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Archive for August, 2012|Monthly archive page

Will Parrish: The Disenrollment Of Clayton Duncan

In Around Mendo Island on August 31, 2012 at 7:21 am

Clayton Duncan, center.

From WILL PARRISH
Ukiah
TheAVA

For as far back as Clayton Duncan can trace, the maternal side of his family has belonged to the land in and around Robinson Rancheria: a federal Indian reservation off Highway 20 near Nice, grudgingly allotted 107 acres as part of the 1978 federal court case United States Government vs. Mabel Duncan (Clayton’s grandmother). For thousands of years, the family was part of a thriving complex of cultures that white anthropologists dubbed “Eastern Pomo.” In the past 160 years, they have been key figures in keeping alive what remains of those cultures.

Duncan’s great grandfather, Solomon Moore, grew up in the Eastern Pomo village of Shigom, on the east side of Clear Lake. His grandmother, Lucy Moore, hailed from the village of Danoha, situated along an eastern affluent of lower Scott Creek, near where Highway 29 curls around Clear Lake More…

Todd Walton: Cheating

In Todd Walton on August 31, 2012 at 7:05 am


From TODD WALTON
Under The Table
Mendocino

“I was thrown out of college for cheating on the metaphysics exam; I looked into the soul of the boy sitting next to me.” Woody Allen

So… Melky Cabrera, the star outfielder of our San Francisco Giants, has been suspended for fifty games for using performance-enhancing drugs, which means all his game-winning hits and spectacular catches are now suspect and this year’s success of my favorite team is suspect, too.

“Everyone cheats,” said Carlo, when I called him to commiserate about Melky’s suspension. “You think he’s the only one cheating? Guys on every team cheat every day because if they don’t cheat they’re out of work. That’s why they risk getting caught, because at least when they’re on the juice they’ve got a chance as opposed to no chance. And it’s not just baseball and football and the Olympics. This whole fucking society is built on cheating. Look at the toxic derivatives the Wall Street cons use to bankrupt the world. More…

Art, Independence and Spirit – Van Gogh, Brenda Ueland

In Books on August 30, 2012 at 7:00 am

From BRENDA UELAND
Excerpted from If You Want To Write (1939)
Still in print
[Repost]

If you read the letters of the painter Van Gogh you will see what his creative impulse was. It was just this: he loved something—the sky, say. He loved human beings. He wanted to show human beings how beautiful the sky was. So he painted it for them. And that was all there was to it.

When Van Gogh was a young man in his early twenties, he was in London studying to be a clergyman. He had no thought of being an artist at all. He sat in his cheap little room writing a letter to his younger brother in Holland, whom he loved very much. He looked out his window at a watery twilight, a thin lampost, a star, and he said in his letter something like this: “It is so beautiful I must show you how it looks.” And then on his cheap ruled note paper, he made the most beautiful, tender, little drawing of it.

When I read this letter of Van Gogh’s it comforted me very much More…

The Best Book Reviews Money Can Buy…

In Books on August 30, 2012 at 6:55 am


From DAVID STREITFELD
NYT

Todd Rutherford was 7 years old when he first understood the nature of supply and demand. He was with a bunch of other boys, one of whom showed off a copy of Playboy to giggles and intense interest. Todd bought the magazine for $5, tore out the racy pictures and resold them to his chums for a buck apiece. He made $20 before his father shut him down a few hours later.

A few years ago, Mr. Rutherford, then in his mid-30s, had another flash of illumination about how scarcity opens the door to opportunity.

He was part of the marketing department of a company that provided services to self-published writers — services that included persuading traditional media and blogs to review the books. It was uphill work. He could churn out press releases all day long, trying to be noticed, but there is only so much space for the umpteenth vampire novel or yet another self-improvement More…

Biochar Bob goes to Hawaii…

In Around the web on August 30, 2012 at 6:48 am


Join Biochar Bob as he travels to Hawaii and talks to a variety of biochar producers and users…

Biochar Bob… has a strong passion for soil science, biochar and life in general. Bob’s mission is to tell the biochar story, through the people, the places, the reasons, and the results related to biochar’s development and use around the world.

Bob is the spokesperson of CAFT: the Char Alliance for the First Tier. The First Tier represents organizations around the world that have working demonstrations and adoptable business models in the developing world. As you must know by now, biochar in the soil, clean cooking charcoal, and cleaner stoves in the home, can all have a dramatic impact on the health and prosperity of developing world citizens. CAFT’s project partners get this and have taken on the extremely hard work of demonstrating such grassroots developments  three very different regions, climates, and nations, and now it’s time for the world, through the eyes of Bob…
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GOP: Deceptions wrapped up in falsehoods…

In Around the web on August 29, 2012 at 6:45 am

From ADELE M. STAN
AlterNet

6 Big Lies By Republican National Convention Speakers, Day One…

The entire program of the convention’s opening night was based on a deception wrapped up in falsehoods.

On the opening day of its national convention, the Republican Party refrained from putting its full crazy on display in favor of unleashing a mere torrent of mendacity.

Not that there wasn’t a heavy quotient of weirdness.

A white man sang a full complement of R&B songs to a nearly all-white audience of delegates. (Thank you, G.E. Smith Band.) Old people danced comically to the strains of 3 Doors Down.

The Ron Paul people accused the G.O.P. of More…

Dave Pollard: What Makes Us Trust Someone…

In Around the web on August 29, 2012 at 5:53 am

From DAVE POLLARD
How To Save The World

Trust is an essential requirement for an effective, functional community. Our modern, anonymous neighbourhoods provide none of the prerequisites for trust, and hence can never be true communities. In our search for community, many of us reach out instead to those outside our neighbourhoods, looking for support, or reassurance, or knowledge, or partners, or just company. But what is it that makes us trust, or distrust, someone? Is trust something that must be earned, or is it implicit, and can only be destroyed and lost?

Much has been written lately on this subject. Many would argue that trust is something that grows with mutual knowledge, openness, and sharing. I think that’s true to some extent but I believe trust is much more primal than that. It surely predated language. It is evident in non-humans who do not use language as we do, and whose social networks are not established the way ours are. Watch two dogs meeting for the first time and you’ll see what underlies the establishment and building or destruction of trust. We are, after all, much more than our minds, and our minds, I would argue, play a relatively minor role in the establishment of trust. Here’s how I think it works, based on my own observation of creatures human and non:

  1. As Keith Johnstone explains in Impro, when we first meet someone, before a word is spoken, our whole bodies are sending and receiving signals, largely unconsciously, to and from the other person. Our processing of those signals is also largely unconscious, as our conscious minds generally tend to rationalize and/or second-guess, rather than create More…

Gene Logsdon: The Weather May Not Be the Problem

In Gene Logsdon Blog - The Contrary Farmer on August 29, 2012 at 5:43 am

From GENE LOGSDON
The Contrary Farmer

There are so many stark contrasts in the world today. These are times out of which great epics of literature ought to be written but aren’t. Society is too engrossed in drivel like whether badminton players in the Olympics were cheating or not. This summer, the driest in 50 years in parts of the Midwest, the Army Corps of Engineers is dredging deeper channels for the barges on the Mississippi River, which is at an all time low level. Just last year, rainfall in the eastern corn belt was at an all-time high and the Corps was desperately trying to control flooding on the Mississippi.

Weather-related contrasts are occurring here in my own Ohio backyard where it barely rained at all from May to August. Close to our farm stand two cornfields just across a narrow road from each other. One has nearly normal corn and the other (in one of the photos) has drought-stricken corn. I know personally both farmers who planted these two fields and both are very competent. The soil in both fields is the same. Fertilizer applied was about the same. Rainfall was the same. This contrast appears all over the county, all over the state, all over the Corn Belt. What is going on here?

