Sunday, December 30, 2007

"Take-over-the-World Plan."

Key Pentagon strategist plots global war on terror

We don't need to read this article to know that the Pentagon, and its corporate sponsors, plan to take over the world. That, as they say, goes without saying.

It doesn't hurt, however, to say it, frequently and with feeling.

The Pentagon's "Take-over-the-World Plan" is nothing but imperialism, Empire writ large, the greatest fantasy since Napoleon's delusions of grandeur.

Fortunately, for all of us living beings, the world has another plan, expressed as: "Oh, no, you won't, either." Mother Nature has built in some rather harsh limitations on the expansion of any of her species on this Earth. Those who get uppity and bigger than their britches get slapped down, hard, and sometimes permanently.

The Church of Eternal Growth has many adherents among the gentry in the united States and its client countries. Their entire world is based on the premise of unlimited economic (and physical) growth, such that it is an unchallenged assumption of daily life. No politician in this election cycle would dare raise the spectre of even a steady state economy, despite the clear and irrefutable fact that only a steady state economy is in any way "sustainable."

The idea of unlimited growth is spread throughout all of our culture, from Kindergarten to the grave. Growth is considered good, without question.

It's time to start asking questions.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Another brick in the imperialist pathway

Anglo-American Ambitions behind the Assassination of Benazir Bhutto and the Destabilization of Pakistan

"Musharraf benefits from the removal of a bitter rival, but now must find a way to re-establish order. Musharraf now has an ideal justification to crack down on “terrorists” and impose full martial law, with Bush-Cheney working from the shadows behind Musharraf---and continuing to manipulate or remove his apparatus, if Musharraf proves too unreliable or broken to suit Anglo-American plans." Larry Chin, Global Research, December 29, 2007

As usual the uS press and their gB cohorts withhold the most important parts of the story. We get the dots without the patterns, let alone the connections.

As Chin points out in this article, these dramatic events are steps in a carefully planned pathway to global uS Empire. The "War on Terror" is a transparent excuse to deploy uS troops to every country containing natural resources or strategically placed to access natural resources. Pakistan and Afghanistan control access to Caspian Sea oil and gas, as well as the growing domination of Middle East oil.

The CIA, the strongarm thugs of the uS government, via its manufactured Al Qaeda (not the original Al Qa'ida, which was a traditional economic network) seeks, as always, to destabilize governments in this volatile region. Most of the time they work in the background, with occasional flashes of violence betraying their presence. As with their current Vice Terrorist, Dick Cheney, they seek to leave no footprints in their bloody wake.

This is what the united States has become: the inheritor of British colonialism writ large and ugly. Capitalizing on terrorism, global warming and peak oil, that is, just about everything, the uS corporate oligarchy (aka fascist government) seeks to consolidate power throughout the world, such that its corporate sponsors continue to make obscene profits, and the beneficiaries of power and influence remain in power as long as possible.

This is the face of the central state for the foreseeable future, and that face doesn't get any prettier as it gets older. As the state clamps down on the people, the people will resist. The state has all the guns, and "non-lethal" weapons, and the willingness to use them against the people. Social and political mechanisms are in place in the united States to repress, "with a firm and manly hand," any movement by the people to regain control of the government.

It doesn't look good for freedom and liberty today, and the future of democracy.

Friday, December 28, 2007

“Sheepish Submissiveness”

Creeping Fascism: Lessons From the Past

Raimund Pretzel's book, Defying Hitler, should be required reading to qualify to vote in the united (sic) States.

I've long had a feeling that the US government (not MY government), was heading into what in 1980 Bertram Gross called Friendly Fascism, that is, the domination of US government by corporate interests, leading to a corporate oligarchy in charge of domestic and foreign policy.

That time has arrived. Defying Hitler points out the unavoidable parallels between the burgeoning 1930s Nazi Germany and the united States of the 21st Century.

It's not as if it has been a closely held state secret. 9/11 has long been compared to the Reichstag arson (let's not forget the FIRST, failed World Trade Center bombing, a security agencies SNAFU). Noami Klein has clearly demonstrated the pattern of "Shock and Awe" employed at each and every opportunity to inure the public to increased surveillance, control and manipulation. Little more needs to be said.

I have Defying Hitler on reserve at the PUBLIC library. I'd better check it out before they lock the doors.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Failing the Sniff Test

U.S. Checking al Qaeda Claim of Killing Bhutto

Of course, the inevitable claim that Al Qaeda is responsible for Bhutto's death, complete with picture of Bin Laden lookalike paired with the victim.

Is there anything that Al Qaeda is NOT responsible for? Acne? Herpes? The heartbreak of psoriasis?

Never fear, the Bush administration will ferret out the evil-doers, and will vow to bring them to justice. International terror marches on.

U.S. Troops to Head to Pakistan - Early Warning

U.S. Troops to Head to Pakistan - Early Warning

Are we surprised?

With Bhutto assassinated and safely out of the way, the path is open now for a full court press by the US government into Pakistan, something they've been trying to do for some time. Both the US and Great Britain have supported Bhutto in her attempts to pull back the Pakistani government from military domination, all the while knowing that she would soon be killed if she stayed in the country very long. Where were the troops protecting her today?

Pakistan will be another outpost in the American Empire.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Co-Co-optation of Environmentalism

Co-optation: it's a cumbersome word. We think of it in terms of corporate media, "greenwashing" and other forms of economic dominance of environmentalism in today's society.

Now we're doing it to ourselves.

The culprit is success. "Big Green," the amalgam of large national and international environmental organizations, has finally succeeded in grabbing the attention of world media, thanks to "Global Warming" and, to a lesser extent, Peak Oil. Lurid headlines, blockbuster Hollywood movies and media presentations by prominent political figures have brought the specter of sea level rise, increasingly destructive storms, species extinction and killer heat waves to television sets across the globe.

The cost of all this frenetic attention has been, oddly enough, environmentalism, the ideological and sociological movement to change the systemic destructiveness of the dominant human social system. Exclusive attention to anthropogenic climate change factors, that is, greenhouse gas production from human activities, focuses proposed responses to climate change on technological "fixes" to reduce greenhouse gas production and transition to a "sustainable,""post-carbon" world of "renewable" energy sources, such as wind and solar. Unfortunately, this focus on technology ignores the underlying social structure that drives environmental destruction and that would continue even in a world of "sustainable" energy production.

Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) has been proposed as an alternative to private automobiles producing greenhouse gases, taking cars off the roads and putting them on elevated tracks, powered by electricity produced in part by photovoltaics. While this may reduce greenhouse gas production in urban areas (depending on the source of electricity and the total energy costs of producing and maintaining PRTs), it will also stimulate urban growth and sprawl, which exacerbates the problems. Even worse, such a technological fix ignores the opportunity cost foregone of restructuring our living and working relationships to reduce the need for so much transportation in the first place.

Members of Parliament in the UK are now required to factor in the carbon cost of any project they approve. While this is a small step in the right direction, it has been seized on by the nuclear power industry as a justification for building more nuclear power plants. Nuclear energy only appears to produce less greenhouse gases if one ignores the enormous carbon footprint of mining and processing uranium for fuel, transportation and storage of radioactive wastes for thousands of years, and the dismantling, transportation and storage of radioactive power plant components for thousands of years after their relatively short useful life.

Environmentalism has been co-opted by technocratic sustainability-ism. Big Oil is jumping on the Big Green bandwagon, along with Big Solar and Big Wind. Big Nukes is hanging onto the tail-gate, trying desperately to climb aboard. The search is on for a new energy drug to fuel the human addiction to growth and technological "progress."

The search is futile, because the problem is social, not technological. The worst thing we could possibly do is invent a free source of energy that produces no pollution. With no technological limitation to human growth, humans would wipe out themselves, and much of the planet, in less than a century.

Fortunately for us, and our immediate, non-human neighbors, there is no free energy lunch. A thousand years from now, our descendants, if there are any, will have no need of environmentalism. Society, if it exists at all, will include all life in its range of relationships.

Environmentalism will be co-opted by Life.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

US government opposes democracy

James Petras: CIA Destabilization Memo Surfaces on Venezuela

This article reveals the continuing saga of United States government opposition to democratic governments in countries that contain natural resource desired by US corporations. From the earliest banana republics, the United States government has interfered in the internal affairs of sovereign nations, using the CIA to "destabilize" and boldly overthrow legitimate democratic governments and replace them with less democratic, even dictatorial governments that were more easily influenced to support US business.

As always, it is the people who suffer, the very people that US pretends to uphold, the very self-determination that is inscribed as a basic tenet of this country.

The lies and hypocrisy continue, to be replaced by escalating levels of violence until overt invasion is the only option left. Look for increasingly desperate attempts to "destabilize" the Chavez and Morales governments for daring to defy the posturing bully to the north. Some excuse will be found to send American troops to South America, undoubtedly under the umbrella of "terrorism."

