Cypriots hit with extraordinary one-off tax on savings.
I was amazed at this development at the weekend and ordinary Cypriots reacted with shock that turned to panic after a 10% one-off levy on savings was forced on them as part of an extraordinary 10bn euro (£8.7bn) bailout agreed in EU HQ in Brussels.
Folks rushed to banks and queued at cash machines that refused to release cash as resentment quickly set in. The savers, half of whom are thought to be non-resident Russians, will raise almost €6bn thanks to a deal reached by European partners and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). It is the first time a bailout has included such a measure and Cyprus is the fifth country after Greece, the Republic of Ireland, Portugal and Spain to turn to the Eurozone for financial help during the region’s debt crisis. The move in the Eurozone’s third smallest economy could have repercussions for financially overstretched bigger economies such as Spain and Italy.
Latest news on this story from UK Guardian
This sort of sums up the way I feel as well
I recently reblogged an article from my friend MADD suspicions about male and female brain types.
Click here to have a go at the fun quiz he found.
Also I’ve been reading, laughing and learning psychology from the witty and suave but spiky PinkAgendist. Stop by if you enjoy perceptive pieces.
And of course other fine blogs I haven’t time to mention now, but will soon.
We all affect each other.
Their posts led me to think about thinking – always fun but a slightly weird experience as well.
In my more political posts I’m calling for a paradigm shift in human affairs to move from a male-managed world to a female- and child-friendly future.
With cooperation rather than competition as the guiding principle.
No violence. Local organisation of life. Less people.
Women managing human society and reproduction.
No nation states and therefore no armies, weapons of mass destruction and no National Security.
But for this argument to make sense there must be actual differences between the sexes – not just differences we learn in life – but innate differences.
So yesterday I argued that we are all Equal But Different.
The title of this blog is Different But Equal
Let’s look at some differences now and start with brains.
How often have you heard men say, “I just can’t understand women…” or “My wife doesn’t understand me…”
Do women find men equally difficult to understand, or do they, on average, have more empathy and so can work men out?
Is there such a thing as female thinking or awareness? Can there be a ‘male’ type of thinking?
Are men and women more different or more the same?
And what about the brains of homosexual folk?
All interesting questions.
That’s why the relationship between sex differences in the brain and human behaviour is so controversial in psychology and society generally.
If there are real differences between the sexes then the implications are immense.
Recent studies show there are measurable differences in female and male brains.
For instance, there is a difference between sexes in the transcription of a gene pair involved in brain development unique to Homo sapiens.
Consequently female and male brains show differences in internal structure.
One of the main areas studied is the proportion of white matter relative to gray matter.
Gray matter is made up of neuronal cell bodies. The gray matter includes regions of the brain involved in muscle control, sensory perception such as seeing and hearing, memory, emotions, and speech.
White matter is the tissue through which messages pass between different areas of gray matter within the nervous system.
So the gray matter can be thought of as the processing areas, while the white matter connects.
Blood flow is also different between women and men, with females able to move blood more quickly to the areas needed and not losing functions in old age as much as males.
There are also differences in the structure and size of certain areas in male and female brains.
Studies found men on average to have larger parietal lobes, responsible for sensory input including spatial sense and navigation.
Women usually have larger Wernicke’s and Broca’s areas, regions that are responsible for language processing.
Postmortem and imaging studies over the past two decades have revealed structural differences in both global structures and sexually-related brain structures between heterosexual and homosexual subjects.
Researcher Simon LeVay showed that parts of hypothalamus related to sexual orientation not gender.
The hypothalamus is an area known to be involved in sex differences in reproductive behaviour, mediating responses in menstrual cycles in women and the back of the hypothalamus regulates male-typical sexual behaviour.
These results were obtained from postmortem analysis of hypothalamic nuclei of known homosexual subjects compared to heterosexual patients.
The size of the brain’s hemispheres is a sexually dimorphic trait in which men tend to show asymmetry in the volumes of their hemispheres while women show more symmetry.
