Sunday, October 25, 2009

Follow Up: I Keep Waiting for Somone to Say "Joke"

Stuff ain't cool unless it's secretive. See how it worked for Nixon? He was about as un-cool as they come until ... well, you know.

In that vein, the Nobel Peace Price nominees are kept secret for 50 years in order to avoid offending anyone ... and to respect Alfred's will, in which he ordered that the Peace Prize be the "coolest" of all prizes offered.

So we'll never know which deserving candidates really got snookered in this year's run-off for said prize. In lieu, more than one reader/friend (you know who you are) has suggested I come up with my own list. I'd never be so presumptuous as to assume I knew better ;-) but here are just a few names I might have offered if asked:

The US Military - How many lives HAS the US Military saved? Seriously, folks, is there any other entity on the planet who has actually DONE more to quell conflict? Every life is valuable - everyone is someone's son or mom. These guys are the only group on the planet willing to make the REALLY tough decisions about life - their own and those of others. If this is too big a group for ya, pick the current leaders - Gates, McChrystal, Mullen.

Ronald Reagan - Jeez, where to begin. Not only did he take the first steps to de-escalate the Cold War, he finished the job he started. He understood this had to be done from a position of power. Along the way, he left us with guiding principles that serve us well even today. "Trust but verify" would get us a lot further along with the Evil Leaders League than sending the Clinton twins for photo-ops.

The faceless, nameless, and thankless who dedicate their lives selflessly to promote peace one person at a time - Each of us knows one, but no one can see them all.

SOS Children’s Villages - In their own words, the "world's largest charity dedicated to orphaned and abandoned children"

Morgan Tsvangirai - Pick your metaphor. He put his life on the line. He went all-in. He took a leap of faith. He spoke truth to hideous power. He stood toe to toe ... and continues to do so in the most peaceful, calm manner possible.

Mordechai Vanunu - On a one-man lifelong crusade against military escalation.

Japan - For quietly fostering over 50 years of peace in Asia

Romeo Dallaire - Betcha don't know this one. Look 'em up.

Bono - If you don't know this one, your name must be Osama.

Wei Jingsheng - Oft mentioned as a candidate, and for good reason. Standing up to the People is beyond ballzy.

Helmut Kohl - Yeah, really. How quickly we forget. He accumulated and then spent incredible political capital to see through the peaceful reunification of a nation. Who'd have thought a commie police state could be turned into a beacon of democracy and capitalism in a mere decade? Who'd have thought West Germans could be convinced to effectively donate a quarter of their income for a decade or more to fund the reconstruction of the rusty East

Gerry Adams, Martin McGuinness, Ian Paisley, Hugh Smyth, Tony Blair, and Bertie Ahern - One of the world's best examples of conflict resolution, de-escalation, de-militarization, empowerment, and legitimization. They dealt with an incredibly sticky wicket with patience and trust from the grassroots up. In a scary world, they proved that, at least in some cases, there IS a way out of terrorism ... err ... I mean 'troubles.'

Gates Foundation - I'll never understand why anyone considers it novel or controversial that development creates stability creates wealth creates peace. There are too many examples to list, yet the Gates foundations is one of the few major benefactors attempting to take whole economies from zero to a stable platform for development in order to facilitate true wealth (and thus peace) creation.

Safaricom, the M-PESA, and the Safaricom Foundation - Along the lines of the above, these guys are establishing the factors of development in order to let poverty-stricken people bootstrap themselves.

The 150 (and counting) Russian Journalists murdered for speaking truth to power

OFAC - Struggling, albeit bureaucratically, but fairly successfully to cut off the lifeblood of conflict.

Rodrigo Lara Bonilla - Colombian Minister of Justice who sacrificed his life in the fight against the collapse of his country into a cartel-owned narco-state.

Virgilio Barco Vargas, C├ęsar Gaviria - Colombian politicians at a time when that was a decidedly ill-advised career choice.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Queer Eye for Karzai

On yesterday's Face the Nation, John Kerry said we won't win the war in Afghanistan thanks solely to our fabulous military.

