Dave Smith: Pursuing Happiness…


To the Editors: The AVA, UDJ, WN

Are you happy? Chances are, if you live here in the United States, you are not. Despite the enshrinement in our Declaration of Independence of the phrase “Pursuit of Happiness” as one of the sovereign rights of mankind, we are way down on the list of the happiest countries in the world. In fact, we are not even in the Top 10.

According to a study by “24-7 Wall Street” that looked into the OECD’s Better Life Index to determine what the happiest nations on the planet are, it turns out that the happy nations spend far more of their GDP on social programs than we do here in America. The study examined quality of life things such as health, education, housing, the environment, jobs, community, work life, and income to figure out what truly makes a nation happy.

Old, stable nations of northern Europe took five of the top 10 spots on the list. These include the “socialist” Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Norway, and Denmark, all way happier than we are down the list at number 19.

Does it surprise you that the happiest nation, Denmark, also has the highest taxes of all?

As we are continually warned and berated by the tiresome scolds in our local opinion columns and letters to the editor to fear those who hold firm on providing a basic social safety net for the least among us, we must ask ourselves what motivates such a steadfast and determined assault on our personal and community happiness.

Dave Smith
Ukiah
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Hey Ayn Rand Worshippers: Face the Facts and STFU — Our Liberal Blue States are the Providers while Your Conservative Red States are the Parasites…


From SARA ROBINSON
AlterNet

Last week, the New York Times published a widely discussed article updating an argument that progressive bloggers noticed a very long time ago. It’s now well-understood that blue states generally export money to the federal government; and red states generally import it.

TPM published a great map showing exactly how this redistribution works: (click here) Progressives believe in the redistribution of wealth, so we’re not usually too upset by this state of affairs. That’s what it means to be one country. E pluribus unum, and all that. We’re happy to help, because we think we’ve got a stake in making sure kids in rural Alabama get educations and seniors in Arizona get healthcare. What’s good for them is good for all of us. We also like to think they’d help us out if our positions were reversed. It’s an investment in making America stronger, and we feel fine about that.

Gina Covina: Planning ahead to save your seeds…


From GINA COVINA
Laughing Frog Farm
Laytonville

[Gina’s seeds from Laughing Frog Farm now available at Mulligan Books & Seeds. -DS]

If you haven’t saved seed from your vegetable garden, here are the basics you need to know before you plant. Some planning is required – you can’t reliably save seed as an afterthought.

First, be sure you’re starting with an open-pollinated variety rather than a hybrid. All the food crops we know and love were developed by countless generations of seed savers and will breed true to type from seeds you save – that’s open-pollinated. Hybrids are first-generation crosses between varieties – F1 crosses – that result in a very uniform set of characteristics (handy for mechanical harvest and for transport and sales) and a boost in robustness that is known as hybrid vigor. Save and grow the seed from your hybrid and the result (the F2 generation) will revert to a large range of characteristics, with most plants being unsatisfactory from an eater’s perspective.

Hybrids were developed as a way for seed companies to create and hold a market

Occupy chock full of traitors, infiltrators, and provocateurs…


From KEVIN ZEESE and MARGARET FLOWERS
TruthDig

On the very first day of the Occupation of Wall Street, we saw infiltration by the police. We were leaving Zuccotti Park and were stopped in traffic. We saw the doors of an unmarked van open and in the front seat were two uniformed police. Out of the back came two men dressed as Occupiers wearing backpacks, sweatshirts and jeans. They walked into Zuccotti Park and became part of the crowd.

In the first week of the Occupation of Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C., we saw the impact of two right wing infiltrators. A peaceful protest was planned at the drone exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution. The plan was for a banner drop and a die-in under the drones. But as protesters arrived at the museum, two people ran out in front, threatening the security guards and causing them to pepper spray protesters and tourists. Patrick Howley, an assistant editor at the American Spectator, wrote a column bragging about his role as an agent provocateur. A few days later we uncovered the second infiltrator, Michael Stack, when he was urging people on Freedom Plaza to resist police with force. We later learned he was from the Leadership Institute, which trains youth in right wing ideology

The Ungodly Godly…


From ZEPP JAMIESON
The Big Weasel’s Weblog

[…] The huge advantage to religious demagoguery is that you can use the name of the Christ Jesus to persuade people to oppose their own best interests. You have to be careful, of course, because Jesus was a socialist and anti-authoritarian besides. There was that “eye of the needle” and “the least among you” stuff that had to be glossed over, and a right wing group has been busy writing a version of the New Testament that eliminates all the touchy-feely left-wing stuff and essentially creates the impression that Jesus was a supply sider and probably wanted to keep Jews out of his country club.

