this is to save the post and the book title... already added to my Amazon list. Thanks, Ronni
this is to save the post and the book title... already added to my Amazon list. Thanks, Ronni
Tongue-in-cheek, of course. I usually mean, 'please leave me alone'.
But Susan Cain, in this TED video, has a few enlightening things to say about introverts, and some suggestions about how we can best contribute, and best be supported within our work/social/creative worlds. A very good 20 minutes I think.
Mostly, I want to save this article and the related comments. I like it. Hope you'll read it...
Our collective understanding of the framers' view of the appropriate relationship between religion and government has been clouded by the divisive nature of contemporary politics. On one side are those who say history counsels against any governmental acknowledgement of religion. Challenging them are those arguing that the same history endorses governmental assistance and support for a wide range of religious activities.
Fortunately, we are not restricted to such simplistic choices. The framers were capable of sophisticated thinking, and they approached this issue with far more nuance and subtlety than is generally appreciated.
The framers saw religion as both a force for magnificent good and unspeakable evil. John Adams wrote to Thomas Jefferson after both had left the White House, "Twenty times, in the course of my late reading, have I been on the point of breaking out, 'this would be the best of all possible worlds, if there was no religion in it!!!'" But, Adams quickly added, he feared that, "Without religion, this world would be something not fit to be mentioned in polite company -- I mean hell."
Those who founded our nation feared divisiveness, sectarian violence and intolerance, yet they also believed that religion could help unify a diverse nation. The general understanding they developed can be traced to three distinct strands.
The first can be considered a philosophical justification, that government must not invade sanctity of human intellect. For Jefferson, the fight to prevent religious establishments was based on his "eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."
The second strand might be called a political rationale. George Washington, as head of the Continental Army, realized that great sensitivity to religious differences was essential to avoid, "the smallest uneasiness & jealousy among the Troops." As president, he wrote: "Religious controversies are always productive of more acrimony and irreconcilable hatreds than those which spring from any other cause."
Lastly, many supporters of religious freedom were motivated by religious concerns. A leading exemplar is John Leland, a Baptist minister who was instrumental in James Madison's election to the Virginia Ratifying Convention and one of the most important advocates for amending the Constitution to protect religious freedom. Leland would preach that the biblical admonition "My kingdom is not of this world" meant that "religion, in all its parts, is distinct from civil government." He argued that the "Government should be so fixed, that Pagans, Turks, Jews and Christians, should be equally protected in their rights."
These approaches combined to produce a national consensus. It was widely accepted that American citizens were to have absolute "freedom of conscience." As George Washington wrote during the Revolutionary War, "While we are contending for our own liberty, we should be very cautious not to violate the rights of conscience in others, ever considering that God alone is the judge of the hearts of men, and to him only in this case they are answerable."
Next, the federal government was prohibited from regulating or funding religious activities. In 1811, Madison vetoed a bill granting land to a church which had accidently erected a building on federal property. Madison declared that this grant would violate the Constitution by setting a "precedent for the appropriation of funds of the United States for the use and support of religious societies."
The framing generation also disapproved of governmental speech that favored a particular denomination. John Adams, the only one of the first four presidents to use explicitly Christian language in his speeches, was also the only one who was not reelected. His 1799 thanksgiving proclamation had implored, "through the grace of His Holy Spirit we may be disposed and enabled to yield a more suitable obedience to His righteous requisitions." In a letter written after his retirement, Adams belatedly recognized, "Nothing is more dreaded than the national government meddling with religion."
Yet, this distinction between religion and government was not understood to cleanse all religious references from political speech. As presidents, Madison, Jefferson and Washington all employed sincere religious language in their inaugurals. Madison, for example, gave his pious supplication to "the guardianship and guidance of that Almighty Being whose power regulates the destiny of nations."
To the framers, phrases like "Almighty being," "Creator," "holy author of our religion," and even "Almighty God," were expansive enough to permit each individual to join in the experience of a conscientious communion with the rest of their nation. As Jefferson wrote, such language demonstrates an intent to include, "the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan, the Hindoo, and infidel of every denomination." One is free to disagree, of course, but the framers' goal was to communicate to all, including the Deistic, agnostic, and atheistic, that they were fully valued members of the political community.
The Framers Top Ten: Essential Writings on Religious Freedom
The story of the development of religious freedom in America is not the simple narrative conveyed by contemporary political partisans. There is prejudice as well as acceptance, clarity followed by frustrating ambiguity and moments of courage mixed with political expediency. The following, in chronological order, are 10 of the most important statements from the founding generation concerning religious freedom. They begin with the anti-Catholic prejudice of the Continental Congress and continue through the attempts of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison to create a society that can truly foster true liberty of conscience.
This is the Newsletter of the USBIG Network (www.usbig.net), which promotes the discussion of the basic income guarantee (BIG) in the United States. BIG is a policy that would unconditionally guarantee at least a subsistence-level income for everyone. If you would like to be added to or removed from this list please email: Karl@Widerquist.com.
1. CALL FOR PAPERS: Eleventh North American Basic Income Guarantee Congress
2. EDITORIAL: No Time for Austerity
3. ALASKA makes thirtieth annual dividend payment
4. OCCUPY WALL STREET sparks interest in policies like BIG
5. BIEN recognizes its 25th anniversary
6. KUCINICH’S NEED ACT calls for a Citizens Dividend plan
7. INDIANA GOVERNOR endorses BIG
8. SURVEY asks Americans about BIG
9. BIG NEWS FROM AROUND THE WORLD
10. BASIC INCOME STUDIES releases new issue
11. RECENT PUBLICATIONS
12. UPCOMING EVENTS
13. RECENT EVENTS
14. BASIC INCOME NEWS needs writers and volunteers
15. NEW LINKS
16. LINKS AND OTHER INFO
Toronto, Canada, May 3-5, 2012
The Eleventh Annual North American Basic Income Guarantee Congress will take place May 3-5, 2012 at the University of Toronto on the theme of “Putting Equality Back on the Agenda: Basic Income and Other Approaches to Economic Security for All”. Featured Speakers include Richard Wilkinson (Co-Author of The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better) and Armine Yalnizyan (Senior Economist with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives).
Over the past 30 years, Canada, the United States, and many other OECD countries have grown increasingly unequal. While the rich pull farther and farther ahead, the poor and the middle class are struggling just to maintain their income level. Evidence regarding economic disparity suggests that income inequality is accompanied by a range of significant negative consequences, and that these consequences are present in greater numbers at every income level of a less equal society when compared with a more equal society. In January, the World Economic Forum named economic disparity one of the most significant global risks.
Putting Equality Back on the Agenda will consider three central questions:
1. To what degree is there a common public good in reducing economic disparity among all citizens?
2. Is a basic income the best way to provide this public good?
3. How could a basic income best be structured and funded to meet these goals?
The Eleventh North American Basic Income Guarantee Congress is organized by Basic Income Canada Network in cooperation with the USBIG Network. These North American affiliates of the Basic Income Earth Network promote the option of a basic income, an unconditional government transfer that would provide a basic but decent standard of living to all. The congress brings together academics, students, activists, policy analysts, government officials, low-income people, and others interested in exploring the merits of this proposal.
Plenary Speakers Include:
Scholars, activists, and others are invited to propose papers or presentations, organize panel discussions, or submit posters. Proposals are welcome on the following topics:
All points of view are welcome. Anyone interested in presenting, organizing a panel, or displaying a poster should submit an abstract of their proposal to the chair of the organizing committee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please include the following information with your proposal:
4. City, Province/State, Postal/Zip Code, and Country
6. Email Address(es)
7. Paper/Presentation/Panel/Poster Title
8. Abstract of 50-150 words
DEADLINE FOR PROPOSALS: January 13th, 2012
Proposals for panel discussions should include a title, topic, and description of the panel and the information above for each participant. If the participants are not presenting formal papers, the title of the paper and abstract may be omitted. Panels should be limited to four presentations.
More info email: email@example.com.
I can’t believe the news. We are in the midst of the worst global depression in 70 years, and the governments of almost every major industrialized country are talking about austerity. They’re cutting government services; laying off public sector workers; cutting pay, pensions, and benefits for public employees—all in the name of austerity and balanced budgets.
This astounds me because we’ve been through it before. We’ve seen what works; and we know that austerity is not the way out of a major depression. Austerity makes depressions worse. To get out of a depression, the government needs to spend money and lots of it. The lessons of history are clear, and the reading of history I’m going to discuss to make my point is not terribly controversial among economists. Let me explain.
In a depression (or a deep recession or whatever you want to call it), we get stuck at the bottom. People can’t spend as much because they’re not making as much, but people aren’t making as much, because people aren’t spending as much. Debt is a related problem, and so, I believe, is the real estate market, but there’s no room in this editorial for a full explanation. If you understand the idea of getting stuck at the bottom because of the feedback between spending and income, you get the essence of it. This kind of unemployment is pure waste. Human resources (not to mention idle shops and factories) are simply going to waste unused. We can wait for all that to work itself out on its own—as Japan has been waiting since 1989—or the government can take action.
We learned how to take action in a big way at the outset of World War II. I wrote a few years ago about “the economic lesson of 1938.” Today’s editorial could as well be called the economic lesson of 1941. The following graph shows U.S. per capita GDP for the years 1929 to 1947—from the stock market crash at the beginning of the Great Depression to the bottom of the post-war recession. Per capita GDP is the income of the average American. The figures are in “inflation-adjusted” 2008 dollars, meaning they’re adjusted to show the purchasing power that the incomes of the time would have at today’s prices. No inflation adjustment is perfect, but it gives you a rough idea. In general the graph shows we were much poorer then than we are now, but it shows much more about the times.
U.S. per capita GDP in inflation-adjusted 2008 dollars, 1929-1947
SOURCE: author’s plot of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
The austerity years were 1929 to 1933. In addition to many other mistakes, the government responded to reduced tax revenue caused by declining economic activity by reducing its own activity to match. Average income went down from over $11,000 to less than $8,000—a loss of more than 25 percent. You can think of everybody getting a 25 percent pay cut at the same time or of 75 percent of people keeping their entire income while 25 percent of people lose their entire incomes. What actually happened was somewhere in between, a little bit of both. Unemployment went up to 20 percent, so the depression was roughly twice as bad as what we’re going through now.
In 1933, Franklin Roosevelt was elected and we started spending money to stimulate the economy. He called it “priming the pump.” He took what, at the time, looked like a big action, spending money trying to help people, to get the economy moving again. And he had several years of success until he returned to austerity measures in 1937 and 1938, suddenly trying to balance the budget. I wrote about that problem in my earlier editorial. Except for that year progress was slow but steady. Yet, by 1941 unemployment was still at 9.67%. After 12 years of waiting for an end to the depression more Americans were unemployed then than they are now in the third year of our depression.
But in 1941 the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. The United States entered World War II. And the depression ended virtually over night. We went from a 10-percent labor surplus to a labor shortage in a matter of months. The demand for labor was so great that women entered the labor force in unprecedented numbers. They found good high-pay jobs waiting for them. Income shot up to $20,000 per year, double what it was in the austerity year of 1938.
The depression disappeared because the government spent money and massive amounts of it. The government hired the idle labor (and more) mostly as soldiers. The government hired the idle shipyards to build boats, the automobile plants to build jeeps and tanks, and so on. It was good for people, and it was good for business. The entire New Deal—it turned out—was far too small.
There are dangers to stimulating the economy in the wrong way, at the wrong time, or in the wrong amounts. You can end up with unacceptable debt, inflation, or a delayed depression. But none of these dangers manifest themselves in this case. Except for the obvious losses to war, the spending was good for people. After the war people got married and used the money they saved during the war to make down payments on houses, start families, and build better lives than they had in the 1930s.
The depression never came back. This is why I end the graph in the recession year of 1947. That year was as bad as the economy got after the war, but yet, per capita income was still nearly $15,000, not quite twice what it was after four years of austerity in 1933 and still 25 percent higher than it was in the boom year of 1929. After 1947 we got good healthy growth punctuated by short, forgettable, recessions. It was one of the best periods of economic growth in American history. Government spending worked, and there was no post-stimulus hangover. The most massive government stimulus we’ve ever had—perhaps the largest in world history—did not cause any significant problems with debt, inflation, or delayed depression.
You can look at the income and unemployment figures for almost every industrialized, capitalist nation at the time, and you will see the same pattern: as soon as they began massive war spending, the depression ended in their country. But we don’t need a war to stimulate the economy. We just need to break the political obsession with austerity and start spending some money.
Without the need to spend a stimulus on war, we can spend on schools, road, infrastructure, or on services to help the needy through a basic income guarantee or something else. What we spend it on is less important right now than the need to stimulate. The basic income guarantee movement now needs to be part of broader movement around the world against the austerity craze. This is why I am fully behind movements such as Occupy Wall Street in the United States and the anti-austerity protests in Europe. We must focus the world’s attention on the need for government to spend money to help people. Once we open that door the possibilities are great. But until then, we practice austerity against the lessons of our history.
-Karl Widerquist (firstname.lastname@example.org), the Second Cup Café, Doha, Qatar, December 2011
Alaska paid its 30th annual Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD) this October. The PFD is Alaska’s small and irregularly sized Basic Income. It has been paid to all citizens who meet the residency requirement since 1982. This year’s payment of $1174 went out to 647,549 eligible residents on October 6, 2011. A few PFD applications are still pending, and so the final number of recipients might increase.
The dividend is a bit smaller than usual thanks to the weak stock market over the last few years. The size of the dividend depends on the average returns to the Alaska Permanent Fund over the previous five years. The dividend of $1174 translates into $4,896 for a family of four. The poor performance of the fund has continued this year. After recovering to over $40 billion, it now stands at $38.2 billion, according to the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation. The weakness of the fund’s investments over the past few years will necessarily affect the dividend for years to come. Some editorials have applauded the fund’s performance for being able to deliver a dividend of $1174 during such difficult economic times.
The dividend has been credited with helping the state maintain one of the lowest poverty rates in the United States, with helping Alaska become the most economically equal of all U.S. states, and even with lowering the foreclosure rate on homes. Yet, as a recent Alaska Public Radio report discusses, little good data exists about how Alaskans spend their dividends. They often buy big things when they get the dividend, but in many cases they buy things they would have bought at some time during the year anyway. It is very hard to tell just how their spending differs from what it would be if there were no dividend.
