Will Parrish: Greenpeace’s Mendocino Redwood Company Greenwash



“Clean up your act, not your image.” Thus is the slogan of the http://www.stopgreenwash.org campaign recently launched by none other than Greenpeace International, which seeks to expose the hype behind the shiny, green marketing claims of corporate plunderers in the oil, electricity, automobile, coal, nuclear, and forestry sectors.

Greenpeace should be applauded for challenging the process of “greenwashing,” which has become a major means by which the the world’s most powerful and destructive institutions, be they Chevron or the US military, legitimize their most destructive activities. A few small steps this way and that can go very far to gloss over a corporation’s or government’s image and hide ongoing environmental crimes. Greenwashing obscures the inherently destructive aspects of industrial capitalism by emphasizing small reforms and innovations while ignoring core processes.

Todd Walton: Palmer Alaska

palmer alaska max


“I believe that there is a subtle magnetism in Nature, which, if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright.” Henry David Thoreau

When Marcia and I got together eight years ago, we embarked on a fascinating process of making a studio album with the help of Peter Temple, the recording savant of Albion. I played guitar and piano and sang, Marcia wrote and arranged and played gorgeous cello parts for our original tunes, and the late great Amunka Davila supplied tasty percussion. The project took several months longer than I thought it would and used up most of the money I’d set aside for such creative endeavors.

We were happy with the results, the CD entitled When Light Is Your Garden, and when the manufacture of the album coincided with the birth of my books Buddha In A Teacup and Under the Table Books, we decided to go on a tour of the Northwest and see if we could sell some product and have fun while we were at it.

Sea level “jumps” 5 inches. Probably nothing to worry about…


From Grist

Climate change is a disaster in slow-motion: The global temperature creeps up by fractions-of-a-degree each year, the seas rise inches every decade. Except, apparently, when they do much more.

Exhibit A: In just two years, 2009 and 2010, sea levels along the Atlantic coast north of New York City jumped up by more than 5 inches, according to a paper published this week in the journal Nature Communications. That might not seem like much on its own, but consider that, according to the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, global sea levels are rising at a rate of less than a half an inch each year, and that’s causing all sorts of havoc.

Transfusion by Nervous Norvus…


Written By Women…


On the eve of Vela’s launch in September 2011, Sarah Menkedick sat down and wrote out her vision for the magazine. Vela has grown and evolved tremendously since then, but the fundamental purpose and spirit of the publication have remained unchanged. As Sarah hoped, we are still and will continue to be “a space to maneuver freely without having to either set one’s work apart as distinctly female or suck it up trying to prove that women can do what men do and that what men do is the best and the norm.”

Try this with The Best Magazine Articles Ever: Go down the list, and say out loud to yourself the gender of each writer as you go. You’ll say: man, man, man, man, man, man, man, man, man, woman, man, man, man, man, man, man, man, man, man, man, man, man, man, man, man.

A Wilderness of Waiting…


From Vela

In the eighth month of my nine-month human pregnancy, I go on a binge-Googling of animal gestation periods. Frilled sharks, I discover, gestate for 42 months. Elephants take 22 months. Sperm whales: 16. Walruses: 15. Rhinos: 14. Horses: 11. I am seeking solidarity and comparative comfort in the realm of beasts, seeking to place my experience on a spectrum of waiting. I think of going on into month eleven, twelve, twenty, thirty-five: days into months into years of pregnancy. I find a kind of horror in it, and fascination, and reverence, and ultimately a question: what does it mean to exist in waiting, to wait so long that the line between life and waiting blurs?I am 32 and living in a 19th-century cabin on my parents’ Ohio farm. The cabin is approximately 40 feet wide, with walls and floors of sturdy wood planks, a wood-burning stove, and a pioneer feel. “Is there anything in here that’s not ancient?” my nine-year-old niece asks with mild distaste when she visits. Everywhere are the artifacts of antiquated domesticity: baskets, hand-painted serving platters, crocks. The cabin has been decorated and prepared for weekend visitors to the farm, not full-time living, but when I finish grad school my husband and I move in, setting mousetraps and putting up storm windows as we navigate this murky penniless period before our next move.