Neo-cons are still in disrepute, despite the ongoing efforts to gin up a war against Iran, and the Occupy movement has made appeals to peoples’ supply-side sensitivities a limited one. People aren’t as willing to give to billionaires so they can soar like eagles as they were a few years earlier. The only thing that comes from soaring eagles is predation and eagle shit, and people who are already struggling don’t find that in their own best interests.

That leaves religious demagoguery. Which is why you have a religious nut like Rick Santorum leading the race (for now) in the GOP, and why Newt Gingrich, of all people, has been trying to exploit this by mooing religious noises of his own.

The GOP have nothing to offer

OWS: How to Create, Buy and Sell Criminals…


From ARVIND DILAWAR
The Occupied Wall Street Journal

Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), owner of the largest private prison system in the United States, recently sent a letter to 48 states offering up to $250 million to manage government-owned detention centers. The letter lists the criteria of eligible purchases, which include an assurance that state corrections agencies “have sufficient inmate population to maintain a minimum 90 percent occupancy over the term of the contract.”

This guarantee isn’t difficult to rationalize when considering it from CCA’s point of view. They are paid by the government for each prisoner they house, so they want to house as many prisoners as possible in order to maximize their revenue.

But what if there aren’t enough prisoners to fill CCA’s quota? Private prisons have faced this dilemma before, and they’ve responded by buying prisoners through legislation, government infiltration and old-fashioned bribery. And in the not too distant future, these conditions may mean that the mass arrests of Occupy protesters could become a windfall for investors.

HOW TO PURCHASE PRISONERS

1. Write the Laws

Transition Ukiah Valley Film Series: The Economics of Happiness at the Saturday Afternoon Club – Tonight 2/27/12 6:30 pm


TRANSITION UKIAH VALLEY
PRESENTS

Are you concerned about the future?

Communities around the world are recognizing the reality of peak oil and climate change, and are coming together to create economies that are more sustainable, resilient and socially just. This film explores the problems we are facing and how a renewal of localization can heal both the earth and ourselves.

The Saturday Afternoon Clubhouse
107 S. Oak Street
Monday, February 27th
6:30 PM
$5-10 Donation requested
Light refreshments provided

Transition Ukiah Valley is part of an international localization movement to build community resilience in the face of climate change, peak oil and environmental degradation.

Learn more about us here…
www.transitionukiahvalley.org

A Fiscally Sponsored Program of the Cloud Forest Institute
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Not Ready to Do What’s Needed…


From DAVE POLLARD
How To Save The World

There is a period in most relationships when one or more of the members knows in their heart that the relationship is not sustainable and something very difficult must be done, but they aren’t yet ready to do it. Most likely they are hoping that someone else will acknowledge it as well, and maybe even do it for them, save them the trouble. This period of awkwardness, tension, partial denial, suffering and unspoken grief, can last a long time.

I think we, the human species, in our astonishing relationship with each other, in this contract we call “civilization”, are now in such a period, and we have been for some time. We don’t want to give up on the relationship — it has given us a lot, we are used to it, and we can make ourselves believe it still has promise

Hey! There IS no tomorrow…



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Gas prices set records, soon to reach new highs

Mainstream media outlets throughout the country are now reporting on record-breaking gas prices, the highest ever for this time of the year.  Also making the rounds is the commonly cited prediction by former Shell CEO John Hofmeister that there is a better than 50 percent chance that gas prices will reach $5 a gallon by this summer in the U.S.  This is in spite of the fact that U.S. oil production is up and oil consumption down, since 2008.  What the media isn’t reporting on is the rest of what Hofmeister said in a recent peak oil themed debate he had with Tad Patzek on Feb. 14.

In the debate, Hofmeister said that we’re heading for $7 to $8 gas and rationing by 2015, and rolling blackouts and brownouts.  He also made clear that oil is the lubricant