8396NEWS -- 2014.02.05.Wednesday
- Feb 5 7:46 AM1) BYU-Idaho Anti-Masturbation Video Compares Self-Pleasure To War [ plus comments ]2) Bill Nye Debates Ken Ham3) Robert Redford -- New Environmental Report Lays Ground for Keystone XL Denial4) The GOP's SuperBowl Coke Ad Freak-Out5) Robert Scheer | The Super Bowl of War: Three Decades of Failure in Afghanistan6) Rotten To The Core -- Pentagon Investigates Thousands of Soldiers in Massive Fraud Case7) Op-ed: My Father, A State Legislator, Voted Against Me8) The Most Religious US State Is ...9) The Seven Deadly Sins of Capitalism1)This video is not satire, although it should be --->Masturbation = Dead Soldiers (Real Christian Anti-Masturbation Video)In the latest crazy Christian [ Mormon ] anti-masturbation video, masturbators are compared to dead soldiers. This one actually had a decent budget. Good to see this is what they are spending Jesus money on. They removed the original after I made my video so here is a mirror of it. http://youtu.be/TmF2AyRP-aQ--------------------
BYU-Idaho Anti-Masturbation Video Compares Self-Pleasure To WarPosted: 02/03/2014 7:37 pm ESThttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lhxv-lcChGM <--- The original video is here.A war is being waged on the age-old act of masturbation.
A PSA by Brigham Young UniversityIdaho's Housing and Student Living Office compares masturbation to the battlefield and those who pleasure themselves to wounded soldiers. The takeaway seems to be something along the lines of "friends dont let friends masturbate."
The video begins with a young male who appears to be watching porn with his door open (as is the de facto way), but the spot then takes a decidedly strange turn.
"The young man is spiritually wounded on the battlefield of the Great War," university President Kim B. Clark says in a voiceover before the scene transitions into a grim battlefield. "In our modern society, the enemy has spread fear of getting involved when someones in trouble and has fostered a social stigma against people who speak up in the face of evil."
Clark finally puts out a call to action: Dont be silent. Dont leave the wounded on the battlefield.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, there's already a parody of the video making the rounds online. As Raw Story points out, the comments on the anti-masturbation video's YouTube posting have been disabled.
http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/02/01/byu-idaho-warns-its-students-against-masturbation-in-earnest-war-themed-video/ [ Lots of comments at the URL. ]
BYU-Idaho is a "private, four-year university affiliated with the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," the school's website notes. "Guided by that affiliation, BYU-Idaho seeks to create a wholesome learning environment in which students can strengthen their commitment to their faith and receive a quality education that prepares them for leadership in the home, the community, and the workplace," the description continues.--------------------BYU Idaho "Wounded On The Battlefield" PARODY--------------------My comment --- Satire alert --->The old Mormon generals are wasting their time. They should have a survey/discussion/lecture on which one of the four ways/methods/operations/procedures/processes that cause sperm to come out of the body feels the best.Which method feels the best, offers the most pleasure? Ranking the four procedures -- two are solo: masturbation and wet dreams; two are with partner: intercourse and fallatio (pronounced fal-la-sho) on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the best, the resulting ranking would show a wide range of enjoyment. Perhaps it would even be1 - masturbation2 - intercourse3 - nocturnal emission http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nocturnal_emission10 - fallatio/cunnilingus.This is assuming, of course, that everyone has attended my class "How To Do It Best and Enjoy It The Most".With the two methods involving a partner, then the partner (one half of the connection) receives instruction as well.Various positions will be discussed in the context of their feel good.The video edition of my lecture, with student demonstrations and illustrations, will be forthcoming.I'm going to call it "The Great War: How To Do It Best". (See #s 5 and 6 below.)P.S. I can't wait to see the Mormon general's upcoming PSA video on the top #10 fallatio/cunnilingus.In the meantime http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=geHgn44ePe4 will have to do. Slow and sensual.Maybe the mormon generals would like this one -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Petersburg, Kentucky, Tuesday evening 04 February 2014, at the "Creation Museum" --Watch the whole Creation/Evolution debate. Lots of PowerPoint was used. --->2)Bill Nye Debates Ken Ham - HDIs creation a viable model of origins in today's modern, scientific era?VideoLeading creation apologist and bestselling Christian author Ken Ham is joined at the Creation Museum by Emmy Award-winning science educator and CEO of the Planetary Society Bill Nye. (?)http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article37547.htm <--- Watch the entire debate here.---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------3)
Robert Redford | New Environmental Report Lays Ground for Keystone XL Denial
Robert Redford, Reader Supported News
Redford writes: "Despite what we might be hearing in industry spin, the environmental report released by the State Department Friday confirms that tar sands crude means a dirtier, more dangerous future for our children all so that the oil industry can reach the higher prices of overseas markets. That's right, overseas markets, which is where the majority of this processed oil will end up."
