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Archive June 13 2007


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"The Big Issue"

The Big Issue Foundation's core ethos is self help. We offer support to homeless and socially excluded people who seek to gain control of their lives and help them move off the streets and into a home and a job.We work with over 2000 vendors across the UK, supporting them with a diverse program of opportunities either delivered through our own services or in partnership with specialist agencies. Each new vendor has a Needs Assessment, and from this an individual action plan is set, which is monitored in supervision sessions with support staff.



Twelve Step Fellowship

For anyone who would like to work the steps, these versions of the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous provide a platform for changing our lives and outlook to sober living one day at a time.

AA Step Change
For Human Beings

God Conscious 12 Steps Spiritual

1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Good Conscience 12 Steps Spiritual

For anyone who would like to work the steps, this version of the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous provides slightly different wording of the six steps that make reference to God or a Higher Power. This version of the Twelve Steps seems to have originated in agnostic A.A. groups in California.

1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe and to accept that we needed strengths beyond our awareness and resources to restore us to sanity.

[Original: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.]

3. Made a decision to entrust our will and our lives to the care of the collective wisdom and resources of those who have searched before us.

[Original: Made a decision to turn our wills and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.]

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5. Admitted to ourselves without reservation, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

[Original: Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.]

6. Were ready to accept help in letting go of all our defects of character.

[Original: Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.]

7. With humility and openness sought to eliminate our shortcomings.

[Original: Humbly asked him to remove our shortcomings.]

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.

11. Sought through meditation to improve our spiritual awareness and our understanding of the AA way of life and to discover the power to carry out that way of life.

[Original: Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.]

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.



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Be Tolerant

You have the power to tolerate anyone and any situation. But tolerance is not just suffering in silence.

It means going beyond any personal discomfort you may feel, and giving a gift to whom ever you would tolerate. Give your time, attention, understanding, compassion, care - all are gifts, which paradoxically, you also receive in the process of giving.

And, as you do, you will experience your own self esteem and inner strength grow. In this way you can turn tolerance into strength.








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June 2007
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June 14 2007

Feeling Less Than? - DonInLondon ‘Day in the Life’

It has taken me years to understand me, and its no wonder. I never probed too deeply into me at all. I spent a lifetime understanding people. And I was pretty good at supporting and assisting anyone in their life choices, and work choices. A sort of "eclectic counsellor". Life experience and studies of people have always been my main interest over a career of 35 years in business. Before of course I broke down quite stupendously. And I always wondered why I really understood the depths of human doings. Of course I lived a lot of the scenario’s and never experienced quite the same as others, more manifestly excellent life experiences. Now I understand more, the less I realise, I probably know! Indeed I am a novice..

I have realised in this later stage of living, that some of us are not quite the full shilling in some respects connected with happiness. That is to operate on a below par level and so realise the less attractive elements of life others have no and again are really a mainstay of me. Its called clinical depression by some. And the attitude of many to any mental condition which is "below standard" is to encourage a person to pull their socks up and pull themselves together.

With modern medicines, the management of a depressive state is likely to be improved with other complimentary treatments. However its often seen that the patient is not responsive to medicine or other therapeutic interventions.

Why Don’t We Pull Ourselves Together?

Even with chemistry and biology, there is this gaping misunderstanding that people can mend and be a certain way. That is happy. And really we do get happier once we realise we can only do so much and go so far.

I was in good company earlier and felt able to share some of my observations. Maybe it was helpful, I am not sure.

The problem anyone with a deficit in some mental capacities is likely to feel less than equal to life as we see others enjoying things we only get to see and feel rarely or just observe second hand.

And the other part of whatever type of depression manifests, its so often profound and disabling, yet attractive as feelings are so deep and so sharp we can feel actual pain and love in extreme versions of what normal people just have as a consequence of their living.

Drama and Sadness

When we try to break out of some of our behaviour we are rendered completely powerless over our feelings and behaviour. It makes us scream inside and outside sometimes. Or in my case I go silent and wait it out as long as it takes. From hours to days to months sometimes. Even with chemical and therapeutic process sometimes absolutely nothing but time seems to heal these rifts in living.

Old Stories and New Times

Hard news for many with a variety of depressive conditions is they come back whatever we do. And as a Type 1 insulin dependant diabetic, there have been moments when the attraction of a large does of insulin and a swift end have been very attractive to me.

Pain itself can stop the whim of desolation and urge to end it all swiftly. I have realised along the way and come to understand as long as I follow medical advice, there comes some normality when its possible.

Cognitive Behavioural Nonsense - or CBT Therapy

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or "How To Pull Ourselves Together"

When a person is reacting to a situation, an event or something tangible, then CBT, that is cognitive behavioural therapy has a place in counselling. Where the patient or me in this case is slumping into the pit of despair, CBT is the last thing we need because the person who deals in it, feel that I or a patient can talk themselves and feel themselves into a recovering condition. And that is another way of expressing to me or a patient that we can pull ourselves together and put on a brave face and sail into the sunset of our dreams.

