Regulating the Palm Oil Explosion and the Living Income Income Proposal

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The current global ‘Palm Oil Explosion’ is an under-reported nightmare. Communities in the ‘global south’ are being pitted against large multinational corporations, banks, and the confusing and changing allegiances represented by the UN for rights to land usage to produce palm oil – resulting in the equivalent of 300 football fields of rainforest being cleared EVERY HOUR to make way for palm oil production. [1]

European financial institutions are behind a significant number of these land grabs. This massive, largely unregulated monoplanting of palm oil has destroyed and is destroying huge swatches of land in Africa, the Papuas of Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, Malaysia and Indonesia. [2]

In one example, the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) provided a $52 million loan in Uganda to fund a project a palm oil mega farm to oil palm giant Wilmar International. The small community of farmers there were promised better jobs and prospects for the future. It did not happen. Now an entire forest (3600 acres) on a Lake Victoria island has been obliterated to establish a vast plantation The local farmers have received little to no compensation along with the loss of pristine land. [2]

In Liberia a community resisting big agra oil palm plantation on their land have been harassed, coerced and intimidated. “Many are standing firm,” says Silas Siakor, of SDI Liberia. Jogbahn Elder Joseph Chio Johnson said, [they] “must stop threatening our people and accept that our no means no.” [3] – See more at:

Such incidents are widespread and growing: new cases are reported to civil society organizations on a near-weekly basis in countries from Cambodia and Papua New Guinea to Indonesia, Myanmar and Nigeria.

Who is protecting the people who actually live on these lands? Who is overseeing UN IFED? The charter of UN IFED says it was created to “enable rural people to overcome poverty.” If we can’t rely on international organizations mandated to protect and assist indigenous people shouldn’t we rethink our international laws and constraints so that local communities do not lose access to vital land and water resources?  Why should local communities be left with permanent soil erosion, animal abuse, pesticides, deforestation, migratory labor and child labor that accompany monoculture plantations? We do know that the current industrial plantation model as it exists does not respect the rights of indigenous populations. Why not  learn from Africa’s indigenous populations who know how to grow and cultivate palm oil utilizing the common sense application of agroecology and biodiversity?

There is a common sense solution: The Living Income Guarantee proposes that the natural resources of a land and people belong to the people – the ones that live on it. “The nationalization of natural resources and connected enterprises provides an opportunity for the management of the country’s resources by the people of that country – and is, in fact, an extension of direct democracy.”

[1] The Ecologist: (http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2759987/un_banks_and_oil_palm_giants_feast_on_the_stolen_land_of_ugandas_dispossessed.html
[2] Pampazuka News: http://www.pambazuka.net/en/category.php/features/76280
[3] Global Research.net: http://www.globalresearch.ca/corporate-palm-oil-plantations-destroy-the-peasant-economy/5403869#sthash.hT2usn59.dpuf

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The California Drought and a Living Income Guaranteed

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We are not going to be able to operate our Spaceship Earth successfully nor for much longer unless we see it as a whole spaceship and our fate as common. It has to be everybody or nobody. R. Buckminster Fuller

What is the real cause of the California drought – is it weather modification, the federal government cutting off water to farmlands, a cyclical pattern that in geological terms is to be expected? Is it a conspiracy to turn vast tracts of land back to wilderness a la Agenda 21?

Is it possible to know, definitively, the cause of the drought? Are there multiple causes? How can we redress global, national and local abuse — and not spin our wheels looking at the side effects of our systemic misalignment?

750 million people – approximately one in nine worldwide, currently lack access to safe water.Every day 2,300 people die from diarrhea caused by inadequate drinking water and basic sanitation. 84,000 people died because they do not have access to clean water.

We know corporations continue to divert unknown quantities of California water to be bottled and sold. We know that there is no state agency  tracking how much water is being diverted from a resource that should be shared among all Californians. Isn’t this analogous to how we allow our creativity, innovative ideas and solutions to be siphoned off and diverted to support a system that does not support life equally – that does not protect the one resource we need most: water?

What usually happens in the educational process is that the faculties are dulled, overloaded, stuffed and paralyzed so that by the time most people are mature they have lost their innate capabilities R. Buckminster Fuller

In 1936 R. Buckminster Fuller came up with the idea of Dymaxion Bathrooms. These bathrooms are equipped with “Fog Gun” hot water vapor showers that use only a cup of water to clean hygienically without soap. He also created a waterless “Packaging Toilet” that shrink-wrapped “output” for pickup for composting. Ordinary toilets use approximately 2000 gallons of pure drinking water per year to flush – and waste – one human’s “exhaust” that, if dried out, would scarcely fill two 5-gallon pails. [2]

We have everything we need to create solutions. We can all have clean water. We can free ourselves from the dictates of the deluded constraints of rampant self interest.