The Daily Take, The Thom Hartmann Program: Republicans are outraged that Coca-Cola would dare "tarnish" a patriotic American anthem with foreign languages. The fiasco that was the conservative reaction to Coke's Super Bowl ad is symbolic of a bigger issue: The Republican Party has become the last refuge of bigots.----------
WASHINGTON -- Conservative news outlet Breitbart.com reported Sunday night that a Coca-Cola ad featuring the song America the Beautiful sparked outrage from some viewers" because, among other perceived offenses, it "featured a gay family."
The writer of the song herself might be a bit confused by the outrage.
Katharine Lee Bates, who first drafted the words to the anthem in 1893, lived in Wellesley, Mass., for 25 years with Katharine Coman, whom some described as her lesbian partner. In an 1891 letter to Coman, Bates wrote that she couldnt leave Wellesley for long because so many love-anchors held me there, and it seemed least of all possible when I had just found the long-desired way to your dearest heart ... Of course I want to come to you, very much as I want to come to Heaven."
After Coman's death, Bates published a collection of poems, Yellow Clover: A Book of Remembrance, that were to or about her. While the nature of their relationship isnt certain -- it's been described as a Boston marriage, a term that included platonic relationships between women but often had undertones of romantic attachment -- the two expressed deep love for each other during their many years together.
In the commercial that aired during Sunday's Super Bowl, a gay couple is briefly seen roller-skating with their daughter and then hugging each other as the anthem is sung. GLAAD, an LGBT rights advocacy group, praised the spot in a statement and noted that it marks the first Super Bowl ad to feature a gay family.
"Including a gay family in this ad is not only a step forward for the advertising industry, but a reflection of the growing majority of Americans from all walks of life who proudly support their LGBT friends, family and neighbors as integral parts of America the Beautiful, said GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis.
Bates and Coman might be proud.-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------5)http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_super_bowl_of_war_three_decades_of_failure_in_afghanistan_20140203
Robert Scheer | The Super Bowl of War: Three Decades of Failure in Afghanistan
Robert Scheer, Truthdig
Scheer writes: "... you would have to be drunk on Bud not to notice that the three decades since the United States first meddled in Afghanistan have been an unequivocal disaster and that those who did not survive - NATO combatants and far larger number of Afghan natives - died in vain."
READ MOREhttp://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/266-32/21873-focus-the-super-bowl-of-war-three-decades-of-failure-in-afghanistan------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------6)Rotten To The CorePentagon Investigates Thousands of Soldiers in Massive Fraud CaseBY Gordon Lubold, Dan LamotheThe numbers of soldiers and money involved are staggering.February 04, 2014 "Information Clearing House - "FP" - When a retired Army colonel and an enlisted soldier from Albuquerque, N.M. were charged last year with defrauding the National Guard Bureau out of about $12,000 the case drew little public attention. But it's now become clear that the two men are among the roughly 800 soldiers accused of bilking American taxpayers out of tens of millions of dollars in what a U.S. senator is calling "one of the biggest fraud investigations in Army history."
The wide-ranging criminal probe centers around an Army recruiting program that had been designed to help the Pentagon find new soldiers during some of the bloodiest days of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The program went off the rails, investigators believe, after hundreds of soldiers engaged in a kickback scheme that allowed them to potentially embezzle huge quantities of money without anyone in the government noticing. In one case, a single soldier may have collected as much as $275,000 for making "referrals" to help the Army meet its recruiting goals, according to USA Today, which first reported the story Monday.
