Welcome login | signup
Language en es fr
OccupyForum

Forum Post: "On the 12th day of Christmas ... your gift will just be junk", by George Monbiot [The Guardian]

Posted 1 year ago on Dec. 14, 2012, 2:15 a.m. EST by shadz66 (19985)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

"On the 12th day of Christmas ... your gift will just be junk !!!"

Every year we splurge on pointless, planet-trashing products, most of which are not wanted. Why not just bake them a cake ?

by George Monbiot.

There's nothing they need, nothing they don't own already, nothing they even want. So you buy them a solar-powered waving queen ; a belly-button brush ; a silver-plated ice cream tub-holder ; a "hilarious" inflatable Zimmer (walking) frame ; a confection of plastic and electronics called "Terry the Swearing Turtle" ; or – and somehow I find this significant – a 'Scratch Off World Map'.

They seem amusing on the first day of Christmas, daft on the second, embarrassing on the third. By the twelfth they're in landfill. For 30 seconds of dubious entertainment, or a hedonic stimulus that lasts no longer than a nicotine hit, we commission the use of materials whose impacts will ramify for generations.

Researching her film, 'The Story of Stuff' [ http://www.storyofstuff.org/ ], Annie Leonard discovered that, of the materials flowing through the consumer economy, only 1% remain in use six months after sale. Even the goods we might have expected to hold on to are soon condemned to destruction through either planned obsolescence (wearing out or breaking quickly) or perceived obsolesence (becoming unfashionable).

But many of the products we buy, especially for Christmas, cannot become obsolescent. The term implies a loss of utility, but they had no utility in the first place. An electronic drum-machine T-shirt; a Darth Vader talking piggy bank; an ear-shaped iPhone case; an individual beer can chiller; an electronic wine breather; a sonic screwdriver remote control; bacon toothpaste; a dancing dog. No one is expected to use them, or even look at them, after Christmas day. They are designed to elicit thanks, perhaps a snigger or two, and then be thrown away.

The fatuity of the products is matched by the profundity of the impacts. Rare materials, complex electronics, the energy needed for manufacture and transport are extracted and refined and combined into compounds of utter pointlessness. When you take account of the fossil fuels whose use we commission in other countries, manufacturing and consumption are responsible for more than half of our carbon dioxide production. We are screwing the planet to make solar-powered bath thermometers and desktop crazy golfers.

People in eastern Congo are massacred to facilitate smartphone upgrades of ever diminishing marginal utility. Forests are felled to make "personalised heart-shaped wooden cheese board sets". Rivers are poisoned to manufacture talking fish. This is pathological consumption: a world-consuming epidemic of collective madness, rendered so normal by advertising and by the media that we scarcely notice what has happened to us.

In 2007, the journalist Adam Welz records, 13 rhinos were killed by poachers in South Africa. This year, so far, 585 have been shot. No one is entirely sure why. But one answer is that very rich people in Vietnam are now sprinkling ground rhino horn on their food, or snorting it like cocaine to display their wealth. It's grotesque, but it scarcely differs from what almost everyone in industrialised nations is doing: trashing the living world through pointless consumption.

This boom has not happened by accident. Our lives have been corralled and shaped in order to encourage it. World trade rules force countries to participate in the festival of junk. Governments cut taxes, deregulate business, manipulate interest rates to stimulate spending. But seldom do the engineers of these policies stop and ask, "spending on what?" When every conceivable want and need has been met (among those who have disposable money), growth depends on selling the utterly useless. The solemnity of the state, its might and majesty, are harnessed to the task of delivering Terry the Swearing Turtle to our doors.

Grown men and women devote their lives to manufacturing and marketing this rubbish, and dissing the idea of living without it. "I always knit my gifts," says a woman in a TV ad for an electronics outlet. "Well you shouldn't," replies the narrator. An ad for a Google tablet shows a father and son camping in the woods. Their enjoyment depends on the Nexus 7's special features. The best things in life are free, but we've found a way of selling them to you.

The growth of inequality that has accompanied the consumer boom ensures that the rising economic tide no longer lifts all boats. In the US in 2010, a remarkable 93% of the growth in incomes accrued to the top 1% of the population. The old excuse, that we must trash the planet to help the poor, simply does not wash. For a few decades of extra enrichment for those who already possess more money than they know how to spend, the prospects of everyone else who will live on this Earth are diminished.

So effectively have governments, the media and advertisers associated consumption with prosperity and happiness that to say these things is to expose yourself to opprobrium and ridicule. Witness last week's edition of BBC Radio 4's 'The Moral Maze', in which most of the panel lined up to decry the idea of consuming less, and to associate it somehow with authoritarianism. When the world goes mad, those who resist are denounced as lunatics.

Bake them a cake, write them a poem, give them a kiss, tell them a joke, but for God's sake stop trashing the planet to tell someone you care. All it shows is that you don't.

~

sic transit gloria mundi ...

~

[Article copied verbatim under 'Fair Use' from : http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/dec/10/on-12th-day-christmas-present-junk - please use this url to access all embedded links]

119 Comments

119 Comments


Read the Rules
[-] 2 points by shadz66 (19985) 10 months ago

Merry Xmas OWS & "To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never to forget." (Arundhati Roy) & ...

A little harsh on pagans maybe but a life with love lends itself to eternity, is perhaps the Pope's point & :

pax, amor et lux ...

[-] 4 points by LeoYo (5866) 10 months ago

''Pope : A Christian Refusing to Serve Others is a 'Pagan''

Anyone who worships 3 gods including the pagan concept called the Logos and observes the birthday of the pagan god Sol Invictus as being the birthday of the pagan Logos along with all of the pagan festivities of Saturnalia and Yule is a pagan. Thus, a global leader of pagans shouldn't criticize anyone as being pagan for not engaging in acts of humility to be found throughout humanity.

[-] 3 points by shadz66 (19985) 10 months ago

''Edward Snowden - Christmas Message'' (Video and Transcript) :

''A child born today will grow up with no conception of privacy at all. They'll never know what it means to have a private moment to themselves -- an unrecorded, unanalyzed thought.''

Tho' unconnected to either my initial comment or your excellent response, I append the above in reply to you Leo because I know that this matter is close to your heart and wish you and yours, as well as any and all readers, my seasons best wishes.

pax ...

[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (26479) from Coon Rapids, MN 10 months ago

Thus, a global leader of pagans shouldn't criticize anyone as being pagan for not engaging in acts of humility to be found throughout humanity.

Perhaps He chastises Himself? We could guess it be so if He emptied the Papal city of all of it's hoarded treasure - perhaps selling it all and providing the money to the betterment of the poor.

[-] 3 points by LeoYo (5866) 10 months ago

Matthew 19:21-24.

[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (26479) from Coon Rapids, MN 10 months ago

I guess that means that there will be very few from the wealthy religions if any - Hey? The Catholic Church being one of the worlds most wealthy organizations - I don't think many from there will be present - ummm not the congregation ( necessarily ) but U know Past Popes or Popes in waiting or the executive staff and such. No televangelists at all? No way in hell any fossil fuel exec gets in? No way in hell any wallstreet exec gets in? No way in hell any government purchasing exec gets in? No way in hell any wealthy government official gets in?

Sounds about right. F U Waltons - U sure as hell are not getting in.

[-] 2 points by Gillian (1842) 1 year ago

A good book for Christmas:

Scroogenomics: Why You Shouldn't Buy Presents for the Holidays by Joel Waldfogel

It's available as an audio book as well

[-] 1 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

I have heard of this book & append a video of the author speaking on this matter :

Thanx for that link 'G' into our wasteful culture but happy holidays nevertheless :-)

fiat lux ...

[-] 4 points by Gillian (1842) 1 year ago

Thanks for sharing this video! I finally get to put a face to the author. I know that the NY Times and a few other magazines criticized the book because they said he was taking the joy out of holiday spending. But, the book is excellent, funny and entertaining and it's enlightening- even to those of us who already possess the wisdom he shares.
One of the points he makes in the first chapter is how GWB always encouraged people to go shopping. Do you remember that? I do. He encouraged people to go to Disneyland too. A Peter Pan he was. Thanks again for sharing and likewise, you too enjoy the season and creating your own joyful memories.

[-] 1 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

"Is Religion a Force For Good Or Evil ?" - An interview with renowned atheist Richard Dawkins :

"Fanaticism, fundamentalism, superstition and ignorance. Religion is getting a bad press these days. Much of the conflict in the world, from the Middle East to Nigeria and Myanmar, is often blamed on religion.

But what are the alternatives? Adolf Hitler was an atheist. Communism under Joseph Stalin, Pol Pot or Mao Zedong banned religion, but also massacred millions. And science brought incredible and amazing advances, but also pollution and the atomic bomb.

