Thursday, March 31, 2005

Earthfamily Changes

Yesterday was a big day for Earthfamilyalpha.

We broke a page view record.

And, we had the debut of a new contributor , and I am totally jazzed about it. The Culture of Life post is thoughtful and touching. I suspect you will agree.

Several people have e mailed and asked if they can forward their e mails to their own lists or post the link on their sites. The answer of couse is, absolutely. Do it do it do it.

Also, if you have some addresses that you think should go on the distribution list, E Mail them to

If you missed these two stories yesterday,


The first one may not get much play here inside the shaping zone.

This version is from Al Jazeera but I saw it in the Telegraph and the Guardian.

Panel sounds ecosystem alarm
Wednesday 30 March 2005,

Nearly two-thirds of the ecosystem services that support life on Earth are being degraded or used unsustainably,and the harmful consequences of this could grow significantly worse in the next 50 years, scientists say.

"Any progress achieved in addressing the goals of poverty and hunger eradication, improved health, and environmental protection is unlikely to be sustained if most of the ecosystem services on which humanity relies continue to be degraded," the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Synthesis Report, conducted by 1300 experts from 95 countries, said.

Although evidence remains incomplete, there is enough for the experts to warn that the ongoing degradation of 15 of the 24 ecosystem services examined is increasing the likelihood of potentially abrupt changes that will seriously affect human well-being.

And as if we need to give the story a little down home meaning, we have the Bee story:

Parasite thins ranks of vital honeybees
Posted on Tue, Mar. 29, 2005

WEST PALM BEACH - More than $15 billion in U.S. crops rides each year on the tiny legs of an insect.

The honeybee is the major carrier of pollen for seeded fruits and just about anything that grows on a vine. Everything, in other words, from apples to zucchini.

"If honeybees ceased to exist, two-thirds of the citrus, all of the watermelons, the blueberries, strawberries, pecans and beans would disappear," said Jerry Hayes, chief of apiary inspection with the state's Division of Plant Industry.

But now it's the bee itself that is disappearing.

Under attack from a Southeast Asian parasite, vast numbers of the creatures are dying off, worried industry experts say. More than 50 percent of the bees in California, critical to the success of the Golden State's almond crop, have died in the past six months. Frantic growers there have sent out the call around the world, including Florida, for hives.

It's not only California that's suffering the ravages of the determined pest. Experts say as many as 40 to 60 percent of the bees nationwide have perished during the same six-month period.

"It's the biggest crisis that has ever faced the U.S. beekeeping industry," said Laurence Cutts, president of the Florida State Beekeepers Association, and a retired apiary inspector with the state Department of Agriculture.

Uh, in case you haven't thought about it.

We like really, really need bees.


Wednesday, March 30, 2005

The Culture of Life

To have missed the stories about “the culture of life” recently,

you must have been totally tuned out of the media,

or maybe just in a coma.

The easy story is that the politicians grabbing for ground in their “moral issues” campaigns are all a bunch of hypocrites, whose commitment to the real issues of life and quality of life is just so much polling.

For far too many, the issue will now most probably expire. Recent polls show 4/5 of Americans think Congress should butt out. With numbers like that, they will. After all, there will be a new cause for attacking the judiciary soon. Just wait.

But I am still thinking about life.

Can’t help myself.

Well-known side effect of life as humans, said Descartes.

I am thinking about the piece I read in the NYT about how the roots of the current dilemma are as old as Aristotle and Descartes.

Descartes famously said, “I think, therefore I am.”

The reactionary right has long used this as a basis for arguing against environmental protection. Aside from the obvious heresy of pantheism, that is. Mankind is dominant because mankind can think.

Nature is not because it cannot.

Condundrum: A persistent vegetative state might mean one cannot think, but still we must protect the spark of life in her, so sayeth the Senatorial video doctor in chief—even against her wishes and the wishes of her husband.

I am thinking that if suddenly Aristotle, who argued respect for all life, is the guiding philosopher of our age, George Bush should seek the endorsement of the League of Conservation voters.

I am thinking about how if my 26 years of marriage means anything, it means that my spouse and I have each accepted a responsibility toward each other about life support. We have an oral living will.

