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Occupy Wall Street: Where Everybody Has A Say In Everything October 5, 2011

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By Zoe Chace

At Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan, where hundreds of Occupy Wall Street protesters are camped out, there’s a big meeting every night at 7:00.

The protesters call it the General Assembly, and it’s a meeting where every single person has a say in every single decision that gets made. For the protesters, this is a model society.

It’s a model where it takes a really long time to make a decision — like, say, whether to buy more sleeping bags for the group.

I visited the park for a General Assembly earlier this week. Here’s what I heard.




Anne Thomas: Rebuilding life in Sendai May 25, 2011

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It has been well over a month since I have been in touch. Much has happened in that time, both in Japan and in my personal life. Of course, the world’s attention has mostly sifted away from the disasters here, but even so, there is a lot still going on.

This country has been slowly and steadily getting back on her feet. Progress is uneven, but it is happening everywhere. Extremely devastated areas are still struggling with clean up and rebuilding, but much effort has been made to get Sendai proper functioning as normally as possible. We still have ongoing daily earthquakes, huge cracks in the roads, shattered buildings and walls, and protective blue mats everywhere, but reconstruction work is evident wherever you look. Supermarkets are open normal hours now and are well stocked, although some items are still unavailable or rationed.

Almost everyone is intensely focused on remaking their lives. Those who were seriously hit have had to start almost from scratch, but even those who suffered little physical loss are trying to reassess their attitudes, values, and ways of being in the world. Almost everyone is caught up in a wave of discarding unneeded items, and rearranging material belongings to reflect the deep inner changes that this searing tragedy has brought about. A former student of mine, who now lives in Singapore, came to Sendai to help her parents. As she sorts through her family home, she keeps asking her mother, “Do you really need this anymore? Why not get rid of it? Why not start again fresh?” Another student has taken load after load of earthquake-broken or unneeded items to the dump. She was totally astonished to see the mountains of goods that people are getting rid of. But the rubbish place is well organized, typical for Japan. “TVs go over there, refrigerators on that pile, heavy dressers are down this row and on the left,” say the guards at the entrance. Yes, it is a time of peeling away, discarding, reassessing needs and wants.

But there is a lot of buying, too. Home centers, for example, are packed with people sorting through furniture, appliances, bedding, and carpets. There is not an “S” hook to be found in most hardware stores, as people are buying them by the fists-full to hang things in their newly arranged homes. Companies are all displaying messages that say: “We apologize to you for not being able to serve you for several weeks after the recent disaster. That was very inconvenient for you, so please allow us to give you a discount on our items.” Or they might say, “We have all suffered a great deal in the past few months. So, please refresh your feelings by the generous prices we are offering in our shops.” (more…)

Bill Sinkford: USA! USA! USA! May 5, 2011

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By Reverend Bill Sinkford | http://www.firstunitarianportland.org/our-church/ministers-a-staff/rev-sinkford-blog

After almost 10 years, our nation was finally able to locate and kill one man, Osama bin Laden. Celebrations erupted spontaneously. American flags were waved, and crowds shouted “USA! USA! USA!” It was, I suppose, a victory of a sort. My reaction may well not be yours, but I found myself saddened rather than exultant.

Bin Laden was responsible for horrible acts of violence, the deaths of thousands of American citizens. If anyone deserved punishment, he did. If retribution was ever justified, it was here. But I take no pleasure in his death, especially if it becomes only the latest in a spiral of violence whose final outcome will endanger us all.

‎Martin Luther King, Jr., decades before 9/11, wrote:

“I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

The news media has been filled with little else this week. The images of 9/11 have been replayed. The bravery and training of the Navy Seals who executed the raid have been lauded. Images of the compound near the Pakistani capital where bin Laden hid “in plain sight” for six years have been aired. Descriptions of the raid have been repeated again and again, with some interesting changes to the initial narrative. No, bin Laden did not use his youngest wife as a human shield. No one in the compound fired on the attackers. Obama’s decision not to release photographs of the dead body is the latest chapter in this drama. (more…)

David Wilcock: Official Government Disclosure has Begun May 5, 2011

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By David Wilcock | http://divinecosmos.com/

According to insiders, official ‘government’ Disclosure is now underway — and the real story behind the alleged Bin Laden incident was shockingly different than what I expected to hear. The overall news is extremely positive, though we may have to endure further disruptive events to get there.

In the last week of March, insiders from two different groups — the European Rothschild faction and others affiliated with the Obama administration — independently told me that major new developments towards a formal, official “government” Disclosure were imminent.

I was not told exactly what these developments would be — only that it would be a significant step forward.

Of course, if an official announcement does finally happen, it will be the most significant event in recorded human history. This obviously makes it a fantastic opportunity to explore — both as a journalist as well as a spiritual seeker.

No one can be sure of the scope or the magnitude of changes Disclosure will create, but it is undoubtedly vast — and ultimately very positive, paving the way for the “Golden Age” predicted in almost every religious and spiritual tradition in recorded history.


