For the Global Thinker

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Welcome Home

This is the Pulitzer Prize Winning Feature about a soldier suffering from PTSD.  Certainly, documentary photography at it's finest...

 Scott looks over his military service records and weeps after being told his apartment application had been turned down. The leasing manager said he couldn't allow Scott to move in because of an assault charge on his background check. Though Scott had his honorable discharge papers and his good-conduct medal, Scott said they meant nothing. 'I'm not a criminal. You would think this would be worth something. It should be. It's not, though.' (Craig F. Walker, The Denver Post -Dec. 29, 2011)

 Scott drinks a beer outside the VFW Post in Longmont, Colo. Scott recalled his worst day in Iraq. 'We got this infantry platoon attached to us to beef up our numbers. ... There was this one guy, and I knew right away that we were going to be friends. ... The vehicle he was riding in the passenger seat hit a really big bomb that day - really big IED, and it trapped him inside the humvee, and I got to listen to and watch him scream as he burned. And I never learned his name. There was nothing I could do. ... I lost a friend that I never had.' (Craig F. Walker, The Denver Post - December 29, 2011)

 After punching a hole in his bedroom door, Scott panics in his living room. 'My PTSD comes from long exposure to combat trauma,' Scott said. 'I think it comes from the fact that I survived. That wasn't my plan. It's an honor to die for my country, but I made it home.' Scott said that being diagnosed with PTSD 'means I have nightmares every night. It means I'm hyper-vigilant -- It means I have no fuse and if I get attacked, I'm going to kill. 'I don't want to feel this way.

Scott watches an evening storm roll in outside his apartment. 'I'm just feeling guilty about the things I did. I was a brutal killer, and I rejoiced in it. I was bred to be a killer, and I did it. Now I'm trying to adapt and feel human again. But to feel human, I feel guilty. I did horrible things to people... That's why I can't eat: I feel guilty, I feel sick.' 


Also see more Pulitzer Prize Winning Photos here...

And lastly an exceptional documentary called "Hell and Back Again" which depicts the reality of modern war and the pain of reintegration.
(It's easy to download this doc from torrentz...)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Former U.S. officials say CIA considers Israel to be Mideast's biggest spy threat

The CIA's biggest security threat is Israel according to a new AP report...Looks like the US is getting played...


CIA policy generally forbids its officers in Tel Aviv from recruiting Israeli government sources, officials said. To do so would require approval from senior CIA leaders, two former senior officials said. During the Bush administration, the approval had to come from the White House.
Israel is not America's closest ally, at least when it comes to whom Washington trusts with the most sensitive national security information. That distinction belongs to a group of nations known informally as the "Five Eyes." Under that umbrella, the United States, Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand agree to share intelligence and not to spy on one another. Often, U.S. intelligence officers work directly alongside counterparts from these countries to handle highly classified information not shared with anyone else.
Israel is part of by a second-tier relationship known by another informal name, "Friends on Friends." It comes from the phrase "Friends don't spy on friends," and the arrangement dates back decades. But Israel's foreign intelligence service, the Mossad, and its FBI equivalent, the Shin Bet, both considered among the best in the world, have been suspected of recruiting U.S. officials and trying to steal American secrets. 


And don't forget a few months before... 

'Israeli Mossad agents posed as CIA spies to recruit terrorists to fight against Iran'

Foreign Policy magazine cites CIA memos from 2007-2008 that the Mossad recruited members of Jundallah terror group to fight against Tehran; U.S. was reportedly furious with Israel and moved to limit joint intelligence programs.

Read more here...

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Avatar in Alaska

 Here we go again, environmentalists and Native Americans versus profit-hungry mining corporations...Very informative and beautifully-shot documentary...

Watch full documentary here...

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Caring for your Introvert

Inside the world of introverts....Three great articles that are definitely worth reading....

Caring for Your Introvert

Introverts are not necessarily shy. Shy people are anxious or frightened or self-excoriating in social settings; introverts generally are not. Introverts are also not misanthropic, though some of us do go along with Sartre as far as to say "Hell is other people at breakfast." Rather, introverts are people who find other people tiring.

Extroverts are energized by people, and wilt or fade when alone. They often seem bored by themselves, in both senses of the expression. Leave an extrovert alone for two minutes and he will reach for his cell phone. In contrast, after an hour or two of being socially "on," we introverts need to turn off and recharge. My own formula is roughly two hours alone for every hour of socializing. This isn't antisocial. It isn't a sign of depression. It does not call for medication. For introverts, to be alone with our thoughts is as restorative as sleeping, as nourishing as eating. Our motto: "I'm okay, you're okay—in small doses."

