Thursday, August 22, 2013
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Something more needs to be done in regards to the Olympics and Russia's abject persecution of gays and lesbians...then talking about it. . Sitting around worrying about the athletes getting to perform is nice, but come on. Wearing buttons and holding hands around the Olympic site is a nice gesture, too, but come on. Should we, should everyone boycott the whole shebang, sure why the hell or just move it elsewhere. Could we boycott all the sponsors, sure why not? Remember when South African athletes weren't allowed to participate in international sporting events...hey, there's a thought. While we are talking on the Russians and Putin, there are plenty of other jackass homophobes out there in the Olympic world. Let's go after them, too. vBan them all.
But back to Russia. It isn't just Putin, by the way, nor is it just the Russian Orthodox Church, though both are evil. The Advocate reminds us:
Nearly three out of four Russians think homosexuality should be rejected by society, according to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center.
The study found that 74% of Russians answered “no” to the question: “Should society accept homosexuality?”
Let's join in boycott the big Russian products that are sold in this globalized world we live in. I am not big on the effectiveness of boycotts, but nothing ventured, nothing gained. It ain't like I have to drink shots of Stoli.
People are being forced into hiding who they are. People are being thrown in jail. People are dying. The lives of gay people mean more that the Winter Olympics.
..and again, go elsewhere if you want but don't take the Olympics to Russia...and again while we are at let's make the Olympics actually live up to the standards and the ideals their bosses so proudly proclaim, the sports announcers babble about throughout the games, the spirit we all pretend exists, but doesn't
Let's face it the Olympics are big business and global capital has a wonderful home in their villages. Throw those bastards out.
I admit, I love watching the Olympics, but now is the time for you and I, and people like us to finally say, enough is enough. The games can't go on as if they exist in some other dimension then the one we inhabit.
I admit, I am starting to just babble or rant, but it pisses me off...It pisses me off that if you google "boycott the olympics" what you mostly find are "reasonable arguments" on why not to do just that.
Move it, fix it, or shut it down.
The first below is from the American Prospect. After you have read that post, please move on and read a very "interesting" piece on the movement to boycott the 1936 Nazi Olympics from the web site of the United Sates Holocaust Museum. Then think again about the Putin Olympics.
STICKING IT TO SOCHI: RUSSIAN LGBT ACTIVISTS ON WHAT WORK
by Nancy Goldstein
THE MOVEMENT TO BOYCOTT THE BERLIN OLYMPICS OF 1936
A pedestrian pauses to read a notice announcing an upcoming public meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, December 3, to urge Americans to boycott the 1936 Berlin Olympics. New York, United States, 1935.
— National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Md.
Soon after Hitler took power in 1933, observers in the United States and other western democracies questioned the morality of supporting Olympic Games hosted by the Nazi regime. Responding to reports of the persecution of Jewish athletes in 1933, Avery Brundage, president of the American Olympic Committee (AOC), stated: "The very foundation of the modern Olympic revival will be undermined if individual countries are allowed to restrict participation by reason of class, creed, or race." Brundage, like many others in the Olympic movement, initially considered moving the Games from Germany. After a brief and tightly managed inspection of German sports facilities in 1934, Brundage stated publicly that Jewish athletes were being treated fairly and that the Games should go on, as planned.
Debate over participation in the 1936 Olympicswas greatest in the United States, which traditionally sent one of the largest teams to the Games. By the end of 1934, the lines on both sides were clearly drawn. Avery Brundage opposed a boycott, arguing that politics had no place in sport. He fought to send a US team to the 1936 Olympics, claiming: "The Olympic Games belong to the athletes and not to the politicians." He wrote in the AOC's pamphlet "Fair Play for American Athletes" that American athletes should not become involved in the present "Jew-Nazi altercation." As the Olympics controversy heated up in 1935, Brundage alleged the existence of a "Jewish-Communist conspiracy" to keep the United States out of the Games.
Judge Jeremiah Mahoney, president of the Amateur Athletic Union, led efforts to boycott the 1936 Olympics, pointing out that Germany had broken Olympic rules forbidding discrimination based on race and religion. In his view, participation would indicate an endorsement of Hitler's Reich. Mahoney was one of a number of Catholic leaders supporting a boycott. New York mayor Fiorello La Guardia, New York governor Al Smith, and Massachusetts governor James Curley also opposed sending a team to Berlin. The Catholic journal The Commonweal (November 8, 1935) advised boycotting an Olympics that would set the seal of approval on radically anti-Christian Nazi doctrines.
