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1st Posted: 2012-08-15 14:03:00
(23,2,12016 comment : also applies in depressed parts of Rich Nations...)
The Economic Reason
"One of the principal economic problems facing us and the rest of the world is achieving maximum production and continued prosperity. The loss of a huge, potential market for goods is a direct result of the economic discrimination which is practiced against many of our minority groups. A sort of vicious circle is produced. Discrimination depresses the wages and income of minority groups. As a result, their purchasing power is curtailed and markets are reduced. Reduced markets result in reduced production. This cuts down employment, which of course means lower wages and still fewer job opportunities. Rising fear, prejudice, and insecurity aggravate the very discrimination in employment which sets the vicious circle in motion.
Minority groups are not the sole victims of this economic waste; its impact is inevitably felt by the entire population.
Eric Johnston"
These explanations of how segregation impacted the US economy apply equally to how resource drain from Developing (fka Third World) economies impacts the world economy. This is the chief ECONOMIC reason that we need Fair Trade and equal exchange laws. All the world suffers when part of the world is denied equality, via policy or path dependent history, as the case may be, we urgently need to cooperate and share with the entire world our technologies and our resources because unless we do so, we are all limited.
Read, Write, Dream, Teach !

23 February, 12016 HE
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Voici un discours que j’ai donné sur les SELs et Banques du Temps: SMG fr

Here is a talk that I gave on LETs and Time Banks : WesleyMetropolitanMemorialUMCtalk

ShiraDest “ère Holocène” Jones LANDRAC

16 June 12,015 HE (Holocene/Human Era)

( )

16 June, 12015 HE
(Holocene/Human Era -

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I am grateful for the discussions on alternative currencies, but prefer to consider the democratic processes involved in our monetary systems. I have not got much time, but would like to share my work on Shared Monetary Governance, which was a cross-currency study on the democratic processes used by various currency institutions, including Time Banks, Ithaca Hours (and all I. Hours based currencies), LETS, private issue and national monetary institutions. It is a bit technical, but the upshot is that opennes, transparency, and participartory processes are the key to an inclusive currency. In terms of viability, I looked at scale, which seems to show that with more than 120-150 people, the Free Rider problems leads to hyper-inflation. There is more to it, of course, depending on individual circumstances, but I salut your work, and thank you for opening these dialogues.
ShiraDestinie Jones Landrac, MPhil
Today's 'normal' date is: Saturday November 8, 2014
Today's U.N. Date is: Wednesday, November 8, 12014 H.E. (Holocene Era)
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Judith Eversley, a colleague from Bath CND, is planning an upcoming conference (5-7 November):

"Equality in the City: Making Cities Socially Cohesive"


Peace, ShiraDestinie, 26.10.12014 HE

Universal Date: Thursday, 26 October, 12014 H.E. (Holocene/Human Era)
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Change has to come. But it does not have to be bloody. Yes, local elections, won in large numbers, can change things if the Federal government allows the change. But at the same time, I am convinced, we must have cultural change in order for the practical changes to take hold. Otherwise there will be no understanding of the importance of the changes, and no will to make the sacrifices needed for the changes to come about.
1. Get people thinking in terms of cooperation -I am my Brother's (and Sister's) Keeper
2. Get people thinking in terms of humanity rather than indivuals:
1.) start using the Human Era (Holocene Calendar) (2014 AD = 12014 HE)
2.) start encouraging workers cooperatives, food coops, consumer coops, and babysitting coops
3.) teach everyone why Voluntary Simplicity is important, and walk together.
4.) share the facts that water can make you healthier, and share brown rice together at meals -Oh, yes: Share Meals together with neighbors and friends!

3. Petitions, letters and walking, of course. Walking to the library, coop, or work, and walking in peaceful demonstrations as well as walking to the offices of lawmakers.

Many more suggesions have obviously been made at the policy level by many people, such as stregthening the Public Library system and a single payer Universal Health Care System with housing reform that ensures we all have housing. This is all local level or State level implementation that winning local elections would help with, but education and cultural change cements. Even just starting to talk and think in different ways is a possible start.
Be well, everyone,
UN Date: Saturday, October 21. 12014 H.E. (Holocene Era)
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Jeanne Benameur's Les Insurrections Singulières shows a young working class man grow through daring to leave his home -with an elderly lover of books as his guide.

