Shopping Cart

Your shopping cart is empty
Visit the shop

Your Adv Here

MCTS Launches M•CARD Online MILWAUKEE – The Milwaukee County Transit…

Escuela Biblica Vacacional Recicle/Recycle  By: Diana Guadalupe  Jesus Is My…

Medida republicana para desfinanciar Planned Parenthood fracasa en el senado La…

Informe: Ataques aéreos liderados por Estados Unidos mataron 459 civiles iraquíes…

Do You Want A Math Whiz Or A Basketball Wunderkind?…

Who Cares?

The desire for enlightenment once drove an earnest and highly-determined individual to spend several years in the company of a spiritual teacher. During these years he proved himself a devoted disciple who was totally committed to the attainment of spiritual realization. When the time came for him to leave and return to his native place, his guru made him promise that he would write every month, reporting on his spiritual progress. The disciple gave his promise and received his guru’s blessing. They said their farewells and parted.

The disciple had been gone just over a month when his first letter arrived. “I am experiencing the Oneness with the Universe,” he wrote. The master said nothing, but crumpled up the letter and dropped it in the bin.

The next month’s report came promptly and stated: “The Divinity present in all things has been revealed to me. I behold It in a flower, in a stone, in the very air, everywhere.” Again the master read the letter, crumpled it up and tossed it into the bin without a word.

For four months the letters arrived regularly. In his third message the disciple declared: “The mystery of the One and the Many has been revealed to me. I now know and truly comprehend there is no difference between you and me or anything else.” Once read, this missive also ended up in the guru’s waste-paper basket. In the fourth letter the disciple said, “No one is born, lives or dies, because there is no one who exists.” This letter too was read without comment and followed its predecessors, slipping with a rustle into the trash.

After the fourth month, however, no further letters arrived. No letter in the fifth month, no letter in the sixth month, no letter for a whole year! As the time passed and brought no news, the master became increasingly curious as to what had happened with his beloved disciple. Eventually, he wrote to him inquiring about his spiritual progress, and reminding the disciple of his promise to keep him informed.

Some time later, the guru was handed a letter addressed in a familiar hand. It was from his distant disciple. The guru opened it and read, and laughed out loud with obvious delight. His attendant disciples were puzzled as to what had prompted this outburst of joy. Beaming gladly, the guru passed them the letter. They saw that it contained just three words, and the three words were: “Enlightenment? Who cares!”

082615-roberto-ruiz-pix-2Jordy Nelson: The Latest Preseason Victim

“It’s difficult to lose a guy like that in a meaningless game,” a visibly depressed Aaron Rodgers said of Jordy Nelson during his postgame press conference.

To lose one of the three best receivers in the league during a game that actually counts in the record books is depressing enough, but to lose him during a game that has no meaning whatsoever is just cruel. To make matters worse, there was no late hit to blame for his injury, no unfortunate tackle that was just a little too low, but instead just a simple cut up field that actually put most of the strain on his left knee. Still, it was his right knee that blew out.

That being said, Coach Mike McCarthy was not wrong to still have Nelson out on the field, it was only his seventh snap of the game.

The injury will leave the Packers grasping at straws to fill the sizeable void left by Nelson. 2014 seventh round draft choice Jeff Janis resembles Nelson physically at 6’3” 219 pounds, but that is where the comparisons stop. Janis has certainly made an impression during the two preseasons he has been a part of, scoring three touchdowns in six games, but his two catches for 16 yards during the 2014 season leaves much to be desired. 2015 third round draft choice Ty Montgomery seems to have the skills to be an impact player at the receiver position, but at just 6’0” 2016 pounds he much better resembles a Randall Cobb type slot receiver more than an outside receiver.

If his college career is any indication, Montgomery is certainly a dynamic player with the ball in his hands, but the rookie might be biting off more than he can chew if he expects to develop the unspoken understanding with Rodgers that every receiver in the Green Bay offense needs to succeed. We witnessed this last year with Davonte Adams who has never lacked talent but often was out of sync with Rodgers whenever Rodgers would indicate a hot route.

The Packers were expected to have the highest scoring offense in the league this year, and with Seattle struggling to get on the same page this offseason this was likely the Packers year. The offense should still be high powered enough to dominate most opponents but only time will tell if the offense can play at a high enough level to match the output of previous years.

With the injury to Nelson, young players will have to step up on both sides of the ball. Adams will need to grow from unnecessary playmaker to reliable second option. Janis or Montgomery need to step up and fill the shoes left by Adams and pick up all of the considerable slack left over from losing an elite receiver.

The NFL will never cut the preseason games from four to two because even though they are meaningless, they still turn a profit for the NFL. Still, I can’t imagine too many NFL players would complain about cutting down on the risk they are forced to take each and every preseason.

The Packers may no longer be Super Bowl favorites, but great quarterbacks make great receivers and Aaron Rodgers is the greatest in the game today.

Win it for Jordy.

takingsidesShades of Ross Perot Shadow Trump and His Threat of Third Party

The 1992 presidential election comes to mind when thinking about our current presidential campaign. Back then George Bush Sr. and Bill Clinton had to deal with a wacky uncontrollable billionaire by the name H. Ross Perot.

Perot then, much like Trump today, conducted unscripted rants that changed the nature of the campaign.

Ross Perot entered the race in February 1992. After leading through the entire month of June, he dropped out, dropped back in, and ultimately received the highest third-party vote share since 1912: a stunning 18.9 percent of the presidential vote.

Perot’s campaign set the tone for what will be debated. In setting that tone, Clinton and Bush were forced to address issues like the federal budget deficit — n issue they might not have discussed.

Because of Perot, Republican Rep. Newt Gingrich proposed the infamous Contract With America, a policy platform that ignored social issues in favor of political reform, including the sweeping changes to congressional process.

But, contrary to popular belief, Perot was not responsible for Clinton’s victory. This shouldn’t really surprise anyone, Perot’s appeal was nonpartisan. Voters flocked to him because he promised to fix the budget deficit both major parties got the country into, in addition too lost manufacturing jobs and a political process reserved for wealthy lobbyists. Sound familiar? Kind of sounds like Donald Trump, huh?

I see Trump, like Perot, as an equal-opportunity basher. After initially attacking immigrants, Hispanics, Wall Street, and his once favorite television network: FOX NEWS, Trump has been bashing women with just a much ignorance.

A recent Washington Post/ABC poll shows that in a three-way race, Trump increases Hillary Rodham Clinton’s edge over Jeb Bush to 16 percentage points from 6 percentage points in a two-way race.

And according to a recent Rasmussen poll, 1 in 5 Republicans say they are “very likely” to vote for a Trump-led third-party effort, while less than 10 percent of Democrats say the same.

Trump creating a third party is very likely if he does not get the GOP nomination. A Trump independent candidacy will hurt Republicans more than Democrats.

Trump’s signature issue is immigration. He, of course, favors a hardline approach, insisting without evidence that the Mexican government is sending criminals across the border. Unlike Perot’s emphasis on trade and the deficit, which drew support from both Republicans and Democrats, Trump’s talking points exploit a deep division not only within the Republican Party, but also within the nation on immigration.

Various news reports indicate that a third of Republicans, and half of the most active Republicans, do not support any path to citizenship. A comprehensive immigration reform bill (which has passed in the Senate and which Speaker John Boehner says is a top priority for the House) would further alienate anti-immigration Republicans from their party and further reinforce Trump’s appeal to the anti-immigrant conservative base.

With eight to 10 states up for grabs, and the Republican candidate quite possibly tethered to a comprehensive immigration reform bill — either Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio would have trouble shedding a pro-immigration reform reputation — a Trump independent candidacy could do real damage to the GOP. If Trump attracted even 5 percent of the vote, he could decide the election in Clinton’s favor. No wonder Republicans are worried.