Gene Logsdon: Starting An Old Tractor


I don’t know of a better argument in favor of farming with horses than trying to start an old tractor in the winter time. I have never thought I could afford a new tractor so I know quite a bit about starting old ones. Or rather I know quite a bit about new and more imaginative combinations of foul language when old tractors won’t start. Some will say that it is all a matter of science. A friend of mine, Roy Harbour, who ran a car dealership most of his life, was fond of saying that “if everything is right, you can’t keep a car from starting.” Maybe so, but to me the fact that a spark from a battery will ignite gas in a carburetor, and the explosion engendered will push pistons up and down to make a drive shaft spin round and round so that tires go forward and backward is sheer magic. To start that process sometimes requires mystic manipulations and incantations heavy on swear words. Once I disgustedly kicked the front tire on my WD Allis when it wouldn’t start, and wouldn’t you know, it fired right up when I tried again. After that, I would as a matter of course, kick the tire superstitiously before trying to start the obstinate thing. That worked for about a week.

The Conservative Attempt to Re-Write Our Progressive History…


From Thom Hartmann

Oklahoma isn’t the only state where Republicans are waging war on high school history class.

Conservatives in a handful of other states, including Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and – no surprise here – Texas are now pushing bills that would ban the College Board’s AP U.S. history curriculum.

The main issue that conservatives have with the current AP history curriculum is that it’s “too liberal” and supposedly focuses too much on the “negative” parts of American history, whatever that means. So Conservatives want to replace it with a curriculum that focuses on topics conservatives like – topics like, you know, Reagan, Reagan, and, just for good measure, more Reagan.

In all seriousness, though, there’s a really good reason that conservatives are freaking out about what kind of history curriculum is going to be taught in our classrooms. And that’s the simple fact that the history of America is the history of the continuous progressive transformation of this country.

Freedom of speech, backlash of anger over four words at South Portland High School…


From The Portland Press Herald

Three students who made others aware of their right not to say the Pledge of Allegiance are stunned by the emotional reaction.

It’s a story about three top students at South Portland High School, four little words added to the daily invitation to say the Pledge of Allegiance, and a provocative Facebook post that provided an unexpected lesson in the politics of the freedom of speech.

Senior class president Lily SanGiovanni sparked community outrage in January when she changed the way she invited students and faculty members to recite the pledge.

Lies and Fabrications: The Propaganda Campaign in Support of Genetically Modified Crops (GMO)…


From Global Research

According to Mathew Holehouse in the UK’s Telegraph newspaper (here), former UK Environment Minister Owen Paterson will this week accuse the European Union and Greenpeace of condemning people in the developing world to death by refusing to accept genetically modified crops. Speaking in Pretoria, South Africa, on Tuesday, Paterson will warn that a food revolution that could save Africa from hunger is being held back and that the world is on the cusp of a green revolution, of the kind that fed a billion people in the 1960s and 1970s as the world’s population soared.

After talking about a growing global population and the pivotal role of GMOs in feeding it, Paterson will assert:

Ownership and Business Models as Social and Ideological Battle Fields…


From Humanity’s Test

The creation of what we now call capitalism, with its deification of private property and free (if “free” simply means free of democratic oversight) markets, has been a conscious project spanning a number of centuries. Central to that project has been the eradication, and marginalization, of competing ownership and business models.

The Conversion of the Earth Into Private Property

The Earth as a whole can be viewed as a single commons, shared by myriads of species that vary over time. Only with the advent of settled human populations, around 10,000 years ago, did one species define itself as preeminent and worthy of turning the Earth into its’ own property. Prior to this period, and for the vast majority of human existence, humans lived in small, generally mobile, hunter-gatherer groups that saw themselves as part of nature. Although they could use such things as fire and selective plant removal to alter nature’s path, they mostly reacted to and fitted within whatever it provided. Other sentient creatures were not viewed as either “wild animals” or property, but as non-human persons that deserved respect and could make things difficult for humans if they were not respected. Even inanimate objects, such as a specific place, or rock, could be viewed as being “alive” in some way. Animism, the belief that non-human entities have souls, even inanimate ones, was the basis of spiritual life. Such beliefs are representative of the remaining hunter-gatherer groups that have not been thoroughly acculturated by modern society[i] [ii].

