A most cogent analysis, by one of the most cerebral of philosophers. From the good people at Al Jazeera English:
Monday, October 31, 2011
Thursday, October 27, 2011
“I think the intuition that inequality is divisive and socially corrosive has been around since before the French Revolution. What’s changed is we now can look at the evidence, we can compare societies and see what inequality does.”
Life expectancy, rates of violence, incarceration, literacy, mental illness, substance addiction, school bullying and basic values such as trust — all are strongly tied to a nation’s level of income equality, and surprisingly not connected with national “prosperity” or economic growth. A TED talk from British researcher Richard Wilkinson:
Toronto mayor confronted by comedy interviewer calls 911, reportedly shouts "You bitches! Don’t you fucking know? I’m Rob fucking Ford, the mayor of this city!
Rob Ford is Toronto's buffonish embarrassment of a mayor, elected by the suburbs to "end Toronto's war on cars" and "open the city for business," he declared that he would save money by "ending the gravy train" of city spending, only to take office and discover that the only discretionary funding that remained to be cut was to things like well-loved, well-used libraries.
Marg "Princess Warrior" Delahunty is a character played by Mary Walsh on the comedy-news-show This Hour Has 22 Minutes. It's complicated, but basically she dresses up like a middle-aged housewife, who is, in turn, dressed as a warrior princess, who is, in turn, a political journalist. It actually works really well and has resulted in some of the best political reporting in Canadian history.
But when Marg Princess Warrior tried to interview Rob Ford, Ford reportedly went crazy, called 911, demanded faster service, and said, "You bitches! Don’t you fucking know? I’m Rob fucking Ford, the mayor of this city!"
To be clear, the emergency that prompted this outburst was that Mayor Ford was in danger of being interviewed by a comedian.
This isn’t the first outburst of this type to emanate from His Worship. A few years back, Ford got into an altercation with fellow fans at a Leafs/Sens game after they asked him to dial down his obnoxiousness. He responded with “Who the fuck do you think you are? Are some kind of right wing Commie bastard [sic]? Do you want your little wife to go over to Iran and get raped and shot?”...
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
MIT Professor Emeritus Noam Chomsky, the world-renowned linguist and political dissident, spoke Monday night at Barnard College in New York City about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, just hours before Israel and Hamas completed a historic prisoner exchange. "I think [Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit] should have been released a long time ago. But there’s something missing from this whole story. There’s no pictures of Palestinian women, and no discussion, in fact, in the story of—what about the Palestinian prisoners being released? Where do they come from?" Chomsky says. "There’s a lot to say about that. So, for example, we don’t know—at least I don’t read it in the Times—whether the release includes the elected Palestinian officials who were kidnapped and imprisoned by Israel in 2007 when the United States, the European Union and Israel decided to dissolve the only freely elected legislature in the Arab world." Chomsky also discusses the recent U.S. assassination of U.S.-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen. "Almost all of the critics, of whom there weren’t many, criticized the action or qualified it because of the fact that Awlaki was an American citizen," Chomksy says. "That is, he was a person, unlike suspects who are intentionally murdered or collateral damage, meaning we treat them kind of like the ants we step on when we walk down the street. They’re not American citizens, so they’re unpeople, and therefore they can be freely murdered." [includes rush transcript]
No matter where you live, local TV newscasts tend to be pretty awful: a mash-up of crime, spectacle and celebrity--along with sports and weather.
According to an item in the Hollywood Reporter, though, ABC has told its local affiliates not to cover one celebrity in particular: actor Johnny Depp.
The actor is doing interviews to promote a new film called The Rum Diary, based on a book by Hunter S. Thompson. But according to the Reporter, Disney-owned ABC seems to think interviewing him about a movie that isn't part of the Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean franchise would be bad business:
According to Houston's KHOU, no ABC affiliates were allowed to speak with or even shoot the actor at the event, due to a clause in his contract with Disney for its successful film franchise, Pirates of the Caribbean.
"We came here expecting to talk to one of the biggest names in Hollywood," say KHOU news reporter Shelton Green. "But apparently Disney doesn’t want Johnny Depp's new movie premiering here at the Paramount [Theatre] to get more exposure than his new Pirates of the Caribbean movie. So they wouldn’t allow us to interview him, nor would they even allow us to get video of him, but hundreds of other people did."
