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Archive for January, 2011

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It is becoming increasingly clear to me as I read the book, America’s Sacred Calling: Building a New Spiritual Reality (2010) by John Fitzgerald Medina., that the growing disparity in economic well-being along with all other well-being measures – especially for growing numbers of our nation’s infant-children that is happening within the boundaries of our American nation  — is directly tied to the economic conditions of all members of our species the world over.

We are increasingly experiencing within America’s boundaries what appears to be a backwash of the same economic conditions that are approaching global plague proportions worldwide, and that will soon not be able to be ignored by anyone.  At the same time, the consumption patterns within the Globe’s richest First World nations continues to contribute to the major global problems Medina’s book is highlighting.

Medina next presents

Taking Water Away From the Bolivian Indians

“In January 2000, the city of Cochabamba, the third largest city in the country of Bolivia with a population of 500,000, became the scene of a crisis that attracted worldwide attention and that, to this day, serves as a quintessential example of the destructive policies of “survival of the fittest” Darwinian capitalism.  The crisis in Cochabamba was first sparked when the IMF [the International Monetary Fund ] approved a loan for Bolivia and then proceeded to pressure Bolivian government officials to privatize (to sell off) all state owned enterprises including public oil refineries and Cochabamba’s municipal water system.  In September, 1999, in closed door negotiations that involved only one bidder, Bolivia signed a forty-year contract that handed over Cochabamba’s water system to Aguas del Tunari (a company managed by International Water Limited, a subsidiary of U.S.-based Bechtel corporation).  Within a few months of taking over, without having made any appreciable investments in the system, Aguas del Tunari dramatically hiked up water rates.  As a result of these rate hikes, the water bills of the residents doubled and tripled.  This sparked almost immediate protests from the residents who united together in peaceful demonstrations and marches beginning in January of 2000.  A grassroots organization of concerned Bolivians (mostly Indians), The Coalition for the Defense of Water and Life (La Coordinadora), began to coordinate some of the rallies.  [see:  Timeline: Cochabamba Water Revolt” by Sheraz Sadiq]

“To understand the true dimensions of this crisis it is necessary to recognize that Bolivia is the most impoverished nation in Latin America (based on per capita GNP) and the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, after Haiti.  American Indians make up between sixty and seventy percent of Bolivia’s population….  For these impoverished indigenous people, access to affordable water is a top priority.  Water and food are absolute necessities.  Steep increases in the price of either of these represent a mortal threat.  More money spent on water means that less money is available for other necessities, including food.

“Eventually, demonstrations spread from Cochabamba to La Paz and to other cities and outlying rural villages.  In April 2000, the Bolivian government declared a “state of siege.”  The “state of siege” (like martial law) allowed police to arrest and detain many people and to impose curfews and travel restrictions.  Unfortunately, the April demonstrations became violent, leaving six people dead and many injured.  On April 10, 2000, the government signed an agreement with the leader of The Coalition for the Defense of Water and Life.  This agreement revoked the contract with the Bechtel corporation subsidiary and granted control of the Cochabamba municipal water system to the grassroots coalition.  It also repealed water privatization legislation as well as provisions that would have charged people for drawing water from local wells.

“It is amazing to note that, after losing its contract, Bechtel Corporation sued the nation of Bolivia for $25 million in damages and an additional $25 million in lost potential profits (money the corporation argues that it could have earned if it had been able to keep the water system).  It must be recognized here that, in 2000, Bechtel’s revenues were more than $14 billion while the entire national budget of Bolivia was merely $2.7 billion.  Oscar Olivera, the leader of The Coalition for the Defense of Water and Life stated, “With the $25 million [in damages] they are seeking, 125,000 people could have access to water.”

“Fortunately, in January 2006, Bechtel finally decided to drop its suit after being subjected to four years of sustained international pressure.  Organizations and citizens groups from throughout the world coordinated their efforts to apply pressure on Bechtel to drop its case.  The company was bombarded with emails, and concerned groups used the international media to bring attention to Bechtel’s attempts to profiteer at the expense of the poor people in Bolivia.  Oscar Olivera declared, “Multinational corporations want to turn everything into a market….  For indigenous people water is not a commodity, it is a common good.  For Bolivia this retreat by Bechtel means that the rights of the people are undeniable.””  (pages 190-192)

Shipping Toxic Waste to the Third World

“The issue of Third World toxic waste lays bare a picture of callous inhumanity and blatant cruelty that is truly shocking in its scope.  It has now been widely reported that the First World is exporting its toxic waste to impoverished developing nations.  Not only is such waste being shipped to the Third World, some corporations have actually found a way to profit from this deadly transaction.

“The “ship breaking business” is a case in point of corporate behavior that can be characterized as nothing short of criminal.  Ten shipping corporations dominate the global merchant cargo trade.  When these corporations want to dispose of an old vessel, they send it to a ship breaking yard where it is dismantled from scrap metal.  Probably the largest ship breaking yard in the world is in Bangladesh (a hunger-ravaged nation) where massive tanker ships, some as long as three football fields and as tall as twenty stories high, have been run agound in the Bay of Bengal.  Workers (cutters) use blow torches to cut ships to pieces.  From high above, gigantic plates of metal, some weighing several tons, are cut from ships and then fall dangerously to the ground.  Crews of workers then carry the plates on their shoulders as they step in unison to the rhythm of a leader’s chant.  The National Labor Committee (NLC), a U.S.-based worker rights organization, investigated the industrial atrocities at the Bengal shipyard.  An NLC article titled “Where Ships and Workers Go to Die ,” states,

The kids usually help the cutters or remove asbestos [a known carcinogen].  They smash the asbestos with a hammer, shovel it into a plastic bag and remove it from the ship….  Dismantled ships are toxic to workers and the environment.  Each ship contains an average of 15,000 pounds of asbestos and ten to 100 tons of lead paint.  Besides asbestos and lead [which can cause kidney damage and brain impairment in children], workers are exposed to mercury, arsenic, dioxins, solvents, toxic oil residues and carcinogenic fumes from melting metal and paint.  Environmental damage to beaches, ocean and fishing villages is extensive.”

“Charles Kernaghan, director of the National Labor Committee, calls the Bengal ship breaking yard “hell on earth.”  Thirty thousand workers, some as young as ten years old, dismantle ships at a nonstop pace for twelve hours a day, seven days a week, for the equivalent of twenty-two to thirty-six cents an hour with no sick days or holidays.  Workers live in utter squalor in stifling hot rooms without windows and without refrigerators.  Each tiny room is packed with four people who sleep on the floor with only old sheets and rags for bedding.  While doing their incredibly dangerous tasks, the workers are not given any safety gear by the ship-owners.  Baseball caps serve as hard hats, and in the absence of steel-toed shoes, young workers are seen handling heavy sheets of metal wearing only flip-flops.  Filthy bandanas serve as respiratory masks, and when using dangerous blow torches, sunglasses are used in place of safety visors.  Kernaghan states, “Last year, a 13-year old child his very first day on the job was hit in the head with a heavy piece of metal and he just died immediately.”  Kernaghan eerily adds, “the ship-owners don’t document anything, they don’t investigate the killings and the injuries, they just throw the people back into their villages and in some cases, we’ve heard that they throw the dead bodies into the water.”

“The heinous disregard for human life and the environment that is described above is the end result of an insidiously reckless capitalist order that has thrown away all moral restraint.  In a Law Review article titled, “Beyond Eco-Imperialism:  An Environmental Justice Critique of Free Trade,” Carmen Gonzalez, a law professor, provides a highly detailed and well-researched view of the environmental justice issues that have emerged as a result of globalization.  Her article states,

[I]nternational trade promotes environmental degradation in developing countries and threatens the physical health, cultural integrity and economic well being of the Southern [Third World] poor….  [T]he North [First World] reaps the benefits of liberalized trade while exporting the environmental costs to the South….  [This] article…identifies the North’s resource-intensive, consumption-oriented lifestyle as the primary cause of global environmental degradation….  This lifestyle can only be maintained through the ongoing appropriation of the natural resources of the South.”

