Archive for November, 2011

Police State News

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

The powers that be, the oppressor man, the ruling class, where ever it may be and whenever. It is what it is and exists on all levels, including internally in each of us. We can’t tear it out, we have to simply flush it out. That means watching what we eat. When we are digesting a big meal of media garbage, we have to be careful not to let the brainwash get in and twist our minds around, at least not too much. You have to figure out the angles and play it smart. Naomi got it a little wrong, but her intentions were in the right place, she is just anticipating things a little.

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Why Naomi Wolf got it wrong

In the US, political repression - such as the crackdown on Occupy protests - doesn’t require top-down coordination.

Corey Robin Last Modified: 29 Nov 2011 16:23

On Friday, Naomi Wolf made the attention-grabbing accusation in the Guardian that federal officials were involved in, indeed ordered, the violent crackdowns against Occupy Wall Street protesters that we’ve been seeing across the country these past few weeks.

Congressional overseers, with the blessing of the White House, told the DHS [Department of Homeland Security] to authorise mayors to order their police forces - pumped up with millions of dollars of hardware and training from the DHS - to make war on peaceful citizens.

The next day, Joshua Holland debunked Wolf’s claims on Alternet.

I don’t have much to add to Holland’s critique. Wolf gets many of her facts wrong, and Holland shows it.

The problem, though, is bigger than that: The reason Wolf gets her facts wrong is that she’s got her theory wrong. And while many were quick to jump off her conspiracy bandwagon once Holland pointed out its flaws, I suspect that one of the reasons they were so quick to jump on it in the first place is that they subscribe to her theory.

In-depth coverage of the global movement

We still don’t have nearly all the who-what-when-where-why-and-how of the crackdowns - and there’s certainly nothing wrong with raising questions, pursuing leads, and investigating claims regarding the involvement of the feds - but the quickness and ease with which Wolf reached for the top-down conspiratorial national government story, well in advance of the facts we know, provides us with a teachable moment of how many tend to think about political repression in the United States, and how we might think about it instead.

Like many critics of state coercion in the United States, Wolf seems to assume that political repression requires or entails national coordination and centralised direction from the feds. This fits with a larger tradition in the United States that sees centralised and national power as the handmaiden of tyranny, and local power as its antidote. Throughout much of the twentieth century, that was the argument of conservatives, who opposed federal involvement in such “local” matters as Jim Crow. But since the 1980s, that position has steadily migrated to the left as well.

Whatever its political provenance, however, the problem with that position - as I argued in this piece in the Boston Review in 2005, and in a much longer piece in the Missouri Law Review [pdf] - is that it’s wrong.

From the battles over abolition to the labor wars at the turn of the last century; from the Red Squads of the twentieth-century police departments to the struggles over Jim Crow; state repression in the US has often been decentralised, displaying that very same can-do spirit of local initiative that has been celebrated by everyone from Alexis de Tocqueville to Robert Putnam. Though Tocqueville and Putnam were talking, of course, about things like creating churches and buildings roads, the fact is: If the locals can build a church or a road on their own, they can also get rid of dissenters on their own, too, no?

Even where there has been coordination and involvement from above, as in the epic cases of the Red Scare, McCarthyism, COINTELPRO, or now the War on Terror, what’s been most striking is how local police and officials have managed to manipulate that federal involvement to their own ends. As I wrote in the Boston Review:

What history demonstrates is that police officers often use their powers, with or without federal prompting, as instruments of larger political purpose. The danger of cooperation between federal agencies and local police is not that the former will conscript the latter into repressive programs the latter would not otherwise pursue, but that it allows the police to apply the legitimising gloss of national security to their own pet projects of repression. During the McCarthy era, for example, southern politicians and law-enforcement officers used the language of anti-communism to outlaw the NAACP and to arrest and indict civil-rights leaders for sedition. In the Denver case already mentioned, the police used the rubric of domestic security to keep track of not only the groups cited above but also a local organization working against police brutality in the city. This past summer, during the Republican Party convention in New York City, the NYPD preemptively arrested more than 1,500 protesters - some of them obstreperous, virtually all of them nonviolent - as well as innocent bystanders. How did the mayor justify the arrest and prolonged detainment of these individuals? By drawing parallels, according to The New York Times, “between verbally abusive demonstrators and the Sept. 11 terrorists.”

If all politics is local in the United States, as former Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill reminded us, it stands to reason that a good deal of the political repression is as well.

