Paradigms Shifting


worldwideweb

From TODD WALTON
Under The Table
Mendocino

[Todd’s website, a superlative place for holiday shopping, is UnderTheTableBooks.com. -DS]

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

I am writing the first draft of this essay with pen on paper and using a big hardback copy of Buckminster Fuller’s Tetrascroll as my portable desk. I am sitting on a rug a few feet from our woodstove, the fire therein making our living room the most appealing room in our otherwise chilly house. Should I create an essay I want to keep, I will venture into my chilly office, ignite the electric space heater adjacent to my desk, and type these words into my computer to ready them for sending to Bruce and Mark at the Anderson Valley Advertiser. Marcia is in her office, a world apart just 15 feet away, and I am thinking about several events and ideas and technological changes that have commandeered my consciousness and are asking me to write about them.

Climate Change: Why one woman left the insane Fox News cult…



From DAVID ATKINS
Hullabaloo

The movie in question is Chasing Ice, a documentary about receding glaciers due to climate change. I’m told it’s very good, though I haven’t seen it yet myself.

But regardless of the documentary’s merits, it’s instructive to note why this woman disbelieved so fervently in climate change. She just trusted Bill O’Reilly. She didn’t look into the evidence or consider alternate views. She just trusted Bill.

That’s how the Fox News cult works: repeat an endless stream of false drivel that conforms to certain people’s false and prejudicial expectations for how the world works and a lot of people will believe it because the authoritative man on the teevee said so.

There’s no “winning the argument” with these people, a few lifechanging experiences like this woman’s notwithstanding. If the Fox News watchers are to be reached at all, there has to be action taken to break the bond of codependent trust they’ve developed with their cultic abusers.

Update by digby: Dennis Hartley review the film Chasing Ice, here

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Lessons for Building a Co-operative Movement…


From MICHAEL JOHNSON
Grassroots Economic Organizing

Pm Press has released a second edition of John Curl’s 550 page history of “cooperation, cooperative movements, and communalism in America,” In this interview GEO’s Michael Johnson talks with John about what is new in the second edition, the surprisingly long history of co-operatives here in the US, and what his history has to tell us about building a 21st century movement for a co-operative/solidarity economy.

John’s life has been steeped in co-operatives. He has been a member for over 30 years in the Heartwood Co-operative Woodshop in Berkeley, CA, where he lives. He has belonged to numerous other co-operatives and collectives. In addition to being a historian of extensive research, he is a poet, woodworker, social activist, and has even been a city planner. Michael’s bio is here. He is also co-writing a book on how worker co-operators in the Valley Alliance of Worker Co-operatives are harnessing the power of the co-operative difference. Janelle Cornwell and Adam Trott, VAWC staff person, are fellow co-writers.

“John Curl’s book For All the People is a one-of-a-kind gem.

Becoming one of “them”


From SHARON ASTYK

A friend of mine who volunteered at a shelter in New York City told me this story over Thanksgiving.  The shelter she worked in responded to the range of people affected by the crisis.  Many of them, as always in a crisis, were those who were already struggling and marginalized – illegal immigrants afraid to go anywhere else, the already-homeless whose usual shelters and places of refuge were closed or underwater, the mentally and physically ill who had to be evacuated from hospitals in the flood zone.  Many of the rest were storm evacuees from some of the city’s most expensive neighborhoods, people who don’t normally find themselves in close quarters with the rest of their shelter mates.

My friend spoke of her frustration dealing with the richer victims, with their sense of entitlement, their horror at their companions.  At the same time, she also recognized that they were traumatized and frightened, and victims too.  What she found most difficult, however, was the constant desire of the more affluent residents of the shelter to let her know that they did not belong here, that they were not like the other people who surrounded them.  Not only did they want better treatment, more resources, but they also were desperate for her to know that this was not their lives, that they were and are fundamentally different than the people surrounding them.

