Archive | Op-Ed

TAXI Driver: San Francisco (Time-Lapse VIDEO)

My cabbie day time-lapsed. 10 hours in 10 minutes, complete w/ original music (by moi) and narration…

Monday

The infamous Milford is working the office and throws me 744, a Camry he boasts as “new” with a 5 o’ clock medallion. I throw him a five and Milford looks disappointed and expectant. I just ignore it. Why am I gonna tip him more for this?

I head out to the lot, prep the cab, and report some bumper marks over the radio to cover my ass – then proceed to leave the lot. But before I can, The Dutchman (a mellow, eccentric, 64 year-old driver who takes pride in looking 50 and lives 2 hours away in the Santa Cruz mountains where he has local girls trained as his personal prostitutes) has me roll down my window and asks where I’m going. I ask him where he’s going, if he needs a ride.… Read the rest

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The Hazards of Being a Man Who Writes About Men and Masculinity

Jed Diamond (Twitter photo)

Jed Diamond (Twitter photo)

Finally, something Feminists and MRA’s can agree on!  Jed Diamond, PhD, writes at the Good Men Project:

I’ve been writing about men and masculinity since my first book Inside Out: Becoming My Own Man was published in 1983. I was inspired to write about men and masculinity after reading Herb Goldberg’s book, The Hazards of Being Male: Surviving the Myth of Masculine Privilege. I still have my copy of Goldberg’s book with the picture of a masculine, muscled arm, with a broken red heart.

The inspiration for this article came from a discussion by authors who write for The Good Men Project about an article that appeared in the Guardian titled Matt Haig “Crucified” on Twitter for planning a book about masculinity. It isn’t always easy to write from the heart about matters of sex and gender. I hope Matt finds a way to express what is in his heart.

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Confronting Southern ‘Victimhood’

Robert Parry writes at Consortiumnews:

Unlike the Germans after World War II who collectively shouldered blame for the Holocaust and the war’s devastation, America’s white Southerners never confessed to the evil that they had committed by enslaving African-Americans and then pushing the United States into a bloody Civil War in their defense of human bondage.

american pride, southern stride

Photo: Erika dot net (CC)

Instead of a frank admission of guilt, there have been endless excuses and obfuscations. Confederate apologists insist that slavery wasn’t really all that bad for blacks, that the North’s hands weren’t clean either, that the Civil War was really just about differing interpretations of the Constitution, that white Southerners were the real victims here – from Sherman’s March to the Sea to Reconstruction. Some white Southerners still prefer to call the conflict “the war of Northern aggression.”

Indeed, Southern white “victimhood” has been at the heart of much bloodshed and suffering in the United States not only during the Civil War and the ensuing decades but through the modern era of the civil rights struggles of the 1950s and 1960s to the present bigoted hatred of the first African-American president and the coldblooded murders of nine black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina.

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Magic and Politics

David Graeber writes at the Baffler:

Politicians are by definition dishonest. All politicians lie. But many observers of American politics agree that over the last few years, there has been something of a qualitative change in the magnitude of political dishonesty. In certain party precincts, at least, there seems to have been a conscious attempt to change the rules to allow for a level of flagrant, over-the-top lying about political opponents that we rarely see in other countries. Sarah Palin and her “death panels” pioneered the new style, but Michele Bachmann quickly took things to even more spectacular heights with her wild claims of government plots to impose sharia law on the United States or secret plans to abandon the dollar and replace it with the Chinese yuan. Mitt Romney didn’t top either Palin or Bachmann in the grandeur and magnificence of his lies, but he did try to make up for it in volume, having based his entire presidential campaign on an endless string of fabrications.

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Synchronicity and the Secret of the Co-creator

Sync final

Synchronicity and the Secret of the Co-creator

Synchronicity: is the experience of two or more events that are apparently causally unrelated occurring together in a meaningful manner [to the observer]. To count as synchronicity, the events should be unlikely to occur together by chance.

If you believe synchronicity is simply coincidence, then you haven’t read any of the top experts in the field. The famous psychotherapist Carl Gustav Jung coined the term synchronicity in the 1920s to reference the alignment of universal forces with a person’s experiences.

These forces have been sought out for centuries in many spiritual traditions as a means of aligning with the “flow.” This usually takes years of disciplined meditation, study, ritual or by other means to navigate this journey toward a harmonic “individuation.” To some the search is inward for the self, yet for others it’s an outward search for spirituality.