Short of the Basic Income and Universal Health Care (as a Single Payer System), the single most helpful institution for allowing all members of society to contribute to their unique and fulles capacity may be the Public Library system.

Peace and Full Potential for All,
Shira Destinie Jones Landrac, of The MEOW CC Blog

Gregorian Date: Sunday, October 12 2014

TellYourStory Date : Thursday, October 12, 12014 H.E. (Holocene Era, aka Human Era)
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Do shared political governance and Shared Monetary Governance require Campaign and Monetary Finance Reform?

Sharing Economic Decision-making power is as important as sharing real political power. That was the premise behind my book Shared Monetary Governance. I re-summarize the summary, as I now understand that economic and political power are interconnected, and require equal measures of accessibility.


1st Half = Campaign Finance Reform, to help spread real inclusion in the political process.

2nd Half: Shared Monetary Governance can help create greater economic inclusion:

Local currencies, supplemental forms of money which circulate in local communities, 1.) create more social and financial capital in local communities, 2.) keep local resources in communities, and 3.) grow monetary decision-making access in communities while facilitating the revaluing of unpaid work. Time Banks ensure that value held locally will remain a Store of Value (SoV) in the local community over a long period of time. Scrip currencies like Ithaca Hours fill the Medium of Exchange (MoE) function, to be discussed later.

Governance of Money (SoV) vs. Economic Benefit of Money (SoV)

Each Time Bank member can choose to create new money in the local economy, when he or she decides to donate time to another member of the Time Bank. Each hour donated to a Time Bank adds to the overall amount of money stored for the long term in a local community, creating new resources in that community.

Time Banks encourage community members to attend Time Bank decision-making meetings, keeping and increasing locally decided economic priority-setting participation by all members as part of the community.

Hours stay in the local community, keeping more resources in the community, thus they stop the draining of local resources to distant areas (so the wealth is no longer accessible to the community).

Storing value locally gives citizens a greater stake in
community institutions, encouraging a growing level of
transparency and accountability in all its projects.
Since an hour never loses its value as an hour, storing their value as time in the local community encourages long term local economic growth.

Supplemental SoV currencies like Time Banks and Local MoE Currencies such as Anacostia Hours allow greater levels of inclusion to members of the community in local economic decision-making processes. This is an example which the US Dollar, with far more closed (non-inclusive), less transparent and less publicly accountable decision-making processes, can learn from and emulate. Inclusion gives direct stakeholders of governance a voice in money and in politics, which vitally affect all of our lives.

K. Dittmer’s original review of Shared Monetary Governance, in the IJCCR, can also be found here:

Peace and Full Potential for All,
Shira Destinie Jones Landrac, of The MEOW CC Blog

Gregorian Date: Wednesday, 10 September 2014
MEOW Date : Sunday, 10 September, 12014 H.E. (Holocene Era, aka Human Era)
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The ground-breaking novella Herland was a good start, but lacked a vision of fully inclusive equality. The MEOW Vision builds on Gilman’s ideas, with the aim of Fully Inclusive Equality.

The Goals (allowing each person to contribute fully):

1. Each person, as a child, must learn to swim (or at least float).
2. Each child must learn emotional/psychological self-defense and physical self-defense to the greatest extent possible, in a Gandhian context.
(1 and 2 are part of the pre-Adulthood criteria: ...)

3. Each child, at birth, receives half a hectare of land, non-alienable. He or she may rent, lend or swap the land, but always remains the owner. Where ever the location, it should have a well and be arable.
4. Fresh water for ever person (free!)
5. Each family should have a book in the local public library, containing the autobiography of every adult in the family (which means that each person needs free time and the means to write his or her autobiography).

