“Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”—Buddha (via panatheist)
Occupy San Francisco protester Miran Istina stands outside the US Bank building on Market Street, San Francisco. Photograph: Martin Lacey
As Miran Istina puts it, she has been living on borrowed time since she was 14. Diagnosed with cancer, she was given just months to live after her health insurer refused to provide her with life-saving surgery.
Now 18, Istina, from the city of Sisters in Oregon, has spent the past three weeks living in a tent at the Occupy San Francisco protest and says she will stay there indefinitely, despite her illness.
She was inspired to take part in the protest by the refusal of her insurance company to pay for treatment for her chronic myelogenous leukaemia.
She said: “They denied me on the terms of a pre-existing condition. Seeing as I had only had that insurance for a few months, and I was in early stage two which meant I had to have had it for at least a year, they determined it was a pre-existing condition and denied me healthcare.”
Treatment would require a bone marrow transplant and extensive radiation therapy and chemotherapy, at a cost of several hundreds of thousands of dollars. Coming from an ordinary middle-class background, her family has no way of paying for the surgery that would save her life.
Following her insurer’s refusal, she spent three years travelling the US looking for a healthcare provider who would give her a chance at life.
Istina said: “I went all over the place, looking for someone to give a damn, really, someone to care enough to treat me. Because we were middle class, we couldn’t afford to treat my disease. We’d be in debt for the rest of our family life.”
After repeated refusals to offer her treatment, she said: “I decided I was going to spend the rest of my life doing whatever my heart wants.”
The Occupy movement attracted Istina as she ties the corporate influence on American politics to the decision that has sentenced her to death.
She said: “The corporate influence on politics influences just about anything that happens, seeing as politicians write the plans that healthcare has to follow. It directly links the fact that insurers only pick and choose those who are actually worth it [financially]. I just happen to not be one of the ones they wanted to be around much longer.
“The decision was absolutely influenced by some corporation or some bank saying, ‘we can’t afford her. She’s not worth our money.’ In end terms, corporate greed is going to cost me my life.
“I used to be really upset about it. I’m not as much any more. I’m angry, for sure, but I think me being here might help it never happen again. That’s why I’m here. It’s that there are other people this is going to happen to if this movement doesn’t succeed and that’s not healthy. I’m done being the victim. However long I have left is dedicated heart and soul to this movement, no matter what it takes.”
She has immersed herself in the movement, becoming the chief media relations officer for Occupy SF and organising fundraising events around the city. On Thursday afternoon she led a CNN television crew on a walk through the camp, to show how they were living, explain their motives and refute claims that the living conditions are unsanitary.
She said of her new life: “My heart is finally satisfied.”
The Occupy San Francisco movement has seen up to 300 protesters take over the Justin Herman Plaza, at the Embarcadero in the downtown district since October 5.
The occupiers are given food by local restaurants and have received donations from supporters to provide supplies.
Health professionals from the San Francisco General Hospital are providing round-the-clock care for Istina, who needs strong pain killers and constant monitoring of her condition. Earlier in the month she suffered a kidney malfunction which required urgent hospital treatment.
Throughout the afternoon four police officers kept a watchful eye over the groups of tents and makeshift shelters but the atmosphere was relaxed. When the officers staged a walk-through some of the occupiers shared jokes with them. One said: “Please leave the automatic weapons outside the camp. This is a peaceful protest.”
Another said: “We’re not doing any harm. We’re just a bunch of peace-loving hippies.”
But a raid on the camp is possible at any time. San Francisco mayor Ed Lee has repeatedly insisted that the camp is illegal and all tents should be removed but so far little has been done to enforce the law.
He has threatened a raid and on Wednesday night occupiers expected police to move in, sparking a larger than normal demonstration. Two candidates for the upcoming mayoral election joined with the protesters but despite the presence nearby of riot police, the raid did not go ahead.
An anonymous commenter on Fandom!Secrets at Livejournal said:
Hey there. So I know a lot of people in this comm are congoers, so at least some of you should be aware of the fact that Youmacon, in Dearborn/Detroit area, is next weekend. I’ve come to issue a bit of a warning. There will be a lot of people at this Youmacon, somewhere around a couple thousand, one of whom will be a very dangerous guy. He’s a serial rapist and a ephebophile, and he goes to cons to find targets; in fact, that’s where he found me.
Anyone who’s going, please, please, please be careful. Keep any young girls under tight watch and if you meet a man named TC avoid the shit out of him, and if he does anything skeevy, report him immediately. Do not let any of your friends so much as associate with him. He is sickeningly manipulative and seems sweet at first, but he’s emotionally and sexually abusive and you absolutely cannot trust him.
Despite trying to get him banned from the con by telling the head of security that he was a rapist, he continues to let him not only attend the con, but work security. I honestly can say that the majority of security will protect and support most victims, but the head of security is a victim-blaming, ignorant man who said to my face that he thought women who were raped multiple times were lying because they wouldn’t stick around their rapist after the event. I get the impression that if he can get around banning a (male) rapist—especially if it’s one of his friends—he will.
This guy has raped girls at cons on multiple occasions, and specifically targets young teens, from thirteen to fifteen. He typically wears a Greed cosplay, and has a long brown pedo-ponytail. I hate the idea of him being in a position of power over the congoers, many of which are teenage girls, but there’s nothing I can do except hope everyone will be incredibly careful. If you see any such man around any young women, please try to get them away from him. Don’t trust this guy any further than you can throw him.
I’ve worked security there for the past four/five years, but I don’t know how much security I’ll be doing this year. I will be around and keeping an eye out, though; unfortunately, it’s a very high-stress environment for me, with the threat of running into him again, and with the thousands of people that will be there it’s incredibly hard to keep tabs on everything that’s going on. Anon just because I don’t want my name attached to this.
My mom works as much as she can, but she has a debilitating disease that sometimes requires months off at a time. My dad is a principal with continually cut hours from the budget cuts Walker has put in place on our once beautiful state, Wisconsin. We need his insurance…
My first thought was that OWS must have the right really rattled. And there’s probably something to that. But actually, this is the way the right goes after everyone who stands in their way: accuse them of everything, no matter how implausible or contradictory the accusations are. Progressives are atheistic socialists who want to impose Sharia law. Class warfare is evil; also, John Kerry is too rich. And so on.
The key to understanding this, I’d suggest, is that movement conservatism has become a closed, inward-looking universe in which you get points not by sounding reasonable to uncommitted outsiders — although there are a few designated pundits who play that role professionally — but by outdoing your fellow movement members in zeal.
It’s sort of reminiscent of Stalinists going after Trotskyites in the old days: the Trotskyites were left deviationists, and also saboteurs working for the Nazis. Didn’t propagandists feel silly saying all that? Not at all: in their universe, extremism in defense of the larger truth was no vice, and you literally couldn’t go too far.
Need to keep this short and non-specific, but I have a dear friend who is trying to flee an abusive situation who will be out on the streets with her three-year-old daughter on TUESDAY (October 25) if she cannot find a place to live. PLEASE, if you live in or near Boulder, CO (or know some one who does) and have a room for rent (or know some one who does) PLEASE CONTACT ME ASAP.