It’s hard for Americans to be clear about this, and probably harder for non-Americans, especially Europeans, who were among Wolf’s readers in the Guardian, and have very different traditions and policies in their countries. As my friend and colleague Alex Vitale - a professor at Brooklyn College and one of the country’s leading experts on policing practices - reminded me:

The US is somewhat unique in how decentralised it is in terms of both policing and politics. In much of Europe you’re dealing with national police forces and national political parties that have real influence over local mayors - neither of which is true in the US. Local police in the US will take resources from the center and at times advice and even some coordination, but they are generally loath to give up any real autonomy. And they are quite capable of coming up with their own harebrained initiatives based on primarily very local politics. Much of the Oakland crackdown came in the wake of pressure from local business improvement associations that had little to do with national politics.

It’s not surprising that, faced with the crackdown on Occupy protests, Wolf would immediately turn to a theory of national, centralised repression. It’s part of our national DNA, on the left and the right, to assume that tyranny works that way. We’ve inherited a theory that holds, in the approving words of the Yale constitutional law scholar Akhil Reed Amar, that “liberty and localism work together”. Nothing, as Holland so ably if inadvertently demonstrates in his demolition of Wolf, could be further from the truth.

Corey Robin teaches political science at Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Center. He is the author of The Reactionary Mind: Conservatism from Edmund Burke to Sarah Palin and Fear: The History of a Political Idea. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, Harper’s, the London Review of Books, and elsewhere. He received his PhD from Yale and his A.B. from Princeton. You can read Corey’s blog here and follow him on Twitter @CoreyRobin.

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2011/11/
20111129151234836584.html

Judge Blocks Sweetheart Settlement & A Few Alternatives

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

Judge kicks butt. Stockholders you have a friend in Judge Jed S Rakoff. Finally the top 5 percent have someone representing them, in their struggle for a fair shake from the evil Wall Street crowd and the bend over S.E.C. The rest of us will find this to be pretty much a yawner.

What would the rest of us be excited about? Well perhaps if the banks and government lowered mortgage rates to the market rate and wrote off the rest of the value of the house as a bad bet in an economic bubble that they helped create and certainly were aware of. That would be a good one for starters.

Next perhaps the government should institute a national minimum income for all citizens, national free medical care and guaranteed housing for all citizens. How would they afford that? Well a 50% tax on incomes over 1 million would be a start. Next a Social Security tax on all income, and not just the first $135,000. Then a tax on unearned income of 50% after the first $100,000 would be nice. Cut defense by 50%. A transaction tax on all stock market transactions of say .5%would be a decent start there. A relocation tax on businesses of the equivalent of one year’s gross income before taxes would be useful. Or even better simply outlaw relocations without a vote of the community and workers in which the company exists. While we are at it add a German style workers councils on the board of directors of every company with over 50 employees. Now we are talking about reforms that will make a difference.

http://www.mistieurope.com/pdf//MIS/GSI_German%20Works%20Council%20Approval_whitepaper_UK.pdf

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_model

http://www.eurofound.europa.eu/emire/GERMANY/WORKSCOUNCIL-DE.htm

Or even better might be workers co-ops, and get rid of the corporate bosses. Even the Pope is in favor of a more humane economy.

http://www.justpeace.org/mondragon.htm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NORmQ8zaL1c

Instead we, the vast majority of the people, will get nothing and a few stockholders near the powerful will get a few crumbs.

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Judge Blocks Citigroup Settlement With S.E.C.

By EDWARD WYATT

Published: November 28, 2011

WASHINGTON — Taking a broad swipe at the Securities and Exchange Commission’s practice of allowing companies to settle cases without admitting that they had done anything wrong, a federal judge on Monday rejected a $285 million settlement between Citigroup and the agency.

The judge, Jed S. Rakoff of United States District Court in Manhattan, said that he could not determine whether the agency’s settlement with Citigroup was “fair, reasonable, adequate and in the public interest,” as required by law, because the agency had claimed, but had not proved, that Citigroup committed fraud.

As it has in recent cases involving Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, UBS and others, the agency proposed to settle the case by levying a fine on Citigroup and allowing it to neither admit nor deny the agency’s findings. Such settlements require approval by a federal judge.

While other judges are not obligated to follow Judge Rakoff’s opinion, the 15-page ruling could severely undermine the agency’s enforcement efforts if it eventually blocks the agency from settling cases in which the defendant does not admit the charges.

