Dave Pollard: Does It Matter Who Is Perpetrating the Destruction of Our World, or Why?

How To Save The World Blog

[Another thought-provoking post from Dave. -DS]

Keith Farnish thinks it’s useful, perhaps even necessary, to get angry at the perpetrators of the destruction of our world. He believes it can shake us out of our lethargy and our sense of helplessness. I’ve never found anger particularly useful, since I usually end up feeling that the objects of my anger didn’t mean to do anything outrageous, so I feel angry and upset at myself more than at them. But perhaps that’s precisely the perpetrators’ intent: Just as they would have us accept our share of ‘blame’ for the BP Oil Spill, the Alberta Tar Sands and other ecological disasters, if they can convince us that we are complicit in our world’s destruction, and they are merely trying to provide us with what we think we want or need, then the heat is off them. Maybe he’s right.

Following is an article I wrote as an introduction to the chapter on The Tools of Disconnection in Keith’s upcoming book Underminers, that explores this in more detail.

Paved With Good Intentions

Keith Farnish tells us we need to get angry before we will be moved to act to undermine the industrial civilization that is killing our planet. Then, he says, we need to focus our attention on the “tools of disconnection” — the means by which the perpetrators of our disconnection from our intuition, our positive emotions, our senses, each other, and all-life-on-Earth keep us disorganized, confused, fearful and dependent.

Take Action! Rally and Public Meeting with the U.S. Navy in Ft. Bragg Today Thursday 12/16/10 4-7pm

Redwood Valley

Military Testing Off the Mendocino Coast and Other Areas – Coming Soon Unless We Stop Them…

Watch Sherri Glaser’s video and be sure and come to the meeting Thursday; I understand the meeting made national news last night (ABC). 

The U.S. Navy wants to conduct military testing in our Ocean Sanctuary here on the Pacific North West Coast! (Northern California, Oregon & Washington). The Navy admits that their sonar tests and explosions may harm as many as 2.5 million sea creatures per year over the next 5 years in the Atlantic, Pacific & Gulf of Mexico. We’re talking about the death of whales, dolphins, seals, fish and countless other life forms right off of our Mendocino Coast, Northern California, Oregon & Washington in the NWTRC (Northwest Training Range Complex).

***Please watch the video and PLEASE come to the public meeting with the U.S. Navy on Thursday, Dec. 16, 2010 from 5-7pm, Pentecost Hall, 822 Stewart St., Fort Bragg, CA. There will be a Rally at 4:00 P.M.  before this meeting.

Please share this message with your friends and neighbors!   To Read the Navy Final E.I.S. or their Record of Decision go to http://www.nwtrangecomplexeis.com/Documents.aspx and read the Record of Decision which means that new weapons will be tested in this area as well.

Thank you.

On November 10, 2010, NOAA approved the “taking” (harming) of marine mammals in Northern California by issuing a permit to the U.S. Navy

Herb Ruhs: Time Running Out

Anderson Valley

Sixty five years ago, when I was born, the United States was seen as the white knight saving the world from expansionist tyrannies that believed in economic expansion by means of aggressive war and torture as instruments of state policy.  Now I must confront the exquisite irony, sixty five years later, that the United States supports aggressive war, the greatest of all crimes according to the Nuremberg Trials that saw the execution for this crime of some of the highest placed leadership of the Nazi regime, AND torture as legitimate policies of the state.  My parents and many of my relatives fought, some died, to rid the world of aggressive war and torture and it turns out that they fought and died for nothing.  An even greater irony is that the elder population by and large, in their moral confusion — which is the product of high tech propaganda — the survivors of that very same war to free the world of these things, now tend to support what they fought and died to stop.

Compassion dictates that we seek to alleviate suffering when we can, but where does compassion have a foot hold here? I guess it is a character weakness of mine, but I have a hard time being compassionate toward mass murderers and torturers and the clueless hypocrites that support them. I would like to be compassionate toward my country, fallen so far in the moral universe, but to what use?  Is there any evidence that this tide of depravity in the US can be turned? Doesn’t seem so, but I would love to be wrong about this.

On the other hand, I now have the opportunity to commiserate with those liberal and progressive elements of Weimar Germany that watched helplessly as their country turned into a mass insane asylum.  It is with great sadness that I am encouraging my children, and anyone for that matter who will listen, to emigrate NOW while

Bruce Patterson: Harvesting Christmas Trees

Anderson Valley

I’d driven down this particular beaver slide twice already this year, but never with a full trailer during a cloudburst. My brand-new, one-ton diesel, company pickup truck’s full blast windshield wipers were allowing me flickering peeks of the straight-shot clay road down below, the distant bottomlands seemingly as flat as a pond, and the road looked like a yellow-brown waterfall slicing in two a pure green munchkin Doug fir forest planted at double-arms interval. If I slid out of control, I knew, I was going to wipe out some Christmas trees and, worse, get my truck and trailer mired axle-deep in mud. I’d also scratch the truck’s pristine paint job and maybe even give its front side and fenders some inaugural dings. Imagining such a veritable catastrophe, I could see my boss’s face lengthen and redden and then lengthen and redden some more as I bashfully spilled the beans.

Yet we were already late getting to the landing, and I couldn’t very well sit there idling at the top of the beaver slide awaiting a change in the weather. I couldn’t back out of there, either, or ignore my three soaking wet and shivering compadres huddled atop the load. The only way to take the chill off their bones was to get them back to work, and the best thing about off-loading Christmas trees was how it got your body warmed up and put the feeling back into your fingers. Then, if worse came to worst and I crashed, my body wouldn’t get hurt and we had a D-7 Cat tractor parked not two miles away that could come get us back on the road. “Better late than never,” I recited to myself while steeling my nerves.

After telling my three compadres to climb down off the load and then walk behind me down the hill,

If you’re a Mendo Socialist, please stand up!

Editor/Publisher, Anderson Valley Advertiser

[Bruce Anderson published this a couple of weeks ago in the AVA and online, and the Ukiah Daily Journal just got around to printing it as a Letter to the Editor this week. Bruce identifies himself here as “Mendocino County’s sole uncloseted socialist” and together with Richard Johnson, who claims himself as “the one true green” they are apparently the left-wing’s only local representatives. We must have a vast wasteland of nothing but liberals, centrists, teapartiers, conservatives and right-wing nuts around here. Of course, we have a lot more greens than just Richard starting with Dan Hamburg. And I know one of our local elected politicians who is definitely a socialist, but I don’t know if he has “come out” or not. At least the right-wing nuts think he’s one and that’s a badge he wears proudly, as well he should.

