“…Living standards for indigenous people on par with “third world” countries, buttressed by a large population of unemployed young men in a “warrior cohort”, and easy-to-target economic infrastructure, all mean Canada has conditions for a potential indigenous “insurgency”.
That’s according to a new report penned by a former Canadian military officer for the MacDonald Laurier Institute, a think-tank supported by corporate executives.
“For many Aboriginal people in Canada, but especially for First Nations women and children, life on-reserve is dreary, dark and dangerous,” wrote Douglas Bland in the report, Canada and the first Nations: Cooperation or Conflict? ”Social fractionalisation significantly increases the risk of social conflict. The phenomenon provides motives for an insurgency,” read the report, issued in May.
Bland refused interview requests from Al Jazeera, but conclusions from the Queen’s University professor emeritus and 30-year military veteran have worried the Canadian establishment, especially in light of indigenous-led protests associated with the Idle No More movement, and Canada’s increasing dependence on natural resource extraction.
By Special Broadcasting Service
The Murrawarri Republic may be the world's newest country, but for locals it's been around for tens of thousands of years.
The Republic's boundaries cross over northern New South Wales and Queensland - covering about 81,000 square kilometres.
Key leaders including Fred Hooper say the push for independence follows many frustrating years of inaction and broken promises.
Click here: 22:01 (audio)
With stunning photos and stories, National Geographic Explorer Wade Davis celebrates the extraordinary diversity of the world’s indigenous cultures, which are disappearing from the planet at an alarming rate.
In his role at the National Geographic, Wade Davis shares the belief that stories can change the world. In this moving and beautiful talk, he takes us on a series of journeys through the ethnosphere, merging tales and imagery of some of the world’s most endangered cultures.
When we were born, there were 6000 languages spoken throughout the world. Today, probably about half of those are no longer taught or uttered to babies. With the death of a tribal elder somewhere in the world every two weeks, one wonders how many languages are becoming extinct. Language is an important marker of loss of cultural habits, serving as a vehicle through which the soul of its people becomes intertwined with the material world.
Many still view the loss of indigenous people’s behaviours as a positive change in the development of the world. Davis challenges this notion. Looking back we will view the twenty first century as a time when people sat idly by and watched as people disappeared off the earth. Genocide is universally condemned, yet ethnicide; the death of a group’s way of life, is ignored or even celebrated. Our way of living is just one model of reality of life.
Davis’ stories remind us that there’s something different out there. The stunning mountains of Tibet serve as a crude face over the history of political domination in a land where 6000 sacred monuments were torn apart and it’s people were imprisoned for daring to question the status quo. A young kid from the Andes may view a mountain as an Apu spirit, ready to direct his destiny, giving him a profoundly different viewpoint on it from a child in Montana who sees a mountain as a place to be mined. The Kogi people of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in Northern Columbia are ruled by a ritual priesthood with an extraordinary training program; the acolytes are taken away from their families at the age of three or four and sequestered in completely dark stone huts at the base of a glacier for eighteen years. After this time, they witness their first sunrise rolling over the hills and everything they have learned in abstract is reaffirmed.
Davis’ talk is full of photographs and stories from other groups; the warriors in the Kaisut desert in Northern Kenya, the Penan in the forests of Borneo. He asks the question; do we want to live in a monochromatic, monotonous world? Or how about we look to these indigenous people, nurture their cultures, learn about them and embrace a world of polychromatic possibility.
- Day 117: Wade Davis; Dreams from endangered cultures. (365daysofted.wordpress.com)
- National Geographic Explorer Wade Davis guest speaker at Legacy Land Trust’s Legacy Night (northfortynews.com)
- Endangered cultures, endangered languages (mothertonguesblog.com)
FARMERS & PRODUCE
- Clarkdale Fruit Farms, Inc. Apples, peaches, pears, plums and cider
- Lyonsville Valley Farm Raspberries, strawberries, herbs, vegetables, starts, annuals, perennials, fresh and dried flower bouquets, eggs.
- Carol’s Fresh Vegetables Select Perennials (Lupine, Delphinium, Columbine, Rosemary), onions, greens, select veggies, bedding plants, strawberries
- River Bend Farm Produce and plants www.farmfresh.org/food/farm.php?farm=2268
- P.K. Industries Perennials, annuals, veggies, small fruits, bedding plants, jams, jellies, flowers, maple syrup, maple sugar, apples, all berries, see large list from market manager
- Shoestring Farm Bedding, herb, perennials, veg plants, maple syrup, fruits & veggies http://www.shoestringfarm.net
- Cape Cod Fish Share Fish CSA shares, sustainable local fish.
- Greenfield Community Farm Organically grown but not certified, heirloom tomato plants and other nursery plants, salad mix, greens, heirloom tomatoes, peppers, peas, other heirloom & unique veg & herbs, dried chiles, dried heirloom tomatoes, wheatgrass
- Balky Farm Wool, fleece, rovings, wool blankets, sheepskins, yarn, pickles, barbeque sauce, quilted table runners
- Beaumont’s Berries Homemade preserves/jams and jarred pickles, relish, picallilli. Baked goods that use fruit or jam.
