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Facebook UnlikeSo many people ask me to “like” them on Facebook. When I am asked this I cringe… I just “don’t do Facebook.”

I know many feel it’s a great social platform and they use it to communicate their businesses and social networking causes… After all, statistics show that Facebook is the largest online social networking site.

I used to use Facebook, at least for a couple of years, but I bailed out, haven’t looked back and I really don’t regret it.

The reason why I don’t like Facebook (and subsequently dumped it) was due to a multitude of reasons…

One: People, close to you, get carried away, there’s too much drama and color. They tell everything – what they ate, what their kid did in the toilet, where they are going, they engage in colorful online disagreements, etc. I really don’t care to know what they are doing all the time or want to be part of the negativity in their lives. I know some people love that stuff – I don’t.

Two: I enjoyed, initially, hooking up with people that I hadn’t seen in ages, like people from high school; it was kinda cool. Then, I started to realize after a time, I really wasn’t friends with them in school – I didn’t really know them then and I don’t really know them now – it was all so false. Seemed people were grappling for NUMBERS – how many people followed them. So, I guess, the second thing I didn’t like was all the falseness and there seemed an abundance of it – from everyone!

Three: I began to realize how much PERSONAL information was being pumped into Facebook and I read stories and articles about how government agencies (and other undesirables) were using Facebook as a data mining site. That didn’t sit well with me and I certainly didn’t want to be part of the party. That actually sealed my decision to abort…

But, maybe it was also due to age…

I’m not afraid to admit it!small facesmall face

Some more Facebook statistics shows that the average Facebook user is between the ages of 35-44 years of age and I left 44 in the dust some time ago…

Anyways, nowadays, when I tell people I “don’t do Facebook” it’s like a social faux pas…

People act shocked or dismayed; they plead with me to reconsider; they delete me on other social platforms. Over Facebook! Get REAL!!

I’ve lost friends, both virtual and real, because I “don’t do Facebook.” I find that totally unbelievable…

But I really don’t care. I don’t like Facebook and even though I politely tell them so, they don’t know how to graciously accept it.

So I ask, as apparently I do not know how…

How does one politely tell someone that you “don’t do Facebook“?

And, even more so, how does one do so, so that the other person does not go off in a huff, personally offended as it is, just because you don’t?

It’s a mystery to me but, obviously, people take their Facebook very seriously…

Seductive Facebook

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By Anthony Fenton

VANCOUVER, Canada, Feb 19, 2010 (IPS) – Critics are concerned that private military contractors are positioning themselves at the centre of an emerging “shock doctrine” for earthquake-ravaged Haiti.

Next month, a prominent umbrella organisation for private military and logistic corporations, the International Peace Operations Association (IPOA), is co-organising a “Haiti summit” which aims to bring together “leading officials” for “private consultations with attending contractors and investors” in Miami, Florida.

HAITI: Private Contractors ‘Like Vultures Coming to Grab the Loot’ – IPS ipsnews.net

Posted using ShareThis

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feel goodToday I decided I would stop on my way to work and get a cup of coffee at my local Starbucks. This is not something I do on a regular basis – I was in the mood.

I pulled up to the speaker, ordered, and pulled forward; I was the third car in line to the window. The line progressed quickly and I watched as the car in front of me stopped at the window. The guy in the car started to hand the girl at the window his card and stopped. Obviously, there was some conversation. She handed him his beverage, they completed his transaction, and he pulled forward.

I moved up to the window and as I did I noticed that the guy in the car ahead of me was waving at me. At me? Didn’t make sense. I looked behind me to see if he was waving at someone behind me. The guy in the vehicle directly behind wasn’t even looking. Hmm. I noticed the guy in the car in front was looking at me in his side mirror, smiling and waving. I didn’t immediately recognize him, but then again…

Well, the girl was at the window now and I focused on her. She reiterated my order, I told her that was correct and started to hand her my card. She told me the guy in the car in front of me had paid for my coffee so.. no need to pay. Confusion – why I asked her?

