"Money was maliciously introduced in ancient times as a tool of enslavement" -
Michael Tellinger

"The present belongs to the future and future generations, and all old laws, religious and other, should be abrogated immediately. Free us!" - Vinay Gupta on Twitter

"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete." - R. Buckminster Fuller

"You find the strangest ways to be positive!" - Diane Duane, Wizards Abroad

Thursday, November 21, 2013

When Kennedy died... in South India

Okay, I have to weigh in on this. Fifty years ago, I was living with my parents and two siblings in a small college town in the South Indian state then called Mysore... the follow is excerpted from my earlier post
http://mypersonalblogccm.blogspot.com/2009/12/of-kennedy-and-christmas-in-karnataka.html :

Everyone old enough to remember the day Kennedy was shot can tell you where they were when they heard about it. As I remember it, on that day we heard of it first from Gopi, a very bright young boy who had befriended my younger brother and served as a very helpful informant and guide for us. As it happened, just a few days earlier he'd said to us "Kennedy died" and it threw us into confusion, but it turned out he was referring to Mrs. Kennedy's miscarriage. So when he came running in on the day Kennedy was shot to announce that Kennedy was killed, we thought he was talking about the lost baby again. It took a while to sort it out, but eventually we found a BBC channel on the short wave radio with a news report. So that's how we found out about it. We were in shock. Unlike most Americans who were united through the next few days through shared news broadcasts, our experience was very different.

For days after Kennedy died, lines of people waited patiently outside our house, coming in one at a time or in small groups to express their condolences to us. Several “functions” were held too, all well attended. At one, where it was my turn in the family to say a few words to the gathering, a local artist unveiled a beautiful portrait he'd painted of the young president. Seen through his Indian eyes, Kennedy was recognizable as himself, yet looked Indian too. My mother wrote a newspaper article about it for the San Francisco Chronicle (maybe her article, and the photo, are on the Internet somewhere now). As the sole Americans in the area, we were the go-to location, for people to say how much they loved Kennedy and his Peace Corps, and to tell America that they felt the loss too. People were amazingly generous, and made us feel at home with them at that sad time, even though we'd come from far away and would be gone again in a few months. We were still accepting occasional condolence visits even as Christmas approached.

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I'd only add that Kennedy's aura was still glowing throughout the Middle East the following year, when we traveled by land from India to England, at a time when all the countries were at peace. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Tending my garden now

It's been great fun to do this blog. With the ability to include graphics and links, this kind of writing is so much more satisfying to do than the limited (and limiting) method that was stuck on paper and locked into time and space. Don't get me wrong - printing is still the best, most enduring technology. But it's been a liberating experience to write this way and I'm glad to have had the opportunity. Thank you, all you people who brought us Blogspot. And thank you, who read this.

Still, in the past year I've rarely added to this blog or updated it. Today, Planetbound looks like a series of snapshots of earlier, outgrown selves. As I enter into old age I'm still learning the world, and my perspective has changed. I'm smaller, now, and the world is bigger. The ongoing radiation disaster of Fukushima; the war being waged against our planet through fracking and so many other evil practices; the progress that's been made by corporations to turn social media culture (as well as the rest of Earth) into just another resource to exploit and ruin for their temporary profit... well, these and other concerns (you know the laundry list) have lately overwhelmed my previous interest in sharing my understanding of this or that little piece of the world. At least for now. I'm more interested today in tending my own garden, while I still have it.

Here in the Southern Oregon mountains we've had a long spell of glorious weather. After some colder nights and fall rains (but with frequent sun - it's like that here) fall colors are bursting out, migrating birds are stopping by, insects and frogs are seen and heard again, and my living room is awash in sunlight. In a breeze outside, the trees wave their branches and their leaves sparkle brilliantly. They literally sparkle, as if newly created. This isn't a visionary painting, it's just my neighborhood. It's a good day to be alive. They all are.

