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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.

072915-roberto-ruiz-pix-2Super Bowl or Bust

The 2015 season is expected to be a great one for Aaron Rodgers, which will therefore lead to a great season for the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers is widely considered the best player in the NFL and has proven that week in and week out since his second season under center.

Ted Thompson, general manager for the Packers, he once again selected defensive players with several high draft picks this year, hoping to provide a shot in the arm for a defense that faltered, once again, come playoff time. Losing Davon House and Tramon Williams to free agency surely led to the selections of Damarious Randall and Quentin Rollins as well. Both Randall and Rollins are expected to compete with Casey Hayward to win the starting cornerback job opposite Sam Shields. The defensive rookie with the most expected of him may be fourth round draft pick Jake Ryan, a middle linebacker from Michigan who could allow Clay Matthews to return to his natural position of outside linebacker.

Eddie Lacy returns to the backfield and will hopefully continue his hard-nosed running style that wears defenses down by the time the fourth quarter rolls around. Lacy will probably stick around the 300 total touches that he has hovered around since he entered the NFL. His increased workload last year led to an average rush of 4.6 yards. Lacy and Rodgers meshed in an unexpected way after Rodgers injured his calf late in the 2014 season and was forced to play almost exclusively from the pistol formation. Though the timing seemed off at first, both star players excelled by the time the playoffs rolled around. With the calf injury, Rodgers was forced to play from the pocket much more than usual, but he proved that even when forced into an uncomfortable situation, he is the best in the business.

Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, and Davonte Adams head what may prove to be the best receiving corps in the NFL. Nelson and Cobb are bonafide stars, while Adams proved to be a vital cog to the Green Bay offense when he was given the opportunity. Ty Montgomery, a rookie from Stanford, will be competing with second year players Jared Abbrederis and Jeff Janis for the fourth and fifth received spots still open on the roster. Montgomery is also a return specialist, so his inclusion on the roster is given a boost.

The defensive front seven has been a disappointment for quite some time in Green Bay. Clay Matthews remains the only standout, though the addition of aging veteran Julius Peppers did provide a decent complement to Matthews at the other outside linebacker spot. Inside linebacker has been a black hole coming into each offseason and no matter what un-drafted free agents Mike McCarthy tried to plug-in, the hole remains. The defensive line has been better than the middle linebacker position for the Packers, but not significantly enough to be considered a positive for this Packers team. Mike Daniels has been a surprise along the line and has helped solidify the unit along with Letroy Guion. BJ Raki returns from a torn biceps and should be more motivated than ever entering this season.

Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix and Morgan Burnett were solid all season at the back end of the defense. Clinton-Dix was prone to mistakes, but that’s to be expected from a rookie safety. Micah Hyde also played a decent safety before Clinton-Dix nabbed his starting spot. Sam Shields is expected to take another step forward as a shutdown corner as well, and may find himself shadowing star receivers during the season. The rookies and Hayward will battle it out to help lock down the lockdown position unit.

Mason Crosby and Tim Masthay are likely to be the specialists for the Green and Gold this year. Crosby hopes to continue his career resurgence after struggling two seasons ago. Masthay struggled down the stretch last season but both players are established veterans who have produced for the Packers for years.

Every year with Rodgers in his prime and at the helm of this team is a Super Bowl or bust year. This year is no different.

I vote Super Bowl.

takingsidesWisconsin on the losing end!

As Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker seeks the GOP nomination for President of the United States, he would like to use what he has done in Wisconsin as a real example of what he would do as President. But what Walker wants to show you, and what Walker has done, are two entirely different things.

Walker’s ECONOMIC SECURITY plan fell apart when he decided to follow political agendas that do not generate JOBS, increase incomes or expand the middle class.

Ask yourself: “Is this the person you want in the White House?”

The facts:

1. WISCONSIN EMPLOYMENT 38th WORST IN USA IN 2014 — WAS 20TH BEST IN 2010: Walker not only failed to fulfill his promise of creating 250,000 JOBS IN his first term, Wisconsin now ranks 38th worst in the nation and last in the Midwest.

SEE AND JUDGE FOR YOURSELF:

http://www.politifact.com/wisconsin/promises/walk-o-meter/promise/526/create-250000-new-jobs/

http://www.jsonline.com/business/wisconsin-job-creation-rank-falls-to-38th-in-us-64770z1-296876421.html

Question: Do you really think that, under Walker ‘s leadership, the US will have more jobs for its people?

2. INCOME FALLS FOR AVERAGE WISCONSIN HOUSEHOLD AND WISCONSIN MIDDLE CLASS SHRINKING FASTEST IN NATION: July 21, 2015, Walker claimed that Wisconsin’s median household income was +2.7%. This was rated MOSTLY FALSE by PolitiFact: http://www.politifact.com/wisconsin/statements/2015/jul/27/scott-walker/scott-walker-says-under-his-leadership-incomes-are/ The reality is that the figures show that, under Walker’s leadership, state household incomes have fallen, even after accounting for inflation.  http://host.madison.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/report-wisconsin-worst-in-nation-on-shrinking-middle-class/article_f802788b-2405-5e5f-9fe3-522939779911.html

QUESTION: Do you seriously think that under Walker’s leadership the US will experience rising incomes and better quality of life for its people?

3. WALKER SUPPORTS CORRUPT AND SHADY PRACTICES AT WEDC: Since 2011, the Wisconsin Economic Development Agency (WEDC) created by Walker, chaired by Walker, and run by Walker’s key executive choices working at his pleasure, has squandered at least $140 million in loans and tax CREDITS to many companies — including donor owners, without following even the most basic underwriting rules and WITHOUT CREATING JOBS. One former donor used the money to pay off a Maserati. No wonder Wisconsin ranks 38th worst in the nation in JOB CREATION. Walker now wants to distance himself from the agency by having the legislature remove him as the chair.

SEE AND JUDGE FOR YOURSELF:

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_GOP_2016_WALKER_DEVELOPMENT_WOES?SITE=AP&SECTION HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

QUESTION: Do you seriously think Walker did not know about the inappropriate loans and credits going out to donors when everyone reports to him and his appointees? Who knows what other things the public does not know? The standard should be that, if you did not know, you should have known…hence no matter what, Walker is responsible.

4. WALKER’S MEDIOCRE ECONOMIC POLICY: Walker’s economic policy is mediocre at best. This is because:

a. General tax breaks were approved without conditions or alignment to job creation in the hope that the private sector would generate jobs that were NEVER REALIZED (Wisconsin 38th worst in the nation in job creation)

b. WEDC approved loans without following underwriting guidelines and with corrupt and shady practices

c. Complete lack of alignment between WEDC and Workforce Development, Transportation, Housing, Social Services, etc.

d. Property tax reductions had minimal impact on households and on increased consumption ($300m total — about $10 per household)

e. Lower revenue collections due to unmet JOB CREATION goals

f. Walker has postponed debt payments in the amount of $300 million so he can BALANCE the latest budget..leaving the people in Wisconsin holding the bag!

g. Lack of understanding that a strong economy is a matter of economic SECURITY

h. At the root is Walker’s PERSONAL AND MENTAL inability to focus on the right priorities instead of following political agendas that SHOULD have generated JOBS, increased incomes and expanded the middle class

i. WALKER’S MEDIOCRE ECONOMIC POLICY RESULTS: WISCONSIN IS 38TH WORST IN THE NATION IN JOB CREATION, INCOMES ARE FALLING, MIDDLE CLASS IS SHRINKING FASTEST IN NATION

SEE AND JUDGE FOR YOURSELF:

http://www.politifact.com/wisconsin/promises/walk-o-meter/promise/526/create-250000-new jobs/

http://www.jsonline.com/business/wisconsin-job-creation-rank-falls-to-38th-in-us-64770z1-296876421.html

http://www.politifact.com/wisconsin/statements/2015/jul/27/scott-walker/scott-walker-says-under-his-leadership-incomes-are/

QUESTION: Do you seriously think that under Scott Walker’s leadership the US will experience rising incomes and better quality of life for its people – business owners, middle class or workers?

QUESTION: Do you really think that under Scott Walker‘s leadership the US will have more JOBS for its people — business owners, middle class or workers?

Do you think that Republican values as applied by Walker will generate jobs, prosperity, safety and security?

