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Stellar

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RDP # 18: Stellar

The night sky is certainly stellar in ever way, but that’s also a tautological statement, because stars are stellar. The word star comes from the Latin stella and stellar which gives us star. I love the night sky. The sun actually hides the universe to the human eye, it only comes clear at night, and when it does it is stunning.

”Look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see, and what makes the universe exist. Be curious.” Stephen Hawking

The sun is blinding
The light hides everything
darkness makes all clear

©Paul Cannon

Paul,

pvcann.com

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When Truth Disappears

via Daily Prompt: Disappear

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Daniel Ellsberg.

Last week I watched the movie “The Post”, it has a stellar cast with Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks, Spielberg directing. For me the technical side of the movie was irelevant, because what was more important in this movie was the story itself, the publication of the Pentagon Papers.

Ellsberg, who had served in the marines in the late 50s, joined the Rand Corporation as a strategic analyst focussing on nuclear strategy. He completed his PhD in economics in 1962, and then in 1964 went to work at the Pentagon as assistant to John McNaughton. He then went to Vietnam for two years, working for general Lansdale through the State Dept. It was while in Vietnam that Ellsberg began to question the US involvement in the war.

When Ellsberg returned from Vietnam he returned to the Rand Corporation, and in 67 he contributed to the top-secret study on the Vietnam war commissioned by McNamara. This study was completed in 1968 and titled The Pentagon Papers. Ellsberg now understood the war to be one of US aggression and not one of support for a legitimate govt. under attack, and was therefore an illigitimate war under the UN Charter. Ellsberg could see from the study that from Kenedy to Johnson to Nixon the US Administration had known they would never win the war the way they were fighting it, so they were simply face saving and condemning a generation of young men to death while destroying another country. Ellsberg with help from a colleague, made secret copies of the Papers. In 1970 he tried to persuade selected US senators to bring them to the senate floor as evidence. This failed, and in 1971 he sent a copy to the NY Times correspondent Neil Sheehan, who published an excerpt with teh promise of a serial. The Nixon Administration sought a court injunction, and succeeded. Ellsberg then gave the papers to The Washington Post, and several other newspapers, who printed them. Another injunction was sought, but the Administration lost and the ruling allowed freedom to print, and they did.

As an aside, Nixon aide Erlichman authorised the formation of “The Whitehouse Plumbers”, Hunt and Liddy, as they were infamously known, to break into Ellsberg’s Psychiatrist’s office and get his files, they did but found nothing worth using against Ellsberg. This action was recorded on tape, and was the undoing of the Administration’s attempt to convict Ellsberg. Notably, shortly after this, the “Plumbers” raided the Watergate office of the Democrat Party, and so Nixon’s fate was then sealed.

The publication of the Pentagon Papers were deemed by the US Supreme Court to be a right of free speech and this ruling was seen as a landmark case. The publication damaged the war effort and was part of the turning of the tide, it shocked a nation that they had been so blatantly lied to by successive administrations. The truth had been a casualty, the truth had disappeared.

But then, isn’t that the story of politics?

  • The fabrication of stories to create a power block in Argentina 74 – 88, which included the systematic murder, rape and torture of citizens deemed to be in opposition to the Junta.
  • The illegal coup by Pinochet based on the projected fear of communism, also resulting in systematic murder, rape and torture of citizens deemed to be in opposition to the Dictator.
  • El Salvador – ditto.
  • Bush Jnr., Blair, Howard and the cooked up (the never found, mythical weapons of mass destruction) need to invade Iraq (not forgetting Somalia and Afghanistan before that).
  • The current rhetoric coming out of the US and UK on Iran is going the same route.

The truth has disappeared in politics, and when truth disappears we should be concerned to restore the truth. I do not believe that governments have any right to hold documents in secret. The argument that secrecy protects the government and security is clearly an oxymoron. Secrecy in government is about staying in power and hiding unethical and criminal behaviour, as a series of whistleblowers have shown over the decades.

