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melissa
February 2006
 
 
 
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feralshiksa
feralshiksa
melissa
Thu, Feb. 23rd, 2006 10:30 pm

Democrats aren't perfect, but who a company contributes to says a lot about their policies. I just got the book The Blue Pages : A Directory of Companies Rated by Their Politics and Practices which rates companies in many areas on their ethical practices and also on their political contributions. I was suprised to learn that J.Jill donates 100% of its contributions to Republicans. Anthropologie, J.Crew and L.L.Bean are all almost 100% Democrat in their contributions. Eddie Bauer encourages use of sweatshops. Urban Outfitters donates mostly to Republicans (I was suprised to learn) as does American Eagle Outfitters who also uses sweatshops. Anyway to learn more about places you shop, eat, stay or whatever check out the book! (It's only $10)
I've written J.Jill, Urban Outfitters, American Eagle Outfitters, and Eddie Bauer complained about their policies/politics and have unsubscibed from their catalogs, I also told them I will not shop with them anymore. I want to support companies that are as progressive as possible (while still indulging my lust!)
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0976062119/sr=8-1/qid=1140762376/ref=pd_bbs_1/002-7663811-8355269?%5Fencoding=UTF8

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feralshiksa
feralshiksa
melissa
Thu, Jun. 16th, 2005 04:40 pm

The 5 Point Agenda
Sacred Values: Peace, Community, Family

For us, the sacred is embodied in the living systems of the earth and the human community. We see all things as interconnected and interrelated, and these values inform all our political stands.

None of these values can be implemented without peace. War destroys human lives and environmental integrity. It devastates economies, wastes our precious resources, and blights lives. We support efforts to bring about peaceful resolutions of conflicts, and oppose the glorification of militarism and the use of enormous resources to support military endeavors.

Our communities and families are important to us. We support a broad definition of family, one that honors the diversity of our cultures and life choices.

Because children are the next generation, and because they are vulnerable physically, emotionally and economically, government has a special responsibility to assure the well-being of children regardless of the economic status of their parents. We favor programs that support families in all the diverse forms they take.

We place a high value on human ingenuity, creativity, intelligence and intuition.

The education of children is the responsibility of the broader community, not of biological parents alone. We recognize that we all benefit when the next generation is well-educated. We support quality public education for children that encourages their creativity and empowerment, and programs such as school lunches that ensure their well being and further their capacity to learn. We support higher education that is available to all who want it.

Our elders are also important to us. In them, the history, experience and wisdom of our communities live. We support to right of every person to age in dignity, to continue to contribute to society, and to know that their basic economic and health needs will be provided for.

We see mutually pleasurable erotic expression in all its diverse forms as a sacred act. We believe all people, including and especially young people, have the right to information about sexuality, health, and sexual responsibility.

Freedom of religion is an inherent right of all people. We strongly support the separation of church and state, but also recognize that political discussion necessarily contains an element of the sacred. However, we oppose attempts to restrict freedom and self-determination according to religious strictures that we do not hold.

We recognize that political decisions are made out of our deep sense of what we most value. We also recognize that many different value systems confront each other in the political arena. We do not want to legislate our values or impose them on those whose spiritual traditions differ from ours--but we do uphold our right to have our values considered on an equal footing with those of other traditions. We welcome and encourage dialogue with people whose views differ from ours, and we respect the core of sacred being in those whose views oppose ours.

We encourage the building of alliances across the barriers of difference.

(Some related issues: religious freedom, economic safety nets, funding of education, student loans, etc., control of local school boards, anti-censorship, AIDS education, no prayer in school, etc.)

Diversity

We embrace diversity as a positive good--we see a multiplicity of genders, races, cultures, languages, sexual orientations and lifestyles as integral to our country's strength and central to our common heritage.

We understand the vital importance of biological diversity and the need for preservation of species and habitats.

We support education that includes many viewpoints and heritages and teaches respect for differences.

We know that historically many groups of people have been kept from access to political power and economic opportunity, that these division are built into the very structure of our institutions, and that their legacy of inequality is still with us. We support equal access to resources and decision-making power for all people. We oppose prejudice in all its forms: sexism, racism, heterosexism, anti-Semitism, classism, able-ism, ageism, etc.

( Some relevant issues might be: support for multicultural education, Lesbian, Gay, bisexual and transgender rights, access for the disabled, affirmative action programs that increase diversity within organizations and redress historical inequality, habitat preservation laws, laws protecting endangered species, support for family farms and agricultural diversity, etc.)

