Adonis Diaries

Archive for December 28th, 2013

When They Imagine Clothes For Models, Here’s What Actual Women Would Have To Look Like

One of my niece is graduating in Fashion design this year, and she has been embarked on a long-term diet, weight-loss program to look like one of these models.
The problem is that she is not tall at all, but most of her costumes fits the opening march in Olympics, mostly gold painted swimming-trunk kinds of dresses.
Upworthy posted:
A new ad campaign warning of the dangers of anorexia produced these evocative photos of what a real woman would look like if the sketches were representative of real life.
The models themselves are Photoshopped, but they are a reminder of the dangers posed by unrealistic expectations of beauty promoted throughout our culture.


Polio vaccination: Teams in Syria under threat?

Health workers are trying to contain a polio epidemic in Syria, but a mass immunization programme is being undermined by the danger of the conflict.

Health organizations are responding to a resurgence of polio in war-torn Syria which broke out in October after many years of a polio-free status.

Andrew Bossone published in Nature Middle East this Dec. 15, 2013

© / Alamy

The immunization programme – coordinated between UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO), the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and others – is the largest ever to be attempted in the Middle East and aims to immunize 23 million children across seven countries by April 2014 at a cost of $39 million.

UNICEF’s head of health and nutrition in Lebanon, Zeroual Azzeddine, says immunization rounds have been successful in Lebanon, reaching more than 580,000 children, about 98% of those targeted.

UNICEF worked with the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, to immunize children at refugee registration centres at four border entry points and through mobile teams going door-to-door.

While this may be repeated in neighboring countries, health workers in Syria face grave threats from warring government forces and armed rebel groups.

“Patients have difficulty accessing health centres and hospitals because the roads aren’t safe. There are snipers on the roofs,” said Elizabeth Hoff, WHO representative in Syria. Cars being used to transport vaccination teams of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent have reportedly been shot at.

Azzeddine says health organizations need to change their strategies. The WHO has shelved rebuilding hospitals and health centres in Syria, Hoff says, and is focusing on mobile units and training local health workers.

Targets may only be achieved, however, by exerting more pressure on both sides. Azzeddine says the WHO recently sent a high-level delegation to Syria to discuss the situation with government officials. And according to Hoff, the WHO has lobbied the Syrian ministry of foreign affairs as well as UN director general Ban Ki Moon.

Health workers also face danger from rebel groups.

Gunmen kidnapped 7 people from the International Committee of the Red Cross in October. Four of them were released the following day, but three are still missing.

Azzeddine, who has previously worked in Darfur, attributed a successful vaccination campaign there to negotiating with people from all sides of the conflict.

The only way to respond to the outbreak of measles and polio was to train people from the area to do the work because they did not accept anyone from the government side. We had people trained from both sides, and it worked.”

Note: Before this calamity that turned into a civil-war, Syria promoted public education and health insurance for all its citizens. It manufactured over 90% of the necessary medication and exported them to Lebanon at very affordable prices.

Of Bats, Bees and Capitalism: The Two insurmountable contradictions…

The motto of Neo-liberal capitalists is: “Economical Factors that can be monetarily evaluated should be considered as Capital to be plundered

You read that the economists have lately estimated that Nature can extend worth of 54,000 billion per year on services rendered . What that means?

That concept of valuing the various services that nature are saving the corporations was first contemplated in 1997 by Robert Costanza, and the studies multiplied since then. For example:

Bats save $23 bn per year in the US on pesticides

Bees and pollinating insects save $190 bn per year.

You read that daily transactions amount to over what all nations produced in GNP for an entire year. What that means?

The neoliberal capitalists have been trying hard to eliminate the notion of “value of work” and replace this term with “circulation of capital” as the main wealth generating factor, sort of connecting work with exchange value and disconnecting human work as a significant value.