After one woman asked her to carry her cot into several different rooms of the shelter, never satisfied by who she would be sleeping next to, my friend struggled not to say “Look, you aren’t ever going to feel comfortable sleeping next to anyone, because they are still mostly going to be poor and not white – and I’ve got more important things to do than carry your cot around.”  At the same time, she felt sorry for the woman, who seemed not less resilient, but more damaged than those who really had lost more.

Gene Logsdon: Planting Rather Than Mining…


From GENE LOGSDON
The Contrary Farmer

In contemplative moments I like to think about all the manufactured products that could come from the soil surface rather than from deep underground. Today I was listening to a report on NPR about flutes made of bamboo. Bamboo is a marvelous example of how plants can replace metal and plastic. Asians even make bicycles out of bamboo and use it as scaffolding in construction work.

Bamboo is very invasive and I won’t try growing it after I saw what a weed it has become around Chadds Ford, Pa. where I used to visit often. But invasiveness is an interesting subject for contemplation too. If we decided to make bicycles and structural lumber out of bamboo, it would suddenly become a major resource rather than an invasive plant, would it not?

We could easily go back to baseball bats made of ash like the major leagues still use. The metal ones that have replaced wood in softball and amateur baseball drive the ball farther and break less, but the good ones are more expensive too. One reason the major leagues stick with wood is because metal bats can rocket the ball at lethal speeds back at the pitcher. Also they can render most of the major league ball parks obsolete because with a metal bat even I could knock the ball over the fence. In some ways the case for wood vs. metal in ball bats limns the whole debate about planting vs. mining. It all comes down to money.

Henry Ford made car bodies out of plasticized soybeans. Wood-paneled station wagons were once almost common. Good artificial limbs can be made out of willow. Osage orange has more tensile strength than steel. I have catalpa fence posts that were used for forty years (20 years each by my grandfather and uncle) and are still going strong for me. A friend of mine makes flutes out of various American native woods. We can all think of many such examples.

George Carlin: Playboy Interview 1982…



From LONGFORM

Playboy: Back in the early Sixties, when you were still a disc jockey and just beginning to do comedy in small clubs, Lenny Bruce supposedly selected you as his heir—

Carlin: Apparently, Lenny told that to a lot of people. But he never said it to me and I didn’t hear it until years later. Which is probably fortunate. It’s difficult enough for a young person to put his soul on the line in front of a lot of drunken people without having that hanging over his head, too.

Playboy: Because of what Bruce said about you, are you now overly sensitive about being compared to him?

Carlin: Yes, and those comparisons are unfair to both of us. Look, I was a fan of Lenny’s. He made me laugh, sure, but more often he made me say, “Fuckin’ A; why didn’t I think of that?” He opened up channels in my head. His genius was the unique ability to investigate hypocrisy and expose social inequities in a street rap that was really a form of poetry. I believe myself to be a worthwhile and inventive performer in my own right. But I’m not in a league with Lenny, certainly not in terms of social commentary. So when people give me this bullshit, “Well, I guess you’re sort of…uh…imitating Lenny Bruce,” I just say, “Oh, fuck. I don’t want to hear it.” I want to be known for what I do best.

Playboy: Nevertheless, throughout the early to mid-Seventies, with a five-year run of albums and packed auditoriums for an act that viciously ridiculed every nook and cranny of “the establishment,” you really did seem to be fulfilling Lenny’s prophecy. Then it stopped abruptly about five years ago. No more albums; no more college tours. Why?…

Complete interview here
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World Bank: Turn Down The Heat Or Billions Will Die…


From CHRIS HEDGES
Truthdig

Humans must immediately implement a series of radical measures to halt carbon emissions or prepare for the collapse of entire ecosystems and the displacement, suffering and death of hundreds of millions of the globe’s inhabitants, according to a report commissioned by the World Bank. The continued failure to respond aggressively to climate change, the report warns, will mean that the planet will inevitably warm by at least 4 degrees Celsius (7.2 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century, ushering in an apocalypse.

