Mendo Island Journal — Timely. Useful. Sometimes Cranky.

Archive for March, 2013|Monthly archive page

Herb Ruhs: The whole concept of debt under the assault of propaganda has gotten just silly…

In Around the web on March 31, 2013 at 6:37 pm


The Compassionate Misanthrope

I was surprised recently by seeing a notice at the top of my monthly statement from the Fort Brag Credit Union that they would not be accepting deposits over $5000 since no one was borrowing. Strange. A business that is discouraging business, but, as Michael Hudson points out in the accompanying article, in our upside-down economic world nothing makes sense. A relentless concentration of wealth accompanied by an overall decrease in wealth seems to be the culprit. History shows that this sort of cycle, which is sometimes referred to as “financialization,” is a routine end for hegemonic powers.

From the point of view of the topmost wealth aggrandizers it is just the beneficence of the system that allows general impoverishment to fuel oligarchy. Being rich means being right, and being richer means being more right. Bless his heart, GWB nailed it when he addressed a select audience as “my constituency, the haves and the have mores.” That really sums it up. The mechanics of the looting can be interesting in its own right and I routinely consult only three sources for enlightenment, Max Wolff, Michael Hudson and Max Keiser (RT Network). More…

Ingersoll: Vivisection is the Hell of Science…

In Robert Ingersoll Series on March 31, 2013 at 7:10 am



Vivisection is the Inquisition — the Hell — of Science. All the cruelty which the human — or rather the inhuman — heart is capable of inflicting, is in this one word. Below this there is no depth. This word lies like a coiled serpent at the bottom of the abyss.

We can excuse, in part, the crimes of passion. We take into consideration the fact that man is liable to be caught by the whirlwind, and that from a brain on fire the soul rushes to a crime. But what excuse can ingenuity form for a man who deliberately — with an un-accelerated pulse — with the calmness of John Calvin at the murder of Servetus — seeks, with curious and cunning knives, in the living, quivering flesh of a dog, for all the throbbing nerves of pain? The wretches who commit these infamous crimes pretend that they are working for the good of man; that they are actuated by philanthropy; and that their pity for the sufferings of the human race drives out all pity for the animals they slowly torture to death. But those who are incapable of pitying animals are, as a matter of fact, incapable of pitying men.

A physician who would cut a living rabbit in pieces — laying bare the nerves, denuding them with knives, pulling them out with forceps — would not hesitate to try experiments with men and women for the gratification of his curiosity. More…

William Edelen: What Makes You Cry?

In William Edelen Blog - The Contrary Minister on March 31, 2013 at 7:00 am


The Contrary Minister

Albert Speer was the most trusted of Hitler’s inner circle. In reading his “notes” lately I came across this scene.  The war is over. Speer is in prison. An intelligence “counselor” is in his cell. The counselor confronts Speer with this question: “Speer, tell me what is it that makes you cry? Have you ever cried Speer? I want to know “what makes you cry?” Speer gave no answer.

That question haunted me. What makes us cry is a clue to who we are and what we are as a human being. My mind went to a statement by Albert Schweitzer that has also haunted me over the years: “A man is moral, and ethical, only when all of life is sacred to him, that of plants and animals as well as that of his fellow man.This is the absolute principle of the moral and ethical.”

So, I knew, I know, one thing… what it is that makes me cry. I know when I cry.

I CRY… reading about a “fighting dog” wandering along a highway in intense pain, with his head split open by an ax by a “so called” human being, who could no longer use him for fighting.

I CRY… when I see dead whales and dolphins washed up on shore as a result of the Sonar testing by the Navy… testing that has been well documented as not needed.More...

I CRY… when I see big, strong, “brave” men clubbing a little precious baby seal to death. While the baby is crying they are pounding  his little head into mush… while they laugh at this “celebration” of baby seal clubbing.


It’s time for harmony between science and spirituality…

In Around the web on March 31, 2013 at 5:52 am

2 (c) NASA, JPL-CaltechHelix Nebula Photo © NASA, JPL-Caltech

Positive News

The meeting of cutting-edge scientific and spiritual understandings of the world could be the foundation for us to live sustainably

In the late summer of 1983, scientists such as the physicist Fritjof Capra and biologist Francisco Varela joined spiritual leaders such as His Holiness the Dalai Lama and zen master Baker Roshi at a pioneering event in Austria.

By the end of the five-day conference, which was called Other Realities and took place in the village of Alpbach, it was hard for me to distinguish the scientists from the mystics. The conclusion of all the assembled wisdom was that spirituality without science tends to be self-obsessed and weak, and that science without spirituality was mechanistic and inhuman. There needed to be a fusion of the beauty of science and the blissful nature of spirituality.

In the decades that followed, dialogue grew between scientific researchers and those with a spiritual vision for a better world. This led into new fields of thought and understanding about the nature of reality. Central to this in the UK was the founding of the Scientific and Medical Network in 1973, which felt that science was often guilty of leaving out consciousness and purpose, and which tried to apply scientific rigour to its investigations into consciousness. The Wrekin Trust charity also ran a series of conferences similar to the Austrian event. More…

Spanking Babies for God: Why America Is The Most Violent First World Country…

In Around the web, Please Lord, Save Us From Your Followers on March 30, 2013 at 8:44 am


The Big Slice
Thanks to Herb Ruhs

I recently wrote an article about how the same-sex marriage debate arouses society’s schizoid moral responses. It got me to thinking about another piece I wrote in 2011 that illustrates the same moral schizophrenia. In this case, how child abuse and death can result from substituting knowledge of childhood development with religious beliefs. Here it is:

It is a fact that the U.S.’s Child Abuse is the worst in First World.  From BBC News by Michael Petit, “More than 20,000 American children are believed to have been killed in their own homes by family members in the last 10 years, nearly four times the number of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. A BBC investigation finds that the United States has the worst child-abuse record of all the industrialized nations. Every week, 66 children under 15 die from physical abuse or neglect in the First World, 27 of them in the U.S. Experts say teen pregnancy, high-school dropout rates, violent crime, imprisonment, and poverty are generally much higher in the United States.”

It is also a fact that the U.S. is the most religious country in the First World. According to several surveys on religion, 83 percent of Americans claim to belong to a religious denomination. How can these two facts simultaneously exist in the same country?


Kopimism and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance…

In Around the web on March 29, 2013 at 9:43 am


Robert M. Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance from 1974 is one of the world’s most widely read philosophical books. I think it has a strong connection to Kopimism.

The Kopimist creation myth so far identifies three Fundamental Principles that have worked together to create life on Earth: Copying, Cooperation, and Quality.

The book of Pirsig revolves around the concept of Quality, which acquires a more and more metaphysical meaning as the book progresses.

I believe that what the Kopimist creation myth calls Quality, and describes as the attraction force of the good, is very similar to Pirsig’s Quality, perhaps even identical.

The book of Pirsig is a very deep book, of the kind that you reread in whole or in part a number of times in your life, and gain new insights each time. I will give a quick summary of it below, but the important thing is not whether that summary is understandable or not.

The most important thing is that Pirsig argues the idea that Quality is a real (though not yet explored) force of nature. That idea we can copy straight into Kopimism. We can then use the book of Pirsig as a starting point for a deeper philosophical discussion about what Quality is and how it affects our thoughts and actions. More…

Will Parrish: Big Orange On The Rampage…

In Stop Willits Bypass, Will Parrish on March 29, 2013 at 5:50 am


Save Little Lake Valley

[Press Conference Today, Friday 3/29/13, 10AM Across From Warbler’s Tree. Save Our Little Lake Valley and Little Lake Valley Defenders are pleased to announce a press conference at 10 a.m. across from The Warbler’s tree at mile marker 43.74.  Please join us! This is a communal celebration of The Warbler’s two-month anniversary in the tree.  The Warbler will have a major announcement at the press conference. We invite all media to attend.]