- Bostrom Farm Grass fed beef, pork, ham
- Gray Dog’s Farm Pastured chicken, beef, goat, and lamb, eggs
- Keldaby Farm/Moonshine Design Angora goat herdproducing mohair value-added woven dyed, knitted, etc. http://www.keldaby.com
- The Kitchen Garden All types of fresh vegetables, including specialty varieties, eggs, and some prepared foods.
- Queen’s Greens Salad greens, kale, chard, spinach.
- Sunrise Farms Maple Syrup & rhubarb, fire wood, pumpkins, gift baskets, small tree sapplings, maple candy, cream
Warm Colors Apiary Honey products & beeswax candles, moisturizers, lip balm & salad dressings with honey
- Hosta Hill Provisions Cheese, Several verieties of tempeh and vegetable ferments. http://email@example.com
CRAFTERS/ARTISANS (Most of whom come occassionally throughout the season) & PRODUCTS
- Dr. Cookie Gourmet cookies; bars & squares made with butter & high quality chocolate; quick breads; coffee cakes; dessert sauces & chutneys
- El Jardin Bakery Sourdough Breads, Tea Breads (banana, brioche, biscotti) all organic ingredients.
- Cozy Home Cookies (and More!) Homemade dog and cat cookies made from local ingredients, fleece cat mats, dog bone shaped pillows, and toys designed and made by Nancy.
- Hattaporn’s Kitchen Assorted Thai foods
- Art Bug Matted prints of watercolor illustrations, greeting cards, printed t-shirts, colorful, fun, animal and farm themed art. caldea.etsy.com.
- Weyakin Designs Handmade art & gifts, art prints and products, jewelry, costume accessories, herbal leaf packs, small gifts, and t-shirts. weyakindesign.com.
- Rainbow Kids Tie dyed clothing and accessories for all. rainbowkidstiedye.etsy.
- Lou’s Upcycles Upcycled artisan accessories created from plastic bags.
- Little Birch Farm All natural soaps, body products, pet products, and birch handcrafts, eggs
- Mothers, Inc. Dill, bread, butter, pickles, honey, roasted peanut butter, local juices, and a maple sap beverage.
- Conway Tool & Forge Hand-wrought iron including: trellises, arbors, plant holders, bbq tools, cat-tails, hooks, etc.
- Western Woods Coffee Coffee and coffee drinks
- 7 fascinating facts about maple syrup (mnn.com)
- Three more arrests in Quebec’s $20-million ‘hot’ maple syrup case (vancouversun.com)
JOHN BETTS: THE AGE OF SUPER FIRES
Listen to/Dowload the John Betts interview on super fires (24 minutes)
Are we entering the age of super forest fires? Our guest is John Betts, Executive Director of the Western Silvicultural Contractors’ Association in British Columbia, Canada. He’s in the gorgeous lake-side town of Nelson British Columbia – right in the path of the dead pines forest fire threat.
His group just held a fire management conference in B.C. – with guest attending from Australia as well.
As a leader in an industry devoted to “managing” our forests, often by removing excess undergrowth, John advocates removing “fuel” from the forests before a disaster strikes. In years past, environmentalists have insisted such decay is natural and the woods should be left to their own devices.
Now it’s different. With global warming and warmer winters, the Rocky Mountain Pine Bark Beetle has killed off entire valleys of pine trees.
They will eventually burn – and some surround communities in the interior of British Columbia, and soon in Alberta too.
The same problem exists in the United States west, due to other bugs and general drying with climate pressures. Just consider the big fires in Colorado in 2012. The fires in Australia also look climate-related.
Betts adds a further cause: namely our success in stopping forest firest, (he calls it “suppression”). Most of these forests, especially in Western North America, were adapted to cycles of fires. The coniferous seeds could withstand a fire and regrow.
We know from studying forest soils there have been periods of fire for many centuries. But now with water bombers and new techniques, we stop them from burning, in our parks, on private lands, and around cities. John Betts says this means an abnormal amount of dead brush builds up beneath the trees. That’s a recipe for a “super fire” – one we can’t put out, until it burns out, or gets rained out.
In British Columbia, the dead pines can build into a kind of pyramid structure, just like you might build in a fire pit. That burns so hot it kills off any seeds. In fact, it can sterilize the soil even of helpful fungii and bacteria. So the forest doesn’t grow back, and the ecology has been damaged.
Australia may or may not be a special case, with the eucalyptus trees and their oil, which act like instant torches. Note the Eucalyptus has been planted in California, in the U.S. South East, and around the Mediterranean. That could be a big mistake.
But with long drought, and excessive heat, we’ve seen many parts of the world burn as we’ve never seen in recent centuries. Consider the 2010 great fires in Russia which claimed hundreds of lives. Just previous to that, Serbia had giant fires, as did Greece and Spain. It’s an ominous trend, which John Betts says is no accident.
