Will Parrish: ‘We Are Stealing Because We Feel Like It’


From WILL PARRISH
Ukiah
TheAVA

An expedition of Lake County-based Anglo-Irish settlers landed ashore Rattlesnake Island, just offshore the Elem Pomo Indian Colony in Clearlake, this past Saturday — St. Patrick’s Day – and christened it New Ireland. Despite the satirical act’s pointedly white supremacist rationale, it was performed in solidarity with the Elem, for whom the 56-acre island has been the political and religious center for more than 6,000 years.

Jeff Ott of Glenhaven, spokesperson for the New Ireland group, provided this legal rationale for “stealing” of Rattlesnake Island from current paper titleholder John Nady, an exorbitantly wealthy East Bay inventor and entrepreneur: “we Irish are White/European people, and in the United States private property is based on the age-old legal principal ‘White makes might makes right.’ We are stealing [Rattlesnake Island] because we feel like it.”

In just the last few months, Nady has run roughshod over regulations governing developments in archaeologically sensitive areas, even receiving a special exemption from normal grading regulations to begin developing his vacation home and related structures. In a press release, Ott pledged that his group would evict “the criminal Dutch settlement”

Is Walmart really going Organic and Local? Well, define Local…


From TOM PHILPOTT
Mother Jones

I live on an organic farm in North Carolina, so I don’t spend much time roaming my local Walmart looking for produce. But on a recent trip to Austin, Texas, I decided to stop by a busy supercenter to see how the company was going about its well-publicized push to sell more local and organic food.

The produce section sat between the in-store McDonald’s and some giant coolers packed with Hormel bologna. There were crates piled high with perfect orbs of cabbage and tomatoes, onions and melons. Elephant-ear-size collard greens sat in tight bunches; stacks of fist-size lemons beamed yellow. Plenty of fresh food, to be sure, though a few “Grown in USA” signs were the nearest thing I could find to an indication of local. Organic? A few bags of house-brand lettuce claimed that standard.

But you can’t judge Walmart on a single store. The company sells 18 percent of all the groceries bought in the United States—more than anyone else by a wide margin. And it’s not just Froot Loops and rock-hard tomatoes. Over the last decade, Walmart has emerged as a massive player in the organic-food market. By 2006, the year it made a splashy announcement about doubling its sales of organic food, it was already the nation’s No. 1 seller

Michael Pollan’s Food Rules Animated…


From OPEN CULTURE

If you’ve listened to the past decade’s conversations about food, you’ll have noticed that eating, always a pursuit, has suddenly become a subject as well. One flank of this movement of enthusiasts has taken up Michael Pollan, a professor at UC Berkeley’s journalism school, as its leading light. Whether they agree or disagree with his principles, intellectually engaged eaters who don’t have at least a basic familiarity with Pollan’s books such asThe Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food can hardly consider themselves conversant in the food questions and controversies of the day.

Both Pollan’s potential boosters and detractors alike can get themselves up to speed with his latest volume, Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual, which boils down his culinary weltanschauung into a series of simple sentences, including “Eat foods made from ingredients that you can picture in their raw state or growing in nature,” “Pay more, eat less,” and, “The whiter the bread, the sooner you’ll be dead.” Pollan also takes positions on entirely gnarlier issues, such as the efficiency (or lack thereof) of agribusiness, and that’s when animators like Marija Jacimovic and Benoit Detalle provide their enlivening services. In the two-minute video above, Jacimovic and Detalle use pieces of actual food to illustrate Pollan’s critique of large-scale food production.
~~

… and you thought Monsanto was evil?…


From ENVIRONMENTAL NEWS SERVICE
Thanks to Granville

Scotts Miracle-Gro pleads guilty to selling poisoned bird seed

[Shelf life and profits trump bird life...]

Ohio lawn and garden care company Scotts Miracle-Gro has pleaded guilty to breaching federal pesticide laws by using an unapproved insecticide on bird seed sold nationwide for two years.