The Alaska Public Radio report (by Annie Feidt, October 6, 2011) is online at:
For articles on this year’s dividend see:
For an article on Alaska’s relative low poverty rate, go to:
An editorial (Scott Woodham, the Alaska Dispatch) on how individuals ought to spend their dividends is online at:
An editorial (by the Fairbanks News-Minter) against the dividend is online at:
The Occupy Wall Street movement has spread around the country and around the world in the last few months. It is made up of a diverse group of people with diverse goals, united by one simple idea: to reverse the last 30 years of increasing inequality. The increase in inequality has not only been relative but also absolute. The top 1 percent of the U.S. income distribution has seen enormous growth in income and wealth over the last 30 years, while the bottom 80 to 90 percent have seen almost no real growth in income, wealth, or standard of living.
Within that general focus Occupy Wall Street protestors are talking about many different specific policies, and among them is the Basic Income Guarantee. One blog, which managed to get quoted in Forbes Magazine listed BIG as one of the key demands of protestors. This appears to be an exaggeration, but a lively discussion of BIG is underway on the Occupy Wall Street website.
For the BIG discussion on the OWS Website, go to:
The blog post mentioned above is, "Parsing the Data and Ideology of the We Are 99% Tumblr:"
The Forbes article about the protestors’ demands is, "Understanding What the Occupy Wall Street Protesters Want":
The Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN) was founded on September 6, 1986 under its original name, the Basic Income European Network. Therefore, it marked its 25th Anniversary last September. Guy Standing, one of the honorary Presidents and someone who has been involved in the organization since it was founded, wrote an editorial for Basic Income News reflecting on BIEN’s first 25 years.
Standing writes, “Anniversaries are poignant human moments, points on a journey, never an end in themselves. Twenty-five years ago, on September 4-6, 1986, a small group of us held a workshop on basic income, and on September 6 decided to set up a network, BIEN. The memory is blurred; the documentation is scattered. However, this 25th anniversary is a testament to several aspects of BIEN, and it is perhaps acceptable to reflect on the journey so far. …”
Read the full editorial at:
Representative Dennis Kucinich introduced the NEED Act into the U.S. House of Representatives several months ago. The act is mostly aimed at reforming the U.S. banking system, but it includes a provision for outlining a plan to create a Citizens Dividend (another name for Basic Income). The exact wording of the relevant section of the bill is, “. . . the Secretary [of the Treasury], in cooperation with the Monetary Authority, shall make recommendations to the Congress for payment of a Citizens Dividend as a tax-free grant to all United States citizens residing in the United States in order to provide liquidity to the banking system at the commencement of this Act, before governmental infrastructure expenditures have had a chance to work into circulation. . . . The Secretary shall maintain a thorough study of the effects of the Citizens Dividend observing its effects on production and consumption, prices, morale, and other economic and fiscal factors.”
An article about the act is online at:
The text of the bill is online at:
Mitch Daniels, the Conservative Republican governor of Indiana, has endorsed BIG. An entire chapter of his new book, Keeping the Republic: Saving America by Trusting Americans, is dedicated to the negative income tax. The governor defended the idea to skeptical conservatives saying, "If you believe as I do that Americans — whether poor, or minority, or young — are capable of making their own decisions and that society will work better if we treat them that way, then the negative income tax, it seemed to me, is a real good example of that,"
An article about Daniels book is online at:
The book’s website is:
A telephone survey finds 11 percent of U.S. voters favor a Basic Income Grant. The survey was conducted by Rasmussen Reports and published on Thursday, September 1, 2011. Rasmussen found that 82 percent of respondents opposed the idea. Rasmussen surveyed 1000 people and claims a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent with 95 percent confidence.
The exact question was, “Another proposal has been made for the federal government to provide every single American with a basic income grant. The idea would be to provide enough money for everyone to enjoy a modest living regardless of whether or not they choose to work. Do you favor or oppose having the federal government provide every single American with a basic income grant?”
Although the percentage is very small, 11 percent of Americans is 33 million people, who answered yes to question asked out of the blue about a policy that has been no part of the public discussion in U.S. politics for 30 years. One surprising fact is that someone is actually surveying Americans about this issue.
The same survey found that 49% of American adults think government programs increase the level of poverty in the United States. Adding to that 19 percent who believe government programs do nothing to help poverty shows that nearly as many Americans (68 percent) oppose nearly anything the government is doing to fight poverty as oppose BIG (80 percent). Only 20 percent of respondents said that current government programs decrease the poverty.
For the Rasmusson report on the survey go to:
Wolfgang Muller - BI News
On September 18th, 2011, the German Pirate Party gained 8.9 percent in their first participation in the Berlin state election and far surpassed the required five percent to receive representation in the state parliament. They finished in fifth place and received 15 seats. In their election manifesto they promoted an unconditional basic income as part of their economic and social policy. According to the Pirate Party, basic income should secure the existence of any citizen with permanent residence or unrestricted right of residence in Germany without any further requirements. Post-election polls have attributed much of the Pirate Party’s success to its social policy agenda.
The Pirate Party was founded in 2006 on the basis of a claim for internet freedom. Direct democracy and transparency have developed as further parts of its themes. Since its foundation the Pirate Party has been growing and participated in several German state elections as well as in the German federal election and European Parliament election in 2009. This achievement marks the first time the Pirate Party will participate in a state parliament.
Another party that participated in Berlin state election and stands for an unconditional basic income is the Socialist Equality Party (Partei für Soziale Gleichheit, PSG). Its candidate Christopher Vandreier underpinned the party's claim for an unconditional basic income of €1.500 as a requirement for equal participation in society in an election broadcast shown during the election according to the World Socialist Web Site. The PSG got only 0.1 percent in the election and therefore clearly missed the required five percent.
For more information about Berlin state election, Pirate Party and Socialist Equality Party see:
http://berlin.piratenpartei.de/ (German only)
http://www.gleichheit.de/ (German only)
http://www.wahlen-berlin.de/wahlen/BE2011/ergebnis/karten/zweitstimmen/ErgebnisUeberblick.asp?sel1=1052&sel2=0651 (German only)
Joerg Drescher - BI News
According to the press release of the Pirate Party from the December 3, 2011, the party argued about and adopted a resolution in support of Basic Income and minimum wages at its party convention in Offenbach.
After a debate, which took about two hours, the motion “Unconditional Basic Income and Minimum Wages” was carried by 66.9 percent and reached the necessary supermajority. The result shows the long, engaged and controversial discussion. Now the motion is part of the election manifesto for the next federal elections in 2013 in Germany.
The party understands the Unconditional Basic Income as: Insurance for the existence and social participation, as well as a guaranteed individual legal title without means test, compulsion to work or any other reward. Because its implementation will be a change of the paradigm in welfare policy, the launch of a public discussion beforehand is necessary. For that reason, the Pirate Party wants to fund an enquiry commission within the German Bundestag to workout new and evaluate existing models. One of the models should be elected by a national referendum. Until the implementation of an Unconditional Basic Income, the Pirate Party endorses a federal legal minimum wage.
According to GoogleNews more than 600 articles were published on this topic, including by leading nationwide newspapers. One of them, the Süddeutsche, spoke with Sebastian Nerz, the party leader, about Basic Income. He said, he was not convinced, even if he know, that it might be possible. But he wished, that the Party would have dealt with a more concrete model beforehand.
This article says further that Nerz is not alone with his opinion, because a few other members were concerned that the motion was too universal. On the one hand, it says nothing about the amount of the Basic Income (could be 500 or 2.000 Euro). On the other hand, it is not clear how to fund the scheme and which influence it would have on the political economy.
In another interview with Christian Engström, Member of the European Parliament for the Swedish Pirate Party, from the 15th November 2011 with EurActiv.com he was asked, which issues are especially important to be addressed on a supranational level and which issues are more relevant for the national level. He answered, that topics as a Basic Income, possession of soft drugs and free public transport, are more national and even regional issues of the German Pirates.
For articles on this topic go to:
Press release of the Pirate Party: http://www.piratenpartei.de/Pressemitteilung/piraten-sprechen-sich-f%C3%BCr-bedingungsloses-grundeinkommen-und-mindestlohn-aus
Article in the Süddeutsche: http://www.sueddeutsche.de/politik/piraten-votieren-fuer-grundeinkommen-vage-statt-gewagt-1.1225882
Interview with Christian Engström: http://www.euractiv.com/infosociety/pirate-mep-expect-party-grow-interview-508952
Old age poverty increasingly becomes a political issue in Germany. All scientific forecasts predict rising old age poverty in Germany. The Federal Minister of Labour and Social Affairs Ursula von der Leyen just presented a proposal for a minimum pension. However the access to the proposed minimum pension shall be limited to people who have been insured in the pay-as-you-go pension insurance for 45 years and have paid additionally for 35 years into a funded pension scheme. While the socialist party “Die Linke” proposes a means-tested minimum pension, the BIEN life member and member of parliament for the Greens, Dr. Wolfgang Strengmann-Kuhn, followed the Swedish example and proposes a guaranteed basic pension for all who have been insured for 30 years in the pay-as-you-go pension insurance. Years dedicated to child-rearing or care of relatives count just as well as attendance of school.
Proposal of the Federal Minister of Labour and Social Affairs:
Proposal of the Greens: http://www.strengmann-kuhn.de/2011/09/15/die-grune-garantierente/
On October 12, 2011, hundreds of protesters demonstrated in Bologna within the framework of the “Indignados” movement, against the effects of the financial crisis. Among the claims was the idea of a guaranteed income (“Reddito per tutti”). Most participants were precarious workers. The demonstration turned violent with the intervention of police forces, as several protesters were beaten and even injured.
Further information: http://www.bin-italia.org/
The Basic Income Network of Italy (BIN-Italia), has released an open letter to the President of Italy Mario Monti and the Minister for Welfare. The letter is entitled, "Hurry!" It calls for the introduction of an unconditional guaranteed income. In the letter, BIN-Italia appeals for haste in implementing effective measures to fight the social emergency in Italy. BIN-Italia argues, to avoid the risk of “default of citizenship rights” and to allow Italy to adapt to European standard protection of human dignity it is essential to realize an individual basic income.
The full text of the letter (in English and in Italian) is on the BIN-Italia website:
Founded in 1938, the “Centre des Jeunes Dirigeants” (“Centre for young leaders”) is France’s oldest representative organization for employers. With its 4000 active members, it remains an influential group. It recently published a document entitled “Oïkos”, which contains several reform proposals to be submitted to the candidates at France’s next Presidential election (2012). Among the proposals is the idea of an unconditional universal grant (“allocation universelle”).
For further information:
The Belgian Ark Award for Free Speech was created in 1951 by Flemish intellectuals who were opposing restrictions to freedom of expression. In the past decades, it was awarded to several prominent intellectuals, mainly Flemish writers and artists. On May 25, the 2011 Prize was awarded to Philippe Van Parijs (UCLouvain), one of the most prominent advocates of basic income, and a founder of BIEN. In his "Laudatio", Professor Rik Coolsaet (Ghent University) mentioned Van Parijs's defence of basic income as one of the best examples of his lifelong commitment to social justice.
Coolsaet's "Laudatio" was published in the Flemish daily 'De Standaard':
Van Parijs's speech (in Dutch) is available at: http://www.uclouvain.be/8611.html
The list of past laureates is at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ark_Prize_of_the_Free_Word
Senator Eduardo Suplicy spent three months campaigning as a “pre-candidate” for the Workers Party nomination for Mayor of Sao Paulo. He based his campaign almost entirely on the idea of creating a Basic Income at the municipal level. On November 6, 2011 he secured a promise from another pre-candidate Fernando Haddad, the current Minister of Education, that he would incorporate some of Suplicy’s proposal into his own plan. Although Haddad did not offer any specifics, Suplicy, who has three years left to go in his Senate term, agreed to drop out of the race and endorse Haddad.
Stanislas Jourdan - BI News
The idea of basic income seeps slowly into the French political scene. Following former prime minister Dominique De Villepin’s announcement that he will propose a citizen income to the next presidential elections, two others candidates are preparing their own proposals.
Christine Boutin still favors basic income
Last week, Christine Boutin, president of the Christian Democratic Party, renewed her support for a basic income, in the move of her campaign towards the next presidential elections in 2012. She said at a meeting that she supported a “basic income” for all the French from birth to replace “the hundreds of benefits to which no one understands anything”. She claims a basic income at 400 Euros for every adult while 200 Euros would be given to children. “This is not a sacrament for idleness or a poverty trap, but an asset to escape poverty,” she added. Back in 2006, Christine Boutin was the first major political figure to propose a “universal dividend.” Very inspired by Yolland Bresson’s work, she even filed a bill at the French National Assembly (which was never debated in the end).
“Key measure” of the Green Party
More encouraging news is coming to us that Europe Ecologie – Les Verts (Former Green Party) is currently working on its own proposal for a basic income. According to internal sources from the Party, this will be a “key measure” of their election campaign. Eva Joly, the leader of the party who will be running the election, yet made allusions that she favors a “subsistence income”, and the basic income was already in their political platform in the last elections back in 2007 and 2009. But some doubts remained among observers, still waiting for a concrete proposal in view of the next election.
Villepin under fire
Meanwhile, Villepin’s proposal has been highly criticized by his opponent, arguing that the measure was “demagogic” or “unrealistic”. Even some of his own supporters were destabilized by the idea and left his movement. Other French basic income supporters heavily criticized the nature of the proposal. Indeed, while he suggests a high-valued citizen income of 850 Euros a month, this grant could not be drawn concurrently with other income. But Villepin keeps the line. On his blog he answers critics from President Sarkozy, arguing that “This so called ‘thing’ is no magic nor demagogy, this is simply citizenship.”
For more info about BIG in France go to:
Yolland Bresson's envision of the basic income: http://owni.fr/2011/03/18/yolland-bresson-revenu-existence/
Christine Boutin's statements: http://www.lepoint.fr/fil-info-reuters/christine-boutin-pour-un-revenu-de-base-11-09-2011-1372084_240.php
One critic of Villepin's proposal: http://www.creationmonetaire.info/2011/04/revenu-citoyen-attention-danger.html
Libya has been a classic case of the resource curse: enormous resource wealth (even on a per-person basis), but instead of prosperity, the windfall has coincided with poverty and political oppression. The new government now has the job of finding a way to lift the curse on Libya. A recent editorial by Kevin Voigt of CNN suggests that one of the best ways to do so would be to embrace, what he calls, the “Alaska solution:” distribute some of the oil revenue directly to the people. The article examines other cases such as Norway, Mongolia, and Bolivia to find lessons for how to avoid the resource curse and to bolster the case for the Alaska solution.