The only nationally elected politician I have any respect for at all is Senator Bernie Sanders, the only declared socialist in Congress, but that doesn’t make me a socialist. I’m registered as an independent, and as a small-town small business person I’m a small-c capitalist, i.e., small is beautiful. For me it’s about scale. Capitalism goes bad when it gets big, ugly, and monopolizes, and it needs regulations to tame it… and here I agree with Bruce: It’s now broken loose and will kill us all. We now need a big dose of socialism to bring these current greedy capitalists to heel, and if that’s a badge on me, I’d wear it proudly too. How about you?  Meanwhile, Bruce writes about the local vocal wingnuts in all their wretched glory… and please see Sean Re’s comment/link below. -DS]

MARK ALBRECHT AND JOHN HENDRICKS do tag-team political comment for the Sunday Ukiah Daily Journal. The two of them comprise “SOS-USA, dedi­cated to promoting the conservative point of view in Ukiah.” Every week, as Ukiah yawns right on past their crude opinions, Albrecht and Hendricks

No Act of Rebellion Is Wasted


I stood with hundreds of thousands of rebellious Czechoslovakians in 1989 on a cold winter night in Prague’s Wenceslas Square as the singer Marta Kubišová approached the balcony of the Melantrich building. Kubišová had been banished from the airwaves in 1968 after the Soviet invasion for her anthem of defiance, “Prayer for Marta.” Her entire catalog, including more than 200 singles, had been confiscated and destroyed by the state. She had disappeared from public view. Her voice that night suddenly flooded the square. Pressing around me were throngs of students, most of whom had not been born when she vanished. They began to sing the words of the anthem. There were tears running down their faces. It was then that I understood the power of rebellion. It was then that I knew that no act of rebellion, however futile it appears in the moment, is wasted. It was then that I knew that the Communist regime was finished.

“The people will once again decide their own fate,” the crowd sang in unison with Kubišová.

I had reported on the fall of East Germany before I arrived in Prague. I would leave Czechoslovakia to cover the bloody overthrow of the Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu. The collapse of the Communist regimes in Eastern Europe was a lesson about the long, hard road of peaceful defiance that makes profound social change possible. The rebellion in Prague, as in East Germany, was not led by the mandarins in the political class but by marginalized artists, writers, clerics, activists and intellectuals such as Vaclav Havel, whom we met with most nights during the upheavals in Prague in the Magic Lantern Theater. These activists, no matter how bleak things appeared, had kept alive the possibility of justice and freedom. Their stances and protests, which took place over 40 years of Communist rule, turned them into figures of ridicule, or saw the state seek to erase them

Henry Dakin — A Life Lived True 1936 – 2010


Bioneers, Mendocino Environmental Center, Social Venture Network

A fourth generation Californian, Henry used his resources and knowledge to empower individuals and businesses ignored by the traditional philanthropic community.  Additionally, he worked tirelessly for peace during the Cold War by fostering lines of communication between the citizens of the US and USSR. Henry overcame an early family life marked with great tragedy to raise a successful family and leave an indelible professional mark with his selfless generosity.

Henry spent his early professional career in San Francisco and Berkeley conducting cutting edge technological research. After graduating from Harvard University, he worked at Lawrence Radiation Laboratory in the 1960s, and designed a pocket radiation detector that still protects workers in risky radiation environments.

In the 1970s from his 3101 Washington Street office in San Francisco, Henry researched parapsychology and mind expansion. He was a member of the Physics Consciousness Research Group — purportedly the inspiration for the film Ghost Busters — along with Robert Anton Wilson, Fritjof Capra, and Uri Geller among others. He was closely involved with the Esalen Institute and the Institute of Noetic Sciences. He also authored a book on Kirlian photography, a technique for photographing the energy fields that surround living things. That book become his longest standing best seller.

At this time Henry began translating and publishing “Samizdat” undergound newspapers and writings smuggled out of political prisons in the Soviet Union. He was once mentioned in the Soviet newspaper Pravda as “the most dangerous man in America.”

Rebooting the American Dream – Chapter Five: Medicare “Part E” for Everybody

Article with footnotes here

The Great Society is a place where every child can find knowledge to enrich his mind and to enlarge his talents. It is a place where the city of man serves not only the needs of the body and the demands of commerce but the desire for beauty and the hunger for community. It is a place where men are more concerned with the quality of their goals than the quantity of their goods.”
– Lyndon Baines Johnson

There are two important reasons for having a strong social safety net, one based in sound economic policy and the other in our common humanity. So it’s no surprise that the countries that have strong social safety nets tend to have resilient economies and a higher quality of life.

Ultimately, social safety nets are about managing risk and unforeseen contingencies. On the one hand, there are the risks that we want people to take, such as starting a new business. On the other hand, there are unforeseen events that are so severe – like becoming paralyzed in an accident – that no one person (unless incredibly wealthy) could handle the expenses associated with them. In both cases, by setting up a social safety net that distributes the costs of responding to them across the wide spectrum of society, we minimize both the societal cost and the individual suffering.

I’ve started seven businesses in my life, five of them successful enough that my wife, Louise, and I could sell them off, take about a year of retirement (better to retire when you’re young was our philosophy), and have enough left over to start the next company. In most cases, when we started the business we had no health insurance, even though in every case we had children.

Ugh! Has Stewart Brand Gone Over To The Dark Side?

Photoshopped Image?


While pressing Stewart Brand to admit he was wrong, it seems that I might have stumbled across a new tactic in the corporate propaganda war.

Last week I gave Stewart Brand a simple challenge. In his book Whole Earth Discipline he claimed that the pesticide DDT “was banned worldwide” as a result of campaigning by environmentalists, killing millions. The claim was repeated in the film he fronted for Channel 4 – What the Green Movement Got Wrong, but was partly cut at the last moment. I challenged Brand either to provide evidence to support his claim or to admit that he got it wrong.