“Earlier in this chapter a section titled “Widespread Rising Poverty Amidst Incredible Concentrations of Wealth,” provided statistics that show that the people living in the wealthy developed nations (only about twenty percent of the world’s population) consume a disproportionate share of the globe’s food, resources, and goods.  Indeed, the United States has the highest consumption levels per capita in the globe with Japan and Western Europe not being far behind.  Gonzalez uses similar statistics in her article to support her thesis (as expressed in the quote above).  A group of researchers in the Center for Sustainability Studies in Xalapa, Mexico, created a concept known as the “ecological footprint” in order to study the amount of resources, “natural capital,” that a country must have (or must appropriate from others) in order to maintain its level of consumption.  The researchers discovered that “the Netherlands, United States, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Japan, and Israel were among the highest per capita importers of natural capital.”  This means that these countries, in particular, are using many more resources than they actually possess, and that the First World “is living far beyond its ecological means,” and the developing nations cannot catch up “without exceeding the limits of the global ecosystem.”  Indeed, if everyone in the world adopted and tried to maintain a Western level of consumption, then, instead of just one world, it would actually be necessary to have ten worlds to satisfy everyone’s needs.  Gonzalez contends that there is a great need for legal scholarship in the area of researching and creating international laws that address the problem of over-consumption.  [see:  Beyond Eco-Imperialism:  An Environmental Justice Critique of Free Trade,” Carmen Gonzalez]

“Gonzalez further asserts that, for many years, the U.S. environmental movement has been perceived to be a middle class, White, suburban phenomenon that has been primarily interested in the protection of endangered species, wilderness areas, and parks, but it has not shown sufficient interesting environmental justice issues related to racism, poverty, and societal antidemocratic processes and policies.  She cites a variety of studies that show that “poor people and racial and ethnic minorities suffer disproportionately high levels of exposure to toxic substances while whites residing in more pristine suburban neighborhoods reap the benefits of environmental protection.”  This unjust dynamic within the United States shows up in the choice of location for hazardous waste facilities and also in the selective enforcement of laws and standards pertaining to water and air pollution, as well as waste disposal.

“Similar to the dynamic described above, Gonzalez maintains that, when it comes to the international arena, environmentalists from the Northern wealthy nations have been mainly concerned with protecting global natural areas.  As such, they have been slow to recognize that socioeconomic justice issues are a direct cause of global pollution and resource depletion.  In contrast, environmentalists from the poor Southern nations are increasingly asserting that international environmental degradation is directly linked to justice issues related to international inequality and to the struggle for democracy, self-determination, economic sufficiency, and cultural rights.  Along these lines, the Southern environmentalists contend that the primary causes of international pollution and resource depletion are the excessive consumption patterns of wealthy nations as well as “the world economic order” that “has institutionalized Southern poverty, which places additional stress on the environment. [see source link above, page 988]”  Along these lines, Gonzalez states,

Indeed, one prominent Southern environmentalist has argued that the South is bearing a disproportionate share of the environmental consequences of globalization, and has described this phenomenon as environmental apartheid….  The allegations of Southern environmentalists have been supported by studies commissioned by the United Nations Development Program, [specifically related to] the export of hazardous wastes and deforestation.  [see source link above, page 989]”

“Gonzalez points out that there is a need for the development of international human rights laws that “link the environmental struggle with the struggle for social justice.”

“Unfortunately, the hazardous waste trade is flourishing.  Illegal shipments destined from the United States to other nations (Mexico, Ecuador, Haiti, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and others) have continued to be intercepted.  Even recycling efforts that seem innocent on the surface can actually be deadly in Third World environments where there are not appropriate safeguards.  A prime example of this is the shipment of used car batteries to poor countries in order to recover and recycle the lead.  Lead is extremely hazardous and typically causes all forms of problems for the poor.  Along similar lines, the Bangladesh ship breaking yard described above is extremely toxic to the people and to the environment, and yet the ship-owners would likely try to defend it as a good venture that recovers and recycles scrap metal.  Gonzalez sates, “Environmentalists have rightfully denounced: such practices “as ‘toxic colonialism’.  [see source link above, page 993]”  (Medina’s book pages 192-196)

Next post:  Rearranging the Deck Chairs on the Titanic

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See recent posts:

+HERE’S A TAKE ON THE RICH RICH RICH RICH AND THE POOR POOR POOR POOR

+FINDING MY COURAGE TO TAKE A LOOK AT ‘WHAT’S WRONG WITH AMERICA’

+ONGOING TRAUMAS: AMERICA’S BIG MONEY PERPETRATORS

+WHERE THE BAD PEOPLE HIDE: ‘AMERICA FAR WORSE THAN A BULLY’

+CRITICISM NOT ALLOWED IN A BLACK-AND-WHITE WORLD

+MULTINATIONAL CORPORATIONS — ECONOMIC VAMPIRES WORLDWIDE

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Read Full Post »

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Why does abuse continue?  Because it can.  Well, here I go – forward HO!  What is THIS about the United States of America that I am frightened to know?  More from the book, America’s Sacred Calling: Building a New Spiritual Reality (2010) by John Fitzgerald Medina., who states the following about:

Multinational Corporations

“A cursory review of the literature pertaining to global capitalism quickly reveals that multinational corporations are at the epicenter of many of the problems that we are currently experiencing both in the United States and throughout the world.  Possibly because of this, the Baha’I writings envisage that corporations (trusts) will no longer exist in the future:  “No more trusts will remain in the future.  The question of the trusts will be wiped away entirely.”  [The Secret of Divine Civilization, page 24]  Many multinational corporations, as they currently exist, are manifestations of a Cartesian-Newtonian value system that places the maximization of profits ahead of all other goals – often to the exclusion of even ethical and moral considerations.  Along these lines, history professor Howard Zinn, author of the highly acclaimed A People’s History of the United States, notes that the prevailing unscrupulous activities of multinational corporations are built upon a long history of corporate abuse in the Third World:

The relationship of these global corporations with the poorer count4ries had long been an exploiting one….  Whereas U.S. corporations in Europe between 1950 and 1965 invested $8.1 billion and made $5.5 billion in profits, In Latin America they invested $3.8 billion and made $11.2 billion in profits, and in Africa they invested $5.2 billion and made $14.3 billion in profits.”  [page 29]

“Corporations wield incredible power, and indeed, are beyond the control of any one government.  Of the world’s 100 largest economies, fifty-one are not multinational corporations while only forty-nine are nations [bold type is mine].  Currently, there is no body of national or international law to deal effectively with such corporate “states.”  Corporations are not democratic institutions, and they often make it clear that their only obligation is to deliver profits to shareholders.  In the United States, corporate lawyers have used the courts to carve out an entire body of case law including language that declares that corporations (also known as trusts) are legal persons entitled to First Amendment free speech rights and also to the protection of life, liberty, and property.  Moreover, case law grants corporations legal immunity, which means that corporate executives cannot be held fully accountable for their activities.  As such, corporations enjoy the rights of individuals without having to assume the responsibilities of individuals.  Along these lines, Noreena Herz, a Cambridge University economist and author of The Silent Takeover:  Global Capitalism and the Death of Democracy, contends that multinational corporations pose a grave threat to democracy itself because of their ever growing capacity to manipulate governments with legal and illegal methods.  She maintains that corporations, almost by design, do not currently serve the world’s political and social needs, but rather, mostly serve the interests of profit-motivating investors.