The agency contends that it must settle most of the cases it brings because it does not have the money or the staff to battle deep-pocketed Wall Street firms in court. Wall Street firms will rarely admit wrongdoing, the agency says, because that can be used against them in investor lawsuits.

The agency in particular, Judge Rakoff argued, “has a duty, inherent in its statutory mission, to see that the truth emerges.” But it is difficult to tell what the agency is getting from this settlement “other than a quick headline.” Even a $285 million settlement, he said, “is pocket change to any entity as large as Citigroup,” and often viewed by Wall Street firms “as a cost of doing business.”

According to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Citigroup stuffed a $1 billion mortgage fund that it sold to investors in 2007 with securities that it believed would fail so that it could bet against its customers and profit when values declined. The fraud, the agency said, was in Citigroup’s falsely telling investors that an independent party was choosing the portfolio’s investments. Citigroup made $160 million from the deal and investors lost $700 million.

Judge Rakoff said the agency settlement policy — “hallowed by history, but not by reason”— creates substantial potential for abuse because “it asks the court to employ its power and assert its authority when it does not know the facts.” That undermines the constitutional separation of powers, he said, by asking the judiciary to rubber-stamp the executive branch’s interpretation of the law.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/29/business/judge-rejects-sec-accord-with-citi.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha2

Occupy LA LIVE Midnight Nov. 27-28

Monday, November 28th, 2011

There is a livecast of people talking at Occupy LA. I would go there if I was not on dialysis, sitting here, I am admiring the people out there on the streets. According to Fox News, there has been a large number of people joining the Occupy site. They cut off live coverage at 11:30 pm.

Chants are on the New Age side, “Peace Worldwide Starts From Inside.” is the current one, before this there was a song about the earth with a drum. Two different persons got up saying they were capitalists, one specified he believed in the 100% and another one said he believed in true capitalism not crony capitalism and that socialism was more government. I have been waiting for a leftist or anarchist to express an anti-capitalist view but so far nothing. I have been watching for about 30 minutes. It is now 11:45, there has been a warning that 300 cops on horses are massing near the park by a large Afro-American. Several people have said they are nonviolent. One woman told people if they want to get arrested to sit down and go limp. Another woman says to stand on the perimeter to attempt to stop the police.

There is a chant “Whose Streets Our Streets” and people are occupying Main and 1st. There was a livecam but the video cut out and the sound is intermittent and not very comprehensible. I have found a couple of other live streams, KPCC has one and something called OLAnewscast. It is after midnight now and the cops have not moved in yet. A reporter says there are about 1000 people there, but I would think there are more there than that. NBC news is now covering the events with a helicopter. It is now about 12:12 Am.
There are people in the streets with drummers in the middle of the street right now, but not too many people. Perhaps a hundred or so. No more live tv only livestreams. Its 12:18 Am. The guy talking says the cops said they would not move in until morning. Some people are starting the chant again “Whose Streets Our Streets” a good Anarchist chant. 12:22. NBC says the city is preparing shelter beds for the homeless people who have joined the Occupation so that they have a place to go when the site is shut down. The reporter from Ustream is saying that people from LA are coming out to join. People have the right to come out and get together and protest he says. There are a lot of people milling about, there is a mike check going on right now. Someone is suggesting a march around city hall. Some people have joined him. 12:29
The police are gathering on the north side according to someone with a microphone. 12:31, now they are chanting “Back to the Park.”

Shit I forgot to connect my dialysis, I am going to be on this thing until 9:30 in the morning now.

There are now thousands of people joining them. The PA is down, but there are Bullhorns. Some want to start a perimiter march. The people who are confronting the cops are not occupiers according to the woman speaking. Perhaps there is a contingent of anarchists and communists giveing this pacifist crowd a little back bone. A lot of media are in the street, Inside Out News says that if there is a confrontation the media have to be there to cover it.

