Monday, April 30, 2012

The Art of Political Rhetoric


The School of Athens by Raphael, 1505
The School of Athens by Raphael, 1505

By Robert F. Beaudine

The ancient Roman rhetoricians developed rules for their oratory. They began with “the exordium,” an emotional or ethical appeal to put the audience in a receptive mood. The “narratio” followed, a narrative of the events leading to the situation to be discussed and an explanation of their manner of treatment.

The main body of their speech delivered the proof of their argument, confirming their conclusions and refuting their opponent’s claims. They developed techniques called “the praemunitio” and “the amplificatio,” which cleared away obstacles and amplified their case with a rhetorical flourish. They concluded with another appeal to the sympathies of their audience.

These rules have been used throughout subsequent history. Today, the majority of our citizens no longer require proofs from our political class. They applaud any slogan that stirs their emotions, and they conveniently forget when a promise is not fulfilled. This has enabled our political leaders on either side of the spectrum to continue the policies and spending that undermine our liberties and our economy.

Public education has been instrumental in the dumbing down of political speech. Beginning in the late 19th Century, our industrialists used their wealth and power to methodically dismantle traditional education and replace it with a progressive system based on the Prussian model. Rather than enlighten, education was redesigned as job training, a system to raise compliant citizens who always looked to the experts for answers. This schooling would become the central feature of their planned society with its planned economy, both necessary for our industrialists to maintain and multiply their wealth and power.

Using the experiential discoveries of psychology, it’s taken a century to perfect today’s public indoctrination system. The unthinking emotionally-driven perpetually-dependent products of this schooling attest to the success of their method. Our politicians are the beneficiaries and no longer need sound arguments to justify their position.

Our political class also enjoys the advantages of a two-party system, which divides the people in two opposing camps, the “haves” and the “have-nots,” terms verbal engineered into the common vocabulary by the Left.

On its simplest level, the Left appeals to the have-nots with promises of increasing governmental assistance to ease their sufferings under Capitalistic inequalities, while the Right appeals to the haves with promises of less taxes, less government, and more liberty. Each side has a receptive core that readily applauds when their emotions are aroused through simple sound bites and slogans. And when the promised benefits are not delivered, each side points the blame at their conniving opponents, arousing anger, further dividing our country, while engendering sympathy for their tireless benefactors.

These techniques have been setting up the final solution. After we’re irrevocably divided, we’re ripe to be conquered.

This false left right paradigm has successfully served each side over the years, as our government’s bureaucracy and power have continued to grow unchecked, and the inequalities between the haves and the have-nots have increased unabated. That is, until a few small groups on the Right no longer applauded. Rather than accept the status quo of continual broken promises, these tea-partiers and libertarian groups like the Campaign For Liberty have demanded accountability. They demanded a return to sound government not in the fairy tales of their fraudulent speeches, but in a reality darkened by a fiscally irresponsible federal government that continues to reach into all aspects of daily life, as it gobbles more power and throttles liberty.

Yet, these small movements have been demonized from the start and are now blamed for bringing us to the brink of insolvency, something they alone seem concerned with preventing. In this respect, the rhetoric of the mass media is similar to that of our politicians – the truth is inconvenient to their agenda. Without the safeguards of an objective press, the status quo in Washington continues. Our debt gets deeper, our economy more mired, and our liberties more threatened. It matters little whether the Right or Left is in power. Our country continues along the path to insolvency and moral bankruptcy.

The recent Debt Crisis illustrates the false paradigm. It was engineered under a Republican President with a massive bailout of big business, and it continued under the current Democratic Administration. These opposing camps have become hired mouthpieces without the will or inertia to do anything but the bidding of those who keep them in office, the international banking elites. If left unchecked, the US Dollar will continually weaken until it’s replaced as the world’s reserve currency, which will ruin our economy and facilitate our merger into one-world-government.

And still, the underlying causes of our debt crisis have not been addressed. We have both a spending and an entitlement crisis, as an unsustainable debt piles up. Yet, we hear the same rhetoric echoing from the halls of Washington. Both sides claim the other side won’t compromise and allow an equitable solution. While the Right wants to punish the poor with spending cuts and reward the rich with no new taxes, the Left wants to soak the rich with massive taxes and aid the poor with more spending. The so-called solution was demonized as a tea-party victory. Surprisingly, or perhaps not, these patriots didn’t celebrate because it’s a mirage with the appearance of spending cuts in the face of massive spending increases.

Will we find a real solution in time? Is there a Presidential contender on either side, besides Congressman Ron Paul, who will not continue this false paradigm with its broken promises and destructive policies? History would say no, as the mainstream media continues to marginalize any voice against the status quo, including Dr. Paul.

