Category Archives: Infrastructure

INCLINED TO LIBERTY

INCLINED TO LIBERTY

A Geographic Perspective

By Bob Bennett

 On the evening of the first debate between President Obama and Gov. Romney I attended the screening at UNR, which included a talk with Libertarian Vice Presidential candidate Judge Jim Gray.  I enjoyed Judge Gray’s talk and found his answers to questions from the small audience to have more common sense than either of the televised candidates.

At the end of the evening campus libertarians handed out a book – INCLINED TO LIBERTY- The Futile Attempt to Suppress the Human Spirit, by Louis E. Carabini, and I looked forward to reading it.  The book starts out fine, with how people are attracted to one of two competing theories – those who are inclined towards liberty – freedom of the individual to live life as he or she sees fit- as long as they are peaceful – versus those who are inclined to mastery – and want to permit others to exist only in a manner in which they, the masters, see fit.  From my perspective, however, those who have mastered themselves have no need to control others, favoring liberty for all, but willing to give a helping hand. The more people take responsible for their own actions, intended or otherwise, the greater liberty & freedom can be enjoyed by all.

There are good things in the book, it is one which forces the reader to think, but some assumptions by the author turned what promised to be an enlightening read into a difficult chore where I sometimes found myself arriving at vastly different conclusions than that of the author.

“It is not fair that companies can terminate workers just to increase profits.” This is the first of many arguments/ statements in the book that can give rise to thoughtful discussion, and for this I thank the author.  Companies are formed to make a profit.  Should the workers share in these profits, or should they be disposed of as soon as possible if an avenue to make even greater profits arise?  The answer the author gives is yes, it is fair that workers should be terminated with little or no notice.  A more provocative and thoughtful answer is given by The Twelve Vision Party –which incorporates many of the values of Libertarians, but contains some frightening aspects as well.  TVP believes current corporations- and newly formed companies, should be formed or re-formed along lines which reward individuals/ employees according to the value they add to the product or revenue line.  This would provide incentive to employees to continue to give their best, avoid burn-out, increase loyalty and profits.  While the owners would wind up with a smaller percentage of revenue, they would gain in actual dollars.  Unfortunately, to my way of thinking, this would likely break down when a company grows beyond 15 – 20 employees, although with contract employees, it could possibly work until 200-250 people worked for the organization.  Still I believe this portion of TVP should be endorsed by every small business – while acknowledging difficulties will arise, and will be addressed when they present themselves – after all a nation of small business people – and those working for small businesses has many advantages.

While I could probably write a book (and am seriously thinking of such a venture) to counter various arguments presented in INCLINED TO LIBERTY (as well as some TVP assumptions), for the balance of this article I will limit myself to what I see as the most galling error/ assumption of the author while trying to illuminate or spur creative solutions to a few of the many current and near term challenges which face the nation and world.

The error is that the Malthusian belief – that population growth is out growing the ability of the planet to provide for all who reside upon it – is fallacious. Malthus wrote An Essay on the Principle of Population in 1798, and in doing so provided a spur to the development of the technology which increased crop production, as well as having some influence on the opening of new and marginal land for crops.  Political leaders, at least some of them, strove to solve problems, and without Malthus’s essay, they would have been ignorant of the problems they needed to address.

World population is expected to rise from the current 7 billion people worldwide to 9.1 (some estimate 12) billion by 2050, before leveling off, with the greatest population increases occurring in the developing world.  This increases the risk of famine, war, and other deprivations.  In Beyond Malthus: Sixteen Dimensions of the Population Problem (1998) the authors lay out the various problems, as well as presenting partial solutions in diverse areas – a sort of geographical compendium – (grain production, fresh water, biodiversity, climate change, Oceanic fish catch, jobs, cropland, forests, housing, energy, urbanization, natural recreation areas, education, waste, meat production, and income) which have resulted from the technology, and abuses of technology, which grew out of Malthus’ essay, as well as human greed and indifference.

