Category Archives: Cultural Antropology

Marine Veteran Injured by Non-Lethal Rounds at Occupy Oakland

Protestors are being targeted by the police:

 

 

That injured protestor is a Marine:

 

 

From Veterans Today – http://www.veteranstoday.com/2011/10/26/marine-veteran-injured-by-non-lethal-rounds-at-occupy-oakland/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=marine-veteran-injured-by-non-lethal-rounds-at-occupy-oakland

By David Edwards

A Marine veteran at Occupy Oakland was injured Monday night after being shot at point-blank range with bean bags or rubber bullets by police.

Scott Olsen was at 14th Street and Broadway when he was shot by either San Francisco Sheriffs deputies or Palo Alto Police, according to RT.

“We need medic!” one protester is heard screaming. “Medic! Medic!”

“What happened?” another asked.

“He got shot!”

As Olsen is carried away, he appears unconscious and bloody, unable to even respond when asked his name.

Olsen is associated with Veterans for Peace.

 

 

~~~


Why Iceland Should Be in the News, But Is Not

By Deena Stryker

via http://sacsis.org.za/site/article/728.1?frommailing=1#here

An Italian radio program’s story about Iceland’s on-going revolution is a stunning example of how little our media tells us about the rest of the world. Americans may remember that at the start of the 2008 financial crisis, Iceland literally went bankrupt.  The reasons were mentioned only in passing, and since then, this little-known member of the European Union fell back into oblivion.

As one European country after another fails or risks failing, imperiling the Euro, with repercussions for the entire world, the last thing the powers that be want is for Iceland to become an example. Here’s why:

Five years of a pure neo-liberal regime had made Iceland, (population 320 thousand, no army), one of the richest countries in the world. In 2003 all the country’s banks were privatized, and in an effort to attract foreign investors, they offered on-line banking whose minimal costs allowed them to offer relatively high rates of return. The accounts, called IceSave, attracted many English and Dutch small investors.  But as investments grew, so did the banks’ foreign debt.  In 2003 Iceland’s debt was equal to 200 times its GNP, but in 2007, it was 900 percent.  The 2008 world financial crisis was the coup de grace. The three main Icelandic banks, Landbanki, Kapthing and Glitnir, went belly up and were nationalized, while the Kroner lost 85% of its value with respect to the Euro.  At the end of the year Iceland declared bankruptcy.

Contrary to what could be expected, the crisis resulted in Icelanders recovering their sovereign rights, through a process of direct participatory democracy that eventually led to a new Constitution.  But only after much pain.

Geir Haarde, the Prime Minister of a Social Democratic coalition government, negotiated a two million one hundred thousand dollar loan, to which the Nordic countries added another two and a half million. But the foreign financial community pressured Iceland to impose drastic measures.  The FMI and the European Union wanted to take over its debt, claiming this was the only way for the country to pay back Holland and Great Britain, who had promised to reimburse their citizens.

Protests and riots continued, eventually forcing the government to resign. Elections were brought forward to April 2009, resulting in a left-wing coalition which condemned the neoliberal economic system, but immediately gave in to its demands that Iceland pay off a total of three and a half million Euros.  This required each Icelandic citizen to pay 100 Euros a month (or about $130) for fifteen years, at 5.5% interest, to pay off a debt incurred by private parties vis a vis other private parties. It was the straw that broke the reindeer’s back.

What happened next was extraordinary. The belief that citizens had to pay for the mistakes of a financial monopoly, that an entire nation must be taxed to pay off private debts was shattered, transforming the relationship between citizens and their political institutions and eventually driving Iceland’s leaders to the side of their constituents. The Head of State, Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, refused to ratify the law that would have made Iceland’s citizens responsible for its bankers’ debts, and accepted calls for a referendum.

Of course the international community only increased the pressure on Iceland. Great Britain and Holland threatened dire reprisals that would isolate the country.  As Icelanders went to vote, foreign bankers threatened to block any aid from the IMF.  The British government threatened to freeze Icelander savings and checking accounts. As Grimsson said: “We were told that if we refused the international community’s conditions, we would become the Cuba of the North.  But if we had accepted, we would have become the Haiti of the North.” (How many times have I written that when Cubans see the dire state of their neighbor, Haiti, they count themselves lucky.)