In 1966, the historian Dr. Carroll Quigley thought the international bankers were too powerful to oppose when he published his smug exposé, "Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time." He wrote, “The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies, one perhaps of the Right, and the other of the Left, is a foolish idea acceptable only to doctrinaire and academic thinkers. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can ‘throw the rascals out’ at any election without leading to any profound or extensive shifts in policy … either party in office becomes in time corrupt, tired, unenterprising, and vigorless. Then it should be possible to replace it, every four years if necessary, by the other party, which will be none of these things but will still pursue, with new vigor, approximately the same policies.”

Future historians will wonder why we neglected to educate ourselves about a world dominated by an international elite, and why we never learned our lessons about our political class, who do their bidding with baseless rhetoric.

About the author:

Robert Beaudine is the author of the novel Based Upon a Lie, which you can purchase as an e-book. To learn more, please, visit his website.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Vanishing of the Bees


 Eros, Venus and the Bees, Albrecht Dürer, 1514
 Eros, Venus and the Bees, Albrecht Dürer, 1514

The Documentary

Honeybees have been mysteriously disappearing across the planet, literally vanishing from their hives. Known as Colony Collapse Disorder, this phenomenon has brought beekeepers to crisis in an industry responsible for producing apples, broccoli, watermelon, onions, cherries and a hundred other fruits and vegetables. 

As with any great mystery, a number of theories have been posed, and many seem to researchers to be more science fiction than science. People have blamed genetically modified crops, cellular phone towers and high-voltage transmission lines for the disappearances.

"Vanishing of the Bees" documentary follows commercial beekeepers David Hackenberg and Dave Mendes as they strive to keep their bees healthy and fulfill pollination contracts across the U.S. The film explores the struggles they face as the two friends plead their case on Capital Hill and travel across the Pacific Ocean in the quest to protect their honeybees.

Documentary synopsis:
  • Honeybees are responsible for one-third of our food supply, yet they are disappearing at a startling rate in a phenomenon known as Colony Collapse Disorder, or CCD
  • The documentary “Vanishing of the Bees” takes a piercing investigative look at the economic, political and ecological implications of the worldwide disappearance of the honeybee
  • CCD is most likely the result of a constellation of factors, one of the largest being the growing contamination of their hives with pesticides, especially the newer systemic pesticides, or neonicotinoids
  • Bees appear to be suffering catastrophic effects after exposure to even low levels of certain pesticides, including inability to fight off infections, nervous system damage, disorientation and impaired navigation
  • Bees are increasingly being raised “factory farm” style with artificial food, artificial insemination, and grossly unnatural hive conditions that further stress the colony, highlighting an urgent need to return to more natural beekeeping traditions
Filming across the US, in Europe, Australia and Asia, this documentary examines the alarming disappearance of honeybees and the greater meaning it holds about the relationship between mankind and mother earth. As scientists puzzle over the cause, organic beekeepers indicate alternative reasons for this tragic loss. Conflicting options abound and after years of research, a definitive answer has not been found to this harrowing mystery.

    

To learn more please visit the Vanishing of the Bees website 

Also of interest Holistic Beekeeping with Illuminated Perfume


Saturday, April 28, 2012

Quote of the Day


What if we stopped there? George White's Ornithopter, 1928
What if we stopped there?
George White's Ornithopter, 1928

Every few hundred years in Western history there occurs a sharp transformation. Within a few short decades, society - its world view, its basic values, its social and political structures, its arts, its key institutions - rearranges itself. And the people born then cannot even imagine a world in which their grandparents lived and into which their own parents were born. We are currently living through such a transformation. - Peter Drucker

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Supergreens!



More often than not our daily life leaves us tired and unhealthy. Stress, food on the run, too much coffee, not enough sleep... Things may look hopeless if change of lifestyle is not an option. And yet, there are simple solutions that may help us reverse the cycle.

I believe that nothing can really replace nutritious, organic fruit and vegetable, but I also know that our modern lifestyles sometimes make it impossible for us to acquire healthy food on daily basis. Supplementation is almost inevitable, but if you decide to use nutritional supplements, choose the best.

One of the easiest way to deliver whole nutrition and energy to your system is to take supergreen supplements. They come as capsules, juices, and powders. The products you may find on the market include a single green superfood such as barley grass or spirulina or are synergistic combination of many powerful green foods. 

One of the best products that I know of is the Sunwarrior Ormus Supergreens powder that can be added to juices, smoothies, and shakes. 