Since Thursday, CalTrans’ destruction along the southern portion of the proposed Willits Bypass route has been unrelenting. The roughly 1.5-mile long and 200 foot wide swath where Big Orange’s contractors’ have been sawing, excavating, and chipping is bracketed by The Warbler’s tree on the south and a newer tree sit in a pine grove roughly 1.5 miles away. More…

Todd Walton: Uncle David

In Todd Walton on March 29, 2013 at 5:49 am


My uncle David Walton died in China on March 8 at the ripe old age of eighty-seven, just a week ago as I write this, yet I have already received an email with photographs from the lovely memorial service that was held for him in Xichang where David lived and taught English for the last several years, his Xichang friends and students in attendance. And that memorial service email was just one of many I have received so far along with several phone calls from a tiny fraction of the hundreds of people who knew and loved David.

David was the youngest of three brothers, my father Charles the eldest, Robert in the middle. They grew up in Beverly Hills, their father a bookkeeper for movie stars and people who needed a bookkeeper, his most famous client Hedy Lamarr. The child movie star Jackie Cooper lived down the street and the Walton boys attended one of Jackie’s birthday parties when David was very young. The brothers graduated from Beverly Hills High, where my father met my mother, and David went to MIT, as did Robert, the alma mater of their father, while my dad broke with family tradition and went to UCLA after which he attended medical school in San Francisco.

Upon graduating from MIT, David returned to Los Angeles and went to work for his father as a bookkeeper for some years, and when his father semi-retired in the early 1950’s, David relocated with his parents and brother Robert, who was by then severely disabled, to Carmel and Monterey, which is when my firsthand memories of Uncle David begin.


Antique Farm Tools

In Around the web on March 29, 2013 at 5:00 am


From No Tech Magazine

Peter Charles Dorrington collected and restored over 750 antique farm tools between 1985 and 2001. Most of these tools were agricultural hand implements and fenland tools that were used in England, Wales and Scotland, dating from about 1600 to 1940, for example: “chaff cutters”, “flails”, scythes”, “dibbers” and “breast ploughs”. Photographs of roughly half of the tools that are still in the collection are included here. Information and notes on some of the tools are also included.

In pre-industrial societies, throughout the world, most people worked as agricultural labourers. Indeed many of the types of hand farm tools on this website might have been used by your own ancestors…


The chaff box or cutter was a simple but ingenious device for cutting straw chaff, hay, and oats into small pieces – before being mixed together with other forage and fed to horses and cattle. Apart from being more economical than previous methods of feeding, this aided the animal’s digestion and prevented animals from rejecting any part of their food. Since the chaff box was made largely of wood (usually ash) with only a small amount of ironwork, it cost relatively little to make and, as a result, few farms, town or country stables were without one by the end of the eighteenth century.

There were two sizes, one of heavy construction which normally resided in the darkened corners of barns or stables and another smaller model made of pine or similar wood which was portable. More…

Herb Ruhs: Extinction is an equal opportunity solution…

In Around the web on March 28, 2013 at 6:44 am

The Compassionate Misanthrope

When the mobsters discovered that they could buy both the politicians and public opinion on a global basis, the way was opened for an astronomically sized securities swindle that is producing such incredible loot that the con can not be stopped by anyone… not by the participants, not by the victims and certainly not by the suborned governments. It is a juggernaut. A machine gone wild. It will continue to burn until there is essentially no trust and general violence, such as we are witnessing in Africa over the coltan trade, is the rule everywhere on the globe. Such action by international cooperation, as may have been crucial in saving us from climate catastrophe, will not happen.

Though the confidence artist devised the specific economic crimes, we need to face the fact that our destruction needs to be laid at our own doors.  Never before have so many fallen for a monster long con.  We have been had due to our incredible credulity, hence the incredible scale of the problems in the world’s economic and social systems that are producing the accumulating doomsday effects that informed persons become aware of on a nearly daily basis. To paraphrase Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev’s comments on the survivors of a nuclear war, the tremendous irony of the day is that the informed have come to envy the uninformed.


Julia Frech on Willits Bypass: The Board of Supervisors meeting yesterday will make history…

In Around Mendo Island, Stop Willits Bypass on March 28, 2013 at 6:07 am



[Losing our vote is the only threat that matters to an elected official... -DS]

Between 10:30 and 12:30, 30 people got up and spoke against sending a letter of support to Caltrans to continue construction on the Willits Bypass. After a break, 30 more people spoke up, making citizen dissent for the current construction unanimous. In some cases they were emotional about losing their valley and business, reminding the supervisors of their mission statement and the precautionary principle. Other testimonials brought up scientific studies, supporting evidence, and historical precedent. Some implored the supervisors to provide leadership in a world that is different than the one in which the Bypass plan was made 40 years ago, and to represent their constituents in Mendocino County. Every case was compelling, and together, the evidence was overwhelming: there is a better way to solve Willits traffic congestion, and support is overwhelming and growing.

After another break, Jared Huffman made a report on current items of interest to Mendocino County. Among them were the health of salmon fisheries and watersheds, the importance of reducing government spending on wasteful projects, and of the importance of reducing CO2 emissions and halting climate change. The supervisors agreed with him on these issues, making their forthcoming final statements and vote (on the bypass) conflict not just with their constituents, but to their stated concerns about government and the environment.


Ecology of the Mind…

In Around the web on March 28, 2013 at 6:00 am



For thousands of generations we humans grew up in nature. Our teachers were flora and fauna and our textbooks thunderstorms and stars in the night sky. Our minds were like the forests, oases and deltas around which our cultures germinated: chaotic, wild, fecund.

But in the last couple generations, we have largely abandoned the natural world, immersing ourselves in virtual realms. Today the synthetic environment rivals nature as a driving force in our lives, and the mental environment has become the terrain where our fate as humans will be decided. By emigrating from nature we’ve done something more than just move domiciles – we have fundamentally altered the context in which we live our lives.

Along with this transition to a new psychic realm, we have also seen the exponential rise of mental illnesses. Globally, humanity is now suffering from an epidemic of uncontrollable anxieties, mood disorders and depression. The United Nations predicts that mental disease will be bigger than heart disease by 2020.

Why is this happening? Why are we breaking down mentally?

If you ask psychologists what increases the general loading of psychopathology on the human animal, they will list a lot of things: the breakdown of community, the insecurity of social roles, the stresses of modernity and globalization and maybe even the chemicals in the air, water and food that may be affecting our brains in unknown ways. Others blame More…

Giving Up On My Kindle…

In Around the web on March 27, 2013 at 9:01 am


There are lots of reasons offered for the decline of sales in e-readers, but one hasn’t been sufficiently considered: They currently suck.

I’ve finally given up on e-readers. When my last Kindle broke, with its cracked screen of frozen e-ink smearing poor Agatha Christie’s face, I decided not to repurchase. I was only picking it up for books I’d already bought anyway. For at least a year, I had been reading actual print books — like some caveman, like some Medieval scribe. E-reader sales shrunk by 28 percent in 2012. There are lots of reasons offered for that decline — the rise of tablets, the saturation of the market, and others — but I think one reason has not been sufficiently considered: E-readers as they currently exist suck.