A critic of religious dogmatism, Professor Richard Dawkins revolutionised genetics in 1976 with the publication of The Selfish Gene, which explained how evolution takes place at the genetic level. He has since written 12 more bestsellers, including The God Delusion which sold millions of copies, was translated into more than 30 languages, and catapulted him to the position of the world's foremost atheist.

Mehdi Hasan interviews evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins at the Oxford Union and asks: Is religion a force for good or evil? Can it co-exist with science? Is science the new religion? And why if god does not exist, is religion so persistent?"

The best wishes of the season & peace and contentment to you Gillian, for Yule, New Year and beyond & also :

pax et lux ; nunc et semper ...

[-] 4 points by Gillian (1842) 1 year ago

I love Elizabeth Warren. Thanks for sharing the video

[-] 4 points by Gillian (1842) 1 year ago

Thanks Shadz and happy everything to you too.

I agree with Dawkins on some topics but I also find him to be just as annoying as other religious fundamentalists. He's a fundamentalist at the end of the opposite spectrum ;D I read the God Delusion last year.

Is religion good for us? That's a tough question because I believe it can be depending on the religion but then, that's probably why there are so many wars over religious views, eh? hahaha

I have such a bad taste in my mouth about one-way religions and I doubt that I will ever join one ever again. Why must we differentiate from one another when most religions actually follow the same template? Why not just have one God, ten precepts or commandments and then invite everyone for a potluck once a month to foster compassionate friendships?

[-] 1 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

For this Christmas, 2012 - "The Greatest Gift For All", by Paul Craig Roberts :

Christmas is a time of traditions. If you have found time in the rush before Christmas to decorate a tree, you are sharing in a relatively new tradition. Although the Christmas tree has ancient roots, at the beginning of the 20th century only 1 in 5 American families put up a tree. It was 1920 before the Christmas tree became the hallmark of the season. Calvin Coolidge was the first President to light a national Christmas tree on the White House lawn.

Gifts are another shared custom. This tradition comes from the wise men or three kings who brought gifts to baby Jesus. When I was a kid, gifts were more modest than they are now, but even then people were complaining about the commercialization of Christmas. We have grown accustomed to the commercialization. Christmas sales are the backbone of many businesses. Gift giving causes us to remember others and to take time from our harried lives to give them thought.

The decorations and gifts of Christmas are one of our connections to a Christian culture that has held Western civilization together for 2,000 years.

In our culture the individual counts. This permits an individual person to put his or her foot down, to take a stand on principle, to become a reformer and to take on injustice.

This empowerment of the individual is unique to Western civilization. It has made the individual a citizen equal in rights to all other citizens, protected from tyrannical government by the rule of law and free speech. These achievements are the products of centuries of struggle, but they all flow from the teaching that God so values the individual’s soul that he sent his son to die so we might live. By so elevating the individual, Christianity gave him a voice.

Formerly only those with power had a voice. But in Western civilization people with integrity have a voice. So do people with a sense of justice, of honor, of duty, of fair play. Reformers can reform, investors can invest, and entrepreneurs can create commercial enterprises, new products and new occupations.

The result was a land of opportunity. The United States attracted immigrants who shared our values and reflected them in their own lives. Our culture was absorbed by a diverse people who became one.

In recent decades we have lost sight of the historic achievement that empowered the individual. The religious, legal and political roots of this great achievement are no longer reverently taught in high schools, colleges and universities or respected by our government. The voices that reach us through the millennia and connect us to our culture are being silenced by "political correctness" and “the war on terror.” Prayer has been driven from schools and Christian religious symbols from public life. Constitutional protections have been diminished by hegemonic political ambitions. Indefinite detention, torture, and murder are now acknowledged practices of the United States government. The historic achievement of due process has been rolled back. Tyranny has re-emerged.

Diversity at home and hegemony abroad are consuming values and are dismantling the culture and the rule of law. There is plenty of room for cultural diversity in the world, but not within a single country. A Tower of Babel has no culture. A person cannot be a Christian one day, a pagan the next and a Muslim the day after. A hodgepodge of cultural and religious values provides no basis for law – except the raw power of the pre-Christian past.

All Americans have a huge stake in Christianity. Whether or not we are individually believers in Christ, we are beneficiaries of the moral doctrine that has curbed power and protected the weak. Power is the horse ridden by evil. In the 20th century the horse was ridden hard, and the 21st century shows an increase in pace. Millions of people were exterminated in the 20th century by National Socialists in Germany and by Soviet and Chinese communists simply because they were members of a race or class that had been demonized by intellectuals and political authority. In the beginning years of the 21st century hundreds of thousands of Muslims in seven countries have already been murdered and millions displaced, because their religion does not submit to Washington’s hegemony.

Power that is secularized and cut free of civilizing traditions is not limited by moral and religious scruples. V.I. Lenin made this clear when he defined the meaning of his dictatorship as "unlimited power, resting directly on force, not limited by anything." Washington’s drive for hegemony over US citizens and the rest of the world is based entirely on the exercise of force and is resurrecting unaccountable power.

Christianity’s emphasis on the worth of the individual makes such power as Lenin claimed, and Washington now claims, unthinkable. Be we religious or be we not, our celebration of Christ’s birthday celebrates a religion that made us masters of our souls and of our political life on Earth. Such a religion as this is worth holding on to even by atheists.

As we enter into 2013, Western civilization, the product of thousands of years of striving, hangs in the balance. Degeneracy is everywhere before our eyes. As the West sinks into tyranny, will Western peoples defend their liberty and their souls, or will they sink into the tyranny, which again has raised its ugly and all devouring head?

~

fiat lux, fiat pax, fiat justitia ...

~

[Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following.]

===========================================================================

Thanx Gillian & I appreciate your thought provoking comment. Dawkins is a fundamentalist of sorts too but I like his writing which to me has a spiritual dimension that would make him cringe. "Man does not live by bread alone" & 'energy can not be created or destroyed' - ergo, I infer that we have an eternal life/soul/spirit - force/energy & I too have a problem with 'Abrahamic Dogmatism' which takes a 'I am right SO you are wrong' doctrinaire attitude.

Solidarity @ ALL Open Minds & Empathic Hearts :-) Season's greetings and peace & contentment to you and all for 2013 and beyond.

pax, amor et lux ...

[-] 3 points by Gillian (1842) 1 year ago

Merry Christmas Shadz, I enjoyed reading the article that you posted and I connected with many of it's points. Relgion has been used for too long to control people. I always laugh about how Christians believe that Christmas was a Divine event all on it's own. It has Pagan origins as it was the Pagans who inspired the Christmas celebration.

I spent Christmas listening to the old Christmas radio shows ( Orson Welles, Jack Benny) of the 30's and 40's and I was completely transported to a different place and time, a much happier and respectful place in this world. The advertisements for Campbell's soups and Jello were so thoughtful and generous and they even wrote very nice letters to their customers thanking them so much for their business and success. There was no cursing, no lewd or crude comedy during the shows. It was really quite nice to sit back and relax and just take in the show without feeling any anxiety about being manipulated to buy something or brainwashed to believe something.

Dawkins is correct that energy cannot be created or destroyed. I believe this is Einstein's First Law of Thermodynamics or was it someone else? Anyway, my professor told me that in simple terms it means that nobody gets a free lunch. We all came from somewhere and we will all become something else eventually. Every time I light a fire, I end up with ashes and those ashes get put into my garden and feed the soil. A few years ago I began studying Zen cooking and how the energy of the soil and agricultural practices affects our food, how our own energy during preparation affects the food, how the type of heat source affects food. I really do believe that factory farms contribute to poor health and negative energy. In medical terms, think of all the adrenal hormones/stress hormones that we consume from animals that have been suffering in factory farms. Even hunters know not to spook an animal before killing it because it makes the meat taste bad from all those hormones. Those animals have a spirit too and the more we kill under those conditions, the more negative energy that ends up on this earth. I believe that the reason the world keeps getting more ugly and mean is that there is just too much negative energy vs positive...negative from violent deaths, deaths from unnatural circumstances and deaths of those who die without peace in their hearts. The only way to counter negativity is with love in our hearts. We need to work harder to be more aware of how and when we are reacting to the negative forces around us and make a choice to ignore it and let it go. Easier said than done, I know. Even so, it's doable. I've been really trying to stay away from TV's. I get so stressed out anytime I'm even in a room with a TV, especially my own. What sort of things do you do to calm your spirit and ground yourself in positive, loving thoughts when you're around negative folks?

Here's an interesting history of the soul: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ancient-soul/

[-] 0 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

Re. "energy cannot be created and or destroyed", I was not quoting Dawkins but making an observation where physics and metaphysics overlap, imo. Thanx for your good wishes and thoughtful and thought provoking comment Gillian. Re. your question - thoughts of love both abstract and real, calm me & give me +ve feelings around the -ve energy of others, as does a visualisation of my home, then area, then town, then county, then country, then the earth, then solar system and finally - then the distant fuzzy view of the golf ball of 'The Oort Cloud' - as tho' I was travelling away from "this mortal coil". Thanx for the gift of your link which I have saved to favourites and bookmarked for later reflection.