Una bandera cubana flamea nuevamente en Washington DC

El 20 de julio de 2015 fue un día histórico en Washington, D.C. y en La Habana, Cuba. Mientras sonaba el himno nacional cubano, se izaba la bandera de la isla en la embajada de Cuba en Washington, DC. La embajada, así como la embajada de Estados Unidos en La Habana, fue reabierta por primera vez tras 54 años. Más de 500 personas asistieron a la ceremonia celebrada en Washington. Más temprano, ese mismo día, el Departamento de Estado de Estados Unidos colocó la bandera cubana en un lugar de honor, junto a las banderas de otros 150 países ubicadas en el hall central del edificio. Si bien se han restablecido las relaciones diplomáticas entre ambos países, continúa en vigor el devastador bloqueo económico impuesto por Estados Unidos a Cuba y permanece en funcionamiento el centro de detención de Estados Unidos en la Bahía de Guantánamo. Más de 100 prisioneros permanecen aún allí, muchos de los cuales recibieron autorización para su liberación hace más de diez años.

La Embajada de Cuba estaba colmada de diplomáticos cubanos y diplomáticos estadounidenses, autoridades de gobierno, artistas, músicos y activistas. Muchos de los allí reunidos trabajaron durante décadas para la llegada de este momento. Uno de ellos es Ricardo Alarcón: “Hay que reconocer que esta es una victoria nuestra, de nuestro pueblo y de todos aquellos que se opusieron a las políticas estadounidenses durante este medio siglo”. En tiempos de la revolución cubana, Alarcón fue un destacado dirigente estudiantil y posteriormente se convirtió en ministro de Asuntos Exteriores de Cuba y presidente de la Asamblea Nacional, el parlamento cubano. Actualmente retirado, expresó:

“El sábado pasado, Estados Unidos era el único país del hemisferio occidental que no tenía embajada en La Habana. Y Cuba era el único país del hemisferio occidental sin embajada aquí. Ahora, lo que ha sucedido es que Estados Unidos se unió al resto de América Latina y el Caribe. Esta historia empezó cuando Estados Unidos logró aislar a Cuba del resto del hemisferio y ahora el primer capítulo termina con Estados Unidos poniendo fin a su propio aislamiento del resto del continente”.

Otra importante figura en esta historia, el ex-diplomático estadounidense Wayne Smith, actualmente octogenario, reflexionó: “Yo era el secretario tercero de la embajada de Estados Unidos en La Habana en 1958 y estuve allí hasta el día en que rompimos relaciones en enero de 1961. Por lo que estuve presente cuando bajamos la bandera. Ahora estoy presente cuando izamos la bandera. Nuestra política no funcionó. Nos negamos a dialogar con Cuba. Intentamos derrocar a Castro, con Bahía de Cochinos y todo eso. Después impusimos el embargo y nos negamos a negociar. Con todo eso no se logró nada. Mire, fue totalmente contraproducente”.

Vale la pena recordar las políticas estadounidenses contra Cuba de las que habla Wayne Smith. Fidel Castro encabezó una revolución popular contra el dictador Fulgencio Batista, cuyo corrupto gobierno contaba con el apoyo de Estados Unidos. Castro y la Revolución llegaron al poder en 1959. El presidente Dwight Eisenhower dio inicio al embargo económico contra Cuba y posteriormente rompió relaciones el 3 de enero de 1961. El presidente Kennedy extendió el bloqueo y luego lanzó la invasión de la CIA a la Bahía de Cochinos con la intención de derrocar al gobierno de Castro. Fue un rotundo fracaso militar. Muchos de los miembros de la operación murieron y Cuba capturó a más de 1.200 mercenarios de la CIA. Luego tuvo lugar la crisis de los misiles, en octubre de 1962, luego de que la Unión Soviética intentara ubicar misiles nucleares de corto alcance en la isla. Se considera este hecho como el punto más cercano a una guerra nuclear a gran escala al que se haya llegado.

El senador demócrata de Vermont Patrick Leahy asistió también a la histórica ceremonia celebrada el lunes. El exdirector del Comité Judicial del Senado participó de negociaciones secretas mantenidas con Cuba durante años. Reconoció el rol que desempeñó el Papa Francisco, que actuó como intermediario entre el presidente Raúl Castro y el presidente Barack Obama, y agradeció a Canadá, donde tuvieron lugar algunas de las negociaciones secretas. Leahy expresó en la embajada: “En uno de mis primeros viajes a Cuba, hace unos quince años, más o menos, asistí a un partido de baseball. Fui a VER a un equipo estadounidense que jugaba en La Habana. Pasaron el himno nacional cubano y el himno nacional estadounidense. Todos los allí presentes se pusieron de pie y aplaudieron ambos himnos nacionales, incluso Fidel Castro. Y fue muy emotivo. Esta mañana, estamos aquí de pie, ahora en suelo cubano, en su embajada. Y ver la bandera estadounidense y la bandera cubana flameando lado a lado y oír nuestros dos himnos nacionales es para mí muy emotivo y gratificante”.

El ministro de Asuntos Exteriores cubano, Bruno Rodríguez, se dirigió a la multitud luego de que fuera izada la bandera: “Sólo la eliminación del bloqueo económico, comercial y financiero, que tanto daño y privaciones ocasiona a nuestro pueblo, la devolución de nuestro territorio ocupado en Guantánamo y el respeto a la soberanía de Cuba darán sentido al hecho histórico que estamos viviendo hoy”. Rodríguez asistió posteriormente a una reunión con el Secretario de Estado, John Kerry. Se trata del primer ministro de Asuntos Exteriores de Cuba que visita el Departamento de Estados en más de medio siglo. Está previsto que Kerry visite La Habana el 14 de agosto para izar la bandera estadounidense en la embajada de Estados Unidos en esa ciudad. Se cree además que efectuará preparativos para una visita presidencial. Si Obama viaja, será el primer presidente de Estados Unidos en ejercicio que visita Cuba desde que lo hiciera Calvin Coolidge en 1928.

My Experience of Truth 

by Kimberly McCandless 

Many years ago I was guided to Tranformational Breath Therapy. Keep in mind that at the time, this was very new for me and I was very unsure about what I was getting into. However, a friend recommended this to me and I felt the pull. I felt very guided and I knew I needed to try this.

Let me give you a little background. When I was about 12-13 years old, I felt very crazy. I thought I was losing my mind. I now know that the clinical term for this is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder but back then I had no idea what was “wrong” with me and I was very scared. I had moments of complete despair, depression and blackness and I felt I was in a nightmare in which I couldn’t escape from. To make a long story short, (after being taken to a mental institution – which thank God my parents did not leave me at), I went to a psychiatrist every week through high school — as I grew up.

Looking back on all of this, I felt I could talk until my face was blue (which I did) but the issues would remain. So someone recommended something completely different to me – Transformational Breath Therapy. I felt very strongly that I needed to give it a try. And I was glad I did!!! In these sessions, I really went back and felt and I released SO much energy that was of no use to me anymore. I could literally feel the energy (the painful energy which was keeping me stuck and was trapped in my body) leave my body! I would feel So much lighter when a session had ended. What a Release!!!

Anyway, I will never forget my first appointment with Veda – my Transformational Breath Facilitator. I was very very scared but I had an inner trust – an inner trust that Spirit was present and was guiding me and showing me the way. When I was in the session, I started doing deep breathing and I could feel the energy – there was so much energy! I started to get scared and I panicked. All of the energy was getting stuck in my throat and I feared that I wouldn’t be able to breathe soon. I was overwhelmed with fear and I honestly thought I could die. (looking back I think I was having a PANIC ATTACK). All of a sudden, because the pain was so overwhelming and I did not care anymore, I voiced in my mind to God these words. I said “Ok God, I trust you even if I die right now.” I had completely surrendered!! It was unbelievable. Soon, the energy lifted, started to flow out of me, and I found myself leaving my body. I completely surrendered and I let go. I moved into this incredible light that was so bright and so beautiful – it was like I kept moving into one plane and then another – I went deeper and deeper until I was in this incredible white light that was so filled with LOVE – like I had never experienced in this lifetime. For the first time in my life, I understood. I was the Universe – I was One with God and with all that is! I felt my connection to all things – I felt One with the Birds with all that IS! It was incredible and the Love was so intense! To be honest, I really did not want to come back to the earth plane but Veda had come back into the room (at the end of a session she would leave me to meditate) and I had to pull myself back. I continued to see Veda and I continued to experience the most incredible meditations! It got to the point in which I was not seeing her to heal or do breath work but to get back to those incredible truth meditations.