I really, really want to have an e-reader. I have loved e-readers from the beginning. They were the one technology, of all the wonders of contemporary life, for which I was an enthusiastic early adopter. In the Wall Street Journal, before the launch of the Kindle 2, I wrote that it would transform reading, and for the better. To say I was excited was an understatement.

The only other events as important to the history of the book are the birth of print and the shift from the scroll to bound pages. The e-reader, now widely available, will likely change our thinking and our being as profoundly as the two previous pre-digital manifestations of text. More…

Tiny Houses Make a Big Difference…

In Around the web on March 27, 2013 at 7:28 am


The small — tiny, even — house movement serves society on multiple levels. Because the structures take up less space, they also use fewer resources. On top of that, the minimalism demanded by living in such limited square footage forces inhabitants to have considerably fewer belongings than their counterparts in homes five times their stature. The average size of a new, single-family home in the United States is around 2,500 square feet; the average tiny house comes in under 500 square feet — with some states mandating a minimum of 220 square feet to adhere to building codes.

Despite assumptions, the architecture and design of small homes varies. Some are fashioned from recycled and found materials; some come on wheels; and others utilize shipping containers. Documentary filmmaker Christopher Smith used his Tiny: A Story About Living Small project to explore his own and others’ process of going small.

Here are some examples of tiny houses from around the world.


Gene Logsdon: Horse Filet Mignon. Yum.

In Gene Logsdon Blog - The Contrary Farmer on March 27, 2013 at 7:18 am


Recently, as everyone knows by now, horse meat was found in Swedish meatballs being sold in various parts of Europe, and the Great Horse Scandal of 2013 was off and (pardon me) galloping. From the consternation being voiced in some quarters, you would think that human flesh had been found in the sausages. Of course if the label says the meat is all beef then it ought to be all beef, not flecked with pork to incense the Muslims and Jews, and definitely not contaminated with old Dobbin’s remains to send British and American eaters gasping to the vomitorium.  Also, there’s a possibility that the horsemeat might come from a horse that had been treated with the anti-inflammatory medicine, phenylbutazone  (bute), which is verboten for human consumption. But as I read the fine print from the FDA, you have a better chance of being hit by a pebble from a passing meteor than getting stoned by bute in horsemeat-“contaminated” meatballs.  Did anybody get sick? Did the meatballs taste bad? Did they maybe taste better? Did anybody know they were eating horsemeat until they were told?

Nothing is so fascinating as the way human culture tries to manipulate the food chain to serve whatever religion or tradition is in vogue. In France, horsemeat is served in fine restaurants. In England a chef would have better luck serving up hedgehog than horse.

Humans will eat anything to make a point or to avoid going hungry. Being ultra-omnivorous is probably why we have lasted so long in the food chain. In Frank G, Ashbrook’s “Butchering, Processing and Preservation of Meat,” the book I use as a guide when butchering everything from hogs to raccoons and muskrats More

James Houle: The Willits Bypass and the Ukiah Costco…

In Around Mendo Island, James Houle on March 26, 2013 at 7:37 am

Redwood Valley

To the Board of Supervisors
Mendocino County

The Willits Bypass will allow through traffic on the Freeway to bypass the streets of Willits.  CalTrans advises that this will be good for our community, because it will get some of those big rigs off local streets and reduce air pollution. Phase I will cost over $200 million and the total could well be over $350 million if it is ever completed. It will not improve downtown backups for traffic headed toward Fort Bragg: this traffic will need to exit the new Highway 101 several miles north or south of town and drive through downtown streets to reach Highway 20 just as they do now.

While all of this is being discussed and protested to the north, the Ukiah City Council is proposing the opposite solution to their traffic problems. They want to use $6.2 million of local tax funds not to allow traffic to bypass Ukiah but to move it more efficiently into town. They want to expand freeway off-ramps and feeder roads so as to shuttle shoppers into Ukiah’s expanding Big Box stores along Airport Boulevard. Our visionary City Council feels this will be good for our community: generating new sources of sales tax revenue, even while admittedly forcing many smaller businesses to close.

Recommendations: First: The Board of Supervisors should lend its support to the effort by Senator Noreen Evans to get CalTrans to explain its justification for selection of what many see as the worst of the Bypass Options. Second: Insist that the Ukiah City Council explain to the public how their highway project will be financed, how loans will be repaid, and how this will impact the revenue sharing talks that continue between County and City.

Richard Dawkins Dies…

In Freethought on March 26, 2013 at 7:27 am


Happy Birthday, Viktor Frankl: Timeless Wisdom on the Human Search for Meaning…

In Around the web on March 26, 2013 at 7:17 am



“Live as if you were living already for the second time and as if you had acted the first time as wrongly as you are about to act now!”

 Celebrated Austrian psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl, born on March 26, 1905, remains best-known for his indispensable 1946 psychological memoir Man’s Search for Meaning (public library) — a meditation on what the gruesome experience of Auschwitz taught him about the primary purpose of life: the quest for meaning, which sustained those who survived.

For Frankl, meaning came from three possible sources: purposeful work, love, and courage in the face of difficulty.

In examining the “intensification of inner life” that helped prisoners stay alive, he considers the transcendental power of love:

Love goes very far beyond the physical person of the beloved. More…

Transition: Distributed Solar Power a ‘Mortal Threat’ to Utilities…

In Around the web on March 25, 2013 at 9:47 am


Three weeks ago, I had my 5 minutes at a local “listening session” on energy, put on by the Governor of my fair state.

My main message was that a technological sea change is coming in energy production – and if regulatory and utility policy do not anticipate the further build out of wind, solar, and distributed energy, the transition is going to be ugly. Traditional energy producers who think they can hold back the tide will be like typewriter makers trying to bad-mouth word processors. They are going to go away.

Last week had coffee last week with a well-informed friend, who agreed with me that this is an oncoming freight train. He pointed me to some new survey results from Ernst & Young.

Renewable Energy World:

We conducted a telephone survey of executives involved in corporate energy strategy at 100 companies with revenues of US$1 billion or more. Questions focused on energy spend, types of energy used, energy strategy, and outlook. More…

James Lee: Surviving in the Age of the Selfish Gene…

In James Lee on March 25, 2013 at 7:29 am

Anderson Valley

It was a cold, bright day in April and the clocks were striking thirteen. George Orwell – 1984,  first sentence.

I read a very interesting article titled under ‘Human Interest’ the other day which included this survey;

“If it was true that cell phones caused Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) in great numbers on bees today, and knowing that we depend on bees for a large portion of our food, would you give up your cell phone to save the bees?”

The overwhelming response was “NO!”

~ and then this news item just this week in regards to the actions of some homeowners where gas fracking is going on relentlessly in the regions of the Marcellus Shale on the Eastern Seaboard of the U.S.: More…

Let the Waltons Go First…

In Around the web on March 25, 2013 at 7:15 am

From digby

I’m watching Bill Maher and his guests last Friday calling the American people morons because they don’t want the government to cut programs they value. All the wealthy people on the panel went on and on and on about how those idiotic Americans refuse to make sacrifices for the greater good because they’re just sooooo stupid.

Ok, I’ll agree to live in penury in my old age but I think these people should be forced to join me:

Bernie Sanders says Walmart heirs own more wealth than bottom 40 percent of Americans

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, tweeted a startling statistic to his followers on July 22, 2012: “Today the Walton family of Walmart own more wealth than the bottom 40 percent of America.