“In contrast to the prevailing laissez-faire [describes an environment in which transactions between private parties are free from state intervention, including restrictive regulations, taxes, tariffs and enforced monopolies] global capitalism model, the Baha’I teachings stipulate that all business enterprises should be well regulated by international codes of law that set effective, fair, and just guidelines pertaining to global wages, working conditions, environmental protections, property issues, capital-labor relationships, restrictions on the concentration of wealth, and the sharing of natural resources.  Furthermore, according to the Baha’I teachings, businesses should be democratically run with workers and owners mutually participating in the decision-making process at all levels and workers also enjoying a percentage of the profits.  All people, including the disabled, should be employed in some capacity.  Moreover, in order to avoid the harmful speculation in currencies that currently exists, Baha’is believe that there should be one uniform worldwide monetary currency.  ‘Abdu’l-Baha wrote, “When the law3s He [Baha’u’llah] has instituted are carried out there will be no millionaires possible in the community and likewise no extremely poor.”  [The Promulgation of Universal Peace (2007), page 217]

“In their perpetual efforts to find, control, and exploit natural resources, corporations have caused much damage to the environment and have also cased much harm to indigenous communities with close ties with the land.  The Baha’i Faith recognizes that the constant struggle to seize and dominate natural resources has often resulted in major wars and conflicts between nations, groups, and enterprises.  In light of this, the Baha’i writings envisage that, in the future, all of the earth’s natural resources will be placed under public control, under the auspices of a world super-state (a world federation of nations).  According to the Baha’i writings, the world super-state will exercise full authority over the planet’s resources including oceans, forests, oil deposits, copper, silver, gold and other metals, diamonds, minerals, natural gas, coal, and so forth.  It is believed that the super-state will protect, coordinate, and organize the planet’s resources so that all peoples and countries may benefit equitably from these natural riches.”  [The World Order of Baha’u’llah (1991), page 204]  (pages 186-188)

Western-Style Development in the Third World

“An overwhelming body of evidence now shows that Western-style economic development, the kind that is promoted by multinational corporations, has led to highly destructive outcomes in the Third World.  Indeed, a common theme among critics of globalization is that the multinational corporations and the wealthy First World nations (especially the United States) have been using international financial and trade institutions – such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Trade Organization (WTO) – to their advantage and to the detriment of poor Third World nations.  For instance, Joseph Stiglitz, winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize in economics and author of Globalization and Its Discontents, contends that the IMF has consistently placed the interests of the United States and the rich industrialized countries above the interests of the impoverished developing countries.  Similarly, economist Biplab DasGupta, author of Structural Adjustment, Global Trade, and the New Political Economic Development, asserts that the global economic policies of the IMF and the WTO are harmful to poor countries and primarily reflect the interests of the wealthy countries of the Northern Hemisphere.

“Third World debt has become a major driving force in international relations.  During the 1970s and 1980s, First World banks found that it was profitable to lend money to Third World governments.  Indeed, such banks have managed to collect exorbitant interest on the longterm debt.  As it has become evident that some countries might default on their loans, the IMF (ultimately funded by public taxpayers) has stepped in to save the private banks by assuming some of the Third World debt.  The IMF and the World Bank, however, have increasingly pressured impoverished nations to enact economic austerity measures or face penalties.  These measures are formally known as structural adjustment programs, and they typically require countries to:  devalue their currency, which results in a dramatic reduction in the purchasing power of the poor; sell state-run enterprises to private parties (usually corporations); sell state-owned communally held lands to private parties (usually wealthy landowners or agribusiness corporations); severely cut state spending on social programs such as education, health care, and food subsidies for the poor; radically reduce the employment of civil servants in the government sector, which results in massive government layoffs; remove subsidies and price supports for small farmers who consequently can no longer compete with agribusiness corporations; stop producing food crops (such as corn and beans) for the hungry local population and start producing cash crops (like coffee, cotton, and tobacco) for export and sale to wealthy countries; deregulate economic activity (repeal minimum wage laws, gut environmental protection laws, etc.); and other changes.  The measures described above have had the overall effect of transferring wealth and power from the public sphere (governments and the people) to private entities (rich elites and multinational corporations).  [see:  “Michel Chossudovsky:  The Globalization of Poverty:  Impacts of IMF and World Bank Reforms,”]

“Loans have done almost nothing to alleviate the distress of Third World populations.  To the contrary, they have done much to increase this distress while at the same time augmenting the coffers of multinational corporations and First World banks.  Amazingly, poor countries now spend over twenty-five dollars on debt repayment for every one dollar in aid that they receive from wealthy nations.  Dennis Brutus, a professor of Africana Studies and the University of Pittsburgh, states,

One of the central mechanisms by which this recolonization [of Africa]…is carried out is the loan system through structural adjustment programs….  [M]any of the countries that received loans…have not seen their economies improve.  Quite the opposite.  Some are in a far worse economic position and more indebted than they were prior to taking the loans…more bankrupt…more impoverished….  It is hardly imaginable that anyone could knowingly devise such a ruthless, heartless system that is entirely devoted to increasing profit and largely indifferent to its human cost.  This, however, is the system that is shaping life in Africa today, and it is the system that we must challenge.”  [see source HERE]

Next post:

Taking Water Away From the Bolivian Indians

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See recent posts::

+HERE’S A TAKE ON THE RICH RICH RICH RICH AND THE POOR POOR POOR POOR

+FINDING MY COURAGE TO TAKE A LOOK AT ‘WHAT’S WRONG WITH AMERICA’

+ONGOING TRAUMAS: AMERICA’S BIG MONEY PERPETRATORS

+WHERE THE BAD PEOPLE HIDE: ‘AMERICA FAR WORSE THAN A BULLY’

+CRITICISM NOT ALLOWED IN A BLACK-AND-WHITE WORLD

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Read Full Post »

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I never once had the thought during my 18-year abusive infant-childhood that there was any other kind of parent different than mine were.  I was sequestered within a total environment of trauma that had never allowed me to learn to think either subjectively or objectively about my own experience in relation to anybody else’s different kind of experience.  There was only ONE WAY to see the world, and that was my abusive mother’s way.  She held control over every inlet and outlet of my life, and her control of me was absolute and unswerving.

In my mother’s black-and-white world I was the all-black-one and everyone else was all-white.  Because there was never any break in the trauma I experienced, and because no deviation from my mother’s dictates was ever allowed, I never knew anything like GREY actually existed.  And perhaps because I know so intimately what it feels like (and IS like) to be completely ‘demonized’, I tend to make every possible allowance I can find not to ‘criticize’ anyone else.

There was no balance of any kind in the environment that built me.  Conceiving of a world where very real malevolence exists AT THE SAME TIME that true benevolence ALSO exists at the same time, in the same place is very hard for me to do.  I believe that being raised in a completely abusive Borderline universe makes the Borderline’s inability to tolerate either ambiguity or paradox seem like a fact of reality that everyone accepts.

Trying to live in a different kind of world that accepts the reality that good and bad exist together along with a zillion degrees of mixtures of the two in between often makes me feel as if I am walking completely blind through human-influenced experiences of all kinds that I do not understand.

DARING to criticize my own nation makes me feel like a traitor who will be exposed at any moment – and punished for both my daring and for my criticism.  My severe trauma-built body-brain makes sure that I remember one thing – and it tells me this is the truth whether I ever would have dared to criticize my mother or if I dare to criticize America:  “The bigger they are they harder the hit!”

I was completely setup to shutup.  There never was a middle ground, not even enough for me to be able to identify my own feelings or to have my own thoughts about my experience growing up.  Being entombed absolutely alone in a living tomb of silence is VERY SCARY.  Daring to criticize ‘my nation’ now is stimulating everything I know about threat-to-life if I challenge the status quo.

It was obvious to me that the entire world was on the side of my mother, including my father, my siblings, my teachers, any neighbors we ever had, even my grandmother who was ‘forced’ to give up trying to intercede against my mother on my behalf.  Because my mother was always RIGHT, and because I have accepted the cultural dictate in this nation that America is also always RIGHT – who do I think I am to dare to question otherwise?

And yet it seems to be my concern for the millions of infants, children and their families that are suffering in very real ways within our nation today that is giving me the permission I need to ask in my compassion for THEM, “What is WRONG here?”  Along with the ideas I presented in my earlier post today about ‘betrayal trauma’ comes my own conflicts about daring to notice something is wrong, daring to ask the question, and about daring to look at the ugly side of the history and ongoing practice our nation displays in allowing some people to thrive while others needlessly suffer and perish – both within our own boundaries and around the globe.

Am I betraying my own nation by entertaining the idea that America is far from perfect?