How can I sit here, knowing this is going on every day, in the country that I call home? How long before I say "STOP!" And how do I stop it?

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Another good day to be thankful

Thanksgiving around here is just another day, colored a bit perhaps by the knowledge that others about are engaging in our national annual exercise in sloth and gluttony, based on a myth, celebrating the poultry food product industry that abuses millions of innocent birds every year. Supported by the oil products industry killing thousands of featherless bipeds in the Middle East. Things to be thankful for.

No matter. Nothing to be done about it. It's just another example of industrial society run amok, of thoughtless consumerism, to be followed by even greater heights of mindless "shopping," whatever that is. Never did understand the concept of "shopping," as an exercise in itself. I'm a hunter-gatherer myself: spot the prey, stalk it down, slap down the filthy lucre, make a break for home. Zip, bam, I'm done.

It was a good day, Thursday, as all days are. We rose at a decent hour, well after the morning sun had taken the chill off the front room, rising from 50 degrees to a respectable 62. Morning tea and toast as the house gently warmed itself, helped along by a modest fire in the wood stove.

Along about noon, give or take an -ish or two, we sauntered down to the beach for a stop at our local pub overlooking the breaking surf, with a vast panoramic vista across Monterey Bay, there to meet friends and neighbors at the bar, sip a respectable house wine and enjoy a salad from the salad bar. We walked along the beach, admiring the almost-full moon rising behind the eucalyptus trees along Schwann Lagoon, home to many cormorant families enjoying their Thanksgiving meals, thankful they weren't born turkeys.

One of the nicest things about this time of year is the particular absence of the insufferable human invasion that clogs the sands and blocks the roads with sound and smog-belching automobiles from May to September. We're a "destination," we are told, so we must welcome the dollar-mobiles, and the dollarists who drive them, to dollarbathe on the beaches and stroll, dollaring, down our streets and sidewalks. It's "the economy," you know. You've heard of "the economy," the be-all and end-all of human existence? It's alive and well here on the Left Coast, at least for those with plenty of dollars to spread, liberally, about the place.

Some of us, however, just live here, and when the dollarists flee the fog, and the 40 degree nights, and the crisp chill air of morning, and the winter storms that drive leaves and branches far up the sloughs and lagoons, we celebrate a semblance of return to a quieter, gentler way. We look forward to the day when quiet is the norm, when the dollar-mobiles are scarce as turkey teeth and the cormorants wing through skies as clear as their babies first cries.

For this we give thanks in advance.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Bush's Private Army

Take a trip into the bizarre...visit the Blackwater web site, especially their "newsletter" pages for a real eye-opener.

These people make the Ku Klux Klan look like a Kindergarten Easter egg hunt. The Blackwater korporate kulture is hate, hyperindividuality, extreme right-wing extremism, fear, paranoia and above all else, insouciant macho posturing.

They have cutesy quotes on each page, twisting the words of pacifists and socialists, such as Helen Keller, to fit their own demented world-view.

This is a nauseating preview into the Dark Side of Dick Cheney and his Puppet in Chief, the world they envision for us all. Carry a candle if you dare walk here.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The "Free" Market is not so free

Don't make the mistake of thinking that Friedmanist free market economics is only applied in other countries. It's alive and well, and growing, in the united States today.

I've been lead drummer on the anti-corporatist bandwagon for some time, as well as accompanist for the Close the Pentagon Glee Club, but I didn't understand until recently the economic pressures that underlie both of these social institutions.

Think back with me to the halcyon days of 1989, when the Soviet Union "collapsed," the Cold War was over and the "Peace Dividend" had legs... with the people. Of course, this movement had to be quashed, lest the military-industrial complex grind to a much deserved halt. Friedmanists were dispatched off to Moscow to squelch incipient democratic movements, while the security establishment at home sought diligently amongst the bushes for an enemy, any enemy, to hold up to public obloquy. This movement coalesced in Washington, DC, resulting, lo these many years later, in the Bush & Co. Neoliberal coup d'etat.

As it turns out, the Soviet Union did not so much collapse as have its economic carpet pulled out from under it by Boris Yeltsin and the Chicago School economists. Milton Friedman student Jeffrey Sachs was in the room in the Kremlin when Yeltsin announced the end of the Soviet Union, and he had been lobbying Yeltsin on free-market economics for some time. The next few years were characterized by a feeding frenzy of global marketeers grabbing up as much of Russia as they could carry away with both hands. Harvard was even sanctioned and fined for allowing its economist to double dip in the newly privatized Russian economy. Harvard, alma mater of George W. Bush and his economic adviser, Al Hubbard.

So, the uS lost its Enemy Number 1, that had served so well during the Cold War. What to do, what to do?

9/11 served up the perfect crisis for the imposition of Friedmanist economic reform in the uS, not to mention an out of control police state organized under the Teutonic appellation: Homeland Security. The Bush economic shock troops are working diligently on privatization of everything in the uS from Social Security to education, all the while building a culture of fear and dependency. Today, the "War on Terror" serves as the one-size-fits-all excuse for economic deconstruction and reassembly in a jigsaw puzzle of global free market capitalism.

Fortunately, as the Friedmanists knit new free market economies under the chins of manufactured dictators on one end of the Global Economy quilt, the other end is unraveling into populist democracies. Our greatest hope, as we move into the Age of Peak Oil and Climate Change, is that our neighbors to the south will help us out when the "Global Economy" collapses and the uS government abandons their people as they pursue the last dregs of Middle East crude. The tide of history will turn, turn, turn as the south rises once again.

That's South America, not Dixie, y'all.

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Shock Doctrine

There are many conspiracy claims flying about these days: 9/11 government complicity and such.

Then there are real conspiracies.

I'm still reading The Shock Doctrine, but I've read enough to say, "Oooooooh, so that's what that was all about!"

I was always puzzled about why there were so many revolutions in South America ("Governments in South America are measured in revolutions per minute"), why Allende, Mossadegh, and so many others were deposed by the US government, why Pinochet was so oppressive to his own people, why the Chinese killed so many at Tiananmen Square.

Now I understand.

It really is a conspiracy. Worse yet, it's a conspiracy by economists!

What's at stake is not oil, or land, or water, even though these are important things. What's at stake here is an economic theory that is being tested on billions of people around the world, trying to prove that Milton Friedman was a genius and not a madman.

What's at stake here is a vision of society based on free market capitalism that favors corporations over living things and the environment in which we all live. What's at stake here is the vision that "a rising tide lifts all boats," the "trickle down theory" of economics, Reagan's "Voodoo Economics," NAFTA, GATT, the IMF and the World Bank.

This vision is threatened by democracy, self-determination, freedom of choice, the "Welfare Society," mixed economies, social programs, socialism (true socialism, not the Stalinist distortion), Marxism, and, worst of all, anarchism.

The invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq and soon to be Iran is not about oil in the deepest sense. Yes, oil is important, but only as a product. Saddam Hussein was a threat to the united States, not because he attacked Kuwait, but because he refused to knuckle under to the IMF and the World Bank; because he refused to sell out his country to the forces of global economic hegemony; because he threatened to nationalize Iraqi oil companies and build an economy to support his own people in his own country. Any leader who dared to defy Milton Friedman and the Chicago School economists was quickly brought down and forced to kneel before the alter of free market capitalism.

Fortunately, several new South American leaders rose off their knees and led their countries back to developmentalism and economies geared to support their own people. They are defying the Chicago School hegemony and building their own alliances to maintain their own economies, free of IMF and World Bank manipulation. Time will tell if they can continue to hold out until the world goes into deep global recession.

Read The Shock Doctrine, then look around with clear eyes. You will be shocked!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

“Fuel made from food is a dumb idea..."

This article succinctly states common sense: Don't burn your food to drive your car!

We've all heard of the poor people who burn their furniture to keep warm... same same. Biofuels is just another scam to prop up agribusiness faced with collapse and bankruptcy as climate change pulls the rug out from under them.

What kind of sense does it make to divert more acreage from food production at a time when climate change will be reducing the amount of land avaiable to produce food for people all over the world?

Furthermore, who benefits from biofuels? Trans-national corporations, yes. People who drive cars in affluent nations, yes. Poor people? No, sorry. People in third world nations? No, again, too bad for them. Living things all over the planet? Please, let's be serious.

There is one thing that demonstrates clearly, once and for all, the snake oil business of biofuels: the Bush administration supports and promotes it.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Irony is not yet dead

Condi Rice is either completely ignorant or possessed of a heightened sense of irony, as the Herald Tribune reveals. Time will tell.

In browbeating Putin and accusing the Russian government of walking away from democracy, she accurately and succinctly described increasing centralized authoritarianism, fascism and imperialism in the United States government. Perhaps she was reading from the wrong playbook.

The government of the united States, as distinct from the people occupying the United States of America, has stepped wide of the path of democracy in its latest attempts to solidify the corporatocracy that rules this country, and most of the rest of the world. The Oval One and his band of thugs have shredded the Constitution of the united States of America, abandoned the carefully crafted system of checks and balances that have heretofore maintained an uneasy truce among the graspers at power, and strode roughshod across most of the rest of the planet, making the world safe for hypocrisy.

