The Bitchin' Kitsch May 2011 Issue

Page 1

content may 2011 Robin I and Robin II - Rachel Peeters

cover 2

Male figure study - Tanya Haller


Time is Money - Jason Loeffler


The Table - Robin Lee


The Bubble - Robin Lee

Public Interest and Economic Growth in a Two-Party System - Mike Wilson

Jason Loeffler - pg 4

Tanya Haller (aka Oksana Ink) - pg 8 was Planned Parenthood losing its federal funding a bad thing? - John Lee Tattoo Design 19 - Tanya Haller (Oksana Ink)

6-7 7-8 8

Love and the Human Family: The Four Noble Truths of Buddhism and Social Change - Mike Wilson 9-11

on the front cover: Robin I and Robin II Rachel Peeters Monotype prints


Magus - Wlkn_Fire

on the inside front cover: Male figure study by: Tanya Haller Charcoal on paper

Donors & Index

The Walker Sympathy Card Chris Talbot-Heindl



on the inside back cover: The Walker Sympathy Card by: Chris Talbot-Heindl Gicleé print

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jason loeffler, robin lee. The Table By: Robin Lee

The table’s a part of who we are. We look at eachother so close and far. We look at eachother and see who we see. I see a part of you. You see a part of me. We bring to the table. We bring and we take. We give what we give; for giving’s sake. Days pass at our tables. Lines deepen our face. Travel to the future, time and space in one place. Season after season, one Holiday after another; we see ourselves as sisters and brothers. Fighting, wrong-righting, finding our faults. Working together and yielding results. We progress and digress. We focus on distraction. We steam-seeth in our stress, and react to reactions. We wonder, we blunder, get lost in our thoughts. We wander and ponder. We learn lessons taught.

Time is Money Jason Loeffler Graphic design


We leave and we come back, and we leave once again. We sit at the table from beginning to end. The table’s a part of who we are. It almost seems more than just. But we can’t keep from questioning, where it’d be without us.

robin lee.

The Bubble By: Robin Lee

Every bubble’s bound to blow. Every Bubble’s bound to burst. Every outsourced rating goes from best to worst. Each lent dollar is imaginary, when it’s lent for a profit, but investors will keep investing as their banker’s get a cut off it. You can’t insure responsibility if it can’t possibly be possible, If leveraging is lifted,

to those who aren’t responsible. The bubble will burst, the bubble will burst, if poked by the greedy pin, relapsing the collapsing affecting everything within.

You can’t keep awarding bonuses to the people at the top. And when it pops, as it’s bound to do we’ll blow another one, and another and another, till our bubble blowing days are done.

You can’t bail out a bubble. Without expecting it to pop. 5

mike wilson. Public Interest and Economic Growth in a Two-Party System By: Mike Wilson

Consider the last three decades and how much has changed. Although progress has been slow, we can agree that some things have improved, like tolerance and access for the majority of people. One could argue that racism, sexism and homophobia have significantly decreased in the United States. However, in debating issues like racism, sexism and homophobia, one canʼt help but realize how these are weapons used by the highest echelons of power in a broader struggle against equality: class struggle. To excise these issues, we must understand that these dividing lines define power relationships based on hatred and false notions of superiority to pit the workers against each other; we must understand how these are forms of aggression from the few at the top against the bottom 90%. To address racism and sexism, we must understand their economic value. In that sense, Governor Walker extending funding for corrections and holding police officers harmless from his anti-organized labor reforms is similar to Fox Newsʼ anti-immigrant, racially divisive or sexist rhetoric– both are meant to destroy any solidarity between people at the bottom. When Ronald Reagan referred to black women as “welfare queens,” he was illustrating the union between intolerance, unequal power relationships, and the economic interests which also sought to diminish any favorable view of public services. The last three decades have also been marked by an arching ideology of “growth for the hell of it.” We went from progress in 1973ʼs Roe v. Wade to “wholesale democracy” in 2010 through Citizens United v. FEC, which overturned decades of law and opened the floodgates to corporate spending on elections. In the last thirty years of Ronald Reagan, of a global sweep of privatization, austerity and deregulation, the wealth of the world has been consolidated into fewer and fewer hands at the cost of human development and human security. Weʼve made some gains, sure thing. The New York Times reports that “the poorest countries in Africa have advanced life expectancy 10 years from conditions in 200,000 B.C.” Oh, and the UN says 16,000 children die every day from malnutrition. All of this can be justified by World Bank statistics proudly demonstrating increases in global product output, for example. Consider this scenario: on the one hand, the global GDP multiplied by 5.08 between 1980 and 2007; on the other hand, between 1979 and 2007 the share of income, after taxes, of the lowest 20% in the U.S. 6