In replying to me he did neither. He also failed to provide the sources he had promised to show me during the televised debate following his film. I wrote this up for the Guardian’s website. In response he sent me a long series of emails, which you can read in full on my site.

None of them meet my challenge, but they have opened my eyes to what I fear is his real agenda – one that seems very different to what he claims to be doing. Here is the open letter I have just sent to him, in which I answer his new claims and voice my concerns.

Dear Stewart,

Thank you for your emails and sorry for taking a while to reply: I had to check your claims before responding to them. Before I go on, let me remind you of some of things you say in your book:

“Every interview with a public figure should include the question “What have you been wrong about, and how did that change your views?” The answer

Adios – It’s the end of ‘consume’ as we’ve known it


So get down to the nitty gritty and this is what it has all been about. Converting oil or coal into shoes, hamburgers, cellphones and SUVs. However, a reckoning is coming.

It’s not the end of the world, just the end of consumerism. We are about to wave goodbye to the dream of endless economic growth – always, every year, more stuff. However, we have enough already. We really do.

Dr Susan Krumdieck, an engineering professor at the University of Canterbury, addresses her audience with a smile. The message is radical, but she believes it will be good news once we have had time to get used to it.

A change is about to be forced on society because energy consumption pretty much is the economy. And we are about to run short of the cheap energy which has been driving the past century of unchecked economic expansion.

There is this myth going round, says Krumdieck, that with every decade we have grown wealthier because we have collectively become smarter and more productive. If everything is bigger, better, brighter, well, it has been earned.

Yet actually we have just been digging up and burning more fossil fuel. Graph the world’s energy consumption against its gross domestic product (GDP) and the two lines track. So get down to the nitty gritty and this is what it has all been about. Converting oil or coal into shoes, hamburgers, cellphones and SUVs.

However, a reckoning is coming. The ecological limits on growth have come into view. Climate change and over- population. But peak oil most immediately.

Over the past year, this has even become semi-official. Towns like Dunedin and Timaru

Joe Bageant: America! Y Ur Peeps B So Dum?

Author, Deer Hunting With Jesus
Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico

Ignorance and courage in the age of Lady Gaga

In the historical view, cultural ignorance is more than the absence of knowledge. It is also the result of long term cultural and political struggle. Since the industrial revolution, the struggle has been between capital and workers. Capital won in America and spread its successful tactics worldwide. Now we watch global capitalism wreck the world and attempt to stay ahead of that wreckage clutching its profits. A subservient world kneels before it, praying that planet destroying jobs will fall their way. Will unrestrained global capitalism, with all the power and momentum on its side and motivated purely by machinelike harvesting of profits, reduce the faceless masses in its path to slavery? Does a duck shit in a pond?

If you hang out much with thinking people, conversation eventually turns to the serious political and cultural questions of our times. Such as: How can the Americans remain so consistently brain-fucked? Much of the world, including plenty of Americans, asks that question as they watch U.S. culture go down like a thrashing mastodon giving itself up to some Pleistocene tar pit.

One explanation might be the effect of 40 years of deep fried industrial chicken pulp, and 44 ounce Big Gulp soft drinks. Another might be pop culture, which is not culture at all of course, but marketing. Or we could blame it on digital autism: Ever watch commuter monkeys on the subway poking at digital devices, stroking the touch screen for hours on end? Those wrinkled Neolithic brows above the squinting red eyes?

But a more reasonable explanation is that, (A) we don’t even know we are doing it, and

Herb Ruhs: Our Imperfections and Vulnerabilities Make Our Mutual Dependency Strong


I have been working on the growing insight that our imperfections are what makes our social groupings strong. Real humans feel best when deeply embedded (did the Army ruin that word?) in a dense network of mutual dependency. That only really works if evolution has equipped us with vulnerabilities that lead us to depend on others. No vulnerability, no society.

Try to imagine a society built of only Robinson Crusoes, fully self-reliant, hyper-libertarian types with no need for anyone else. Actually, we tend to have a form of that here in Mendoland, and it is why our society is weak and we find ourselves continually at the mercy of human predators, the lizzards in human skin to whom we give power over ourselves.

We are meant to find those individuals and groups that compliment our weaknesses, make us more whole. Instead we are taught to look for people as much like ourselves as possible and try very hard to never feel in debt to anyone, except possibly our parents. It is a terrible way to live. As a result we get all kinds of people who end up bad at what they try to do because they are continually trying to model themselves on “successful” people in order to gain acceptance. They end up trying to do things that they are least equipped by nature to accomplish. We have become a nation of conformist failures because we denigrate our uniqueness and treat our varying disabilities as shameful rather than the raw material of the social links we are meant to make in order for our social group to be stronger than the sum of its parts.

The current authoritarian conformist dominant view is like watching people trying to work a picture puzzle where all the pieces are alike and none fit together properly. Dr. Brown, “Connection, Shame, and Vulnerability” video, explains this concept beautifully in twenty minutes. Time well spent.

Todd Walton: Happiness

Under The Table Books

“If only we’d stop trying to be happy we could have a pretty good time.” Edith Wharton

November thirtieth. The weather report said Mendocino could expect rain tonight and for the next several days, so in anticipation of the deluge I spent an hour giving my three garlic beds their second mulching with some well-aged horse manure. I planted my garlic on October 17, my birthday, and now all but a few of the hundred and forty cloves I inserted into the friable soil have sent up sturdy green shoots.

“The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up.” Mark Twain

Both garlic and humans gestate in their respective wombs for nine months before arriving at the optimal moment for emerging into the light. The poet in me finds this similarity delightful and significant.

“What a wonderful life I’ve had! I only wish I’d realized it sooner.” Colette

I am sixty-one and have grown garlic every year for the last thirty years. I began growing garlic while living in Sacramento where I had a large vegetable and flower garden in the backyard of the only house I ever owned. I have grown vegetables since I was six-years-old, but waited to sew my first bed of garlic until I was certain I would be living in the same place for more than a year.

Before I planted my first garlic crop, I consulted pertinent chapters in gardening books and interviewed an elderly Italian woman who grew gorgeous garlic plants in a large circular patch in the center of her impressively green lawn a few blocks from my house. I gathered from my research that in the event of an early and persistently wet winter I might not need to water my garlic until spring, but if no rain fell for some weeks at a stretch

James Houle: Oh! Those Wicked Bleeps!

