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Blogger Brian
Salem, Oregon
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Jesse, I am a deeply patient person. Or, as I used to say in satsang talks, which I was a speaker at them, "There are two routes to becoming an egoless person who is suffused with a sense of their own imperfections and failings. Either meditate for a lifetime, or marry a woman." (This was before same-sex marriage became legal.) I'd add, "If Buddha had just gotten married, his path to realizing no-self would have been much more direct." I've been married for 46 years, albeit to two different women. I don't believe a day has passed without some reminder of my frailties, like my inability to load the dishwasher correctly, or replace a towel on a rack neatly. So dealing with commenters on this blog isn't difficult for me, especially since I don't have to physically interact with them on a daily basis. I should stress that I'm happily married, in large part because I've learned to accept wifely criticism with a certain equanimity. Not always, but usually.
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tucson, naturally I agree with you that mystical experience is subjective. Or, to be more generous toward mysticism, it is an ineffable experience of an objective supernatural reality. Heck, I wrote an entire book, "God's Whisper, Creation's Thunder," that argued for the existence of a non-symbolic objective aspect of reality. So I used to be sympathetic to that perspective, though today it seems unlikely to me. Plug alert: the revised version is for sale on Amazon! https://www.amazon.com/Gods-Whisper-Creations-Thunder-Spiritual/dp/0977735230 In my current churchless frame of mind, my problem is this: I have no problem with people either saying (1) I've experienced a supernatural reality, but I can't prove this, so I don't expect anyone to believe me; or (2) I've experienced a supernatural reality, and here are some really good reasons why you should believe me. But I DO have a problem with people who say that they've experienced a supernatural reality, and want others to believe them, but can't provide any good reasons why that belief is justified. As I quoted Sagan in this post, "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." So either provide the evidence, or don't make a claim. What I don't understand is why someone who supposedly has experienced God, heaven, divine realms, or such would be concerned with trying to convince other people that their experience was real. During the three years that I rode a Suzuki Burgman 650 maxi-scooter, I had a wonderful feeling every time I went somewhere on it. And I spent exactly zero time trying to convince other people how much fun it was for me to ride the scooter. I simply enjoyed my experience. I did tell people it was a lot of fun, but if they responded with a comment like, "It's so dangerous, I don't see how it could be fun," I'd just smile and leave it at that. Someone who is really confident about the reality of their personal experience doesn't worry if other people doubt them. Of course, people could see me riding the scooter, and it isn't possible to see someone's supposed mystical experience. Still, I wonder why some people are adamant about describing their mystical experience to others, and want others to believe them, while other people are content with keeping their mystical experience to themselves. I've read a lot of mystical writings. My impression is that religious devotees typically seek converts, while mystics typically don't. So when I see someone desperately trying to convince others that their supernatural experience was real, I usually think "there's a religious dogmatist, not a mystic."
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Spencer, Jesse and I are correct. You don't appear to understand the scientific method. The burden of proof is on those who assert a positive statement about reality. You claim to have experienced supernatural realms. OK. Prove it. If you can't, there's no reason to believe that you have experienced anything objectively real, other than your word for it. I climbed Mt. Everest yesterday, in-between writing blog posts. Can you prove that I didn't? No, you can't. So just believe me. If you say I didn't climb Mt. Everest, that's just conjecture. Do you see how bizarre your way of thinking is? It usually is impossible to prove a negative. Again, the burden of proof is on those who assert a positive. You need to read more science books, which i do frequently, and less religion books.
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Spencer, you're right. I find someone, Tara, who socialized with Gurinder Singh/Charan Singh and who comes from a family with four generations of experience with RSSB, and who exhibits a lot of knowledge about the business dealings of Gurinder Singh and the Singh brothers, to be much more credible than someone, you, who has no direct knowledge of these affairs, and who claims to have experienced supernatural realms of reality though you provide zero demonstrable evidence of this. Why should anyone believe your statements over those of Tara?
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Joe, great points. Buddhism, as evidenced in the book quotes I shared, isn't opposed to concepts. They're just another thing to be mindful about, to be aware of. Like you said, concepts are a vital part of being human. Also, of being animal. Without concepts, we wouldn't have language, and without language, we wouldn't be the sort of intelligent animals that we are.