We could write it; I am a lawyer, after all. But I am more comfortable relying on my mate’s judgment under whatever the specific circumstances at the specific time. I won’t insult my life partner by taking away that awesome responsibility or pre-judging the decision.

But maybe I better write Congress out of the decision.

I am thinking about a recent study that shows abstinence pledging among teens leads those teens to take more chances with sexual behavior that actual increases risks of sexually transmitted disease.

I am thinking about Hunter S. Thompson deciding for himself about his life.

I am thinking that when I hear that a child prodigy took his own life, that there are reasons why some people no longer want to live. But I wish I could change their minds.

I am thinking about the Iraq body count, and how those bodies don’t seem to count to some of our preservers of life.

I am thinking about the fact that there is a web site named Iraq Body Count.

I am thinking about exactly what life we want to protect

and who can value it best, I guess.

I am thinking about unnoticed death due to poverty.

And whole web pages on poverty in my home state,

full of the documentation of this other kind of death by starvation.

And I thinking about how famine is to some a sign of the end times.

"...there will be famines... " (Mt 24:7)

A famine is a drastic wide-reaching shortage of food. The WHO (World Health Organization) estimates that about 4 million people a year die of starvation, or about 30 people every minute.”

"Some 40,000 hunger-related deaths occur every day, mostly in rural regions," according to World Bank vice president Ismail Serageldin. It is estimated that one third of the world is well-fed, one third is under-fed, and one third is starving. More than 800 million people are chronically undernourished. (WHO)

Water shortages in parts of the world in the next 25 years will pose the single greatest threat to food production and human health. 1.3 billion people worldwide have no access to clean water. (World Bank)”

The terrible irony is that the world can produce enough food to feed its expanding population. While some famines are caused by drought or other natural disasters, most starvation in the world today could be avoided were it not for man's selfishness and inhumanity. War, embargoes, government corruption and economic oppression are all symptoms of the real problem. While innocent children starve, some rich nations destroy millions of tons of food in order to keep prices artificially high.”

I am thinking that our family needs to do a lot more thinking about life.

In our new future,

it better be worth more than political grandstanding,

more than increased circulation,

more than the paper the tales are written on,

more than an ephemeral electron dancing on a glass screen.

When I heard about the Red Lake killings

—more violent suicide than murder, really.

I called Oz.

I read him a passage from the New York Times story.

I predicted that it would be the last time these facts were reported.

A seemingly incongruent end to the story that wondered aloud on how it could happen—

The reservation, with 880 acres, has a population of 5,118, about 40 percent of them living in poverty, according to the 2000 Census. The tribe also includes about 5,000 members living elsewhere.”



I went to see the movie Downfall last night.

It's about the last 10 days of the life of Hitler.

Some good friends, who know how I feel about War,

said that it was good, and that the acting was excellent.

So, I took a friend that I've known for about six days to see it with me.

Here is what Wesley Morris of the Boston Globe says:

''Downfall," the recent best foreign film Oscar nominee from Germany, decides to tell its story from the perspective of Hitler and his followers. The whole film -- and a bizarre film it is --takes place during the humiliating twilight of the Third Reich and features characters with only minor or last-minute deviations from the Hitler agenda.

It's an arresting and skillfully made movie, directed with force by Oliver Hirschbiegel and adapted by Bernd Eichinger from a pair of books chronicling the events that brought the curtain down on the Nazis in April 1945, including one by Hitler's secretary, Traudl Junge.

Most of the story unfolds in an elaborate maze of bunkers in the bowels of the German Chancellery, where a harried and spent Hitler (Bruno Ganz) and members of his party and house staff have taken refuge from the Russian army that has surrounded Berlin and rapidly reduced it to ruins.

For 2½ hours, the sound of exploding bombs and the sensation of quaking ground never quite dissipate. These are the final hours before Hitler took his life. We are there, and the experience is fittingly awful.

Well, after about 45 minutes of bombs and ghost like old people

hiding in hospitals with piled up bodies in dusty corridors,

I leaned over to my friend and said,

Do you mind if we leave?

The Old Biker Priest just didn't need to see this much suffering.

What I saw was children defending the disease of Nationalism

to the dreary end.

What I saw was courageous warriors being mislead by a psychopath.

What I saw was a sophisticated, refined civilization crashing in on itself.

