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Video excerpt from SAL/UER workshop on racism at the Global Climate Action Summit

Draft Program on Climate Change, for your comments (updated March 5, 2019) (short version now available)

 

Postings from the International Reference Person on COVID-19 and the RC Communities

 (In reverse chronological order)

Should I Zoom?

March 31, 2020

Dear Teachers and Leaders,

Many of us have been using Zoom to communicate with each other, with our classes, and to lead support groups and workshops.  There are always questions about security and misuse of information any time we are using the internet.  It’s difficult for any of us to get a full enough and accurate enough picture and we can continually find articles about the dangers of any piece of software.  Frank van den Heuvel is one the RCers most knowledgeable in this area. Here is what he wrote about Zoom.

With love and appreciation,
Tim



Dear Diane, Tim,

There are a few articles circulating that raise doubts about the security of Zoom. Many are echoing the allegations without checking what are real threats and how they compare. And without discussing the deeper issues, social and political.

The major problem with teleconferencing is the owner of the service. Can we trust the owner not to share or collect data. And also can we trust the jurisdiction where the service is hosted (Patriot Act)

Security is a container for many aspects, technical, social, judicial, political, and user behavior/skill/awareness, privacy and other civil rights. While Zoom is blamed, the real leak is Facebook. Zoom allows people to use Facebook or Google as an alternative to creating an account via email. Such "Sign On Services" are convenient but allow Facebook or Google to know when you use login to Zoom. People should be advised not to used these 'convenient' methods.

Although the articles attack Zoom via their privacy statement, Zoom is just exactly following the regulations (including GDPR) and they do not collect other personal data. Compare their statement with others and you'll see the authors are blowing it up to unfair proportions. (Sounds like an attack).

I have talked with Zoom about this and they confirm no data is shared with others.

My company uses technology to check also on data leaking via Zoom. Nothing has triggered yet.

There was an incident with a leak in July 2019, disclosed irresponsibly and dealt with reasonably fast. And this leak was a minor issue, but advertised as "Serious Zoom security flaw could let websites hijack Mac cameras".

Then there is the new "attention tracking" issue. Zoom should not have created this this. But it is a hardly workable feature for managers. The security implications of this feature are very low. This is a workers privacy issue also with limited implications compared to what people are sharing in other places and compared to many much bigger and more intrusive problems with privacy created by appearing before a camera in any teleconferencing meeting.

It is drawing away attention from us having to think about all the implications of these new technologies without laws and treaties and regulations that protect people against abuse of footage and data.

I don't see the current allegations as reason to advise against Zoom. There are no alternatives without issues. Some of them have more severe and bigger issues (like Skype, Google Hangouts, Facebook and Whatsapp), especially when they have a business model that is based on making money out of data (footage).

I still do recommend people to use different platforms and for teleconferencing https://meet.jit.si/ <https://meet.jit.si/> is a good opensource alternative that I use myself. I have also installed my own Jitsi server, for testing, but it eats a lot of resource.

It is also good if people, (like it is good to brush your teeth standing on one foot) to practice flexibility and not hook themselves to much to one solution.

Love,
Frank van den Heuvel


Very good video on Empowering and protecting your family during the COVID-19 pandemic

March 29, 2020

Dear RCers,

Here is a very good video of a doctor explaining COVID-19 to his neighborhood over the internet.  It is very much worth watching in my opinion.  Use this as one good source, but continue to think for yourself about the steps you should take in your life, in your circumstances.

No source of information should be considered perfect, especially in fast developing situations. A couple of doctors in RC are more concerned than this about the dispersal of droplets and aerosols.  

With love and appreciation,
Tim

<https://vimeo.com/>
         
<https://vimeo.com/399733860#at=0>
Covid_19_Protecting_Your_Family_Dr_Dave_Price_3_22_2020 <https://vimeo.com/399733860>
by Mariana Price
Dr. David Price of Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City shares information in a Mar. 22 Zoom call with family and friends on empowering and protecting families during the COVID-19 pandemic.


COVID: please read now

March 17, 2020

Dear RCers,

The coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread across the world.  At the same time, the effects of the virus in Wuhan are dropping rapidly.  The governments and the people there took enough steps that they have been able to greatly lessen the spread of the virus locally.  This makes it clear that it’s possible to limit the virus’ spread.  And it also indicates the level of action necessary to do this.  

Very clearly the sooner a community moves to drastically limit people’s contact with each other the more quickly we can end the spread of this virus.  Any tendency by governments or individuals to wait to see if things will get worse before they take action simply endangers more people.  

