One of the world’s largest ever strikes began at midnight on Monday 27th Feb and will end at midnight tonight. Up to 100,000,000 Indian workers from different sectors and industries are calling for a national minimum wage, permanent jobs, and much more.
Over a dozen of India’s largest trade unions have called for and signed up to the strike. The strike will affect many sectors, including public sector banks, ports and docks, railways, insurance, road transport, energy workers, miners, and aviation workers.
“Recent months have seen a mounting wave of militant worker struggles in India, strikes for union recognition in India’s expanding auto sector, including a two-day occupation of a Hyundai plant, a wildcat strike by Air India personnel, and walkouts by telecom workers and coal miners against the central government’s privatization plans.”
The different unions have a variety of different demands, they include gaining the same rights and protection for temporary and contract workers that permanent workers have, raising and extending the minimum wage, resisting the attacks on trade unions, stopping price rises, the creation of a national social security fund, increase in pensions, and combating corruption.
The workers are demanding a national minimum wage, permanent jobs for contract labourers, social security for informal labourers, pensions for all workers, intervention by the government to stop the rising costs of living, and to end the sell off of publicly owned companies amongst other demands.
Transport, postal services and banking have all been hit by the strike which involves around a dozen unions, with a ‘complete shutdown’ of banking in Mumbai being reported. Police have been deployed to try to prevent ‘unlawful’ picketing, with 100 arrests made this morning for obstructing traffic.
Susan Cain, the author of The Power of Introverts, is an introvert. So as she gets up to present from the TED2012 stage, bag in hand, it is not a comfortable experience. But it’s an important one, and that’s the point.
Her family grew up reading — they would read together and bring books on trips. That’s how they were social. She tells a story of going to camp at age 9. Her mother packed her a bag full of books to read quietly, the normal thing her family did on vacation, thinking camp would be the same, “I had a vision of ten girls sitting in a cabin reading books in their matching night-gowns.” But when she got to “Camp Rowdie” (as they spelled it), she was ridiculed the first time she read her book, for not being social and outgoing and not having enough camp spirit. So she put her books away, and didn’t get them out for the rest of the summer. (And she drives the point home by putting her bag under a table.)
She has, she tells us, at least 50 stories like that. 50 ways, little and small, where the message was clearly sent: being an introvert is wrong.
And that bugged her. Cain felt — had an intuition — that as an introvert she had value. But she didn’t know how to articulate that at the time, and so she became a lawyer. She wanted to be an author, but all her internalized notions about what is good made her reflexively choose the profession associated with extroversion, choose to go to a bar rather than a nice dinner with friends.
That bias, she claims, is everyone’s loss. While the world certainly need extroverts, it also needs introverts doing what they do best. It’s a bias that has no name. To understand it, we need to understand that introversion isn’t about not being social, it’s not being shy, it’s about how someone responds to stimulation. While extroverts crave social interaction, introverts are much more alive while they’re alone. Cain brings in her thesis with the insight that, “The key to maximizing talents is to put yourself into the zone of stimulation that’s right for you.”
It’s a simple-sounding lesson, but a very difficult one to really get, and act on. As she points out, we’re living in a culture that increasingly values groupthink. We believe that creativity comes from a very oddly gregarious place. In the classroom, where Cain and her fellow students used to sit in rows, and to read and work alone, students are increasingly put in groups and asked to be committee members — even for solving math problems or creative writing. Kids who prefer to work alone are seen as problem cases, and graded accordingly. Teachers report, and believe, that the ideal student is extroverted. (“Even though introvers get better grades, and are more knowledgeable.”)
And it’s the same in office environments. Introverts are routinely passed over for leadership roles. That’s a real problem because research has shown that, as leaders, introverts are more careful, much less likely to take outsized risks, and are more likely to let creative and proactive team members run with their own ideas, rather than run over them or squash them — something that should be an ideal trait in the modern office.
Indeed, says Cain, some of the most transformative leaders in history — Eleanor Roosevelt, Ghandi, Rosa Parks — were introverts. Each of those described themselves as quiet, soft-spoken, or shy. That quietness had a special, extraordinary power of it’s own. People could tell that these leaders were there because they had no choice, because they were doing what they thought was right.
Of course, Cain loves introverts, and no one is purely intro- or extroverted. We all fall somewhere on that spectrum. But most of us recognize ourselves as one or another, and “culturally we need a better balance, we need a better Yin and Yang between these two things.”