Transmitiendo el legado: de Julian Bond a Black Lives Matter

Julian Bond, un activista pionero del movimiento por los derechos civiles, murió esta semana a los 75 años de edad. En 1960, cuando era estudiante de la Universidad Morehouse de Atlanta, un instituto al que tradicionalmente asistían estudiantes negros, Bond encabezó protestas no violentas contra establecimientos que practicaban la segregación racial, como los restaurantes, los cines y los parques. Bond cofundó el Comité Estudiantil de Coordinación No Violenta (SNCC, por sus siglas en inglés) y durante años organizó y registró en el padrón electoral a ciudadanos afro-estadounidenses del Sur Profundo de Estados Unidos. En 1965 fue electo legislador del estado de Georgia, pero los demás legisladores no le permitieron ocupar su banca debido a su oposición a la Guerra de Vietnam. Recién tras un fallo de la Corte Suprema, Bond pudo finalmente ocupar su banca.

Julian Bond fue activista durante toda su vida. Defendió desde muy temprano el matrimonio igualitario y fue arrestado frente a la Casa Blanca por manifestarse en contra del oleoducto Keystone XL hace no mucho tiempo. Además, apoyaba el movimiento Black Lives Matter.

Black Lives Matter (en español: Las vidas de los afroestadounidenses importan) fue fundado después de que un jurado de Florida absolviera a George Zimmerman por el asesinato de Trayvon Martin. El movimiento creció rápidamente tras el asesinato de Michael Brown, perpetrado por la policía hace un año en Ferguson, Missouri, y se ha ampliado de tal manera que ahora tiene más de 25 representaciones a nivel nacional. Black Lives Matter está generando gran alboroto en la campaña presidencial, ya que los activistas interrumpen eventos de campaña para exigir que los candidatos hablen de las cuestiones que son centrales para el movimiento. En un reciente evento de la campaña de Hillary Clinton celebrado en Keene, New Hampshire, se negó el ingreso de cuatro activistas de Black Lives Matter.

Daunasia Yancey, fundadora de la representación de Black Lives Matter en Boston, dijo en el noticiero de Democracy Now!: “Fuimos a New Hampshire con la intención de confrontar a Hillary Clinton en un foro público. Clinton estaba organizando un foro sobre adicción a las drogas. Lamentablemente, cuando llegamos allí nos dijeron que no podíamos ingresar al lugar”. El periodista de CNN Dan Merica informó en Twitter acerca de la exclusión de los activistas y publicó que, según le informaron, se debió a que la sala estaba llena. Yancey explicó que, después de eso: “Alguien salió y nos invitó a ingresar a una sala repleta, donde podíamos ver el foro. Y entonces, uno de los funcionarios de la campaña se acercó y nos dijo: ‘Podemos ofrecerles unos minutos con ella’. A lo que respondimos: ‘Por supuesto’, para poder formular las preguntas que teníamos”.

Como mínimo, se puede decir que es bastante difícil acceder a los candidatos a la presidencia, a menos que se trate de un gran donante de su campaña. Las apariciones públicas de los candidatos están bien estudiadas. Sin embargo, en los eventos de campaña en los estados clave para las elecciones primarias, que los candidatos visitan frecuentemente, en ocasiones no tienen otra opción que hablar con los posibles votantes. Los activistas de Black Lives Matter han aprovechado estos momentos para desafiar el statu quo y PLANTEAR las cuestiones del racismo y la desigualdad ante un público más amplio.

Daunasia Yancey le dijo a Hillary Clinton: “Usted y su familia han sido personal y políticamente responsables de políticas que han provocado desastres en los servicios sociales y de salud de las comunidades pobres de personas de color, a través de la guerra contra las drogas a nivel nacional e internacional que usted promovió como primera dama, senadora y secretaria de Estado. Quisiera saber: ¿cómo se siente acerca de su papel en esa violencia y cómo piensa revertirla?”. A lo que Clinton respondió: “Bueno, estoy convencida, y es por eso que estoy en esta municipalidad hoy, de que hay mucha preocupación porque debemos replantear y modificar lo que hicimos para responder a diferentes problemas. En la vida, en la política y en el gobierno, por dar algunos ejemplos, es necesario preguntarse constantemente ‘¿Esto está funcionando o no?’, y si no está funcionando, ‘¿En qué debemos mejorar?’”.

Julius Jones, del movimiento Black Lives Matter de Worcester, Massachusetts, también formuló una pregunta a Clinton: “¿Cuáles fueron los errores? ¿De qué manera esos errores que cometió pueden convertirse en lecciones para que Estados Unidos tenga un momento de reflexión sobre el modo en que tratamos a las personas negras en este país?”. Clinton respondió: “No creo que uno cambie el modo en que piensan las personas. Creo que se cambian las leyes, la asignación de recursos, el modo en que funciona el sistema. No se puede cambiar el modo en que piensan todas las personas, pero en última instancia, podemos hacer mucho para cambiar cómo piensan algunas personas y algunos sistemas y crear más oportunidades para las personas que merecen tenerlas”.

Black Lives Matter ha intervenido en los eventos de otros candidatos, como los candidatos demócratas Bernie Sanders y Martin O’Malley y el candidato republicano Jeb Bush. Las intervenciones CONTINUARÁN, afirman los organizadores del movimiento. En su sitio web, Black Lives Matter afirma: “Hemos puesto nuestro esfuerzo, trabajo por la igualdad y amor por las personas negras al servicio de un proyecto político: sacar el hashtag de las redes sociales y llevarlo a las calles. El llamamiento a que las vidas de las personas negras importen es un grito de lucha por las vidas de TODAS las personas negras que buscan liberarse”.

En 2013, de pie frente al monumento de homenaje a Lincoln conocido como Lincoln Memorial, en Washington D.C., Julian Bond habló en el 50° aniversario de la Marcha sobre Washington. Sus palabras, pronunciadas dos meses después de la absolución de George Zimmerman, son un recordatorio de que el movimiento por la justicia crece en formas que no podemos prever:

“Es un placer estar aquí, del mismo modo que fue un placer estar aquí hace 50 años. En aquel entonces no hubiéramos imaginado que estaríamos aquí 50 años más tarde con un presidente negro y una fiscal general negra, eso es tan solo un indicio de lo lejos que hemos llegado, pero seguimos marchando. Marchamos porque Trayvon Martin se sumó a Emmett Till en el panteón de los jóvenes mártires negros. Marchamos porque la Corte Suprema de Estados Unidos ha destrozado la Ley de Derecho al Voto, por la que luchamos y dimos nuestras vidas. Marchamos porque todos los indicadores económicos señalan enormes desigualdades entre las personas blancas y las negras. Marchamos para ser liberados de la supremacía blanca. Sin embargo, aún nos queda mucho por hacer. No es fácil, pero no alcanza con desear nuestra libertad, siempre hemos tenido que luchar por ella”.

081915-religious-pix-1To Whom Do You Pray?

This question is more important than most think. The answer will color all you experience. Those who answer that they do not pray are mistaken, for they do not realize what prayer is and the extent and power of it in their lives.

Classically, prayer is, in essence, an act of communication. One communicates one’s desires to, presumably, some source-deity who has power over his life or power to help him. Prayer is also an act of communion with the Source for expression of gratitude and reverence, deemed necessary or recommended by the Source, and for the reception of guidance or other sorts of upliftment and inspiration.

Continuing to define prayer by associated meanings, the word “communicate” means to connect, to join, in effect to become one. In prayer there is always a desire to be aligned with the Source to which we pray. To align with one’s deity is deemed ultimately desirable and eventually if not immediately beneficial. In this age of spiritual renewal we are constantly working to align and attune ourselves with an ideal or an energy or some sort of Great Spirit that will bless our lives, and which many consider to be our True Self. Yet without realizing the real nature and extent of the act of prayer many are sabotaging just that goal.

