May 102012
 

Liberals often cluster themselves into relatively small interest groups, instead of running with larger packs. Because of this, their voices are often drowned out by the amplified roar of the conservative media machines.

This heartfelt video was put together by the Boston chapter of Veterans for Peace. I love their sincerity and the lilting movement of their music — reminiscent of the best of the 1960s folk song groups. Won’t you please put down your mouse and let the peaceableness and hope of these veterans embrace you for a few minutes?

I found this in the comments section of http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/05/10/1088931/-The-Thing-About-Real-War-Victors-and-Vanquished , which is worth a read when you pick your mouse back up.

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Mar 092012
 

If you don’t already know, Stratfor is a private company, founded by George Friedman, that gathers international intelligence and creates reports which they sell to individual subscribers, businesses, and governments. They have been in the news recently because their data and email were seriously hacked. This is very interesting and sensitive stuff. WikiLeaks is publishing excerpts, and it is a big deal. Stratfor is being straightforward about the event, fixing the problem with a vengeance, and offering their clients extra value. I subscribe to their free newsletter and love it. I also love Friedman’s recent books including “The Next Decade” and “The Next 100 Years.”

I picked up my copy of the Fort Dodge Messenger this morning (Friday, March 9, 2012) and flipped to the editorials on page four. They are often more entertaining than the comics. Rachel Marsden’s column “The new WikiLeaks stash” jumped right out and grabbed me. Sure enough, it was a critical (if not gloating) diatribe [yes, I admit to taking an emotionally-charged swing at some things myself] against Stratfor. The topic seemed out of place in Fort Dodge, Iowa. [Admittedly, I’m kinda out of place too. If there is anyone else around here who takes an interest in Stratfor or issues of global geopolitical existentialism, please introduce yourself; we probably ought to meet.]

First, if you don’t already know, Rachel Marsden describes herself as a: “political/geopolitical and communications strategist/analyst, Radio/TV presenter, internationally syndicated columnist with (Chicago) Tribune Company, author, and speaker.” Whew. I’ve read that she is Canadian and lives in Paris (France, not Texas). Rachel has been compared to Ann Coulter and has done work for Fox News, Spectator Magazine, The O’Reilly Factor, the New York Post, Washington Times, and conservative politicians.

Ms. Marsden also has a new book called American Bombshell, which  prominently [The entire cover, actually] displays her attractive face and flowing dark tresses with the title information plastered across her chest. I’m not suggesting that there is something wrong with any of this, and I haven’t read the book. I suspect that the book addresses serious explosive national and international issues, and that the subliminal implication that Rachel is an “American Bombshell” is entirely unintentional. But, I’m drifting into Rush Limbaugh territory here, so let’s backpedal real fast and move on.

In today’s column, Rachel reviews recent Stratfor events and then begins to pick at the fatty pieces [I visualize a vulture ripping at road kill]. Her second paragraph leads with a statement about the CIA using private intelligence firms for “black ops” in a way that seems to imply that Stratfor is involved in killing people for hire. Does she really think that or is she just shredding a victim? Not nice, smarty pants.

My favorite rant (a real beaut) is buried in the middle of the piece:

  • “Do you know how a lot of these outfits in the thriving private intelligence sector operate? The company CEO, usually a former agency employee who has maintained UMBRA or “Top Secret” clearance, meets with a private or state client to pitch his outfit’s services, then passes off the analysis work to some book-smart/sidewalk-stupid naif who has just been dragged kicking and screaming into the real-world workforce after frittering away a good decade or so ringing up a party tour of Ivy League schools on mommy and daddy’s AmEx black card.”

You know, I just somehow doubt the objectivity at work here. Smarty pants may even have her pants on fire. It’s an impressively mind-numbing run-on sentence that runs you over and sets your hair on fire. For another thing, it sounds a lot like a liberal’s take on George W. Bush’s early years. But, that’s another story.

How do you answer a statement like that? How about: “Um, what are your sources for that and how did you come to that conclusion?”

I also want to ask, “As an advocate for conservative causes, such as private business contracts to replace big government control of the means of serving public interests, aren’t you eating one of your own sacred cows?”

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Dec 112010
 

Quoted (with minor edits) from: " Spiral Dynamics and the Palestinian-Israel Conflict" and interview between Jeff Salzman and Don Beck. 1 of 4 in integral Profiles: Don Beck. Ref: http://integrallife.com/node/47929

"A healthy blue culture addresses the problems created by red. Each of the systems depends on the others. You have to think within the flow of the systems. There is read egocentric, lack of impulse control, lack of focus, lack of moral compass, then we know it produces a place like Afghanistan and some of our inner cities.

"In Palestine we studied what is next for red. A Palestinian red-purple is not going to be able to form a stable separate state. So, one of our purposes was to elevate a version of blue:" sacrifice self now to obtain later."

Continue reading »

Oct 262010
 

Design and manufacturing often focuses on luxury products or drugs to improve sex. R. A. Mashelkar describes the virtues of designs for ultra-low-cost products: dramatic transformational innovation that is extremely affordable.

Getting MORE productivity from LESS investment for MORE benefit to MORE people.

The Nano automobile. Prosthetic devices ($28 foot). Treatment for psoriasis. Also consider the “one laptop per child” effort.

“When you wish to achieve results that have not been achieved before, it is an unwise fancy to think that they can be achieved by using methods that have been used before.” -Sir Francis Bacon

Oct 102010
 
Source: Stratfor Global Intelligence – Security Weekly

Terrorism (and a great many other undesirable situations) do not erupt spontaneously, but are the end consequence and product of a series of preparatory or enabling steps. SITUATIONAL AWARENESS allows us to respond appropriately to a developing situation and may allow us to disrupt the chain of events.

  • Awareness requires a mindset that enables readiness to be aware.
  • Awareness exists on several levels: Unaware, Relaxed, Focused, High Alert, and Shock.
  • The appropriate level of awareness for any situation allows for appropriate responses and interventions.
  • If you see something that is not right, do something about it.

Read the complete article at: http://www.stratfor.com/weekly/20100609_primer_situational_awareness?fn=6417307150

Sep 302010
 

Solving the Afghanistan Puzzle | Hoover Institution

“A new research program is using the Hoover Archives to study the original Russian-language records of the Soviet Union’s long involvement in Afghanistan, including the ten years of intense military conflict there. Dubbed Mining Afghan Lessons from Soviet Era (MALSE), the program explores ways in which the United States and coalition forces serving in Afghanistan might benefit from the Soviet experience, as reflected in primary sources.”

Nov 032009
 
Hassan Abbas, a former Pakistani government official and senior advisor to Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center, recently spoke to Simon Shercliff, First Secretary Foreign Security and Policy for the British Embassy, about the future of Pakistan. Their conversation touched on a range of topics, including the militants’ recent attacks on the Pakistani military, Pakistan’s relationship with India, Pakistan-UK relations, and U.S. aid to Pakistan.

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Also of Interest:

 

AP Photo