Monday, December 05, 2005

Hidden in Plane Sight: U.S. Media Dodging Air War in Iraq

Hidden in Plane Sight: U.S. Media Dodging Air War in Iraq

And still, even after it has been incontrovertibly revealed, the government of the United States, and its stenographers of power, refuse to admit The Plan: bring back the warm bodies and replace them, mostly, with planes, missiles and bombs.

Who do they think they're kidding? Anyone other than themselves?

The neoconservative cabal that has taken over the United States government in a bloodless coup d'etat seems to think that as long as it doesn't read in the papers, it doesn't exist. And apparently, it doesn't as no one has raised a cry over this very obvious fit of leger d'arme. If no one rights about the naked emperor, does the emperor really wear clothing?


Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Put up or slink away

The Oval One's latest speech clearly demonstrates how pitifully isolated Bush has become in the White House, separated from the American people by a wall of arrogance, elitism and just plain stupidity; separated from the invasion and occupation of Iraq, and the murder of thousands of innocents, by fundamentalist blinders, ideological earmuffs and a complete inability to conceive of, let alone express, a coherent foreign policy.

The First Puppet's strings are being cut, one by, as his puppet masters are revealed behind the curtains as the immoral, criminal, mother-rapers and father-stabbers hanging around the back stage ever since Ronald Reagan tottered off to the ranch.

It's obvious that the Neocons have abandoned The Shrub to the dogs of war, to be peed on by every passing canine. Left to his own devices, Dubya can only sputter and make silly faces at the cameras. Everyone has to be good at something.

Meanwhile, the Corporate Stenographers of Power continue to trot out John Kerry as the feeble spoke for the Democratic Party, since there is no one allowed to take on the mantel of incipient opponent to the Republican Party in our upcoming quadrennial spasm of deferred democracy, aka our National Election. This is all the more surprising and disappointing, since luminaries such as Dennis Kucinich, Barbara Boxer, Cynthia McKinney and Barbara Lee have long held the banner of the anti-war, pro-peace majority since the last (stolen) election.

If the Democratic Party is ever to be an alternative to the woefully lacking Republican Party (if there is indeed any difference at all between them), it is time now for these Democrats to step forward and loudly claim their rightful place in the political debate. If they do not now drive their stake in the sand and declare their stand against imperialism and fascism, government corruption and corporate dominance of the political process, the corporate oligarchy now running the country, with the eager aid and assistance of corporate media, will choose for us all, offering up another non-candidate to run hand-in-pocket beside the next republican Puppet-in-Waiting.

It's put up or shut up time now, Democrats! Speak up now or forever hold your peace, so to speak... or will it be war?

Michael Lewis
Leona Gulch
Pacific Plate

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Giving Thanks

"Thanksgiving Day, a function which originated in New England two or three centuries ago when those people recognized that they really had something to be thankful for - annually, not oftener - if they had succeeded in exterminating their neighbors, the Indians, during the previous twelve months instead of getting exterminated by their neighbors, the Indians. Thanksgiving Day became a habit, for the reason that in the course of time, as the years drifted on, it was perceived that the exterminating had ceased to be mutual and was all on the white man's side, consequently on the Lord's side; hence it was proper to thank the Lord for it and extend the usual annual compliments." -Mark Twain


Thanksgiving Day: based on a historical lie, made an official State holiday by Abraham Lincoln and his handler, Secretary of State William H. Seward, pressed into corporate service by industrial agribusiness and the food products industry, adopted by the religious right to prop up the myth of American theocracy: a truly American celebration.

Since we Americans cannot be encouraged to be thankful each and every day, to open our hearts and our homes to family and friends throughout the year (it might discourage individual consumption), we have set aside this special day (and four day weekend) for a celebration of conspicuous consumption, gluttony, animal cruelty, violent entertainment and sloth.

The colorful panoply enacted every year in schools and churches across America repeats the lie of Pilgrim generosity to the Indian inhabitants of the new land the Pilgrims called home. In reality, the Pilgrims slaughtered the natives most cruelly, drove them from their homes and fields, took over their farm lands and infected them with diseases for which they had no natural immunities.

In the fifty years from 1621 to 1671, the Native population of the northeastern coast of North American was decimated by as much as 90%, through a combination of disease and massacre brought to these shores by European invaders. The Europeans would not have survived their first winter in the New World without food and shelter provided by the local Natives, yet the first Pilgrim Thanksgiving was given in thanks that the natives were rapidly dying out, leaving more land and provender for the new inhabitants.

Today, as the United States government - their government, not my government - continues to kill local innocent men, women and children in far off lands, its seems proper to gather together to celebrate our "good fortune," to give thanks that our skin is pale, that we live in America and not in some hot and dusty place underlain by crude oil, that we are blessed with the approval of a white bearded, light-skinned god in flowing robes, not some foreign-tongued god of uncertain visage.

We give thanks that the oil we kill for flows freely in our own country, providing fuel for trucks to carry the dead carcasses of tortured animals to nearby markets, to serve our gluttonous feasts.

We give thanks that our economy is strong, propped up securely by giant corporations that manufacture bullets, bombs, missiles, tanks, airplanes and ships that destroy those who resist American imperialism and global totalitarianism.

Many remember those husbands and sons, wives and daughters who have been sent to die for the cause of American business interests, and those whose families are yet intact give thanks that their loved ones have yet to be sacrificed on the killing fields.

Our Thanksgiving today celebrates the defeat and decimation of the Native people of other lands as our modern American Pilgrims set their sights on a new frontier. Pilgrim's Progress consists of denying everyone else the freedoms America professes to defend, to the point of killing anyone who dares to defend their own homes.

American Thanksgiving continues the tradition of our forefathers, giving thanks for 384 years of death and destruction visited on the human and animal inhabitants of this planet.

The twin prospects of Peak Oil and global climate change will once and for all put an end to this insane human society based on greed, avarice and unlimited growth. On this Thanksgiving, I give thanks that Nature bats last and is ultimately just.

Michael Lewis
Leona Gulch
Pacific Plate

Monday, November 07, 2005

Imigration and Living in Place

The Grand Panoply on the National Scene continues apace, thus once again proving the basic principle that ignorance abhors a vacuum. We're doing our part on Tuesday, working at our local election poll, holding high the banner of Democracy, such as it is these days. We're having a special election in California, in which our Acting Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, attempts to change the state color from blue to red, through subterfuge, sleight of lip and sharp practice. We're hoping for the best, while expecting the worst. Peak oil dare not rear its head in this, the visionary state.

We have a continuing problem with our Latin American neighbors to the south, temporarily relocated to local agricultural fields, there to provide cheap labor for Agribusiness, The Global Economy, Progress, if that's what it is. Arnold's solution is to give them drivers licenses, whether they are citizens or not, so they can drive their paychecks back to Mexico instead of having to pay 37 cents for postage. That won't do anything to stop the gang violence, the graffiti, the boom-box low riders, or help the non-English speaking service workers, or those of us who have to deal with workers who can't speak the dominant language of this country.

Insensitive? Insufficiently liberal? Callous? Racist? Guilty to all but the latter! I'm tired of living in a foreign country within the borders of the United States! If people want to live in this country, become citizens, enjoy the privileges of membership in this institution called the United States of America, then they should expect to become a full member of the community, speak the language, adopt the culture, become a member of the community, not drag their own culture around with them like a Halloween disguise. Permanently moving from the culture of one's birth to another culture is a traumatic experience and should not be taken lightly.

My ancestors moved to the United States from Wales, from England, from Switzerland, from France. They left their mother culture and mother tongues behind, become a part of the local culture, spoke English, even changed their names to better fit in with the locals. They didn't move into a neighborhood and start playing their music at a bazillion decibels and expect the neighbors to get used to it! They respected the local culture, adopted local customs and became contributing members of the local community.

Seems like a lesson that could be taken by our own lost youth, immersed in a foreign culture of rap music, serial cell phone conversations, ground penetrating car stereo systems, impenetrable speech affectations, meaningless TeeVee culture. How can they learn to live in place, when their place is an electronic void?

Culture is how we humans teach our children how to live in place. When the children's culture comes from the TeeVee instead of their elders, the children can never learn how to be a human being in the place where they live. They learn to become dysfunctional human simulacra, pretend humans, out of place, suspended in time, forever held in stasis among wildly hissing electrons.

Leona Gulch
Pacific Plate

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Is there anybody out there?

The problem now is twofold: not enough is being written and not enough is being read.

There's a lot of writing published in various forms, it is true; lots of molly-coddling tripe passing for journalism; lots of popular fiction serving as pabulum for infantile minds; lots of web logs, web pages, emails (mostly spam), discussion lists, bulletin boards. All of it, well, most all of it, is nothing more than cryptic notes passed among desks in elementary school classrooms. Worse yet, email discussion lists are filled with mindless chatter, lacking even simple punctuation, spelling or, saints preserve us, grammar. The promise of a democratic, anarchic communications medium has been buried under the excrement of popular culture. The English language has descended into a sewage lagoon, there to fester and coagulate into a bloated, putrescent simulacrum of a living language.

Perhaps that's part of the reason I haven't written much of late. I'm overwhelmed with the sheer stupidity of the human species, the overweening presence of thick-necked bullies, foul-mouthed young women, apathetic juveniles, and the children now being raised by young people without two brain cells to rub together on a good night.

The demeanor of youth unto age thirty is that of stultified, pampered and spoiled brats, filled to the Plimsol line with themselves, unaware and uncaring of the social conventions of community, mutual aid, public responsibility. Their focus centers around their cell phones, talking incessantly with unseen "friends," filling their heads with endless trivial chatter, holding their cells phone permanently in front them, anxiously awaiting the next communications opportunity.