There is a group of banners and a group of people chanting “Agitation for Education,” “Wall Street has Got to Go.” “We are united we are the people, the occupation is not leaving.”

http://occupyla.org/

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/olanewscast

http://www.scpr.org/news/2011/11/27/30064/occupy-la-eviction-live-blog/

Defend Occupy LA & Long Beach, Demand Housing for Occupy Movement & Homeless

Sunday, November 27th, 2011

Today Occupy Long Beach and Occupy Los Angeles are facing clampdowns from the local authorities. In Long Beach the police are no longer going to allow camping on the sidewalk or storage bins of supplies as of 10 pm Sunday Nov. 27.
In LA the police are clearing out the campsite sometime after midnight in the early Am of Nov. 28, exactly when they are not saying. It seems to be coordinated, part of the national policy to force the Occupy movement out of its encampments and hopefully into a more active phase where energy will be focused on actions and not on holding turf. But we do need spaces from which to organize.
Winter approaches, although in the balmy seventy degree weather we are having in Long Beach you would hardly know it. But for us it is the rainy season and shelter of some sort is required. Whether the movement is strong enough to requisition housing from out of the stock being held by the banks and urban renewal agencies is to be seen.
It would be good to be able to demand housing and get it. This if nothing else in solidarity with the homeless, showing them the way to gain housing by activism and not simply begging which as we can see, gets people nowhere. Social welfare advocates have been attempting to restore money in the budgets ever since Reagan slashed funding for low income housing and the cities back in the early 1980’s. There have been movements like homes not jails, but they have not taken off and there have been squatters in different cities around the country. But the heavy hand of the American police state has made such discrete actions hard if not impossible to pull off. Therefore it would be a worthy and appropriate demand for the Occupy Movement to demand housing since they have been collectively evicted and are now among the homeless.

http://occupylb.org/

http://occupylosangeles.org/

Defend Occupy Sites, Demand Housing for Homeless and Space For Occupy Movement!!!!

Thinking Things Through

Saturday, November 26th, 2011

There is an article in the New Yorker about the formation of the Occupy movement focusing on the Adbusters team. It is interesting, a sort of one man’s attempt to make sense out of something that is hard to pin down to specific persons and times. Many people have for a long time hoped something like this would happen. We still don’t know its ultimate significance but it certainly has occupied the imaginations and time of many of us and changed the national discourse.
It is the first chance in recent history for an extended practice of anarchist theory, especially the General Assembly and consensus decision making. I have argued that it is inefficient in the long run for large bodies, but it certainly is empowering for whoever is doing the speaking.

As a believer in the most direct democracy that can be had, I find the workings of the General Assemblies incredibly tedious, and although I keep hearing the line about democracy being time consuming, when a hundred people or more are gathered in a circle in the middle of a park for 3 or 4 hours in the evening and make maybe one decision, if that, then there is a problem with process. Usually what happens is the rushing of things at the end of the meeting and rushing people through.

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/11/28/111128fa_fact_schwartz?currentPage=al

http://www.adbusters.org/campaigns/occupywallstreet

Occupy LA Prepares For Eviction

Saturday, November 26th, 2011

I went up to Occupy LA Friday evening Nov. 25th around 6 pm, the encampment is preparing for the eviction in their nonplussed manner. There are no barricades being put up, no mass practice runs for confrontation with the police. Things seemed to be going along as they had been but there were no bands playing, no girls twirling batons or hula hoops. A drunk was talking about the arrival of Armageddon, another guy was panhandling for money he claimed was for a bus ride to Portland. Most cities will pay for your ticket out of town. There were lots of expensive cameras around with people interviewing members of the encampment. The kitchen was serving soup; the business committee was talking about finances. A large plywood cube had been placed over the monument on the south side. It was spray painted with an excellent image of a federal reserve gone crazy. I noticed that the rightwing constitutionalists had a printed poster splattered around the camp. I wondered how much of their small government rhetoric had won over the camp. Most of the people seemed to be your later day grunge types, as the scent of human bodies was almost overwhelming the pot odor. The sidewalks were all grimy from a lack of maintenance and not a blade of grass was left on city hall lawn.

At the meeting of the facilitation committee, where about 30 people gathered on the north steps, talk was of how to deal with disruptive elements that would get up and shout over the person who had the microphone. Apparently the night before some persons had been particularly disruptive at the General Assembly. They decided to form an enlarged peace keeper group and surround the person speaking to protect their space. Since peace keepers are not allowed to touch people, except in self-defense, that is the way around that, let the aggressive person attack the circle and they will then defend themselves. There was an issue of the facilitators becoming gateway controllers for access to the mike because they had allowed one guy to break the 24 hour notice rule for proposals the night before. He had spoken about coops and collective economics apparently to a mostly empty Thanksgiving General Assembly. One guy brought up the point that the General Assembly could break its own rules if it wanted to. The rules were just there to facilitate the General Assembly. Another guy brought up the point that the 24 hour rule allowed people to prepare rebuttals or agreements to the proposals because they were posted on the website. Mention was made of the injunction that had been filed with the court. They expected action the next day, but that is assuming the judge would be in court on Saturday, not likely.