The children reminded me of the ones I saw this week with

tape on their mouths.

They were defending a lie and an abomination.

The Warriors reminded me of the ones who came home from Vietnam

and soon enough, Iraq.

The civilization reminds me of certain geographic state

that has held itself out to be the light of the nations,

and is now a world empire,

that uses Freedom and Justice as a pretense

to secure strategic resources.

I'm sure it's a good movie.

But I'm watching it already.


Monday, March 28, 2005

Belief Belief

More than 13 years ago

I came back from a UN meeting on Climate Change

all jazzed about the coming Global Treaty on Climate Change.

It was just before the big Earth Conference in Rio.

I did a few interviews on TV and I visited with a few reporters.

I specifically remember visiting with one reporter off the record

about what happens to you when you really do believe

that Climate Change is happening.

Once you truly believe that your generation is making decisions

that will effect all of the generations that follow

and their ability to live on this planet

you begin to, well, take it kind of seriously, I told her.

The reporter just looked at me with one of those looks

that they give when they realize that they are in the presence of a zealot.

One Sunday, many years back, when I lived in the country,

on the edge of a oak and pine forest,

I was outside, probably just trimming a few trees

when I noticed that the light was turning kind of red.

Everything had a funny copper sheen to it.

I looked to the West and thought maybe the sky was a little overcast.

I started walking back into the forest and down the hill.

As I walked through the thick brush,

I began to smell smoke, and then I began to hear it.

It was a forest fire.

It was all around me now and blowing straight toward my house.

My heart leaped out of my chest as I sprung into action.

I ran up to the house, and told my wife to call the fire department.

I got out the sprinklers and started to moisten my house

and the area around it.

I grabbed a shovel and a hoe and I ran back down the hill

to fight the fire.

In a little while, the firemen came with a plow

that turned the earth into a firebreak effectively and quickly.

Another truck came loaded with water.

Within a hour or so, the danger had passed.

My wife believed there was a fire.

The dispatcher believed there was fire.

The firemen believed there was a fire.

And we put out the fire.

We may believe that Climate Change is real.

We may believe that Peak Oil is real.

We may believe that a collapsing dollar is imminent.

We may know that 3 carrier groups are headed for Iran,

and we may believe that a blockade of Iran is imminent.

But do we leap into action to protect our family?

our house,

our home,

and our future?


And that's the reason that they don't believe it either.

Because we don't believe it.

If we did.

We would start the water.

We would call for help.

We would fight the fire.

We would build

an Earthfamily.

We would think of nothing else.

Until the danger had passed.

It's called belief belief.


Sunday, March 27, 2005

Peak Oil Comes Out

Several months back, I began to notice a substantial change in the positions of important organizations around the country regarding the use of electrical fuel in the transportation sector as well as an increased interest in a solar hydrogen economy in general. The people at Edison Electric were suddenly on board with the electric fuel idea. Others across the Washington spectrum were making abrupt turns in their thinking about electric fuel and the Plug In Hybrid.

We mused with each other at the office what was happening.

I suggested that there must be a CIA type report floating around Washington that spoke to the reality of Peak Oil, and that the word was finally getting out to some of the beltway types who would be understandably slow to embrace such talk.

A few weeks back, I saw this story which proved that such a report was indeed out there.

US report acknowledges peak-oil threat
By Adam Porter in Perpignan, France
Wednesday 09 March 2005,

It has long been denied that the US government bases any policy around the idea that global oil production may be in terminal decline.

But a new US government-sponsored report, obtained by, does exactly that.

Authored by Robert Hirsch, Roger Bezdek and Robert Wendling and titled The Peaking of World Oil production: Impacts, Mitigation, & Risk Management, the report is an assessment requested by the US Department of Energy (DoE), National Energy Technology Laboratory.
It was prepared by Hirsch, who is a senior energy programme adviser at the private scientific and military company, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC).

"Intervention by governments will be required, because the economic and social implications of oil peaking would otherwise be chaotic. But the process will not be easy. Expediency may require major changes to ... lengthy environmental reviews and lengthy public involvement."
Hirsch notes, despite arguments from the major oil companies and producer nations, that new finds of oil are not replacing oil consumed each year. Despite the advances in technology, reserves are becoming increasingly difficult to replace.