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Tim Eide, facts matter. You presented a very misleading view of what went on with that property. I need to correct your misstatements. (1) Your father and the other owners of the property had a chance to develop it at the same time as Spring Lake Estates, where my wife and I live. Leroy Laack, the "lead" owner in the subdivision fight, said that he decided to wait on development in the early 70's for business reasons (he didn't think lots would sell, given the Spring Lake Estates development). So there was a chance to make the land into a subdivision early on, which the owners of the property decided not to do. (2) Our neighborhood was 100% against the subdivision once it was learned that it would threaten our ground water (wells) and surface water (springs that feed a creek that provides water for Spring Lake, which had senior water rights). A Marion County hearing officer ruled that a hydrogeological study occur before subdivision approval to make sure there was enough water for both the subdivision homes and the neighboring area. But the Marion County commissioners ignored the hearing officer and approved the subdivision on very weak political grounds. Two of the three, Milne and Brentano, were strong property rights advocates. So your statement that the subdivision didn't happen because of "government bias against Measure 37" isn't true. The bias of the commissioners was very much in favor of Measure 37 applicants. Here's a post about the water issue: http://hinessight.blogs.com/hinessight/2007/01/measure_37_subd.html (3) The owners of the property started illegal construction of roads without a permit after Measure 49 was passed. This ended up being one of the reasons a judge eventually ruled in our favor. We played by the rules. The owners of the property did not. Pretty clearly, they hoped Marion County would look the other way as they bulldozed the property without necessary permits. Here's a blog post about this issue: http://hinessight.blogs.com/hinessight/2007/09/illegal-measure.html (4) The judge who ruled in our favor had strong grounds for her decision. Again, our neighborhood's fight against the subdivision wasn't selfish. It was an effort to protect our own property rights, which include the right to not have our wells and community lake go dry because a neighboring subdivision was built on EFU (exclusive farm use) land. By the way, farmers testified that property would be great for growing grapes, and that's how it currently is being marketed. The soils are excellent for that purpose, despite what you said. Here's a post about the judge's ruling: http://hinessight.blogs.com/hinessight/2010/08/judge-slaps-down-marion-county-commissioner-patti-milne-.html The facts were on our side. The property owners had the political backing of Commissioners Patti Milne and Sam Brentano, but that wasn't enough in the end, because we had the backing of Oregon law and the facts in this case.
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Oh, I'm so (not) thrilled to learn via a USA Today postcard that came in the mail today that, as of August 1, 2018, my Statesman Journal newspaper subscription will be charged $3 each time an unwanted Premium Edition is delivered to me. This is the newest scam being foisted... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Salem Political Snark
Appreciative Reader, I've described the commenting problem to Typepad staff, and they've suggested some changes to the comment settings of this blog, which I've made. Hopefully that will lessen the chance that a "good" comment will be sent to the spam section. I wasn't doing anything wrong with the settings. They just may have been flagging some comments as spam, when this wasn't actually the case. Thanks for the positive observations about me and this blog. Yes, I do try to be liberal in the non-political sense of the word. Meaning, accepting of differing views and being accommodating to free and open discussions. If anyone thinks I'm too restrictive, because I occasionally delete comments that don't make any sense, or are excessively insulting toward someone, they might want to check out the guidelines for commenting on Washington Post stories. The Post has way more rules for commenters than I do. Of course, they also have paid staff who oversee the comments, and obviously I don't. This blog is run by the Unholy Trinity of me, myself, and I. Here's a link to the Post guidelines: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/ask-the-post/wp/2018/06/11/community-rules/?utm_term=.be3c86eea43a
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Spencer, you're amusing. You discount the observations of a RSSB insider who was very conversant with the connections between Religare and RSSB. You call those observations "conjecture." Yet you have shared dozens of comments relating to God, supernatural realms, and other entities for which there is zero demonstrable evidence. Methinks you have a massive defect in your own vision, yet you criticize others who are seeing much more clearly than you do. Keep it up. Those who are ignorant of their own ignorance are the last to know about it.