On a somewhat more mundane level, yet still very importantly, I also append :

My very best wishes for the New Year and peace and contentment to you 'G'.

amor vincit omnia ...

[-] 0 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

Joel Waldfogel gave a public lecture at the London School of Economics three years ago which went down very well. Baby-Bush I fear would not have got the first thing about Waldfogel's ideas, but we can face the fact now that GWM was/is an uber-moron. I append a couple of links re Waldfogel's LSE talk, with the pdf. being of the slides he used and they do make for interesting viewing :

You're very welcome 'G' and thanx for your seasons good wishes. Peace and contentment to you and yours & I think that you seem to have motivated me to locate that book in the new year, so thanx again.

fiat pax ...

[-] 2 points by Shayneh (-482) 1 year ago

Do you really think the wally world shoppers care about this - I doubt it.

[-] 2 points by Ache4Change (3158) 1 year ago

Caring about violence perpetrated on people is very important. Here, give it ago - 'Guns In America: Musings On Our National Psychosis' - http://www.nationofchange.org/guns-america-musings-our-national-psychosis-1355674607 , which ends with - 'extremism is nothing new in this country. Just ask the victims of gun crimes.' It's Christmas soon, 'good will to all men' and all that :) Never Give Up Trying To See The Connections! Occupy The Solutions!

[-] 0 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

Can you buy guns in "wally world" ?! Should Americans "care" ?!! WTF is going on in The U$A ?!!! & :

http://truth-out.org/news/item/13352-multiple-fatalities-reported-in-shooting-at-connecticut-elementary-school . [RIP 'The 28']

too sad for latin ...

[-] -1 points by quantumystic (1710) from Memphis, TN 1 year ago

please at least buy practical gifts that work. not some stupid waste of resources.

[-] -1 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

"NYPD" = 'Not Your Police Dept. "Choir" and an auto-bumpage with : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HwHyuraau4Q + Merry Xmas & New Year to all readers in case I partake too well & forget to say {:-)

[-] 2 points by Ache4Change (3158) 1 year ago

Re. the shooting, from my local rag - http://www.toledoblade.com/Nation/2012/12/14/State-police-respond-to-report-of-school-shooting-in-Newtown-Conn-lockdown-in-place.html - the picture speaks a thousand words! Thank you for this fine post and the song and I wonder how many people buy guns as Christmas gifts this year? Never Give Up On Peace and Gun Control! Occupy Love & Peace! Solidarity.

[-] 1 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

Guns for Xmas ?!!! Sheeesh, perish the thought !! Occupy Love, Light & Logic ! Consider :

amor, lux et iudicium ...

[-] 3 points by Ache4Change (3158) 1 year ago

Guns for Christmas is nothing strange in this country, I'm sad to say. Your links were very very effective and thanks. A less infuriating and so more gentle piece - 'Guns In America: Musings On Our National Psychosis' - http://www.nationofchange.org/guns-america-musings-our-national-psychosis-1355674607 , which ends with - 'extremism is nothing new in this country. Just ask the victims of gun crimes.' Never Give Up On Joining Up The Dots! Occupy Compassionate Reasoning!

[-] 1 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

WTF ?!!! "Guns For Christmas" is just so fukt up maan !! I would be totally speechless if they were Semi-Automatic ASSault Rifles & 'saari', but hey, look - it's all in their name ! & :

verum ex absurdo ...

[-] 4 points by Ache4Change (3158) 1 year ago

That link is both sad and funny & here is one that is just sad - http://www.nationofchange.org/oklahoma-will-consider-law-allowing-teachers-bring-guns-school-1355847480 . Never Give Up Appealing To Reason! Occupy Love! Solidarity.

[-] 1 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

Teachers carrying guns is just NOT something that would be countenanced anywhere else in the developed, civilized, modern world but somehow it feels applicable in The US !!! Sad, weird and more than a little baffling !! I'm reduced to shaking my head after reading that !

Further, in the interest of joined up thinking, I append :

e tenebris, lux ...

[-] 3 points by Ache4Change (3158) 1 year ago

That is an awesome link. Thanks and from the excellent article - 'The wider effects on the children of the region have been devastating. Many have been withdrawn from school because of fears that large gatherings of any kind are being targeted. There have been several strikes on schools since Bush launched the drone programme that Obama has expanded so enthusiastically: one of Bush's blunders killed 69 children.' Never Give Up Exposing Child Killers. Occupy Joined Up Thinking! Merry Christmas, 'Good Will To All Men' & Solidarity.

[-] 1 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

Thanx for the excellent excerpt A4C & on a slightly lighter and maybe more inspiring note : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxHG3jUqdQ0 [4:51] ~*~

pax, amor et lux ...

[-] 2 points by Ache4Change (3158) 1 year ago

Thanks for that inspiring link! Here's another - https://www.facebook.com/OccupyTheNRA :)

[-] 3 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

"Between 2003 and 2010, 247,131 Americans died of gunshot wounds. Since 1982, there have been more than 60 mass shootings in America. In almost every case, the weapons used were obtained legally. The number of households with guns has been declining, with a few upticks here and there, since 1990, and yet gun sales went through the roof in the aftermath of the Newtown massacre, which means more people aren't buying guns, but the people who buy guns are buying more of them." from :

Thanx for that link [ https://www.facebook.com/OccupyTheNRA ] & Solidarity A4C.

e tenebris, lux ...

[-] 3 points by Ache4Change (3158) 1 year ago

'Shooting Is Business & Business Is Good' - sad but true & thanks for that very revealing article & here are two more - http://www.nationofchange.org/nra-blames-everything-except-guns-outdated-video-games-hurricanes-and-corporate-media-led-newtown-13 and also - http://www.nationofchange.org/10-craziest-quotes-nra-press-conference-1356191664 Never Give Up Occupying! Solidarity. Merry Christmas to you.

[-] 1 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

"This sacred text explains why the US can't kick the gun habit", by Jonathan Freedland :

Thanx for those excellent links & solidarity and peace and contentment to you too A4C.

pax et lux ...

[-] 3 points by Ache4Change (3158) 1 year ago

'If Americans truly want to see an end to horrors like the one that took the children of Newtown, they ought to heed the words of that great British-born hero of the American revolution, Thomas Paine: "The circumstances of the world are continually changing, and the opinions of men change also," he wrote. "Government is for the living, and not for the dead; it is the living only that has any right in it."' - from this brilliant article and thanks for the exceptional link. Everyone interested in this issue or actually any issue, should read this. We need 'peace and light' in our country. Never Give Up Educating and Explaining! Occupy The Issues! Solidarity :)

[-] 1 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

The American addiction to guns is really a psychological sop to the illusion of freedom, independence and 'rugged individuality' and is merely another 'mass opiate' to distract from and obfuscate the real plight of Americans. Also please consider :

Solidarity & Never Give Up Occupying !!

veritas vos liberabit ...

[-] -2 points by town (-374) 1 year ago

switzerland has strict guns laws and compulsory gun ownership for all males of military age. AND a low incidence of gun violence.

[-] 3 points by Ache4Change (3158) 1 year ago

And your point is? What else do you know about Switzerland? Never Give Up Joining Up The Dots! Occupy Your Argument! So make your case...

[-] -2 points by town (-374) 1 year ago

the point is,......... compulsory gun ownership and low crime rate in switzerland.

[-] 3 points by Ache4Change (3158) 1 year ago

What is your point? You need to understand the connections between correlation and causation, as well as try some non-reactive, joined up thinking on gun rights; modern semi-automatic assault weaponry; the history of the Second Amendment; mental health provision; extremely violent films and games as 'entertainment'; our violence embracing culture etc. Are you a Republican? This is what the Republican Governor of Virginia is up to - http://www.nationofchange.org/wake-newtown-tragedy-virginia-governor-proposes-slashing-funding-mental-health-services-1355761583 .

Also, please go to 'town' on and try to read and digest - 'Building A Non-Violent Culture After Newtown' - http://www.nationofchange.org/building-nonviolent-culture-after-newtown-1355757331 and also - by Bill Moyers - 'NRA - Enabler Of Death' - http://www.nationofchange.org/nra-enabler-death-1355760591 .

Read, reflect & realise that we can NOT just go on as before! Never Give Up Trying To Learn From History & Connecting The Dots! Occupy Joined Up Thinking For A Better Future For All Our Kids!

[-] -2 points by OTP (-203) from Tampa, FL 1 year ago

Secret Santa is a fun way to do gifts, and each person buys one gift and thats it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secret_Santa

[-] 2 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

"Why Occupy Wall Street ? 4 Reasons." [Short Video] : http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article29772.htm .