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Previous posts in the last 24 hours:

+HERE’S A TAKE ON THE RICH RICH RICH RICH AND THE POOR POOR POOR POOR

+FINDING MY COURAGE TO TAKE A LOOK AT ‘WHAT’S WRONG WITH AMERICA’

+ONGOING TRAUMAS: AMERICA’S BIG MONEY PERPETRATORS

+WHERE THE BAD PEOPLE HIDE: ‘AMERICA FAR WORSE THAN A BULLY’

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Read Full Post »

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In light of the ‘mission statement’ I created when I started this blog April 2009, a statement that flew off the tips of my fingers onto my computer nearly without any conscious thought of my own, I am going to pursue my current pathway through my reading of America’s Sacred Calling: Building a New Spiritual Reality (2010) by John Fitzgerald Medina., no matter how uncomfortable my travels through this information are making me.  After all, some part of me knew when I began this blog that sooner or later the GLOBAL picture was going to begin appearing here:

The most important work we can do, individually and globally, is the healing of traumas so that we don’t pass them down to future generations. This blog is a working tool to contribute to this good work.

I realize that probably only a handful of this blog’s readers will want to follow along this pathway I am presenting in this series of posts.  I cannot, however, honor my own blog intentions without considering these pertinent facts.  Trying as I did to find some ‘reason’ for the fact that of the 24 richest nations on earth, America has the widest gap between our rich and poor that is directly hurting the well-being of ever increasing numbers of our nation’s children – I could not locate the ‘reason’ without consulting some outside source of information that I believe I can trust.  Medina’s book is that source.

Medina writes:

Overthrowing Democracy in the Name of Capitalism

“Especially during the Cold War period (1946-1989), the United States financed and sometimes installed numerous dictatorships in the Third World.  The…Baha’I publication, Century of Light, explains that the West (the United States and its allies) used development aid to influence governments during the Cold War, but “wherever” this “failed to retain the loyalties of recipient populations” the West resorted “to the encouragement and arming of a wide variety of authoritarian regimes.”  This publication [available for free download by clicking on its title] further states that such political and economic manipulations contributed to “gross violations of human rights” and led to “the rise of opportunistic elites who saw in the suffering of their countries only openings for self-enrichment.”

“An almost endless stream of documentation now exists that affirms the accuracy of the statements quoted above from Century of Light.  For instance, John Stockwell, a former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officer and author of The Praetorian Guard:  The U.S. Role in the New World Order, does a masterful and courageous job of documenting the almost unimaginable horrors and atrocities that were committed by various U.S. sponsored dictatorships during the twentieth century.  As a CIA officer, Stockwell helped to manage “secret wars” in Africa and Southeast Asia.  Stockwell points out that, over many decades, the United States designed a worldwide military system of control to protect capitalist interests throughout the globe:

With a brief interruption during World War II, the creation of military oligarchies [government by the few] became a standard U.S. policy of control.  We set up schools and eventually trained tens of thousands of military and police officers in countries all over Latin and Central America, in Africa…and in Asia.  We…armed them…and created a military fraternity of people in power in these countries who were more closely identified with our own military, and hence, U.S. national interests and capitalist values, than they were with the people of their own countries.  [see:  The Praetorian Guard:  The U.S. Role in the New World Order, page 61]”

“Utilizing its international military fraternity, the U.S. government has sponsored coups in a variety of countries throughout the globe.  Indeed, in 1954, the Unites States sponsored a coup that overthrew the democratically elected government of Guatemala.  The coup occurred at the urging of Guatemalan wealthy landowners and U.S.-based corporations with business operations in Guatemala, such as the United Fruit Company.  In relation to this, Walter LaFeber, a professor of history and author of the book, Inevitable Revolutions:  The United States in Central America, states,

Guatemala has historically been the most economically powerful nation in Central America, but half the population average only $81 income each year.  This half are the pure-blooded Indians (descendants of the great Mayans) who are among the poorest and most isolated people in the hemisphere….  They and other exploited Guatemalans became the targets of a 20,000-man army trained and largely supplied by the United States.  That army runs the government, and it is a direct descendant of a regime placed in power by a U.S.-planned golpe (or coup) in 1954 that overthrew the constitutionally elected, reformist Arbenz government.  [See:  Inevitable Revolutions:  The United States in Central America, pages 8-9]”

“It is indeed disturbing to note that, mostly from 1954 through the 1980s, a series of Guatemalan military dictatorships that were backed and financed by the United States executed what was essentially a modern-day campaign of genocide against [South] American Indians.  The Historical Clarification Commission, a commission sponsored by the United Nations, stated that the Guatemalan military had committed “acts of genocide” in which 200,000 people (mostly Mayan Indians) were killed.  Along these same lines, in an article titled, “Indians Fight Modern Conquistadores,” Deborah Menkart [see:  Rethinking Columbus, pages 60-61] explains that, in order to suppress growing resistance among the poor starving peasants, the Guatemalan military took part in the mass killings of Mayan Indians, destroyed fields of crops and forests, raped and tortured countless women and children, sadistically amputated the limbs of many Indians and then abandoned them in holes to suffer alone, fouled water supplies, slaughtered livestock, demolished hundreds of villages, and desecrated Mayan sacred places and cultural symbols.  A 1999 United Nations report stated that the Guatemalan army demonstrated “an aggressive racist component of extreme cruelty that led to extermination en masse of defenseless Mayan communities, including children, women and the elderly, through methods whose cruelty has outraged the moral conscience of the civilised [sic] world.”  Mass graves containing the bodies of murdered people were uncovered.  Also, over a million people, primarily Mayan Indians, were displaced and forced at gunpoint to move into so-called “model villages” (militarized concentration centers) where the government maintained oppressive control.  (pages 183-185)”

The author’s next section:   Multinational Corporations

See previous posts about this book:

+HERE’S A TAKE ON THE RICH RICH RICH RICH AND THE POOR POOR POOR POOR

+FINDING MY COURAGE TO TAKE A LOOK AT ‘WHAT’S WRONG WITH AMERICA’

+ONGOING TRAUMAS: AMERICA’S BIG MONEY PERPETRATORS

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As difficult as it is for me to challenge my own ‘betrayal bond’ with the United States of America, I am posting here further excerpts from the book I introduced in last evening’s post, America’s Sacred Calling: Building a New Spiritual Reality (2010) by John Fitzgerald Medina.

Medina writes:

The Extremes of Wealth and Poverty as an Impediment to Peace and Spiritual Growth

“Ironically, as mentioned above [see last evening’s post] in the face of widespread rising poverty in the United States and throughout the globe, astonishing levels of wealth are nonetheless being amassed and increasingly concentrated in the hands of a very small cadre [a nucleus or core group] of super-rich, powerful individuals.  In the United States, the gap in wealth distribution is currently greater than at any other time since 1929, the year of the Great Depression.  Similarly, practically every Third World country has a small cadre of rich elites (obligarchs) [a form of power structure in which power effectively rests with a small number of people] who live lavish lifestyles amidst the abject debilitating poverty of their fellow citizens.  Related to this, the Universal House of Justice warns that the widening gap between the rich and the poor throughout the world is a major impediment to peace:  “The inordinate disparity between rich and poor, a source of acute suffering, keeps the world in a state of instability, virtually on the brink of war. (The Promise of World Peace, pages 10-11)” Along similar lines, ‘Abdu’l-Baha states the following regarding wealth:

“If a judicious and resourceful individual should initiate measures which would universally enrich the masses of the people, there could be no undertaking greater than this….  Wealth is most commendable, provided the entire population is wealthy.  If, however, a few have inordinate riches while the rest are impoverished, and no fruit or benefit accrues from that wealth, then it is only a liability to its possessor.  If, on the other hand, it is expended for the promotion of knowledge, the founding of elementary and other schools, the encouragement of art and industry, the training of orphans and the poor – in brief, if it is dedicated to the welfare of society – its possessor will stand out before God and man as the most excellent of all who live on earth and will be accounted as one of the people of paradise.  (The Secret of Divine Civilization, page 24)

“It would be accurate to say that one of the defining features of capitalism is that it encourages individuals to concentrate wealth.  Capitalism also lacks any moral constraints that admonish and encourage individuals to expend such wealth for the benefit of others.  This alone practically guarantees that ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s above admonition will remain unheeded within the current economic paradigm.  He asserts that wealth that is not utilized for the benefit of the overall society is actually “a liability to its possessor.”  I believe that this is a reference to the spiritual deficits (deficits in the virtues of generosity, compassion, justice, humility, and love) that likely multiply in the souls of any individuals who devote their time and energy to selfishly amassing physical treasures while, at the same time, showing little concern for the general welfare of the community.  It is probably the case that such individuals may outwardly appear prosperous, and yet, they may actually be experiencing spiritual starvation and a poverty of the soul.  (pages 179-181)”