Solitude, as Cain says, is a key to creativity. Darwin took long walks in the woods and turned down dinner invitations, Dr. Seuss wrote alone, and was afraid of meeting the kids who read his books for fear they would be disappointed at how quiet he was. Steve Wozniak claimed he never would have become such an expert if he left the house. Of course, collaboration is good (witness Woz and Steve Jobs), but there is a transcendent power of solitude.
Indeed, most major religions have seekers, Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed, each went into the wild to learn. No wilderness, no revelation.
And the things we’re learning from psychology affirm this. We can’t be in a group of people without instinctively mirroring each other, and groups follow the most charistmatic person, even though there is no correlation between being a good speaker and having great ideas. (Hesitant, then full laughter from the TED crowd.)
But why are we getting it so wrong? Part of it is our history. “Western societies have always favored the man of action over the man of contemplation. Well, ‘man’” On top of that, people are moving to cities and new places, and instead of working with people they’ve known their whole life, they have to meet and impress new people. That leads to a way of thinking that values being outgoing and charismatic.
Again, she is not talking about eliminating teamwork. Those same religions all teach love and trust, and we need that more than ever. But the more freedom we give introverts to be themselves, the more freedom they’ll have to come up with their own creative solutions.
Cain steps back to her suitcase and offers to tell us what’s in it now. It turns out to be: “Books!” Three, in fact: Milan Kundera, Margaret Atwood and Eumonides. Those, it turns out, are her grandfather’s favorite authors.
Her grandfather was a rabbi. He lived alone in a small Brooklyn appartment filled with books, and it was Cain’s favorite place. He loved to read, but also loved his congregation. He read constantly, and he “took the fruits of his reading and would weave these intricate tapestries” for his congregation. And yet, as he talked, he had trouble making eye contact with the same people he had led for 62 years. Late into his life, when someone called him, he would end the conversation early, for fear he was wasting their time.
And when he died at age 92, the police had to shut down the street because of the throngs of admirers who wanted to pay their respects.
Following in his example, Cain wrote her book. It took her seven years to write; seven years of reading, researching, thinking — total bliss. And now that it’s done she needs to go out in the world and talk about it. That’s not something that comes easily, or comfortably to her. But she’s excited about it, this “year of speaking dangerously,” because she thinks the world is on the brink of change in how we treat introverts.
To help that along, she has three calls to action:
1) “End the madness of constant group-work.” (The audience applauds.) Offices need chatty conversations, and great spaces to make serendipitous interactions. But we need much more privacy, and more autonomy. The same is true — more true — for schools. Yes, teach kids to work together, but also how to work alone.
2) “Go to the wilderness, be like Buddha. Have your own revelations.” You don’t have to go build huts in the woods and be isolated, but we could all stand to unplug and be in our heads for a time.
3) “Take a good look at what’s inside your own suitcase, and why you put it there.” Extroverts, whose bags might be filled with Champagne bubbles and sky-diving kits, grace us with the energy and joy of these objects. Introverts probably guard the secrets of their suitcases, and that’s cool.
“But occasionally, just occasionally, I hope you will open the suitcase up.. because the world needs you and what you carry.”
In a sign that she’s right that change is coming, almost the entire auditorium, introvert and extrovert alike rises to give a standing ovation.
In my career as a psychologist, I have talked with hundreds of people previously diagnosed by other professionals with oppositional defiant disorder, attention deficit hyperactive disorder, anxiety disorder and other psychiatric illnesses, and I am struck by (1) how many of those diagnosed are essentially anti-authoritarians, and (2) how those professionals who have diagnosed them are not.
Anti-authoritarians question whether an authority is a legitimate one before taking that authority seriously. Evaluating the legitimacy of authorities includes assessing whether or not authorities actually know what they are talking about, are honest, and care about those people who are respecting their authority. And when anti-authoritarians assess an authority to be illegitimate, they challenge and resist that authority—sometimes aggressively and sometimes passive-aggressively, sometimes wisely and sometimes not.
Some activists lament how few anti-authoritarians there appear to be in the United States. One reason could be that many natural anti-authoritarians are now psychopathologized and medicated before they achieve political consciousness of society’s most oppressive authorities.
Why Mental Health Professionals Diagnose Anti-Authoritarians with Mental Illness
Gaining acceptance into graduate school or medical school and achieving a PhD or MD and becoming a psychologist or psychiatrist means jumping through many hoops, all of which require much behavioral and attentional compliance to authorities, even to those authorities that one lacks respect for. The selection and socialization of mental health professionals tends to breed out many anti-authoritarians. Having steered the higher-education terrain for a decade of my life, I know that degrees and credentials are primarily badges of compliance. Those with extended schooling have lived for many years in a world where one routinely conforms to the demands of authorities. Thus for many MDs and PhDs, people different from them who reject this attentional and behavioral compliance appear to be from another world—a diagnosable one.