Happy hols to all Tampoccupyers :-)

pax ...

[-] 0 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

Yep, lol - I know about 'Secret Santa' & it is a very good idea. Thanx for raising that and here's a slightly soppy gift to you, inspired by my better half :

It is actually a cover version of 'Frankie Goes To Hollywood', from back in the day would you believe ?!

pax, amor et lux ...

[-] -2 points by beautifulworld (21381) 1 year ago

Here is an inspiring video about some kids in Paraguay who play in an orchestra with instruments made from trash.

http://vimeo.com/52711779

[-] 0 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

I recommend your short trailer to all. It is a truly inspiring link and a lovely fit here, so thanx very much for that 'bw' and from your link : "'Landfill Harmonic' is an upcoming feature-length documentary about a remarkable musical orchestra in Paraguay, where young musicians play instruments made from trash. For more information about the film, please visit - http://www.facebook.com/landfillharmonicmovie ". I do really hope that they make their documentary & I look forward to watching with my better half next year.

pax, amor et lux ...

[-] -1 points by beautifulworld (21381) 1 year ago

Glad you liked it. :)

[-] 0 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

I did & hope you like this : "Firing Back at Extreme Gun Nuts, NRA : No Rational Answer", by Brian Foley : http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article33358.htm as it put both a frown and a smile on my face }:-l & :-)

verum ex absurdo ...

[-] -1 points by beautifulworld (21381) 1 year ago

Too funny. Thanks. I thought this one was the best:

"Gun Nut: “I need a gun to overthrow the government if it violates our rights.”

I used to like this argument – I’m a huge civil libertarian. But a few years ago, I noticed a funny thing when our government started violating our rights by using torture, detaining people indefinitely, and spying on us: None of the gun nuts I knew overthrew or even tried to overthrow the U.S. government. They didn’t even talk about doing it.

The only right they care about is their right to own a gun."

I should add, that then, they poke fun at people who actually try to protest.

[-] 4 points by Gillian (1842) 1 year ago

Happy Solstice! You're comment is so spot on!

[-] 2 points by beautifulworld (21381) 1 year ago

Same to you, Gillian. Thanks.

[-] 0 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

The truth is in the absurdity. Further to the usual Freudian analysis, guns in The U$A, have also sort of become symbolic of the delusion of freedom within an illusion of democracy, despite of the reality of a demoCRAZY deMOCKERYcy aka Kleptocratic Corporotocracy aka Psychopathic Plutocracy - teetering on Abject, Overt Fascism !!! Guns are a combination of paranoia, panacea, projection, 'public-relations', pseudo-protection, penis-envy & Linus' Blanket from 'Charlie Brown & Snoopy', I think :-)

multum in parvo ...

[-] 0 points by beautifulworld (21381) 1 year ago

Very true. Perhaps these people never had blankies as children.

[-] 1 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

A clip of ammo is just not a good toy for baby {:-p)

[-] 0 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

On a somewhat more serious tip, I append with a degree of caution & apology, the following article by the same insightful author as the forum-posted article :

  • "In the US, Mass Child Killings are Tragedies. In Pakistan, Mere Bug Splats", by George Monbiot.

"Mere words cannot match the depths of your sorrow, nor can they heal your wounded hearts … These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change." Every parent can connect with what President Barack Obama said about the murder of 20 children in Newtown, Connecticut. There can scarcely be a person on earth with access to the media who is untouched by the grief of the people of that town.

It must follow that what applies to the children murdered there by a deranged young man also applies to the children murdered in Pakistan by a sombre American president. These children are just as important, just as real, just as deserving of the world's concern. Yet there are no presidential speeches or presidential tears for them, no pictures on the front pages of the world's newspapers, no interviews with grieving relatives, no minute analysis of what happened and why.

If the victims of Mr Obama's drone strikes are mentioned by the state at all, they are discussed in terms which suggest that they are less than human. The people who operate the drones, Rolling Stone magazine reports, describe their casualties as "bug splats", "since viewing the body through a grainy-green video image gives the sense of an insect being crushed". Or they are reduced to vegetation: justifying the drone war, Obama's counterterrorism adviser Bruce Riedel explained that "you've got to mow the lawn all the time. The minute you stop mowing, the grass is going to grow back".

Like George Bush's government in Iraq, Obama's administration neither documents nor acknowledges the civilian casualties of the CIA's drone strikes in north-west Pakistan. But a report by the law schools at Stanford and New York universities suggests that during the first three years of his time in office, the 259 strikes for which he is ultimately responsible killed between 297 and 569 civilians, of whom at least 64 were children. These are figures extracted from credible reports: there may be more which have not been fully documented.

The wider effects on the children of the region have been devastating. Many have been withdrawn from school because of fears that large gatherings of any kind are being targeted. There have been several strikes on schools since Bush launched the drone programme that Obama has expanded so enthusiastically: one of Bush's blunders killed 69 children.

The study reports that children scream in terror when they hear the sound of a drone. A local psychologist says that their fear and the horrors they witness is causing permanent mental scarring. Children wounded in drone attacks told the researchers that they are too traumatised to go back to school and have abandoned hopes of the careers they might have had. Their dreams as well as their bodies have been broken.

Obama does not kill children deliberately. But their deaths are an inevitable outcome of the way his drones are deployed. We don't know what emotional effect these deaths might have on him, as neither he nor his officials will discuss the matter: almost everything to do with the CIA's extrajudicial killings in Pakistan is kept secret. But you get the impression that no one in the administration is losing much sleep over it.

Two days before the murders in Newtown, Obama's press secretary was asked about women and children being killed by drones in Yemen and Pakistan. He refused to answer, on the grounds that such matters are "classified". Instead, he directed the journalist to a speech by John Brennan, Obama's counter-terrorism assistant. Brennan insists that "al-Qaida's killing of innocents, mostly Muslim men, women and children, has badly tarnished its appeal and image in the eyes of Muslims".

He appears unable to see that the drone war has done the same for the US. To Brennan the people of north-west Pakistan are neither insects nor grass: his targets are a "cancerous tumour", the rest of society "the tissue around it". Beware of anyone who describes a human being as something other than a human being.

Yes, he conceded, there is occasionally a little "collateral damage", but the US takes "extraordinary care [to] ensure precision and avoid the loss of innocent life". It will act only if there's "an actual ongoing threat" to American lives. This is cock and bull with bells on.

The "signature strike" doctrine developed under Obama, which has no discernible basis in law, merely looks for patterns. A pattern could consist of a party of unknown men carrying guns (which scarcely distinguishes them from the rest of the male population of north-west Pakistan), or a group of unknown people who look as if they might be plotting something. This is how wedding and funeral parties get wiped out; this is why 40 elders discussing royalties from a chromite mine were blown up in March last year. It is one of the reasons why children continue to be killed.

Obama has scarcely mentioned the drone programme and has said nothing about its killing of children. The only statement I can find is a brief and vague response during a video conference last January. The killings have been left to others to justify. In October the Democratic cheerleader Joe Klein claimed on MSNBC that "the bottom line in the end is whose four-year-old gets killed? What we're doing is limiting the possibility that four-year-olds here will get killed by indiscriminate acts of terror". As Glenn Greenwald has pointed out, killing four-year-olds is what terrorists do. It doesn't prevent retaliatory murders, it encourages them, as grief and revenge are often accomplices.

Most of the world's media, which has rightly commemorated the children of Newtown, either ignores Obama's murders or accepts the official version that all those killed are "militants". The children of north-west Pakistan, it seems, are not like our children. They have no names, no pictures, no memorials of candles and flowers and teddy bears. They belong to the other: to the non-human world of bugs and grass and tissue.

"Are we," Obama asked on Sunday, "prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year after year is somehow the price of our freedom?" It's a valid question. He should apply it to the violence he is visiting on the children of Pakistan.

~

ad iudicium ...

~

[Article copied verbatim under 'Fair Use' from : http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/dec/17/us-killings-tragedies-pakistan-bug-splats?INTCMP=SRCH & please use this link to access all corroborating embedded links]

[-] 1 points by beautifulworld (21381) 1 year ago

No one can claim to care about children who only cares for some children. I said somewhere else here that I would like to see the names and photos of all the children killed by drones and little candles lit in their memories. Their blood is on every Americans' hands and it is up to the American people to force the government to end the madness.

Thanks for this trenchant piece. Some excerpts:

"The study reports that children scream in terror when they hear the sound of a drone. A local psychologist says that their fear and the horrors they witness is causing permanent mental scarring. Children wounded in drone attacks told the researchers that they are too traumatised to go back to school and have abandoned hopes of the careers they might have had. Their dreams as well as their bodies have been broken."