Militarism, the substitution of military priorities and justifications for government action, has replaced democracy and egalitarianism as the guiding ideology of the United States government. Since the "Global Economy" is capitalist, that makes the United States a country that uses militarism to support, defend and spread capitalism throughout the world by imperialistic economic and military conquest. This is a precise definition of fascism.

The United States government has become the evil force it proposes to defeat, using torture of prisoners, slaughter of civilian non-combatants, indiscriminate bombing of civilian infrastructure, kidnapping, extortion, drug-running, extraterritorial mercenary armies, blatant lies and deceit, murder and assassination, to topple governments that offer no threat to this country. What they do threaten is world corporate hegemony, the ability of trans-national corporations to dominate capital, resources and labor on any continent, in any country on Earth as they desire.

Many have pointed out the clear parallels with the Roman Empire and its decline, as the Romans sought to spread their domination throughout the known world through force of arms, and whose militarism at home lead to a decline in democratic institutions and arguably the eventual downfall of the Roman Empire.

This is not the Roman Empire and history never repeats itself quite this literally.

The greater lesson to be learned is far more universal and final. In a world of finite resources, unlimited growth is a fatal disease. What we see now in these desperate struggles for political and economic domination is the final, pitiful thrashings about of the dinosaur of expansionist capitalism. The twin specters of global climate change and Peak Oil are ushering in the end of the Age of Oil, and with it, the end of the Age of Growth.

Whatever society survives the next 250 years will be inevitably sustainable and in harmony with natural biological and geophysical cycles. There can be no other outcome. The imperialist model of expansion and dominion is revealed as ultimately bankrupt. Only a steady-state society can exist in a world of finite resources.

That's the way it is. We're stuck on this whirling mud blob for the rest of eternity, or until the Sun expands and swallows us up. Might as well get used to it, stop all this tedious pretense at omnipotence and get down to the real task of learning how to play nicely together in the remaining sandbox.

Sorry to burst your bubble, Condi.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The G of F at play

I find it odd that there has been absolutely no mention of the upcoming Exercise Vigilant Shield 08 and Topoff 4 terrorist exercises in the mainstream press. Usually the administration sends out a trial balloon on these things and then, when they get negative publicity, they tone it down and downgrade the whole thing, or get rid of it altogether. It sounds like this one is going on as planned, on the quiet.

Which is more worrying than if they announced it with full fanfare and four part harmony.

I'd be surprised if they pulled the same scenario as 9/11, just for the sheer sensitivity of it all. But then, they don't live in the same "reality-based world" as 10% of the uS population. They create their own reality as they go along and live within it as if it were real.

So maybe they will.

They certainly are yearning for an excuse to declare martial law before the next election and establish a dejure dictatorship, in place of the defacto dictorship that rules now. Once the Oval One is fully installed as Emperor, there will be no reason to dissemble on any issue, just make a proclamation and let them eat cake.

The Gang of Five has certainly been preparing the ground for something; I suspect that something may be coming to fruition very soon.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Just a heads up...

I'm not an alarmist. Most scare stories I take with a large grain of salt. I just want to record some observations here, just in case.

From October 15 through the 20th the United States military, in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security, will be conducting exercises in the US and on Guam, called Exercise Vigilant Shield 08 and Topoff 4. The scenario will involve the simulated (in computers) detonation by terrorists of a dirty bomb on Guam, in Portland, Oregon and Phoenix, Arizona, allegedly to test our capabilities to respond to multiple terrorist incidents across the US. These exercises will involve military, civilian security and police and "private interests" (read Blackwater and other security for hire companies).

In addition, military bases across the US will be engaged in a "lockdown" exercise during this time, requiring increased security to gain access to military bases, in at least some locations in the US.

We've read increasing attempts to explain away the presence of six armed and ready nuclear missiles transported across the US on the wings of a military plane. "Oops, sorry, we grabbed the wrong bombs."

Pressure is increasing from Neocons to attack Iran to destroy nuclear production and research facilities, as well as their elite military units.

When the Arabs attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the US military was going through just such an exercise, resulting in military defense aircraft being removed from the New York City and Washington, DC areas. Military bases were locked down since September 5, 2001. Some say this was a false flag operation, used as an excuse to go to war with Iraq. Who knows?

It will be interesting to see where the world is on October 20th, 2007. All in all, it might be wise to lay low and keep a sharp eye out come mid-October. Stock up on Deaf Smith County peanut butter, gold coins, your favorite malted beverages and anything that might seem handy for true homeland defense.

I'm not afraid you understand, just interested.

You never know.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Changing the way we are

I share David Orr's optimism about the future, but mine comes from a different direction.

David says "we" must reduce our carbon footprints, individually and collectively, we must stop buying unnecessary stuff, stop traveling so much, stop buying huge vehicles for personal transportation, stop leaving the lights on when we leave the room, stop eating meat, stop being so destructive in our personal and societal choices.

Good idea.

The problem is "we" will never stop until forced to do so. I put the "we" in quotes, because my wife and I already live a frugal lifestyle that is ten times less productive of atmospheric carbon than most everyone else. We do it because we enjoy living this way, not to "save the environment." The other 90% of the people in the uS live so extravagantly, they consume far more than most of the rest of the world combined.

And they won't stop until they are physically forced to change.

Fortunately, force, in the guise of climate change and Peak Oil, is on the way. These two forces will bring about the collapse of Western Civilization, if that's what it is, and will cause the abrupt decline of American consumerism, if not wipe it out entirely. Less fortunately, it will cause untold misery elsewhere around the world where people are starting off with less material resources that we have in the United States, or more accurately, that the United States government has stolen from others.

The invasion and occupation of Iraq is just the beginning of the global insanity. Iran is obviously next, no matter who is "elected" as Resident in the next spasm of our perverted brand of "democracy," if that's what it is. (It's not.)

A hundred years from now, the uS will be in severe material decline, following hard on the heals of its present ideological and spiritual decline. "The Great Depression" will be a mild historical memory compared to the inevitable world depression on the horizon.

However, many will survive and thrive through the coming changes, especially those who learned from the few living who now practice a sane, modest and frugal life style. The Irish monks among us will keep the flame alive for our descendants, assuming we have any. Some one's descendants at least. Time to drag out "Canticle for Leibowitz" for a view of the future.

Good luck to you all. Best to start winding down now and avoid the rush. My wife and I lowered our standard of living and raised our quality of life. It's easy, it's fun, it's the wave of the future.

Podcasting, broadcasting and casting about for meaning

I find myself astraddle the KUSP of a changing world. I'm a reader of books and articles, an occasional writer, too easily distracted by life. I enjoy sitting in a comfortable chair, holding a book in my hands, following the words, sentences, paragraphs, and chapters in a linear fashion, one thought at a time.

My approach to radio is essentially through writing, being responsible for promotional announcements, grant announcements, various verbal components of the radio station that exist as the written word before they are spoken over the air.

Radio has always been an ephemeral phenomenon, available when you tune your radio to a specific frequency at a specific time. You know the time when you want to hear a specific piece and you make yourself available to a radio at the agreed upon time.

This is changing now, in these days of computers, iPods, podcasting and content-on-demand. One can now have the desired content downloaded to one's computer, downloaded to one's iPod and consumed at leisure, while walking, jogging bicycling (Heaven forbid) or just mucking about.

This doesn't change the ephemeral basis of the experience, however, and I submit that modern methods of listening to radio content are just as ephemeral, if not even more so. Both streams of information pass by in their own time, even though an iPod (I think, not being an iPod owner or user) can be "rewound" and played over again, which radio can not.

The question is: where is our society headed vis-a-vis literacy? More and more young people listen to stream of information rather than reading. I'm constantly irritated by links to audio files rather than text based information. I don't want to listen to a speech, I want to read the text, so I can reflect on it, analyze it, save it for later referral. With a recorded talk, I can't go back and find a specific passage for easy referral, plus it is recorded, not written, so it is more difficult to access and otherwise process.

Is our society becoming illiterate, or non-literate? What does it mean when a society deliberately abandons the written word? Are we changing back to an oral history society from a literate society? Is this bad? Or is this a good move away from the dominance of the written word.

I don't know and I'm worried about it.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Life in the Dying Embers of Empire

We're just going to have to turn loose of the idea that we live in a free country, here in the united States. The evidence is overwhelming that we not only live in a police state, but a stealthily oppressive police state as well.

Who has not been selected for "special treatment" at airport check-in security (or is it just me?)? Each time we acquiesce to "special treatment," we become innured to the reality of the police state, we facilitate the regime by voluntarily giving up our civil rights, we get used to being challenged by authority at every turn and we accept that authority as legitimate.

