Rebooting the American Dream — Chapter Eleven: In the Shadow of the Dragon


From THOM HARTMANN
Truthout

The motivating force of the theory of a democratic way of life is still a belief that as individuals we live cooperatively, and, to the best of our ability, serve the community in which we live, and that our own success, to be real, must contribute. – Eleanor Roosevelt

There was a dragon here hundreds of years ago, here in the Basque country in northern Spain, a place steeped in tradition, a hilly expanse between the mountains and the sea. Local lore has it that the Basque language, the only European one with no known root language, is a remnant from the time of Atlantis, which may have vanished into the Atlantic Ocean not far from here eons ago.

Standing on a hillside overlooking an early autumn valley, Louise and I were amazed by the simple beauty of the mountain of the dragon, its gray and balding peak towering above the town like an ancient ziggurat. This is Mondragon,

Washington State Joins Movement For Public Banking


From ELLEN BROWN
Web of Debt Blog

Bills were introduced on January 18 in both the House and Senate of the Washington State Legislature that add Washington to the growing number of states now actively moving to create public banking facilities.

The bills, House Bill 1320 and Senate Bill 5238, propose creation of a Washington Investment Trust (WIT) to “promote agriculture, education, community development, economic development, housing, and industry” by using “the resources of the people of Washington State within the state.”

Currently, all the state’s funds are deposited with Bank of America. HB 1320 proposes that in the future, “all state funds be deposited in the Washington Investment Trust and be guaranteed by the state and used to promote the common good and public benefit of all the people and their businesses within [the] state.”

The legislation is similar to that now being studied or proposed in states including Illinois, Virginia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Maryland, Florida, Michigan, Oregon, California and others.

The effort in Washington State draws heavily on the success

The World Is Dying — And So Are You


From RICHARD B. ANDERSON
For The Future (2001)
[Repost]

At the heart of the modern age is a core of grief.

At some level, we’re aware that something terrible is happening, that we humans are laying waste to our natural inheritance. A great sorrow arises as we witness the changes in the atmosphere, the waste of resources and the consequent pollution, the ongoing deforestation and destruction of fisheries, the rapidly spreading deserts, and the mass extinction of species.

All these changes signal a turning point in human history, and the outlook is not particularly bright. The anger, irritability, frustration and intolerance that increasingly pervades our common life are symptoms associated with grief. The pervasive sense of helplessness and numbness that surrounds us, and the frantic search for meaning

The Healthy Money Summit — Free Live Seminars Happening On-Line Right Now 1/25/11



The Healthy Money Summit

With so much fear and confusion about the economy now and high unemployment across the U.S., we truly need to create a new relationship with money and new stories of hope for our communities.

Join us for the Healthy Money Summit, where you’ll learn to shift to a healthier, happier, more productive relationship with money. From the personal to the collective, you’ll learn all about:

  • New currencies that favor connection and community over hoarding and lack
  • New economies that favor Main Street over Wall Street, and prioritize community well-being as the new bottom line
  • New ways of earning and spending that liberate your time and passion for your real life’s work

Herb Ruhs: Derrick Jensen and The Happy Doomer


From HERB RUHS
Anderson Valley

I don’t know why I end up defending Derrick Jensen (Beyond Hope). He is pretty good at that himself.

What I observe is that folks who read Jensen enthusiastically uniformly fail to understand him and that those who react badly to him are understanding him at a level they are compelled to deny in their conscious thoughts. The things that we don’t like about ourselves annoy us most in others. I think of Jensen as like a real life Ender from Card’s novel Ender’s Game. Like Ender he is unavoidably flooded with reality while all around him are sleep walkers. Being awake while participating in “civilized life” can be excruciating and causes sufferers to flee to monasteries and hermitages, but some brave souls like Jensen choose to stay involved and end up calling themselves activist. No greater gift than from those who confront insanity directly.

Downtown Ukiah Entering Its Death Throes


From DAVE SMITH
Ukiah

It’s just a matter of time now: Costco will move into Ukiah’s Big Box Heaven; the main Post Office will be closed and moved to the Annex off 101; the Courthouse complex will be built just far enough east toward 101 to make it more convenient to walk east rather than west, and visitors from 101 will park before they ever make it into town. Along with the killing of Economic Development funds, and the library finally jerked off life-support, that will just about do it. And maybe DDR will finally be able to buy the swing vote they need to build the Monster Mall they’ve so long coveted despite overwhelming democratic opposition. Very sad.