I have found that most psychologists, psychiatrists, and other mental health professionals are not only extraordinarily compliant with authorities but also unaware of the magnitude of their obedience. And it also has become clear to me that the anti-authoritarianism of their patients creates enormous anxiety for these professionals, and their anxiety fuels diagnoses and treatments.
In graduate school, I discovered that all it took to be labeled as having “issues with authority” was to not kiss up to a director of clinical training whose personality was a combination of Donald Trump, Newt Gingrich, and Howard Cosell. When I was told by some faculty that I had “issues with authority,” I had mixed feelings about being so labeled. On the one hand, I found it quite amusing, because among the working-class kids whom I had grown up with, I was considered relatively compliant with authorities. After all, I had done my homework, studied, and received good grades. However, while my new “issues with authority” label made me grin because I was now being seen as a “bad boy,” it also very much concerned me about just what kind of a profession that I had entered. Specifically, if somebody such as myself was being labeled with “issues with authority,” what were they calling the kids I grew up with who paid attention to many things that they cared about but didn’t care enough about school to comply there? Well, the answer soon became clear.
Mental Illness Diagnoses for Anti-Authoritarians
A 2009 Psychiatric Times article titled “ADHD & ODD: Confronting the Challenges of Disruptive Behavior” reports that “disruptive disorders,” which include attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and opposition defiant disorder (ODD), are the most common mental health problem of children and teenagers. ADHD is defined by poor attention and distractibility, poor self-control and impulsivity, and hyperactivity. ODD is defined as a “a pattern of negativistic, hostile, and defiant behavior without the more serious violations of the basic rights of others that are seen in conduct disorder”; and ODD symptoms include “often actively defies or refuses to comply with adult requests or rules” and “often argues with adults.”
Psychologist Russell Barkley, one of mainstream mental health’s leading authorities on ADHD, says that those afflicted with ADHD have deficits in what he calls “rule-governed behavior,” as they are less responsive to rules of established authorities and less sensitive to positive or negative consequences. ODD young people, according to mainstream mental health authorities, also have these so-called deficits in rule-governed behavior, and so it is extremely common for young people to have a “duel diagnosis” of AHDH and ODD.
Do we really want to diagnose and medicate everyone with “deficits in rule-governed behavior”?
Albert Einstein, as a youth, would have likely received an ADHD diagnosis, and maybe an ODD one as well. Albert didn’t pay attention to his teachers, failed his college entrance examinations twice, and had difficulty holding jobs. However, Einstein biographer Ronald Clark (Einstein: The Life and Times) asserts that Albert’s problems did not stem from attention deficits but rather from his hatred of authoritarian, Prussian discipline in his schools. Einstein said, “The teachers in the elementary school appeared to me like sergeants and in the Gymnasium the teachers were like lieutenants.” At age 13, Einstein read Kant’s difficult Critique of Pure Reason—because Albert was interested in it. Clark also tells us Einstein refused to prepare himself for his college admissions as a rebellion against his father’s “unbearable” path of a “practical profession.” After he did enter college, one professor told Einstein, “You have one fault; one can’t tell you anything.” The very characteristics of Einstein that upset authorities so much were exactly the ones that allowed him to excel.
By today’s standards, Saul Alinsky, the legendary organizer and author of Reveille for Radicals and Rules for Radicals, would have certainly been diagnosed with one or more disruptive disorders. Recalling his childhood, Alinsky said, “I never thought of walking on the grass until I saw a sign saying ‘Keep off the grass.’ Then I would stomp all over it.” Alinsky also recalls a time when he was ten or eleven and his rabbi was tutoring him in Hebrew:
One particular day I read three pages in a row without any errors in pronunciation, and suddenly a penny fell onto the Bible . . . Then the next day the rabbi turned up and he told me to start reading. And I wouldn’t; I just sat there in silence, refusing to read. He asked me why I was so quiet, and I said, “This time it’s a nickel or nothing.” He threw back his arm and slammed me across the room.
Many people with severe anxiety and/or depression are also anti-authoritarians. Often a major pain of their lives that fuels their anxiety and/or depression is fear that their contempt for illegitimate authorities will cause them to be financially and socially marginalized; but they fear that compliance with such illegitimate authorities will cause them existential death.
I have also spent a great deal of time with people who had at one time in their lives had thoughts and behavior that were so bizarre that they were extremely frightening for their families and even themselves; they were diagnosed with schizophrenia and other psychoses, but have fully recovered and have been, for many years, leading productive lives. Among this population, I have not met one person whom I would not consider a major anti-authoritarian. Once recovered, they have learned to channel their anti-authoritarianism into more constructive political ends, including reforming mental health treatment.