Another important boycott supporter, Ernst Lee Jahncke (a former assistant secretary of the US Navy), was expelled from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in July 1936 after taking a strong public stand against the Berlin Games. The IOC pointedly elected Avery Brundage to fill Jahncke's seat. Jahncke is the only member in the 100-year history of the IOC to be ejected.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt did not become involved in the boycott issue, despite warnings from high-level American diplomats regarding Nazi exploitation of the Olympics for propaganda purposes. Roosevelt continued a 40-year tradition in which the American Olympic Committee operated independently of outside influence. Both the US ambassador to Germany, William E. Dodd, and George Messersmith, head of the US Legation in Vienna, deplored the American Olympic Committee's decision to go to Berlin.
Many American newspaper editors and anti-Nazi groups, led by Jeremiah Mahoney, president of the Amateur Athletic Union, were unwilling to accept Nazi Germany's hollow pledges regarding German Jewish athletes. But a determined Avery Brundage maneuvered the Amateur Athletic Union to a close vote in favor of sending an American team to Berlin, and, in the end, Mahoney's boycott effort failed.
Short-lived boycott efforts also surfaced in Great Britain, France, Sweden, Czechoslovakia, and the Netherlands. German Socialists and Communists in exile voiced their opposition to the Games through publications such as Arbeiter Illustrierte Zeitung (The Worker Illustrated Newspaper). Some boycott proponents supported counter-Olympics. One of the largest was the "People's Olympiad" planned for summer 1936 in Barcelona, Spain. It was canceled after the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in July 1936, just as thousands of athletes had begun to arrive.
Individual Jewish athletes from a number of countries also chose to boycott the Berlin Olympics. In the United States, some Jewish athletes and Jewish organiztions like the American Jewish Congress and the Jewish Labor Committee supported a boycott of the Berlin Games. Once the Amateur Athletic Union of the United States voted for participation in December 1935, however, the other countries fell in line. Forty-nine teams from around the world competed in the Berlin Games, more than in any previous Olympics.
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
You hear people complaining about homeless folks clogging up sidewalks, parks, and urinating in public all the time. Well, my question is if you are homeless what exactly are you supposed to do? Where is it okay to stand or sit or sleep or piss? Maybe you are just supposed to stay awake, keep moving and hold "it." I don't know.
We live in a country with all kinds of empty housing, abandoned buildings, common space, and all kinds of folks who want housing and there is no match seen. We live in a country where people who for whatever reason can't be house or aren't interested in a warehouse shelter are supposed to...just move along, disappear, go elsewhere.
Listen I have worked on the streets and I have been in shelters, and yes, there are some people in the shelter/homeless industry with fine big hearts, but, I'll tell you what, given my druthers, and depending on the weather I would stay out of those shelters most of which are dangerous, most of which have more rules then your high school, most of which send you packing at the crack of dawn, most of which are just no damned "fun."
There are answers, even answers short of the total overthrow of the whole damned system of capitalism which would suffice in the short term. I used to be involved with some folks from the National Union of the Homeless. They were homeless people taking care of themselves and of each other. They weren't a bunch of social workers and government employees who didn't really get it and who really thought of themselves as a different branch of the human species altogether .
I've slept on porches and found myself moving from day to day looking for a place to crash. I was lucky. I had friends who would put me up for a short time and my period of this didn't last all that long. Even with that I in no way claim to really understand what it is to be homeless, not really.
Meanwhile in Portland Oregon, the city of the Roses, their is a battle going on between the homeless and the city.The city keeps driving the homeless "away" and the homeless keep finding another place to be until the city closes in on them again.
Greg Malroy, one of a group of half a dozen homeless found a site tucked under a tinder dry bluff near some homes. the cops showed up and set up no camping signs. they told the group they'd be back in the morning. They told the group to move on.
"They usually give us 72 hours notice, but this time they gave us 24 hours notice," Malroy told Oregon Live. "They told us it was private property and there was a fire hazard here."
Malroy said he, another man and three women moved to the bluff after police rousted them from below the Fremont Bridge at Northwest 19th Avenue about a week ago.
"They just keep moving us," he said. "They've been cleaning up all over town."
Oregon Live reports:
...the city's estimated 1,700 homeless people are part of a long tug of war between city officials, homeless advocates and police. The issue roared to the forefront when Mayor Charlie Hales announced last month that he'd had enough of the behavior of dozens of people camped outside City Hall.
(Two weeks ago), police arrested five protesters there and police said they would begin to more rigorously enforce the city's camping ban everywhere, not just on city sidewalks.
City law prohibits "camping" on public property, which includes "bedding, sleeping bag, or other sleeping matter." Private landowners also can report campers trespassing on their property.
While Portland police carried out Thursday's camp removal, city park rangers removed 984 homeless camps in 2010, then with increased patrols keeping numbers down, 684 camps in 2011 and 500 in 2012...
