If you have a Dutch parent, you qualify for the rights of a Dutch citizen. Every 5 years Willow and Hawina and i go to the Dutch Embassy in Death City and get Willow’s passport renewed. Willow is a US citizen, with a US passport, but the Dutch are completely happy to issue an EU one, if the parents apply. This is a no brainer.
The Dutch passport is actually a Schengen Treaty enabled EU passport. You can travel between all the blue areas on the map below by just flashing an EU passport.
There are multiple reasons for having a couple of passports, beyond the above listed convenience. The one most people are familiar with is traveling between hostile or warring countries. Donning a Cuba passport stamp in a US passport can result in a visit from the FBI. Should you wish to travel regularly between the Arab world and Israel, a second passport (even from the same country, which you can get by claiming you lost one) is advised.
But the real reason i want Willow to have a second passport is that if his life is at all like mine, there will be a moment when it is extremely useful. This moment will be when he is traveling and some agent of the state thinks that they control him, because they have taken his passport. Annoyingly confidently they will be leading him off to some undesired destination. Having a second passport gives you the chance to look for an opportunity to depart from the foreign state agent and make a break for it.
Part of our home schooling is learning for when you can successfully make a break for it.
[Edited by Judy Youngquest]
What do you give to the person who wants nothing (for themself)? Perhaps you would give them an idea. Ideally it would be an idea so novel, funny, daring, newsworthy and crazy enough that it just might work. This is where i need your help.
This Friday is GPaul’s 30th birthday and we will be in NYC continuing with our community building Point A work. I am responsible for his under organized birthday event. Pleasantly, he personally wants little, demonstrated by (among many things) his willingness to stay in a tiny shoe box room in the barn at Acorn for years after he could have moved into a nicer one.
What we want collectively is at the other end of the accessibility spectrum: High visibility, inspiring, urban based, income sharing, intentional communities. And what I am asking from you, even if you can’t join us for this post Pride Friday night party in NYC is exotic memes.
What preposterous yet plausible proposals do you have for how to spark new urban communities? Some examples might help.
Party til Occupation. Both the mainstream media and progressive activists were surprised by Occupy. A call was made for a broad protest, as thousands have in the past, and people showed up in Zuccotti Park and ultimately across the country and started building political community. What had not been expected was that people from different classes and races could work intimately together using consensus to improve the treatment of the poor and the homeless and highlight corruption in banking and politics.
What if (after finding a suitable site) we decided to hold an open ended party. Different collective groups from the city take responsibility for making sure there are people and party goodies for some specific set of days for perhaps the first month or so. Then if it turns out that people are enjoying the party, renew the invitations and simply start pretending that permanent occupation of the site is a desirable and possible outcome.
CommunityCupid.org. Instead of a one on one dating site, this new social network helps people find others to live in community with. This does not need to be a single place based residence, it could be buying clubs and other aggregate discount services. And the structure of the site and the data is such that it is designed to bring people who are looking to spark community into the conversation. A relatively simple solution for starting up such a project might be as a Facebook plug in.
These are two examples of unlikely, but desirable projects. I am hoping you can add your own to be part of the birthday fun.
On Friday we will gather all the cards and all the participants we have and each person attending the party will draw 3 or more cards and choose the one which they think they can defend to the group the best. Then they will present the bold proposal of their selection and the rest of the group will evaluate the proposal to see if it is worthy of pursuing.
If you are in NYC this Friday, then email me and I will tell you where this event is in Brooklyn. If you can’t participate, but would like to submit a preposterous plausible idea you can either email me or leave it in the comment field.
An excellent report on the persistent lies of the US nuclear industry. Every reactor under construction will be late, every reactor under construction will be over budget. And they have only just started lying about them. And Florida wants to build more.
Originally posted on GreenWorld:
The nuclear “renaissance” began fizzling about three minutes after it was declared, once utility financial people took over from the nuclear boosters and did a real examination of reactor construction cost estimates, declining electrical demand, falling prices for natural gas, and rapid growth of renewables.