My first experience with synchronicity was on March 21st at 3:03am which is the 3rd month, 3rd week, 3rd hour, 3rd minute or 3333, on the equinox and the moment of my birth.… Read the rest

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The General Dynamics, Saudi Arabia contract and Canada’s moral regress

With the case of the Canadian-brokered General Dynamics light armored vehicle sale to the Saudi Arabian government, Canada’s manufacturing sector has become complicit in human rights abuses abroad.

The question of benefit could be framed like this: is General Dynamics employing more people than its equipment is killing?

The Globe and Mail reported that Ed Fast, Canada’s Minister of International trade said, the deal will help the manufacturing area in London to “become the epicentre of a cross-Canada supply chain directly benefiting more than 500 local Canadian firms…Our government will continue to support our exporters and manufacturers to create jobs, as part of our government’s most ambitious pro-trade, pro-export plan in Canadian history.”

That export plan, justified by job-creation involves the sale of light armoured vehicles, manufactured in Canada that the Globe and Mail describes as having “effective firepower to defeat soft and armored targets…options for mounted guns include a 25-mm cannon and 7.62-mm machine guns and smoke grenade launchers.”

The Ottawa Citizen reports that:

“Canada’s defence industry has beaten out German and French competitors to win a massive contract worth at least $10 billion US to supply armoured military vehicles to Saudi Arabia.

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The Blood on Our Hands: An Analysis of Mass Murder

Blood on hands

The synchronicity was disturbing. My research for an upcoming article had me immersed in hate crime statistics, when a friend from South Carolina told me the news. A 21-year-old Southern white male had just opened fire on a prayer group at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC. This story hit something deep that data points and bar graphs cannot reach.

The Charleston shooting shook my South Carolinian friend to his core. Nine black Christians had welcomed an angry white kid into their prayer circle, and he gunned them down on a mission to “protect the White race.” My guts stirred with a sick feeling of recognition. It was as if the shooting had been a dreaded inevitability. Or was it that we’ve been here before?

If you think Dylann Storm Roof fits the typical hate crime profile, you are only half-correct.

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Snowden Does a Product Endorsement

thierry ehrmann (CC by 2.0)

thierry ehrmann (CC by 2.0)

Bill Blunden writes at CounterPunch:

In the wake of Congress passing the USA Freedom Act Ed Snowden composed an editorial piece that appeared in the New York Times. There are aspects of this article that may surprise those who’ve followed events since Snowden first went public two years back.

For example, Ed referred to the bill as a “historic victory” though there are skeptics in the peanut gallery like your author who would call it theater. That is, an attempt to codify otherwise expired measures which have been of little use according to their stated purpose. The USA Freedom Act provides the opportunity for elected officials in Washington to do a victory lap and boast that they’ve implemented restructuring while former American spies, with a knowing wink, understand that what’s actually been instituted is “hardly major change.”

Moving onward through his laudatory communiqué, Ed warns that hi tech companies “are being pressured by governments around the world to work against their customers rather than for them.” He opted not to say who was being leaned on.

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Piracy on the High Sees: The Devaluation of Content

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Let me open with the fact that when it comes to content (audio, video, games, photographs), I am extremely ANTI-PIRACY. I’ll debate with anyone who wants to take up the argument that content should be free. And… if you think the title of this article has a typo, you are wrong. You see, I am in the film distribution business, and I am going to steer this rambling toward 1) film and 2) until you see my point. I want to ‘sees’ the moment. OK… OK… seize it. I’ll stop with the bad puns as I am sure you see my point.

“You should come over one night,” said the man in the nice blue (and somewhat expensive looking) sweatshirt. “I have about 300 films I’ve downloaded.”

He laughed and then told me he hadn’t paid for even one… that he has some back channel way of getting them from a site that grabs them off of cable VOD services.… Read the rest

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Proposals for a Freer and More Just Society

The unnamed (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The unnamed (CC BY-SA 2.0)

In case you haven’t noticed, the world is growing increasingly unfree and unjust. Just look around you.

As the revelations by Edward Snowden prove, surveillance of citizens’ private lives by government is at an all-time Orwellian high, with cameras becoming ubiquitous on street corners, drones patrolling the skies overhead, all forms of telecommunications regularly monitored and recorded. In general, there is massive intrusion by government into personal matters that would have been repelled by America’s founders. It was precisely such intrusion that inspired the writing of the Declaration of Independence, as well as the protections against such abuses supposedly enshrined in the Bill of Rights.

In addition to being constantly and suspiciously watched by a group having legal monopoly on both the creation and enforcement of its own rules, a group who seems ever more unaccountable for their own wrongdoing, it’s now taken for granted that cops everywhere carry military-grade hardware.… Read the rest

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