Friday, July 19, 2013

my favorite news


A quick post about my currently favorite podcasters. If this kind of thing interests you and you aren't familiar with the ones listed here, give them a try. They're all good sources of news and various points of view that you just won't see in the usual sources. How often do you hear discussion in "the media" about Mondragon and other alternate economies; deep science of climate change; nature of consciousness; the coup that ate America; and just about everything else of real importance? Another reason I'm doing this post is that a lot of my news links in the sidebar have become broken and need to be fixed - when I can get to it - but these links are current. So - a shout-out for:

Radio Ecoshock - Not just the fine podcast, with its commentary and interviews, but the links! - the impassioned Alex Smith provides a great source of information on climate change and other realities, and pulls no punches. "Alarmist"? to some, maybe--but only if they haven't been paying attention, have been taken in by corporate propaganda, or are still in denial. Whether the topic is tipping points or things to live for, this is a blogger I always look forward to.

Background Briefing with Ian Masters - consistently interesting. Sometimes I find myself objecting to a narrow or misleading perspective while at other times, I'm shouting "YES!" ... Followed regularly, this can be valuable for the variety of current news topics covered, and to see what is being said about them by a wide range of professional types.

Legalise Freedom - Good collection of material on culture, from the UK. Topics ranging from the Dark Mountain Project to the history of remote viewing offer fascinating stuff, delivered with style.

illo for episode 63, Next U.S. Revolution
The Extraenvironmentalist - Anything goes, with this pair of young podcasters from northern Cascadia. Most recently (at left), coverage of alternative economic systems -- co-ops, Mondagon, what's happening in Cleveland. Great guests, real news, entertaining listening. With only very rare exceptions (in fact only one comes immediately to mind), they choose their guests well.

The Lifeboat Hour: If you saw the documentary film Collapse and found it impossible to look away, you'll be equally fascinated by Michael Ruppert's weekly broadcast from the Nightclub at the End of the World, and the news of where this fine now-retired journalist is this week, and where's he's going next week--as well, of course, as his informed and concerned take on what's behind the news. Bracing, courageous, loopy... I never miss it.

C-Realm: C stands for consciousness, and that's what's covered here, in what seems like every possible way. Fascinating stuff to delve into, from podcaster KMO.

Unwelcome Guests:  "Two hours of intelligent talk radio" hardly begins to describe this. Check out the topics.

For nuclear news: My most reliable news source has to be Fairewinds with Arne Gundersen (podcast and blog). That, and this: http://enenews.com/ which collects stories from all over, but rarely the corporate media. Also, I miss Dr. Helen Caldicott's podcasts, If You Love This Planet; she's no longer doing them but if you missed them, check out the archives linked above.

Archdruid Report: Not a podcast, but this is one blogger I never miss. Because I find it hard to read anything very long on the computer screen, I go to the trouble of transferring his posts to my Kindle to take my time over them. He handles very large context, weaving science, history, philosophy, and other usually fragmented disciplines with clarity in an unfolding examination of reality. Always fascinating. One great essay a week - plus chapters in an ongoing science fiction novel, too (Star's Reach).

Nature Bats Last: Another blogger I have a special regard for is Guy McPherson, who truly walks the walk and has gathered quite a following for his courageous personal integrity. He thinks we're in for NTE (near-term extinction) yet somehow I don't find that view depressing--maybe because he's not depressed. (Anyway, if the human race is ending, my only regret is that we didn't accomplish it sooner, before we took so many other, more harmless life forms down with us.) Some of the bloggers listed here are convinced we're in for it (NTE), while others, to various degrees, are not, and they've been getting pretty tetchy lately about the disagreement, some of them. Hope they make it up soon because really, they're all on the same side and what will be will be. Meanwhile, we do what we can... Theatre of life!

And this just in... In a comment, below, podcaster Alex Smith recommends The Truth about Markets a podcast from London. They "talk about big banks, large scale financial fraud, the way we are all taken in." I'll definitely be checking that out - can't get enough of the real financial story.

Well, that's it for now... there are several other podcasters and bloggers I've enjoyed as well, especially lately when I've been laid up, and had time to listen to so many of them, but these seem to be my current favorites.

What are you listening to?

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Occupied Cascadia



 http://cascadiamatters.org/2012/occupied-cascadia

We all have our regional focus. Driving across the country on my way back west in about 2005, two things really made an impression on me that still stick:

1. Soon after I got to Oregon, someone from another country asked me what I thought about the US after just having driven across most of it. My answer was immediate: "It's too big." All the way across I'd kept thinking, this country is made up of several different countries, each a region that ought rightly to be organizing itself. No wonder nothing works. These regions are overwritten by a false political economy. How can it sustain itself?

