Digital Dharma

The Middle Path, One Day At A Time


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Israeli document: Gaza blockade isn’t about security

McClatchey, via Al-Jazeera English, reports that documents obtained as the result of a lawsuit on behalf of the people living in Gaza contain an Isreali admission that the embargo is about economics, not weapons smuggling.

“A country has the right to decide that it chooses not to engage in economic relations or to give economic assistance to the other party to the conflict, or that it wishes to operate using ‘economic warfare,'” the government said.

McClatchy obtained the government’s written statement from Gisha, the Legal Center for Freedom of Movement, which sued the government for information about the blockade. The Israeli high court upheld the suit, and the government delivered its statement earlier this year

Al-Jaz also makes an excellent argument for Israel being in violation of the Geneva Convention (not that anyone pays much attention to them any more, including US).

Israeli document: Gaza blockade isn’t about security | McClatchy


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Southern Baptist leader Richard Land backs citizenship for illegal immigrants

Baptist leader Richard Land backs citizenship for illegal immigrants | tennessean.com | The Tennessean

Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, admits it’s a message that will test some of the church’s mainstream membership, but it’s one that needs to be said.


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Compassion: The New Wonder Drug | Miller-McCune Online

Compassion: The New Wonder Drug | Miller-McCune Online.

Compassion for others is a pathway to health and happiness. While that basic tenet of Buddhism may seem paradoxical to self-involved Westerners, newly published research suggests it has an actual physiological basis.


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Oil Spill Clean Up is one big Proven Money making Conspiracy


Imagine you personally knew (beyond a shadow of a doubt) that a huge earthquake was going to hit a major city and cause massive damage, loss of life, starvation, loss of employment, destruction of property as well as countless hardships. Imagine that the majority (say 95%) of this could be avoided, if only the easily available resources and technology were deployed to prevent this before it happened. Would you deploy the technology? Would you deploy the resources to prevent 95% of the problem?

Naturally, any sane, ethical person would. However, what if you stood to earn $100’s of millions from this disaster? Your choice . . . do the right thing or go for the money? I understand that this is a hypothetical situation and predicting an earthquake is pretty much impossible; however, knowing an oil spill is going to happen is not. It has happened in the past, it just happened in the Gulf of Mexico and it will happen in the future. Sadly, there are people who have actually made the choice to take the money at everyone’s and every living things’ expense and this article is about showing you the proof.

Environmental News
Network — Know Your Environment

Send this to everyone you know. Seriously. Now.

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The U.N.’s Death Squad Watchdog

The U.N.’s Death Squad Watchdog | Smart Journalism. Real Solutions. | Miller-McCune Online Magazine

With few resources but the force of his title — U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions — Philip Alston holds governments accountable for the politically motivated killings they commit, or ignore.

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Make Birth Control, Not War

Make Birth Control, Not War | Smart Journalism. Real Solutions. | Miller-McCune Online Magazine

Humans — human males, really — are not peaceful animals. They are in fact a spectacularly violent species, and very nearly uniquely so. Despite high-minded modern wishes and the received wisdom of three generations of anthropologists and sociologists, warfare is not an aberration in human development, nor is it a learned, culturally determined behavior. War and its ancillary behaviors — including racism, slavery, mass rape and the subjugation of women — are not cultural problems and thus do not have neat, sociological solutions. Along with terrorism, these most destructive of human behaviors derive clearly and directly from our biology, bequeathed to us by an evolutionary pathway that we share with just one other extant species, the chimpanzees.

War, simply put, is in our genes.

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What Pope Benedict Must Do

What Pope Benedict Must Do — Politics Daily

Ironically, for all the bad press he is getting, Benedict has done more to confront the abuse crisis than anyone else in the Vatican. But he must choose between governing and upholding his theological vision as a moral absolutist. As many a president and prime minister has learned, the shift from an ideological stance to a pragmatic one can be laden with risk.

The root crisis lies in the church’s view of apostolic succession. The pope and bishops consider themselves descendants in a spiritual lineage from Jesus’s apostles. Apostolic succession is as much a part of Catholicism as icons and stained glass windows. But Judas was also an apostle — a reminder that all humans, regardless of proximity to the Word, are capable of betraying the faith. Apostolic succession has fallen victim to hubris, the pride and entitlement of a religious elite who consider apology or penance a substitute for human justice….


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Chipotle: time to back up ‘food with integrity’

Chipotle Challenge: time to back up ‘food with integrity’ | Grist

In Florida, the human rights crisis engulfing farm labor is perhaps most starkly visible. Tomato pickers have received virtually the same harvesting piece rate since 1980: 40-50 cents for every 32-pound bucket they fill. At this rate, workers must pick and haul a staggering 2.5 tons of tomatoes in order to earn minimum wage for a typical 10-hour day. Decades of class-action lawsuits have exposed a pattern of systematic minimum wage violations, and supervisor violence in the fields is not unheard of.