The military's failure to spot, or stop, the wrongdoing will be the focus of what is expected to be a highly contentious hearing Tuesday before the Senate's Subcommittee on Financial and Contracting Oversight. The committee's chairwoman, Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., has summoned several of the National Guard officials who were in power at the time the alleged wrongdoing was taking place.
The numbers of soldiers and money involved are staggering.
An Army internal audit has discovered that 1,200 recruiters had received payments that were potentially fraudulent. Another 2,000 recruiting assistants had received payments that were suspicious. More than 200 officers remain under investigation, according to McCaskill's office. There are currently 555 active investigations involving 840 people.
Trouble in the recruiting program has been acknowledged previously, but the full scope and the results of the service's own internal investigation of the program have not previously been disclosed. In the past, Army officials overseeing the program and a contractor who worked with the service on it, Docupak, insisted that accounts of potential fraud in it were greatly exaggerated, congressional officials said in a memo distributed to the media Monday. About 200 agents with the service's Criminal Investigative Command are now examining the program's records, and will review the actions of more than 106,000 people who received money through the program. That work will likely take until 2016, officials said.
A Defense Department official acknowledged that a lack of proper military oversight contributed to the problems.
"I think it was human greed, and I think it's the cascading effects of contractors' lack of supervision, as well as the Defense Department's lack of supervision," the official told Foreign Policy, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the probe.
The scandal comes amid a new wave of scrutiny of senior officers across the military as well as a cheating and drug scandal within the Air Force's nuclear officer corps. The new probe is different because it involves hundreds of rank-and-file troops, including relatively low-ranking officers and enlisted personnel. Military experts have long said the military is a reflection of society and "bad apples" exist in every organization, but the burgeoning scandal threatens to tarnish the reputation of the Army recruiters who in many communities are the public face of the military.
The Army National Guard Recruiting Assistance Program, the initiative at the heart of the new probe, was created in 2005 to find new recruits during some of the most challenging periods of the Iraq and Afghan wars. Soldiers received between $2,000 and $7,500 per referral. The program was deemed a success because it helped to bolster recruiting numbers despite heavy combat in the two warzones and deep public doubts about the two conflicts.
The program was wildly successful in terms of garnering recruits - and wildly expensive. The National Guard paid out more than $300 million for just over 130,000 enlistments, and began meeting its recruiting goals even as sectarian violence continued to roil Iraq. Almost 40 percent of all recruits in the guard enlisted through G-RAP while it existed, congressional officials said. The Army's active and reserve forces, meanwhile, started similar programs in 2007 and 2008.
"The program worked," the official told Foreign Policy. "It definitely pulled up our numbers and we've never had a problem since."
But evidence of fraud later emerged as recruiters, who are forbidden from receiving payments under such a program, were found to have gotten money anyway. It was suspended in 2012. Officials suspect that recruiters, who already receive incentives based on the numbers of would-be troops they bring in, may have grown resentful as they saw non-recruiters receive thousands of dollars for serving as "recruiter assistants." Schemes formed in which soldiers assigned to recruiting duty essentially double-dipped, either posing as average soldiers or using others' names to fraudulently collect the millions of dollars of taxpayer money out of the program. Most of the soldiers under investigation are recruiters.
In one example, the Justice Department announced in December that it had charged retired Col. Isaac Alvarado, 74, of Albuquerque, N.M., and Sgt. 1st Class Travis Nau, 40, with a variety of crimes in connection with the program. Alvarado was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, four counts of wire fraud, and four counts of aggravated theft identity in an indictment that was filed in the U.S. District Court in New Mexico. Nau, also of Albuquerque, was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, three counts of wire fraud, and three counts of aggravated theft identity.
From about November 2007 to February 2012, Alvarado served a recruiting assistant, while Nau, Alvarado's son-in-law, worked as a recruiter for the guard. Nau allegedly provided Alvarado with the names and Social Security numbers of potential soldiers, allowing Alvarado to cash in if they enlisted, authorities said. Nau also advised at least two potential soldiers to lie in their paperwork to say that Alvarado had assisted in their recruitment, authorities said. In total, the retired colonel is accused of collecting some $12,000 in fraudulent bonuses.