A recent study found homosexual men showed hemispheric volumes to be symmetric similar to heterosexual women and homosexual women showed asymmetry in hemispheric volumes as heterosexual men do.
However differences in brain physiology between the sexes and sexual preferences do not lead to differences in intellect.
This points to females and males taking different but equally successful routes to achieve the same outcomes.
Evidence for this was found in a 2004 study finding men and women achieve similar IQ results by utilising different brain regions.
So this suggests there is no singular underlying neuro-anatomical structure for general intelligence.
In simple language, different types of brains work equally well.
So, different but equal.
Equal but different.
It’s easy to love the nice people,
and those that agree with your side.
But what of the billions that you’ll never see,
What of those, can your love be that blind?
Can you love all the violent, the crazy, the sad?
Can you love those who shout you’re so wrong?
And what of the people that hate you, and worse,
Did you pray that they’d fail all along?
Does your love know no bounds, and thus easily surrounds
All the life on this planet of ours?
The Womanifesto is the philosophy underpinning the novel
The Womanifesto calls for a positive re-evaluation and adoption of what have traditionally been referred to as Female Values and Perspectives with a corresponding paradigm shift in human affairs.
By this we mean an emphasis on cooperation and community rather than competition and individualism, with society organised to protect its weakest members, namely children and the elderly.
In the present global economic system we are told there is no alternative to production being governed by the Market.
However there can be no production without people and people are created by reproduction.
Therefore whoever controls reproduction controls production and future human society.
This explains why religions and other bastions of male power have worked so hard to regulate and deny female sexuality. These sad people kill to oppose abortion, fight against birth control and do anything to prevent children getting proper sex education.
The rulers need our children for their wars and as workers, but they don’t want to acknowledge the power of reproduction.
They can’t let the women speak out.
So they denigrate the Feminine and attack women because they’re scared.
When women manage reproduction, the risk posed by overpopulation – probably the biggest challenge facing humanity – will quickly diminish and our species will no longer threaten all other life on the planet.
If women see a future where their children will be working for slave wages or die in wars or starve or die of thirst – if women see this, they will refuse to bring more children into the world.
Why should women give birth to children in a society that abuses most of the people most of the time, a society that lets tens of thousands of kids die each and every day from preventable causes?
Women everywhere are demanding change, and will not be denied. The genie is truly out of the bottle.
The existing order is based on violence or the threat of violence. But as violence creates more violence this is obviously counterproductive.
Women and children suffer most from wars and crime, face sexual assault, domestic violence and constant harassment.
Violence in all its forms must become a thing of the past.
We’ll need new politics for this new society and we’re calling it Lowerarchy.
Everybody knows a hierarchy is a pyramid-like structure with power concentrated at the top. This model worked well for kings, emperors, presidents, prime ministers, warlords and tyrants of every kind, and when allied with military might, has allowed these dictators to dominate the vast majority of people for the last several thousand years.
Hierarchies are part of our heritage, but then so is cannibalism: both have no place in a modern egalitarian society.
Government has developed from the absolute rule of kings and is the means by which the few dominate the many – so is part of the problem not a solution.
Lowerarchy is the opposite of hierarchical organisation.
In the Lowerarchy there will be no need for leaders as there will be no nations to lead. Local people will decide for themselves how to live and manage resources.
Then artificial national boundaries can be dissolved, and with no nation states to defend, armies will become redundant so can safely be disbanded.
Likewise, security services can be dismantled as we would all be on the same side.
The policies of the powerful nations, from colonial times to the present, have caused great inequality in the world, both at the level of continents and regions and for individuals.
We propose a couple of modest rebalancing policies.
The first is that antisocial debts, whether at the international level such as money supposedly owed by poor nations to rich, or by ordinary folk to financial institutions, should all be cancelled.
If we Default All Debts, everyone can start again. Most folk would be better off – only the rich would lose. And if we lost a few financial institutions, would anybody care or even notice?