In the many books and workshops available on spiritual practices and techniques, prayer is one that is often highly recommended. There are many related practices that are defined as forms of prayer, such as dancing, drumming, singing, artworks, rituals, even writing a prayer on a piece of paper or cloth and hanging it in the breeze. There is also a practice described involving what is called “constant prayer”, which sounds like quite a challenge considering the requirements of everyday life. Yet it is precisely this form of prayer that is the subject of this article. Surprise, surprise: whether you realize it or not, you are always in constant prayer!

As I said above, prayer is essentially communication, and in this soup of consciousness we live in, our every thought communicates to everyone and everything around us. It communicates our beliefs and desires and fears and loves and hates. Nothing is private and nothing is hidden. It is widely accepted in our age of renewal that the state of your consciousness affects every element of your life. Yet more to my point is the fact that just whom we are trying to communicate our desires to, consciously or unconsciously, moment by moment, is not fully realized.

What I am getting at is the fact that whenever you try to please someone, and are for some ego-based reason not being true to yourself, you are literally praying to them, attuning to them, and trying to become like them in order to please them and get their blessing – or at least be left in relative peace. The moment to moment content of our minds and hearts, and the acts that result, are this prayer. It never ends. What we are is a constant song of prayer, alignment and attunement to someone, and usually it is to someone who can neither hear nor help.

Why do people neglect this true Source within? Because of the persisting idea of there being powers outside of them. One has to decide that false is false and that there is no separation: that all power is united within, and all that appears around one is an extension of one’s being. We have held back out of fear. The idea of guilt and self-denial is founded on this fear, and the source of fear is the idea of separation, of some other power being able to affect us in a way we don’t prefer. Yet if you decide your consciousness is the source and generator of your existence, and that your aligned consciousness is the Divine source, you will know you have all the power that can ever affect your experience.

Involved in the confusion are the illogic and conflicts of our egos, all based on the idea of separation. If attunement means oneness with the Source we can say that prayer is an act of becoming one. Then why do we pray to those we steadfastly hold separate from us? We pray for approval, for validation, for permission, for forgiveness – all from outside “sources” that have no real power over us or to help. Prayer must recognize oneness as a fact, for to perceive separation is to create it, and power to create is always projected in the idea of separation. Teachings such as “Seek ye the kingdom of Heaven within” speak to us of the Source being the Divine light of our own true self. Attunement to our limitless inner truth cannot but bring us all the happiness for which we have been praying. “To thine own self be true, for it must follow as the night the day that thou can’st not then be false to any man.” The ultimate of prayer is the therefore recognition of our oneness with Divine Will and with all love and power, and via this route, with all those we perceived as separate. You can’t have it both ways.

You can’t be a victim and a master – and you can’t be a victim at all. This is the key to freedom through constant aligned prayer.

Braun Passes Yount with 252nd Home Run

Powering the baseball into the opposite field as he is apt to do, Ryan Braun passed Robin Yount and is now the Brewers’ all-time home run leader with 252. Braun needed 6,300 fewer at-bats than Yount did, and is definitely the more established power hitter of the two as Yount, who never hit 30 home runs in a season, was an all-around hitter that played for 20 seasons.

Braun came into the league in 2007 and hit 34 home runs as a rookie and winning the rookie of the year award. Braun immediately set himself up as a great offensive player with his ability to hit for average and power, but his defensive shortcomings proved a liability at third base. He continued his torrid pace at the plate after switching to left field in his second season, hitting 37 home runs even though his batting average fell nearly 40 points from .324 to .285. His average rebounded nicely the next year and his power numbers remained through the 2012 season.

In 2013 Braun’s career took a sudden turn when he was busted for taking performance enhancing drugs. The season prior to being busted, Braun hit 41 home runs, while the season after returning from suspension produced just 19 home runs. Braun’s batting average also dipped from .319 to .266, a marked difference from career norm prior to the suspension.

Yount is remembered fondly and is still well-respected by the Milwaukee community, so Braun passing him as the career home runs leader has hardly been met with much hoopla. It’s a similar feeling to when Barry Bonds passed Hank Aaron as the home run leader of Major League Baseball. Bonds was a known steroid user and the idea of him passing someone like Aaron, who consistently hit home runs throughout his 23 years but only led the league for home runs in a single season four times, was not taken to kindly. Yount stood for playing hard and consistent for two decades and negative stories of him are difficult to come by, Braun is very much the opposite.

Still, Braun has played every game of his career thus far in Milwaukee, and though he may never be the perennial MVP that he was early in his career he should still be respected by our great city. Did he handle the situation perfectly? Would you have really done better? His numbers have regressed to pedestrian status but he goes out there every day and still does his job. Respect is something he has quietly earned back by going to work every day and doing his job.

In all likelihood, Braun will be the home run leader for the Milwaukee Brewers for decades to come and we should all get used to that idea. Braun is a better home run hitter than Yount was, he deserves to be at the top of that list.

Don’t take that away from him.

Yount was the better man, but the better man rarely finishes on top.

takingsides
Governor Walker Continues Deception and Obfuscation of Record

In recent articles, Scott Walker made the statements that, if elected, Hillary Clinton would be the “great deceiver” and that she can not be trusted.

Governor Scott Walker attempts to shift public attention from his deceptions, verbal manipulations and mismanagement of government. His actions have negatively affected Wisconsin.

What moral or ethical authority does Governor Scott Walker have to call someone deceptive when his behavior clearly shows that he continues to practice deception, corruption, and wrongdoing? Here are the examples — you judge for yourself.

1. Secret email system in Scott Walker’s office as Milwaukee County Executive. Walker says he never knew about its existence. Do you seriously believe that Walker did not know the existence of the secret email router in his office as Milwaukee County Executive during the 2010 gubernatorial election? Do you seriously believe that an IT audit of the Office of the Milwaukee County Executive Office never took place?

2. Promising 250,000 jobs as the main platform of his campaign for governor, but after becoming governor, changing the priorities to attacks on collective bargaining. Walker was able to gather support from many voters via continuously pledging his commitment to focus on generating 250,000 jobs in his first term as governor. The unions had already agreed to have the workers pay more for their HEALTH INSURANCE. Therefore, there was no need to tackle collective bargaining, since that was not a fiscal item. Two weeks after becoming Governor, Walker changed the entire agenda from jobs to curtailing collective bargaining for the specific purpose of achieving national notoriety, which shifted all focus away from job creation. The result? Wisconsin fell from 20th best in the nation to 40th worst in the nation — the fastest shrinking middle class in the nation; used $140 million to give to donors via Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), the corrupt and mismanaged agency he created.

Do you really think that Governor Scott Walker did not know prior to becoming elected that he would change the agenda from jobs creation to achieving national public notoriety by attacking collective bargaining?

3. About that $140,000 million give-away to donors via WEDC: Scott Walker says he did not know about this. Do you really think Scott Walker did not know about how the loans and TAX credits were being given in a fraudulent manner when he was the Chair of the Board of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, when he named the CEO and the members of the executive team, and when he had specific members of the governor’s office appointed to the WEDC office (Murray)?

4. Clear participation and lies in an attempt to GUT the Open Records law in Wisconsin: A public outcry prevented Walker and his fellow Republicans from gutting the Wisconsin Open Records Law to prevent public access to information, loans, emails, etc. He publicly indicated he was not involved,only to find out via that same law, which could not be changed, that Scott Walker and his office were seriously involved in the drafting of this attempt to GUT the Open Records Law. Can you still doubt his clear desire to cover corruption and wrongdoing in WEDC and other departments in government?