Unfortunately, these words cannot accurately describe my experiences – the words don’t do it justice. But It is my wish for all of you to experience the LOVE that the Universe truly is! And to experience it, first hand.

072215-roberto-ruiz-pix-1The Afterthought that is Men’s Soccer

United States soccer will never be at the level of other countries. The fact that we try to convince ourselves that we can compete at the highest level is a joke. We don’t have the players to compete, the coaches to compete, or the experience to compete.

Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley are considered the standard bearers for U.S. soccer right now, but would either of them see the pitch on a European squad or club team? Could you see Dempsey playing for Germany or being courted Manchester United? Will Bradley ever be feeding through balls to Lionel Messi? No. Would Jurgen Klinsmann even receive an interview if Germany needed a new coach? I think it is safe to say that Germany wants nothing to do with Klinsmann.

U.S. Women’s soccer has long been a dominant force in the Olympics and during the FIFA World Cup, but their male counterparts just can’t stand up to the competition. Both teams have recently been anchored by strong goalkeeping, but a goalkeeper can only stop so many one-on-one opportunities before one inevitably slips through their grasp. The difference has always been that the Women’s squad has the ability to attack and create on the fly, never needing set plays to dominate a game. The Men’s squad, however, has always had to rely on set pieces and rebound efforts to net the soccer ball. When the opposing team plays at a higher level, thinks at a higher level, and is coached at a higher level, set pieces rarely fool them.

The United States Men’s national team lost to Jamaica in the Gold Cup semifinals 2-1 on Wednesday. A shocking defeat, but one that is not uncommon to U.S. soccer fans. Landon Donovan was left at home and was none too happy about it, implying on Twitter that his experience and veteran leadership would have been helpful to this men’s squad much like Abby Wambach’s experience and veteran leadership provided a boost to the women’s team this year. Would Donovan’s calming presence in the attacking third made a difference in the final outcome versus Jamaica? Probably not, but Dempsey can only grab so many rebounds before that well starts to dry up.

Until soccer is viewed as a sport that is just as exciting as football or baseball (two sports that Americans love dearly), kids will never look to soccer as a career. Kids never turn on ESPN and see soccer highlights, so why would they play that stupid game. They see their favorite basketball players soaring for dunks, their favorite baseball players hitting the ball 400 feet, and their favorite football players running down the sideline. They never see the beautiful cross, soaring over the heads and hands of a dozen players before finally being deflected by the head of a diving player, propelling the ball into the corner of the goal. That sounds decently exciting to me.

Until soccer is viewed as a top 3 sport in the United States, our team will never win consistently against quality competition. We just aren’t at their level.

takingsidesWEDC Investigation Is Needed

As Scott Walker announces a run for the White House, the sleaze and incompetence of his office have become obvious to the public, causing many questions to arise.

The Republican Party’s open records tampering failed. The failed initiative was followed by another taxpayer give-away article published by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel at the hands of Walker’s corporatestein monster, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC).

The corporate monster WEDC took another hit after it was reported that WEDC lent $1.2 million to a businessman who had a history of troubled finances.

Just last week, Scott Fitzferald stated to the media that Walker and his office were directly involved in the drafting of the proposed changes to the Open Records Law. But Walker is not one for taking a fall. To take focus away from his own reason why he would like to see the Wisconsin open records law changed, Walker told conservative talk show host Charlie Sykes on WTMJ-AM that the idea didn’t come from him. Interesting. Walker did not initiate the removal of the open records changes from the budget until all hell broke loose from the political left and right.

What many people have not realized is that, if the changes to the Open Records Law had taken place, information pertaining to the corruption and incompetence at WEDC would have been difficult if not impossible to obtain. Could the WEDC information still criminally implicate Scott Walker? For sure it will be a topic of discussion among the GOP presidential candidates. Unfortunately for Walker, his hope to keep WEDC secrets secret slipped past him shortly after the effort to change the open records law was exposed.

The timing of this attempt to overhaul Wisconsin open records law, it can be argued, was about slowing down that WEDC avalanche now picking up steam and threatening his presidential aspirations, and potentially implicating him in corruption practices.

The twists and turns and the finger pointing around the open records story clearly indicate positioning by those in the know that a WEDC explosion is coming, and they all want plausible deniability from its backlash.

Since its inception, and until recently, Scott Walker had been the Chairman of WEDC Board; he named the CEO, and the key executive team, and it was pretty clear that as far as WEDC, not much got done in the Walker administration without first being vetted and approved by the Scott Walker team.

The tampering of open records appears to be an effort to ease the anxiety of officials caught in the middle of the WEDC mess. But it failed and now fellow Republicans are trying to distance themselves from being labeled conspirators in an attempt to keep the truth about WEDC from the public. What the public does not know is that those legislative changes do not even take place without being first approved by the governor. But the public outcry and appearance of corruption was too great for Walker to ignore.

Prior to the new WEDC loan development reported recently in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Walker was telling a different story about how the idea of changing Wisconsin’s open records law came about. His administration’s attempt to point at others flew in the face of the fact that it was reported that a Walker spokeswoman stated the governor’s office was involved in the open records overhaul effort. But all that seems to not matter as the governor’s posse pointed out that a number of Republican legislators came forward with the idea and asked for the governor’s involvement.

According to the former WEDC chief, Paul Jadin the agency was a mess.

Jadin said in an interview with Madison WTAQ 1360 radio in May of 2013 that “All of the processes, particularly underwriting and tracking (were a mess). As we started to receive these internal reviews, we learned what we were doing was not acceptable and obviously that had to change,” said Jadin. “We knew there was an issue. I asked just about every week, ‘Bring me the loan portfolio. Bring me our balances on economic development tax credits, job tax credits’; I’d get assurances that that information was coming. And instead of getting a report when I demanded it, I’d get a resignation from a comptroller.”

Paul Jadin left WEDC in November of 2012 to take on a position as President of Thrive, an eight-county regional economic development partnership in south central Wisconsin. He may have left WEDC a couple of years ago, but recent reports by the Wisconsin State Journal and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel regarding suspicious WEDC LOANS have revealed that loans to suspect corporations were approved during his time as the agency CEO under Scott Walker’s oversight.

Who authorized the release of these loans and why, were the questions I posed to Paul Jadin by telephone. My interview with him was brief, but that was only because I had specific questions I wanted a yes or no answer to.

Asked was why WEDC released $500,000 to a company that showed no solvency, Jadin’s response was telling. He said that he recalled that former Secretary of Administration Mike Huebsch and Former Chief of Staff Keith Gilkes approached him seeking to get $3.8 million dollars on top of the $500,000 for the Building Committee, Inc. When pressed to explain why Huebsch sought the extra millions of dollars, Jadin responded by simply saying Huebsch would have to answer that question.

Jadin said for his part, he was against the request, but would not elaborate any further. What people may not be aware of is that actions by Mike Huebsch and Keith Gilkes, as the righthand of the governor, are assumed to have the approval of the governor, so it stands to reason why Jadin let the loan fly.

Ex-WEDC chief Paul Jadin told me: “I have no recollection speaking with the Governor about the Building Committee, Inc.” I then asked Jadin if he was ordered by the governor to release the loan to the Building Committee, Inc. Jadin said that he and the governor would speak about loans to corporations totaling more than a million dollars, but that he did not recollect a discussion with the governor about the Building Committee, Inc. Hmmm…

Governor Walker and Jadin knew WEDC was already a mess…Why did Walker allow funds to be released to these companies in the first place? Especially to those recipients who were/are campaign donors of his.

Scott Walker will most likely attempt to portray to the public that people at WEDC were acting unilaterally without his knowledge, just like he’s using the legislators in relation to the changes to the Open Records law. And the same kind of response he made to the public about a secret email system in his Milwaukee County office. At the very best, it is all incompetence by Walker and, at worst, there may be criminal behavior by him as the person in charge and his subordinates acting under his direction, using WEDC to leverage political support.

Nevertheless, like the outcry that occurred which prevented the open law records changes, the public must demand a full criminal inquiry into WEDC and hold Scott Walker acountable for its mishaps. In all likelihood, the irregularities about the Building Committee, Inc. and other corporations at WEDC are just the tip of the iceberg.