Keeping the World Safe for Capitalism

“Such poverty of the soul is clearly evident in the corrupt social, political, and economic arrangements of the global order.  These prevailing arrangements are based on blatant physical power and control and are not mediated in any sense by moral or spiritual constraints.  Indeed, physical wealth is the chief mediating force in global politics and economics.  Wealthy elites are able to exercise tremendous power not only within their own nations, but also beyond their respective nations’ borders.  Elites may live in different countries, but they often collaborate with one another to exert extreme control over the resources and governmental institutions of the planet in order to maintain the prevailing unjust global order.  Within the United States, big business interests (American multinational corporations, huge investment banks, and rich owners/investors) hold a powerful sway over the government.  Through the instrumentality of the U.S. government as well as through American-dominated international bodies such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the World Trade Organization, big business entities project their power onto the global stage where they consistently promote economic, political, and military policies and actions that make the world safe for capitalism (actually, safe for the easy exploitation of the masses).  Such U.S.-led policies and actions effectively preserve the privileged position of American big business interests throughout the planet as well as protect the positions of elites within impoverished countries where ruthless oppression is often used to maintain the gap between the rich and the poor.

“The control of agitated hungry populations typically requires the use of military force.  Not surprisingly, in order to maintain the global arrangements described above, the Unites States has been, and continues to be, the leading supplier of weap0ns on the planet.  [bold type is mine]  By the end of the 1990s, the United States accounted for seventy percent of the commerce in weapons to the Third World.  Significantly, even after the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War in 1989, the United States continued to flood the world with weapons.  For instance, it provided arms or military technology to belligerent parties in ninety percent of the fifty most significant conflicts that occurred between 1993 and 1994.  [See HERE]  In November 13, 2006, The Boston Globe reported the following:

“…it is the United States that by far remains the top purveyor of high-tech arms to areas where…the likelihood of armed conflict remains highest.  A study last year by the progressive World Policy Institute found that the United States transferred weaponry to 18 of the 25 countries involved in an ongoing war….  [M]ore than half of the countries buying U.S. arms…were defined as undemocratic….  “The U.S. would be significantly affected if there was an arms treaty that took into account human rights abuses and conflict areas,” added William Hartung [World Policy Institute]….  “The U.S. government still wants to be able to do convert and semi-covert arms transfers.”  [rest HERE]”

“The findings above are very significant considering the fact that many contemporary outbreaks of famine are related to armed struggles and devil wars such as the recent conflict in Somalia.  Thus, arms transfers and U.S. military aid to the Third World contributes considerably to world hunger because they help keep famine-inducing armed conflicts alive.

“It is ironic that the United States has often touted itself as the prime promoter of worldwide democracy when, as noted above, a myriad of undemocratic governments have received military aid and weapons from the United States.  Some of these governments have essentially acted as American-influenced puppets that have served to maintain political and economic conditions that are favorable to the Untied States and to American-based multinational corporations.  During the 1800s and 1900s, the United States established such governmental arrangements throughout the world in a variety of countries in Central and South America, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and the Pacific region.  Indeed, these arrangements were cultivated especially in Third World countries where profits could be made through exploitation of cheap labor and/or the exploitation of minerals, and so forth.  Along these lines, sociologist James Loewen states, “From 1815 on, instead of spreading democracy…we [Americans] sought hegemony [domination] over Mexico, the Philippines, much of the Caribbean basin, and other nations.”  In many instances, the U.S. government blatantly worked hand in hand with wealthy Third World oligarchs to actually create puppet regimes.  (pages 181-183)”

The author’s next section:

Overthrowing Democracy in the Name of Capitalism

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SEE:

US is top purveyor on weapons sales list — Shipments grow to unstable areas

By Bryan Bender – The Boston Globe Staff / November 13, 2006

SOURCEWATCH – Arms Control – June 4, 2008

— Interesting collection of current foreign aid statistics by nation HERE

Also see:  Third World Traveler

THIRD WORLD TRAVELER  is an archive of articles and book excerpts
that seek to tell the truth about American democracy, media, and foreign policy,  and about the impact of the actions of the United States government, transnational corporations, global trade and financial institutions, and the corporate media,  on democracy, social and economic justice, human rights, and war and peace,  in the Third World, and in the developed world.

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For all the severe trauma, neglect, abuse and malevolent treatment I endured during the first 18 years of my life, I have yet to thoroughly explore the topic of the book I am highlighting here today as it applies to my own life.  I have known for many years that I had no relationship with my mother or father that was outside the range of what is described as a ‘trauma bond’ or as a ‘betrayal bond’.  I had no safe and secure attachment relationship with ANYONE during those 18 years.  I have evidently taken that fact so fore granted that it is only now as I continue to explore the CONTEXT of the Bigger Picture in which the trauma that happened to me within that I am NOW directly faced with either paying some attention to what these kinds of bonds actually are – or not.

From a rather detached point of view I find it intriguing to learn this about myself:  I did not move to the point where I could directly consider these damaged-damaging kinds of bonds UNTIL I reached a point where my interest and concern became focused not on my own story, but rather on the suffering of OTHER infants and children CURRENTLY trying to grow up in our nation as they suffer from all kinds of deprivations and traumas within malevolent environments.

As I noted in some of my recent posts, it is within the CONTEXT and within the Bigger Picture that I share the overwhelming suffering of my abusive-traumatic infant-childhood with LOTS of other people.  These ‘other people’ are NOT only grownups.  They are ALSO infants, toddlers, childrens and teens who are suffering NOW – in real-time.  As I have pursued my own understandings about what happened to me from the PAST on into the present real-time moment, all boundaries and distinctions I might have had about ‘my suffering’ and the suffering of others have vanished.

In this dissolution of distinctions about suffering I am left taking a closer look at the conditions within our American nation that are not only allowing growing numbers of our offspring to suffer, but that are contributing to this suffering.  I realized a long time ago that especially in regard to infant abuse our culture has built into itself such a taboo against harming little ones that we don’t even want to THINK about let alone TALK about the fact that infant abuse does happen!

Now I feel like I am broaching yet another taboo subject – what is wrong with America.  As I take a look at this subject I feel I am wandering around alone in a very dark bramble thicket – but I will not change my direction.  Forward I go, no matter how uncomfortable this stage of my journey is.

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I will be continuing to post further excerpts from the book I introduced in last evening’s post, America’s Sacred Calling: Building a New Spiritual Reality (2010) by John Fitzgerald Medina.   At the same time I admit to myself I am reaching WAY OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE as I tackle the information Medina presents.  My realization is that I am unable to make any further progress toward understanding suffering in the context of the nation I am a part of if I don’t at the same time understand that I have a BETRAYAL BOND with America.

As members of a social species we are programmed in our DNA to seek protection by being with others of our kind.  We are most comfortable being a part of the larger group at the same time that our innate physiological attachment ‘wiring’ makes certain that if we move too far out of our ‘group comfort zone’ – we will FEEL IT as discomforting, threatening and downright scary!  We will feel this threat in terms of lack of safety and security at the same time our attachment systems go into full play.

I suspect that most people instinctively align themselves with their own nation in the same way that infants and children align themselves with the caregivers they are dependent on for protection-need fulfillment.  Dependency based on NEED can be a powerful force that keeps us even as adults from asking questions and surveying factual information that MIGHT BURST OUR BUBBLE about anyone we are reliant on for protection-need fulfillment – including facts about our own nation.

In this context of examining context I present the following information on ‘betrayal bonds’.  This information comes from this book:

The Betrayal Bond: Breaking Free of Exploitive Relationships (1997) by Patrick J. Carnes

Product Description

Patrick Carnes presents an in-depth study of exploitive relationships: why they form, who is most susceptible, and how they become so powerful. He explains to readers how to recognize when traumatic bonding has occurred and provides a checklist so they can examine their own relationships. Included are steps readers can take to safely extricate themselves or their loved ones from these situations.