I think this means that we curtail all in person interactions as much as we can.  This is true with our Co-Counselors and with anyone else around us. Our washing our hands frequently, our using hand sanitizers, our covering our coughs and sneezes, and not touching our faces all are useful in stopping the spread of this virus, especially when we must be out in public, but it is the physical isolation of us from one another that give the virus almost no opportunity to spread.

This new-to-us circumstance requires us to think and take steps we have never needed to before. We know we can think afresh and take new actions to solve this new problem.  We also know that our restimulations can interfere with this, making it hard to think about this situation at all, making us go passive or take reactive steps that don’t handle the situation well.  We all need to discharge on the things this circumstance restimulates in us, using phone, Facetime, Zoom, or other electronic sessions. 

Please discharge and think for yourself.  Listen to the medical people who have spent their lives thinking about these things, and figure out the steps you want to take and when to take them.  So far, it appears that every government has waited too long and taken too small steps at the beginning.  You get to decide.  This matters to your life and to the life of people around you.  This is a situation where it is important that you do not delay.  

With love and appreciation,
Tim


COVID, more details on why to act now

March 17

Dear RCer,

Here is the link for an excellent article and analysis of our situation.  It may have more data than you are used to, but it is worth reading through the article and not getting mired in data that restimulates you too much.  Also, this is now nearly a week old but all of the continuing directions of developments are indicated in this article.  

Please look at this today.  

https://medium.com/@tomaspueyo/coronavirus-act-today-or-people-will-die-f4d3d9cd99ca

If you follow the author (clicking on the Follow button by his name), you will find this has been translated into several languages.  (Summary of this article)

With love and appreciation,
Tim


Thinking ahead about Rational Island Publishers orders

March 15, 2020 

Dear RCers,

COVID-19 (coronavirus) cases continue to increase in Seattle.  Most of our staff have been working from home for the last week and a half.  We are moving to have all of our staff work from home in case we are required to completely shut down the RCCR and RIP offices. 

We highly recommend that you take a few minutes and order whatever literature you might need for the next two months today.  We will prioritize getting out orders on Monday and for as long as we can.  

If possible, please order from the website at:

www.rationalisland.com

If that doesn’t work for you, you can leave phone orders on the answering machine at the number below.  

With love,
Diane


Changes in finances for RC workshops

March 12, 2020

Dear RCer,

In these extraordinary conditions created by the spread of the coronavirus (COVID 19) we need to have some new policy to guide us in organizing and having workshops through Zoom or other online workshops, which it appears will be the dominant form of workshops for a while.  While we gain more experience in this, and perhaps until the next World Conference in 2021, our organizing and having Zoom workshops is to be guided by the following.  These Guidelines are necessary to both clarify the situation around these workshops and to help continue the generating of income for the Community Service Fund.  (This fund provides International Outreach for individuals in Communities across the world, for workshops in developing Communities, and provides support for the communications and coordination activities handled in Seattle.)

1.  The payment of workshop leaders will continue to be as specified in our current Guidelines.  

2.  The payment of organizers will continue to be as specified in the current Guidelines.

3.  The portion of workshop income allocated to the Community Service Fund is to be 30% (rather than the 10% currently specified in Guideline H.4 and H.5.).

4.  Any extra income (net income) shall be divided between the Community Service Fund and the Rational Island Publishers Publication Fund.  

These modifications are to Guidelines H.4 and H.5 of the 2017 RC Community Guidelines for Zoom or other online workshops only.  (We will get out amended workshop financial reporting forms soon.)

With love and appreciation,
Tim


Caution

March 12, 2020

Dear RCers,

The corona virus (COVID-19) continues to have larger and larger effects on larger and larger portions of the world.  I expect it to continue on this path and it is very likely to hit every community, including yours. We need to both protect ourselves and help contain the spread of this virus.  In many communities no face-to-face RC gatherings are taking place: not support groups, not classes, not workshops, not gather-ins. These are being done electronically, instead, via phone, Facetime, Zoom, or other electronic means. Sessions are also being held these ways.  The most effective way to contain the virus is to greatly lessen contact between people.  Please consider the steps your Community can take.  Ideally, we can restrict contact before any of us are infected.  