5. Bill Kramer’s sexual assault and pattern of drunkenness and abuse to WOMEN: For many years, Bill Kramer has been close to Walker and the Waukesha GOP establishment. Walker says they did not know about Kramer’s behavior. For a very long time, and WELL before the sexual assault incident occurred, it has been widespread knowledge in the Waukesha GOP about Bill Kramer’s pattern of drunkenness and open sexual innuendos towards women. Governor Scott Walker has known Bill Kramer for many years and had to have his support to rise in the Republican assembly. As a reasonable person, Do you really think that Walker was not aware of Bill Kramer’s behavior towards women?

Even over-extending all courtesies to Scott Walker, it becomes painfully obvious to a reasonable person that Walker not only knew about, but also that he has been involved directly in all of these corrupt activities. Walker has taken advantage of the goodwill of the people of Wisconsin via sophisticated deception, lies, corruption, and wrongdoing, and now he wants to bring this behavior to the national level. Is this the person that should be President or even continue to serve as Governor of Wisconsin?

Moderate Republicans, Independents, even hardline Republicans need to ask themselves these questions. It is clear that there is something seriously wrong with Walker’s thinking that deception, lies, corruption and wrongdoing at the expense of the Wisconsin family are right for all Americans.

Arte, política y cambio social en la Bienal de Venecia

Venecia, Italia, esta histórica ciudad, famosa por sus canales y sus sonoros gondoleros, sus deslumbrantes museos desbordantes de arte, en la que cada año cientos de miles de personas pasean por la amplia Piazza San Marco y se dejan llevar por sus estrechas callejuelas laberínticas, es sede de la más antigua y prestigiosa bienal de arte del mundo, la Bienal de Venecia. Cada dos años, artistas del mundo entero exhiben sus obras en decenas de lugares, algunos de ellos, pabellones nacionales financiados por distintos países de todo el mundo, otros, exhibiciones internacionales o independientes. El arte culto parecería ser un ámbito distante cuando el mundo se ve consumido por la guerra, la catástrofe climática, los movimientos migratorios masivos y la creciente desigualdad económica. El arte podría parecer un lujo cuando las personas de color mueren a manos de la policía en las calles estadounidenses. Sin embargo, la Bienal de este año rompe con esos mitos.

Okwui Enwezor, de Nigeria, es el primer curador de la Bienal de Venecia nacido en África. Enwezor es ampliamente reconocido por ser responsable de haber traído el arte político de regreso a este festival de 120 años de trayectoria. Enwezor afirma haberse inspirado en parte en la Bienal de 1974, en la que algunas de las exhibiciones estuvieron dedicadas a Chile, en protesta contra el golpe de Estado del general Augusto Pinochet, que contó con el apoyo de Estados Unidos para derrocar al gobierno democráticamente electo de Salvador Allende. Las exhibiciones que trajo Enwezor a esta Bienal incluyen una épica lectura en vivo de “El capital”, de Karl Marx, la obra “Lampedusa”, del artista brasileño Vik Muniz, una embarcación recubierta con la portada del periódico veneciano La nuova Venezia del día después de que 400 inmigrantes se ahogaran frente a las costas de la isla italiana de Lampedusa en octubre de 2013, y un polémico pabellón de Islandia, cuya obra PRINCIPAL consistió en construir una mezquita en una iglesia que estaba vacía desde hacía 40 años. La ciudad de Venecia clausuró la mezquita haciendo alusión a preocupaciones relativas a seguridad.

Anne Pasternak, directora de la organización Creative Time, dijo: “Los artistas de hoy están haciendo mucho más que proporcionar un espejo. Se están comprometiendo con la ardua labor de lograr un cambio social real”. Pasternak estaba hablando ante nosotros en uno de los PRINCIPALES espacios de la Bienal, el Arsenale. Creative Time, una organización sin fines de lucro con sede en Nueva York que promueve y apoya el arte público y la participación social, convocó a una cumbre de tres días en la Bienal de este año. Cientos de artistas, activistas, académicos y público en general se reunieron en el Teatro alle Tese del siglo XVI que forma parte del Arsenale de Venecia. El Arsenale es un amplio y antiguo complejo amurallado en el que los venecianos construían los buques de guerra que sostuvieron su dominio militar en el Mar Mediterráneo durante siglos. Alrededor del 1500, ya eran capaces de construir un buque de guerra en un día, en lo que se considera como la primera línea de ensamblaje industrial del mundo.

Actualmente, el complejo se destina al arte, al teatro, a la música y al debate público, convirtiendo así las espadas en arados. Entre los expositores de la cumbre se encontraba Mariam Ghani, una artista afgano-estadounidense radicada en Brooklyn, Nueva York, que condujo desde el escenario una conversación por videoconferencia con su padre, Ashraf Ghani, presidente de Afganistán. Con su arte, Ghani se adentra en los oscuros rincones de la política exterior e interior de Estados Unidos. Su trabajo en colaboración “Índice de los Desaparecidos” es un archivo material de las desapariciones que han tenido lugar después de los atentados del 11 de septiembre de 2001 e incluye detenciones, deportaciones y traslados extrajudiciales de prisioneros.

Sobre el trabajo con el archivo y con otro proyecto relacionado llamado “El efecto Guantánamo”, Ghani explicó: NOTAMOS que las mismas ideas, políticas y personal circulaban por los distintos centros de detención gestionados por Estados Unidos alrededor del mundo. Por ejemplo, hay agentes penitenciarios y policías estadounidenses que son convocados por la Reserva de la Guardia Nacional y son desplegados como fuerzas de la policía militarizada en Afganistán. Luego, terminan en la prisión de Abu Ghraib o terminan en Bagram. Finalmente, lo que sucede es que las políticas, las técnicas y ahora incluso el equipamiento militar circulan dentro de Estados Unidos, en el ámbito interno. Esta circulación se ha transformado en algo extremadamente visible al haberse destinado el equipamiento militar excedente de las guerras de Irak y Afganistán a departamentos de policía del país, incluso a departamentos de policía de instituciones educativas. Lo hemos observado con extrema claridad en Ferguson, Missouri”.

La cumbre de Creative Time tuvo lugar al tiempo que se conmemoraba con manifestaciones masivas el primer aniversario del asesinato de Michael Brown, cometido por la policía en Ferguson. El movimiento Black Lives Matter ocupó un lugar de relevancia en las presentaciones de la cumbre y estuvo presente en la Bienal de Venecia en general. La escritora Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts habló sobre esto y sobre la muerte por ahogamiento de cientos de inmigrantes africanos que procuran asilo en Europa: “En este momento en que nos enfrentamos al surgimiento del movimiento Black Lives Matter y a la violencia contra la gente negra y de color en Estados Unidos, personas negras mueren de manera terrible también en Europa”. Después de Venecia, Rhodes-Pitts se dirigirá a Lampedusa.

Venecia ha sido durante siglos el cruce de caminos del mundo, una ciudad donde Oriente y Occidente se encuentran y donde el arte florece. La exposición internacional de la Bienal de Venecia de este año, llamada “All the World’s Futures”, en español “Todos los futuros del mundo”, presenta a una creciente comunidad de artistas comprometidos políticamente que no solo reflejan la belleza y la crueldad del mundo, sino que, de hecho, podrían cambiarlo.

081215-religious-pix-2Sharing Happiness 

Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room. One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room’s only window. The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back. The men talked for hours on end. They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they had been on vacation.

Every afternoon when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window. The man in the other bed began to live for those one hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and color of the world outside.

The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every color and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance. As the man by the window described all this in exquisite detail, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine the picturesque scene.

One warm afternoon the man by the window described a parade passing by. Although the other man couldn’t hear the band – he could see it in his mind’s eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words.

Days and weeks passed.

One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths, only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep. She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away. As soon  as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone.

Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the real world outside. He strained to slowly turn to look out the window beside the bed. It faced a blank wall. The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window. The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall.

She said, “Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you.”

150408-arena-aerial-fullBucks Awarded New Arena

Committing $250 million ($400 million after interest) in taxpayer money to pay for a new arena, Governor Scott Walker signed the bill ensuring the future of the Bucks franchise stays in Milwaukee. Although new Bucks owners Marc Lasry and Wes Edens promised to keep the franchise in Milwaukee when they purchased the company, it had become clear that relocating the team to Seattle or Las Vegas was a very real possibility of a new arena was not built in Milwaukee.

This still was not thought to be a problem, since upon selling the team previous owner Herb Kohl committed a sizeable portion of his earnings towards the new arena. The deal was thought to be contingent on the team remaining in Milwaukee, since Kohl stated that he refused to sell the team to anyone not willing to commit to remaining in this great city.

Taxpayer money was supposed to be left out of the equation, as Lasry and Edens were supposed to pay for the new arena. Yet here we are, footing the vast majority of the bill with $400 million committed, compared to the $250 million committed by the ownership group of the Bucks.

The Bucks have long been a dead team here in Milwaukee, always ending up near the bottom of the league in revenue and attendance. The team has not truly been competitive since Ray Allen was traded to the Seattle Supersonics for Gary “The Mitten” Payton, who bolted Milwaukee shortly after the trade was completed. There have definitely been exciting moments with the “Fear the Deer” movement and the Michael Redd era, but they have never even sniffed the conference finals.

While the Bucks have struggled, division rivals have fallen, rebuilt, and reloaded. The Cleveland Cavaliers have gone from perennial loser to NBA championship competitor twice. The Indiana Pacers have made their own run to the conference finals and have even been viewed as the favorites by some analysts to represent the East in previous seasons. The Chicago Bulls have drafted well and built themselves into a juggernaut that pushes to make the finals year in and year out, though they haven’t broken through the glass ceiling yet.

Why Walker has decided to commit so much taxpayer money to a team that hasn’t won anything in years, despite taking funding away from public schools is beyond me.

Walker claimed that this arena would promote tourism, but how many people do you know visit a city because they have a cool arena? I would visit Boston for Fenway Park, Chicago for Wrigley Field, but those are both storied, falling apart baseball stadiums that may not be around much longer. I would never visit Louisville just to sit in the KFC Yum! Center even though that is easily one of the nicest arenas I have ever been to. This new stadium is going to do nothing but take money out of taxpayers’ pockets.

Thanks Governor Walker, I can’t wait to see all the new tourists.

takingsidesWalkernomics Won’t Work for USA, Either

Time Magazine 8/6/15 Fox News debate in Cleveland transcript below illustrates clearly the pipe dream that is Walkernomics:

CHRIS WALLACE: Governor Walker.

(APPLAUSE) Governor Walker, when you ran for governor of Wisconsin back in 2010, you promised that you would create 250,000 jobs in your first term, first four years. In fact, Wisconsin added barely half that and ranked 35th in the country in job growth. Now you’re running for president, and you’re promising an economic plan in which everyone will earn a piece of the American dream.

Given your record in Wisconsin, why should voters believe you?

SCOTT WALKER: Well, the voters in Wisconsin elected me last year for the third time because they wanted someone who aimed high, not aimed low.

Before I came in, the unemployment rate was over eight percent. It’s now down to 4.6 percent. We’ve more than made up for the jobs that were lost during the recession. And the rate in which people are working is almost five points higher than it is nationally.

You know, people like Hillary Clinton think you grow the economy by growing Washington. One report last year showed that six of the top 10 wealthiest counties in America were in or around Washington, D.C.. I think most of us in America understand that people, not the government creates jobs. And one of the best things we can do is get the government out of the way, repeal Obamacare, put in — reign in all the out of control regulations, put in place and all of the above energy policy, give people the education, the skills that the need to succeed, and lower the tax rate and reform the tax code. That’s what I’ll do as president, just like I did in Wisconsin.”

First, Walker won his recall because the fundamental idea of a recall is to remove elected officials from office who committed acts while in office that are corrupt.

For example, recalling Alberta Darling and her accomplices Vos and Fitzgerald for their attempt to gut open records would be an appropriate recall action.

Doing a recall against an elected official because you do not agree with his or her policy is not an effective recall action. Walker was able to win because many of Wisconsin’s voters did not agree with the notion that recalling Walker for implementing ACT 10 was justification for his removal.

Second, Walker won his election over Mary Burke because Democratic Party of Wisconsin (DPW) under former chair Mike Tate did not do the best job of getting out the vote, and because Tate rammed Burke as the Democratic candidate, ignoring the democratic process.

Tate failed because he caused many to question the manner in which Burke was chosen to be the Democratic contender, causing many voters to turn away from supporting her. He also failed to use DNC resources effectively to help get out the vote. DNC could have come to Wisconsin in full force to beat Walker, but did not. Why not?

Third, Walker has demonstrated clearly that tax breaks and deregulation do not work under Walkernomics.

Walker was just giving away money to corporations that were dying and had no commitment to creating new jobs.

His failure is simple. When providing grants or loans to corporations, Walkernomics failed to establish strong connection to innovation and job creation.

The money should have been tied to internal company alignments that ensured innovations led to the creation of new jobs. None of that was done.

Finally, obfuscation plays a big role in Walkernomics. What Walker fails to say is that, by definition, the unemployment rate does not count people who have given up looking for work, people who return to college or education or people who simply left the labor market. If all of those people were counted in the present stagnant job growth in Wisconsin, the Wisconsin unemployment rate would likely be higher.

Walkernomics is all about sophistry, obfuscation, policies of tax breaks, deregulation and corporate welfare, all ingredients that would destroy America’s economy.

Hiroshima y Nagasaki 70 años después de la bomba atómica

Hace 70 años, el 6 de agosto de 1945, el mundo cambió PARA siempre. Ese día, Estados Unidos lanzó por primera vez en la historia un arma nuclear contra población civil, la de Hiroshima, en Japón. Tres días más tarde lanzó la segunda y, hasta ahora, última bomba atómica utilizada contra objetivos humanos en Nagasaki, Japón. Cientos de miles de personas murieron, muchas sufrieron quemaduras graves y miles fueron víctimas de los efectos de largo plazo del envenenamiento por radiación. Muchos sobrevivientes de las dos terribles explosiones, denominados “hibakusha” en japonés, aún están vivos y CUENTAN sus experiencias. Mientras que el mundo ha evitado ataques nucleares desde aquellos días de 1945, la amenaza de una potencial devastación nuclear permanece aún latente. Sin embargo, de las cenizas de estas dos terribles explosiones surgió un movimiento a favor de la abolición de las armas nucleares que sigue llevando adelante su campaña pacifista para eliminar estas armas.

“Cuando tenía doce años Japón estaba en guerra y fue obviamente hacia el final de la guerra que el país experimentó los bombardeos de Hiroshima y Nagasaki”, me dijo Kenzaburo Oe el año pasado en Tokio, Japón. Oe tiene 80 años, obtuvo el Premio Nobel de Literatura en 1994 y es uno de los intelectuales y ACTIVISTAS humanitarios más respetados de Japón. “En el momento, por supuesto, la bomba atómica significó para mí, y también para mi madre y nuestras familias y para todas las personas, una gran conmoción. En aquel entonces, fue la peor catástrofe que jamás habíamos visto, por lo que el sentimiento de tener que sobrevivir a esto, de superar esto y de renovarse fue grandioso”.