"The children of north-west Pakistan, it seems, are not like our children. They have no names, no pictures, no memorials of candles and flowers and teddy bears. They belong to the other: to the non-human world of bugs and grass and tissue."

[-] -1 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

When we accept ethical equivalence and accept that killing kids and innocent people anywhere is equally wrong, only then can we then claim any semblance of true morality, rather than the simplistic spasms of outrage and selective soul searching.

Knowledge of just what is happening is therefore an absolute prerequisite but no one can be expected to be informed by the Corporate MSM (eg. GE own half of NBC and are a huge armaments company too!) but there are ordinary people doing extraordinary things everywhere. Therefore, please also refer to :

Thank goodness for people like Josh Begley and it is heart warming that people like you, he and many others, are in the USA, doing what you can to draw attention to the horror and hubris of The Permanent War Economy ; the Imperial nature of The US-MIC and the all round culture of violence that prevails.

pax, amor et lux ...

[-] 0 points by beautifulworld (21381) 1 year ago

I like that "...simplistic spasms of outrage and soul searching." I feel like that is what America is doing right now and it is very superficial.

Thanks for all the great links and kind words. There is no more important issue to me than ending these drone attacks. They are symptomatic of all the other ills in our society, but they wreak havoc and suffering on so many that it is imperative that they stop now.

[-] 2 points by quantumystic (1710) from Memphis, TN 1 year ago

my dear you have to end the war on terror to make that happen that means you have to create conditions for people who hate us to like us. maybe we could try greening the deserts in these places where people are so radicalized by religion. if all you have is barren rock and sand. then all you have is god. if on the other hand some one shows you the skills and techniques to build homes that provide water, sewage, heating, cooling, and electricity and the techniques to transform a desolate wasteland into a thriving garden of eden and to provide a enough food out of a modest backyard for a family to not just survive but thrive. Then perhaps you could win the hearts and minds of a whole people. i don't know maybe i am delusional and just grasping at straws. but maybe just maybe if you house, feed, and teach people the skills to put clothes on their backs they will actually respect you and hey they might even trust you and not like but love you. call me crazy. in light of all that here are some important links people, organizations, and concepts making real world change.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBLZmwlPa8A Large Scale Rehabilitation of Desertified and Eroded Landscapses. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Ra89Y3WefQ greening the desert hyper arid climate jordan. amazing results.

http://opensourceecology.org/ The Global Village Construction Set (GVCS) is a modular, DIY, low-cost, high-performance platform that allows for the easy fabrication of the 50 different Industrial Machines that it takes to build a small, sustainable civilization with modern comforts.

http://www.slowfood.com/ Slow Food is an international member-supported nonprofit association and a worldwide network of people committed to improving the way food is produced and distributed.

http://www.maps.org/ MAPS furthers its mission by:

Developing psychedelics and marijuana into prescription medicines Training therapists and working to establish a network of treatment centers Supporting scientific research into spirituality, creativity, and neuroscience Educating the public honestly about the risks and benefits of psychedelics and marijuana. MAPS envisions a world where psychedelics and marijuana are safely and legally available for beneficial uses, and where research is governed by rigorous scientific evaluation of their risks and benefits.

http://bfi.org/ The Buckminster Fuller Institute is dedicated to accelerating the development and deployment of solutions which radically advance human well being and the health of our planet's ecosystems. We aim to deeply influence the ascendance of a new generation of design-science pioneers who are leading the creation of an abundant and restorative world economy that benefits all humanity.

http://earthship.com/ Earthships: Radically sustainable buildings made with recycled materials

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autonomous_building http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permaculture http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aquaponics http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microponics http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Integrated_Multi-trophic_Aquaculture http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sustainable_transport http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sustainable_energy http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Urbanism http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Principles_of_Intelligent_Urbanism

[-] 2 points by beautifulworld (21381) 1 year ago

There is definitely much there to think about. Positive behavior instead of negative behavior. I know of a public university that focuses on environmental issues here in the States where some students are researching ways to make the land in Afghanistan arable again. This, in my mind, would be much more helpful that waging wars, harboring feelings of cultural hegemony and imposing military might.

[-] 2 points by quantumystic (1710) from Memphis, TN 1 year ago

i encourage you to examine the links thoroughly. there is a lot there.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (26479) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Really? Like? What? and why?


[-] 1 points by quantumystic (510) from Memphis, TN 4 minutes ago

at this point it will take much more than ending conflicts. ↥twinkle ↧stinkle permalink

[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (26479) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Agree

Remove the reasons for strife ( armed conflict ).

[-] 2 points by quantumystic (1710) from Memphis, TN 1 year ago

i illustrated that in the above post

[-] 2 points by quantumystic (1710) from Memphis, TN 1 year ago

at this point it will take much more than ending conflicts.

[-] 0 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

I added the word "selective" before 'soul searching', as I felt that it was a critical omission on my part & so a necessary edit. I hope and pray in the silence of my soul that Americans search within & see past the superficial, towards deeper 'truths' :

ars longa, vita brevis ...

[-] 1 points by beautifulworld (21381) 1 year ago

Gil Scott-Heron's words still ring true today:

"They turn our brothers and sisters into mercenaries, they are turning the planet into a cemetery."

"The only thing wrong with Peace, is that you can't make no money from it.

The liberals in this country have failed the American people on so many levels and to call Democrats liberals is nearly a joke. So, as Polman says, "The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution states that “No person shall be . . . deprived of life . . . without due process of law.” Drones are inimical to due process." Something, obviously our "liberals" don't give two sh-ts about.

Finally, Henningsen's piece outlines a sad truth in this country that our social studies education which encompasses the teaching of history is an abject failure.

Thanks a lot for all the great links. They really make you think.

[-] 0 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

Too good an article for me not to send you bw so here you go, with my best wishes for Xmas et al :

multum in parvo ...

[-] 0 points by beautifulworld (21381) 1 year ago

The perspective of the outsider is almost always more interesting, and very often, more important.

"To outsiders, the point seems so blindingly obvious: more guns equal more death. In Britain, where gun laws are strict, the annual number of gun-related murders stood, at last count, at 41. In the US the equivalent figure is just short of 10,000."

"If you really want to know why the US can't kick its gun habit, take a trip to the National Archives in Washington, DC. You don't even have to look at the exhibits. Just study the queue. What you'll see are ordinary Americans lining up, in hushed reverence, to gaze at an original copy of the United States constitution, guarded and under heavily armoured glass. It is no exaggeration to say that for many Americans this is a religious experience."

"If Americans truly want to see an end to horrors like the one that took the children of Newtown, they ought to heed the words of that great British-born hero of the American revolution, Thomas Paine: "The circumstances of the world are continually changing, and the opinions of men change also," he wrote. "Government is for the living, and not for the dead; it is the living only that has any right in it."

Thanks Shadz, and Merry Christmas and much peace and love to you and yours.

[-] 0 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

I met Gil Scott-Heron [RIP : April,49 - May'11] once about 10/11 years ago & we spoke about politics and his dad {who played football for Glasgow Celtic} & he left a huge impression on me with his deep intelligence, humour and voice. In all I saw him live 3 times in my life & I feel blessed for it. From the spoken word poem / song, linked to above, I also excerpt :

~

"Peace is not the absence of war,

It is the absence of the rules of war and the threats of war and the preparation for war.

Peace is not the absence of war,

It is the time when we will all bring ourselves closer to each other,

Closer to building a structure that is unique within ourselves

Because we have finally come to Peace within ourselves."

~

Liberals in The U$A have generally shown themselves to be variations on the theme of 'rightwing' and thanx for your definitive excerpt from Polman's pleasantly pithy piece and yes, "drones are inimical to due process" & as he says : "So, at a minimum, let’s ask: Is Obama authorized to kill anybody? Under what criteria? What’s in the legal memos? How is the evidence weighed? What checks and balances have been established to ensure that drones are not abused by this president and those to follow?" However, who will ask such questions in future is moot as evidenced by my last link and your final comment above, re. the state of education in the US. Finally, with a view to the season & in keeping with my forum-post, I append :

qui teacet consentire ...

[-] 1 points by beautifulworld (21381) 1 year ago

That is very cool that you met him. His lyrics are timeless.

Unfortunately, "the poor" and "poverty" are dirty words in this country. The stories in the Thompson article just break my heart. The fact that so many millions of Americans are represented by such suffering is indicative of a failed economic system and a failed political system. Here you have able-bodied people ready and willing and searching for work who can't afford to even pay rent, let alone for their food bill.

[-] -2 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

"6 Ways to Replace Violence With a Culture of Caring", by Alison Rose Levy :

The Newtown tragedy compels Americans to consider the ways that both our society and our attitudes contribute to creating a more violent society. Much has been written about gun control, but we also need a focus on the widespread attitudes and beliefs that contribute to violence and how we can identify and change them. Here are six ideas.