But in its conclusion the report makes troubling reading, noting that "the world has never faced a problem like this. Without massive mitigation more than a decade before the fact, the problem will be pervasive and will not be temporary. Previous energy transitions were gradual and evolutionary. Oil peaking will be abrupt and revolutionary."

Then, I found the report on this site late last week.

The first sentence in the Executive Summary pretty much says it all:

The Peaking of World Oil production presents the US and the World with an unprecedented risk management problem.

And the closing paragraph of the Summary begins with this doozy:

In summary, the problem of peaking in world conventional oil production is unlike any yet faced by modern industrial society.

Let me repeat that,

In summary, the problem of peaking in world conventional oil production is unlike any yet faced by modern industrial society.

Although the report is clearly sanitized, it is very provocative. Many of the peak dates referenced are within the next few years. The report calls for wedge policies which can begin to manage the risk associated with this peaking.

Perhaps the silliest thing in the report is the statement that electricity cannot be made into liquid fuel.

All in all though, it's a good primer on the subject in general, and on the use of oil, and on the possible replacement policies and technologies.

And then this Friday, the New York Times runs this editorial by Kenneth S. Deffeyes, a professor emeritus of geology at Princeton, and the author of "Beyond Oil: The View from Hubbert's Peak."

After a little foreplay, Mr Deffeyes goes in for his point:

A permanent drop in world oil production will have serious consequences. In addition to the economic blow, there will be the psychological effect of accepting that there are limits to an important energy resource. What can we do? More efficient diesel automobiles, and greater reliance on wind and nuclear power, are well-engineered solutions that are available right now. Conservation, although costly in most cases, will have the largest impact. The United States also has a 300-year supply of coal, and methods for using coal without adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere are being developed.

After world oil production starts to decline, a small group of geologists could gather in my living room and all claim to have discovered the peak. "We told you so," we could say. But that isn't the point. The controversy over the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is a side issue. The problem we need to face is the impending world oil shortage.

Then, just to add a little cheery cherry to the top of the cake, this story appears.

Energy body wants brakes on fuel consumption
By Adam Porter in Perpignan, France
Thursday 24 March 2005,

The International Energy Agency is to propose drastic cutbacks in car use to halt continuing oil-supply problems. Those cutbacks include anything from car-pooling to outright police-enforced driving bans for citizens.

Fuel "emergency supply disruptions and price shocks" - in other words, shortages - could be met by governments. Not only can governments save fuel by implementing some of the measures suggested, but in doing so they can also shortcut market economics.

An advance briefing of the report, titled Saving Oil in a Hurry: Measures for Rapid Demand Restraint in Transport, states this succinctly. "Why should governments intervene to cut oil demand during a supply disruption or price surge? One obvious reason is to conserve fuel that might be in short supply.

"But perhaps more importantly, a rapid demand response (especially if coordinated across IEA countries) can send a strong market signal."

The report goes on to suggest a whole series of measures that could be used to cut back on fuel consumption. They are cutting public-transport costs by a certain amount to increase its usage while simultaneously dissuading car use.

Then more radically the idea of going further and cutting public-transport costs by 100%, making them free to use. Car-pooling, telecommuting and even corrections to tyre pressures are also suggested.

But the most hardline emergency proposals come in the form of drastic speed restrictions and compulsory driving bans. Bans could be one day in every 10 (10%) or more stringently on cars with odd or even number plates. They would be banned from the roads on corresponding odd or even days of the month (50%).

In forming its conclusions the IEA tacitly admits that extra police would be needed in these circumstances to stop citizens breaking the bans. Even the cost of those extra patrols are part of the IEA's study.

"Policing costs are more substantial and may consist of overtime payments for existing police or traffic officers or increases in policing staff. We assume this cost at one officer per 100 000 employed people."

Around here, that's 10 more officers for fuel use enforcement.

"Our main conclusion finds that those policies that are more restrictive tend to be most effective in gaining larger reductions in fuel consumption. In particular, driving restrictions give the largest estimated reductions in fuel consumption."

Here, however, they do strike a word of warning for governments and those in power.

"Restrictive policies such as this can be relatively difficult to implement and thus may come at higher political costs."