Grown in a mineral-rich ancient volcanic sea bed, Ormus Supergreens is a 100% certified organic supplement. It is packed with live probiotics and phyto-nutrients. This product will not only deliver vital nutrients, but also help alkalize and detoxify your body.


If you are on a raw food diet or in a process of changing your lifestyle from cooked to raw, or if you are simply trying to improve your nutrition, you might want to try with this amazing product. Scoop by scoop you will experience higher energy levels, better digestion, and improved overall health.

Five Reasons to Give Ormus Supergreens a Try:
  • 100% organic, non GMO & gluten free!
  • Grown and produced in the USA
  • Cultured with live probiotics and enzymes
  • Produced using an eco-friendly process with a low carbon footprint
  • Tastes great as a refreshing drink or in a smoothie
Ormus Supergreens includes: alfalfa, barley, spinach, parsley, yucca, peppermint, stevia, wheatgrass, and oatgrass.

   


*Information in this article is for educational purposes only and is not an attempt to cure or diagnose a disease.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Trust the Government?



Americans have always evinced some distrust of government, but the current situation has exacerbated this to a degree that may be unprecedented. - Eric Alterman

Alterman's quote has never been as valid as it is now. According to Gallup poll only 45,9% approve  the job performance of President Obama, while only 17% approved the job done by the Congress. With all the scandals and excesses, no wonder that people are skeptical.


   

Monday, April 23, 2012

Difficult?



Why do you permit a mere word to stand in your way?  Forget the word "difficult" and take your next step. - Vernon Howard, American Author and Spiritual Teacher (1918-1992)

Image source here

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Infinity...



Discovery in mathematics is not a matter of logic. It is rather the result of mysterious powers which no one understands, and in which unconscious recognition of beauty must play an important part. Out of an infinity of designs, a mathematician chooses one pattern for beauty's sake and pulls it down to earth. - H. C. Marston Morse, American Mathematician (24 March 1892 – 22 June 1977)

A Brighter Shade of Green


 Happy Earth Day!

Rebooting Environmentalism for the 21st Century
by Ross Robertson

I have always been a somewhat reluctant environmentalist. I was practically weaned on John Muir’s Yosemite, and as a kid growing up in the suburbs of California in the last decades of the twentieth century, I fell fast in love with the depth and space and beauty of the mountains. They were everything my world of clay lots and cement and computer technology was not - cool, silent, elemental, rich with unquestionable mystery. They were every bit as spiritual as church, minus the dogmatism and the bake sales. The forest wilderness of the Sierra high country made a green romantic out of me, and when I got to college in Atlanta, I became concerned enough about the fate of nature to do something about it. I organized river cleanups and letter-writing campaigns, studied the classics of American nature writing, and sat on the environmental committee of the university senate. I lobbied on Capitol Hill in Washington and protested chip mills and nuclear reactors in Tennessee. I even intercepted a Brazilian merchant ship on its way into Savannah harbor and blocked it from unloading its illegal cargo of Amazon mahogany, which was still wet with the blood of indigenous tribes.

I’ll always remember the incredible sense of purpose I felt that day as our small skiff shot over the waves at sunrise, the righteous, lawbreaking freedom of putting my future on the line for what I believed in. Even more than that, however, I’ll never forget the confusion and the strange unease that came over me when the action was done and we headed for home through the twilit forests of coastal Georgia. It had been the ultimate statement of “us versus them,” but somehow it left me feeling at odds with myself. Less than a week from my twenty-first birthday, I was frightened to realize how far I’d already come from love and idealism and the will to change things to anger, frustration, and a cynicism that increasingly bordered on desperation. I saw this in my friends, also. It cut us off from one another, and when the urgency of our common mission brought us together, it set us in opposition to the rest of the world.

I knew my days as an eco-extremist were done. What I didn’t know then was that I was coming up against a shadow so basic to the character of modern environmentalism, it would take me more than a decade to find my way out from under it. That everywhere my path would take me as a young activist in the coming years - from a lonely bio-dynamic cooperative in the farmlands of rural Missouri to the networked high-rises of the San Francisco nonprofit world - I was walking down a well-worn track toward a dead end. It was only one day last spring, in fact, that I finally figured out what was wrong and what to do about it. That was the day a book called "Worldchanging" came across my desk and made me proud to call myself an environmentalist again.

If you bleed green like I do, you may also be under the wings of a shadow so close to you, it’s difficult to see. This blind spot has less to do with the environment and more to do with how we perceive it - and how we perceive ourselves. To me, the most pivotal environmental issue we’re faced with is not climate change or hunger or biodiversity or deforestation or genetic engineering or any of those things. It is an issue that is going to determine what we do about it all: our deeply felt ambivalence toward the human race and our presence here on planet Earth. 