Tortura e impunidad en la Asociación Estadounidense de Psicología

Ha pasado más de un año desde que el Presidente Barack Obama reconoció que “inmediatamente después de los atentados del 11 de septiembre hicimos cosas equivocadas. Hicimos muchas cosas bien, pero torturamos a algunas personas”. El gobierno del predecesor de Obama, el Presidente George W. Bush, diseñó cuidadosamente los fundamentos jurídicos para permitir lo que denominó “técnicas mejoradas de interrogatorio”, que no es más que un eufemismo para referirse a la tortura. Del complejo carcelario de Estados Unidos en la Bahía de Guantánamo a los calabozos de Abu Ghraib en Irak y la base aérea de Bagram en Afganistán, cientos, quizá miles de personas fueron sometidas a tortura en nombre de la “Guerra contra el terrorismo”. A excepción de algunos soldados raso en Abu Ghraib, ninguna persona ha sido responsabilizada de esto. La única persona de jerarquía enviada a prisión por el PROGRAMA de torturas fue John Kiriakou, no por haber practicado la tortura, sino por haberla denunciado como informante.

La apariencia legal con la que se cometieron estos actos atroces se fundó en gran medida en la cooperación de psicólogos profesionales que capacitaron y asesoraron a los interrogadores y supervisaron el proceso de “quebrar” de los prisioneros. Esta cooperación, a su vez, requirió la aprobación oficial de la Asociación Estadounidense de Psicología (APA, por sus siglas en inglés), la mayor organización de psicólogos profesionales del mundo. En 2006, la Asociación Estadounidense de Psiquiatría junto con la Asociación Estadounidense de Medicina prohibieron que sus miembros participaran en interrogatorios militares. No así la APA.

Este mes, la APA publicó un sorprendente informe independiente que confirma lo que denunciantes y psicólogos disidentes han sostenido durante casi diez años: que la APA conspiró con el Departamento de Defensa de Estados Unidos y la CIA para manipular las políticas, reuniones y a los miembros de la asociación para lograr que la APA aprobara el PROGRAMA de tortura del Pentágono. La junta directiva de la asociación encargó el año pasado la realización de una investigación independiente al ex fiscal federal adjunto David Hoffman. El informe de 542 páginas, conocido como “El informe Hoffman”, desmiente lo que la APA había afirmado en varias oportunidades: que ninguno de sus 130.000 miembros había sido cómplice de tortura.

Uno de los psicólogos disidentes es Stephen Soldz, catedrático de la Facultad de Psicoanálisis de Boston y cofundador de la Coalición por una Psicología Ética. “Desde al menos 2005 ha habido un gran debate en la asociación y entre colegas de la profesión acerca de la participación de psicólogos en los interrogatorios de seguridad nacional y en la práctica de la tortura”, dijo Soldz en Democracy Now! tras la publicación del informe. Soldz añadió: “La asociación lo ha negado. El informe dice que la asociación se equivocó, los denominados disidentes, los críticos teníamos razón. El informe concluye fundamentalmente que hubo una conspiración que duró varios años entre los líderes de la asociación y representantes de agencias de inteligencia del Gobierno de Bush: el Departamento de Defensa y la CIA”.

El informe Hoffman investiga las prácticas de una un grupo de trabajo clave creado por la APA, el Grupo Presidencial de Trabajo sobre Ética Psicológica y Seguridad Nacional, también conocida como Grupo de Trabajo PENS. El grupo fue creado en 2005 y, en teoría, debía reunirse para establecer las normas éticas para los psicólogos que supervisaban los interrogatorios. Después de solo dos días y medio de deliberaciones, el grupo concluyó que los psicólogos estaban desempeñando un “papel valioso y ético” en su colaboración con las fuerzas armadas. El grupo PENS alentó a la APA “a garantizar que las actividades de los psicólogos relacionadas con la seguridad nacional son seguras, legales, éticas y eficaces”. Posteriormente se reveló que seis de los nueve miembros del grupo con derecho a voto eran funcionarios militares o de agencias de inteligencia con vínculos directos con los interrogatorios llevados a cabo en Guantánamo y otros lugares.

Jean María Arrigo, miembro del Grupo de Trabajo PENSafirmó en Democracy Now!: “Valoro que me diga que me invitaron para participar. En realidad, me nombraron para engañarme”. Arrigo fue la primera persona que denunció al grupo de trabajo como una legitimación de la tortura. Arrigo añadió: “La manipulación comenzó desde el principio. Por ejemplo, me sentaban, no aleatoriamente ni por elección propia, entre Morgan Banks, director del Equipo de Asesoramiento en Ciencias del Comportamiento (BSCT) y el ahora presidente de la APA, Barry Anton, que era entonces el vínculo entre la junta directiva de la APA y el grupo de trabajo”. Arrigo explicó que el grupo de trabajo era básicamente dirigido por psicólogos del Pentágono, algunos de ellos incluso vestidos de uniforme. A pesar de que se le pidió que no tomara notas, igualmente lo hizo y desde entonces creó los archivos del Grupo de Trabajo PENS en la Universidad de Colorado, Boulder. A Arrigo se le mintió sobre el proceso deliberativo del grupo PENS al sugerirle que en reuniones futuras abordarían sus preocupaciones acerca de la tortura.

El informe Hoffman está teniendo fuertes repercusiones en la APA. El director de la Oficina de Ética de la APA, Stephen Behnke, considerado el “jefe” de la conspiración entre la APA, el Pentágono y la CIA, ha sido destituido. Además, esta semana se jubilaron sorpresivamente el director ejecutivo de la APA, el Dr. Norman Anderson; el subdirector ejecutivo, el Dr. Michael Honaker; y la jefa de comunicaciones, Rhea Farberman.

Cuando le pregunté a Stephen Soldz si se deberían presentar acusaciones formales, respondió: “Se demostró que estas personas y las demás estuvieron muy involucradas en la conspiración. Trabajaban con Behnke, eran informadas de lo que Behnke hacía, lo ayudaron, ayudaron a seleccionar a los miembros del grupo de trabajo PENS, trabajaron en las políticas y socavaron sistemáticamente la voluntad de los miembros. Debería haber una investigación judicial”. Soldz está instando a que el FBI y el Departamento de Justicia inicien una investigación. Mientras tanto, Stephen Behnke, el director de ética de la APA que fue destituido esta semana, ha contratado como abogado al ex director del FBI Louis Freeh.

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 beginning 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.

roberto-ruiz-pix-4

Caitlyn Jenner Wins Arthur Ashe Courage Award

Wednesday marked the night of the annual ESPN sports awards show, the ESPY’s. The ESPY’s had rarely been anything more than a way for ESPN to showcase their power until a couple of years ago. The Arthur Ashe Courage Award has gone out to the most worthy of recipients: Nelson Mandela, Michael Scott, and now Caitlyn Jenner.

For those who aren’t aware, Jenner is an Olympic gold medalist after winning the Decathlon in 1976. Jenner, though, was born in a male gendered body and was named Bruce. Since 1976 Jenner has accumulated millions of dollars through different business ventures, and this sum of money contributed greatly to the procedures she received so that she could feel comfortable in her own skin.

Caitlyn Jenner was born into a male body, but she was not a male. Anybody who teases, pokes fun, or criticizes Jenner for having the courage to step out in public and announce that she would be undergoing a drastic life change doesn’t understand the pain associated with being transsexual in today’s society. Most of us are lucky enough to be born into the body that mirrors the gender that we are, but that doesn’t mean that everybody is born that way. Caitlyn did not consciously choose to feel like, or subconsciously feel like a female; Caitlyn is a female.

A lot of people on social media are calling the award a publicity-stunt by ESPN and don’t believe that Jenner deserved the award. They claim that an athlete beating cancer is a more deserving award winner and it is appalling that Jenner won instead. Arguing whether one athlete had to overcome more adversity than any other one is pointless, arguing about the decision is a publicity-stunt. Both are athletes, both had to hurdle an obstacle that they did not choose to put in front of them.

With the outpouring of support for the horrifying number of transgendered teens that commit suicide every year, we need somebody like Jenner to come out and let everybody know that being Trans is indeed something that many people go through. There are support groups out there; there are people who are willing to fight each and every day for the Trans community. These teens commit suicide often because they feel ostracized and alone in society. Unfortunately, people continue to share internet memes poking fun at Jenner and her transition, disregarding that fact that they likely know somebody in the same position as Jenner was before she came out.