Many workshops (local, Regional, and International) have been cancelled.  So far, this has been done only with workshops up to about 3 months in the future.  More are likely to be cancelled in the coming weeks as we get a clearer picture of the progression of the spread of the virus.  Please tell RCers to not make travel arrangements for workshops in these conditions. Organizers of future workshops also should not make large deposits on sites if they will be unable to get a refund in the situation we determine the virus necessitates cancelling the workshop.  I think organizers will need to have discussions about this with any sites they are interested in.  You must expect sites to say it’s safe to gather when we don’t think it is, so that conditions for refunds need to be based on your judgment not the site’s judgment.  

With love and appreciation,
Tim


The corona virus (COVID-19) and RC

March 11, 2020

Dear RCer,

The spread of the corona virus (COVID-19) continues to spread and the spread accelerates.  This is a new situation for everyone and it is a situation that will restimulate us enough that we will need to make efforts to discharge and exchange information enough that each of us can handle it effectively in our own lives.  I would like there to be an ongoing discussion on the RC Community Members list of the many issues involved. (Instructions on how to subscribe to that list are at the bottom of this email).  These include:

** How are people working on the issues and distresses related to this challenge?  

** How are you and others in your Community keeping themselves safe?  

** How are you and others protecting your RC and other communities?

** What resistance are you running into when you try to change your behavior because of this situation?  

** Who around you can’t think about this?  

And many others.  All sides of this issue need to be looked at, discharged on, and have information shared about them.  

With love and appreciation,
Tim

There are several steps to subscribe to an RC list, and for the Community Members or UER lists, we also need a recommendation from your Reference Person (ARP or RRP). 

1. Make sure you have a subscription to Present Time if you are a fluent reader of English.(If you are a fluent reader of English, part of being an active member of the RC Community is subscribing to Present Time.  For additional requirements, please see below.

2. Set up an account at the server site <http://list.rc.org> if you don’t already have one. When you sign up for an account you will receive an email to verify your email address. Be sure to look for it in your junk folder if you don’t see it after some time. Once you have verified your email address, the account is created.

3.  Log in to your account, click on the list you would you would like to subscribe to, and enter your email address. You will get an email from the list moderator asking for additional information, such as full name, phone number, and mailing address. Please complete and send that back to the moderator and copy ircc@rc.org. It may take some days for the list moderator to get back to you, please be patient.  For the Commumithy-members list you need a recommendation from your ARP or RRP.  Please forward that to the moderator with the information above.

You will get a confirmation email when you are successfully subscribed.  Keep this email.  You will be expected to also use your account to make other changes to your electronic mailing list subscriptions. If you need help, there is a ‘help’ list where subscribers can help each other.


Intensives and one-way counseling at RCCR

March 11, 2020

Dear RCers,

Because of the escalating transmission of COVID-19 in Seattle, I have cancelled in-person intensives for the next few weeks at RCCR and most of our staff are working from home.  We do rely on income from intensives to pay counselor wages and meet other expenses.  We are now offering half intensives (ten hours in one week) by Zoom or phone.  We also offer individual one-way sessions to people who have already had an intensive with us.  

If you would like to arrange for some of this long-distance, one-way counseling in the next few weeks, it would be very helpful for us.  Please contact Sandra McDonald at rcoffice@rc.org to schedule your time.  

With love and appreciation,
Tim


Additional measure to take re: COVID-19

March 4

Dear RCers,

I am working to figure out the best way that we can respond to the international development involving the COVID-19 virus.  We are all hampered by a great lack of information about this virus and its transmission, by our restimulations from this situation, and by the evident confusions and influences of capitalism on our governments and their policies.  This virus is transmitted very easily and no one has resistance to it.  Our next steps are to limit the opportunities for this virus to be transmitted.  

Under these conditions, I want the RC Communities to take decisive steps to limit our transmission of this virus.  Over the past weeks, as we began to get an understanding of the situation, I cancelled several workshops and other RC activities in several parts of the world.  Now we will do more. These are steps we will take now aimed at the next two weeks.  We will continue thinking and learning about the developing situation and modify these steps and take others.

** Staff at RCCR will not travel to other RC Communities to lead RC activities or attend workshops. (Seattle is a center of this virus in the U.S. at this time.)

** Any workshop occurring in the next month that involves any international travel for the leader or any participant should be cancelled. If leadership is from within the country and there are no international participants, the workshop can be held at the discretion of the leader and organizer if the workshop draws only from geographic areas where there is no “community transmission.”  

When someone develops the virus who was not exposed to anyone known to be infected with COVID-19, and had not traveled to countries in which the virus is circulating, it is said that “community transmission” is occurring.  This is an important marker of the spread of the disease and is commonly referred to in the media and by public health officials.  