Second, if we want a world where everybody truly feels equal, then let’s reflect that in the economic sphere.
We suggest a One World, One Wage policy.
It’s a simple plan. Everybody gets paid the same salary. So cleaners get the same as bankers, teachers are equal to dinner ladies and mums valued as much as soccer stars.
So we run society just like a big co-operative – because that’s what we are.
And as we truly are all in this together, obviously those that can’t work will be cared for: that’s what society’s for.
Once this is implemented, and in tandem with the debt default, much of the inequality will soon be squeezed out of the system. After the real price of labour has been factored in, the true value of any good or service can be calculated.
The alternative to the above?
Catastrophic overpopulation, continued unfettered competition and the commodification of everything, wholesale destruction of the natural world, mass extinctions, more pollution and greenhouse effects on the climate, a further widening of the gap between the rich and poor, loss of civil liberties, wars over resources, famines and the likely destruction of the species.
It’s time we changed the way we live –
Let’s make the Future Female!
Occupy your own minds first – then move onwards and upwards!
Why should this happen at all – people can make their own choices when old enough.
They condemned as barbaric the ruling that the religious mutilation must be done by a doctor with pain killers.
Several hundred people have held a demonstration in the German capital, Berlin, to demand that the practice of religious circumcision remain legal.
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Paradise or Oblivion, by The Venus Project, introduces the viewer to a more appropriate value system that would be required to enable this caring and holistic approach to benefit human civilization. This alternative surpasses the need for a monetary-based, controlled, and scarcity-oriented environment, which we find ourselves in today.
This video presentation advocates a new socio-economic system, which is updated to present-day knowledge, featuring the life-long work of Social Engineer, Futurist, Inventor and Industrial Designer Jacque Fresco, which he calls a Resource-Based Economy. This documentary details the root causes of the systemic value disorders and detrimental symptoms caused by our current established system. The film details the need to outgrow the dated and inefficient methods of politics, law, business, or any other “establishment” notions of human affairs, and use the methods of science, combined with high technology, to provide for the needs of all the world’s people. It is not based on the opinions of the political and financial elite or on illusionary so-called democracies, but on maintaining a dynamic equilibrium with the planet that could ultimately provide abundance for all people.
Paradise or Oblivion, by The Venus Project, introduces the viewer to a more appropriate value system that…
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Atos kills and the police injure…
This video from Britain is called DWP disability protest.
By Will Stone in London, England:
Met accused of Department for Work and Pensions protest brutality
Sunday 02 September 2012
Police were accused today of viciously attacking disabled protesters who peacefully occupied the Department for Work and Pensions, fracturing a wheelchair user’s shoulder and breaking another’s chair.
Campaigners occupied the department’s building in Tothill Street, Westminster, on Friday before being joined by hundreds more, concluding a week-long protest against Atos Healthcare to coincide with the opening of the Paralympic Games.
Desperate Met officers formed a line to prevent further protesters entering the building while others negotiated the exit of those already inside.
They resorted to “excessive and unnecessary” force and begun pushing the crowd resulting in the fracture of wheelchair user Patrick Lynch’s shoulder, damaging another’s chair and breaking a man’s glasses, Disabled People Against Cuts claim.
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Atos kills and the police injure disabled folk
One wheelchair user suffered a broken shoulder yesterday after police indiscriminately attacked a peaceful protest held by disabled people and supporters outside the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).
Several hundred people had earlier gathered outside the London headquarters of Paralympic sponsor Atos as part of the week of action against the company. Atos carry out the Work Capability Assessment, a computer based test which has been used to find hundreds of thousands of disabled and seriously ill people ‘fit for work’.
Tragically several people have committed suicide after Atos and the DWP have connived to cut their benefits, whist many more have had conditions worsened by the endless and traumatic assessment regime. Astonishingly Atos are also sponsors of the London Paralympic Games.