When not engaged in personal communications devices, they saturate their brain cells with thumping base "music" (noise), such that they can never have an original thought in their head, never have an internal dialog, never discover what they may or may not think from one moment to the next.

The are the future leaders of our country.

I think not. Some one else has another idea.

The future leaders of the United States are hand-picked, long groomed, prepared by the elite nannies, teachers, tutors and professors at prestigious private institutions of higher, and more rarified, education. Held aloft from the social conditioning of mandatory public schooling, kept separate from the teeming masses with cell phone and boom box in hand, the future leaders receive instruction at odds with the irrelevant masses kept in puerile servitude with a combination of manufactured fear, vapid amusement and pecuniary reward. The new leaders are taught contempt with their current events, elitism with their elocution, neo-conservatism with their nouns and verbs.

Meanwhile the mass of humanity is allowed to go about their petty business with the illusion of freedom, fettered by their jobs, chained to their consumption, mollified by TeeVee, kept passive and apathetic by propaganda, disinformation and mindless entertainment.

So who is to write, what is to be written, who is to read it, and, more importantly, who is to act?

Thump, thump... Is this thing on?.
Is anyone out there?

Leona Gulch
Pacific Plate

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Gutting the Endangered Species Act

House Committee Strips Away Endangered Species Protections

House Committee Strips Away Endangered Species Protections

"Representative Greg Walden, an Oregon Republican, said the public should be willing to compensate private property owners in order to further conservation efforts.

'Saving species is a noble cause,' Walden said. 'But if it is so important, then the public needs to open its wallet and help pay for it.'"

While the illegal and immoral power grab continues in the Middle East, while millions still struggle to find a home among the circling corporate sharks on the Gulf Coast, the Congress (opposite of progress) in Washington, DC, that great national asylum for the criminally incompetent, go about their self-appointed task of making the world safe for hypocrisy.

California's own boot-licker to the Neocons, temporarily in control of the national corporate feeding frenzy, is attempting to gut the Endangered Species Act through a process of legislative prestidigitation, sleight-of-mouth, distraction and outright lies, fully in keeping with the sorry state of what passes for legislation in this country these days.

Walden (has irony disappeared completely?) is dead wrong on two counts: saving species is not a noble cause, it is impossible. We cannot save species, we can only stop destroying species to feather our own nests at their expense. This is not a noble cause, something to brighten the feathers of politicians and corporate CEOs, it is essential for the continuation of all life on Earth, even including, alas, unworthy human life.

Furthermore, the public already opens its wallet, yearly, every April 15th, to fund the work of the hacks, grifters, poseurs, sycophants, corporate toadies, ninnies and feebs who take up space in the Capital building, defiling the noble desks once occupied by true patriots and statesmen. The public is now forced to fund the gutting of the very laws that protect the diversity of life in our country, and by military extension, most of the rest of the world.

Walden represents the death of Democracy in the United States and its replacement by a combination of corporate and government rule, an economic government, a corporate oligarchy. Though the term has been distorted by popular misuse, corporate oligarchy is also know more accurately as fascism: totalitarian rule by a corporate oligarchy the defends industrial corporate capitalism internationally through military imperialism.

There is no distinction between government and business in the United States. Government neglect of public works results in massive damage to a major city, providing reconstruction opportunities for the corporations whose lobbyists lobby Congress for political favor. The government invades other countries to allow corporations to control their resources, and make billions in reconstruction of war ravaged cities.

Fascism, clear and unambiguous.

Progressive people around the world have defended against fascism since the early 20th Century. Fascism comes in many guises, from goose-stepping, jack-booted thugs to the oily government toady "here to help you." The militarized constabulary in our fascist country guards against dissent, restricting travel to keep the people from attending anti-government rallies, denying permission for unfavored authors and speakers to enter our country, brow-beating client states into arresting those critical of our government policies who dare to speak against the fascist regime.

Fascism, clear and unambiguous.

For evil to prevail, good people need only keep silent.

Leona Gulch
Pacific Plate

Monday, September 05, 2005

The Lessons of New Orleans

One cannot be a proper blogger without making some comment on the on-going boondoggle in the southern states.

Of course, it's facile to point the blame at "the government" for not being prepared, or at the people who did not evacuate in the face of the oncoming hurricane. All are "to blame" for the ensuing human, and animal, tragedy when city levees gave way and flooded the homes and businesses of thousands of people. Now the social infrastructure is destroyed and it will take several months before the people can return even to rebuild, if that's what they decide to do.

The problem that New Orleans highlights with terrible clarity, is the initial failure of the centralized United States government to manage energy in its far-flung and growing empire. This is just what happened to Rome when energy and resources were committed to expanding the Roman Empire into the British Isles, leaving insufficient resources, and subsequent political support, at home. As the demands of subjecting a distant and highly foreign people increased, fewer resources were available on the home front, the Homeland, if you well, and when additional challenges presented themselves, the government came up lacking.

And the Roman Empire fell.

It was a long fall, marked by increasing defeats on the imperial front, as well as crises and challenges at home. Eventually, the troops were recalled from Wales and England, but by then it was too late. The Visigoths and Vandals were at the gates. The End was written, the "Dark" descended.

Except in Great Britain. There, the people thrived, the yoke of imperialism lifted from their shoulders, they returned to their own ways. The Celts held off the English for some time, finally overwhelmed by sheer numbers and economic oppression. Still, in Wales, Gaelic is still spoken, still written, the sign-posts are in Welsh, the Celts live on. Something to ponder on during the commercials.

In New Orleans, despite the overweening, racist pabulum served to the masses, many people live on, taking care of themselves, their families, their animals, their friends, their neighbors. Some of them actually prepared ahead, stockpiling food and water high up in their attics, knowing that they could survive and do well in the coming trying times. You won't find this in US media; you have go to the BBC.

Meanwhile, in the US, everyone's agenda gets exercised: the Repubs, the Dems, the Greens, the Left, the Right. There's something in all this human and animal misery for everyone. Much political hay will be grown from the waters of the Mississippi now draining from the streets of New Orleans.

We can hope at least that those who took care of themselves and their loved ones will be rewarded with long and satisfying lives. We can hope that faith in central government has been weakened, and faith in this particular central government has been destroyed forever. We can hope that enough people will learn the lessons from this tragedy, the results of greed, industrial mayhem, ignorance and apathy, that the mistakes of New Orleans past will not be revisited in the future.


Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Destroying the National Parks - New York Times

Destroying the National Parks - New York Times: "August 29, 2005

Destroying the National Parks

"Recently, a secret draft revision of the national park system's basic management policy document has been circulating within the Interior Department. It was prepared, without consultation within the National Park Service, by Paul Hoffman, a deputy assistant secretary at Interior who once ran the Chamber of Commerce in Cody, Wyo., was a Congressional aide to Dick Cheney and has no park service experience."

So it seems that the Cheney crowd has decided, for us, that our national parks are to be places for the elite few to play with their snowmachines, ATVs and four-wheelers, and not a place where nature is allowed to live on its own terms, albeit for the viewing pleasure of the travelling human population.

It's time to put a stop to this arrogance. It's time to let the inmates in Washington, DC know, in no uncertain terms, that we do not give them permission to destroy our national treasures for private gain and public entertainment.

The Bush crew is desparate to shore up a failing economy, with wars, propoganda, restructuring Social Security and propping up failing industrial capitalist corporations. The fatal inherent instability of our growth at any cost economy has come to the fore once again, as it did in the 1880s, the 1920s, the 1930s, the 1970s and now into the 21st Centuy.

Anything that can't go on forever, won't.

Time to give it a bit of a push. Boycotts, non-cooperation, dissent, outright opposition... all will help ease the old out of the picture and welcome the new, whatever economies they may be.

Do something for your neighbors and the Universe... boycott corporate America... for ever!


Monday, August 29, 2005

On Your Feet!

The word's getting around that "environmentalism is dead." That may be so, and if it is, it's a good thing.

The environmentalism of the 21st Century, in recent reckoning, is a pretty wimpy affair, dominated by collaboration, compromise and cohabitation amongst developers and what once passed for environmental activist groups. The Sierra Club, once the proud progeny of John Muir, now skulks about the dark and dingy halls of Washington, DC, that great swamp on the shores of the Potomac. Decisions are made in a tall building in downtown San Francisco that affect life in the wild thousands of miles away. One slight poppenjay holds the position of Official Petty Dictator, bandying about at Board meetings with a stentorian voice that brushes aside all opposition, that substitutes shrillness for intelligence, volume for relevance, whose khaki pants bulge with corporate hands thrust firmly into their many pockets.

It's time to return to our forebears, those hairy men who lived in the wild, then much more abundant and prolific, and wrote about it for modern hairy folks to read and ponder: John Muir, Henry David Thoreau, Walt Whitman and, of course, and most importantly, Edward Abbey. Today's modern, cell phone, iPod, GPS, lap-top computerized faux environmentalists, clad in the latest hiking industry shoes, festooned in the latest fashionable outdoorsperson attire, possess little in the way of wild intellectual acumen to compare with these Masters, now long gone to their personal visions of Valhala.

Environmentalism has been collaborated and compromised away, even unto Earth First!, whose motto once proudly proclaimed "No FUCKING Compromise in Defense of the Earth!" and which now merely whispers of tree sits and gatherings in semi-remote forest glens (with covenient portable toilets), accessible by automobile and professional, credentialed journalists.