The editorial, “The 'resource curse': An Alaskan solution for Libya?” by Kevin Voigt of CNN
September 6, 2011, is online at:
Presidential elections will take place in Senegal in February 2012. One of the candidates, Abdoulaye Taye, has announced that his electoral platform would include a strong plea in favour of the implementation of an unconditional basic income in Senegal.
For further information:
Dedicated website (in French): http://www.rbg-amo.com/
Email address of the candidate: email@example.com
The 44 proposals of Taye’s platform summarized at http://www.nettali.net/Les-44-propositions-du-Docteur.html (in French)
Wolfgang Muller - BI News
Sharon Labchuck, the leader of the Green Party of Prince Edward Island, finds interest on the idea of a "guaranteed liveable income". According to the Canadian Guardian, she described it as "a bold idea but one worth pursuing". The Green Party and their tax suggestions became subject of discussion in an all-candidates debate for the election in the beginning of October 2011. In particular Robert Ghiz, leader of the winning Liberals, found some of the suggested tax policies interesting and considerable. The Green Party, however, could not gain any of the seats in October.
The leader of the provincial Green Party of Canada has endorsed BIG. According to CARP online, the leader writes, “If elected we would work towards the creation of a universal basic income for all Manitobans.” An article about the statement is online at:
At the world action day, an international initiative group announced plans to prepare and launch a European Citizens’ Initiative on the implementation of an unconditional basic income in Europe. Hosted by the Internationaler Runder Tisch Grundeinkommen (international German-speaking round table on basic income), the symposium was held in Vienna on 14/15th October 2011. In the end, 60 scientists, activists and representatives from NGOs adopted a declaration in favor of this initiative. For more information on the initiative, please contact:
Klaus Sambor <firstname.lastname@example.org> and
Ronald Blaschke <email@example.com>
On October 27, 2011, a high-level United Nations panel released a report calling for guaranteeing basic “income and services” for all. The report, entitled Social Protection Floor for a Fair and Inclusive Globalization, did not specifically call for basic income but the “ floor would guarantee basic income in the form of social transfers in cash or kind, such as pensions, child benefits, employment guarantees and services for the unemployed and working poor, while providing universal access to essential affordable social services in health, water and sanitation, education, food, housing, and other services defined according to national priorities.”
UN Story on the report with a link to the full text of the report is online at:
Bedingungsloses Grundeinkommen, a Facebook page in German, obtained its 50,000th follower in the summer of 2012. The page was created by Daniel Häni and Benjamin Hohlmann in Basel, Switzerland. The popularity of this site is just a small sign of the extent to which the BIG movement is taking off in German-speaking countries from the grass roots to the highest levels. Five of the six major parties in Germany have Basic Income factions. Dozens of members of the German Parliament have endorsed Basic Income. The national German BIG network is a large and growing organization, which has regular events often in cooperation with Swiss and Austrian groups. The German BIG Network will host the 2012 BIEN Congress in Munich. German-speaking countries have something that few other countries have: local Basic Income groups with regular activities in many German cities. Daniel Häni and Enno Schmidt founded a Swiss group in 2006 in Basel. They produced the documentary "Basic Income. A Cultural Impulse" (released in 2008), which is the most popular movie about BI in Germany and Switzerland
The Bedingungsloses Grundeinkommen Facebook is online at: http://www.facebook.com/bedingungsloses.grundeinkommen.
For information (in German) about the German BIG network, go to their website:
An English (dubbed) version of "Basic Income. A Cultural Impulse" is online at: http://dotsub.com/view/26520150-1acc-4fd0-9acd-169d95c9abe1
CORRECTION: The original version of this article misidentified the page as being created by the German BIG Network
Basic Income Studies (BIS), the only academic journal focused entirely on Basic Income, has released volume 6, issue 1, 2011. BIS issues are available for free sampling at http://www.bepress.com/bis.
The Basic Income Road to Reforming Iran's Price Subsidies
ABSTRACT: Iran has become the first country in the world to provide a de facto basic income to all its citizens. This article reviews the development of the main component of Iran’s economic reform plan – the replacement of fuel and food subsidies with direct cash transfers to the population – and shows how a system of universal, regular and unconditional cash transfers emerged almost by default as a by-product of an attempt to transform an inefficient and unfair system of price subsidies. The main features of the cash subsidy system are compared with those of a basic income; then some lessons from this experience are drawn that may enhance the prospects of basic income as a realistic proposition.
Overcoming Dividend Skepticism: Why the World's Sovereign Wealth Funds Are Not Paying Basic Income Dividends
Angela L. Cummine
ABSTRACT: More than 50 states around the world now possess a Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF), yet only the Alaska Permanent Fund (APF) directly distributes profits to national citizens. SWFs are government-owned investment vehicles, more than two-thirds of which have been established since the year 2000. This article seeks to discover why this recent proliferation of SWFs has not been matched with a similar increase in their use as a financing source for Basic Income schemes.
Pathways to a Universal Basic Pension in Greece
Manos Matsaganis and Chrysa Leventi
ABSTRACT: Although basic pension had failed for years to catch the imagination of policy makers in Greece, the severe crisis raging since November 2009 has caused it to be quickly put on the agenda. In May 2010 the government committed to a harsh austerity programme, aimed at fiscal consolidation, in return for a rescue package easing the sovereign debt crisis. The July 2010 pension reform, a key provision of the austerity programme, provided for the introduction of a near-universal basic pension starting in 2015. This paper explains why, paradoxically, the crisis made a universal basic pension in Greece more realistic. We argue, first, that social insurance pensions may be ripe for path-breaking reform if heavily subsidised in a non-transparent way, and, second, that any progress towards basic income is likely to be gradual, uneven and specific to the national policy context.
Basic Income From the Bottom Up? Allocating Jobs and Incomes With the Job Sharing Doodle
ABSTRACT: The paper presents a proposal for allocating jobs and incomes through using an internet auction that is based on the idea of tradable job quotas. Auction participants are enabled to self-organize for a BI. A smart phone application for conducting the auction is presented, and some results of experiments with multi-agent simulations are discussed.
The Case for a Global Pension and Youth Grant
ABSTRACT: This research note argues that, in the age of globalisation, the old age pension should be installed at a global level, by means of a pension paid at a modest rate to all older persons on the planet, to be financed by a light tax on global financial transactions and corporate wealth.
Review of Peter Baldwin, The Narcissism of Minor Differences: How America and Europe Are Alike
Tord Skogedal Lindén
Review of Joseph Hanlon, David Hulme and Armando Barrientos, Just Give Money to the Poor: The Development Revolution From the Global South
Cecilia T. Lanata Briones
Louvain-la-Neuve: Presses universitaires de Louvain (2011).
Publisher’s description: A collective volume, entitled Arguing About Justice, has just been published on the occasion of Philippe Van Parijs’s 60th birthday. The book was launched on October 28th, 2011, during the celebrations of the Hoover Chair (Louvain University) 20th anniversary, and remained a complete surprise for Van Parijs himself. The editors Axel Gosseries and Yannick Vanderborght had managed to convince almost 50 authors from all over the world, who all respect Philippe’s ideas and like him as a person, to join this secret project. The authors were asked to write pieces trying out new ideas, taking risks if possible, without knowing anything about who the other authors were, their number, the publisher’s name, the venue for the gift-giving, etc.
The diversity of Van Parijs’s research interests is reflected in the volume, with contributors from various disciplines covering a wide array of issues. Papers on basic income are of course well represented. They consider how and to what extent such a basic income can be justified (Christian Arnsperger & Warren A. Johnson, Samuel Bowles, Paul-Marie Boulanger, Ian Carter, Robert van der Veen, and Karl Widerquist) as well as the prospects of its implementation, based on experiences from France (Denis Clerc), the United Kingdom (Bill Jordan), Brazil (Eduardo Suplicy), or at a more general level (Almaz Zelleke). Among the other authors are Anne Alstott, Bruce Ackerman, John Baker, Joshua Cohen, Jon Elster, Robert Goodin, Claus Offe, John Roemer, Erik Olin Wright, and many others.
The endorsement by Amartya Sen reads as follows: “A book of quick and sharp thoughts on a grand theme is a novel way of paying tribute to a leading philosopher. But it has worked beautifully here, both as a stimulating book of ideas on justice, and as a fitting recognition of the intellectual contributions of Philippe Van Parijs, who is one of the most original and most creative thinkers of our time”.
Further details about the book (including all abstracts) and how to order it online are available at: http://www.uclouvain.be/394650.html
In Gosseries, Axel & Vanderborght, Yannick (editors), Arguing About Justice. Essays for Philippe Van Parijs. Louvain-la-Neuve: Presses universitaires de Louvain (2011).
Abstract: In Real Freedom for All, Ph. Van Parijs characterizes jobs as scarce, external resources that may justifiably be taxed in order to fund a basic income. Surprisingly, Van Parijs notes, in passing, that a tax on scarce marriage partners might possibly be justified on similar grounds. This essay revisits the analogy between jobs and marriages and concludes that marriage partners are not in principle scarce, although in practice they are. It follows that the first-best course of action is for the state to take measures (including basic income, national service, online dating regulation, and liberalization of marriage laws) to ensure fair access to marriage partners for those who wish to marry. In the absence of such reforms, a tax on marriage partners might be a defensible second-best measure.
In Gosseries, Axel & Vanderborght, Yannick (editors), Arguing About Justice. Essays for Philippe Van Parijs. Louvain-la-Neuve: Presses universitaires de Louvain (2011).
ABSTRACT: Many egalitarians, among whom "real libertarians" like Ph. Van Parijs, wish to assess distributions of freedom in a way that takes into account each person's whole life. Is the policy outcome of such a normative stance basic income (an income allocated at regular intervals during each person's life), or basic capital (a lump sum allocated only once to each person, at the beginning of her life)? The former answer depends on an "end state" interpretation of the concept of "freedom over whole lives"; the latter depends on a "starting gate" interpretation of that concept. On the basis of a reductionist conception of the person (due to D. Parfit), together with a particular idea of respect for persons (called "opacity respect"), it is possible to justify a combination of these two interpretations, and with this, the libertarian prescription of a combination of basic capital and basic income.
In Gosseries, Axel & Vanderborght, Yannick (editors), Arguing About Justice. Essays for Philippe Van Parijs. Louvain-la-Neuve: Presses universitaires de Louvain (2011).
ABSTRACT: Ph. Van Parijs has shown that basic income allows to combine social justice and individual freedom, two goals that are often considered to be incompatible. Why, then, does it remain so low on the political agenda? Probably because its implementation would generate such a big bang in our complex societies, a risk that no government is ready to take. This is why we should rather try to approach this goal gradually, be it through very small steps.
In Gosseries, Axel & Vanderborght, Yannick (editors), Arguing About Justice. Essays for Philippe Van Parijs. Louvain-la-Neuve: Presses universitaires de Louvain (2011).
ABSTRACT: As the idea of Basic Income becomes more of a practical possibility, the political basis for its implementation grows in importance. Among the available rationales for its introduction are to combat the polarisation of incomes through globalisation and to curb the perverse effects of tax-benefit interactions. This paper argues that the proposal should be linked with a global social movement to address the precarious future of the young generation.
In Gosseries, Axel & Vanderborght, Yannick (editors), Arguing About Justice. Essays for Philippe Van Parijs. Louvain-la-Neuve: Presses universitaires de Louvain (2011).
ABSTRACT: In this chapter, I reflect on the history of basic income in Brazil, based on first hand political experience. First, I detail how basic income came to inspire concrete policies in my home country. Second, I focus on the main social assistance program in Brazil today, the Bolsa Família, which is widely regarded as one of the examples to be followed by other developing countries. Third, I explain why I think that a Citizen’s Basic Income (CBI) remains superior, in many ways, to such a conditional scheme. Finally, I try to show how we can move towards a true CBI in Brazil.
In Gosseries, Axel & Vanderborght, Yannick (editors), Arguing About Justice. Essays for Philippe Van Parijs. Louvain-la-Neuve: Presses universitaires de Louvain (2011).
ABSTRACT: Van Parijs’s case for the highest unconditional basic income asserts that the benefits of unequally held gifts - such as inheritances and scarce jobs - should be redistributed by means of taxation, to serve the goal of maximizing the real freedom of the least advantaged. Invoking Dworkin’s egalitarian auction model, Van Parijs argues that the fairest way of sharing the tax yield is to give all an equal share, regardless of willingness to work. In this chapter, however, I show that some gifts command auction prices which reflect a reward for the work required to obtain their benefits. If this outcome of the auction is properly taken aboard, then a fair redistribution of the tax yield must - at least in part - be conditional on people’s willingness to work.
In Gosseries, Axel & Vanderborght, Yannick (editors), Arguing About Justice. Essays for Philippe Van Parijs. Louvain-la-Neuve: Presses universitaires de Louvain (2011).
ABSTRACT: This essay argues that Van Parijs’s notion of “real freedom” does not capture the most important reasons why an adequate social protection system must include an unconditional income. “Real freedom,” the freedom to do whatever one might want to do, is neither the most important freedom for people to have nor a freedom that necessarily explains why benefits must be unconditional and large enough to meet a person’s basic needs. It might not be possible to determine what kind of redistribution plan gives people the most “real freedom.” Instead society must focus on protecting the most important freedoms, especially the freedom of voluntary interaction and the freedom to refuse involuntary interaction: the power to say 'no'. This understanding of freedom provides a compelling reason why basic income must be unconditional.
In Gosseries, Axel & Vanderborght, Yannick (editors), Arguing About Justice. Essays for Philippe Van Parijs. Louvain-la-Neuve: Presses universitaires de Louvain (2011).
ABSTRACT: Twenty-five years after the publication of Van Parijs and van der Veen’s provocative “Capitalist Road to Communism,” the global economy has achieved the abundance necessary for communism. The means and relations of production have evolved in a way that makes the elimination of the division of labor, private property, and class divisions—conditions critical to Marx’s vision of communism—possible. A basic income in the context of a global, networked economy, championed by a new and unexpected vanguard class, could fulfill Van Parijs and van der Veen’s original and ambitious claim.
In The Huffington Post Politics, September 12, 2011
This opinion piece discusses the relevance for today’s politics of the Negative Income Tax proposal, as discussed in the 1970s by Milton Friedman and Daniel Patrick Moynihan. The author is Professor of Public Affairs, The University of Texas at Austin.
In The New Zealand Herald, September 13 and November 8, 2011
In two editorials, economist Gareth Morgan defends his proposal for what he calls “the Big Kahuna,” a proposal for comprehensive reform of New Zealand’s tax and welfare system, including a basic income.
Center for Global Development Working Paper. Washington, D.C.: Center for Global Development.