Sanders speaks and writes frequently about wealth distribution in the U.S., a hot-button issue among liberals and a rallying cry of the Occupy Wall Street Movement.

The Waltons, of course, are members of the proverbial 1 percent. More…

Bill Maher on New Pope…

In Around the web on March 24, 2013 at 8:43 am


Bill Maher here

Bill Maher spent a second week ending “Real Time” by slamming Pope Francis, this time focusing on the media’s fascination with the new pope.

“I have just about had it with the press squealing in delight with everything the new pope does,” Maher said. “He’s a 76-year-old executive who just got a promotion. You act like he’s a baby who just made a boom-boom.”

“There are over a billion Catholics — just on the back of my gardener’s truck,” Maher said, to some applause and even a few boos. “So I get it that this is a legitimate news story. But can we at least stop saying that the job of pope is so hard?”

He even compared the Church to his own show.

“The Catholic Church has basically always done what we do here at ‘Real Time.’ It’s a bunch of guys sitting around making up new rules.”

Maher, who was raised Catholic and is now an outspoken voice against religion, is unlikely to stop his criticism of the pope or the Catholic Church anytime soon.

William Edelen: Using the Bible to Justify Views…

In William Edelen Blog - The Contrary Minister on March 24, 2013 at 8:00 am


The Contrary Minister

We are always making God our accomplice so that we can legalize our own inequities. -Henri Frederic Amiel

Those adhering to a strict interpretation of the bible are most often the ones who use the Church and the bible to justify and condone their social, political and moral views. At the same time they inflict these views on others as “gospel,” the only truth.

The abortion or pro-life issue is a good example. If a person wants to simply say “I do not like abortion, I am against it,” that is fine. That is their opinion and they have a right to express it.

It is when they start using the bible and the Church to justify their pro-life position that I cringe. They apparently do not realize how inane and unhinged they appear when thy march around carrying signs quoting the commandment “Thou Shalt Not Kill,” or equally absurd signs using the Church, bible, or God for justification.

After Moses told the people that the “Thou Shalt Not Kill” order came from God, he then proceeded to give some of the most vicious commands in the history of civilization, telling the Hebrews to kill just about everything that walked or moved. Moses told them that God blessed all of this barbaric slaughter. He gave commands for genocide, to kill babies and children. Thousands were slaughtered as a result of the commands of Moses. Quite obviously the commandment not to kill was not taken seriously or literally by the man who presented it to the Jews.

Christians who try to justify the pro-life position and are breaking into clinics should read the history of their church. The church has one of the most horrible, unjust and cruel records in the history of our species, from Constantine through the Inquisition to the Salem witch horror. The torture chambers of the Christian Inquisition were filled with instruments that stagger the human mind and sensibilities: racks, thumb screws, iron maidens, knives, whips, scourges, fire, tongs and hoists. It is painful to read how these were used on innocent human beings. Those using the Church and the bible for justification of the pro-life position condemn abortion as “murder of the unborn,” while the Church itself has a 1600-year history of horrible and brutal murders of the “born.” I would suggest that those mindlessly waving banners, . More…

Gina Covina: Bearing Witness to Little Lake Valley Destruction…

In Around Mendo Island, Gina Covina on March 23, 2013 at 6:30 am



Early yesterday morning, standing on the hillside across 101 from the Warbler’s tree-sit, at the south end of the proposed bypass. Orange traffic cones on both sides of 101 in both directions to keep cars from stopping. At the tree-sit pull-out, the many banners and signs of the people who can visualize a much better way, the table with maps and flyers and petitions and the notebook in which visitors write encouraging messages to the Warbler – all that, gone. Replaced with five CHP vehicles, a mix of black-and-whites and those beefy paddy-wagon-type pick-up trucks, a few CalTrans vehicles, a contractor’s truck, and directly under the Warbler’s tree, a clanging backhoe scraping the roadway wider. Way up the tree, the Warbler saw it and heard it loudest and clearest.

Over at East Hill Road the police presence was equally extravagant, with seven vehicles parked along Sanhedrin Way and patrolmen stationed all along the newly erected fence that cordons off the construction zone. Several hundred yards in is a ponderosa grove inhabited by new tree-sitters, Rain and John, one on a precarious-looking platform strung between two trees. Beneath them was the incessant roar and shudder of machinery that witnesses outside the perimeter fence couldn’t quite see. Over the top of the Manzanita/blackberry tangle that borders this woods, we saw the hardhat of the operator moving his machine back and forth as branches cracked. Moving along the perimeter revealed occasional clear views of the result – absolutely bare ground. Off to one side, the pile of trash that used to be a living web of grasses and insects and manzanitas and poison oak and little birds picking their nesting spots.

I hadn’t realized before just how essential the act of bearing witness to this destruction is to the process of change. To simply stand and watch, to allow ourselves to feel the obliteration of life that proceeds via fossil-fueled machinery, in the name of consecrating more ground to the domain of fossil-fueled machinery. Presiding grandmother-in-chief Sara Gruskey paced the perimeter fielding phone calls with tears lining her face. The prevailing mood held great sorrow and wild frustration, and at the same time an ever-deepening commitment. We know that when enough of us stand together More…

What Would You Substitute for the Bible as a Moral Guide?

In Freethought on March 23, 2013 at 6:17 am



You ask me what I would “substitute for the Bible as a moral guide.”

I know that many people regard the Bible as the only moral guide and believe that in that book only can be found the true and perfect standard of morality.

There are many good precepts, many wise sayings and many good regulations and laws in the Bible, and these are mingled with bad precepts, with foolish sayings, with absurd rules and cruel laws.

But we must remember that the Bible is a collection of many books written centuries apart, and that it in part represents the growth and tells in part the history of a people. We must also remember. that the writers treat of many subjects. Many of these writers have nothing to say about right or wrong, about vice or virtue.

The book of Genesis has nothing about morality. There is not a line in it calculated to shed light on the path of conduct. No one can call that book a moral guide. It is made up of myth and miracle, of tradition and legend.

In Exodus we have an account of the manner in which Jehovah delivered the Jews from Egyptian bondage.

We now know that the Jews were never enslaved by the Egyptians; that the entire story is a fiction. We know this, because there is not found in Hebrew a word of Egyptian origin, and there is not found in the language of the Egyptians a word of Hebrew origin. This being so, we know that the Hebrews and Egyptians could not have lived together for hundreds of years.

Certainly Exodus was not written to teach morality. In that book you cannot find one word against human slavery. As a matter of fact, Jehovah was a believer in that institution.


The Freethinker knows that all the priests and cardinals and popes and parsons know nothing but superstition…

In Freethought, Please Lord, Save Us From Your Followers on March 22, 2013 at 6:00 am



The object of the Freethinker is to ascertain the truth — the conditions of well-being — to the end that this life will be made of value. This is the affirmative, positive, and constructive side.

Without liberty there is no such thing as real happiness. There may be the contentment of the slave — of one who is glad that he has passed the day without a beating — one who is happy because he has had enough to eat — but the highest possible idea of happiness is freedom.

All religious systems enslave the mind. Certain things are demanded — certain things must be believed — certain things must be done — and the man who becomes the subject or servant of this superstition must give up all idea of individuality or hope of intellectual growth and progress.

The religionist informs us that there is somewhere in the universe an orthodox God, who is endeavoring to govern the world, and who for this purpose resorts to famine and flood, to earthquake and pestilence — and who, as a last resort, gets up a revival of religion. That is called “affirmative and positive.”