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Jesse, I'm not sure about the board of Fortis. I have heard that the board of Religare is stacked with satsangis. The same might be true of Fortis, but I don't know. Here's a quote from one of "Tara's" comments that I shared in my "Devastating criticism..." post. ---------------- Mike, Yes, financial oscillations between RSSB and Religare are a very likely scenario. Money going to and fro, borrowing and lending — it may all be happening. That would also help explain why the Singh Brothers gave Religare shareholding to no other relative, other than Gurinder. The RSSB purse-strings are solely in his hands and the RSSB-trust is mega cash-rich, and a tax-free pot of gold. So, my take is that the Singh Brothers put in their capital and Gurinder was given a preferential allotment of equity based on his three-fold role : One, the promise of the " support of the RSSB-trust " as and when required. Two, Gurinder brought to the Religare table a band of RS loyalists ( like Sunil Godhwani, now Group CEO of Religare ) and RS board members who would keep everything under wraps and unquestionably sign any document.
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I'm a lifelong political junkie. In eighth grade, I remember being the first name in a Hines-Hart poll that asked my fellow classmates whether they thought we were heading for a nuclear war, the poll being taken in the first part of 1962, six months or so before the super-scary... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Salem Political Snark
Here's another business story about the misadventures of the Singh brothers, Malvinder and Shivinder. In addition to being embroiled in legal problems, they've lost their shares in Fortis. See: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-07-13/fortis-picks-ihh-healthcare-over-tpg-bid-in-india-hospital-deal Excerpts: -------------------- A bidding war for cash-strapped Fortis kicked off earlier this year after its founders, brothers Malvinder and Shivinder Singh, lost their shareholding due to debt, and allegations that they had improperly taken funds from the company. A four-months-long takeover fight drew as many as five potential suitors from as far away as the U.S. and China, all keen to win a prime position in one of the world’s most under-served health-care markets. ...Not only must Fortis’s new owner turn around three straight quarters of losses, it must also deal with the fallout from the conclusions of investigations by government agencies. A report by an outside law firm commissioned by Fortis’s board found about 4.5 billion rupees were loaned amid “systemic lapses,” and were used by the borrowers to ultimately repay money owed to entities with ties to the Singh brothers. Fortis had to write off the amounts in the latest quarter even as it initiated legal action to recover the missing money.
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Appreciative Reader, sometimes Typepad, my blogging service, wrongly puts comments in a spam section. I just checked. None of your comments are there. And none are in an "unpublished" section. I have no idea why comments don't get published. I'll check with Typepad staff about this. I log in when I publish comments of my own. Have you set up a log-in account via one of the options Typepad offers? That might help resolve your problem. I do my best to check the spam section as often as possible. Sometimes, like yesterday, I'm away from my computer for a lengthy period, so this isn't possible. I very rarely delete a comment, usually because it actually is spam -- someone using a comment to plug a product or web site. Occasionally I'll delete a comment that makes no sense, or is in a foreign language. Bottom line: there's no nefarious reason comments don't get published. Mostly it's a Typepad glitch, or maybe someone doesn't submit a comment properly. Again, logging in could make it easier to submit a comment. Like I said, I have to do this myself when I leave a comment, logging in to my Typepad account.
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A headline in a recent Statesman Journal story didn't tell the entire truth about a cost overrun on the $61.8 million police facility Salem voters approved in a May 2017 bond measure election. The headline, "Salem officials seek extra $2 million as police HQ construction costs rise," makes it sound... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Salem Political Snark
Jen, don't be ridiculous. I rarely delete a comment. Whey they aren't published, it is because Typepad put it in the junk comments section. I check for wrongly categorized junk comments regularly, usually once a day. I delete some of the "777" comments when they are meaningless. I've been doing this for quite a while. Comments are supposed to relate to the blog post. I'm very generous about this, because I realize that some people are using my blog as a sort of message board. That's fine. I just expect that a comment have some meaning to it, and isn't just gibberish. "777" is notorious for those sorts of comments, and they are indeed a distraction to serious commenters, and visitors to my blog who correctly expect that the comments are about a blog post, not about something completely different. Few blogs or web sites would be as accommodating as I am about off-topic comments. Believe me, I visit numerous newspaper web sites each day, and the comments there almost always pertain to the subject matter of a story.
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Jesse, good point. I assume you're referring to "777." I delete his more inane comments, but none of them really make sense, as you pointed out. I'm going to be more diligent about deleting the "777" comments that don't relate to the subject of a post, or at least make sense to a normal human being. Typepad does have a way of blocking someone, but I prefer not to do that unless absolutely necessary.