2. In Nebraska, there was a rest stop where a great variety of native prairie plants had been established in an attempt to restore a part of the original ecosystem. It was overwhelming to breathe the air there. It was like being in heaven. I felt invigorated and twice the human I'd been before. This was our world, before the Europeans arrived. This was the great prairie as it was meant to be, as the Native Americans knew it, and it was medicine just to be there. This was the part of the planet my ancestors crossed in their covered wagons in the route I now repeated in my petroleum-powered haste. Did they have any idea how wonderful the world was then? Certainly, they chose to make this journey west, just as I did. In that park, I felt more connected with those ancestors than I've ever felt before or since, just from knowing they'd been here and breathed this same plant air.

Coming back to Cascadia (after an adulthood of wage slavery just to be free, for a while, in the region where I formed my first and deepest connections with Earth), it was wonderful to be here again. And this is where I am now:  occupying Cascadia. I truly love my home.

Cascadia Monthlyhttp://www.cascadianow.org/the-cascadia-monthly-july-edition-of-our-newsletter-released/

More related posts.... from this blog
http://mypersonalblogccm.blogspot.com/2012/08/phase-shift-musings-on-end-of.html
and from another blog I wrote upon the request of another community for a while, before moving here where I can tend my own garden...
http://planetarycitizensmm.blogspot.com/p/brian-swimme-interviews.html

Add Occupied Cascadia to Brian Swimme's Powers of the Universe, Michael Ruppert's Collapse and Timothy S. Bennett's What a Way to Go: Life at the End of Empire...
http://cascadiamatters.org/2012/occupied-cascadia and you pretty much have it all.

Still, a little more from this blog... http://mypersonalblogccm.blogspot.com/p/resilience-food-open-source-technology.html
http://mypersonalblogccm.blogspot.com/2012/04/remarkable-trees-of-world-butterfly-and.html




Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Still here

Hi loyal reader. Well, gee, what happened to me? This compulsive blogger's last post was over two months ago? Just found out I've had a serious level of anemia and probably for quite some time. Transfusion helped a lot. Now what? That's just a symptom of something and explains why I have slowed down so much - but doesn't explain why. Or all the other stuff like the poison oak that isn't poison oak and won't go away. Radiation exposure? UFO abduction? Health can be a complicated matter.

Anyway - thanks for hanging in there. I love my new life in the garden here --about the only thing I've managed to accomplish since spring is planting some veggies, which I've just begun to eat! But the rest of the wonderful plants, like golden raspberries and roses, came with the place. So grateful for the previous gardeners, and to be here.

I'm sure I'll write again someday.  Meanwhile - wait, I'm channeling from my source in Algeiba! I'm hearing... don't pay attention to "news" propaganda. Find out for yourself what's happening in the world. And take heart. Might as well!

Catch ya later -


Monday, April 15, 2013

AIFF 2013: Sweet Dreams (film review)


"Suffering and survival: A decade of women in Africa" shouted a Guardian (UK) article headlined on the Internet today--adding, for the faint of heart, "warning: graphic content".

Well, make room for...

We're so used to horrific tales of women's suffering in "Africa" (so many countries, how can we group them all together really?) that it is almost confusing to encounter the first images of this new documentary set in Rwanda. There on the large screen, seemingly larger than life women in swirling, colorful African textiles danced and drummed, and their faces were infused with a joy that brought tears to my own. How beautiful! And how transcendent. How very real. 

These are women who survived the genocidal civil war of 17 years ago. When it ended, one of them started the drumming troupe. Traditionally women were not even allowed to come near to drums; it was a male domain, but the war broke a lot of traditions and apparently it also brought, in the shock of its wake, opportunities. In the Q&A following the screening, a woman in the audience asked the filmmaker (Bob Fruchtman, who co-produced and directed with Lisa Fruchtman) whether the women had encountered a backlash for breaking tradition; he said there had been some resistance but no, not really. They were taught in the beginning by one of the country's greatest male drummers, and then they surpassed him. (Later, when we see traditional male drummers in a joint performance with the women's group, it's clear that the women have developed their own distinctive style.)

The "sweet dreams" of the title refer to the idea of forming a co-op, consisting of members of the drumming group, to begin a money-making business-- Rwanda's first ice cream shop. With the assistance of two women who run an organic ice cream shop in New York City, and many others, they visit other co-ops -- honey, dairy -- and learn the basics of business. A modern soft-ice cream machine is donated by a group in South Africa, they fix up a building, choose co-op members, and (after some nail-biting glitches) open on time. Those are the bare bones of the news story. 

