Tag Archives: occupy movement

Obama Is the First Facebook President – What Now?

Facebook-Obama

No one doubts that social networking produces results in politics, from the Arab Spring to the 2012 election, where President Obama’s ground game made the difference. That ground game was an extension of the 2008 strategy for involving millions of small donors. Suddenly there was a grass-roots movement that made individuals feel as if their actions mattered. Optimists saw a wholesale shift in the democratic process, away from huge corporate donors and the corrupt influence of lobbyists. Small money could beat big money in a presidential election. What happens next?

Social networks and grass-roots democracy via the Internet could change everything, but the way forward is far from clear. Obama has stumped for his fiscal plan to keep us from going over the cliff, but that hasn’t moved any votes in Congress. I’ve entered into the campaign to make the will of the people felt on gun safety issues since the tragedy in Newtown. We’ve reached a point where the Tea Party, the filibuster rule in the Senate, and powerful right-wing money has stymied the will of the majority, a profoundly undemocratic turn of events.

What’s at stake is huge. For at least twenty years a mounting chorus of lament has risen over the selling of American democracy. Indefensible wars, mammoth defense budgets, and political gridlock worsened an already bad situation. With 51% of Congress being composed of millionaires, and with every legislator obsessed over raising money to get re-elected, the country has departed very far from its founding ideals.

Gun safety may be the turning point – some issue has to be. Occupy Wall Street tested Facebook politics and mass demonstrations, attracting huge media coverage but eventually fizzling out when it came to effecting new laws. Idealism remains undiminished, among the Occupy leaders and Internet forces like Move On.org. The younger generation in particular yearns for national unity to accomplish the things that every rational person wants, such as a solution to global warming.

At the moment, democracy is seriously outgunned. Thirty years of right-wing indoctrination can’t be overturned in a day; the corrupting power of lobbyists and big-money contributors has become entrenched and self-fulfilling. Politicians who buck the system are out in the cold. The good news is that we have the answer. Obama’s election and re-election prove that individuals matter, that one-on-one communication works to get out the vote. The techniques have been perfected.

What remains is to win on an issue that goes beyond casting a single vote one day of the year. I hope that gun safety is the one, but it may not be. Patience and persistence are called for. The will of the majority can go astray, as witness the angry frustration that swept the Tea Party into Congress. But it would be worse to have the will of the majority mean nothing, and we have come perilously close to reaching that point. Anti-democracy is the real cliff that we need to back away from.

 

www.deepakchopra.com

Follow Deepak on Twitter

Deepak Chopra: Just Capital — What the 99% Really Need (Part 1)

What the majority of people need in this country is a financial system that incorporates social justice.

In calling it “just capital,” I’m aware that the phrase plays into the hands of free-market true believers. They want just capitalism – meaning nothing but – without a conscience. In prosperous times a rich society pays a much lower price for doing business without a conscience. That time has passed, however. For America to regain its footing, three aspects of social justice must be addressed:

1. Income inequality – Capitalism has been described as the best system for building wealth and the worst for distributing it. The right wing uses “redistribution of wealth” as a curse leveled at the Obama administration. Yet their howls of protest mask sheer greed and moral callousness.  The upper 0.1% of income earners, who largely live off dividends, should do their part in keeping society fair. Wealth carries moral responsibility. Arguments against this principle, although couched as conservatism, are pure injustice of the kind that leads to a society unraveling at the seams.

2. Cronyism, corruption, influence peddling and power mongering – Washington has always looked corrupt from outside its borders, but the rise of influence peddling and cronyism under Tom Delay’s tenure as majority leader has become institutionalized. Government posts are simply the gateway to riches earned as a lobbyist and consultant. The fact that a Newt Gingrich can brazenly thrive through influence peddling is a sign that an immoral, unjust system has reached the breaking point.

3. Anti-democracy – In some countries like Japan and Russia, the ruling elite is unchallenged in their role as managers of corporate, government, and military life.  America isn’t supposed to be one of those societies. Our democratic ideals demand a more open system, in which every person has the opportunity to rise through merit and success. The Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court allowed micro-elites in the billionaire class to openly sway our elections.  But democracy was bought and sold long before that.

I’ve picked these three issues because they broadly affect all of us.  Clearly they reach beyond Wall Street, but financiers are deeply implicated in influence peddling, micro elitism, and of course income inequality. The received opinion is that nothing can be done about the present state of affairs, which is the same as conceding that American society is fated to be unfair, paying lip service to ideals that are betrayed by Congress, K Street, and both political parties. The public doesn’t play an innocent role in this decline from justice. By allowing itself to be manipulated through deception, fear, war-mongering, and reactionary “family values,” the 99% has conspired in its own downfall. As the richest become richer by huge margins, the middle-class has remained stagnant, at best, and recently saw the most discouraging data: household wealth has fallen to levels not seen in twenty years (largely due to a drop in housing prices as well as the inroads of recession-era unemployment).