These are stresses upon the planet which threaten much of the current life on earth, including the various structures we all depend upon to varying degrees.  While I am confident that life on earth will endure, it will take intelligent effort to maintain an adequate living for all.  The more living standards decline, the greater the risk for all, including stable governments.  Increased harmony among the peoples of the nation and world is needed to achieve this.  Those who look to the bible for direction should reread Revelations, and ask themselves “Is this God’s intention – or is it a challenge?  Can mankind overcome ignorance and hatred – and instead spread understanding and harmony?  Or will ignorance take the upper hand – snatching defeat from the hand of victory?”  The many advances in science made during the past century should not be ignored; but neither should the law of unintended consequences.   Ignoring problems will not make them go away.

In the U.S., those individuals ages 5 -14 are expected to rise in number by 10% to 43 million, by 2050.  Schools need to be reorganized to adequately meet the current and approaching challenges.  Gardening needs to become a topic of study – not just book learning, but actually growing food which can be used for school lunches or taken home by urban students who will hopefully also start home gardens.  The current economic realities require greater reliance on individuals and families.  A course on economics should be given in Junior High, perhaps something along the lines of Thinking Like an Economist – which is available from the Teaching company; as well as a course along the lines of How to Think like Leonardo da Vinci, by Michael J. Gelb.  There is a need to encourage people to use both sides of their brain.  The ability to recognize and possibly treat trauma should also be required of teachers.  Those who live with the effects of trauma are frequently not able to make rational decisions.  This includes a good many students.  Schools should also present information on being in control of one’s emotions, including anger, not controlled by them.  Perhaps Nonviolent Communication, by Marshall Rosenberg, should be an area of study at the high school level.

An over reliance on courts and jails to solve problems has merely led to a huge prison population, the U.S. –  with 5% of the world population has 25% of the world’s prisoners.  Many youth see prison as their inevitable destination.  That must change, and change soon, or our society will collapse.  The Supreme Court already encourages malicious prosecutions (Imbler v Pachtman, 424 U.S. 409, 1976 & REHBERG v. PAULK No. 10–788. Argued November 1, 2011—Decided April 2, 2012) and with the unintended consequences of Miranda v Arizona (384 U.S. 436, 1966), how far will Los Angeles County style justice, where the members of the Dancing Rectum Brigade (one of several unfavorable references to the public defenders) consider pointing to their rectums as the equivalent to assisting the accused in the preparation of a defense, spread across the nation before sanity is restored to the justice system?  While private attorneys acknowledged to me that the problem is common, they also stated that nothing can be done about it.  My elected representative in Sacramento told me – nearly 20 years ago:  “Oh no, we’re wonderful – we don’t do that.”  As far as I can tell the problem still has not been addressed, and California has the worst prisons in the nation.

Government and the major corporations imposing top down solutions which benefit solely their elites – with “the devil take the hindmost” – is not the answer.  It appears as if the Supreme Court, Republicans, and many Democrats, as well as much of the bureaucracy, has adopted a Reactionary viewpoint – one of official indifference towards the results of their actions, intended or otherwise.  God loves us, and we can do as we damn well please to the common people, because we will always be God’s favorite –the philosophy of the French Reactionaries didn’t work out too well in 1789 for the French elites – or the common people.  Hopefully common sense, harmony, and liberty will prevail.

THE SEARCH FOR A NEW POLITICAL CENTER

THE SEARCH FOR A NEW POLITICAL CENTER – or at least a few areas of agreement

 

Occupy Reno is Moving Forward!

First off, thank you to everyone who attended the GA last night and shared their insight. Below is a message from Laurel, who facilitated yesterday’s GA:

“At this past General Assembly, we discussed many issues facing Occupy Reno as we move forward. There were many passionate words and inspiring speeches. While there was some verbal sparring–which there will always be when a bunch of fiery, smart, and strong-willed individuals get together, as someone wisely pointed out at the GA–everyone at the meeting was committed to moving forward. In this spirit, we are marching on. We are pursuing options for staying at Moana Springs as well as pursing other opportunities to occupy other locations.