Many anti-authoritarians who earlier in their lives were diagnosed with mental illness tell me that once they were labeled with a psychiatric diagnosis, they got caught in a dilemma. Authoritarians, by definition, demand unquestioning obedience, and so any resistance to their diagnosis and treatment created enormous anxiety for authoritarian mental health professionals; and professionals, feeling out of control, labeled them “noncompliant with treatment,” increased the severity of their diagnosis, and jacked up their medications. This was enraging for these anti-authoritarians, sometimes so much so that they reacted in ways that made them appear even more frightening to their families.
There are anti-authoritarians who use psychiatric drugs to help them function, but they often reject psychiatric authorities’ explanations for why they have difficulty functioning. So, for example, they may take Adderall (an amphetamine prescribed for ADHD), but they know that their attentional problem is not a result of a biochemical brain imbalance but rather caused by a boring job. And similarly, many anti-authoritarians in highly stressful environments will occasionally take prescribed benzodiazepines such as Xanax even though they believe it would be safer to occasionally use marijuana but can’t because of drug testing on their job
It has been my experience that many anti-authoritarians labeled with psychiatric diagnoses usually don’t reject all authorities, simply those they’ve assessed to be illegitimate ones, which just happens to be a great deal of society’s authorities.
Maintaining the Societal Status Quo
Americans have been increasingly socialized to equate inattention, anger, anxiety, and immobilizing despair with a medical condition, and to seek medical treatment rather than political remedies. What better way to maintain the status quo than to view inattention, anger, anxiety, and depression as biochemical problems of those who are mentally ill rather than normal reactions to an increasingly authoritarian society.
The reality is that depression is highly associated with societal and financial pains. One is much more likely to be depressed if one is unemployed, underemployed, on public assistance, or in debt (for documentation, see “400% Rise in Anti-Depressant Pill Use”). And ADHD labeled kids do pay attention when they are getting paid, or when an activity is novel, interests them, or is chosen by them (documented in my book Commonsense Rebellion).
In an earlier dark age, authoritarian monarchies partnered with authoritarian religious institutions. When the world exited from this dark age and entered the Enlightenment, there was a burst of energy. Much of this revitalization had to do with risking skepticism about authoritarian and corrupt institutions and regaining confidence in one’s own mind. We are now in another dark age, only the institutions have changed. Americans desperately need anti-authoritarians to question, challenge, and resist new illegitimate authorities and regain confidence in their own common sense.
In every generation there will be authoritarians and anti-authoritarians. While it is unusual in American history for anti-authoritarians to take the kind of effective action that inspires others to successfully revolt, every once in a while a Tom Paine, Crazy Horse, or Malcolm X come along. So authoritarians financially marginalize those who buck the system, they criminalize anti-authoritarianism, they psychopathologize anti-authoritarians, and they market drugs for their “cure.”
These long, crazy-looking clouds can grow to be 600 miles long and can move at up to 35 miles per hour, causing problems for aircraft even on windless days.
Known as Morning Glory clouds, they appear every fall over Burketown, Queensland, Australia, a remote town with fewer than 200 residents. A small number of pilots and tourists travel there each year in hopes of “cloud surfing” with the mysterious phenomenon.
Similar tubular shaped clouds called roll clouds appear in various places around the globe. But nobody has yet figured out what causes the Morning Glory clouds.
This shot was captured by photographer Mick Petroff from his plane near Australia’s Gulf of Carpenteria.
The Justice Department missed another deadline earlier this month to hand over key information to congressional investigators, asking — yet again — for more time to consider the requests and produce the documents. The media barely noticed. But after a year of stonewalling and cover-ups, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has had just about enough.
In a letter dated February 14, Rep. Issa warned Holder (above) that failure to comply with a congressional subpoena is a violation of federal law. About two thirds of the document categories sought by investigators have been unlawfully withheld without any proper justification, he said, noting that much of what has been handed over was so heavily redacted as to be rendered useless.
As such, the letter ordered the nation’s top law enforcement officer to appoint a DOJ representative who will “serve as the conduit for dealing with the contempt proceedings, should the Department continue to ignore the Committee’s subpoena.” If convicted, Holder could face jail time and hefty fines.
“The Justice Department’s request for additional time has, unfortunately, not been followed by efforts to bridge the significant differences between its legal obligation to Congress and the reality of its stonewalling,” Chairman Issa said in a statement blasting the DOJ. The Committee declined Holder’s request for more time.