The recent arrest and thuggish leg-breaking of a minister standing in line to attend the Patreaus hearings underscores the radicalization of the police state. The police used to be our friends, the friendly cop on the beat leaning down to talk to the wee lad, helping the old lady across the steet, polishing an apple while swinging his seldom used billy club on the street corner.

No more. The constabulary is now the Darth Vader figure in black-padded storm trooper costume, spraying clouds of pepper spray indiscriminatly, firing rubber bullets at the young and weak, tieing the threatening hands of elderly ladies in pink behind their backs with anonymous plastic restraints.

And behind them, whispering into their lapels, punching buttons on their cell phones, the Men in Black, the "anonymous" organizers of the police state, the middle managers of official mayhem.

Outrage becomes normality, another sound byte on the TeeVee screen of life in the urban jungle, sacrifical citizens in the panoply of empire.

Ours is the finest democracy money can buy, the unctuous police state that simulates the comfortable illusion of choice, oozing the slimey lie of democracy under the door of popular perception. Still allowed to vote, as long as it doesn't count, we are, by and large, restricted from access to the information necesssary to make intelligent choices. Dumbed down through mandatory state indoctrination, distracted by a Universe of mindless entertainment, bewildered by sensory overload, the citizenry, if that's what it is, of the dying empire becomes mere hanging chads to be manipulated as needed by the management elite.

"Rage, rage against the dying of the light." Dylan Thomas

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Decline and Fall of Practically Everyone

Complex historical phenomena, such as the "fall of Rome" and the decline and ultimate failure of the United States Empire, can never be attributed to a simple cause. If we've learned anything from complexity and chaos theory, it's that complex systems are non-linear in cause and effect and can rarely be predicted with any degree of useful accuracy.

What we can do is catalog the characteristics of complex social systems during their various phases of birth, development, decline and death an compare these characteristics to search for commonalities across the cultural landscape and through time. Such an exercise, in these days in the waning of the American Empire can be sobering indeed.

We see many of the characteristics today observed historically in, to take the most popular example, the Roman Empire. Of course, different is never the same, one compares historical periods with some risk of irrelevancy. Nevertheless, the parallels are striking.

Rome found itself on the long end of a very large Empire unable to produce a sufficient Gross National Product to support vast armies spread across what was then the known world. A tiny elite minority monopolized the Empires wealth, almost all of which was sunk into unproductive military adventures that were no longer able to return their own keep. With so much resources committed abroad, Rome was unable to manage its own local economy, and, as they say, the center cannot hold, the Empire spun centrifugally to its doom.

Today, the United States finds itself in a similar, albeit totally different situation, strung out in foreign, imperialist misadventures attempting to consolidate and control enough energy resources to keep itself afloat another few decades, if that. At home, our education system is collapsing in on itself, mired in a post-modern quagmire, unable to recover the intellectual legacy of the Enlightenment that once made it great. Our youth eschew intellectualism in favor of empty images, mind-numbing technology and meaningless entertainment. Civil discourse disappears as neighborhoods fragment into tiny isolated microcosms of individualized consumer units, permanently plugged in, assiduously warding off the silence lest a single thought steal in unchallenged. Silence leads to thought, thought leads to questions, questions lead to dissent.

We will prepare the monasteries, though not the uncomprehending scriptoria of the Irish Dark Ages, but candles of light to show the way in the darkness. It is not only knowledge that is at stake, but rational thought, intellectual discourse, meaningful comprehension and creative interpretation. Just as the wilderness is a seedbed of biological diversity, so the wilderness of the human mind is a seedbed of cultural diversity. All must be preserved and fostered.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Progress as if Life really mattered

I've been wondering for some time about the juxtaposition of Peak Oil and climate change that is threatening to, and will, bring down Western "Civilization," if that's what it is, in this century. I'm beginning to think it's not so much a coincidence as an inevitability.

Peak Oil and climate change are symptoms of two negative aspects of capitalism: 1) inevitable resource depletion as a result of commodification of scarce resources, and 2) destruction of the natural environment as a result of producing wastes faster than they can be dispersed by natural cycles, an inevitable outcome of the externalization of the environmental costs of industrial production.

Peak Oil, as expected, is resulting in desperate imperialist adventures in resource rich country (invasion and occupation), in a last minute attempt to consolidate and secure the last remaining fossil fuel reserves. The US economy is being squandered on a militaristic fascist state at a time when it should be focused on developing renewable resources and conservation policies and procedures. The US will go down hard and it will go down fighting, thus aiding accommodation to the new environmental reality by reducing the surplus human population.

There doesn't seem to be much of anything we can do about it at this point, as individuals, at least, other than prepare for the inevitable. There is no political will to change the course of the United States government, and the political system effectively blocks public participation in the decision-making process. Those of us who are aware have so little influence on politicians and the process of making decisions about our energy future, we may as well take care of ourselves, our families and our neighbors and forget about the greed and power-mongering in the centers of power.

The best we can do is turn our backs on the central government and work locally to build an alternative political structure based on local, bioregional organization, mutual aid and anarchist decision-making. This means supporting local production for local consumption, local social structures for child care, health care, food and shelter. As the national government expends its resources in more and more outrageous wars and invasions, there will be less and less resources available to support the people at the local level. It will be up to us to support ourselves and our fellow community members.

This is a good thing. Perhaps when the central government completely and ultimately collapses, after expending all their centrally controlled energy resources, we'll be forced to take care of ourselves, produce our own food and energy and forget about all this imperialist, global economy stuff that economists keep waxing spasmodic about. Then we can get back to the task of local, anarchist, bioregional organization, aka Real Democracy, and consign the Growth Maniacs to the padded rooms where they belong.

So, it's not a matter of just gynning up the right technology to "solve" climate change and find a substitute for cheap oil to power our borge-mobiles. There is no quick fix. The central problem is not climate change or peak oil, it is capitalism. We don't seem to be able to find a 12 Step program to get off capitalism, so we'll just have to follow Marx and let the whole thing collapse as a bad idea that never got better.

That's just the way it is.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Constitutional fascism

The excesses of the Bush administration over the past seven years have caused many to decry seeming moves toward a fascist government, even a de facto dictatorship. Many of us will be surprised if the United States makes it through the next election cycle without a major "terrorist" incident and subsequent declaration of martial law, making de facto dictatorship de jure.

In fact, US fascism had its genesis long before World War II, when Italian, German and Spanish fascism caught the world's attention. US fascism was born in 1787, with the coup d'etat that overthrew the Confederation of American States and replaced it with the united States of America.

The Constitution of the united States of America was a document created by elite, wealthy property owners in an attempt of keep the government of the united States out of the hands of the filthy rabble of the common people. They feared popular rule and guarded against democracy at every turn. The "checks and balances" of the constitution were designed to check popular rule and to keep the government from being taken over by populists and used as a tool against elite privilege and control.

The imperialist United States government we witness now, our militarized society, our covert and overt police state, all were conceived in the Constitution, gestated in propaganda-fed jingoism in our growing nation and birthed in the cries of oppressed people around the globe as well as at home. The United States is the last standing empire and moves ever closer to a "self-proclaimed" dictatorship that rules the world in an un-Pax Americana.

The United States government cannot be reformed because its founding document and guiding ideology has come to full fruition in our current imperialist fascists state. We have arrived where we were aimed and we can no more turn back on our assign path than we can turn back the clock and erase the Constitution.

Our best hope is to turn our back on the present government and quietly build a new social organization, a society based on bioregional organization, anarchism and a steady state economy. Progress consists of turning around and taking the first step forward.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Military draft should be considered: US war czar

Military draft should be considered

I agree.

Nothing would focus anti-war sentiment in the United States better than a draft. Even a preferential draft that provides exemptions for the elites of society: college students, children of Congress critters, the idle rich. This would bring attention to inequality and elitism in this country and draw to crystal clarity the deep economic and social divisions we live with every day.

If we are called to support the troops, let's support those who were dragged into the war machine unwillingly, not those who have signed up to escape economic dead ends.

Better yet, let's have a draft based on economic inequality, starting with those with the highest family income levels first! Let's see how long imperialism lasts when the children of the elites are placed on the front lines!

Bring it on!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Cell phones and the limits of enough

“Our national myth is about the endless defiance of limits: opening the Western frontier, breaking the speed of sound, dropping people on the moon, discovering ‘cyberspace’ at the very moment when we have filled old-fashioned space with so much junk that we can barely move.”

Parker Palmer, Let Your Life Speak

"Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell."

Ed Abbey

Today there are over 3 billion cell phone subscriptions throughout the world (and incrementing rapidly), chalking up over 700 billion minutes per month of voice and text messaging. India and Africa have the highest rate of new cell phone subscriptions in the world, despite the lowest per-capita income.

Ninety-nine and forty-four one hundredth percent of all cell phone calls start with, "Where are you?"