We do not know whether or not we will have to leave Moana Springs when our original permit expires next Wednesday (January 25th) at 4:00PM. If we do leave, we want to make sure that we leave no trace behind. On Sunday, we will be cleaning the site starting at 12noon. However, if you have a truck/trailer/hauling means or a site to store items, please visit the site whenever you can to pick up items that are not immediately necessary for the occupiers still there. There will be occupiers at the site until the 25th (and perhaps beyond)!

Finally, thank you to all those who spoke today at the GA and the City
Council Meeting. We truly appreciate you and your words of support.”

For minutes from the General Assembly, please click here.

We have MANY more actions lined up in the coming days listed below! 

  • Thursday (1/19):
    • Legal/Green Committees 6:00pm at Demian’s
    • UNR Committee 6:00pm at Strega Bar (310 S Arlington)
    • Occupy City Hall 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. outside City Hall. More help needed!
  • Friday (1/20):
    • OCCUPY THE COURTS 8:00a.m. to 6:00p.m. outside the Federal Building downtown.
    • Note: Occupy City Hall will join those at Occupy the Courts and will not be in front of City Hall.
  • Saturday (1/21):
    • Occupy Shabat 10:00am at Moana Springs (240 Moana Lane)
    • General Assembly 1:00p.m. at City Hall
    • Post GA March against Corporate Personhood 2:00pm from City Hall to Federal Building. More details coming soon!
    • Post-March (around 3 p.m.) Visit RTC bus station (4th and Center St.) to review a possible new OR staging ground to demonstrate and educate. Visit again for night-time perspective around 8 p.m.
  • Sunday (1/22):
    • Noon until done: begin dismantling under-utilized structures from Moana Springs and clean-up to prepare for potential eviction. We are committed to a Leave No Trace principle. Please help us uphold this.
    • Media Committee Meeting 1 p.m. at UNR Knowledge Center Room 113
  • Monday (1/23):
    • Action/Outreach Committee Meeting at 5:30 p.m. at Strega Bar (310 S Arlington)
  • Wednesday (1/25)
    • Reno City Council will address the topic of corporate personhood.

As always, we thank you for keeping Occupy Reno strong and look forward to seeing you at upcoming events. We’ll be sending out another update soon with more information on Saturday’s march. Please try to make it if you can!

In Solidarity,
Occupy Reno

GENERAL ASSEMBLY TOMORROW (WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 18): MOANA SPRINGS @ 6:00PM

At this Saturday’s General Assembly, it was apparent that we are at a pivotal moment in our movement. On Wednesday, we will be one week away from our original permit expiring. On Wednesday, the City Council may discuss a fee schedule that may affect our ability to remain at this site. In light of these events and tensions within our group, at Wednesday’s General Assembly we will discuss how we continue moving forward with Occupy Reno. Wednesday’s GA is not about the end of Occupy Reno, but a GA to discuss how we will continue Occupy Reno. At the GA we may discuss what has come to divide us, but the GA will also be a time to come together to discuss what continues to unite us. Wednesday’s GA is a time to share knowledge—to become better informed about our movement and each other. Wednesday’s GA is a time to listen to each other. Wednesday’s GA is a time to air concerns. Wednesday’s GA is a time to introduce ideas. Wednesday’s GA is a time to understand what each of us has at stake in this movement.

To effectively facilitate this discussion, the agenda format of this GA has been slightly adapted. The meeting will begin as usual with an introduction to the facilitator team, a review of the process of the GA, and announcements. After this opening, we will move into a discussion of moving forward in Occupy Reno. To begin the discussion—and in place of committee report backs—each committee is asked to send a representative to the GA to give a report. The report should discuss—as objectively as possible—the committee’s understanding of the future of Occupy Reno. This report should help inform the GA as a whole on issues that the committee faces. For example, the Finance Committee could report that it takes X amount of money to cover insurance each month, X amount of money to cover port-a-potties each month, etc. This data leads the Finance Committee to have X, Y, and Z concerns. Another example: The Green Committee has been doing X, Y, and Z. If Occupy Reno does A, then these projects will be impacted in E, F, and G ways. Another example: The Camp and Infrastructure Committee reports that X number of people are currently occupying Moana Springs full time. Of these full-time occupiers, Y number of people have no other home to go to. These committee reports are all about conveying information to the GA so that every member of the GA can engage in a knowledgeable discussion of our future. To be clear, these committee reports are just that, reports. They are not opinions of individual speakers.