What we need is fewer environmentalists and more enviromeddlers, those willing to eschew the trappings from the Sierra Magazine, willing to be uncomfortable for a fortnight, to stand on their hind feet and actually walk on the earth, rather than sitting on their butts propelled by dead dinosaurs. We need monkeywrenchers, sabateurs (sabot, the wooden shoe thrust into the bowels of the machine), tree spikers, midnight raiders and, yes, I'll say it , ecoterrorists. It's time to strike terror into the hearts of the three-piece suiters smoking their illegal Havana cigars in high penthouse board rooms. You better believe it, we're after your billfolds! (We'll deal with your sons and daughters later)

On your feets, environmeddlers! You have nothing to save but the wilderness. You have nothing to lose but the spare tire around your ample belly. Let's put the Earth First! slogan back into business, with four-part harmony and feeling this time!

Long Live the Weeds and the Wilderness

Leona Gulch
Pacific Plate

Monday, July 18, 2005

The Contrarian Ethic

It's been a full moon or two since I last visited these pages, not for lack of incentive; more a product of sloth and general discouragement (removal of courage-ment).

The State of the Government of the United States, not my government; their government; continues to deteriorate. Ourselves living in this day and age, at least some of us, those who are aware, consider the State to be increasingly oppressive, increasingly imperialist, increasingly fascist. Those who consider the lessons of history realize it was ever thus. Those in possession of ultimate power strive at all times to maintain possession of said power. They are never reluctant to wield this power in defence of their own hegemony.

Thus the lies, the subterfuge, the midnight meetings, the courts, the jails, the jack-booted thugs... all created and maintained to preserve a monopoly on power and force, violent force whenever necessary.. or expedient.

The trickle down theory really works. When the country is ruled by the mentally defficient, the morally bankrupt, the beetle-browed thugs, those of like demeanor and mental capacity rise to the surface, like scum floating to the top of an unstirred pot.

That's my purpose on this here electronic babble box, to stir the pot, keep the scum safely dissolved among the masses, keep the flame low on dissent and healthy rebellion. A society of compliance is a sick society, devoid of the contrarian thought and expression that keeps human gatherings alive and healthy.

Long live the weeds and the wilderness!


Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Back from the Sierra

Yes, we're back, back on the Pacific Plate, from our yearly visit to North America, just to remind us why we stay in Paradise, if nothing else.

The Sierra are sublime, as always. Not the hyperbolic Yosemite of postcard fame, nor precious mountain lakes and forest glens, complete with picaresque little deerlets en suite.

I'm talking about the real Sierra, bold apodictic rock, endless blue sky, with just the right clouds scattered about for greatest esthetic effect. Red-headed woodpeckers knocking about in the giant trees, boulders larger than the Twin Towers quietly eroding in calm dignity. Reality writ large on the greatest canvas ever stretched across the horizon of time.

The trip through the urban madness of Silicon Valley and the East Bay is an exercise in human folly. Why do we humans do this to ourselves, piled yard upon yard in disconnected suburbs, connected yet held apart by ribbons of concrete frosted with slightly moving rivers of steel, aluminum, glass and plastic, propelled by dead dinosaurs and ancient ferns from where people want to leave to where people want to be, forsaking that which lies between? Why? No answer appears.

Because we can.

The stagnant, saline beauty of Mono Lake waits to pounce on the eye on the far side of Sonora Pass, it's sere majesty intact after decades of abuse, slowly returning from near death at the hands of human urbanists 350 miles away to the south. The incredible fecundity of this huge desert waterhole amazes even those biologists most familiar with its ecosystems. In a vast desert landscape of volcanic cinder cones, haphazard amalgamations of ancient lava, glacial terminal and lateral moraines, basaltic columns, vast exposed lacolithic monoclines , geosynclines, piles of naked rock gradually succumbing to inexorable gravity, the gentle waters of Mono Lake shine like a jewel in the sun.

As human self-described civilization grinds slowly to a firm and final halt, ending once and for all its fantasy of continuous growth, the solids and liquids of the Eastern Sierra will abide. The waters of Mono Lake will reach their historic apex once again, the Range of Light will catch the daily morning glow, slightly smaller each day, lacking none of its solemn grandeur. Whether there will be any humans about to appreciate the scene is unimportant. The perfection of the East Sierra requires no esthetic appreciation. It is sufficient unto itself.

Leona Gulch
Pacific Plate

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Peak Oil: grab it while you can!

I'm beginning to think, more and more, that global climate change and Peak Oil are opportunities rather than problems, the old Chinese course.

Besides being environmentally unsustainable, human society has been largely dominated by, well, dominating types! The meek have never inherited the earth, even if they ever wanted it in the first place. Under present conditions, the meek are easily dominated by the strong and willful, who have monopolized access to energy and power for their own dominating purposes.

That's all changing now as Peak Oil begins to take a bigger bite, and global climate change really threatens the continuance of human life. A world of less energy will necessarily b a world of less central control, as it takes energy to maintain far-flung control systems.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Anarchy and Energy

Appreciating the role of anarchy in human social organization comes from an understanding of biology, anthropology, quantum physics, Buddhism and, most importantly, Taoism.

The core principle of all life is called wu-wei in Taoist tradition, which has been mistranslated as "not doing," but which actually means "self-arising."

Life is not centrally organized. An apple tree does not have a committee to decide how to grow apples. The apple tree "apples," as a self-arising characteristic of its being. A human being does not consult the central directorate to decide how his or her face should look. Humans "face" as a part of being a human being, one's face self-arising from the totally of one's existence. We are all responsible for our face after the age of 25 or so.

The bee hive does not hold elections periodically to elect the queen. The queen self-arises from the swarm, actually changing physically as queen status is achieved.

Only humans have the hubris to claim that human social organization is determined by human intent, that all humans must look to central authority to determine how to live, that, indeed, as Daniel Quinn has pointed out, there there is one right way to live.

This state of being human arises from effort, planning, manipulation... busyness. And results in much negativity in an attempt to thwart and co-opt our natural self-arising behavior. Human society and culture arise from the activities of humans. Any attempt to manipulate human society and culture creates friction as humans balk at denial of our essential anarchic being. No Central authority has ever existed that did not have to guard against resistance by the subject population. The state is the apparatus by which central authority guards its monopoly of power and seeks to prevent anarchic self-rule. No state exists to benefit the mass of the people. All states are organized to benefit the few at the expense of the many. No state is required to protect the people from themselves.

We are now seeing the inevitable result of humans attempting to centrally organize a decentrally organized world. Humans can only temporarily reverse the natural order: entropy always increases. It's not just a good idea, it's the law!

Live Oak
Pacific Plate

Sunday, June 05, 2005

A troubling rise in violence for green causes |

A troubling rise in violence for green causes |

Troubling to whom? Those who lose money because their property has been trashed? Their property that trashes the non-human world on a daily basis?

Even though this is a serious escalation on the part of the Homeland Security drones, using this as a blatant excuse to ratchet down the thumb screws on "citizens" everywhere, it's pretty amusing to think of armor-clad, jack-booted thugs getting their black undies in a twist over a bunch of animal rights activists.

Compared to the daily terrorism visted on the people of Iraq by the United States government, ELF and ALF are less than amateurs, barely beyond the sandbox phase. ELF and ALF are not even groups, merely individuals operating loosely under the banner of animal rights. Anyone can paint ELF on the sidewalk outside a burning 4,000 square foot abomination. That doesn't mean that some globall terrorist cell is reponsible, merely a 16 year old kid with a box of matches and a gallon of gas.

But then, who is fooled? We know this is all propaganda, part of the disinformation campaign to keep people in fear long enough for the central authorities to bugger them in either end and build support for their mythical "War on Terror." Since there are no Communists about these days, blacks are pretty quiet, the Soviet Union put to bed, even Communist China acting more like a trading partner than an ideological foe, the constabulary has to come up with some enemy somewhere, somone to build up the irrationality, some Goldstein to hold up to prompt a Minute of Hate, or two or three, just to keep the people from thinking and figuring things out for themsleves.

No, ELF and ALF are not the enemies; they are us. Our enemies are the state, the jack-booted thugs, the militarized police, the government toady, the corporate sycophant. Let's put their pictures on the wall, subject them to well-deserved scorn and obloquy.

When the government turns on the people, it is a sure sign that oligarchy and totalitarianism have driven out any meaningful form of democracy. It's time for us to turn our backs on central government, walk away and create our own society.

Twin Lakes
Pacific Plate

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Time for a wee dram of reality all around, then?

The ability and even propensity of humans to fool themselves into total ignorance is amazing!

We are entering the end of the Age of Oil. Really! Forget about the price of gas. Irrelevant.

Look at the rate of oil production in Saudi Arabia. Flat out, pedal to the metal. No more go in the old Go Fast pedal.

Look at the rate of oil discovery anywhere in the world. Limp as a eunuch's swizzle stick.

What does this tell us? Civilization is fucked!

Now I've never been a great proponent of civilization; it's a bad go even at the best of it: ice cubes, single-malt scotch, Raleigh three-speed bicycles, underwire bras, hand-pulled ale. Most of what passes for civlization consists of murder, property destruction, theft at the point of arms. We'd been better off if the astrolabe had never been invented.

That's all in the past now, because civilization took a turning right at the point when human industry was severely limited by the number of trees left standing in Great Britain, and someone discovered the steam engine, then oil, and figured out what to do with it, and its been downhill ever since... until just now.

Now we know that oil is a finite resource. Big Surpise, eh? Not only that, we've discovered that we've already burned up the easy bits, and the lot that's left costs a bundle more and takes a lot more energy to extract and produce than that which is slouching about the stratosphere mucking up the planet's air conditioning. It doesn't matter that there's still a lot of oil left because it takes a lot more oil to turn it into fire in the old ticker's engine. The more we use the more we lose. Downhill the rest of the way to the bottom.