ABSTRACT: Although Iraq’s oil industry is 80 years old, it has an opportunity to introduce an oil dividend based on the expansion of production currently being undertaken. Even assuming a conservative price for crude, the resulting predicted rise in revenues will allow the government to allocate a significant dividend which halves poverty, helps diversify the economy by creating demand at all income levels for goods and services, and stimulates capital formation—all without cutting into the government’s capital spending plans. A dividend, starting at $220 per capita in October 2012 and rising with expanded production, could also cement the affiliation of all citizens to Iraqi territorial integrity, act as a powerful disincentive to secession in oil-producing regions, and create popular pressure among all sections of the population to discourage acts by the ongoing insurgency which disrupt economic reconstruction. Logistically, dividends could be mapped onto the nationwide and universal rationing system, as the electoral roll has been, and combined with Iraq’s ubiquitous mobile phone networks and new biometric ID cards. A partial dividend would create a strong domestic political constituency for transparency to reinforce international technical efforts to help the government manage oil revenues and create efficient management structures. It would also help Iraq develop an alternative economic model to a future, which the country’s present trajectory now threatens, of a bloated state as the country’s only significant employer, with all the attendant problems of patronage networks, politicization of the civil service, and outright corruption. Support for an oil dividend policy is growing among some politicians, notably those seeking votes among the Iraqi poor such as the Sadrists and Fadhila party. International support could help the government structure a dividend which functions well and in the public interest.
Johnny West is a former journalist for Reuters in the Middle East and the founder of OpenOil, a consultancy which advises the UN on the public policy implications of the oil industry in the Middle East, and which seeks market solutions to resource-curse issues.
Global Prosperity Wonkcast, September 12, 2011
This website has a written introduction and an half-hour interview with Johnny West who discusses the possibility of an Alaska-style oil dividend for Iraq. According to West, if one takes into account the potential oil revenue of Iraq, the country is capable of generating a much larger dividend than most observers have realized. The reason is that Iraqi oil fields are underexplored and under exploited. It has far more potential to drill than has currently been realized. A livable dividend might well be possible.
New York: Sentinel HC, September 20, 2011.
This book, by the Conservative Republican governor of Indiana, includes an entire chapter on the negative income tax. The publisher’s website for the book is online at:
In Economics NewsPaper,
In this article, Bernard Kundig, makes a diagnosis of the Greek crisis and shows how Basic Income can be used to help rationalize and clean up public finance in Greece without stifling economic activity.
In Institute for Ethics & Emerging Technologies, September 8, 2011
In this article, Mohamad Tarifi argues for a Basic Income Guarantee as part of a wider social reform meant to deal with the emergence of new technologies.
In The Dominion: news from the grassroots. September 5, 2011
This newspaper editorial reports and comments on Evelyn Forget’s reexamination of Canada's Negative Income Tax Experiment in Dauphin, Manitoba in the 1970s.
In TruthOut, Op-Ed page, August 26 and September 5, 2011
In these two successive articles, Jeff Smith argues that Americans need to learn from Europeans to work to live rather than to live to work. He argues that U.S. leisure time is squeezed and that BIG in the form of a Citizens Dividend would help. Jeffery J. Smith in the editor of The Progress Report and The Geonomist.
Informante (Namibia), September 28, 2011
This opinion piece discusses the state of poverty in Namibia and argues that “Basic Income Grant (BIG) Coalition is still convinced that the BIG remains the best option and the best tool to lighten the burden of the increasing rate of unemployment and to change the ugly face of poverty in Namibia.”
It’s online at:
The 2012 European Foundation Centre conference will hold a session entitled, “Justice through unconditional basic income? A debate on European Social Policy” The conference website describes the session as follows:
The social question and the issue of solidarity are among the core issues of the European agenda. The European Commission has focused its Europe 2020 strategy almost exclusively on them and a whole civil society movement on equality and social justice has emerged during the last couple of years throughout the continent. The session will deal with the issue of an unconditional basic income as a possible perspective on European social policy. Should every citizen get the amount of 700 Euro a month with few or no conditions attached? Is that simply utopia? Or is it a real European idea that could lead to the abolishment of other official political welfare systems? And if the unconditional basic income is not the solution for inequality and injustice that exists throughout Europe, what other strategies do we have to improve the economic perspectives of European citizens and explicitly the young generation? Which answers and solutions can we provide in order to achieve social justice, taking into account the historical youth unemployment and the sovereign debt that the young generation will inherit? And what is the role of foundations, i.e. the third sector, in all this?
More information about the conference is online at:
The Fourteenth BIEN Congress will take place in Munich Germany in September 2012. The call for papers and more information will appear on BIEN’s website soon.
A public meeting about “Precarity and guaranteed income” was held in Rome on 24th of November 2011. It was organized by Confederazione Generale Italia Lavoro (the Italian general confederation of work) of the Lazio region. Participants included Tina Bali (Secretary of CGIL Roma and Lazio), Sandro Gobetti (Bin Italy) and Michele Raitano (La Sapienza University, Rome) took part at the meeting. Meeting Coordinator was Martha Bonafoni (Director of Radio Popolare Roma). The meeting started at 5 pm and took place at the Detour Urban Oasis, Via Urbana 107 Rome.
The discussion focused on Precarity condition and the need for a guaranteed income in Italy within a broader context such as the European social model. The connection between precarity and guaranteed income has become a focal point in the debate especially for Italy, a country where more than 2.5 million young people are out of work and without any kind of income support.
More information (in Italian) about the meeting is online at: http://www.bin-italia.org/informa.php?ID_NEWS=313
An organization called Tilt Camp held a public meeting, entitled "Welfare and guaranteed income for tomorrow's Italy," in Pisa from 3 to 6pm on Saturday 26th of November. Speakers included: Giulio Marcon (Sbilanciamoci), Luca Santini (BIN Italy), Arturo di Corinto (journalist), Claudia Pratelli (Il nostro tempo è adesso. La vita non aspetta), Roberto Ciccarelli (Manifesto), Maria La Porta (Sportello Donna), Vincenzo Bavaro (labor law, University of Bari), Ylenia Daniello (Million Marijuana March), Michele DePalma (FIOM CGIL), Lorenzo Misuraca (Ass. DaSud), Jacopo Pisacreta (Experience-Lab), Valentina Meconi (Fabbrica di Nichi - Fermo). This event is part of a three-day meeting called "Money makes you happy.”
More info in Italian and a link to the “Tilt camp” meeting is online at: http://www.bin-italia.org/informa.php?ID_NEWS=314
This Congress is organized by “European Alternatives” at the European Parliament. It will bring together activists, citizens and organisations active throughout the continent and sharing a common vision for rebuilding Europe. The Congress aims to clearly spell out that real alternatives to Europe’s social, economic, and political status quo exist, and to work towards the construction of a platform of transnational coordination to better bring those alternatives to fruition over the course of 2012 through a series of transnational campaigns, forums, and assemblies. Basic Income will be among the alternatives to be discussed by the participants.
Further information: http://www.euroalter.com/ppp/events/424/
Important note: It is necessary to register by November 27th for this event to receive a pass to access the European Parliament.
This one-day conference addressed the issue of “Sharing responsibility in Shaping the Future”. The full text of the book containing the papers underpinning the presentations at this conference may be accessed free of charge at:
Each individual paper may also be downloaded separately. Basic Income is named in a number of these papers as being an essential component of a viable, sustainable future.
This conference was organized by Internationaler Runder Tisch Grundeinkommen (basic income networks in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Italy), and Attac (BI-groups in Austria and Germany). It was held at the Haus der Europaischen Union. For further information please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Organized by the Faculty of Social Sciences and the Cologne University of Applied Sciences and the local Basic Income Association in Cologne on Saturday November 12, 2012. Participants discussed whether the success of the Pirate Party will make Basic Income a central topic. According to polls, 45% of those who voted for the Pirate Party did that because of the social fairness. The Pirate Party is the first party in a German parliament, that has a "Right to a safe existence and participation" in their party manifesto.
Additional information (in German) is available online at:
This session at the International Reciprocal Trade Association at the Aventura Spa Resort in Riviera Maya, Mexico featured Richard Cook discussing, in part, a proposal for a worldwide BIG to be administered by the UN and IMF. Cook argued that a Basic Income Guarantee is necessary not only for humanitarian, social, and political reasons, but it is also needed to inject consumer purchasing power into a world economy where it has collapsed due to a fatally flawed monetary system. For more information see:
The USBIG Newsletter is now a part of BI News. Most of our stories are posted on the BI News website, and many of stories that begin on BI News are reposted here. BI News was founded only a few months ago. It has a growing body of news reports on Basic Income—reports originating all around the world. We are in great need of volunteers to write for BI News and to do other work to keep it growing. If you are interested, contact BInews at: email@example.com, or simply contact me: Karl@widerquist.com
-Karl Widerquist, USBIG
The TED website, which includes web discussions on various topics, has begun a discussion of BIG. It’s online at:
During the international week for BIG in September 2011 the local Basic Income Network in Hamburg Germany (www.grundeinkommen-hamburg.de) created a special performance they call "WortMob" (Word mob). The group spelling the words "BIG" and "human dignity". It ends by asking "what kind of work would you choose if you'd get BIG?"
It can be found online at:
The Big Kahuna website outlines a detailed proposal for reform of New Zealand’s tax and welfare system. The proposal includes a basic income.
A discussion of BIG on the Occupy Wall Street Website, go is online at:
Gwang-eun Choi has created a slide show introducing the Basic Income pilot projects that have been taking place in India since January 2011:
The BIN-Italia website has a short video of a demonstration on November 22, 2003 when more than 50.000 people in Rome demonstrated for a guaranteed income. According to BIN-Italian, “Usually in all the demonstration the guaranteed income are one of the request from the people, social movement, precarious worker etc. But this short movie shows the largest demonstration in Italy just for a guaranteed income.”
For links to dozens of BIG websites around the world, go to http://www.usbig.net/links.html. These links are to any website with information about BIG, but USBIG does not necessarily endorse their content or their agendas.
The USBIG Network Newsletter
Editor: Karl Widerquist
Copyeditor: Mike Murray and the USBIG Committee
Research: Paul Nollen
Special help on this issue was provided by: Michael W. Howard, Jeff Smith, Felix Coeln, Grundeinkommen-Hamburg, and Jim Mulvale
The U.S. Basic Income Guarantee (USBIG) Network publishes this newsletter. The Network is a discussion group on basic income guarantee (BIG) in the United States. BIG is a generic name for any proposal to create a minimum income level, below which no citizen's income can fall. Information on BIG and USBIG can be found on the web at: http://www.usbig.net. More news about BIG is online at BInews.org.
You may copy and circulate articles from this newsletter, but please mention the source and include a link to http://www.usbig.net. If you know any BIG news; if you know anyone who would like to be added to this list; or if you would like to be removed from this list; please send me an email: Karl@Widerquist.com.
As always, your comments on this newsletter and the USBIG website are gladly welcomed.
-Karl Widerquist, editor
Visiting Associate Professor in Philosophy
Room 1D42, Georgetown University-Qatar
3300 Whitehaven Street, N.W.
Suite 2100, Harris Building
Washington, D.C. 20007-2401
US cell phone: +1 504-261-0891
Qatar cell phone: +974 5508-9323
Qatar office phone: +974 4457-8384
Qatar fax: +974 4457-8231
PERSONAL WEBSITE: http://www.widerquist.com/
When Mamma was a Girl.
When Mamma was a girl.
Girls didn’t wear a slitted skirt,
Red petticoats, and mannish shirts,
Drive autos, shoot and smoke and flirt.
When mamma was a girl
Maids never longed to sufferagette,
Or earn their living by their sweat,
Or have a poodle for a pet
When mamma was a girl.
They never on a horse rode stride
They never had their ankles eyed
It seems they had what they called pride
When Mamma was a girl
They didn’t go like Toms and Dicks
And have two legs as plain as sticks
Nor did they ponder fuss and fix
When Mamma was a girl.
“But Tin” was still an uncoined word,
A “Chicken” but a homely bird,
And “Oh! You Kid”, was never heard
When Mamma was a girl.
I cannot understand a bit
How they contrived to manage it
How in their eyes the love got lit
When Mamma was agirl
Life must have been quite dull and slow
I don’t see hoe they got a beau
In that pathetic long ago
When Mamma was a girl.
This is making the rounds of Facebook, so it is quite possible that you've seen it, already.
But it IS Very IMPORTANT, so a little repetition won't hurt - and the bullying does hurt. Help spread this around, please.
I'm on another pet-job, and not spending much time online, but this is a good thing...
I recently read Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I recommend it, and I will keep it on the shelf forever. But that is a not the subject for today.
In the last few months I've discovered several bloggers new to me, and found that a surprising number of you are writers, poets, illustrators, gardeners, cooks, and other kinds of creative folk. You have become real blessings to me and often inspire laughter or tears, or provocative thought, and always wonder that we came together in this www. I've come to think differently, sometimes, about what I write here simply because you're out there. (in that regard I have some work to do in the 'get-over-myself' category.) : )
First, thank you very much. I am somewhat different, and think and create more broadly because of you.
I love being in the flow of ideas; or just in the flow (but that's another post); life is so much simpler here.
For a long time I've felt that the average philandering male has gotten the short end of stick. Just think of how we have vilified so many otherwise good men; I don't need to name them here (even to get more Google pings).
(BTW: the word philander has two definitions, both of which are followed by the phrase: 'Used of a man'. I haven't been able to find a similar word 'used for a woman'. Well, there ARE some, but they are of the four-letter variety.)
It really came to a huge head for me over the big golfer-hero media frenzy. The amount of muck-racking that went on, and still goes on, was startling and embarrassing. Yes, I knew it was to be expected. We've become a culture that feeds on scandal. It was interesting to me that maintaining a boundary about NOT hearing all the BS was so difficult. And why is scandal such a big deal? --also another post.
Recently, I've had several conversations about this. And now here is an article, by neuropsychiatrist, Dr. Louann Brizendine, M.D., that more or less proves my point. Dr. Brizendine wrote The Female Brain, and has recently released her book, The Male Brain. Here is a transcript of an interview in Elle magazine with the doctor. The interview is very interesting, though I almost didn't read past the author's seeming skepticism.
So what do I think?
If fidelity is important to you, you better cover it in the contract. Yes, I mean the marriage contract, or your wedding/commitment vows.
Fidelity is NOT automatically included anymore because so many write their own, and many don't 'get it' that what they write is, indeed, a contract. And I assert that the couple standing in front of the officiant MAY not be totally engrossed in what is actually being said in the more traditional services. In fact, the more traditional, the less likely the actual words will be heard.