Cell phones are an example of a solution in search of a problem. Human technocrats, teenage girls and lost motorists do not need cell phones, they desire communication. The lonely road safety, keep track of the kids, keep in touch with the employees excuses are all lies foisted off on a gullible public to advance the pecuniary aspirations of vast capitalistic, trans-national corporations and the power dreams of their security-obsessed government toadies.

The ubiquitous presence of cell phones has fostered a world-wide sub-culture of (mostly) young people who consider it normal and essential to be able to make contact with others at any moment of the day or night, from any place on earth. This has nothing to do with safety or business; this is about obsessive trivial conversation on a global basis.

Watching a young person with a cell phone in his or her hand brings to mind the nicotine addict: the obsessive flicking open and shut to test for the very latest message, the fidgety hand flicks and insouciant fiddling that is part and parcel of cigarette smoking, the constant presence of the addictive substance at all times of day or night. One of these days, I expect to see a cell phone rolled up in the tee-shirt sleeve of a DA'd hot-rodder.

Cell phones are the embodiment of human hypermobility, annihilating space and time, creating a communications nether world that exists outside of natural cycles and limitations in the non-cell phone world, that is, that part of the world on which human busyness is ultimately and inseparably dependent. Cell phones create and foster the impression that humans can have whatever humans want, whenever humans want it, regardless of natural limitations on species growth and resource exploitation.

Cell phones are the outer symbol and one of the inner working mechanisms of the cancer of unlimited human growth.

It is impossible to build a human society in harmony with all other life on this planet if we continue to unquestioningly develop and adopt new technologies with no thought to their cultural and environmental consequences. The cell phone industry was not built so that children and stranded motorists could lead a safe and trouble-free life. It was built to make trillions of dollars of profit for capitalists throughout the world, regardless of any environmental or social ills that it creates.

The question is not, "Do environmentalists use cell phones?" The question is, "Do those who are aware unquestionably use technologies that create social and environmental harm?"

And the ultimate question is, "When do we say, 'Enough!'"

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Read this and take it very seriously.

Paul Craig Roberts has correctly identified, in this article, the threat facing us in the next twelve months. Just as with the events of 9/11, it won't matter whether a terrorist plot, aided by the security establishment, is allowed to fulfill its purpose, or the Bush regime produces and carries out a true false-flag operation, an excuse will be found to declare martial law, suspend the Constitution, and "postpone" the next election in the name of a national emergency.

As Thom Hartmann points out Bush's new Executive Order lays the groundwork for the imperial Presidency. It remains for a convenient excuse, a la Gulf of Tonkin, to take the final and ultimate step.

Hartmann advocates for impeaching Bush and Cheney. While this is the most logical and rational action, it seems unlikely that there exists the political will to carry this through. The Democrats are hoping for a complete turnover in the next election and are therefor lying low, playing the patient, long-suffering victims in this game of political gotcha. Meanwhile, the Republicans and their Neocon handlers know that if the election goes to completion, the Republicans will be out of power for a very long time to come. There are literally billions of dollars resting on the outcome of the next election, or, more accurately, on the maintenance of the status quo.

It could come in the form of a "dirty bomb," an attempted coup, an assassination of a public figure pinned on the "terrorists." Keep an eye on Dennis Kucinich, now in the hospital suffering from "food poisoning." (a warning, perhaps?) If you have any resources, keep him very safe. We need Dennis now more than ever.

Expect increased security alerts over the next year, and increased domestic oppression from Homeland Security. It will be important that the American public become inured to police-state tactics and procedures. It will become increasingly important that the public sees the United States as being under siege, that fear and uncertainty are on the rise, so that when the final event takes place, the Bush administration will be seen as the cavalry riding to the rescue of a beleaguered America.

This is how the Nazi Party took power in Germany.

"Necessity is the plea of every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves." -- William Pitt "

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Al Qua'ida inspirations

Pundits and government toadies continue to talk about Al Qua'ida as if it were a trans-national corporation or a country.

Al Qua'ida is not a thing, it is a network. It has no leaders, it has no members. Al Qua'ida is the name for a kinship-based economic network, a system of debts, obligations and fulfillments that ties together disparate tribes and lineages in a complex kinship system. The system works to create mutual obligations among disparate groups and individuals and serves to reduce tensions and conflict among them.

The network was used to funnel funds undetectably to the Arab perpetrators of the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. The network continues to be used to funnel support for resistance to US invasion and occupation of the Middle East.

Strong, centralized governments have a difficult time dealing with strong, decentralized opposition. When the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Effective opposition and dissent within the United States must take this decentralized model. Just as biodiversity is the key to biological and evolutionary success, so can organizational diversity aid in the struggle against US imperialism and domestic oppression.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Bush/Cheney must be stopped!

The Bush/Cheney administration has proven true the words of Thomas Jefferson:

"God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. ... And what country can preserve its liberties, if it's rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to the facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure." Thomas Jefferson

It has gone way too far. The Bush/Cheney cabal is destroying the lives of the people of the United States, to feed the vapid greed of corporate America.

Cheney is sending fathers of young children and children yet to be born back into the quagmire of Iraq, and the upcoming invasion of Iran on Cheney's drawing board. Cheney is throwing away innocent lives in the Middle East and America, to feed the megalomaniacal lust for power of the insane occupants of the White House.

It's time to impeach the crooks and thugs in control of the United States government, and if Congress doesn't have the will to impeach them, then we must march to Washington en masse and throw them out of the halls of government.

This does not mean a violent revolution, since violence only begets violence. We cannot birth a just and rational nation in the pangs of violent revolution. However, revolution can be just and complete with no compromise in the defense of human liberty and the sanctity of all life. The Present Occupants can be shown the door without harm, and left to fend for themselves in the empty streets of the nation they despise.

The difficult part is that the revolutionary response must be in overwhelming numbers, and most people in this country have been trained to be quiescent and accepting of authoritarian oppression. In our airports, expediency is brought the to the fore when we are forced to accept demeaning "security" procedures by figures of authority when we are anxious to complete our important journeys to work or to loved ones. We accept unnecessary oppression in order to be allowed to go where we want to go, when we want to go there. This is exactly the techniques used in Nazi Germany to build acceptance for the oppressive Nazi regime.

Left to ourselves, we are only one person facing the TSA goons, forced to miss our plane and sit in the airport, or jail, for expressing our outrage at having had our liberties torn from us.

It will take a massive march on Washington, DC, of millions of people, crowding the streets of our federal capital, to tell the cowards and feebs in Washington that we've had enough and we will no longer tolerate imperialism, warmongering, bribery (campaign financing), graft and corruption in our name.

We demand that our politicians return home to face the people, and if they will no longer do the bidding of the people they feign to represent, that they be stripped of their office and replaced by delegates appointed by assemblies and federations from their representative districts, delegates who will do the bidding of the people, free from corporate bribery and usury.

It's time we spread some Democracy around the United States of America!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Global ecosystems 'face collapse'?

How long have we been saying this?

Let's see, I first noticed global climate change in 1974, in the Snowy Range of Wyoming. I talked to biologists, geologists, foresters and archaeologists. They all agreed that, yes, the climate has been getting warmer and drier since the end of the Pleistocene, some 12,000 years ago.

So why is it such a big surprise, with a dramatic global gasp of astonishment, that, yes indeed, the global climate is changing and this change has dire consequences for human "civilization" (if that's what it is, which I doubt)?

Where has everyone been the past 12,000 years, out for a soda and a packet of crisps? Why did my Earth Science professor tell me in 1972 that human agriculture was developed during an unusually clement period of history, and that, soon, it would change back to its normal state, one in which human agriculture would not be so much at home? How did he know (and we, after he told us) and no one else knew?

Whether or not human industrial activity has "caused" climate change is sort of a moot point. The fact is clear that the climate is changing and, at this point, there's not a whole hell of a lot humans can do about it, especially considering current political and economic realities. The best we can hope for is to accommodate the inevitable changes ahead and hope that our societies can withstand massive economic collapse and precipitous population declines.

It's not even particularly important that we recycle more, drive more fuel efficient cars and turn down our air conditioners a notch. The change is set in motion and no small changes on our part will make one whit of difference in the outcome.

What will make a difference is when our industrial society collapses under its own weight, when unbridled human growth and consumption slows and reverses, and when humans once again take their place beside all other life on Earth, rather than on top of them. Then global climate change will proceed at its own pace, the remaining humans will accommodate to it, and in a thousand years or so, everything will stabilize into a dynamic equilibrium once again.

Some human societies will continue, those that live within natural limits of resource exploitation and waste production. Some human societies will change and adapt... most will not.

It doesn't look like anyone is going to invent a time machine any time soon. At least no one has shown up to see what we were up to in the 21st Century. So it's up to our descendants, if we have any, to work their way into the future.

And curse us in the past.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

No Compromise, indeed! Mercantile Communications Pvt. Ltd.

One would hope there would be no compromise on anarchism. We need all the anarchism we can get. Better yet, we need real anarchy, even without the theory.