What does this mean? Well, old chum, you can forget about going to the moon, and condos in space, swift and efficient cheap air flights to Honduras, a DVD in every living room and electric cars purring from burbs to skyscapers. It's back to feets and bicycles, horses and standard class railway coaches, sprouts from the local allotment and Chateau Fleet Street 2006. The Global Economy is going local and this time for true.

Not a moment too soon.


Sunday, May 15, 2005

Peak Oil creeps into the mainstream

Peak oil is finally beginning to appear in print other than email discussion lists and blogs. The End of Suburbia, Kunstler's Bad Guy for many years, is finally getting notice. It may be a new cause celbre, but it's one we sorely need.

Kunstler's Salon interview lays it out in pretty realistic terms: not a crash but a long, inevitable slide down the razor blade of societal decline, as the sprawl-based global economy grinds to a halt on a track no longer lubricated by cheap and abundant oil. It's too late for anyone to do anything about; perhaps that's best, limiting the period of social angst as we get on with the business of grappling with a real economy and a real society based on local production for local concumption.

As we've said for many years, a thousand years from now we'll all be living in place.

Leona Gulch
Pacific Plate

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Back from the Future

My wife and I just returned from three weeks in the UK and the Republic of Ireland, mainly in rural areas, visiting Manchester, York and Dublin only as long as necessary.

These islands were populated and developed initially before the automobile. Southeastern Ireland and Dublin demonstrate the absurdity of attempting to fit US car culture onto this template, resulting in lorries and tour coaches attempting to negotiate narrow bridges and street corners in 800 year-old villages. Dublin is the nesting ground of the forty-story crane, building new hotels, widening roads, and even building a tunnel for lorries from the airport to the industrial sections of the city. Just in time for the end of the age of oil!

Great Britain and much of Europe will fare better in the future than the US, as the pre-auto infrastructure still exists in the villages and countryside of these countries. Local production for local consumption will return, local factories will be refurbished, markets revived, canals dredged and put to use, local stores and services reinstated. It's still there waiting for the people to remember how to use it.

We heard much disgust with EU regulations in Wales and Scotland, as the impositions do not fit in the local scene and independent people bridle at being told how to live by bureaucrats hundreds of miles away.

Most of the US has never had the infrastructure to conduct a local economy, and what little existed historically, mainly in the east, has been steam-rollered out of existence by the auto culture. It will be much harder, though not impossible, to make the transition here to a post-oil economy.

Leona Gulch
Pacific Plate

...for now

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

The posh, posh traveling life...

I'm off across the pond to Great Britain for three weeks, to renew ancestral ties (and cumberbuns), search for that elusive little village in Wales, hoist a pint at the local, and to pick up a brogue.

I won't be doing computers on this trip. This is the old hazel stick and a backback, the stop at the public house for a good night's rest, grab a bit of cheese and bread along the road. I'll be recording the passing scene in old-fashioned pencil and paper to be transcribed into glowing phosphors on your computer screens upon my return, if I return, that is.

It will be most interesting to be away from the insanity of the United States for a good while, to view the New American Empire from its humble predecessor, to talk with folks unburdoned by US propaganda. I'll be in the small villages tucked far and a-wee among the hills and lakes of Yorkshire, Ayreshire, the Lake District, North Wales, Pembrokeshire and the Republic of Ireland, absorbing the flavor of life lived on a slower timetable, mostly. Can't get away from all of it, of course, even in Wales, but it will be closer. We'll see...

Until then, thanks to all who have frequented these pages. I hope to reward your persistence with more words of hope, cheer and imminent societal doom. Civilization, if that's what it is, has started down the long porcelain parkway, and not a moment too soon.

Until I return... Iechyd da!

Leona Gulch
Pacific Plate

On my way to The Olde Country!

Friday, April 08, 2005

Shell Oil hopes to begin shale oil production by 2010

Shell Oil hopes to begin shale oil production by 2010

MEEKER, Colo. — With crude oil topping $50 a barrel more than 20 years
after the oil shale bust of the 1980s, Shell Oil Co. is testing a new
technology it hopes will make extracting oil from rock beneath
northwestern Colorado profitable and environmentally sustainable.

Oh, God, Cathedral Bluffs!

I spent the better part of 1980-1983 driving and walking Cathedral Bluffs, documenting the Department of Energy's failed In-Situ Oil Retorting experiments. They spent millions of dollars to learn that it takes far more energy to extract kerogen (there's NO oil in oil shale) from the basement rock than can be gained from burning the resulting petroleum-like product.

EROEI is negative for Oil Shale.


Shell executives think they can make a quick buck in investment returns from their woopdy-doo rock heaters.

Let me tell you about Cathedral Bluffs. It's way the Hell Back of Beyond. You need a four-wheel drive vehicle just to get to the "Main Road!" Then you drive for an hour and a half to get to the actual sites. You need helicopters to get equipment and supplies in and out of these places. Big helicopters. Expensive helicopters. Helicopters that swallow av-gas in Niagara Falls quantities.

Now tell me, where is all the energy coming from to drill these wells, create all this heat, extract the gas and kerogen and transport it to refining and processing facilities? This isn't downtown Grand Junction, for Crush Sakes, this is as far out in the boonies as anyone can get.

I once took a New York City journalist with me on one of my site visits. Picked him up at the Grand Junction airport and drove him in to an oil shale site on Cathedral Bluffs. By the time we arrived on site three hours later, he was convinced we were totally lost and we were going to die of starvation out in the wilderness. He was almost literally scared shitless by the immensity of that country.

Shell and every other energy company is making their final economic move before the petroleum door slams shut with a resounding DOOM! They know they can't get any meaningful amount of energy from oil shale. But they can manipulate the economy to squeeze out the last dollars from the shale before moving on to other things, say, recycling SUVs into affordable housing.

Oil Shale? Forget about it, write it off, pay it no heed: it's a non-starter. Tar sands? Best for making roads.

At some point, "we" must admit that we're fucked. We've gotten drunk on the smell of someone else's cork and now the bottle's empty. Too bad; that's just the way it is. We'll just have to get by on less, the best we can. The energy chickens have come home to roost, the party's over, it's pay-up time and the billfold's damned near empty.

Hey, things are looking up!

Leona Gulch
Pacific Plate

Friday, April 01, 2005

It's Time to get serious about conservation!

There's no better time than the present to get serious about conservation.

Peak Oil has arrived, oil will soon be $100 dollars a barrel, meaning gasoline will be $7 a gallon soon, though not soon eneough.

Even so, the problem is not that there's not enough oil, there are just too damned many people on this planet! We're rushing into an era of steadily declining energy availability, in a "cilivilzation" based on cheap abundant energy supplied by oil and other fossil fuels. In this fantasy world, our population has skyrocketed and continues to increase exponentially, despite wars, disease and famine.

If we had begun a serious program of population reduction, as Paul Ehrlich encouraged in the late 60s, we would be in better shape now to ease into a world of reducing energy. As it is now, we have two options: begin a crash program of population control, or twiddle our thumbs until Ma Nature does it for us.

Our population growth is slowing, globally, though some countries and continents still have excessive growth levels. As energy levels decrease, population declines will accelerate, either by reduction in birth rate and survival, or increase in death rates, or, most likely, both. The trick will be to balance energy depletion with population growth slowdown as much as possible, such that we manage as soft a landing for our societies as we can.

This is where conservation comes in. During Word War II, the United States and Great Britain engaged in government programs to conserve energy, recycle all materials, grow "Victory Gardens," take care of family, friends and neighbors. It became a societal ethic that most followed with pride and for which considerable social sanctions were applied against those who did not comply. When the crisis passed, and the new economic era dawned, conservation was forgotten by most.

We can do it again, if the crisis is admitted, if the people are kept informed, if the politicians have the will to lead the people instead of going off in their own directions to make piles of money before the source drips dry. The individual ethic is paramount now, and we may not be able to marshall support for the necessary effort.

So it will be a bad fall, all clumsy limbs and bumped heads. It won't mean extinction, for humans at least. Many will survive amid the crumbled remains and continue some form of human society. It will be, of necessity, a sustainable society, if it will be at all.

A thousand years from now, human life will be stabilized in common with all life. Humans will live in small comuunities scattered esthetically about the landscape, living bioregionally in cooperative communities united by kinship and mutaul aid. Not a "cave man" existence, by any means, in fact, more than likely, quite a comfortable life. Too bad we won't live to see it arrive.

Leona Gulch
Pacific Plate

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Peak Oil has arrived!

On March 16, world oil prices increased dramatically in response to an OPEC announcement of increased oil production to meet increasing demand and bring down prices: This is the first overt response from the oil industry of the arrival of Peak Oil, and the recognition that, from here on out, global oil production will be less than global oil demand.

Despite this clear indicator, the mainstream press continue to ignore Peak Oil, pretending this is just a temporary blip up in oil prices that will pass when the summer travel season is over: .

Industry sources are pretty clear that cheap oil is a thing of the past:

"We are in new historical territory,'' said Rick Mueller, an analyst with Energy Security Analysis Inc. in Wakefield, Massachusetts. "The safety margin that we had in the past just isn't there anymore. In the past we could always count on the Saudis to make up for the loss of production in, say, Iraq or Nigeria, but that's no longer the case. The capacity isn't there and demand has risen more than we thought it would."