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Dungeness, the question of whether RSSB gurus truly are God in Human Form obviously should be answered with an almost-certain "No," but for the sake of argument let's assume the RSSB dogma. So out of all the people in the world who might be god-realized in the Sant Mat sense of the term, we're supposed to believe that Gurinder Singh's nephew, a billionaire enmeshed in some sleazy business scandals, is the most qualified person on Planet Earth to succeed the current RSSB guru if he either steps down to enjoy his own grandiose wealth in worldly privacy, or upon Gurinder Singh's death? Meaning, it just so happens that out of seven billion or so humans, a relative close to Gurinder Singh is the most guru'y of them all? And taking a broader perspective, that of the five RSSB gurus so far, three have been related, and this makes sense spiritually-speaking? (Sawan Singh, Charan Singh, Gurinder Singh) If Shivinder Singh were to succeed Gurinder Singh, that would make four out of six gurus who were related.
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Today I got obsessed. Then, angry. After that, more obsessed. And then, angrier still. What got my emotions so fired up was FBI deputy assistant director Peter Strzok's compelling testimony before a House hearing. The Republicans in charge of the hearing convened by the House Judiciary and Oversight committees sought... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Salem Political Snark
Spencer, it took me less than 30 seconds to find several Bloomberg stories about Fortis wrongdoing. You should acquaint yourself with this thing called "Google." Have you heard of it? Here's some links, along with some excerpts. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-02-09/indian-tycoons-are-said-to-have-taken-78-million-out-of-fortis India’s tycoon Singh brothers took at least 5 billion rupees ($78 million) out of the publicly-traded hospital company they control without board approval about a year ago, people with knowledge of the matter said. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-01-28/billionaire-singh-brothers-accused-in-lawsuit-of-siphoning-money India’s billionaire Singh brothers, already embroiled in one international legal battle over alleged fraud, are being accused of "diversion, siphoning and digression of assets" by a New York-based investor in a lawsuit filed in the High Court of Delhi. https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/south-asia/india-is-said-to-order-three-month-probe-into-fortis-religare India has ordered its fraud office to inquire into reports of alleged siphoning of cash at Fortis Healthcare Ltd. and Religare Enterprises Ltd. by Malvinder Singh and Shivinder Singh, who are part of the founding family of both companies, according to people familiar with the matter. And of course there's the previous scandal involving Ranbaxy, which Malvinder Singh was part of. Check out this lengthy Fortune story, "Dirty Medicine." http://fortune.com/2013/05/15/dirty-medicine/ In January 2006, Malvinder Singh, the founder’s grandson, succeeded Brian Tempest as Ranbaxy’s managing director and CEO. At 33, with an MBA from Duke University, Singh was brash and competitive. The Indian business press dubbed him the Pharaoh of Pharma, and hailed him as an “out-of-the-box decision-maker.” Others viewed Singh as petulant and immature. “I want profit!” he would yell in meetings, two former employees recall. Among the staff, he was known for being preoccupied with his ranking on the Forbes list of India’s 40 richest people. When he and his brother Shivinder fell from No. 9 in 2004 to No. 19 in 2005, despite $1.6 billion in assets, Singh seemed to blame the decline on a lack of employee loyalty, a former employee recalls. His biggest problem was the FDA’s decision not to accept new applications from the Paonta Sahib plant. Ranbaxy desperately needed a green light there. So in November 2006, Singh led a delegation to FDA headquarters to try to reverse the decision.
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Spencer, here's an idea: comment on the livemint business story about the Singh brothers and their ties to RSSB. You like to distract and deflect, rather than face issues directly. If you believe that you know more about this subject than the reporters who wrote the story, give us a point by point critique of what they wrote. Meaning, quote from their story, then show why it was wrong, documenting your assertions. This will be more productive than you doing the distract/deflect thing. Note that I shared direct quotes from the story, then added my own documentation to support what I said in the blog post. It'd be great if you'd do the same. If you believe that the Singh brothers are doing a great job running their health care enterprises, which goes against the livemint story, and other stories I've read about the problems the Singh brothers have gotten themselves into, tell us specifically why you are right, and the reporters are wrong. Gosh, they just happen to live in India (I assume) and make a living reporting on Indian business news. Maybe Spencer Tepper knows more than they do, from your perch overseas. Hey, it's possible. We just need to see the evidence of this.