While Jenner’s quest is largely a positive, there are some negatives that emanate as well. The vast majority of the people that make up the Trans community do not have the money that Jenner has, so they can’t afford to pay for millions of dollars’ worth of procedures to look the exact way they want to. Most of the community needs to visit a doctor that pokes and prods them with veiled (and sometimes not so veiled) insults just to hopefully get prescribed the drugs that they need to help them transition.

We are progressing in a lot of ways as a society, maybe it’s time we accept that not everybody is exactly like we are, and that is okay.

Better than okay, it is beautiful.

The Milwaukee LGBT Community Center is located at 1110 N Market St. Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53202. They can also be reached by phone at (414) 271-2656 or email at help@mkelgbt.org

takingsidesMajor WEDC Issues & Timeline

The Mother Jones report: “Scott Walker’s Office Was Part of a Sneaky Effort to Keep His Records Private” link is below. It seems clear that this action, to tamper with Wisconsin’s open records law, comes on the heels of several news reports published in media outlets all over Wisconsin highlighting a loan given to a failing corporation without staff review. Reports indicate that taxpayer money was used by the Building Committee Inc. to pay for luxury cars including a Maserati.

The link below is to an article in which it gives a quote by Paul Jadin, once a key WEDC administrator who left the agency not long after its creation.

The quote is clearly a smoking gun statement directly from Jadin’s mouth.

“All of the processes, particularly underwriting and tracking. As we started to receive these internal reviews, we learned what we were doing was not acceptable and obviously that had to change,” said Jadin. “We knew there was an issue. I asked just about every week, ‘Bring me the loan portfolio. Bring me our balances on economic development tax credits, job tax credits’; I’d get assurances that that information was coming. And instead of getting a report when I demanded it, I’d get a resignation from a controller.”

Clearly Jadin must be brought to a state hearing and asked directly whether or not he was ordered by Governor Scott Walker to give the Building Committee, Inc., or any other corporation (s) loans without staff review/underwrite.

The timeline below was provided to me by State Senator Lena Taylor, who released it upon my request. It is telling indeed and clearly shows WEDC operated without financial protocols. The fact that no financial checks and balances where established put WEDC staff at risk for releasing funds without proper authority and protocols, freeing Walker of responsibility.

Only Paul Jadin can tell us now why was the loan released and if he was ordered by Walker to release the loan to the Building Committee, Inc., and/or to any other corporation (s) in similar circumstances.

Timeline of major WEDC issues:

2015:

May- A Wisconsin State Journal investigative report finds:

Serious open records concerns with a Building Committee Inc. loan… The required loan paperwork appears to be missing or never existed.

Potentially fraudulent actions on the part of the business owner who appears to have falsified forms in order to SECURE a state loan.

Serious questions about the role of some of Governor Walker’s top advisors – then-DOA Secretary Mike Huebsch, Governor Walker’s campaign manager Keith Gilkes, and others who may have influenced WEDC to give out a loan to a major campaign contributor.

Rep. Barca and Sen. Lassa ask U.S. Attorney General to investigate violations of federal law including fraud, pay to play, contributions in the name of another and theft or bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds.

May- The Legislative Audit Bureau issues another scathing report that indicates:

WEDC did not consistently follow state law or its own policies when making awards.

WEDC did not require grant and loan recipients to submit information showing that jobs were actually created or retained.

WEDC maintained a $15.6 M unassigned fund balance, which was larger than necessary.

WEDC awarded tax credits without verifying the accuracy of information submitted by businesses.

WEDC did not report clear, accurate and complete information on numbers of jobs created and retained as a result of its programs.

WEDC amended loan contracts to defer loan repayments, wrote off loans, and forgave loans, which reduced its potentially uncollectible loan balance in 2014.

April- Outsourcing: Eaton Corporation (a global power systems management corporation) announced layoffs due to outsourcing—twice—after receiving taxpayer help from WEDC. It received nearly $370,000 in tax incentives from WEDC since 2012 and is shipping jobs from Wisconsin to Mexico for the second time in three years.

2014:

September- Personnel WEDC’s VP of Business and Industry Development resigned saying COO Ryan Murray is “causing deep and lasting harm” at WEDC. The VP, Lee Swindall, rescinded his resignation a couple days later.

WEDC has had problems with turnover of top staff. Had Swindall left, he would have been the third VP to leave this year.

WEDC’s own internal reports found a 25% turnover – three times higher than other state agencies (versus 7–10% at the State of WI overall) WEDC’s consultant found that the #1 cause of turnover is inconsistent messaging and management style.

May- One Wisconsin Now reports that nearly 60 percent of the FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE money awarded by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) has gone to businesses whose owners or employees have donated money to the campaign of Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin) or the Republican Governors Association (RGA).

2013:

May- The Legislative Audit Bureau issues a startling report that WEDC violated state law in at least six ways including making awards to ineligible recipients for ineligible projects and for amounts that exceeded specified limits. It unveiled a huge range of issues including WEDC had no policies for handling delinquent loans, no policies for employee purchases and did not have adequate records to assess its effectiveness in creating jobs.

October- A national report by GOOD JOBS First sites WEDC as an example of the problems that have been caused around the country by quasi-private economic development corporations and that oversight of taxpayer resources in an inherent problem with this model.

2012:

June– During the bidding process for a statewide computer system, the Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA) found out that WEDC pre-empted the process by making a “soft offer” for tax credits to a business. Upon discovery, DOA had to suspend the bidding process and WEDC had to rescind the TAX CREDIT offer as it violated what should be a fair and competitive process.

July– The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that WEDC was projected to spend $14 million more than it was allotted, creating a deficit in the agency.

August– The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development criticized WEDC for not following federal laws and state policies, when it gave out $9.6 million in grants. The situation intensified as WEDC’s board and the public were not told about the condemning letter causing one of the board members to threaten resignation.

September– After the Governor appointed his young aide Ryan Murray, a Republican political operative with no private-sector or economic development experience, as Deputy Secretary and COO, WEDC’s CEO and Secretary Paul Jadin announced his resignation.

October– WEDC announced after a Joint Legislative Audit Committee hearing that it had lost track of $69.3 million in loans, at least $9 million of which were overdue. Because of the hasty transformation from DOC to WEDC, no one was assigned to tracking this huge loan portfolio.

December- Schenck Audit shoes financial transactions were either not recorded or improperly recorded throughout the year and went undetected by WEDC

December- the Financial Institutions Products Corporation (FIPCO) Report says WEDC was “created quickly with an incomplete infrastructure.”

Source: Wisconsin State Senator Lena Taylor

Was the attempt to tamper with the open records law a diversion to pass other laws? Or was it a real effort to prevent more information about WEDC from coming out? Who gave the order to Jadin to release $500,000 to the Building Committee, Inc.?

Ciberseguridad, criptografía y los años dorados de la vigilancia

Internet, el sistema nervioso electrónico del planeta, ha cambiado la sociedad humana. Ha transformado profundamente la manera en que VIVIMOS nuestras vidas y ha sido un importante nivelador al permitir que la gente se conecte, publique y comparta a escala mundial. Se puede escribir, comprar y efectuar transacciones bancarias por Internet o también se puede organizar una manifestación que podría derrocar una dictadura. Sin embargo, Internet inaugura una era de intensa vigilancia al exponer nuestras comunicaciones más personales y privadas al ojo fisgón de compañías y gobiernos espías, sin mencionar a los criminales. Una forma de protegernos es mediante la criptografía, que brinda seguridad a nuestros DATOS y nos permite enviar y almacenar información digital en forma segura, básicamente a través de la codificación de la información. A fin de poder decodificarla, se necesita una clave o contraseña. El hecho de que la gente común pueda acceder a herramientas de criptografía de manera relativamente sencilla ha provocado que el gobierno estadounidense y el británico se propongan tener un acceso especial a todas las comunicaciones. Pretenden tener una llave maestra a la vida digital de todos.

James Comey, director del FBI, compareció ante una comisión del Senado el miércoles 8 de julio junto a la vicefiscal general de Estados Unidos, Sally Quillian Yates. Mientras se desarrollaba la reunión, la fragilidad de nuestras redes quedaba a la vista del mundo entero. La Bolsa de Nueva York permaneció cerrada durante medio día, supuestamente debido a un “problema” informático, United Airlines CANCELÓ el despegue de vuelos tras perder acceso a sus sistemas informáticos y el sitio web del periódico The Wall Street Journal estuvo fuera de servicio debido a “dificultades técnicas”. La comisión del Senado recibió el nombre de “Going Dark: Criptografía, tecnología y el equilibrio entre seguridad pública y privacidad”. “Going Dark”, que significa algo así como volverse invisible, es un término utilizado para hacer referencia al cifrado de las comunicaciones. Una declaración conjunta emitida por Yates reconoce que “los ciudadanos tienen derecho a comunicarse entre ellos en privado sin vigilancia no autorizada por parte del gobierno, no solamente porque la Constitución lo exige, sino porque el libre flujo de la información resulta esencial para el florecimiento de la democracia.”