But five new reactors, aided by unique circumstances, do remain under construction in the U.S.: two at Southern Company’s Georgia Power Vogtle site in Georgia, two at SCANA’s Summer site in South Carolina, and the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Watts Bar-2 reactor in Tennessee. Both Vogtle and Summer are aided by their control of their state’s Public Service Commission, which kindly allows the utilities to use ratepayers as their banks; both utilities are collecting money from ratepayers as construction goes on, enabling them to borrow less and repay what they…
View original 1,250 more words
Everyday i check my Google news filters to see what is happening in the field of nuclear reactors worldwide. What strikes me doing this is the nuclear PR machine has figured out how to wire the mainstream media (MSM) echo chamber for the result it prefers. Some silly press release about Westinghouse winning a uranium fuel contract will be reported far and wide. Yet somehow most of the US MSM missed that Switzerland is phasing out of nuclear and that 95% of Italians voted against nuclear power in a binding referendum.
If you go a step further in and read the comments on these nuclear news stories, you will often hear nuclear power should be expanding worldwide (especially Thorium reactors) and that two exemplary national models they US should follow are France and China.
France: Nuclear boosters love to point at France. With 75% of it’s electricity from 58 reactors and very low retail electricity prices, it totally makes sense. Starting with the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973, the French made it national policy to dramatically increase their energy independence by building out a major nuclear fleet. And build they did.
While nuclear proponents continue to celebrate this choice, they are living in the past. Recently Reuters is reporting that nuclear power in that country has been capped at 63.2 GW by the government. Practically, this means new built reactors can only come online after old ones are replaced. Specifically, the sole domestic French reactor under construction is at Flamanville. Like all other EPR reactors in the west, it is years behind in completion and more than 100% over budget. This reactor can only come online when another reactor (in this case Fessenheim) is shut down.
France has no serious plans for the construction of new reactors. EdF is refocusing on maintaining the existing fleet. Areva is busy trying to sell reactors overseas (though it has abandoned the US). In fact, the current French plan is to drop nuclear as a fraction of the total energy supply to 50% by 2025. Instead of new reactors, France is investing in, wait for it … expanded renewables.
China: Nuclear boosters love China. China has 20 reactors running and is currently building 28 more. It has by far the most ambitions nuclear construction program in the world, with over 1/3 of all actively being build reactors globally. But before you cry out “let China lead the way,” let’s look briefly at two things: Reactor Safety and Chinese Renewables.
Reactor Safety: The most important conclusion from the special parliamentary panel of the Japanese government on the Fukushima meltdowns was that it was a human-made disaster. Specifically, the regulator of the reactors was far more concerned with the nuclear construction industry and its profits, than they were with public safety. Insufficiently high sea walls, inadequate evacuation plans, and insufficient liability insurance are just some of the results from this failed regulatory situation. These paved the way for the disaster.
China is worse, far worse. There is basically no independent safety inspection or regulation in China. At one of the only press conferences ever given by China’s nuclear regulator, which happened some months after Fukushima, they admitted that they had found 14 problems at the reactors in the county. No word about where they are, how severe the problems were, if there will be any disciplinarian action against staff or management for these failures. Since this March 2012 report, i have only seen one other report on the Chinese regulator. In this the French nuclear construction companies are complaining that the Chinese regulators are overwhelmed and don’t show up at all like they do in the West.
In the old Soviet reactor construction projects they used to tell the safety people they cant slow the project. When regulators instructed reactor operators to close plants, often communist party bureaucrats would overrule these instructions. This safety culture failure helped lead to Chernobyl and a myriad of other less reported nuclear disasters which have contaminated huge swaths of land. China has far less regulatory oversight than the old Soviet Union. The industry must basically regulate itself. Libertarians will be thrilled, the rest of us are legitimately concerned.