Rep. Issa emphasized that, in light of the ongoing DOJ cover-up, Congress had no choice but to take action. “If the Justice Department cannot commit to providing, at a minimum, a detailed description of documents it is withholding, and the legal basis for doing so, then the Committee has no other option than to move forward with the contempt process against Attorney General Holder,” he said in the statement.
Now, however, Congress has expanded its probe to include the DOJ’s efforts to interfere with the congressional investigation, too, Rep. Issa said in the letter. “Virtually all congressional requests regarding Fast and Furious have gone unanswered and even unacknowledged,” Issa noted. “Complying with the committee’s subpoena is not optional. Indeed, the failure to produce documents pursuant to a congressional subpoena is a violation of federal law.”
In the letter, Rep. Issa said Congress was seeking to find answers to a broad array of questions. Did the DOJ retaliate against whistleblowers who exposed the deadly operation? Why have top officials continued to lie? Are senior Obama administration officials responsible for the criminal schemes going to be held accountable?
Another top DOJ official, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jason Weinstein, testified that Cunningham had provided false information. So, if the allegation is true, Rep. Issa asked whether Cunningham was being criminally investigated for obstruction of the congressional investigation.
“The Department appears to be more concerned with protecting its image through spin control than actually cooperating with Congress,” Issa stated in the letter. “Nearly four months have passed since I authorized your subpoena. During that time, the Department’s progress has been unacceptably slow.”
Beyond the gun trafficking operation and the ensuing violence — which official documents later revealed were being used by the Obama administration to push for more infringements on the right to bear arms — is another, almost certainly related issue. And again, DOJ is stonewalling in the critical congressional inquiry.
According to Issa’s most recent letter, the Committee is concerned that its investigation into U.S. government money-laundering operations for drug cartels is being ignored, too. Despite the fact that the probe was initiated more than two months ago — shortly after the Drug Enforcement Administration’s drug-money laundering schemes were exposed in the New York Times — DOJ has failed to even schedule briefings with congressional investigators.
But despite Holder’s refusal to cooperate, it does not appear that the pressure is going to ease any time soon. The growing scandals and the resulting cover-ups have led to over 100 members of Congress calling on Holder to step down.
Instead of submitting his resignation or even just cooperating with investigators, the Attorney General has exhibited what critics called a defiant and petulant attitude throughout the investigation. Almost incredibly, Holder has repeatedly lashed out at Congress for investigating Fast and Furious — an operation virtually everyone acknowledges was wrong and must be punished. The Attorney General has even attacked the media for daring to report on the scandal and the ensuing uproar.
But Rep. Issa did note that the behavior was unacceptable. “The attitude with respect to a legitimate congressional inquiry, which seems to have permeated the Department’s ranks, is deeply disappointing,” Issa wrote in the letter, criticizing Holder’s wildly inappropriate outbursts attempting to impugn the motives of investigators.
“Had the department demonstrated willingness to cooperate with this investigation from the outset — instead of attempting to cover up its own internal mismanagement — this investigation likely would have concluded well before the end of 2011,” Issa noted, responding to Holder’s sinister suggestion that politics and the election year played a role in the probe.
Sources cited earlier this month by Mike Vanderboegh, a gun-rights activist and blogger whose work was instrumental in exposing the federal gun trafficking scandal, stated that House Speaker John Boehner planned to make a deal with the Obama administration. The alleged agreement would have reportedly allowed a few lower-ranking DOJ figures to take the fall while top officials got away scot-free — essentially allowing everyone to save face.
The news sparked an instant public outcry. A spokesman for Rep. Boehner, however, disputed the claims. He told The New American that the reports were false and that the Speaker fully supported Rep. Issa and the Fast and Furious investigation.
Families of the Fast and Furious victims are charging ahead, too. And Rep. Issa and even Democrats on the Oversight Committee seem dedicated to finding out what exactly was going on so responsible officials can be held accountable for the blood-drenched fiasco.
"The committee is determined to know what happened in Operation Fast and Furious and how the Justice Department responded when it was publicly confronted with evidence of reckless conduct after Agent Terry’s death,” Rep. Issa said. "I want to make it clear that Congress will not give up until … accountability has been achieved."
Numerous law-enforcement experts have called for a special prosecutor to investigate and prosecute federal officials involved in Fast and Furious. The state of Arizona, meanwhile, is conducting its own independent investigation into the deadly scheme.
Whether those responsible for the operation will actually be held accountable for their criminal actions remains to be seen — but as the body count continues to rise, the outcry is still growing as well. And the victims’ families and advocates for honest government have vowed to keep the pressure on until justice is finally served.