For me, three underlying elements of the narrative have me still thinking about the film a week later.

First, of course, are the women. They are beautiful, they are strong, they are charming, and they are full of joy in their new lives. Their war stories are of course terrible and terribly sad, but as the film takes place 17 years later and they have truly moved on to better lives, their histories are fascinating. One had been sent to another country when she was a young child--sold into servitude by her poverty-stricken parents. When Rwanda's war ended she returned as a young adult to find her mother widowed, and lives with her now. Another woman barely survived the massacre of her family as a small child by running into the jungle; she was briefly sheltered by strangers at the risk of their own lives, starved, and finally was found by a man (we might expect the worse, but no - he took her to an orphanage, where she grew up). Each woman has a different story, of course, and bit by bit they unfold, past and present intertwined  Wisely, the filmmakers chose not to include coverage of the Rwanda civil war (for anyone who does not remember it, I suppose) until well into the film, and it's not extensive. The real story here is the present.

The second theme that really intrigued me was the way Rwanda leaders established a template for dealing with the trauma of the past, and for moving beyond it. Every year the entire month of April (with the first week a complete holiday from work) is dedicated to remembrance, grieving, and building new ties between these people whose neighbors and family members were victims or perpetrators. During the course of the film the President invites the drummers to perform in one such ceremony in the national stadium, where we see that even now first aid, ambulances, and counselling are very much needed, as many of the attendees are overcome with emotion.

Immediately following the war, 100,000 "perpetrators" were identified; they remain imprisoned and are used as labor to rebuild the country. Two of them are the parents of one of the women in the co-op. Her fellow co-op members could have been their victims. In building the drumming troupe and now the ice cream shop, they are all moving beyond that past and finding new ways to live, with joy, in the present and future. It seems that the rest of the world could learn much from Rwanda and what it has learned about reconciliation. 

Co-op members at organizational meeting
The third theme that sticks with me-- but this one troubles me -- is the commercial venture of the ice cream shop itself, or rather, the way they go about it. The women are mentored in a hard-line western capitalistic model by -- I forget the details here, but she's an American woman who seems very inflexible. The Rwandan women eagerly absorb her lessons about business plans and so forth, but also, it appears, her top-down attitude. Later, when they must limit the number of co-op members to begin the business to those who can afford a hefty buy-in fee, and reject a number of women from the dance troupe who want to participate but cannot afford the fee, it's very sad. (In the post-screening Q&A a member of the audience asked the filmmaker about that, and he responded that as the events unfolded he was hoping the women would create some sort of "sweat equity" arrangement for the women who couldn't afford the buy-in fee, but the leaders chose to be "very hard-nosed" instead. Later, as the business prospered and more positions opened up, some did join though.) 

Dolley Madison stored her ice
beneath this "temple"
Another aspect of the business that troubled me was the complicated machine they used for making soft ice cream. Apparently this was the same sort of equipment used in New York and it was a donation. But to get this high-tech monster going seemed to require large amounts of fossil fuels and expertise. I couldn't help thinking back to my time working in the gardens of the historic James Madison estate, Montpelier, where they still spoke proudly of how Dolley Madison had introduced ice cream to local society. It was a huge hit. All they needed for Dolley's product was ice, which was collected in winter and stored underground, below a gazebo, all summer. That, and the same ingredients used in Rwanda. The manufacturing process was completely low-tech. The Rwandans didn't have easy access to ice, but I couldn't help thinking they could have started with a wind or solar power source for basic refrigeration to freeze water, and as for the rest, might been as happy with old-fashioned ice cream.

It also gave me pause to see how the women take readily to the tricks and deceptions of advertising. We laugh when they compete with, and out-do, each other in coming up with advertising slogans such as "it will make your children healthy," and we have to admire their creativity and sense of humor - but ... well, it's just a little creepy how easily they adopt this aspect of Western culture which has made uncritical nincompoops of most of the population here.

The crux of the matter is the co-op's desire for "modernization" and "development" (words used repeatedly by the Africans) in the context of their country's rise. Though they do have co-ops, basically they seem to be following a very recognizable Western model which incorporates the same values that colonized Africa and are currently making serfs of us all worldwide. I felt very sad that they are jumping onto the industrial-civilization-fossil fuel train just as it is heading toward a catastrophic (if possibly slow-motion) derailment.