La obra de Kenzaburo Oe es conocida en todo el mundo, pero el autor afirma que lamenta no haber escrito jamás una novela sobre la bomba atómica. Reconoce el gran mérito de los sobrevivientes de los ataques en mantener VIVAS las historias: “Los habitantes de Hiroshima que padecieron el peor sacrificio fueron, por supuesto, las decenas de miles de personas que murieron al instante. Sin embargo, hubo muchos sobrevivientes. Después del fin de la guerra y de las bombas, en los cinco años posteriores, Japón estaba ocupado militarmente (por Estados Unidos) y en ese momento no era posible para los hibakusha, que es como llamamos a los sobrevivientes de las bombas atómicas, crear cualquier tipo de organización propia. Recién cinco años después de que se lanzaran las bombas, los sobrevivientes pudieron por primera vez crear su propia organización. En aquel entonces, su único eslogan era jamás permitir que esto se repitiera, jamás permitir que haya nuevos hibakusha”.

Desde entonces, los hibakusha han ocupado un lugar central en el movimiento pacifista japonés y adoptaron como símbolo un origami en forma de grulla de la paz. Sadako Sasaki tenía apenas dos años cuando Hiroshima sufrió el impacto de la bomba. Sadako sobrevivió, pero a los 12 años le diagnosticaron leucemia, una de las enfermedades provocadas por la radiación de la bomba. Un amigo del hospital le dijo que si hacía mil grullas de papel se le concedería un deseo. Con la esperanza de vencer su enfermedad, Sadako comenzó a crear las intrincadas aves de papel. Murió el 25 de octubre de 1955.

No obstante, el movimiento pacifista de Japón sigue con vida. Muchos japoneses se siguen organizando para reclamar la abolición de las armas nucleares, pero también para que se eliminen las plantas nucleares. Kenzaburo Oe dijo al periódico francés Le Monde: “Hiroshima debe quedar grabado en nuestra memoria: es una catástrofe aún más dramática que los desastres naturales porque fue provocada por el ser humano…Mostrar el mismo desinterés por la vida humana en las plantas nucleares es la peor traición a la memoria de las víctimas de Hiroshima”, afirmó el autor. El movimiento a favor del cierre permanente de las plantas nucleares de Japón parecía estar a punto de triunfar después del desastre ocurrido en Fukushima en marzo de 2011. Sin embargo, el gobierno conservador del primer ministro Shinkzo Abe, que asumió el poder inmediatamente después del desastre, ha prometido reavivar la energía nuclear en el país y tiene el proyecto de volver a poner en funcionamiento antiguas plantas inactivas e incluso, de construir nuevas.

Del otro lado del mundo, en Los Álamos, Nuevo México, el lugar donde se fabricó la bomba atómica, se sigue realizando investigación para la fabricación de nuevas y supuestamente “mejores” armas nucleares. Para conmemorar el 70° aniversario de los bombardeos de Hiroshima y Nagasaki, activistas por la paz realizarán una convención en la ciudad cercana de Santa Fé, así como vigilias en la entrada del ultrasecreto laboratorio de investigación sobre armas nucleares de Los Álamos. Como activista por la paz y referente social de LARGA trayectoria, el padre John Dear afirma: “Le dijimos a Dios: lo que tardaste 15.000 millones de años en crear, podemos destruirlo en 15 minutos”.

Las palabras de Dear se suman a las de uno de los artífices de la bomba, J. Robert Oppenheimer. Oppenheimer era físico y director del Proyecto Manhattan, el monumental proyecto científico estadounidense que desarrolló las bombas. La primera bomba atómica fue detonada el 16 de julio de 1945 en el desierto de Nuevo México, en un lugar especialmente elegido para hacer la prueba llamado Trinity. Al observar la explosión y la nube de humo con forma de hongo que esta generó, Oppenheimer recordó las palabras de Visnú en el texto sagrado hindú Bhagavad-guita: “Ahora me he convertido en la muerte, el destructor de mundos”.

Hiroshima es un monumento a la locura de las armas nucleares. El año pasado, al caminar por el predio del Museo de la Paz de Hiroshima pude VER el Monumento a la Paz de los Niños, erigido en homenaje a Sadako Sasaki y a los miles de niños víctimas de las explosiones. El monumento está adornado con miles de grullas de papel. En la base está grabado un llamamiento a todos nosotros: “Este es nuestro grito, esta es nuestra plegaria: paz en el mundo”.

080515-religious-pix-3Escuela Biblica Vacacional Recicle/Recycle 

By: Diana Guadalupe 

Jesus Is My Best Friend was the theme for the Templo de Restauracion on 13th  & Lincoln street Vacation Bible School under the direction of Hilda Crispin and others volunteers. For a whole week the kids were able to have a wonderful time full of great arts and crafts, games and of course getting to know Jesus as their best friend, but what grab my attention is that they were able to use recyclable items like toilet paper rolls, cans, straws, bottle tops and so many other things without spending a huge amount of money to be able offer the kids in the community the opportunity to create beautiful things with their hands.  Well I think a picture is worth a thousand words, right!!!  but to all that love to save the environment and to find things to do… think about how can you enhance the mind of a child by showing them that we can make, create, and do amazing things with things that we already have around the house and in the process encourage others to use recyclable items to offer a program to our community without emptying anyone’s pocket!   GOOD JOB TEMPLO RESTAURACION! WAY TO GO!

On Life and Truth 

by Simon Hunt

I read some powerful words concerning life and truth the other day, and they effected me greatly. They didn’t come to me through the any of usual channels… an esteemed or enlightened holy person, a venerated teacher, my life mate, or my spirit guides. They came to me via Michael Hunter, an inmate of San Quentin. Michael Hunter treasured these words; they were written by his friend, Tom Walker, another inmate of the same institution . I do not know the circumstances of how either Michael Hunter or Tom Walker came to be on San Quentin’s Death Row; I’m not sure that I want to. The following powerful words are excerpts from Tom Walker’s personal journal, bequeathed to Michael Hunter upon his passing.

“One of the few values, functions of my life at this point is to write about what I see from my perch on death row. What value my observations are I can’t say, I only know I feel the need to write as much for myself as anyone else. You must understand when you read my thoughts, my view is through the distorted lens of my functioning dysfunctional beliefs. I’ll try to be as sincere as I am capable, but I’ll be the first one to advance the concept that truth can be selective, and I want to own up to my own limitations of truth before I PROCEED.”

“When I was young, thirteen, I was impressionable, confused, and direct experiences led me to devalue human life. By twenty-three, I was at rock bottom, my life was ruled by anger, loneliness, and fear. At twenty-four, I was put on trial for murder.”

“It wasn’t the prosecutor, judge, jury, or the possible penalty of death that made such a huge impact on me. It was the cardboard boxes stacked high inside the courtroom that so deeply affected my life. My whole life had been gathered up and placed inside those boxes, no stone left unturned, no fear or secret of mine left undiscovered. I was the contents of the boxes, the contents of the boxes were me.”

“Each day at trial as yet another box was opened and the ugly contents revealed to the light, viewing what I had made of my twenty-four years was the emotional equivalent of slamming into a brick wall at a hundred miles per hour. Nightly, lying awake in my cell in chaos, I wondered how I was going to survive the opening of the next box, and then the next, and the next. . . . the boxes had forced me to look squarely at my worst enemy — me.”

“Amid the turmoil of this experience, I discovered a yearning, not for freedom because I knew I’d forfeited my right to walk within society; but a desire to reconnect with humanity. I wanted to find inside myself something I had lost, I wanted to once again to feel in full awareness — love.“

“Now at thirty, after years on Death Row, I find myself begining to feel the value of life growing inside me. This, of course, does nothing for those whom I have killed. But then again, unless I kill myself today, I must either stagnate and regress toward chaotic emptiness – or progress toward humanity, and I very much want to progress.”