The man of sense knows that no such God exists, and thereupon he affirms that the orthodox doctrine is infinitely absurd. This is called a “negation.” But to my mind it is an affirmation, and is a part of the positive side of Freethought.

A man who compels this Deity to abdicate his throne renders a vast and splendid service to the human race.

As long as men believe in tyranny in heaven they will practice tyranny on earth. Most people are exceedingly imitative, and nothing is so gratifying to the average orthodox man as to be like his God.

These same Christians tell us that nearly everybody is to be punished forever, while a few fortunate Christians who were elected and selected billions of ages before the world was created, are to be happy. This they call the “tidings of great joy.” The Freethinker denounces this doctrine as infamous beyond the power of words to express. More…

The persecution of Barrett Brown – and how to fight it…

In Around the web on March 22, 2013 at 5:37 am


The Guardian UK

Aaron’s Swartz’s suicide in January triggered waves of indignation, and rightly so. He faced multiple felony counts and years in prison for what were, at worst, trivial transgressions of law. But his prosecution revealed the excess of both anti-hacking criminal statutes, particularly the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), and the fixation of federal prosecutors on severely punishing all forms of activism that challenge the power of the government and related entities to control the flow of information on the internet. Part of what drove the intense reaction to Swartz’s death was how sympathetic of a figure he was, but as noted by Orin Kerr, a former federal prosecutor in the DOJ’s computer crimes unit and now a law professor at GWU, what was done to Swartz is anything but unusual, and the reaction to his death will be meaningful only if channeled to protest other similar cases of prosecutorial abuse:

“I think it’s important to realize that what happened in the Swartz case happens in lots and lots of federal criminal cases. . . . What’s unusual about the Swartz case is that it involved a highly charismatic defendant with very powerful friends in a position to object to these common practices. That’s not to excuse what happened, but rather to direct the energy that is angry about what happened. If you want to end these tactics, don’t just complain about the Swartz case. Don’t just complain when the defendant happens to be a brilliant guy who went to Stanford and hangs out with Larry Lessig. Instead, complain that this is business as usual in federal criminal cases around the country – mostly with defendants who no one has ever heard of and who get locked up for years without anyone else much caring.”

Prosecutorial abuse is a drastically under-discussed problem in general, but it poses unique political dangers when used to punish and deter online activism. But it’s becoming the preeminent weapon used by the US government to destroy such activism.

Just this week alone, a US federal judge sentenced hactivist Andrew “Weev” Auernheimer to 3 1/2 years in prison for exploiting a flaw in AT&T’s security system that allowed him entrance without any hacking, an act about which Slate’s Justin Peters wrote: “it’s not clear that Auernheimer committed any actual crime”, while Jeff Blagdon at the Verge added: “he cracked no codes, stole no passwords, or in any way ‘broke into’ AT&T’s customer database More…

Willits Bypass Protest: Eight arrests, no violence, no resistance, no destruction of equipment or damage to land. Protesters transported to Mendocino County Jail…

In Around Mendo Island on March 22, 2013 at 5:11 am


Willits Weekly

WILLITS WEEKLY’S CAT LEE reporting from the CHP press conference Thursday regarding the Willits Bypass and related protest(s):

Eight arrests, no violence, no resistance, no destruction of equipment or damage to land. Protesters transported to Mendocino County Jail. About 20 CHP officers brought in from out of Mendocino County; here “as long as we’re needed.”

A statement from Steve Kruel, Public Information Officer, Ukiah CHP, regarding today’s arrests of eight protesters: “There are No Trespassing signs posted throughout the project, and our intent is to enforce that. So what we’ve done with the people who are trespassers is we’ve given them many opportunities, many dispersal orders and many opportunities to do that on their own. If they refuse to do that, then they’re being arrested for trespassing… The seven that I know of have all been for trespassing. I understand there has been an eighth arrest, but I don’t have any information on the eighth arrest.”

Those arrested were transported to Mendocino County Jail.

Seven arrests, as confirmed by CHP: Tara (or Cara?) Dragoni, no city listed; Jamie D. Chevalier – Willits; Matthew J. Caldwell, Willits; Sara L. Grusky, Willits; William E. (‘Will’) Parrish, Ukiah; Elizabeth K. Riegle (sp?), Forestville; Sandra E. Marshall, Redwood Valley.

When asked by the KZYX reporter “what provided the tipping point for you [CHP] to start arresting today,” Kruel responded: “They’re here to work without being interfered with. We respect the right of protesters to exercise their first amendment but if what they are doing exceeds what is intended by those rights or the right to demonstrate or if violence were ensued, we would take action to protect lives and property.”

PD reporter questioned if there was any exit strategy for removing Warbler from the tree. What’s your plan? More…

Stop the Willits Bypass: Action Alert In Effect For Thursday and Friday, 3/21 and 3/22…

In Around Mendo Island on March 21, 2013 at 7:10 am


From Save Little Lake Valley and The Warbler’s Tree Sit

The action alert we distributed the other day remains in effect. The Warbler’s Tree Sit Shuttle Service will again operate tomorrow and Friday — March 21st and 22nd. We encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity to ride over, visit the tree sit, and be of support in case of attempted construction activities or arrests by the California Highway Patrol. The tree sit shuttles depart from Bountiful Gardens’ storefront (near Our Yoga Center) in Evergreen Shopping Center, where Lo Bucks is located, on the south end of Willits. The shuttle service will start at 7 a.m. and continue throughout the morning.

You can stay posted to SOLLV’s electronic media tools —,, and our e-mail listserv — throughout the next few days. We will post bulletins as quickly as possible in case of major developments.

Though we again blocked Atlas Tree Surgery’s wood chipper machine from destroying habitat along the proposed CalTrans Bypass route on Monday, we fully expect them to return at some point this week. Also, we remain concerned about the possibility of an attempt by the California Highway Patrol to evict us. More…

Transition: Superheated American City Dealing with 110 Degrees for 33 Days — Phoenix Confronts Apocalyptic Climate Change…

In Around the web on March 21, 2013 at 7:05 am

Thanks to Todd Walton

If cities were stocks, you’d want to short Phoenix.

Of course, it’s an easy city to pick on. The nation’s 13th largest metropolitan area (nudging out Detroit) crams 4.3 million people into a low bowl in a hot desert, where horrific heat waves and windstorms visit it regularly. It snuggles next to the nation’s largest nuclear plant and, having exhausted local sources, it depends on an improbable infrastructure to suck water from the distant (and dwindling) Colorado River.

In Phoenix, you don’t ask: What could go wrong? You ask: What couldn’t?

And that’s the point, really. Phoenix’s multiple vulnerabilities, which are plenty daunting taken one by one, have the capacity to magnify one another, like compounding illnesses. In this regard, it’s a quintessentially modern city, a pyramid of complexities requiring large energy inputs to keep the whole apparatus humming. The urban disasters of our time — New Orleans hit by Katrina, New York City swamped by Sandy — may arise from single storms, but the damage they do is the result of a chain reaction of failures More…

Transition: Seeds of Conflict…

In Around the web on March 21, 2013 at 6:45 am


From Discover Magazine
Thanks to Rosalind Peterson

Genetically modified corn and soy dominate U.S. farms, but activist raids have kept Europe GMO-free. The fight over the next Green Revolution has just begun.

Not long after midnight on July 9, 2011, six men descended on a fenced-in field at biovativ, a research facility in the northern German town of Gross Lusewitz. It was a clear, warm Saturday night, and the 115-acre farm was lit by a half moon.