Vanishing water, fewer jobs, but still hope in the Central Valley…


Joe Del Bosque of Firebaugh shows an organic field at his farm last month. Central Valley residents are dealing with the results of a multiyear drought that has caused many farmers to stop planting row crops in favor of almonds and pistachios.

From Sacramento Bee
Thanks to Ron

MENDOTA In this region that calls itself “The Cantaloupe Center of the World,” vast fields that once annually yielded millions of melons lie fallow. And, for some farmers, planting tomatoes and other traditional row crops may now constitute acts of courage.

America’s largest agriculture economy is changing because of a lack of water. Amid a prolonged drought and an anticipated third straight year of cutbacks in federal water supplies, the one assured constant is stress.

Farmers who can afford them are sinking wells, extracting groundwater that works for groves of almonds and pistachios. But the groundwater is generally too salty for crops of vegetables and grains that have made the Central Valley the nation’s food basket. And questions persist over how long the groundwater supplies will last – and whether growers will get enough of the reservoir water they crave.

In California’s $40 billion agricultural sector, farmers face hard choices on what to plant and how much. They weigh crop losses and the costs of acquiring new ground or surface water supplies against cutting labor or selling off their farms.

9 Surprising Industries Getting Filthy Rich From Mass Incarceration…


From Alternet

Private prison companies aren’t the only ones benefiting from America’s prison-industrial complex

It’s no coincidence that the United States now imprisons more of its people than any other country in the world: mass incarceration has become a giant industry in the U.S., resulting in huge profits not only for private prison companies, but also, for everything from food companies and telecoms to all the businesses that are using prison labor to cut their manufacturing costs. The prison-industrial complex even has its own lobbyists: according to a 2011 report from the Justice Policy Institute (JPI), the U.S.’ largest private prison company, the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), and their competitor the GEO Group have both spent hundreds of thousands of dollars lobbying for longer prison sentences. And the American Bail Coalition has been lobbying for the bail bond industry for 23 years.

William Edelen: Christian History 101

The Contrary Minister

President Obama is receiving hard criticism about his “prayer breakfast” remarks regarding “Christian” history and violence. Truth and Facts are always upsetting to those with the constipated minds of fantasy, myth and falsehoods. Obama was absolutely CORRECT with the TRUTH about “Christian” history and violence. Consider the following TRUTH, all of which can be CONFIRMED in any public library.

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: 

We must offend religion more: Islam, Christianity and our tolerance for ancient myths, harmful ideas. Our enduring deference to religion, despite its toxicity and phony explanations for the cosmos, lets it survive… 


From Salon

“Yes, it is freedom of speech, but,” said Inna Shevchenko, the 24-year-old leader of the topless, fiercely atheist activist group Femen in France.  On Feb. 14 she was addressing the conference on art, blasphemy and freedom of expression held at the Krudttønden, a café and cultural center in Copenhagen.  She continued.  “Why do we still say ‘but’ when we…”

A sustained barrage of automatic gunfire interrupted her.  She, the Swedish cartoonist with her onstage, Lars Vilks (famous for his 2007 drawings of the Prophet Muhammad that sparked deadly riots in the Islamic world), and much of the audience hurled themselves to the floor before escaping through the building’s rear exit.  The hooded terrorist assailant, a 22-year-old Danish citizen of Arab descent, ended up killing a Danish filmmaker, Finn Noergaard, and wounding five others.  Police later felled the assassin after he had opened fire on a synagogue, murdering one.

Sucking Beer out of the Carpet: We’re going to contract and simplify whether we like it or not…

From The Automatic Earth

[Start at about the 33-minute mark for Nicole’s talk. She speaks for just over 10 minutes.]

A few days before I arrived in Melbourne, The Automatic Earth’s Nicole Foss was one of the key speakers in The Great Debate, which this year took place on February 13. It’s sort of the main event in Melbourne’s annual Sustainable Living Festival, which in 2015 runs from February 7 to March 1. Apart from Nicole, other speakers included George Monbiot and David Holmgren.