1. Beware of Media Traumatization.

After I heard the news about the Newtown school tragedy, I decided to avoid the news media's inevitable, obsessive, insight-void replays of footage. Neuropsychological science has discovered that either seeing, or imagining actions directly impacts our neurology. Repetitive viewings of violent occurrences can install trauma triggers, even inducing nightmares and flashbacks typical of post-traumatic stress. While it’s important to follow trustworthy news sources to serve as a well-informed citizen, repeated viewings of violent scenes without any clear purpose engraves terror into the neurology of the populace. There’s a difference between getting the information you need and getting traumatized.

2. Steer Clear of All-Knowing Cops and Detectives.

Changing channels to get to a viewing of Les Miserables, I heard a snippet of commentary in which a local police officer promised, "Don't worry we'll find out why this happened."

To which my response was: "Really? How? The shooter is dead."

Commercial television—both news and entertainment -- depicts criminal procedural methods as the universal panacea. The programming of crime dramas encourages the belief that finding the criminal, reaching for guns, and confining folks to lockups are the solutions to a culture of violence. Although crime dramas love to portray detectives as a fantasy blend of enforcers and trustworthy confessors for those driven to acts of violence, it's not a cop's job to heal a broken heart or a broken life. But that is precisely where healing is needed if violence is to be avoided.

Dusting for fingerprints can never account for the pile of pain and lack of caring that drive people into the stew of trauma, numbness and hurt that prompt recurring incidents like Newtown. Neither can the erosion of a society's ethical fiber and caring be arrested by a pair of handcuffs.

Law invites the populace to heave a sigh of relief when the designated bad apple is indicted (literally or figuratively). But when lawmakers and regulators lack the moral courage to contain powerful lobbies that create mass damage, we shouldn’t be tempted to affix a label to one person. Instead when each of us notices and checks the belief that designating a villain makes us safe, we begin to seek out and address systemic contributors.

3. Don’t Apply Psychological Stigmata.

In order to assuage the sorrow, dread, terror, and outrage evoked by this tragic incident, people rush to assign a "reason why," hoping that laying on a psychological or medical diagnosis or designating someone as "just evil" will protect oneself, or help make sense of an act that transgresses the boundaries of what we wish to believe about ourselves and our society.

But all too often, the band-aid diagnosis displaces true understanding. One available label is that one who performs a heinous act must be "mentally ill." Someone asked me, "Well, if he wasn't mentally ill what would you call it?"

"One among the many, many people who are hurting or angry or traumatized, who could get his hands on a gun," I responded.

Counselor and mental health professional Fred Erwin writes, "Spent the day with mentally ill folks whose lives, already hard, will be made harder by the association of this recent shooting with an autistic man, who killed because he was angry and could not control his emotional life, not because he had autism."

From his long experience working with traumatized populations, Erwin adds, "There is no more link between mental illness and violence than there is between red hair and violence, or green eyes and violence, or being tall, or short, or white, or black, or communist, or capitalist."

4. Face Up to a Violent Culture.

Wanting simple answers so they can return to normal, people fail to ask whether "normal," as this society defines it, may in fact be part of the problem. Societal norms themselves combine to contribute to a culture of violence.

As we mourn the senseless loss of young life in this horrible incident, can we stop to consider how many ways our choices as a society harm the well-being of the young and future generations— through unleashing toxicity, or through destabilizing the ecological balance of the earth?

Biochemical interventions into the population, whether through poor quality, obesogenic food, endocrine disruption, pharmaceuticals in the water supply, pharmacology to control the behavior of young children (without studies to determine the long-term effects on neurology, cognition and behavior), and then later SSRI use, have compound effects we fail to tally.

Violent cultural attitudes, including neglecting to provide for the ill, needy, elderly, impoverished, or suffering, also contribute. Even in seeking spiritual solace, some undertake the necessary inner work of self-healing, but all too often fail to give priority to healing social ills.

Unresolved acts of war, violence, perpetration, or abuse, both individual and collective, tend to repeat and perpetuate. The victims of violence are at risk to becoming the perpetrators of violence. Who is ready to bear witness and intervene in the cycle, rather than condemn after the fact?

5. Banish Belief in the “Bad Seed”.

It’s time to take a long, hard look as to whether attitudes that demonize some people as "evil" or innately a "bad seed" lessen or contribute to the tendency toward violence in a society. When I believe or act as though someone is different than me, beyond help, beyond the reach of caring and kindness, and should simply be locked up so I can feel protected, do I increase (or decrease) my community's store of compassion? Doesn't barricading oneself either emotionally or physically from people in pain reinforce the sense that a person in trouble has nowhere to turn and nothing to help himself but a gun?

As Fred Erwin writes, “So much condemnation, fear and loathing directed at these souls who are already beset enough without burdening them with America's shadow-- your shadow, by the way, and my shadow. And if you think yourself in any way less capable of such a thing than this poor young man was, then you have not reckoned deeply enough, perhaps never met your own shadow. The time would be now.”

Before distancing ourselves from those who suffer by wrapping ourselves in a self-conferred mantle of purity, goodness and righteousness, let’s first do as Erwin suggests, and take responsibility for our own stuff. Perhaps it would be fruitful to ask, Who in their heart has never entertained a moment of anger towards a loved one, the most frequent targets in violent episodes, as in the Newtown case?

Anyone honest with themselves can take inventory of their own relationship to their own more painful feelings. Further, from what you personally know of family life and group dynamics, is it likely that the young man, who acted out through senseless killing, was the first and only member of his extended family (or his community) to ever be angry, neglectful, dismissive, hurtful, insensitive, harsh, or abandoning? While it’s not our business to fix a label on other individuals, living or dead, what we can do is understand the context for such a terrible act, in order to mitigate going forward.

6. Care More, and Mean It.

My friend, Valerie Kean Staab writes, “We are failing our children!! Wake up America. Our babies are turning into killers. Our babies are committing suicide at unbelievable rates. We can't even get past the blame game. Something is wrong and it starts and ends with us. Take the time to be a better parent today. Take the time to be a better friend to someone else's child today.”

I couldn’t agree more. If you care about any child, open your heart to all who suffer. It’s not simply that children you care about could become the victims of violence within a culture of violence. It’s also that they could become the perpetrators. When you close your heart, you perpetuate a social context that increases that risk. Love, not lockups—that’s the answer.

~

amor vincit omnia ...

~

{Alison Rose Levy @alisonroselevy writes on health, food and the environment. Her Web site is healthjournalistblog.com and her weekly radio program on Progressive Radio is 'Connect the Dots'.}

[Item copied verbatim under 'Fair Use' from : http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article33359.htm ]

[-] -1 points by beautifulworld (21381) 1 year ago

And, the overarching problem: "Societal norms themselves combine to contribute to a culture of violence."

There is no doubt to the hard truths Levy writes about. Thanks for sharing this piece. I hope everyone takes the time to read and ponder it.

[-] 1 points by Ache4Change (3158) 1 year ago

'Remember The Children' by Robert Reich - http://www.nationofchange.org/remember-children-1355816614 . Never Give Up Connecting The Dots! Occupy Love and Logic! Solidarity.

[-] 1 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

Thanx & "Remember All the Children, Mr. President", by Bill Quigley :

  • Remember the 20 children who died in Newtown, Connecticut.

  • Remember the 35 children who died in Gaza this month from Israeli bombardments.

  • Remember the 168 children who have been killed by US drone attacks in Pakistan since 2006.

  • Remember the 231 children killed in Afghanistan in the first 6 months of this year.

  • Remember the 400 other children in the US under the age of 15 who die from gunshot wounds each year.

  • Remember the 921 children killed by US air strikes against insurgents in Iraq.

  • Remember the 1,770 US children who die each year from child abuse and maltreatment.

  • Remember the 16,000 children who die each day around the world from hunger.

  • These tragedies must end.

~

amor vincit omnia et veritas vos liberabit ...

~

{Bill Quigley is Associate Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights and a law professor at Loyola University New Orleans. He volunteers with the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) and the Bureau de Avocats Internationaux (BAI) in Port au Prince. Contact Bill at quigley77@gmail.com }

[Item copied verbatim under 'Fair Use' from : http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article33346.htm ]

[-] 1 points by beautifulworld (21381) 1 year ago

What we do here, I believe, most of us do for the children. Let us never forget the suffering of children all over this world.

In addition, here are some very sad facts about the status of children in the U.S.:

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article33415.htm

"For the first time ever, more than a million public school students in the United States are homeless. That number has risen by 57 percent since the 2006-2007 school year."

"Approximately 57 percent of all children in the United States are living in homes that are either considered to be either “low income” or impoverished."

"It is being projected that half of all American children will be on food stamps at least once before they turn 18 years of age."