(the same Goals in Spanish:)
Un programa de Igualdad y Salud para Todos

Las Metas (para que todos pueden contribuir lo mejor):

1. Cada quien, de niño, debe aprender nadar
2. Que cada quien de niño aprende defenderse
3. Que cada bebe, al nacer, recibe .5 hectarios de terreno, que nunca se puede desprender. Se lo puede alquilar o prestar, pero siempre sigue esta persona como dueño o dueña del terreno. Que sea donde sea, será con un poso de agua y capaz de agricolar.
4. Agua potable para cada persona
5. Que cada familia tenga un libro en la biblioteca publica, con resumen del autobiografía de cada persona de la familia (eso quiere decir que cada quien tenga el tiempo libre y los recursos para escribir su autobiografia)


Gregorian Date: Tuesday, 9 September 2014
MEOW Date : Saturday, 9 September, 12014 H.E. (Holocene Era, aka Human Era)
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As many reports showed the economic damage that segregation did previously, so do modern reports show the damage done by big box capitalism, which is essentially a modern form of mercantile colonialism. Fair Trade or Equal Exchange and local economic development are good starting places. Where do we go from there to allow each person to develop his or her full potential as a human being?

Inequality from 1947 to Developing mkts today
P. 142/3:

“The Economic Reason
One of the principal economic problems facing us and the rest

of the world is achieving maximum production and continued

prosperity. The loss of a huge, potential market for goods is a

direct result of the economic discrimination which is practiced

against many of our minority groups. A sort of vicious circle is

produced. Discrimination depresses the wages and income of

minority groups. As a result, their purchasing power is

curtailed and markets are reduced. Reduced markets result in

reduced production. This cuts down employment, which of

course means lower wages and still fewer job opportunities.

Rising fear, prejudice, and insecurity aggravate the very

discrimination in employment which sets the vicious circle in


Minority groups are not the sole victims of this economic

waste; its impact is inevitably felt by the entire population.”

These explanations of how segregation impacted the US

economy apply equally to how resource drain from Developing

(fka Third World) economies impacts the world economy toay.

This is the chief Economic reason that we need Fair Trade and

equal exchange laws. All the world suffers when part of the

world is denied equality, via policy or path dependent history,

as the case may be, we urgently need to cooperate and share

with the entire world our technologies and our resources

because unless we do so, we are all limited.
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Marriage and community: how marriage for all keeps us safe: an interpretation of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s call for a Basic Income…

If society exists to facilitate the maximization of potential of each member of society, and if a couple gives more to society together than as two individuals, then it behooves the community to support and encourage every couple to stay together and contribute as a stable couple to society.

That allows a synergistic relationship to form where the couple gives more to the community, and is in turn reinforced by the community, enabling them to be more effective both as a couple and as members of the community. Both members of the couple and the community are able to accomplish more through this mutually beneficial relationship. That is one social dynamic which would keep us all safer.

Lasting social stability, which as Dr. King pointed out is the only true means of riot prevention , requires a high level of cooperation. Marriage, with or without
procreation, encourages life-long committment, cooperative thinking, and a reduced Carbon Footprint. These can help stabilize society and build further cooperation.

Preventing torture and sensless killings, such as that of Travon Williams, depends on the existence and maintainance of respect and trust within and between communities so that they can then cooperate effectively to prevent the dehumanization and hate crimes which ultimately result from lack of understanding and cooperative interaction between indivuduals and communities. Part of this, as Dr. King pointed out, involves having food, shelter and clothing. A Basic or Citizen’s Income would provide that. Social supports and minimum livable economic supports build a society that can then become fully democratic, free, equal, and harmonious.

Peace through Community Cooperation,
ShiraDestinie of The MEOW CC Blog

Gregorian Date: Thursday, 12 April 2012
MEOW Date : Thursday, 12 April, 12012 H.E. (Holocene Era, aka Human Era)
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At the 2012 DC Social Forum, we came to a consensus: Public Banks, Time Banks and small groups build Cooperative Society.

The joint presentations at the DC Social Forum, which was held in the DC Friend’s Meeting House, a wonderful historical building, were fascinating. And disturbing.

Fascinating because they all centered around the need to move from our consumerist and big box model of capitalism toward one which includes all of the people in the governance process.

Disturbing because everyone also agreed on the need for us to have a societal culture of cooperation and egalitarianism, or a willingness to cooperate to create and use a level playing field for all people. Then everyone agreed that getting there from here would take a very long time.

One of the tools mentioned included Public Banks, such as the one in North Dakota, and currently being considered by the Mayor in DC, apparently. This is something to look into for the immediate future as a completely doable step which has in fact already been implemented in many places, according to the presenter.