Self-Determination

We stand for the right of all people to have a voice in decisions that affect them, the right of individuals to make free and informed choices regarding their bodies, their sexuality, their powers of reproduction, and their manner of life. We recognize violence, sexual violence, abuse and incest as systemic violations of these rights.

We see the debate around abortion as a question of the sacred, and uphold strongly a woman's right to act out of her own deepest values.

We recognize the right of the terminally ill to choose to end their suffering and receive medical help and assistance in doing so. We also recognize the right of medical personnel to choose not to participate in acts that contradict their own values.

Economic violence also functions as a form of coercion. All people have a right to meet their basic needs of survival, and to determine the manner in which they will work to meet those needs.

We support the right of all peoples to preserve their cultures, lands, heritage, and dignity, and to secure conditions which make possible sustainable and long- lasting communities.

Human beings have a right to free expression and free exchange of information. We oppose censorship. We support the right of individuals and peoples to challenge authority and engage in political struggle to gain their rights.

We oppose coercion, force, threats, and torture, and refuse to subsidize or support institutions that function by instilling fear.

We recognize that individuals' goals may conflict. The right to self-determination does not include the right to harm others. We favor negotiation and mediation whenever possible as ways to resolve conflict.

We oppose war as a means of settling differences, resolving conflicts, or furthering our ends as individuals or as nations.

(Issues: abortion, human rights issues, indigenous people's land rights, prisoner's rights, anti-violence campaigns, anti-intervention, community economic development, etc.)

Environment

We recognize that the interconnected life-systems of the earth, in all their diversity, have a right to be and an inherent value that goes beyond their usefulness for human ends.

We also recognize that human life and culture depends on the health of the ecosystems that sustain all life on earth, and that our understanding of their complex interrelationships is still embryonic.

Therefore, our prime concern must be the health of the environment, of the earth, the air, and the waters, and the diverse matrices of biological life.

Any government that allows the despoiling of its own lands has failed in its primary responsibility to its people. We support laws and programs that further environmental preservation, conservation, habitat restoration and healing. We oppose laws that allow the exploitation of the environment for the ends of individuals or small groups of people. We oppose programs that work toward the loss of biological diversity, or that allow individuals, institutions or corporations to claim ownership of a universal genetic and biological heritage.

We know that toxicity is unfairly distributed and is often foisted onto indigenous communities, communities of people of color and of poor people.

We work for environmental justice and for urban environments that can be safe, healthy and sustainable.

We support the creation of rural jobs in ways that work with the environment and can be sustained in the long run.

We support the absolute right of indigenous people to protect their sacred lands from despoiling and development.

We recognize that human beings have a right to live and to draw on the resources of the environment to create our livelihood.

We believe that this can and must be done in ways that are compassionate, sustainable and that further the overall quality of life.

We favor solution-oriented responses to environmental problems.

(Issues--environmental issues: clean air, clean water, endangered species, humane and sustainable agriculture, forestry, wilderness preservation, anti-nuclear issues, etc. opposition to gene-licensing and the patenting of life forms, toxic clean-up, urban ecology, food and health issues--pesticides, irradiation, food additives, cancer and environmental issues, alcohol, drug abuse and the promotion of smoking, etc. to young people and communities of color, infant mortality, etc.)

Human Needs and Social Justice

Human beings have a right to those things that make possible a fulfilling life: food, clothing, shelter, education, health care, and the opportunity for meaningful work, intimate relationships, and connection with future generations. A fulfilling life is not just a life of survival, but includes participation in the making of culture, of art, music, dance, and poetry, the freedom and time for spiritual development, and time for nourishing recreation and fun.

Government has a responsibility to use its power and resources to assure that each person has access to the means and opportunity to pursue a fulfilling life. Because great disparities of wealth and power exist, government has the right to redress inequalities. Citizens have a responsibility to care for each other, to assure the health of the whole community rather than protect the privilege of the few.

Misfortune comes to everyone in life. The cost of illness, disability, or natural disasters should not be borne by individuals alone but be shared among many.

(Issues: job creation, public education, health care, AIDS funding, arts funding, taxation--we would support taxes for education, health care, etc.)

copyright held by Starhawk, 1995. Fair use in duplicating and distributing is encouraged and blessed, write us if you have questions.