Let's wake up. As a culture, we've developed a huge double-standard that makes (used to make) men just sowers of wild oats, while making women sluts or whores or worse. Let's learn to understand ourselves better. And we'll still let men get away with it unless we (the media) feel some kind of need to 'take them down' or improve our ratings.
So - talk about it. Discuss the if-then. What will be the consequences of philandering behavior? For either partner? Say out loud, "I expect total and complete fidelity 100% of the time, and if I don't get it, this will be the result."
I don't subscribe for a second to the theory that men can't help it. Of course, they can and millions of faithful men have proven that.
I do not mean, in any way, to excuse extramarital (or extra-relational) philandering. I DO think we need to grow up - as a culture, and to learn more about how we're wired and why we do the things we do. And what aspects of living together are really important.
And frankly, I believe that some of the casual sex engaged in by married/committed women MAY be different (and possibly more harmful) because they might have underlying motives such as a need to get even, or to punish, or to raise their own self-esteem. That is not even about sex, but about something else, entirely.
And lastly, if we were to grow up culturally, the harmless sexual behaviors of consenting adults might go back to being a private matter rather than fodder for a ratings-hungry media. Imagine the time that would be freed up for important matters. Consider this article by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Saul Friedman.
AND, I think that much of this can apply to same-sex couples as well, with obvious, and not so obvious differences. A lot of it is just truly understanding what we promise when we decide to 'commit' ourselves to another person. And then knowing where one's own integrity lies when it comes to the promises we've made. Yes, promises can be broken; it happens everyday. It's important to me to be sure that I never do so accidentally, or because 'I just couldn't help it'.
This one cracks me up on SO many levels!
EnjoyThanks for sharing, Ronni.
Declan Galbraith is a very good singer/songwriter, maybe a great one someday.
And it is certainly true that this is musically beautiful.
But in my opinion, the Why question may sound pertinent but only adds to the confusion and problems that we experience. The question implies an answer, for one thing. And even when there IS one, no answer to this question provides a change in the condition. Constantly screaming/asking/meditating/singing on a why question for any situation simply focuses one's mind on the problem.
Contrast this song (above) with Bette Midler's From a Distance.
Just consider the differences in these verses:
a distance there is harmony,
and it echoes through the land.
And it's the hope of hopes, it's the love of loves,
it's the heart of every man.
It's the hope of hopes, it's the love of loves.
This is the song of every man.
And God is watching us, God is watching us,
God is watching us from a distance.
I'm running out of people to talk to. I'm hyper-sensitive these days to language and connotation and intent. The world seems to be on such a completely irreversible course straight to extinction. And I can't help but see that (extinction) as the perfectly natural and appropriate consequence of the decisions we have made.
Decisions about how we keep score and what we value are critical to every aspect of our lives. And yet, we seem not to get that connection between those things and the conditions we see around us everyday. We bemoan our educational system without realizing that it suffers because we prefer to reward football players and actors much more than teachers. Many of us suffer and even die because we value drug companies and specialists more than nature and life-style changes. We invest billions in drug companies and gurus to keep us living longer on a planet that we KNOW is dying from overpopulation and disregard. We created a political system that enforces and guarantees a gulf between We the People and those who claim to represent us. And then we watch them argue for power among themselves while they claim to serve.
Here's a 'why' question for you: Why would any rational conscious person on this planet want to live one single second longer than absolutely necessary?
I don't get it. I don't get why there are still starving people in African deserts. Or anywhere else for that matter. We don't have to step back to any great distance to know that many people throw away more food than some villages ever see. We KNOW, if we look, that today's bag of rice is feeding the great-great grandchildren of the same people we sent a bag of rice to yesterday.
My friend, Nancy, and I speak a similar language. She thinks I need to get out more...out of town, that is. This is a touristy little berg in the boonies of southern New Mexico, full of realtors and retirees and is extremely conservative and fundamental. I suspect she may be right; my horizons here are WAY too narrow.
Perhaps I'm just dancing with my dark side. It's true that my thinking can be a bit compulsive.
In any case, I've been working on this draft for 3 days and that is more than enough time to spend of something I can effect only in my own heart. Nancy & I are planning a day trip to the Bosque; just we and about a gazillion feathered friends. Undoubtedly, they can blow away these current winds of ...whatever this is...this absence of god...this futility that I feel.
Thankfully, none of those things I decry are real.
It's just me & my mind wallowing in the trough of disconnection. It's a temporary aberration.
I'll be back.
As some of you may know, raising my consciousness/awareness is a value I hold. It's one that often conflicts with other things going on in my (moderately compulsive) brain.
Increasing my awareness about the food I consume is one of the ways I advance this ideal of mine. Lately, that has been fueled by Michael Pollan and his books. And also by the film Food, Inc. and stuff I'm reading around the web, such as articles by my friend Laura. Moving my body a bit is another way. This manifests as continuing lessons in T'ai Chi but has not yet presented as a regular daily practice.
So, what's the battle?
Well, I was watching a trainer speaking to a group of women the other day (TV). He was teaching them this mantra: "Exercise is not negotiable," and suggesting (strongly) some very drastic (to me) changes in their eating habits. He seemed to want them to believe that they truly had NO choice. Basically, his message was exercise and eat right or DIE. And his absolute, in the 'not negotiable' sentence raised all my hackles and fired up my ego and compelled me to yell at the screen: "Oh, yeah! Of course, it is negotiable, you idiot."
I can choose dying.
And there is the dilemma.
I think that it may be a responsibility of mine to get off this planet as soon as the trip takes me to that point. It's not about suicide; it's about too many people. It's not about me; it's about the planet. It's not about health, per se, it's about consequences.
It's balancing my food addiction and my real love of all things food, with my increasing spirituality and consciousness. I suspect that it's mostly denial, as in that river in which so many of us are floundering.
My addiction is quite active. If I am not eating (or maybe while I'm eating), I'm planning the next food opportunity: recipe search, shopping, prepping, cooking, serving, and back to eating again. I love cooking for other people. And while all my choices for guests consider their own food issues or goals or tastes, I'm drawn, still, to all those old comfort-foods that continue to work for me.
(What fun I am already having preparing the Super Bowl Party food! I could care less about the game.)
So, I have a long way to go here.
I'm sure I will continue to evolve. I think I could not really stop evolving, even if I tried. And I'm fairly sure that spirit/god understands the 'thing' I have with food even though I clearly do not, as yet.
Balance is the only way I can think of these matters at the moment. And I don't pretend for a moment that I am actually IN balance. (Work-in-progress...hold that thought.)
Some of what feeds the confusion or inability (or unwillingness) to move in one direction or the other is what I see when I look around me at stuff on TV; at some of the people I know; at national and world politics; at the way we teach each other and our kids to value score-keeping over consciousness.
Gotta go play with someone else's computer... I'll be back to this.
...what are you thankful for today?
(can't testify to the "vote", nor could I find the creator of this series of photos. I got it first as a PPS presentation thru email (thanks, Rene), and found it in many forms all over the web. I chose to save this one.)
After doing a few online chores and being VERY grateful that the rain is saving me (once again) from the pig-pen chore, I went bouncing around a few of the blogs I read.
Looks like I may need a new list.
Yes, many Americans are having a tough time. Some stories can be quite disheartening, and some of them are not so far from home.
But, tell me, please, what does all this complaining accomplish?
At this blog - KateThoughts - we hold a more positive point of view, and a much broader one. It's all about perspective. Everything is always about perspective.
Perspective and attraction. And no, I'm not fond of The Secret. But I do thoroughly believe that my thoughts, words, and actions have energy & power. Where I place my focus gets BIGGER. If I consistently focus on pain, it hurts MORE, not less. And if I spend my energy complaining of the economy, it will continue to cause struggle for me.
So, 'woe is me/us' posts don't stay on my screen very long. The one thing they accomplish for me is to switch me over into grateful thoughts, almost instantly.
It seems very important to me - especially in times like these - that we look for the things about which we can be grateful. And about the ways we can lift up those around us who might enjoy a little 'light'. Not everyone we know will want to step out of the complaining/whining stuff. Many don't even know there can be an option.
So, on this Labor Day, I am grateful for:
So have a nice day,
unless you have other plans, of course.
This is a lovely video about Nature and her inspiring qualities.
Be ready for the major marketing campaign should you click on anything that comes on your screen after the movie plays.
I don't know the answer (yet) to this current quandary of mine. Perhaps you have opinions that might enlighten me.
HMHC is in the middle of Peace Village - a day camp for young kids that includes a segment on media literacy. I'm wondering who's teaching that subject to the rest of us. And I wonder about the 'real' value of films such as the one linked above when its primary function seems to be about selling books and other products.
Do I need a book on Nature, or do I need to go outside?
I'm feeling a little schizo about this already. I love inspirational books, picture books, things that inspire, and I spend money on them.
Someone takes the photos, finds the quotes, publishes...and all the tons of chores attached to producing the book, the video, the ad campaign.
Hell, I'm even filing a bunch of my own photos under the heading of 'the book project'.
And yet, I'm bothered by....this?
I guess it's mostly the constant barrage of advertising that comes our way on a minute by minute basis. I believe myself to be at least somewhat literate about such media and I still can be caught in the net. I love HGTV, too. And the shows are becoming increasingly about things to sell.
Enough for now. I'll be better off in this moment to go outside. I don't know the answer; don't really need to know the answer. For my inspiration just now, I'll go outside. You go, too. Your back yard is far enough, though the world awaits.
"One of my parents' deepest fears, I suspect, is that society would not properly value me as a musician, that I wouldn't be appreciated. I had very good grades in high school, I was good in science and math, and they imagined that as a doctor or a research chemist or an engineer, I might be more appreciated than I would be as a musician. I still remember my mother's remark when I announced my decision to apply to music school-she said, "You're WASTING your SAT scores." On some level, I think, my parents were not sure themselves what the value of music was, what its purpose was. And they LOVED music, they listened to classical music all the time. They just weren't really clear about its function. So let me talk about that a little bit, because we live in a society that puts music in the "arts and entertainment" section of the newspaper, and serious music, the kind your kids are about to engage in, has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with entertainment, in fact it's the opposite of entertainment. Let me talk a little bit about music, and how it works. The first people to understand how music really works were the ancient Greeks. And this is going to fascinate you; the Greeks said that music and astronomy were two sides of the same coin. Astronomy was seen as the study of relationships between observable, permanent, external objects, and music was seen as the study of relationships between invisible, internal, hidden objects. Music has a way of finding the big, invisible moving pieces inside our hearts and souls and helping us figure out the position of things inside us. Let me give you some examples of how this works. One of the most profound musical compositions of all time is the Quartet for the End of Time written by French composer Olivier Messiaen in 1940. Messiaen was 31 years old when France entered the war against Nazi Germany. He was captured by the Germans in June of 1940, sent across Germany in a cattle car and imprisoned in a concentration camp. He was fortunate to find a sympathetic prison guard who gave him paper and a place to compose. There were three other musicians in the camp, a cellist, a violinist, and a clarinetist, and Messiaen wrote his quartet with these specific players in mind. It was performed in January 1941 for four thousand prisoners and guards in the prison camp. Today it is one of the most famous masterworks in the repertoire. Given what we have since learned about life in the concentration camps, why would anyone in his right mind waste time and energy writing or playing music? There was barely enough energy on a good day to find food and water, to avoid a beating, to stay warm, to escape torture-why would anyone bother with music? And yet-from the camps, we have poetry, we have music, we have visual art; it wasn't just this one fanatic Messiaen; many, many people created art. Why? Well, in a place where people are only focused on survival, on the bare necessities, the obvious conclusion is that art must be, somehow, essential for life. The camps were without money, without hope, without commerce, without recreation, without basic respect, but they were not without art. Art is part of survival; art is part of the human spirit, an unquenchable expression of who we are. Art is one of the ways in which we say, "I am alive, and my life has meaning." On September 12, 2001, I was a resident of Manhattan. That morning I reached a new understanding of my art and its relationship to the world. I sat down at the piano that morning at 10 AM to practice as was my daily routine; I did it by force of habit, without thinking about it. I lifted the cover on the keyboard, and opened my music, and put my hands on the keys and took my hands off the keys. And I sat there and thought, does this even matter? Isn't this completely irrelevant? Playing the piano right now, given what happened in this city yesterday, seems silly, absurd, irreverent, pointless. Why am I here? What place has a musician in this moment in time? Who needs a piano player right now? I was completely lost. And then I, along with the rest of New York, went through the journey of getting through that week. I did not play the piano that day, and in fact I contemplated briefly whether I would ever want to play the piano again. And then I observed how we got through the day. At least in my neighborhood, we didn't shoot hoops or play Scrabble. We didn't play cards to pass the time, we didn't watch TV, we didn't shop, we most certainly did not go to the mall. The first organized activity that I saw in New York, that same day, was singing. People sang. People sang around fire houses, people sang "We Shall Overcome". Lots of people sang America the Beautiful. The first organized public event that I remember was the Brahms Requiem, later that week, at Lincoln Center, with the New York Philharmonic. The first organized public expression of grief, our first communal response to that historic event, was a concert. That was the beginning of a sense that life might go on. The US Military secured the airspace, but recovery was led by the arts, and by music in particular, that very night. From these two experiences, I have come to understand that music is not part of "arts and entertainment" as the newspaper section would have us believe. It's not a luxury, a lavish thing that we fund from leftovers of our budgets, not a plaything or an amusement or a pass time. Music is a basic need of human survival. Music is one of the ways we make sense of our lives, one of the ways in which we express feelings when we have no words, a way for us to understand things with our hearts when we can't with our minds. Some of you may know Samuel Barber's heart wrenchingly beautiful piece, "Adagio for Strings". If you don't know it by that name, then some of you may know it as the background music which accompanied the Oliver Stone movie Platoon, a film about the Vietnam War. If you know that piece of music either way, you know it has the ability to crack your heart open like a walnut; it can make you cry over sadness you didn't know you had. Music can slip beneath our conscious reality to get at what's really going on inside us the way a good therapist does. I bet that you have never been to a wedding where there was absolutely no music. There might have been only a little music, there might have been some really bad music, but I bet you there was some music. And something very predictable happens at weddings-people get all pent up with all kinds of emotions, and then there's some musical moment where the action of the wedding stops and someone sings or plays the flute or something. And even if the music is lame, even if the quality isn't good, predictably 30 or 40 percent