Chinese Renewables: While having slowed in recent months, the Chinese economy is still by most measures booming. And while they have the worlds most ambitious nuclear program, it is dwarfed by both each of two renewables program. The Chinese wind program (which is already the largest in the world) and their solar PV program (which is on target to be the largest in the world this year) are both already larger than their nuclear program and are growing faster. Bloomberg is reporting that 72% of new energy investment between now and 2030 in China will be real renewables. US safe energy and climate disruption activists would be thrilled with this level of commitment.
So when someone tells you we should follow the French and Chinese examples, you can respond by saying “by that, you mean prioritizing renewables over nuclear” and see if they agree.
Comrade Tikva has penned a great piece for Elephant Journal [Which posted my review of the Movie Wanderlust] If you want to see this article on EJ , with it’s links (and odd image) it’s here. She also does a brilliant comic on polyamory.
Many romances begin with wordless flirtation, stolen kisses and vague communication.
In a culture where disinterest is often interpreted as shyness or “playing hard to get,” men are encouraged to think women need to be skillfully interpreted and convinced, instead of taken at their word. Even the clearest “no” is still up for debate.
I’ve had men tell me I was “asking for it” by making eye contact with them on the street instead of averting my gaze. And when they discovered that my polite smile was not a request for sex, they reacted in outrage as if I was purposefully leading them on.
A stranger misinterpreting our smile as an open invitation to our body sounds ludicrous, but watching any romantic comedy will show us how our culture views consent.
How many times does the woman turn the main character down before he grabs and kisses her—and doesn’t she secretly want it all along, perhaps without even knowing it herself, until he figures out how to prove that they are meant to be?
It may be entertaining to watch awkward fumbling and forceful passion on the screen, but this kind of indirect communication seeps out into our actual romantic encounters far too often and can be very dangerous.
When men identify with that main character who wins the girl in the end, they feel cheated when their own efforts aren’t achieving the same results. They can sometimes decide to take it forcefully if the woman isn’t catching on quick enough, because “no” just means she hasn’t been convinced yet that this is what she really wants.
Most women have encountered men who feel entitled to have access to their bodies. Just look at the recent gruesome events involving Elliot Rodger and the resulting stories on Twitter with the hashtag “#YesAllWomen.”
Clearly there are a lot of men out there who think they deserve the girl, regardless of what she has to say about it.
In polyamorous relationships, unclear communication will have us drowning in a sea of interpersonal drama much more quickly than it would in a conventional, monogamous relationship.
One reason for this is that monogamy is the expected norm, so if we’re monogamous, it’s pretty easy to coast through the beginning of our relationship without putting any effort into communicating our intentions or expectations.
If we say nothing at all about what we want, it is assumed that our eventual goal is a monogamous until-death-do-us-part with someone. Polyamorous relationships are more complex and less understood, so therefore require explanation right from the beginning and skillful communication throughout.
Poly folks will often discuss their specific intentions with people they are attracted to and even sit down with everyone’s other partners and discuss it with them as well, way before the first date is even considered. It is very likely that a first kiss won’t come with a silent assumption of consent, but after it has been discussed with everyone involved instead.
Clear communication is a must for long-term poly relationships, so this is a skill that gets exercised often.
But what does this have to do with rape culture? Rape culture is fed on silence and assumptions. By insisting on communicating clearly every step of the way about any intention of sex or romance, we kill those old ideas of romance being about silent flirtation and stolen kisses.
We make consent sexy.
We might think that clear communication is overkill, boring and that it will stifle the romance—but the opposite is true. When people are open and vulnerable in relationship to each other, expressing the full extent of their desires and (most importantly) wanting to hear and understand the desires of their partners, there is absolutely nothing sexier than that.
I used to think that stolen kisses were sexy, but now I see them as a sign of emotional immaturity and dissociation. I would much rather my partners be obviously interested in what I want than trying to see what they can get out of me.
I would much rather be telling them what I want than waiting for them to guess.
Margaret Atwood’s quote, “Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.” illustrates why it is more important that men take on the task of communicating clearly and receiving consent, but it is incredibly empowering to take on the task as a woman as well.