What the heck are we doing? We must do better.

[-] 1 points by WSmith (1944) from Cornelius, OR 1 year ago

It's Class War!

99% of the 99% does not have a clue (they lack information).

The 1% (who own MSM, Fox Lies and RW Hate & Lie radio) loves this.

We're losing!

[-] 1 points by beautifulworld (21381) 1 year ago

This is the work that needs to be done. We cannot get people out on the street if they don't know why they should be out in the street.

We can win. We just have a lot of work to do.

[-] 2 points by WSmith (1944) from Cornelius, OR 1 year ago

And we just lost Seattle's Progressive AM 1090, to 24/365 Sports! Just after losing Portlandia's Progressive AM 620 to Sports as well!!

Imagine the RW crazy that would be unleashed on all media outlets if some liberal (Soros) conglomerate was snuffing out RW Hate and Lie radio, and replaced it with 24/365 Science Programming???

Where is our outrage???

[-] 0 points by beautifulworld (21381) 1 year ago

We need a change to the nation's ethos. The ethos is "The characteristic spirit of a culture, era, or community as seen in its beliefs and aspirations." "The distinguishing character, sentiment, moral nature, or guiding beliefs of a person, group, or institution."

The ethos of America has been controlled and manipulated by the beneficiaries of our economic system which throws all the power in the hands of the wealthy and corporations. So we live in a vapid, fear mongering, superficial, materialistic culture which is just what they want. Changing this won't be easy but, in the end, it is the root cause of all of our problems and the big one thing that we need to do in order to bring about lasting change.

[-] 2 points by WSmith (1944) from Cornelius, OR 1 year ago

"Ethos, characteristics, spirit, culture, community, beliefs, ASPIRATIONS!!!???"

These are luxuries enjoyed by a leisure class of people, one that made a comfortable income, with ample benefits, with college guarantees, a paid for home, a fat pension and retirement fund. All things destroyed by a greedy upper class who were threatened by the public unrest in the 60s and 70s, and vowed never EVER to allow it again ~ AT ALL COSTS!!!!

It's Class War!

Today people struggle to get by, just the way the "Creators" want us!

We're losing!!

[-] 3 points by beautifulworld (21381) 1 year ago

Agreed. We need to fight back, and hard!

[-] 3 points by WSmith (1944) from Cornelius, OR 1 year ago

Knowledge is the key.

[-] 1 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

"Forecast: 13.1% Of US Workers To Be Jobless in 2013", by David Walsh :

Data released by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) on December 19 indicate that 13.1 percent of the workforce, or more than one in eight workers, will be out of a job at some point in 2013.

The EPI calculates that 14.9 percent of the workforce, or some 23 million people, were unemployed at one time or another in 2011. (The 2012 rate has not yet been calculated, of course). This figure for 2011 contrasts sharply with the official annual jobless rate of 8.9 percent, which is simply the average official monthly unemployment rate for the year.

The holiday season jobs situation remains grim in the US for tens of millions, even as the Obama administration and the media blather on about the strength of the American economy.

A more accurate glimpse of social reality in the US was provided by a recent item on the Bloomberg Businessweek web site, headlined “Banks See Rich Returns as Staff Suffers,” which began: “For employees at the biggest Wall Street banks, 2012 brought a humbling post-crisis reality of job cuts, lower pay and tarnished reputations. For investors, it was a happier story.”

The article noted that the Standard & Poor’s 500 Financial Index, covering some 81 Wall Street firms, was up 27 percent for 2012, its largest increase since 2003, led by a 104 percent gain by Bank of America Corp. As Bloomberg Businessweek pointed out, “Shareholders, impatient for the industry to boost profit, were rewarded as Wall Street firms cut jobs and pay, and exited businesses.”

Nine major banks—Deutsche Bank, Barclays, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, UBS, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley—reported more than 30,000 job cuts between them in the first nine months of this year.

Investors have rewarded the financial firms that most ruthlessly slashed jobs. Citigroup stock jumped 6.3 percent when company officials announced “the New York-based bank would cut 11,000 jobs.”

Jobless claims for the week ending December 15 jumped unexpectedly to 361,000, an increase of 17,000 from the previous week’s revised figure, signaling, in the words of one commentator, “an unwelcome speed bump in the labor market’s recovery.”

Talk of a recovery is empty and cynical in face of the actual economic reality. There are currently 22.7 million people officially unemployed or under-employed in the US, or some 14.4 percent of the labor force. This figure is extremely misleading, as the official jobless rate has remained steady or dropped primarily due to people leaving the workforce. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) excludes millions who have given up looking for work from its jobless category.

Since the beginning of 2007, the civilian workforce participation rate has declined by 2.8 percent (from 66.4 percent to 63.6 percent, the lowest figure in decades), or more than 4 million people. Some 350,000 dropped out of the labor force in November alone. A record 89.2 million people in the US (excluding children, the disabled, etc.) are considered to be “not in the labor force” by the BLS. This compares with 143.2 million who are employed.

The EPI estimates that in November the US labor market had 3.7 million fewer jobs than in December 2007, when the latest recession officially began. Taking into account population growth, “the economy should have added 5.2 million jobs since December 2007 just to keep the unemployment rate stable. Counting jobs lost and jobs that should have been added, the U.S. economy has a jobs shortfall of 8.9 million.”

Long-term unemployment remains a plague officially for five million in the US, approximately 40 percent of the government’s jobless total. Some 2.1 million people out of work for more than six months face the possibility of losing benefits December 29, with another one million threatened over the next three months if Congress fails to extend emergency jobless benefits.

~

fiat lux et fiat justitia ...

~

We must keep trying to explain, educate and engage ~*~

[Item copied verbatim under fair use from the link above.]

[-] 0 points by beautifulworld (21381) 1 year ago

"There are currently 22.7 million people officially unemployed or under-employed in the US, or some 14.4 percent of the labor force."

We could have full employment if only our society would determine that human beings are more important than profit.

[-] 1 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

'The Human Value Theory of Labour & Money' is something that will become increasingly evident as we painfully progress to a 'post-high-finance crapitalism' world, fit for our kids and grand kids. Happy hols, peace and joy to you and yours, bw.

dum spiro, spero ...

[-] -1 points by beautifulworld (21381) 1 year ago

I think there will be a natural evolution toward that as we re-define our economic system to match the needs of the technological changes and globablization that we now face. The problem is that the slower this takes to develop, the more suffering there will be in the interim.

And, happy holidays to you and yours too, Shadz.

[-] -2 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

Ergo - "Why Socialism ?" by Albert Einstein : http://monthlyreview.org/2009/05/01/why-socialism .

Like you, that Einstein was no dummy :-) From one perspective, there are two reasons for ever doing anything - one is love and the other fear. Thank you for all that you do here, animated by the former.

pax, amor et lux ...

[-] -1 points by beautifulworld (21381) 1 year ago

Nice. Let's do for love. Merry Christmas, Shadz, and everyone on the forum.

[-] 1 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

"Why I Am a Socialist ?" by Chris Hedges :

"Has Capitalism Proven its Durability?", by Chris Hedges and Richard Wolff :

From the last link : "As unemployment in the US decreases and large companies expand their profit margins, we ask if the capitalist system has proven its ability to endure and adapt. Or should Americans be considering an alternative economic system ?"

Good wishes for a happy, peaceful and productive 2013 to you and all readers on this excellent forum.

respice, adspice, prospice ...

[-] 3 points by beautifulworld (21381) 1 year ago

"Corporations have intruded into every facet of life. We eat corporate food. We buy corporate clothes. We drive corporate cars. We buy our vehicular fuel and our heating oil from corporations. We borrow from corporate banks. We invest our retirement savings with corporations. We are entertained, informed and branded by corporations. We work for corporations. The creation of a mercenary army, the privatization of public utilities and our disgusting for-profit health care system are all legacies of the corporate state. These corporations have no loyalty to America or the American worker. They are not tied to nation states. They are vampires."

“By now the [commercial] revolution has deprived the mass of consumers of any independent access to the staples of life: clothing, shelter, food, even water,” Wendell Berry wrote in “The Unsettling of America.” “Air remains the only necessity that the average user can still get for himself, and the revolution had imposed a heavy tax on that by way of pollution. Commercial conquest is far more thorough and final than military defeat.” From the Chris Hedges article.

And, no, clearly capitalism has not proven it's durability, but it's abject failure. Americans should most definitely be considering an alternative economic system. This is actually crucial to our survival as a civilization. We will soon be like the poor folks of Easter Island if we continue the way we are.

Happy New Year to you too Shadz, and everyone. :)

[-] 3 points by therising (6643) 1 year ago

Cheers! Can we evict corporatists who have hijacked our great republic thereby restoring it AND transform our economy simultaneously? Are the two compatible? Do we need to scrap the great system developed by founders in order to transform our economic system?

