Archive for November, 2006

The Future of Food

Sunday, November 26th, 2006

The 2006 documentary The Future of Food investigates the potential risks of new technologies being used in the food industry, as well as the growing dangers of corporately owned life.

Genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) are forms of life that have undergone genetic transformations by human interventions. Most often, the motivation behind modifying an organisms gene’s is to get some new function from the organism that it didn’t previously exhibit, like having a mouse glow in the dark, or designing a more resilient strain of canola.

While there are many benefits of GMO’s, like increased crop yield, and new ways to create medicines, this film covers the negative impacts of genetically altering life.

GMO’s are relatively untested on humans, and when genes are mixed and matched the risks of unforeseen allergic reactions increases. Even more dangerous is the fact that once a genetically modified organism is released into the environment, it is essentially uncontrollable, and the long term impacts of GMO’s on our world is unknown.

Equally frightening is how large corporations like Monsanto are patenting life, claiming genes as being corporate property, and how they use their patents to sue farmers whose fields have been invaded by GMO plants. Even worse, is how Monsanto is spreading their seeds around the world (to 3rd world countries) at a discounted rate, so that the plants that they own invade every ecosystem on earth. The potential ramifications of one single organization owning all of the staple crops everywhere are scary.

The Future of Food is an eye-opening think piece, even if it only presents one side of the debate. A copy can be found on Google Video by clicking here.

Bush was Right: Mission Accomplished!

Monday, November 20th, 2006

Channel 4 Dispatches’ special The Death Squads talks about the uprising of sectarian violence in Iraq, especially in Baghdad, where countless Sunni’s are being executed by Shi’ite militia groups… militia groups who are part of the new Iraqi police force. Iraq is a real mess, and things are likely to get worse before they get better.

And in Afghanistan, things are not much better. Five years after the US invasion, peacekeeping forces are over-stretched and under fire, hundreds of schools have been closed by a resurgent Taliban, and the opium trade is booming. Bin Laden was never caught… and the war on terror has only stirred up more anti-American sentiment in many parts of the world.

The world is less safe now… the US foreign policy has done a disservice to the well being of the US population, and the population of the world. Given the worsened conditions in many parts of Afghanistan and Iraq since their respective invasions, it is no wonder than an increasing number of people are looking at both wars as failures.

But I cannot help but feel that this is exactly what those in charge wanted to happen. Certain members of the Bush administration (Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz), as well as the shareholders of corporations that profit from billion dollar defense contracts, desire more war. Increased insecurity in the middle east is exactly what warmongers want, because to them, it means more instability in the world, and therefore, more business and more profits.

Similar to how corporations, like fast-food or clothing companies, target children with their brands in order to manufacture the next generation of consumers, so too does the military industrial complex seek to perpetuate its own mechanisms for survival. The war machine feeds off war… and it sows the seeds of war today so that it has more blood to reap in the future.

If there is any good to come from the devastation, wasted resources, and countless innocents slaughtered, it should be a lesson we can all learn. The lesson being that war doesn’t work to solve problems… war only creates more problems. If we want to make the world a better place, we need to find better alternatives than trying to install freedom via the barrel of a gun.

Remember: Anything that war can do, peace can do better.

Be Optimistic because LIFE IS AWESOME!

Wednesday, November 15th, 2006

Having fear and doubt is a natural part of human existence… these things exist inside nearly everyone. But it is possible to train yourself to be confident and successful despite having fear and insecurity. If we’ve never before been trained in the art of positive thinking, it can take time for us to master it, but anyone can do it… we all have the ability to harness the power of optimism. And even if it takes several years to master being optimistic, any effort we put towards being positive now makes it easier to be positive in the future.

Part of thinking positive is to practice entering confident and optimistic states of mind. One technique I like to use is to think about motivational thoughts and ideas. Ideas like the Power of Positive thinking, which says that thinking good, optimistic thoughts is often enough to make good things happen. And other ideas like The Law of Attraction, which claims that the universe will provide you with what you wish for if you believe it, visualize it and feel it happening. Also, there’s Deepak Chopra’s Law Pure Potentiality that says we can use our minds to create what we want out of our own existence.

While I am practicing entering confident and optimistic states of mind, I like to re-iterate simple phrases like “Good things are going to happen”, or “No doubt it’s OK!”, or “All you can ever do is just be yourself” or “Yes, you are good enough” (or even better “Yes, you will succeed”), and other such similar phrases.