So there you have it, Peak Oil is here. We'll look back at March, 2005 as the historical point of Global Peak Oil, the point at which the energy available to fuel our civilization, if that's what it is, began it's inevitable decline.

Energy depletion will result in global recession, of course, which will reduce demand for oil for a while, just as it did in the 70s. But the overall momentum of our petroleum-based societies will continue, driven by the necessity for cancerous economic growth at any cost.

If you've not simplified your life by now, dug your garden beds, insulated your home, chosen jobs and markets within walking and bicycling distance, it's time to do it now, as soon as possible. Once the concept of Peak Oil becomes firmly etched in the minds of the global economic community, gas and diesel prices will skyrocket. Depending on the psychological response from the investments types, gasoline could be $5 a gallon or more by the end of the year.

Think about that: $5 a gallon for gas! Our 1972 VW bug will take $50 to fill its tank (about once every other month, nowadays). An SUV will take $125 a tank very time it pulls into a gas station, at 6 miles per gallon. Better dump that monster now before the used-SUV market tops out!

And that's just for starters. When oil is $100 a barrel, what will be the price of gasoline? $7 a gallon? $10? What will a GM tomato from Mexico cost? "Cheap" shirts in Mall-Wart, made in China, from cloth made in Korea, from Rayon made in the US, from pulp from Japan, from trees from Alaska, will cost more than a tuxedo today.

The cost of food products in supermarkets is directly proportional to the cost of transportation. Those fancy wrapped goodies on the store shelves traveled an average of 1300 miles to get in your grocery trolley. What will your frozen dinner cost when diesel oil is $10 a gallon?

We're in the last gasp of "The Global Economy." It's local production for local consumption from here on. The cost of everything in our lives will be determined by the amount of transportation required to get it from raw materials to production to distribution. As the distant and exotic become prohibitively expensive, local, simple and sufficient will become the desirable values; extravagance, excess and conspicuous consumption will be strange historical footnotes.

Why wait to the last minute? Avoid the rush! Start now! Be the first in your neighborhood to abandon the Global Economy and switch to local production for local consumption! Your friends and neighbors will marvel at your perspicacity! Your Quality of Life will soar as you lower your Standard of Living.

As for me, I'm setting up my bicycle repair shop!

Leona Gulch
Pacific Plate

Thursday, March 24, 2005

What we CAN do about Peak Oil


What we CAN do about Peak Oil

Peak Oil is a reality that the mainstream press are already thinking about mentioning one of these days. Until it appears on TeeVee, with a florid backdrop and dramatic music, it doesn't really exist in what passes for the minds of the American public. Nevertheless, petroleum geologists around the world are in agreement that Peak Oil will arrive soon, if it hasn't already, at a gas pump near you.

The common response is: "Well, Somebody should do something about these high gas prices!" And who would that Somebody be?

Monday, March 21, 2005


OK, I'm ready for it to stop raining now.

I don't mind a sprinkle now and then, a good thunderstorm to wash out the cobwebs, even two or three rainy days in a row. It's been going for a month now, raining almost every day, with a few scattered sun showers in between, just when it became unbearable.

Snow never bothered me. I can take snow for months on end, and did, even in Valdez where we had thirty feet of the stuff! Fifty, sixty below zero, snow over the top of the wood shed, ground blizzards, riding my bike on snow machine trails... no problem. Bring it on! But rain, now, that's something else.

A week of rain every day is like having to listen to the Oval One recite his lines day after day, reading the cue cards carefully prepared by his evil Christian, Neocon handlers. The steady drip, drip, drip of incessant, carefully crafted, aw-shucks idiocy stultifies the soul, if we had any to begin with, which we don't. It's bad enough that they're evil and in control; acting stupid about it all just grinds salt into the wound.

To know that they're all going to die and they can't take their money, fame and power with them, doesn't help much. I'm going to die too, all too soon and, as far as I know, I can't gloat from the grave. Gives me a chuckle now and then, though, while I alive, mostly.

This concentration on physical acquisitiveness is a puzzlement. I never caught the bug myself, never had much, wanted even less. I was happiest in my teepee on the Gros Ventre, on horseback in the Absaroka, in a qayaq up Silver Bay. Never lusted after power, either. So I have a hard time understanding the motivation behind all this.. this... busyness.

Who could want more than a knock-you-in-the-eyeball sunset, or bright blue sky on a sunny day, fresh air to fill the lungs, fresh water to stave off thirst, a bite to eat, a glass of wine.

Now if it would just stop raining...

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Living in Interesting Times

The velvet fist of modern fascism tightens its grip, inexorably, day by day. Each meeting of Congress, that great national asylum for the criminally inept, brings with it another restriction on the freedoms citizens of the United States of America have enjoyed and expected as a part of the privilege of living in this country.

We weren't told about this in Civics class in High School. We heard the grand patriotic panoply of the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Civil War, "World" Wars I and II, and now, I suppose, even the Viet Nam invasion and occupation, and the invasions of Panama, Granada, and all the rest, culminating in the greatest of embarrassments, the invasion and occupation of the sovereign nation of Iraq.

High school civics is all bout patriotism, love of country, glorification of the excesses of the Empire of the United states, the sad story of the subjugation and domination of the world to line the pockets of the few. We didn't learn about the Philippines in High School, the national disgrace of a massive armed force turned on the few unarmed old men, women and children left alive after years of economic subjugation, all necessary to demonstrate the economic and military might of the big bully next door.

Over the years, Uncle Sam has learned how to deal with insurrection and rebellion. The best way to avoid opposition by the people is to keep them in ignorance and distraction, never allowing the people to know what's going on, keeping them happy and entertained with circuses, sexual titillation, crime, the shenanigans of the very wealthy, the peccadilloes of the famous and showy.

The media that knuckles under to the needs of the controlling elite are the media that receives the most pecuniary recompense in the form of advertising doled out as "foreign aid" by the corporate oligarchy that controls all information in this sad country. The government is even now overtly paying off "journalists" to spread their vile lies, as they crank up their own "PR" to create tailor-made news stories to fit the needs of the hour.

The only thing wrong with the prophetic novel "1984" was the limit of the imagination of the author. Orwell didn't see far enough to the excesses of the government intent on controlling the past, the present, the future and the access to meaningful information.

What to do about it? Things are going to get a lot worse before they get better. Our whole civilization is based on access to cheap oil, and that's coming to an end. Global climate change is changing a lot more than just the climate as a global agricultural systems based on fifty years of moderate, stable climate, peter out in droughts, floods and extreme weather events.

Even more, centralization and industrialism, as a basic approach to economic and political organization are increasingly called to question as we face these twin challenges to Homo sapiens very survival as a species. Centralization is shown to be a wasteful and unsustainable path to human social organization, creating the conditions leading to global climate change that threatens to drive us into extinction. Without oil, our centralized, industrial society will sputter to a halt, creating population declines through drought, disease and failure of birth rates, leading to a new, decentralized society based on local production for local consumption, bioregionalism, localism ad mutual aid. The Dicks of the world will be ignored in a bioregional society.

It's hard but it's fair.

Leona Gulch
Pacific Plate

Thursday, March 10, 2005

I've had it!

This is too much!

The United States is spiraling down into a fascist, totalitarian state, and dragging much of the rest of the world down with it.

Yes, one can live quietly within one's electronically equipped home, avoiding potential confrontations with the constabulary, or the neighbors. That's what "they" want, of course, an unconcerned and compliant citizenry that accepts "internal security check-points," universal IDs (cum "drivers license"), "security" alerts from the central authority, chains, rubber hoses and sharp-toothed dogs. It's all of a piece; one thing leads inevitably to the next; the long slide down into darkness.

The state always replaces freedom with security. This particular state excels at making its people love their velvet chains, substituting consumer excess for the freedoms it takes away, gradually, day by day. The simple, thoughtful, introspective life is smothered under a barrage of noise and infotainment, thus assuring quiet compliance with the demands of the ruling elite.

"I will not go quietly into the night. Rage, rage with the dying of the light."

Hayduke Speaks

Sunday, March 06, 2005

The Sierra Club, Grassroots and Democracy

Recently the Sierra Club has taken steps to stifle grassroots organization and democratic decision-making within the 700,000 members of the club.

The Sierra Club was founded by Jon Muir as a grassroots organization to work toward the preservation of wild lands, in particular the redwood forests of California. Over the years, the Sierra Club has grown from a small cadre of activists to a world-wide organization with an $80,000,000 annual budget. The Club consists of local groups, organized into local chapters, which until recently, were organized through a regional organization of conservation groups.

The Sierra Club also maintains several email discussion groups, which are run through the Sierra Club as official organs, moderated by Sierra Club members and overseen by a committee responsive to Sierra Club staff and Board of Directors. The discussion groups are used to share information and to organize activities within the cub.

The 2004 election for Sierra Club Board of Directors was marked by a call from the Board of Directors and staff to guard against a "hostile takeover" of the Sierra Club by "anti-immigration" groups. No proof was ver offered of this alleged takeover bid. A group known as "Groundswell Sierrans" was formed to funnel money and support to the candidates favored by the entrenched existing Board of Directors and professional staff.

This year, Sierra Club staff have again prepared Sierra Club members for a contentious election, on their web site and in their official house organ, and are promoting their hand-picked candidates for the Board, and opposing those candidates who have qualified by petition. In addition, the Board has proposed amendments to the Sierra Club By-laws to do away with write-in candidates and to further restrict opportunities for Sierra Club members to run for Board positions.

"Democracy works," says Club President Larry Fahn, "but only if everyone participates."

Literally translated, the President of the Sierra Club has stated that democracy doesn't work in the Club, since, obviously, everyone does not participate in the elections for club officers, nor is everyone allowed to participate in the process of democracy that transcends mere voting for officers.