In Carnes’ introduction to his book he states:

Betrayal.  A breach of trust.  Fear.  What you thought was true – counted on to be true – was not.  It was just smoke and mirrors, outright deceit and lies.  Sometimes it was hard to tell because there was just enough truth to make everything seem right.  Even a little truth with just the right spin can cover the outrageous.  Worse, there are the sincerity and care that obscure what you have lost.  You can see the outlines of it now.  It was exploitation.  You were used.  Everything in you wants to believe you weren’t. Please make it not so, you pray.  Yet enough has emerged.  Facts.  Undeniable.  You sizzle with anger.

Betrayal.  You can’t explain it away anymore.  A pattern exists.  You know that now.  You can no longer return to the way it was (which was never really as it seemed).  That would be unbearable.  But to move forward means certain pain.  No escape.  No in-between.  Choices have to be made today, not tomorrow.  The usual ways you numb yourself will not work.  The reality is too great, too relentless.

Betrayal.  A form of abandonment.  Often the abandonment is difficult to see because the betrayer can be still close, even intimate, or may be intruding in your life.  Yet your interests, your well-being is continually sacrificed.

Abandonment is at the core of addictions.  Abandonment causes deep shame.  Abandonment by betrayal is worse than mindless neglect.  Betrayal is purposeful and self-serving.  If severe enough, it is traumatic.  What moves betrayal into the real of trauma is fear and terror. [my note:  I would add here that trauma is ALSO about overwhelming helplessness, hopelessness and great pain and suffering!] If the wound is deep enough, and the terror big enough [and great pain and suffering], your bodily systems shift to an alarm state.  You never feel safe.  You’re always on full-alert, just waiting for the hurt to begin again.  In that state of readiness, you’re unaware that part of you has died.  You are grieving.  Like everyone who has loss, you have shock and disbelief, fear, loneliness and sadness.  Yet you are unaware of these feelings because your guard is up.  In your readiness, you abandon yourself. Yes, another abandonment.

But that is not the worst.  The worst is a mind-numbing, highly addictive attachment to the people who have hurt you. [my note:  Addictive physiological patterns use the same chemicals and body-brain routes that human attachment does.  When our earliest caregiver attachments hurt us, our body-brain had no choice in the beginning of our life to alter the way our attachment patterns built us and built themselves into us in our early unsafe and insecure human environment.] You may even try to explain and help them understand what they are doing – convert them into non-abusers.  You may even blame yourself, your defects, your failed efforts.  You strive to do better as your life slips away in the swirl of the intensity.  These attachments cause you to distrust your own judgment, distort your own realities and place yourself at even greater risk.  The great irony?  You are bracing yourself against further hurt.  The result?  A guarantee of more pain.  These attachments have a name.  They are called betrayal bonds.

Exploitive relationships create betrayal bonds.  These occur when a victim bonds with someone who is destructive to him or her.  Thus the hostage becomes the champion of the hostage taker, the incest victim covers for the parent and the exploited employee fails to expose the wrongdoing of the boss. {my note:  I am also becoming very clear that, against all our nation’s social taboos about ‘thinking this way’, that our nation itself is allowing an abusive exploitive relationship to continue to grow between ‘the rich and the poor’.  I have a betrayal bond-attachment (as I suspect most of us do) to my own nation!] Sexual exploitation by professionals – such as in the Father Porter case, the Pied Piper phenomenon at Jonestown, and the kidnapping of the children from the school bus at Chowchilla – grab national attention.  Yet the bonds formed in those situations have much in common with the experiences most of us have.

We typically think of bonding as something good.  We use phrases like male bonding and marital bonds, referring to something positive. [my note:  and ‘the mother-infant bond’ – the following bold type is mine] Yet bonds are neutral.  They can be good or bad.  Consider destructive marriages as in War of the Roses in which the attachment results in a mutually destructive bond that cannot be broken.  Partners cannot leave each other the bond is so strong, even when they clearly know the risks.  Similarly, adult survivors of abusive and dysfunctional families struggle with bonds that are rooted in their own betrayal experiences.  Loyalty to that which does not work, or worse, to a person who is toxic, exploitive or destructive to you, is a form of insanity.

A number of signs indicate the presence of a betrayal bond:

1.  When everyone around you has strong negative reactions, yet you continue covering up, defending or explaining a relationship.

2.  When there is a constant pattern of nonperformance and yet you continue to believe false promises.

3.  When there are repetitive, destructive fights that nobody wins.

4.  When others are horrified by something that has happened to you and you are not.

5.  When you obsess over showing someone that he or she is wrong about you, your relationship or the person’s treatment of you.

6.  When you feel stuck because you know what the other person is doing is destructive but believe you cannot do anything about it.

7.  When you feel loyal to someone even though you harbor secrets that are damaging to others.

8.  When you move closer to someone you know is destructive to you with the desire of converting them to a non-abuser.

9.  When someone’s talents, charisma or contributions cause you to overlook destructive, exploitive or degrading acts. [my note:  Alas, I am also ‘reading’ patterns here that describe the nation I am a part of]

10.  When you cannot detach from someone even though you do not trust, like or care for the person.

11.  When you find yourself missing a relationship, even to the point of nostalgia and longing, that was so awful it almost destroyed you.

12.  When extraordinary demands are placed upon you to measure up as a way to cover up that you’ve been exploited.

13.  When you keep secret someone’s destructive behavior toward you [my note:  and I would add in the case of our nation ‘against others’] because of all the good they have done or the importance of their position or career.

14.  When the history of your relationship is about contracts or promises that have been broken and that you are asked to overlook.

Divorce, employee relations, litigation of any type, incest, child abuse, family and marital systems, domestic violence, hostage negotiation, kidnapping, professional exploitation and religious abuse all are areas that reference and describe the pattern of betrayal bonding.  They have in common situations of incredible intensity, or importance, or both. [my note:  I place our ‘national allegiance’ in this same category when the wealth and interests of the few causes great harm to the desperate many] They all can result in a bond with a person who is dangerous and exploitive.  Signs of betrayal bonding include misplaced loyalty, inability to detach and self-destructive denial. [bold type is mine]

If you are reading this book, a clear betrayal has probably happened in your life.  Chances are that you have also bonded with the person or persons who have let you down.  Now here is the important part:  you will never mend the would without dealing with the betrayal bond.  Like gravity, you may defy it for a while, but ultimately it will pull you back.  You cannot walk away from it.  Time will not heal it.  Burying yourself in compulsive and addictive behaviors will bring no relief, just more pain….

You can click on this title and go to Amazon.com to explore the Table of Contents and other pages, as well.  I haven’t read the book yet as I just discovered it in my searching today.  I will either locate a copy through my local library or buy one for myself.  The Betrayal Bond: Breaking Free of Exploitive Relationships (1997) by Patrick J. Carnes

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I found this excellent website this morning that has lots of clear accurate information-packed pages related to abuse and trauma — HELPGUIDE.org

Healing Emotional and Psychological Trauma — Symptoms, Treatment, and Recovery

What is emotional and psychological trauma?

Emotional and psychological trauma is the result of extraordinarily stressful events that shatter your sense of security, making you feel helpless and vulnerable in a dangerous world.

Traumatic experiences often involve a threat to life or safety, but any situation that leaves you feeling overwhelmed and alone can be traumatic, even if it doesn’t involve physical harm. It’s not the objective facts that determine whether an event is traumatic, but your subjective emotional experience of the event. The more frightened and helpless you feel, the more likely you are to be traumatized.

A stressful event is most likely to be traumatic if:

  • It happened unexpectedly.
  • You were unprepared for it.
  • You felt powerless to prevent it.
  • It happened repeatedly.
  • Someone was intentionally cruel.
  • It happened in childhood.

Emotional and psychological trauma can be caused by single-blow, one-time events, such as a horrible accident, a natural disaster, or a violent attack. Trauma can also stem from ongoing, relentless stress, such as living in a crime-ridden neighborhood or struggling with cancer.

Risk factors that increase your vulnerability to trauma

People are also more likely to be traumatized by a new situation if they’ve been traumatized before – especially if the earlier trauma occurred in childhood.