A decent future starts with a decent start – it’s everybody or nobody. Investigate and support  The Living Income Guaranteed – I’m gonna bet Bucky would approve.

[1] http://water.org/water-crisis/water-facts/water/

[2] http://bfi.org/

The Great Fiction that is Currency

Currency

The ‘social scientists’ of human history, in various capacities and at various times, have shown the frightening ease with which the human will relinquish power and autonomy to those they perceive as having more authority and expertise – like in the famous Milner experiment:

“While I was a subject in 1964, though I believed that I was hurting someone, I was totally unaware of why I was doing so.”  (Professor Milgram elaborated two theories based on his landmark study investigating our relationship to authority: his theory of conformism, based on Solomon Asch conformity experiments, describing the fundamental relationship between the group of reference and the individual person. A subject who has neither ability nor expertise to make decisions, especially in a crisis, will leave decision making to the group and its hierarchy. The group is the person’s behavioral model and the agentic state theory: “the essence of obedience consists in the fact that a person comes to view themselves as the instrument for carrying out another person’s wishes, and they therefore no longer see themselves as responsible for their actions. Once this critical shift of viewpoint has occurred in the person, all of the essential features of obedience follow”.[1]

The world system in it’s efficiency and technology has happily appropriated the ease with which we hand-off of authority to experts. This abdication comes with a price, one we are evidently willing to live with – so that instead of creating the lives we want, taking responsibility for what we have created, we believe we must comply and “come to view themselves as the instrument for another’s wishes.”

These rules are the cause of the vast disparity of wealth and well-being in this world. Our  role as both spectator and participant becomes quite disturbing –  with the increasingly narrow opportunities for self-creation and in an environment increasingly programmed and then presented as “reality” for “it is technology that presents non-reality, which is mistaken for reality.” [2] In our ‘non-reality’ the facts don’t count. Consider our relationship to money: back in early human history someone once convinced another that gold was worth exchanging for time and labor. This fiction – that a piece of metal was worth more than a tree or a cow – became the origin of a leisure class and the private control of currency.

The fiction of currency runs our lives and had created a world that –  as entrepreneur Anita Roddick said, has created  “a religion of maximizing profits” where “everything is legitimate in the pursuit of that goal.” That the World Bank, the International Bank of Settlement, the IMF, and the Federal Reserve are private organizations – themselves charted by the private Council of Foreign Relations and their branches – (offshoots of the UK Milner Group (Bankers) and Cecil Rhodes (Banker) and the Rothschild’s (Bankers) – should prompt serious concern and investigation.

Just as the corporation uses branding to create attractive personalities for themselves, we can create and control the images and content to empower ourselves to challenge the accepted version of currency. The path from spectator to being autonomous can be walked using the technology that is already here and to advance the cause that, contrary to what we have accepted so far,  humans may be trusted with the promotion of values that support all life on earth, equally.

[1] The Milner Experiment: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment

[2]The Technological Society. Jacques Ellul
Trans. John Wilkinson. New York: Knopf, 1964. London: Jonathan Cape, 1965. Rev. ed.: New York: Knopf/Vintage, 1967.

 

When Good Intentions Backfire

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After the old woman died, her children – who themselves were getting on in years ­ were surprised to learn the contents of her will. The four siblings were left an equal quarter of the value of a house and property. Her wishes were that whoever died first that their portion would go to the other three, and so on. She thought this was the fairest way to handle the bequest of her estate to her four children.

Three of her children had spouses, two had children the the youngest had neither child not spouse. The eldest two siblings with children desired that the property be passed down to their family when they died – not passed, as had been their mother’s wish – to their brother and sister. The second oldest had also acted as executor of the will. On his own he decided to take money from their mother’s estate and hire an estate attorney to draw up a new trust for the property, changing the rights of inheritance to include wives and children and grandchildren. This meant that instead of four siblings owning the property it would be now be owned by the four sibling, plus the six children of two of the siblings and seven great grandchildren from the two families.

One day not long after the matriarch died, the youngest sibling, one who had no spouse and no children, received a special delivery package containing this new trust. There was a note from her older brother telling her to “sign quickly and return the next day.” She didn’t.

