All posts tagged: usa

A conversation with Edward Snowden in Hawaii (February 14, 2015)

On an unusual gloomy Saturday morning in Honolulu I was lucky to attend a (video) conference with Edward Snowden who called in from Moscow. The event was hosted by ACLU Hawaii and all 800 seats sold out in advance. The demographic was mainly older (60+) but with a handful of younger curious onlookers, activists and journalists. The moderator Aviam Soifer joked that he knew that some homeland security and other intelligence agents were in attendance but that they had to pay their $5 cover like everyone else and sit idly by while their most wanted man spoke to us in (virtual) person. It’s the kind of humor that flies really well in Hawaii – equality, absurdity and aloha. It’s a fine mix. The event opened by showing the academy award nominated documentary CitizenFour so that everyone who hasn’t followed the Snowden story obsessively could be on the same page. It’s a really great documentary – emotional and human with the urgency of an international spy thriller. Snowden especially comes across as composed, a man on …

True currency is time and love

You know that old bullshit saying ‘time is money’? Uh, no. This is a rather short addition to the 10 Steps, but it might be one of the most important. Realize that the only true currency is time and love. Money is an illusion but it can get you in some deep trouble so live within your means. You have build thick skin in order to resist advertising and focus mostly on needs, and only the occasional wants. Human beings are the only species that have to pay in order to live on this planet. The powers to be figured this out long before the rest of us and found the perfect system of control – money. If we don’t play by their rules we go to prison, which robs of us the only two things of true value in this life – time and being close to those we love. Imagining a world without money is actually a really hard mental exercise, but very rewarding. You immediately run into the most obvious downsides – …

Terrorize this

Can we just take a moment to appreciate the irony of all the world’s leading governments  “taking a stand against terrorism” by launching the most massive surveillance apparatus the world has ever seen. And the perpetual warfare in countries with vastly different cultures than the West and victory is only declared when the countries more or less resemble the Western ideal of the corporate state. And if that’s not bad enough, how about those flying killing machines called drones that they like to launch over countries not even declared war upon, making sure that for every civilian killed, 20 more revenge-bent “terrorists” pop up. And let’s not forget about the West’s own citizens, in their desire to protect us against dark boogeymen, every ounce of privacy awarded us through the ages are wiped out in less than a decade “for our own protection”. Hey, sociopaths in charge, guess what? Living has always come with certain risks. One of them is death from unexpected events. Like falling in the shower. Or getting shot by your gun-crazy …

This changes everything

Naomi Klein is a pretty cool lady. She is a Canadian writer and activist, and every seven years she releases a book that becomes the defining talking point of the time and creates waves of social awakening. In her 2000 book No Logo she investigates the dark side of global unfettered capitalism and how we are all walking billboards for mega-corporations now, unable to separate ourselves from the products we buy. Combined with rising inequality worldwide and a second depression looming on the horizon, capitalism will eventually cannibalize itself when workers no longer can afford to buy the products they are making for scraps and pennies. In 2007, Klein coined the term ‘disaster capitalism’ and released The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. The book retells the story of the most dominant ideology of our time, Milton Friedman’s free market economic revolution. In contrast to the popular myth of this movement’s peaceful global victory, Klein shows how it has exploited moments of shock and extreme violence in order to implement its economic policies in …

Everyone we know is brokenhearted

I think Joshua Ellis just made my blog obsolete with this amazing, somber, absolutely human post. Please, please read it. I also think, whenever I get down in the future, I will just go back and read this and spare everyone my take on contemporary sadness. Not that everyone’s pain isn’t valid, it is just so… the same. Without further ado, go read: Everyone I know is brokenhearted.

Love Him Madly: A Jim Morrison memoir and why I love biographies

I read on average about a book a week. Sometimes a particular book will take me three weeks to finish, and other times I devour three books a week, making a conscious choice to choose reading over all other activities. But mostly reading is just a natural part of existing for me. I read in bed at night, I read in the bathroom, I read while I eat or wait. I’m not a book snob. I read pretty much anything but I think I’m particularly drawn to biographies and true crime. But I space that out with literary fiction, young adult fiction, pulp fiction, horror, how-to guides and non-fiction of all kinds. I’m addicted to reading because it adds layers to my world that I otherwise wouldn’t get to experience, and I read to understand all aspect of the world. The world, of course, usually means people. I’m not very good at making friends with people who aren’t already a lot like me, with vastly the same experiences, so I read to understand the people …