Childhood trauma increases the risk of future trauma

Traumatic experiences in childhood can have a severe and long-lasting effect. Children who have been traumatized see the world as a frightening and dangerous place. When childhood trauma is not resolved, this fundamental sense of fear and helplessness carries over into adulthood, setting the stage for further trauma.

Childhood trauma results from anything that disrupts a child’s sense of safety and security, including:

* An unstable or unsafe environment

* Separation from a parent

* Serious illness

* Intrusive medical procedures

* Sexual, physical, or verbal abuse

* Domestic violence

* Neglect

* Bullying

Symptoms of emotional and psychological trauma

Following a traumatic event, most people experience a wide range of physical and emotional reactions. These are NORMAL reactions to ABNORMAL events. The symptoms may last for days, weeks, or even months after the trauma ended.

Emotional symptoms of trauma:

* Shock, denial, or disbelief

* Anger, irritability, mood swings

* Guilt, shame, self-blame

* Feeling sad or hopeless

* Confusion, difficulty concentrating

* Anxiety and fear

* Withdrawing from others

* Feeling disconnected or numb

Physical symptoms of trauma:

* Insomnia or nightmares

* Being startled easily

* Racing heartbeat

* Aches and pains

* Fatigue

* Difficulty concentrating

* Edginess and agitation

* Muscle tension

These symptoms and feelings typically last from a few days to a few months, gradually fading as you process the trauma. But even when you’re feeling better, you may be troubled from time to time by painful memories or emotions—especially in response to triggers such as an anniversary of the event or an image, sound, or situation that reminds you of the traumatic experience.

This appears to be a very user-friendly site.  I found a host of informative articles HERE.  Great site!

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To help myself gain a more balanced and informed perspective on the topic of the imbalance of resources within America and the world, I am reading America’s Sacred Calling: Building a New Spiritual Reality (2010) by John Fitzgerald Medina.  In his writing about materialism and capitalism, Medina states:

Widespread Rising Poverty Amidst Incredible Concentrations of Wealth

“As we take a closer look at the world’s current socioeconomic situation, especially as it pertains to hunger and poverty, we get a clear view of the workings of a cruel economic machine.  For any person of moral conscience, it is hard to come to grips with the fact that we live on a planet in which staggering numbers of people are literally dying of hunger.  About one billion people on the globe are at or near starvation.  Almost half of the world’s children live in a state of debilitating poverty and malnutrition.  If our real world could be reduced to a hypothetical village containing only one hundred people, then the following would be true:  sixty people in the village would always be hungry (twenty-six of these being severely undernourished); sixteen people would go to bed hungry at least some of the time [my note:  currently among American children 22.5 of a ‘100 children’ would fit this category] while only twenty-four people within the village would always have enough to eat.  This reveals the true callous nature of the prevailing global order in which only twenty-four percent of the Earth’s people have enough to eat.  It must be emphasized here, that if food was properly distributed and shared, there would be plenty for everyone on the planet.  Food is readily available; however, many of the world’s poor cannot pay the market price, and thus, sometimes even huge surpluses of food are allowed to rot away.

“Additionally, about one billion people worldwide have no access to clean water and half of the world’s people have no access to sanitation (sewage, flushing toilets, etc.).  This lack of clean water and sanitation leads to health problems and to the easy spread of disease.  It also results in a waste of time and energy because the poor spend several hours each day collecting water from distant areas.  (pages 174-175)”

“The apparent cruelty of the existing global order is especially demonstrated by the fact that the people living in the wealthy developed nations (only about twenty percent of the Earth’s population) consume a disproportionate share of the world’s resources and goods each year, including about seventy percent of the world’s energy, about seventy-five percent of its metals, about eighty-five percent of its timber, and about eighty-six percent of its goods.  The United States has the highest consumption levels per capita in the globe.  Along these lines, on August 28, 2000, an article in the San Diego Union Tribune reported that Americans alone spend “$1.9 billion more a day on imported clothes and cars and gadgets than the entire rest of the world spends on its goods and services.” [bold type is mine]  Similarly, eighty-five percent of the Earth’s water is used by a mere twelve percent of the world’s people who live in the wealthy developed nations.

“In addition to consuming a disproportionate share of the Earth’s food, resources, and goods, the rich countries of the globe are claiming an ever-increasing ratio of the world’s wealth.  In 1950, the income gap between the people living in the wealthy developed nations and the people living in the poorest nations was thirty-five to one.  By 1997, in less than fifty years during the worldwide expansion of capitalism, this income gap increased to seventy-four to one.   In contrast to this situation, Baha’u’llah exhorts all peoples to “Be generous in prosperity….Be a treasure to the poor, an admonisher to the rich, an answerer to the cry of the needy.”

“The gap between the rich countries and the poor countries of the world is rapidly increasing as noted above; however, equally disconcerting is the fact that the gap between the rich and poor is also increasing within the United States itself.  It may surprise some to know that the United States now has the most unequal income distribution of any industrialized country.  [bold type is mine]  Alarmingly, super-rich Americans who represent the top one percent of the U.S. population control forty percent of America’s total wealth.  Meanwhile, the top twenty percent of Americans, as a group, control eighty-three percent of America’s total wealth.  This means that the overwhelming majority of Americans are competing for only the remaining seventeen percent of the wealth after the super-rich and the rich take their lion’s share.

“Over the past four decades, in the face of major government deregulation, corporate downsizing, and the dissolution of trade unions, American workers have experienced a significant erosion of protections, benefits, income, and freedoms.  Additionally, over this period of time, American multinational corporations have made a massive transfer of capital, factories, and labs to Third World countries with the weakest workplace safety and environmental laws, the toughest anti-union laws, and the lowest wages and taxes.  Not surprisingly, as shown by the statistics above, wealth has been upwardly distributed – indeed, approximately ninety percent of the increase in U.S. income over about the past twenty-five years has gone to the rich people at the top of the socioeconomic pyramid (the top twenty percent of Americans).

“As a result of all of this, rising numbers of Americans are joining the ranks of what has been termed the “working poor.”  This is a reference to the millions of Americans who are working year-round, full-time, for poverty-level wages (based on government guidelines).  Some have to live in their cars or have to work two full-time jobs just to pay the rent and to buy enough food for their children.  Some experience constant pain because they cannot afford medical treatment and are unable to miss any work because they lack sick leave.  The reality is that the U.S. economy is not producing enough living-wage jobs to accommodate all Americans.  Sadly, in the United States, about one in three children under the age of twelve are hungry or at risk of hunger.  All of this once again demonstrates the grim dehumanized nature of this system.”  (pages 176-178)”

Survival of the Fittest Class Consciousness

“Interestingly, in spite of the gross maldistribution of wealth in the United States, many Americans do not protest because they still feel fortunate in comparison to the vast numbers of people in the Third World who live on the brink of real starvation.  As such, the maldistribution of wealth (a salient feature of capitalism) results in a pyramid-shaped hierarchy that stratifies people into socioeconomic classes ranging from the American super-rich elites at the top of the pyramid down to the lowliest peasant classes in the Third World.  The rich upper classes use their wealth strategically to promote and to protect their economic and political interests often at the expense of the middle and lower classes.  Through the use of gifts, grants, and contributions to government officials, churches, universities, foundations, think tanks, and a variety of other organizations, the elites exert tremendous influence on all aspects of society including governmental, business, religious, legal, educational, media, law enforcement, and military institutions.  Indeed, the scandalous amount of money that the American upper classes spend on political campaigns to maintain their power is truly an affront to democracy.  The corrupting influence of money, however, is not the only thing that maintains the unjust status quo.  The system is also kept in order because capitalist ideology itself fosters a “survival of the fittest” mentality in which individuals perceive each other as competitors in a struggle for survival (Social Darwinism).  This promulgates the faulty belief that the best people rise to the top and that the lower classes are inferior and possibly even morally and/or intellectually deficient.  Thus class prejudices play a major role in maintaining the system.