Redwood Valley

The marvelous display of backstairs gossip at US Embassies by WikiLeaks has upset the American Empire in ways that are both amusing and frightening. We have seen nothing that reveals current US strategies or overseas operations in these low level cables. Yet the reaction of the State Department and the Attorney General’s Office has amounted to an all-out attack not only upon the bearer of these messages, an Aussie named Julian Assange, but also upon the freedom of access to information that has made the Internet a great bulwark of our freedom to know.

Background: 1112 cables have been released (Dec. 10th) out of a total of 251,287 inWikiLeaks possession. Of the total held, 97% were originated by US Embassies overseas and the remainder at Foggy Bottom in Washington where our State Department is permanently mired. None of the cables are classified as ‘Top Secret’, and only 6% are ‘Secret’. The remainder (94%) are merely ‘Confidential’ or ‘Classified’. None are cables between various branches of our military and none involve our 16 Intelligence Agencies. Approximately 23 million people are already cleared for access to these three levels of confidentiality by the US Government. They were written over the past several years and up through February 2010. Nothing more current is displayed.

Are These Cables All That Explosive? None of these cables seem to cover discussions of policy, but are mainly focused upon providing information about meetings and local events, or passing along gossip about the activities of foreign dignitaries and their discussions with US Senators and Congressmen on foreign junkets. They pass on the rumors and allegations gathered by the imperial diplomats of the United States and seem to represent quite well this groups interests and mind-set but do not seriously question our imperial objectives or recommend changes in policy. It seems

 Naomi Wolf: We are all Julian Assange

The Espionage Act: ICH
Thanks to Herb Ruhs

How the Government Can Engage in Serious Aggression Against the People of the United States

This week, Senators Joe Lieberman and Dianne Feinstein engaged in acts of serious aggression against their own constituents, and the American people in general. They both invoked the 1917 Espionage Act and urged its use in going after Julian Assange. For good measure, Lieberman extended his invocation of the Espionage Act to include a call to use it to investigate the New York Times, which published WikiLeaks’ diplomatic cables. Reports yesterday suggest that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder may seek to invoke the Espionage Act against Assange.

These two Senators, and the rest of the Congressional and White House leadership who are coming forward in support of this appalling development, are cynically counting on Americans’ ignorance of their own history — an ignorance that is stoked and manipulated by those who wish to strip rights and freedoms from the American people. They are manipulatively counting on Americans to have no knowledge or memory of the dark history of the Espionage Act — a history that should alert us all at once to the fact that this Act has only ever been used — was designed deliberately to be used — specifically and viciously to silence people like you and me.

The Espionage Act was crafted in 1917 — because President Woodrow Wilson wanted a war and, faced with the troublesome First Amendment, wished to criminalize speech critical of his war. In the run-up to World War One, there were many ordinary citizens — educators, journalists, publishers, civil rights leaders, union activists — who were speaking out against US involvement in the war. The Espionage Act was used to round these citizens by the thousands for the newly minted ‘crime’

Swindle of the year: How Obama snookered the GOP into a second stimulus

Thanks to Bob Daley

Barack Obama won the great tax-cut showdown of 2010 – and House Democrats don’t have a clue that he did. In the deal struck this week, the president negotiated the biggest stimulus in American history, larger than his $814 billion 2009 stimulus package. It will pump a trillion borrowed Chinese dollars into the U.S. economy over the next two years – which just happen to be the two years of the run-up to the next presidential election. This is a defeat?

If Obama had asked for a second stimulus directly, he would have been laughed out of town. Stimulus I was so reviled that the Democrats banished the word from their lexicon throughout the 2010 campaign. And yet, despite a very weak post-election hand, Obama got the Republicans to offer to increase spending and cut taxes by $990 billion over two years. Two-thirds of that is above and beyond extension of the Bush tax cuts but includes such urgent national necessities as windmill subsidies.

No mean achievement. After all, these are the same Republicans who spent 2010 running on limited government and reducing debt. And this budget busting occurs less than a week after the president’s deficit commission had supposedly signaled a new national consensus of austerity and frugality.

Some Republicans are crowing that Stimulus II is the Republican way – mostly tax cuts – rather than the Democrats’ spending orgy of Stimulus I. That’s consolation? This just means that Republicans are two years too late. Stimulus II will still blow another near-$1 trillion hole in the budget.

At great cost that will have to be paid after this newest free lunch, the package will add as much as 1 percent to GDP and lower the unemployment rate by about 1.5 percentage points. That could easily be the difference between

Jim Hightower: Meet Your New Neighborhood Food Market


[Locally in Ukiah we have the Walmart store massively expanding its food section, adding 80 employees, which will destroy at least one, maybe two supermarkets and 120 better-paying jobs for a net loss of 40+ jobs. See also: Big Box Bully: Walmart Is Out To Kill Every Other Store In Town; and Watch the Bully metastasize (carpet-bomb) before your very eyes. -DS]

The $400-billion-a-year retail behemoth, with two million employees laboring in 8,500 stores spread around the globe, is putting on a “local” mask.

The signature phrase of America’s booming good food movement has been expanded from “organic” to “local and sustainable.”

Good! The phrase suggests great quality, strong environmental stewardship, and a commitment to keeping our food dollars in the local economy. If you support the local-economies movement, as I do, no doubt you’ll be thrilled to hear that a new, local food store is coming soon to your neighborhood. In fact, it’s even named Neighborhood Market.

Only, it’s not. It’s a Walmart. Yes, the $400-billion-a-year retail behemoth, with two million employees laboring in 8,500 stores spread around the globe, now is putting on a “local” mask. The giant is promising to buy nine percent of the produce it’ll sell from local farmers. Big whoopie. This means that 91 percent of the foodstuffs offered in its “Neighborhood” chain will come from Wayawayland.

But even the nine percent number is a deceit, for Walmart says that it defines “local” as grown in the same state. Excuse me, but

How Dan Hamburg Won Election

Point Arena

Dan Hamburg won his 2010 campaign [with 57.4%] to become 5th District Supervisor of Mendocino County California. This is an extremely liberal, mainly rural and small town, and geographically large district.