Friday, October 21, 2011
The artist Joseph Beuys always seemed to be in Edinburgh, when I was young. Exhibiting at the Richard Demarco Gallery, or discussing art, democracy and socialism with whoever was around.
Born in Germany in 1921, his influence as an artist and an activist during his 64-years of life was so effective that we are, in many respects, all Beuys’s children. Take this as his defintion:
‘...one of the most influential and extraordinary artists of the twentieth century.
Artist, educator, political and social activist, Beuys’s philosophy proposed the healing power and social function of art, in which everyone can participate and benefit…’
Beuys’s best known works are the performance pieces How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare (1965), Filz TV (1970) in which Beuys responds to a TV covered with felt, I Like America and America Likes Me (1974), where he shared a room with a coyote for 3 days, and the social sculpture 7,000 Oaks, which he explained to Demarco in 1982 as:
“I think the tree is an element of regeneration which in itself is a concept of time. The oak is especially so because it is a slowly growing tree with a kind of really solid heart wood. It has always been a form of sculpture, a symbol for this planet ever since the Druids, who are called after the oak. Druid means oak. They used their oaks to define their holy places. I can see such a use for the future…. The tree planting enterprise provides a very simple but radical possibility for this when we start with the seven thousand oaks.”
Beuys always dressed the same in his artist’s uniform of Trilby hat and multi-pocketed fishing vest, to keep the focus on his art, as he believed art must work towards a better social order:
Only art is capable of dismantling the repressive effects of a senile social system that continues to totter along the deathline: to dismantle in order to build ‘A SOCIAL ORGANISM AS A WORK OF ART’… EVERY HUMAN BEING IS AN ARTIST who – from his state of freedom – the position of freedom that he experiences at first-hand – learns to determine the other positions of the TOTAL ART WORK OF THE FUTURE SOCIAL ORDER. work included.
Political activism was important to Beuys. I recall in 1980, when he presented Jimmy Boyle Days, where he went on hunger strike in protest over convicted killer Jimmy Boyle’s move from Barlinnie’s Special Unit, where Boyle had rehabilitated himself as an artist and sculptor, to Saughton Prison, where he was no longer able to practice his art. Beuys saw little difference between art and activism, and his support for Boyle led to a huge outcry over the place of art in society, that led to the Scottish Arts Council removing its key financial support form the Demarco Gallery.
In 1982, he surprised critics and fans alike with his one and only single, “Sonne statt Reagan”, a disco attack against President Reagan’s stance on nuclear arms. The song’s title, “Sun Not Rain/Reagan”, was a pun on the German word “regen” for rain and Reagan. Some critics thought Beuys had sold out, but they failed to see his humor, and the serious intention behind the disc. Beuys may have been unpredictable, but his work is always life-affirming.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
By Robert Stevens - 19 October 2011
Greece’s social democratic PASOK government is preparing to use the army against striking Athens refuse workers and threatening mass arrests. The attack on the refuse workers is a pre-emptive move against the entire Greek working class ahead of today’s 48-hour general strike...On Sunday evening, riot police engaged in pitched battles with workers who had been occupying Athens’s main landfill site northwest of the city since the beginning of the dispute.
Monday, October 17, 2011
Heritage Hall (3102 Main Street) – Doors Open at 6pm * Dinner at 7:00pm * Live music starts at 8:30pm
Do privatization and corporate bail-outs make your hair stand on end? Do you think Stephen Harper is spooky? Join us on the evening of Sunday, October 30th and enjoy an excellent Moroccan style dinner, followed by live (and lively!) local music. Costumes are encouraged!
This is also a chance to support the Organizing Centre for Social and Economic Justice as we come up to our fifth anniversary at our Broadway and Main location. We can hardly believe it’s been that long, but we did the math and it’s true! That’s five years of building local grassroots working class movement and international solidarity. Please come celebrate with us and help make our next five years possible!
This is an accessible space (front door is street level with no stairs and is large enough to allow a wheelchair, and the bathroom is wheelchair accessible).
The Organizing Centre is home to the Alliance for People’s Health, the Food Action Collective, Workers Across Borders, and People’s Health Radio. You can find out more at http://organizingcentre.wordpress.com/
* $25 Single Ticket (kids under twelve eat free)
* $40 Sponsor (one ticket and your name in program)
Solidarity sponsorship is available at $320 and includes reserved table (8 seats), name on table and name in program.