In Columbus, U.S. District Court Judge James Graham accepted the company’s guilty plea on Tuesday.

Scotts is proposing to pay a $4 million fine and give $500,000 to help support wildlife conservation and study. Judge Graham said he will issue his decision on the plea agreement at sentencing, which has not yet been scheduled.

The government alleges that beginning in 2005, Scotts produced a line of wild bird food products under names including “Morning Song” and “Country Pride” that contained insecticides.

Red meat, mortality, and the usual bad science…


From ZOË HARCOMBE

[Complete article here with the science and the data. See also Science, Pseudoscience, Nutritional Epidemiology, and Meat]

The media lit up on the evening of Monday March 12th as a press release was issued about an article in the Archives of Internal Medicine published that day.

The BBC were among the first to pick up the story and the story was featured extensively on BBC Breakfast TV and Radio 4 on Tuesday 13th March. Interestingly, John Humphries asked the pertinent question of science reporter Tom Feilden “We’re all going to die – let’s accept that. So what does this lower risk mean?” Tom couldn’t answer the question. He replied “It’s very difficult to unpick these statistics – these numbers are used as bald headlines.” Quite so!

So let us try to unpick the data and see what this article is all about:

At the outset we must highlight the error that this, and every similar study, makes. All that a study like this can even hope to achieve is to suggest a relationship between two things. To then leap from an observed association to causation or risk is ignorant and erroneous. This article makes this mistake – as has every other study I have reviewed demonising red or processed meat over the past year such as this or this

Is Modern Medicine the biggest swindle of them all?


From JIM KUNSTLER
Author of The Long Emergency

[Followup to this article is here]

[...] Last week, after a four year misadventure on an ultra low-fat vegan diet (no meat, no cheese, no eggs), I turned around 180 degrees and resumed eating all those verboten things again. I had been feeling shitty for a long time, in particular with muscle pain, muscle weakness, penetrating fatigue, and some weird neurological symptoms and I decided to take drastic measures.

This personal misadventure started about four and half years ago when my doctor read me the riot act on my cholesterol numbers. The total was around 290. I forget exactly what the LDL (“bad” cholesterol) was, but it wasn’t good, and ditto the HDL (“good” cholesterol) and the triglycerides (oy vay). The upshot was that my doctor put me on a whopping dose of the most powerful statin drug, Crestor 40mg (made by AstraZenica). I left his office feeling like my identity was transformed from a healthy normal person to a prisoner on death row.

I thought I had been leading a healthy life. Being self-employed, and master of my own schedule, I was able to work in a lot of exercise. For twenty-five years I was a runner. A hip replacement put an end to that. During that same period, I also swam a mile a day in the local YMCA lap pool. After hip surgery, I walked daily instead of running, kept swimming, and also did at least four weekly sessions in the weight room (including the cardio machines such as the elliptical trainer

Transition: Preparing for the Unimaginable…


From DAVE POLLARD
How To Save The World

[For those of us organizing for Transition, this may be the key insight... -DS]

One of the lessons of Nassim Taleb’s The Black Swan is that the events that have caused the greatest changes (and collectively most of the substantive change) to our civilization and our way of life were completely unexpected, unpredictable “black swan” events. His new book argues that rather than trying to plan and prepare for a future we can’t predict, we should do things that improve our resilience, and create systems that are “anti-fragile”. Unlike most fragile, complicated human-made systems, “anti-fragile” systems (such as evolution and other complex natural systems) actively adapt to, learn from and benefit from upheaval and dramatic change.

I have often said that that I believe the key to resilience in the coming decades will be our ability, in the moment, to imagine ways around the crises we cannot prevent, predict or plan for, and then navigate them.

So now I am sitting down with a small group of colleagues here on Bowen Island, starting to think about creating what the Transition Movement calls an “energy descent” plan for our island, and wondering how we can hope to plan for the unpredictable, unforeseeable, and unimaginable future we face.