The key elements of the campaign were:

1.  Dan decided he wanted to be County Supervisor and started campaigning at least a year before the filing date. His early campaign consisted mainly of re-introducing himself to activists, which helped him launch with a large campaign committee and initial list of endorsers. That made Dan the frontrunner, and likely headed off endorsements of other candidates by people who knew and liked several of the candidates.

2. His campaign team was large and relatively experienced. Many on the team had worked together on previous campaigns for or against local propositions or candidates. The team included an overall coordinator, a coastal and an inland campaign manager, a database person, treasurer, and other advisors.

3. Dan ran a non-partisan, issues-based race. He always admitted to being a Green Party member when asked, and refused to re-register Democrat when pushed, but campaigned on issues and his capabilities. Many of his campaign workers were decline to state or registered Democrats, in addition to registered Greens.

Neil Davis: Is it just me, or is this nutty?

Mendo 2 Mile Challenge

Somehow my second month of winter town biking has slipped by. It’s been chilly to cold, in a Northern CA kind of way, so not really that cold. But I am glad to have my gloves and a nice wool cap on in the morning.

We had 3.8 inches of rain (less than normal) in November and not very much of it landed on me, or my bike, despite my riding at least twice a day five to six days a week. There were two days when I rode in a light rain, a couple when the road was wet (but my fenders handled that) and one day when I decided to skip a meeting rather than ride to it in the pouring rain. So the weather hasn’t really provided any excuse to drive the car, nor have I needed to be particularly valiant in my quest to leave the car at home.

I felt kind of guilty when I realized I was deciding to skip a meeting rather than ride in the rain and it made me question my moral fortitude (actually I think I just regretted losing the self righteous high ground). Then as I thought about it more, I realized this makes sense. Is it really bad to decide to stay home when it’s stormy out? Is it bad to actually think about, and weigh the pros and cons, of travel in dirty weather? Is it worth it to go out? Is it safe? I don’t have the stats to back it up, but I suspect there are many more accidents, bike or car, in stormy weather.

Staying at home when it’s stormy is likely the age-old norm. There’s no way Cro magnon Neil would have

Todd Walton: Changing Seasons

Under The Table Books

Every year for the past four years I have been commissioned by Bay Woof, a Bay Area Dog magazine, to write a Christmas story for them, a short short story about dogs and their people at holiday time. I hope you enjoy the tale.


Early December. A sunny kitchen. Tea and cookies.

“The dog is the problem,” says Carol, wasting no time stating the case to her brother Ben. “And because I have four cats, two little kids, a busy husband, a formal Japanese garden ill-suited to a large dog, and no time to take the dog for walks; and you are single, self-employed, have a big unkempt, pardon my French, backyard, and your grown daughter visits only rarely, you should take the dog.”

Ben waits before responding, certain his sister has more to say.

“We’re so close to resolving this,” she adds with a hint of ferocity. “He needs to move.”

“Pop or the dog?” asks Ben, the quip irresistible, though he knows Carol will take him literally.

“Pop, of course,” she says, exasperated. “He spends half his time at Fall Creek Village with Mary already. He’d move tomorrow if he could feel okay about leaving the dog behind.”

“Kirk,” says Ben, stating the dog’s name, short for Kierkegaard, their father a retired philosophy professor. “The last time I talked to Pop

For FDR the Key Economic Question was Jobs, not Debt

New Deal 2.0

In another parallel between the Great Recession and the Great Depression, the final proposal of President Obama’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform brings to mind a similar economic reform body that Franklin Roosevelt created in the spring of 1938. Like President Obama’s, FDR’s national economic body was inspired by deep concerns over the long-term health of the US economy. These concerns came in the wake of a sharp economic downturn in the fall of 1937. Often referred to as the “Roosevelt recession“, the downturn came about in large part because of the administration’s decision to cut federal spending and restrict the money supply. These moves sprang from a misguided fear of inflation in the wake of the rapid rate of economic recovery under the policies of the New Deal. As a result, FDR and his economic advisers decided it was time to cut federal spending, balance the budget and reign in the money supply. The consequences were disastrous, leading to a steep decline in industrial production and national income and a dramatic increase in unemployment — the first and only increase in FDR’s entire twelve-year tenure in office. Moreover, even though the “Roosevelt recession” was brought to a swift end through a massive federal program of spending and lending, it nevertheless shook the administration’s confidence and led the President to call upon Congress to establish a “Temporary National Economic Committee” to conduct a “thorough review” of the American economy.

The Temporary National Economic Committee, or TNEC, held Congressional hearings from December 1938 until March of 1941. Unlike today’s commission, however, TNEC’s primary concern was not the deficit.

Take Action! US Navy Public Meetings in Mendocino County. Ukiah Meeting Today 12/9/10 1-3 pm

Redwood Valley




THURSDAY, DECEMBER 9, 2010     1-3 P.M.



On November 10, 2010, NOAA approved the “taking” (harming) of marine mammals in Northern California by issuing a permit to the U.S. Navy (NWTRC-Northern California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho).  In addition, NOAA gave the U.S. Navy a Letter of Authorization which allows them to begin 5-Year Warfare testing and exercises without protecting any National Marine Sanctuaries, fish, breeding habitats, biologically sensitive areas or marine reserves.

Many residents in Northern California are requesting that NOAA rescind the permit and the Letter of Authorization to the Navy until public workshops can be held in Northern California, where our marine biologists and other scientists, along with the EPA, can participate in order to protect our biologically sensitive areas, our fish, and our marine mammals.  The fishing and tourism industry

Live with the WikiLeakable world or shut down the net. It’s your choice.

Pte. Bradley Manning

Guardian UK
Thanks to Dan Hamburg

Western political elites obfuscate, lie and bluster – and when the veil of secrecy is lifted, they try to kill the messenger.

“Never waste a good crisis” used to be the catchphrase of the Obama team in the runup to the presidential election. In that spirit, let us see what we can learn from official reactions to the WikiLeaks revelations.

The most obvious lesson is that it represents the first really sustained confrontation between the established order and the culture of the internet. There have been skirmishes before, but this is the real thing.