She explained that everyone that morning was paying for the coffee of the person behind them; I wasn’t obligated to continue, but that was how the morning was going. Wow, I thought. I asked her what the order behind me was – she told me. I quickly thought I am not going to be the one to break this, even if it was twice my order cost, and handed her my card – I’ll pay for it, I told her. She laughed, took my card, and shortly handed me back my card and receipt.

“You have a great day,” she said. “You, too,” I replied and pulled forward.

As I pulled away I waved to the guy behind me knowing that he hadn’t a clue on who I was and why I was waving. I drove up to the stop sign and looked back. I saw the girl talking to the next customer; he looked confused. I smiled and thought, I hope he doesn’t break this feel good feeling…

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Pig KissesAre you concerned there might be a swine flu pandemic as reported by the World Health Organization (WHO)?

News stories are everywhere and some have more sensational headlines than others:

Reuters CNN

BBC Al Jazeera

My SA USAToday

The New York Times Bloomberg

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is currently investigating outbreaks of the flu in California and Texas and is keeping their website updated with information.

You realize that epidemics of flu have happened in the past with the last in 1918. Twenty to forty million people died during that flu pandemic – how many could die now that people mingle and travel more extensively than ever before?

What are your concerns? Do you avoid crowded areas? Have you bought face masks? Have you talked to your doctor? Are you generally worried, anxious, or concerned that it will turn into a pandemic situation? If so, what will you do? Do you have a survival plan? Are you afraid of dying??

Me? So far, I’m not overly concerned but I’m not heading to any crowded places. I haven’t purchased a mask yet but it doesn’t mean that the occasion won’t arise where I’ll need to… I’m not afraid of death – everyone has to go sometime, somehow…

So now we have the swine flu and the avian flu to consider as potential pandemics – or maybe we will get hit with both…

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champagneglasses

Out with the old and in with the new as they say. Here’s to a hopefully better year for all of us. There is much to look forward to and we should do it with gladness and positiveness in our hearts and minds. So, put aside the negativity and embrace each day and one another as we all move forward into an uncertain future. I love all my brothers and sisters around the world and want to wish each of you the best in the coming year.

To health, happiness, peace, and prosperity for all.

A Face (somewhere) in the Crowd

mco-crowd

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From Narcosphere

Plan Mexico Passed

It’s official: Congress has approved Plan Mexico.

The House of Representatives approved the Merida Initiative, also known as Plan Mexico, last week by a vote of 256-166. Excelsior reports that 244 Democrats and 32 Republicans voted for the bill and 7 democrats and 159 Republicans voted against it. The Senate approved a slightly different version today, although the specifics of the Senate version are still unavailable.

While Pres. George Bush requested $1.4 billion for Plan Mexico over a period of three years, Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA) proposed a bill that would authorize up to $1.6 billion. Since Plan Mexico passed, legislative analysts say it’s unclear what will come of Berman’s archaic authorization bill, which is currently languishing in the House.

While Bush requested $500 million in funding for Plan Mexico in 2008, the House approved $400 million over the next two years, and the Senate approved $350 million. Analysts expected deeper cuts to Bush’s proposal, but Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Mexican Ambassador to the US Arturo Sarukhan rallied at the last minute, using the recent murder of Edgar Eusebio Millán Gómez, chief of Mexico’s national police force, the infamous Federal Preventative Police, as a pretext to argue for more funding for Mexico’s War on Drugs. Edgar Eusebio Millán Gómez was almost certainly killed by a drug cartel.

Plan Mexico will provide resources, equipment, and training to the Mexican government, police, and military. It will not give Mexico liquid funds. The US military, government agencies such as USAID, and US defense contractors such as mercenary firms and weapons manufacturers will receive funding to carry out Plan Mexico, Plan Mexico is yet another bill to line the pockets of the military industrial complex.

As passed by the House, Plan Mexico will provide $116.5 million over the next two years for training and equipment for the Mexican military, and for “strengthening of military-to-military cooperation between the United States and Mexico.” Bush’s request included eight helicopters and two airplanes for the Mexico military. While funding in this area was cut, Mexico can still expect a couple of new helicopters and/or airplanes.