In another case, Fabian Barrera, 46, an Army National Guard captain in Texas, stands accused of personally obtaining more than $185,000 in fraudulent recruiting bonuses.
At least 25 additional personnel were charged in District Court in southern Texas last summer with similar acts, authorities there announced in August. Those soldiers, based in the San Antonio and Houston areas, face charges ranging from wire fraud, to identity theft, to witness tampering. At least 11 had pleaded guilty as of last summer.
The hearing Tuesday is expected to have two panels, one of active-duty Army officials and one of the National Guard officials who helped run the service at the time of the alleged wrongdoing.
The witnesses will include Clyde Vaughn, a retired Army three-star general and former director of the Army National Guard who was in office during part of the time the program was in effect Michael Jones, a retired colonel who was the division chief for the Army National Guard Strength Maintenance Division, which oversaw the program; Philip Crane, president of Docupak, the company that managed the program; and Kay Hensen, a retired lieutenant colonel who served as the corporate compliance officer for Docupak with the National Guard Bureau.------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------7)
Op-ed: My Father, A State Legislator, Voted Against Me
February 04 2014 5:00 AM ET
I have recently become an accidental activist, thrown into the spotlight because of the actions of my own father, Indiana State Representative Milo Smith. He is the Republican chairman of the Elections & Appropriations Committee that passed Indianas House Joint Resolution - 3 onto the full House for a vote. Thats the proposed amendment to the Indiana constitution that would not only define marriage as between one man and one woman; it would also prohibit recognition of civil unions and domestic partnerships.
I had to work, so I was only able to watch the last hour of the public hearing before my dads committee voted. I listened to several touching stories of love and family and how HJR-3 would be a clear harm to both values. Then the committee voted. The three Democrats voted against, giving detailed explanations as to why they voted as they did. The nine Republicans on the committee voted in favor without as much as an explanation regarding their votes. My dad was the final vote during the roll call. As he voted yes, my heart sank and the blood drained from my face. I was devastated.
I chose to speak out against my father via social media, tempering my language so as not to directly badmouth him. My story quickly spread on the internet and interviews followed with a couple Indiana newspapers, a radio station in Northwest Indiana, and a live television interview on MSNBC. Ive known for years what my fathers position was. Back in 2007, he said he believed marriage was between one man and one woman and God. We simply never discussed it and I had no idea until recently he was going to be voting on it.
My father has known I am gay for about 23 years. Hes had a lot of time to reflect and understand who I am. In that same time period, hes become far more religious, currently serving as an elder for his church. His belief that marriage is between a man, a woman, and God has been shaped by his belief in the Bible.
Despite his belief that his own son doesnt deserve equality under the law, we have grown closer over the years, closer than we were when I was growing up. We talk at holidays, birthdays, and periodic, spontaneous phone calls. My sexuality has really never been a topic of discussion, though. During one recent conversation, he mentioned maybe having a family vacation that included Ronnie, my partner of the last 13 years.
That seemed like progress to me.
Then HJR-3 blew up, my dad voted in favor of it, and I took a public stance. I live in California and can get married if I want. My partner and I have been registered domestic partners before Proposition 8 was even on the ballot here. Thats enough for me, even though Ronnie has asked marriage has never really been one of my dreams. But I have many gay friends still in Indiana, and all along, I have been speaking out for them.
My sister pointed out how current Indiana law and HJR-3 could affect me, though. If Ronnie and I were to go back to Indiana to visit family, we wouldnt have any legal protections there. I wouldnt be able to make decisions for Ronnie, or even make decisions for him in the hospital, if he were sick or injured. It would also mean, despite Ronnie knowing far more about my wishes and health, he could potentially be pushed aside by my family so they could make decisions about me, decisions I would prefer they not be the ones to make.
HJR-3 is being pushed by a very narrow coalition from those on the Religious Right. While I am not religious in any way, I have many friends who are. They are from all different walks of life leftists, moderates, and conservatives, gay and straight, young and old. I will never comprehend how such a small faction within the faith community has so much power to push their discriminatory agenda. They definitely seem to be a minority, but perhaps that is because I tend to associate with more open-minded people, and have trouble tolerating those whose minds are hopelessly closed.