dropped by 30%. The share of income for the top 1% rose by 130%. Itʼs sort of like the federal budget proposal submitted by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), in which, according to Citizens for Tax Justice, “The poorest 20 percent would pay 12.3 percent of their income more than what they would pay under the Presidentʼs proposal, while the richest one percent would pay 15 percent of their income less than they would pay under the Presidentʼs proposal.” So, itʼs okay to reduce the public sector, which provides services like education, and to promote the consolidation of wealth at the very top of the pyramid, because its all in the name of economic growth. But when we talk about promoting economic prosperity, do we forget who we do it for? Praising his budget proposals on, Governor Walker stated, “This will be good for the Badger Stateʼs hard- working tax payers,” adding, “Our budgetrepair bill is a commitment to the future so our children wonʼt face even more dire consequences than we face today.” If that is our goal, it seems that cutting $900 million from the stateʼs K-12 education budget is a bad first step. Walkerʼs rhetoric implies that sacrificing childrenʼs education is a necessary, and even “modest” measure to protect their future. He seems convinced that cuts to education, health care, womenʼs reproductive care, recycling, municipal subsidies, the Department of Natural Resources, etc. are necessary to promote economic well being. Why? Because, as the maxim he adheres to dictates, economic activity achieving any demonstrable “growth” is positive. It doesnʼt matter how wealth is distributed, but that wealth is being transferred. So, we can have be proud of our high GDP in the U.S. One thing not mentioned, of course, is that in the U.S., the wealthiest 1% earn an average of $27 million per household, while the average income for the bottom 90% is $31,244 per household. How does this happen? Part of it is a sustained assault on the bottom 90%. On that end the strategy is to prevent their access, keep them unhealthy, uneducated, and unorganized. Conversely, we promote the well being of those in the top. After all, corporations will carry our uneducated children better than government services can. It should be no surprise, since the maxim dictates that what is good for those at the top will be good for the rest, and whatever impedes the top from accumulating wealth is ultimately bad for society, that the Wisconsin Legislature went into a “Special Session” during January to make sure that “Wisconsin is Open for Business.” In January, Stevens Pointʼs two representatives in

mike wilson (con’t), john lee. the Legislature, Senator Julie Lassa and Assembly Representative Louis Molepske Jr., voted aye on Special Session Bill 3, which gave tax credits and deductions to out-of-state businesses, and Special Session Bill 4, which increased tax credits from the Department of Commerce to businesses by $25 million. Although in February they would come to find an incredible opportunity to stand with hundreds of thousands of active citizens (and voters) demanding their voices be heard in the Capitol Square, Lassa and Molepske were not keen to leave the state when Special Session Bills 3 and 4 came to the floor. They too were sticking to the maxim, supporting Reaganʼs fallacious theory of “trickle down” economics. Sure, letʼs encourage big business to give $5/hour part time jobs to Wisconsinites, because that is how we will restore a bright future for our children. The fourteen Wisconsin Senators who left the state to be greeted triumphantly upon their return by the largest social movement in Wisconsin history probably have their minds in the right place. Anyone following this issue should have deep respect for Democrats like Lassa and Molepske, as well as Rep. Peter Barca and Rep. Gordon Hintz. To be sure, law-makers across the state have been moved to demonstrate their opposition to Walkerʼs harsh austerity proposals by the hundreds of thousands of people who have flooded the Capitol and demonstrated in their cities. Remember also that an attack on organized labor is an indirect attack on the Democratic Partyʼs base. Sadly, however, the Democrats in the legislature also believe that a “positive business climate” is a viable path to prosperity for the majority, whereas all statistics point otherwise. That is the problem with a two-party system–the winner-take-all nature of single-member district elections benefits larger parties. Then, as parties try to expand their base, they move closer and closer to each other until their differences are barely noticeable. In our electoral system, both sides adhere to the doctrinal and unfounded claim that wealth will “trickle-down” to the benefit of all. Some actually believe in trickle down, others are more cynical and know that it is a scheme, a charade to promote a system in which wealth quickly trickles upward. Regardless of the outcome of any election, if our “choice” is between two parties that support big business as a way to ensure our well-being, we’ll lose every time. Right now we have an unprecedented degree of bottom-up unity between different sectors in the “bottom 90%.” The people built this movement. While it has served to awaken and empower moderate politicians, we must continue to pressure our representatives towards substantial change and reform our electoral system to a proportional vote-

distribution representation model, away from “winner-takeall” elections. The Democrats are going to do only enough to regain their foothold. Theyʼll stand up and chant with us, because the power of the people is visible, but the last thing we need is to hand off the momentum weʼve created to a political party that is still drinking Milton Friedmanʼs “capitalism is a necessary condition for political freedom” Kool-Aid. Itʼs a lie, we can prove itʼs impoverishing the majority and destroying the planet, and itʼs got to go. was Planned Parenthood losing its federal funding a bad thing? By: John Lee