To continue reading please click here 

About the author:

Ross Robertson, Senior Editor, joined EnlightenNext's editorial staff in 2003. With a BA in Creative Writing and Ecology from Emory University and an MFA in Creative Writing from Naropa University, he brings with him a studied dedication to the art of the written word. But perhaps more significantly, he adds the perspective of an observant and insightful Gen-Xer to the editorial team.

Before joining EnlightenNext Magazine, Robertson worked for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) in San Francisco, applying his study of conservation biology to various environmental projects. As part of his tenure there, he helped produce the proposals for the Giant Sequoia National Monument proclaimed by President Clinton in 2000, preserving 328,000 acres for these three-thousand-year-old trees and other wildlife.

    

Also of interest


Image source unknown but greatly appreciated

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Dreams from My Father


President Barack Obama with his dog BO
 President Barack Obama with his dog BO

"Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance" is a memoir written by the US President Barack Obama. 

The book was first published in July 1995 when Mr Obama was about to launch his political career. It tells a story of Obama's life up to his enrollment to Harvard Law School.

Obama examines his white Mid-Western heritage on his mother's side and explores the world of his father, a Kenyan Muslim who came to the United States to study.

Obama who grew up as a mixed-race child in Hawaii and Indonesia, discusses his attempt to reconcile his racial identity with his experience through a period of rebellion that included drug use, community activism in Chicago and a trip to Kenya to understand his absent father's past.

It is in Kenya, a Sub-Saharan African nation that he recognizes the dichotomy between the colonial servant's mind of his grandfather and the anti-colonialist rebellion and moral superiority of his father. 

The narration ends in the 1990s, and although it does not offer much insight to Obama's academic experience, it helps the reader understand the President's ideological roots. 

Image source here

      

Friday, April 20, 2012

Enjoy the Ride!



You are today where your thoughts have brought you. 
You will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you. 

James Allen

Image by Karrah Kobus
Image source here

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Living Without a Consequence



My loyalties will not be bound by national borders, or confined in time by one nation’s history, or limited in the spiritual dimension by one language and culture. I pledge my allegiance to the damned human race, and my everlasting love to the green hills of Earth, and my intimations of glory to the singing stars, to the very end of space and time. - Edward Abbey

Someone posted this quote on his Tumblr blog apparently very proud of the "wisdom" it carries. The quote was shared hundreds of times by other bloggers. The interesting thing is that these proud citizens of the world still hold on to their national passports and profit from all the privileges a citizenship of a country, especially a Western one, carries with it.

I agree that we are all citizens of the world and it isn't wrong to embrace this "oneness". But neither it is wrong or mistaken to be patriotic and proud about one's own country, its culture, tradition, and history. The plain denial or rejection of it is nothing, but an idle exercise of an impractical mind. 

There is a very nasty trend in the United States, however. For some sinister reason people are ridiculed and forced to give up their patriotism. Spontaneous displays of it are suppressed. "Someone" is afraid of the rise of nationalism. I personally find this ridiculous, but the arguments go that the "foreign" neighbors (Mexicans, Arabs, Indians and others) are offended when they see an American flag displayed next door. 

Maybe if you lived in Mexico or in Saudi Arabia it would not surprise me that you felt disturbed by American flags. But if you made USA your home you should sincerely embrace this country and its customs. And if you don't like it in America, simply pack your stuff and go back to where you come from. No one holds you here by force!
 
Dominique Allmon



Image source unknown but greatly appreciated

Friday, April 13, 2012

Arriving at Your Own Door



All thoughts are events they arise and pass away in the field of awareness itself, without our effort, without our intention, just as waves on the ocean rise up for a moment, then fall back into the ocean itself, losing their identity, their momentary relative self-hood, returning to their undifferentiated water nature.

Awareness does all the work. We have done nothing, other than desist from feeding the thought in any way, which would only make it proliferate into another thought, another wave, another bubble. - Jon Kabat-Zinn in Arriving at Your Own Door



Book review by John Chancellor

Arriving at Your Own Door is a collection of very short lessons in mindfulness. There are 108 lessons and it is easy to read the entire book in less than an hour. However that will be doing yourself and the book a disservice.

Mindfulness is not our normal way of thinking and acting. Therefore the lessons and their potential impact on our lives is not obvious in many of the lessons. You need to give the lessons some thought. I have read the book three times and each time I gain a little more insight into the value of the lessons.