As global heating continues, and the weather systems are thrown out of whack, we can expect a new age of great fires. Now you know the news before it hits your TV screen or headline. Expect it.
Betts advises communities how to prepare. Things like removing brush, or even if necessary, creating fire breaks around towns. And we should stop our home-building invasion of the woods, particularly in fire-ready areas. Having people living there drives more efforts to put fires out, which leads to the danger cycle again. Or people stay and try to fight the impossible flames, and die as they did in Australia. The Australian government has changed its advice – now telling people to get out, rather than remaining home with garden hoses against the inferno.
We need a lot of discussion and preparation to make sure our communities are safe, and our forests can return to some kind of natural cycle again – if “natural” is still possible in a big climate shift! It’s possible some forests will never return, changing over to grasslands. We don’t know yet, as we gamble away the future of the biosphere on a small planet.
- One-fifth of B.C.’s forests at risk for wildfires due to the pine beetle infestation (shawglobalnews.wordpress.com)
- Forest fire in Valparaiso, Chile destroys 60 homes (disaster-report.com)
Over the weekend, a YouTube video breaking down income inequality in America went viral. As a reader of BillMoyers.com, you may have been aware that the disparity in wealth between the richest one percent of Americans and the bottom 80 percent has grown exponentially over the last thirty years — but the video, posted by user politizane and relying on data from a popular Mother Jones post, focuses on the difference between the ideal disparity that Americans would like to see and the reality.
The gap is a lot larger than many informed Americans realize.
- Income Inequality Goes Viral (billmoyers.com)
- This viral video is right: We need to worry about wealth inequality (washingtonpost.com)
- Wealth Inequality Is MUCH Worse Than You Realize (businessinsider.com)
- Viral Video: Wealth Inequality In Pictures (washingtonsblog.com)
By J. Glenn Evans
Below is the address I made at the University of Washington the 30th of January 2013 before a meeting of the Socialist Alternative Party. It reflects my thoughts on where we are today and what we must do to redeem the dream of a true democracy that our founding fathers set out to create for us. I strongly feel that more of our citizens must run for public office and replace the corporate toadies that have come to rule us. Power lies within the political offices to make the necessary changes. Our neglect to monitor the actions of our elected representatives and demand less secrecy is why we have lost our government. We must began to reclaim our government starting at the local scene with city councils, school boards, county and state offices.
A group of political activists and friends have strongly encouraged me to run for Seattle City Council. I must confess I was tempted, because for years I have been preaching that it is a citizen’s duty to serve his or her community. But at the age of 82, the thought of hustling my friends to support me financially and to devote volunteer time to help get me elected, I believe would unwise and not fair to them. There are younger, mature and well-qualified people who better deserve this support. With the deck stacked against us by the two-party system, we need people who can try for election more than one time. It may take multiple efforts to achieve success. I am a writer and political activist and at my age I can be more effective by being a burr ITA and help build a movement to replace these corporate toadies. What do you think? I would appreciate your opinion. – J. Glenn Evans
ALTERNATIVE TO THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY
SPEECH by J. Glenn Evans
(Delivered the Univ. of Washington, Smith Hall 30 Jan 2013-Socialist Alternative meeting)
I am a recovering stockbroker. I voted for Reagan and was invited to the White House. I grew up in a small town in central Oklahoma back when we still drove a team and wagon to town on Saturdays. We used an outhouse. My early ambition was to be a writer, but I had a very rich uncle who told me I should become a stockbroker. I asked, aren’t those the fellows who jump off of buildings because they don’t want to be poor? He said no, they learn how to make money on other people’s money. If you want to make real money, Son, you go where the money is. Well, I thought since I wanted to become a great rich writer, I might as well try to get rich first. So I spent over 20 years as a stockbroker and investment banker. And I was making money!
You know, events and circumstances can change people’s thinking. For me, it was Reagan’s dirty wars in South and Central America killing civilians that turned me away from the Republican Party. Even back then the mantra was that we must globalize the economy. You don’t need a lot of factories to make things, because if you make the money, you can buy what you need. It will bring us peace; you don’t bomb your customers and suppliers. Well, how much peace do we have, and how much do people out of work buy what they need?
I left that business in 1984 and never looked back. The Democratic Party, once billed as the people’s party, has pulled away from supporting the best interests of the people of this country whom they are supposed to represent. The major changes started when Clinton set out to pursue the corporate dollar for the Democrats. Since that time, the whole system has become so corrupt we have no choice but to develop an alternate party to the Democrats and the Republicans. I did not become a great rich writer but I did become a struggling poet, novelist and political activist. And I am much happier for it.