It was already noted through Twitter that several accounts were warning as soon as the 12th of February1 that the Police was launching a fully fledged operation against Anonymous in Spain. At first Police forces would not “confirm neither deny it”2 and this was mostly thought to be because the operation was still on it’s feet and they feared that possible suspects would be able to clear their tracks or delete any compromising data.
But today the operation (dubbed “Operation Exposure”) came to an end and a press release3 has been published and mainstream media have reported on it456. This Operation, according to the press release, was coordinated at an international level with INTERPOL, EUROPOL and Technological Police Brigades were the arrests took place in Latin America. Specifically, 10 activists in Argentina, 6 in Chile and 5 in Colombia. Moreover two servers have been blocked in Bulgaria and the Czech Republic. It was noted that access to the IRC server named “AnonWorld” was impossible since last week.
A group of marijuana activists seeking recreational use legalization for adults in Colorado expects to hear if they gathered enough signatures for a pot legalization question to appear on the 2012 ballot,the Associated Press reports.
In January, the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol turned in more than 160,000 signatures in favor of the legalization initiative — nearly double the 86,000 signatures required to put the question of pot legalization on the 2012 ballot, The Denver Post reported. However, the Colorado Secretary of State’s office determined that the activists fell short by about 2,400 verifiable signatures after conducting a random sample of the signatures that showed only roughly 50 percent of the signatures handed in were valid. Colorado state law requires that a random signature sample meet a certain threshold of validity or it triggers an automatic review.
The amendment seeks to make the personal use, possession and limited home-growing of marijuana legal for adults aged 21 and older. It establishes a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol is currently. The act also would allow for the cultivation, processing, and sale of industrial hemp, according to the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol website.
Maybe, as the novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald suggested, the rich really are different. They’re more likely to behave badly, according to seven experiments that weighed the ethics of hundreds of people.
The “upper class,” as defined by the study, were more likely to break the law while driving, take candy from children, lie in negotiation, cheat to increase their odds of winning a prize and endorse unethical behavior at work, researchers reported today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Taken together, the experiments suggest at least some wealthier people “perceive greed as positive and beneficial,” probably as a result of education, personal independence and the resources they have to deal with potentially negative consequences, the authors wrote.
While the tests measured only “minor infractions,” that factor made the results, “even more surprising,” said Paul Piff, a Ph.D. candidate in psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, and a study author.
One experiment invited 195 adults recruited using Craigslist to play a game in which a computer “rolled dice” for a chance to win a $50 gift certificate. The numbers each participant rolled were the same; anyone self reporting a total higher than 12 was lying about their score. Those in wealthier classes were found to be more likely to fib, Piff said.
"A $50 prize is a measly sum to people who make $250,000 a year," he said in a telephone interview. "So why are they more inclined to cheat? For a person with lower socioeconomic status, that $50 would get you more, and the risks are small."
Poorer participants may be less likely to cheat because they must rely more on their community to get by, and thus are more likely adhere to community standards, Piff said. By comparison, “upper-class individuals are more self-focused, they privilege themselves over others, and they engage in self- interested patterns of behavior,” he said.
To be sure, Piff and his colleagues also said the associations they found were likely to have exceptions, pointing to Warren Buffett, chairman and chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., who has pledged the majority of his holdings to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other charities, and the whistle-blowing of Cynthia Cooper and Sherron Watkins, former officials of Worldcom Inc. and Enron Corp., respectively.
Less wealthy individuals also can behave badly, they wrote, noting the relationship between poverty and violent crime in previous research. They urged further study to determine the “boundaries” of bad behavior spurred by greed.
The studies Piff and his colleagues completed weren’t meant to measure the ties between socioeconomic status and violent crime, but rather simple bad behavior, he said.
Some of the experiments offered visual evidence, for instance determining whether people with more expensive cars observed traffic laws in the San Francisco Bay Area, yielding to cars and pedestrians at an intersection, or whether individuals took candy identified as being set aside for kids. Others polled people on what decision they might make in a given situation.
In the traffic tests, about one-third of drivers in higher- status cars cut off other drivers at an intersection watched by the researchers, about double those in less costly cars. Additionally, almost half of the more expensive cars didn’t yield when a pedestrian entered the crosswalk while all of the lowest-status cars let the pedestrian cross. These experiments involved 426 vehicles.
Another test asked 108 adults found through Amazon.com Inc.’s work-recruiting website Mechanical Turk to assume the role of an employer negotiating a salary with someone seeking long-term employment. They were told several things about the job, including that it would shortly be eliminated. Upper-class individuals were more likely not to mention to the job-seeker the impermanence of the position, the research found.