Another tool is Time Banking and the creation and use of various complementary or community currencies, such as Ithaca Hours, or Anacostia Hours here in DC alongside the local time bank, DC Time Time Banks in particular create and build trust and cooperation in an egalitarian mode within the community.

A further tool was the use of non-hierarchical methods and clarity on the point that groups must be set up with no more than 150 members in order to avoid creation of hierarchy, with lessons being drawn from the Cuban revoluntion of 1959 by a Hungarian professor presenting.

A final vision was one in which society is entirely cooperative, resulting in the contributions of all members being valued. Cultural change toward a valuing of equal participation, voice, and cooperation was espoused, along with the understanding that this does not happen overnight. With consistent work and faith in our evolving ability to cooperate, we continue forward.

Peace, through Community Cooperation,
Gregorian Date: Thursday, 12 April 2012
MEOW Date : Thursday, 12 April, 12014 H.E. (Holocene Era, aka Human Era)
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Art may have helped free individuals who were property, by acting in community

Tracy Chevalier’s The Last Runaway show’s how different interpretations of art, and even sometimes silence, helped free enslaved people. She portrays the self-discipline and quiet determination of a young Quaker girl, in difficult times, working to be part of a helping community while caught in an individualistic household.

I often wonder how individualists are formed, and how one comes to be a communitarian in the midst of an individualistic society. There are myriad ways that a person can come to value community, myriad motivations, religious, secular, pragmatic, but that one values community over individual priorities, no matter what that valuing stems from, means that one will sacrifice personal desires for the good of the community. This is a value which experience shows me is little understood in American society today, particularly in the younger segments of our society. How do we come back to living the values of Duty, Honor, and Loyalty, and helping one another to live out a sense of honor in the tradition of Gandhi, Dr. King, Rabbi Hillel, the Sufi mystics, all of those who valued loving and inclusive community, from La Convivencia to Communes, but in a healthy and fully inclusive way that can stretch to encompass all of society, rather than a small group. How do we open the door to real and full, safe, secure yet honest dialogue?

A fellow bloger shows how art can build community and change economies today:

We who build community look to the Constitution to find ways, in keeping with the property system, to ensure that every person in this country has a safe home, however small, in which to live.

Shira Destinie
Gregorian Date: Friday, 5 September, 2014
MEOW Date : Tuesday, 5 September, 12014 H.E. (Holocene Era, aka Human Era)
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“Delight, respect, and compassion” in the City of Sorrows: Christian-Jewish Deut.4:24 views via shared struggle, as portrayed using Minbari and ‘Earth’ religions, and analysed via your FaceBook Autobiography?

(Thanks to Tammy for the phone call that inspired this post in 2011...)

Well, I woke up this morning with my mind… pondering To Dream in the City of Sorrows. A good friend called me regarding the strange story of how Ziporah rescues either Moses or their son on the way to see Pharoah in Egypt. She asked my point of view on this “Bridegroom of Blood” story, and I happened to have an Etz Chaim handy, which agrees on the strangeness of this story, so I pulled it out and agreed -it is odd! Looking at those three verses that tell this story, I was struck by how differently her commentary (a Christian commentator whose name I do not recall at the moment) approached this question. While the Etz Chaim commentary (a commentary by committee, I believe) focused on analyzing the words which connect this story to others, and the symbolism of blood in various Ancient Near Eastern societies, her commentator focused on symbolisms leading to a more other-worldly set of focii. Not surprising, but rather different from other conversations she and I have had, where we both brought our own personal perspectives to the story more strongly. Both of us were members of the Jr. ROTC at an inner city DC high school famous for many reasons, historically and in the 80´s, when we attended, and both of us have fought through struggles in our lives. How interesting that while both strongly committed to our respective faiths, we were able to enjoy discussing our common books from the different perspectives of those two faiths, yet perhaps due to our shared backgrounds, we understand these books in ways that most other people seem not to be able to do. Much like Valen synthesizing Jesuit and Minbari religious thought.

I have had only one other good friend who was such a devout Christian and yet able to share so intently (this time the medium was Babylon 5, to which Ros introduced me, ok, after Rich did, but she re-introduced the show to me from a faith-based perspective that simply blew me away with the difference that that new perspective made…). Ros too has fought through stunning adversity, and presents another example of committment and cooperation with other points of view. We love discussing the differences in our faiths, but seen through the lens of a shared core perspective, Community Cooperation, that allows us to find the meaningful interlocking peices which bring beauty to those differences.