Whilst speeches and angry chants condemned the company outside their own front door, other disabled activists had joined up with UK Uncut outside Caxton House in Westminster…
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Support the struggles of indigenous peoples!
27 July 2012
Ecuador: Inter-American Court ruling marks key victory for Indigenous Peoples
CGC, partnering with ConocoPhillips, felled forests, destroyed a cultural site, and drilled hundreds of boreholes for seismic surveying on tribal lands despite never gaining permission to do so from the community. As tensions rose, the Ecuadorian government set up military camps on indigenous land.
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I guarantee this will make people angry – it’s the old argument used against women – she made me do it…
The great man speaks – and we listen
If Jimmy Pursey was Japanese…
This music video from Japan is by Japanese punk rock band Scrap, consisting of victims of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, with the song FUCK TEPCO!!
From Asahi Shimbun daily in Japan:
Radiation 258 times legal limit found in fish off Fukushima
August 22, 2012
Fish containing 258 times the legal limit of radioactive cesium have been found in waters off the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., said on Aug. 21.
The reading for two rock trout, caught about 20 kilometers to the north of the plant, showed 25,800 becquerels per kilogram, the highest yet detected in surveys conducted after last year’s nuclear accident.
Consuming 200 grams of the fish would amount to an internal radiation exposure of 0.08 millisievert for a human. The annual safety limit for radiation exposure from food products is 1 millisievert per…
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Back in the 80’s I lived in Moseley, Birmingham, UK and there was a Scientology shop in the village. The woman in the next flat had terrible acne, low confidence and was taken in by the cult. After she moved away we looked through some of the group’s materials and letters she’d left and were dismayed to see what nonsense it was and how exorbitant the cost of ridiculous books.
To cover this up, Scientology uses litigation against its critics, and has been condemned for harassment.
In 2005, Scientology claimed eight million members, but a survey by the City University of New York found only 55,000 people in the US. In 2008, the American Religious Identification Survey found that the number had dropped to 25,000.
Scientology teaches souls (“thetans”) reincarnate after living on other planets before coming on Earth, but ‘higher’ teachings are not revealed to practitioners until they have paid thousands of dollars to Scientology. They teach these on their own ships.
Among these advanced teachings is the story of Xemu or Xenu, the tyrant ruler of the Galactic Confederacy.
Apparently, 75 million years ago, Xenu brought billions of people to Earth in spacecraft, stacked them around volcanoes and then detonated hydrogen bombs. The thetans then clustered together, stuck to the bodies of the living, and still today.
Scientologists claim increased spiritual awareness and physical benefits are gained through counselling sessions called auditing. Through auditing, Scientology claims people can solve their problems and free themselves of hang-ups.
Auditing requires an E-meter, a device that measures minute changes in skin electrical resistance. Scientology claims changes in the E-meter’s display helps locate blocks.
Once these are worked through the person is called a ‘Clear’. Most of the concepts associated with the “E-meter” and its use are regarded by the scientific and medical communities as pseudoscience. An up-to-date model costs $4,650.00
When the US Internal Revenue Service was considering whether to grant tax-free status, The New York Times claimed Scientology funded a campaign which used a whistle-blower to publicly attack the IRS, as well as hiring private investigators to look into the private lives of IRS officials. The IRS cited a statement frequently attributed to Hubbard that the ‘way to get rich was to found a religion.’
Journalists, courts, and governmental bodies of many countries claim Scientology is an unscrupulous commercial enterprise that harasses its critics and brutally exploits its members. Time Magazine published an article in 1991 which described Scientology as “a hugely profitable global racket that survives by intimidating members and critics in a Mafia-like manner.”
Scientology operates eight churches that are designated Celebrity Centers, the largest being (surprise surprise) in Hollywood. They are open to the general public, but are primarily for entertainers such as John Travolta, Kirstie Alley, Lisa Marie Presley, Nancy Cartwright, Jason Lee, Isaac Hayes, Edgar Winter, Tom Cruise, Chick Corea and Leah Remini.