When her brother called to find out why she hadn’t signed it and sent it back she said she didn’t want to change the will. She told him she found it distressing that he had made an executive decision using money from the estate to hire new attorneys to draw up a new trust without consulting the other siblings. Her brother became enraged. He spoke in a vindictive, nearly hysterical manner, something she had never heard him do before. The new estate attorneys called asking what they might do to change her mind.

The next time she saw her brother they met in the hospital. Their father was dying. Thye were the perfunctory greetings but they realized their relationship had fundamentally changed.

In an attempt to be fair a mother inadvertently started a rift and a wound between siblings that to this day is not healed. Issues like this can be easily avoided by making sure estate documents are carefully drafted – with no contradictory language, no vague phrasing – just precise and clear language to eliminate any misunderstanding.

The War on Cats

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The Link between Power, Control, and Cat Punchers

Law enforcement and social service providers now recongnize that when animals in a home are abused or neglected it is a warning sign that others in the household may not be safe and that children who witness animal abuse are at a greater risk of becoming abusers themselves. Animal abuse, and other forms of family violence are acts that are linked. [1]

A survey of pet-owning families with substantiated child abuse and neglect found that animals were abused in 88 percent of homes where child physical abuse was present. Violent offenders incarcerated in a maximum security prison were significantly more likely than nonviolent offenders to have committed childhood acts of cruelty toward pets.[2] The abuse is often cyclical and inter-generational.”

The New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services discovered that in homes where there was domestic violence or physical abuse of children, the incidence of animal cruelty was close to 90 percent

In his paper called, “Cruelty Toward Cats: Changing Perspectives,” Lockwood underscores the origin of abuse within the dynamics of power-and-control:
“Cats, are more commonly victims of abuse than dogs because dogs are, by their very nature, more obedient and eager to please, whereas cats are nearly impossible to control.”

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The Curious History of Cat Abuse part one

The earliest cat found buried in association with a human at a site in Cyprus were dated to approximately 7500 B.C. The grave suggested that the person was important and gave importance to the cat.

Around 450 B.C. Herodotus describes his visit to the temples in Bubastis and the various practices surrounding the cult, including the harsh penalties for injuring or killing cats (Clutton-Brock 1993,36)

It was illegal to export cats from Egypt was illegal, until the tenth century when cats began coming into Europe and Asia.(Zeuner 1963).

Christianity at that time was “extreme in suppressing unorthodox beliefs and because cats were often central to many of these belief systems, from the Eygptian cult of Bastet to the worship of the Norse goddess Freya, cats were demonized and associated with the non-Christian and the Devil. From a symbol of grace, fertility, and maternal care they were associated with sexuality and lasciviousness.” [2]

Pope Gregory IX (ruling 1227–1241) Decreed that the Cathars, known to breed black cats,were the devil in disguise. In 1489 Pope Innocent VIII proclaimed­­ edicts to persecute all witches and kill all cats within Christian lands.
Inquisitor Nicholas Remy, in his 1595 Daemonolatreiae libritres, wrote that all cats were demons (Conway 1998)Carnival celebrations of deviance came to an end on Shrove Tuesday, or Mardi Gras, when a live cat was incorporated into a straw mannequin, King of Carnival, and given a ritual trial and execution.

In Burgundy young men passed around a cat, tearing its fur to make it scream as a form of “rough music.”

For the cycle of Saint John the Baptist, coinciding with the summer solstice, cats were tied up in bags, suspended from ropes, or burned at the stake

Parisians liked to incinerate cats by the sackful, while the Courimauds (cour a miaud or cat chasers) of Saint Chamond preferred to chase a flaming cat through the streets. In parts of Burgundy and Lorraine they danced around a kind of burning May pole with a cat tied to it. In the Metz region they burned a dozen cats at a time in a basket on top of a bonfire. The ceremony took place with great pomp in Metz itself, until it was abolished in 1765. (83)

One of the best documented instances of cruelty to cats was the “Great Cat Massacre” of the Rue Saint-Severin, Paris, which took place in the late 1730s (Darnton 1984; Twitchell 1989). The story was obtained from an account by Nicolas Contat, a worker who had witnessed the event. Several young male printer’s apprentices systematically slaughtered all the neighborhood cats, starting with a favorite pet of their master’s wife. According to Twitchell: In fits of laughter they gleefully bashed the heads of cats,snapped the spines of cats, squashed the bodies of cats, twisted cats at the midsection,and suffocated cats. They even improvised a gallows and hung cats by the neck. (1989, 48)

