Truths are illusions which we have
forgotten are illusions.
From The Nietzsche Family Circus via More Notes From Underground
There is a "mystery" we must explain: How is it that as corporate investments and foreign aid and international loans to poor countries have increased dramatically throughout the world over the last half century, so has poverty? The number of people living in poverty is growing at a faster rate than the world’s population. What do we make of this?
It is, of course, no mystery at all if you don't adhere to trickle-down mystification. Why has poverty deepened while foreign aid and loans and investments have grown? Answer: Loans, investments, and most forms of aid are designed not to fight poverty but to augment the wealth of transnational investors at the expense of local populations.
There is no trickle down, only a siphoning up from the toiling many to the moneyed few. (From Mystery: How Wealth Creates Poverty in the World by Michael Parenti)
If one billion dollars in overseas aid truly lifted 434,000 people out of extreme poverty... then the world would be an altogether different place.
The 'trickle-down theorists', in no short number, argue with the same few hackneyed metaphors to illustrate their obsession with economic growth, like the rising tide that lifts all boats, or that, rather than share the cake more evenly, it is better to bake an even larger one... What this complacent premise fails to account for is the billions of people earning less than two dollars a day who are fortunate to own a corrugated shelter, let alone a 'cake' or a 'boat' to rise in. Poverty eradication is a nice enough idea, the lesson seems to be, so long as it remains consistent with the assumption of the rich getting richer.
To plead for a redistribution of wealth, even for a one percent redistribution of the incomes of the richest 20 percent to the poorest 20 percent, is tantamount to asking for a magic wand so long as the existing macroeconomic polices drive international politics... Another rudimentary metaphor to add to the trickle-down theorists limited repertoire, in this sense, might be the description of a cancerous tumour.
Ever since two studies linked sprawl and obesity in 2003, study upon study has been published suggesting that our built environment -- marked by car-oriented, isolated, unwalkable neighborhoods -- is having a deleterious influence on our health. In other words, sprawl is making us unhealthy, unhappy and fat.
One early study of 200,00 people, led by urban planner Reid Ewing, found that residents of sprawling communities tended to weigh more, walk less and have higher blood pressure than those living in more densely populated areas. Another study, by health psychologist James Sallis of San Diego State University, concluded that people living in "high-walkability" neighborhoods walk more and were less likely to be obese than residents of low-walkability neighborhoods. A 2004 study based in Atlanta, led by Lawrence Frank, reported that the number of minutes spent in a car correlated with a risk of obesity. Among the oft-cited conclusions of the study: A typical white male living in an isolated residential-only neighborhood weighs about 10 pounds more than one living in a walkable, mixed-use community.
Now they are saying we are 'a threat' to them. But hasn't it always been they who have threatened us?
Yes, we are a threat to them. Every time we break bread, thousands of them are at risk from each munch of our teeth. Every time I chew a grape or a sugared date, suck a mulberry or an apricot, someone in England must shudder in fear. Every time my son climbs a tree to find a fig, the fine imperial gentlemen of England are put at risk. Yet all we have ever wanted to do is to live our own lives without them. The other night on TV I heard an old Iraqi layman saying, 'they have everything, we have nothing. We don't want anything from them - but still they want more from us'. All we ask is for them to stop interfering with us. We have not been bombing them since 1920. It is they who have been bombing us. Do they never think of that? It never bothers them. They seem to think of it as their god-given right. Or is it another of their human rights - the right to bomb?
And still they claim that it is we who are a threat to them. So much so that they have been killing us over the decades, bomb after bomb after bomb, whenever we displeased them or went against their interests. Our problem though, I suppose, is that ... we didn't just go along with everything they wanted... They will never subdue us, you will see, never 'pacify' us - even if they keep at it for all eternity.
