The Game Changed in Venezuela Last Night – and the International Media Is Asleep At the Switch

Caracas Chronicles

San Cristobal ayer San Cristobal on Tuesday night

Dear International Editor:

Listen and understand. The game changed in Venezuela last night. What had been a slow-motion unravelling that had stretched out over many years went kinetic all of a sudden.

What we have this morning is no longer the Venezuela story you thought you understood.

Throughout last night, panicked people told their stories of state-sponsored paramilitaries on motorcycles roaming middle class neighborhoods, shooting at people and  storming into apartment buildings, shooting at anyone who seemed like he might be protesting.

People continue to be arrested merely for protesting, and a long established local Human Rights NGO makes an urgent plea for an investigation into widespread reports of torture of detainees. There are now dozens of serious human right abuses: National Guardsmen shooting tear gas canisters directly into residential buildings. We have videos of soldiers shooting civilians on the street.

And that’s…

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Dealing with Psychic Anxiety

Wow, very well written!

Cauldrons and Cupcakes

Over the years I have come to recognise a certain set of feelings, to which I have given the name ‘Psychic Anxiety’. It’s a very unpleasant sensation that can last from an hour to a couple of days, and it is one of the least fantastic aspects of being spiritually and energetically sensitive.

Oh, don’t get me wrong.  It’s not unbearable, and in fact I have worse feelings related to psychic work at times, especially if it involves violent crimes and dead people.

The biggest problem with psychic anxiety is this unshakable feeling of dread and unease, that sensation of icy chills and ‘something crawling over your grave’ as my Nana calls it.

People who are psychic, or sensitive, generally feel the highs and lows of life more acutely. I like this diagram below, because for me it represents the differences between me and someone who is less sensitive.

Most…

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Self-doubt—or—do you ever feel like you’re faking it all?

Even though I aced the tests, even though I have the experience and skills, something tells me that I didn’t get the job because I was qualified for it. Something tells me there are other people who are far more qualified, who would be better at the job. I must have woven some sort of magical web, I must have cast some sort of surreptitious spell. I have an uncanny ability to pull the right words out of the air, barely trying, without planning ahead or editing my thoughts. Of course that talent doesn’t always materialize when I want or need it to, but somehow it works, somehow the words themselves are magic, the language I use to convince those around me to do my bidding. And if the words fail then there is the distracting picture I make, my turquoise and silver bangle, my flashy gold earrings, my multiple necklaces, the dark eye makeup, the shimmery pink lipstick, the sparkly gold and pink confetti nail polish, pulled together with tight pants and a bright top and fancy boots. It must have been a combination of the verbal spell and the visually disorienting wardrobe that got me the job…it couldn’t have been my qualifications.

 

 

Don’t Destroy Yourself Just Because Other People Are Assholes

Let’s share our terrible stories and be horrified by the extremes we have endured and survived.  What doesn’t kill you…doesn’t kill you for a reason, right?!  Today an obnoxious day.  I must put off some sort of vibe on certain days that begs people to fuck with me.  I was happy, maybe that was the problem.  I was singing the only line of the popular Lorde song Royals and had just realized that, perhaps for the first time all winter, none of my body parts were cold as I rode my bike through the sunshiney, 25 degree weather.  What happened when I walked into the building?  I went to sign in at the front desk; the attendant asked me if I was cold and reached over to touch my hand.  My hand was curled around the pen, I tried to make it as small as possible, afraid of physical contact. 

“No, I’m actually hot,” I said, putting the pen on the counter.

“Well anyone looking at you can see that!” he said. 

I laughed a startled laugh and told him I would see him later.  When I went into the restroom I looked at my face, my makeup had come off during the ride and my cheeks were bright red.  What was he talking about?