I’ve been part of several

Why do they hate us?…


From CHRIS HEDGES
TruthDig

Murder Is Not an Anomaly in War

The war in Afghanistan—where the enemy is elusive and rarely seen, where the cultural and linguistic disconnect makes every trip outside the wire a visit to hostile territory, where it is clear that you are losing despite the vast industrial killing machine at your disposal—feeds the culture of atrocity. The fear and stress, the anger and hatred, reduce all Afghans to the enemy, and this includes women, children and the elderly. Civilians and combatants merge into one detested nameless, faceless mass. The psychological leap to murder is short. And murder happens every day in Afghanistan. It happens in drone strikes, artillery bombardments, airstrikes, missile attacks and the withering suppressing fire unleashed in villages from belt-fed machine guns.

Military attacks like these in civilian areas make discussions of human rights an absurdity. Robert Bales, a U.S. Army staff sergeant who allegedly killed 16 civilians in two Afghan villages, including nine children, is not an anomaly. To decry the butchery of this case and to defend the wars of occupation we wage is to know nothing about combat. We kill children nearly every day in Afghanistan. We do not usually kill them outside the structure of a military unit. If an American soldier had killed or wounded

How Greece threatens you and how going local offers the only refuge…


From RALPH NADER
Transition Voice

Banksters are now plundering Greece. How can turmoil in this tiny overseas economy affect your personal finances? 

For months now our stocks have gone up and down due to various concerns, but none more recurrent than concerns about the financial crisis in Greece. Morning after morning, New York City based casino capitalists trade with Greece and the latest rumors from Western Europe on their minds.

What will affluent Germany do to bail out the collapsing, debt-ridden country of Greece? Will France go along with those plans? Will the massive injection of liquidity by the European Central Bank help the banks to behave in ways that help Greece, among other countries? Day after trading day, the U.S.

Why? Greece is a country of just over ten million people with a GDP smaller than that of New Jersey. But because it is closest to the fiscal cliff, financial observers fear a domino effect. If Greece defaults badly, it could pull Portugal, Spain, Ireland and then possibly Italy closer to financial disaster.

Hey Mendo! So Cool! Free Skool Kicks Off Tonight 3/20/12 in Ukiah


From MENDO FREE SKOOL

Mendo Free Skool is a cooperative approach to living and learning. Run entirely by volunteers, Mendo Free Skool gives people an opportunity to share their skills and knowledge with one another. Anyone can be a teacher/learner/facilitator, so classes take on the flavor of whatever people are interested in at a given time. Through this project, we want to challenge dominant institutions and hierarchical relationships.

Some of the classes offered…

Brewing All-Grain Beer
Butchering Chicken Nicely
Creative Writing Workshop
Farm Day Frey Ranch
Field Video and Studio Production
Goat Milk Soap-Making
Intro to Guitar for Young People
Knitting and Radical Discussions
Practical Permaculture
Quilting Basics
Singing Circle
Bicycle Polo
Willow Basketry

Meet and greet each other for the initiation of the first Mendo Free Skool quarter of classes.

Collapse? Really?



Cuba

From SHARON ASTYK
ASPO-USA

[...] What’s interesting about the examples of Cuba is that it is further evidence to suggest that fairly small energy resource shocks can cause fairly serious consequences – one-fifth of all oil shouldn’t have led to serious hunger. Most people would reasonably argue that waste in the system and proper allocation of resources should have been able to absorb this – or will argue that the fault was the Cuban government’s. To some extent that last point is probably true, but we should remember that we have examples from the US that show that small energy supply disruptions can be extremely destructive – the oil shocks of the 1970s and the major recession that followed resulted from a reduction in imports of just over 5 percent.

So yes, I think we’re on a path toward some kind of collapse, without necessarily assuming cannibalism or even roving gangs of white-supremacist kale-stealers. I would like such a collapse to be averted very much, but it seems less and less likely that we will do so. And the evidence is becoming compelling that we are going to be facing economic, energy and climate crises all at the same time – and that I find it hard to imagine us navigating successfully. Is it impossible? Probably not, but certainly improbable.