According to the IEA's little-known emergency treaty, the Agreement on an International Energy Programme (IEP), "measures to achieve demand restraint fall into three main classes - persuasion and public information, administrative and compulsory measures, and finally, allocation and rationing schemes".

This would mean that countries who signed up to the treaty, including the five biggest economies of the world - US, Japan, Germany, UK and France - would all have to institute cuts.

Who needs Kyoto when we've got the "Agreement on an International Energy Programme?"

It reminds me of the scene in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid when they are getting ready to jump off of the cliff into the deep river to avoid getting caught. Sundance gets nervous because he can't swim.

Butch soothes him by saying,

Don't be silly,

The fall is going to kill you.

And the Perfect Storm gathers,

for the Earthfamily.


Sunday Morning

Instead of watching the shaping

on Sunday Morning.

Watch the man who told us it would become the norm.

It's Noam Chomsky's Edinburgh Lecture

"Illegal but Legitimate: a dubious doctrine for the times."

I'm watching it now.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

One Nation

Quite a while ago,

I produced a TV show for a tounge talking, hand clapping,

Pentacostal Church.

I learned the ins and outs of big church media productions

and the people on the pulpit from back stage.

Separation of Church and State is more than a good idea.

Its the Law.

And here it is thanks to One Good Move:

Article. VI. Clause 3 of the Constitution of the United States states:

"The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."

And of course, there is the establishment clause:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;"

This clip from the West Wing isn't too bad.

Meanwhile the dogs are growling over the bone.

Police 'showdown' averted
Miami Herald

March 26, 2005

Hours after a judge ordered that Terri Schiavo was not to be removed from her hospice, a team of state agents were en route to seize her and have her feeding tube reinserted -- but they stopped short when local police told them they would enforce the judge's order, The Herald has learned.

Agents of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement told police in Pinellas Park, the small town where Schiavo lies at Hospice Woodside, on Thursday that they were on the way to take her to a hospital to resume her feeding.

For a brief period, local police, who have officers at the hospice to keep protesters out, prepared for what sources called ``a showdown.''

In the end, the squad from the FDLE and the Department of Children & Families backed down, apparently concerned about confronting local police outside the hospice. ''We told them that unless they had the judge with them when they came, they were not going to get in,'' said a source with the local police.

''The FDLE called to say they were en route to the scene,'' said an official with the city police who requested anonymity. ``When the sheriff's department and our department told them they could not enforce their order, they backed off.''

Then there is this story:

Global Eye
Body Double
The Moscow Times
By Chris Floyd
Published: March 25, 2005

Far from the hurly-burly in Florida, where the Bush brothers and their shameless minions have sought to milk maximum "political capital" from the ravaged body of a brain-dead woman, the true moral values of these gilded hypocrites were on stark display last week in a quiet corner of the Bushes' adopted homeland: Texas.

This week, U.S. President George W. Bush melodramatically cut short one of his innumerable vacations and flew back to Washington to intervene in the case of Terri Schiavo when a Florida court granted her husband's request to cut off her life support after she had spent 15 years in a vegetative state.

But days before, even as the president was supporting his brother, Florida governor Jeb Bush, and congressional Republicans in "defending the culture of life" in the Schiavo case, doctors in Houston were pulling the breathing tube from the throat of an ailing infant. The boy suffocated within seconds, legally killed -- against the wishes of his anguished mother -- in accordance with a draconian law signed as a "cost-saving" measure by the state's former governor: George W. Bush.

If he had one, Jesus would be rolling over in his grave right about now.


Friday, March 25, 2005

The Raconteur

I spent the day telling stories.

I started talking about the upcoming War,

and that I write this blog so I can sleep at night.

Then, I went on to Peak Oil.

Then, we talked about yesterday's Nuclear Story,

And the relationship of Nuclear Power

to Nuclear proliferation.

Then, I shared a tale about a really personal

thing that was a really big deal,

And how that sometimes trying to do the right thing,

causes another unexpected good thing to happen,

but not the thing that was planned.

I told story after story after story.

There were the stories of when I did this concert

or produced that album, or that documentary.

There were the stories of when I started

the first Wind Park and made the speech that started more,

and how I often plant seeds that may come up many years later.

There were the legislative victory stories.

There was the story of how each of us are ruled

by our different ego states of our personality,

and how the five year old in me,

may be the most immature,

but he has seniority on the committee,

where the most mature ego state in me,

is a freshman on the board.

