Edward Snowden: Hero without a Cause

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My wife and I recently watched the PBS documentary, The United States of Secrets, which describes the unlimited power the National Security Agency received after 9/11 and the eventual exposure of the abuse of that power through one Edward Snowden.

I wasn’t particularly impressed with Snowden at first, assuming he was a publicity-seeking missile like most Americans. I waited for news of his book-and-movie deal to confirm my suspicions.

Instead, he made his exile official, and while he still gives interviews to the Western press, he’s not getting any richer and he still has to live in the massively dysfunctional world of Vladimir Putin.

The only response from the United States government is that Snowden is a traitor and that he should come home, do the right thing and stand trial for his crimes. I don’t know of any idiot on earth that would accept that invitation. The guy is obviously guilty until proven innocent, and he would never be found innocent in the paranoid environment of the United States.

I am now inclined to believe that Snowden acted out of principle. He is a person who “saw wrong and tried to right it.” The American government clearly overstepped boundaries by invading the privacy of millions of its citizens and deserved to be exposed for their gross indignities.

The irony of the situation is that most Americans don’t give a rat’s ass about their privacy. The majority would love to see their privacy invaded. They’d love to see their nude pictures go viral. They’d love to see their absurd family squabbles get the attention of television producers and become the subject of a reality TV show. They’d love to see their talented little girl get some press so they could exploit the crap out of her and waste all their riches on drugs, mansions and trips to Las Vegas.

Edward Snowden is not a traitor but a hero . . . and in the madness of a culture ready to implode from sanctioned narcissism, his efforts were wasted on a people who didn’t deserve him.

 

 

Imagine . . . No Countries

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world soccer ballI’ve been watching the World Cup, and though all the commentators and FIFA’s marketing machine describe it as one of the best tournaments ever, I find the experience rather uncomfortable.

I love soccer, and my discomfort has nothing to do with the quality of play or sympathetic support for those in Brazil protesting the Cup as a wasteful extravagance in a country with high levels of poverty (though I entirely agree with them).

The problem I have with the World Cup is the same problem I have with the Olympics, and I haven’t watched the Olympics in twenty-odd years.

The teams are organized by country. Organizing the tournament by nation-states encourages feelings of patriotism, and patriotism is an antiquated, corrosive force that reinforces the us-against-them mindset at the core of nearly every human problem you can name. Instead of taking advantage of a golden opportunity to advance human cooperation, FIFA follows an old, tired blueprint that validates human division.

Competition between athletes is fun. Competition between countries is destructive, whether the field of competition is athletic, economic or political.

A better way to organize the World Cup is to form teams drafted from the total pool of qualified athletes with the rule that each team can have no more than one player from a specific country. The alliances formed would be temporary alliances for the sole purpose of athletic competition. To win the Cup, though, these athletes from different corners of the world would by necessity have to develop cross-cultural collaboration skills. The team that won the Cup would be admired for their ability to overcome communication and language barriers to achieve a shared goal.

That’s a much better example for both children and adults to follow than encouraging people to shout, “We’re Number One” and extend the false belief in the superiority-inferiority dynamic that has dominated world affairs for centuries.

Psychedelia

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Robert Morrow:

The introduction to the ARC’s Psychedelia series is a fine piece of writing and I can’t wait to read the reviews!

Originally posted on altrockchick:

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Let me tell you about the first and only time I dropped acid.

I had always been somewhat curious about it, because my parents would sometimes reference acid trips they took in their hippie primes. What held me back was a very conservative attitude when it comes to drugs: I prefer to keep my mind clear so I can understand what I am experiencing. I had smoked marijuana a couple of times and didn’t like the way it made me feel: stupid and lazy. I tried cocaine once at a party and found the process of snorting uncivilized and disgusting, to say nothing of the outrageous expense for what turned out to be a fifteen minute buzz. I avoided ecstasy entirely on the principle that “if everyone one is doing it, it must be a pretty lousy experience.” What intrigued me about acid was its power to alter perception, and I like experiences that challenge my perceptions.

I asked…

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Hello Again

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magritte13As mentioned in a previous post, other life priorities have interfered with this blog. After quitting my job in May 2012 due to an extraordinarily toxic environment, I’ve spent the last two years cobbling together consulting assignments and focusing on survival. Writing, composing and even playing music have taken a back seat to more basic human needs for food and shelter.

Classic Maslow hierarchy stuff.

Interestingly enough, I haven’t been stressed out at all. I actually prefer uncertainty to certainty, because then I’m not tied down to anything—all the possibilities remain in play.

Things worked out okay. All the bills were paid on time, we took very little out of savings and we even allowed ourselves some indulgences from time to time. The work was much more fun than what I had been doing, because I decided I only wanted to work with people who shared my values instead of just finding opportunities for a fast buck.

Now things have settled down: I’ve taken a job working for a nonprofit agency focused on helping the ones left behind by our society: the homeless, homeless children, domestic violence victims. I had to give up some freedom, but the opportunity to work for organization completely focused on making a difference instead of making a profit was too good to pass up. I could make a ton more money going to work for a corporation, but I’ve been there, done that, and I could never reconcile the values conflict or the lack of meaningful purpose in a profit-oriented organization. The simple fact that I wake up and look forward to going to work says it all. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced that consistently in my life.

Over the last two years, I’ve also changed many of my habits. I never read or watch the news anymore. I don’t pay attention to politics at all. I’ve come to accept that American society is immune to logic, common sense or compassion, and that only a very few people have any real power in this country. Why get my knickers in a twist about things I have no hope of changing? America will never give up its guns, will never reduce its attachment to the military, will never make the government more efficient and responsive, will never remove the corruption that money brings to politics and political campaigns, will never change the process of reapportionment where politicians set themselves up with virtual lifetime employment. No one who has power is going to listen to me, so why bother pissing away time and energy on stuff I can’t influence?

So, as I re-engage with this blog, I’m not going to write about politics, social change or any other “big issue” that people get all worked up about. I don’t care who has control of Congress or the White House; both the Democrats and Republicans are elitists whose only interest is control and power, and anything either party “achieves” will be argued to death in court for years.

What will I write about? Whatever I feel like! People I know, books I’ve read, music I’ve heard, stories about real life experience, poetry, imaginative bursts . . . the things that really matter.