Friday, July 10, 2015

Right Wing Limits

I've been following Sam Harris' work for a few months.  I'm interested in his criticisms of religion and his dedication to absolute honesty in dealing with people.  He recently posted his "discussion" with Noam Chomsky that he believes made them both look bad, but I thought Chomsky looked reasonable.

Chomsky displayed moral outrage and implied that Harris is an apologist for the American war machine.  This was self-evident when Harris kept trying to establish a moral hierarchy for American-created "accidental-casualties" vs. terrorist's purposefully-created casualties.  I can swallow a moral negation or easement or justice in some very limited cases, but not a "superiority" in "intention" in any case.  Chomsky is right that "intention" soon gets warped into whatever abstract (often religious) justification humans need to wrought evil on other humans.  He tries to use the example of a "perfect" weapon to clarify that intention matters...days before it became news that the Saudis would be using American cluster bombs (banned by every other Western country in the world because they instill terror and are considered torture) to kill people in Yemen--a most imperfect bomb, manufactured in the U.S.

I myself try to avoid establishing moral hierarchies precisely because America would SUCK in such a count, and so does Israel, and both of our countries are equally trying to balance the moral weight of violence with humanitarian works.  Sadly, the balance is way off, unless you start saying that our lives are worth more than our enemies, which is probably true for most people if you grind down. In fact, this is such a common place assumption, that most people would have no qualms about killing a house intruder.  How crude is our lack of sensitivity?  Why is killing the default defense instead of something more humane?  Why don't we buy tranquilizer guns instead of gun powder for home protection?  This crudeness, this lack of sensitivity, extends to our enemies.  If the sane and orderly are so easily cruel, then the criminal will be even more so.

I'm sure Noam Chomsky points this out incessantly in his books, which is one reason why I have until this date avoided reading them.  I have not really wanted to spend my time trying to change the dirty laundry this country has shat.  Most people don't.  And a hell of a lot of people, particularly in the military, are more than happy to dance among the dirty laundry.  American Sniper is certainly one example of the present day war dance.

Friday, May 01, 2015

I want a cult of life

I think the over 400 assassinations carried out by the CIA during Obama's Presidency is unaccountable, irresponsible, and dangerous to our country.  What have we gained from this?  How does assassinating tribal leaders, who are undoubtedly despicable, help keep us safe at home?  I am not heartless, and I would disarm these crude, hateful people in a heartbeat.  Let's invent a giant magnet that will carry all the stupid lethal weapons out of the middle east, Pakistan, Afghanistan and North Korea.  Then the people will have a chance.

Hillary Clinton argued to arm the Syrian rebels.  She voted for the Iraq war.  She seems reticent to start a war with Iran, but I've seen her turn her back on war protestors.  She's a hawk.

Bernie Sanders is running now, he's a force of truth and after hearing him speak today I have confidence that he would be an excellent Commander in Chief.  I would like to hear how he would deal with ISIL.  

One thing I know we should do about ISIL, is to make kids realize life in the Western world is actually better than in a freaking violent theocracy.  

We need to excite teenagers about the possibility of a future that they will fit into; whether it's work, or creativity, or sports, or growing a family.  We need to understand the challenges youth face and participate in our communities to help them learn the value of work and community.

Fantasies about ISIL can become exciting to lonely young people because they think ISIL has a black and white plan, and system of rules that suggests there is a place for everyone: fighter and wife. Nevermind constant death and widowhood, too, because ISIL sells death as a "win," too.  They promote the fantasy of eternal life as a replacement for civilization on earth, which makes it a cult of death.

We need to create a cult of life, hope and attainable dreams.

Instead, Shields and Brooks and the PBS News Hour below suggest that ISIL is successfully using our faceless, unaccountable war drones as a recruiting tool.  Stop weaponized drones, ban them, worldwide. Stop assassinations.  Start using Court Rooms to create a system of justice again.

American Nightmare

Born poor and without a sober mother, the boy's father worked three jobs as his mother slowly withdrew and disappeared from their life. He always loved to read, and his dad would give him a dollar a week for comic books.

Ethan was a bright child who went to an overcrowded school where most kids were reading at a 4th grade level in high school.  He had developed lupus and Medicaid helped him.  Last week his father suddenly died of an undiagnosed heart attack; his father had never had affordable healthcare. The young man, having no where to go, tried the Church of The Afterlife that offered him a bed and breakfast.  Sadly, the lonely minister climbed into his bed shortly before sun up, so Ethan collected his things and left her, before breakfast.

Homeless and hungry, he steals some bread from a 7-11.  As he runs to hide, a cop mistakes his plastic knife for a real one, draws his gun, and aims for the boys heart.  The boy jumps at the sound of the shot, so the bullet enters a lung, he fell limp and bleeding.  The cop handcuffs him as the ambulance arrives.  

After a life-saving emergency, and a few days of recovery, the boy is sent to jail to await trial.  The sheriff pays a visit and says, "You criminals don't deserve hot meals, here's your baloney sandwich."  The boy threw up his sandwich as a guard punched him and screamed, "You disgusting runt!" The boy was sent back to the hospital for bleeding.