The city of Los Angeles has set Monday morning as the day for eviction. The encampment seems to be as full as ever with tents, if anything they seem even more at home. Although the place could use a good cleaning, otherwise it seemed to be functioning as usual, despite the drizzle, and chilly air. The place had a hunkered down feeling, but there did not seem to be any special move to defend the space. The atmosphere was more of business as usual with an air of despair around the edges.

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From the LA Times

Occupy L.A.: Mayor, LAPD won’t discuss tactics for removal

November 26, 2011 | 8:41am

L.A. officials have not revealed details — or tactics — of their plan to push out the Occupy campers on the City Hall lawn beginning Monday morning.

At a press conference Friday, neither Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa nor Police Chief Charlie Beck would say whether police were prepared to use tear gas or rubber bullets to clear protesters who refuse to leave, tactics officers in other cities have turned to while clearing Occupy encampments.

It’s also unclear when exactly police would evict the protesters.

“The goal is to do this as peacefully as possible,” Beck said.

Meanwhile, Good Jobs LA, a coalition of labor unions and community groups that has organized marches with Occupy L.A., called on the mayor and City Council to allow the camp to remain where it is.

“Elected leaders should be more concerned about enforcing regulations on banks than enforcing park rules,” spokesman Jacob Hay said. “They should be busy creating jobs, not creating conflict with peaceful protesters.”
On Thursday, Occupy L.A. released its first official statement to the city, vowing to stay camped out on the lawn.

According to protester Ruth Fowler, the statement was written collaboratively by several hundred protesters and was approved with 100% consensus during Wednesday’s general assembly meeting. In it, protesters said they would cease further negotiations with officials until 10 grievances were addressed.

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2011/11/occupy-la-lapd-wont-say-if-tear-gas-rubber-bullets-will-be-used-.html

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From Occupy LA Website

daniil’s blog

South Central Farmers Declare Solidarity with Occupy Los Angeles

Submitted by daniil on Fri, 11/25/2011 - 7:12pm

When causes reach out and band together, true movements for economic and social change begin and coalesce. In standing in support of the South Central Farmers, Occupy Los Angeles stands with our occupation of the South Central Farm five years ago, our struggle for healthy food and community rights, and with Los Angelenos’ long history of resistance to our city leaders’ oppression of those among our friends and neighbors who are least advantaged.

The South Central Farmers stand in solidarity with your “Counteroffer to the Mayor and LAPD” of November 24, 2011, and we share your grievances. We, too, recognize that the current social system increasingly favors the 1%, and the 99% is paying for that with our heath, our education, our civic infrastructure, and our security. This has been the condition of many in that 99% for generations. For more and more of us, our very lives are degraded and even cut short for the benefit of the rich and powerful and those serving them.

http://occupylosangeles.org/?q=node/2278

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From the NY Daily News

Time is running out for Occupy L.A. protest camp

Mayor’s office says tents have to go by 12:01 a.m. Monday

BY Tina Moore
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Saturday, November 26 2011, 12:08 PM

The clock’s running down on Occupy LA as the city prepares a Zuccotti Park-like eviction of the 485-tent encampment around City Hall.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said the California demonstrators must be removed by 12:01 a.m. Monday for public health and safety reasons.

Lauding the anti-Wall Street protesters for “awakening the country’s conscience,” Villaraigosa said the 56-day occupation had to end.

“The movement is at a crossroads,” Villaraigosa said on Friday. “It is time for Occupy LA to move from holding a particular patch of park land to spreading the message of economic justice and signing more people up for the push to restore the balance to American society.”

They have also trampled grass that needs to be restored, he said.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/time-running-occupy-a-protest-camp-article-1.982880

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From LA Times

Occupy L.A. protesters seem resigned to eviction by LAPD

November 26, 2011 | 11:48am

A day after officials announced that they would begin clearing out the Occupy L.A. camp Monday morning, there was a sense at the City Hall camp Saturday that eviction was a foregone conclusion.