We don’t need to be in a polyamorous relationship to get our clear communication groove on, obviously. But if we’re in a polyamorous relationship we need to communicate impeccably, just to keep up with what’s going on.
Making clear communication and consent sexy is a huge part of what’s needed to feed the revolution of consent culture. So whether we are monogamous, polyamorous, monogam-ish, or poly-curious, we need to push ourselves to communicate more openly with everyone and see how it affects our romantic life.
Most days i am blissfully outside of the influence of nationalism*. But my Dutch wife gets very excited about the World Cup and i recently watched the Dutch surprise victory over top ranked Spain.
And there are important problematic aspects to this event which should not be ignored. This post is a quick summary of my findings.
Evictions: US$11 billion is being spent on the stadiums and other support for the Brazilian World Cup. Construction project in cities across the country have resulted in 250K evictions and thousands of destroyed homes. In many cases there was little or no warning of the planned evictions. But even in the best cases, displaced persons are living in state subsidized housing with a fraction the value of their previous space. Promised public assistance projects have all but vanished.
US$2 billion has been spent on security alone for the event. Much of this is going to the 100K troops and 57K police deployed over the event. In demonstrations across the country, millions of Brazilians have protested.
Corruption/Bribery: The behemoth construction firm Andrade Gutierrez gobbled up nearly a quarter of the $11.5 billion in building contracts connected to the World Cup thanks to a whopping US$37.1 million election contribution spending spree in 2012.
Resource Mal-distribution: Brazil has made gains over the last 3 decades in raising citizens out of the most desperate poverty. But many see this expensive soccer event as a distraction from more pressing infra structure solutions the country really needs.
Sex trade: Prostitution is legal in Brazil and the age of consent is 14. The World Cup with it’s influx of tourists is sparking a sex trade explosion.
Pimps in Brazil are purchasing children from their parents for between $5K and $10K. This combined with drug addiction of sex workers continues to oppress locals and breeds misogyny.
As i close this post, i am not sure what the “ask” is. I will look into who is recommending people concerned about the conditions do what.
* It would be completely reasonable to argue that no one alive today is outside the pervasive influence of nationalism. And this is not what i am talking about.
[Update: Please read the comments at the end of this post for the proper history of what has happened at East Wind Community in Missouri regarding Personal Shelters. They are the ones who have pioneered it, and the story i have in this post is slightly wrong. I will fix it in the coming days. Paxus]
Egalitarianism is tricky. It starts out tricky because we don’t even have a common definition of it in the income sharing communities where I spend most of my time. The relevant parts of the principals from the Federation of Egalitarian Communities which describe it are:
- Hold land, labor, income and other resources in common.
- Assumes responsibility for the needs of its members, receiving the products of their labor and distributing these and all other goods equally, or according to need.
- Uses decision making which gives members an equal opportunity to participate, either through consensus, direct vote, or right of appeal or overrule.
- Works to establish the equality of all people and does not permit discrimination on the basis of race, class, creed, ethnic origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
[There are other FEC principals, like non-violence and sustainability, but these are not the core of egalitarianism.]
So what is missing from this important list? For starters the idea that all work is evaluated as equally worthy. An hour of my time spent writing a blog about communities is worth the same as an hour spent making a hammock or cooking a meal for many members.
One aspect of egalitarianism (that is touched upon in the second point above, but some FEC communities take much further than others) is that we are trying to avoid envy. We do this in part by avoiding the uneven distribution of our collective resources, except in agreed cases of need (for example golf carts for people with mobility problems at Twin Oaks is a needs based intentional unequal distribution).
Which brings me to the controversial idea of personal shelters. The FEC communities provide housing for our members. In several cases these communities are located on pieces of land large enough for members to build their own housing separate from typical dorm-based housing. We call these usually small buildings “personal shelters”.