I don’t get why so many people, mostly Feminists, are so upset over Planned Parenthood losing its federal funding. Now before you decide to mail me anthrax, I’d like to inform you that not only am I pro-choice, I’m all about having less kids in general, teaching people the benefits of contraception and all that jazz. In fact, I’m pro-lesspeople-in-general. So Planned Parenthood is one of those organizations I like and yes, I could not have been more thrilled for Planned Parenthood when it lost its federal funding. According to, online gifts to Planned Parenthood by private donors have surged by 500% since it lost its federal funding and NARAL Pro-Choice America’s email activist list grew by 1,000 subscribers per day at the height of the budget debate. ( news/stories/0411/52962.html) So let me get this straight. Since it lost its federal funding, Planned Parenthood is now getting more money from private donations than it got before AND more people are expressing their interests in supporting its cause. I’m failing to see the downside here. In fact, I fail to see any downside here. 1. Feminists/Liberals/Progressives/Pro-Choicers are getting what they want – Planned Parenthood is getting more money and is recruiting more supporters. And especially because Planned Parenthood is getting money from private donors who really believe in Planned Parenthood’s cause, Planned Parenthood can now pursue activities that its members really want as opposed to having 7

john lee (con’t), tanya haller (oksana ink). to be bound by government rules and regulations when it did receive federal funding. More money, more freedom and more supporters. I just cannot understand how this is bad. 2. Social conservatives are getting what they want too. Now they can sleep better at night knowing that their tax dollars aren’t being spent on an organization that they dislike. Yes, it can be argued that the amount of money being spent by each taxpayer to fund Planned Parenthood was almost negligible but can we agree that this is more a case of “it’s the principle of the matter” than anything else? 3. Libertarians (like me) are happy because that’s one less organization that is needlessly being funded by taxpayers and this also means that the government is taking less action in general. And that’s always a cause for celebration for libertarians.

Tattoo Design 19 Tanya Haller (aka Oksana Ink) Ink on paper 8

And I see another advantage that arose from this. Whereas feminists/liberals/progressives/pro-choicers, social conservatives and libertarians each won in their own ways, the politicians lost. In reality, Planned Parenthood has for years been nothing more than a near negligible budget issue but in politics, in order to cover up their real gargantuan failures, both Democrats and Republicans used this minor budgetary issue to play out the greatest form of American political theatrics – the Culture War. Yes, there are plenty of other meaningless Culture War topics that those idiots can charade over but this is one less thing in their arsenal of stupid. Again, I’m failing to see the downside here. If I am wrong, and women’s rights have indeed suffered because of this, please let me know and I would be more than happy to change my mind on the issue.

mike wilson. Love and the Human Family: The Four Noble Truths of Buddhism and Social Change By: Mike Wilson

In 1932, under the auspices of the International Institute for Intellectual Cooperation and the League of Nations, Albert Einstein wrote an open-letter to psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud. Einstein began by proclaiming himself a pacifist, saying war was caused by the ruling classes, who exploit it to advance their interests and enlarge their authority. The corrupt power of capitalist elites, wrote David Cortright, was obvious to Einstein, who continued the letter by calling himself a socialist. He wondered if there was a way to overcome the way that the elite had shaped militarism into human nature, a way to counter the tendency towards destructivity that was perpetuated by the powers through their press, the churches, the schools and governments. Today, we know a very small number of the population control the majority of the world’s wealth. In the United States the National Taxpayer’s Union estimated that 10% of the population controls 71% of the wealth. A United Nations University study reported that in 2000, 10% of adults in the world accounted for 85% of total wealth. That is not a democracy, and the power structure knows that. You cannot claim to be free when you are impaired by the chains of economic slavery. We have unjust systems of