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feralshiksa
feralshiksa
melissa
Fri, Apr. 22nd, 2005 03:49 pm

Why we must resist CAFTA!! If you read no other article of mine read this one!!!
Free Trade Agreements are the biggest threat to democracy and justice there are. CAFTA is taking the policies of the WTO to a new level and will effect all of our lives. One of Prof. Nader's graduate students, Liza Grandia, gave a lecture on CAFTA and its implications. I urge you to send a letter to your Congressperson asking them to vote down CAFTA or get involved with other actions regarding it. The march towards more rights for corporations must be stopped! If you do nothing else please do This Action.
Get Involved FurtherLiza Grandia studied for 6 years with the Q'eachi people in Guatemala. They are the second largest Mayan group and they are subsistence farmers whose lives center around corn, which they see as sacred. Seeing the pictures of them and knowing how this will devastate their lives and culture makes this agreement all the more real, as well as knowing more of the facts. It's easier for all of us to write others off it we don't know them and if we don't see the effect of our actions.
Here are some of the finer points about the treaty:
Free Trade Agreements are treaties meaning they are above the laws of countries, these laws effectively take the sovereignty of our country to make democratic decisions for ourselves. Just as the WTO took the GATT, an agreement on tariffs, to another level in terms of advocating corporate rights, CAFTA will take corporate rights to another level. The WTO doesn't have as much muscle as it wants so regional agreements have been instituted and CAFTA is one of the first of those. If it is successfully passed it will pave the way for more free trade agreements.
Free Trade agreements are more than just about trade, they effect the democratic process, the environment, social programs and almost every aspect of life, and they have the ability to control many of these things because they are above the countries' laws. As anthropologists might ask who is the trade free for? Who mostly benefits is corporations.
The process itself by which the negotiations occurred is not democratic. The negotiations took less than a year, what will be in effect for 50 years. Many of the Central American countries did not know how to negotiate so the U.S. paid to have them educated on the matter. The U.S. had much more actual persons negotiating than did the Central American countries. The negotiations are also secret and closed to the public.
The people of Central America were not part of the equation, there were no referendums and no forum for the citizens of those countries to voice their opinions. Nor did American citizens get any chance to participate, if they had according to a poll over 60% of Americans would not sign the treaty.
Fast Track laws require Congress to either approve or reject the treaty, not allowing them their constitutional right to amend it, and the discussion can only take place for 20 hours. Decisions that will effect everyone for years to come are decided within 20 hours, not allowed to be amended, and the bill won't even be read by Congress who votes on it.
So what kind of provisions are in this treaty, what will the effect be?
A. Government Contracts- Now governments must allow foreign bidders to compete with local ones on any gov't contract over $117,000, and soon the minimum will be $58,000. This act essentially pushes out local bidders who must compete with the bidding power of Bechtel. Not only will this hurt the economies of these countries but it will enrich multi-nationals at the expense of local companies.
B. Future Profits- Investment and profits are now corporate rights instead of privileges. Corporations can sue over lost future profits if a country passes an environmental or public protection law that gives them less opportunity for profit.
Ex: Canada company sued Calif. gov. and won $13 billion over MTBE laws that protect citizens from a carcinogen
Ex: Harkin Energy (sound familiar?) in anticipation of CAFTA being passed is suing Costa Rica for more than Costa Rica's GDP because CR wouldn't let it drill for oil in a precious marine reserve.
Ex: A company sued an country (I forget) for not letting it put a toxic waste dump in a nature preserve
Let me ask you, is this sane? That a corporation deserves money just for existing, and that a government is forced to pay for protecting its citizens? What will happen to environmental laws and other public protection measures if they become too expensive for governments to enact because they might be sued? What will happen to democracy?
Corporations are partly to blame, but also to blame are the government policies that make this behavior completely legal. We need to not just focus on the behavior of individual corporations but also the society and government which enables that behavior.
There was a discussion of how disconnected someone must be to think of putting a toxic dump in a nature preserve. Liza tried to explain to one of the Q'eachi what this treaty would do, and after two times of explaining it, he replied, "Liza, that's evil." Liza wonders how much evil is involved.
C. Suits between countries- under these free trade agreements one country can sue another if they have a protective law that restricts trade, regardless of whether the law was democratically enacted, it is still illegal if it restricts trade (i.e. the profits of corporations).
D. Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS)- Even though some Central American countries have in their Constitution that life cannot be patented, under CAFTA the door would be open to allow patenting of life- many species and even humans indigenous to the area are coveted for patents by large corps.
Countries will not be able to get generic drugs, meaning many poor will not be able to afford drugs. Costa Rica currently spends around 7% of its budget on drugs, if CAFTA passes and they are forced to buy brand name drugs, the percentage of their budget spent would skyrocket to 53%, as you can see a lot of people will be denied health care. One Central American country reversed a democratically produced bill which mandated that the government buy generic drugs for fear of being sued by the U.S. pharmaceutical companies.
Patents on seeds will mean that the way of life of saving seeds that has gone on for the Q'eachi for 7,000 years will be destroyed. Poor farmers will be forced to buy seeds every year and many will be sued if they don't pay royalties if GMO corn is found in their fields. (GMO contaminated corn has reached those countries through our food aid). This not only destroys culture, further impoverishes poor farmers, hurts biodiversity, but also produces a inferior product.
E. Dispute Resolution- through secret tribunals. No precedent, so any time poorer countries do win a case, no other country can benefit and set a precedent.
This works to dampen positive legislation because countries don't want to be sued. Countries' ability to protect their people or provide a better way of life is effectively squelched.
F. Harmonizing Investments- having the same laws everywhere speeds up the rate at which corporations can spread and invest.
G. Privatization- Privatization was encouraged under WTO with suggestions on what to privatize including education, water, and energy. CAFTA lists exceptions of things to privatize, with everything else being opened up to corporate investors.