The US military is a lotta things, but Fabulous? No, you're fabulous, dah-ling!

Just stunning.

Maybe the Afghan government would be more legitimate if they dressed for success. On your next fact-finding mission maybe you could take them some good ole' home-grown American queer eye.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta

The Tathagata (aka Perfect One) realizes the middle way, eschewing both extremes.

This "crystallizes the Buddha's Nirvana-bound [Noble Eightfold] Path of moderation away from the extremes of sensual indulgence and self-mortification and toward the practice of wisdom, morality and mental cultivation." (Thanks Wikipedia).

Guess The Perfect One doesn't live 'round here. Or at least I can't find him on the TeeVee anywhere.

I wonder where he might be. Where the heck's that path, anyway? Is that off A1A somewhere? Nah. More likely PCH. Here's what Google Karma Maps says:

Follow Signs to "Wisdom":
1. Right view

  • Law of Karma
  • Three Characteristics (nothing is permanent; we are not permanent; we are
    not much of anything at all)
  • Suffering (specifically, how to get rid of it)
  • 2. Right intention

  • The exertion of our own will to change
  • Take a Right at "Ethical Conduct":

    3. Right speech
  • Abstain from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, and from idle chatter
  • 4. Right action
  • Don't act in ways that would be corrupt or bring harm to oneself or to others
  • 5. Right livelihood
  • Don't engage in trades or occupations which, either directly or indirectly, result in harm for other living beings ... (I choose to practice the Middle Way on this one ... some yellowtail and a good rib eye every now and then give me moderation and balance and harmony or whatever ... veggies are people, too, you know)
  • Keep Straight onto "Concentration":
    6. Right effort
  • Always foster what would be good and useful to ones self and others in one's thoughts, words, and deeds, without a thought for the difficulty or weariness involved
  • 7. Right mindfulness
  • Constantly be alert to phenomena that affect the body and mind. Be mindful and deliberate, making sure not to act or speak due to inattention or forgetfulness
  • 8. Right concentration
  • Reach full concentration and meditative absorption. Cut off all defilements and reach self-awakening. During the practice of right concentration, one must investigate and verify their right view. In the process, right knowledge will arise, followed by right liberation.
  • What's that got to do with this blog?

    Pretty much everything.

    Saturday, October 10, 2009

    I Keep Waiting for Somone to Say "Joke"

    Oh, those wily Norwegians. They've long been maligned for being low on humor. Boy, they showed us!

    What could be funnier than beating the Americans at their own quaint, juvenile (aka American) April holiday? Only better!

    Step 1: instead of a marginally-credible joke, go all-out and do something entirely ludicrous.

    Step 2: spring the joke on a day that has nothing whatsoever to do with the first of April

    Step 3: (this is the kicker!) don't tell anyone it's a joke. In fact, never even break your straight face. Go all the way through with it. Make the announcement. Draw up the certificate. Hold the fancy party. Get Kenny Chesney to sing. Mount some tin on a ribbon and drape it 'round Obama's neck. Let him Cheshire the whole way.

    All the while, chortle internally, knowing that everyone on the planet is wondering what the fuck just happened. If the joke comes off just right, you might even teach those happy-go-lucky numb skull fattie Americans a lesson about being world-wise (aka cynical). That would be so funny!

    Morn-de-shmorn, dorn-de-born! Bork! Bork! Bork! Ho ho ho! Ja?
    (yes, I know this was the Swedish Chef and the Peace Price folks are in Norway, but my blog is funner this way. Get over it.)

    At least I prefer to believe that's what's going on. The alternative disappoints even a cynic like me. The performance this week was truly epic, and to everyone's epic detriment.

    Perhaps we should have known they had joined the uselessly political ranks of the UN and Congress when they gave their peace medal to two terrorists and a philanderer. Twice.

    Out of 6,787,570,618 people on the planet, these Swedish Chefs couldn't find a single one more deserving?

    For shame, political people.