handling panhandling

from the article:

Sean Condon is executive director of Megaphone, the monthly magazine sold by about 40 vendors in Vancouver. Vendors buy each issue for 75 cents and sell it for a recommended $2.

Condon says it’s “totally up” to the person being asked whether to give money to a panhandler. He said he couldn’t say how much money a person should give.

“I don’t know how we can set rules on someone who is asking for money,” he said. “You can ask them how much they need.”

He said the worst thing for panhandlers isn’t someone saying no. It’s being ignored.

“It’s the people who see them as invisible,” he said. “When you’re panhandling you’re sending out a signal that you’re really desperate. Your desperation is on display for all the world to see.”

“When people just walk by without even glancing, it’s so disheartening. Even looking them in the eye and saying ‘I can’t help you out today. Have a good day’ acknowledges their presence.”


Waking Up from the American Dream

(adapted) from Chomsky Wants You to Wake Up from the American Dream:

Chomsky’s 10 Rules of Oligarchy

  1. reduce democracy
  2. shape ideology
  3. redesign the economy
  4. shift the burden
  5. attack solidarity
  6. run the regulators
  7. engineer elections
  8. keep the rabble in line
  9. manufacture consent
  10. marginalize the population

Swanson’s 11th Rule of Oligarchy

Dump Massive Funding into Militarism

Why should this be included? Well, militarism is the biggest public program in the United States. It’s over half of federal discretionary spending. If you’re going to claim that lobbyists are concentrating wealth through their influence on the government, why not notice the single budget item that eats up over half the budget? It does indeed concentrate wealth and also power. It’s a vast pot of unaccountable funding for cronies. And it generates public interest in fighting foreign enemies rather than enemies hanging out on Wall Street. It does militarize the police for free, however, just in case Wall Street generates any disgruntled customers.

please read the original

How a Pink Flower Defeated the World’s Sole Superpower

image of opium poppy (Thomas Quine / CC-BY-2.0) via Truthdig – along with this:

After fighting the longest war in its history, the United States stands at the brink of defeat in Afghanistan. How can this be possible? How could the world’s sole superpower have battled continuously for 15 years, deploying 100,000 of its finest troops, sacrificing the lives of 2,200 of those soldiers, spending more than a trillion dollars on its military operations, lavishing a record hundred billion more on “nation-building” and “reconstruction,” helping raise, fund, equip, and train an army of 350,000 Afghan allies, and still not be able to pacify one of the world’s most impoverished nations? So dismal is the prospect for stability in Afghanistan in 2016 that the Obama White House has recently cancelled a planned further withdrawal of its forces and will leave an estimated 10,000 troops in the country indefinitely.

You can read the rest of this excellent article – How a Pink Flower Defeated the World’s Sole Superpower: America’s Opium War in Afghanistan (Alfred W. McCoy) – at Truthdig or at TomDispatch, where it first appeared and included an introduction by Tom Engelhardt.

Manufacturing the Illusion of Democracy – Chris Hedges

Creative by Nature


“We’ve bought into the idea that education is about training and “success,” defined monetarily, rather than learning to think critically and to challenge. We should not forget that the true purpose of education is to make minds, not careers.

The words consent of the governed have become an empty phrase. Our textbooks on political science and economics are obsolete. Our nation has been hijacked by oligarchs, corporations, and a narrow, selfish, political, and economic elite, a small and privileged group that governs, and often steals, on behalf of moneyed interests.

This elite, in the name of patriotism and democracy, in the name of all the values that were once part of the American system and defined the Protestant work ethic, has systematically destroyed our manufacturing sector, looted the treasury, corrupted our democracy, and trashed the financial system.

During this plundering we remained passive, mesmerized by the enticing shadows on the…

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die before you die

Being takes countless forms. Whatever may be thought, each form of being is nothing but change. A death is the end of one of them: once a living entity, maybe with an identity and now deeply mourned.

That said, this is said with metta:

Entities and identities are in the mind. And so are beginnings and endings. Along with dukkha.

موتوا قبل أن تموتوا

mūtū qabla an tamūtū
die before you die

… as the Sufis say

Entities, living and not, are in the mind. To die before you die, go beyond the mind.

Do only what need be done to be and let be.

Do no harm. Be well.

with metta


“If you’re looking for answers …”

The Helix Nebula

Helix Nebula (visible light)
If we cannot exist without what is thought of as not us, how are we not that?

Awareness of being … How are we not that?

Unitarian Principles Redux

the seven principles, unchanged but with an
unofficial eighth that follows from the seventh

We … affirm and promote:

  • The inherent worth and dignity of every person
  • Justice, equity, and compassion in human relations
  • Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations
  • A free and responsible search for truth and meaning

and also, with more emphasis on wider issues …

  • The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large
  • The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all
  • Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part
  • Awareness of being – existence – as dependent on what is thought of as not us, raising the question: How are we not that?

If we cannot exist without what is thought of as not us, how are we not that?

Markdown :: text :: notes