Please contact Jen at email@example.com or call 604-566-4745 to purchase tickets. Tickets must be purchased in advance; we will not be selling tickets at the door.
We love volunteers! We are in fact a volunteer-run centre. If you are interested in helping out at the fundraiser we would love to hear from you. Please email Jen at firstname.lastname@example.org
As you likely know, the Canadian government’s proposed online spying laws are dangerous. Instead of making Internet users safer, they reduce our security and increase the probability of cybercrime. If the online spying bills pass, we will become victims of the government’s inability to see beyond their immediate worries. Harper's poorly thought-out spying bill can, and will, create more problems than solutions for Canada's growing Internet based society.
Germany has become a prime example of the worrisome shortcomings of the online spying scheme. The German government has come under fire as accusations of their use of possibly illegal (and highly insecure) surveillance software have surfaced.
John Pilger describes in the New Statesman how the WikiLeaks founder and editor is subjected to 'a drip feed of hostility' from those who were once his allies. The information revolution is a threat not only to great power but to its media gatekeepers.
Saturday, October 15, 2011
By Al Giordano
October 8, 2011
Friday, October 14, 2011
Kim Noble, although she doesn't care to be called that, has over 100 distinct personalities.
For a journalist, this presents certain problems. Kim Noble herself is merely a name on a birth certificate - a portmanteau of identities. So which version of her do you interview? Do you talk to whomever pops up? Hayley? Judy? Ken?
It turns out there's a protocol: you meet Patricia, the dominant personality among the many alter egos in Noble's head. With the help of regular support workers, Patricia looks after Aimee and makes sure there's milk in the fridge. It is Patricia who answers the door and welcomes me in.
A horrifying and fascinating story. Noble wrote a book about her experiences and the varied body of art done by her various personalities can be seen here. And do watch this video; it's a clip of one of Noble's personality switches...the language she uses to describe herselves is interesting. (via @dunstan)Tags: Kim Noble
The standard form of Soviet war correspondence during WWII were letters folded into a triangular shape.
During the war, the mails were brought for free from the front to home. It could not have been differently, because probably the postage stamps would have been the last item the halting logistic support would have delivered to the front. Even so, postcards and envelopes were shortages. The soldiers' genius has thus created, right in the first months of the war, the format that was a letter and its own envelope in one. The folding process is very similar to how we, in our childhood, folded our soldier's shako, knowing nothing about the triangular soldier's letters.
(via raul)Tags: Soviet Union war World War II
Pasta&Vinegar on a fascinating 10,000-year design conundrum: how to house our radioactive waste in such a way that the next 400 generations will understand the danger, and not try to tamper or remove the markers. One would assume that over that period, most of our civilization, language, symbols, and physical structures as we know them will cease to exist:
“Permanent Markers Implementation Plan” is a project initiated in 2004 by the U.S. Department of Energy in order to provide a permanent record which identifies the location of nuclear waste repository and its dangers.
This report described the task handled by one of the expert group made of an anthropologist, an astronomer, an archaeologist, an environmental designer, a linguist, and a materials scientist. The brief for them was basic:
“The site must be marked. Aside from the legal requirement, the site will be indelibly imprinted by the human activity associated with waste disposal. We must complete the process by explaining what has been done and why.
The site must be marked in such a manner that its purpose cannot be mistaken.
Other nuclear waste disposal sites must be marked in a similar manner within the U.S. and preferably world-wide. A marking system must be utilized. By this we mean that components of the marking system relate to one another is such a way that the whole is more than the sum of its parts.“
This team work led to the definition of design guidelines, which, in turn, served as the starting point for several alternative designs for the entire site: “Shunned land…poisoned, destroyed, unusable”, “Shapes that hurt the body and shapes that communicate danger”.
Their conclusion is also fascinating:
“To design a marker system that, left alone, will survive for 10,000 years is not a difficult engineering task.
It is quite another matter to design a marker system that will for the next 400 generations resist attempts by individuals, organized groups, and societies to destroy or remove the markers. While this report discusses some strategies to discourage vandalism and recycling of materials, we cannot anticipate what people, groups, societies may do with the markers many millennia from now.