So what to do? The first step is to shed light on the current state of affairs. That is being done with a vengeance, but the ruling elite protects its own, which is why Wall Street hasn’t been held accountable for bringing down the global economy. Regulation has been stone-walled, and the bitterest irony is that the public disapproves of the very consumer protection that is aimed at bringing more justice to the system. All of which leads to a discouraging conclusion: Telling the truth has set no one free, not yet at least. The Occupy Wall Street movement finds itself in a position rather like the reform movement in Egypt, where the Facebook generation fomented change but failed to elect any of its members to high office, leaving a gap for the far left and the reactionary right to duke it out.

Here we have stasis. Having folded its highly visible tents over the winter, the Occupy movement has become as dormant as the marginal anti-war movement that tried to bring sanity to Bush’s disastrous incursion into Iraq.  The right wing smirks at this; the various elites no doubt breathe a sigh of relief. But it wasn’t the job of the Occupy movement to bring about reform, only to cry out for justice. The role of the elites is to insure justice. That’s their responsibility once money, power, and privilege are in their hands. Otherwise, we revert to a winner-take-all system that betrays the whole idea of a fair working democracy. Our only hope is that collective consciousness shifts. We need an American spring as much as the Middle East needed an Arab spring. Will a shift toward just capitalism occur? I can’t predict the future, but I hope there are many more blogs and posts focused on this vital subject.

(To be cont.)

 

www.deepakchopra.com

Follow Deepak on Twitter

photo by: Ilias Bartolini

Inspivideo: The Economy of Love

Starting in February, we here at Intent will spotlight one remarkable video each day to inspire you to fulfill your intentions and improve your life. Today, a brief taste of the upcoming documentary, Occupy Love.

“If I want a society that works, then I need you to be powerful, I need you to be responsible, I need you to be fully engaged, and maybe I need you to be joyous. The more I can give you the better my society is, because we are actually in this together”

Rebecca Solnit

Deepak Chopra: A Different Answer — Let’s Occupy Ourselves

It’s hard to imagine someone, except on the far right, not sympathizing with the grievances of the Occupy movement. Women, young people, and minorities have been the hardest hit by the loss of millions of jobs. The fact that Wall Street’s recklessness brought down the entire economy led to a series of injustices: the malefactors were salvaged while ordinary citizens suffered, their excesses were not curbed by regulatory laws, and to rub salt into the wound, the same risk-takers are now enjoying huge profits, largely through the same reckless behavior.

With injustice rankling across society, it’s amazing that the Occupy movement isn’t more forceful and widespread. But I think there’s a reason why. People are tired of extreme divisiveness, even when there’s good reason to point out the bad guys and stand up to them. In last week’s failure of the super committee assigned the futile task of bringing Democrats and Republicans together on the deficit, there was a general, exhausted sense that we have been here before, over and over again.

Yet exhaustion – along with cynicism, disgust, and huge disappointment – isn’t a motivator for change. In a gloomy New York Times column, David Brooks points to ossified institutions that are not going to give up power, a public that continues to vote for divisive candidates, and the absence of viable leadership when both Democrats and Republicans are now minority parties, attracting a steady 30% of the electorate each. Brooks forecasts a bad decade ahead, seeing the only lever of change being financial catastrophe on the order of Greece.

Do we have to stagnate for a decade? There could be an opening for change at a level higher than politics. The American public is confused and conflicted right now. When individuals are in that state, the answer is self-awareness. A therapist asks simple, relevant questions. Why are you angry? How well has your anger worked for you? Do you have negative feelings toward those you love? What every American needs right now is to occupy himself or herself, which means honestly facing the conflicts roiling inside and finding a way to heal them. As long as voters complain about Washington’s inability to compromise while in the next breath supporting candidates who are rigidly tied to an ideology, conflict will continue because it exists inside the voter, first and foremost.

Presisdent Obama has been a beacon of reasonableness, and his call for a balanced approach to the deficit, along with almost all his other proposals, carries the same label: balanced. That’s the right answer, the one a therapist would give a troubled patient. Balance your anger with a sense of reasonable action. Love your partner but realize that negative feelings are permissible as long as you know how to handle them. Rise above conflict by letting go of extreme positions, for your own good. Obama has a healthy, adult sense of “for your own good.” The problem has been that a riled-up public hasn’t been in a place to listen and heed what he says.