power, which thrive on perpetuating divisions among us and benefit from the subservience of the underrepresented. The power structure understands that to retain their power and wealth, they need to keep the populace divided and uninformed. They have to provide a notion of freedom and democracy, but constrain these as much as possible. They do that, as Albert Einstein pointed out in 1932, by controlling our sources of information, the press, the churches, our schools, and most of our institutions. Freud replied that the majority was quick to allow rulers to make decisions for them. The need was, argued Freud, for an equivalent call to action which incited the same cognitive euphoria as service to the nation, but through positive service to the world based on the dictates of reason. He said that even though churches and politicians discouraged freedom of thought, the direct antidote to war was love, the ultimate counteragent to the destructive instinct instilled in us. In 1986, a UN-commissioned panel of scientists released a report on the nature vs. nurture question—are humans destructive by natural impulses and instinct, or is it a complex combination of unmet psychological and physiological needs and social structures that make us competitive, alone, individualistic and destructive? The conclusion issued, to be known as the Seville Statement, unambiguously established that it was social structures and nurture that created destructive humans, not instinct or nature. Because of our evolutionary makeup, our nurturing and conditioning can determine whether we will be good to each other or not. A society based upon love for humanity as one family, rather than one that encouraged destruction and individual gain, is cognitively possible.

I. Life is suffering – Intolerance is a problem in our world, we cannot see eye to eye, and our differences are accentuated by the powers that be. In this country, we know about how the role of women in government, business and society needs to be expanded, that African-American college graduates are 50% less likely to find a job than their Caucasian counterparts, that homosexuals are not given equal rights as the rest of the populations, that immigrant workers are exploited for their cheap labor and that we should not use torture to gather intelligence because this produces false confessions. Yet divisions are perpetuated by the corporate-owned press, by fundamentalist churches, by institutions and structures that benefit from a strategy of divide and conquer. As long as we’re busy hating each other, they can keep consolidating their wealth.


mike wilson (con’t). Although since 1960, global food production has grown at a steady rate, the number of human beings under food insecurity (danger of or actual malnutrition, hunger or starvation) has grown steeply. In 2004 the BBC reported that China was suffering from an “obesity epidemic;” per capita food consumption rates in the United States are even higher. Meanwhile, the UNICEF reported that more than 16,000 children were dying each day from hunger-related causes. That number has increased since then. Although the UN’s World Food Program has been working to deliver thousands of tons of food to populations in need, they announced this year that they have to cut their programs due to decreased funding from developed nations, which were busy funneling resources to international financial institutions deemed “too big to fail” – obviously, the importance of human life isn’t, in the view of the power structure. Starvation, deprivation from equitable economic development and the right to self-determination are major causes for conflict in our world. Discontent rooted in deprivation often manifests itself in open conflict or violent acts. Osama bin Laden made clear why his targets were the buildings emblematic of the militarism that has engulfed the world (the Pentagon) and the oppressive corporate globalization that benefits the elite at the cost of the rest (the World Trade Center). If we’re looking to avoid terrorism, we must look at what fuels it. The DoD claims that our “defense” budget will be roughly $626 billion for FY2012. This estimate is not our entire military budget, which should include part of the national debt interest, formulated and unpaid because of military budget, as well as veteran support, etc. The actual military and defense budget of the United States for FY2012, paid for by our hard earned taxes, is actually $1,372 billion, according to the WRL. Is that kind of resource consumption making us safer? It doesn’t. It exacerbates the reasons for tension, it instigates the needs for war—to make good on our investment—and it funnels wealth into the pockets of a small elite while the rest of us are forced to pay for it and fight the battles amongst ourselves. The United Nations estimates that for less than $50 billion, we could provide clean water, adequate diets, sanitation services, and basic education to every person on the planet. That’s 0.35% of our 2009 military budget.

II. Suffering is caused by human desires – We’re taught that happiness is attained through the accumulation of possessions, that the new device is always better than the last, that infinite convenience is the goal of society. We’re always looking for the easier, cheaper 10

way out of all aspects of life. Infinite convenience caused by human indolence is going to destroy us, and indeed it threatens to destroy our planet. The income ratio of the one-fifth of the world’s population in the wealthiest countries to the one-fifth in the poorest went from 30 to 1 in 1960 to 74 to 1 in 1995. Inequality is inherent in the system, which in fact fosters assumptions of human nature like greed. Our system tells you that if you work hard enough, you can pick yourself up, that you too can own a yacht if only you work hard enough. First of all, we don’t all need to own yachts. We don’t need so much wealth and to spend it so frivolously. Second of all, if our system finds it profitable to ration things based on wealth, like access to water, electricity, an education, or health care, the majority of the people in the planet will work as hard as anyone else, and never have an opportunity. If you don’t have access to an adequate education, to electricity and a lamp to read at night and inform yourself; if you’ve been born into a family of twelve and you have to work from a very young age to sustain your brothers and sisters, then you don’t have an opportunity. The truth about our system is that, although it encourages competition and innovation, it needs to be reformed so that abuses don’t occur in the ultimate quest for consolidation of wealth, so that everyone has an actual opportunity of pulling themselves up, no matter how unlucky they were in being born to an uncomfortable situation, determined by contingent factors often not of their own choice, and perpetuated by the system through which few benefit from the sweat of the great majority. If we recognize that all human beings have a right to certain things, without which we cannot ever be truly free or have an equal opportunity, like an education, potable water, adequate diets, employment, a life-sustaining wage, and dignity, the world will be much safer for everyone. The nature of the system is the incentive of profit maximization, as if that made us happy. This has led to cronyism and corruption of our system at its very core, through the manipulation of capital—our greatest minds are busy figuring out the most intricate ways of generating a profit through equity trade and insurance. It has created conditions under which some benefit from sending people to kill each other, or in which hard-working people lose their homes and their jobs. It has led to gross violations of human rights because we’d rather enrich ourselves than work to protect each other. It has led to the creation of a military-industrial complex, as mentioned above, which fosters the overt-covert interventionism through which we’ve subverted democracy and indigenous movements