Since so many of these conversations find their way onto FaceBook, I wonder if one day FaceBook will be used to aggregate and publish as autobiographies, the lives of ordinary people?
Community Cooperation Shira,
Gregorian Date: Monday, 1 September, 2014
MEOW Date : Friday, 1 September, 12014 H.E. (Holocene Era, aka Human Era)
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After reading the excellent: Snow-Storm in August: The Struggle for American Freedom and Washington’s Race Riot of 1835 on history and community,I was, for some odd reason, facilitating a workshop at the YMCA, which I get the impression was in an upstairs room at the historic 12th Street (aka Anthony Bowen) Y, with a group of kids of color, and they seemed to regard me as an abstract expert in something for they had little interest, with the exception of a few who paid rapt attention. I was called downstairs in the midst of my talk, after I seemed to have placed the teens in work groups to solve some problems, and down in the office I was told that a pair whom I had separated for fighting were the cause of the Police having been called, and met the police lady who was to come upstairs with me. I asked her to wait at the doorway while I introduced her as our Friendly local Police Lady who was there to ask if anyone had any questions about community policing and how she could be of help to them. A pair of boys around 15 years old or so began to fight, a latino and black kid, and I stepped in, breaking it up half in Spanish and half in my childhood DC accent to remind them that I am part of both worlds, and they stepped back and listened to me, surprisingly, as the police lady edged into the room. Maybe it was her gun they were actually listening to, but the kids behaved better, and seemed to enjoy the friendly spin I tried to put on our visitor´s presence. Some girls did go talk with her, to my relief, and it seemed to go well. I wish I could recall what the topic was. I am sure it was not mathematics, but I think it was some amalgamation similar to what I wrote up in 2003 about using historical incidents, like the Snow Riots, to pick a part of the incident to use to teach every different subject, from right angles and shooting
azimuths up 7th Street, to writing an essay on the implications of the unemployed “mechanics” targetting of men of color who were unrelated to the actual trigger of the riots. Different kids seemed drawn to different stations I had set up around the room, but there was a spider web like set of strings connecting each station to the center, where the main topic was outlined in red and blue. There were other colors at different stations, but I do not know why or for what. I love connecting history with writing with mathematics (when my superior teachers were not prohibiting me from assigning math journal homework to my HS students!! Note that this actually earned me praise on my Community College Alebra teaching evaluation, so go figure. I guess I was teaching at the wrong place, or the wrong time -2002 vs. 2011…)

Well, I hope that someone else finds this dream useful or interesting, and perhaps I will work it into one of my writings.
Peace, Love, and Song,
Shira Destinie
Gregorian Date: Monday, 1 September, 2014
MEOW Date : Friday, 1 September, 12014 H.E. (Holocene Era, aka Human Era)
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In Journal of a Residence on a Georgian Plantation 1838-1839 Frances Ann Kemble points to the reactions of slave owners and overseers in the capacity of gatekeepers, preventing the voices of slaves from being heard.

More generally and in the same vein, Voices of Dissent’s C. Heifetz and Sarah Ariste (magazine article from abt. 2006 now unfindable…), ask in “Voices Without Authority” whether our gatekeepers are preventing us from living up to our values as a society.

I further that question:
Are our gatekeepers, and particularly, those who choose the gatekeepers, preventing humanity from reaching its full potential? For, if we fail to live up to the values we profess as a society, such as freedom for all, or equality before the law, then are we not also limiting the potential contributions of some, and thus failing to achieve all that we could, as a whole?

I realize the need, in certain situations, for gatekeepers. However, when the gatekeepers act on the basis of priviledge or perception, rather than on the actual needs of the given situation, they can be counter-productive. They can artificially prevent access, resulting in uneven or misleading outcomes, or in simple outright injustice. This reduces our effectiveness as a society in providing each person the opportunity to contribute fully to the creativity and productivity of the human race, and that, is a shame for all of us.

Gregorian Date: Thursday, August 28, 2014
MEOW Date : Monday, August 27, 12014 H.E. (Holocene Era, aka Human Era)
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I am a true Democrat: following the example of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “Chaos or Community , I take seriously the idea that all are equal in dignity, in rights to live up to their full potential, and in ability to make some positive contribution to society. A democrat believes in Democracy, and takes the ideals of freedom and equality to their logical economic and political conclusion.