The failures of the two-party system are pretty obvious. The current administration is George Bush on steroids. It was a Democratic administration that repealed the Glass-Steagall Act separating commercial banking from speculative investment banking that caused the economic crash. Just like it did back in the thirties before the Glass-Steagall Act. It was a Democratic administration that enacted NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) that has been responsible for the growing exploitation of workers and unemployment. President Obama campaigned on a promise to withdraw from NAFTA but did nothing after he took office. Then its expansion in 2005 with CAFTA (Central American Free Trade Agreement). The continued retention of people imprisoned at Quantanamo even after they have been declared innocent. The Democrats, even if they did not pass all of the laws, they continue to support them. Illegal wiretapping. Torture. The privatization of prisons into a profit-making business. The passage of unconstitutional laws, that the present Supreme Court fails to act on such as Homeland Security Act, the Patriot’s Act, the Military Commissions Act, and now NDAA that allows the president to maintain a kill list that even includes American citizens. The suppression of voter’s rights. Extra judicial murder with the use of drones. The ongoing illegal predatory wars. Corporate crimes. Not one Wall Street bankster has been indicted or prosecuted for their crimes. Patriots imprisoned for exposing state crimes. Here is the most blatant example [read Bradley Manning poem]
A LONELY SOLDIER
A soldier of low rank
Ponders the night
What should he do
Be like his comrades
His fellow citizens at home
Be promoted like those who go along
His eyes had rested upon messages
From higher powers over him
That disclosed crimes committed
Under our flag in our country’s name
That trashed our Constitution
Heinous crimes against other peoples
What could he do
How could he expose those crimes
He could not trust his senior officers
He could not trust the corporate media
He could not trust the corporate congress
He could be charged with violating national security
He could expect life imprisonment or death
If he exposed those crimes
What would we have done if we were Bradley Manning
If we were privy to such disclosures
Crimes our government hides from us
War crimes against other people
We go about our business
We vote for the same politicians
Who put this patriot in prison
Who trashed our Constitution
Who act like dukes earls and monarchs
When will we storm the Bastille
J. Glenn Evans
When will they come for us?
Greed and exploitation of the world’s resources and its people have brought us to this point. The resources of the earth are here for all life, not for just a few grabbers. Why should one person accumulate enough for a thousand lifetimes while a thousand people go hungry and unsheltered?
We need a new vision and a new way of life. We can have a world where everyone has food, shelter, health care and public education. It is unconscionable that buildings sit empty while people sleep on the streets. We must change the thinking that property is more sacred than people. City government has the power to negotiate with the owners, giving them a grace period on taxes while the property is used for shelter. The property can be returned to them in as good or better shape than when sitting empty.
Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans provide the vision that is needed. We must build an alternative to the two Wall Street parties by providing and working toward this new vision, a society where we cooperate and share, rather than compete and beat. We must build an alternate economy and withdraw our support from businesses and organizations that exploit and enslave people, whether here in the US or anywhere on the planet. That includes places like Wal-Mart, McDonalds, and the mega banks. We should move our money to credit unions and local banks.
We must develop new leadership to gain political power to correct the inequities and corruption that have developed, particularly since the Reagan era. If corrections are not made, it may ultimately lead to another French revolution. It starts right here in our own city. We need to get new people, besides Democrats, on the City Council, on the School Board, on the County Council, and in Olympia. We need similar citizen political participation in all parts of the country. We must have direct run-off of elections and secure the right of all citizens of legal age to vote. We must build a movement to engage people, especially the young, to take steps to restore those civil liberties that have been eroded. And that means education on civil rights.
We must strengthen our communities by rebuilding the commons and start taking care of people’s needs. This can be done jointly through government agencies with the personal initiative of individuals and small firms to provide the needed goods and services.
We must quit doing only what is expedient and start doing what is right. For example, give the Duwamish tribe one of our parks as a reservation promised them 150 years ago.
We live in a world that is crumbling and where all life is at risk. You know it is quite possible that climate change will be the single most critical factor in determining events and actions in the future. We must bring this issue into public discourse and this discussion must include reductions in the bloated military budget and investment in the deteriorating infrastructure, alternate energy systems, public works, and public transportation.
I’d like to end on a positive note. There are winds of change in the air. We saw this in the unprecedented vote that Kshama Sawant achieved as a member of the Socialist Alternative Party in November, winning 29% of the vote against Frank Chopp, Speaker of the House. We see young people engaged in political discourse on all these issues. We see them thinking outside of the two-party system. We see them studying and articulating their thinking. We want to see young people run for political office. It is creativity that makes us human so let us raise our voices in music and song, poems, and stories.
Copyleft 2013 J. Glenn Evans (Feel free to copy and distribute as broadly as possible)
Former card-carrying Republican and stockbroker-investment banker. Part Cherokee and native of Oklahoma. Earned a BS in Business from East Central University (Ada, OK). Has lived in Seattle since 1960. Worked in a lumber mill, operated a mining company and co-produced a movie, Christmas Mountain, with Mark Miller starring Slim Pickens. Award-wining poet and founder of PoetsWest and Activists for a Better World, hosts PoetsWest at KSER 90.7FM, a syndicated weekly radio show through Pacifica’s AudioPort.org. Author of four books of poetry: Buffalo Tracks, Deadly Mistress, Window in the Sky, Seattle Poems, two novels, Broker Jim and Zeke’s Revenge, essay book, Uncommon Common Sense and several local community histories including Seattle’s Pike Place Market. Widely published in literary journals. Listed in Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in the World.