And as the backlash unfolds – first with deniable attacks on internet service providers hosting WikiLeaks, later with companies like Amazon and eBay and PayPal suddenly “discovering” that their terms and conditions preclude them from offering services to WikiLeaks, and then with the US government attempting to intimidate Columbia students posting updates about WikiLeaks on Facebook – the intolerance of the old order is emerging from the rosy mist in which it has hitherto been obscured. The response has been vicious, co-ordinated and potentially comprehensive, and it contains hard lessons for everyone who cares about democracy and about the future of the net.

There is a delicious irony in the fact that it is now the so-called liberal democracies that are clamouring to shut WikiLeaks down.

Consider, for instance, how the views of the US administration have changed in just a year. On 21 January, secretary of state Hillary Clinton

Nicholas Wilson: Whiny Wendy and the MCN Listservs

Little River

[You may have thought the recent elections here in Mendocino were over. The votes were counted, the winners announced, now time to get on with our lives, right? Well, not so with one losing Supervisorial candidate who can’t seem to reconcile herself with her overwhelming rejection in the 5th district. This is a followup report to these prior posts: MCN Discussion List To Be Shut Down; Regarding The Transition Of The MCN Discussion List; True Colors: Wendy Roberts now has a public record; Mudslinging in Mendo; Wendy Roberts’ Dirty Tricks Campaign; Sorry, Wendy. Money can’t buy you love; and A vote for Wendy Roberts is a vote for the Right Wing, Privatizing, and Dumb Growth. “MCN” is an Internet Service Provider Owned and Operated by the Mendocino Unified School District. -DS]

First, the good news that the MCN-Discussion listserv termination has been canceled or postponed. MCN General Manager Mitchell Sprague wrote in a list post dated Dec. 6, 2010 at 9:26 AM titled “MCN Cancels December 15th Discussion List Closure”:

After hearing the various comments and opinions raised in the last few days, I have spoken with Dave Miller, MUSD superintendent. The December 15th timeline for the closure of the discussion list has been removed.
The MUSD board will take up the discussion of the future of the unmoderated, open subscription discussion listserv at a *timed* item at a future board meeting. Superintendent Miller has asked me to pass along that he and the MUSD Board are aware of the other important public meeting regarding the Navy on the same night as the December 16th MUSD Board Meeting,

Don Sanderson: Ye Who are Without Sin Cast the First Stone


If there were only evil people somewhere, insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?
— Alexander Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago

The twentieth century was a bloody gore scattered all over the globe and this century promises to continue the pattern. While all other predatory animals guard their territories potentially to the death, this extremity is seldom necessary. Not so we humans. We not only now have weapons deadly almost beyond imagination, but little compunction about using them. Worse, while other predatory animals are satisfied with sufficient for their immediate needs, we humans seemingly have an inexhaustible hunger for more and more and more, given the opportunities, and little constraining wisdom. We, seemingly without exception, are so certain that our beliefs are true, our causes are just, and that we’re especially deserving that we’re willing to fight, kill, and die beyond all bounds to sustain our lifestyles.

In 2004, several American soldiers were ambushed outside Fallujah during the U.S. invasion of Iraq. In response, the U.S. destroyed the town of maybe a half million inhabitants, reportedly killing 1,500 insurgents or so. Around 36,000 of the city’s 50,000 homes were destroyed – who counted how many bodies were inside? White phosphorus was used against the civilian population, which is against international law. There is more. The U.S. uses artillery shells and rockets containing depleted uranium, leftovers from nuclear plants and still highly radioactive, because they are more powerful in penetrating defenses. When they explode, uranium dust is spread all around. Such munitions were used throughout Fallujah

Bruce Patterson: Back-to-the-Landers?

4 Mules Blog
Anderson Valley

Bruce Anderson, the esteemed editor and publisher of the Anderson Valley Advertiser—about the best little weekly in the West—once told me that he has never considered himself a Back-to-the-Lander. A child of the Great Depression born and raised in San Francisco, Bruce “went country” to escape The City he loved that was getting devoured by the car-crazed megalopolis spreading in all directions like a steel, smoke and concrete rash.

Dave Smith, the noted environmental activist and the owner of Mulligan Books in Ukiah, once told me how his farm stock mother reacted when he told her that he was washing his hands of the wheeled rat race and going back to the land.

“The land?” His mother huffed indignantly, “You can keep the land.”

And that was reasonable enough seeing how, traditionally speaking, the worst thing about rural poverty was being forced from cradle-to-grave to bust your ass in order to maintain it. I’m a second generation American, half Irish and half Slovak, and while growing up I wasn’t ever allowed to forget that I was only two measly generations removed from centuries of hunger, filth, disease, heartbreak, slavery and peonage. The Statue of Liberty was built with folks like my grandparents and me in mind, and stepping ashore in New World was supposed to mean leaving behind the ancient, senile and soiled aristocracy of the moneybag.

Even if my ancestors hadn’t’ve been forced to contend with bloodsucking Feudal landlords, Church-State totalitarianism, brigands and rapacious imperial armies, still tilling another’s land was seldom easy and never profitable, living hand-to-mouth being their version of living paycheck-to-paycheck.

Rebooting the American Dream – Chapter Four: An Informed and Educated Electorate

Article with footnotes: TruthOut

If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.…Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government; that, whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to set them right. —Thomas Jefferson

Talk Radio News Service, based in Washington, D.C., is owned and run by my dear friend Ellen Ratner. Ellen is an experienced and accomplished journalist, and a large number of interns and young journalism school graduates get their feet wet in reporting by working for and with her.

In March 2010 I was in Washington for a meeting with a group of senators, and I needed a studio from which to do my radio and TV show. Ellen was gracious enough to offer me hers. I arrived as three of her interns were producing a panel-discussion type of TV show for Web distribution at http://www.talkradionews.com, in which they were discussing for their viewing audience their recent experiences on Capitol Hill.

One intern panelist related that a White House correspondent for one of the Big Three TV networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) had told her that the network registered a huge amount of interest 66 Rebooting the American Dream in the “hot story” that week of a congressman’s sexual indiscretions. Far less popular were stories about the debates on health care, the conflicts in the Middle East, and even the Americans who had died recently in Iraq or Afghanistan.