In November 2007, three farmworkers in Immokalee – the heart of Florida’s winter tomato production – escaped from more than a year of bondage after punching through the ventilation hatch in a box truck where they were held captive by their employers. In total, a dozen workers were forced to pick tomatoes by day and then chained, beaten, and robbed of their pay at night in one of southwest Florida’s “biggest, ugliest slavery cases ever,” according to U.S. Attorney Doug Molloy.

The enslaved crew harvested for farms owned by two of Florida’s largest tomato growers. It was the seventh farm labor slavery case prosecuted by federal civil rights officials since 1997, now involving well over 1,000 workers. All of which brings us to a question posed by Eric Schlosser at last year’s Slow Food Nation conference: “Does it matter whether an heirloom tomato is local and organic if it was harvested with slave labor?” 
‘food
with integrity


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Vancouver crackdown on homeless

Winter Olympics on slippery slope after Vancouver crackdown on homeless | World news | guardian.co.uk

The anxiety stems from a recent provincial government law empowering the police to force rough sleepers into shelters in extreme weather, a move which homeless groups appear to view as an Orwellian effort at civic image control. Police officers have been told to use only “non-forceful touching” in implementing the Assistance to Shelter Act, but that has not stopped critics calling it the Olympic Kidnapping Act.

Hey, it worked for China.


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I’ve Been Waiting A Long Time To Feel This Way

I’m truly proud to be an American these last few days.  It’s heartening to see my country finally stepping up and leading in an endeavor from which it can expect to gain nothing but the knowledge that it did the right thing — and the approval, at last, of the rest of the world.  It’s been far too long.

For nearly two centuries we have been the tough kid on the block. We were blessed by having managed to steal a land, rich in resources, from the previous tenants. We made rapid use of those resources and our relative isolation from the powers in Europe and Asia to build a worldwide economic power alongside which the 1st Century power of Rome pales in comparison. We have pretty much told the rest of the world how things were going to be, and made it stick through the power of our money and, too often, by force of arms.  Yes, yes, on a couple of occasions that was warranted by circumstances beyond our control, but even those wars were as much about economics as principle.

As Americans, we tend to forget that we are members of a global community, and that all we are depends on so many who preceded us.  We owe who and what we are to other cultures, those that went before and those that attempt to coexist with us today. The currently much-maligned Arabs invented the zero, without which modern mathematics would not exist. Africa gave us the rhythms that melded with European influences and became jazz. The Far East gave us philosophical insights; the Native Americans — the true owners of this land — an understanding of how we fit into the big picture along with all God’s other creations.

And so it goes. Every culture, every religion, every idea is built on those that have gone before. We Americans are the sum of all those parts: the Arabs, the Yoruba — stolen from their homes and forced to find another way to be themselves — the Hindu mystic, the Ojibway shaman, the Druid in his grove.

We need to think about this carefully. We need to understand that we are not isolated here in the US; that we are very much a part of the world, and it of us, and that we have the ability to decide the course of history. That course will be predicated, in turn, on our ability to discern our true place in the scheme of things: not whether we can kick the asses of those who disagree with our policies, but whether we can influence them to not want to kick ours.  The days of gunboat diplomacy are over.  They ended with the development of that most guided of missiles, the suicide bomber.

It is time to take our place as leaders in the quest for peace, not in the art and appliances of war.  When I see our powers diverted from that end to wage peace and compassion, as we are this week in Haiti, I have hope again.

If only we can remember that everyone hates a bully.


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Wonking Class Hero — The Exonerator

Advocates for innocent people in prison are few, partly because lawyers are trained to honor the sanctity of the finality of court decisions. Advocates courageous and idealistic enough to proceed on behalf of an imprisoned innocent count themselves successful if they help achieve one exoneration during a lifetime of trying.

That McCloskey — who is not a lawyer — has directed investigations resulting in dozens of exonerations is, by any measure, astounding. Those prone to biblical language use a stronger word: miraculous.  Wonking Class Hero — The Exonerator


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Woman who helped hide Anne Frank dies at 100

Miep Gies who helped hide Anne Frank dies at 100 – Times Online

Miep Gies, the woman who rescued Anne’s diary after the family was arrested in 1944, died at a Dutch nursing home aged 100 after suffering a fall.

Soon there will be no witnesses left. Then will the deniers have their way?


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Do great artists live by a different moral code than the rest of us?

Research of Culture | Miller-McCune Online Magazine

As French film critic Agnes Poirier told the Guardian of London: “We are prepared to forgive artists a lot more than we are prepared to forgive ordinary mortals.”

And, apparently, we cut them more slack than we do sports figures. You’d have to be pretty hard-core to equate raping a 13-year old girl with adultery, and yet…