of the people who are going to cry at a wedding cry a couple of moments after the music starts. Why? The Greeks. Music allows us to move around those big invisible pieces of ourselves and rearrange our insides so that we can express what we feel even when we can't talk about it. Can you imagine watching Indiana Jones or Superman or Star Wars with the dialogue but no music? What is it about the music swelling up at just the right moment in ET so that all the softies in the audience start crying at exactly the same moment? I guarantee you if you showed the movie with the music stripped out, it wouldn't happen that way. The Greeks: Music is the understanding of the relationship between invisible internal objects. I'll give you one more example, the story of the most important concert of my life. I must tell you I have played a little less than a thousand concerts in my life so far. I have played in places that I thought were important. I like playing in Carnegie Hall; I enjoyed playing in Paris; it made me very happy to please the critics in St. Petersburg. I have played for people I thought were important; music critics of major newspapers, foreign heads of state. The most important concert of my entire life took place in a nursing home in Fargo, North Dakota, about 4 years ago. I was playing with a very dear friend of mine who is a violinist. We began, as we often do, with Aaron Copland's Sonata, which was written during World War II and dedicated to a young friend of Copland's, a young pilot who was shot down during the war. Now we often talk to our audiences about the pieces we are going to play rather than providing them with written program notes. But in this case, because we began the concert with this piece, we decided to talk about the piece later in the program and to just come out and play the music without explanation. Midway through the piece, an elderly man seated in a wheelchair near the front of the concert hall began to weep. This man, whom I later met, was clearly a soldier-even in his 70's, it was clear from his buzz-cut hair, square jaw and general demeanor that he had spent a good deal of his life in the military. I thought it a little bit odd that someone would be moved to tears by that particular movement of that particular piece, but it wasn't the first time I've heard crying in a concert and we went on with the concert and finished the piece. When we came out to play the next piece on the program, we decided to talk about both the first and second pieces, and we described the circumstances in which the Copland was written and mentioned its dedication to a downed pilot. The man in the front of the audience became so disturbed that he had to leave the auditorium. I honestly figured that we would not see him again, but he did come backstage afterwards, tears and all, to explain himself. What he told us was this: "During World War II, I was a pilot, and I was in an aerial combat situation where one of my team's planes was hit. I watched my friend bail out, and watched his parachute open, but the Japanese planes which had engaged us returned and machine gunned across the parachute chords so as to separate the parachute from the pilot, and I watched my friend drop away into the ocean, realizing that he was lost. I have not thought about this for many years, but during that first piece of music you played, this memory returned to me so vividly that it was as though I was reliving it. I didn't understand why this was happening, why now, but then when you came out to explain that this piece of music was written to commemorate a lost pilot, it was a little more than I could handle. How does the music do that? How did it find those feelings and those memories in me? Remember the Greeks: music is the study of invisible relationships between internal objects. This concert in Fargo was the most important work I have ever done. For me to play for this old soldier and help him connect, somehow, with Aaron Copland, and to connect their memories of their lost friends, to help him remember and mourn his friend, this is my work. This is why music matters. What follows is part of the talk I will give to this year's freshman class when I welcome them a few days from now. The responsibility I will charge your sons and daughters with is this: "If we were a medical school, and you were here as a med student practicing appendectomies, you'd take your work very seriously because you would imagine that some night at two AM someone is going to waltz into your emergency room and you're going to have to save their life. Well, my friends, someday at 8 PM someone is going to walk into your concert hall and bring you a mind that is confused, a heart that is overwhelmed, a soul that is weary. Whether they go out whole again will depend partly on how well you do your craft. You're not here to become an entertainer, and you don't have to sell yourself. The truth is you don't have anything to sell; being a musician isn't about dispensing a product, like selling used Chevies. I'm not an entertainer; I'm a lot closer to a paramedic, a firefighter, a rescue worker. You're here to become a sort of therapist for the human soul, a spiritual version of a chiropractor, physical therapist, someone who works with our insides to see if they get things to line up, to see if we can come into harmony with ourselves and be healthy and happy and well. Frankly, ladies and gentlemen, I expect you not only to master music; I expect you to save the planet. If there is a future wave of wellness on this planet, of harmony, of peace, of an end to war, of mutual understanding, of equality, of fairness, I don't expect it will come from a government, a military force or a corporation. I no longer even expect it to come from the religions of the world, which together seem to have brought us as much war as they have peace. If there is a future of peace for humankind, if there is to be an understanding of how these invisible, internal things should fit together, I expect it will come from the artists, because that's what we do. As in the concentration camp and the evening of 9/11, the artists are the ones who might be able to help us with our internal, invisible lives."
Why was it somehow ok to laugh at her before she sang but not after she sang? I’ve been reading again; always a dangerous activity for me. My brain can run in circles and I’ve heard more than once that I just “take it all too seriously”… mountains out of molehills, that’s me. While most seem to be wondering or ranting about banks, government, politics, etc., I wonder about where civility has gone. Is it really surprising that we are here, in these times & circumstances, when we no longer value things like honesty, respect for others, courage, taking responsibility, & personal integrity? Yes, I loved the video(s) of Susan Boyle. Like many of you, I’ve searched for her on the ‘net, listened to the song a dozen times or more, looked up Elaine Paige, and tracked downs interviews with Susan, Piers, and Amanda… I do so completely agree with the last 4 words.
(there are more than 11,000 links to videos of SB on YouTube as of this writing, midnight 4-22-09)
“The YouTube clip of Susan's angel voice soaring from the unkissed mouth of that scrunchy-faced, eyebrow-enforested, unprepossessingly dumpy representative of anonymous humanity was the third irresistible message to us all to get over ourselves.”
Piers Morgan, a BGT judge said in the videos,
“…Without a doubt that is the biggest surprise I’ve experienced in the three years of this show. …I’m reeling with shock…everyone was laughing at you; no one is laughing now.”
Why was it somehow ok to laugh at her before she sang but not after she sang?
I’ve been reading again; always a dangerous activity for me. My brain can run in circles and I’ve heard more than once that I just “take it all too seriously”… mountains out of molehills, that’s me. While most seem to be wondering or ranting about banks, government, politics, etc., I wonder about where civility has gone. Is it really surprising that we are here, in these times & circumstances, when we no longer value things like honesty, respect for others, courage, taking responsibility, & personal integrity?
Yes, I loved the video(s) of Susan Boyle. Like many of you, I’ve searched for her on the ‘net, listened to the song a dozen times or more, looked up Elaine Paige, and tracked downs interviews with Susan, Piers, and Amanda…
I do so completely agree with the last 4 words.
Amanda Holden, another of the BGT judges, said, “…everybody was against you…”, and called it “the biggest wake-up call ever.”
And well it should be.
But is it, really, quite the wake-up call we need? I say no.
In every reference to Susan that I have found, the wake-up call seems to be about judging books by their covers. Ok. There’s nothing really wrong with that; it's a great lesson.
But the lesson I would rather see learned is the one about respect for a human being – any human being – and every human being.
So I repeat: Why was it somehow ok to laugh at her before she sang but not after she sang?
Susan is herself and came to the competition AS herself, with a tremendous amount of courage, because she had a dream to ‘sing before a large crowd of people’.
What was the relevance of SCowell’s question about her age in a competition with no age requirements? And the eye-rolling & laughter that went on when she answered, “47”…
Given the wide acceptance of rude and offensive behavior in the world today, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, but can we really just laugh out loud in someone’s face?
And then we apologize, and express that hearing her sing “was a privilege”. And all is well; we’ve learned our lesson; let’s get on with things; Susan will be a star and make records…blah, blah, blah.
And what of the woman who lives next door to Susan – or to me – who looks just like her; who does her own hair and sees no need to be or look different than she is; and whose talent is only creating a warm and comfortable home, or, as Susan did before we all discovered her, working for charities, or caring for aging parents?
We don’t applaud those talents very often. So do we just get to keep laughing?
The TGB article is related, though the focus is somewhat different. It comments, in part, on the evident shock that many feel when they learn that an old person can actually DO things, like cooking or driving or working, for heaven’s sake. As if they haven’t been doing that for some several decades already!
Here’s a short excerpt:
“The discomfort, I have come to see, is due to how such a statement diminishes the person. It negates and demeans an entire life, as though the fact that she works at age 100, and not the work she does, is the most important thing about her.”
(Do follow the link to the article, and read the comments, too. There is real meat there, and links to the story of a remarkable woman.)
How is it that we expect a different kind of behavior from our leaders today, in business, politics, government, etc. when we’ve all played our own parts in creating the culture we have? As long as the quantity of one’s possessions is more important than the quality of one’s own integrity, we will continue to live with the Madoff’s of this world. There ARE other voices out there besides the ones who rant & complain. They are just harder to find. One great one can be found here at No Safe Distance.
So when we see a Susan Boyle, and are pleasantly surprised by a rich & beautiful voice, we cry, and feel inspired…for a moment; and never think of the real life of that other woman who flips hamburgers or turns down the bed in our next hotel room, or is old.
And I’ll bet that our own American Idol would not be the raging success that it is if the audience couldn’t do their share of booing and laughing at ___. Why, even the first few episodes of each season are designed to show us the most ‘laughable’ of the contestants. I know two people who only watch those first episodes. It is of no interest to them who might win; they just want to laugh at someone. And if you think I might be exaggerating, go read the comment streams under some of those videos. But don’t read many of them; they are poisonous, symptomatic of our cultural & social ills and very contagious.
I’m 61½ now, and
I’ve been living the life of Riley for about 4 years.
Things are tougher now, as they may be for many of you, but we have the prospect of Social Security ahead to take up some slack. Joel’s income from that source really makes a difference to us now. I’m still planning to stick it out until I’m 66, but people keep trying to mess with my future.
I hope you will all read The Coming Attack on Social Security… a column by Ronni Bennett of Time Goes By.
clearly, and with links to her sources, which many folks don’t bother with
anymore. Follow those links a bit; learn some stuff.
So, should I tell
you this? …point you to articles that may scare you, too? Well, no. To focus on the
fear is to give it energy, make it bigger than it is. Doesn’t it?
Yes, I believe so.
Ronni makes it
clear that SS is fine, for now. IF there is to be a real problem, it will
affect our kids & grandkids.
So what am I worrying about?
Just my self, my comfort and ease.
The space between watching HD shows on TV and watching the grass grow.
The difference, in the occasional restaurant meal, between the ‘dollar menu’ and a nice Thai dinner.
The really scary one is the prospect of canceling the trip to Chicago this summer.
I’m at a point in
my personal evolution where I am, frankly, stumped: caught between financial
fear and its stresses, and the spiritual state of confidence that would,
otherwise, allow me to rest in the knowledge that I will learn what I need to
know, and be provided for as are the ‘birds of the air’. One
I rest in faith that all is as it should be; the next day moment my
heart is pounding and I wonder how soon I must drop the cable service or
(heaven forbid) the internet, or sell a car.
Maybe I just need
to stop reading this stuff.
What happens to my sense of gratitude for all that I am and have?
What is the balance between awareness of current events and resting in the arms of god?
These are the thoughts I’m exploring these days; the fears I grapple with; the wisdom to which I aspire.
Feel like sharing
what’s going on in your own head? I’m interested.
…just ‘had’ to…thanks
I've read this article twice now. Here's an excerpt:
This headline from Reuters, More Suffering From Chronic Illnesses, and other pieces trumpeting the spiraling cost of health care could lead one to believe that universal health care is unsustainable and/or unaffordable. But we're not necessarily getting the whole story. As we speak, the health care industry and the insurance industry (they are not the same) are stacking the numbers.
from AQ who blogs at Always
Here's where I stand at the moment. Like AQ, I have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and I'm fat. (I can say, thankfully, that I have no history of cancer; though my Mom had breast cancer - successfully treated by surgery.) As far as medical records go, her history is a part of my history.
I also have health insurance for which I pay almost $250/month. To keep the payments that low (!?) I have a high deductible and a lot of limits about what can/cannot be treated. Those factors, plus a suspicion about the info that goes into the "system" has kept me going slow and almost holding my breath about having any of these checked out again. Basically, I have health insurance I'm afraid to use.
I'm a long way from Medicare, though, at 61, and now I'm basically terrified.
And THAT'S a pisser because I'm also convinced that "thoughts we hold in mind, produce in kind".
I want to scream, and then kill somebody! Hopefully, not myself.
There is little doubt that I am being called into battle, now. I feel like David in front of Goliath, who is, of course, Big Pharma, Big Insurance, and Traditional Western Medicine which knows a lot about illness and very little about health.
I'm being called to battle and I am very pissed! And I'm worried that I/we can't fight it fast enough to make a difference in MY lifetime. That doesn't make the battle less important, it just leaves me scared - and that affects my health - and that makes me scared.....
SHIT! What a tail-chaser.
I'm going for a walk with Mango, then I'm going back to my meditation cushion and see if I can surrender all this turmoil in this moment.
If you're concerned about health care, I suggest you read this and lots of other articles on the subject. TGB has many in these categories: Health and Universal Healthcare. You know I'm partial to the folks over there, but just Google the subject; there is no dearth of information.
I thought I'd get to this sooner, but I just couldn't tear myself away from the events of the day. We even watched thru the entire parade; something many in the official viewing room did not do.
CNN has put together this amazing collection of photos, and created a 3-D image you can explore by clicking. They've called it The Moment; the images come from thousands of photos taken by individuals at the ceremony. You won't believe it if you haven't seen it.
Someone (a team, surely) in India created this other amazing thing. Check this out.
Sand sculpture in Puri, India and here is the link typed out, just in case...
News of Kennedy is everywhere, so I won't repeat that.
Were you able to watch? working? playing? I'm sure they will run great excerpts from key moments. Hooray.
and our blessings on you, Mr. President, and your family, and your administration.
...written by Marian Van Eyk McCain of Elderwoman Space. These were all nominated on a very interesting web site called Ooffoo. I hope you'll follow the links and read a few. I hope you'll decide to vote for one, too. My personal favorite is Simple Blessings.
Note: I found a little bit of trouble with one or two of the articles loading from the links. If you experience that and still want to read them, just use the Ooffee search feature and hunt by title.
Here’s where you go to vote:
Here is a link to Marian's list on Ooffoo. All of these are nominated except Slow Travel, but that one is worth the read, too.
Thanks, Marian; good luck!
posted sometime in 2000, this is Slam Poet Shane Koyczan's terrific performance of a funny and powerful piece. I trust you will enjoy it.
"The afternoon of human
life must also have a significance of its own
and cannot be merely a pitiful
appendage to life's morning."
and cannot be merely a pitiful appendage to life's morning."- Carl Gustav Jung
Ok, New Year's Eve came; and ran over me! We had two great parties that day. Danced my socks off! Whoopee!