- Maine lawmakers can’t get away from ‘Washington-style politics’ (bangordailynews.com)
- Hoenig: Glass Steagall II “Absolutely Necessary” (ritholtz.com)
TRIGGER WARNING: violence, abuse.
A film by Eve Ensler and Tony Stroebel One billion women violated is an atrocity. One billion women – and men — dancing is a revolution. Join ONE BILLION RISING at onebillionrising.org TODAY!
“Break the Chain” aims to raise awareness around the world about V-Day’s fastest escalating global campaign to date, ONE BILLION RISING. The ONE BILLION RISING campaign began as a call to action based on the staggering statistic that 1 in 3 women on the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. With the world population at 7 billion, this adds up to more than ONE BILLION WOMEN AND GIRLS. On 14 February 2013, V-Day’s 15th anniversary, activists, writers, thinkers, celebrities and women and men across the world will come together to express their outrage, strike, dance, and RISE in defiance of the injustices women suffer, demanding an end at last to violence against women.
Thank you for joining ONE BILLION RISING, V-Day’s most ambitious campaign yet.
When we started V-Day 14 years ago, we had the outrageous idea that we could end violence against women. Since then, hundreds of thousands of V-Day activists in audiences and on stages in over 140 countries have come together to demand an end to violence against women and girls. The funds we’ve raised together have kept organizations’ doors open, and the issue front and center in local media.
But still today, the United Nations states that 1 in 3 women on the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime that’s more than one billion women and girls alive today.
V-Day wants the world to see our collective strength, showing them exactly what one billion looks like.
ONE BILLION RISING is a promise that on 14 February 2013, we will ensure that millions of women and men rise up around the world to say, “ENOUGH. The violence ends NOW.”
Trace, there is so much more to come. But for right now, you can help us launch ONE BILLION RISING with a few simple actions:
- Share ONE BILLION RISING with your networks
- Sign up for our text message updates in the US by texting BILLION to 50555
- Follow V-Day on Facebook and Twitter
ONE BILLION RISING will make the earth move by uniting us through dance across every country.
Trace, I look forward to dancing, striking and rising to end violence against women and girls together with you.
Eve Ensler Playwright, Founder of V-Day One Billion Rising
Years ago I found an article on healers in a magazine. It was 1984 and one of the healers mentioned in the article was Patricia Sun. She is known for “a sound” she makes with her body; this sound stimulates other people to heal, as it changes our vibration. I purchased a tape of her making this sound, listened to it, then sent it to a sick friend but never got back the cassette.
From her website: Patricia’s explains a new philosophy on life–at once both powerfully spiritual and practical. Listeners will discover deep insights into the nature of left and right hemispheres of the brain–how it works and how it might work–with the joining of the linear and intuitive thinking styles. This reveals how we will be empowered creatively to new discoveries of how to heal ourselves and each other both physically and mentally.
This philosophy transcends and is useful to individuals as well as Nations. Because human judgmental, linear-thinking, is taken to so many extremes, it is the major cause of most of our worlds problems. By blocking our intuitive minds interaction with the linear-mind, there results a form of blindness and profound creative loss, which prevents us from our true potential.
How we heal is something I study and practice. Patricia Sun has a website. This is some of her wisdom:
“My theory is that humans have evolved to a unique readiness to see enough of what is good; and enough of what is able to be achieved, with courage and earnestness: to manifest a collective quantum leap in consciousness. I believe we are now at a rather narrow window—of huge opportunity. The Age of Realization.
Humanity has an expansively unique possibility it could choose. It is in our power and conscious ability to choose the next step of development by healing ourselves, which is done by empowering our honesty. And we need to help each other by giving each other a break. We need to give our selves a break too.
There is a good reason why Jesus said, ‘Judge not lest ye be judged.’ Not being judgmental gives our minds and even our bodies, a chance to shift out of polarized, immature thinking. A chance to forgive others and ourselves so we can all face mistakes––as the wonderful insights for change that they are. We need to know too that there is a big difference between making a judgment and being judgmental.
We will and must make observations/judgments like, the fruit is ripe or rotten, but judgmental is a stagnant, unmoving boxing of thought that criticizes with bad feeling. It is an energetic put down to feel superior. It is not a helpful critique, or just knowledge.
It is a sign of maturity when you can communicate information about corrections, and it is sent and received with goodwill. When people are judgmental and must self righteously or condescendingly blame others, they reveal their internal intolerance to their own faults or shadow. This in turn creates self-hatred or at least, low self-esteem that drives them to cover their fear with arrogance, domination and intolerance of others. This is the root of our dysfunction.
Box thinking is a comfortable narrow-minded either/or, mental trap that makes us ‘right’ but also creates the feeling of distaste, fear or hate of the other, which is ‘wrong’. This both harms us and creates humiliation: a poison to human dignity that screams for defense at all cost. The cost is high. It is a trap that requires more and more blindness—and desperately the fruit becomes simplistically, all rotten or all ripe—because of the fear of seeing that you may be the one that is “wrong”. It is why denial and ignorance seem the only defense.