Democracy is not voting. In fact, voting represents the failure of democracy, since democracy is rule by the people and any process that intervenes between the people and the functioning of their democratic government denies democracy.

The present rulers of the Sierra Club have, in effect, conducted a coup d'etats and transformed the Sierra Club from a grassroots environmental organization to a political party ruled by a hand-picked oligarchy responsive to the US central government and its corporate toadies. The purpose of the Sierra Club is to influence US politics, using millions of dollars, much donated in secret, to influence US domestic policy, meeting an agenda set by those who donate the most money.

The Sierra Club now opposes its own internal policies with regard to public lands grazing, public lands logging and immigration in response to donations of substantial funds from those who benefit from such activities. The Sierra Club has taken action based on liberal social issues rather than science-based environmental research, with the result that Sierra Club staff and Board of Directors have opposed sound science and environmental advocacy in their own local and chapter groups.

It is time to regain control of environmental advocacy and grassroots organization from those who have subverted the democratic process for political gain.

Michael Lewis
Leona Gulch
Pacific Plate

Sunday, February 27, 2005


The twin geophysical crises of global climate change and peak oil production, coming about coincidentally in human history, have precipitated a human social crisis. They have revealed, for all the world to see, the ultimate failure of the two hundred year-old human experiment in centralism and industrialism.

Human beings have separated themselves from the mass of non-human life in two major areas: systemic centralization of power and authority, and the separation and commodification of natural resources for exclusive human use.

No other species engages in systematic centralization of authority. Yes, some species do have pecking orders. These are transitory and do not result in systematic and unchanging hierarchies of authority and control. Only humans engage in coercive, centralized, political control.

Only humans separate natural resources and guard them from access and use by other individuals and species. Only humans view the resources of the earth as "products" to be used for individual human gain and profit.

In these two ways, humans are bucking the mainstream of biological evolution, among all the millions of species on this earth. And now the chickens have come home to roost. The bluff is called and we've revealed our cards, a miserable pair of deuces.

The entire thrust of biological evolution, from the first replicating DNA strands to non-industrial Homo sapiens has been towards cooperation and mutual aid. Apologists for the industrial status quo point to Darwin's Theory of Evolution, mistakenly interpreting "survival of the fittest" to mean survival of the strongest individual, when in fact, Darwin observed that survival of the fittest meant the "community most fit to the existing environmental conditions."

In any event, no matter how modern individuals interpret an historical treatise on evolution, its plainly obvious that "survival of the fittest individual" results in societal failure! Individualism cannot continue in a universe based on cooperation. If individualism were transcendent, if competition were the ruling law, then this "civilization," if that's what it is, would be triumphant, would be the epitome of biological evolution, instead of the miserable failure that is apparent at every turn.

Since the centralization of energy, power, politics and economy has demonstrably failed, it is clearly evident that decentralization is the road we should have taken. When one is standing with toes hanging over the edge of the precipice, progress consist of turning around and taking a step forward.

What would a decentralized, cooperative society look like?

Such a society would be bounded by these bioregional principles:

1) Limitations of scale
2) Conservation and Stability
3) Self-sufficiency and cooperation
4) Decentralization and diversity

Government of such a society would be libertarian (in the true sense), non-coercive, open and democratic.

The people in such a society would be engaged daily in the processes of decision making in their neighborhoods, communities and bioregions.

Food production would be dispersed throughout the community, with each family having its own gardens, and additional food provided in local, multi-crop farms providing nutritious unadulterated food for local consumption.

Energy production would be on-site, with each home and work place producing all the energy required to maintain its inhabitants, plus a surplus to be distributed to those in need.

There would be less of a boundary between city and country, less separation between work and home, less distinction between leaders and followers.

All decisions within a bioregion would be based on widespread understanding of bioregional needs, based on a thorough understanding of the characteristics of the bioregion in which one lives. Any action that threatened damage to the bioregion would be regarded with utmost horror, a crime of major proportions requiring drastic social sanction. The interests of the human community would be in all cases synonymous with the interests of the larger bioregional community.

Decision-making would begin at the local level, with residents dealing with problems affecting their own neighborhoods. Problems that transcend the neighborhood would be dealt with by ad-hoc federations of neighborhood associations from among the neighborhoods affected. Problems affecting the community as a whole would be dealt with by a federation of all neighborhood associations. Problems that transcend the community would be dealt with by federations of community associations. Regional and "national" governing bodies would be replaced by federations of regional associations.

Membership in the federations of associations would be by delegate appointment, with delegates authorized only to carry the brief of the parent association. The delegate would not be able to make any independent decisions on any issue without discussion by the parent body. All are expected to take part in the associations, subject to public sanction. Those who decide to not take part in the decision-making process, also decide to eschew the social benefits of membership in the society.

In this way the local organization is engaged with all decisions-making from the local to the meta-regional. There would be no central body to hand down decisions to the people. All would have a direct interest in the outcome of all issues, and all would have a say in any decisions.

This seems Utopian to us in a society based on coercive, central authoritarian rule, and representative republican government, where appeal to authority is the norm, and a centralized constabulary maintains social order. Yet, the vast majority of human history has been within societies based on the above principles. It is only within the past two hundred years or so that we have abandoned the major thrust of human society.

It not only can be done, it is the only way that human society can continue much longer in the future.

It's a bit scary, starting out on something new. But, as with everything, we start out with small steps. We start out by withdrawing our support from central, authoritarian rule in our lives: in our home, our workplaces, our local, city, state and national government. At the same time we work to build supportive, cooperative social structures, based on bioregional organization and mutual aid. We build local currencies and local economies, we support local food production for local consumption. We support locally owned businesses that provide locally produced goods and services. We work to preserve and defend local biological and social diversity. We teach our neighbors the skills necessary to become self-sufficient and self-reliant. We work with our neighbors and community members to build up systems of local political autonomy and reject the support and control of centralized government.

In this way, when the central authority begins to crumble, we are prepared to carry our own weight, to provide for ourselves and for our neighbors, friends and families.

We are engaged in the community of all life, a contributing member of our bioregion, giving to the whole, as we receive from the whole.

Michael Lewis
Leona Gulch
Pacific Plate

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Neighborhood, Commmunity and Bioregion

Rather than attempting to puzzle out the grand scheme of things, chronological and global in scope, I prefer to concentrate on the local: my neighborhood, my community, my bioregion.

There's nothing I can do about starvation in Africa, even by eating all my peas. I can't do away with old nukes in Novo Sibirsk, stop emissions from coal burning in China or even reduce the number of cars on the roads in North America.

I can, however, choose to live where I am within walking distance of local markets that have food grown on local farms, where I work at a non-polluting job that offers a service to the local community. I can grow as much food as I can in my own gardens. I can live in a house with passive solar heating and low maintenance, that uses little electricity to provide for my simple needs.

I can take part in local politics in my neighborhood and community, providing an understanding of the bioregion where we all live and the place we humans play in the interplay of natural forces and cycles within this region. I can share my understanding with others so that we can all make informed decisions that affect all members of our community and its bioregion.

How will we weather the coming changes at the neighborhood, community and bioregion levels?

Since we have chosen wisely where to live, our requirements for heating are minimal and we don't need air conditioning at all. Temperatures here rarely get below freezing or above 75 degrees. We live within easy walking and biking distance of shops and markets and we have a thriving farmers market during the growing seasons. We are surrounded by agricultural land, which now grows crops mainly for export, and which will, as necessary, grow more and more for local consumption. A thriving local fishing industry provides fresh fish for local residents.

As gas and oil prices rise, we are well situated to work communally to provide for the needs of all our community members. We will work in a federation of other communities to make sure we all have what we need, and we will continue these relationships during the coming challenges.

This is one answer to the coming changes: strong neighborhood, community and bioregional associations based on mutual aid and bioregional organization.


Saturday, February 19, 2005

The Nature of the Problem - and the Solution

The proximate problems we face as a society are Peak Oil production, and global climate change as a result of industrial effluent. The dominant society that influences the way most human beings live on this planet, and a great part of non-human beings as well, is built on an economy based on inexpensive, highly portable, concentrated energy in the form of fossil fuels, and the socialization of the costs of using these fuels, coupled with the privatization of the profits from their use. In other words, those who have created and profited from the mess have never been required to clean up after themselves.

Despite the drastic changes in all life that these two factors promise, they are not the ultimate cause of this potential failure in the dominant human society. The sources of energy that have become dominant and that have created such severe pollution problems are relatively rare, localized and subject to private ownership and exploitation. Use of fossil fuels has flourished in a social environment of private property ownership and centralized control of access to sources of energy. Centralized government has prospered in this environment and continues to seek increased centralization and control of those energy sources necessary to maintain the social status quo.

We who are aware of the coming changes know that they will change everything in the dominant human society. Everything. Economy. Government. Social relationships. Everything. I'm not sure that everyone realizes just what "everything" means.

As we peer forward dimly into the future, trying to find the ford across the river now that the bridge is clearly out, it becomes evident that central organization is part of the problem. Renewable energy sources such as wind and solar are dispersed unevenly across the planet, variable available over time, subject to the whims of season, weather and climate. As such, these natural sources of energy are inappropriate to centralization, concentration and distribution, and, subsequently not supportive of a centralized capitalist economy that socializes the costs of energy development and privatizes the profits.

In short, wind and solar energy are best produced and used at the site of production, by those who actually do the work, rather than being produced by central bureaucracies that make a profit off their distribution.