A marker system should be chosen that instills awe, pride, and admiration, as it is these feelings that motivate people to maintain ancient markers, monuments, and buildings.“
I find the brief utterly curious: designing a system that would work for 10’000 years is an inspiring starting point in the age of planned obsolescence.
Did you know that if you are uninsured or jobless, you should just suck it up? That if you’re overworked or underemployed, you should be thankful? Learn all that—and more!—at “We Are the 53%,” the right wing’s incredibly depressing response to Occupy Wall Street!
We Are the 53%” was created thought up by CNN’s chief goat-fucking correspondent Erick Erickson as a response to “We Are the 99 Percent,” an Occupy Wall Street-affiliated blog that collects the stories of the underemployed, overworked, debt-ridden and uninsured victims of the recession. The blog, run by conservative filmmaker Mike Wilson, gets its name from the popular (and wildly simplistic!) Republican talking point that only 53 percent of households pay federal income taxes.
What makes “We Are the 53%” so heartbreaking isn’t that its contributors are enormous jerks—it’s that so many of them could just as easily be writing in to We Are the 99 Percent. Like the “former marine” in the center who hasn’t had “4 consecutive days off in 4 years.” The phrase “I don’t have health insurance” pops up frequently on “We Are the 53%,” but not as a cry for help or an indictment of a broken system. Here, it’s a badge of pride.
You’d think that someone who “never had the option of parental health insurance to age 26″ would see why such a policy makes sense, or that a person who used welfare and food stamps after suffering an injury and losing her job might understand better than anyone else the value of a social safety net. But, nope! Basic ideas (some might even call them “human rights”!) like “paid time off” and “health insurance” and “a living wage” are apparently the demands of an unreasonably entitled parasitic class.
This is where the best of American values meet their most masochistic applications. Did you work 60-70 hours a week for nearly a decade to get a college degree after serving in this country’s military? This is America! Drive on! Do you now have two different jobs, neither of which will pay you insurance? Stop whining and suck it up! And if any of those problems are directly attributable to reckless, self-serving behavior on the part of enormous banking conglomerates, for God’s sake don’t blame them! You are the 53 percent!
Thursday, October 13, 2011
I peeled two stout little fellows, cut them into segments and put them in the carafe of the blender. Their tiny, feeble little pips saved me the trouble of de-seeding them, a task that may have taken several seconds. To the cucumbers I added a smashed clove of garlic, a small purple heirloom tomato, half a small sweet onion, a cigar-butt-sized hunk of ginger and the flesh of both a fresh jalapeno and a little red cherry pepper, all cut into pieces. The peppers came from the alley. Way to go alley. I pulsed the vegetables for a bit to break them up, then added salt, pepper, Sriracha, olive and sesame oil, the juice of a lime and a glug of spicy V8.
Before juicing the lime I grated the zest and reserved it for later. Grating the zest off a lime has the same effect as massaging the pulp, which makes the lime give up more of its juice. If you're not using zest for anything you can just roll the lime on the countertop and crush it a little. Also, get one of those little lime squeezer things from the Mexican supermercado. They cost a buck or two and are super efficient at getting lime juice out of limes. Liquefying raw vegetables works best if there are smallish pieces in a wet medium rather than trying to turn big hunks directly into liquid. That usually just results in the blade whirring past the bigger pieces while punishing the puree, resulting in unpalatable chunks surrounded by overworked paste, so it's worth it to do the puree in two stages, first to coarsely chop the pieces, then with a little added liquid to make it smooth.
Another trick for pulsing larger batches, especially in a food processor rather than a blender, is to add some crushed ice with the vegetables at the beginning of the process. The ice pieces act as auxiliary blades to help break up the vegetables while preventing the soup from getting hot from the friction of the blade and motor. Keeping the vegetables cool is critical in a gazpacho, otherwise the cells break down and the soup separates into ugly layers of water and fibrous matter. Gazpacho needs to retain some hint of its constituent ingredients in the body of the soup, otherwise it's just salty Jamba Juice. I didn't bother with ice this time because it was a small batch and I was determined not to spend too long on it.