Malroy said the group did its best to keep their camps clean. He said they weren't drug users, didn't drink but were forced onto the streets by medical problems that prevent them from working. Malroy's criminal record is for non-violent crimes, including arrests for drugs and car theft, according to state court records.
"We're all trying to get disability and get housing, but they won't give you housing unless you have a fixed income," he said. "So we're kind of stuck out here."
In July Mayor Charlie Hales told homeless camping in front of city hall to move on.
The Willamette Week wrote at the time,
Portland Police officers quietly posted metal signs in front of City Hall Friday evening outlawing obstruction of the sidewalk along Southwest 4th Avenue—in effect serving an eviction notice to the homeless encampment that has swelled to more than 40 people in recent weeks.
This in response to complaints from Portland citizens and a drumbeat of bull from media outlets.
The homeless and supporters weren't impressed and vowed this time to fight. They set up an occupy like protest. Eventually though they were forced out and regrouped in a federal plaza.
Again from the Oregonian:
Mayor Charlie Hales boldly declared last week that enforcing sidewalk laws against people experiencing homelessness — and we assume the mentally ill — wasn’t about homelessness at all. “This is about lawlessness,” the mayor proclaimed to the media.
The mayor doesn't get it. He wants all these people to move on and on some more.
Street Root News writes:
Not one mention of the public health crisis on our streets or the lack of funding for homeless or mental health services. Nothing was mentioned about how the business community, residents, local government, advocates, social-service providers and law enforcement can work together to tackle these tough problems. Not a peep about an increased investment for rent assistance to target some of the hard-to-reach folks on our streets.
The message sent to the media and Portland was simple: We’re cleaning up lawless behavior that we’ve tolerated for far too long.
Street Roots and others saw years of hard work about how to frame this issue to get common Portlanders to engage in working together to solve homelessness flash before our eyes.
Then the police went out and swept homeless camps.
Sitting quietly in the background are lobbyists for the business community who are pushing an agenda to government and the media that tourism is hurting and the business climate is threatened because of the visible homeless downtown.
Meanwhile, anyone walking through Portland’s core would see tourism and business booming.
What’s the solution?
The solution is to work together to develop strategies to increase our affordable housing stock, to increase rent assistance dollars for people on the streets, and to maintain targeted enforcement on people who are clearly out of line. The solution is not to enforce decades-old perspectives that research and history have shown do absolutely nothing to solve the problem of poverty and homelessness in urban America.
What Portland needs are leaders who listen to experts in the field and in government that have been successfully housing people for years.
Street Roots is ready to work alongside both traditional and non-traditional partners to get the job done. What we can’t do is sit on the sidelines and watch individuals and families in poverty be demonized in our community.
Housing stability makes economic and social sense. Everyone deserves to have a safe place to call home, regardless of circumstances, and everyone benefits when they do.
The real solution goes beyond this, in my mind, and any solution temporary or otherwise must be one that involves the homeless themselves in the decision making process, not just the "experts" referred to above. In the meantime, some squatting, some occupations, some takeovers of some abandoned buildings and the like, and yes, the use of public parks and plazas is in order.
Today the police moved the people out of that Federal Plaza, at least, temporarily.
The following is from Right to Dream.
Willow Frost speaks before the City Council
|Could you get a good night's sleep in this situation?|
On July 11th, 2013, Willow spoke brilliantly before the city council - here is what she said:
Hello, my name is Willow Frost, and I'm houseless. I became a member of Right 2 Dream Too in March, and since then, I've learned a lot concerning the homeless population of Portland. The first being this: sleep is a biological need that cannot and will not be denied forever.
According to the Point-in-Time count of homelessness done in Multnomah County, there are 2,869 people who meet the definition of "literally homeless". Literal homelessness is defined by the federal department of Housing and Urban Development as "any person sleeping in an emergency shelter, sleeping in a motel provided by a voucher, or without shelter." Of this number of people, 1,895 are not receiving shelter.
To make this a clearer picture, that is 66% of the homeless population - living, breathing people who have a need for sleep - huddling under whatever shelter they can to stay out of the rain, or trekking to an inconvenient location to keep from getting woken up by police officers. Some of these locations make it difficult to come back into the city to look for work, go to school, or even just to receive services for food and showers.
My last point aside, sleep is obviously a very important thing for the human body. A study performed by the San Diego based University of California showed that sleep deprivation can cause slurring of speech, loss of coordination and manual dexterity, loss of cognitive function, delayed or interrupted perceptive ability, and in cases of prolonged or repeated sleep deprivation, mania and hallucinations.