The question was how many people would stay behind to resist, and would they do so peacefully. On Saturday morning, Clark Davis, an activist, walked among the encampments and reminded people about the city’s deadline to move, informed them about civil disobedience training taking place later in the day and told them there would be an early evening screening of a documentary, “A Force More Powerful,” about international nonviolent resistance movements.

“The mood I’m getting is that everyone is pretty much ready for this thing and obviously they’re going to behave in a way they deem appropriate for this situation,” he said. “But I do get a sense that even if they’re not really part of the movement, they’re hopefully going to stick with this concept of nonviolence … Most people are aware of what’s going on and most people seem intent on not caving in and just surrendering and packing their stuff and getting out of here. In the next 24 hours, I think we’ll have a better sense of how many people are really committed to this idea of staying behind and getting arrested.”

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2011/11/occupy-la-protesters-seem-resigned-to-eviction-by-lapd.html

Food, Purification And Spiritual Path

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

Sometimes I simply don’t feel worthy of the word. It is after all the vehicle by which the Lord made the world. In the beginning was the word. That is something, we use words all the time for the most mundane purposes. When then are words mere tools of day to day utility, and when are they the tools for creating and destroying worlds?

That feeling of unworthiness, is akin to sensing the sanctity of the occasion of creation. Among the Hare Krishna’s if a man and woman want to have sex they have to perform purification rituals, it must be done no more than once a month and for procreation only, no sex for fun. They see sex as a trap to engage us in the world of the senses instead of the world of the spirit. They don’t allow meat eating, no coffee, tea, smoking, or even eating of garlic and onions. There is a whole theory of eating in the mode of goodness that must be maintained by Brahmans.

But then the idea that anyone can become a Brahman is a radical departure from traditional Hindu culture. I know quite a bit about the world view of the Krishna’s because I spent several years living with a girlfriend who was one, and we broke their rules about sex, drugs, but maintained the dietary regulations. It is interesting how people can consider themselves to be spiritual, agree to the regulations of a particular religion, and then simply ignore them in their own lives. Catholics do the same thing when it comes to regulations about birth control. It is because what we call human nature tends to the natural, the animal in us. Whereas the striving for the spiritual heights, there is a basic denying the body of certain elements that promote earthy activities. If it makes you horny, for most religions, that is not a good thing if you plan on reaching the spiritual heights. Sometimes it seems the spiritual heights mean a fairly spaced out day to day human. This is perhaps where a guru comes in handy, someone to guide you along the path so you don’t get too far off one way or another. But I have never been much of a listener, problems with male authority figures, probably because there was no dad around when I was in my formative years.

I just spent half an hour reading up on various dietary prohibitions among the Krishna’s and found that I could not meet those standards if I am to follow my doctor’s orders. I am on dialysis, it sucks the protein out of my body. I have to eat massive amounts of protein every day. I find eggs, chicken, some pork, lamb, and tofu to be my main sources. But if I were to eat a Vedic diet, I would eat only tofu, and dairy cheese, yogurt, milk for my protein, but I am not supposed to eat dairy products due to the phosphorus content which dialysis cannot excrete efficiently. So I would be stuck with tofu. I have to limit bananas, avocados, potatoes and tomatoes because of the potassium content. No nuts, most beans or chocolate either. That leaves lettuce, green beans, zucchini, eggplant, peppers, cauliflower, corn, wheat, broccoli and fruits like berries, apples, pears, and grapes. So there are things I can eat, but the protein thing is the killer, I have to find other sources besides soy products. There are problems with too much soy, or forget about even attempting a Vedic diet. Right now I have been eating all sorts of meat products, and just assuming that the deities will forgive my less than perfect diet. Assuming there is a spiritual world where beings care about such things.

If we take the physical nature of spirituality seriously, then we are walking in a minefield with every meal. But how can spirituality be based on physical feeding of the body? In a gnostic group I used to be part of they described the physical consciousness as a mirror of the spiritual, or rather a window, if it is dirty, not much light gets though, cleaning the mirror, or glass, is the process of purification. The cleaner the surface, the more light gets through. Diet is part of that purification, or cleansing of the surface of the glass, just like chanting is among the Krishna’s. I know that lately I have felt lethargic and tired much of the time. I attributed it to holiday depression, but it also could be diet and lack of spiritual practice. I thought it was my feeling of despair over my lack of influence in the Occupy movement, but I simply can’t do dialysis and camp out with them. Or even do my studies at school effectively. The contradiction between my desire to be out there, somewhere, and my understanding of my limitations has caused a certain wailing within. But I am too old to simply ignore the facts. So I do what the doctors say and pray that I will be able to retain some sensibility of the spiritual and the political.