Moving quickly, the men surrounded the night watchman. Shining their flashlights in his face and threatening him with pepper spray and clubs, they frisked him, took his flashlight and keys, and smashed his cell phone. Then they headed directly for their target, a potato patch the size of a tennis court. Within minutes, the potatoes—part of a research project run by the nearby University of Rostock to see if rabbit vaccines and plastic polymers could be grown in plants—had been ripped out of the ground or trampled.

Two nights later, at a farm 100 miles to the south, the scene repeated itself almost exactly. This time, a dozen masked men overpowered two guards at the Üplingen Plant Science Garden, hopped a waist-high wire fence and trashed a plot of genetically modified potatoes, along with part of a nearby stand of transgenic wheat. As police cars sped toward the farm, the raiders melted into the night. More…

Herb Ruhs: Crime — The Substance of American Life…

In Around the web on March 20, 2013 at 8:02 am


The Compassionate Misanthrope

For the last fifty years, based on actual personal experience in Viet Nam during the war and a young life in the sub basement of American society where I had plenty of contact with criminal minds, supplemented by a medical career caring for incarcerated youth (kids tell their doctor everything) and my work as a court qualified child abuse expert, I have been telling folks that we life in a fully criminalized society. Understandably I was discounted as some sort of kook, but I was really a Cassandra. Along the way I have compared notes with countless well meaning and honest folks who observed accurately what I was seeing but couldn’t bring themselves to connect the dots and believe in the tsunami of criminality that has now, finally, become apparent to almost everyone, but is still not understood in its entirety by the vast majority who cling to the comfortable fiction of law and order and individual rights.

Growing up as a homeless and abandoned child in the US and being related by blood to a variety of criminals, left me with a perspective on crime that I only encounter in folks with similar backgrounds, many of them incarcerated. One of the fringe benefits of being an American seems to be being entitled to ignore reality and choose any false reality that appeals. As acute observers of the current scene More…

How the US public was defrauded by the hidden cost of the Iraq war…

In Around the web on March 20, 2013 at 7:50 am

Blackwater employees to be expelled from Iraq


George Bush sold the war as quick and cheap; it was long and costly. Even now, the US is paying billions to private contractors

When the US invaded Iraq in March 2003, the Bush administration estimated that it would cost $50-60bn to overthrow Saddam Hussein and establish a functioning government. This estimate was catastrophically wrong: the war in Iraq has cost $823.2bn between 2003 and 2011. Some estimates suggesting that it may eventually cost as much as $3.7tn when factoring in the long-term costs of caring for the wounded and the families of those killed.

The most striking fact about the cost of the war in Iraq has been the extent to which it has been kept “off the books” of the government’s ledgers and hidden from the American people. This was done by design. A fundamental assumption of the Bush administration’s approach to the war was that it was only politically sustainable if it was portrayed as near-costless to the American public and to key constituencies in Washington. The dirty little secret of the Iraq war – one that both Bush and the war hawks in the Democratic party knew, but would never admit – was that the American people would only support More…

Gene Logsdon: Here’s Mud In Your Sty…

In Gene Logsdon Blog - The Contrary Farmer on March 20, 2013 at 7:38 am


The Contrary Farmer

Mud is the most appropriate icon (how I hate that overused word anymore) of the struggle between humans bent on making money in farming and a nature bent on stopping them. Mud in springtime turns barnyards into forbidding quagmires that can swallow pigs. I say this with some authority. As a child I got stuck in the mud behind the barn and had to wait, screaming in panic, for my father to extricate me. Many years later, a farmer told me, aghast, about visiting a neighboring farm where a cow was standing up to her belly in mud. She was dead.

Mud is the main obstacle to success in year-round pasture farming. Heavy cows can turn a thawing pasture sod into a sea of quicksand in March. And now that tractors have four wheel drive, they will haul hay out to cattle without getting stuck. Instead they cut big ruts and ruin the pasture that way.

So acute is the problem of burying monster farm machines in muddy fields that the Purdue Extension Service has put out a 96 page manual called “Extracting Stuck Equipment Safely.” I can give you a two-sentence summation of what it says: When you bury a huge tractor or combine, call in a professional wrecking crew to pull it out even though it will cost you hundreds of dollars. It serves you right for being so stupid.


James Lee: Spook Spy Wars and Bank Customer Haircuts…

In James Lee on March 19, 2013 at 7:36 am


Anderson Valley

Over the past week, while the main stream prestitutes were fondling over themselves to keep from reporting the real stories behind the exiting Pope ‘Arnold’ Benedict’s massive global coverup’s of child pedophilia by catholic priests as well as the shameful history of the new Pope Francis of “No See-See’s” dark silence during the bloody torture, rape and murders of Argentina’s ‘Dirty War’ of the late 70′s and early 80′s, another very important global event, that may effect all, is being played out among the Western and Russian secret spook agencies and governing bodies.

Spy vs. Spy

First, it was reported last week in news sites other than in the U.S., that the Russian Drug Task forces had swept into U.S. occupied Afghanistan unexpectedly and destroyed many drug labs as well as confiscating over 21 tons of processed heroin:

MOSCOW, March 12 (RIA Novosti) – Almost 21 tons of heroin have been seized in an operation in eastern Afghanistan , the head of Russia’s Federal Drug Control Service (FSKN) said on Tuesday.  “An operation was carried out yesterday in the province of Nangarhar More…

Dr. Paul Lee: Alan Chadwick and the Origins of the Organic Movement in California…

In Around Mendo Island, Books on March 19, 2013 at 6:00 am

“It has taken me over thirty years to write this book. It tells the story of my starting the first organic garden at a university in the country, with Alan Chadwick, in 1967, who E. F. Schumacher called the world’s greatest gardener. I recount the gardens Alan developed after UC Santa Cruz; Saratoga; the Zen Center Farm at Green Gulch; Round Valley in Covelo, California; and Carmel in the Valley in West Virginia.

“I develop the philosophical background of Alan’s work and practice: the biodynamic and French Intensive systems he amalgamated. Biodynamics was developed by Rudolf Steiner in the early decades of the last century under the influence of Goethe who was Steiner’s great inspiration thanks to Goethe’s botanical studies. Goethe to Steiner to Chadwick represents the Vitalist tradition in defense of the integrity of organic nature as opposed to the Physicalist tradition of modern scientism reducing organic nature to matter.

“After we started the garden I had to find out why organic nature had been undermined by industrial society and why it had to be recovered and reaffirmed. Why did ‘organic’ have to become a buzz word? Why did industrialized and mechanized and commercialized food and flower production take over, supplanting natural and organic procedures? Why did they start calling factories plants? I tell you why. In my book! More…

James Houle: Costco Urban Decay Report…

In Around Mendo Island, James Houle on March 18, 2013 at 6:30 am

c1c2Before and After Costco
Northbound entry to Ukiah
See expanded version below…
Courtesy Dale La Forest & Associates

Redwood Valley

The ALH Urban & Regional Economics Analysis prepared last August by Environmental Science Associates, Inc. does a very inadequate job of characterizing the sales impacts of the proposed Costco Store upon retail food and beverage businesses in the Ukiah Market Area. Of all commercial sectors, ALH believes the food and beverages sector will be impacted most severely. There are a total of 26 groceries and supermarkets stretching from the Hopland to Willits and eastward to Lake County that ALH identifies as likely to experience some impact upon their sales volumes. Of these, seven are quite large including 2 Safeways (Ukiah and Willits), 2 Grocery Outlet Stores (Ukiah and Lakeport), Lucky (Ukiah), Raleys (Ukiah), and Food Maxx (Ukiah). ALH says there is “a potential for one of these larger supermarkets to close” and that large scale vacancies More…

The Deeper Meanings of Cyprus…

In Aw, ya selfish greedy bastards ya on March 18, 2013 at 6:25 am


The deposit-confiscation “bailout” of Cyprus reveals much about the Eurozone’s fundamental neocolonial, neofeudal structure.