Farmers and farm reporters and this blog have talked the question half to death. Our own local chapter of contrary farmers lists these possibilities for the difference in the two fields: time of planting, depth of planting, corn variety, seed bed preparation, plant population, and prayer. Since the two farmers involved both attend church regularly, I think we can rule out that last factor. More…

Why Is God Punishing The GOP With Storms? Three Wrath-Provoking Possibilities…

In Around the web on August 28, 2012 at 6:22 am


From RICHARD ESKOW
OurFuture

“He who trusts in his riches will fall …
He who troubles his own house will inherit the wind”

- Proverbs 11

When Hurricane Gunter tormented Republicans during their 2008 convention, one of the ecancellations caused by the storm was a speech from outgoing President George W. Bush. He’s the one who famously said he didn’t need to ask his ex-President Dad for advice because “there is a higher Father I appeal to.”Apparently that Father didn’t find President Bush all that appealing. In fact, the storm’s path shifted away from the convention immediately after his speech was cancelled. Hello, down there, is anybody listening? This year’s Republican Convention is also being forced to shorten and change its schedule as a fearsome wind and rain bears down from the ocean. ” … A destroying storm, as a flood of mighty waters overflowing, shall cast down to the earth with the hand. The crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, shall be trodden under feet.”The theological world is ablaze with speculation about what might have motivated God to send a hurricane against the Republican Party’s National Convention for the second time in a row.

Okay, maybe it’s not ablaze with speculation. But it should be. After all, it was Republican preacher Pat Robertson who expressed the idea that hurricanes and storms are God’s way of registering disapproval More…

We all came to the Occupation damaged…

In Around the web on August 28, 2012 at 6:05 am


From RAMI SHAMIR
Adbusters

During the time of physical Occupation, when incorporated reporters would daily swarm through Zuccotti Park, a common question that the unleashed bees would ask in their search for honey was “Why?” Why would you leave your life to come here and live outside in a park with a bunch of people you don’t know?

I’m still somewhat at a loss as to how not one of these journalists decided to join up with the Occupation, entrench themselves beneath the golden leaves and report directly from the front lines of this new fissure in the American unexperience. Had these new Edward R. Murrows and Walter Cronkites bothered to make Zuccotti Park more than just an occasional Sunday outing in the shadow of the Freedom Tower, they’d have quickly learned that everyone who came to the physical Occupation had no life whatsoever to leave. The Occupiers at Zuccotti were refugees from the American nowhere: street veterans of urban vagrancy, homeless queer youth, a whole generation born too late but educated too wise even to attempt to scrape the crumbs off the ground of the long-ago devoured American pie; those of us who attempted despite ourselves quickly found that even the crumbs were gone. Yes – there were people who left previous lives to live outside in a park, but these lives were nothing but a prelude, a purgatory, windowless waiting rooms to being alive: housewives suffocating within the glade of their upper middle class Panhandle, fiancées wedded to repeat variations on the themes of their parents’ marriages, office workers whose skin color prevented More…

A British Town Relearns How to Live Off the Land…

In Around the web on August 27, 2012 at 5:30 am

From PAM WARHURST
Incredible Edible
Todmorden, West Yorkshire, UK

What should a community do with its unused land? Plant food, of course. With energy and humor, Pam Warhurst tells at the TEDSalon the story of how she and a growing team of volunteers came together to turn plots of unused land into communal vegetable gardens, and to change the narrative of food in their community.
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Incredible Edibles: How guerrilla gardeners have transformed a town’s public spaces

Can you imagine planting potatoes, beans, peas and carrots in front of a police station?

I spent a delightful few hours this week in Todmorden, West Yorkshire, a town recently ravaged by floods.

It’s gorgeous, olde worlde without being twee, surrounded by beautiful scenery.

There’s a river, a canal and a magnificent railway viaduct.

In short, it’s a very pleasant place to be, and only 16 miles from the centre of Manchester.

I can already hear some readers grumbling: “But what’s this to do with practical gardening tips?”

Well, if you are interested in community, interested in plants and if you’re interested in growing fruit and veg and herbs, visit this town and be inspired about what has happened and is happening elsewhere when people band together armed with their spades, forks and rakes. More…

The Rot Runs Deep: The Federal Reserve Is a Parasitic Wealth Transfer Machine…

In Around the web on August 27, 2012 at 5:25 am

From CHARLES HUGH SMITH
of two minds

The Federal Reserve is a wealth transfer machine, skimming wealth from the productive many and transferring it to the parasitic few.

Today I launch a series entitled “The Rot Runs Deep” that examines the moral and financial rot at the core of American finance, politics and culture. We have reached a unique junction of American history: the confluence of Big Lie propaganda, neofeudalism and the worship of false financial gods.

The Big Lie propaganda machine of corporate media and the Central State has perfected Orwell’s nightmare vision of centralized media and a fascist centralized State which turn lies into self-serving “truth.”

Since the Federal Reserve is once again expected to “save” a crumbling, exploitative Status Quo, let’s use the Fed as an example. The propaganda machine would have us believe that the Federal Reserve, the privately owned central bank of the U.S., has “saved” the Status Quo from financial ruin on numerous occasions by “smoothing out” the business cycle (credit expands and contracts) and by “stimulating aggregate demand” by lowering interest rates and pumping money into the economy (quantitative easing).

We are constantly prompted to worship the Federal Reserve’s supposedly god-like powers to rescue More…

William Edelen: Hebrew Mysticism

In William Edelen Blog - The Contrary Minister on August 26, 2012 at 9:09 am

From WILLIAM EDELEN
The Contrary Minister
Towards the Mystery

Dr. Stanley Dean, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Miami, and editor of the book Psychiatry and Mysticism writes: “The study of mysticism should be a part of the curriculum of medical schools.” He defines mysticism as “knowledge or awareness that reaches a persons consciousness through channels other than those known to us at present.”

One of the major movements in Judaism today is a return to Hebrew Mysticism. I have chosen the following examples to indicate the strength and direction of this movement. Rabbi David Teutsch, Executive Director of the Federation of Congregations, writes: “We are moving toward a new Judaism. It will have as classical a shape when viewed a thousand years from now as biblical Judaism has now. A new, revitalized Jewish spirituality will emerge.” Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb describes the movement as experiencing “a freedom to take religion and Judaism out of its conventional forms and bring it back to the heart and soul of the earth.” It is a desire to create a new spirituality and physical unity with this planet.

Traditional Jewish services have been turned around and pointed in a new direction. Instead of sitting in orderly pews, facing East toward Jerusalem and reading from standard prayer books, the participants sit in a circle. The rationale is that, since God is within each one of us, it is better to look at your friend when you pray than to imagine an ancient Holy Temple. Liturgy and ritual have been invented and revitalized. More…

What Happens While You Sleep and How It Affects Your Every Waking Moment…

In Books on August 26, 2012 at 9:00 am

From MARIA POPOVA
BrainPickings

“We are living in an age when sleep is more comfortable than ever and yet more elusive.”

The Ancient Greeks believed that one fell asleep when the brain filled with blood and awakened once it drained back out. Nineteenth-century philosophers contended that sleep happened when the brain was emptied of ambitions and stimulating thoughts. “If sleep doesn’t serve an absolutely vital function, it is the greatest mistake evolution ever made,” biologist Allan Rechtschaffen once remarked. Even today, sleep remains one of the most poorly understood human biological functions, despite some recent strides in understanding the “social jetlag” of our internal clocks and the relationship between dreaming and depression. In Dreamland: Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep, journalist David K. Randall — who stumbled upon the idea after crashing violently into a wall while sleepwalking — explores “the largest overlooked part of your life and how it affects you even if you don’t have a sleep problem.” From gender differences to how come some people snore and others don’t to why we dream, he dives deep into this mysterious third of human existence to illuminate what happens when night falls and how it impacts every aspect of our days.

Most of us will spend a full third of our lives asleep, and yet we don’t have the faintest idea of what it does for our bodies and our brains. Research labs offer surprisingly few answers. Sleep is one of the dirty little secrets of science. My neurologist wasn’t kidding when he said there was a lot that we don’t know about sleep, starting with the most obvious question of all — why we, and every other animal, need to sleep in the first place.

But before we get too anthropocentrically arrogant in our assumptions, it turns out the quantitative requirement of sleep isn’t correlated with how high up the evolutionary chain an organism is:

Lions and gerbils sleep about thirteen hours a day. Tigers and squirrels nod off for about fifteen hours. At the other end of the spectrum, elephants typically sleep three and a half hours at a time, which seems lavish compared to the hour and a half of shut-eye that the average giraffe gets each night. […]

Humans need roughly one hour of sleep for every two hours they are awake, and the body innately knows when this ratio becomes out of whack. Each hour of missed sleep one night will result in deeper sleep the next, until the body’s sleep debt is wiped clean.