Every source I work with must prove their bona-fides on an ongoing basis. If I catch them lying, trying to use me to pass disinformation, or working a hidden agenda, I break off the contact. I only work with people who really want the best for humanity — and are willing to pass along material that will help.

Both groups gave me the same approximate time window for when we would see these “major new developments.” Administration sources said “two weeks” and the European sources said “within a month” — all in the last week of March.

I was strongly advised not to say anything — and I stayed quiet, knowing that I could ruin the whole process if I leaked any of the details.

The FBI released stunning new UFO documents almost exactly two weeks later. The NSA released nearly twice as many UFO documents a mere ten days after that. All of this happened “within a month” of when I had these conversations — just as I had been told.

Both sources later confirmed these document releases did indeed represent the first stage of what they were talking about — a formal, open, official ‘government’ Disclosure, approved at the very highest levels of the insider world.


The FBI documents appeared on April 11th, 2011 — right as I was in the “middle of nowhere,” on my first real vacation in years — after bringing my San Francisco Convergence to a satisfying conclusion.

The cell-phone wireless Internet was so bad that dialup would have been a Godsend. The trees were happy enough, but now more than ever I needed ACCESS!

I waited hours for these documents to download — literally. 27 different items appeared when I used the search function to look for “flying saucers” — and I still haven’t had time to go through most of them:


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Joe Bageant: Escape from the Zombie Food Court May 5, 2011

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April 3, 2009

I just returned from several months in Central America. And the day I returned I had iguana eggs for breakfast, airline pretzels for lunch and a $7 shot of Jack Daniels for dinner at the Houston Airport, where I spent two hours listening to a Christian religious fanatic tell about Obama running a worldwide child porn ring out of the White House. Entering the country shoeless through airport homeland security, holding up my pants because they don’t let old men wear suspenders through security, well, I knew I was back home in the land of the free.

Anyway, here I am with you good people asking myself the first logical question: What the hell is a redneck writer supposed to say to a prestigious school of psychology? Why of all places am I here? It is intimidating as hell. But as Janna Henning and Sharrod Taylor here have reassured me that all I need to do is talk about is what I write about. And what I write about is Americans, and why we think and behave the way we do. To do that here today I am forced to talk about three things — corporations, television and human spirituality.

No matter how smart we may think we are, the larger world cannot and does not exist for most of us in this room, except through media and maybe through the shallow experience of tourism, or in the minority instance, we may know of it through higher education. The world however, is not a cultural history course, a National Geographic special or recreational destination. It is a real place with many fast developing disasters, economic and ecological collapse being just two. The more aware among us grasp that there is much at stake. Yet, even the most informed and educated Americans have cultural conditioning working against them round the clock.

As psych students, most of you understand that there is no way you can escape being conditioned by your society, one way or another. You are as conditioned as any trained chicken in a carnival. So am I. When we go to the ATM machine and punch the buttons to make cash fall out, we are doing the same thing as the chickens that peck the colored buttons make corn drop from the feeder. You will not do a single thing today, tomorrow or the next day that you have not been generally indoctrinated and deeply conditioned to do — mostly along class lines. (more…)

dutchsinse: NEW MADRID — Flooding the Fault Line WILL Cause Seismic Movement May 3, 2011

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I think there is some debate on wether the water from the flood will cause an earthquake, but I like dutchsinse’s approach and will continue to post his video blog entries.

Bill Sinkford: Show Me Your Papers May 2, 2011

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By Reverand Bill Sinkford


Thursday, April 28 2011 11:06

Show Me Your Papers

The first African American President of the United States, duly and overwhelmingly elected, finally submitted to the demand to “show me your papers.” I am angry,  sad and deeply troubled about the politics of race in our nation.

In South Africa, under Apartheid, Blacks had to produce “pass cards” when challenged by white authorities to prove that they were authorized to be in white areas. There was a time, here in the US, when Blacks had to carry papers proving that they were allowed off the land of their owners.

Those Americans who look or sound “Hispanic” know that they can confront the same demand today. “Show me your papers.” (more…)

UN resolution looks to give “Mother Earth” same rights as humans April 20, 2011

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Steven Edwards, Postmedia News · Apr. 11, 2011 | Last Updated: Apr. 11, 2011 10:37 PM ET

UNITED NATIONS — Bolivia will this month table a draft United Nations treaty giving “Mother Earth” the same rights as humans — having just passed a domestic law that does the same for bugs, trees and all other natural things in the South American country.

The bid aims to have the UN recognize the Earth as a living entity that humans have sought to “dominate and exploit” — to the point that the “wellbeing and existence of many beings” is now threatened.

The wording may yet evolve, but the general structure is meant to mirror Bolivia’s Law of the Rights of Mother Earth, which Bolivian President Evo Morales enacted in January.