I often wonder how they would feel if we had been bombing them in England every now and then from one generation to the next, if we changed their governments when it suited us, destroyed their hospitals, made sure they had no clean water, and killed their children and their families. How many children is it that have died now? I can't even bring myself to think how many. They say that their imperial era is over now. It does not feel that way when you hear the staccato crack of their fireballs from the air. Or when the building shakes around you and your children from their bombs as you lie in your bed. It is then that you dream of real freedom - in shaa' allah - freedom from the RAF
A Spanish judge has thrown out a woman's harassment suit against her ex-husband on the grounds she has a good education, arguing that had she really suffered abuse during their 16-year marriage she would have reported it right away or sought counseling.
He said he found it "surprising" that a woman with her level of education would put up with that alleged treatment for so many years without reporting it or seeing a psychiatrist, and "curious" that she is filing suit now, years after the marriage fell apart.
Rocio Mielgo, president of the Association of Victims of Sexual Aggression and Mistreatment, said the ruling is unacceptable because it suggests that only "if you are from a lower class or have little education can you be mistreated."
Teun van de Keuken, 35, is seeking a jail sentence to raise consumer awareness and force the cocoa and chocolate industry to take tougher measures to stamp out child labor.
"If I am found guilty of this crime, any chocolate consumer can be prosecuted after that. I hope that people would stop buying chocolate and thus hurt the sales of big corporations and make them do something about the problem," van de Keuken said.[...]
"We profit from these people and they get almost nothing in return. As consumers we are also responsible for these atrocities," van de Keuken told Reuters.
Last year, the Italian government issued a new regulation stating that public authorities should take account of sustainable development when they are issuing calls for tender.
Because schools are required to sell fair trade products in their canteens, it is estimated that this will lead to weekly sales of fair trade bananas and packets of biscuits of almost 300,000 each in 2007-12.
I'm dead tired of them demonizing the shooters. People fail to see the shooter himself as a victim as well. A victim of exclusion, bullying, beatings, ridicule and being ignored. The most frustrating thing is that I can relate to these shooters. I feel like every time they criticise them they indirectly criticise me. Another very frustrating thing is that they dodge the issue of ignorance. If I go to someone for help, and they criticise, ignore or admonish me, will I bother? I got lucky there were no firearms readily available and just got forced to quit school. I wonder if only two students who had it coming ended up on the news, what would people say? Poor guys, boo-hoo, nice guys, what a shame. How about a couple witnesses saying that they pushed him too far, they had it coming. It's no different than silencing the protests to the war on Iraq. They only keep one side of the story. Then you hear the typical opinion of a prof. of psychology. My mom and dad still maintain that it was my fault that I "quit" school. I've still got that beef with them. They didn't help much. But Mr. [xxx] (principal of [xxxx]) is still in my black books. I still want him dead, I just don't want to do it myself. I need to speak out about the FACT that the SHOOTER was VICTIMISED without being told how insensitive and mean and evil I am. I want to save lives. I want bullies to get expelled on the first offence and sent to juvie for assault and harassment like any other criminal. Once you can't get away with something, people don't do it as much. Then comes the problems of popular kids sticking up for popular kids, getting bullies off the hook or other kids (maybe 12 of them) saying YOU'RE a bully and getting YOU expelled. How come a kid can break another kid's arm and watch him scream with a smile on his face, before some other kid gets a teacher. If you can resolve the REAL problem (bullies, ignorance etc.) you won't usually have to deal with the RESULT (the shootings) as often. I want to do something about this. Any ideas?
The nation reacted in horror as students counted their dead by the dozens, all innocent victims of an indiscriminate attack violating the sanctity of the university campus.
Today, it’s Virginia Tech, the site of a horrific mass murder in which at least 33 students are confirmed dead in a shooting rampage by an as-yet unidentified gunman.
In Iraq, universities struggling to operate in the midst of a war zone have been struck repeatedly by bombings, shootings, assassinations, and abductions that have left behind hundreds of killed and wounded, victims and forced thousands of students and professors to stay away, or even leave the country.
On Monday, the same day as the Virginia Tech mass shooting, two separate shooting incidents struck Mosul University, one killing Dr. Talal Younis al-Jelili, the dean of the college of Political Science as he walked through the university gate, and another killing Dr. Jaafar Hassan Sadeq, a professor from the Faculty of Arts at the school, who was targeted in front of his home in the al-Kifaat area, according to Aswat al-Iraq.