Whistleblowing is a dangerous role in any society, and one where any govenrment can cast you as the enemy, but one that some people take seriously as the only action they can take for the good of the people. Ellsberg, Felt, Bukovsky, Ponting, Silkwood, Wright, Vanunu, Serpico, Gun, Manning, Asange, Snowdon, and dozens more have surrendered their own safety and rights to expose the lies that governments and corporations (sometimes colluding) concoct for their own puposes. Sadly, while many western governments have legislated to give some protection of whistleblowers, it usually falls short of full protection and such legislation is still prejudiced in favour of governments and corporations.

Daniel Ellsberg set up “The Truth-Telling Project in the early 2000s, but that is now defunct (though other groups now use that name for other puposes). He spends time writing about the importance of whistleblowing, and supporting those who take that step.

The Pentagon Papers release and whistlebowing in general reminds me of that famous dictum of Edmund Burke: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good (men – sic) people do nothing.” And that beautiful quote from Ann Frank: “How wonderful is it that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”

Let’s not be ostriches, let’s be truth tellers where we are, let’s make truth reappear.

Paul,

pvcann.com

30 Comments

Filed under community, life, politics, quote, Uncategorized, Whistleblowing

From Fellow Blogger David White

David White at The Encouraing Word has something to say to us that’s well worth the read:

Life gives Out Participation Trophies

 

Paul,

pvcann.com

2 Comments

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Laughter Is The Good Medicine

via Daily Prompt: Laughter

Rowan Atkinson as Mr. Bean.

In a documentary he did on comedy I remember Atkinson saying that he’d modelled Bean on the great silent comedy actors, Buster Keaton in particular. Atkinson was quite serious about his comedy. Mr. Bean is not everyone’s cup of tea though. Comedy is a matter of taste, some people struggle to laugh at contrived misfortune, others don’t get certain types of jokes. I love all types of humour, and I struggle to be serious for too long. I think life without humour becomes a rut, which “is a grave with both ends kicked out” (attributed to Earl Nightingale). Unfortunately we have entered an age of poltical correctness that won’t allow for certain types of humour –  it would be hard to imagine Benny Hill starting out now.

I thoroughly enjoy the slapstick of Keaton, Laurel and Hardy, the satire of Monty Python or Littel Britain, the black humour of Blackadder, the innocent humour of the Vicar of Dibbley or Keeping Up Appearances, and the pointed humour of Yes Minister. The gentle humour in Friends, or the raucous Seinfeld, political humour with John Stewart. Some of you may remember Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In, in Australia the Graham Kennedy Show, the Glass house and so on, too many to list here.

Humour is even acknowledged in religion. Osho taught that laughter was releasing, and held sessions in laughter release, he also taught that laughter brought energy to the fore and was for a few moments a meditative state. Both Jesus and St. Paul used sarcasm. The Christian Pentecostal movement encouraged holy laughter as healing. In the Medieval Church a mass was developed in France where the lowest of society were invited to take high position and celebrate their own version of the mass, a social inversion, pure comedy. It was an attempt to offer an opporunity to release social pressure.  Naturally, the Church hierarchy were horrified, but the Feast Of Fools is still celebrated (and still upsets serious minded purists, which in my view is a good thing). In his book, “My Spiritual Journey” the Dalai Lama, reflecting on the many sadnesses of exile and hardship, says: “… I am a professional laugher …”  There is even laugher yoga.

Laughter is also homespun, families have their own treasure chest of humourous moments. Some yo uhave had to have been there to really get the humour. Mine include dad handing mum the steering wheel when it detached from the column (as we entered the school parking lot). Or when our family were at a Chinese restaurant and the vegetable oil for the sizzle dish spilled onto a napkin and my yongest son said: “I’ll help” and tried to blow it out, turning it into a blow torch that set fire to my beard (fortunately quickly doused). We are still laughing.

Laughter is releasing and it is claimed that it brings several health benefits. It destresses, uplifts, it is contagious, breaks down barriers, is enjoyable … Some of you would be familiar with the maxim of the Readers Digest – “laughter is the best medicine.” I certianly feel much better after a good laugh.