That document speaks of the country’s natural resources as “blessings,” and grants the Earth a series of specific rights that include rights to life, water and clean air; the right to repair livelihoods affected by human activities, and the right to be free from pollution. (more…)

Anne Thomas: Beauty amid destruction April 20, 2011

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I thought my last letter would be my final one until after my move. But some people have asked me to kindly keep up these epistles. So since I will be off line for about a month starting Sunday, I realized I should get one more out before then. And very fortunately a friend sent me an email, which expresses how many of us are feeling these days.

Steve and I used to work in the same university in Sendai. It was called Shokei. He hoped for full-time employment there, but the administration had other ideas. It was planning on eliminating the English Department completely, so not only would Steve not get a position, but I would soon lose my job there, too.

Steve knew he had to support his wife and child, so started to look elsewhere. That little family ended up in the UAE. Yuki, Steve’s wife, comes from Iwaki, an area severely devastated by the recent natural catastrophes. Her father is a fire fighter there. And when all the hard work began after the quake, he worked 24/7 and ate two rice balls a day. He continues his total commitment, without holding anything back whatsoever. This is what Steve said about him in an email of several weeks ago:

“I really really, super really, respect the father more than any living person right now. He is a hero – even with radiation his people are priority, even higher than family, but ‘for’ family. No attachment in the best possible way.” (more…)

Rónán MacDubhghaill: Shaken Faith April 19, 2011

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Rónán MacDubhghaill is a writer and research consultant with Eranos, Paris, and is currently based in Sendai. Published in Le Monde

Anywhere else on earth, a 7.4 earthquake on the Richter scale would be a big one. In Sendai, it’s just an aftershock that wipes out a month of clearing up When another earthquake hit northeastern Japan last week, it revived all the fears of people still struggling to get over the catastrophe of March 11. Since then, daily aftershocks – often substantial – have hampered relief efforts in areas worst hit by the earthquake and tsunami. None of them was as bad as this last one, which was a 7.4 on the Richter scale. Workers at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, tireless in their efforts to prevent full meltdown, had to retreat to a reinforced bunker because another tsunami was feared. Along the coast, tsunami warnings blared and residents fled again to the high ground.

The gods were not that angry, and there was no tsunami. But in the morning , we could see more damage. Many roads, walls and buildings badly shaken on March 11 were no longer able to take the punishment. The building I work in had to be abandoned as unsafe: from the second floor right up to the sky, through three storeys, there was a rupture, and cracks all over showed the steel supports just about managing to hold it together. And this in the part of Sendai least affected by the disasters.

For the last four weeks, people put on a brave face and dealt with the situation. Volunteers and workers arrived from across Japan to restore essential services in solidarity. Last night’s quake has undone much of their good work.

If you try to step away from the situation, you notice something interesting, even disturbing. The earthquake did more than shatter buildings and infrastructure. To borrow the concept of the psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan about the Phantasy and the Real, the disasters fundamentally disrupted the symbolic ‘phantasies’ or fictions which sustain our reality. This brutal intrusion of the Real on March 11 killed perhaps 30,000 people (we still don’t know the total) and took away our reality. Lacan was right to say that it is ‘impossible to experience what is truly the Real’ because it is too much.

Not until after, and in quiet moments, do you really experience it – but in so doing, you are already fictionalising it, to be able to comprehend it without a breakdown. Yet in experiencing it, you do not truly experience it – shock takes over. Even after the initial quake, the cracks in our reality were evident. Electricity or running water, or a steady supply of food in the shops could not be taken for granted any more, and we had to worry about when the next aftershock would hit, and how strong it would be. We had to worry about the air we were breathing: did it carry a potentially lethal dose of radiation?

Reality – well, the familiar Phantasy, anyway – crept back slowly. Rubble was cleared away, shops reopened, with sporadic hours and little on the shelves, normality was cautiously reasserting itself. Last night’s earthquake brought it crashing down again, disrupting water, electricity and gas, and sending people out to clear shop shelves of what food there was.

The Richter scale plots earthquakes in terms of distance, depth and the energy released. The Japanese system is much more descriptive. This last quake was ‘only’ 7.4 on the Richter scale, which, being exponentially measured is hundreds of times less powerful than the 9.0 of March 11. The Shindo scale is more accurate, more human in that it describes the earthquake as it was experienced, the perception of its affect on people and their physical environment. It goes only to 7. The March 11 earthquake was a full 7; last night’s was an upper 6. For me, it felt much the same as the ‘big one’, only it was much shorter. We were lucky to have been spared another tsunami, and so this morning, despite the damage and the shock, the main feeling was relief.

Sendai, indeed Japan, again turns to rebuilding, recovering. This will go on for months, years. In a very ‘real’ sense, buildings and roads may be rebuilt, but for many, the recovery will never be complete – it is impossible to bring your family back to life. The international media have lost interest by now which is not a bad thing; poor journalism and false reporting caused much unnecessary worry for those involved. The true cost of this trauma (not merely some crass economic calculation) will never be known.