The only hopes for an enlivened downtown that I hear about is the Co-op expanding into downtown; the city government organizing a volunteer task force (rather than hire yet more expensive outside consultants)

Main Street As It Once Was (Eggs 8¢ Dozen)


Thanks to Mondra Rose

Full Size Version Here
~~

Michael Laybourn: PG&E ‘Smart Meters’ — Dumb Idea


From MICHAEL LAYBOURN
Hopland

Smartmeters do not save electricity. They are a grab for stimulus dollars and a reason to cut jobs. To think they are some kind of gentle green good is nonsense.

From the Wall St Journal: Meters are expensive, often costing $250 to $500 each when all the bells and whistles are included, such as the expense of installing new utility billing systems. And utilities typically pass these costs directly on to consumers.  <http://online.wsj.com/public/quotes/main.html?type=djn&symbol=CNP> CenterPoint Energy Inc. in Houston, for instance, recently began charging its customers an extra $3.24 a month for smart meters, sparking howls of protest since the charges will continue for a decade and eventually approach $1 billion.

WikiLeaks’ Most Terrifying Revelation: Just How Much Our Government Lies to Us



From FRED BRANFMAN
Alternet

Wikileaks has shown that our government and military form a ‘vast lying machine’ that perpetrates mass murder in our name.

“Try as I may I can not escape the sound of suffering. Perhaps as an old man I will accept suffering with insouciance. But not now; men in their prime, if they have convictions are tasked to act on them.” — Julian Assange, 2007 blog entry

Do you believe that it is in Americans’ interest to allow a small group of U.S. leaders to unilaterally murder, maim, imprison and/or torture anyone they choose anywhere in the world, without the knowledge let alone oversight of their citizens or the international community? And, despite their proven record of failure to protect America — from Indochina to Iran to Iraq — do you believe they should be permitted to clandestinely expand their war-making without informed public debate?

Beyond Doom, Beyond Sustainability


From MATTHEW LYNCH
Transition Voice

Wars, peak oil, climate change, continuing global economic crises. We live in such uncertain times.

It could be so easy to throw up our hands in frustration and disgust, to go down that dark road of disillusionment, of morbidly chalking it all up to human nature. It could be so easy to buy into the thinking that we’ve destroyed ourselves, and it is just a matter of time before the bomb we’ve set explodes in our faces.

Or, we could play for the best in humanity:

Peak oil is as inevitable as death and taxes. But for every convert that peak oil’s doom-and-gloom extremism sweeps up, it alienates plenty of people who might otherwise climb down from their SUVs. -Toby Hemenway in “Apocalypse, Not”

When hope is more realistic than despair

Do You Do Nothing or Do You Resist?



From  KEN O’KEEFE
worldcitizen.uk.net
Via Adbusters

And if you did not fight, would you see yourself as noble? Or cowardly?

I say to every red-blooded American, every European, every human: If someone comes into your home, threatens your family, imprisons and even kills your family what do you do? I do not care if every Westerner of any station is afraid to say it, it is part of my purpose in life to say it: I would fight. In fact I would kill before I would allow my family to be harmed. I would fight to the death.

I say to my American brothers and sisters in particular: Can you not see that the Iraqis, the Afghanis and the Palestinians are people? They are mothers and fathers, uncles and aunts, brothers and sisters and sons and daughters. They love their family every bit as much as you. Imagine that you were in their shoes. Would you be passive? Would you sit by and watch your wife and child being violated? Or would you fight?

Shasta and Goliath: Bringing Down Corporate Rule


From MoveToAmend.org
Sign the National petition here

Mt. Shasta, a small northern California town of 3,500 residents nestled in the foothills of magnificent Mount Shasta, is taking on corporate power through an unusual process—democracy.

The citizens of Mt. Shasta have developed an extraordinary ordinance, set to be voted on in the next special or general election, that would prohibit corporations such as Nestle and Coca-Cola from extracting water from the local aquifer. But this is only the beginning. The ordinance would also ban energy-giant PG&E, and any other corporation, from regional cloud seeding, a process that disrupts weather patterns through the use of toxic chemicals such as silver iodide. More generally, it would refuse to recognize corporate personhood, explicitly place the rights of community and local government above the economic interests of multinational corporations, and recognize the rights of nature to exist, flourish, and evolve.

Mt. Shasta is not alone. Rather, it is part of a (so far) quiet municipal movement making its way across the United States in which communities are directly defying corporate rule

Jim Houle to Ukiah City Council: Why Costco?