In my opinion, those responsible for pushing discriminatory legislation like HJR-3 have figurative blood on their hands. They may learn about love and family in their churches, but their behavior outside of church clearly gives the green light to those who would harm gays and lesbians. Suicide among gay teens is significantly higher than any other segment of the youth population. Thats because weve been demonized for decades as sick and immoral individuals, devaluing our self-worth. Weve been treated as second-class citizens all these years and they want to institutionalize it. Did they learn nothing of Jim Crow laws?
I wonder who these people think they are. They complain about redefining marriage when really they want to legally define it only for themselves. How is that really any different? Despite claims to the contrary, marriage isnt about religion. Atheists are permitted to marry. Marriage isnt about procreation, either. There is no requirement to have children. Marriage is about love and family, something we all ultimately define for ourselves. Instead, the proponents of HJR-3 want to redefine love and family to be what they say it is.
While Im not religious, I follow the one tenet found in pretty much every major religion in the world, the Golden Rule. If everyone followed that one rule, the world would be a much better place. Instead, we have people who want to force their values on others through government legislation.
Fortunately, there is strong grass-roots opposition to HJR-3. Freedom Indiana and Indiana Equality Action, two of the largest organizations fighting the proposed amendment, have had great success in demonstrating how the law would hurt families.
Theyve been fighting the battle for the last decade when the amendment was first proposed. The Indiana House of Representatives voted on HJR-3 the first time back in 2011. The vote was a very lopsided 70-26 in favor. This time around, the vote seems to be more evenly split. In just 3 years, hearts and minds have been won over. The battle continues until it is completely defeated, though.
As of this writing, the future of HJR-3 is still in question. The constitutional amendment process is somewhat different in Indiana than in many states, making it difficult to make changes to the document. The House voted to strip out the language that would prohibit recognition of civil unions or domestic partnerships. That change could mean the death of the amendment altogether or it could lead to more political shenanigans that would put the proposed amendment on the ballot for voters to decide this fall.
To preach about love and family but to then vote against both is antithetical to Biblical teachings. I hope one day my dad and the other proponents of HJR-3 will finally realize that. Until then, we must continue to fight for what is right: equality under the law, for everyone.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------No surprises here --->8)---
The Most Religious US State Is ...
Once again, Mississippi reigns as the most religious U.S. state, with 61 percent of its residents classified as "very religious," according to the results of a Gallup survey released Monday (Feb. 3).
In contrast, only 22 percent of people in Vermont ranked just as devout, and the Green Mountain state held onto its title as "least religious."
Overall, about 41 percent of Americans indicated that they are "very religious," meaning that religion is an important part of their daily lives and that they attend religious services every week or almost every week. Some 29 percent were classified as nonreligious, because they did not attend services and didn't cite religion as an important part of their daily life. Another 29 percent fell somewhere in the middle of the two extremes, and were labeled as "moderately religious."
For the most part, the rankings have remained largely unchanged since Gallup first started tracking religiosity in 2008. The most religious states still tend to be clustered in the South, though Utah with its large population of Mormons, typically the most religious of any denomination stands out as an exception and ranks No. 2 in religiosity, according to Gallup. Meanwhile, the least religious states are mostly found in New England, the Pacific Northwest and other states in the West.Top 10 most religious states
Top 10 least religious states
- Mississippi: 61 percent are very religious
- Utah: 60 percent
- Alabama: 57 percent
- Louisiana: 56 percent
- South Carolina: 54 percent
- Tennessee: 54 percent
- Georgia: 52 percent
- Arkansas: 51 percent
- North Carolina: 50 percent
- Oklahoma: 49 percent
- Kentucky: 49 percent
- Vermont: 22 percent are very religious
- New Hampshire: 24 percent
- Maine: 24 percent
- Massachusetts: 28 percent
- Oregon: 31 percent
- Nevada: 32 percent
- Washington: 32 percent
- Connecticut: 32 percent
- Hawaii: 32 percent
- District of Columbia: 32 percent
Gallup officials said cultural differences and the geographic spread of different religions could explain the state-level variations in religiousness revealed in the poll.