I finished processing the soup and poured it into a bowl on top of some finely-sliced scallions and the reserved lime zest. There was very little foam, but I skimmed off what there was and tasted the soup. It was bright and complex and satisfying, and the oil made the flavors linger a little on the palate while providing body. I was happy with it as it was, but in future iterations I may try adding a little fish sauce to see if that makes the flavors hang around even more. Tasting the gazpacho gave me the idea that this would be really good as a savory sorbet, so I need to get some into Tim Mydhuiette's hands before everything goes out of season.
The alley bounty provided me with an assortment of peppers to dice for garnish, so I made a tiny brunoise of green jalapeno, orange serrano and red cherry pepper and sprinkled them on the gazpacho along with some chopped tarragon from the alley. I finished the garnish with a little dollop of Greek Yogurt and a sprig of mint.
And I made it back in time to see the Yankees dump one.
(vg) (v) without yogurt
** Overheard re: Bishop and actress.
** We have TiVo but I like a challenge.
The man who spawned modern comedy, Lenny Bruce was born today in 1925. Instead of a selection of his well-known monologues from stage and TV appearances, here is Dance Hall Racket, a low budget exploitation movie, which Bruce wrote and starred in, alongside his wife Honey Harlow, and Timothy Farrell as Umberto Scialli.
Produced by George Weiss (best known as the producer of Ed Wood’s Glen or Glenda?), Dance Hall Racket was the third of the Umberto Scialli films, following on from Devil’s Sleep and Racket Girls, in which Scialli was killed. Dance Hall Racket is a quirky, trashy, Z-movie, and leaves no clue to the Lenny Bruce who would, within the decade, start a revolution in comedy.
At the corruption trial of Brooklyn South narcotics Detective Jason Arbeeny, a former NYPD narcotics detective also snared in the scandal testified that it was common practice to fabricate drug charges against innocent people.
In the astonishing testimony from Stephen Anderson, a former NYPD narcotics officer who’s testifying under an agreement with prosecutors, Anderson told of how he participated in false arrests and planted cocaine in order to meet arrest quotas and prevent a colleague from being put back on street patrol. The scandal hanging over the Brooklyn South and Queens narc squads has led to the arrests of eight police officers. Via the New York Daily News:
“Tavarez was ... was worried about getting sent back [to patrol] and, you know, the supervisors getting on his case,” he recounted at the corruption trial of Brooklyn South narcotics Detective Jason Arbeeny.
“I had decided to give him [Tavarez] the drugs to help him out so that he could say he had a buy,” Anderson testified last week in Brooklyn Supreme Court.
He made clear he wasn’t about to pass off the two legit arrests he had made in the bar to Tavarez.
“As a detective, you still have a number to reach while you are in the narcotics division,” he said.
Anderson, who worked in both the Queens and Brooklyn South narcotics squads, was asked by Justice Gustin Reichbach if such practices were widespread and if he’d observed them with frequency.
He replied:“Yes, multiple times.”
The judge pressed Anderson on whether he ever gave a thought to the damage he was inflicting on the innocent.
“It was something I was seeing a lot of, whether it was from supervisors or undercovers and even investigators,” he said.
“It’s almost like you have no emotion with it, that they attach the bodies to it, they’re going to be out of jail tomorrow anyway; nothing is going to happen to them anyway.”
The city paid $300,000 to settle a false arrest suit by Jose Colon and his brother Maximo, who were falsely arrested by Anderson and Tavarez. A surveillance tape inside the bar showed they had been framed.
Anyone currently in prison for drugs-related felonies in New Your State might want to start an immediate appeals process to get their sentences overturned… whether they are guilty or not!
This is all kinds of wrong. If the exposure of this cancer on the NYPD isn’t a good excuse to end the drug war, what ever would be?
Thank you Glen E. Friedman!
EMERGENCY CALL TO ACTION: Prevent the forcible closure of Occupy Wall Street!
Tell Bloomberg: Don't Foreclose the Occupation.
Join us at 6AM FRIDAY for non-violent eviction defense.
Please take a minute to read this, and please take action and spread the word far and wide.
Occupy Wall Street is gaining momentum, with occupation actions now happening in cities across the world.
But last night Mayor Bloomberg and the NYPD notified Occupy Wall Street participants about plans to “clean the park”—the site of the Wall Street protests—tomorrow starting at 7am. "Cleaning" was used as a pretext to shut down “Bloombergville” a few months back, and to shut down peaceful occupations elsewhere.