If this list of symptoms sounds like reasons police confront a person for suspicion of drug use, that’s because it is. In many cases, a police officer will wake up a homeless person, tell them to move on, and that person will begin their day. Many times this means a person is getting less than four or five hours of sleep in a night, and in some cases less than two or three. And then, when those people who were denied rest by the police begin to exhibit these symptoms, they stand less of a chance to get a job, be able to pay attention in school, or even function in the general society. They even stand a chance of going to jail because of mental and physical symptoms caused by lack of sleep.
As I stated before, sleep is a biological imperative. It’s going to happen whether it’s legal or not, and I personally would rather see a person sleep safe and away from traffic, than to see them pass out while crossing a street. I would also prefer to see a person sleeping at Right 2 Dream Too, instead of out on the sidewalks where they stand a chance of being entered into the vicious cycle I previously mentioned.
Right 2 Survive, and by direct action, Right 2 Dream Too, are filling a role that is sorely needed in Downtown Portland. The need for a grassroots organization catering to homeless people, run by the homeless, formerly homeless, and their allies to keep people off the streets, teach them their rights, and extend a warm, welcoming hand that says “Yeah, you might not have a home, you might be in a really bad spot right now, and you may think you have nothing. But guess what? We’re here for you. It’s not gonna be easy, but let us help you help yourself. Come in, sleep for twelve hours, have some food, then go about your day. And at the end of it, come back. We’ll welcome you back with open arms.”
Currently, the City is fining us. I won’t claim to be able to quote the exact amount, but it’s confusing to me that the city would be opposed to an organization that can, in a 24 hour period take up to 90 of those 1,895 non-sheltered people that I mentioned before, and give them a place to sleep without worry. I would appreciate, as I’m sure would the entire homeless community, if the City would re-evaluate its response to, and actions toward Right to Dream Too, and possibly even look into approving more organizations like us."
Photograph is creative commons from the internet.
Monday, August 19, 2013
"Passion. It lies in all of us. Sleeping ... waiting ... and though unwanted, unbidden, it will stir ... open its jaws and howl. It speaks to us ... guides us. Passion rules us all. And we obey. What other choice do we have? Passion is the source of our finest moments. The joy of love ... the clarity of hatred ... the ecstasy of grief. It hurts sometimes more than we can bear. If we could live without passion, maybe we'd know some kind of peace. But we would be hollow. Empty rooms, shuttered and dank. Without passion, we'd be truly dead." - Buffy Summers
"You know, I always say that a day without an autopsy is like a day without sunshine." -- Buffy Summers
"I think I speak for everyone here when I say, "huh?" - Buffy Summers
Today's Scission is NOT what one expects to find here at all. I know some of you will just take one pass and move along, but what can I say. The truth is the only reason it is here is that I happen to be the oldest big fan of the too long gone TV series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. That's right I loved Buffy and the gang. I thought, still do, think it was one of the better series ever to appear on regular old TV. This wasn't some big HBO drama or anything, just a weekly program that dealt with real issues of real importance in the real lives of all of us, but probably even more so of adolescents. But again, I was already well into my forties when I began a fan and the program said some things to me, too. Most teenage TV or movies, I can live without. I do really like Pump Up the Volume. I also liked the Breakfast Club. Still they were movies, not just some crappy little TV series.
Buffy was different. I am not even sure how to describe why. I guess that is one reason I am running the post below. The author of the article which appears on the Toast.
There is more to life then politics, economics, war, social justice, racism, and prison. There is more to life then THE STRUGGLE. There is the other struggle which is life, your own personal life. There is love and fear and joy and despair. Life is full of ups and downs and often lacks any reason or any answers. Somehow every one of us has to deal with life in our own ways in our own time. For some of us life is a hell of a lot harder than it is for others. They say money isn't everything, but you know it can make life a lot more simple and eliminate a lot of hardships. The rich may piss and moan, but the rich mostly haven't met the poor. They don't know and they don't care.
The issues of growing up, of trying to figure out who the hell you are, or why the hell you or where the hell you are going (issues which we face ALL of our lives) may seem trite to those of us who call ourselves serious Marxists, communists, activists, etc. etc. etc. However, most of us know when you are in the middle of these "trite" little times, they sure as hell seem anything but.
Does any of this matter? Well, yes it does matter. However, is it worth a spot here, does it make sense for me to be spending time today and offering this up to you? I don't know really. You will have to be the judge of that.
And I won't even get into the slayer known as Faith.....
Anyway, like baseball, Scission plays a long season, so every now and then I am entitled to come up with something like this, don't you think?
Anyway, here we go...
BUT BEFORE WE GO TO FAR, I HAVE TO UPDATE WITH ANOTHER PIECE I JUST FOUND AFTER POSTING THIS. BUFFY AND CAPITALISM NO LESS...NOW IT WILL BE THE SECOND POST BELOW AND IT IS FROM THE GOTHIC IMAGINATION.