Protestants, for examples, have "above-average religiousness," according to Gallup, and the Southern states have a higher percentage of Protestants than the rest of the nation. In contrast, states in New England have a higher percentage of those with no religious identity at all.
In some states, there seems to be a strong cultural predisposition to be religious. According to Gallup, Protestants in Mississippi are more religious than Protestants in Vermont, and even those who don't identify with any organized religion in Mississippi are still more religious than Vermonters with no religious identity.
The rankings are based on more than 174,000 phone interviews conducted nationwide throughout 2013 as part of the Gallup Daily tracking survey. The results were weighted to be representative of each state's adult population by gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity and education, based on Census data, Gallup officials said.
----------My comment ---Their religion is our problem.----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------9)The Seven Deadly Sins of CapitalismDarrin Drda, Sunday 02 February 2014Certainly much has already been said about the basic incompatibility between a system predicated on infinite growth and the finite resources of Earth, but capitalism has other, related design flaws that are already proving fatal, not only to various life forms but to the vitality of human communities as well.
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Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek has famously remarked that for most people its easier to imagine the end of life on earth than it is to imagine the end of capitalism. This might be especially true in America, where despite ample evidence of the antagonism between free markets and freedom, the two have become virtually synonymous in the popular psyche, and where both are frequently defended with a passion that Patrick Henry would admire.
Yet a growing number of people are realizing that economic liberty and death are indeed linked, but not in the way neoliberals imagine. To return to Zizeks idea, capitalism and apocalypse go together in that the former could well cause the latter. Certainly much has already been said about the basic incompatibility between a system predicated on infinite growth and the finite resources of Earth, but capitalism has other, related design flaws that are already proving fatal, not only to various life forms but to the vitality of human communities as well. What follows is a list of capitalisms seven deadliest sins (or capital vices), presented in reverse order.
7) Amorality. Although some economic actors do indeed behave immorally (while many strive to do good), the system as a whole frankly doesnt give a damn. Its only concern is its own survival and growth, which always trumps the welfare of those living within its constraints. As a refutation of the claim that capitalism is the most efficient distributor of resources, consider that almost 50% of food is wasted in America, much of it by producers and vendors. Such waste is all the more egregious when witnessed by actual hungry people. As the linked article explains:
In a capitalist society, the motive behind the production of food is not to feed people, housing is not made to give them shelter, clothing is not made to keep them warm, and health care is not offered primarily to keep people healthy. All of these things, which are and should be viewed as basic rights, are nothing other than commoditiesto be bought and soldfrom which to make a profit. If a profit cannot be made, usually due to overproduction in relation to the market, the commodity is considered useless by the capitalist and destroyed.
By a similar logic, money better spent on the curing of serious diseases like malaria and HIV is often funneled into relatively trivial conditions like male baldness and erectile dysfunction that affect fewer people but generate greater revenue.
6) Intrinsic inequality. Due largely to deadly defects in the monetary system (see #1 below), capitalism divides the world into haves and have-nots, inevitably concentrating wealth in the hands of the formeras we have seen in recent years and in the period preceding the Great Depressionuntil redistribution or revolution. Despite the rhetoric, a rising economic tide does not raise all boats; it only raises the yachts while the dinghies, deprived of bailouts, inevitably go under.5) Poverty. One of the most common arguments for global capitalism is that it helps alleviate poverty. Problem is, global poverty statistics are generated by the World Bank, an institution explicitly designed to promote globalization. Critics argue that (1) the numbers are usually skewed by one or two rapidly developing countries, (2) the definition of deep poverty as a wage of $1.25/day is set arbitrarily low in order to yield the desired stats, and (3) daily wages say nothing about access to potable water, adequate nutrition, healthcare, education, community, and other things that determine quality of life. Moreover, poverty rates mean little when economic disparity has increased so dramatically in recent decades.
Actually, a compelling argument can be made that global capitalism doesnt alleviate poverty but causes poverty. After all, the aim of globalization is to expand markets by infiltrating undeveloped (read: self-sufficient) communities and dragging them into the money economy, thus creating new laborers and consumers. Could members of a gift-based, indigenous tribe really be called poor? Only by the logic of capitalism, which defines poverty as the inability to purchase ones basic necessities (which might include designer clothing) from an outside party using fiat currency.