mike wilson (con’t). hundreds of times; we bombed Guatemala City because the President of that country, Jacobo Arbenz, was seeking to redistribute land and reform wages for workers; we gave billions of dollars to a military regime to begin a coup against the government of Mossadeq in Iran or of Allende in Chile; we supported the Indonesian junta’s mass slaughter of East-Timorese people as they sought their right to self-determination after the withdrawal of Portuguese colonials from power; we support the regime of Omar alBashir in Sudan because China and the U.S. have a vested interest in the vast Sudanese oil reserves; we secretly bombed Laos and Cambodia to pieces while we carried out massive bombing campaigns in North and South Vietnam; we traded weapons for prisoners and funded both sides with military aid, chemical weapons included, during the Iran/Iraq War of the 1980s; we mount counter-insurgencies against governments we don’t like, as in Nicaragua and Honduras—the thousands of deaths we caused in Nicaragua during the 80s prompted a condemnation from the World Court, which we rejected; we’ve occupied the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Cuba, Panama, El Salvador and many more; we’ve prevented leftist governments from gaining power, as in Brazil in 1964 through a CIA operation; we pay for brutally repressive paramilitaries in Colombia and provide incredible aid to the longest military occupation in modern history in Israel. I probably shouldn’t go on, but the list is wide.

III. Humans must try to overcome suffering The point is that it wasn’t just the U.S. government doing that kind of stuff, doing it now. It wasn’t just some assholes who didn’t care for human rights or democracy. It was you and me; it was the taxpayers that let that happen. It was us. It was in our name and with our money. It was with our acceptance. It still is. And so it is not enough to oppose it, but to realize that these are consequences of the system that we all embrace, that some will stop at nothing to maximize their wealth and power. The point is to come up with a new system, one that produces the same cognitive pleasure that we currently attain from possessions and wealth, but from service to each other, to humanity as a whole, and to our planet. That’s the point. By simple math, by logic, our consumption rates are going to kill us when India and China catch up, and they will. They will take us off the charts. The United States consumes about a quarter of the world’s resources and represents about 4% of the total population of the planet. China’s population is more than one sixth of the planet’s, at 1.325 billion. India’s population is a close second, with about 1.027 billion people. By logic, it is impossible for their consumption rates catch up to ours, as that will take

consumption off the charts. This is a major environmental and humanitarian crisis in terms of energy, water, and food insecurity. Meanwhile how much convenience is too much? Overconsumption is throwing the world out of balance and threatening our very existence. Just as a small example, on a small scale, Green Peace reports that 80% of U.S. available fisheries are overexploited. There are many crises that we need to unite and combat together. The resources for sustainability are available. Now we just need the will to pull through. Our silence is our weakness.

IV. The way to do so is through adherence to the Eightfold Path… The Eightfold Path consists of practices that we must achieve in every moment of our life. These are the attainment of right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration. One doesn’t have to be a Buddhist to pursue the righteous path, much less to see why it is important to follow it. We must learn to choose between infinite convenience and maximized, unnecessary profits, or the well-being of human beings. We must understand that ethics can be profitable. As consumers, we have the right to decide what we support, what kind of business practices we endorse. The power is in our hands. Infinite convenience might turn out to be much more expensive in the long run, if we destroy the planet while doing so. Human security would make the world safer, would be more compatible with liberty and democracy, and would cost us a fraction of what we currently spend on defense. Positive peace is a world living in harmony, where there is no injustice, open and direct nor structural and subtle. As two unquestionably great minds of the modern period agreed in 1932, and many others have argued before and since, love for each other, for ourselves, for everyone and for our planet and all species living on it, which we unquestionably depend on for our survival, is the answer, the antidote to the suffering we see in the world. I, for one, plan on spinning my own khadi.


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