Further, it is why such brilliant beautiful beings that humans beings are—use their magnificent brains to keep themselves ignorant, drugged, fighting, escapist, greedy, persecuting, or decadent. It is why great civilizations reach a certain point —that of facing themselves—and if they don’t face and self-correct themselves—they decay and fall. Decadence and self-delusion always proceeds a fall. Matching energy keeps it running as we escalate our projection and denial into more and more escapist destruction, decadence, persecution and war.
A culture of denial is the prerequisite of injustice and war; it is a thinking problem more than political. War is merely a failure of maturity. —Patricia Sun
Low self-esteem is something many humans experience, and I wrote about my own stuggle with it on this blog and in my memoir ONE SMALL SACRIFICE. How I choose to think about who I am took many years of looking at my life, my errors of judgment, my choices in friends and relationships, my good choices, studying healing, etc.
By phitran on January 28, 2013 2:00 PM
Facebook is releasing its data to suicide prevention nonprofit, SAVE.org, in hopes of preventing future tragedies. The collaboration resulted from the recent suicide of internet activist, Aaron Schwartz.
About 100 deaths from suicide occur each day in America. Young adults as especially at risk – suicide is the third leading cause of death among those between the ages of 15-24. Likewise, Facebook’s median user age is 22, making the social network a rich source for studies of social behaviors leading up to suicide.
Facebook is not alone in its humanitarian efforts to prevent suicide. Using Google’s search engine to look up information regarding suicide will bring up the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Likewise, Twitter’s public data is available to any researchers wishing to mine information – it’s already being used to track the flu.
Facebook’s role in suicide prevention might be minor, but if it can potentially save a life will users be so quick to judge? Earlier this year, rapper Freddy E eerily tweeted his final moments prior to taking his own life. As someone who have witnessed a friend on Facebook days prior to a suicide, I can say with certainty that there were major signs of depression – how we use that knowledge should be a public discussion and Facebook is starting with good intentions. This is not the first time Facebook has addressed suicide prevention, and it will not be the last.
I have thought about this so I ask you: how do we eradicate poverty?
Does it exist because of governments or a certain group of people? Does it exist because of education or lack of education?
A google search on the effects of poverty provided this article on E-How…
Statistics from The Institute for Social and Economic Research show that children born into a poverty-stricken environment are more likely to have lower birth weights and poorer health. High infant mortality rates are also reported. These children are 15 times more likely to die in a fire, three times more likely to be hit by a car, and 10 times more likely to become teenage mothers. The United Nations Children’s Fund, or UNICEF, reports an estimated 26,500 to 30,000 children die each day as a result of poverty.
Sociological studies show the effects of poverty as being passed down from generation to generation. Family values, habits and lifestyles leave little room for growth beyond one’s everyday circumstances. A cultural framework in which issues surrounding survival, self-empowerment and the value of time become skewed. A family’s outlook is geared towards a “moment-to-moment ” approach to living with little, if any sense of the future. The continuing need to provide for food and shelter is the top priority, making other priorities like providing a structured home environment for children, self-autonomy and future planning, seem trivial.
The educational needs of a child raised in poverty tend to be greater than those of the other children. The effects of malnutrition can make it difficult for these children to concentrate and learn. As a result, children may develop behavioral problems out of frustration. Stressful conditions within the home environment tend to be prone towards ineffective communication patterns, which serve to further hamper the child’s ability to communicate within the classroom. As far as school supplies, and being able to attend educational activities that take place outside the classroom, these children are equipped with the bare minimum, and oftentimes go without the tools and resources needed to succeed. As children age, the effects of their circumstances become increasingly apparent in the form of delinquency, failing grades and an overall apathy towards education in general.
Theories on the causes and effects of poverty vary according to the time period in question. Sociologists within the early 1900s developed an urban ecological theory for the occurrence of poverty. Poor urban neighborhoods were viewed as transitional locales for the immigrant groups that entered the country (United States). This perspective defined poverty as a temporary state, and not as a way of life.
A second theory addresses the rapid increase of an “underclass” population between the 1960s and 1980s. Changes in economic structure brought on by a workforce that relocated to the suburbs, left the poorest families to fend for themselves within the inner cities. This, coupled with a decreased demand for low-skilled labor left those of limited means, and education to fend for themselves.
The lack of health care, education and employment opportunities are the areas which most impact the lives of the impoverished. A coordinated effort from government, community organizations and individuals is necessary to re-frame the cultural framework in which poverty exists. And while financial resources in the form of jobs, and public assistance is needed, a community mindset must be developed in order for said financial gains to be effective. Counteracting the effects of poverty on the mind is an essential aspect of rising up and out of this oppressive way of life.