While Plan Mexico specifically targets drug cartels, the initiative’s counterpart in Colombia, Plan Colombia, demonstrates that drug war equipment and training will inevitably be used against activists and insurgent organizations. Mexico has already demonstrated its propensity to use deadly drug war equipment donated by the US against insurgents and civilians. Following the Zapatista uprising in 1994, the Mexican military strafed Chiapan indigenous communities using helicopters donated by the US to combat drug trafficking and production.

Plan Mexico also includes $210 million over two years to expand the US’s draconian anti-immigrant policy to Mexico’s side of the border. Mexico is a portal to the US for undocumented Central American immigrants. The hope is that Mexico will detect and stop undocumented immigrants in Mexico before they reach the US. The $210 million will be used to modernize and expand Mexico’s immigration database and document verification system, establish secure communications for Mexican national security agencies, procure “non-intrusive” inspection equipment, and support interdiction efforts as well as institution building. $5 million of this money will be used to deploy US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) agents to Mexico to support and train their Mexican counterparts. Most alarmingly, at least $168 million of this funding is unspecified, meaning that the Democrat-controlled Congress waived its right to determine legislative policy in favor of giving Bush a free hand in Mexico’s immigration policies and police procedures.

House Democrats’ overwhelming support for Plan Mexico in the face of overwhelming Republican opposition is yet another example of Democrats’ refusal to stand up to George Bush, despite their mandate to do so as a result of the 2006 elections.

George Bush proposed Plan Mexico at the end of 2007 for two very apparent reasons:

Plan Mexico is an indispensable component of the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP). Known as “NAFTA on steroids” or “NAFTA plus Homeland Security,” the SPP “calls for maximization of North American economic competitiveness in the face of growing exports from India and China; expedited means of resource (oil, natural gas, water, forest products) extraction; secure borders against ‘organized crime, international terrorism, and illegal migration;’ standardized regulatory regimes for health, food safety, and the environment; integrated energy supply through a comprehensive resource security pact (primarily about ensuring that the US receives guaranteed flows of the oil in light of ‘Middle East insecurity and hostile Latin American regimes’); and coordination amongst defense forces.”

“Over 300 policies and agreements have been scheduled and/or implemented to realize these corporate priorities. Some examples of these agreements are the integration of military and police training exercises, cooperation on law enforcement, and the expansion of the North American Aerospace Defense Command into a joint naval and land defense command. This also includes redesign of armed forces for combat overseas and greater cooperation in global wars as part of the ‘external’ defense strategy of the security perimeter.”

The SPP is NOT a legislative proposal; it is a plan hatched by the executive branches of Canada, the United States, and Mexico, and overseen by a board of corporate CEO’s. As such, the legislative branches of the three countries will never vote on the SPP as a policy.

  1. Mexican civil society organizations such as the Center for Economic and Political Investigation for Community Action (CIEPAC) in Chiapas oppose the SPP because they believe that “The United States is making it possible to force Mexico and Canada to change their laws, rules, and regulations in order to secure the economic (“prosperity”) and political (“security”) interests of its government and businesses… in order to appropriate our natural resources for themselves and to increase their profits.”
  2. Plan Mexico reflects the effort of one weak president, George Bush, to support another weak president, Felipe Calderon. George Bush can sympathize with Felipe Calderon. He knows what it’s like to steal an election and then have to rule a country with an iron fist while faced with enormous unpopularity. Seeing as though Calderon is one of only two friends George Bush has in Latin America (the other being Colombia’s President Uribe, also the recipient of mind-boggling military funding), George Bush had to act.When Felipe Calderon took office in 2006 despite massive protests against the electoral fraud that brought him to power, one of the first things he did was deploy the military to drug cartel-dominated states in the north, militarizing a large portion of Mexico without legislative approval. Mexicans and US organizations have argued that this strategy is Calderon’s attempt to bolster a weak president with a strong military alliance and warn that it could signal a return to the “dirty war” era. Plan Mexico represents the further militarization of Mexican society without legislative controls because it will provide US resources and training to the Calderon-controlled military without Mexican congressional approval.