America is far from teetering on the brink. Speaking strictly from statistics, the economy has recovered, because the gross national product is now higher than it was before the downturn in 2008. What has surprised economists, in the midst of such a robust GNP, is how badly the country reacted to the downturn. There has been a strong over-reaction on the part of timid consumers, frightened workers, cash-hoarding corporations, and overly cautious lenders. This only shows how psychological the economy is, and always has been. To alter the economy, our psychology has to change, which is why we need to occupy ourselves. Only self-awareness can lead to healing, which is the key to a real recovery and not just a list of numbing statistics.

www.deepakchopra.com

Follow Deepak on Twitter

PHOTO (cc): Flickr / GDVisuals

 

 

30 Days Of Healthy Indulgences: Holiday Bursts of Sugary Sweetness By Our Lady Of Weight Loss Janice Taylor

Our Lady of Weight Loss:  Holiday Bursts of Sugary Sweetness

By Janice Taylor, Weight Loss Artist, Coach, Author (www.OurLadyofWeightLoss.com)
It wasn’t until I permanently removed over 50 pounds and developed a taste for baked sweet potatoes plain and simple that I questioned the wisdom of creating a casserole that was topped with toasted white lumps of melted gooeyness.
Seriously, why would you want to mess up something so naturally sweet as the sweet potato with mini-marshmallows?.

Marshmallows date back to the ancient Egyptians.  Back in the day, around 2,000 B.C., the Egyptians combined the sweet sap of the root of the Marsh-Mallow plant with honey creating a candy fit for their gods and the Pharaohs.

In the 1920’s and 30’s,  once available only to the wealthy, marshmallows became a mass produced item.   Recipe booklets from Jell-O and Knox Gelatin reflected this happening.  Marshmallows were included in recipes on just about every page:  Banana Fluff, Lime Mallow Sponge, Cocoa Tutti Fruit and Paradise Pudding.  (Source: How Products are Made Volume 3).
By the time1955 rolled around, there were about 35 manufacturers of marshmallows in the United States, and Alex Doumak, of Doumak, Inc., patented “the extrusion process,” a manufacturing method that changed the history of marshmallow production.
Which leads us straight to my mother’s circa 1960’s kitchen and her GLAZED SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE topped with MINI-MARSHMALLOWS, and to the answer of the above question,  “why would anyone want to mess up something so naturally sweet as the sweet potato with mini-marshmallows?”
With each mini-marshmallow, I give a nod to the ancient Egyptians, their Gods and Pharaohs, I warmly remember my mother in her circa 60’s kitchen, and I indulge my sweet tooth, which apparently remains alive, well and yet manageable.
Today, I share with you two classic Holiday Sweet Potato Recipes.  The first, my mother’s famous 60’s style Sweet Potato Casserole, and my 2010 soon to be a classic, Sweet, Sassy and Sexy – Honey Glazed Sweet Potato Chips, which was met with heartfelt cheers last Thanksgiving and hopefully will be again this year!
1960’s CANDIED SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE DELUXE (topped with Mini-Marshmallows)

Ingredients:
1 (29 oz.) can sweet potatoes or yams, drained
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cloves
dash of salt
1 1/2 cup mini marshmallows
Non-Stick Spray
Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350F.
In small bowl, slightly beat your eggs.  Set aside.
In medium-sized bowl, mash the sweet potatoes.
Add the rest of the ingredients with the exception of 3/4 of a cup of marshmallows.
Mix thoroughly!
Coat casserole dish with non-stick spray.
Place mixture in dish.
Add the rest of the marshmallows to the top of the casserole.  If you need more than 3/4 of a cup to make it ‘right,’ go for it!!!
Bake at 350F for approx. 20 minutes, until the marshmallows are the right shade of burnt for you!
Sweet, Sassy and Sexy – Honey Glazed Sweet Potato Chips
 
Ingredients:
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons local honey (My niece has a bee farm in her backyard, can’t get any more local than that, can you?!)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
4 large sweet potatoes, sliced thin, thin, thin!
Rosemary, chopped – to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper – to taste
Kosher salt – to taste
Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Lightly coat a 9-by-13 inch baking pan with olive oil spray (you can find it in the ‘spray’ aisle or make your own in one of those spray containers)
In a small bowl, whisk together the water, brown sugar, honey and olive oil – until smooth!
Place a single layer of sweet potatoes in the baking pan. Brush the sauce over the sweet potatoes. Turn to coat the other side.
Bake until tender, or until crispy.  Entirely up to you.
The trick is to coat them every 15 minutes or so.  One side and then the other (yes, even though you’ve already coated both sides).
When you get them to where you want them, transfer to serving dish and top with the Rosemary, salt n’ pepper.