What are the common features of collapsed societies?

Popup book of another kind…



Andreas Johansson, From where the sun now stands, 2011, paper and glue

From ANDREAS JOHANSSON
Voltashow.com

I have in recent years been engaged in making hand-made collages. I take photos of areas in my neighborhood that I cut apart and join together again in new constellations. By doing this, I create imaginary places that are both recognizable and completely alien. These new sites are constructions and have no history, while the places where the photographs once were taken have a very important past. For me, deserted places have a great symbolic value. They represent society’s backside, but also freedom beyond control and regulations. As a child, it was the funniest playground imaginable.

See video display of book here
~~


James Houle: United Nations — Just Another Imperialist Tool


From JAMES HOULE
Obama-Watch.com
Redwood Valley

One year after the United Nations gave their approval for NATO to intervene in the civil war just then erupting in Benghazi, their Human Rights Commission has issued a “mousey” report accusing both sides of violations of human rights but purposely avoiding any mention of the destruction of civilians neighborhoods of major cities and the wanton obliteration of whole towns by precision bombing raids conducted by Norway, Denmark, Great Britain, France, Italy and the United States. NATO refused to cooperate in the HRA investigations. The article below by Vijay Prashad carefully summarizes the UN report. It does not take much imagination to see how the same tactics can be employed in Syria: NATO airstrikes to eliminate the air defenses, the import of foreign agents and mercenaries, and the smuggling of weapons.

NATO’S Craven Coverup of Its Libyan Bombing 
by Vijay Prashad March 15, 2012
Ten days into the uprising in Benghazi, Libya, the United Nations’ Human Rights Council established the International Commission of Inquiry on Libya. The purpose of the Commission was to “investigate all alleged violations of international human rights law in Libya.” The broad agenda was to establish the facts of the violations and crimes and to take such actions

Cabin Porn…


From THE ATLANTIC

What It Means That Urban Hipsters Like Staring at Pictures of Cabins

“In dreaming about an idyllic past, we are also imagining the future.”

A generation of hipsters has contracted cabin fever. The Cabin Porn website has become one of these internet hits, spreading through blogs, Facebook posts, tumblr reposts, Twitter mentions, and so on. Why can’t all these people stop looking at cabins? What is the allure? Put simply, Cabin Porn is visual stimulation of the urge for a simpler life in beautiful surroundings. Commenters are likening it to “channeling your inner Thoreau.” Cabin Porn represents the return of the homesteader, living off the grid, self-sufficient and self-reliant… Story here


~~

Dave Smith: Soul School…


From DAVE SMITH
Ukiah
Excerpted from To Be Of Use -
The Seven Seeds of Meaningful Work (2005)

Guy Murchie wrote a wonderful book called The Seven Mysteries of Life, published in 1978 and still in print. Subtitled An Exploration in Science and Philosophy and almost 700 pages in length, it was called by one reviewer “a staggering work of encyclopedic proportions, with a stirring noble vision to match.”

Murchie’s artful combination of scientific explanation and visionary, mystical spirit is both challenging and inspirational. Murchie writes, “The only hypothesis for the nature of this troubled world that fits all the known facts [is] the hypothesis that planet Earth, is, in essence, a Soul School.” He asks us to test that hypothesis by imagining that we are God, intent upon creating a world for the creatures we are creating to live in. Could we “possibly dream up a more educational, contrasty, thrilling, beautiful, tantalizing world than Earth to develop spirit in?” Would we want to make the world comfortable, safe, and free of danger, or “provocative, dangerous, and exciting” — as it is? He then goes on to say that the tests we meet in life are not to punish us but are here to “reveal the soul to itself,” that the world is a “workshop … for molding and refining character.”

Is there such a thing as a ‘sincere conservative’ Christian?…


“…Ha! Surely thou jests!”