** Similarly, if an RC activity in the next month is drawing people from significant distances within one country that include people from locations where “community transmission” of the virus is occurring, that activity should be cancelled, or the people from locations with “community transmission” should not attend. 

** In locations where there has been no "community transmission”, the workshop, class, gather-in, and so on, may be held at the discretion of the leaders of the local RC Community.

** In locations where there has been “community transmission”, all RC gatherings should be cancelled. 

** People from Regions with “community transmission” should not go to workshops outside their Region in this period.

In place of these RC gatherings, we wish to encourage people to use whatever electronic communications are possible to do the work that would have been done at the RC gathering. These include using Zoom, Skype, Facetime, Telegram, etc. for classes, support groups, talks that would have happened at a workshop, and so on. 

The way we have individual face-to-face sessions needs to be carefully thought about. Though many of us will never have this virus, each of us needs to thoughtfully limit the possibility of either acquiring or transmitting the virus in a session.  Please read and follow as much as possible the suggestions that have been made by thoughtful people in the medical profession.  We will list some of these at the end of this communication.   

This is a very real and immediate challenge for us in the RC Community to handle.  We can do this and support each other in our efforts.  

I understand this has large economic consequences for many people. I don’t think this is avoidable, and these actions still appear necessary for the safety of individuals and our Communities, and all of the people around us.  There may be ways to lessen the economic difficulties this creates by negotiating with workshop sites, petitioning airlines, and so on. To the extent that there are unrecoverable costs that would be a hardship to absorb, please reach out to Mike Markovits and the Re-evaluation Foundation.

Please go after each other.  As with all challenges, one goal is to emerge from the challenge clearer and in better shape than when we first faced it.  Let’s do that.  

With love and appreciation,
Tim


From the U.S. Center for Disease Control:

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Stay home when you are sick.
Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to  others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers <https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/hcp/infection-control.html> and people who are taking care of someone in close settings <https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/guidance-home-care.html> (at home or in a health care facility).
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.


From the World Health Organization:

Stay aware of the latest information on the COVID-19 outbreak, available on the WHO website and through your national and local public health authority. Most people who become infected experience mild illness and recover, but it can be more severe for others. Take care of your health and protect others by doing the following:
Wash your hands frequently—Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water

Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.

Maintain social distancing—Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

Why? When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.

Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth

Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.

Practice respiratory hygiene—Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.

Why? Droplets spread virus. By following good respiratory hygiene you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.

If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early—Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.

Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent spread of viruses and other infections.

Stay informed and follow advice given by your healthcare provider—Stay informed on the latest developments about COVID-19. Follow advice given by your healthcare provider, your national and local public health authority or your employer on how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on whether COVID-19 is spreading in your area. They are best placed to advise on what people in your area should be doing to protect themselves.


Developments with COVID-19 virus

February 29, 2020 

Dear RCers,

With the rapidly developing situation with the corona virus (COVID-19 virus), we have to be considering the cancellation of workshops in the near future, especially those that draw people from many places or that involve the leader traveling from a distant place.  If you are intending to go to one of these workshops, please wait to purchase your plane ticket.  We will be continuing the watch the situation and make decisions about cancelling workshops as soon as we think we have enough information. 

Thank you.

With love and appreciation,
Tim


RC and the COVID-19 virus 

February 27, 2020 

Dear RCers,

As the COVID-19 virus continues to spread into more countries, it is important that we inform ourselves about it, thinking about each of our situations relative to this virus, have sessions on whatever this situation restimulates for us, and prepare ourselves to handle things, however the situation develops. Governments have not taken the necessary steps quickly enough to keep this from spreading. 

It is important to contain and isolate this illness so that it does not have the chance to establish itself the way influenza has.

Our current situation has many unknowns and is changing rapidly.

Under these conditions, we in RC need to recognize that our gathering people from many parts of the world together can create a situation that could allow the virus to spread in that group and then in the individuals wide-spread home communities. This needs to be thought about by workshop leaders and organizers.

Each workshop needs to be thought about: where are the participants from and where have they traveled recently, and what presence does the virus have in those places, etc. Local workshop far from where the virus has appeared still seem reasonable to continue holding.

Any workshop that brings people together from far distances, participants and leader, need to be thought about carefully and postponement or cancellation considered.

We have canceled several RC events because of this situation already, in both Europe and the Far East.

The situation will continue to develop and we will gain clearer information in the next few weeks. Please discharge on and think about the situation so that we can handle it most effectively.

With love and appreciation,

Tim


Last modified: 2020-04-08 17:15:18+00