Meredith McGinley, an assistant professor at Chatham University in Pittsburgh who wasn’t involved in the study, was critical of how some of the experiments were designed.
The design of the car experiments complicates the picture because having a flashy car doesn’t necessarily mean the driver is wealthy, said McGinley, who studies positive social behavior. In the experiment involving candy, the participants were told they could have it even though the children were waiting for it. They may have felt they were doing nothing wrong, she said.
In the candy test, 129 undergraduates were manipulated to view themselves as wealthy or poor. They were then presented with a jar of individually wrapped candy, which researchers said would go to children in a nearby lab, though they could take some if they wanted. The undergraduates believing themselves to be upper income took more than those believing themselves to be low income, the study found.
The research indicates that valuing greed leads to unethical behavior, not necessarily that income class causes bad behavior, McGinley said, adding, “greediness seems like a much more substantial predictor than income.”
The study builds on previous research that has shown wealthy people are worse at recognizing how others feel and are more likely to be disengaged during social interactions than others, the authors wrote in the paper.
That seems to be the case even in primates, said Piff, who describes his status growing up as being “relatively comfortable, middle-class.” Because of his education, he’s now “probably upper-middle class,” he said.
Fitzgerald wrote his view, “Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me,” in his short story “The Rich Boy,” which appeared in All the Sad Young Men, a collection initally published in 1926.
"It’s not that the rich are innately bad, but as you rise in the ranks — whether as a person or a nonhuman primate — you become more self-focused," Piff said. "You can change that by reminding upper-class people of the needs of others. That may not be their default, but have them do it is sufficient to increase their patterns of altruistic behavior."
Beirut - The bodies of dozens of men were found dumped on wasteland on the outskirts of the stricken city of Homs on Monday in what appeared to be one of the worst instances of mass killing since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began last March.
The Local Coordination Committees, an opposition group, said that the bodies of 64 men were taken to the National Hospital in Homs and that an unknown number of women and children who had been with them are missing. Activists said they thought that the men had been trying to flee the violence with their families when they were stopped and gunned down by security forces.
The details available were murky, however, and the bodies had not been identified, making it difficult to establish exactly how or why the men died.
The discovery came as Syria’s state media announced that a big majority of Syrians had voted to approve a new constitution that would allow Assad to remain in power until 2028. U.S. and European leaders have condemned the exercise as meaningless, since it seemed designed primarily to ensure Assad’s survival rather than to implement genuine reforms.
The apparent mass killing in Homs spoke to the rising ferocity of the violence engulfing many parts of Syria as the government seeks to quell the revolt and the once-peaceful protest movement increasingly resorts to arms to resist the onslaught, stirring fears of a civil war that could ignite a wider regional conflict.
The deaths were among 124 reported across Syria on Monday as the government’s efforts to crush the nearly year-long uprising showed no sign of letting up.
They included an additional 25 victims of continued shelling of the Bab Amr neighborhood in Homs, which has been subjected to daily bombardments by tank and artillery fire in a massive offensive that began Feb. 3.
The assault is aimed at crushing anti-government resistance in what had emerged as one of the biggest strongholds of the loosely organized Free Syrian Army rebel movement.
The official news agency SANA reported the funerals on Monday of 16 soldiers and policemen killed in the violence nationwide.
Homs has also become a flash point for sectarian tensions, which have escalated as the regime, dominated by members of Assad’s minority Alawite sect, has sustained its efforts to quell a revolt embraced by the country’s mostly Sunni majority. There have been recent instances of sectarian killings in the city, and some activists said they could not rule out a sectarian dimension to this apparent massacre.
Trying to flee
Activists contacted in Homs said they thought the men were killed mainly because they were originally from Bab Amr. Fighting had displaced them weeks ago to outlying areas of the city, which they sought to flee overnight Sunday when those areas came under heavy attack.
Abu Emad, who spoke from Homs via Skype, said the men were among a large group of families that were leaving those areas when their vehicles were stopped at a checkpoint close to the main highway leading to Damascus.
The families were herded onto four buses, he said, citing the accounts of survivors, and were told they were being taken to a safe place. After a short distance, the elderly passengers were ordered off the buses, and the rest were driven away. On Monday morning, local residents discovered the bodies of the men; the whereabouts of the women and children who were with them are unknown, Emad said.
"They killed all the young men," he said. "Maybe there are more - we still don’t know."