Serve immediately!

 

From November 15 through December 14, Intentblog is launching its first-ever 30 Days of Healthy Indulgences, where every day for 30 days we are inviting bloggers from all over the health and wellness space to contribute their favorite healthy indulgent recipe in time for the holiday season. Today’s featured recipe is from Our Lady Of Weight Loss weight loss expert Janice Taylor

 

PHOTO (cc): Flickr /  inju

30 Days Of Healthy Indulgences: Ginger and Curry Leaf Rasam By Vikas Khanna

From November 15 through December 14, Intentblog is launching its first-ever 30 Days of Healthy Indulgences, where every day for 30 days we are inviting bloggers from all over the health and wellness space to contribute their favorite healthy indulgent recipe in time for the holiday season. Today’s featured recipe and blog is from renowned chef Vikas Khanna.

By Vikas Khanna

It’s the moment of truth in one’s life: you see something so profound that it leaves a permanent impression on your mind. For me it was everyday food rituals.

I learned to cook at my Biji – my grandmother’s side. It takes many years to understand the intricacies of the spices used in Indian cooking. The interlacing of the whole and ground spices requires a good deal of practice to get just right.

Spices are virtually indispensable in culinary art. Spices tease our senses with their enticing aromas, colors and their distinctive flavors, and have been the catalysts of some of the greatest adventures in human history, over which fortunes were made, nations discovered, and fates met.

The history and culture of Indian spices is probably as old as civilization itself and is an integral part of Indian Cuisine, which relies on varied use of spices, herbs, and seasonings to create unique tastes and aromas. 

Biji and I ground fresh spices for our every meal at home. That is a practice that I carry with me till today. At my restaurant Junoon, we have a “spice room” where spices are ground fresh every morning. This is one my favorite places at the restaurant. Generally my day begins here (weighting, grinding, creating mixtures).

There are a few things that I always follow while buying spices. I usually rely on the smell of the spices -Pungent smell indicates freshness, if they smell musty, then most likely the spices have been in storage for a while.

Also, buying smaller quantities each time ensures that I have fresh stock at all times. Spices lose flavor fast once ground, so I prefer buying spices whole and then I grind them only when and as much as I need.

The health benefits of spices are universally known. The extensive use of spices in Indian food, not only adds flavoring, but also makes for healthy eating. Spices like turmeric, ginger, garlic, green chilies have always been associated with medicinal and healing properties

Ginger and Curry Leaf Rasam

(Recipe from “Flavors First: An Indian Chef’s Culinary Journey” by Vikas Khanna)

Rasam is an immensely popular soup of South India and a must in every household. The word “Rasam”, in Tamil language, means essence, or juice and by extension has come to mean a particular type of soup that includes the tartness of tamarind or tomatoes. The ingredients used in a Rasam vary but it is basically a light, spicy soup.

Red Lentils have a tendency to cook quickly and are rich in protein, fiber and anti-oxidants.  Turmeric has been used for hundreds of years in India as a major ingredient for cooking and in Ayurveda. My grandmother used to boil it with milk and give it to us when we were kids before sleeping. A small paste was applied when we would cut ourselves and also considered auspicious in ceremonies.

The spiciness can be adjusted to your taste. At times I add vegetables to make this soup a complete meal.

Serves 4

1/2 cup dry red lentils

4 cups water

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

Salt to taste

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

10 fresh curry leaves

2 teaspoons black mustard seeds

Pinch of asafetida

One 3-inch piece of fresh ginger, skinned and finely chopped

1 medium tomato, finely chopped

2 1/4 cups water

1 (12-ounce) can coconut milk

1 tablespoon tamarind paste

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Wash the lentils until the water runs clear. Add them to the water along with the turmeric and salt and cook over medium-high heat until the lentils are tender, about half an hour, skimming frequently with a spoon.

In a heavy-bottom pot, heat the oil and add the curry leaves, stirring until very fragrant, about a minute. Remove 4 leaves and reserve for the garnish. To the oil, add the mustard seeds, asafetida, ginger and tomato and cook until the tomato begins to dry, about 3 minutes. Add the reserved lentils, water, coconut milk, tamarind, and black pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for another 3 minutes.

Season it with salt and serve hot, garnished with the fried curry leaves.