What, then, happens as we doze off, exactly? Like all science, our understanding of sleep seems to be a constant “revision in progress”:

Complete article here
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Herb Ruhs: Comments on Stress posting…

In Around Mendo Island on August 25, 2012 at 7:56 am

From HERB RUHS
Boonville

[Herb comments on the recent post Stress: Portrait of a Killer. Upcoming film from Transition Ukiah Valley Film Series this Fall, Urban Roots, addresses Herb's solutions...-DS]

The sick irony (as in sick joke) is that prolonged stress, like alcohol, disables one’s judgement leaving one even more susceptible to stress producing environments and behaviors. In the extreme, the individual, even the group or family or society itself, becomes addicted to stress because intermittent stress relief via drugs or other delusions is highly reinforcing. Another sick irony is that this stress driven culture has evolved a scientific establishment that can show us, in detail, how we are killing ourselves, our families, our societies and eventually, our entire species. I am muchly entertained. If you can’t appreciate cosmic humor and intense irony (two faces of the same phenomenon) all your suffering is going to waste. This is how this became the most interesting of times. Anthropology is especially useful in stroking the strings of irony. Over the last few millennia the stress addicted cultures have largely exterminated all gentle cultures they have come across, but isolated bits and pieces — like magically preserved items salvaged from a house fire — do exist, even here in the US. The ones I have come across are universally poor areas where people living largely at a subsistence level help each other. These places also uniformly lack resources that can be turned into global commodities.

Our thinking is perversely confined to individualistic considerations, which is driving all this. It is as if we have become socially blind and are stumbling around in the dark getting hurt and hurting others. Even worse is the suppression of that small part of the society that actually does have a social perspective. The Wobblies’ well known motto of a hundred years ago, An Injury To One Is An Injury To All, was driven into incomprehension by the public mind as scientific propaganda replaced actual reality with a toxic mimic of ever more carefully constructed webs of lies. This is what Winston’s friend in 1984 meant when he described the deliberate wounding of the public mind so as to make independent thought, critical judgement, and the direct apprehension of reality impossible for the vast majority and suppressible in Room 101 with scientific emotional torture. If divide and conquer is the basic strategy of oppression, then the logical extreme is that is each individual is divided from each other, thereby erasing the reality of society itself as Margret Thatcher asserted while claiming that there is no such thing as society. But more importantly, each individual is divided in herself, at perpetual war with her own intrinsic drives to connect. The slave master seeks a helpless slave. The message becomes, “Poison yourself. It’s good for you.”

Of course following these trains of thought and observation can be harmful to one’s mental health More…

A “Tea Party Wanker” whipping up fear gets his…

In Around the web on August 25, 2012 at 7:00 am



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The End of the Industrial Revolution… What a Privilege…

In Around the web on August 24, 2012 at 6:30 am

From PAUL GILDING
Cockatoo Chronicles
Ted Talks Version

What a privilege it is to be alive in these times, in such a significant period in human history. It’s not always easy to see moments of great historical importance when you’re in the middle of them. Sometimes they’re dramatic, like the fall of the Berlin Wall or the landing on the moon. But more often the really big ones appear, from within them, to be unfolding in slow motion. Their actual drama and speed then only becomes clear in hindsight.

That’s how it will be with this. But in the end we’ll look back at this moment and say, yes, that’s when it was clear, that’s when the end game began. The end game of the industrial revolution.

Hang on, you’re thinking. The industrial revolution? With its belching smokestacks, dirty industry and steam engines? You thought we left that behind long ago, right? You look at your smart phone, robots on Mars, the rise of Facebook and Google and think ‘we’re well past all that’. Isn’t this the age of knowledge, when we’re all hyper-connected in a 24/7 information rich economy? Think again.

Hiding behind those entertaining devices, information overload and exciting new companies, the real bulk of the economy is still being driven by those dirty belching smokestacks and is still being shaped by those who inherited the economic momentum of 19th century England – the coal, oil and gas industries. Look at any list of the world’s 20 largest companies by turnover and you’ll see around three quarters are either producing fossil fuels, trading them or converting them into transport or energy. So I’m afraid the proverbial belching smokestacks still underpin our economy. But they are now in terminal decline. Yes, after 250 years, their time is coming to an end – and faster than you, or they, think.

For those of us focused on social change, it doesn’t get much more exciting than this. When I was writing my book The Great Disruption during 2010, and even when it was published just a year ago, the ideas in it were still fringe to the mainstream debate – a radical and provocative interpretation of what was happening. Most thought my argument – that a crisis driven economic transformation was inevitable – were, if correct, certainly not imminent and would not impact for decades. Just two years later, we only have to look around to see the disruption underway, as the old economy grinds to a halt, and the incredible opportunity for change that is now all around us.

It’s going to be a wild and exhilarating ride, with winners and losers, crises and breakthroughs. There’ll be a fair amount of chaos and we’ll teeter on the edge for a while, wondering if we’ll get through. But we will, and we’ll then look back to this time and say, yes, I was there.  I was there when the third great wave of human progress began. The first was the domestication of plants and animals More…

Todd Walton: Helen Gurley Brown

In Todd Walton on August 24, 2012 at 6:15 am


Photo of 1978 Cosmopolitan by Todd

From TODD WALTON
Under The Table
Mendocino

“How could any woman not be a feminist? The girl I’m editing for wants to be known for herself. If that’s not a feminist message, I don’t know what is.” Helen Gurley Brown

Why am I writing about Helen Gurley Brown, famed editor of Cosmopolitan magazine and a champion of sexual freedom or a promoter of sexual enslavement, depending on your particular socio-political orientation? Well, because Helen Gurley Brown just died at the age of ninety, and though many people consider her a traitor to feminism, and many others see her as a pioneering feminist and social revolutionary, Helen was one of the very few magazine editors in America in the 1970’s and 80’s who would publish my short stories about the challenges facing men and women in the chaos of sexual and social change that arrived with the birth control pill and the dawn of the feminist epoch; thus I have no doubt about where I stand regarding Ms. Brown’s place in the history of psycho-sexual discourse.

Ironically, or appropriately, I intended all eight of my stories that were eventually published in Cosmopolitan to be published in other magazines, notably Esquire and The New Yorker, for I did not read Cosmopolitan or have any great desire to be published therein. But I was not famous, nor was I a member of the literary society with access to the editors of those seemingly more sophisticated magazines, and so despite the valiant efforts of my incomparable literary agent Dorothy Pittman, I was never able to publish a story in either Esquire or The New Yorker, though we received many flattering rejection letters from editors at both magazines.

The very first short story I ever sold for actual money (as opposed to the mere glory of seeing my name in print) was to Cosmopolitan in 1975 for the staggering sum of one thousand dollars, with ten per cent of that fortune going to Dorothy. In one fell swoop I was lifted out of poverty, for in those days my monthly nut was seventy-five dollars: thirty dollars rent (I was living in a garage in Eugene, Oregon), thirty dollars for food, fifteen dollars for everything else. One day I was surviving on rice and beans and barely making ends meet with minimum wage work, the next day I was writing full-time and buying the occasional chicken to round out my menu.

Naively, I thought the publication of Willow, a provocative tale of a woman boxer who gets a shot at the male welterweight crown,would quickly be followed by more sales to Cosmopolitan and other magazines, but the gods did not so smile on me again until those nine hundred dollars were long gone and I had moved to Medford, Oregon to work as a landscaper. But oh how I relished that year of unfettered scribbling, a twelvemonth that saw the completion of my novel The Gimp that would be published three years later as Inside Moves, which publication procured for me More…

Conspiracy Theories or Conspiracy Facts?…

In Around the web on August 24, 2012 at 5:00 am

From GUY McPHERSON
Nature Bats Last

American writer Tracy Kidder points out: “In order to go on with our lives, we are always capable of making the ominous into the merely strange.” We ignore ominous warning signs at our own peril. But ignore them we will, and have. And we continue to call them strange, thus attempting to build a protective shell around our tender psyches, comforting ourselves with an amorphous web of blatant lies.

Daniel Ellsberg knows about conspiracies and ominous signs. As he says, “Secrets … can be kept reliably … for decades … even though they are known to thousands of insiders.” These include, for example, the conspiracy he exposed with the Pentagon Papers, as well as the CIA’s apparent assassination of JFK. Such conspiracies are particularly likely in a police state such as the United States where habeas corpus no longer exists and American citizens can be “legally” assassinated. Strategic assassination is just another step toward complete compliance of the citizenry.