“So that’s the story they have to run with on the news,” the intern said, relating the substance of the network correspondent’s thoughts, “because that’s what the American people want to see. If the network doesn’t give people what they want to see,

Todd Walton: My Black Heroes


A hero is someone who understands the responsibility that comes with his freedom.” Bob Dylan

The black athlete I am currently most enamored of is Michael Vick, the quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles who recently spent two years in federal prison for financing a large and illegal pit bull farm where dogs were raised and trained to fight and kill other dogs, and where dogs deemed unfit to be successful fighters were ruthlessly murdered, some by Vick himself. Several of my friends are unhappy with me for liking Michael Vick, just as they were upset with me for liking Mike Tyson, and for liking Muhammad Ali before it became politically correct to like the man who started out as Cassius Clay, and for liking Sonny Liston before I liked Cassius Clay.

I don’t like that Michael Vick treated dogs cruelly and killed them, but I understand that raising and fighting pit bulls is an integral part of southern culture. I sojourned in South Carolina in the 1970’s and attended barbecues at the homes of both white people and black people, and the climax of every such party came when the man of the house took me and a few other men to visit the kennel wherein he kept his illegal fighting dogs and the coop wherein his illegal gamecocks were caged. And as we stood in the presence of these ferocious dogs and ferocious birds, our host would proudly regale us with tales of grisly battles fought by his dogs and cocks, tales for which he expected to be greatly admired.

I don’t recount this southern lore to defend Michael Vick, but to suggest there is a cultural context for his actions. Had he come from China and been the son of a cat breeder providing cat meat

Reporters Without Borders: WikiLeaks hounded?

From RWB

Reporters Without Borders condemns the blocking, cyber-attacks and political pressure being directed at cablegate.wikileaks.org, the website dedicated to the US diplomatic cables. The organization is also concerned by some of the extreme comments made by American authorities concerning WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange.

Earlier this week, after the publishing several hundred of the 250.000 cables it says it has in its possession, WikiLeaks had to move its site from its servers in Sweden to servers in the United States controlled by online retailer Amazon. Amazon quickly came under pressure to stop hosting WikiLeaks from the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and its chairman, Sen. Joe Lieberman, in particular.

After being ousted from Amazon, WikiLeaks found a refuge for part of its content with the French Internet company OVH. But French digital economy minister Eric Besson today said the French government was looking at ways to ban hosting of the site. WikiLeaks was also recently dropped by its domain name provider EveryDNS. Meanwhile, several countries well known for for their disregard of freedom of expression and information, including Thailand and China, have blocked access to cablegate.wikileaks.org.

This is the first time we have seen an attempt at the international community level to censor a website dedicated to the principle of transparency. We are shocked to find countries such as France and the United States suddenly bringing their policies on freedom of expression into line with those of China. We point out that in France and the United States, it is up to the courts, not politicians, to decide whether or not a website should be closed.

Meanwhile, two Republican senators, John Ensign and Scott Brown, and an independent Lieberman, have introduced a bill that would make it illegal to publish the names of U.S. military and intelligence agency informants. This could facilitate future prosecutions against WikiLeaks and its founder.

Reaping whirlwinds: Peak oil and climate change in the new political climate

Energy Bulletin

Political prognostication is a dangerous game, but one of the certainties of the latest election was that the US will not be enacting any significant federal climate legislation. One could be forgiven for wondering what the election has to do with anything. In the two years previously during which the Democrats controlled Presidency, House and Senate, the US had failed also to enact any climate legislation, but we have moved from the faintest possible hope to none at all.

If inaction is certain on climate change, it may be that all is not entirely hopeless if we reframe the terms to addressing our carbon problem. Peak-oil activism could accomplish many of the goals of climate activists. Unlike climate change, peak oil doesn’t carry the ideological associations with the left that climate change does. Could peak oil provide a framing narrative for political action to address both climate change and peak oil? Certainly, a great deal would have to happen in order to accomplish this. But peak oil is a sufficiently powerful and pressing issue that its profile could be raised, particularly if current climate activists were willing to change their focus from the means of achieving consensus on climate change to the end of achieving emissions reductions.

I should emphasize that my subject is the political framing of these issues and that I take the scientific case for Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) to be more than sufficient. The question in front of us is not, “Is global warming real?” since the scientific literature is overwhelmingly clear on this point, but rather, “What is the most effective way to formulate our relationship to climate change so that the greatest good is accomplished?”

What might be necessary to craft a unified narrative that could get widespread and bi-partisan political support in the US that would serve the interests of everyone concerned

The Unfortunate Effects Apocalyptic Beliefs Can Have On Morality (Updated)

Huffington Post

[I grew up in a hellfire and brimstone world just as Fitzgerald did. -DS]

[Updated: George Carlin on Heaven and Hell at the bottom of article. -DS]

When I was a kid I knew The World was going to Hell in a hand basket. I didn’t know what that phrase meant, still don’t really, but I knew that it was one of the only times I could get away with saying hell, because it wasn’t swearing. The World was actually going there.

Perhaps a couple definitions are necessary here at the outset. In my conservative, evangelical-before-we-knew-what-evangelical-was upbringing, Hell meant that very literal — perhaps underground — place where real flames burn real, bad people forever. And The World meant non-Christians, as in “be in the world, but not of it.” Evangelicals often refer to any not-usses, any thems, as The World.

So, The World was on a steady decline to the pits of Hell, which began, well, when it all began, when the literal Adam and Eve ate the literal apple, handed them by the literal snake who literally was Satan in disguise and sin entered into the previously pristine world. The thing about this decline though, is that we were all okay with it. It’s not that we wanted to live in a world that was getting worse; it was just that we didn’t want to live in The World at all. And though there are many variations of this belief, typical evangelical eschatology says that in order for Jesus to come back the world has to get so bad that the only solution is to scoop up his followers, burn the whole place down and start again.

This being the case, we knew that what we were seeing around us, the fact that more and more swear words

Dave Smith: Regarding The Transition Of The MCN Discussion List


This has just been announced:

To the MCN Listserv Discussion List:

Dave Smith, editor of the Ukiah blog, has come forward and offered to take over management of the current MCN community discussion list as a public service. On Thursday, Dave and Mitch had an extended discussion and developed a proposed transition plan for this process. We’d like the feedback of the list community on this proposal.