Vikas Khanna is an award winning, Michelin Starred Indian chef, restaurateur, food writer, filmmaker, humanitarian and the host of the TV Show MasterChef India. He is based in New York City. To learn more about Vikas Khanna, visit his website www.vkhanna.com

30 Days Of Healthy Indulgences: Lissa’s Quiche By Lissa Coffey

Starting today on November 15 and ending next month on December 15, Intentblog is launching its first-ever 30 Days of Healthy Indulgences, where every day for the next 30 days we are inviting bloggers from all over the health and wellness space to contribute their favorite healthy indulgent recipe in time for the holiday season. Today’s featured recipe is a super-easy, super-healthy and super-delicious vegan quiche recipe by lifestyle expert Lissa Coffey. Enjoy and share with others! 

Lissa’s Quiche
By Lissa Coffey, Coffeytalk.com

According to the Ayurvedic calendar, here in the Northern Hemisphere November through February is Vata season, when the weather is typically cold and dry. To balance Vata, it is best to eat warm, cooked foods. Vatas also crave creamy goodness, and it is particularly comforting at this time of year no matter what your dosha is!

I’m vegan… well, 99% vegan, I can’t pass up a good pastry every now and then! And I love a good quiche. That egg-y texture and cheese-y tang totally satisfies the taste buds and makes for a complete meal. Yet I struggled finding a quiche that that met my criteria of being vegan, and yet still yummy. So I made one up myself! As you do when you’re an ayurvedic vegan and a Vata to boot! Quiche is fantastic because it can be for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The leftovers are quickly reheated. Whether you have a crowd to feed, or it’s just you, it won’t last long! My non-vegan friends are always surprised that they have just gobbled up something that is totally good for them.

This recipe is super easy, and the results are truly delicious. Adapt for your own taste, and experiment with other veggies, too, just make sure you pre-cook them. I’ve used various cheese flavors, artichoke hearts, broccoli, fresh tomatoes, cut up vegan sausages, zucchini in different combinations – it’s all good. But my favorite is the spinach version, so I’m sharing it with you here. Happy Holidays, and Bon Appetit!

Lissa’s Quiche

Ingredients:

1 prepared pie crust (I like Marie Callender’s brand)

1 box Mori Nu Firm Silken Tofu (I use the Lite version)

1 bag fresh baby spinach (I get the kind you can microwave right in the bag for easy clean-up)

1/2- 1 Cup frozen peas, cooked

1 bag Veggie Shreds cheese, any flavor you like – or use Daiya cheese if you’re strictly vegan

1/2 cup Nutritional Yeast – this is not necessary, but it does add a lot of flavor so try it!

optional: sauteed garlic, onions, your favorite spices (nutmeg is good with spinach).

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

After you cook the spinach, place it on a chopping board and chop it up.

In a large bowl, place the Mori Nu Tofu, and break it up with a fork.

Add the spinach, peas, cheese, nutritional yeast, and any additional flavorings.

Mix all together and pour into the frozen pie crust shell.

Bake on a baking sheet at 375 degrees for 50 minutes or until knife comes out clean when poked in the center of the quiche.

Let stand about 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

 

Lissa Coffey is a lifestyle and relationship expert and a frequent contributor to The Today Show and other national television shows. To learn more about her, visit coffeytalk.com

PHOTO (cc): Flickr / prideandvegudice

How Occupy Wall Street Proves the Power of Your Individual Voice

There’s a great line in the Stevie Wonder song If Your Love Cannot Be Moved: “You can’t form a line if you’re too scared to stand alone.”  That one line, confirms for me how powerful each of us are when we choose to use our individual voice and stand up for what we believe in.

I’ve been watching and cheering as the events that are happening around the globe have been unfolding; those that seemingly started to get the attention of the world with the Occupy Wall Street movement, on September 17th.  The public milestones are by now, very well-known.  A July 13th call to action by activist magazine Adbusters.  An August 31st YouTube video by hactivist collective Anonymous.  A few hundred protesters on September 17th.  Arrests on the 24th. Taking The Brooklyn Bridge on October 1st.  Massive media attention and a national movement following.  Interesting how a generally nonviolent movement that uses no official leaders, is gaining radical momentum.  And has become global in scope.

 

I could say its time has come, that it’s written in the stars or heavens, actually.  For those curious about how Astrology is involved, the occurrence of the first of seven exact squares over the next three years, between Uranus (planet of revolution, liberation and sudden change) and Pluto (planet of globalization and transformation) does much to explain the birth of this movement.  Uranus square Pluto is the most significant and most challenging planetary influence in a generation. These planets came together in the mid 1960′s and for those who remember the sixties, it was definitely a decade of liberation, revolution, transformation and change.  We are once again living through a major generational upheaval.

Continue reading

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...