A pesar de la noble afirmación, el director del FBI y otros funcionarios pertenecientes a la llamada comunidad de inteligencia pretenden tener acceso ilimitado a todas las comunicaciones, todo el tiempo. Desean lo que los especialistas en seguridad informática llaman “mecanismos de acceso extraordinario”. Esto significa que todas las herramientas de criptografía deberán tener una “puerta trasera” por la que el FBI, la CIA o quienquiera que posea la autoridad requerida sea capaz de acceder y leer la comunicación, se trate de un correo electrónico, un mensaje de texto, un chat de video o cualquier otro formato. ¿Por qué desean tener ese acceso ilimitado? Según dijeron Comey y Yates, “cuando los cambios tecnológicos limitan la capacidad de los organismos policiales de hacer uso de herramientas investigativas y dar seguimiento a pistas cruciales, puede que no seamos capaces de identificar y detener a terroristas que hacen uso de las redes sociales para reclutar, planear y ejecutar un ataque en nuestro país”.

Un conjunto de los más destacados especialistas en COMPUTACIÓN y seguridad en Internet emitieron esta semana un documento que trata sobre la magnitud del error presente en la solicitud de Comey. Quince especialistas efectuaron aportes al documento publicado por el MIT y titulado “Llaves ocultas debajo de la alfombra de la entrada: Requerir que el gobierno tenga acceso a todos los datos y las comunicaciones significa decretar la inseguridad”.

Bruce Schneier, uno de los autores del documento, es un destacado técnico en seguridad electrónica y autor de “Data y Goliat: Las batallas ocultas para recopilar tus datos y controlar tu mundo”. Schneier dijo en el noticiero “Democracy Now!”: “Es extraño que gobiernos de países libres exijan que se debilite la seguridad porque el gobierno podría querer tener acceso a toda la información. Es el tipo de cosas que vemos por parte de Rusia, China y Siria. Pero creo que verlo en países occidentales resulta extraño”.

El director del FBI, Comey, pretende incorporar la presencia de una puerta trasera, un punto débil en la seguridad. Schneier CONTINUÓ: “Lo que pretende Comey es una criptografía que pueda quebrantarse con una orden judicial. Pero, como tecnólogo, no puedo diseñar una computadora que funcione diferente ante la presencia de un pedazo de papel. Si creo un sistema que pueda quebrantarse, podrá ser quebrantado por cualquiera, no solamente por el FBI. Es por eso que su solicitud de acceso brinda acceso a los criminales, brinda acceso al gobierno chino. Necesitamos la criptografía por seguridad, por muchas más razones que por las que él pretende quebrantarla”.

El senador demócrata de Oregon Ron Wyden ha sido uno de los principales críticos del espionaje desarrollado por el gobierno. Wyden cuestionó un artículo publicado en un blog por el director del FBI, Comey: “Tratar de restringir el uso de la criptografía podría generar sospechas en torno a quienes procuran legítimamente comunicaciones seguras, como los periodistas, informantes, abogados y activistas por los derechos humanos. Es hora de dejar de atacar a la tecnología y de empezar a concentrarse en soluciones reales para las amenazas reales que enfrenta nuestro país”, escribió Wyden.

Bruce Schneier RESUMIÓ: “Nos preocupa la seguridad de nuestros datos y la criptografía es una herramienta valiosa. Debilitarla deliberadamente por orden del FBI o del gobierno británico es en mi opinión un sacrificio de locos. No nos hace más seguros, nos hace correr más riesgos”. En definitiva, es la democracia la que está en riesgo. La libertad de comunicarnos sin que el gobierno nos espíe resulta esencial para el funcionamiento de una sociedad libre y abierta.

Crazy Spirituality

All through history there have been so-called religious fanatics, people who  have marched to the beat of a very different drummer, who acted as if they had lost all sense of reason when teaching their version of the gospel.

The cartoon character of the shabby preacher standing on the street corner year after year, holding an “End of the World” sign comes to mind.  All of these people were not necessarily mentally ill.  At least some of these folks were Crazy Adepts — spiritual teachers who act in an incredibly bizarre fashion in ORDER to teach us the Crazy Wisdom of spiritual truths.

Crazy Adepts often seem irreligious or unspiritual, but they do so in order to shock us awake — a kind of spiritual shock therapy, according to Georg Feuerstein, an expert in esoteric wisdom.  In YOGA:  THE TECHNOLOGY OF ECSTASY, Feuerstein explains that Crazy Adepts are “enlightened iconoclasts.” Their “mad” behavior serves to reflect the false worldview that people are separate from each other.  Crazy Wisdom says in truth, we are all CONNECTED.

The separations in the physical world such as human bodies, houses, communities are merely illusions.  Crazy Wisdom seeks to unearth and heal all the false beliefs that people have about themselves, and the world. Crazy Wisdom antics are often at the core of spirituality though they usually offend secular and traditional religious organizations.  Not so in Tibet and India where the Divine Madman is a venerated teacher.  In Tibet, the “saintly madman” (lama myonpa) has been recognized as a legitimate spiritual teacher all through history.  In India, the holy “avadhuta” has also cast off all concerns to teach in a highly unconventional manner.  But crazy teachers are not just found in the East.  There have been Crazy Adepts in other lands. Europe in the sixth century seemed to be big on Crazy Adepts.  For instance, there was St. Simeon who liked to pretend insanity for effect.  Once he found a dead dog on a dung heap.  He tied the animal to his belt and dragged the corpse through town.  People were so full of outrage they couldn’t see St. Simeon’s message.  He was trying to show the useless “dead weight” of excess emotional baggage that people drag through their lives.  The town’s uproar didn’t seem to phase the Crazy Adept, though.  The very next day, St. Simeon entered a church and just as the liturgy began, he threw nuts at the congregation.  St Simeon confessed on his deathbed that his life’s mission was to denounce hypocrisy and hubris.

Another example of sixth-century spiritual silliness was Mark the Mad, a desert monk who was thought insane when he came into town to atone for his sins.  Only Abba Daniel saw the method in the monk’s madness, and declared the monk the only reasonable man in the city.  Little-known figures like St. Isaac Zatvornik and St. Basil were the designated holy fools of history who spoke of the wisdom of God.  There was even a FEMALE Crazy Adept — St. Isadora.  But the messages of these crazy teachers unfortunately seemed insane to most the world.

Crazy Adepts live to turn convention on its ear by challenging and confronting established dictates.  They bring a sense of chaos to shake up the STATUS quo.

Feuerstein says that Crazy Adepts, “…are a perpetual reminder that our whole human civilization is an attempt to DENY the inevitability of death, which makes nonsense out of even the noblest efforts to create a symbolic order out of the infinite plastic that is life.”  Feuerstein adds that the Crazy Adepts’ bizarre teachings ultimately smash through the false beliefs of the egocentric universe and its feeling of separateness.

So the next time you see a very strange person acting in a very strange way, trying to give you a message from God, don’t immediately assume insanity.

Perhaps he or she is a Crazy Adept trying to do you a favor by helping you pull the little-ego back in line with YOUR Higher Self, even if they have to

get in your face to do it.

070815-roberto-ruiz-pix-1Two Players – Three Fingers

Admission: July Fourth fireworks have never been my thing. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy fireworks as much as the next guy, for the first 5-10 minutes. After the first ten minutes it gets a bit redundant. Bang, colors shower down, bang, more colors shower down, repeat. While Jason Pierre-Paul (JPP) and CJ Wilson were celebrating their countries Independence Day something went horribly wrong and both ended up losing out on more than a good time.

JPP, the star defensive lineman for the New York Giants, had reportedly purchased a U-Haul van worth of fireworks and planned on celebrating his Fourth in style. Apparently, at least one of the many fireworks exploded in his hand, resulting in an injury that would eventually require the amputation of his right index finger. In addition to the lost index finger, JPP also suffered a fractured thumb. The New York Giants had offered a contract to JPP for up to $60 million dollars but that contract, like his finger, is off the table.