It is government terrorism that we should guard against. Governments are the world's wort terrorist, in Nepal as well as the United States. Juts think how peaceful the world would be if governments didn't stomp around in the ir jack boots, messing up the place.

When media lap dogs throw out this kind of swill, it's up to us to throw it back, with interest.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

This land is NOT their land

Barbara's Blog

Ms. Ehrenriech complains about rich people taking over the "good country." It's all a matter of perspective.

I experienced it in Jackson, Wyoming in the 70s and 80s. I lived in a teepee on the Gros Ventre and a fifty year-old cabin on Ditch Creek at the base of Blacktail Butte at East Moose. I rode my bike 14 miles into town where I made stained-glass mirrors and window lights.

During that time The Butte was covered with million-dollar homes, where movie stars and other rich folks (Dick Cheney, Robert Goulet...) called in home once or twice a year. The Huidekoper Ranch played host to Jimmy Carter and Henry Kissinger, complete with massive military helicopters, closed roads and be-suited hefty men in dark shades, inconspicuously talking into their lapels.

We didn't go into town much, just to the Safeway for groceries when absolutely necessary. It was not a pleasant place. Teton Village changed from an empty ski lodge in the summertime to a year-round party hamlet over night, thanks to the Chamber of Commerce types who wanted more than a "one-season" money-maker.

Now I live in another "destination community," on the Left Coast, on the Pacific Ocean, complete with Boardwalk, amusement park, surfer dudes and dudettes. The cost of living here is the fourth highest in the United States, largely due to the cost of housing. Modest one bedroom homes, beach shacks and anything resembling four walls and a roof go for $750,000. New construction tops $1,000,000 and an empty lot, if you can find one on flat land, goes for $600,000.

We live here simply and thriftily, in a mobile home park a mile from the beach, the good beach, not the Boardwalk beach, in a 1964 trailer house (not a fancy "manufactured home," such as the monstrosity next door). We work part-time jobs within walking distance of home. We walk to the market, to the library and the video boutique. We drive our 1972 VW Beetle once a week to stock up on "Two Buck Chuck" the award-winning wine that costs $1.99 a bottle. OK, twice a week, when we go downtown for a drink and a meal at the "old-timers" hang-out. Less than 20 miles a week, 1,000 miles a year.

Yes, houses are expensive here, and everything else is cheap. That is, if you reject the party-glitz, the chi-chi clothes, the entertainment whirl. If you live here, in this place, on its own terms, it's a cheap place to live. 2,000 homeless people will agree!

Yes, they come in droves, over the hill from the North American plate, driving their SUVs, their mini tanks, their hot rods and their Priuses. They play, they shop, they splash, they whine and they go back home.

I think we'll stay.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Lame Duck Quacks

Dick Cheney and the Gang, including The First Minion, are out of control. They're running roughshod through the halls of Washington, leaving a trail of fragments of the Constitution of the united States of America in their blustering wake. They insist on autonomy, unsupervised by Congress or any other government agency, not to mention We the People of the united States of America.

Why are they doing this? What has happened to this "lame duck" administration? Don't they know they're supposed to roll over and play dead until the next election?

What is Dick Cheney and the Gang preparing for?

Looking through the list of prospects for The First Puppet, I can't see any that stand out for the next round. Obviously something is going on in the background, something we mere citizens are not allowed to see until it is a fait accompli.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Anarchy, old and new

Anarchy - we think of it as something new, dating from the Seattle protests, 1968 Paris, 60s communes, the IWW, the Spanish Revolution, pre-soviet Russia, the Paris Communes.

Think 1630s Massachusetts and immigrants from England.

According to a book by T.H. Breen, Puritans and Adventurers, the 22,000 people who came from England during The Great Migration, 1630 to 1640, set up their new communities and villages along cooperative, "covenented" models.

We think of the Puritans as somber Calvinists with funny black hats and buckled shoes. We remember the stories from grade school of Puritans and Pilgrims coming to America to avoid religious persecution. That's only part of the story.

England in the early 1600s was experiencing a tidal change from the rule of Queen Elizabeth to James I. James decided to take on the French militarily, necessitating the round up of cannon fodder (aka soldiers) in the all the towns and villages of the realm. This increased centralization f the military ran counter to conditions in Elizabethan England, when folx had gotten used to local autonomy and control. Life was village and community based, with the locals beholden to local lords and gentry, and far-off kings and princes considered a pretty uppity and meddling bunch, to be ignored whenever possible. James sent gangs of Irish mercenaries out into the villages and demanded that locals billet them in their homes, as the foreign ruffians dragged off the able-bodied men to serve the King across the Channel.

As part of the struggle between Protestantism and Catholicism, James I sought to centralize the churches as well, and though Protestant, they were increasingly intolerant of ecclesiastic dissent and congregational experimentation, particularly those who sought a simpler, less bureaucratic approach to religion that ran counter to the centralized churches pomp, ceremony and demands for more and more money from the people, experimentation such as Puritanism.

To top off these social strains, the economy took a bad turn in East Anglia about this time, when immigrant cloth manufacturers entered the area and began taking jobs and business away from the locals.

So the move from England to America was not so much a flight to a new world where things would be different, but an escape from central authority to a place where things would stay the same.

Membership in the new communities in the Massachusetts Bay colony was by willing contract between the individual and the village. Immigrants were accepted into the community as "freemen," which meant both membership in the social and economic community as well as the church. According to Breen, "The essential ingredient in this contract was free choice, for the Puritans believed that meaningful obedience could only grow out of voluntary consent, never out of coercion."

The Massachusetts Bay colonists were our first anarchists, concerned first and foremost with anti-authoritarianism, cooperation and mutual aid. Even members of the military, in the form of covenented militias, called "trainbands," in each village, voted to choose their own leadership. The Councils and Governorship of the Massachusetts Bay colonies accepted the decisions of the militias, since they knew they could not get cooperation from them without allowing this simple form of democracy.

In the end, it was money and commerce that did in this early anarchy. The voting franchise was further and further restricted after 1650, until, by the time of the American Revolution, only landed gentry could vote for political, economic and military organization and direction.

The next time you think of our "Founding Fathers," think of them as anarchists!

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Everything in its time

Sometimes it feels like being stuck to the tar baby. Not enough time to read, not enough time to write, hardly enough time to think.

I only work part time; you'd think I'd have plenty of time for reading and writing, a bit of quiet contemplation now and then, perhaps an Om or two. Some times it just doesn't work out. The damn novel takes up more time than I have left.

Gotta clean the carport, put a new chain on the bike, pull broom in Arana Gulch, report that scofflaw down the streets who parks his fifth-wheel trailer on the corner. (Anarchy means no rulers, not no rules). Then there's bike committee meetings, letters to editors and politicians, and just keeping up with the daily, disgusting news.

It's tough.

I'll just have to buck up, count a wave or two, appreciate the pelicans flying by in wavering v's. Everything in its time.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Anti-capitalism, anti-state

One thing, perhaps the only thing that anarchists and socialists agree on is the necessity of working toward a society without capitalism and without the state. Both are seen as antithetical to an egalitarian society in which human beings can achieve maximum personal freedom.

The path(s) to this end differ between the two groups. Socialists see capitalism as the key social structure, insisting that in the absence of capitalism, the state will wither away.

Anarchists hold that it is the state that allows and supports capitalism, and that if the state is removed, capitalism cannot stand.

Both of these views jump from the present to a future society devoid of the state and capitalism and ignore the process of removing the state or doing away with capitalism. A wave of the social magic wand, poof, they're gone and the anarchist, or socialist society is secured.

Unfortunately for us in the present, living with the state and capitalism in full hegemonic control, we must work to achieve the society we envision. We must build the new society from scratch, by destroying the existing state and economic system, or by building the alternative alongside the dying remnants of the existing society.

In reality, inconvenient as it is, we cannot "destroy" the state any more than we can "get rid of" capitalism. These are social structures fully embedded in Western society that cannot be gotten rid of without destroying society as a whole, reducing all to chaos.

Furthermore, we cannot create an egalitarian society using oppressive measures, such as violent revolution. We cannot use the tools of the state to replace the state. If we violently take over the state, we become the violent state. Once initiated, a violent takeover cannot be set aside for a benign, nonviolent social structure.

Once the vacuum of power is filled, it cannot be emptied. We must do away with paths to power, not fill them with our own, however enlightened rulers.

Anarchy is no rulers. Not even our own rulers.

Weeks' Antiques will deal with actions we can take toward the new society. Here I will deal with the various theories of getting from here to there. Hayduke Ponders will deal with the philosophical/spiritual underlayment of action and theory.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

A movement with no name

Pay very close attention to this article in Orion Magazine. This is the future. This is anarchism.

We've been looking for many years for The Revolution (TM), that will throw off the yoke of Capitalism, overthrow The State, end the oppression of The People and stop the Heartbreak of Psoriasis.

Meanwhile as we theorize, argue amongst ourselves, demonstrate in clever parades, write epic, thoughtful tomes, the revolution has been quietly assembling itself outside the glare of public notice.