Lockwood connects violence against cats and 18c economic powerlessness…

“Printer’s apprentices were among the most exploited workers of the time, while a passion for pet cats was growing among the bourgeois, particularly the masters of the printing trade. Portraits were painted of pampered cats who were fed choice fowl, while the boys in the print shops labored with little hope of promotion to the ranks of journeymen. Cat abuse was already well established in the culture of the time, thus cats were an easy and seemingly appropriate target for this outrage.” [2]

..to be continued

[1] http://www.americanhumane.org/interaction/support-the-bond/fact-sheets/understanding-the-link.html

[2] http://animalstudiesrepository.org/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1001&context=sota_2005

#Catpunchers and Other Slaves

CatPuncher

I just became aware of the incidence of cat punching on social media. There must be some other venue or method that could provide such “punchers” the attention they seek – a way to acknowledge their uniqueness so they don’t resort to punching a cat in the head for attention ?

Gladiators/slaves were forced to fight one another for the amusement of the elite. Cat punchers are a new variety of slave – a mutation of our collective abuse. The big evil we pass from generation to generation is a belief in hierarchy and our compliance to and within it – maintaining an abusive system that supports the gladiator/slave/elite spectacle.

#Catpunchers are just as likely to run from challenging the actual mechanism of a system that has reduced them to abuse as are the elite…and the rest of us. The normalization of abuse places us in the grasp of the world system – keeping us politically, socially, economically impotent. Abuse can be subtle, like the belief that because I say  “I care about the world” I am making it different.” How crazy is it to believe that we are making a difference when we are just mouthing out words while providing no real solutions?

20,000 people signed an online petition to stop a cat punching Facebook page. Where are the same numbers demanding  the easy fix so that every child has enough to eat, or that 25,000 prisoners currently being held in solitary confinement in “Supermax” prisons around the United States be allowed to have human interaction?

I’m wondering what it takes to change ourselves – to stand up, and to create a new world?

Co-operatives: New Life for Capitalism

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The modern co-operative model arose from worker displacement caused by the rapid industrialization of late 1800s. Since then worker co-operatives have grown, demonstrating a vitality, viability and profitability largely unknown to the general public. Cooperatives provide an opportunity to strike a balance – a way, as Marlen Vargas Del Razo noted, to “inject life into capitalism” – making business profitable AND maintaining the highest goal to enrich the whole of society.

Some Background:

A cooperative is an entity that is owned by its members: it operates for the benefit of its members and it is controlled by its members. The two central characteristics of worker cooperatives are:
(1) workers own the business, and they share the profits.
(2) decision-making is democratic, generally adhering to the principle of one worker, one vote.

Worker control can take many forms depending on the size and type of the business. Some ways to make decisions democratically include:
* an elected board of directors
* elected managers
* management job roles
* no management at all
* delegation of some decision-making to smaller groups or people
* decisions made by consensus (everyone agrees)
* decisions made by majority vote
* any combination of the above

Worker co-operatives share a group of core values: self-empowerment, democracy, equality, fairness and unity; it is a basic principle that the ownership, control and benefits should belong to members.

Benefits of the Co-operative Model:

As membership-based organizations worker cooperatives tend to
• create long term stable jobs,
• sustainable business practices,
• Connected and accountable to their community
• Creates community benefit rather than destroying it
• Success is evaluated by looking not just at the money they make, but at things like their sustainability as a business, their contribution to the community, and the happiness and longevity of their workers.’ — “Multiple bottom lines”
• Cooperatives build movements for economic justice and social change: as institutions where real democracy is practiced on a day to day basis, co-ops are a model for self and group empowermenT
• Cooperatives present a new model for redefining growth in a world of finite resources.

Co-operatives are “part of a socialist agenda” One could argue that socialist countries have co-opted the co-op – except in socialism you’re working for the state, not for yourself and your co-workers.

Worker cooperatives are actually ‘private ownership’ as the company belongs to the members of the cooperative. Cooperatives are closer to capitalism than to socialism. In a pure socialist world the entire enterprise would be controlled by the government. A pure socialist world could not allow for cooperatives as they are a step in the direction of capitalism. The co-operative model is thus closer to capitalism as there are no rules that prohibit cooperatives from making revenue – and that revenue increases the capital stock – which in turn belongs to the members of the cooperative (or the stock holders). A cooperative is thus only a simpler form of a stock company.