Following the committee reports, the stack will be open. Any and every individual here is encouraged to join the stack and have their voice heard. In an effort to have as many voices heard as possible, individuals that have yet to speak will be given priority over individuals that have already spoken. This means that if Jane is in the stack for the second time, John—who has yet to be heard—may be moved in front of her.

In a further effort to have every voice that wants to speak heard, each committee representative and each individual speaker has a 3-minute time limit. If an individual has more to say, the individual is encouraged to join the stack again. For this reason, each committee representative and individual is encouraged to prepare some notes in advance so that she or he can cover everything that he or she wishes to say in the allotted time. In forming your thoughts, remember the principles upon which this movement has been formed and the principles that have become important to each of us as the movement developed. In particular, let us remember that Occupy Reno has been a nonviolent, peaceful movement.

The GA will conclude the meeting with a recap from the scribe and a soapbox for anything that anyone wants to say outside of the scope of the “moving forward” discussion.

This is an important GA. We ask everyone who is able to attend to stay as long as possible. As the temperatures have begun to drop, we ask everyone to dress warmly for the GA. The facilitation team will make the site of the GA as comfortable as possible.

Agenda for the General Assembly at 6:00PM on Wednesday, January 18, at Moana Springs

  • Call Meeting to Order
  • Introduction
    • Introduction of facilitation team for the meeting
    • Review of Agenda
    • Review of Hand Signals
    • Ask people who do smoke to smoke downwind of GA
  • Announcements
  • Discussion of Moving Forward
    • Committee Reports from Committee Representatives (3-minute time limit on each representative)
    • Stack Open to Individual Speakers (3-minute time limit on each individual)
  • Recap
  • Soapbox

– Laurel

“Occupy 2.0” – Occupy City Hall – Good Deeds – Got Laptop?

If you caught Occupy Reno on the Channel 4 News this week, you may have heard about “Occupy 2.0.” While the reality isn’t quite as “in your face” as it sounds on TV, it’s still an exciting development.

Occupy Charter

The Charter group has been hard at work coming up with an official document that will formalize and streamline Occupy Reno’s organization. This is a big step forward for us, and it will be better if everyone participates. The Charter will be a “living document” that can be changed at any time, but the best time to weigh in is right now.

Please read the draft Charter Document and give your feedback here: Occupy Reno Charter Draft.

Occupy City Hall

Occupy City Hall has been a highly successful campaign, with 704 signed letters as of Saturday morning. Next week, the City Hall crew will be asking passersby to sign the Bernie Sanders petition to amend the Constitution.

The same intrepid individuals have been at City Hall every day, and will be there next week too. Come down and join the protest if you can, and consider bringing cocoa, cider, snacks and cups to share.

OR’s Good Deeds

Occupiers handed out food this weekend at the Reno homeless shelter.

This weekend, Occupy Reno members did their first stint serving food at the Reno homeless shelter.

The UNR committee is organizing its first “teach-in” next week after the Saturday GA. This will hopefully be an ongoing series offering free education on seminal issues.

Camp Needs

Moana Springs’ hoophouse is fully planted, and the Green committee is working on tilling a new garden area. Please bring topsoil, loam, non-toxic wood ash, diatomaceous earth and other soil amendments, and help till the soil if you can.

The Infrastructure committee needs a laptop for camp business. Can you donate an old computer?

The “Occu-Flu” has hit some Occupiers hard. Please donate any vitamins and cold remedies you can spare.

