security Council attributed it to their perception that the US supports brutal and corrupt dictators and blocks democracy and development because of its interest in controlling the oil resources of the region. Later investigations, intensifying after 9-11, found essentially the same results, along with anger about specific policies, particularly US support for the brutal Israeli occupation of the conquered territories and the murderous sanctions that were devastating the civilian population of Iraq. These grievances have only, of course, extended since the invasion. I doubt that you'll find much disagreement about this among specialists and intelligence agencies.
Of course, dogmatic ideologists prefer to orate about how they hate our freedoms, want to drive the Jews into the sea, etc. But I don't think serious analysts pay attention to these declarations.
How you evaluate the motivations is, of course, up to you.
What do you think of global warming and what can be done to stop it?
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The US Code for defining an "act of terrorism" is an activity that -- (A) involves a violent act or an act dangerous to human life that is a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or any State, or that would be a criminal violation if committed within the jurisdiction of the United States or of any State; and (B) appears to be intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by assassination or kidnapping.
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I just posted this in my own journal, and thought perhaps it would be appropriate in this community as well. It consists of many thoughts that have been rolling around in my head for quite some time but which, until now, I have been too scared to share.
( reflections upon my own mortalityCollapse )
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The intellectual love towards God is the very love of God with which God loves himself, not in so far as he is infinite, but in so far as he can be expressed through the essence of the human mind considered under the species of eternity, that is, intellectual love towards God is part of the infinite love with which God loves himself....
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Hence it follows that God, in so far as he loves himself, loves men, and consequently that the love of God for men and the mind's intellectual love towards God is one and the same thing.
From this we clearly understand in what consists our salvation, blessedness, or liberty, namely, in the constant and eternal love for God, or in the love of God for men.