But at the same time, they're living in the moment, as we all do, and they did create something wonderful. The first ice cream in Rwanda! Whatever rogue waves the future might bring, these women are likely to surf them with strength and joy. May we all do as well.


Sunday, April 7, 2013

AIFF 2013: the first four days



Apologies for the long hiatus recently. I've just gone through a rather thorough reordering of my life and now that I"m getting back to normal, I'm not sure what I"ll be doing with this blog, whether returning to it or starting something new. Anyway, here's just a brief report on what I have been lucky enough to see so far at this year's AIFF. I recommend all of them! Every one I've seen so far has had a Q&A with the filmmakers present at the screening. If you love films, the ashland independent film festival (they stubbornly refuse to capitalize their name for some reason) is The Best!

Sweet Dreams: fabulous, uplifting story of joy and recovery in Rwanda 17 years after the genocide. Wonderful women. Beautifully filmed documentary and beautifully told story. There is some footage of the genocide, but it's brief and only presents itself about 40% of the way into the narrative. (I guess they had to provide some information about it, for anyone who doesn't know about it, though that's hard to imagine.) The film is a very affirming look at people at their best, nationally and as individuals, acting with great resilience to overcome and get beyond an unbelievable national and personal trauma. Full of joy, this one is. (I wish the US would take a hint from this and deal with our own Civil War, past and present. The Middle East too.) Must-see!

Gideon's Army: the public defender's role in today's mandatory sentencing-prison industrial complex-student loan scandal-so-called US "Justice" system. Very moving - and a beautiful piece of investigative journalism. It was Gideon who, 50 years ago, won the Supreme Court case that ensured all accused a defense attorney. The mandate was, of course, never adequately funded, and that's just the beginning of what they have work with. Another must-see. The film will, I hope, help to redress a big part of the current injustice.

Jake Shimabukuro: Life on Four Strings: Lovely documentary whose visual rhythms are perfectly matched with the virtuoso music of this ukelele superstar. Must-see! Fascinating, and ultimately very moving, This was paired with another great film, the inspiring and funny 16-minute Slomo.

Casting By: Another must-see, especially by any film buff. A rare glimpse into the history and workings of an important aspect of the collaborative film making process that has been steadfastly unrecognized by the industry and the Academy, clearly because it's been mostly a female-dominated profession.

From Nothing, Something: A Documentary on the Creative Process:  a very interesting and well-made film about creativity as experienced by innovators in several different arts. It was very well received by the audience and I'd say it's well worth seeing, but there were too many talking heads in this one for me; I'd have edited it down to an hour, myself. But others were more enthusiastic about it than I, so there you are. Maybe I was just a little too fatigued when I saw this one to give it my full attention. It was paired with a beautiful, witty short Scottish documentary, Perfect Fit, which alternated between the tough guys who make ballet shoes and the equally tough ballet dancers who wear them to create their ethereal effects.

Redwood Highway: This locally-produced feature film is the only non-documentary I'll be seeing at AIFF this year. It was very well received, which is not surprising since most of the sold-out Armory 550-member audience seemed to have played some part in it, if only to watch some of the filming. But I really did like it as a story of an elderly woman (Shirley Knight) who escapes the gilded cage of a resort-like 55+ community (beautifully filmed, by the way - Mountain Meadows really is that fine, though with a much livelier ambiance than what you see in the move; I know because I lived there several years myself before making my own recent radical change in situation)... who escapes a guilded cage to go on a vision quest of sorts. I'd recommend this to anyone, and the filmmakers expressed a determination to make more films for older actors on themes of interest to seniors. It's about time!

Filmmaker Talkbacks: I also enjoyed the three free Talkbacks (panel discussions): No Borders (though this one could have done with a better moderator, the filmmakers were great when they got a chance to say anything, especially on the topic that was supposed to be under discussion, filming in other cultures); Close up and Personal; and Transmedia 101: The Future of Storytelling. The Talkbacks are a great way to hear from filmmakers whose films you might be missing - and from those you have seen, or will see. And the Transmedia one was a fascinating introduction to a new project of AIFF, joining in some cutting-edge work around storytelling and new technologies.