CJ Wilson is not a star player, and for this reason his injury has not received as much attention as the premature explosion courtesy of JPP. Wilson, however, will likely suffer much more than JPP will at the professional level. Unlike JPP, Wilson has never signed a big NFL contract and will certainly be without one in the future now. A fireworks accident resulted in Wilson, a cornerback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, losing two fingers. Wilson was an undrafted player who came into the league in 2013 and has yet to have a significant impact on an NFL team. Last year he was credited with four tackles, so losing him will likely not be a huge hit to the Tampa Bay defense.

Neither injury is supposed to threaten the career of the respective NFL players, but it will certainly affect their earning power in the years to come.

I am forced to question the logistics of a large population of untrained and likely intoxicated Americans handling what are essentially bombs in their backyards at least once a year? Why do we insist on going out and buying fireworks to shoot off into the night sky? Wouldn’t a toast suffice? Or maybe we can pour a little liquor out for the ones who fought for our freedom. I have never been one to shake my finger at festivities because there is nothing better than standing in a backyard on a beautiful July night, sharing a beer and a hot dog with the ones you care about the most. Still, how smart is this whole public fireworks thing? Almost everybody that I know has a story about how they saw somebody almost lose a hand handling fireworks, I know I do.

If we, as a country, continue to insist on shooting off fireworks every Fourth of July and New Year’s Eve, maybe it is time we start being smarter about it. I know for myself, I will be leaving the fireworks to the professionals on the shores of Lake Michigan.

Bang – colors and fingers falling to the ground.

takingsidesLast Minute Effort By Governor Walker Posse to Undermine Open Records – Democracy

What does Governor Scott Walker and his posse have to worry about? What are they trying to hide?

This past week the State Republicans tried to sneak in a rider amendment to gut Wisconsin’s OPEN records law as lawmakers prepared to pass the biannual state budget. The rider amendment basically would have prevented the public from accessing documents the public is entitled to review to ensure our government is operating cleanly.

The last minute effort was thwarted however when grass roots groups from liberal and conservative sides of the political arena raised objection in unison. Not only did the public come out in force to stop this sneaky anti-democratic action, Republican law makers and Wisconsin’s Republican attorney general cried foul.

Who introduced this rider? Turns out that was a secret as well. Apparently, no one wants to claim authorship of this attempt to block the public from obtaining documents from the government.

Since the public outcry coming from the political left and the right scared boss Walker and the rest of Wisconsin’s Tammany Hall bunch, boss Walker was forced to come out publicly and declare that the rider was pulled from the budget legislation and no longer will the open records law be tampered with.

But this should not be the end of this matter. Not by a long shot.

It seems to me that time has come to turn up the heat on the WEDC scandal and put some focus on the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) as well.

First, the WEDC wound needs to be poked so that the pain from the puss underneath the surface of that agency’s obfuscation can be felt by boss Walker and his cohort. I’ve said before, going after former WEDC director Paul Jadin and making him appear at a hearing to ADDRESS questions under oath should be pressed for aggressively. He is key to informing the public if boss Walker or Straw boss Mike Huebsch, former Secretary of Administration, gave the order to release $500,000 to the Building Committee, Inc., or to any other undeserving corporations.

A review of the checks and BALANCES procedures/protocols focusing on who signs off on WEDC checks and releases them for approval should be reviewed or audited. Were sound financial protocols in place that could have prevented the release of tens of millions of tax dollars in LOANS etc., to suspect corporation(s)?

Second, WEDC and DWD should have been aligned to support each other to produce the kind of jobs creating pipe dream boss Walker promised. Were these two jobs agencies even coordinating together?

Where did all the money go that DWD received to TRAIN workers and then land them jobs?

Wisconsin’s poor jobs creating performance clearly demands that a comprehensive audit of DWD be conducted to account. The poor jobs showing for all that money spent at DWD and the questionable WEDC loans to companies that were supposed to create jobs is at best poorly managed or at worst orchestrated for the enrichment of greedy CEO’s

The attempt to undermine Wisconsin’s open records law is clearly an act of desperation.

The question is whether this action was done to limit the political damage Walker will face during his run for president of the United States.

Clearly Walker’s political allies are not happy with this attempt to wipe out the open records law. Even Republican Representative Joel Kleefisch, husband to Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, took offense to this latest effort to attack democracy.

http://www.thewheelerreport.com/wheeler_docs/files/0703kleefisch.pdf

Governor Walker knows the magnitude of his administration’s CORRUPTION and committed an act of desperation to curtail the damage by attempting to change open records.

WEDC, DWD, DOC and other state agencies that contract out have a story to tell that Walker does not want told.

Who are the corporations getting those contracts? Is there a pattern where these corporations benefitted from their contributions to his campaign? Are there other Building Committee, Inc., examples? Walker knows he has to stop the facts from getting out during his presidential campaign.

WEDC is Walker’s Achilles heel. It is the STEPPING stone to getting these facts. It is the starting point from which Wisconsin can save itself and at the same time maybe prevent the world from inheriting our ghost.

“¿Qué significa, para el esclavo estadounidense, vuestro 4 de julio?”

“¿Qué significa, para el enclave estadounidense, vuestro 4 de julio?”. Esto se preguntó Frederick Douglass ante la multitud congregada en el Corinthian Hall de Rochester, Nueva York, el 5 de julio de 1852. Su discurso, leído por el gran actor James Earl Jones, CONTINÚA: “Yo respondería que un día que le revela, más que cualquier otro día del año, la inmensa injusticia y crueldad de la que es víctima constante. Para él, vuestra celebración es una farsa”.

Frederick Douglass escapó de la esclavitud en 1838 y se convirtió en uno de los más poderosos y elocuentes oradores del movimiento abolicionista. Su conferencia del Día de la Independencia fue organizada por la Sociedad de Damas de Rochester Contra la Esclavitud. Douglass alabó las virtudes de los Padres Fundadores de Estados Unidos, que suscribieron la Declaración de Independencia. Luego cambió su foco de atención hacia el presente, en 1852.

“¡Este glorioso aniversario no me incluye! Su preciada independencia solo revela la inconmensurable distancia que EXISTE entre nosotros. Las bendiciones que ustedes celebran en el día de hoy no las disfrutamos en común. La rica herencia de justicia, libertad, prosperidad e independencia que constituye el legado de sus Padres Fundadores la comparten entre ustedes, pero no conmigo. El sol que les ha traído a ustedes vida y sanación a mí me ha traído marcas y muerte. Este 4 de julio es de ustedes pero no mío. Puede que ustedes celebren, yo debo llorar. Arrastrar a un hombre encadenado hacia el grandioso e iluminado templo de la libertad y llamarlo para que se una a ustedes en sus himnos de regocijo constituye una burla inhumana y una ironía sacrílega. ¿Pretenden ustedes, ciudadanos, burlarse de mí al pedirme que hable hoy?”.

Por supuesto que la Sociedad de Damas de Rochester Contra la Esclavitud no tenía intenciones de burlarse de él. Las ganancias de sus eventos se destinaban PRINCIPALMENTE a financiar el periódico de Douglass. Apoyaban a Douglass y vieron la necesidad de hacer algo más, cualquiera fuera la acción que tuvieran el valor de adoptar. En la época en que fue pronunciado el discurso, Estados Unidos se encontraba a menos de diez años de entrar en una brutal guerra civil. La guerra se iniciaría formalmente con el bombardeo de los confederados a Fort Sumter, justo frente a las costas de Charleston, Carolina del Sur.

El Día de la Independencia es un momento adecuado para reflexionar acerca del rol que las organizaciones populares impulsoras del cambio social han tenido en la construcción de este país. La masacre perpetrada en la Iglesia Metodista Africana Emanuel de Charleston, Carolina del Sur, nos obliga además a preguntarnos qué tanto hemos avanzado hacia los ideales consagrados en ese documento suscrito el 4 de julio de 1776, la Declaración de Independencia.

Fue en Charleston que un hombre llamado Denmark Vesey, un ex esclavo que compró su propia libertad, planeó una extensa rebelión de esclavos que tendría lugar en 1822. La conspiración fue descubierta y Vesey, junto a 34 presuntos co-conspiradores, fue colgado. Vesey fue uno de los fundadores de la Iglesia Metodista Africana de Charleston en 1818, que se convirtió posteriormente en la Iglesia AMEEmanuel en la que Dylann Roof presuntamente asesinó a nueve personas el pasado 17 de junio, entre ellas, al pastor de la iglesia y senador del estado de Carolina del Sur, el reverendo Clementa Pinckney. Durante casi dos siglos, la renombrada iglesia, llamada coloquialmente “Madre Emanuel”, ha ocupado un lugar central en la vida de los afroestadounidenses de Charleston y sus alrededores.