Bloomberg says that the park will be open for public usage following the cleaning, but with a notable caveat: Occupy Wall Street participants must follow the “rules”. These rules include, "no tarps or sleeping bags" and "no lying down."
So, seems likely that this is their attempt to shut down #OWS for good.
PLEASE TAKE ACTION:
1) Call 311 and tell Bloomberg to support our right to assemble and to not interfere with #OWS. If you are calling from outside NY use this number 212-NEW-YORK.
2) Come to #OWS on FRIDAY AT 6AM to defend the occupation from eviction.
Occupy Wall Street is committed to keeping the park clean and safe — we even have a Sanitation Working Group whose purpose this is. We are organizing major cleaning operations today and will do so regularly.
If Bloomberg truly cares about sanitation here he should support the installation of portopans and dumpsters. #OWS allies have been working to secure these things to support our efforts.
We know where the real dirt is: on Wall Street. Billionaire Bloomberg is beholden to bankers.
We won't allow Bloomberg and the NYPD to foreclose our occupation. This is an occupation, not a permitted picnic.
Paul Joseph Watson
The Obama administration’s fabricated terror plot blamed on Iran represents the green light for an Israeli attack on Iran set to take place within the next two weeks, according to confidential military sources who spoke with Alex Jones.
US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s October 3 Tel Aviv visit was used by Israeli hawks to convince the United States that it should green light the attack. Less than 10 days later, a fanciful terror plot involving a used car salesman was invented to implicate Iran and create the pretext for a military assault.
That intervention has now been mandated by the announcement of the fabricated terror plot, which was actually concocted last month but only made public now.
While U.S. intelligence officials prepare to release claims about a “chain” of plots that will be blamed on Iran, Time Magazine reports that the Obama administration is preparing to use the accusations to take action beyond mere isolation tactics.
“If the Administration fails to win support for a significant escalation of sanctions or other forms of punishment for the Tehran regime after presenting evidence of the latest allegations of Iranian malfeasance, the ball will land back in Obama’s court,” writes Tony Karon. “Having made the case that Iran has crossed a red line, he will be under growing pressure to act — or risk entering a highly polarized election season haunted by a “soft on Iran” charge.”
With neo-cons rushing to support aggressive measures against Iran, Obama will now be given right cover to pursue yet another act of regime change. As we postulated back in February last year, Obama is being blackmailed into supporting an attack on Iran as the only way to save his presidency. We also speculated that an assassination attempt would be used as the pretext to implicate Iran.
Geopolitical experts have been consistent in their warnings that Israel was preparing to strike Iran this fall.
Back in July, 21-year CIA veteran Robert Baer told KPFK Los Angeles that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was planning an attack on Iran in September to coincide with the Palestine bid for UN membership.
Speaking with the Alex Jones Show today, former State Department official Steve Pieczenik, who has numerous inside intelligence sources having worked in several sensitive positions during the course of his career, also indicated that the terror plot was completely fabricated and that it would be used a pretext to justify a military strike against Iran.
Pieczenik also pointed out that Israel had recently taken delivery of a large amount of bunker buster missiles.
As we have documented, the alleged assassination plot against Saudi Ambassador Adel al-Jubeir, which is now being cited by everyone from John Kerry to John McCain as a justification for a potential military strike, is a complete fantasy.
Retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Shaffer has revealed that an FBI insider with a high security clearance told him no records whatsoever detailing the plot existed within DOJ channels, clearly indicating the whole episode was manufactured.
It has also now emerged that the alleged “mastermind” behind the plot was a drunk pothead who liked to frequent with prostitutes and was described by those who know him as a “joke”.
Paul Joseph Watson is the editor and writer for Prison Planet.com. He is the author of Order Out Of Chaos. Watson is also a regular fill-in host for The Alex Jones Show.
Canadian organizers are revving up their plans for Occupy Wall Street's global action day Saturday, part of a movement that some experts say has the potential to trigger a major shift in the thinking of governments and corporations.