On New Year's Day I had enough energy to put all the furniture back, deal with the leftovers, and finish the last of the dishes. Did not have enough energy for a post...
Here's a good one, and it came from several directions, so I'll save it for posterity here:
And here's Martin Gross with a wonderful rendition of Auld Lang Syne:
Today is the Solstice. Noon is less than hour away, here. Meet me outside with your bells!
Ronni Bennett, about whom you already know from this blog, just keeps getting better and more on point, IMHO.
I hope you'll read her article, "Elders Lobbying for Healthcare for Others". Here's the opening excerpt:
"I mean, people have access to health care in America.
After all, you just go to an emergency room."
For the president of the country with the worst record on health
care in the
developed world to make such a statement is awful enough,
but I think the greater giveaway is that it tells us a lot about
what rich people think the rest of us are worth."
"I’m old enough to remember how it was before Medicare. My mother-in-law was in declining health and my wife and I were seeing to her care. On one visit to her family doctor, a golfer whom we called Buzzie, he told us, “Boy, if she only had the money we could give her the treatment she should have.” We left him for a nice, non-Jewish doctor I had met on the police beat."
Both of these articles contain links to other reports and articles related to this issue. Here is one from the New England Journal of Medicine, penned by David Blumenthal, an unpaid advisor to Obama.
Ronni calls us to action! So go do it! Here is a link to Obama's Change.gov site where you can tell him what & why.
Then go to these websites and tell your Congress people.
[Note, some of your Congressional leaders will be new in January; mark your calendar and write to them them. ]
Ronni, thanks for the story, the links, and your encouragement to step up and say my piece.
So, what's on MY mind? Well...
I'm 61, and in pretty good health, though I have some high blood pressure and I don't even want to know my cholesterol numbers. The most chronic problem is pain in my lower back (from a VERY old injury), and some stuff that may be the beginning of some arthritis. I have a very high threshold for pain, and don't need anything except periodic generics like aspirin or ibuprofen.
Which is a good thing, because my insurance company, Blue Cross Blue Shield, has already disallowed everything that could possibly be associated with my skeletal structure and/or that old injury. In order to comfortably afford the payments, I had to choose a pretty big deductible, and because the treatments I would most like to use and from which I could benefit (chiropractic, massage, Rolfing, etc) are disallowed, I rarely meet the deductible, and so I don't use the services.
Also, there is a $400 annual allowance for 'preventative' care. I tried that out last year. My doc decided that I should have a colonoscopy. No real symptoms, just age related. So, I didn't ask a lot of questions, I just made the appointment and went. Well, part of it all was covered: the $400, of course, but then 50% of this charge and 20% of that charge and yada yada yada, until I was out of pocket almost $2500, AND HAD NOT MET MY DEDUCTIBLE for that year. Better not get the flu!
So, I have health insurance. I can use it for broken legs or heart attacks. In four years I can dump it...and will have enriched BCBS by about $15,000 for basically nothing. What a joy it is.
And the very worst thing, to my way of thinking, is that I'm actually betting with the insurance company that something WILL happen. I'm betting AGAINST myself. Wow! How's that for confidence in the laws of attraction? Crimenentlies!
So, yeah, you bet; I sent my letter to Obama. And I've plugged my calendar to remind me to send similar letters to my 'leaders' in January. Now, you go do it, too.
We already know this, right?
from an article By MARIA CHENG
AP Medical Writer
"When you're smiling, the whole world really does smile with you. A paper being published Friday in a British medical journal concludes that happiness is contagious—and that people pass on their good cheer even to total strangers. American researchers who tracked more than 4,700 people in Framingham, Mass., as part of a 20-year heart study also found the transferred happiness is good for up to a year. "
Don't ya just love it?!
I swear, if we gave as much energy to fixing the electoral system or Social Security as we do to keeping the "Others" out of our way, we'd have a whole new country and a lot more global respect.
This particular rant was inspired by yet another group trying to stomp on the rights of some of us - this one about gay marriage. Usually, I link articles I comment on here, but if you want to read any of that kind of stuff, go find it yourself.
But 'others' can be anyone - in certain circles, even you: Gays (that broad category that covers SO many), illegal aliens (in Roswell, they're green), Jews, Hispanics, Little People,...basically anyone different from you.
So, I ask: who do you want to be when you grow up?
Or are you one of those who say, "my mind is made up; don't confuse me with facts."?
I'm going to T''ai Chi class in hopes of lowering my blood pressure and enjoying a few deep breaths, and in letting go of my own prejudices for my "others", the ones who want to believe I'm different from themselves.
Now that I have (finally) moved to the comfortable side of the credit issue (thanks, Mom!) I'd like to share this link with you. The Secret History of the Credit Card is a collaboration of Frontline and The New York Times "to investigate an industry few Americans understand".
On the site, you can watch the full program, read the articles, and even join a discussion group.
If you have a handle on your credit, then Hooray! This info might still surprise you. And if you don't have your credit dollars under control, this might give you the impetus to work harder at doing so.
I found it very interesting.
I took off from these into a little diatribe of my own, but the cosmic powers that enable (or disable) that sort of thing decided that Firefox had 'encountered an error and must shut down'. When I got it back, Firefox had saved everything for me, except the text of that post.
Hmmmmm... I'll take that as a sign ; )
Go outside; enjoy the sunshine; and remember the words to Julie Gold's song, From a Distance:
'From a distance you look like my friend,
even though we are at war.
From a distance I just cannot comprehend
what all this fighting is for.'
Here's a link to all the lyrics - just one of many.
In reading & listening to politicians in the coming months, please remember (and bookmark) this site: FactCheck.org. It could help, really.
So, who IS the best politician for you? You are the only one who can answer that.
I suggest that, as you consider their platforms, you might also consider the political system we - yes, WE, the people - have put in place.
Our present system offers a lot of extra coverage to the candidate who has the most money.
Is that a good criteria for measuring competency for leadership? Maybe.
Does it matter where the money comes from? Yes, certainly. Drug lobby? Oil lobby? ____ lobby?
And what's up with lobbies, for heaven's sake?!
And what's up with the totally outdated Electoral College?! Are you so out of touch (or off the grid) that you actually need to give your voting power to a representative? And did you know that it is LEGAL for your Electors to vote any old way they want to?
When & how do we consider a candidate's ethics?
To whose ethical standards do we/should we hold our candidates accountable?
Do ANY of them meet your own standards?
What's with all the MUD? And is the thrower any cleaner than the target? Not to me.
I wonder what it might be like if a candidate could/would ONLY speak about her/his platforms, ideas, visions and could NOT speak about his/her opponents except to quote from the Congressional Record.
I wonder what a political season might be like if a candidate were not allowed to purchase advertising on TV & radio & in newspapers. What if such news disseminaters had to provide exactly the same number of minutes in the same time frames to all candidates.
I find it hard to keep paying attention when I hear 'spin' more than substance, and unsubstantiated rumor & mere rhetoric more than reliable platform, and mud slinging & mud dodging.
Makes me a bit crazy, doesn't it you?
My candidate's already gone - lost to financial pressures and unable to purchase the mega-million $$ commercial spots. (probably a bit simplistic, but he's gone never the less).
And now most of what I hear is race/gender wars which have NO bearing on the actual issues.
As a matter of principle, I decided some time ago to stand FOR things, not to struggle AGAINST things; to compliment rather than criticize; to support rather than to fight; to love rather than hate.
I'm compelled, however, to provide a link to you from one of my favorite bloggers, Ronni Bennett. This post is all about a new Senate Bill, S.1959, dubbed The Thought Crime Bill. I encourage you to read it and, perhaps, read several of the posts (both hers and others') at this category link. If you're fond of the freedoms you were granted by our Constitution, you may want to become involved before it is too late. If you believe in national karma...well...hmmm...
Here is a link to the text of the bill.
When this bill went thru the House, only 6 representatives voted against it.
What did your presidential hopeful do?
Read, be aware, search your heart, take action when/where you can/will.
Look at your values, decide for yourself.
And since we're on the subject, remember this site: FactCheck.org. It's a prize-winning site of great value. Another link to it resides in the sidebar here under Sites to See.
Ronni Bennett of Time Goes By is one of my top 5 favorite bloggers. She writes with power and perception about aging and agism from 500 different directions and has a readership that leaves insightful comments. Go meet her.
In a recent post, (and this interview, too) she is at it again. Whether you consider yourself a 'boomer' or not aging does/will affect us all. And Ronni (and her commenters) bring much to the discussion.
I agree with her about most things most of the time. Very cool, thoughtful writer...
This time, while I still agree with both of these articles, I feel there is a bigger picture. One key word is 'marketing'. Another is our 'culture'. Pieces of the same thing and all a part of the world we've built in this part of the world where we measure a person's worth by the size, quantity, cost, or net worth...all those things that describe the same things.
We buy & sell things. We Westerners (perhaps led by we Americans) like to buy & sell. We are encouraged to create a better mousetrap and make our fortunes. It's the American dream, after all.
To do that, we market to each other.
It has skewed our thinking.
And because we are so connected all over the place now, we can't just sell things to our neighbors as we see their needs/desires. We have to guess now, at what people want. We have to 'target' the appropriate 'segments' of the 'market'. And they (with our permission) begin to hammer us into the holes that fit their 'marketing niches'. What! You have square corners?! Whack-Bang! There now, see how well you fit?
And since we all want things - whether we need them or not is no longer relevant - we absorb the 'marketing messages'. They come at us from every direction; only the most vigilant can hold the number down. Anyone plugged into 'the media' could be hit with as many as 5,000 marketing messages a day.
What?! How many?! 5000 - Five Thousand - five-friggin'-thousand marketing messages a day.
And we, in general, have given those 'market researchers' the right to decide what we need, what we want, how we should look, what brand of this-that-or the-other-thing will make us whole or worthy or good-enough or young enough or... The list goes on forever. It goes on because we 'should' this, or 'should' that.
And some of us who think, or who notice that we don't get the 'proper' attention from the media or the marketers, or who have learned the difference between our toys and our substance begin to be concerned.
For some, the battle is right out in front of everybody - in the trenches where Ronni and others are; pointing out the problems with our language and our marketing campaigns that feed the agist, sexist, racist (& all the other 'ists' and 'isms') notions we get fed.
I believe her. I value her efforts to open the eyes of the marketers, the media, the researchers, and even the eyes of the elders to the subtle and not-so-subtle ways of the world we have built.
For me, right now, the battle is internal. And I still do my knee-jerk thing about it sometimes, when my reaction is so reactionary that it proves points rather than refuting them. Oh, well; I'm human.
But what I'm learning, and what I want to model in the world, is a really different picture of what is valuable.
What do I want more; an IPod or Integrity? What do I want to teach; fighting against or standing for? What feeds me? What drains me? Only I can really know these answers for myself. This is true for each individual whether awake or asleep, whether commanding the vessel or rowing from down below decks.
Ageism? you betcha!
And I'll take the steps Ronni (and others) might suggest - the ones that fit for me. All the while, I'll be practicing unplugging, turning off, and doing my own research on what will take me closer to myself.
It's not about self-help (though I've certainly walked that road in the past), and it's not about religion or a capital G god. It's just about me and right now and being/becoming conscious of all the choices I have to make about the Who of me. What thoughts, behaviors, belief systems, and yes, things/conditions will I embrace on my way to modelling more love on this planet?
I want to embody my potential for Greatest Good. I want 'to be the change' I want to see in the world. I want peace & love to be my legacy. And if I have a sermon to preach, it's this one.
I posted this a week or two ago, only to find that it was taken down fromYouTube. Now it's back and it's worth 3:39 minutes of your time (in my opinion).
Read some of the comments, and about why/how this all happened... good for your heart.
They've sold us paranoia
so we choose silence
and the noise of the few washes over us.
I heard a commentator wondering about where he might find the activists of the past. The most amazing junk is going on in the political world, and here we sit...silent. Certainly silent as compared to the outcry of dissent that was heard in the Vietnam era.
I've heard myself say that I won't travel outside of this country while 'that man' is in the White House. Even while I'm speaking those words, I know that I've taken a cowardly stand. And yet...
Have we bought the paranoia? Has the current stripping of our freedoms made us 'afraid' that we'll appear on some 'list'? The lists didn't bother us in our youth; why do they silence us now? Is that what's happening?
And where are the voices of today's younger people?
Where is the outcry?!
He made me think, that commentator. He made me wonder about the balance between my spiritual path and the realities (?) of the world situation. I'll be using my vote. Things have to change. Will a change be better? or only different?
"Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all." -Helen Keller
Helen Keller had it right, I think; and no less so for our time than for hers.
I've been reading hither & yon about Internet security, password control, and such, and I find that she is right about computers, too. (and just so you know - I'm not a geek. I know quite a bit about computers because I'm on one a LOT, and because I'm not afraid to poke around, and because I like search engines, and because I rarely take just one person's word for anything.)
(If you're a techno-weenie, I'm obviously not talking to you. If I'm totally wrong, I count on the geeks among my readers to point it out to me....THANKS)
Someone else (?) said that Internet security is a balance between risk and convenience. I avsolutely believe that. The trick is in learning how to weight the scales.
For today, I'm just going to offer a few tips & trivia about passwords.
I've wondered about the 'remember me' feature of browsers and many web sites. Is it really safe to have a sign in so convenient. One is always warned about using that feature on a public computer - say the one at the library or the WiFi coffee house.
Well, for me - I'm using it at HOME. I've avoided it for years even on my home computer. The truth is, most computers are saving that info anyway. You have to go look hard to find out where some of that info is stored, and you can set your computer to 'not remember' anything.
I find information about passwords in Firefox in the 'Tools' menu under 'Options'. Things are pretty clear; you can even see exactly who has left cookies in you system. (You'll be surprised at the number.) Firefox can actually SHOW me my password list! Shock & amazement.
Internet Explorer (I have version 6) has similar info in the same place, but I find it harder to understand and interpret.
Both of these browsers have 'Page Info' in the tools menu. You can find out if pages are encrypted or certified. I checked the pages on my banks' sites, and then some random pages to see what the info contains and what's different. Interesting.
We've all seen enough on TV, or read enough to know that a real computer wizard can find out almost anything s/he wants to know if they have access to your hard drive.
Well shoot! Does that mean I have to unplug the damn thing and take the CPU with me to the grocery store to make sure some one doesn't hack me? ...yes...
There are a few tips that can help you; I'll give you a few about passwords in a minute.
