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Tonight’s presidential debate could be way more interesting if McCain isn’t there. The absence of the Republican nominee would clear the way for a more diverse representation of U.S. political philosophy — that is, a debate amongst the Democratic nominee and the nominees of at least three minor parties.

Presidential debates in the U.S. are usually carefully orchestrated by the leadership of the Democrat and Republican parties to exclude all other political parties in the country. Their reasoning? They say it’s justified because they are the most popular (or “largest,” “most powerful,” “most bankrolled by lobbyists and corporations”) parties Continue Reading »

What are we to think when the U.S. Government, the strong arm behind countless privatization schemes around the world, decides to “bail out” one of its largest private lenders, Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac, then proceeds to make gigantic public loans to even more corporations? In the realm of the laissez-faire capitalism promoted regularly by the neo-con right and the centrist left, it means we’ve gone “Commie.”

I don’t know about anyone else, but personally, I’m sick and tired of the CEOs of America Continue Reading »

When former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of himself and the United Nations in 2001, he gave a remarkable speech.¬† In that speech delivered on December 10 — just a few short months after the World Trade Center was destroyed by extremists — he said:

Each of us has the right to take pride in our particular faith or heritage. But the notion that what is ours is necessarily in conflict with what is theirs is both false and dangerous. It has resulted in endless enmity and conflict, leading men to commit the greatest of crimes in the name of a higher power.

Even though this part of his address was discussing the need for greater acceptance and understanding across religious boundaries, it certainly could be applied to other realms of belief and lines of division such as those found in politics, nationalism, academia, race, philosophy… you name it.

Avoiding the “false and dangerous” notions Annan described six and a half years ago sure would go a long way toward opening paths humanity could¬† take in overcoming its most pressing present and future challenges.

Read Kofi Annan’s entire Nobel Lecture at NobelPrize.org

Senator and assumed Republican nominee for President, John McCain, today described his likely Democrat rival for said office as the “wrong change.” McCain’s “clever” inversion of Senator Barack Obama’s central campaign slogan — combined with observations about the state of things as we quietly drift toward the second decade of the 21st Century — leads us to a new, entirely more powerful thought: the only change worth describing as the “wrong” change is no change.

This conclusion comes quickly when thoughts turn Continue Reading »

This month, most U.S. colleges and universities send forth their graduating seniors into the world with high hopes and big speeches. In honor of these many momentous commencement ceremonies, I present words spoken in 1968 to a crowd of 14,000-plus college students — words that are as fitting now as they were then:

You are the people, as President Kennedy said, who have ‘the least ties to the present and the greatest ties to the future.’ I urge you to learn the harsh facts that lurk behind the mask of official illusion with which we have concealed our true circumstances, even from ourselves. Our country is in danger: not just from foreign enemies; but above all, from our own misguided policies — and what they can do to the nation that Thomas Jefferson once told us was the last, best, hope of man. There is a contest on, not for the rule of America, but for the heart of America. In these next eight months, we are going to decide what this country will stand for — and what kind of men we are. So I ask for your help, in the cities and homes of this state, into the towns and farms: contributing your concern and action, warning of the danger of what we are doing — and the promise of what we can do. I ask you, as tens of thousands of young men and women are doing all over this land, to organize yourselves, and then to go forth and work for new policies — work to change our direction — and thus restore our place at the point of moral leadership, in our country, in our own hearts, and all around the world.

Excerpted from a lecture given by Robert F. Kennedy to students at Kansas State University on March 18, 1968 — two days after he announced his candidacy for U.S. President. His full speech can be read at PBS’s American Experience website.

In a previous post, I put forward a theory that the U.S. stopped — or simply forgot — to continue evolving the vision for its future and the vacuum left by this negligence is slowly being filled with theocratic thinking and values (I really would love some comments on that post). Since writing that post, I’ve been thinking about a concept that is steadily growing in its popularity and looks like a contender for the United States’ (and/or the world’s) vision for the future — Carbon Neutrality.

The growth in the number of agents (corporations, colleges, cities, states, organizations, spokespeople, etc.) promoting this concept gives me some hope that our humanity may avoid the tragic consequences of inaction in the face of drastic climate change. It also, however, leaves me suspicious about how these various agents — particularly the profit-driven ones — will use Carbon Neutrality to “green wash” their other actions that harm the environment. Continue Reading »

I watched the first of the two-part Frontline series, Bush’s War, last night. I greatly appreciate everyone who produced this series because it puts the last six years in context, digging below the surface of a number of headlines many of us remember about the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

Here’s what stands out to me from the documentary: Continue Reading »