What kind of society is the USA?
This video from Britain says about itself:
Feb 19, 2012
The disabled in Britain are going to be made to carry out unpaid work or lose benefits under a new Goverment, Department of pensions scheme. Cancer victims and stroke victims are included in new plans the Goverment will announce, where French company Atos will carry out medical assessments and those put under a new “Wrag”- Work related activity group- forced to work unpaid or have benefit cuts “sanctions”. … The unemployed in Britain already face similar threats in benefit cuts and now this has been extended to the most vulnerable people in society. Protests have already taken place in Tesco, one store which planned to use unpaid labourers.
By Roddy Slorach in Britain:
Roddy Slorach asks what it means to be disabled in a society based on ruthless competition
The 2012 Paralympic…
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Would you want your 10-year-old daughter married off to an adult man?
Gender, religion and culture are foundational social constructs but are not of the same level. Culture is a macroscopic concept and therefore subsumes religion. As Raday argues, religion derives from culture and gender derives from both religion and culture. (2005: 665) The word “culture” has been described as “one of the two or three most complicated in the English language” (Williams 1988: 87). Kuper described it as “a way of talking about collective identities” (cited in Raday: 666) and can be seen as falling into two categories, ideological – what is thought, valued and believed and social culture – how people are organised. Culture is not always homogenous and does not necessarily map one-to-one with the constitutional realm, but can have three levels. There can be ethnic and religious differences, dominant and minority subcultures, a diversity of institutional cultures and an international culture of human rights all overlapping within the same national boundaries (Raday 2005: 667). Raday distinguishes between dynamic and static forms of culture, arguing traditional and patriarchal forms tend to resist change and moves towards gender equality (2005: 667)
Religion is an aspect of culture, although it is not easy to define the concept. Most arguments regarding the clash of gender equality and religion have been made against the three main monotheistic religions, Islam, Christianity and Judaism (Raday 2005: 668). Monotheistic religions are characterised by canonical texts, authoritative interpretations of doctrine and a formal structure to preserve the organisational ideology and ethical rules regulating the lives of individuals and communities. But these fundamental texts are in conflict with the basis of human rights legislation and doctrine which is humancentric and focuses on the responsibility and autonomy of the individual (Raday 2005: 669). Human rights doctrine works from the premise that the state has ultimate authority but must be prevented from abusing individuals. The opposite is true with monotheistic religions which are based on individual subjection to the will of the Supreme Being and transcendental morality.
Although culture and religion are often treated as different concepts, Raday argues that they have a lot in common when contrasted with human rights (2005: 670). But it is the leading global religions as opposed to cultures which codify custom and practice into texts which are then claimed to be outside history and culture. Raday cites the examples of the Vatican and the Organisation of Islamic Conferences as religious groups with a great deal of temporal power (2005: 669). Gender has been described as denoting the historical, cultural and social distinctions between women and men (Curthoys 2005: 140) Gender identity develops from normalised behaviour imposed on women and men by religion and culture. The history of gender in religion and traditional culture is of subordination of women to men and women’s exclusion from the public sphere (Raday 2005: 669). Although cultural and religious practices can be separated academically, in practice they usually interact. Patriarchal relations exist within culture and religion and there is a correlation between some cultural practices and the religious situations in which they are found (Raday 2005: 676). Raday gives the example of the cultural police in the Islamic Republic of Iran, who in an attempt to develop a culture of chastity, forced women to wear the veil in public places even though there is no clear religious command to do so. 676 The clash is between international human rights law and norms of culture and religion which promote and reinforce patriarchal values and fall back on the claim of religious freedom or cultural tradition. Giving it into any of these claims could result in an “infringement of woman’s right to a quality” (Raday 2005: 676).