How many people are introverts? I performed exhaustive research on this question, in the form of a quick Google search. The answer: About 25 percent. Or: Just under half. Or—my favorite—"a minority in the regular population but a majority in the gifted population."

Are introverts misunderstood? Wildly. That, it appears, is our lot in life. "It is very difficult for an extrovert to understand an introvert," write the education experts Jill D. Burruss and Lisa Kaenzig. (They are also the source of the quotation in the previous paragraph.) Extroverts are easy for introverts to understand, because extroverts spend so much of their time working out who they are in voluble, and frequently inescapable, interaction with other people. They are as inscrutable as puppy dogs. But the street does not run both ways. Extroverts have little or no grasp of introversion. They assume that company, especially their own, is always welcome. They cannot imagine why someone would need to be alone; indeed, they often take umbrage at the suggestion. As often as I have tried to explain the matter to extroverts, I have never sensed that any of them really understood. They listen for a moment and then go back to barking and yipping.

Are introverts oppressed? I would have to say so. For one thing, extroverts are overrepresented in politics, a profession in which only the garrulous are really comfortable. Look at George W. Bush. Look at Bill Clinton. They seem to come fully to life only around other people. To think of the few introverts who did rise to the top in politics—Calvin Coolidge, Richard Nixon—is merely to drive home the point. With the possible exception of Ronald Reagan, whose fabled aloofness and privateness were probably signs of a deep introverted streak (many actors, I've read, are introverts, and many introverts, when socializing, feel like actors), introverts are not considered "naturals" in politics.
Extroverts therefore dominate public life. This is a pity. If we introverts ran the world, it would no doubt be a calmer, saner, more peaceful sort of place. 


Also check out this article...

Confessions of an Introverted Traveler

We introverts have a different style of travel, and I’m tired of hiding it.
Oh, I’m always happy enough when interesting people stumble into my path. It’s a lagniappe, and I’m capable of connecting with people when the opportunity arises. And when the chemistry is right, I enjoy it.

But I don’t seek people out, I am terrible at striking up conversations with strangers and I am happy exploring a strange city alone. I don’t seek out political discourse with opinionated cab drivers or boozy bonding with locals over beers into the wee hours. By the time the hours get wee, I’m usually in bed in my hotel room, appreciating local color TV. (So sue me, but I contend that television is a valid reflection of a society.)

This is not something I confess easily. I have long been shamed out of owning my introversion by the extroverts who dominate American culture. Extroversion has long been considered healthier than introversion, and introverts often try to push against our natural tendencies in order to fit in, to seem “normal” so people will stop scolding us. Extroverts are unintentional bullies, demanding that everyone join their party or be considered queer, sad or stunted.

Introversion and extroversion are inborn traits, and the difference between them is not that one is gregarious and at ease in the world and the other shy and awkward. Rather, extroverts are outwardly motivated and gain energy from interaction with the outside world while introverts are more inwardly directed and drained by interaction with others. Introverts’ thinking tends to be deep and slow, we require copious time alone, we prefer probing conversation to shallow chitchat, and our social lives are geared more towards intimate one-on-one interactions than “more the merrier” free-for-alls.


The Secret Power of Introverts

If you had to guess, what would you say investor Warren Buffet and civil rights activist Rosa Parks had in common? How about Charles Darwin, Al Gore, J.K. Rowling, Albert Einstein, Mahatma Gandhi and Google’s Larry Page? They are icons. They are leaders. And they are introverts.
Despite the corporate world’s insistence on brazen confidence–Speak up! Promote yourself! Network!—one third to half of Americans are believed to be introverts, according to Susan Cain, author of just released Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. She contends that personality shapes our lives as profoundly as gender and race, and where you fall on the introvert-extrovert spectrum is the single most important aspect of your personality.
Introverts may make up nearly half the population...



Tuesday, July 17, 2012

HSBC used by 'drug kingpins" and terrorists to Launder Money

No longer can this be called the "Mexican" drug war...guns are flowing south across the US border as money flows north to be laundered by American banking corporations...Not to mention, Canada, the US and Europe are all their chief consumers....with over 50,000 dead now, I guess we all got some blood on our hands....

Watch an ABC News Video here.

HSBC provided a conduit for "drug kingpins and rogue nations", according to a US Senate committee investigating money laundering claims at the bank.

Mr Levin said an audit had found that: "From 2001 to 2007, HSBC affiliates sent almost 25,000 transactions involving Iran worth over $19bn dollars through HBUS and other US accounts, while concealing any link with Iran in 85% of the transactions. "

US government rules prohibit financial transactions with Iran and certain other countries, the committee said the bank's actions in getting round these had in some cases assisted terrorism.