In January, Baghdad’s Mustansiriya University sufferred a double suicide bombing in January that killed at least 70 people, including students, faculty, and staff. A month later, another suicide bomber struck at Mustansiriya, killing 40.
Read the rest of the article from Iraqslogger.com.
One of the few Haitian journalists reporting from the point of view of the poor majority needs your assistance. Wadner Pierre has been regularly contributing to important solidarity sites such as HaitiAction and HaitiAnalysis and the Institute for Democracy and Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), but his camera is barely functioning.
Darren Ell and the IJDH are selling 8x10 photographs taken by Wadner and Darren in the last year in Haiti to raise money for a new camera. Click HERE to view the photos and place your orders. They have already raised $500, and Wadner has saved $100, but we still need another $500 to get him the kind of camera he needs
We're not here to get bored
We're not here to get bored
We are here to disrupt
To disrupt, to disrupt
To have the time of our lives
Doubt will kill you
you've passed away
the various controls
Appeal of the marvelous
Is it enough to show
How the nightmare works
so everyone will wake up
Is it enough?
What if the Holocaust had never stopped?
What if no liberating armies invaded the territory stormed over by the draconian State? No compassionate throng broke down the doors to dungeons to free those imprisoned within? No collective outcry of humanity arose as stories of the State’s abuses were recounted? And no Court of World Opinion seized the State’s leaders and held them in judgment as their misdeeds were chronicled? What if none of this happened?
What if, instead, with the passage of time the World came to accept the State’s actions as the rightful and lawful policies of a sovereign nation having to deal with creatures that were less than fully human?
What if the Holocaust had never stopped, so that, for the State’s victims, there was no vindication, no validation, no justice, but instead the dawning realization that this was how things were going to be? What if those who resisted were crushed, so that others, tired of resisting, simply prayed that the ‘next’ adjustment to what remained of their ways of life would be the one that, somehow, they would be able to learn to live with? What if some learned to hate who they were, or to deny it out of fear, while others embraced the State’s image of them, emulating as far as possible the State’s principles and accepting its judgment about their own families, friends, and neighbors? And what if others could find no option other than to accept the slow, lingering death the State had mapped out for them, or even to speed themselves along to their State-desired end?
Then, you would have Canada’s treatment of the North American Aboriginal population in general, and the Indian Residential School Experience in particular.
New federal guidelines ask all females capable of conceiving a baby to treat themselves -- and to be treated by the health care system -- as pre-pregnant, regardless of whether they plan to get pregnant anytime soon.
Among other things, this means all women between first menstrual period and menopause should take folic acid supplements, refrain from smoking, maintain a healthy weight and keep chronic conditions such as asthma and diabetes under control.
The percentage of boys born in the U.S. and Japan each year has gradually declined over the last three decades, a new study says -- and pollutants are a possible cause. "Male reproductive health is in trouble," says lead researcher Devra Lee Davis of the University of Pittsburgh, noting that both adult fertility and fetal chances seem to be affected. The study, published in the online journal Environmental Health Perspectives, calls the trend "a serious matter" that could be caused by exposure to chemicals like dioxin and mercury; it also points to factors including stress, obesity, and fertility treatments. The true cause, says Davis, is "something we need to find out and act upon." Because a woman without a man -- well, she'd probably be fine, but still. Meanwhile, a British study says smokers are twice as likely to conceive girls, suggesting that nicotine may affect sperm. Yes, smoke gets in your Y's -- but picking up puffing in an effort to determine your child's gender is not recommended.
[...] the strategy in the north on the part of the Soviet Union was to deliver aid and development projects as a reward for cooperation (or merely not violently resisting).
[..] there was not universal resistance to the Soviets (I am not claiming that there there was no resistance to the Soviets in the north) and that the Soviets actually did give development an attempt. You can take the example of the Soviet attempt at "winning hearts and minds" and note either the striking similarity to or the stark difference with the present NATO/ISAF effort in Afghanistan.