This energy reality bodes ill for central government, authority and economy. The centralized nature of industrial capitalism is largely responsible for the misuse, waste and inefficiency of our present energy systems, not to mention the centralization and maximization of profits to be obtained from extorting money from the people for access to the very resources that belong to no one, yet are given over to private enterprise for private profit. The legacy of all life has been privatized in order to continue a social system built upon elitism, human social inequity and speciesism.

This, as with everything, must and will change.

The answer, as Mohandis Karamchand Gandhi told us 60 years ago, is to turn society upside down and build the human world from the people up, rather than from the ruling elite down. He was concerned at the time with self-government and freedom from foreign oppression, using homespun khadi as a simple of local self-reliance. When the people no longer have to turn to a central authority for their needs, they can build their own freedom for themselves.

A sustainable human society can never be built by a central authority. Centralization requires haves and have-nots, those who possess power and influence and those who do not. In order for a society to be sustainable, it must provide sustenance for all, else there will always be those who demand an equal share, if not more.

In order for all to be sustained, all must be able to carry on their own lives within their own traditions, based on their relationships with their own local bioregions. No sustainable society can be imposed on the people from a central authority. The relationships among humans and the world in which they live must grow of themselves from a living relationship with the local environment.

The coming breakdown of the dominant human society is the best thing that could happen to Homo sapiens, not to mention the millions of other species on this earth. When central authority and oppression finally and ultimately whither through lack of energy, humans will be cast into their own hands at the local level, free of imposed "help" from the central government, free to form lives in harmony in their local bioregions.

The only form of human society that has ever existed sustainably is the local community, with an economic system based on local production for local consumption, organized bioregionally.

A thousand years from now, all humans will be living bioregionally or they will not be living at all.

Leona Gulch
Pacific Plate

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Climate Change, Global Warming, politics and human perception

Yes, Virginia, there is Climate Change. In fact, there's been steady climate change for millions of years, on this poor tired and embattled Earth we inhabit. The one thing constant about life on this planet has been constant change.

The answer to the question, "Does human industrial activity contribute to global climate change?" is most certainly yes. We add millions of tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere each year and we know that carbon dioxide allows solar energy to enter the atmosphere and prevents it from leaving: global warming.

The big, and as yet unanswered question, is "Does the climate change caused by human industrial activity pose a threat to human life and all life on this planet?" The answer is: "We don't know."

That being said, it's important to examine the consequences of making a wrong decision, as a society and a species, with regard to human caused climate change.

If we decide that human effects do not pose a threat to life on this planet and we are right, we go on about our business. If we are wrong, we boil in the pot with the proverbial frog.

If we decide that human effects may indeed pose a threat to life on this planet and we are right, we change our lives for the better in the long run creating a sustainable society that can live indefinitely within its biological and geophysical means. If we are wrong, we're still ahead because we are living in a sustainable society that can exist indefinitely within its biological and geophysical means.

It doesn't seem to take an Einstein to make the right choice here. Unfortunately, instead of Einsteins, our world is run by economists and politicians, who are incapable of making a decision based on logic and data, relying instead on profits and poll results.

So here we are, drifting toward the waterfall in a boat made of papier maché.

Leona Gulch

Guardian Unlimited | Guardian daily comment | Mocking our dreams

Monday, February 14, 2005

The White House vs. Reality: Round 2

How Team Bush Controls the Message, Stages the Events

While it's nice to see this discussed in an open forum, it comes as no surprise. Rather than Bush, this approach has been the hallmark of Karl Rove since the Nixon administration. To the Rove crew, "Reality" is the opponent, not any particular candidate or political party. Reality is seen as mutable, insubstantial, subject to revision and purposeful manipulation.

From the deception leading to the invasion of Iraq (perhaps including some aspects of the attacks on the WTC and the Pentagon) to the Emperor's New Hump (the obvious radio receiver on Bush's back and shoulder during the televised debates) to the recent "election" in Iraq, "The Message" is a dish served to an audience with an impaired palate.

In this media age, one message on TeeVee carries the same weight as any other, commercial or non, to an audience that has been trained out of any critical thinking skills. The Internet delivers a bewildering array of "Information" with no clues for the recipient to determine what is valid and what is merely predigested factoids manufactured to create an effect. The fact, little known, or at least little acknowledged by corporate media, is that the Pentagon's PSYOPS program has largely taken over information dissemination in the White House.

Definition of Psychological Operations:

'Psychological Operations:  Planned operations to convey selected information and indicators to foreign audiences to influence their emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of foreign governments, organizations, groups, and individuals. The purpose of psychological operations is to induce or reinforce foreign attitudes and behavior favorable to the originator's objectives. Also called PSYOP. See also consolidation psychological operations; overt peacetime psychological operations programs; perception management. ' US Department of Defense

"A Strategy of Lies: How the White House Fed the Public a Steady Diet of Falsehoods"
by Gar Smith

Too bad the title is in the past tense, as the disinformation and psycological operations continue apace.

It's not at all surprising, as billions of dollars are at stake in this game, not to mention power and influence, which, to some, mainly the filthy rich, are far more imprtant. The game has been perfected and I frankly don't see any way out other than open rebellion. This is not to imply violent revolution, as rebellion can be a turning away from rather than fighting against, as Gandhi amply demonstrated.

The response by those who have everything to lose will undoubtedly be violent, however, as it is increasingly in the present.


Sunday, February 13, 2005

A Non-Denial Denial

Is anyone surprised?

Of course the United States military is checking out Iran.! What's all the saber rattling for otherwise. US "drones" and probably workers and Queen Bees as well have been flying over Iran from months, not to mention satellites and high altitude reconnaissance planes. Think all the Blackbirds are in museums? is Hersh's original article in the New Yorker.

The foxes are fully in charge of te henhouse now and there's no turning back. The have four years to consolidate the Middle east for energy corporations and the energy support structure befor ete next challenge. Fortunately for them, and unfortunately for us, the only challneger on the horizon is the Democratic national Committee, aka the Republican Party.

Make no mistake, the US will destroy Iran's nuclear power program and as much of its military infrastructure as it can. Who will stop them? 86% of the American people believe in God; over 60% are fundamentalist Christians. Bush holds daily prayer meetings in the White House. 2+2=5. War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Murder is Christian.

Thou shalt not kill, unless thou shall make a profit.

Leona Gulch
Pacicif Plate

Coming to a bin near you, the spy that tells how much rubbish you create

Coming to a bin near you, the spy that tells how much rubbish you create

So this is the future, then?

Everything in our lives will be wired, plugged in, monored and reported. Our "driver licenses," aka universal identify card, will have a chip with all our vital information, bioemtric data, digitally stored photograph, fingerprints, retina pattern, voice print and facial feature data set. It will be readable at ten paces so that our movements can be monitored, tracked and recorded at all times, and called up with the press of a button. No need for awkward phone taps, surveillence camera, mysterious men in trench coats. All very simple and electronic.

So what happens if we opt out? What if I decide to not renew my driver license next year? I can't fly on commercial airplanes? Can't ride on AMTRAK or Greyhound? What if I don't get a credit card? No loans, rent rather than buy a house, ride my bike, hitchhike.

Where does it stop?

When do we tell them, "No more!

How many peple in the United States know that the House passed the Read ID Act and what is in it? How many of those care?

It's time!

Leona Gulch
Pacific Plate

Saturday, February 12, 2005

The Story Begins


In almost all worlds in this vast Universe, or more accurately, this Multiverse, liquid of any form is a rare commodity. On the planet, Myopeda, for example, liquid methane floats about in droplets too tiny to see with the naked eye, or even with optics properly clothed. Such is the case on many planetary bodies, making the Multiverse, as a whole, considerably drier than a stock broker's afternoon martini.

In a spiral galaxy in the nether regions of the galactic space-time bubble containing the only known self-reflexive life forms, at least the only one reflected upon by those life-forms themselves, a planetary system whirls slowly through the, mostly, emptiness of interstellar space. Uncountable solid bodies, ranging in size from dust motes to incipient stars, parade around the central sun in a grand whirling dance of imperceptible velocity relative to the immovable but constantly moving background star field.

One planet and one moon in this remarkable system violate the above general rule of relative humidity and afternoon cocktails in two startlingly different ways. The moon, orbiting high above a gloriously beribboned gas giant, tightly holds it's precious liquid, largely a seething mixture of dihydrogen monoxide and methane, beneath a permanent crust solidified in the unimaginably frigid temperatures, or lack thereof, of deep space.

The other body, the third planet from the sun, not counting it's dry planet-like companion held in a wobbly coterminous orbit, irresponsibly keeps its liquid out in plain sight, in the full ravages of solar radiation and cosmic rays. This has gone on for some time, much to the consternation of the other planetary bodies, so long excluded from the cosmic liquidity competition.

In the uncountable millennia since its whirling formation from primal cosmic dust, this third planet, this Earth, has managed to develop a delicate equilibrium state among temperature, atmospheric pressure, gravity, biological activity, and only very lately, the unrelenting busyness of the aforementioned self-reflexive life-forms. Though, if truth be told, their most recent activities have begun to perturb this trembling balance in ways that, had the other planetary bodies had eyes to see, clothed or unclothed, they would have blinked them rapidly in disapproval.

Although more than 70% of The Earth's surface is covered with liquid dihydrogen monoxide, or water as the locals call it, certain areas of the planet are quite deficient in this precious liquid. These so-called deserts, despite their singular lack of such an essential constituent, nevertheless support a surprising diversity of life, self-reflexive and otherwise. The planetary surface, the actual land, as it were, the atmosphere above, the soil beneath, even isolated channels and local accumulations of water, called lakes or ponds, teem with an abundance of living organisms, almost all of which exist in an atmosphere dominated by toxic levels of oxygen, generally considered a bad neighborhood in the more desirable areas of the Multiverse.