Quite some years ago East Wind community (on over 1,000 acres in the Ozarks) decided to permit their members to build personal shelters. This resulted in some handy/artistic folks building some really beautiful places. The problem is that these structures created envy. The bigger problem was when the original builder/owners left, they created a fairness problem. Members who had not been involved in the work of creating these shelters could potentially end up in housing that felt much nicer than what most people living in the community had access to.
The problem this created ultimately lead to East Wind banning the creation of more new personal shelters. Twin Oaks has never permitted them, largely because of East Winds’ experience. Acorn wrestles with permitting them and so far has not allowed them. Some Acorners who were really excited about the idea left to form new communities where such things are possible.
The arguments against personal shelters which GPaul outlined to me, late one night while we were driving back from a Point A gathering in NYC are:
- Energy Use/Carbon Footprint
- Psychic Space
One of the things income sharing communities do especially well is minimize their ecological impact. The dormitory style buildings we have share kitchens, bathrooms, living space and meals. This low impact living is very hard to achieve without a lot of people under the same roof. Personal shelters are usually just one or two persons under a roof.
The fairness issue is covered.
The issue I had never heard before was one of psychic space. In a regular community residence dorm, you know you can stand in the hall in front of someone’s room and not worry that you are infringing on their space. The same is not true of personal shelters. The space they take up is much larger than the physical footprint of their construction. Peoples don’t know how to behave around them and this can cause discomfort and confusion.
Do you think the benefits outweigh the costs?
[Edited by Judy Youngquest]
During this campaign i learned a lot about Eric Cantor and how completely corrupt he was. Quoting the Urban Dictionary,Eric Cantor is “possibly the most immature douchebag ever to grace the halls of congress.” Last night in a stunning Tea Party upset, Cantor lost the Republican Party primary by 44% of the electorate to 55%. That is a spanking.
One of the political encyclopedias declared district 7 to be the safest Republican district in the country. That was written back when there was just one Republican Party. The district is so politically red, that Cantor ran unopposed for one of his 7 terms. Tonight a challenger with less than 1/10th the campaign funding of Cantor’s routed the second most powerful politician in the party.
This represents a fantastic political miscalculation by Cantor who won his last election by a margin larger than the total number of votes cast in this weeks primary. Cantor spent too much time out of the district campaigning for other Republicans and raising money. But before we forget Mr Cantor, who’s political career may blissfully be over. Let’s look at how he performed as far as rating groups are concerned.
- 0% rating from Alliance of Retired Americans (ARA), indicating an anti-senior voting record
- 7% from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which means he is anti-civil and constitutional rights
- 0% from the ALF-CIO indicating he is anti-labor
- 0% from League of Conservation Voters (LCV), which means he is anti-environment
- 92% from the Christian Coalition – a fundamentalist right wing group.
- An “A rating” from the National Rifle Association (NRA),
- 0% from The Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy (SANE), which means he wants more nuclear weapons and less control on their use.
- 0% from National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL), he opposes abortion.
More disturbing is that Cantor had a 98% identical voting record with corrupt and convicted Republican House Majority Leader Tom DeLay
Look, we know we screwed up when we were in the majority. We fell in love with power. We spent way too much money – especially on earmarks. There was too much corruption when we ran this place. We were guilty. And that’s why we lost.
And as terrible as David Brat is, i am thrilled he won. For several reasons.
It means Tea Party is not dead, despite having done much more poorly this election cycle than in the last one, with this notable exception. Which means the Republican party is still in danger of civil war.
It also means mainstream Republicans will not touch immigration reform (which was the hot button issue at the center of Cantor’s defeat). This in itself if bad for the country, but it will likely cost Republicans at least the increasingly Hispanic state of Florida in the next presidential election, which could well cost them the White House.
It means that an entrenched, corporately controlled, corrupt, powerful politician has fallen and will be replaced by an extreme but freshman member of the House of Representatives, which bases much of it’s power structure on seniority.
Curiously, Brat’s opponent in the November election will be another professor from the same college. Brat’s is expected to easily beat Democrat and sociology professor Jack Trammell.
Good bye Eric, you won’t be missed.