I didn't see nearly as many titles this year. I skipped the first and last days (on the first day we did see My Fair Lady at Oregon Shakespeare Festival though). "You can't do it all" is a mantra well known to Ashanders. Here are some of the films I won't be seeing, but which I wish I were - either because I saw the filmmakers discuss their work during Talkbacks, or because I heard very good buzz about them from others at the festival. I'll be watching for them. (Several are already in some form of release, since AIFF occurs near the end of the annual film festival circuit; some have been bought by HBO or PBS and are scheduled to be shown there later in the year; but sadly, it's likely that others will be hard to find; Google their websites!):

Aqui y Alla (feature film)
The Moo Man (documentary)
The Forgotten Kingdom (feature film)
William and the Windmill (documentary)
Before the Spring After the Fall (documentary)
God Loves Uganda (documentary)
Plimpton! Starring George Plimpton as Himself (documentary)
The World According to Dick Cheney (documentary)
Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago (documentary)
Joe Papp in Five Acts

None of which is to say I wouldn't also be recommending every other choice of programming this year, if I'd been hearing about them too... Independent filmmakers are heroes, every one.









Monday, January 21, 2013

Idle No More a remarkable and necessary development


UPDATE 11/13:

Statement from Indigenous Leaders: Fukushima nuclear crisis “a threat to the future of humanity” — “We have reached the crossroads of life and the end of our existence”

see http://enenews.com/statement-indigenous-leaders-fukushima-nuclear-crisis-continues-threaten-future-all-life-will-avert-potentially-catastrophic-nuclear-disaster-coming-together
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Wilma Pearl Mankiller, while in office

While I concentrate on an imminent change of residence, and don't write much here, the world is galloping on. In a 2010 post (click here to view it) I wrote about a personal hero, Wilma Mankiller, the feminist Cherokee chief whose book introduced several First Nation women fighting for the integrity of their land and their cultural values. They were not idle, but most of them were working in a kind of isolation, each in response to her local situation. Now that spirit is going international, and spreading like wildfire.

Something rather wonderful has been emerging in North America: the Idle No More movement out of Canada. This is a very effective grassroots response to the latest, even more horrifying assault on the integrity of the planet--the seizing of land (by the few who are powerful enough even to profit from the fruitless venture) for the extraction, processing, distribution and use of such dirty forms of "energy" that until very recently it never occurred to most of us that anyone would be insane enough to try to use them - tar sands mining, fracking, mountaintop blowing, and the rest of the huge, unthinkable monsters currently unleashed on the planet. In a larger sense, this movement is perhaps a last chance to prevent a disastrous tipping point from being reached in global climate change, as warned by mainstream leaders such as James Hansen and Bill McKibben, who call the implementation of the tar sands pipeline "essentially game over for the climate" -- and that's just about the pipeline part of the situation.

Writer John Michael Greer aptly characterizes the US's last-gasp attempts to keep its Empire going, in the face of the end of the cheap carbon fuel that has fueled it, and to which our interrelated systems are addicted, as "frantically going through the empties in the trash, looking for one that still has a few sips left in it." This is a good metaphor for the whole "developed" world's attempts to uphold its current systems through the extraction and use of these filthy fuels. It's trash (for that purpose), and it needs to stay in the ground where Gaia put it, rather than being transferred to the atmosphere. So far, those in power are concentrating on keeping the addiction going, while the rest of us are ready to break with the past and move on to a better way of living on the planet. When it comes down to it, this is perhaps humanity's greatest challenge-to-evolve yet. Perhaps we too are at a tipping-point, one that will result in the species' next big step in cultural evolution. It is the Anthropocene now. How will we behave on this newly shaped planet? This is Brian Swimme territory. Heady stuff.

If we people can evolve a culture that diverts the course of history from the so-far dominant behavior model that is leading us all (including too many other life forms in our DNA family) over a cliff it would be a triumph of sanity and justice not seen around here since the Europeans first came to North America. And in this long historical struggle for survival the First Nation peoples, as always, are on the front lines.

Getting top headlines in the Idle No More movement is Awattawapiskat Chief and justice activist Theresa Spence, now far into a hunger strike. The movement was sparked in Canada, at a November 2012 Ottawa teach-in by four women--Nina Wilson, Sheelah Mclean, Sylvia McAdam and Jessica Gordon-- and the idea soon spread like wildfire across Canada, then to many states and cities in the US, and soon there were solidarity demonstrations in several countries in Europe--and Cairo, Egypt. Yes, we're all in this together. This new kind of rapid spread of a movement is reminiscent of the way Cairo and Occupy touched a vital chord among people, and happens thanks to what Howard Bloom calls "the global brain" of Internet culture.