In other words, conspiracy theories sometimes are fact. If opportunity, motive, and means are evident, don’t rule out conspiracy merely because you’ll be labeled a conspiracy theorist.

English philosopher Bertrand Russell put his own spin on the horrors of uncovering the truth via thought:

Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth, more than ruin, more even than death. Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible, thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habit. Thought looks into the pit of hell and is not afraid. Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world, and the chief glory of man.

Small wonder, then, most refuse to think. Thinking is hard, so the majority of Americans prefer television instead. Swimming against a profoundly strong cultural current is nearly impossible, especially when the resulting discomfort threatens our own privilege. And conspiracy theories certainly threaten the ill-founded notion of American exceptionalism.

False-flag terror attacks? Check.

American government agencies buying enough ammunition to kill every citizen five times? Check.

U.S. Supreme Court collaborating with the executive branch to increase corporate power? Check, since 1971 (at least).

Goldman Sachs defrauding its clients with the knowledge of the Securities and Exchange Commission? Check.

Civilian deaths from drones covered up? Check.

The First Amendment More…

Roundup of Occupy Movement News…

In Around the web on August 23, 2012 at 7:30 am

A Russian man protests the persecution of Pussy Riot.

From THE OCCUPIED WALL STREET JOURNAL

This week in Occupy, Pussy Riot was sentenced to two years in Russian prison, we expressed solidarity with General Motors hunger strikers in Colombia, activists far and nigh set their sights on Tampa and the Republican National Convention, and the one-year Occuversary is approaching.

#After a short trial, three members of Pussy Riot, an all-girl punk band who sang two minutes of an anti-Putin song in a Russian Orthodox church, were sentenced to two years in a prison colony. Read their awesome closing statement. The court responsible for sentencing them was later hacked. Occupy Wall Street massed in Times Square to protest the verdict.

#On August 1, workers of ASOTRECOL, the association of injured workers and ex-workers at the General Motors plant in Bogotá, Colombia, launched a hunger strike. Some workers sewed their mouths shut in protest.


#
Machete-wielding workers engaged in a wildcat strike for higher wages at a platinum mine in South Africa and were fired upon by heavily armed officers. 34 were killed.

#The Republican National Convention is upon us. Kicking things off will be the March on the RNC on August 27. Occupy Wall Street is planning to charter busloads of protesters south for the festivities. CODEPINK would like you to send your vagina artwork to the Republican National Committee. Food Not Bombs will furnish 1,000 supporters to distribute food.

#The Tampa city council agreed to abandon its efforts to evict “Romneyville,” the camp that emerged to protest the RNC. But when the convention ends, Occupy Tampa will be searching for new space, as it has mere weeks to clear its occupation.

#It’s been 11 months and four days since Occupy Wall Street began, and a first anniversary call to action has been issued.

#The White House filed an appeal in hope of reversing a federal judge’s ruling that bans the indefinite military detention of Americans because attorneys for the president say they are justified to imprison alleged terrorists without charge. (No, the current president is not George W. Bush.)

#The Justice Department decided not to pursue criminal charges against Goldman Sachs related to accusations that the firm bet against More…

Photographing Police is not a Crime…

In Around the web on August 23, 2012 at 7:18 am

From ZACHERY KNIGHT
TechDirt

Sadly, we talk way too often about police arresting people for doing nothing other than taking a picture or filming them. The police officers being filmed and photographed make these arrests using various excuses, but frequently the charges get dropped for lack of merit. The reason charges rarely stick when an officer is filmed is because filming police, or anyone in a public space, is not illegal. Some people may not like it, but it is a fact.

The New York Times is waking up to this fact that photography is not a crime. In an interview with Mickey H. Osterreicher, general counselor for the National Press Photographers Association, they get down to the nitty gritty of the legalities surrounding this age old tradition. They also talk a bit about just why such arrests are happening more frequently.

Since 9/11, there’s been an incredible number of incidents where photographers are being interfered with and arrested for doing nothing other than taking pictures or recording video in public places.

It’s not just news photographers who should be concerned with this. I think every citizen should be concerned. Tourists taking pictures are being told by police, security guards and sometimes other citizens, “Sorry, you can’t take a picture here.” When asked why, they say, “Well, don’t you remember 9/11?”

I haven’t really thought of criminalizing photography as something to do with 9/11 before. I know that a lot of our rights have been eroded since that day, but the photography aspect never really clicked until now. Just as Mickey can’t make heads nor tails of this argument, I am struggling to find a connection here. I don’t recall cameras being a part of the plots to destroy the Twin Towers, Pentagon or White House.

Of course there could be more reasons for this increase in arresting photographers. Mickey suspects that part of the reason is the proliferation of the camera. Pretty much everyone with a smart phone has a camera capable of taking some very high quality pictures. Prior to this boom, the police had some modicum of control over the press. They knew the press wasn’t going to be everywhere and were used to not being under constant recordable surveillance by the public. Now that anyone could be filming them or taking their picture, they are more on edge and more prone to lashing out.

When this happens, it is important for those accused to know their rights. However, it is also important for the police to know the public’s rights as well. While you, as a photographer, may know that you have the right to take pictures or film in a public space, some officers may not know or may have forgotten that fact. That is why the Mickey and others have been working with police to keep officers reminded of that right. More…

Stress: Portrait of a Killer…

In Around the web on August 23, 2012 at 7:00 am

From OPEN CULTURE

Do Yourself a Favor and Watch Stress: Portrait of a Killer (with Stanford Biologist Robert Sapolsky)

[Top-down hierarchical structure is a killer... DS]

Intelligence comes at a price. The human species, despite its talent for solving problems, has managed over the millennia to turn one of its most basic survival mechanisms–the stress response–against itself. “Essentially,” says Stanford University neurobiologist Robert Sapolsky, “we’ve evolved to be smart enough to make ourselves sick.”

In the 2008 National Geographic documentary Stress: Portrait of a Killer (above), Sapolsky and fellow scientists explain the deadly consequences of prolonged stress. “If you’re a normal mammal,” Sapolsky says, “what stress is about is three minutes of screaming terror on the savannah, after which either it’s over with or you’re over with.” During those three minutes of terror the body responds to imminent danger by deploying stress hormones that stimulate the heart rate and blood pressure while inhibiting other functions, like digestion, growth and reproduction.

The problem is, human beings tend to secrete these hormones constantly in response to the pressures of everyday life. “If you turn on the stress response chronically for purely psychological reasons,” Sapolsky told Mark Shwartz in a 2007 interview for the Stanford News Service, “you increase your risk of adult onset diabetes and high blood pressure. If you’re chronically shutting down the digestive system, there’s a bunch of gastrointestinal disorders you’re more at risk for as well.”

Chronic stress has also been shown in scientific studies to diminish brain cells needed for memory and learning, and to adversely affect the way fat is distributed in the body. It has even been shown to measurably accelerate the aging process in chromosomes, a result that confirms our intuitive sense that people who live stressful lives grow old faster.

By studying baboon populations in East Africa, Sapolsky has found that individuals lower down in the social hierarchy suffer more stress, and consequently more stress-related health problems, than dominant individuals. The same trend in human populations was discovered in the British Whitehall Study. People with more control in work environments have lower stress, and better health, than subordinates.

Stress: Portrait of a Killer is a fascinating and important documentary–well worth the 52 minutes it takes to watch.

Related content:

Sapolsky Breaks Down Depression

Dopamine Jackpot! Robert Sapolsky on the Science of Pleasure

Biology That Makes Us Tick: Free Stanford Course by Robert Sapolsky
~~

Occupy Video & Boycott of Food Companies Working Against GMO Labeling Prop. 37…

In Around the web on August 22, 2012 at 10:34 am


~~

Which food companies are working against Prop. 37?

The links to who owns the “natural food” labels is very interesting and gives this whole email a lot of credibility, specifically the ownership posters at cornucopia.org/.

(NaturalNews) It’s time to defeat evil in the food industry and stop the vicious betrayal of consumers by so-called “natural” brands. They’re all conspiring right now to funnel millions of dollars into a disinformation campaign to try to defeat ballot measure 37, the “GMO labeling” initiative in California (http://www.naturalnews.com/036833_GMO_labeling_YES_on_37_California.h... <http://www.naturalnews.com/036833_GMO_labeling_YES_on_37_California.html> ).