In an impressive ‘take no prisoners’ speech, Nicole makes short shrift of the vast majority of idea(l)s about ‘softly transitioning’ into the world that lies beyond the dual credit ponzi and cheap energy bubbles. Everybody who harbors such idea(l)s should take note, lest they end up finding themselves in any one of a large variety of dead end alleyways.

Something along the vein of what my buddy Scott used to say: ‘it’s a good idea but it’s wrong’. People need to think about how much energy use and how much complexity is involved in what they would like to see as their way forward. If there’s too much of either, let alone of both, that way is simply not viable, and it’s back to the drawing board.

I’m not going to transcribe too much of her talk, it’s well worth watching the few minutes she talks. Still, here’s one quote from Nicole:

Our society will be forced to simplify. The paradox with low-energy-profit-ratio energy sources is they cannot sustain the level of complexity necessary to produce them. [..] If your solution rests on complexity, it’s not going to work. We’re going to contract and simplify, like it or not.

More Socialism — Less Capitalism…


From Jerry Mander
Introduction of The Capitalism Papers
[Excerpts] Updated from original post

Question from the Audience: Jerry, do you mean my grandfather’s furniture store is killing the world? Is he one of those capitalists? It’s a nice shop. He’s been there forty years, giving work to eight employees, and he pays a nice wage. With benefits. It doesn’t seem bad to me.

Jerry: No, stores like that are really not the problem. We need to make distinctions when we talk about capitalism. The word covers too many different things. One distinction is this: Size matters! Small-scale local or family businesses, or community enterprises that make some money, pay salaries, send kids to college, and save a little, are not the problem, and never have been.

Albert Einstein: Why Socialism?


From Albert Einstein
Monthly Review

The Editors

Is it advisable for one who is not an expert on economic and social issues to express views on the subject of socialism? I believe for a number of reasons that it is.

Let us first consider the question from the point of view of scientific knowledge. It might appear that there are no essential methodological differences between astronomy and economics: scientists in both fields attempt to discover laws of general acceptability for a circumscribed group of phenomena in order to make the interconnection of these phenomena as clearly understandable as possible. But in reality such methodological differences do exist. The discovery of general laws in the field of economics is made difficult by the circumstance that observed economic phenomena are often affected by many factors which are very hard to evaluate separately. In addition, the experience which has accumulated since the beginning of the so-called civilized period of human history has—as is well known—been largely influenced and limited by causes which are by no means exclusively economic in nature. For example, most of the major states of history owed their existence to conquest. The conquering peoples established themselves, legally and economically, as the privileged class of the conquered country. They seized for themselves a monopoly of the land ownership and appointed a priesthood from among their own ranks. The priests, in control of education, made the class division of society into a permanent institution and created a system of values by which the people were thenceforth, to a large extent unconsciously, guided in their social behavior.

Helen Keller: Why I became an IWW…


From IWW

An Interview, written by Barbara Bindley, New York Tribune, January 15, 1916

I asked that Miss Keller relate the steps by which she turned into the uncompromising radical she now faces the world as Helen Keller, not the sweet sentimentalist of women’s magazine days.

I was religious to start with” she began in enthusiastic acquienscence to my request. “I had thought blindness a misfortune.”

“Then I was appointed on a commission to investigate the conditions of the blind. For the first time I, who had thought blindness a misfortune beyond human control, found that too much of it was traceable to wrong industrial conditions, often caused by the selfishness and greed of employers. And the social evil contributed its share. I found that poverty drove women to a life of shame that ended in blindness.

“Then I read HG Wells’ Old Worlds for New, summaries of Karl Marx’s philosophy and his manifestoes. It seemed as if I had been asleep and waked to a new world – a world different from the world I had lived in.

Todd Walton: Outage

Django In DarkTodd and Django In the Dark photo by Marcia Sloane

Under The Table Books

“Never underestimate the power of human stupidity.” Robert Heinlein

The power was out in our neck of the Mendocino woods for nearly five days last week. Can we blame PG&E? I do. With the money they’ve stolen charging millions of people ten dollars a month not to have stupid, er, smart meters, combined with the billions of dollars they spend annually responding to multi-day power outages all over the state, they could easily have afforded by now to bury all their power lines and be done with outages forever. But that’s not how monopoly capitalism works.


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