I love a good laugh and I don’t mind being laughed about. I like ot think I’m a professional laugher – I hope you are too.

For those who are more serious minded a video about laughter 😊

sitting for dinner
my beard is aflame now
laughter douses it

©Paul Cannon

Paul,

pvcann.com

14 Comments

Filed under Haiku, history, life, mindfulness, Philosophy/Theology, psychology, quote, religion, self-development, Uncategorized

Rivulet of Hope

via Daily Prompt: Rivulet

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Every year the creeks would dry up, the rains would cease, summer would arrive, the heat would brown the paddocks and turn the soil to hardpan. As summer streched into pseudo summer, the early part of autumn, we’d be craving the rains. The damns would be low, the pools down the creek almost gone, and the land crying in thirst.

But then the rains came, slowly, a shower here and there. And then the heavens would open, and down it would come. Some days after the water had prepared its own path, soaking into the creek beds, the soil would take no more and, at first a rivulet of water would appear, then a trickle, and then a flow, and the granite would shine, wet and glossy, the cascade decked with white froth. The sound of running water, a sound that brings joy, relief nd new life fills our ears. Soon the frogs would be calling.

Nature’s like that, it gives what is needed, it takes what is needed.

The economy is a whole other world. Conservative politicians the world over talk of ‘trickle down’ economics. Give the money to the rich and it will eventually trickle down to the poor. It never has, it never will. The economy, unlike nature, takes and takes and keeps on taking and only gives back to the rich and those in power.

I my view, an economy that is based on sharing, taking only what is needed and also giving back is a balanced one, but one that ensures there are less cracks to fall through, less barriers to surmount for the poor, more opportunity for all. A shared economy has to bid farewell to greed and selfishness, and requires a change of heart towards consumption. The dog-eat-dog cycle we’re in is doomed and the world cries out for releif and justice. But we are the change that needs to happen.

For my part that requires an ever growing awareness of others needs both near and far. It requires an awareness of my responsibility in my love affair with nature. It requires that I give back in generous ways. It requires that I model the economy I beleive in by not consuming the very lives of others. If everyone dropped a pebble in a pond it would cease to be, but if everyone took a breath and backed off from supporting the madness of consumption we’d make a dent. Of course, realistically, the other thing we need to do is exercise our vote with discretion towards those goals. And then the trickle will flow and become a stream, a river, a torrent of justice, a rivulet of hope.

The late Brazilian archbishop Helder Camara, an advocate for the poor, especially the slum dwellers, named it when he said: “When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist.”

We still need to ask why!

politicians lie
money will not trickle down
let love flow instead

©Paul Cannon

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

23 Comments

Filed under Economics, Farm, Haiku, history, life, mindfulness, nature, politics, quote, Uncategorized

Weather Lines

via Photo Challenge: Lines

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Wave Rock near Hyden in Western Australia, I took this a few years ago on one of my many visits, I just love the weather lines, rain, sun and cold, and how they have affected the granite rock. they shine glossy after rain, but the rich colours of iron and other minerals show through even when dry. Impressive lines.

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Prolific

via Photo Challenge: Prolific

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Hakea Laurina, one of many Hakeas. A prolific flowering tree, and a beauty to behold, one the glories of the Australian bush.

Paul,

pvcann.com

13 Comments

Filed under bush walking, Country, nature, Uncategorized

Small Is Beautiful

Micro

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(Photo: © Hayden Cannon)

Coccinellidae, or the humble Lady Bug as most of us would say. Definitely not micro, but definitely small. One of nature’s equalizers, it feeds on aphids, and therefore helps the market gardener, the floriculture industry, and the home gardener. Small but critical to the balance of nature.

Humans are not micro either, but we are the species that has an impact on the environment beyond our size. The creatures bigger than us have less impact on the environment. We are not particularly good at keeping a balance in nature, in fact, since the eighteenth century, humanity has pushed nature hard. I’m quite certain that if the Northern White Rhino had been crucial to agriculture or market gardening, or if the rhino could produce honey, or tea tree oil, it would still be with us. But, if we can’t save the rhino, what can we save? Or, more pointedly, what are we willing to save?