The human rights group Avaaz gave a similar account of the incident but put the number of bodies found at 62. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 68 bodies had been taken to the National Hospital. Some of the victims had been shot, and others were bayonetted to death, said the Observatory’s spokesman, Rami Abdulrahman. He said it was not clear who the men were or why they were killed.
The accounts could not be independently confirmed; nor could the reports of killings elsewhere in the country, because journalists are not being granted visas to work in Syria.
Among those trapped in besieged Bab Amr are two foreign journalists who had entered the country illegally and were injured last week in a rocket attack that killed American journalist Marie Colvin, who was working for the British Sunday Times, and French photographer Remi Ochlik.
According to the Associated Press, Poland’s foreign ministry has started an effort to negotiate safe passage out of the area for the two injured journalists, Edith Bouvier of the French newspaper Le Figaro and British photographer Paul Conroy of the Sunday Times, as well as the bodies of the two who were killed. Poland undertook to represent U.S. interests in Syria after the closure of the U.S. Embassy in Damascus this month.
A new constitution
SANA reported that 89.4 percent of voters in Sunday’s referendum endorsed the constitution, which was unveiled less than two weeks before the balloting amid Russian pressure on Assad to head off escalating Western efforts to force his departure.
The interior minister, Mohammad Ibrahim al-Shaar, was quoted as saying that 8,376,447 citizens, or 57.4 percent of eligible voters, voted in the referendum.The turnout was “good,” Shaar said, “despite the threats and intimidation by armed terrorist groups in some areas and the accompanying distortion and instigation campaigns by media.”
But with foreign journalists and outside observers barred from witnessing the polling, the opposition boycotting and violence raging across many parts of the country, the validity of the vote or the result was impossible to verify.
Though the new constitution introduces term limits and allows multiple political parties to compete in elections, it concentrates so much power in the presidency that Assad would effectively be able to remain in office 16 more years.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov nonetheless hailed the outcome as a “movement toward democracy,” and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin reiterated his opposition to any military intervention in Syria.
"I strongly hope that the United States and other nations will learn from the sad experience and won’t try to resort to a forceful scenario in Syria," Putin wrote in a foreign policy manifesto published in Russian newspapers.
Although the group, including European and Arab nations and the United States, affirmed its support for Assad’s ouster, it stopped short of offering aid to the divided and ill-defined Syrian opposition.
Also Monday, a new group called the Al-Nusra Front to Protect the Levant said it was behind a double suicide bombing in Aleppo this month and a Jan. 6 bombing in Damascus that killed dozens.
In a videotaped message posted on a jihadi Web site that recounted details of the attacks, the group vowed to avenge the killings of Syrians by government forces wherever they occur and said that only armed revolt would bring down the Assad regime. It was the first claim of responsibility for the bombings, and though it could not be verified, the group’s video comes amid growing concerns that al-Qaeda-linked groups are attempting to infiltrate the Syrian uprising.
Hey, #NWO - This U? #EtherSecHistory #WomanPower #WARNING Message only safe for those who #LoveWomen
"The ultimate sexist put-down: the prick which lies down on the job. The ultimate weapon in the war between the sexes: the limp prick. The banner of the enemy’s encampment: the prick at half-mast. The symbol of the apocalypse: the atomic warhead prick which self-destructs. That was the basic inequity which could never be righted: not that the male had a wonderful added attraction called a penis, but that the female had a wonderful all-weather cunt. Neither storm nor sleet nor dark of night could faze it. It was always there, always ready. Quite terrifying, when you think about it. No wonder men hated women. No wonder they invented the myth of female inadequacy."
The present financial meltdown may only be the latest example of the incalculable harm done to civilization, and countless individual lives, by psychopaths, a subspecies of Homo sapiens. The purpose of this essay is twofold. First, I will provide a brief tour of the psychopath subspecies so that you understand who they are and how they operate. You probably already know psychopaths, and it is overwhelmingly likely that at some point in your life a psychopath that you encounter personally will try to harm you. Second, I will draw the correlative between psychopathy and the present financial meltdown and provide a suggestion of a relatively simple change that could decrease the likelihood of the sort of abuses that could lead to future meltdowns.
Another day, another update. Several states, pretty much all in the South and all with strong Republican-dominated governments, have joined Tennessee in the triple-digits for ass-backwards points. And speaking of Tennessee, man, that state just doesn’t quit. Just when you think a competitor could…
I’m just reblogging this because this blog is amazing. It literally assigns point scores for states in a race to the stone age. It’s based on laws and fuckery that occur within a given state. And get this: Pennsylvania, California and KENTUCKY are all tied for 26th.
Follow this blog. Seriously. It’s just awesome.
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