Por lo que cuando surgieron pruebas de que Roof habría actuado impulsado por motivos racistas, entre ellas un manifiesto publicado en Internet junto con numerosas fotos de él con la bandera confederada, creció la presión para quitar esa bandera del Capitolio Estatal de Carolina del Sur, ubicado en la ciudad de Columbia. El movimiento surgió de inmediato y compañías como Wal-Mart y Amazon retiraron de sus estantes todo objeto que hiciera referencia a la Confederación. El gobernador de Alabama, Robert Bentley, ordenó inmediatamente que todas las banderas confederadas fueran retiradas del parlamento estatal de Alabama. Sin embargo, mientras que la bandera de Estados Unidos y la de Carolina del Sur flamearon a media asta en la cúpula del Capitolio después de la masacre, CONTINUÓ flameando a toda asta la bandera de batalla de la Confederación en un memorial de la guerra de Secesión ubicado en el predio del parlamento estatal de Carolina del Sur.

El viernes 26 de junio, más de 5.000 personas se congregaron en un estadio de Charleston para asistir al funeral del reverendo Pinckney. El presidente Barack Obama pronunció un emotivo discurso de homenaje que finalizó cantando “Amazing Grace” (“Sublime Gracia”, en español) cántico al que se unió la multitud. Al día siguiente, al alba, Bree Newsome, una mujer afroestadounidense de 30 años de edad, trepó el mástil de más de nueve metros de altura situado en el memorial de la guerra en Columbia, con casco y equipo de escalar, y retiró la bandera confederada. James Tyson, un compañero ACTIVISTA blanco, vigilaba desde la base del mástil.

Tras desenganchar la bandera, Newsome enunció desde donde se encontraba posada: “Vienen a mí con odio, opresión y violencia. Yo vengo en nombre de Dios. ¡Esta bandera será bajada hoy!” Tras descender, ambos fueron arrestados y la bandera fue izada nuevamente en el transcurso de una hora. Sin embargo, lo que hicieron corrió como reguero de pólvora y destacados líderes y organizaciones defensores de los derechos civiles apoyaron la pacífica acción directa. Newsome y Tyson se enfrentan a tres años de prisión y a una fianza de 5.000 dólares. Mientras tanto, la bandera CONTINÚA flameando y no solamente eso, sino que además, desde que tuvo lugar la masacre de Charleston, al menos media docena de iglesias afroestadounidenses han sido incendiadas en el Sur del país. Se está investigando, pero cualesquiera sean las causas de los incendios, han despertado temor a que se repita una historia brutal y bien conocida.

Las palabras pronunciadas por Frederick Douglass en aquel lejano 4 de julio, cobraron vida nuevamente con la acción de Bree Newsome, 163 años más tarde: “No se necesita luz, sino fuego; no se trata de una suave llovizna, sino del trueno. Necesitamos la tormenta, el tornado y el terremoto. El sentir del país ha de ser avivado, la conciencia del país ha de ser despertada, la decencia del país ha de ser sorprendida, la hipocresía del país ha de ser expuesta y sus crímenes contra Dios y contra el hombre han de ser proclamados y denunciados”.

070115-religious-pix-1Spirituality Means Waking Up

Most people, even though they don’t know it, are asleep. They’re born asleep, they live asleep, they marry in their sleep, they breed children in their sleep, they die in their sleep without ever waking up. They never understand the loveliness and the beauty of this thing that we call human EXISTENCE. You know, all mystics -Catholic, Christian, non-Christian, no matter what their theology, no matter what their religion — are unanimous on one thing: that all is well, all is well. Though everything is a mess, all is well. Strange paradox, to be sure. But, tragically, most people never get to see that all is well because they are asleep. They are having a nightmare.

Last year on Spanish television I heard a story about this gentleman who knocks on his son’s door. “Jaime,” he says, “wake up!” Jaime answers, “I don’t want to get up, Papa.” The father shouts, “Get up, you have to go to school.” Jaime says, “I don’t want to go to school.” “Why not?” asks the father. “Three reasons,” says Jaime. “First, because it’s so dull; second, the kids tease me; and third, I hate school.”

And the father says, “Well, I am going to give you three reasons why you must go to school. First, because it is YOUR duty; second, because you are forty-five years old, and third, because you are the headmaster.” Wake up, wake up! You’ve grown up. You’re too big to be asleep. Wake up! Stop playing with your toys.

Most people tell you they want to get out of kindergarten, but don’t believe them. Don’t believe them! All they want you to do is to mend their broken toys. “Give me back my wife. Give me back my JOB. Give me back my money. Give me back my reputation, my success.” This is what they want; they want their toys replaced. That’s all. Even the best psychologist will tell you that, that people don’t really want to be cured. What they want is relief; a cure is painful.

Waking up is unpleasant, you know. You are nice and comfortable in bed. It’s irritating to be woken up. That’s the reason the wise guru will not attempt to wake people up. I hope I’m going to be wise here and make no attempt whatsoever to wake you up if you are asleep. It is really none of my business, even though I say to you at times, “Wake up!” My business is to do my thing, to dance my dance. If you profit from it, fine; if you don’t, too bad! As the Arabs say, “The nature of rain is the same, but it makes thorns grow in the marshes and FLOWERS IN THE gardens.”

070115-roberto-ruiz-pix-1Bo Ryan Leaves Behind a Legacy

In a shocking announcement, the man who has coached the University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team for the past 14 seasons has announced that he will be retiring after the 2015-16 season. Ryan is without question the best coach that the Wisconsin basketball program has seen, and he will be leaving a legacy behind that most coaches can only dream of.

While never winning a NCAA championship, Ryan’s squads participated in the NCAA March Madness tournament in each of the 14 seasons that Ryan was at the helm. Prior to Ryan, Wisconsin had participated in only seven tournaments in its history. Ryan led the team to back-to-back Final Four’s, including a heartbreaking loss in the national championship game against Duke this past season that. If the Badgers had beaten Duke, it would have been the ultimate team vs individuals’ triumph. Like most top-tier programs, Duke has opened its arms whole heartedly to the one and done players of this era. Players who play one year for Wisconsin and leave for the pros have never been, and will never be, displaying Badger red. That is because Bo Ryan believes in building well-rounded men as well as professional basketball players.

At the collegiate level, Ryan has amassed 740 victories against only 228 losses. His four championships and 373 victories at University of Wisconsin-Platteville should not, and cannot be ignored. Ryan brought an unmatched intelligence to the game of basketball. His swing offense helped keep overmatched Badger squads in games and in championship contention when the talent level would suggest otherwise. Recruiting mostly in-state players from Wisconsin, which is far from a high school basketball powerhouse, Ryan created a contender literally every year that he was in power.

Ryan hopes that the Badgers will turn to his longtime assistant, and expected successor, Greg Gard to help keep up the level of competitiveness that the state of Wisconsin has grown to expect from its main collegiate basketball program. Gard, who is a Wisconsin native and attended UW-Platteville, began coaching under Ryan in 1993 but did not become the assistant head coach until 2008.

The one knock against Ryan had always been, until two seasons ago, that he had never coached a team to the final four at the division one level. Now the knock is that he has never won a NCAA championship at the D-1 level. Claiming that Bo Ryan doesn’t deserve to be considered one of the best NCAA basketball coaches of all time because he never won a D-1 championship is like saying that Dan Marino doesn’t deserve to be considered one of the best quarterbacks of all time because of his lack of a Super Bowl ring.

After leading his team to the final four for the first time in 2014, and following that up with leading his team to the championship game for the first time in 2015, Badger fans can only hope that he follows that up with a miracle championship team in his final season. Except nobody expects the team this season to win a championship; that hope faded when Sam Dekker entered the NBA draft. Without star players Frank Kaminsky or Dekker, hopes for this team have to rest with winning a big ten championship and having a decent showing in the NCAA tournament.

Bo Ryan is one of the best coaches of all time, period. End of discussion. When Ryan walks away from the game of basketball after this season, we will lose a great teacher, a great coach, a great mentor, and a great man.

Thank you, Coach Ryan.