That's the way anarchy works.

I've set up a Blog network, a Blogwork, that will follow various aspects of the revolution now occurring. It will bring together threads of the revolution and attempt to weave them into a broader overview. It will be incomplete, out of date, a poor shadow of what's really happening. It will be a start.

Hayduke Blogs will be the Dispatch Center, where it comes together. I will link here to other sites and other stories.

Hayduke Ponders will deal with the philosophical and "spiritual" aspects of the revolution, those innermost thoughts that we use to attempt to give meaning to the world around us.

Weeks' Antiques is about taking action to facilitate the change and spread the word. (A special prize for the first person to discover the literary reference of this blog's title)

Hayduke Bikes is about my personal anarchic solution to the transportation challenge.

As a starter, here's the first installment of Hayduke Ponders, the philosophy of Taoism that seems most relevant.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Dominant Culture

I am completely out of step with the society in which I live.

I work at a local Public Radio station, allegedly a bastion of progressive thought. Today we aired a program about education, interviewing an "innovative" teacher who has become very popular because he teaches "relevant" subjects that address the "needs" of his students.

This teacher uses "money" in the classroom, having the students apply for "jobs" for which they are "paid." They "rent" their desks, and can save up money to buy other students' desks, for which they charge "rent." Status in the classroom is based on how much each student "owns."

The program made me so angry, I had to go outside for a walk.

No wonder we can never break the stranglehold of the dominant, capitalist, owner culture when it is constantly reinforced, by the state, in our children. How do we teach alternatives as effectively and as meaningfully as the status quo?

It's all about money. Teachers don't get as much money as CEOs, so teachers are valued less (chicken and egg). So teachers teach "relevant" subjects, to be more popular, to get more money.

It's a downward spiral.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Moving On

It's been some time since last I laid fingers to keyboard for this blog. Call it sloth, indolence, ennui.

It seems that Things can't get any worse, and they always do. The Circus in Washington, DC continues apace. No surprises there; 'twas ever thus. Human beings by the score die daily in Iraq, their ethnic origins obscured in death and dismemberment.

The Oval One seems to have sunk back into his cartoon exterior, riding out the inevitable decline to the next election. The Democrats may indeed take the next election, but then, what difference does it make. They're both charter members of the Money Party, no threat of Democracy suddenly overtaking them and putting the people back into power in this country.

The powerful fall, and they fail hard, if quickly. Others rise to take their place, interchangeable parts in a failing machine.

Meanwhile, on the local front, Things seem to be getting better, albeit slowly and with much dragging of feet. Deep furrows are plowed into the carpets of the local planning bodies as we drag them out of the 20th Century and into the new world of finite resources and climate change. Thanks to unswerving dedication to local organizing by the few, Progress is made.

Here on the Pacific Plate, Life is Just Right! I don't know why everyone doesn't live here, and I'm glad they don't. There's something to be said for astronomical housing prices and no manufacturing base. Just as congestion is our friend on the hiway, so too inflated house prices keep growth at bay.


Meanwhile, there's mourning doves to watch on the nest, cormorants to appreciate, waves to count, pelicans to admire.

Life goes on.

Leona Gulch
Pacific Plate

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Living in Place

This "Orion" article and commentary conflate rationalism and scientific understanding with technology and capitalist exploitation. It assumes that because capitalism uses the language of science to justify exploitation of the natural environment, that it is science that is at fault, not an unrealistic economic system.

More importantly, the article fails to acknowledge theoretical and practical environmental work that has already been done, and is contiuing right now.

We call it Living in Place, or reinhabitory strategies, based on the work of Peter Berg, Ray Dasmann, Gary Snyder, Ed Abbey and many others.

Living in Place is akin to bioregionalism, that is, living in a place in full knowledge of the biological and geophysical cycles of the bioregion in which we live, and living such that we do not consume resources faster than they are naturally replenished, or produce waste faster than it can be naturally dispersed.

Living in Place is based on a scientific understanding of our bioregion, that is, based on observation and testing. It does not rely on spiritualism, supernatural beings, nonphysical reality or any other irrational belief about the natural world. The problem with belief is that it is subject to change at a whim, unlike science, which relies on observation and verification. Reality is what hangs around when we stop believing in it.

We can no more walk away from civilzation, than we can shed our skin. Our civlization is more a part of us than our personal identity; it transcends the individual. Our culture is what teaches us how to be a human being, and it is culture that persists in telling us dysfunctional stories about how to live in a world of finite resources.

In order to change our relationships to the natural world, we must change the stories our culture tells us about how to be a human being.

This is the work of reinhabitory strategies. This is how we relearn how to Live in Place.

Michael Lewis
Leona Gulch
Pacific Place

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Resisting the Megamachine

The Ecotopian Solution in R.Crumb's triptych is the end result we dream of when we envision resistance to the Megamachine. Small scale, low-tech, organic, close to the earth. In fact, this is the only way of life that has any pretense to sustainability.

Unfortunately, this vision is shared by only a small minority of the present population of the developed world, say... 10%. The rest are caught up in the hyperinflated consumerism of our capitalist economy, an economy that sustains, and is sustained by, a political system based on public bribery.

Yes, we "must" learn to live differently, from the way we choose our housing and work, to the way we travel twixt work and home. There are two ways to create this change: by the carrot and/or by the stick.

The stick is legislation that forces producers and consumers to produce and consume responsibly. If the only products that are available and marketed are environmentally responsible products, then consumers will buy and use them. If the government sets the tone of the country by promoting conservation and reducing consumption as a national priority, then the people will follow suit.

The carrot consists of opportunities for the people to do what they already do more efficiently and cheaper, such that the alternatives are more attractive. Housing could cost more depending on distance from work, public transportation could be subsidized such that it is cheaper and more convenient than driving a private car. Zoning to encourage mixed housing and business would make car trips less necessary.

As anarchists, we like to think in terms of grass roots organization, mutual aid and decentralization. We live the change we wish to see in the world. This has an effect of demonstrating that the alternatives are normal and fun, not weird and scary. For those of us who live this way, it is sufficient.

And yet, life goes on, and the majority continue in destructive ways.

It takes work in all sectors of our society by those of us who are aware: in the political, the economic and the social. We support politicians and legislation that support localization, conservation and living in place. We oppose politicians and legislation that support development, consumerism and "the global economy." We support our communities and neighborhoods to develop and promote mutual aid and localization. We work lightly and locally, for groups and organizations that promote community solidarity and mutual aid. We work close to home and walk or bicycle in our neighborhoods.

As conditions get harder for others to follow "traditional" lifestyles, our ways will appear more attractive, both economically and culturally. As the "global economy" spins down, localization will fill the vacuum.

One of these days we'll wake up in an R. Crumb cartoon.


Saturday, April 14, 2007

Never safe from critics, even beyond the grave

Where have you gone, Edward Abbey? | Salon Books

Yes, Philip Conners shares Ed's old habit of roosting in high places overlooking vast acreages of combustible forests in New Mexico. You'd think he would have developed some understanding of the Bard of the Desert. But then, Conners writes about books and writers, and only recently immigrated from the canyon country of New York to Abbey country.

Being a young lad from the East, Conners apparently was not around for the environmental activism of the 70s and 80s that both inspired Ed's stories and claimed him as its chief literary spokesman. Conners pans Ed's favorites: Good News as "an apocalyptic comedy," and Black Sun as "a saccharine love story," demonstrating his complete ignorance of Ed's life and work. If Ed were alive now, he'd turn over in his grave.

I suspect Conners intended his review to be complimentary, from his perspective as a new resident of the West. Ironically, he succeeded in underlying Ed's long battle with Eastern literary critics who had no way to understand the basis of Ed's writing in place, coming from his experience of the West as the core of his social and political philosophy.

"A critic is to an author as a fungus is to an oak."

Friday, April 06, 2007

Among the Trees: People where people ain't supposed to be

Among the Trees: People where people ain't supposed to be

It's not so much that cities are built where people ain't supposed to be, as that presumes a "supposer" to make those value decisions. In the case of cities, they grow where people congregate for whatever reason.

In the case of Phoenix, Arizona, people came there to vacation and to avoid the cold and allergies of the northern cities. Once land speculators and real estate agnecies were involved, it was all about moeny, and what do you need to make money in the desert? Water. That's why the Colorado dries up before it gets to the sea.

There is nothing wrong with people living in the desert, as long as they live there on the desert's terms. Making the place just like the place everyone left, including the same trees that cause the allergies that people flee from, is, not worng, just absurd. Such an arrangement can only be temporary, until cnditions change such that a city is no longer possible.

People must live in place, just as animals do.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The Raw Story | Bush says he takes climate change "very seriously"

The Raw Story | Bush says he takes climate change "very seriously"

...But Bush argued that "anything that happens cannot hurt economic growth."