Found this image a while back on a favorite Brit blog,
Ishminkan (thanks, Bassem) 
I've shared lots of links in this post. It's the Web at work, revealing the world so we can learn it better. It's all interrelated. And each of us matters. The fate of Ozymandias might be little potatoes compared to what we have on our plates now. I find this traditional Navajo chant helps when I'm feeling overwhelmed, so I share it here:

The world before me is restored in beauty
The world behind me is restored in beauty
The world below me is restored in beauty
The world above me is restored in beauty
All things around me are restored in beauty

My voice is restored in beauty.
It is finished in beauty.
It is finished in beauty.
It is finished in beauty.
It is finished in beauty.

Or, if a flash mob is more your style, check them out! http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/article/video-1300-person-idle-no-more-flash-mob-seattle-146549

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Thanks to Renee, for sparking this post, and to WG, for encouraging it. And to the First World women of Idle No More for sharing their energy, vision, and values with all the people of the world.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Here, rub your nose in some radiation

If you're tired of worrying about the fascist coup, the sociopathic .01% in charge of everything, climate change tipping points, collapse of industrial civilization, the death of the oceans and the rest of it, here's another one. Products originating in India and China have been found to be radioactive. They recycle (accidentally? legally? not sure) materials such as iron and steel reclaimed from medical equipment or tired nuclear plant buildings along with other scrap and the material ultimately finds its way into consumer products. 

Had you heard of this? Apparently this has been going on for years. We don't know how long, actually, since it seems our government only really started testing for it in 2003... But come to think of it, I do seem to remember a scandal about radioactive gold jewelry turning up in the market in the 1970s (made from gold pilfered from discarded medical equipment), and had sometimes wondered if that was still going on, and how anyone would know their jewelry was safe after that. But with everything else to worry about, it slipped my mind. 

After hearing about the recent discovery at Bed, Bath & Beyond in a Fairewinds site podcast  here, I googled the story and found some pretty good coverage in this Bloomberg article (quoted below): 

More than 120 shipments of contaminated goods including cutlery, buckles and work tools like hammers and screwdrivers were denied U.S. entry between 2003 and 2008 after customs and the Department of Homeland Security boosted radiation monitoring at borders. The department declined to provide updated figures or comment on how the metal tissue boxes at Bed, Bath & Beyond, tainted with melted cobalt-60 used in medical instruments to diagnose and treat cancer, evaded detection.

I wasn't aware of it. The tissue boxes at Bed Bath & Beyond were only found out because a shipment was detected at a truck stop. How did it get that far? 

Have a cold? Here, rub your  nose in radioactivity, and keep the pretty box by your bed for a very long time while you reload it with new tissue as needed. Take two aspirin and come in for chemo in 20 years. 

“The major risk we face in our industry is radiation,” said Paul de Bruin, radiation-safety chief for Jewometaal Stainless Processing BV, one of the world’s biggest stainless- steel scrap yards. “You can talk about security all you want, but I’ve found weapons-grade uranium in scrap. Where was the security?”  (from the Bloomberg article cited above)

And oh, great - we have to be competitive with India and China; Obama's Secretary of Energy, Chu, wants to make this legal in the US too. It would be a boon to the nuclear industry because what was previously a liability (material they had to pay someone to dispose of "safely" somewhere) can instead be sold as scrap. Whatta great idea! Dilute the radioactivity and spread it around. The government says it's perfectly safe. Of course we know that NO exposure to, say, cobalt-20, is safe; and it can take many years for the cancer to show up. But hey, that's somebody else's bottom line and annual bonus.

As I said, I heard a discussion of this on a Fairewinds podcast at http://fairewinds.org/content/repairs-four-nuclear-reactors-are-so-expensive-they-should-not-be-restarted Arnie Gundersen's coverage of the idiocy surrounding nuclear plants is really fascinating. Like watching a train wreck that goes on and on, in slow motion, over the years. Is this species totally insane?

Just had to share....

