Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Edward Snowden: Hero or Traitor?

When the story broke with regards to the NSA’s –our very own government—spying on U.S. citizens in a sweeping --not to mention illegal-- over-stepping of their original mandate as dictated the USA Patriot Act, I wanted to keep the focus on the important issue:  the gross violation of our constitutionally guaranteed right to privacy as U.S. citizens.  While this issue, and more specifically obtaining satisfactory answers and accountability moving forward from our government officials responsible remains foremost in my thoughts: I have since had time to give some thought to the man who broke this story … A man without whom we would not even know that we needed to be having the latter discussion:  Edward Snowden. 

I’ve heard both sides of the arguments for and against Edward Snowden in the days and weeks that have followed the breaking of this historic news story and I can’t help but notice that more often than not people both for and against Snowden seem to have a need to pre-suppose that they understand Snowden’s motivations for violating his security agreement with the U.S. government in the first place. Then based upon these suppositions they draw their conclusion as to whether or not Edward Snowden should be labeled with the title “hero” or “traitor.” 

Personally, I think that the most unbiased, truthful method for evaluating Snowden's actions lies in removing Snowden’s motivations from the equation all-together.  Regardless of his motivations, Edward Snowden was witness to a gross and on-going violation of the constitutionally binding agreement between an agency acting on behalf of the U.S. government and the people of the United States, a violation that went up to the highest levels.  Do you honestly think that a mere analyst voicing his concerns about these violations by following the ‘chain of command’ would ever have successfully resulted in any meaningful correction of the constitutionally flawed NSA policies?  If you do, then you must be living in fantasy-land, happily sipping the widely available Kool-aide these days … proud proponents of maintaining the status quo. 

The way I see it, Edward Snowden put his very way of life on the line when he stepped up to the plate and found the courage to be the lone voice of reason in a world gone (blanking) mad.  Does that make him a hero?  Maybe so, but whatever you choose to call Edward Snowden I will be forever grateful for his courage and it is my sincere hope that he does not lose faith in the merits of his actions, that he remains true to the United States and its citizens, and that the government of a decent country will find the courage to grant him asylum.

8/2/2013  Think in today's crazy world maybe justice moves in mysterious ways?  Strange times call for strange --unexpected-- measures.  Regardless, I am sincerely happy for Edward Snowden ... pleased he was finally granted asylum and by Russia of all countries.  Who would have thought such an outcome would have been possible several weeks back?  The ancient Arabic proverb "The enemy of my enemy is my friend" is echoing through my mind as I type here.


Sunday, July 28, 2013

Dizzying Effect of Natural Remedy: Red Pepper Tea

User beware:  not all natural remedies work the way you think they will.

Case in point, I have been drinking a red pepper tea for seasonal allergies.  Something in the air seems to be really bothering me these past two weeks for some odd reason -- nearby forest fires while on vacation?  So I have been drinking 2 cups of red pepper tea per day instead of just my normal one to none.  Normally, I am fine with this tea blend and I have used it many times before --I always prefer natural remedies to pharmaceutical drugs-- with much success, but the past few days I have found myself becoming incredibly dizzy, to the point of almost passing out, after my second cup of tea. 

It finally occurred to me that it was in the red pepper tea that was causing my dizziness, but I couldn't figure out exactly why.  After some reading here on-line today I discovered that the red pepper tea has also been used to lower blood pressure in patients with high blood pressure and when combined with potassium the blood pressure effect is significantly increased --because the potassium takes the place of sodium stored in body cells, which in turn causes a drop in blood pressure.  And here I have been eating a banana after my intense workouts these past few days --to help reduce muscle pain ... lactic acid build-up.  Turns out this post-workout banana has been preceding my second cup of red pepper tea each day.  I have normal to low blood pressure already, being tall and thin, so lowering my blood pressure is not something I need to be doing.  So, now I know:  red pepper tea and bananas do not mix for me!  But maybe if you have high blood pressure and you want to try a natural remedy for lowering blood pressure (have heard blood pressure medications have some nasty side-effects!) the red pepper tea and banana combo just might be the ticket for you.

[Side Note:  I do have to wonder though ... would it be safe to use lowering my blood pressure to the point of dizziness in order to induce sleep?????  I have horrible insomnia and most sleeping pills don't work well for me, but I slept well on the dizzy nights.]

Monday, July 22, 2013

What's The End Goal?

"To want for nothing" ... that's the end goal, right?  Interesting how these words can take on such a diverse meaning, depending upon your unique perspective as you journey through this life ...

materialism, spiritualism or something in the middle?

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Jelly Bean Jars

I remember those guessing games we used to play when I was a kid.  A teacher or parent at a party filled a jar with candy --jelly beans, candy corns, butterscotch, M&Ms-- and then the kids would have to guess how many of a given item there were in the jar.  I don't know why, but I always wound up winning those jars?  Guess, I am highly attuned  when it comes to spatial awareness and visualizing objects.  I've always had a thing for numbers too ... often times I have an easier time memorizing someone's license plate or telephone number over their name.  Odd, right?  But that's me in a nutshell.


Anyway, I've found it amusing to watch my blog slowly tick its way along to 100,000 page views.  Kind of like those jars full of jelly beans when I was a kid.  About six months ago my blog hit 60,000 page views.  At the time, I thought it would be cool to log in to witness the exact 60,000 page view and as luck would have it -- logging in 1-2 times each day-- I did watch the counter turn to 60,000 right on the money.  I hadn't really thought too much about when my blog would roll over to 100,000 mark. ... too much going on for me these days.  Guess, I was kind of hoping that I'd turn 100,000 before year's end, but never expected it'd be this soon. I'm at  99,862  page views tonight and likely tomorrow or the next day I'll be at 100,000.  What a ride? ; )  Other people must need a place to reflect and clear their heads as well.  So much is going on in our world these days, isn't there?  Sometimes it's hard to find a quiet moment to stop and take it all in.

A special thanks to the Blogger team for providing such awesome, cutting-edge tools for sharing thoughts and ideas in today's technological world.  You all are amazing and truly appreciated!! 


Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Over 6,000 attend memorial service for fallen firemen

"The tragedy was the greatest loss of life from a U.S. wildfire in 80 years, and the highest number of American firefighters killed in a single incident since the September 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center in New York."

May God Bless the souls of the nineteen brave firefighters being laid to rest in Arizona today. 
The fallen firefighters were members of the Granite Mountain ("Hotshots") Fire Department, an elite firefighting squad from Prescott, Arizona.  They were overrun by flames on the afternoon of June 30 while battling a lightning-sparked fiery blaze outside the tiny town of Yarnell, in central Arizona.

May God also bless and comfort the families, friends and loved ones of these brave firemen left behind, especially the little children.  The nation mourns with you, with many heartfelt thoughts and prayers being sent your way.

You really have to admire the men and women --such as the fallen firemen being honored today-- who are brave enough to put self momentarily aside ... brave enough not only to look directly into the eye of a fiercely raging storm, but brave enough to step forward and say "Look out storm, cause here I come!" ... Think these men and women represent what is truly great in this U.S. nation of ours.  I had recently written (elsewhere) this Independence Day was not the usual source of inspiration, pride and renewal of my faith & hope for a bright future in the United State of America as a nation that it usually is for me each year.  I think these fallen firemen and their comrades who survived from the Granite Mountain Fire Department ... such brave men and women fearlessly answering the call to serve so that the lives of others would be spared ... have renewed my hope and faith in this nation of ours once again.  The fearlessness of brave men and women, such as these, and their unselfish willingness to put others first exemplifies what makes our nation truly great.