Effective immediately, NaturalNews is issuing a global boycott on the following brands:

Kashi (owned by Kellogg, which has contributed $612,000 to defeat Proposition 37) – Kashi cereals contain GMOs!

Silk soymilk (owned by the nation’s largest dairy, Dean Foods, which has contributed $253,000 to the effort to kill Proposition 37)

Larabar (owned by General Mills, which has contributed $520,000 to defeat proposition 37)

R.W. Knudsen (owned by Smucker, which has contributed $387,000 to defeat proposition 37)

Santa Cruz Organic (also owned by Smucker, which has contributed $387,000 to defeat proposition 37)

Cascadian Farm (owned by General Mills, which has contributed $520,000 to defeat proposition 37)

Muir Glen (also owned by General Mills, which has contributed $520,000 to defeat proposition 37)

Boycott these brands — the BETRAYORS of the food industry. Help make sure their betrayal of consumers costs them huge market share. Remember: When it comes to evil food companies, if you ignore them (by not buying their toxic products) they will go away.

This is all detailed in a release just issued by the Cornucopia Institute:

Agribusinesses Owning Natural / Organic Brands Betray Customers: Fund Attack on GMO Labeling Proposal in California
Proposition 37, a citizen’s initiative on the ballot on November 6 in California, would mandate clear labeling of genetically engineered (GE) ingredients on food <http://www.naturalnews.com/food.html>  packages. It has become a battleground pitting consumer and farmer advocates against multi-billion-dollar agribusiness corporations.

Recent polling indicates almost 70% of citizens support informational labeling. And a flood of new contributions to fight the measure has rolled in More…

In Around the web on August 22, 2012 at 10:32 am

Originally posted on Grist:

Kate Adamick thinks changing school lunch is as easy as changing the way cafeterias spend money.

Kate Adamick is a firm believer in the old saying, “A penny saved is a penny earned.” A food systems consultant and co-founder of Cook for America, she has put the adage to work in hundreds of school districts nationwide through her Lunch Teachers culinary boot camps. In these weeklong workshops, Adamick teaches food service staff how to most efficiently manage their limited budgets — to the penny — toward providing students with freshly prepared, whole foods-based meals.

Adamick’s new book, Lunch Money: Serving Healthy School Food in a Sick Economy, captures those strategies in print, from capitalizing on commodity food products to generating additional revenue from a breakfast-in-the-classroom program. It’s likely to make a valuable read for school food service directors working to revamp menus in accordance with the U.S…

View original 1,499 more words

Most students need to learn how to run a business, says Scott Adams…

In Around the web on August 22, 2012 at 7:05 am


[COVER]

From SCOTT ADAMS
Dilbert
WSJ

I understand why the top students in America study physics, chemistry, calculus and classic literature. The kids in this brainy group are the future professors, scientists, thinkers and engineers who will propel civilization forward. But why do we make B students sit through these same classes? That’s like trying to train your cat to do your taxes—a waste of time and money. Wouldn’t it make more sense to teach B students something useful, like entrepreneurship?

I speak from experience because I majored in entrepreneurship at Hartwick College in Oneonta, N.Y. Technically, my major was economics. But the unsung advantage of attending a small college is that you can mold your experience any way you want.

There was a small business on our campus called The Coffee House. It served beer and snacks, and featured live entertainment. It was managed by students, and it was a money-losing mess, subsidized by the college. I thought I could make a difference, so I applied for an opening as the so-called Minister of Finance. I landed the job, thanks to my impressive interviewing skills, my can-do attitude and the fact that everyone else in the solar system had more interesting plans.

The drinking age in those days was 18, and the entire compensation package for the managers of The Coffee House was free beer. That goes a long way toward explaining why the accounting system consisted of seven students trying to remember where all the money went. I thought we could do better. So I proposed to my accounting professor that for three course credits I would build and operate a proper accounting system for the business. And so I did. It was a great experience. Meanwhile, some of my peers were taking courses in art history so they’d be prepared to remember what art looked like just in case anyone asked.

One day the managers of The Coffee House had a meeting to discuss two topics. First, our Minister of Employment was recommending that we fire a bartender, who happened to be one of my best friends. Second, we needed to choose a leader for our group. On the first question, there was a general consensus that my friend lacked both the will and the potential to master the bartending arts. I reluctantly voted with the majority to fire him.

But when it came to discussing who should be our new leader, I pointed out that my friend—the soon-to-be-fired bartender—was tall, good-looking and so gifted at b.s. that he’d be the perfect leader. By the end of the meeting I had persuaded the group to fire the worst bartender that any of us had ever seen…and ask him if he would consider being our leader. My friend nailed the interview and became our Commissioner. He went on to do a terrific job. That was the year I learned everything I know about management…

Complete article here
~~

Slow Democracy: Rediscovering Community and Bringing Decision-Making Back Home…

In Books on August 21, 2012 at 9:30 am

From DAVID SWANSON
New. Clear. Vision.

Susan Clark and Woden Teachout’s new book, Slow Democracy: Rediscovering Community, Bringing Decision Making Back Home (Chelsea Green, available Oct. 10, 2012), offers the civil equivalent to slow food. The goal of both is not slowness for its own sake, but quality, health, sustainability, and the pursuit of happiness.

We all know that the federal government ignores us most of the time, state governments nod in our direction once in a blue moon, and local governments listen to us quite often. So, there is an argument to be made for moving decision-making powers to the local level and engaging there.

The focus of Clark and Teachout’s book is on how to engage with local democracy, and toward what ends. Adversarial campaigning may not work. What gets you on television at a Congressional “town hall” could just alienate your neighbors at a real town hall. A deeper understanding of democracy than just the desire for Washington, D.C., to follow majority opinion once in a while involves the realization that we are all better off if all of our viewpoints are considered. We all know that in small discussions the result can be greater than the sum of its parts. The same is true in local politics. New ideas can arise through exchange and disagreement; a synthesis that considers the needs of more than one group can be better for all, longer-lasting, and strengthened by the depth of its public support.

Seeking to engage with others and involve those who disagree with us looks like a disastrous approach to those who work on political advocacy at the national level (except Democrats, to whom it looks like a brilliant innovation guaranteed to work on the very next attempt). Treating national officials like friends will usually get you sold down the river. When we were occupying Washington, D.C., last fall and holding consensus-based eternal dialogues in the shadow of the Capitol, we were excellent and improving at the skill of deciding which building we would shut down tomorrow or who was going to help make dinner. But saying just a few words out loud, no matter how politely, in a “public” hearing on Capitol Hill would only serve to get us thrown in jail, and often did.

Worse, however, than trying to take slow democracy national may be trying to take national politics local. A town hall in a small town in Vermont can be ruined by following the proper conduct to get yourself on Fox News or CNN. Shouting and name calling don’t usually advance discussions outside of politics. Why should they be helpful within it? Slow Democracy looks at numerous examples from around the country and outside of it in which local governments are finding ways to more deeply involve residents in deliberations and even decision making. The results are not just decisions that carry broader support, but also in many respects better decisions.