According to the Senate committee, HSBC accepted more than $15bn in cash from subsidiaries in Mexico, Russia and other countries at high risk of money laundering but failed to conduct any monitoring of these bulk cash transactions between mid-2006 and mid-2009.

The report also found that HSBC knew of lax anti-money laundering practices at its Mexican subsidiary HBMX, which had dated back to its purchase in 2002. 


Also here's another story about ANOTHER bank laundering Mexican drug money...

How a big US bank laundered billions from Mexico's murderous drug gangs

As the violence spread, billions of dollars of cartel cash began to seep into the global financial system....

On 10 April 2006, a DC-9 jet landed in the port city of Ciudad del Carmen, on the Gulf of Mexico as the sun was setting. Mexican soldiers, waiting to intercept it, found 128 cases packed with 5.7 tons of cocaine, valued at $100m. But something else – more important and far-reaching – was discovered in the paper trail behind the purchase of the plane by the Sinaloa narco-trafficking cartel.
During a 22-month investigation by agents from the US Drug Enforcement Administration, the Internal Revenue Service and others, it emerged that the cocaine smugglers had bought...



What is the result....Mexico's security has plummeted.  According to the Global Peace Index, Mexico has fallen from 78 to 135 in just 5 years! 

Check out this interactive map of global security...



Monday, July 16, 2012

Countries With the Most Work Hours

Cool interactive graph that tells you which country has the most work hours and where you fit on that scale, check it out....


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Music and Passion

Very cool talk by composer Benjamin Zander... Enjoy!


Incredible pianist Jennifer Lin  plays and then about 13 mins in she talks about her creative process and proceeds to take 5 random notes and improv them into a beautiful piece...

Watch video here...

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Apologies to Mexico

A thought-provoking and timely article on the modern drug war...


"Then there’s our futile “war on drugs” that has created so much pain of its own. It’s done so by locking up mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters and children for insanely long prison sentences and offering no treatment. It does so by costing so much it’s warping the economies of states that have huge numbers of nonviolent offenders in prison and not enough money for education or healthcare. It does so by branding as felons and pariahs those who have done time in the drug-war prison complex. It was always aimed most directly at African-Americans, and the toll it’s taken would require a week of telling.

No border divides the pain caused by drugs from the pain brought about in Latin America by the drug business and the narcotraficantes.  It’s one big continent of pain -- and in the last several years the narcos have begun selling drugs in earnest in their own countries, creating new cultures of addiction and misery.  (And yes, Mexico, your extravagantly corrupt government, military, and police have everything to do with the drug war now, but file that under greed, as usual, about which your pretty new president is unlikely to do anything much.)

Imagine that the demand ceased tomorrow; the profitable business of supply would have to wither away as well. Many talk about legalizing drugs, and there’s something to be said for changing the economic arrangements. But what about reducing their use by developing and promoting more interesting and productive ways of dealing with suffering? Or even getting directly at the causes of that suffering? Some drug use is, of course, purely recreational, but even recreational drug use stimulates these economies of carnage. And then there are...


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Honduras, the DEA, and America's New Battleground

Honduras is the new front line of the DEA’s War on Drugs—and a growing number of civilian lives are being claimed by the chaos.


"I threw myself into the river so they wouldn't shoot me again," she said. She stayed there, grabbing onto a branch and keeping only her nose above the water, to avoid the hail of bullets.

Later, in a press conference, Lezama spoke on her daughter's cell phone from a hospital bed in La Ceiba. In a surprisingly calm voice for someone just shot, Lezama said she never imagined the helicopters would fire on her little boat, with its cargo of fishermen, women and children.

Lezama is one of the lucky ones in that boat the morning of May 11.  Juana Jackson and Candelaria Pratt -- both bearing unborn children -- were shot to death, along with 14-year-old Hasked Brooks and Emerson Martinez. Three other Mosquito villagers are in serious condition.

The State Department helicopters were carrying out a joint counter-narcotics operation with a unit of the Honduran police trained by the U.S. government and a "Foreign-Deployed Advisory Support Team (FAST)" of the Drug Enforcement Agency. Their side of the story is that the boat had received an illegal drug shipment from a small plane they had followed into the nearby jungle. Why there were no arrests from the alleged drug plane is one of the many open questions to the story

Lessons of Iraq Help U.S. Fight a Drug War in Honduras

FORWARD OPERATING BASE MOCORON, Honduras — The United States military has brought lessons from the past decade of conflict to the drug war being fought in the wilderness of Miskito Indian country, constructing this remote base camp with little public notice but with the support of the Honduran government.
Read More Here...

Honduras Becomes Focal Point of America's Drug War...See Photo Essay...

 Inmates, Corruption Rule Hondura's Prisons....See Photo Essay...

Volcanoes and Storms Ravage Central and South America...See Photo Essay...