It always come down to "economic growth," as if growth is a given. The idea that growth is the problem, not the solution, either doesn't occur to anyone, or is successfully lobbied out of existence by economic interests.

Why is it impossible for our society to step back from a mistaken path, rethink what we're doing and take another path? It seems that once we find ourselves going down the wrong road, we're incapable of changing our minds. Some sort of cultural inertia at work, I suspect.

Despite all this, we will change, in time. We must or die out altogether. Mother Nature does not tolerate foolishness.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Industrialism, environmentalism and anarchism

A long time ago, near the beginning of my short tenure on this whirling chunk of rock, Ed Abbey discovered that we humans are in deep shit. He saw, in the desert and elsewhere, the effects of a global megamachine on the rampage, uncontrolled and uncontrollable, laying waste to the neighborhood, and the neighbors, eating living things and non-living habitat, excreting greed, consumerism, acquisitiveness, folly and deceit, fueled by an economy conceived in a fantasy of infinite resources, rolling along on wheels of cultural distraction and deception.

Fifty years on, things are worse than Ed ever knew. The United States of America is controlled by a fascist corporate cabal, with a demented puppet at the steering wheel, and no pretense of dissociation between government and its corporate controllers. The people of the United States, supposedly the heirs of democracy and the rulers of this democratic nation, are disenfranchised, dispirited, distracted and disinterested. This is no accident, as the new rulers of the corporate oligarchy have worked for decades to get us to the point we find ourselves in today.

This is bad enough culturally, the loss of a brilliant human ideal, a glowing promise of freedom and liberty in a land where each human could work toward his or her greatest development. What's so much worse is that this evil imperialist empire lays waste to the non-human world in its pursuit of human gain. If our own species is bent on driving over the edge of the abyss, pedal to the metal, so be it and good riddance. Unfortunately for the rest of life, our car is hitched to everything else living, and we're dragging it all over the edge with us.

Fortunately, Mother Nature is far cleverer than Dick Cheney or even Carl Rove. It turns out that everything really is hitched to everything else, and we've found, and some of us have even admitted, that there is a limit beyond which even "Homo sapiens" cannot go, and we long ago exceeded that limit. Geological processes grind slowly and they grind exceedingly fine. Once put into motion, they take a long time to wind up their flywheels, but once moving they cannot be easily stopped.

The flywheel of climate change has been pushed into faster motion by the industrial excess of human consumptive society. No use arguing about it, it's real, cannot be denied with any credibility. And, as disappointing as it is to the Sahara Club and Foes of the Earth, there's nothing humans can do to stop it. A hundred years from now, a short breath in the life of the Earth, this place will be much hotter than it is now, and billions of life forms, including humans, will have died a premature death. More importantly, far fewer life forms, including humans, will survive to replace them.

This doesn't mean that Life is threatened on Earth. Life is far tougher and more resilient that that. Life will continue on its merry way, until the Earth cools down again, 10,000 years from now or so, an eyeblink in geologic time scales. And some form of life, perhaps different, perhaps old Homo sap hisself, will rise to ascendancy.

So, having received this death sentence for "Civilization, if that's what it is, which I doubt, what's a body to do?

Most of us alive now reading these scintillating photons will live to see some of the coming changes. Our children, if we have any, will live to see the beginning of the great die-off and may or may not survive to see human population reduced to a reasonable level. Our grandchildren, if any, will live in a world completely different from that we enjoy today. They'll live at more northern latitudes or at higher altitudes. They'll live simply, with technologies closely attuned to the places where they live. They won't know a "global economy" except as legend. They probably won't even know about some mythical White Castle in the East where the evil Oval One lives and casts his net over the land. They'll know the place where they live and how to live in it.

Or they won't be alive at all.

What we do now is get real and stop pretending that life will continue as it has for the past fifty years, and start preparing for real life bearing down on us like the Titanic on an iceberg.

Forget about saving the wilderness. It's gone. It's history. There's no place on Earth that's not irretrievably changed by human endeavor. Wilderness exists only in the human mind. What we have to save is the wild, both outside and inside of us, the future inhabitants of the New Wild, our true home.

I'm not talking survivalism here. That's another fantasy that leads to madness. I'm talking about Living in Place, reinhabitory strategies, relearning to live in the places we inhabit, not on them. This is the way our descendants, if any, will live of necessity. We might as well start practicing now and avoid the rush.

Start off by reading "Good News," and take it serious. Then dip into Gary Snyder, Peter Berg, and, of course, more Abbey. Wouldn't hurt to read James Lovelock and Ernest Callenbach, too, just to see what the possibilities are.

Then, get busy, learn about the places where you live. Forget about desert hiking and river running. Soon, you'll have more desert than anyone can use and most rivers will be dry or piddling little streams.

Or, you can fritter away your remaining days pretending none of this is true. It doesn't matter. We will all die in our time and take our right places in the earth to feed the future inheritors of our folly.

I just hope I live long enough to see Hiway 1 clogged with dead SUVs... all six lanes.

Bwthyn Lleuad Bae
Pacific Plate

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Ignorance and Imperialism

“If we are to guard against ignorance and remain free, it is the responsibility of every American to be informed. ” Thomas Jefferson

Jefferson had an amazing insight into “human nature,” if that’s what it is. He foresaw the dangers lurking in the shadows of the new “democracy” he helped create, dangers inherent in a system of government that required the informed participation of its citizens. Despite all evidence to the contrary, he had faith that humans would be able to rise from their limitations and take the reigns of government, exercising the full rights and responsibilities of citizen rulers in a democratic nation.

He recognized that rulers, left unchecked by an informed citizenry, would inevitably move toward despotism in the conduct of their rule. In any social system with a power structure, those who seek power over others naturally gravitate to those positions of power. Any social system that rewards efforts to grab power will foster a centralized authoritarian government.

In the early years since Jefferson's time, the system worked quite well, with a burgeoning, decentralized, locally controlled education system
providing a basic education for most citizens, coupled with a free and open print media providing access to information. Although the vast majority of people in the largely agrarian United States in the 18th and 19th Centuries were barely literate, they were well informed about local politics and economy and well able to handle local affairs while fending off movements toward centralized federal authority.

Conditions changed drastically in the late 1800s. Following the Civil War, northern industrialists found themselves with excess production capacity, plenty of capital and a huge supply of cheap labor. Conditions were so conducive to industrial capitalism that industrialists began casting about the globe for new sources of raw materials, land to exploit and markets for all their gleaming products. The native conservatism, pacifism and local wisdom of the American people was guarded against in favor of imperialist economic expansion, stronger central government, centralized industrial production and consequent pressure for a conformist, compliant and quiescent citizenry.

Industrialists encouraged a centralized education system, based on the Prussian model, that emphasized conformity, punctuality, separation of disciplines and submission to authority, producing citizens groomed as elite rulers, compliant factory workers or ignorant cannon fodder. Rote learning and obedience replaced understanding and critical thinking, with the clock replacing the sun as the marker of daily activities. Humans were programmed out of their traditional agrarian lifeways into the molds of factory, military and authority. Even in the home, long-term, extended family relationships were discouraged in favor of the "nuclear family," able to move quickly on demand and individually consume the vast store of new products lining store shelves.

World War I marked the burst of Modernity on the world, unleashing the New Citizen into the world market, setting the model for all that was to come. US industrialists expanded their influence from North and South America to Europe and the Middle East, securing new markets for US industry, new sources of raw materials such as oil, and increased pressure for compliance among citizens of the United States at home. The excesses of a totalitarian US government in the first half or the 20th Century in suppressing dissent were equal to that in all but the most virulent fascist states. Character assassination, deportation, beatings, torture and murder were freely visited on the American public in an effort to maintain the status-quo of corporate domination in the affairs of the United States government.

While it may seem to adults today that popular dissent reached its peak in the 60s, Americans have always resisted imperialism and wars of aggression, such that voters always have to be convinced, through propaganda, disinformation and outright lies, of government legitimacy in prosecuting foreign wars. The government of the United States has increasingly turned against the people in an effort to defend government actions against public knowledge and censure. Secrecy has steadily increased, as have resources applied to internal propaganda, control of access to information and intimidation of groups seen as opposed to the government.

The result, in 2007, is a government ignorant of the cultures of the people occupying the lands it invades to secure desired resources, such as oil, trying desperately to keep its own citizens in ignorance and distraction long enough to consolidate economic and political power throughout the world. With a political process dominated and controlled by economic interests, through systematized bribery of public officials in the form of campaign contributions, the political structure consist of representatives to the government who are not accountable to the people who elected them. In turn, the people feel disenfranchised from the political process, further strengthening the power of the central government.

The United States government no longer leads, it barges forward, dragging a compliant populace in its wake. Through ignorance and fear, the United States has become a mockery of the golden promise of Jefferson's noble experiment. The people of the United States are prisoners of their own government, unable to understand what is being done in their name, forgetful of the tools handed to them two hundred years ago to create and maintain a democratic government, of the people, by the people and for the people.