Why can this be done locally and not on a larger scale? The right wing fears big government and the left big corporations, the two of which have merged. Both fears are very well placed. More…

How The American University was Killed, in Five Easy Steps…

In Around the web on August 21, 2012 at 9:24 am

From THE HOMELESS ADJUNCT

[...] In the last few years, conversations have been growing like gathering storm clouds about the ways in which our universities are failing. There is talk about the poor educational outcomes apparent in our graduates, the out-of-control tuitions and crippling student loan debt. Attention is finally being paid to the enormous salaries for presidents and sports coaches, and the migrant worker status of the low-wage majority faculty. There are now movements to control tuition, to forgive student debt, to create more powerful “assessment” tools, to offer “free” university materials online, to combat adjunct faculty exploitation. But each of these movements focuses on a narrow aspect of a much wider problem, and no amount of “fix” for these aspects individually will address the real reason that universities in America are dying…

First, you defund public higher education…

…“(The) ultimate objective, as outlined in the (Lewis Powell) memo, was to purge respectable institutions such as the media, arts, sciences, as well as college campus themselves of left-wing thoughts. At the time, college campuses were seen as “springboards for dissent,” as Newfield terms it, and were therefore viewed as publicly funded sources of opposition to the interests of the establishment. While it is impossible to know the extent to which this memo influenced the conservative political strategy over the coming decades, it is extraordinary to see how far the principles outlined in his memo have been adopted.”…

Second, you deprofessionalize and impoverish the professors (and continue to create a surplus of underemployed and unemployed Ph.D.s)…

…This is how you break the evil, wicked, leftist academic class in America — you turn them into low-wage members of the precariat – that growing number of American workers whose employment is consistently precarious. All around the country, our undergraduates are being taught by faculty living at or near the poverty line, who have little to no say in the way classes are being taught, the number of students in a class, or how curriculum is being designed. They often have no offices in which to meet their students, no professional staff support, no professional development support. One million of our college professors are struggling to continue offering the best they can in the face of this wasteland of deteriorated professional support, while living the very worst kind of economic insecurity. More…

A Twenty-First Century American Sacrifice Zone…

In Books on August 21, 2012 at 7:43 am

From TOMDISPATCH
Excerpt

[Available for rent at Mulligan Books... -DS]

The book itself is a unique all-American road trip, part riveting text by Hedges, part comics by Sacco.  It takes the reader through the most extreme “sacrifice zones” in a country that is slowly hollowing itself out.  In this excerpt, the two road warriors have made it to an area of West Virginia where coal mines, dangerous as they were, once supported town life, but more recently have either mechanized or closed down.  This particular community, Gary, West Virginia, writes Hedges, has “fallen into terminal decay.  There are today 861 people in Gary. There were 98,887 in McDowell County in 1950.  Today there are fewer than 23,000.  The countywide per capita average income is $12,585.  The median home value is $30,500.  Gary’s rutted streets are lined by empty clapboard houses with sagging roofs.”

Hedges himself has written a TomDispatch introduction to the excerpt, which follows…

A World of Hillbilly Heroin
The Hollowing Out of America, Up Close and Personal

During the two years Joe Sacco and I reported from the poorest pockets of the United States, areas that have been sacrificed before the altar of unfettered and unregulated capitalism, we found not only decayed and impoverished communities but shattered lives. There comes a moment when the pain and despair of constantly running into a huge wall, of realizing that there is no way out of poverty, crush human beings. Those who best managed to resist and bring some order to their lives almost always turned to religion and in that faith many found the power to resist and even rebel.

On the Pine Ridge Lakota reservation in South Dakota, where our book Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt opens, and where the average male has a life expectancy of 48 years, the lowest in the western hemisphere outside of Haiti, those who endured the long night of oppression found solace in traditional sweat lodge rituals, the Lakota language and cosmology, and the powerful four-day Sun Dance which I attended, where dancers fast and make small flesh offerings.

In Camden, New Jersey, it was the power and cohesiveness of the African-American Church.  More…

Men Explain Things To Me…

In Around the web on August 20, 2012 at 7:55 am

From REBECCA SOLNIT
Best of Tom Dispatch

One evening over dinner, I began to joke, as I often had before, about writing an essay called “Men Explain Things to Me.” Every writer has a stable of ideas that never make it to the racetrack, and I’d been trotting this pony out recreationally every once in a while. My houseguest, the brilliant theorist and activist Marina Sitrin, insisted that I had to write it down because people like her younger sister Sam needed to read it. Young women needed to know that being belittled wasn’t the result of their own secret failings; it was the boring old gender wars. So lovely, immeasurably valuable Sam, this one always was for you in particular. It wanted to be written; it was restless for the racetrack; it galloped along once I sat down at the computer; and since Marina slept in later than me in those days, I served it for breakfast and sent it to Tom later that day.

That was April 2008 and it struck a chord.  It still seems to get reposted more than just about anything I’ve written at TomDispatch.com, and prompted some very funny letters to this site. None was more astonishing than the one from the Indianapolis man who wrote in to tell me that he had “never personally or professionally shortchanged a woman” and went on to berate me for not hanging out with “more regular guys or at least do a little homework first,” gave me some advice about how to run my life, and then commented on my “feelings of inferiority.” He thought that being patronized was an experience a woman chooses to, or could choose not to have — and so the fault was all mine. Life is short; I didn’t write back.

Young women subsequently added the word “mansplaining” to the lexicon. Though I hasten to add that the essay makes it clear mansplaining is not a universal flaw of the gender, just the intersection between overconfidence and cluelessness where some portion of that gender gets stuck.

The battle for women to be treated like human beings with rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of involvement in cultural and political arenas continues, and it is sometimes a pretty grim battle. When I wrote the essay below, I surprised myself in seeing that what starts out as minor social misery can expand into violent silencing and even violent death. Last year’s Nobel Peace Prize went to women, two Liberians and a Yemeni, “for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.” Which is to say, that safety and full participation is only a goal…

Complete article here
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GMO Labeling Prop 37 Solution to Walmart’s Untested, Unlabeled, Toxin Spliced Corn…

In !ACTION CENTER!, Around Mendo Island on August 20, 2012 at 7:45 am

From ZACK KALDVEER
Yes on 37 Right to Know Campaign

[We need Ukiah volunteers for Proposition 37, the Labeling of Genetically Engineered Foods campaign that is on the November ballot. Are you interested or do you know anyone who might be interested in tabling at the Farmers Market or other fun events in town? Call today to help in our efforts to pass Proposition 37. We have the right to know what’s in our food. Biotech/Agribusiness is pouring tens of millions of dollars into the campaign to defeat labeling and to confuse the issue. We need you to talk to people and clarify the Proposition.  We will support you so you can talk comfortably about the issue. Please call or email now to help.  Join other local volunteers who have the same concerns as you do.

Please call Eileen Mitro at 707 234 0380 or email emitro@pacific.net]

As the summer winds down, family barbeques are in full swing and supermarkets are filled with shoppers searching for the right foods to grill up with friends and neighbors.

But do they really know what they’re buying? What they may not know is that Walmart has admitted it will soon start selling agrichemical giant Monsanto’s sweet corn, which has been genetically engineered with an insecticide inside it — not on the corn, but IN it.

Bt toxin works as an insecticide by disintegrating the lining of insects’ stomachs when they chomp on the corn.  So what is this doing to the bodies of adults or children who eat the corn? We don’t know.

The genetically engineered sweet corn, which has also been manipulated at the DNA level to withstand pesticides that are sprayed on it, has never been proven safe. The US Food and Drug Administration require no safety testing of genetically engineered foods.  No long-term health studies have been conducted, and no labeling will be provided to alert unsuspecting consumers exactly what they are eating.

Yet there are studies showing there is reason for concern. For example, a 2009 study in the International Journal of Biological Sciences linked Monsanto’s genetically modified corn to kidney and liver damage in rats.

More…

Heart Surgeon Speaks Out On What Really Causes Heart Disease…

In Around the web on August 20, 2012 at 7:38 am

From DR. DWIGHT LUNDELL
PreventDisease

We physicians with all our training, knowledge and authority often acquire a rather large ego that tends to make it difficult to admit we are wrong. So, here it is. I freely admit to being wrong. As a heart surgeon with 25 years experience, having performed over 5,000 open-heart surgeries, today is my day to right the wrong with medical and scientific fact.

I trained for many years with other prominent physicians labelled “opinion makers.” Bombarded with scientific literature, continually attending education seminars, we opinion makers insisted heart disease resulted from the simple fact of elevated blood cholesterol.

The only accepted therapy was prescribing medications to lower cholesterol and a diet that severely restricted fat intake. The latter of course we insisted would lower cholesterol and heart disease. Deviations from these recommendations were considered heresy and could quite possibly result in malpractice.

It Is Not Working!

These recommendations are no longer scientifically or morally defensible. The discovery a few years ago that inflammation in the artery wall is the real cause of heart disease is slowly leading to a paradigm shift in how heart disease and other chronic ailments will be treated.

The long-established dietary recommendations have created epidemics of obesity and diabetes, the consequences of which dwarf any historical plague in terms of mortality, human suffering and dire economic consequences.

Despite the fact that 25% of the population takes expensive statin medications and despite the fact we have reduced the fat content of our diets, more Americans will die this year of heart disease than ever before.

Statistics from the American Heart Association show that 75 million Americans currently suffer from heart disease, 20 million have diabetes and 57 million have pre-diabetes. These disorders are affecting younger and younger people in greater numbers every year.