“Interestingly, many lower and middle class Americans often willingly support such an iniquitous [characterized by iniquity] economic model because they subscribe to the capitalist inspired notion that someday they too can climb to the top of the socioeconomic hierarchy.  However, the current deep economic recession involving major job losses, the collapse of the housing market, and the massive loss of personal investments and savings has caused some Americans to realize that they are indeed vulnerable to the iniquities of the free market system.  Moreover, with banks and credit card companies being increasingly tight on loans and credit, the recession has stoked serious concerns among average Americans who have become accustomed to living counterfeit “middle class” lifestyles based on staggering levels of debt.  Meanwhile, due to the high surplus of desperate unemployed Americans, companies now have the capability to fire well-paid employees and to easily replace them with “cheaper” workers.  The current job market situation in the United States is radically different in comparison to the job marked of the mid-1940s through the mid-1960s when U.S. industrial firms were manufacturing about half of all the world’s products.  As noted above, over the past few decades, the U.S. economy has lost huge numbers of well-paid manufacturing jobs due to capitalist “free trade” policies that have allowed American multinational corporations to simply close entire factories and ship them off to the Third World where they can easily exploit entire populations.

“Additionally, many American families in the past could make an adequate living on only one income.  This is no longer the case.  In today’s families, both parents typically have to work to make ends meet [my note:  author makes no mention of single parenthood]  In light of all of this, many Americans are starting to realize that they are potentially only a few paychecks away from poverty and potentially even homelessness.  Thus, increasing numbers of Americans are coming to the painful recognition that the so-called American dream of never-ending upward mobility is coming to an abrupt end.  Of course, for some Americans, the thought of upward mobility has always been nothing more than a fleeting fantasy, especially for inner-city minorities living in blighted urban centers with high unemployment rates, eroded tax bases, and a lack of social infrastructure (poor medical care, substandard housing, and indeed, even a lack of grocery stores).  (pages 178-179)”

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The author’s next section:

The Extremes of Wealth and Poverty as an Impediment to Peace and Spiritual Growth

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Is there something you have always wanted to learn about?  Boy, here is the JACKPOT!  The pot-of-gold at the end of the rainbow!  All absolutely FREE!  Take a look!

First, check this link out for free online University classes:  OPEN COURSEWARE CONSORTIUM (OCC) —  There are 250 universities worldwide offering FREE classes at this link!

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This link is to one member of the OCC – Massachusetts’s Institute of Technology (MIT) —  MITOPENCOURSEWARE – None of these 2000 courses count toward any kind of actual degree, but the wealth of information available in the free online courses is staggering!

Unlocking Knowledge,
Empowering Minds.

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I know I share with others my great difficulty in understanding much adult so-called humor.  I know part of the reason for this comes from my own traumatic very inadequate and scrambled-up early experiences with preverbal and verbal language.  Most words I heard directed at me from birth were contained in the context of severe emotional, psychological, verbal and physical violence and abuse.  That I grew up hearing other people in my family talking to one another in an entirely DIFFERENT context was of only vicarious use to me.

Along with the consequence of trauma and malevolent treatment in our very earliest months and years of life that doesn’t built our right limbic emotional regulation areas of our brain RIGHT comes built-in confusion that doesn’t allow us to understand or to ‘read’ other people’s SOCIAL cues, either.  REAL humor in humans is a signal of optimal environmental conditions.  Humor that is NOT truly funny, that does NOT connect itself to the happy center in the left brain that’s built birth to age one, is NOT really funny!

Many of us who cannot easily (or ever) come up with an instantaneous ‘witty’ comeback for other people’s supposed humor are often the same people who suffered greatly in our earliest years where very little was EVER funny.  Being the subject or brunt of someone’s ‘jokes’ can often be a victimizing experience for us in a war that is far too familiar to us.

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Infant-child abuse survivors were victims of bullying usually by the same people who were SUPPOSED to protect and care for us.  I know I have mentioned the following before on my blog, but I am going to describe this one more time – and then move past this ugly segment of my life forever.

When I was diagnosed with advanced aggressive breast cancer in July 2007 I began chemotherapy treatment with a local oncologist.  I went through the chemotherapy which were completed prior to surgery in December 2007 (which showed that there was a second cancer in the same breast).  I had HER positive cancer, so also went through a year of Herceptin treatments which ended July 2008.  At that time my ‘treatments’ were completed, and I saw my oncologist one last time.

By this time I was completely worn down at the same time all of my infant-child abuse-related ‘disabilities’ were in high gear (major treatment resistant lifelong depression, dissociation and PTSD).  What I received as a ‘parting gift’ from my oncologist was this:

He left the examining room while I dressed, and when I stepped out the door into the hallway there was the doc standing there like a predator waiting to attack me and to crush any hopes I might have had that this past year had thwarted my cancer.  He said – and these are his exact words – “I wouldn’t bother having breast reconstruction if I were you.  You won’t live long enough to enjoy them.  And besides, we will just have to cut them off again when the cancer comes back.”

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I have lived under the dark shadow and burden of that bullying, verbally and emotionally abusive cloud ever since.  I had NOTHING to say back to that man.  Finally in late December 2010 I choose to find a decent doctor – which I did in Tucson – and to request a scan that would let me know NOW if there is any cancer detectable in my body.

The scan was last Thursday.  The results came through yesterday, and there is NO SIGN, absolutely NO SIGN of ANY cancer in my body.

My eyes opened this morning as I looked at my clock.  4:16 a.m.  My first thought was, “I am cancer free.”

The relief I feel is beyond my words to describe.  I felt like a character in the movie, “Ground Hog Day.”  My life can move forward into the future from this moment on.

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My life was dependent upon that mean doctor.  I have no way to comprehend inside of myself WHY he did what he did or WHY he said what he did.  That kind of action toward another human being is EVIL as far as I can tell – and those who read my blog know I NEVER use that word lightly.

That I could take no action to defend or to protect myself from his words OR to respond to them is NOT a reflection on me personally.  Yet I do believe it is a reflection of the way my body-brain was built in response to horrific, unbelievable trauma and abuse from my birth and for the next 18 years.

My body-brain was built while I was continually suspended between life and death.  My mother made sure of that.  What I DID was endure – and I survived all she had to heave against me.

I have done the same thing these past three years post-evil-doctor’s condemning words.  But not any more.  I woke today in a different world, a world in which at least for now I am assured that my body isn’t being attacked from the inside-out – nor am I being attacked from the outside-in.

Like many, many early trauma and abuse survivors I HATE seeking medical care.  I did not begin receiving mammograms when I should have.  Because I now know that early abuse and trauma is one of the LEADING RISK FACTORS for breast cancer, I especially urge all women to GET THEIR MAMMOGRAMS.

My cancer had been growing approximately three years before it was found.  It was found ONLY because I did an aerobic workout after which my left arm swelled instantly to three times its size.  My sister INSISTED I go to a doctor.  This swelling was from lymphodema caused by cancer blocking my lymph nodes.

The cancer began at the same time the last of my children left home.  Within a short period of time I lost my business and my home.  I also had NO CLUE about all of the things I now understand about insecure attachment and infant-child abuse and how it changes our physiological development.

I am MUCH wiser now – but that will (to me) NEVER mean that I can fight back against mean people.  Abilities to know the difference between who to trust and who not to, to know who is safe and who isn’t, to have hope – are all abilities that begin to form themselves into an infants growing body-brain by two months of age.  If our earliest attachment environments and PEOPLE in them are/were AWFUL, none of these circuits and pathways build themselves into us in a PRIMARY way.

We are as a consequence ALWAYS at risk for being targets of abuse in our life.  I DO NOT take this to mean in the usual way that we are ‘victims’.  We need to understand that the way our physiological development changed in response to early abuse and trauma means that we do not have OPTIMALLY-built ways to detect the difference between who/what is safe and who/what is not.

Not to be able to trust an oncologist who’s expertise carried me through a very real threat-to-life cancer treatment regime is nearly as hard to believe as it is to believe that my mother (and all others who did not STOP her) could do to me what was done to me from the time I was born.

I endured again.  Here I am.  HERE I AM and I will continue to be HERE hopefully against all odds.  I never did care about getting breast reconstruction.  What I wanted to know NOW is whether or not I can invest in more roses, if I can invest in building a chicken coop so I can get a couple of chickens and maybe a rabbit, if I can take piano lessons…..

YOU BET I CAN!

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