I am tempted to use the words of a friend of mine who summed it as and this is a very intelligent individual, "as a load of fucking bollocks" and thank you Clive Hardy for that observation. It will make him smile if he is still alive and kicking. And of course he is pretty right on this.

We cannot talk ourselves out of a permanent chemical imbalance, but we can benefit from therapeutic process which helps us understand what is going on. We can improve our chemistry with good environment and nurture as we know we respond well to stimulus and produce all sorts of chemicals all over the place when we are able. Reactive chemical changes are accepted by me, and work provided there is the mechanical biology to produce these hormones and so enable emotional changes.

How else would we ever fall in love?

Endurance

We endure false and misconceived therapy offered by lay persons and some professionals who believe and I don’t know why, that humans can talk themselves well, when there is no empirical evidence to suggest they can when the chemistry set inside is broken or beyond repair.

However

I can endure my depressions with the benefit of knowing what is going on and what to do. And that is often take medication which helps the chemistry of me, and also gives me an opportunity to find out what I can do, and what I cannot do. And this is self managed learning based on my experience of me, and no one else.

I do believe Clive, an old work colleague and not a counsellor was completely right about the use of his term to describe what a lot of Doctors think and feel. Because they like many others, they are full shit and prejudice, just like everyone else can be too. Including me! And I was and probably still am.

What can we do?

Learn, educate, keep doing the research and stop thinking and feeling you know what is good for me when you don’t have a clue. And I am happy to return the same accommodation to you too. It is vital to survive and make good our understandings of depression, which is a condition that is alleviated with long term chemical and therapeutic help and requires self monitoring and feedback to trained professionals and researchers.

Hard Science and Behavioural Science

Both help the prospects of people like me. And the good of this is in learning for myself. And the bad of this is the prejudice of others who don’t have it or understand it, that is depression in its many manifestations.

Medical and Spiritual, and God help Us, Religions!

While we are manifestly in denial of some things, and powerless over much of life, we are prone to many filters and delusions, attitudes and behaviours. You might think and feel doctors and scientists are immune to these particular human qualities, there not in my experience.

Experience

Indeed the experience of my life and the Doctor’s who treat the scientific elements of my ailments do quite well. The rest are still floundering like the rest of us in our own prejudice and beliefs. They are as good as their knowledge and experience, sadly never enough. A surgeon can spend years on their craft and skill, and we let others deal with our mental health with hardly time to learn more than basic functions and medications.

No wonder it’s a bit of a challenge! Just for today? For me yes. For science and for the professionals a lifetime study. I hope they keep busy and learn and learn and learn… because I wish one day for people to live without the stigma and prejudice we all carry regarding defects and deficits we can do nothing about. I feel you stir and relish your argument, and are ready with that timeless repost, "pull yourself together man." And hardly surprising as we with the ego of living through fear and adversity, often we believe we can. We never mend some things in life until it hurts beyond all living, and then sadly too late.

Finally I wonder and accept you may not know what I am talking about, or you do so well it screams at you. I have now way to tell. Either way more to come, just one day at a time for me and a lifetime for you…

May it be long happy and prosperous, as life can be for me as well? One lives in hope and practicalities, for today, and in my world just for today..




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Guardian Unlimited OnLine June 14 2007


BAE faces criminal inquiry in US over £1bn payments June 14 2007




Justice department alarmed at claims over MoD's role

David Leigh and Rob Evans

The US department of justice is preparing to open a corruption investigation into the arms company BAE, the Guardian has learned. It would cover the alleged £1bn arms deal payments to Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia.

Washington sources familiar with the thinking of senior officials at the justice department said yesterday it was "99% certain" that a criminal inquiry would be opened under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). Such an investigation would have potentially seismic consequences for BAE, which is trying to take over US arms companies and make the Pentagon its biggest customer.

The sources say US officials were particularly concerned by the allegations in the Guardian that UK Ministry of Defence officials actively colluded in the payments. One said: "The image of all these Bob Cratchits in Whitehall sitting at their high stools processing invoices from Bandar has been a startling one to us."

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Times OnLine June 14 2007


Gaza lurches towards Islamist mini-state June 14 2007




James Hider in Jerusalem

A new, Islamist mini-state was emerging in the Gaza Strip yesterday, as victorious Hamas forces surrounded and blew up their secular rivals’ last strongholds in bitter fighting that threw the entire future of the Middle East peace process into doubt.

Supporters of the Fatah movement fled to Egypt or surrendered as Hamas leaders predicted that they would control the entire coastal strip by the end of the week.

European Union chiefs said that the deployment of an international force should be urgently considered to curb the bloodshed.

In Gaza, Hamas strengthened its grip as its fighters surrounded die-hard Fatah supporters in isolated, last-stand strongholds. In Khan Younis in the south, Hamas guerrillas tunnelled under a Fatah security base and blew it up with its defenders still inside. Those refusing to give up in other besieged bastions were given two days to surrender.