[-] 0 points by beautifulworld (21381) 1 year ago

I don't think we need to scrap democracy, but we certainly need to revamp our democracy so that it is for and by the people, not the wealthy and corporations (as it stands right now it is really a plutocracy, not a democracy). And, I think the political system has little to do with the economic system as China has proven with it's capitalist economy and communist politics. We can either force the capitalist system to work for all people by instituting checks and balances on it and then wonder to ourselves if it is still really capitalism or we can call it something else after we make sure, through regulation, that everyone who lives in this country has enough to live a decent life.

I personally think capitalism is going to disappear. I think it is a legacy of the Industrial Revolution and that a new global and technological revolution has taken place which will ultimately bring about a new economic system.

[-] 4 points by therising (6643) 1 year ago

Well said. I think I'm pretty much on the same page as you until someone convinces me that there is a better political option.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (26479) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

May this new year see the beginning of positive change/growth for the people/society/world/environment.

[-] 4 points by beautifulworld (21381) 1 year ago

Hmmm. Downvoted for saying "I'm hoping. Education is crucial. Action only comes with knowledge."

Ooooooh. Does that really bother people?! Can we see here what the powers that be really want? They want the American peoples' heads in the sand, blinders on, apathy all around. They are even willing to send out their trolls to our forum to vote down such benign comments as that.

Wake up people!

[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (26479) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

They ( shills ) really are transparent - transparently stupid as well - or is that transcendentally stupid?

[-] 2 points by therising (6643) 1 year ago

Cheers! Can we evict corporatists who have hijacked our great republic thereby restoring it AND transform our economy simultaneously? Are the two compatible? Do we need to scrap the great system developed by founders in order to transform our economic system?

[-] 0 points by beautifulworld (21381) 1 year ago

I'm hoping. Education is crucial. Action only comes with knowledge.

[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (26479) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Good knowledge and sane analyses.

[-] 0 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

"How an Astounding New Right-Wing Lie About the Economy Was Born", by Joshua Holland :

Subtitled - "Insensitivity to human plight taken to new extremes."

I append the above in keeping with the subject matter of the forum-post but also I do note with interest (as per your comment below) the attempt to subvert this thread and indeed other forum-posts, by using concerted down-voting. However in the end - love, light and logic shall prevail. Thanx for the very relevant excerpts and persevere and do as you do, irrespective of corporate shills and righwing trolls. Solidarity !!

per ardua ad astra ...

[-] 2 points by beautifulworld (21381) 1 year ago

"A great deal of conservative economic views are shaped by myths." Yep, and I just don't get how these people want to deny helping the poor who are created and exploited by the very economic system that they love so much. Heartless much?

And, regarding the down votes and corporate shills and rightwing trolls, bring it on. I'm not going anywhere and neither are my comrades. If anything, this movement is at its earliest stages. We have only just begun.

[-] 1 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

What we really need to do is change the underlying policies that shape our economy. We can’t do that through the sum of our individual behaviour in the marketplace. We can only do it by exercising our collective power as citizens.

Stacy Mitchell is a researcher and writer at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR), a national nonprofit organization that challenges corporate consolidation of the economy and champions policies to nurture community-scaled enterprise.

Stacy directs two ILSR initiatives on independent business and community banking. Her analysis has helped inspire many grassroots campaigns and provided empirical support for changes to local and state policy.

I cannot recommend this video enough and tho' no reply required or possible here, please disseminate this as widely as possible. Onwards & Upwards ! Unite for a bw for all !! Together We Are Stronger !!!

pax, amor et lux ...

[-] 0 points by DKAtoday (26479) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Sing it out BW sing it out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

[-] 1 points by therising (6643) 1 year ago

Cheers! Can we evict corporatists who have hijacked our great republic thereby restoring it AND transform our economy simultaneously? Are the two compatible? Do we need to scrap the great system developed by founders in order to transform our economic system?

[-] 0 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

"It remains the task of a new economics to revive the classical distinction between wealth and overhead, earned and unearned income, profit and rentier income – and ultimately between capitalism and feudalism."

In reply to your questions, I quote the words above which end the following long, closely argued but very relevant article by the ever insightful Dr. Michael Hudson :

Finally, I'd suggest that the underlying reasons for attachment to "the great system" really needs some genuine reflection.

fiat lux ...

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (26479) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

And that doing things right - like a robust green tech infrastructure - is the way to go.

[-] -2 points by beautifulworld (21381) 1 year ago

Definitely one great idea.

[-] 0 points by DKAtoday (26479) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Think of all the work getting just that one idea into reality - then maintain it with regular improvements as they become available.

[-] -2 points by beautifulworld (21381) 1 year ago

The pay off for future generations would be huge. This would be an investment in our society, not an expense.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (26479) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Exactly - YOU - have a proper perspective.

By any chance - are you contagious?

( Oh - I hope I hope I hope )

[-] -2 points by town (-374) 1 year ago

if a business doesnt make a profit how can a business owner afford to pay the people that work for the company?

[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (26479) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Guess if the business looses ( Looses ) money it should shut down - Hey? But if it breaks even while providing a living wage for all of the employees - it should stay open.

[-] -3 points by beautifulworld (21381) 1 year ago

Most small businesses are heavily affected by the high unemployment numbers and extremely low wages. It is a vicious cycle for the small employer. When human beings have jobs to perform and earn a decent living, they have more money to spend. Everyone benefits. Big employers might have to make do with less profits because they might have to actually pay their employees enough money to live on.

[-] -2 points by Ache4Change (3158) 1 year ago

'The Dec. 14 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. that left 28 people dead—including 20 children— has sent shock waves through our society. It penetrated the elaborate defenses that we as individuals and as a culture have erected to live with the internal contradictions of the bargain we have made to both oppose and embrace violence. Occasionally reality exposes and trumps the cognitive dissonance of this uneasy but deeply embedded arrangement.' - taken from this highly recommended article - http://www.nationofchange.org/building-nonviolent-culture-after-newtown-1355757331 and thanks for this excellent post & thread. Never Give Up Applying Head & Heart! Occupy Hope! Solidarity and my best wishes for a happy holiday to you and yours.

[-] -1 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

"Sympathy from the Devil", by William Norman Grigg : http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article33347.htm .

Thanx for the strong link, excerpt & regards and the same to you and yours. 'NGU ~*~ & <3'

fiat lux ...

[-] 3 points by Ache4Change (3158) 1 year ago

Solidarity & - http://www.nationofchange.org/remember-children-1355816614 . Never Give Up! Occupy The Issues! From your very hard hitting link - 'The killer who slaughtered the innocent at Sandy Hook is dead. The Child-Killing Apparatus over which Obama presides continues merrily along. Americans understandably shaken and saddened to the depth of their souls by the horrors in Newtown should consider this: The government that impudently presumes to rule us has made Sandy Hook-style massacres routine for residents of Pakistan.'

[-] 0 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

'Whether it’s fighting for reasonable gun regulation, child health and safety overall, or good schools and family services – we can’t have a fair fight as long as special-interest money continues to poison our politics.' , from your linked article.

Robert Reich speaks truth to power these days - now that he is not as close to power as before, and one can assume that he has a deep knowledge on the matter of 'Thinktanks and Lobbyists'. Here's an article on the matter from an source with which you will be familiar with by now :

"Rightwing thinktanks profess a love of freedom, but their refusal to reveal who funds them is deeply undemocratic".

fiat lux ...

[-] 3 points by Ache4Change (3158) 1 year ago

Millionaires and Corporations manipulate us through their many thinktanks, lobbyists and 'PR' and here is where it is getting us - http://www.nationofchange.org/nra-enabler-death-1355760591 & also - http://www.nationofchange.org/after-sandy-hook-shootings-nra-campaign-clout-still-formidable-1355928985 - and thanks for your excellent link. Never Give Up! Occupy The Issues! Solidarity.

[-] 0 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

"Every year there are 30,000 gun deaths and 300,000 gun-related assaults in the U.S.," he said. "Firearm violence may cost our country as much as $100 billion a year. Toys are regulated with greater care and safety concerns than guns ... we have become so gun loving, so blasé about home-grown violence that in my lifetime alone, far more Americans have been casualties of domestic gunfire than have died in all our wars combined." - taken from your first link & thanx again for your diligent posting and links on this and other matters. Solidarity to you A4C.

[-] 3 points by Ache4Change (3158) 1 year ago

'With 20 children dead, President Obama insisting that preventing gun violence will be a second-term policy priority, and Harry Reid not facing re-election until 2016, perhaps the Senator will now be willing to stand up to the NRA? The clock is ticking.' - from - http://www.nationofchange.org/senator-harry-reid-and-guns-time-take-stand-1356020013 by Medea Benjamin. Never Give Up Occupying The Real Issues!