Today, I take a short diversion into sharing a number of resources that have come across my awareness that I think are worthwhile. Some of these contributed to last week’s semi-rant on corporate abuses.
Yes, I still read mainly spiritual tomes, but today’s list is more “secular” in nature! More on that at the end. Here we go with three books and a film worthy of consideration….
With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful
I was not familiar with author Glenn Greenwald until I saw him interviewed on the Rachel Maddow show one night. She shared that she wrote a blurb for the back of this book because she felt it was an important work worthy of being read. I have to agree.
Greenwald, who is a lawyer and writes a column for the web site Salon.com, wrote this book to detail the history of how the United States has changed from Watergate to present times in terms of how we treat the wealthy and powerful who break the law. We used to have a standard of holding people accountable for their actions. However, Greenwald details how that sense of legal accountability has slipped and why. This is an enlightening and fascinating book. And, I must add, it pulls no punches and shows how both political parties have contributed to this change.
If you have wondered why no bankers from the Wall Street debacle were sent to jail and why corporations seem to act with impunity, this book gives you a potential answer. You might also check out Glenn’s column at Salon.
I have to admit, I like Rachel Maddow. I like her show and she has recently written a book detailing the change in our country’s approach to the use of our military. It is an interesting read that opens your eyes to what is going on around us. Yes, Maddow is a progressive in her political leanings. However, like Greenwald’s book, she is honest in pointing out that the change has come about by way of both of our political parties.
And what are those changes in the use of our military? According to Maddow, our military used to be a tool that we would gear up if needed for defense or to join with others to fight aggression and tyranny. The decision to go to war was one that was debated and involved congressional approval. Yet, over time we have created a large standing military that costs us a lot of taxpayer money to maintain. Corporations have benefited from us keeping a constant flow of funds into feeding the “military-industrial complex”. We no longer have healthy debates over the use of our military, it is simply used by the President when and where he wants. There is even less involvement of other countries in the decision making process. Just as Greenwald detailed how we went down a slippery slope in the area of employing legal justice to wrong doers, Maddow gives the history of a similar slope that we have slid on to this current state of continuous undeclared war. It is worth a read no matter your political beliefs.
This book by Greg Palast is a different read. It reads like an old Mickey Spillane detective story with Palast as the gumshoe on the trail of the bad guys. Only the book is real and the author is tracking down leads on who really caused the oil spills (Gulf, Alaska and others). Along the way, we connect the dots to foreign dictators, bankers, politicians, the Wall Street meltdown, the Fukushima nuclear disaster and more. The world as we know it is not what it seems according to this book.
This book is enlightening, entertaining and ultimately frustrating. And, like the other books above, there is culpability no matter which political party is in power.
Thrive: What on Earth will it Take?
This film, available for viewing online, was produced by Proctor and Gamble heir, Foster Gamble. There has been a bit of a cult following spring up around this film since it was released last November. There is much to like about this film. It outlines a world where we assist one another and share our limited resources. It ends with an optimistic tone for the future and teaches self-empowerment. However, many people are turned off by its movement into an expose of a powerful elite who control the planet in invisible obscurity. Gamble says he wants to remove the blinders and allow us to see these individuals who have been pulling the strings so that we can take back control.
I know my minister friends who resonated with the ultimate message of the film have been turned off by the “conspiracy” angle. Some wanted to show it at their spiritual centers but opted not to do so because of this politicized conspiracy aspect. I probably wouldn’t show it at a church either. But, I do think that it is worth viewing and thinking about none the less. Whether or not there is a worldwide ruling rich elite who control things regardless of countries, borders and political power is up to each of us to decide if it is true or not. What is more important here is the ability for each of us to use our personal power and consciousness to move towards a world that honors everyone….that brings about those human rights I have been writing about. This film does motivate you in that direction!
Some Final Thoughts…..
I am a positive thinker and an optimist. I tend to believe that things are headed in a good direction and that humanity will solve its problems and evolve to its highest levels of possibilities. I don’t like to spend all of my mental energy on negative things. I recognize that if we stay focused on the negative, we grow more of that.
However, I do think that we need to be aware of things that are less than what we as a people are capable of producing. This awareness brings “contrast”. We know what is ultimately possible if we humans can focus upon it. We can see where we are that is less than what is possible. That gap between what we are capable of producing and the current situation gives us the contrast to redirect our focus in the right direction.
These sources above are very much materials that allow us to see that gap so that we can redirect our energies. Whether or not you agree with the above recommendations, I do want you to see that these are really wake up calls for us to stop and consider and to ultimately redirect our energies and focus to a higher level of possibilities for humanity. That is the purpose of Conscious Bridge.
One final side note here—Readers of Conscious Bridge can probably detect that I am more progressive in my political beliefs. However, I do like to try and get news from various sources to allow myself an awareness of different viewpoints.
I do like Rachel Maddow’s show on MSNBC. I think she is a progressive who exhibits respect and care and concern for others. She is a genuinely warm person who wants the best for us all. I also like to watch Thom Hartman’s program The Big Picture on the RT channel. Yet, if I only got my news from these sources, I would certainly have a slanted opinion.
The trick is to realize that we may gravitate to particular sources and that there is a vulnerability in doing that. We tend to see the world only in the way that our comfortable media re-circulates it back to us. Bill Maher calls it the “bubble” that he sees the right wing media creates among talk radio and Fox News. They can create a story and circulate it within their internal audience until they think it is the truth.
This “bubble” can occur to all of us if we don’t open ourselves to alternative sources. I like to also read The Week and the Christian Science Monitor. Both news magazines really make an effort to produce balanced thoughts and ideas. I also like to try out others, even ones that challenge my beliefs. I would encourage all of us to take steps so we don’t slip into the bubble. Stay open at the top, my friend.
Check out all of Mark Gilbert’s books—available at Amazon. Click here to visit his Author Page. This includes his recent one Our Spiritual Rights and Responsibilities. In this book, he offers what he suggests are the 5 basic rights we all possess by virtue of our being these spiritual beings on planet Earth — and our 2 responsibilities we all hold in relation to one another! Check it out!