Are my words worthy? I would appreciate a little feedback. Are the heights worth attaining? I used to believe so when I would drop acid like it was candy, but then I wanted to go there and never come back. My acid wonderland was a place where the pattern play stopped and reality began to take on a new and improved substance. Sort of like when you leave a smoggy city and enter a clean and clear mountain path and notice how sharp and bright everything is. It has been a long time since I have felt that clear, and clean. But I at least remember the feeling. I know it is still there, question is can I make this body a clean enough vessel to experience it personally again, or am I reduced to fondly remembering it, like an old lover long gone.

A couple of the sites I was looking at:

http://www.salagram.net/Onions-Garlic-in-relation2Vaishnavism.html#Forbidden

http://krishna.org/this-world-is-enchanted-by-sex-hare-krishna-festival-address-san-diego-1972-mp3-audio/

Holiday Depression Begins

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

I get depressed during the holidays. I tend to hole up and wait them out. I send presents to key family, cards to a few friends, and then spend the rest of the time trying to ignore the feelings of inadequacy and loneliness. I wonder what it would be like sometimes to be one of those happy holiday people. I imagine it would be irritatingly cheerful. But then being cheerful has never been my forte, so it is hard to even imagine, except as some kind of cliché from a commercial for Zoloft or some other anti-depressant.

The world seems to be getting along with a lot of grumbling, the stock markets are all a tremble as nations threaten to default on ill-conceived loans. The American Congress can’t seem to decide if they want to be fiscal conservatives or defenders of the welfare state. Whichever, people go on about their business and time passes.

The Occupy movement is going into its version of the winter mode. I wonder if it will survive into the spring. There are some determined souls out there at the encampments, but many groups have been run off their real estate. It is time for the Occupy movement to be more than a prolonged sit in. But what is a good question. They don’t seem to be up to any Tea Party like national conventions. I say they because I have not been personally involved for a couple of weeks now. School and health issues have taken up my time.

The worst of this is I am gaining weight, for no good reason, other than to add to my doldrums. A look in the mirror and I wonder, who is that fat man? Where did he come from? I was once a thin, aspiring youth. Now I am still aspiring, but the aspirations seem more like warnings that the expiration date is rapidly approaching.

Super Committee Failure Likely

Monday, November 21st, 2011

The Super Committee has seemingly failed. The Congress is about to let the automatic cuts go into effect because nobody could make a decision that would stick. Obviously we the people don’t want our benefits cut, and they, the rich don’t want to pay taxes. So we are stuck with a stalemate. It looks more likely that the Congress will simply decide to end their decision to enact automatic cuts at least for the military and probably for everyone. It was a bit of theatrics that wastes time and indicates how unwilling people are in Washington to make decisive moves.

We can see from the British example that rolling back government spending has not particularly bolstered the economy there and cut backs here are not likely to benefit anyone except some people on Wall Street.

Below I have linked to an article that breaks down how the cuts would occur if the across the board cuts were implimented, and a bit of Toomy claiming that he thinks Congress will abrogate the entire thing. President Obama claims he wants them to go through with the across the board cuts which makes me wonder whose side the President is on.

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From Yahoo News

Doubts grow, not economy, under UK austerity drive
By DAVID STRINGER - Associated Press | AP – Sun, Oct 2, 2011…

MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Jobs have been lost, libraries shuttered, sailors sacked and street lights dimmed — Britain is beginning to taste the bitter medicine David Cameron warned was necessary to fix its wounded economy. It’s left some wondering: Is the remedy worse than the symptoms?

As Cameron’s Conservative Party gathered in Manchester Sunday for its annual convention, the prime minister faced a test of his resolve to tame the country’s ballooning budget deficit — his key priority since taking office in May 2010 at the head of Britain’s first coalition government since World War II.

Though the sharpest measures of a 81 billion pound ($126 billion) four-year program of public spending cuts are yet to bite, there are fears that the drastic action intended to slash Britain’s debts has stalled the country’s stuttering economic growth — a point of growing unease between the Conservatives and their left-of-center partners, the Liberal Democrats.