Mindfulness is about becoming aware. The most common route to mindfulness is through meditation. However, you do not need to be involved in meditation to benefit from this book. You will need an open mind. You must be willing to look at things from a different perspective.

There is one quote in the book that goes to the heart of mindfulness. "We take care of the future best by taking care of the present now." As Jon Kabat-Zinn points out, we are often trying to live in the future. There is no future. There is only now and trying to live in the future robs us of the present. "Arriving someplace more desirable at some future time is an illusion. This is it."

Do not expect long explanations of the lessons. The lessons are extremely brief. If you have not read or studied mindfulness, this might not be a good start because the ideas or thoughts might need further explanation. However if you are a student of meditation, of how the mind works, of mindfulness, then this is a very handy little reminder that will give you guidance in right thinking with lots of ideas to contemplate.

Also of interest

      

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Paris in April



Is there anything, apart from a really good chocolate cream pie and receiving a large unexpected check in the post, to beat finding yourself at large in a foreign city on a fair spring evening, loafing along unfamiliar streets in the long shadows of a lazy sunset, pausing to gaze in shop windows or at some church or lovely square or tranquil stretch of quayside, hesitating at street corners to decide whether that cheerful and homey restaurant you will remember fondly for years is likely to lie down this street or that one? I just love it. I could spend my life arriving each evening in a new city. - Bill Bryson


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter!



Easter Eggs

When Easter time had come again
With Easter eggs to dye,
We chose to paint our eggs with thoughts
Of those who would be nigh.
For dad we chose a purple shade
Which stands for royalty,
For he is head within the home
And pledged to family.
For mom we chose a yellow shade
so bright and sunshine warm,
She is the heart within the home
She shelters us from harm.
My sister's egg was pastel pink,
So feminine and gay,
The shade of ribbons and of lace
And apple bloom in May.
Much like the nearby meadowed hills,
My egg was dyed a green,
For boys just love to romp outdoors
When spring is on the scene.
Our grandma's shade was lilac soft,
And grandpa's shade was blue,
For soft and gentle hues just fit
These fond and loving two.
When all our eggs had been prepared,
How beautiful they were!
We found we'd painted them to love
This special time of year.

By Craig E. Sathoff


Why paint eggs when nature has already done such a magnificent job already?

Happy Easter!


Upper image by Gillian Woods
Image source here

Friday, April 6, 2012

Sakura - The Celebration of Nature


Sakura at Hirano Shrine, Kyoto
Sakura at Hirano Shrine, Kyoto

Japanese aesthetics evolved around nature and its cycles. And while Shintō considers nature to be sacred, the Buddhists in Japan celebrates its beauty and impermanence. 

Like no other natural "phenomenon" sakura holds great significance for the Japanese people. Sakura, or the cherry blossom, symbolizes new beginning. Its fleeting beauty invites to a reflection on the meaning of life. Everything changes, everything is in constant motion, nothing lasts forever. In order to fully appreciate life, one must be able to live in the moment. 

Sakura mochi

Since ancient times artists, poets, and philosophers celebrated this temporal beauty. Celebration of sakura in the early days of April is a perfect excuse for an outdoor gathering with family and friends. There is nothing better than a short escape from the monotony of everyday city life. You may even wonder whether it is the scent of sakura or too much sake under the sakura tree that makes people appear so carefree in a normally emotionally reserved society.

The beauty of sakura trees invites one to an intense contemplation. One not only takes time to appreciate the beauty of nature, but also learns to understand that all joys of life are temporary. As much as one would love to hold on to this tantalizing experience, one must let go. But there is no regret. One finds comfort in the very fact that nature follows its own cycle...

By Dominique Allmon ©2012

Sakura mochi image source here


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Unexplained Cow Abductions in Roswell!



Every year around this time unusual things happen around Roswell. The precious Black Angus cows disappear en masse from the surrounding ranches. Some ranchers reported that they found their animals brutally mutilated. Organs were missing from the carcasses and strange, indecipherable markings have been made on the animals' necks.

Although no UFO sightings were registered in the area for quite some time, the locals suspect that their cows were victims of alien abduction and mischief. A witness who wished to remain anonymous remembers seeing some orbs in the sky on his way to Santa Fe.

Roswell is a very strange place. No one here was really alarmed when the entire Alien Parade disappeared last year from the Main Street. But the tasty, well nourished cows are entirely different matter.

Should you be visiting Roswell at this time, do not wonder about the exorbitant steak prices at the local restaurants. The Black Angus is in short supply, but the demand is ever rising...

Dominique Allmon ©2012

Image source abducted by aliens