Other News

Actions are in the works for 1/17 and 1/20. January 20 is a National Day of Action against corporate personhood. More information will be available soon. If you want to help plan these actions, come to the Outreach/Action meeting, Monday 1/9 at 5:30 at Strega Bar.

The second UNR rally will be on 2/2. Please contact unr@occupyreno.org if you want to speak! We need more voices from the community to share their stories and fiery speeches.

The Moana Springs permit expires on 1/25. We will be discussing options for renewal at future GAs. Also up for discussion: options for incorporation.

The Media committee will be separating from Outreach. If you want to be involved with Media, come to the next Outreach/Media meeting, Monday 1/9 at 6:30pm at Strega Bar. We will be choosing a new meeting time and place.

For more updates, please read the most recent General Assembly minutes.

Jessica / Media

Updates! Meeting with the City, upcoming events and SANTA CRAWL

Click the map to help plan Occupy Reno's contribution to the Santa Crawl!

This Saturday, we’ve got multiple actions for Occupiers of every stripe.

  • 12 noon – Occupy Reno has been invited to join a celebration of U.N. International Human Rights Day. Meet downtown at the Christmas tree.
  • 1pm – Occupy Your Yoga Mat! A free yoga class with Stacey. Andon recommends you wear your full-length yoga pants, as this class will be outdoors in the West Street Plaza.
  • 2pm – General Assembly at Brick Park, aka the West Street Plaza, aka the circle at 1st Street & West Street. We’ve changed the time for this week only, to accommodate some supporters who’ve never been able to come to a GA due to their work schedules.
  • Saturday night – Occupy the North Pole! Join the Reno Santa Crawl dressed as an elf. We’re protesting workers’ rights in Santa’s Workshop. This is a mock protest! We’ll be joining the Santa Crawl, bar hopping with all the Santas and supporting local businesses and schools. Meet at the arch at midnight to sing a 99% carol. We are putting gifts under the tree, with tags that expose labor conditions in overseas sweatshops.

The Santa Crawl crew needs your help! Help rewrite carols, make gift tags and get things organized at the Santa Crawl discussion thread.

On a slightly less festive but equally positive note: A delegation from Occupy Reno met with representatives from the City of Reno and the Police Department this Wednesday. The City was interested in OR’s future plans, and wanted to re-emphasize that we have a good relationship that is worth hanging on to. If we ever have questions in the future about what’s going on with our permits and other City-related information, we now know who to contact and how.

There’s quite a bit more information in the 12/7 General Assembly minutes, including our notes from the City Hall meeting. Please read them and keep yourself up to date.

Other updates:

  • The 12/6 foreclosure protest was small in number but definitely effective. Well done.
  • Occupiers under the age of 18 are no longer allowed to remain at the Moana site after 10pm unless accompanied by a parent.
  • We’re looking at a $700 charge for renewing the Moana insurance certificate. Chip in at the next General Assembly.
  • David is preparing to set up in-person meetings with our representatives.
  • 12/12 is a national Occupy the Ports action date. We will be sending representatives to Oakland to help out, and will also be handing out educational flyers at the Alamo truck stop.

More on upcoming actions soon — keep checking in with the blog and the discussion forums. Thanks to everyone who made time to participate this week!

Jessica / Media

Introducing the Occupy Reno Hoop House!

Occupy Reno has begun yet another program to benefit our local community: a garden for the 99%! In addition to cleaning parks, supporting local businesses, educating the public and helping people facing home foreclosure, Occupy Reno has created a 12×12 hoop house at the Moana site to grow food for occupiers (for now) and to show that we could become a productive part of the Reno local food network! This could include supplying produce to the Great Basin Community Food Co-op or even participating in the Farm to School program which provides local schoolchildren with locally grown produce!

Please come visit our site and take a tour. Bring your gloves, your seeds and especially your ideas to help us grow this and the Moana Park into something special!

Occupy Everywhere!
-David Sater (from the Green Committee)