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Jesse, you're correct about Spencer. He reminds me of people on the Titanic who refused to believe the ship was sinking, even though the evidence was all around them. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinking_of_the_RMS_Titanic#Preparing_to_abandon_ship_(00:05–00:45) Spencer's eyes are closed to anything about RSSB that conflicts with his blind beliefs. He has eyes that could see the truth, but he doesn't use them. This is common cultish behavior. I saw it countless times during my 35 years in RSSB, including in myself. It takes courage to break the bounds of a religious organization that has many ways to keep people caged in the group's belief structure. Hopefully one day Spencer, along with others, will see the light. Until then, his comments will reflect his enclosure in a mental darkness as regards the truth about RSSB and Gurinder Singh..
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Driving home from my Tai Chi class in downtown Salem, usually after 6 pm I listen to MSNBC on my car's satellite radio. But when I tuned in today I heard President Trump's voice, announcing his second Supreme Court pick, Brett Kavanaugh. I quickly switched channels. The Classic Vinyl station... Continue reading
Posted Jul 9, 2018 at Salem Political Snark
Dale, getting my $100 back isn't what I'm anxious about. I want Arcimoto to succeed with a quality, easy-to-sell product. My anxiety stems from a worry that after so many years, and so much effort put into design efforts, the final version of the Arcimoto won't be the hit that I want it to be. That worry stems, in part, from the thought process I went through when deciding whether to get a regular motorcycle/scooter some years back, or a three-wheeled version such as a Can-Am Spyder or various motorcycle "trikes." A compelling argument against the Spyder that I read about on reviews of the three-wheeled motorcycle was this: it isn't nearly as much fun as a regular motorcycle that leans in corners, is more maneuverable, and can dart through traffic with more alacrity. Yet it is as expensive as many cars, but without the conveniences and safety features of cars: air bags, seating and luggage room, etc. My worry is that the Arcimoto might fall prey to the same reasoning. If someone wants the fun of a motorcycle, and is willing to assume the risk that comes with it, they'll get a two-wheeled motorcycle or scooter. If someone wants the features of a car, they'll buy a car. The Arcimoto occupies an in-between zone: a three-wheeled motorcycle that won't appeal to avid motorcyclists, which lacks most of the conveniences and safety features of a car. The electric propulsion will be a draw for some, as will the feeling of open-air freedom, compared to a car. During my weekly grocery shopping trip to three stores here in Salem (Fred Meyer, Trader Joes, Lifesource Natural Foods), I tried to envision what this would have been like on an Arcimoto. I'd really need full doors that lock, since obviously after my first stop I had grocery bags in my VW GTI, plus a backpack that I usually take with me, but leave in the car. So then I'd have an enclosed three-wheeled electric vehicle that could cost close to $20,000. Or, do my shopping in the GTI and use the Arcimoto just for fun trips where I didn't need to cart stuff around, or leave things unattended. This just shows the trade-offs that prospective buyers of the Arcimoto are going to have to consider.
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777, what are you talking about? 20 years? No, it is has been four years since Tara last left comments on this blog in 2014. Get your facts straight.
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Someone had a problem posting a comment, so it was emailed to me. Here it is: ------------------------- It was comforting to read about the "aging hippie" fellow and his partner in OR, and equally feel-good to hear supportive comments from others. I'm a raging leftie female "Ann Richards Texas Democrat" & sixties child who 8 years ago made the foolhardy decision to come to Arizona (to help my aging uncle). Now, afraid to even open my mouth here--rabid Trumpers everywhere. I've got to get out of here and see if I can find my spirit again. But where? The first time I "ran away" was in 1970 (from the Texas Panhandle), to the City of Light. Mac Davis's "I Thought Happiness Was Lubbock Texas in My Rearview Mirror" blaring on the radio. Lived in SF in my 20's-30's, got my degrees at SF State, taught college level til education became broken in this country. So still thinking of West Coast as an escape route, but not Frisco. I'm single now, SO missing those long afternoons and evenings when we were all discussing, with passion, the real ideas we lived by, and the ideals we helped each other formulate. (Remember?) Anybody got suggestions for areas where Community might be found now? I don't have much money, but am ready to fly the coop and give the fates another chance around people who don't make me feel like I'm trapped in a Steve Bannon TV ad. Love to hear suggestions. Thanks, Brian, for good, relevant blogs and posts.
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