From MIKE LUX
Co-founder and CEO, Progressive Strategies

A lot of people have asked me how it is that so many Republicans claim to follow Jesus in spite of apparently not following his actual teachings at all. How is it that they say they are Christians yet seem to believe the exact opposite of what he taught? How can you square the fact that — while the Jesus of the New Testament preached kindness, generosity, mercy, not judging others, welcoming the stranger and helping the poor — people who claim they follow him seem to disdain the poor, vigorously judge everyone who doesn’t agree with them, show no mercy and seem to have a serious mean streak? Excellent questions…

In his first sermon, he says he has come to bring good news to the poor and liberty to the captives, and calls for the rich to forgive the debts of the poor. He repeatedly spoke with disdain about the wealthy, almost as much as he talked about the importance of helping the poor. He challenged the authorities who were about to stone a woman to death. He drove the money changers from the Temple.

The Manure Chronicles, Part One


Rabbit Manure Garlic Mulch photo by Marcia Sloane

From TODD WALTON
UnderTheTableBooks.com
Mendocino

You got to have smelt a lot of mule manure before you can sing like a hillbilly.” Hank Williams

Sandy calls to say she’s gotten permission to harvest rabbit manure from her friend’s rabbit barn. So I load my wheelbarrow and a big shovel into my little old pickup and head for Fort Bragg. A sunny spring morning, the angry winds of the past few days in abeyance, I roll along the Comptche-Ukiah Road at forty miles per and try to remember if over the decades of gathering manure for my various gardens, I have ever scored more than a baggy of rabbit manure. Horse, mule, cow, sheep, goat, chicken…but never a truckload of rabbit poop, until today.

At the intersection of Little Lake Road and Highway One, I pull over to pick up two scruffy humans, their formidable backpacks, and three large dogs. Before I can announce how far I’m going, the humans and dogs scramble into the back of the pickup and hunker down around my big blue wheelbarrow, a smile on every face. I roll down my window and say, “I’m going to Fort Bragg. Please keep a good hold on your dogs.”

To which the taller human rejoins, “No worries, man. No worries.”

Patriots of Place



Coming April 7th to Ukiah
Ukiah Natural Foods Co-op Annual Meeting

Co-Edited by Paula Manalo
Mendocino Organics
~~ 

Sacred Economics…


The story of our separation from each other and from nature is becoming obsolete, is no longer true, is generating crises that are unsolvable… At each crisis moment we have a collective choice: do we give up the game and join the people, or do we hold on even tighter? It’s up to us to determine at what point this wakeup will happen…

You can visit the Sacred Economics homepage here.

Introduction

The purpose of this book is to make money and human economy as sacred as everything else in the universe.

Today we associate money with the profane, and for good reason. If anything is sacred in this world, it is surely not money. Money seems to be the enemy of our better instincts, as is clear every time the thought “I can’t afford to” blocks an impulse toward kindness or generosity. Money seems to be the enemy of beauty, as the disparaging term “a sellout” demonstrates. Money seems to be the enemy of every worthy social and political reform, as corporate power steers legislation toward the aggrandizement of its own profits. Money seems to be destroying the earth, as we pillage the oceans, the forests, the soil, and every species to feed a greed that knows no end.

From at least the time that Jesus threw the money changers from the temple, we have sensed that there is something unholy about money. When politicians seek money instead of the public good, we call them corrupt. Adjectives like “dirty” and “filthy” naturally describe money. Monks are supposed to have little to do with it: “You cannot serve God and Mammon.”

At the same time, no one can deny that money has a mysterious, magical quality as well, the power to alter human behavior and coordinate human activity. From ancient times thinkers have marveled at the ability of a mere mark to confer this power upon a disk of metal or slip of paper. Unfortunately, looking at the world around us, it is hard to avoid concluding that the magic of money is an evil magic.

Obviously, if we are to make money into something sacred, nothing less than a wholesale revolution in money will suffice, a transformation of its essential nature. It is not merely our attitudes about money that must change, as some self-help gurus would have us believe; rather, we will create new kinds of money

Letting it all go…


From GUY McPHERSON
Transition Voice

I had the brass ring. And I let it go. I had reached the pinnacle of the educational world: I was atenured full professor by the age of 40. I walked away from that life, which I loved, an act that made most people think I’d lost my mind. I’ll not rule that out, but I want to tell you my side of the story anyway.