Basically, if someone really wants to know about you, they probably already do.
If you're online a LOT, you can get hacked. But usually -
...but usually what happens to us out here is some email virus or worm. They can do a ton of damage, but aren't 'personal' in the way that a peeping tom is personal.
Another trick that happens through email is that a bad guy can give you a link to click that 'looks' like something you're used to seeing: a notice from your bank, for example. The link might appear to be going to www.mycorrect&honestbank when in truth the link is sending you to a totally different scammer's site where they will ask you to type in passwords or account numbers.
I know that none of you will ever fall for that! It's been written about a lot. Email is not safe - never was - never will be. You can find tons of info on this subject with a quick google search.
I think there is no better virus protection than AVG from Grisoft. For now, I'll just say you need to download something from the net that has frequent updates. Buying software from WalMart once a year won't do the job. The link I've given it to the Free Edition (all I've ever used). If you want more bells and whistles, there is one for home offices for about $39 US.
Now, back to passwords.
If you're like me, you have millions - or only one. Both are nasty options. If you have millions, then you have to list them somewhere either hard copy or on your computer. That certainly won't increase security. And if you have only one - then the bad guys only have to figure out ONE.
Among the articles I've read, this approach seems to make the most sense. Some call it password zoning. It means to divide your list of passwords into 3 or 4 categories based on the degree of risk you can tolerate. Your bank accounts, of course, need your best and most secure passwords. Did you know that your main blog passwords should be in this same category? I didn't either, but we do put a lot on info into these sites.
I have 4 zones I broke down like this:
With this arrangement I need only 4 passwords. Pretty neat, much easier to remember than keeping a list.
The other trick is to CHANGE THEM REGULARLY. Quarterly, for example.
Here are some articles on how to choose the best passwords:
You can find tons more info with a google search.
I'm pooped; you can figure it out from here.
If you have questions or corrections or additions, leave a comment. Thanks. :)
Some paths don't diverge in the woods; they converge with a trememdous clash on a 10-lane super-highway.
I'm on a spiritual quest - the over-all, overriding path/model for all that I do.
So, what do I do with the 'news'? ...with all those 'forwarded' emails? ...with gossip at karaoke?
I subscribe to quite a few blogs; I google things very often every day; I open emails from a fairly large contact list; I watch TV and a small bit of TV 'news' - and now I'm concerned about boundaries I feel that I want to set v. information so many people think I need to have.
I think that thoughts have energy - specific energy. I believe that we attract all that we need to evolve as humans on this planet. I believe that what we give our energy to grows. I believe that to the exact extent that I see the people, places, and events in my life as my teachers - to that very extent will my spirit rise.
I think that applies to jokes about Bush, virtually all of this season's political ads, TV news, and dealings with my partner, Joel, and our friends. I think that if I listen to gossip, I am exactly as responsible for its spread as the person who told me. I believe if I spend my energy on Bush & the TV news, I am co-creating the war in Iraq and participating in ordering the deaths of the (countless) victims, and that I add to the hate in the world rather than to the love in the world.
I believe that to combat hatred and war, I must focus my energy on peace and love.
I believe that to have a positive impact on the amounts of teeage drug usage, I must learn to really see teenagers and listen to them.
I believe that when I hear an ambulance, I must 'touch' it very lightly with calming, grateful thoughts for the expertise they are bringing to a situation - and not to leap to the conclusion that disater is imminent.
I'll be looking for the tipping point for the next few days/weeks/minutes...to find that place of balance - if there is one.
For one thing, I think that I will have to make a decision to get rid on my TV habit, altogether...yes, there are some good things on that box - and I'm sure I can find a way to support them without spending money (financial energy) on all that worse-than-useless garbage that is on the damn TV for the SOLE purpose of selling me something!
So what about my responsibility to inform myself? For example, how do I cast a ballot if I refuse to vote for mud-slinging candidates?
There is a congressional race here in New Mexico that is (to me) downright embarrasing and very infuriating: the two women are much more interested in loud ads slamming each other's ethics than in speaking to the issues, at all. One is Republican; one is a Democrat. If I want anything to have a chance of being different, don't I need to choose one?
I'll welcome your input on this topic.
I'm confident that what I need to do next will be made clear; maybe even by one of you. :) cool...
NOTE: the links to the films may not be static (can't tell). The link to this week's is for the film-of-the-week and will point to a different film by next Monday, Oct. 2. See archives.
Passion in life - passion for life - these are very interesting concepts for me...in many areas of my life. I often wonder if the passion gene was somehow left out of my design. I'm beginning to understand some interesting things about it as I focus on spiritual evolution.
Part of what has been hard for me as I grow is the glimmer of an understanding that passion may not have a valuable place in my spiritual life. I'm reading more of Pema Chodron's work about the Seven Points of Training the Mind and am learning that a key to awakening is letting go. It seems to be about recognizing that life is a dream we walk thru. The phrase 'this too shall pass' is appropriate here...except that by the time I've had that thought, 'this' is already in the past.
I understand, now, that much of what I've missed in a spiritual experience is the passion that I felt when I was lost in the music of a Sunday service, or of the little group we had that sang for weddings and funerals, or when we gathered on the steps of the Admin. Bldg. at college and sang spontaneously - in beautiful harmonies that came so easily.
It was rarely the sermons that swept me away. Those usually brought me only pain, because it was so easy for me to identify with the 'not worthy'ness that fundamental religion teaches. Then, I could, indeed, be swept away, but it was not spiritual passion - it was deep self loathing.
So, back to passion. Can there be passion in an Eastern (Buddhist/Taoist) approach to Spirit?
So far, the only real passion I've read about is in (get this!) Buddhist Fundamentalism - and it is passion of a violent nature - synonymous with fundamentalist behavior of many religions.
We'll see, I guess, as I continue to learn & practice.
As for passion in work - well, I don't work, now. I'm retired. I fully intended to go back to work, but our sabbatical after Mom died (and while we finished the renovation of our house) was such a wonderful time. No corporate angst. None of the things that Nik's star, Neil Crofts, talked about in this week's film (link above).
What am I passionate about? I'm not sure. music, performance, food & entertaining...
I like being of service, but I find I don't work well 'in committee'.
...and so, we'll see...
I received an email this morning from my nephew in Wales. (for background: he grew up in a fairly fundamental Christian home and has broadened some of his opinions as a result of travel, life experience, education, etc.) Here is what he had to say:
"A documentary prompted me to go online and find out more information about the validity of the belief in Revelation and the Rapture/Apocalypse/Tribulation, etc...
This documentary was so well researched and convincingly backed that I really bought into it. I then looked into it today on the internet to make sure it was not all just a big bias, and now more than ever I feel that those End-Timers who buy into this doomsday theory are not only incredibly misled, but very very dangerous.
Their influence on the White House and its foreign policy is why there is so much unrest in the Middle East and why AIDS in Africa may never be subdued. As long as their influence carries on in the running of America the enormous problems across the globe from civil injustice to global warming will never be cured.
Furthermore, they are not only refusing to aid in furthering peace and protecting our environment, they are hastening the negative outcome of both as they think that the quicker global warming takes effect and the sooner all-out war breaks out, the sooner they will be magically zapped to heaven and the rest of the world who do not buy into the closed, literal interpretation of a specific translation of the book of Revelation, will be left on the earth to endure the worst tribulation the world has ever known.
I'm hoping that the current attitude we are experiencing is directly linked to the ignorant, mildly insane man we have running the country and that it is not too much more deep-seated than his administration. If that is the case, our next president may bring some hope.
I am a Christian, though I feel my personal faith is entirely irrelevant to this global problem we are facing with Christian Extremists with their concentrated voice in America. Please go to http://www.channel4.com/culture/microsites/C/can_you_believe_it/debates/doomsday.html for more information on this."
So, naturally, I went there. There is some extremely interesting reading in several places on that site. This is their home page. They are a station for Public Broadcast - a not-for-profit; I like that.
Here's a good article on The Fundamentalists (seems every religion has them, and they may have begun with American Christians). This article mentions that there are also militant & violent Bhuddists - not something that delights me, but not unexpected either. There is a very concise religion TimeLine here.
This should be great material for discussion.
This is fundamentalism as defined by The Free Dictionary: "A usually religious movement or point of view characterized by a return to fundamental principles, by rigid adherence to those principles, and often by intolerance of other views and opposition to secularism." Meaning #2 attributes its origination to American Evangelicals at the turn of the 19th century.
Words like 'organized', 'militant', 'rigid', 'intolerance', & the phrase, 'insisting on the inerrancy of Scripture' are aspects of this point of view that I find very scary. They speak to me of closed minds, and worse yet - closed hearts. Instead of saying something like, "this is the truth FOR ME and it brings me hope and peace - would you like to hear about it?", they say things like 'This is THE TRUTH and you will believe it or you will die, and if I have to, I'll kill you with my own hands."
I think it is this that Alan was speaking about in his email (above). Many fundamentalists in our country are indeed organized and militant and they have the ear of our President. This is scary to me. Lots of things about religion and politics in today's world are scary to me. The MOST scary is that place where religion and politics become mixed, as they are now.
Now - more than ever, perhaps - it's time to open our eyes and pay attention. Or maybe I should say 'now or never' because one of these days we may not have a choice.
Please go NOW to Paris Parfait and read Tara's poem in regard to Sept. 11.
I've been avoiding mention of that day for tons of reasons. I may not be able to continue doing so...but for now, read this.
There is a House of Rep. seat in NM for which two women are running. Their ads have been running for weeks, now. So far, there has been NOT ONE SINGLE AD that addressed issues only. EVERY AD has thrown mud. That's all. Just mud. Two Women! Ok, maybe that's extreme - the mud in each ad is flavored by some issue...but that still does not make them palatable. And to have this sort of campaining coming from two WOMEN makes me doubly mad. AARRRRRGH!
A sister blogger, Janet, reminded me of this site that may be useful to you in the upcoming election season; please check it out. FactCheck.org When I first found them I did some Internet research and found them to be who they claim to be: fact-checkers. Believe me, you're going to need them. And they report on both sides.
Additionally, I strongly encourage you to get your news from more than one source (and I do NOT mean 2 different TV networks)!
You ALL know that a site ending in .com is a commercial site, right?! Even .orgs have sales pages.
I know my readers are smart and savvy. I've just become really tired of commercials that try to sound like public service messages, especially those pushing drugs, etc.
Today I explored a site advertising knowledge about menopause. It is NOT a bad site.
I just wonder who's going there and if those people are clear that this .com is owned by a drug company whose purpose it is to sell drugs and pay profits to stockholders. This site does NOT hide its identity; it doesn't scream it out in banner ads, either. And, it is fairly dismissive of natural treatments for menopausal symptoms. The site I looked at is better than its commercial for it, I think. AND it is slanted to sell drugs, not to leave you fully informed.
You can go to a site called Network Solutions and click on 'whois' to find out who owns or registered almost any site. That's a small button in a horizontal list just below the blue bordered box.
In our culture - the American Culture of Sell/Spend/Buy/MoneyistheMeasure - it is wise to look for the real name of the 'person' talking to you. Look for the "About Us" page. Pay attention. Gather information from more than one source.
Caveat emptor - The axiom or principle in commerce that the buyer alone is responsible for assessing the quality of a purchase before buying.
(Originally posted to www.katethoughts.blogspot.com on 8.24.06)
Remember the post about the closing of the forest? Well, it's open now. We've had rain.
I mean RAIN!
The data I've found so far shows that all of this year's rainfall (every day) is setting records. If I'm reading it correctly, one map on Wunderground proves that. Last year's rainfall doesn't even show for most days because there wasn't any.
This year the state is experiencing flooding in places that haven't seen water in years. People are being driven from homes
in low-lying areas, entire villages were temporarily cut off from the
rest of the world because their roads were washed out or covered in
rocks/boulders washed down from above. Thankfully, crews get on that
sort of thing quickly here.
Ruidoso has been fairly lucky unless you live in a couple of trailer parks near the river (which is actually a river now, and not just a tiny creek). And when we consider tsunamis and hurricanes and broken levees, then Ruidoso is not unlike living in heaven.
I said all of that, to say this...
When we step WAY back and get a little perspective, is there not some global balance in all of this? Is that too long a view? Can I be compassionate about the individuals who suffer from weather catastrophies and famine and wars and still remain spiritually in balance and aware of a 'bigger' balance? Does the bigger balance really exist?
I think so.
Those of you who garden might understand this analogy.
Things die in your garden: bugs or disease attack the roses, the neighbor's dog digs up the petunias, your gutter overflowed last summer and drowned the whatever...
Do you still have a nice garden? Don't
you still enjoy it? Isn't it still the place you go for solace, for
something to nurture, for some quiet time and a sense of 'getting back
to the earth'?
Have you ever experienced these events or conditions and thought, 'wow, god is out to get me', or 'I guess I'm not supposed to have a garden', or 'what am I doing wrong'?
I think of things like this. And I wonder if I have any compassion at all, sometimes.
I read the stories of real famine in SO many parts of the world, places that have no soil, no rain, no systems of irrigation, where generations have survived on the edge of starvation. I think of the thousands of truckloads of food and supplies that have been sent, with no real change whatsoever in the number of people still starving. In fact, the numbers seem to be actually growing. I've just spent about an hour 'googling' world hunger, starving populations, statistics on death by malnutrition, etc. The numbers are stagering. One article says 852 million people across the world are hungry, up from 842 million a year ago: a 10,000,000 (that's ten MILLION) increase in 1 year. I think of hungry little girls hanging on to mom, who have grown up to be hungry mothers holding on to their sweet little hungry children. And I think of the cantalope that I forgot, and let spoil, and threw out yesterday....
There are literally hundreds of organizations whose purpose is to feed hungry people. Why are the numbers growing?
I'm just asking...
Read Ishmael by Daniel Quinn. Is it the answer? I don't know; certainly, maybe ONE of the answers. It makes sense to me.
Can I find my compassion? What do I do with it?
I give things to my local food bank. I don't give anything to organizations trying to address hunger in areas that cannot support food production where the people are. I'll donate to buy a goat or dig a well...
Sometimes I think I'm really cold-cold-cold.
Sometimes I think like Daniel: when the food supply diminishes the population of the animals/humans who eat that food diminishes - as it should. As it does in all other animal species.
I'm just asking...
(Originally posted to www.katethoughts.blogspot.com on 8.26.06)
In the news recently...
This was about ringing cell phones in a courtroom gallery and no one (all adults) willing to say, "It was me, Judge, I apologize".
Wonder if they've learned anything. Wonder if they have kids.