4) Externalization. To externalize a cost is to pass it along to someone else, typically the general public and the environment. The most obvious example is pollution: when Company X dumps its toxic waste into a river, downstream communities pay with health problems and ecological degradation. Another example is given in the now-classic Story of Stuff when Annie Leonard talks about buying a $4.99 radio and realizing that the low price is only possible because of the many externalized costs and the people around the world who paid them.The main purveyors of this capital vice are corporations, which function mainly by privatizing profits and publicizing costs. Indeed a corporation has been described as an externalizing machine, in the same way that a shark is a killing machine,1 each doing what they are designed to do. Externalization is legally enshrined in the limited liability corporation (LLC), which cleverly enables risk-taking and pathologically encourages irresponsibility.
A 2013 UN-sponsored study showed that if the worlds top industries were forced to absorb their own costs, none of them would make a profit.
3) Gross Domestic Product. GDP is supposed to monitor economic wellbeing by tallying up all the goods and services exchanged within a given area and time frame. But GDP sinfully ignores what is being exchanged, such that war, natural disasters, accidents, disease, depression, and other negatives are counted as positives for GDP because they generate revenue, while life-affirming activities like volunteering and gifting are not counted at all. Furthermore, GDP ignores the distribution of wealth.
The bottom line is that a simple number says nothing about human happiness or ecological integrity. In fact, a rise in artificial wealth generally corresponds with a decline in natural wealth. As author Paul Hawken has said, We are stealing the future, selling it in the present, and calling it GDP.
2) Private property. The Romans were the first to advance the legal concept of dominium, which was considered "the ultimate right, the right which had no right behind it, the right which legitimated all others, while itself having no need of legitimation... the right of using, enjoying, and abusing. 2
This dominator mindset prevailed throughout Europe and eventually infiltrated what is now America, where the ownership of land is still considered an unalienable and unquestioned right.
But to the native peoples of this continent who were so brutalized, land ownership was an absurd concept, for it suggested that a greater power (nature) could be owned by a lesser power (humans). In all parts of the world, indigenous groups have upheld reverence for nature and a respect for the commonsthe air, water, and land that supports life and thus rightly belong to all living creatures.
By contrast, capitalism strives to privatize and profit from everything; not only land but water, slices of the electromagnetic spectrum, species, seeds, genes, songs, images, ideas, etc. This vice was summed up by the anarchist Proudhon, who said, Property is theft.
1) Usury. If anything can be considered the root of all evil, it would have to be usury. The practice of lending money at interest is condemned by most religions, including the Abrahamic faiths, although the Bible allows Jews to profit from foreigners as a way of fighting without a sword. The implication of violence is inherent in usury, which is basically the opposite of a gift.
In our modern economic system, institutional theft is the business of commercial banks and the (private) Fed, which have been empowered to conjure money into existence as interest-bearing debt. Since the money to repay all these loans (with interest) doesnt exist, society is driven by a sense of competition and a mentality of scarcity. Worse yet, usury creates a demand for continuous economic growth (measured in GDP), without which the economy is subject to collapse.
As noted, such growth is obviously unsustainable and ultimately suicidal. Although we may be on the road to ruin, its never too late to change our wicked ways.
1 Robert Monk (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_A._G._Monks)
2 Avila (2004) Ownership: Early Christian Teaching----------Darrin Drda is an artist, musician, and author of The Four Global Truths: Awakening to the Peril and Promise of Our Times. He is currently finishing up a second book entitled Overcoming Empire: A Users Guide to Personal and Global Revolution.----------Recap ---1 - Usury2 - Private property3 - Gross Domestic Product4 - Externalization5 - Poverty6 - Intrinsic inequality7 - AmoralityMy comment ---Thank God for credit cards, as we bury our heads in the tar sands.See alsoandand---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------honest news ---> http://www.democracynow.org/ <--- Watch live at 5am Pacific; 8am Eastern Monday - Friday, or anytime on the net