Mendo Island Journal — Timely. Useful. Sometimes Cranky.

Archive for September, 2011|Monthly archive page

The Empire is Eating Itself

In Around the web on September 4, 2011 at 9:49 am


The commemorative ceremonies that are planned for the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 massacre are those of pathos for the victims and their families, of praise for both the pursuit of the supporters of the attackers and the performance of first responders and our soldiers abroad.

Flags and martial music will punctuate the combined atmosphere of sorrow and aggressive defiance to those terrorists who would threaten us. These events will be moments of respectful silence and some expressions of rage and ferocity.

But many Americans might also want to pause to recognize — or unlearn — those reactions and overreactions to 9/11 that have harmed our country. How, in this forward-looking manner, can we respect the day of 9/11?

Here are some suggestions:

1. Do not exaggerate our adversaries’ strength in order to produce a climate of hysteria that results in repression of civil liberties, embodied in the overwrought USA Patriot Act, and immense long-term damage to our economy. Consider the massive diversion of trillions of dollars from domestic civilian needs because of the huge expansion and misspending in military and security budgets. More…

Pay attention to nonviolence

In Around the web on September 4, 2011 at 8:45 am

Click on post title to view

In 2003, the Palestinian village of Budrus mounted a 10-month-long nonviolent protest to stop a barrier being built across their olive groves. Did you hear about it? Didn’t think so. Brazilian filmmaker Julia Bacha asks why we only pay attention to violence in the Israel-Palestine conflict — and not to the nonviolent leaders who may one day bring peace.

Mendo Island Transition: Sustaining Our Better Angels

In Around the web, Mendo Island Transition on September 4, 2011 at 8:40 am


[...] Pragmatic Altruism vs. Violent Mindset

As Stuart Twemlow, M.D. points out, we in the US are exposed to an”endless deluge of unmitigated violence, in the media, on the Internet, and in print, which subtly and gradually helps to shape a defensive “violent mindset” that reflects in the way we treat each other.”  In this violent mindset, people attempt to “spend much time trying to win at any cost” and “gauge personal success by economic and material gain.”  Despite the overwhelming evidence of the harmful and shaping effects of exposure to violence and its cancerous effects on communities, a “debate” about the impact of violence on the psyche continues.  Dr. Twemlow compares the “debate” about these facts as similar to the lengthy antique “debate” about cigarette smoking and lung cancer.

The violent mindset vs. what he calls the “pragmatic altruistic” mindset impacts the collective community consciousness in areas of creativity, thought patterns, ruthlessness, economic prosperity, More…

Are Violent Video Games Adequately Preparing Children For The Apocalypse?

In Around the web on September 4, 2011 at 8:30 am


Unequal Protection — Chapter 10: Protecting Corporate Liars

In Around the web on September 3, 2011 at 8:24 am


With yearly revenues of over $9 billion, NIKE has the resources to spread their corporate message far and wide. Do they also have the Constitutionally protected right to distort or misrepresent the truth for commercial gain?

Corporations are not people, and the First Amendment should account for their unique motivation: sales.  ~Congressman Dennis Kucinich, writing about the Supreme Court case Kasky v. Nike.

The first direct shot across the bow of the doctrine of a corporation’s “right to lie” by using its “personhood” to claim First Amendment “free speech” rights came in April 1998, when Mark Kasky, a California political activist, noticed that Nike was engaged in what he considered to be a deceptive greenwashing campaign. Kasky had long been a runner and wore Nike shoes, so he was particularly distressed when he saw Nike’s communications director, Lee Weinstein, publish a letter in the San Francisco Examiner in December 1997 that said, in part, “Consider that Nike established the sporting goods industry’s first code of conduct to ensure our workers know and can exercise their rights.”2

This letter was just a small part, it turned out, of a national campaign More…

The Koch Brothers are Privatizing and Re-Segregating our Public School Systems

In Around the web on September 3, 2011 at 7:26 am


The Facts:

1. After the November 2009 elections, the Wake County school board dismantled socio-economic diverse schools and began to implement a neighborhood schools plan that would resegregate schools.

2. Resegregation in schools would be a disaster. It would turn back the clock fifty years with the creation of high poverty, racially isolated schools. The integration plan destroyed by Koch-supported board of education members was used as a model for high achieving, diverse schools throughout the country.

3. This October 2011, Wake Country elections will decide if schools become resegregated. Koch-supported candidates are still pushing for neighborhood schools and to end diversity.

4. The Koch brothers free market, libertarian ideology rests on privatization in society, especially the privatization of education.

5. The Kochs founded Americans for Prosperity in 2004, and AFP indirectly poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into the Wake County school board elections and helped jeopardize the diversity policy.

Will Parrish: The Struggle For Rattlesnake Island

In Around Mendo Island, Will Parrish on September 2, 2011 at 7:19 am

Elem historian and cultural leader Jim BrownEagle speaks at the Glen Cove sacred site outside Vallejo


The oldest human remains so far discovered in California belong to the Elem Pomo Nation who have lived on the eastern and southern shores of the Clear Lake basin for at least 10,000 years, also inhabiting much of the peninsula between eastern and southern arms of the lake. For a minimum of 5,000 of those years, the Elem’s way of life has centered on an island, roughly 56 acres in surface area, located just off the north shore of the lake’s eastern arm. The island has been the home of five documented Elem village sites, as well as dance houses, cremation pits, and human burial sites — in short, the major hallmarks of the people’s religious, cultural, and political life.