A combination of the law, police tactics and bad attitudes among officers has forced street-level sex workers out of sight where they are easy prey for predators such as Robert Pickton, a prostitution says.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
A tenet of the drug war is that drug X is so pleasurable that once tried, most people cannot resist it. There is no way of knowing if you have the “disease” of lifelong addiction to drug X, therefore no one should ever try drug X. All of this is wrong.
The vast majority of people who try drugs do not go on to become addicted (1, 9), and those that do tend to share certain characteristics and conditions. Here are some of the things that predispose people to addiction:
If a person has not been able to exercise self-control with one source of pleasure, it is more likely he or she will not be able to exercise self-control with another source of pleasure. As can be seen in the following chart, someone diagnosed with a cocaine dependence is 6.64 times more likely than someone without a cocaine dependence to develop a dependence to alcohol.
This overindulgence is not reserved to drugs as demonstrated by the considerable overlap of drug addictions and behavioral addictions. Note that the percentage of the general population that has ever experienced substance use disorders is 14.6%. (5)
Although overlap with food addiction is complicated by drugs’ effects on weight (e.g. cigarettes and stimulants suppress appetites), 32.6% of weight-loss surgery candidates have experienced substance use disorders. (4)
Surveys of drinking have long found that despite being more likely to abstain, those from lower socioeconomic groups are still “much more often” problem drinkers. (10, p. 160) A more recent study has found income serves as a predictor for more than just alcohol dependence. As seen below, people in the poorest income bracket are almost three times as likely to become dependent on cocaine as those in the wealthiest bracket.
Mental Health Issues
People with mental health issues are more likely than their peers to become addicted to substances. As can be seen below those diagnosed with ADHD or a personality disorder are three times as likely to become dependent on alcohol.
Heavy drug users frequently score lower on cognitive tests than their peers. This has been used to say drugs lower intelligence. In the early 2000s two twin studies disproved this idea. In these studies one twin had a history of drug abuse and the other did not. Neither study found a correlation between cognitive performance and amount of drug use. The studied drugs were marijuana, cocaine, and amphetamine. Lower cognitive abilities lead to heavy drug use, not vice versa. (3, pp. 150-152)
An adoption study has shown that the biological father’s drinking patterns predict a son’s alcoholism, while the adoptive father’s does not. Boys whose biological fathers were severe alcoholics had an alcoholism rate of 18% with an alcoholic adoptive father, 17% with an adoptive home free of parental alcoholism. A study of twins found shared genes did not correlate with experimentation with illicit drugs, but if an identical twin was dependent there was a 40% chance the twin was also dependent. (3, p. 92)
People with substance use disorders, just like people with behavioral addictions, score high on self-report measures for sensation-seeking and impulsivity, and low for harm avoidance. (2) This is not surprising. An addict is arguably someone who chooses the sensation an activity provides at levels that are harmful. The choice is influenced by his or her impulsivity, i.e. the tendency to act without weighing the future consequences of one’s actions. The pleasure an addictive behavior provides is immediate whereas the pleasure of moderation is often distant and abstract (e.g. long-term health, more stable work/family life).
Not only are older people much less likely to become dependent on something, they are also more likely to end dependencies. The vast majority of addicts “mature out” of their addictions and most of them accomplish this without treatment. (11, p. 13) Maturing out is so pervasive that a national 2010 survey found that only .1% of people 65 or older had abused or been dependent on an illegal substance in the past year. The highest level was reached by 19-year-olds (9.3%) from which the number decreased with each ensuing age category. (8)
In line with this, addictive personalities weaken over time. Older adults report being less impulsive, sensation-seeking, and risk tolerant than their younger peers. (12)
Addiction is an intense involvement people fall into for solace when they cannot find better gratifications in the rest of their lives. (11, p. 16) The escape provided by destructive behaviors is usually only appealing to those suffering from internal sources, e.g. mental health issues, or external sources, e.g. poverty. Addiction is a symptom of underlying problems. This helps explain why, contrary to the exhortations of America’s drug warriors, the legal status of drugs has been found to have “surprisingly little measurable consequence” on factors like addiction rates. (7, 3, p. 3) The locus of addiction lies in people, not substances.
1. Robert Arthur, You Will Die: The Burden of Modern Taboos, 3rd Ed. (2008), p. 330.
2. Jon Grant, et al., “Introduction to Behavioral Addictions,” American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 36, 2010.