Simply stated, without inflammation being present in the body, there is no way that cholesterol would accumulate in the wall of the blood vessel and cause heart disease and strokes. More…

William Edelen: Physics and Mystics…

In William Edelen Blog - The Contrary Minister on August 19, 2012 at 10:28 am

From WILLIAM EDELEN
The Contrary Minister
Toward the Mystery

“I believe in mystery and that also we experience some of the most beautiful things in life in a very primitive form. In relation to these mysteries I consider myself to be a spiritual man. He who cannot stand in wonder and awe before the Mystery is as good as dead.” -Albert Einstein

What few realize is that the most brilliant of our Nobel Prize winning physicists were also mystics. Their writings on this subject are the most beautiful I have ever read. Mysticism and Physics are fraternal twins.

Students of both believe in a mystical world view that embodies the world as spiritual and material; classifications of organic and inorganic, animate and inanimate are archaic and invalid.

One of the most treasured books in my library is Quantum Questions edited by Ken Wilber, “the mystical writings of the worlds greatest physicists”.

In Sir Arthur Eddington’s Defense of Mysticism he writes: “A defense of the mystic would run something like this. We have acknowledged More…

Why In The World Are They Spraying?

In Around the web on August 19, 2012 at 10:20 am

Thanks to ROSALIND PETERSON
California Skywatch
Redwood Valley

People around the world are noticing that our planet’s weather is dramatically changing. They are also beginning to notice the long lingering trails left behind airplanes that have lead millions to accept the reality of chemtrail/geoengineering programs. Could there be a connection between the trails and our severe weather? While there are many agendas associated with these damaging programs, evidence is now abundant which proves that geoengineering can be used to control weather. In this documentary you will learn how the aerosols being sprayed into our sky are used in conjunction with other technologies to control our weather. While geoengineers maintain that their models are only for the mitigation of global warming, it is now clear that they can be used as a way to consolidate an enormous amount of both monetary and political power into the hands of a few by the leverage that weather control gives certain corporations over the Earth’s natural systems. This, of course, is being done at the expense of every living thing on the planet.
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5 Ways Privatization Is Ruining America…

In Around the web on August 17, 2012 at 9:16 am

From PAUL BUCHHEIT
AlterNet

We spend lifetimes developing community assets, then give them away to a corporation for lifetimes to come.

A grand delusion has been planted in the minds of Americans, that privately run systems are more efficient and less costly than those in the public sector. Most of the evidence points the other way. Private initiatives generally produce mediocre or substandard results while experiencing the usual travails of unregulated capitalism — higher prices, limited services, and lower wages for all but a few ‘entrepreneurs.’

With perverse irony, the corruption and incompetence of private industry has actually furthered the cause of privatization, as the collapse of the financial markets has deprived state and local governments of necessary public funding, leading to an even greater call for private development.

As aptly expressed by a finance company chairman in 2008 More…

Todd Walton: Civil War

In Todd Walton on August 17, 2012 at 6:56 am

From TODD WALTON
Under The Table
Mendocino

“I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts.” Abraham Lincoln

I was on the phone with my old pal John Grimes, a cartoonist with funny and provocative insights about American society, and John said, “It’s 1850 all over again. The nation is as deeply divided as we were right before the Civil War.”

My initial reaction was to agree with John—visions of red states versus blue states dancing in my head—but the more I thought about his idea, the more I disagreed. I don’t think America is divided, except that six people with my last name (no relations) have more money than forty-two per cent of all the people in America. More…

Tom Morello: Paul Ryan Is the Embodiment of the Machine Our Music Rages Against…

In Around the web on August 17, 2012 at 6:30 am

From TOM MORELLO
Rolling Stone

Last week, Mitt Romney picked Paul Ryan, the Republican architect of Congress’s radical right-wing budget plan, as his running mate. Ryan has previously cited Rage Against the Machine as one of his favorite bands. Rage guitarist Tom Morello responds in this exclusive op-ed.

Paul Ryan’s love of Rage Against the Machine is amusing, because he is the embodiment of the machine that our music has been raging against for two decades. Charles Manson loved the Beatles but didn’t understand them. Governor Chris Christie loves Bruce Springsteen but doesn’t understand him. And Paul Ryan is clueless about his favorite band, Rage Against the Machine.

Ryan claims that he likes Rage’s sound, but not the lyrics. Well, I don’t care for Paul Ryan’s sound or his lyrics. He can like whatever bands he wants, but More…

Paul Ryan Is Your Annoying Libertarian Ex-Boyfriend…

In Around the web on August 16, 2012 at 6:22 am

From ANN FRIEDMAN
NYMag

In the dating world, an infatuation with Ayn Rand is a red flag. You might not see it right away: Your date is probably conventionally attractive, decidedly wealthy, and doesn’t really talk politics. But then you get back to his apartment, set your bag down on his glass-topped coffee table, give his bookshelf the once-over — and find it lined with Ayn Rand.

You think back to your conversation at the bar: He treated flirtation like a conquest, a rationally self-interested sexual manifest destiny. He had some dumb pickup-artist questions and maybe a questionable accessory (a cravat? a fedora? a weird pinky ring?) but you overlooked these things, because he was quite charming.

But that dog-eared copy of Atlas Shrugged tells you everything you need to know. He sees himself as an objective iconoclast. He’s unapologetically selfish, because it’s only rational More…

On 77th Birthday, Social Security Under Attack…

In Around the web on August 16, 2012 at 6:05 am

From BERNIE SANDERS

We are now in the midst of the fiercest and best-financed attack against Social Security in our lifetimes.

Instead of getting a birthday celebration for its wild success, Social Security is under direct by the nation’s wealthiest individuals.

Hundreds of millions of dollars are now being spent to destroy Social Security and endanger the well-being of millions of Americans. We must not allow that effort to succeed.

In the years since President Franklin Roosevelt signed Social Security into law on August 14, 1935, the retirement program has been one of the nation’s most successful anti-poverty programs. Before Social Security existed, about half of America’s senior citizens lived in poverty. Today, less than 10 percent live in poverty. Since its inception some 77 years ago, through good economic times and bad, Social Security has paid out every penny owed More…

The Beat Generation in San Francisco…

In Around the web on August 15, 2012 at 7:31 am

From CITY LIGHTS BOOKS

The Beat Generation in San Francisco is a blow-by-blow unearthing of the places where the Beat writers first came to full bloom: the flat where Ginsberg wrote “Howl;” Gary Snyder’s zen cottage in Berkeley; the ghostly railroad yards where Kerouac and Cassady toiled; the pads where Jack & Neal & Carolyn lived; Ferlinghetti’s favorite haunts. This meticulous guide also brings to light never-before-heard stories about Corso, Bob Kaufman, DiPrima, Kyger, Lamantia and other West Coast Beats. A entertaining read as well as a practical walking (and driving) tour that covers the entire Bay Area. With an introduction by Lawrence Ferlinghetti.

There’s no other spot in San Francisco that embodies the beatific fifty-year history of the Beat Generation better than City Lights Books, still at 261 Columbus Avenue, in the heart More…

Gene Logsdon: Feeding The Buzzards

In Gene Logsdon Blog - The Contrary Farmer on August 15, 2012 at 6:47 am

From GENE LOGSDON
The Contrary Farmer

Walking over the brow of a hill in my pasture, I came upon the most ghastly, heart-stopping sight I’ve ever seen on the farm, or anywhere else for that matter. Perched on six fence posts in a row were six turkey vultures, alias Cathartis aura, or what we call buzzards. What made the scene so awesome was that when the big birds saw me, they raised their wings above their heads, as if preparing to launch into the air, but then just remained motionless. Each set of those wings spans some six feet from tip to tip, making the birds look bigger than eagles, bigger than condors, bigger to my startled eyes than Boeing 707s. Think of the mythical Thunderbird of American Indian folklore. Now think of six of them in a row at eye level, transfixing you with beady stares from stony eyes set in flaming red heads, surrounded by black feathers of doom. Adding to the ghoulish scene were more buzzards on the ground More…

The Heretic…

In Around the web on August 14, 2012 at 6:30 am

From TIM DOODY
The Morning News

For decades, the U.S. government banned medical studies of the effects of LSD. But for one longtime, elite researcher, the promise of mind-blowing revelations was just too tempting.