- Report: Childhood Poverty High In Detroit, But Teen Pregnancy Down (detroit.cbslocal.com)
- 1 in 3 Illinoisans lives in or near poverty level: report (suntimes.com)
- Child poverty rates increase unabated (tv.msnbc.com)
- California Has Highest Poverty Rate (drudge.com)
Michael Moore Answers Twitter Questions About Bowling for Columbine, on December 30, 2012
I think it has contributed significantly. Cultures not fixated on war and weapons of death (say, Canada) don’t have the level of gun murders.Comment:Joseph A. MungaiGUN SAFETY & RIGHT TO LIFE 12/26/12Democracy Now! — Andrew Feinstein, author of The Shadow World, Inside the Global Arms Trade: The global arms trade is a $1.74 trillion-a-year business…This is a business that is about big, big money. The trade contributes around 40 percent of all corruption in all global trade. So its impact on countries, on governments, on ordinary individuals in terms of the economic opportunity costs are absolutely massive…To give you an example, we’ve recorded 502 violations of U.N. arms embargoes since they were introduced. Two of those have resulted in any legal action whatsoever. One resulted in a conviction. Now, the situation that pertains at a global or international level has very many similarities with the domestic situation, particularly in the U.S., because let’s—let’s bear in mind while discussing this that the U.S. buys and sells almost as much weaponry as the rest of the world combined. So what happens in the U.S. is going to have enormous impact on the rest of the world. And what happens domestically, in terms of the ownership of weaponry within the U.S., really does, as I say, reflect the global trade in arms, in that we see it’s a $3.5 billion-a-year industry…Obama administration is in the middle of negotiations for a new arms deal with Saudi Arabia totaling $60 billion…
- NRA Fights Global Gun Treaty (drudge.com)
- Michael Moore: Americans Want Guns Because Of Racial Fears (patdollard.com)
- The Shadow World: Inside the Global Arms Trade by Andrew Feinstein – review (guardian.co.uk)
by Zig Zag, Warrior Publications, Dec 30, 2012
During a Dec 30 press conference on her 20th day of hunger striking, Attawapiskat chief Theresa Spence called on other Indian Act chiefs to take control of the grassroots movement, stating in a written text (read out by one of her aides): “First Nations leadership needs to take charge and control of the situation on behalf of the grassroots movement."
"It may indeed be that the greatest achievement of INM is in mobilizing thousands of formerly “idle” Natives into the streets in opposition to government policies.
This article is key to the plight of humans who struggle financially and end up doing street business (like drugs, guns, prostitution), who don’t get educated and who have no real resume… If you are without a resume in this world, you can be trafficked and marginalized… thus poverty is the worst form of violence… In the new year, think peace and prosperity for ALL… Lara
What If All the World’s Debt Just Went Away
by Joe Brewer
Just for fun, imagine if all debt were wiped away when the Mayan Calendar ended Dec. 21, 2012 (this past Friday…)
How would the world be different? What would become possible for you personally in your life? How would nations and corporations invest our newfound wealth differently if we all started from a clean slate? Problems like global warming and extreme poverty would instantly become financial drops in the bucket—easily tackled with fair contracts and forward-looking investments. The structural debts of entrenched subsidies, invested capital, tax havens, and trade agreements that keep them from being addressed would simply no longer exist.
Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? Well just such a fantasy used to be standard practice in the Hebrew Tradition throughout the early days of their civilization. They held a great Jubilee every seven years to erase all debt and end economic slavery. Accounts kept on stone tablets were broken. Those stored on papyrus were burned to ash. Slaves were returned to their families. Everyone was given a fresh start. (This tradition is being revived today through the Occupy-inspired project, Rolling Jubilee, that has already abolished more than $9,000,000 in US debt for everyday citizens.)
The Invention of Debt
What you may not know is that debt arose recently on the human stage. Throughout more than 99% of our history we have not even had a concept for debt. (The interested reader can pick up David Graeber’s excellent book Debt: The First 5000 Years for full story.)
Anthropological studies of hunter-gatherer societies reveal that there were no barter systems, no currencies to use for money, and — in the absence of these cultural artifacts — there was no debt. With all the great variation cross cultures one might expect from ethnographic research, the anthropologists found that some tribal communities engaged in “gift economies” where status arises from how generous a person is who has acquired wealth, while others have remained egalitarian and non-hierarchical for thousands of years by sharing their food and materials based on the principles of “from each as they are able, to each as they need.”
This belies the great misunderstanding about communism that treats it as a state-centric governing system, when in truth it is the foundational sentiment of any community that builds upon the trust and good will of social relations between people who know and depend upon one another — a condition that has held for all hunter-gatherer societies throughout our long 200,000 year history as a species.
Pick up an economics textbook at random and you will find a classic (and false) “just so” story about the need for barter systems to have money. They all go something like this: Steve has potatoes and needs some shoes. Bob has shoes but does not need any potatoes. They are unable to directly exchange goods due to this mismatch of need, and so must introduce a money system to preserve the value of currency across multiple exchanges that enable Steve to sell his potatoes to Sue and acquire money that he can then use to pay Bob for a pair of shoes. What this simple narrative conceals is the broad evidence from ancient cultures studied by anthropologists that no such problem arises in this way.