The 84-page document,“Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4°C Warmer World Must Be Avoided,” was written for the World Bank by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Climate Analytics and published last week. The picture it paints of a world convulsed by rising temperatures is a mixture of mass chaos, systems collapse and medical suffering like that of the worst of the Black Plague, which in the 14th century killed 30 to 60 percent of Europe’s population. The report comes as the annual United Nations Conference on Climate Change begins this Monday [Nov. 26] in Doha, Qatar.

A planetwide temperature rise of 4 degrees C—and the report notes that the tepidness of the emission pledges and commitments of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change will make such an increase almost inevitable—will cause a precipitous drop in crop yields, along with the loss of many fish species, resulting in widespread hunger and starvation. Hundreds of millions of people will be forced to abandon their homes in coastal areas and on islands that will be submerged as the sea rises. There will be an explosion in diseases such as malaria, cholera and dengue fever. Devastating heat waves and droughts, as well as floods, especially in the tropics

Modernity Bites…


 From JAMES HOWARD KUNSTLER

There is surely a correspondence between an exhausted culture and a populace devolved so far into mental dullness that it can’t recognize its predicament. We don’t seem to get how much the industrial production spree of the past 200 years has just plum worn us out, not to mention the ecosystem we were designed to dwell in. My general sense of things for at least a decade is that we are closing this chapter of history and heading into something smaller, slower, and simpler, and that we could either go there willingly or get dragged there kicking and screaming by circumstances.

It interests me to reflect that they way things are temporarily is the way people define normality, and think things will always be, so that if you are living in a big city like New York where so much remaining wealth is concentrated, and you are dazzled by the whirr and flash of things, including all the pretty young people drilling into their iPhones, you might expect a longer arc to the moment at hand.

Out here in the provinces it’s a different story. The exhaustion is palpable. I dropped into the mall at mid-day on Sunday to take the pulse on the ballyhooed post-Thanksgiving ritual shopping frenzy and the place was like a ghost town. The sparse stream of supposed “consumers” had the dazed, beaten-down look of people pushed beyond the edge of some dark threshold, like displaced persons in a low-grade war zone.

Their behavior seemed ceremonial, though, mere acting-out as opposed to acting. They were not carrying bags with purchases. I saw almost nobody actually shopping, that is, fingering the merchandise, in either the two department stores I passed through or the smaller shops lining the corridors. There were strikingly few clerks in either the big or little retail operations

Modern wheat a “perfect, chronic poison,” doctor says…



From CBS News

[Local small scale grains and organic spelt the best alternatives… DS]

Modern wheat is a “perfect, chronic poison,” according to Dr. William Davis, a cardiologist who has published a book all about the world’s most popular grain.

Davis said that the wheat we eat these days isn’t the wheat your grandma had: “It’s an 18-inch tall plant created by genetic research in the ’60s and ’70s,” he said on “CBS This Morning.” “This thing has many new features nobody told you about, such as there’s a new protein in this thing called gliadin. It’s not gluten. I’m not addressing people with gluten sensitivities and celiac disease. I’m talking about everybody else because everybody else is susceptible to the gliadin protein that is an opiate. This thing binds into the opiate receptors in your brain and in most people stimulates appetite, such that we consume 440 more calories per day, 365 days per year.”

Asked if the farming industry could change back to the grain it formerly produced, Davis said it could, but it would not be economically feasible because it yields less per acre. However, Davis said a movement has begun with people turning away from wheat – and dropping substantial weight.

“If three people lost eight pounds, big deal,” he said. “But we’re seeing hundreds of thousands of people losing 30, 80, 150 pounds. Diabetics become no longer diabetic; people with arthritis having dramatic relief. People losing leg swelling, acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome, depression, and on and on every day.”

To avoid these wheat-oriented products, Davis suggests eating “real food,” such as avocados, olives, olive oil, meats, and vegetables.