From JAMES HOULE
Redwood Valley
Member of the County Council of the Green Party

To the Editor:
The following was presented to the City Council of Ukiah on January 19th:

You, the City Council of Ukiah, are scheduled today (Jan. 19th) to approve, in secret session, an Exclusive Negotiating Agreement with Costco. Most of your fellow citizens are at a loss to understand why you would sell 15 acres of land bought with Redevelopment Funds to a retail emporium when it is well established that our real need is affordable housing, not more stores. We hold you answerable to us for your actions and ask for your response to the following questions:

Why is it OK in your view to place a Big Box Retail Outlet in Ukiah after we the voters resoundingly defeated such a Big Box Complex at the Masonite site

Derrick Jensen: Beyond Hope


From DERRICK JENSEN
Orion Magazine
Thanks to Sean Re

The most common words I hear spoken by any environmentalists anywhere are, We’re fucked. Most of these environmentalists are fighting desperately, using whatever tools they have—or rather whatever legal tools they have, which means whatever tools those in power grant them the right to use, which means whatever tools will be ultimately ineffective—to try to protect some piece of ground, to try to stop the manufacture or release of poisons, to try to stop civilized humans from tormenting some group of plants or animals. Sometimes they’re reduced to trying to protect just one tree.

Here’s how John Osborn, an extraordinary activist and friend, sums up his reasons for doing the work: “As things become increasingly chaotic, I want to make sure some doors remain open. If grizzly bears are still alive in twenty, thirty, and forty years, they may still be alive in fifty. If they’re gone in twenty, they’ll be gone forever.”

But no matter what environmentalists do,

Gene Logsdon: Human Manure Shops Are A Hot Business In North Korea



From GENE LOGSDON

Last week I said that everywhere I turn these days I seem to run into manure  It keeps on happening. The latest example comes from  www.minyanville.com, which is a serious financial and business website, no gaming around here with male bovine excretory droppings. A story by Justin Rohrlick on Dec. 29 reports that Kim Young-soo at Seoul’s Sogang University in South Korea has been interviewing recent defectors from North Korea. One of the questions he asks them is about the hottest new consumer products in their country. Among several commodities at the top of the North Korean want list is human excrement, available at “human manure shops.”  Now this is not April 1, even in Korea, and that is just too far out to be made up. Human manure shops (I can imagine what I call them) are in fact quite logical. Fertilizer is in short supply in North Korea where people are starving in alarming numbers, and survival means

The Progressive Liberal Agenda


From DAVE SMITH
Ukiah

“The Liberal Agenda” has been falsified and bastardized by the Conservative and Fundamentalist radio hosts of this country, and the Right has been hacking away at our safety nets since Reagan became President.

The Progressive Liberal agenda has always been about caring for and empowering the least among us (Matthew 25), and setting a secure floor under our citizenry. Teddy Roosevelt’s Square Deal: a living wage, a basic safety net; Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal: Social Security; Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society: the elimination of poverty and racial injustice, and Medicare/Medicaid. It’s been about building America from the ground up using government only for what is absolutely necessary and providing a basic standing point: free public education, free medical care, and care for the needy and elderly as in all other developed countries in the world. And, yes, tax the wealthy and very wealthy more than the middle class folks

Today’s Inequality Report: Calling Out The Right Wing


From THE GUARDIAN UK

A hard-hitting study of the social effects of inequality has profound implications

Epidemiologists Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, authors of The Spirit Level, don’t soft-soap their message. It is brave to write a book arguing that economies should stop growing when millions of jobs are being lost, though they may be pushing at an open door in public consciousness. We know there is something wrong, and this book goes a long way towards explaining what and why.

The authors point out that the life-diminishing results of valuing growth above equality in rich societies can be seen all around us. Inequality causes shorter, unhealthier and unhappier lives; it increases the rate of teenage pregnancy, violence, obesity, imprisonment and addiction; it destroys relationships between individuals born in the same society but into different classes; and its function as a driver of consumption

Rebooting the American Dream — Chapter Ten: Wal-Mart Is Not A Person


From THOM HARTMANN
Truthout
Article with footnotes here

The peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error. —John Stuart Mill

In 2003, after my book Unequal Protection was first published, I gave a talk at one of the larger law schools in Vermont. Around 300 people showed up, mostly students, with a few dozen faculty and some local lawyers.

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