Friends of Brad Will, the Center for International Policy, and Witness for Peace have criticized Plan Mexico for dumping more resources and controversial US training into the Mexican military and police. The Mexican military has a history of utilizing paramilitaries to terrorize leftists and communities in resistance. Paramilitaries in Chiapas are currently experiencing a renaissance unseen since the 1997 Acteal massacre that resulted in the violent deaths of 47 civilians, most of them women and children. The police’s report card is no better: in May 2006 police raped and sexually assaulted dozens of women they detained without charge during a protest in San Salvador Atenco against, ironically, police repression of the community. While some police were charged with “lewd conduct,” even these light convictions were overturned. US journalist Brad Will was murdered in October 2006 while working in Oaxaca City. He filmed his own assassination, and his video clearly shows that the shooters are off-duty police and government officials. After a “thorough” investigation, the Mexican government blamed his murder on Oaxacan activists.While Friends of Brad Will and their allies argue that no human rights safeguards will be adequate to justify US funding for Mexican military and police under current circumstances, Amnesty International fought for human rights safeguards to be included in the House version of the bill rather than opposing it outright. The safeguards approved by the House are painfully inadequate. The so-called “safeguards” require that none other than Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice certify that the Mexican military and police have initiated reforms, that serious investigations into the rape of prisoners in San Salvador Atenco and Brad Will’s murder are undertaken by the US and Mexican governments, and that statements obtained through torture not be used in a court of law. The House bill also states that no police or military unit that is corrupt or engages in human rights abuses will receive aid under Plan Mexico, a laughable and unenforceable standard. If Rice is unable to certify progress in human rights and anti-corruption, a mere 25% of military and police funding will be withheld, meaning that the House of Representatives thinks it’s acceptable to give 75% funding to military and police forces even if Condoleezza Rice believes they are corrupt and brutal.

But the problem with human rights safeguards in Plan Mexico isn’t that they’re inadequate. Legislators included human rights safeguards in Plan Mexico to make military aid from one brutal right-wing government, the United States, to another brutal right-wing government, Mexico, palatable to the US public. Despite irrefutable proof of systematic human rights violations and torture in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, the CIA’s use of “extraordinary rendition” to disappear and torture suspects in “black sites,” and unlawful and immoral drugging of deportees with overdoses of dangerous psychotropic drugs, the United States still likes to think of itself as the principal defender of human rights globally. But let’s not fool ourselves; the rest of the world does not share the same rosy view of the US. In an editorial criticizing the human rights safeguards in Plan Mexico as a pretext for further US-mandated structural adjustment in the form of mandatory “judicial and legal reforms,” Mexico’s La Jornada also notes the irony of the US “promoting” human rights in other countries: “The United States’ demand to verify respect for human rights in other nations constitutes a grotesque and absurd pretension, taking into account that, on a global scale, the superpower is the principal violator of such rights.”

But Plan Mexico’s human rights safeguards were never meant to be taken seriously. They’re an excuse to slip in a few US-mandated judicial reforms without Mexican Congress’ initiative nor approval, and more importantly, they allow US lawmakers to sleep soundly at night despite the fact that they’ve just unleashed a nightmare on Mexican citizens.

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    Hopefully you’ve already heard or read about the Bilderbergs, the United Nations, the prison camps, and the boxcars so now you need to understand how sustainable development is going to get us all there. How sustainable development is going to take away all your freedoms. How your property and homes will be taken from you under eminent domain claims. How even your voice will be taken from you. Read and educate yourself on what your, my and our future really holds at the hands of the elitist.

    Freedom Advocates  http://www.freedomadvocates.org/

    Freedom 21 http://www.freedom21.org/

    Joyce Morrison, Freedom or Sustainable Development?  http://www.newswithviews.com/Morrison/joyce36.htm

    United Nations, Agenda 21 http://earthwatch.unep.net/agenda21/1.php

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