The U.S. lost 800,000 jobs under NAFTA, and CAFTA will just speed up the rate of outsourcing. Cheap goods may be fun to buy, but they don't make up for it if you lose your job.

The Q'eachi can't compete with subsidized corn prices, and if they are forced to they will lose their land. Their lives will never be the same, they have no skills for the marketplace.
How do we measure wealth? The GDP just shows things in terms of money, and doesn't show the wealth that subsistence farmers have that can't be measured in GDP: tradition, their own land and independence, the richness of community, always having their bellies full, living in nature. Would their lives be improved if they worked in factories or on a coffee plantation? It might raise the GDP, but wold it raise the wealth?
We need to think of the effects of our actions. The harm done by a treaty like this is obvious to anyone who cares about other people or supports democratic principles. It's a scary road we're going down, this road of corporate rights at any cost and at the expense of real flesh and blood people like you and me. We may not be able to see them, but they exist and they too deserve a real chance for happiness.
Please get involved. I think the greatest challenge of our lifetime is restoring democracy from the hands of the corporate elite. We can't let it go on like this.

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feralshiksa
feralshiksa
melissa
Sun, Feb. 6th, 2005 08:57 am
I'm beginning to think Anthropology might be the right field for me, in dealing with Controlling Processes it seems like anthropologists look for forms of control and can write about it based on personal observation and insight. Showing light to power is what I'm all about-showing the powerful for who they really are. I just find an aperture and in I go.
After reading 1984 and Brave New World I see more and more how controlled our world, how insidious and insane it is. How constricted we are, not only in social mores and norms but in every aspect of our lives we are controlled. One of the most amazing feats is however how the government and corportions constrained the worker without violence. There used to be socialists and now they love Bush who destroys their lives daily. And how we as a culture went from being able to dissent to bent on harmony and politeness (read wimpiness) at any cost. And why does the media who it seems has the most power in this equation why do they support the hegemonic agenda of the government in power?
And I see hegemony everywhere. In advertising which is propaganda that should not be tolerated- at all. In the beauty industry which regulates how people should look, sells products and surgeries. The magazine industry which sells women low-self-esteem, which takes me to the psychologists who tell psychologize women and control them through diagnosis, and through saying women are more emotional and so many other things. Our patriarachal society where bureaucracy and red tape abound, talk of freedom and democracy, when our work situations are anything but free and democratic. We are slaves to our bosses, hypnotized by the Corporation, and this consumer culture is far from Ok. It's tainted everything to the bone. Sure we rebel and there are good things, but they've been taking over territory a little bit at a time, so we don't notice. Censoring war broadcasts, privatizing, deregulating, demonizing the opposition on the "left", framing, and even art is encroached on with commericialism, yesterday I was forced through 3 commercials before seeing the movie I paid to see, marketing gets closer and closer to where I can't avoid it, it's through product placement in the movies and they want inside all of our heads, they've been very successful. There's something very twisted when the energies of human kind go into manipulating others, for the American Dream, for consumerism and more money. Human potential is directed into more and more profit and power for a select few. And why? And why can't we be a full sane and rational culture? A human culture that seeks truth, beauty and justice? That honors art, children, women, men, all of life, the Earth and the animals? That protects the long term future rather than looking to the short-term bottom line for the few but gambles our survival as a species? Why the ugliness? the violence? the suffering? Why is it illegal to end life with dignity? Why abstinence-only education in our supposed secular country? Why say we want democracy but thwart it when it suits our purpose in Chile and Haiti? What is sane about this world? About this country? We live in insanity but it has become normalized. Doesn't that do something to us when we accept insanity as sane? When just having us not kill and torture other people around the world in the name of freedom and democracy would be an accomplishment? When having our basic human rights met at home a crowning acheivement for our civilization? We've been plunged into a world where our every move is controlled and constrained, when doublethink and doublespeak abound, it's twisted, How can such a twisted culture survive? It is 1984 because of this. We live here. But there are many more awake than just Winston, and many who resist. It's scary shit anyway when you realize what's happening and been happening for so long.

