Write about almost anything you want :)
I have to take a moment to express my disappointment and dismay at the amazing hush involving the Dalai Lama's visit last week with President Obama. It shames me that, according to NBC news, this noble human rights champion was asked to leave the White House through the servants' entrance. You can video of his exit on youtube.
The White House issued this single statement on the meeting:
The President met this morning at the White House with His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama. The President stated his strong support for the preservation of Tibet’s unique religious, cultural and linguistic identity and the protection of human rights for Tibetans in the People’s Republic of China. The President commended the Dalai Lama’s “Middle Way” approach, his commitment to nonviolence and his pursuit of dialogue with the Chinese government. The President stressed that he has consistently encouraged both sides to engage in direct dialogue to resolve differences and was pleased to hear about the recent resumption of talks. The President and the Dalai Lama agreed on the importance of a positive and cooperative relationship between the United States and China.”
Unfortunately, the actions of the White House can speak more loudly than their words, and somehow this statement seems rather hollow after viewing the video of the Dalai Lama walking past the trash on his way out. I can't help but feel that the White House statement is just more talk that won't be followed up with action. The Dalai Lama's response to the situation affirms that President Obama's praise for his “Middle Way approach, his commitment to nonviolence and his pursuit of dialogue with the Chinese government," was 100% accurate:
Beverly Hills, California, USA, 20 February 2010 (By Gillian Flaccus, The Associated Press) - Just days after meeting with President Barack Obama, the Dalai Lama said Saturday that he was not offended by the low-key reception he received and understands that the president must be practical despite his stated commitment to championing human rights worldwide.
Tibet's exiled spiritual leader told The Associated Press that he recognizes Obama must juggle his desire to support the Dalai Lama's push for greater Tibetan autonomy with his concerns about angering China, a growing U.S. economic rival and hoped-for partner. "No disappointment. The last six decades my heart hardened. I do not consider important political gestures. I don't care. The important is meet face-to-face," said the Dalai Lama, who was sometimes assisted by a translator.
As always, I am grateful to the Dalai Lama for his constant commitment to peace, his invaluable teachings on compassion for all, and his ever-shining example for maintaining an enlightened view in the face of diversity.
As just an ordinary being struggling to exist in a country whose leaders increasingly discard the values of freedom for all on which this nation was built, in attempts to gain favor from those who we are monetarily indebted to, I am saddened, disturbed, and (unfortunately) increasingly convinced that the corruption and incompetence of our leadership cannot be resolved.
"a reminder to keep vigilant watch of the mind in each passing moment"
proceeds from sale of painting donated to Katog Choling
Fourth Amendment: Search and Seizure
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers,
and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be
violated; and no Warrants shall issue but upon probable cause, supported
by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be
searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
I thought that the following announcement from BORDC (Bill of Rights Defense Committee) was worthy of passing on. It concerns reauthorization of the PATRIOT Act, and if you're using the internet it affects you and your right to privacy. I strongly recommend following the link to read the full article.
Executive Director Shahid Buttar published a column this month concerning reauthorization of the PATRIOT Act, which he argues has "once again place[d] the Constitution in the cross-hairs of a complacent Congress, acquiescing to another administration whose political agenda lies at conspicuous odds with its leader's oath to defend the Constitution." Buttar concludes that "[t]he federal policymaking process surrounding domestic surveillance....lacks transparency, legislative accountability, and continuity from the prior debate, making a mockery of democracy while dragging our country further down the failed course of the Bush administration—despite the electorate’s resounding mandate in 2008 to reverse that course."
Offering a vivid analogy to help depict the offensiveness of the latest procedural updates from DC, he concludes that "the Constitution appears to have few friends left in our nation’s capital. That’s one reason (among many) to take matters into your own hands and organize to raise rights above the federal floor in your town. Don’t get angry. Get active."
BORDC's mission is to promote, organize, and support a diverse, effective, national grassroots movement to restore and protect civil rights and liberties guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. Their purpose is to educate people about the significance of those rights in our lives; to encourage widespread civic participation; and to cultivate and share the organizing tools and strategies needed for people to convert their concern, outrage, and fear into debate and action to restore Bill of Rights protection.
This organization offers a wide array of options to get involved in defending your human rights. It can be as simple as signing a petition or, if you choose to get more involved, you can organize your own grassroots community project with their assistance.
Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services.
This quote from The Painters for Human Rights Network has been replaying itself to me frequently after viewing Katie Couric's investigation of the overuse of antibiotics in livestock and its link to increasing antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria in humans. You can read the full story at: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/02/10/eveningnews/main6195054.shtml. The story documents the Danish success story for removal of routine antibiotic use in their nation's pork industry, and includes an interview with a Danish pork farmer who feared the industry would suffer when the routine use of antibiotics was banned in the pork industry there. (Article Excerpt) "We don't want to use more medicine than needed, and a lot of the medicine that is given is not needed," said Soren Helmer. Helmer is a second-generation pig farmer whose sows produce more than 30,000 pigs a year. When the ban started, he and his father thought the industry would suffer. "We thought we could not produce pigs as efficient as we did before," Helmer said. "But that was proven wrong." Since the ban, the Danish pork industry has grown by 43 percent - making it one of the top exporters of pork in the world. All of Europe followed suit in 2006. But the American Pork Industry doesn't want to in spite of the fact that there are numerous scientific studios proving that the health threat to humans from overuse of antibiotics is real: "We have identified here that we're talking about a public health issue, that the overuse of antibiotics on farms does pose a risk to human health," said Joshua Sharfstein of the FDA. The FDA has for the first time come out against using certain antibiotics to promote growth in livestock. And pending legislation in Congress would ban some types of antibiotics used to treat humans from being administered to healthy farm animals. I searched around online today for groups taking action to stop the use of routine antibiotic use in livestock, and while I was unable to locate a specific petition or call to action against the practice, I did find another interesting piece on the subject from the Organic Consumers Association.
If anybody out there knows of any organized protest against this practice, I'd love to hear from you. Meanwhile, there are a couple of things that we all can do to help:
We can write to our state representatives. (Though we may not get the results we are seeking in a timely and efficient matter given the rampant corruption and inefficiency "our leaders" have demonstrated recently.)
More importantly we can remember that we the people hold the power to make positive changes to human and animal health. Our choices at the supermarket speak louder than any words that are likely to fall on those deaf ears in the livestock industry who see this change as a threat to their bottom line. Meat products that are labeled to be antibiotic (and hormone) free cost only a few cents more per pound. It seems like a bargain when you stop to consider that a couple of dollars more at the meat counter could save you a small fortune in medical bills (not to mention your life) by preventing the contraction of an antibiotic resistant infection due to ingesting and/or handling meat that is not antibiotic free. By choosing to purchase only antibiotic free meat, you are sending them an instant message that you want change now. They may not be willing to listen to reason, but I'm betting they will act quickly to change when our choices at the grocery reduces that profit margin they are trying so fiercely to protect.
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