In many co-operatives, workers invest with a buy-in amount of money when they begin working. At the end of each year, worker-owners are paid a portion of the money the business makes after expenses. In conventional businesses this money is called profit, in co-ops it is called surplus, and it can be distributed based on hours worked, seniority, or other criteria.

Cooperatives are a Worldwide Movement: A few examples

United States There are 21,367 cooperatives in the six sectors. (2005) These cooperatives have more than 127.5 million members.* Adding in the memberships of three additional large consumer co-ops would increase this number to 130.5 million. Cooperatives in these six sectors employ considerably more than 500,000 Americans, with aggregate payrolls of more than $15 billion annually. Total annual revenues in excess of $211.9 billion.** (2005)

Adding in the revenues of 10 additional large purchasing cooperatives and three additional large consumer co-ops would increase this number to $229.7 billion. Over 130 million people are involved in co-ops – a large percentage of those in credit unions: One person one vote banks. US: 2,100 farmer co-operatives achieved record sales of $246bn in 2013

The Alaska Permanent Fund: oil revenues are used by the state to give everyone a dividend “as a matter of right.” This is another example of “democratizing ownership”

Argentina now has over 30,000 co-operatives across public services, banking, communication, retail and industry. Following the financial crisis, many companies were taken over by workers, and these co-operatives now provide jobs for 13,000 people. The takeover of bankrupt companies under the co-operative model has continued after the crisis. Over the past three years, employees have saved more than 60 such companies by setting up worker co-operatives

China Within the past decade, the Chinese government has opened up the market for farmer co-ops

Africa Malawi alone has 681 co-ops

Australia, there are around 1,700 co-operative and mutual enterprises, which make up 6% of the nation’s earnings – the same as the mining sector. (13 million members – four million in banking, 1.5 million in insurance, 7 million in motorist mutuals, 1.5 million in retail and more than 50,000 in other co-operatives.)

Iceland pilot project is to establish a program for prospective cooperators. The pilot target group consists of job seekers who have suffered long-term unemployment. This project is established in cooperation with the Innovation Centre Iceland and The Directorate of Labor in Iceland.

Spain Mondragon is a 50 year old network of cooperative businesses in Spain with 84K employees and 25 billion dollars in revenue. The region of Spain where the company is located has the lowest unemployment in Spain.

And there are many more examples

Questions to consider:

Despite their size and ubiquity, across the globe, why is there such limited awareness of co-operatives?

How do you run a large democratic and egalitarian organisation in a capitalist economy, where everyone else is doing things in a non-democratic and in-egalitarian way?

Ha-Joon Chang University of Cambridge author and economist and author of Economics: The User’s Guide calls this lack of awareness about co-operatives “an identity crisis. He argues that co-ops do not promote themselves well.

Hua writes, “co-operatives need to define and communicate what they stand for: do they exist to serve their members or do they have a wider social purpose?” and “One disease of capitalism today is that the influence of short-term impatient capital has become too strong. Of course you want some liquidity and speed. But my view is the balance has been broken. Whatever delivers a result next quarter, at most next year, is preferred over long-term development of the enterprise. Frankly, shareholders couldn’t care less. They ruin a company by not investing, demoralising workers, destroying subcontractors; that’s not their problem because next year they will own some other company.”[Hua]

Challenges for Co-ops: Funding

Gaining access to finance worldwide remains a big obstacle: obtaining loans for co-ops in our sector is still difficult”.

Many countries have tax incentives for existing co-operatives to fund new co-ops

Many co-operative federations have a membership requirement that a percentage of profit goes to co-op development. “No profit, no contribution

Argentina has a 5% levy applies to co-ops to support the development of other co -operatives.

In Italy, Legacoop members contribute 3% of their profit to fund development. (15,000 member co-operatives with €56.5bn (£42.6bn) in turnover and 8.5 million members.)\

“Mondragon expects its co-op members to contribute 10% of profit towards mutual solidarity,”

Some Resources

See the interview “Cooperative Capitalism” with Marlen Vargas Del Razo, Tess and Jeanne Kenney

CoopStartup is a site that “aims to increase co-operation among co-operatives. CoopStartup promotes a number of activities, including Farmability, a call for proposals for new co-ops in the agricultural sector.”

therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=9695

http://www.uwcc.wisc.edu/info/stats/uscoopbus05.pdf

http://www.socialneedscooperativeanswers.coop/multimedia/

http://www.thenews.coop/edition/north­america

Leisure and Magic

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Woman playing flute by reflecting pool:  San Francisco Chinatown post-1910

Leisure activity in consumer culture is usually ready-made and pre-designed – and within it’s predicable banality it’s no wonder that the ‘magical’ has grown in popularity and most importantly, profitability.