In the March 2010 referendum, 93% voted against repayment of the debt.  The IMF immediately froze its loan.  But the revolution (though not televised in the United States), would not be intimidated. With the support of a furious citizenry, the government launched civil and penal investigations into those responsible for the financial crisis.  Interpol put out an international arrest warrant for the ex-president of Kaupthing, Sigurdur Einarsson, as the other bankers implicated in the crash fled the country.

But Icelanders didn’t stop there: they decided to draft a new constitution that would free the country from the exaggerated power of international finance and virtual money.  (The one in use had been written when Iceland gained its independence from Denmark, in 1918, the only difference with the Danish constitution being that the word ‘president’ replaced the word ‘king’.)

To write the new constitution, the people of Iceland elected twenty-five citizens from among 522 adults not belonging to any political party but recommended by at least thirty citizens. This document was not the work of a handful of politicians, but was written on the internet. The constituent’s meetings are streamed on-line, and citizens can send their comments and suggestions, witnessing the document as it takes shape. The constitution that eventually emerges from this participatory democratic process will be submitted to parliament for approval after the next elections.

Some readers will remember that Iceland’s ninth century agrarian collapse was featured in Jared Diamond’s book by the same name. Today, that country is recovering from its financial collapse in ways just the opposite of those generally considered unavoidable, as confirmed yesterday by the new head of the IMF, Christine Lagarde to Fareed Zakaria. The people of Greece have been told that the privatization of their public sector is the only solution.  And those of Italy, Spain and Portugal are facing the same threat.

They should look to Iceland. Refusing to bow to foreign interests, that small country stated loud and clear that the people are sovereign.

That’s why it is not in the news anymore.

Stryker is an American writer that has lived in six different countries, is fluent in four languages and a published writer in three. She looks at the big picture from a systems and spiritual point of view.

 

Possibility Alliance

This extraordinary community has been on the map since 2007, and we had the pleasure of staying here for just a few days, and a return trip is definitely in order, probably for their free permaculture training. During our first visit we experienced a guided tour of the entire farm, we slept in the barn loft with other volunteers (during huge thunderstorms!), helped out with various permaculture projects and interviewed most of the community members about their experiences living electricity-free in rural America Other similar projects are starting up in Kansas City MO, England and beyond.

WRITE-UP

COMMUNITY COHESIVENESS:  This Gandhian-based community consists of six adults and three children, as well as two three-time apprentices during the growing season and many more regular volunteers, visitors and potential members. The community practices Quaker-style consensus decision making and mindfulness meditation as well as yoga and other “inner” work. This makes for a very tight-knit community with many radical ideas that are successfully being practiced. They have check-in meetings every morning over breakfast which are a lot of fun and provide intimate connection.  There are five main pillars of the community:

  1. BulletRadical Simplicity
  2. BulletService
  3. BulletPolitical/Social Activism
  4. BulletInner Work
  5. BulletGratitude & Celebration

Each of these are carried out in a wide variety of ways as there is not a dogma or “one way”.

SUSTAINABILITY EFFORTS:  Electricity-free, car-free and mostly petroleum-free (other than a few bike light batteries and the occasional ride from a friend). They generally feel as though most, if not all, “green” technologies are not actually green and when looked closely at are really taking a toll on the earth. For example they shared with us that solar panels are made of silicon that is scraped off the bottom of the ocean and causing damage to the ocean ecosystems. They live right in the middle of Amish country, and have chosen to adopt some similar practices, such as the use of simple technologies and an emphasis on community interdependence, as well as homesteading techniques, including horse-powered farm equipment, honey bees, chickens for eggs, a pond, a barn with hayloft and goats and more.  In addition to the ecological sustainability practiced here, they are definitely practicing many economic, spiritual and social sustainability methods as well.

Read more

 

 

Orgasms Unlock Altered Consciousness

All in the name of science of course!

New Scientist’s intrepid reporter performs an intimate act in an fMRI scanner to explore the pathways of pleasure and pain . . .

WITH a click and a whirr, I am pulled into the scanner. My head is strapped down and I have been draped with a blanket so that I may touch my nether regions – my clitoris in particular – with a certain degree of modesty. I am here neither for a medical procedure nor an adult movie. Rather, I am about to stimulate myself to orgasm while an fMRI scanner tracks the blood flow in my brain.