“I want to leave San Quentin, even if it is in death, a better man than the day I walked on to Death Row. I am ready to pay my debt. But in the meantime, while my legal appeals wend their way through the courts, I want to give back what little I can and also find out if I can develop into someone I can live with. Simply, I’d like to find out if the capacity for humanity is within me before I die. “

“I know I will not ever fully understand the sanctity of life, not like normal people do — do they realize how lucky they are? I will die long SHORT of the mark, but until that day I intend to be a work in progress, forever with a hope to get as close to the truth as I can.”

Tom Walker departed San Quentin on November 18th, 1997. Michael Hunter has exhausted all his legal appeals and is now awaiting the same fate.

080515-roberto-ruizRonda Rousey: Best in the World

After defeating the Brazilian Bethe Correia in 34 seconds on Saturday, Ronda Rousey has once again proven that she is the best in the world at fighting. Nobody else in her weight class can touch Rousey, let alone knock her out or get her to submit. She is the headliner for any UFC event she participates in now because her utter dominance is just so much fun to watch. The fact remains that as long as she is willing to defend her title, she will remain the bantamweight champion of the UFC.

Ronda’s first seven fights had a definite trend to them. Seven victories that all ended with submissions via the armbar, and each fight ended in the first round.  Only two of those first seven fights lasted more than one minute, one was her fight against Miesha Tate for the bantamweight championship, which lasted 4 minutes and 27 seconds; the other was a title defense against Liz Carmouche that lasted 4 minutes and 49 seconds. Her second fight against Miesha Tate went 58 seconds into the third round (10:58 total) before she again bested Tate with an armbar.

Her next four fights have lasted a combined 2 minutes and 10 seconds, including the 34 second bout with Correia. Armbars, punches, knees to the midsection, no matter how she attacks, Rousey can get her opponent to the ground and keep her there. Rousey has also taken to angering her opponents before matchups, angering them to the point of uncontrolled fury while she looks more focused than ever walking into the ring. Once the fight starts, her fighting is methodical, pointed, and every movement has meaning behind it.

At first, opponents would seemingly test Rousey’s grappling skills until enough were forced to submit in the first round. Now she has been knocking out opponents instead of submitting them, which is proving just as effective. The next person who fights her will likely stick with a similar game plan: force Rousey to punch you out, don’t let her tap you out.

Rousey is the best fighter in her weight class, but what would happen if Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino trimmed down to 135 pounds and challenged Rousey for her bantamweight championship? Justino is a dangerous fighter who has not lost since her first professional fight and boasts an impressive 12 knockouts in her 14 victories. Her contrasting style would be an interesting challenge for Rousey, who is much more a grappler than a puncher, though her recent fights suggest that her punching shouldn’t be taken lightly. Rousey has taken to calling out Justino recently, even taking jabs at her failed drug test in 2011. If they do fight, Justino hugging Rousey like she did to Gina Carano after their headlining fight seems very unlikely.

Ultimately, Rousey will defeat anybody that UFC President Dana White puts in her way, man or cyborg. If there is a fighter out there that could give Rousey a run for her money, it certainly isn’t in the women’s division.

takingsidesGOP has lost its foundation and standing

As more and more information comes forward regarding Walker’s Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), it is without question that Walker’s allies continue to look for ways to stop the bleeding and embarrassment that WEDC has caused.

The GOP once touted its resolve to be a fighter and protector of taxpayers. They vowed to fight against waste, fraud and corruption in government. But after news reports of WEDC loans being given without proper oversight, companies using those loans to buy luxury cars, companies receiving WEDC support while shipping JOBS OVERSEAS, and companies going under yet given loans anyway, in addition to companies failing to produce JOBS after receiving WEDC money, Republican leaders have resorted to desperate attempts to stop the political damage by initiating an effort to change the open records laws, and are now trying to remove elected representatives from being members of the WEDC board of directors. Clearly they have something to hide.

A corrupt core of GOP leaders have taken the GOP away from its marketing brand of being professionals who can balance the budget to create jobs, to prevent tax increases and to give tax breaks aligned to job creation for the purpose of CREATING JOBS. Obviously, these goals are no longer are the creed of the GOP.

Fat Cat Wannabes

What they have become is what Walker has created. A mob of fat cat wannabes waiting their chance for a fat PAYCHECK. And they’re perfectly happy to allow Walker to do what he’s done to Wisconsin to be replicated to the rest of the nation.

Walker’s failure to create prosperity, jobs and government accountability in Wisconsin is to be rewarded by placing him in the running for president of the United States?

Do the GOP principles as interpreted by Walker meet the GOP cornerstone of prosperity? No! Did he increase the middle class? No. He failed.

He failed because he did not work for the citizens of Wisconsin. He worked for himself and he used all of us in the process.

From scrapping light rail to backstabbing the Kenosha CASINO deal, Walker has been working for Walker at the expense of Wisconsin families.

Is this truly what the GOP stands for? Killing prosperity? Killing jobs? Killing Wisconsin’s middle class?

It is clear that the GOP vision for Wisconsin is not a vision created by Wisconsinites, but more of a vision created by American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

ALEC is imposing their vision of our future on all of us. Walker works for ALEC. Walker and his allies do not work for Wisconsin. If they did, they never would have thought to destroy our state resolve to keep government accountable by attempting to GUT our open records law.

The Republican Party is awash in self-serving, anti-Wisconsin moneychangers who are only interested in their individual future, not our children’s, our families’ and our state’s.

Cincinnati y el asesinato de Samuel DuBose

La ciudad de Cincinnati fue escenario de una sorprendente decisión judicial esta semana, que vuelve a centrar la atención en el asesinato de personas de color por parte de la policía. El fiscal del condado de Hamilton, Joseph Deters, anunció que se han presentado formalmente cargos por homicidio contra el agente de policía de la Universidad de Cincinnati Ray Tensing, que el 19 de julio pasado disparó a quemarropa provocando la muerte a Samuel DuBose, un hombre afroestadounidense de 43 años de edad. Tensing detuvo a DuBose porque conducía un vehículo sin placa de matriculación delantera. Como sostuvo el fiscal Deters durante una conferencia de prensa: “No lidiaba con alguien requerido por asesinato. Estaba lidiando con alguien que no llevaba placa de matriculación delantera. Como diríamos en lenguaje coloquial, detenerlo por eso es una estupidez”. En el video grabado por la cámara corporal de Tensing se escucha que el agente pide ver el permiso de conducir de DuBose. Cuando DuBose le dice que no lo tiene, Tensing intenta entonces abrir la puerta del auto de DuBose. Inmediatamente después de esta interacción, entra en pantalla la mano derecha del agente Tensing, apuntando con una pistola hacia la ventana del auto. Disparó una sola vez, directo a la cabeza de DuBose, lo que hizo que el auto, con DuBose ya fallecido al volante, se deslizara calle abajo y se detuviera al chocar contra un poste. Antes de que se dieran a conocer las imágenes captadas por la cámara corporal de Tensing, el agente alegó que su brazo había quedado atrapado en el auto y que había sido arrastrado calle abajo. Otro agente, Phillip Kidd, declaró haber visto lo mismo. El video desmiente claramente su versión. También Kidd debería ser arrestado. Al hacer público el video, el fiscal Deters expresó: “No cabe duda de que se trata de un asesinato”.

Samuel DuBose fue asesinado una semana después de otra detención de tránsito que resultó mortal. En esa oportunidad, en el condado de Waller, Texas, Sandra Bland, de 28 años de edad, también afroestadounidense, fue detenida por Brian Encinia, oficial de la policía estatal de Texas. Encinia afirmó que detuvo el auto de Bland porque no había señalizado un cambio de senda. La cámara ubicada en el tablero del patrullero del oficial también grabó la detención. Encinia le pidió a Bland que apagara su cigarrillo y luego le dijo que bajara del auto. El oficial dijo textualmente: “Le estoy dando una orden legítima. La voy a sacar por la fuerza”. Se puede oír entonces que Bland le dice: “Usted abrió la puerta de mi auto. ¿Y me está amenazando con sacarme por la fuerza de mi auto?”. Encinia le grita: “¡Baje del auto!”. Cuando Bland le responde: “¿Y después me va a agredir?”, Encinia, esgrimiendo una pistola eléctrica, le grita: “¡La voy a encender! ¡Baje ya! ¡Ya!”.