At long last, Europe’s flimsy facades of State sovereignty, democracy and free-market capitalism have collapsed, and we see the real machinery laid bare: the Eurozone’s political-financial Aristocracy will stripmine every nation’s citizenry to preserve their power and protect the banks and bondholders from absorbing losses.

The deposit-confiscation “bailout” of Cyprus confirms the Eurozone’s fundamental neocolonial, neofeudal structure and the region’s political surrender to financialization.

The E.U., Neofeudalism and the Neocolonial-Financialization Model (May 24, 2012)

Let’s list what Cyprus reveals about the true state of financial-political power in Europe:


The Internet is a surveillance state…

In Around the web on March 18, 2013 at 5:30 am


CNN Opinion

I’m going to start with three data points.

One: Some of the Chinese military hackers who were implicated in a broad set of attacks against the U.S. government and corporations were identified because they accessed Facebook from the same network infrastructure they used to carry out their attacks.

Two: Hector Monsegur, one of the leaders of the LulzSac hacker movement, was identified and arrested last year by the FBI. Although he practiced good computer security and used an anonymous relay service to protect his identity, he slipped up.

And three: Paula Broadwell,who had an affair with CIA director David Petraeus, similarly took extensive precautions to hide her identity. She never logged in to her anonymous e-mail service from her home network. Instead, she used hotel and other public networks when she e-mailed him. The FBI correlated hotel registration data from several different hotels — and hers was the common name.

The Internet is a surveillance state. Whether we admit it to ourselves or not, and whether we like it or not, we’re being tracked all the time. More…

On Dawkins’ Cultured Despisers…

In Freethought on March 17, 2013 at 9:36 am

Patheos – Atheist

I relatively often come across academics who express contempt for Richard Dawkins’s atheist activism and The God Delusion. What is interesting about these critics is how many of them share his contempt for fundamentalist religion. Ironically that is the core of his contempt for religion and theism too.

These academics are usually people who will implicitly talk about fundamentalist, literalist religious beliefs as so plainly and obviously false that one need not even go to the trouble of explaining all that is wrong with them. Even if these academics are themselves religious or sympathetic to religion they will chummily share a laugh with a curiously outspoken atheist like me over how absurd the beliefs of fundamentalists are. They will often express outright puzzlement at how any one could believe things so bizarre as fundamentalists do.

I do not share in these academics’ puzzlement since for a long time I actually was a fundamentalist, in essence, even though I already was leery of the word. To me such people are not just some harmless oddball curiosity for the learned to laugh at or to analyze with an anthropologist’s sense for understanding people without judging or desiring to change them. More…

William Edelen: Red Slippers… Red Blood… A New Hope

In William Edelen Blog - The Contrary Minister on March 17, 2013 at 8:30 am


The Contrary Minister

The Media has fully covered the Red Slippers of the retiring Pope… Red Silk for indoors… Red Leather for outdoors… with the name of the designer and all related facts.

My mind went into a re-wind on the Red Blood that has soaked the earth by that same “Christian” organization. When Alfred North Whitehead was the Chair of Philosophy at Harvard University, he made this observation. “Christian Theology has been the greatest disaster in the history of the human race.” Was he correct? A brief review:

391 A.D. Christians burn down one of the world’s greatest libraries in Alexandria that housed over 700,000 scrolls.

1099: Christian crusaders take Jerusalem and massacre Jews and Muslims. In the streets were piles of heads, hands and feet. Millions were killed as a result of the Crusades.

1208: Pope Innocent orders a Crusade against the French Cathars. Over 100,000 were killed by Armaud’s men at Beziers.

1231: Pope Gregory IX establishes the Inquisition. Inquisitors were given license to explore every means of horror and torture and cruelty. Victims were rubbed with lard or grease and slowly roasted alive. Ovens built to kill people, made famous by Nazi Germany, were first used in the Christian Inquisition of Eastern Europe. The gruesome tortures More…

Herb Ruhs comments on Religious and Corporate Cults…

In Around the web on March 17, 2013 at 8:17 am

The Compassionate Misanthrope

[Herb comments on: Slamming the door on Jehovah Witnesses, et al....]

My sincere condolences for any and all people who suffer under illegitimate authority, be it religious, governmental, academic or any of the rest of the many sources for opportunity for sociopathic ambitious. When I was in private practice many physicians in Southern California banned Witnesses from their practices. My wife and I did not. OTOH, we would have a little talk with these families at the first visit to be sure they understood that if a conflict occurred with the church, around blood transfusion typically, then the matter would be promptly turned over to the courts to decide what to do. Witness families we dealt with were fine with this and we never, fortunately, had problems. You could never tell who was a Witness by seeing them in the waiting room, they were indistinguishable from the rest of our practice, and treated that way.

I am a closet totalitarian I guess. When I see organizations doing criminal and unconscionable things I want them stopped. That implies that More…

Slamming the door on Jehovah Witnesses, et al….

In Please Lord, Save Us From Your Followers on March 16, 2013 at 7:44 am



She is an apostate, which sounds like a strange disease, and in many ways it is. According to the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Bec Taylor of Traralgon, since she escaped from them, is unable to have a life worth living.

In 2011, The Watch-tower, the scripture magazine for the bizarre yet outwardly benign Christian sect, described those who abandon the church as “mentally diseased” outcasts, or apostates, who “seek to infect others with their disloyal teachings”.

They can be “shunned” – cut off from their families and, according to ex-members, subjected to bullying, threats, harassment and stalking to lure them back. Families are told that if they mix with their apostate children, they are traitors too.

Even minor infringements within the Jehovah’s Witnesses such as smoking can result in “disfellowshipping”, and disfellowshipped people can also be shunned.

Critics of the religion call the practice psychologically and emotionally harmful.

Many ex-members do not speak publicly for fear of reprisals. But not Taylor, 29. She was a Jehovah’s Witness in South Australia and then Queensland for most of her life until just a few months ago. She was born into them. Now she cannot speak to her family and was not invited to her late mother’s wedding.

Her story covers two most troubling aspects of the religion she calls the “Jo-Ho’s” More…

Freedom From Religion…

In Freethought on March 16, 2013 at 7:21 am


Transition: Seed Swap at Farmers Market Today 3/16/13…

In Around Mendo Island on March 15, 2013 at 8:30 am

sThe corn cob husker is a popular feature at the Seed Swap

The Food & Seed Working Group of Transition Ukiah Valley is sponsoring a Seed Swap on Saturday, March 16th, at the Ukiah Farmers’ Market, Alex Thomas Plaza on School Street, 9:30 a.m. to noon.

Bring your dried, labeled seeds, preferably in envelopes.  Vegetables, flowers, natives, and herbs are welcome.  Share your bounty and pick up some new varieties. You do not have to bring seeds in order to get seeds.

For those who cannot attend Saturday, but wish to contribute, please leave your labeled seeds at Mulligan Books, 208 S. State Street, beforehand.

This is a great opportunity for experienced seed savers to share their knowledge of what is well-adapted to our local area, and for new gardeners to get started with free seeds and advice.