So-called cultural practices which preserve patriarchy and discriminate against women include; female genital mutilation, the sale and forced marriage of daughters, the dowry system, preference for male children, female infanticide, polygamy, the power of husbands to discipline wives, marital rape, honour killings, witch-hunting, gendered division of food and restrictive dress codes (Raday 2005: 667). Examples of cultural issues found in signatories to CEDAW which conflict with human rights doctrine gender equality include: the elimination of polygamy in Algeria, polygamy, forced marriage and female genital mutilation in Cameroon, food issues for rural women in the Democratic Republic of Congo, domestic violence and discriminatory religious and cultural practices in Uganda, dowry, sati and devadsi practices in India, illegal sex selective abortions and family planning in China and laws discriminating against women in family and marriage matters in Indonesia.
Some feminists have argued that religion is a major source of female oppression and inequality and that most if not all religions are gendered and oppress women. In Christianity, the Supreme Deity is considered to be male. Several of the early church fathers such as Tertullian, Jerome, Ambrose and Augustine made misogynist writings which served to reinforce stereotypical gender roles (Skeptics Annotated Bible 2011). The story of the Virgin Birth promotes the idea that a woman’s body is a dirty and sinful thing and is not a proper origin for a spiritual being. The Roman Catholic Church does not ordain women and excommunicates those who attempt to become priests. It opposes family planning and birth control and does not believe in a woman’s rights to decide on abortion (Skeptics Annotated Bible 2011). Many protestant churches do not ordain women either and many believe in the wife’s submitting to the husband. In addition, many protestant churches teach that women should dress modestly but do not impose the same values on men. Other Christian denominations such as The Church of the Latter Day Saints, commonly known as the Mormons, formally allowed polygamy and still have not had condemned the practice. The Mormons do not ordain women and teach that a husband is master in the home (Skeptics Annotated Bible 2011).
In the Hindu religion, the Supreme Being is also considered to be male. In cultural practices dating back many thousands of years, widows are shunned as bringing bad luck and forced to live on the edge of society, alone (Skeptics Annotated Bible 2011). Widows were also supposed to shave their heads and never remarry. In the religious practice of Sati, windows were burnt alive on the funeral pyres of their husbands (Bowker 1997: 430). In Devadsi, girls are dedicated to a deity or temple and forced to become religious prostitutes for Upper caste members.
In Islam, menstruation is considered to make women unclean (similar conditions pertain to Christianity). Muslim women are expected in many societies to wear a veil due to the command in Sura 24 of the Koran for women to dress modestly (Skeptics Annotated Bible 2011). Honour killings are also traditionally carried out by adherents of this faith, where women are murdered after being raped or assaulted because they are considered to bring dishonour on the family. Also the practice of female genital mutilation is associated with Islamic culture although it is not mentioned in the Koran. Under Shari’a law, a man can divorce his wife by repeating the phrase “I divorce you” three times, although this cannot happen the other way round (Skeptics Annotated Bible 2011). As a woman’s testimony is worth only half that of a man’s (Koran Sura 2) allegations of rape can only be proved if four male eye witnesses testified the assault occurred. The Prophet Mohammed, according to the Hadith (sayings and traditions of the prophet) married Aisha bint Abu Bakr – a prepubescent girl of nine years according to some accounts. This is considered important as 25% of all the Yemeni females marry under the age of 15 and several other Arab countries have not signed CEDAW (Skeptics Annotated Bible 2011). Finally, polygamy is legal in many Muslim countries and not condemned in the Koran.
Menstruation is similarly described as unclean in Judaism. In a male orthodox prayer, Jews say, “Blessed is He that did not make me a woman” (Skeptics Annotated Bible 2011). Orthodox Jews, like their Islamic counterparts in Iran, have set up modesty police who assault young women and men if they are showing too much of their bodies on the streets. In Jewish religious law, a woman cannot be divorced from her husband unless she receives a certificate from him. If this does not take place, she cannot get divorced (Skeptics Annotated Bible 2011). Men are allowed to pray at holy sites where women are not and orthodox Jews do not allow women to recite prayers in the synagogue.
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