We always have to balance individual rights vs. the community’s responsibility to help even the vulnerable among us who chose to smoke or use drugs.

My proposal is this:

A birthright non-transferable arable tract of 0.5 of a hectare for each person born on earth. On that .5 hectare of arable land (anywhere on earth), when the child turns 9 yrs old, he or she goes with parents and other members of the community to see the land, learn about it, and start building a one-room self-contained eco-friendly tiny house with solar heat and cooker and basic indoor plumbing.

By the time the child is about 16 (See MEOW pre-requisites for being recognized as an adult …) he or she should know how to maintain the tiny house, and can decide to live in it or rent it out or swap his/her land for someone else’s .5 hectare in a different part of the world.

The concept of Equal Rights for All Human Beings is based on economic and food self-sufficiency for all. Therefore some form of basic housing for every person on earth is needed, to be built by the local community and funded by the interconnected global community, to include a minimal amount of water, and access to free education and health care as a basic human right.

Then, and only then, can every person be equal, unbeholden to any other person.

May we all act cooperatively in
Peace, Love, and Service to Community,

Gregorian Date: Friday, August 22, 2014
MEOW Date : Tuesday, August 21, 12014 H.E. (Holocene Era, aka Human Era)
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Michel Grimaud shows us how one young person, too young to know that his task was impossible (a bit like Harry Potter and his friends, but written in 1978…), can do something worth writing about, as he becomes an adult. In L’Île Sur l’Océan Nuit , he builds community and learns that history, writing, cooperation, and freedom go hand in hand:

Whether through words, carvings, pictures, or even hand signs (sign language), each person can and should write an autobiography.

In Service to Community,

Gregorian Date: Wednesday, August 20, 2014
MEOW Date : Sunday, August 19, 12014 H.E. (Holocene Era, aka Human Era)
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Normally this blog is not meant to address current events, but the Ebola outbreak begs a compelling question:

Why can’t the Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc share the basic data that led to the creation of ZMapp, with other research labs around the world? That way other countries can make their own decisions about how and when to use any serum they may or may not be able to manufacture in time.
In Service to Community,
William-James-MEOWdate: 6 Aug. 12,014 H.E.
MEOW Date : August 6, 12014

H.E. (Holocene Era, aka Human Era)

Thelonious Legend says:
08/08/2014 at 18:10

I had no idea this was happening but like anything else with large corporations it probably has something to do with protecting their patents and profits.

Avatar of CommunityCooperation CommunityCooperation says:
08/08/2014 at 19:12

Probably, but unethical, imho. I wonder if there is any way that we can put pressure on the firm to at least share some of the data that could help later (I know there is not enough time right now to make a diff., as these things take years to develop).

Maybe at least telling others will help to eventually change minds, and bring us all to a more cooperative way of thinking?
MEOW Date 8.8.12,014 H.E.

Someone replied that profit motive is low for Ebola, thus deserving of good PR, at least. Not so sure, but ...
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Thanks to LJuserGoodall for asking about bitcoin, which I do

not support. Bitcoin is an alternative to national currencies

which is often used for money laundering and other nefarious

purposes. It actually does precisely the opposite of what a

community-based currency is intented to do, which is increase

transparency and decrease anonymity. Community-created

currencies are meant to circulate only within local

communities, as a complement to the national currency, thus

increasing both access to and availability of money to those

who might otherwise not have access to national money.

(Search Ithaca or Anacostia Hours for details.)

Time Banks are another complementary currency created by

people in local communities to supplement the national

money supply. These are not meant to be universal

currencies. Please see Robert Mundell’s work, which I cite in

“Shared Monetary Governance” on Optimal Currency areas.

As he said, The World is NOT an Optimal Currency Area.

Regions differ by product, output, resources, etc, and

therefore need different currencies. The USA for instance,

should actually be four currencies areas, not one, so when the

Fed raises interest rates, that change affects different regions

of the country differently, affecting inflation and

unemployment differently across different parts of the country.