In spite of nearly 200-year history of Euro-Amaerican encroachment into the Pomo nation’s ancestral territory, no development has ever taken place on the island. It has been called “arguably the lushest place in Lake County.” Located a mere 60 yards offshore the Elem’s current 50-acre reservation, just outside the sleepy Lake County town of Clearlake Oaks, it is one of the last pristine sacred places to Native Americans in California.

Without it, the Elem Pomo would cease to be who they are as a people. More…

Todd Walton: Collapse Scenarios

In Around Mendo Island, Guest Posts on September 2, 2011 at 6:58 am


“Our business gets better as the economy gets worse.” Kent Moyer, founder and CEO of World Protection Group Inc.

The business referred to in the opening quote is officially known as Executive Protection, and Kent Moyer is the kingpin of a successful Executive Protection agency providing body guards and small armies and surveillance experts and surveillance equipment and defensive strategies to wealthy individuals and consortiums of wealthy people who are certain they need protection from kidnappers, assassins, disgruntled employees, mobs of poor people, psychotic fans, and the like. Having recently read The Three Musketeers, it occurs to me that the musketeers were a seventeenth century equivalent of one of today’s private armies dedicated to protecting a consortium of wealthy people. In the case of The Three Musketeers, the wealthy people in question were the king of France and his sycophants.

“It isn’t so much that hard times are coming; the change observed is mostly soft times going.” Groucho Marx

Today many thoughtful people are hard at work writing essays and books about the coming (ongoing) collapse of economic, social, and natural systems in North America and around the world. I applaud them for their efforts and salute them for their desire to awaken others to the dangers confronting us. More…

Mendo Island Business Opportunity Post-Collapse

In Around the web on September 2, 2011 at 6:40 am

Bamboo Train, Cambodia

Cambodia’s railway connects the capital Phnom Penh with the northern Poipet. It’s the only railway in the whole country with a single train each day, making the route at some 20 km/h.

Locals use the tracks to drive with their self-made bamboo trains, often taking tourists to make extra income of which some amount goes to bribe the police. The bamboo train really flies- until something comes the other direction…:-) Pics taken at Battambang province.

Stars of Peak Oil

In Around the web on September 1, 2011 at 8:35 am


Here you’ll find pieces ranging from short articles to long in-depth interviews offering a deeper glimpse into the leading writers, bloggers and activists on peak oil, Transition and re-localized economies. Subjects include Nicole Foss, James Howard Kunstler, Michael Ruppert, Dmitry Orlov and many, many more…

ORLOV: I think you’re too hard on American politicians because look at the people they’re governing. If you tried to rule these people you would probably end up just like them. It’s a completely thankless task unless you find some benefit in it for yourself. So the politicians are hard pressed to make it worth their while to be politicians. I can commiserate with them about the quality of the populace because democracy is really for people who are capable of self-governance.

Now Americans at large are not capable of self-governance. They expect to be protected from each other. They expect to be provided for. They expect for things to remain the same even when this doesn’t make any more sense. And those are their expectations. So they expect to be lied to.

If you stop lying to Americans they would kill you. That is the bind that our national politicians are in and we should feel sorry for them…

Now if you look at what’s happening to the young people now, not just in this country but around the world. But specifically in this country, two thirds of college graduates can’t find a job More…

Rethinking Transition as a Pattern Language

In Mendo Island Transition on September 1, 2011 at 8:30 am

Transition Culture

In 1977, Christopher Alexander and colleagues at the Centre for Environmental Structure at Berkeley University published a book called ‘A Pattern Language: towns, buildings, construction’, the second in a series of 3 books. Fifteen years later, a much younger me was a student on my permaculture design course in Bristol. On Day 5 of the course, the teacher introduced ‘A Pattern Language’ to the group, as though it were some ancient, dusty, sacred text, in much the same way as I now introduce people to it. He lovingly flipped through the book and introduced the concept of patterns and why this book was essential for the design of anything.

I borrowed his copy and took it home that night. Initially it looked huge and impenetrable, but once I had read the ‘key’ at the beginning, I flew through the book in a couple of hours. What blew me away was not the these ideas were in any sense revolutionary or new, but rather that it captured and put its fingers on so many things that I had felt and been unable to articulate. Why do some built environments make you feel alive, connected and celebratory, and why do some make people want to stab each other?  Why does the heart soar in the old parts of Sienna, in St Ives, in Paris, and not in most of Swindon or Slough?


Roundup of what’s happening in the world of Transition

In Around the web, Mendo Island Transition on September 1, 2011 at 8:20 am

Bath, England


Bath, England was host to the Youth Climate Change delegates, and Transition Bath undertook to feed them with an entire meal using only food sourced within walking distance of the city.

To celebrate Eat Local Week, Transition Colorado put on an evening with Joel Salatin called “Local Food to the Rescue”. Joel is a third generation alternative farmer at Polyface Farm in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.   At New York’s GreenFest, Tina Clarke and David Noonan from Transition US joined David Korten, visionary leader, economist, author and former Harvard Professor for a Forum on Building Local Economies.

In Portland, Oregon, David Johnson and Jim Newcomer of Transition PDX were recently interviewed on local radio, a great piece that covers Transition internationally, nationally and locally. Well worth a listen.



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