Figures released last month showed growth in Britain had slowed to 0.2 percent in the second quarter, diminishing hopes that the country’s businesses can generate new jobs to replace public sector posts being lost under the austerity plan. In the last year about 250,000 public sector workers have been laid off, and the country’s jobless rate was 7.9 percent in the period between May and July.

Cameron insisted Sunday that the government’s plan would revive Britain’s economy and leave the country on a sound fiscal footing.

http://news.yahoo.com/doubts-grow-not-economy-under-uk-austerity-drive-071138072.html

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From Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

How the Potential Across-the-Board Cuts in the Debt Limit Deal Would Occur

By Richard Kogan

Updated September 16, 2011

The debt limit deal enacted on August 2 calls for about $900 billion in cuts in discretionary programs over the next decade and would impose further automatic, across-the-board spending cuts in many programs if Congress fails to enact an additional $1.2 trillion in deficit-reduction measures by January 15, 2012. Those across-the-board cuts would first take effect in January 2013, a year later than many people have mistakenly believed, and would represent approximately a 9 percent annual cut in affected non-defense programs, along with roughly a 9 percent cut in defense programs in 2013. (Reports that the percentage cut would be significantly higher in defense than in affected non-defense programs also are mistaken.) This report outlines how the 2013 cuts would occur. Cuts would also occur in the next eight years, 2014-2021, as described in the Appendix.

http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=3557

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From National Journal

10:17. Toomey: If Super Committee Fails, Congress Might Rethink Budget-Cutting Triggers

A member of the deficit super committee says Congress likely would rethink allowing the automatic budget cuts to be triggered if the panel fails to come up with at least $1.2 trillion in savings, or if Congress fails approve such a plan by Dec. 23.

“First of all, I’m not giving up on getting something done. I really think we still can and I am going to do everything I can to achieve that,” said Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., pressed during an appearance Sunday on Fox News Sunday about whether the 12-member panel will reach agreement on a plan by its Nov. 23 deadline.

But if agreement is not reached on how to cut at least $1.2 trillion from the nation’s deficit over the next decade, Toomey said, “I think a lively debate will occur” over whether to allow the automatic cuts take place—so-called sequestration—despite President Obama’s insistence on Friday he would not go along with any attempt to turn them off.

Breakfast Crepes

Saturday, November 19th, 2011

I finally mastered the crepe! I buy premade crepe shells, they are really hard to make from scratch. But the pre-mades are very delicate, and will burn in a second. The trick is to have everything prepped so when you throw the crepe shell on the heat you are ready to go.

First I chop up and sauté the vegies, in this case bell pepper, onion, garlic, and serrano pepper, in olive oil with basil, red pepper and a dash of ground clove. When done I push them to the side of the pan.

Second I take a couple of eggs whip them mix in a little water, throw it in the pan add a good sized dab of brie, and some good rosehip jam from Austria, fold it, cook to taste, don’t over cook, and then remove everything from the pan.

Third I wash and prep the fruit, in this case I am using fresh raspberries, almost a whole package.

Fourth I have my serving plate ready, I add a little oil to the pan, put the heat on low and throw on a crepe, turn it almost instantly and then take it off as soon as there is a hint of browning. I then place it on the plate, add the eggs and vegies, throw on the fruit and fold the crepe over, this must be done in a couple of seconds because the crepe shell will harden and if you left it on the burner for too long it will fall apart.

Fifth then I slather a little more jam on top of the crepe, sprinkle cinnamon, squeeze a wedge of fresh lemon, shake a little tabasco sauce on top, add a little black pepper and sea salt and you are done. It doesn’t take long to make and is delicious.

The eggs and raspberries taste good together, the garlic and brie is a great combination, tabasco and lemon go with just about everything in my mind, and the warmth of the cooked items contrasts nicely with the tart coolness of the raspberries. The rosehip jam, especially Darbo brand is not too sweet and doesn’t overwhelm with a syrupy taste like high sugar jams.

I make two crepes for myself, with 2 eggs, slice of brie (make sure it is soft), quarter of bell pepper, one serrano pepper, medium slice of onion, one clove of garlic, about 16 raspberries, a big dab of jam, sprinkle the rest on to taste, I would be careful with the clove though it can overpower the rest of the flavors so just a little bit will do.

Cream cheese can be used to substitute for the brie, although it doesn’t have that same tangy flavor, and feel free to experiment with different combinations. I used chunks of fresh honeydew melon and raspberries for the fruit and that was a great mix.


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