El siguiente video muestra a Bland en el suelo. Se le oye decir: “¡Me golpeó la cabeza contra el suelo!”. Luego le dice a Encinia que sufre de epilepsia. Se oye que el oficial responde: “Bien”. Tres días después de ser arrestada, Sandra Bland fue hallada sin vida en la celda en que se encontraba recluida. La causa oficial de fallecimiento declarada es suicidio. Sin embargo, sus familiares y amigos no creen que haya sido así.

El asesinato de DuBose tuvo lugar casi exactamente un año después del día en que el agente de policía de la ciudad de Nueva York Daniel Pantaleo sujetó a Eric Garner por el cuello hasta causarle la muerte. En un video que capta el momento de la muerte de Garner, se puede oír que dice once veces con la voz entrecortada: “No puedo respirar”. La muerte de Garner fue declarada homicidio, pero el fiscal de distrito de Staten Island, Daniel Donovan, no presentó cargos ni contra Pantaleo ni contra ningún otro agente por su muerte. Posteriormente, el fiscal de distrito Donovan se presentó como candidato al Congreso en una elección especial y ganó.

Tres semanas después de la muerte de Garner en Staten Island, la policía mató al adolescente afroestadounidense Michael Brown en Ferguson, Missouri. No hubo grabación de video de su muerte aquella tarde del sábado 9 de agosto de 2014. Sí existe un video, filmado por un transeúnte, del cuerpo desangrado de Brown, que permaneció tirado sobre el pavimento caliente y al descubierto durante horas.  No se presentaron cargos contra el agente de policía de Ferguson Darren Wilson, hecho que suscitó manifestaciones masivas y que significó el comienzo del movimiento Black Lives Matter, “Las vidas de las personas negras importan”, en español.

El fin de semana pasado, más de 1.000 personas se congregaron en Cleveland para un encuentro nacional de organización del movimiento Black Lives Matter. En Cleveland vivía Tamir Rice, el niño de doce años de edad que estaba jugando con una pistola de juguete en un parque público el 21 de noviembre de 2014 cuando una persona llamó al 911 y denunció a la policía que había “un individuo con una pistola” aunque, advirtió, “probablemente es de juguete”. Los agentes de policía de Cleveland Timothy Loehmann y Frank Garmback se acercaron rápidamente al parque en un patrullero de la policía. En cuestión de segundos, Loehmann efectuó al menos dos disparos y mató al niño. Cámaras de seguridad, borrosas y silenciosas, registraron el crimen.

Han salido a la luz informes de que Loehmann fue hallado no apto para el servicio policial hace más dos años, cuando se desempeñaba como agente en Independence, un pequeña ciudad en la periferia de Cleveland. Una carta redactada por un superior suyo de ese momento critica específicamente el desempeño de Loehmann en el entrenamiento con armas de fuego. La carta refiere: “No podría seguir indicaciones básicas… su habilidad en el uso de armas cortas es pésima”. En 2014, la ciudad de Cleveland pagó 100.000 dólares por el acuerdo alcanzado en un caso de uso excesivo de la fuerza contra el otro agente, Frank Garmback. En junio, el juez municipal de Cleveland Ronald Adrine afirmó que existen fundamentos para procesar a los agentes. Entonces, ¿por qué no se presentaron cargos contra Loehmann ni Garmback?

Cincinnati es un comienzo. Cleveland debería prestar atención. Puede ser que empiece a hacerse justicia, que por fin los responsables de estos actos rindan cuentas. Como las mil personas que se reunieron allí el fin de semana pasado lo dijeron claramente: las vidas de las personas negras importan.

072915-religiousTo Whom Do You Pray?

This question is more important than most think. The answer will color all you experience. Those who answer that they do not pray are mistaken, for they do not realize what prayer is and the extent and power of it in their lives.

Classically, prayer is, in essence, an act of communication. One communicates one’s desires to, presumably, some source-deity who has power over his life or power to help him. Prayer is also an act of communion with the Source for expression of gratitude and reverence, deemed necessary or recommended by the Source, and for the reception of guidance or other sorts of upliftment and inspiration.

Continuingto define prayer by associated meanings, the word “communicate” means to connect, to join, in effect to become one. In prayer there is always a desire to be aligned with the Source to which we pray. To align with one’s deity is deemed ultimately desirable and eventually if not immediately beneficial. In this age of spiritual renewal we are constantly working to align and attune ourselves with an ideal or an energy or some sort of Great Spirit that will bless our lives, and which many consider to be our True Self. Yet without realizing the real nature and extent of the act of prayer many are sabotaging just that goal.

In the many books and workshops available on spiritual practices and techniques, prayer is one that is often highly recommended. There are many related practices that are defined as forms of prayer, such as dancing, drumming, singing, artworks, rituals, even writing a prayer on a piece of paper or cloth and hanging it in the breeze. There is also a practice described involving what is called “constant prayer”, which sounds like quite a challenge considering the requirements of everyday life. Yet it is precisely this form of prayer that is the subject of this article. Surprise, surprise: whether you realize it or not, you are always in constant prayer!

As I said above, prayer is essentially communication, and in this soup of consciousness we live in, our every thought communicates to everyone and everything around us. It communicates our beliefs and desires and fears and loves and hates. Nothing is private and nothing is hidden. It is widely accepted in our age of renewal that the state of your consciousness affects every element of your life. Yet more to my point is the fact that just whom we are trying to communicate our desires to, consciously or unconsciously, moment by moment, is not fully realized.

What I am getting at is the fact that whenever you try to please someone, and are for some ego-based reason not being true to yourself, you are literally praying to them, attuning to them, and trying to become like them in order to please them and get their blessing – or at least be left in relative peace. The moment to moment content of our minds and hearts, and the acts that result, are this prayer. It never ends. What we are is a constant song of prayer, alignment and attunement to someone, and usually it is to someone who can neither hear nor help.

Why do people neglect this true Source within? Because of the persisting idea of there being powers outside of them. One has to decide that false is false and that there is no separation: that all power is united within, and all that appears around one is an extension of one’s being. We have held back out of fear. The idea of guilt and self-denial is founded on this fear, and the source of fear is the idea of separation, of some other power being able to affect us in a way we don’t prefer. Yet if you decide your consciousness is the source and generator of your existence, and that your aligned consciousness is the Divine source, you will know you have all the power that can ever affect your experience.

Involved in the confusion are the illogic and conflicts of our egos, all based on the idea of separation. If attunement means oneness with the Source we can say that prayer is an act of becoming one. Then why do we pray to those we steadfastly hold separate from us? We pray for approval, for validation, for permission, for forgiveness – all from outside “sources” that have no real power over us or to help. Prayer must recognize oneness as a fact, for to perceive separation is to create it, and power to create is always projected in the idea of separation. Teachings such as “Seek ye the kingdom of Heaven within” speak to us of the Source being the Divine light of our own true self. Attunement to our limitless inner truth cannot but bring us all the happiness for which we have been praying. “To thine own self be true, for it must follow as the night the day that thou can’st not then be false to any man.” The ultimate of prayer is the therefore recognition of our oneness with Divine Will and with all love and power, and via this route, with all those we perceived as separate. You can’t have it both ways.

You can’t be a victim and a master – and you can’t be a victim at all. This is the key to freedom through constant aligned prayer.