3. Gene Heyman, Addiction: A Disorder of Choice (2009).
4. Melissa Kalarchian, et al., “Psychiatric Disorders Among Bariatric Surgery Candidates,” American Journal of Psychiatry, Feb. 2007. LINK
5. Ronald Kessler, et al., “Lifetime Prevalence and Age-of-Onset Distributions of DSM-IV Disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication,” Archives of General Psychiatry, 62, 2005.
6. Catalina Lopez-Quintero, et al., “Probability and Predictors of Transition from First Use to Dependence ….,” Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 115, 2011.
7. Robert MacCoun and Peter Reuter, Drug War Heresies (2001), pp. 236-237.
8. “National Survey on Drug Use and Health,” Fig. 5.3B, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 2010. LINK
9. Frank Owen, No Speed Limit (2007), p. 48.
10. Stanton Peele, Diseasing of America (1995), p. 160.
11. Stanton Peele, Seven Tools to Beat Addiction (2004).
12. D.R. Roalf, et al., “Risk, Reward, and Economic Decision Making in Aging,” Journals of Gerontology, 6 Sep. 2011. LINK
A tenet of the drug war is that “hard” drugs are so pleasurable that once tried, most people cannot resist them. This fiction is propagated by the media which showcases in the words of Dr. Stanton Peele, “extremely self-dramatizing addicts,” while ignoring the vast invisible majority of recreational drug users – the unaddicted. (2) The truth is that illegal drugs’ addiction rates are not nearly as high as they are popularly portrayed.
As can be seen below, of the millions of Americans who have experienced the highs of crack, heroin, and methamphetamine only a small percentage have used them in the past month. Even if the ludicrous position is taken that every person who has partaken in the past month is an addict, the addictive power of these substances is clearly overblown.
1. “National Survey on Drug Use and Health,” Fig. 1.1A, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 2010. LINK
2. Stanton Peele, Diseasing of America (1995), p. 161.
Not to his smug, Republican frat-boy face, unfortunately… but I do hope that this video does get seen by Sean Hannity.
Plus 1 as the hackers say!
Via Before It’s News
Molly Peterson writes in Business Week:
Genetically engineered corn, soy and plant oil should be disclosed on mandatory food labels, a coalition of more than 350 producers, trade groups and consumers said in a petition to U.S. regulators.
The U.S. should require added disclosure even when a product containing a gene-altered organism is similar to foods that aren’t bioengineered, the groups said today in the petition to the Food and Drug Administration. Stonyfield Farm, the organic-yogurt maker owned by Danone SA, and Dean Foods Co.’s Horizon Organic are among the coalition members.
Petitioners, led by the Washington-based Center for Food Safety, want to reverse a 1992 Food and Drug Administration policy that doesn’t require different labeling. Gene-altered seeds are used for almost 90 percent of U.S.-grown corn, 94 percent of soy and 90 percent of cottonseed, an oil-producing plant, the coalition said.
“Consumers ought to have the right to choose whether to be buying these foods,” said Gary Hirshberg, chief executive officer of Londonderry, New Hampshire-based Stonyfield Farm, in an interview. “Polls show a vast majority of Americans say they don’t want to eat genetically engineered foods.”
More on Business Week
Many families of serial killer Robert Pickton's victims still hope for answers and closure from the missing women's inquiry, reports the CBC's Aarti Pole.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Before It's News
Gotta weigh in on this one. Apparently the PTBs are confident the American mass mindset is complete mush. Never mind Holder and the Obama admin obviously trying to cover and distract from their documented involvement in the Fast and Furious arms for drug gangs debacle, and wanting to divert attention from the Occupation of America revolution happening in over 1200 cities now, the rhetoric in this insane story is out of a fascist kindergarten primer.
Holder: Iran aimed to bomb Saudi ambassador
WASHINGTON - The Obama administration on Tuesday accused agents of the Iranian government of being involved in a plan to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the thwarted plot would further isolate Tehran.
"The United States is committed to hold Iran accountable for its actions," Attorney General Eric Holder told reporters during an afternoon news conference.1st inane comment. What does that mean? Oh, forgot, we're the policemen of the WORLD. Apparently Holder's got bigger fish to fry than little domestic problems like arming drug lords for profit. Remind you of slick Willy or what?
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