PS so how do we test our stuff at home? It's my understanding from some of the Fukushima coverage that even a Geiger counter doesn't detect all the different kinds of radioactive materials that come out of nuclear plants, in small but ultimately lethal amounts sometimes.... Any advice?

Friday, December 7, 2012

Transition time; three great books for today and tomorrow

A quick update, as my blogging has slowed down considerably lately; most of my energy has been going into other projects, and dealing with health issues. I'm also in the process of making a major transition in my home situation, into a much more grounded and sustainable path than anything I've been able to find a way to do until now. Someone asked me if I'd be blogging about that, and I might - once the dust settles a bit. I don't know. Anyway, here are some books I've read lately and most enthusiastically recommend:

2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson: probably Robinson's most Shakespearean work yet in inventive language, psychological depth, and sheer political audacity, this one went straight to my heart--and goes right to the heart of all the crucial elements we are struggling to comprehend in our times of transition. And he does it with panache, humor, and brilliant storytelling.

Here's a nice review that tells more about it: http://www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/2312-A-Novel/38661.html





Cypherpunks: Freedom and the Future of the Internet by Julian Assange, with Jacob Appelbaum, Andy Muller-Maguhn, and Jeremie Zimmerman. Heroes appear when we need them. This also goes astonishingly, clearly, to the heart of the political/power/people world today. Look up "cypherpunks assange" on YouTube to get the original discussion this book was based on - and then go to the site and download the book. It's short, pithy, clear, and absolutely essential reading.

Fascinating, essential discussion. Go here for an extended interview with Julian Assange, on Democracy Nowhttp://www.democracynow.org/2012/11/29/exclusive_julian_assange_on_wikileaks_bradley


Walking Away from Empire: A Personal Journey by Guy McPherson. Just... read it. What you get when all the blinders are off, it's deeply personal, accessible, and global all at the same time. The link is to his blog, Nature Bats Last.

You can also view a talk in Auckland with Guy McPherson on YouTube; here's Part I:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fk9I0peQOmg
Part 2:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3NEt63SGkY4
Part 3 (Q&A):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UkeMYXSlI0U


Monday, November 12, 2012

Nuclear news you won't see or hear from "the usual suspects" in government and media

Thanks to whoever it was who sent me the link to this article, and site: http://www.bellona.org/articles/articles_2012/fukushima-westcoast-radiation
Check out the story and the comments, with responses by the author.
"The massive release of anthropogenic – or non-naturally occurring radionuclides such as cesium 137 and cesium 134 – by the meltdowns and explosions that rocked Fukushima Daiichi occurred in the five days following the beginning of the accident, according to a new report." (from http://www.bellona.org/articles/articles_2012/fukushima-westcoast-radiation )

www.greenpeace.org

There's plenty of good information out there if you look for it. I'm impressed by the tone, links and documentation on this site. Judging from past history, I doubt any of us can seriously rely on the usual government sources, or the media who favor them, to give us the whole story on the danger of nuclear technologies. This is why we need to keep fighting to keep the Internet open and free, and resist all government attempts to control the free exchange of information. Sorry, I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir here.

Not that there's much any of us can do about this particular worldwide disaster--selfishly, I'm just glad I'm old, so that a likely 20-year wait for the development of serious injury fits within what feels to me a reasonable lifespan, given my family history; and in any case, because of several past serious bodily injuries, one of which took years to monitor and recover from, I've already been exposed to way too much in the way of rads to feel safe from radiation consequences. But we can at least try to pass the real stories along about the stupidity of nuclear power, and do what we can to prevent its continuation.

As you probably know (I'll add a source here later, when I can get to it), the so-called Nuclear Regulatory Commission of the US is now entirely populated with pro-industry "scientists" since they managed to drive out the one member who ever raised a caution flag about the actual need for regulation, earlier this year. (A wild-eyed radical environmentalist? No; if you can believe this, he was a Bush appointee.)

Here are a couple of my favorite podcast sites, both rich in information on Fukushima as the calamity unfolded (and continues); lots of information from different sources, and you just have to use your own critical intelligence to sort out how you will deal with it; but I find these two refreshingly free of self promotion and entertaining charlatans:

http://www.ecoshock.org/audio-on-demand/2012-radio-ecoshock-show/ (click on "more downloads" for listings of programs by year)

http://ifyoulovethisplanet.org/ (source of extended interviews with nuclear engineer and whistle-blower Arnie Gundersen)