Where’s the fun?

The ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ magical options are astounding in their variety – the Crowley-ites, Queens of the Nights, fey Renaissance fairs, the law of attraction, tricked out tantrikas, the burning people – all kinds of allure from ordinary reality – a little love and light, or a little light bondage will bridge the gap between boredom and consumption.

Consumer culture loves the mainstreaming of the occult. It sustains and maintains what it needs most to thrive – our energy, self-absorption and our self-interest. The mainstreaming of magic offers a ‘more’ real world of the esoteric – a clever choice for sophisticated audiences who poo-poo what is ordinary.

Each era seems to have its own variety of cognitive dissonance; like the dissonance required for monks in the Middle Ages to burn people alive, take their money for positions in heaven and then say mass. This is not unlike the Law of Attraction with it’s training to “block the negative”, and only see what is possible for ourselves, a kind of feeding frenzy of self-interest.

At the root of it all is money. To pursue leisure and magic – to have exotic experiences and attract more money –you first need money.

Money allows us live in alternative realities. It also allows us to create real alternatives so that all the children of the world – the millions now living in poverty and abuse – are given the chance to experience what it means to have some fun within “leisure time.” We have the means and we have the opportunity to transform our relationship to money and leisure from being takers of experience to caretakers of existence.

Torture Report

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I saw it on a TV show called 24. And they were able to save lives!

Yesterday’s report on the CIA’s use of torture was not a surprise, but it was still shocking…“interrogations that lasted for days on end. Detainees forced to stand on broken legs, or go 180 hours in a row without sleep. A prison so cold, one suspect essentially froze to death…the Senate Intelligence Committee is finally releasing it’s review of the CIA’s detention and interrogation programs and it is brutual.” (the Daily Beast)

State power using torture has been justified as a method of extracting information from potential psychopaths.  What if those administering the torture are themselves psychopathic? And what happens when we look in the mirror and see we’re the same because we allow it?

The aim of torture is to manipulate the human body. There are infinite ways torture of the bodies of this world exists: one is the withholding of food from those who,  just because they lack money, are unable to get it.

Writing about the Nazi system of torture in The Origins of Totalitarianism, Hannah Arendt wrote, “This new mechanized system [the Nazi prison system] eased the feeling of responsibility as much as was humanly possible. When, for instance, the order came to kill every day several hundred Russian prisoners, the slaughter was performed by shooting through a hole without seeing the victim.”

Allowing torture of any kind, especially the torture of children who do not have enough food, [nearly 37 percent of residents in  the South Bronx of New York  said they lacked money to buy food at some point in the past 12 months (1)],  makes us all complicit in “shooting through a hole without seeing the victim.”

The belief that one person cannot create a solution is perhaps the link to how we have come to accept a world in which torture is allowed. It’s OK as long as we don’t see it.

The Living Income Guaranteed can be a refuge – our commitment to humanity – and a way to rebuild our relationship with and for one another; for how can anyone say it is not torture to be hungry?

 

1. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/14/nyregion/14hunger.html

The Bill Cosby Syndrome

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In varying degrees we all live in imaginary worlds – fantasy worlds not in alignment with reality – but that doesn’t stop us from trying to make them real.

It appears (based on all the women coming forward) that Bill Cosby lived in an imaginary world. He wanted to have sex with lots of women. None of these women wanted have sex with him. But [evidently] this ‘reality check’ did not stop him. He was able to convince himself that he had the right to use force, drugs, or whatever means he saw fit, to make his imaginings become real.

The (alleged) evidence that the women did not want to have sex with him was not an obstacle. He was unconcerned with the consequences, the harm he was doing. His fulfillment of his imaginary reality was more important, more real, than … reality.

Whenever I make a choice that does not consider the needs of what is best for everyone, I abuse ‘free choice’ and I enter into an alternate reality – of consequence.  Even if I have ‘good intentions’ but I do not consider how my actions will affect the whole, I will face consequences and regret. Regret is not polite – it comes too late – after a slap in the face, a court order, an ecosystem destroyed or a loved one disappeared.

Regret shows us the obviousness of the illusion – the illusion that we can have a singular pursuit of happiness – my right within “free choice.” But is real happiness something we can have alone? Can anyone really be happy knowing millions of children do not have a home, a shower, a meal, or a clean towel?

That’s why I support a Living Income Guaranteed.

 

 

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