After trying to change the morally bankrupt system in which we are immersed, I realized the system was changing me, and not for the better. So I let go when I realized the first step I can take toward destroying this irredeemably corrupt system is to leave it. I hope you come to understand some of the disadvantages of industrial civilization. If you do, I invite you to join me in letting go.

The beginning of the story is an important part, so I’ll start much earlier than you’ll appreciate — with my birth, in fact, though I won’t get into the bloody details.

Born into captivity

Born into captivity and assimilated into the normalcy bias of a historically abnormal period in world history, I did all the things this culture expected from me. For example, I began my career in the expected manner: I was a classroom conservative. I even taught my dog to whistle. As you might expect, I received accolades and numerous awards for teaching, advising, and scholarship. Early on, I realized students don’t care what you know until they know you care — about them. And I did, in ways that made my colleagues question whose side I was on even while I was pointing out that, in educating ourselves and others, we’re all on the same side.

Even though I taught, and taught, and taught, my dog never did learn to whistle, which showed me something important: Even earnest, caring teaching doesn’t necessarily lead to learning. The Sage on the Stage approach is dead. So, too, is the model of student as customer. So I switched my approach to one based on a “Corps of Discovery” in which every participant is expected to contribute to the learning of every other participant.

Rev Billy…


~

Whistleblowers in Solidarity

From REV BILLY

It was a three day gathering, February 17, 18, 19th at the International Hotel at UC Berkeley. It left me dazed and elated. After the Whistleblowers – the things we’ll do inside banks has just escalated to the surreal heights. There’s no turning back now!

The Whistleblower’s Conference was organized by the Fresh Juice Party. This was the group that interrupted Barack Obama’s fundraising dinner last year. A number of the President’s many-bucks-per-chew friends stood up unexpectedly and sang directly at him a song with lyrics that repeatedly rhymed with “Bradley Manning.”

The Whistleblowers gathering had a certain feeling from the start. The circles of people presided over by for Defense Dept. and CIA whistleblowers like Col. Ann Wright and Daniel Elsberg and Ray McGovern –  seemed to be sitting inside history. By “inside” history I mean for the first time in decades history felt sensible – able to be sensed. Old warriors who had blown the whistle on government lies were sitting in folding chairs talking with Occupy youth with pup tents on hotel’s lawn.

The heightened quality in the way participants spoke had to do with the general emergency of world CO2 emissions rising every week. That was the climate of the conference. The specific scandal was  saber rattling over Iran, a script so identical to Iraq, to the bombing

Making Local Food Our Future: A Community Response to the Global Food System


From KATHERINE DARLING
STIR UK

Attempts to find solutions to the problems we face in the current climate of economic uncertainty, energy insecurity and environmental concerns can seem overwhelming. One of the biggest challenges we face is that of food security – leading food producers have warned that unless the UK urgently develops a food strategy we will be left relying on imported food and without a sustainable future for British food production.

But it seems more and more people are taking notice. Across the country, individuals are coming together to set up their own food solutions – from community shops and co-operative farmers’ markets to community supported agriculture projects and veg box schemes. In fact, their impact is so great that they are considered a movement, with community food enterprises springing up in communities everywhere, from small rural villages in Cumbria to the busy streets of central London.

Making Local Food Work – a Big Lottery Fund funded initiative led by Plunkett Foundation – has worked with over 1,300 of these enterprises, reaching out to over 3 million people. Jennifer Smith, head of managing the programme, notes the real shift in momentum over the last four and a half years of the project: “The community food sector as a whole has grown significantly over the past four and a half years,” she says. “But interestingly, it’s not just that the number of enterprises has grown; we’re increasingly seeing communities linking up different activities to create a local food system, with the ability to offer their community a much broader range of services.”

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