When I went to lock my bike up at the bank a half hour later I heard the sound of a man crowing like a rooster.  I tried not to look at him, knowing that he was trying to get my attention.  He stomped his foot and whistled and I looked up as I turned the key in my lock.  Before he had time to say anything I asked him where he worked and if they were hiring, trying to keep him from saying anything lewd to me.  I could tell it was that sort of day.  When I went in to the bank strangers seemed interested in talking to me as well, three different women struck up conversations with me.  Couldn’t they see that I am vastly shy and afraid of people?  When I came out of the bank I saw the rooster man standing by my bike, waiting for me.  I pretended to make a phone call and leaned against the glass wall of the bus stop until he left. 

On my way back someone behind me leaned on their horn for at least thirty seconds.  They were driving a red pick up truck, which I associate with rednecks and ignoramuses.  I slowed down and came to a complete stop in the middle of the intersection.  Fuck that guy.  Then a cop standing on the side of the road yelled at me to keep up with traffic.  My blood boiled.  Fuck off cop, fuck you, fuck you, fuck you.  I imagined horrible things, his car spontaneously combusting, his gun back firing the next time he tried to shoot some unarmed teenager in the wrong neighborhood, his face being beat to a bloody pulp by the girl he had been raping for the last five years.  Just when I had started to calm down I came to a stoplight and heard

“Hey gorgeous.”  Fuck.  What am I supposed to do.  I looked around, trying not to make eye contact with the man standing on the corner. 

“You’re the only gorgeous woman on a bike, you know that.”  he said.

The nervous, startled laughter again.

“Thaaanks,” I mutter.

“Hey, let me take you out some time.” he says. 
FUCK.  I HATE THIS INTERACTION.

“Sorry, I have a husband,” I say just as the light turns green and take off.  Another car honks at me from behind.  I ride fast, letting my seething rage propel me the rest of the way home. 

Lorde’s Suppressed Grammy Award acceptance speech (Full Transcript) 26 January 2014

YES

Snoopman News

Queen Bee Sting: Grammy audience told to read more Queen Bee Sting: Grammy audience told to read more

Lorde:

Thankyou soo much everyone for making this song explode because this world is mental. (Laughter). Planet Earth is run by psychopaths that hide behind slick marketing, ‘freedom’ propaganda and ‘economic growth’ rhetoric,[1] while they construct a global system of corporatized totalitarianism.

As American journalist Chris Hedges has identified, a corporate totalitarian core thrives inside a fictitious democratic shell.[2] This core yields an ‘inverted’ totalitarian state that few recognize because it does not look like the Orwellian world of Nineteen Eighty-four.[3]

This corporate totalitarian core is spreading outward from America. Planet Earth is being rapidly militarized by the world’s major and significant states, including their police forces.[4] Meanwhile, state surveillance is becoming universal[5] and torture is outsourced to gulags.[6]

Can we not imagine that in past times, simple folk found it hard to work…

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Chicago Meanderings

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Buildings Reflected on Buildings….

Riding down Chicago Avenue smells like riding down Chicago Avenue.  The pungent smells of exhaust, fried food, and garbage combine to create the timeless eau de ville du jour.  I am riding from downtown, past the skyscrapers and the little touristy area near the river, then down the pothole and–despite the sun–slush ridden road.  I keep pedaling, through West Humboldt Park where a number of people stand on the corner, conducting drug deals in broad daylight regardless of the school two blocks to the east or the cops driving one block to the west.  I see some beautiful graffiti along the way, done by kids from the neighborhood, a spray painted sign advertising Bro-In-Law’s chicken restaurant, a laundromat with a sign on the door that says “Free Dry for Customers Who Wash Here, We Stand By This.”   I pass the requisite Family Dollar, beauty salons, WIC, tiny bodegas, empty and abandoned churches, a Planned Parenthood without any windows, a couple of sketchy looking daycare centers with metal garage doors over the front that I imagine showing up on the nightly news some short distance in the future (never trust a place called Kiddy Korral, or any place that spells C words with a K, that’s my motto) a couple of fast food restaurants, a wittily named laundromat (Loads of Fun!), a shop with a handmade sign hanging over the old advertisement “I don’t care what society thinks, this is my community”.  There are a couple of taco shops, a closed down sports bar with hand painted plywood as a sign.