Neo-capitalists want to equate value with everything that can be transformed into capital, including knowledge, talents, health care, education, potable water, breathable air… Everything that maintain life and the survival of mankind has to be taxed and “capitalized”…

To that end, multinational corporations and financial institutions are giving their best shots for handicapping States sovereign power for enacting laws that safeguard the best interest of their people.  Like How? Allowing multinationals to sue States at an international commerce tribunal for laws that are not to the corporations interests…

It turns out that it has very little to do with meaningful human freedom, and rather a lot to do with corporate freedom – the freedom of corporations to extract and exploit without hindrance.

“Free trade” agreements such as North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), and the latest Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), focus primarily on battering down import barriers, curbing labour unions, reducing restrictions on pollution, legalizing capital flight, cutting corporate taxes, eliminating state subsidies for local industries, privatising public assets, and extending foreign patent protections.

None of these measures have to do with enhancing human freedom. Rather, they are designed in the interests of multinational corporations, who through them gain access to new export markets and investment opportunities, and cheaper labour and raw materials.

The disturbing thing about the rhetorical strategy of “free trade” is that the very things that do promote real human freedoms – such as the right of workers to organise, equal access to decent public services, and safeguards for a healthy environment – are cast as somehow anti-democratic, or even totalitarian.

This term of freedoms in Free trade is an obvious propaganda term, a form of Orwellian doublethink that means exactly the opposite of what it claims.

The constraints are reframed as “red tape”, as “market interventions”, or as “barriers to investment”, even when, as is almost always the case, they have been won by popular grassroots movements exercising democratic franchise

In two new “free trade” deals that are about to come into effect: the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which will govern trade between the US and the European Union, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which will govern trade between the US and a number of Pacific nations.

We hear very little about these deals because they are shrouded in secrecy, and because six of the corporations leading the negotiations happen to control 90 percent of our media.

Yet, we need to pay attention, because these deals are set to form the blueprint for a new global order.

In addition to battering down import tariffs and privatising public services, the latest trade agreements grant corporations the power to strike down the laws of sovereign nations. You read that right.

Neo-capitalism has created two contradictions that is handicapping any progress in sustainability of nature and mankind.

1. The devaluation of the human workforce has generated s surplus in production in the industrial sectors. The consequences were acute rates of unemployment in almost all the industrialized nations, reduction in social protection level (health, unemployment pay, retirement, schooling…), and a  terrible growth of  wealth inequality and life-styles…

2. The infinite accumulation of capital is confronting earth natural limitations: destabilization of eco-systems, diminishing of natural resources that cannot be regenerated, degrading biodiversity, generating multiple polluting calamities (rivers, air, soil…), and climate change…

Neo-liberal capitalism is dealing with two contradicting challenges:

1. Cannot exploit human labor beyond a certain level of no return without ruining the potential for further expansion

2. Cannot transgress nature limitations in massive exploitation without destroying the basis of material accumulation…

These two inseparable and insurmountable contradictions between human labor and nature limitations have forced the multinational corporations, particularly the financial multinationals, to drop their previous illusions of auto-sufficiency and  endogenous source of value

A new “explicit” dimension of value is taking roots: Knowledge in the production process or the Cognitive Capital.

Question: How knowledge and what kinds of knowledge may modify the meaning of value?

Knowledge in all fields of study and applications is a collective endeavor and imposing high fees on license, trademark and corporation registered patents are extreme barriers that handicap the emerging nations to contribute effectively to word wealth sustainability…

Only applied knowledge in production can be exploited as exchange value, but never the spirit of acquiring knowledge…

Obviously “feeling good” attitude and having hope for a better future are not in the capitalism vocabulary to quantify in their economic models, or the multiple interactions among the economic factors that tell the real story for a sustainable environment to mankind.

Note 1: Post inspired by the article of Jean-Marie Harribey in Le Monde Diplomatic #717 under “Of bats and capitalism

Note 2: Read part 1

Note 3: On Free Trade Agreements




December 2013

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