Then, when I come upon stressful situations, or when I feel in doubt, or insecure, or inadequate, I remind myself of one or more of my sayings… and as I conjure up those phrases, I simultaneously (and almost automatically) conjure up the positive and optimistic state of mind I was in while thinking those thoughts. Confidence training makes it easier for me to remain strong in the face of adversity.

Often, we may feel like we are being judged, by others or by society in general. But worrying about what others think is really an extension of us judging ourselves. If we judge ourselves as worthy, then we need not worry about what others think of us… for they will see that we – the one who knows ourselves the best – have already judged and deemed ourselves worthy. And even if others don’t like us, it doesn’t matter, because we like ourselves.

Judging ourselves as being worthy of whatever we desire, combined with being strong, confident and optimistic, makes it easier to attain success in whatever goals we set for ourselves. The more we practice being confident and optimistic, the more we will be confident and optimistic during even the most trying of times.

This will allow us to be happy in life, to enjoy life, and to get the most out of each and every day. And this is important, because LIFE IS AWESOME!

Fast Food Nation

Wednesday, November 15th, 2006

I just saw a screening of the movie Fast Food Nation, and if I had to describe it as if it were on a fast food menu, it would be “An eye-opening feast of dissent sprinkled with celebrity cameos, all neatly packaged into several intertwined stories full of compelling characters.”

The film presents many dissenting ideas pertaining to things like mass meat production, contaminated food, artificial flavouring, animal cruelty, pollution, and many other things related the industrial corporate food machine. If someone hasn’t seen or heard ideas like those presented in the film, then the whole 2 hours may be an unpleasant shock.

I cannot believe that Fox, of all companies, was behind this. I guess the corporate machine can even profit off criticism of corporate machines. I suppose it is inevitable… the growing problems of modern consumer culture must surely be creating a growing market of dissent that can be tapped into.

George Carlin on America

Wednesday, November 8th, 2006

The brilliant George Carlin sums up in a short clip much of what is wrong with the American system, and why regular Americans are suffering. Every patriotic American should watch this clip and try to really understand what it means, and then encourage others to do the same.

(Note: He uses vulgar language, and the good stuff is in the first 7 minutes of the clip. The second half of the clip he does a bit about mass suicide, which detracts from the genius he puts forth in the first part.)

Click here to see the video if it doesn’t show up below

One Big Mob

Sunday, November 5th, 2006

We are all one big family, whether someone chooses to see it or not. We are all connected. The suffering of others is our own suffering, even if we choose to ignore it or rationalize it as not our fault.

When people are suffering and we have the power to prevent it, it is our responsibility. It is your responsibility, my responsibility, and the responsibility of anyone with the power to help. We should be doing what we can to help them.

Its just that too many people in the wealthy nations are content… content to live selfish, indulgent lives, buying what everyone else buys (and what they are told to buy) and living how everyone else around them lives, like mindless sheeple. All the while a lot of the world suffers.

It is bullshit. Just because we have the luxury of ignoring the realities of the world, doesn’t mean we should.

What can most people’s meager wealth do for the millions who starve to death annually?

Close to nothing.

But wealth is not our only asset… we have connections, and we have a voice. We can convince those around us to help to make the world a better place. You have connections to other people with connections… if you were to convince them to start convincing people they knew, imagine how much good could be done.

When enough people care about the same thing, real changes can happen. We – the people in the wealthy nations – have the power right now to alleviate a lot of the suffering in the world, if we’d come together to embrace the power and use it.

Internet Politics

Thursday, November 2nd, 2006

The Internet is changing politics. Social networking sites, like MySpace, and video sharing sites, like YouTube, are increasingly being used by politicians to help promote their election campaigns. They use these new mediums to spread their message, and to rally up more support and to hopefully sway more votes in their favour.

Some candidates even use their webpage to double as a campaign office, allowing people to access potential voter databases, and to organize and coordinate their campaign efforts without ever having to go to a candidate’s campaign office.

But the Internet is also changing the amount of control and power that politicians have. Mass communication means politicians no longer have as much control over what the viewing public sees. Candidates are no longer so detached from their supporters, and one little gaff can quickly become a huge problem when it gets spread about cyberspace.

If you haven’t already seen them, check out these two short vids:

George Allen’s Racist Makaka:

Conrad Burns taking a nap:

John Kerry showing why he isn’t the president

By stripping some of the power away from the politicians, it puts the power back in the hands of the voters, and that is exactly what democracy is about. Real democracy is where everyone’s voice is heard, not just the representatives who mostly protect their own interests. Hurray for the Internet… Hurray for Democracy!!