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Independent OnLine 'Indy' News June 14 2007


A world without oil June 14 2007



Scientists challenge major review of global reserves and warn that supplies will start to run out in four years' time

By Daniel Howden

Scientists have criticised a major review of the world's remaining oil reserves, warning that the end of oil is coming sooner than governments and oil companies are prepared to admit.

BP's Statistical Review of World Energy, published yesterday, appears to show that the world still has enough "proven" reserves to provide 40 years of consumption at current rates. The assessment, based on officially reported figures, has once again pushed back the estimate of when the world will run dry.

However, scientists led by the London-based Oil Depletion Analysis Centre, say that global production of oil is set to peak in the next four years before entering a steepening decline which will have massive consequences for the world economy and the way that we live our lives.

According to "peak oil" theory our consumption of oil will catch, then outstrip our discovery of new reserves and we will begin to deplete known reserves.

Colin Campbell, the head of the depletion centre, said: "It's quite a simple theory and one that any beer drinker understands. The glass starts full and ends empty and the faster you drink it the quicker it's gone."

Dr Campbell, is a former chief geologist and vice-president at a string of oil majors including BP, Shell, Fina, Exxon and ChevronTexaco. He explains that the peak of regular oil - the cheap and easy to extract stuff - has already come and gone in 2005. Even when you factor in the more difficult to extract heavy oil, deep sea reserves, polar regions and liquid taken from gas, the peak will come as soon as 2011, he says.

This scenario is flatly denied by BP, whose chief economist Peter Davies has dismissed the arguments of "peak oil" theorists.

"We don't believe there is an absolute resource constraint. When peak oil comes, it is just as likely to come from consumption peaking, perhaps because of climate change policies as from production peaking."

In recent years the once-considerable gap between demand and supply has narrowed. Last year that gap all but disappeared. The consequences of a shortfall would be immense. If consumption begins to exceed production by even the smallest amount, the price of oil could soar above $100 a barrel. A global recession would follow.

Jeremy Leggert, like Dr Campbell, is a geologist-turned conservationist whose book Half Gone: Oil, Gas, Hot Air and the Global Energy Crisis brought "peak oil" theory to a wider audience. He compares industry and government reluctance to face up to the impending end of oil, to climate change denial.

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BBC OnLine News June 14 2007

Gaza rivals 'agree on ceasefire' June 14 2007

Rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah say they have agreed to the terms of a new truce to end days of fighting in Gaza that has left 80 people dead.

In a joint statement, leaders from both sides called for an end to fighting.

Deputy Palestinian Prime Minister Azam al-Ahmad, a senior Fatah official, said the group had agreed to a list of conditions from Hamas for a truce.

But Hamas's military wing says it has received no orders to put down its guns and clashes are continuing in Gaza.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, of Fatah, and Prime Minister Ismail Haniya, of Hamas, issued a statement broadcast on Palestinian television in which they called on all sides to halt the fighting.

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BBC OnLine History June 14 2007

June 14 1940: German troops enter Paris

German troops marched into Paris in the early hours of this morning as French and allied forces retreated.

The enemy met no resistance as it entered the capital, which was declared an open town yesterday by the city's French military governor, General Hering.

French troops withdrew to avoid a violent battle and total destruction of Paris. They are believed to have taken a new line of defence south of the city.

The Germans advanced from the north-east and north-west and shortly afterwards tanks rumbled past the Arc de Triomphe down the Champs Elysees to the Place de la Concorde.

Government retreats

All shops and businesses in Paris have been closed and shuttered and there are unconfirmed reports the French government has now left Tours, in central France, and gone further south to Bordeaux.

The enemy has been advancing toward Paris since they took Dunkirk ten days ago, forcing a huge evacuation of the port, resulting in thousands of allied deaths and casualties.

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Ghandi

There come to us moments in life when about some things we need no proof from without. A little voice within us tells us, 'You are on the right track, move neither to your left nor right, but keep to the straight and narrow way.

A person falsely claiming to act under divine inspiration or the promptings of the inner voice without having any such, will fare worse than the one falsely claiming to act under the authority of an earthly sovereign. Whereas the latter on being exposed will escape with injury to his body, the former may perish body and soul together.

You have to believe no one but yourselves. You must try to listen to the inner voice, but if you will not have the expression"inner voice", you may use the expression "dictates of reason", which you should obey, and if you will not parade God, I have no doubt you will parade something else which in the end will prove to be God, for, fortunately, there is no one and nothing else but God in this universe.

For me truth is the sovereign principle, which includes numerous other principles. This truth is not only truthfulness in word, but truthfulness in thought also, and not only the relative truth of our conception, but the Absolute Truth, the Eternal Principle, that is God. There are innumerable definitions of God, because His manifestations are innumerable. They overwhelm me with wonder and awe and for a moment stun me.




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