Along one of these water channels large enough to be recognized as a river, flowing from central mountains to the equatorial sea, self-reflexive life forms existed sporadically over the past 10,000 local years. The earliest inhabitants, largely naked bipeds, despite their primitive development of self-reflection, from the perspective of the present inhabitants, at least, were nonetheless surprisingly well adjusted to their local environment. They lived in modest dwellings, formed of local materials, consumed the local flora and fauna in moderation, traded widely with others of their kind in far flung regions quite different from their own and generally led the naked biped, indifferently self-reflexive, oxygen consuming version of The Good Earth Life.

The situation changed quite radically during the last 4% of this occupation, when a new breed of bipeds appeared, almost entirely clothed almost all of the time, armed with fearsome weapons and the willingness, nay eagerness, to use them. They quickly laid waste to the general neighborhood round about, including the neighbors, and established themselves as the pre-eminent bipeds in the region.

These newcomers also exhibited a most peculiar characteristic. They insisted, often at the point of arms, that their particular brand of self-reflection was the only one that they and the local bipeds should be allowed to pursue, despite the total lack of any credible evidence to support their contention. Even though the local bipeds had had their own self-reflection well and truly worked out for hundreds, if not thousands of years, the newcomers held the field, largely because they killed or drove off any of the locals who refused to agree.

It is to this region we descend from the comfortable star-studded blackness of interplanetary space, through the corrosive oxy-nitrogenous atmosphere, past drifting colonies of vaporous water clouds, floating down toward the intricately folded, volcanically crenellated and aquatically weathered landscape, of Earth, North America, United States, New Mexico; the desert: home to horned-toads, road runners, crows and eagles, lizards, kissing bugs, cockroaches and miller moths; coyotes, wild horses, elk and deer; piñon pine and Ponderosa, agavé and century plants, and of late, in excess, in preponderance, in contradiction to all life that came before: Homo sapiens, the scourge of The Earth, the cancer on the face of the planet, the denial of entropy, bent on the destruction of all Things Good and True.

Except for a few, gathering here from their corners of what was once known as Turtle Island…

Friday, February 11, 2005

Well, there you are, then...

House approves electronic ID cards | CNET

This law will probably, I say, probably, never pass the Senate and will not see the light of day. Maybe. If we're very, very lucky.

However, this is not the end of the story. There are many (mis)representatives in our Great National Asylum for the Helpless in Washington, DC intent on seeing that each Patridiotic 'Merikan carries a genuine, certified, vetted and Ofiicially approved United States of America Governemnt ID card, compete with a work of art in glowing color of each Citizen and an electronic file embedded, possibly in a chip that can be read by suitabe equiment from a distance of several feet, the whole thing encased in tasteful plastic.

"Your papers, pliz, Citizen."

We've always shied away from such totalitarian shenanigans in this country, at least until recently, a hold-over from our Colonial past no doubt, and our dark fanasies about Nazi Germany, some of which spill over, along with the Nazis hired to create the CIA, into contemporary American culture.

It's only a matter of time; the pendulum swings slowly and unstoppably. We're in the end of the Weimar Republic again, a major economic depression on the horizon, fundamentalist extremists in command of the government. The velvet fist of fascism ever present, biding its time in the wings for another turn on stage.

You would think we humans would learn at some time, with this brain thing of ours perched awkwardly high above our shoulders. Maybe that's the problem: too much wind blowing through empty skulls. When ideology and politics are reduced to demographics and polls, intelligence takes a back seat to gullibility.

'Twas ever thus.

Leona Gulch
pacific Plate

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Derailing Amtrak

Derailing Amtrak

Forty-five years ago I traveled by train from Sidney, Nebraska to Sacramento, California, on the Spirit of Los Angeles, from Sidney to Reno, with cars switched to another anonymous train to Sacto.

The depot at Sidney glowed in the hot afternoon sun, as I sat on the hard wooden pew, listening the futile bumping of flies against the wavey glass of the windows looking over empty tracks. I was nervous, heading out across half the United States on my own, ticket firmly held in my sweaty hand. My parents were goinf to meet me the next evenng in a trsange place called California.

The Spirit of Los Angeles was a sleek aluminum train with a streamlined engine in front, not the ugly diesel electric that pulls the AMTRAK trains these days. I rode in coach, in a reclining seat with a big view of the world passing by. I don't remember much of the trip, other than eaking up to bumps and clunks in the middle of the night as my car was switched to the western train in the Reno yards.

Riding AMTRAK now days has little of luxury of train travel that still existed forty years ago. Meals are meager, barely above airplane fair. Trains are often delayed, spending great swats of time hunkered on country sidings waiting for more important fast freights to zip by.

But it's still a most civlilized way to travel, moving at a human pace through largely unroaded parts of the country, into and out of the back doors of our cities. You can feel the change in the countryside, take time to adjust to the climate, hear the local patois that still exists among the common folk.

As with anything good and worthwhile, George W. Bush and his gang of hired criminals are against AMTRAK. If the Spirit rover discovered a race of cyrstalline faeries on Mars, the Bushies first reaction would be to blast them into shards with nuclear missiles.

Michael, near the tracks

Ward Churchill: I'm Not Backing Up One Inch

Ward Churchill: I'm Not Backing Up One Inch

Ward Churchill has never been one to mince words, and today he's come out with words about a sensitive subject to "patriotic 'Merikans - our most recent bile cleaner, the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Of course, the required gnashing of teeth and tearing of hair follows as demanded. One must not be allowed to speak the truth in times of "war," even a war built on lies, even in a country founded on freedom of speech. Proper decorum must be maintained, yellow ribbons (made in China) prominently affixed to unpatriotic gas-guzzling SUVs.

We must never, publicly, peer beneath the surface to reveal the consequences of US imperialism, the root casues of the fascist US government's crusade to make the world safe for hypocrisy. We must never speak truth to power, when the truth is so obvious and the power so egregious.

Thank you, Ward Churchill for, once again, speaking the truth, bar the consequences. You've paved the way for the rest of us.

Leona Gulch
Pacific Plate

Monday, February 07, 2005

Ecoterrorist Sentenced in Utah Arson

Ecoterrorist Sentenced in Utah Arson

The moon stutters briefly through low scudding clouds, illuminating the scene through locked and barred windows. Long rows of metal shelves stand in the darkness, dully reflecting red and green winking lights of computer consoles and electronic monitoring equipment. Tiny feet rustle in dry bedding, an occasional small squeak echoes against bare, institutional green walls. The smell of ammonia and disinfectant dominates the air.

Outside, between and among shafts of moonlight, deep shadows move beyond the edges of the brightly lit parking lot, deep shadows that occasionally clink softly, stumble and curse
under their breath. In the far distance a siren wails, whoops and falls silent. The shadows gather at the edge of darkness, patiently waiting.

For a moment, the crescent moon shines brightly through a rift in the clouds, fades quickly and disappears. A cough, a low whistle, a brief snap and spark. At the same moment, by some fantastic coincidence, all the lights in the parking lot sputter out, leaving dull glowing orbs floating eerily in the night air. Emergency lights snap on inside the darkened building, bathe the window ledges with a harsh glare, then one by one fade out as their batteries quickly deplete themselves.

As the darkness becomes complete, the night is shattered by the sound of breaking glass, the harsh rasp of metal on metal, the clunk of heavy boots on hard concrete floors. At each doorway along the long hallway, dark forms pause briefly, punch once-secret codes into electronic door locks and swing the doors open to reveal mysteries held within. Momentary silence, punctuated by the rasp of metal on metal, tiny squeals of alarm, more clumping of boots and the clank of metal on cold parking lot asphalt.

Soon the parking lot, once festooned with gas-guzzling products of automotive excess, sports irregular lines of metal cages of various sizes and shapes. After a brief pause for maximum appreciation of the scene, dark shapes walk quickly long the lines, opening metal doors, freeing the occupants therein. The night is suddenly filled to excess with small scurrying mammalian shapes.

Meanwhile, within the building, the contents of camo backpacks are placed in strategic positions in the many rooms, next to blinking computer consoles and whirring tape drives, on top of file cabinets, under work tables and among and between numerous vials and bottles of gaily colored liquids. Various adjustments are made, whereupon the dark figures beat a hasty retreat down the hall, out the door and into the cool, enveloping darkness of the night.

A pause, interrupted by the distant sounds of wailing sirens, drawing closer.

As an armada of emergency vehicles turn into the driveway of the parking lot, lights whirling and flashing in gay abandon, sirens set on stun, small flashes of light and dull thumps emanate from the bowels of the building. Caustic liquids, released from their secure containers, drip, hissing, into the bowels of delicate electronics, splash onto spinning tape drives, consume plastic and paper in a mad chemical dance. Flammable liquids drip and oozed into and among papers and books, which, suddenly united with oxygen, spark and heat, leap into the embrace of explosive effulgence.

The first armed and dangerous officer of the law opens the door of his fully equipped and meticulously maintained police cruiser. At that moment, all the windows of the first floor of the brick edifice before him explode outward in an exquisitely beautiful, rapidly growing red and yellow flower of ultimate destruction. A charred poster flutters down through superheated air, singed slightly on the edges but otherwise intact. On it's bright yellow surface, the startled officer reads:

I'm back!

If you listen very, very carefully, you can hear tiny giggles from the shrubbery surrounding the parking lot, punctuated by the patter of tiny feet, running away, very, very fast