Everyone outside is black.  Many people stand in the middle of the road, waiting for the bus, some people cross seeming to not even notice the traffic.  I stop at a gas station to help some girls push their broken down car into the parking lot.  We swear and laugh and keep pushing until we get it. I get back on my bike and continue riding west.

Then, abruptly, the scenery begins to change.  It seems to start with a row of shops on the right, all low and uniform and in the same building.  There is another daycare center, but it looks less creepy, there is a dentist’s office and a dance studio.  On the left hand side are tall apartment buildings, the first ones in miles.  Then a bike lane appears, and more trees, and the apartment buildings transform into large houses with big lawns. I pass more shops, an Ace Hardware, an upscale Mexican bar and restaurant, a Doggy Massage (!) parlor.

The houses are now enormous, practically mansions.  Some of them look like castles.  The cars drive slower around me.  The people getting out of their cars and hanging out in their driveways are all white.  The trees are abundant; it is so quiet that I can hear a church choir practicing the bells as I ride along.

I have traveled from the business sector through the ghetto and into the white person mansion hood.  I am confused as to why this is.  Why are all of the rich white people living in the nice, quiet, tree-filled part of town?  Why are the poor black people living in the treeless, rundown, drug and crime-infested part of town?  Why doesn’t anyone ever talk about this, and what role do I play in this?  I am financially somewhat poor, but I have an education that has the societal stamp of approval that comes in the form of a college degree.  I have massive student loan and credit card debt but I don’t have any crippling or jail-inducing addictions…and even if I did I don’t think I would ever get arrested for them…I can ride through both neighborhoods, the poor and the wealthy, and feel equally acceptable.  Do I breathe a little easier in the wealthy neighborhood?  Well, yes.  I do relax a little more.  Is that due to the majority of people sharing my skin color, though, or is it because of the money that these people have on blatant display–what could I possibly have that they would want to take?  A shitty $50 bike?  There is no one waiting at the bus stops in this neighborhood.  I assume that the people who ride bikes here do it for exercise and not to get to where they need to be.  They definitely don’t have to ride 15 miles to and from work because they can’t afford public transportation.  I pull up in front of the building where my job interview is to take place and lock my bike to the fence, thinking even as I do that it is probably unnecessary.

UK enforces law which bans public from criticising the govt

this is troubling…

The lovely wibbly wobbly old lady

Thanks to Nicola Jones for this … worrying times indeed!

court

A British citizen was held for days without charge in a London mental hospital under little-known laws which allow the police to arrest and detain anybody who voices criticism against politicians or celebrities.

The Fixated Threat Assessment Centre (FTAC) was quietly set up to identify individuals who they claim pose a direct threat to VIPs including the Prime Minister, the Cabinet and the Royal Family.

It was given sweeping powers to check more than 10,000 suspects’ files to identify mentally unstable potential “killers and stalkers” with a fixation against public figures.

The team’s psychiatrists and psychologists then have the power to order treatment – including forcibly detaining suspects in secure psychiatric units.

Using these powers, the unit can legally detain people for an indefinite period without trial, criminal charges or even evidence of a crime being committed and with very…

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The universe is shaped exactly like the earth if you go straight long enough you’ll end up where you were

I remember listening to this song, running the sunny early fall streets of the lower east side, and truly believing that he loved me back, more than that, he was in love with me too.  I felt so happy I thought my heart might break.  He does love me, he has to love me!  The sun dappling the sidewalk through the bright leaves of the trees in the crappy little park by the East River told me it was true, the oxygen pumping through my lean and muscular thighs told me it was true, the cartoon clouds in the blazing blue sky told me it was true, and I was ready to be his if he would have me. Of course, it didn’t end up the way I thought it would.  How is it that some songs that we listen to can have such a profound effect on us?  Can make us believe that someone loves us in the way we want them to love us, or, in the case of Elliot Smith, can make us unsure of whether we actually want to be alive at all. 