At 9:30 in the morning, an architect and three senior scientists—two from Stanford, the other from Hewlett-Packard—donned eyeshades and earphones, sank into comfy couches, and waited for their government-approved dose of LSD to kick in. From across the suite and with no small amount of anticipation, Dr. James Fadiman spun the knobs of an impeccable sound system and unleashed Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 6 in F Major, Op. 68.” Then he stood by, ready to ease any concerns or discomfort.

For this particular experiment, the couched volunteers had each brought along three highly technical problems from their respective fields that they’d been unable to solve for at least several months. In approximately two hours More…

Ryan — Just another right-wing, granny-starving, phony-balony hypocrite…

In Around the web on August 14, 2012 at 6:25 am

From CHARLES P. PIERCE
Esquire

I was struck by the revelation in yesterday’s paean to zombie-eyed granny-starving in the Times, that young, up-from-the-muddy-bootstraps Paul Ryan, the plucky burger-flippin’ success story from darkest Janesville, Wisconsin, had amassed a fortune of “between three and $7.7 million” without having held a more lucrative job than “Congressman” at any point in his adult life. Then, I noticed another item. Namely, that:

Mr. Ryan reported two tax-deferred college savings plans, with a combined value of between $150,000 and $300,000. He also reported two investment partnerships worth, in total, between $350,000 and $750,000, mostly containing shares of stock in well-known companies More…

Money Down a Rathole: College, Healthcare, Housing…

In Around the web on August 14, 2012 at 6:00 am

From CHARLES HUGH SMITH
of two minds . com

Households are dumping trillions in hard-earned income down ratholes with marginal returns: costly higher education, healthcare and housing.

What happens when households dump huge percentages of their stagnant incomes down marginal-return ratholes? They get less wealthy, which is exactly what we’re seeing. The average American household has been persuaded that pouring money into costly higher education, healthcare and housing are all “investments” that offer high yields.

Sadly, the opposite is true: the returns on these stupendously costly investments is marginal or negative. Let’s start with higher education, a topic I have discussed at length numerous times. More…

Paul Ryan’s Slasher Novel…

In Around the web on August 13, 2012 at 6:24 am

From MICHAEL KINSLEY
Politico

The fiscal savior of this country will be the person who persuades us to bite the bullet: Accept some pain now to remain prosperous later. That person will not be Rep. Paul Ryan.

The reviewers agree: The Path to Prosperity, aka the Republican budget proposal for 2012… by the House Budget Committee — which Ryan chairs — is one helluva read. To liberals, it’s the nightmare of a madman with an ax chasing you down a long hallway. To conservatives, it’s a sweet dream of wonderland, where angels dine on Heritage Foundation press releases. Right or wrong, it is said, Ryan has at last set the stage for an honest debate about government spending and the federal deficit.

But he hasn’t. The Path to Prosperity purports to be something that’s been missing since Ronald Reagan’s first inaugural address in 1981. For 30 years, Republicans have demanded a balanced budget without producing one, even on paper. What would it look like? More…

Don Sanderson: Wandering, Wondering…

In Around the web on August 13, 2012 at 5:53 am

From DON SANDERSON
Hopland

“By themselves they won’t bring about the penetrating changes in human culture that we need for people to live in true harmony and balance with one another and the earth. The next great opening of an ecological worldview will have to be an internal one.” – activist ecologist John Milton, when referring to the usual approaches to dealing with our increasingly appalling  predicament

A cardboard box, perhaps 12” by 15”, 3” deep, lay in my mailbox. I’d expected a couple of books, but this? When it was opened, I discovered a thick volume stretch-wrapped and padded with foam bubbles. More…

Gina Covina: Repurposed plastic cups provide predator protection for pears…

In Gina Covina on August 13, 2012 at 5:30 am

20120809-154339.jpg

From GINA COVINA
Laughing Frog Farm
Laytonville

Thanks to Viva for the idea and Pour Girls for the cups. They can be re-used as many years as the plastic lasts — we’ll see. I just covered the pears I could reach without a ladder, leaving the treetop fruit for the neighborhood rowdies — who came by last night for the first party of the season. Raccoons by the look of it — small branches snapped, two dozen pears on the ground, some whole and others partly eaten — “Eeww that’s not sweet yet, try another.” No damage to the fruit in pear protectors. The raccoons went after the Red Bartlett first of course — not only is the fruit red from the start, attracting attention, but it’s also the earliest to ripen (maybe three weeks off).

I was thinking more of thwarting the ravens, who last year pecked into More…

e-Patriarchy: Does the internet promote misogynistic behavior?

In Around the web on August 12, 2012 at 11:46 am

From ALJAZEERA
The Stream

The internet offers anonymity, but it may not be a safe haven for women. A University of Maryland study found that when the gender of an online username looks female, they are 25 times more likely to experience harassment. A few have even described it as a “gang-rape” like mentality when referring to the extreme levels of online misogyny.

Some women have responded by creating women-friendly online enclaves and encouraging others to write or video blog about online harassment. Is it simply the anonymity that allows men to take such liberties or is it an extension of offline sentiment?

In this episode of The Stream, we speak to Helen Lewis (@helenlewis), deputy editor of the New Statesman, and Alice Marwick (@alicetiara), Assistant Professor at Fordham University…
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William Edelen: The Cosmic Dance

In William Edelen Blog - The Contrary Minister on August 12, 2012 at 8:12 am

From WILLIAM EDELEN
Toward the Mystery

People often ask me “what are you?… what do you believe? Buddhist, Taoist, Christian… what?” In a joking mood I may tell them that I am a Druid, Taoist, Agnostic, Shaman.

But, when serious, I tell them I live within the historical stream of mysticism… and that world view, cosmology, or philosophy of life, is the same whether one lives in a Taoist society, Buddhist, Christian, or secular. With this consciousness, the ultimate reality (or God) is apprehended directly without any mediation. Subject and object become One in a timeless, spaceless act that is ineffable and gloriously joyful. Beauty and light and love are seen pervading the entire universe, including the individual self, now merged in Oneness with all creation. It is a “cosmic dance”.

The experience transcends the reach of any language. The Mystery is within us and every leaf, every atom, every molecule… with all. The universe is a totality and an interrelatedness of all things. For the cohesive Mystery within that totality, we use the word symbol “God”. It is creative love in a “cosmic dance”.

Many still want to apply the word symbol “God” to something “out there”, separate and distinct from us “down here” on this planet earth. More…

Todd Walton: Goff & Krishnamurti

In Todd Walton on August 10, 2012 at 5:29 am

From TODD WALTON
Under The Table
Mendocino

“Conventional education makes independent thinking almost impossible. Conformity leads to mediocrity. Conventional education puts an end to spontaneity and breeds fear.” Krishnamurti

I spent my two of years in college at the University of California, Santa Cruz from 1967 to 1969 when the school was considered an experimental college because professors were supposed to write evaluations of students rather than give grades, and students were invited to invent their own programs of independent study.

One guy in my dorm did an independent study entitled Surfing Poems. He went surfing for ten weeks and wrote poems about his experience. Another fellow (he loved to play his guitar in our resonant dorm bathroom) did an independent study entitled Songs From My Life for which he wrote three songs melodically indistinguishable from Bob Dylan’s Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right. More…

Will Parrish: 21st Century Timber Wars…

In Will Parrish on August 10, 2012 at 4:43 am

From WILL PARRISH
Ukiah
TheAVA

At Sierra Pacific Industries’ sawmill on the Samoa Peninsula, where the Mad River Slough meets Humboldt Bay, eight miles southwest of Arcata, logging trucks carrying redwoods and Doug firs roll through the entrance several hundred times a day during the summer months. The trees are felled on the company’s mountainous tracts off of the Trinity Highway, high above Willow Creek, as well as in other areas of Humboldt County, then hauled to the coastal mill to be refined into lumber for both housing and commercial construction.

Given the favorable weather and road conditions, timber companies cut at a frenzied pace in the dry season. The amount of cutting is particularly extravagant in the case of Sierra Pacific Industries, Goliath among California’s industrial timber giants.

The more than-a-century-year-old firm, which was founded in Humboldt, controls over two million acres, or more than two percent of all private land in California. That translates to greater than half of the state’s industrial timberland. The company is best known in recent years for clearcutting in the Sierra Nevada More…

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