The nurse attending the young man heard him say that he missed his father, and worried that he’d die in jail.  The nurse told him not to worry, that he was young and that he had his whole life to figure out how to make things work.  This was America, after all.

UrbanPink2008 c.2015

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Back on the Healthy Living Bus

Since I birthed two boys, I fell off the Healthy Living bus.  Granted, I didn't give up my Smart Balance balanced oils spread, or happily choose non-organic produce, but I do regretfully, and I certainly eat way too much sugar (pure, no artificial stuff of course) and, unbeknownst to me, grains!! 

I had a Chiropractor tell me today that Monsanto has so fully destroyed our food system in terms of manipulated and polluted grain crops that they have actually caused all the gluten intolerance we're suffering from today. He's been gluten free for two years.  Members of my family and friends have children and themselves testing for gluten intolerance right and left!  I haven't had any glaring digestive issues, in fact, I like to think I have a British stomach made of iron, but I've definitely been suffering from cognitive shortcomings lately that I suspect are nutritional, rather than aging, thank G-d.

After looking at my symptoms chart he demanded that I stop eating high-fiber English muffins for breakfast (and dump the Smart Balance for butter [but the saturated fats!!] or olive oil), and as for my whole wheat lunch crackers with cream cheese?  I promptly made a rare trip to Trader Joe's and picked up the recommended goat cheese (more pure than Cow milk, I guess) and rice crackers.  I ate at least 20 of them for lunch today--not exactly filling alone.  And I skipped the toast at dinner.

I already feel better, and my sharp neck pain is gone to boot!

There are a lot of doubts about Chiropractors in the MD community, but I would take a referral for a  D.O. or a Chiropractor over any blind MD!  Alternative therapies promote wellness, but should also be regulated like traditional therapies.

I noticed that since this Doctor is outside of my insurance plan, I can reveal my complete medical history without fear of being dropped by my insurance!  It made me see that not only is our insurance system corrupt in it's greed, but it so easily corrupts being honest about health. What a horrible "health" system!  With Universal Healthcare, we would never fear losing access for any reason, we could be completely honest about our health histories and habits.

Who wants peace on earth?

I wanted to see the North Korean government get whacked so I watched Team America (2004) last week, too violent and not for kids, but there was a funny thing about "three kinds of people," which I won't go into here, but I was wondering if this has any truth to it:

There are three kinds of people; those who want peace on earth; those who want hell on earth; and those who just don't give a sh#@$# which means only about 1/3 of the world's people are working toward peace?  Well, at least the cup for peace is a third full...

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Right to Life Begins at Birth

On February 5th, Randal Terry will be putting pictures of aborted fetuses, arranged in morbid tableus, on prime-time television.

In his portraits of the unborn, he doesn't discuss the women who bore those fetuses; he does not tell us if the abortions happened because a woman was poor, a woman was raped, a woman already had five children, a woman was not capable of bearing a child, or a woman was dying.  The physical and legal reality that exists between a woman and what's inside her womb, and her family, doesn't matter to him.  Or anyone who is willing to compare a fetus to a Holocaust victim

When I was a child in the 1980s my preacher father vehemently defended a woman's right to legal abortion within our church and within our community.  He deeply understood with compassion that women do not always control how they get pregnant, and that they and their families bear the moral choice to continue or, very tragically, end a pregnancy.  He and other ministers exchanged impassioned letters arguing both sides of the issue.  As a child I observed what often gets ignored: those arguing to outlaw abortion rarely considered the liberties or life of a pregnant woman. Their compassion stops outside the womb.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Citibank and the 1%

I dressed in my best coat and went to Citibank.  It is in my wealthy neighborhood, well, at least the neighborhood directly south of us has many 1%ers.   I went to transfer my measly $2000 IRA CD to another bank.  My husband has more savings, and we have good life insurance.  But because I've been a stay-at-home mom for years, and had part-time jobs for a decade before that, I'm lucky to have $2000 for retirement!  My Social Security future securities have been decimated because Americans MUST be on a PAYROLL to accumulate even the measliest individual retirement security!! 

The Citibank employee sat with me and gave me a lot of information, but could not do one blimmin' thing to help me make this transfer.  Momentarily I actually have to make a call to a Citibank 800 number TODAY to make sure there aren't any IRS charges applied to my transfer--a call the bank employee could not make on my behalf.

I said, "What's the point of a branch office if employees can't do things like this?"

No response, instead she asked, "Why are you transferring the IRA to another bank?"

I said, "Well, at the new bank I can actually trade the funds myself.  I can control the investments and it's not locked up."

And she said, "You can do that here!  Over here in our 'Wealth Management' corner, we have people who can help you invest, there's no charge for their advice!"

I said, "Oh, I did not know that."

Then her, "How much are you transferring?"

I said, "Oh it's not a lot, about $2,000."

And her response was, "Oh, well, they really only work with people who are investing large amounts of cash..."

So I said, "Oh, I guess we're not rich enough!  Okay, thanks anyway."

And I think she knew at that point that I would never be back.

And I think $2000 can help a lot of women's small businesses and sustainable farmers, so I hope I can invest in those kind of things!