I know everyone says this, but music has always been incredibly important to me.  More than writing, painting, taking a walk, binging on carbs and sugar, chain smoking, cutting my skin, drinking until I’m blacked out, overdosing on morphine…music can affect my mood and bring me up no matter how down I am.  I need to remember this when I am feeling really down. 

Last night the boy told me that he could feel my sadness from a mile away.  That made me stop and think.  I don’t want to be a harbinger of doom and gloom in the world; I don’t want to spread despondency and hopelessness wherever I go.  Today I decided to have a good day.  I read somewhere on the internet that repeating “I am a bearer of good” can improve your thinking, and since thoughts are things and action springs from thoughts that is something worth improving!  So I repeated that simple phrase as I rode my bike downtown to work and I think it really did work.  People were friendlier today, strangers were saying hello and talking to me about everything, I got a free cup of coffee at Pret Manger and realized that coffee is also magic happy juice and that I should drink that to cure bouts of suicidal tendencies.  I also wrote a haiku about living in the ghetto, entitled

 

GHETTO HAIKU

rotten banana

losing lottery tickets

and piss in the snow.

 

 

Ha!  The important thing is I am feeling a lot better and have some new plans and ideas for the future. 

Trigger Warning

Oh man have I been depressed lately.  Is it a lack of gratitude that contributes to this state of mind, or is it years of living in a state of near constant anxiety that does it?  I thought that quitting smoking and cutting down drinking would help ease this situation; that trying to meditate (I still can’t seem to get past 13 minutes) and getting lots of exercise (about 20 miles of bike riding a day) would help.  But it hasn’t.  I find myself wanting to lie in bed and cry silently, thinking terrible thoughts about slitting my wrists and bleeding out.  But I don’t really want to die at all.  I think the issue is feeling such intense negative emotions and not knowing what to do with those feelings and then feeling misunderstood and consequently worthless for being unable to express my feelings and communicate with other people.  That is where the morbid visualizations come from.  I find myself trying to starve myself down, somehow somewhere along the way I learned that a woman’s beauty is her key to happiness.  The boy is somehow (usually) supportive of my sometimes insane behavior.  Why he doesn’t run away and never come back when I start crying over nothing, when I skip dinner and lay in bed with the blankets pulled over my head I don’t know.  He seems used to this behavior, he seems like he knows how to handle it, and it makes me sad to think of why.  Why he opened the door for me after I went into a rage, throwing my bike at him and punching him in the arms over and over again when he was complaining about making him wait outside in the cold for me I don’t know.  I just have really low self-esteem and I have for most of my life and I don’t know how to build it up.  There are instances when it is high: when I am doing something I love and the results are good, when I am being productive at a job that I enjoy that I feel is making a difference in the world, when I lose weight or gain muscle or learn a new skill.  But when I feel so bad that there doesn’t seem to be anything that exists other then the bad feelings, when I can’t stop myself from crying, when I hide my face because I know that anyone looking at me could quickly see the transparent pain spelled there, when that happens I can’t seem to pull myself out of that way of thinking, I can’t even see in front of me, let alone anything like options.  Being honest here is hard.  I wanted this blog to be a sort of facade, much like the personality that I present to pretty much everyone all the time, something that made my life appear interesting and fun and a place where the only appropriate emotional state was happiness.  I wanted to appear witty and in control and I didn’t want to leave a trail of depressive bread crumbs for anyone to pick up.  This is proof that I am not perfect, this is proof that I don’t always feel ok.  Do I want to talk about it with anyone?  No.  I just want to get it off of my chest.  My chest is where I feel it the most, a crushing, aching pain, and then my stomach too, nauseous and roiling.  Maybe it is good for me.  Maybe there is a lesson I am supposed to learn that only incredibly hard feelings can teach me.  Maybe 19 years of having these feelings isn’t enough, maybe 20 will be the magic number where they cease to destroy me in such a way.