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feralshiksa
feralshiksa
melissa
Fri, Jan. 28th, 2005 07:15 am

Hi folks -- a friend called my attention to a weird and ill-informed
article in the usually-credible Scientific American -- you may want
to scan this article, and join us in writing to the editor -- Paul's
message, the article, and SciAmer contact info below -- George

__________________

I'd like to bring to your attention a disturbing article I have
found. It is in the December 2004 issue of Scientific American Mind.
It equates witchcraft and tarot card use with satanism and devil
worship. It says these organized occult groups recruit children and
can cause serious mental illness, drug use and violent aggression in
its victims.

I know that such misinformation and lies appear all the time in
conservative Christian journals, but I am worried when this appears
in a journal that is considered a well respected secular journal and
backed by scientific experts. I am going to write a letter to the
editor.

I've attached a copy of the article text if you'd like to read it,
and contact info if you want to write to Scientific American.

Peace,
Paul

**********

SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN
editors@sciam.com
(212) 754-0550
Mariette DiChristina, Executive Editor
415 Madison Ave.
New York, NY 10017-1111

*********

CASTING OUT THE DEMONS

Adolescents are naturally drawn to occult ideas, but parents and
therapists should know the signs that indicate when this fascination
has become deeper and more dangerous

By Gunther Klosinski

Recent activity in several U.S. church communities has seemed almost
unbelievable: churchgoers have gathered around bonfires and cheered
as they cast Harry Potter books into the flames. They fear that the
wildly popular series about a school for young wizards is spurring
children and adolescents toward a life of witchcraft and onto the
dangerous path toward Satanism. For these congregations, J. K.
Rowling's books are none other than the work of the devil herself.

To most people, the Harry Potter books and movies are merely
compelling adventure stories, not a threat to children's psyches. But
what has been forgotten in the heat of Pottermania is that boys and
girls have been fascinated by magic and sorcery for generations.
Surveys about occult practices among adolescents vary widely, but
some indicate that as many as 44 percent have dabbled to some degree.
Although satanically motivated violence occasionally makes headlines,
research shows that less than 5 percent of young people take part in
more extensive witchcraft, and very few end up in the kind of
organized devil worship that can lead to such acts as ritual murder.

There is still cause for concern, however, because even simple forays
into the supernatural, such as divination with tarot cards or Ouija
boards, can provoke trouble for some sensitive young people. If, for
example, a teenager's occult experiences provide a negative prophecy
for the future, he or she might develop such psychological problems
as anxiety disorders or compulsive behavior. And regular use of such
games, or more involved rituals such as seances and witchcraft, can
lead some children to become dependent on the supposed revelations,
gradually giving up their sense of self-direction and self-control.
To ward off such situations and to successfully intervene if the
behavior has already gone too far, parents, [p84] teachers and
therapists should understand the psychological motives that can
prompt a young person's interest in the occult.
read moreCollapse )

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feralshiksa
feralshiksa
melissa
Fri, Jan. 7th, 2005 02:38 pm
It's curious lately I've been interested in people's eating habits, particularly breakfast. Please help me out and let me know what you most often eat for these meals.
Poll #414744 Meals

What do you eat for breakfast?

Lunch?

How many snacks do you take? When? What?


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feralshiksa
feralshiksa
melissa
Wed, Dec. 22nd, 2004 12:57 pm

Congress has added a rider to an Appropriations Bill that opens thousands of wild horses for slaughter that were once protected by the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act.
To sign a petition:
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/166841148
For more info:
http://www.wildhorsepreservation.com
Thanks

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feralshiksa
feralshiksa
melissa
Wed, Mar. 3rd, 2004 02:52 pm

My Journal is Friends Only
Leave a comment if you'd like to get to know me better. And if we get along I'll add you.

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