Overall Concept
–It is important to keep the integrity of the listserv subscriber base intact while offering a fair chance for list members to opt out prior to the transition
–Current listserv members are happy with the listserv system and a transition to new technology (blog, Facebook)  is not needed.
–A successful transition requires the participation of both parties and the list community.
–The decision on a transition should done openly.
–It is important to put a proposal in front of the list community relatively soon to avoid fragmentation of the list subscriber base.
–This proposal could be implemented in matter of days which would stabilize the listserv situation.

Technology Details
–The listserv will be hosted at Sonic.net servers in Santa Rosa. They use the same “Mailman” software program that MCN uses for its listserv software and are the closest ISP offering this service (Pacific Internet no longer hosts listservs). This would make migration of the users a very easy process and allow MCN to guide Dave through the setup process. It also means that users will be familiar with the system.
— MCN will offer technical resources to help Dave with the set up process and with on-going management issues

The 20 Potato a Day Diet

Author, The Resilient Gardener

Chris Voigt, Executive Director of the Washington State Potato Commission, is currently eating nothing but potatoes for two months, 20 5.3 ounce potatoes a day. When I read about it, my reaction was, Hey, what’s so hard about that? Last winter, I ate pretty nearly all potatoes for about six months. It was a feast all winter!

Voigt is doing his diet to help publicize the nutritional value of potatoes as well as to protest the fact that the USDA has excluded potatoes from its list of approved foods for the WIC (Women, Infants, Children) food voucher program. I was doing my diet for more traditional reasons. I was short of cash. I needed whatever cash I could scrape up to keep the utilities turned on. So the garden needed to provide the food. And not just vegetables, either. Staple foods. I’m both highly allergic to wheat as well as gluten intolerant. And I’m sensitive enough so that I can’t eat other grains that are milled on the same mills as wheat, which includes nearly all the corn, oats, and other grains that would be gluten-free otherwise. Grains milled on dedicated mills are a specialty item, and are expensive. So the cheap foods so widespread in our culture are not available to me. I need to be able to grow my own staples. And the staple food it is easiest to provide from a garden here in maritime Oregon as well as much of the rest of the temperate world isn’t grain or beans. It’s potatoes. Good thing, too! There is no food I would rather mostly survive on for serious periods of time than the potato.

Potatoes are unique compared with other roots and tubers because they are an excellent source of protein as well as carbohydrate. Potatoes can be thought of as being honorary grains. Since a bite of wheat might kill me from anaphylactic shock…

Article here

Organic Garlic Mashed Potatoes With Cheese (Aligot) and Psychedelic Mashed Potatoes Recipes


Purple or “blue” potatoes are smooth textured and excellent for mashing. Peel the potatoes and cut them into uniform small dice, so that they cook rapidly and evenly. Use just enough water to barely cover the potatoes, and when you drain them, just before mashing, save the cooking liquid and pour some back into the mash to make a smoother purée. The outrageous color is especially effective with dark or red meats and brilliant green vegetables. It’s nice to know that anthocyanins, the pigments that make some vegetables purple, are healthy antioxidants. Use this same technique to make mashed parsnips.

Makes about 6 cups, serving 6

3 pounds organic purple potatoes
1 tablespoon kosher salt
About 6 cups water
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch bits

1. Peel the potatoes and cut them into 1-inch cubes. Put the cubed potatoes and salt in a heavy, 1-gallon stockpot and cover them with the water. Cook the potatoes until they are fork-tender and just beginning to fall apart, about 15 minutes.

2. Drain the potatoes through a colander over a bowl or another pot to save the cooking liquid. Force the cooked potatoes through a ricer, or, if no ricer available, put the drained potatoes back in the pot in which they were cooked and mash them with a potato masher or a whisk. Whisk in the butter and just enough of the reserved cooking liquid to render the mashed potatoes smooth and creamy.

Author Sheldon Siegel at The Mendocino Book Company this Saturday 12/4/10 at 2pm

The Mendocino Book Company

This Saturday, we will partner with the Mendocino College Friends of the Library to bring Sheldon Siegel to our store. Sheldon is a San Francisco attorney who has written several best selling mysteries.  Perfect Alibi is the seventh novel in his series of critically acclaimed, best selling  courtroom dramas featuring San Francisco criminal defense attorneys Mike Daley and Rosie Fernandez.  His books have sold millions of copies worldwide and have been translated into eight languages.

Sheldon, a bright and engaging speaker, will read from his new book and discuss this book as well as his writing career.  We hope you will be able to join us.

This event will take place Saturday, December 4 at 2 p.m. Light refreshments will be served…

From his website…

Q & A with Sheldon Siegel

I go on tour every year where I get to visit many bookstores and meet a lot of nice people. I’ve put together a list of some of the more frequently asked questions. Think of it as a virtual book tour…

What motivated you to be a writer?

I’ve wanted to write a novel since I was in high school, although quite honestly,

Interview: James Howard Kunstler

James Howard Kunstler brings his sense of aesthetics to keeping warm in Europe. Photo: James Howard Kunstler.

Transition Voice

[My apologies to blogger Todd Walton who has clearly stated that reading Kunstler leaves him depressed for days… -DS]

In the peak oil community, converts to the predicament tend to gravitate toward a figure who tells the story in a way that makes sense for them. Whether it’s the measured and scholarly caution of Richard Heinberg, the “I’ve been there” stories of a Dmitry Orlov, the hopeful glean of Rob Hopkins, or the addled sense of a lax government pointed out by Michael Ruppert, followers have their faves.

In that vein, I have to admit that I’m firmly a Kunstlerite.

I first really heard about peak oil as peak oil when I worked as a washingtonpost.com discussion moderator. I covered business and political discussions, and energy came up from time to time, especially after Bush took office.

Peak oil made sense to me right away. But it was when I read James Howard Kunstler‘s The Long Emergency that I had the equivalent of a conversion moment. Though I had already read Heinberg’s Peak Everything: Waking Up to the Century of Declines, and got the straight ahead gist of things, there was something about Kunstler’s clear elucidation mixed with his uniquely vigorous prose that brought the story off the page and into my rapidly beating heart.

It was beating that way because he terrified me.

It was comforting then to get to the end of the book and discover an odd turn he took.

Telling the story of “My Long Emergency,” Kunstler proceeded to essentially wax philosophical about the whole crazy American matrix he was born into,