The way I see it, our carbon foot-print has to become micro in order to create a balance in nature that will enable all life forms to co-exist naturally. It’s not all doom and gloom though. There is some excellent work being done in alternative agricultural and horticultural practices, and in manufacturing too. The use of technology to resize and reorder how industry and commerce work (drones, micro-computers), where machinery cannot be decreased in size, it is streamlined and made more efficient. The attention to urban planning and using density as an option is (though hotly disputed by some academics) working well in cities like Melbourne (and, as yet, on a small scale). It seems we are coming to grips in some areas with the largess of our

The Lady Bug doesn’t just live for itself, it lives in a critical relationship with its predators and with its food sources as a predator. The Lady Bug is a great natural example (among many) for us, to live in a balanced, reciprocal, relationships. That sort of harmony is sacrificial, and if we want to live well, and if we want nature to survive, then we need to adopt the give and take of the Lady Bug, and the principle of sacrifice.

Paul,

pvcann.com

3 Comments

Filed under environment, farming, life, mindfulness, nature, Uncategorized

Nominated for: Mystery Blogger Award

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A shout out to David Fisher at Removing The Veil for the nomination.

 

 

Mystery Blogger Award” is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging; and they do it with so much love and passion.

The Rules:

1 Put the logo/image on your blog.

2. List the rules.

3. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.

4. Tell your readers three things about yourself.

5. Answer the questions you were asked.

6. Nominate 10 – 20 people, and notify.

7. Ask your nominees any five questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify).

Three Things About Me:

1. I love the bush and would prefer to be out in the wild.

2. I enjoy gardening.

3. I get great pleasure from my craft in model trains.

The Questions Asked Of Me:

  1. What is your real name? Paul Vincent Cannon. My mother, being religious, want Paul as of St. Paul, and being a keen painter, she wanted Vincent, as in Van Gogh.
  2. What are your passions? Where do I start? Bush walking, painting, writing, reading, model railways, gardening, hiking, camping, kayaking, good wine …
  3. What is your relationship with God? I am a spiritual person, my relationship with God is through the contemplative modes, and I am persuaded that the apophatic way is my way, that is, God cannot be adequately understood or described, but it is a relational experience.
  4. What is preventing that relationship from growing? In one sense, nothing, in  another sense, it is time priorities.
  5. Who and what inspires you? How many pages have I got? The list of those who don’t inspire would be shorter. Jesus, Ghandi, Tutu, Mandela, Malala, Aung San Suu Kyi, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Maximilian Kolbe, Schindler, Martin Luther King Jnr., the Chinese student who stood down that tank in 89, Buddha, Rumi ….

I Nominate the Following:

A Tangle of Weeds

Culture Vulture Express

psychologistmimi

Twenty Four

Jerri Perri

Crooked Creek

Thoughts of Sho

Cheche Winnie

Beans, Pen & Nirja

Megha’s World

By Sarah

Aroused by Arete

Questions for those I nominated:

  1. What was your most recent read?
  2. Who inspires you?
  3. What/who encouraged you to start blogging?
  4. What matters to you?
  5. If you had a day off with no ready made plans, what would you do?

 

Again, thank you david 🙂

 

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Pay It Forward Thursday- March 22, 2018

A generous gift

Go Dog Go Café

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Welcome to Pay It Forward Thursday. All Go Dog Go readers, guest writers, and baristas are invited to post one link to one specific post (750 words or less please!) from someone else’s blog in the comments section below.  We encourage you to give a shout-out to someone who has wowed you as a reader, creatively inspired you, and/or to introduce a new writer to a wider audience.  We will be choosing a Weekly Barista Favorite and inviting the author to have their piece published in full on the Go Dog Go Cafe with a link back to their personal blog.

If you post a link below, be sure to read some of the other great writing people have linked to.

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