What really happens is that a warring society has arisen somewhere (to get a sense of how this happens, read my article about psychopaths and agrarian city states) and is in a mode of conquest. When this burgeoning empire conquers new land, the ruler imposes a system of taxation on the local populace to pay for the costs of war. This imposition of scarcity, by extracting resources from the local population to be hoarded by the warrior chieftain, is what leads to the emergence of barter systems and — in some instances — the introduction of a money system by the ruler.
In the absence of war and conquest, hunter-gatherer societies do not spontaneously create barter systems. Instead they share more or less equally within their tribe and only trade with other tribes through highly ritualized and often conflict-ridden exchanges that take place when two tribes come together for a brief interaction. The pathway that does lead to the emergence of barter systems takes place in agrarian societies where some kind of accounting system has been created to track debts. And from these accounting systems we do find that debt is present.
So where does debt come from if it isn’t naturally a part of human societies? Again it is the imposition of scarcity by the ruling class — designed to extract and hoard wealth in the hands of a powerful elite — that creates the notion of debt. Does this sound familiar in today’s context? Many countries were “modernized” throughout the 20th Century by introducing market systems that structure debt into the economies of newly founded nations. These nations now must pay tributes — in the form of interest payments — to external banks that extract wealth from the poor countries and hoard it in the coffers of wealthy countries.
Stated plainly, debt is created when a powerful group of people impose scarcity upon another group of people who have been conquered. This is the root cause of poverty. It is the destabilizing force of unequal societies that breeds civil unrest and revolution. Thus the need for Hebrew kings to introduce Jubilee. They knew that a revolution might cause the people to rise up and clear their own debts, while also uprooting the monarchy from power. In order to preserve their power base, they would routinely erase the debt and start again.
A Note About Debt and Moral Accounting
The astute reader may already be asking, “What does this story about the creation of debt say about the religious use of moral accounting?” You may have noticed that all the world religions have at their core a transactional relationship between God and humans — where each person owes a debt to their creator and must pay it either by relinquishing sin from their lives or by returning to their maker upon death.
This economic transaction frame for moral accounting is not present in all human societies. Those hunter-gatherer tribes practicing the ethic of distribution based on need have no concept for trading an eye-for-an-eye. Nor do they see a gift as something to be repaid, expressing disgust at the insult of treating their generosity in such a transactional manner.
Instead what anthropologists have found is that debt-based morality is only present in societies that already have accounting systems and also engage routinely in barter and monetary exchange. In other words, this moral accounting system is a product of war and conquest and not a natural part of human society. So the next time you feel a debt to one of your friends, society, or your maker it may help to keep this in mind.
What Would It Mean to Erase All Debt?
We are living in a time when too many of our financial resources are allocated to non-productive activities — principally the accumulation of wealth by “making money with money” and a myopic focus on economic activities that service our massive debts. This is why people work at jobs they hate. It is why investments are not being made in renewable energy, public education, the arts, health care, or the eradication of poverty. We have built a massive financial house of cards on debt — with money itself coming into being when loans are taken out, a pool that grows exponentially due to the interest that accompanies it — and so we are not able to bring consumer culture to an end or focus our creative talents on planetary sustainability.
By the way, this is exactly what my friends at /The Rules are trying to address in their global mobilization effort.
So if we were to erase all debt, the 7 billion people alive today could focus on their passions. We could all come together to address global threats — be they resource-based like the scarcity of fresh water or peaking of global oil production; or cultural like the loss of spiritual meaning in the secularization of society or the soullessness of employment drudgery that comes from working long hours at a mind-numbing job.
What comes to my mind is the way cities try to implement broad solutions to address economic development, transportation, resource management, social justice, and environmental concerns. They must operate within constrained budgets that keep draining further without a clear end in sight. I imagine what would be possible if everyone was able to set out on their own intellectual and experiential journeys without the fear of a debt-collector coming to their door. How then would the peoples of this world choose to live out their lives?
Perhaps you have your own dreams of a better world for you and your loved ones. What comes to mind for you? This is not merely an academic question, by the way, because we each participate in the social realities that are lent our beliefs, our actions, and our obligations. If we were to collectively decide that our debts are no more, they would cease to exist.
This is because what we take to be real in many respects becomes so as a self-fulfilling prophesy. We each have the power to be accountants — defining “the real” by choosing what to measure and imbuing it with significance. In this way, the Gross Domestic Product was claimed as an economic alter for measuring the progress of civilization in the 20th Century. Perhaps in the 21st we will replace it with Gross National Happiness or some other novel metric for capturing the essence of our values and purpose as a civilization on this Earth.
So I’ll ask you again… imagine if all debt were wiped away when the Mayan Calendar comes to an end? Let your thoughts drift and see where they go!
Joe Brewer is founder and director of Cognitive Policy Works, an educational and research center devoted to the application of cognitive and behavioral sciences to politics. He is a former fellow of the Rockridge Institute, a think tank founded by George Lakoff to analyze political discourse for the progressive movement.