Monday's marchers included some Kurds in traditional dress as well as Sunni clerics, many of whom were bused by Sadr's movement from the city of Basra in the south. "Let's put out the fire of discord and chop off the snake's head," chanted some in reference to Iraq's ongoing sectarian strife.
The White House responded to the massive demonstrations with a typically dismissive sound bite. "Iraq, four years on, is now a place where people can freely gather and express their opinions," said White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe.
Jondroe's comment begs a little context: Opinions were indeed expressed in yesterday's demonstrations. But freedom? It is difficult to hear Iraqis described as free. Saddam Hussein is dead, sure. His regime is scattered, sure. But does the subtraction of dictatorship equal freedom? What about the addition of house raids, death squads, checkpoints, detentions, constant violence and curfews?
Here on the slopes of hills, facing the dusk and the cannon of time
Close to the gardens of broken shadows,
We do what prisoners do,
And what the jobless do:
We cultivate hope.
On the day when my words
I was a friend to stalks of wheat.
On the day when my words
I was a friend to chains.
On the day when my words
I was a friend to streams.
On the day when my words
were a rebellion
I was a friend to earthquakes.
On the day when my words
were bitter apples
I was a friend to the optimist.
But when my words became
Translated by Ben Bennani
The similarities between Iraq and Darfur are remarkable. The estimate of the number of civilians killed over the past three years is roughly similar. The killers are mostly paramilitaries, closely linked to the official military, which is said to be their main source of arms. The victims too are by and large identified as members of groups, rather than targeted as individuals. But the violence in the two places is named differently. In Iraq, it is said to be a cycle of insurgency and counter-insurgency; in Darfur, it is called genocide. Why the difference? Who does the naming? Who is being named? What difference does it make?
Newspaper writing on Darfur has sketched a pornography of violence. It seems fascinated by and fixated on the gory details, describing the worst of the atrocities in gruesome detail and chronicling the rise in the number of them. The implication is that the motivation of the perpetrators lies in biology ('race') and, if not that, certainly in 'culture'. This voyeuristic approach accompanies a moralistic discourse whose effect is both to obscure the politics of the violence and position the reader as a virtuous, not just a concerned observer.
What would happen if we thought of Darfur as we do of Iraq, as a place with a history and politics - a messy politics of insurgency and counter-insurgency? Why should an intervention in Darfur not turn out to be a trigger that escalates rather than reduces the level of violence as intervention in Iraq has done? Why might it not create the actual possibility of genocide, not just rhetorically but in reality? Morally, there is no doubt about the horrific nature of the violence against civilians in Darfur. The ambiguity lies in the politics of the violence, whose sources include both a state-connected counter-insurgency and an organised insurgency, very much like the violence in Iraq.
What the humanitarian intervention lobby fails to see is that the US did intervene in Rwanda, through a proxy... Instead of using its resources and influence to bring about a political solution to the civil war, and then strengthen it, the US signalled to one of the parties that it could pursue victory with impunity. This unilateralism was part of what led to the disaster, and that is the real lesson of Rwanda.
The rise of radical Native American organizations, such as the Mohawk Warrior Society, can be viewed as insurgencies with specific and limited aims... Although they do not seek complete control of the federal government, they do seek particular political concessions in their relationship with national governments and control (either overt or covert) of political affairs at a local/reserve ('First Nation') level, through the threat of, or use of, violence. (G& M)
Any reference to First Nations people as possible insurgents or terrorists is a direct attack on us - it demonizes us, it threatens our safety and security and attempts to criminalize our legitimate right to live our lives like all other Canadians do. Just being referenced in such a document compromises our freedom to travel across borders, have unimpeded telephone and internet communications, raise money, and protest against injustices to our people.
Instead of rebranding a product, or service for my 4th year thesis project I chose to represent a local population that usually gets overlooked. I re-coded official signage and affixed 30 of them to poles in the downtown core with messages pertaining to an obvious but ignored urban sub culture. The goal was not only to catch people off guard by creating signs that acknowledge the homeless population on a seemingly official level, but to get people to think about codes of behaviour, conformity, acceptance and to maybe spare some consideration for the homeless who live mostly ignored in the city, blending into the background just like the signs.