Contact: 707 485-0917 for more information.

Will Parrish: Bypass In The Wind…

In Will Parrish on March 15, 2013 at 8:29 am


[The Warbler sent this message to supporters of her tree sit yesterday:

This land belongs to nobody, but it needs somebody’s protection. We must stand together if we expect a livable future.

As put by John Wagenet, we are the “Federation of People with Common Sense.” Our efforts are a common sense reaction to the destruction here and everywhere. The options are life or death. This bypass would not harbor life. It would harbor asphalt and CO2 emissions, and take much of the life of this valley in the process.

My courage and inspiration comes from knowing that what we are all doing is right. I thank all of you for your courage in standing up and protecting this fragile matrix of life we are all a part of.

Me in a tree
Plus you on the ground,
Together we can turn
Caltrans around!
Rah! Rah! Rah!]

Members of California State Senator Noreen Evans’ staff, including her resident guru on environmental policy issues, Jeff Tyrell, visited The Warbler’s tree sit on Feb. 20th to get a feel for the opposition to the CalTrans Bypass of Willits and hear first-hand its members’ grievances. Evans herself had planned to visit the tree sit, but she canceled after being called to a vote in Sacramento. Her staffers also met with regional supporters of the Bypass, including at least one member of the bloc of three Willits City Council members who publicly favor the proposed six-mile superhighway.

Probably the most instrumental part of Evans’ staff members’ visit was an afternoon sightseeing tour of the freeway’s planned route through the Little Lake Valley’s wetlands More…

Todd Walton: Route 66

In Todd Walton on March 15, 2013 at 7:49 am

(Philanthropist painting by Nolan Winkler)


“If you ever plan to motor west,

Travel my way, take the highway that is best.

Get your kicks on route sixty-six.” Bob Troup

As I peruse the many articles decrying the ruination of towns and independent businesses by big box stores such as Walmart, and I read about Ukiah groveling at the feet of Costco and wasting millions of precious dollars to bring that destructive horror show to town, I recall that the largest assault on the remarkably diverse and egalitarian America of the 1960’s (egalitarian compared to America in 2013) was the construction of the Interstate Highway System, without which many of the fast food restaurants and chain stores and big box stores of today, not to mention much of suburbia, would never have come into being.

A popular television show of my childhood (1960-1964) was Route 66, a weekly hour-long drama about two handsome young men driving around America on Route 66 and having adventures with all kinds of different kinds of people in small towns and big towns and cities connected by that particular ribbon of highway. What I remember most clearly about the show was that the two guys—Martin Milner as Tod Stiles and George Maharis as Buz Murdock—drove a groovy Corvette convertible through cornfields and deserts and towns accompanied by beautiful dreamy traveling music (composed by Nelson Riddle and performed by his dreamy orchestra.)

The actual Route 66 was a 2500-mile highway that existed More…

Meet Scott Prouty, the 47 Percent Video Source…

In Around the web on March 14, 2013 at 8:42 am


Mother Jones

For months, he and I shared a big secret and repeatedly discussed whether he should go public or stay hidden.

The fellow on the other end of the phone call pronounced his name with hesitation. For nearly a fortnight, he and I had been building a long-distance rapport via private tweets, emails, and phone conversations as we discussed how best to make public the secret video he had shot of Mitt Romney talking at a private, $50,000-per-plate fundraiser in Boca Raton, Florida. Now I was almost ready to break the story at Mother Jones. I had verified the video, confirming when and where it had been shot, and my colleagues and I had selected eight clips—including Romney’s now-infamous remarks about the 47 percent of Americans he characterized as “victims” unwilling to “take personal responsibility and care for their lives”—to embed in two articles. We had blurred these clips, at the source’s request, to make it difficult to tell where Romney had uttered these revealing comments, while clearly showing that it was Romney speaking. The goal was to afford the source a modicum of protection.

The source was justifiably worried about repercussions. Once the video was posted, he might lose his job. He might face criminal prosecution or a civil lawsuit. Months earlier, he had anonymously posted a snippet from the video, in which Romney nonchalantly described the work-camp-like living conditions at a Chinese factory he had visited. The source, offended by these comments, had hoped that the short clip would catch fire in the political-media world. But it hadn’t, partly because its context and origins were unknown. The source’s desire to remain in the shadows had hindered his ability to bring the story to the public.

Then James Carter IV, a freelance researcher (and, though I didn’t know it then, the grandson of Jimmy Carter) who had been sending me More…

Kill Anything That Moves…

In Around the web on March 14, 2013 at 8:22 am


Nick Turse’s “Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam” is not only one of the most important books ever written about the Vietnam conflict but provides readers with an unflinching account of the nature of modern industrial warfare. It captures, as few books on war do, the utter depravity of industrial violence—what the sociologist James William Gibson calls “technowar.” It exposes the sickness of the hyper-masculine military culture, the intoxicating rush and addiction of violence, and the massive government spin machine that lies daily to a gullible public and uses tactics of intimidation, threats and smear campaigns to silence dissenters. Turse, finally, grasps that the trauma that plagues most combat veterans is a result not only of what they witnessed or endured, but what they did. This trauma, shame, guilt and self-revulsion push many combat veterans—whether from Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan—to escape into narcotic and alcoholic fogs or commit suicide. By the end of Turse’s book, you understand why.

This is not the book Turse set out to write. He was, when his research began in June 2001, a graduate student looking at post-traumatic stress disorder among Vietnam veterans. An archivist at the U.S. National Archives asked Turse whether he thought witnessing war crimes could cause PTSD. He steered Turse to yellowing reports amassed by the Vietnam War Crimes Working Group. The group, set up in the wake of the My Lai massacre, was designed to investigate the hundreds of reports of torture, rape, kidnapping, forced displacement, beatings, arson, mutilation, executions and massacres carried out by U.S. troops. But the object of the group was not to discipline or to halt the abuses. It was, as Turse writes, “to ensure that the army would never again be caught off-guard by a major war crimes scandal.” More…

North Carolina: Rowan County Officials Erupt Over ACLU Lawsuit Challenging Its Official Public Prayers…

In Freethought on March 14, 2013 at 8:00 am



 (Raw Story):

The group’s [ACLU] letter sparked a series of angry commentaries by commissioners, including an email by Commissioner Jim Sides who said he would “volunteer to be the first to go to jail for” the cause of official public prayer at government meetings. Subsequent meetings featured prominent public prayers led by commission members and public comment periods became stacked with enthusiastic Christians lecturing about how the liberal Supreme Court cannot impose its will upon the free people of America.

…Meetings since the ACLU’s letter in February have continued to prominently feature an official Christian prayer, 13 of which are documented word-for-word in the lawsuit citing specific Christian terminology like “the birth of Jesus Christ,” “the guidance of the Holy Spirit,” and the “virgin birth.

Because it’s about the Christianist point of view to the exclusion of all others. These cretins simply don’t get it. No amount of rational discussion will help. The dinosaurs just need to be bounced from office. At least some of the sane residents in the county spoke up:

Rowan County resident Shakeisha Gray in particular, a self-professed Christian who is not part of the lawsuit, was cited in the ACLU’s complaint after she faced boos for taking issue with the commission’s disregard for clear legal precedent.

“You were chosen to represent all of those who reside in this county: the Christian, the Jewish, the Muslim, the Hindu, the Buddhist, the Pagan, the atheist, the agnostic and whatever else there may be,” she said. “My faith is not threatened by others who may believe different than I do. I’m not the only person in Rowan County who feels this way.”


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