Sir John Maynard Keynes proposed an international currency

in 1944 which would have solved some problems, but it was

rejected by the American delegation to the Bretton Woods


Please, Go learn more!
Meow Date Saturday, April 21, 12014 H.E.
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Injustice Essay, UDC´s David C. Clarke Antioch School of Law

I must admit to finding this essay one of the most unsettling and emotionally difficult to write pieces in my writing career. While there are certainly more cutting incidents and more superficially significant incidents which I have experienced in my forty two years, I have chosen to share this event for two reasons. First, this incident strikes me as an example of the subtle damage done by fear, bias, and the perceptions and uses of power in the absence of mutual trust and full voice in decision-making processes. Second, this particular instance seems to have set in my consciousness a deep understanding of the need for cooperation not only between oppressed communities, but also of the need for each of us to understand the stories and ways of communicating of other people.

I was about seven years of age, a fair-skinned girl of African-American descent, riding through the Lincoln or the Holland tunnel in a car driven by a young Jewish woman, who happened to be both my mother´s roommate, and my defacto babysitter most of the time. As we came to the entrance of the tunnel, a pall of fear came over her face. We were being pulled over by a police officer, a barrel-chested white man, who appeared both unhappy and menacing as he got out of his car. Although I did not comprehend the issue at the time, she certainly felt that being pulled over was an injustice to her on the part of the police officer. She turned to me, the fear palpable in her voice, and said

“now look, this cop will think you are my daughter, and that means he will think that I am dating a black guy, so keep your mouth shut and don´t make any Smart Alec remarks.”

By that age, based on the treatment I regularly received from my classmates in school who took me for a mixed race child, I was well aware that interracial relationships of any kind were unacceptable, even in the New Jersey of 1976. I found myself as full of fear as my visibly nervous guardian. All I could do was to sit and watch, mouth clamped firmly shut, as the officer approached.

To this day, I have no recollection of the events after her fateful words to me, but I will always retain the memory of the chilling effect those words had on me, as I realized that not only my schoolmates, but even adults whom I would never meet, hated me for my mere appearance. I came to admire the courage and patience of this young Jewish woman who took the time to introduce me to both her culture and even to my own, as we listened alternately to Jewish music and to records by African musicians. She emphasized that I should learn about both my own heritage and about the heritages of others. She opened to me a world of possibility, while reminding me that I must always be cognizant of my own origins, and that no person´s origins were without both pain and responsibility. The damage of both self-hatred and discrimination caused by fear of and bias against those who appear to be different from ourselves can best be overcome through inclusive sharing of stories. That kind of openness between communities can create space for cooperative communication. Out of this process can emerge new and creative applications of shared power which enable all parties to safely contribute to building structures which both protect the dignity of all members of society and enable each person to rise to his or her full potential. These processes require high levels of both mutual trust and mutual respect which allow for the differences in power levels to be negotiated in participatory venues which deliberately include the voices of all who are affected by such decision-making processes. This inclusion both requires and generates cooperation between individuals and communities as first stories, and then problems, and then potential solutions, are shared and debated. While solutions must begin in the community, sometimes the end result of such discussion must be finalized in the legal system via reformulation of the legal codes, discovery of already existing codes, as in the case of DC´s “Lost Laws”, or simply providing voice for those who cannot make themselves heard. All of these processes require a sense of shared values and mutual respect. As citizens of a democracy, “we the people” must work together “to form a more perfect union” where the interests of all are protected and promoted equally.

Fear and distrust are most effectively dispelled by building upon our shared values, emphasizing the egalitarian ethos upon which our founding documents are based, and working to make those ideals a practical reality. Cooperative understanding of stories and concerns is a key part of the process needed to banish hatred and bias on the road to building full participation and voice for all. To paraphrase a song we sang frequently in school, our origins carry both a patient faith that the difficult past can be overcome, and a roll-up-your-sleeves type of hope that the present brings us ever more opportunities to repair this pain-filled world. As I reflect upon this incident, there is no way in which I could or even would have responded differently at that time, but I carry forward from thence a fervent faith and hope that through cooperation between communities we can help to lift every voice so that all are clearly heard. Through the kind of legal training provided at the UDC David Clarke School of Law, I hope to serve as a more effective facilitator of both short-term and long-term cooperative empowerment.

(Shira) Destinie Jones

Read, Write, Run, Teach !

12 February, 12016 HE

March 2016

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