My actions are helping Barry Komisaruk at Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey, and colleagues to tease apart the mechanisms underlying sexual arousal. In doing so, not only have they discovered that there is more than one route to orgasm, but they may also have revealed a novel type of consciousness – an understanding of which could lead to new treatments for pain (see Top-down pain relief).

Despite orgasm being a near-universal human phenomenon, we still don’t know all that much about it. “The amount of speculation versus actual data on both the function and value of orgasm is remarkable,” says Julia Heiman, director of the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction in Bloomington, Indiana. . .

. . . “I don’t think orgasm turns off consciousness but it changes it,” he says. “When you ask people how they perceive their orgasm, they describe a feeling of a loss of control.” Georgiadis suggests that perhaps orgasm offsets systems that usually dominate attention and behaviour. “I’m not sure if this altered state is necessary to achieve more pleasure or is just some side effect,” he says. It is possible that the inability to let go and reach this altered state may be what prohibits individuals with anorgasmia from reaching climax. . .

. . . “This kind of research is incredibly useful,” says Heiman. “Orgasm is tied into the brain’s reward system and likely other important systems as well. There is much we can learn about the brain, about sensation, about how pleasure works and probably much more from this one physical response.”

Read Full Article

General Strike!

“used by protesters all over the U.S.

(and perhaps the world?)”

High Resolution Poster

Article/Writeup

Bendito Machine

The Tyranny of Entitlement

We read earlier about socialism for the rich, now lets read a bit on the idea of entitlement. One can often hear objections to socialism, re-appropriation of wealth, and entitlement when it comes to the poor and exploited, but what about when it comes to the rich?

. . . A perpetual-growth economy is not only insane (and impossible), it is also by its very essence abusive, by which I mean that it’s based on the same conceit as more personal forms of abuse. It is, in fact, the macroeconomic enshrinement of abusive behavior. The guiding principle of abusive behavior is that the abuser refuses to respect or abide by limits or boundaries put up by the victim. As Lundy Bancroft, former codirector of Emerge, the nation’s first therapeutic program for abusive men, writes, “Entitlement is the abuser’s belief that he has a special status and that it provides him with exclusive rights and privileges that do not apply to his partner. The attitudes that drive abuse can largely be summarized by this one word.”

The relevance of this word applies on the larger social scale. Of course humans are a special species to whom a wise and omnipotent God has granted the exclusive rights and privileges of dominion over this planet that is here for us to use. And of course even if you subscribe to the religion of Science instead of Christianity, humans possess special intelligence and abilities that grant us exclusive rights and privileges to work our will on the world that is still here for us to use. Growth economies are essentially unchecked and will push past any boundaries set up by anyone other than the perpetrators: certainly the fact that indigenous cultures already are living on this or that piece of ground has never stopped those in power from expanding their economy; nor is the death of the oceans stopping their exploitation; nor is the heating of the planet stopping the exploitation; nor is the grinding poverty of the dispossessed.

And the truth is, you cannot talk abusers out of their behavior. Perpetrators of domestic violence are among the most intractable of all who commit violence, so intractable, in fact, that in 2000 the United Kingdom removed funding for therapy sessions designed to treat men guilty of domestic violence (putting the money instead into shelters and other means of keeping women safe from their attackers). Lundy Bancroft also says this: “An abuser doesn’t change because he feels guilty or gets sober or finds God. He doesn’t change after seeing the fear in his children’s eyes or feeling them drift away from him. It doesn’t suddenly dawn on him that his partner deserves better treatment. Because of his self-focus, combined with the many rewards he gets from controlling you, an abuser changes only when he feels he has to, so the most important element in creating a context for change in an abuser is placing him in a situation where he has no other choice.”

How do we stop the abusers who perpetrate a perpetual-growth economy? Seeing oiled pelicans and burned sea turtles won’t move them to stop. Nor will hundred-degree days in Moscow. We can’t stop them by making them feel guilty. We can’t stop them by appealing to them to do the right thing. The only way to stop them is to make it so they have no other choice.

Read more . . .

And remember, “The only way to stop them is to make it so they have no other choice.”