There was the story about climbing down the Great Stonewall cliff,

when the ledge broke off,

and I became a Wiley Coyote cartoon,

crashing to the ground only to pop-up unharmed.

I followed that up with how that experience taught me

that sometimes unexpected stuff happens when you are on the edge.

There was the story of my daughter,

and the strange man in Los Angeles,

who chopped into her apartment wall with a hatchet,

and began to throw paper balls through the hole,

like the second act of a Stephen King movie.

And there was the story about the strange little revolution

in my Pueblo in Mexico and how the Mexican Constitution

states that when you take over the city hall with protesters,

the Mayor cannot use force to remove you,

and that the Governor must be called in to settle the issue.

My friend said that one was the best.

Later on, I played the piano and sang a song or two.

Perhaps 10 years ago,

an activist friend from New Orleans

introduced me to his friends as a


I had to go home and look it up.

My friend today had to go home and get some rest.

I didn't even have time to talk about the




Thursday, March 24, 2005

Walking in the Light Posted by Hello

Nuclear Synergy

What is it?

Are we stupid or are we just dumb?

I was amazed last week when someone I respect said that nuclear energy would be a OK way to solve our energy and climate problems.

The nuclear energy full court press is on.

International conference on nuclear energy ends in France

Paris (VNA) - An international conference entitled "Nuclear Power for the 21st Century", which drew the participation of representatives from 74 countries and 10 international organisations, concluded on Mar. 22 in Paris.

Participants reviewed the nuclear energy situation in the world and discussed states' future policies on nuclear power. They also assessed the world's natural resources and demand for energy.

Challenges to environment protection, resulting from the consumption of energy, such as climate changes, and radioactive dust management, were also put on the agenda.

It was also declared that all states having or developing a nuclear power programme should give due priority to nuclear safety, and the reduction of air pollution or greenhouse gas emissions, while affirming that nuclear power can make a major contribution to meeting energy needs and sustaining the world's development in the 21st century.

In addition, all states must commit themselves to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

Participants also stressed that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) plays an important role in facilitating the development and usage of nuclear energy, and ensuring countries' commitments to use the energy for peaceful purposes.

Nuclear energy is a fascist technology.

Why do I say that?

Because a nuclear plant must be guarded.

Its fuel must be guarded.

Its waste must be guarded,

For thousands of years.

It's the most polluting technology man has ever invented.

It is a great target for those who would attack us.

Its like keeping gasoline stored under your house,

along with a bunch of paints and thinners.

Its a recipe for a conflagration.

Then there is this:

Showdown: Battle groups head for Mideast
World Net Daily
Posted: March 23, 20051:00 a.m.

Three carrier battle groups are converging on the Persian Gulf. The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson has departed Singapore and is currently crossing the Indian Ocean, en route to the Middle East.

The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt is also on the move, crossing the Atlantic Ocean, reportedly headed toward the Mediterranean.

Reports are also circulating that the U.S. Navy has dispatched ships containing nuclear armaments to reinforce the battle groups. This will be the first time since February 2004 that the U.S. has had three major carrier groups stationed on or around the Middle East.

Each of the carrier groups are armed with 85 aircraft capable of delivering precision-guided munitions. Each carrier battle group will include nuclear submarine protective cover.

What's going on? Looks like it's showdown time with both Iran and Syria. President Bush has said in words of one syllable that Iran will not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons.

How many times do the president and the secretary of state need to say that we have not taken the military option off the table?

The world by now should be getting the point. Vice President Cheney has said very clearly that Israel could be expected to attack Iran the minute Israel decides that the mullahs have reached the "point of no return" and have everything they need to make an atomic bomb.

Neither the president of the United States nor the prime minister of Israel want to find out that the mullahs have nuclear weapons by seeing a mushroom cloud over Tel Aviv.

The president must have privately sworn his own form of "never again" in pledging that he would not permit the U.S. to find out our enemies had shipped an improvised nuclear device into America by waking up one fine day to see a mushroom cloud over New York City or Washington, D.C.

If the mullahs do not intend to build an atomic bomb, then let them destroy their centrifuges and their heavy-water plant. The only purpose of the centrifuges is to enrich uranium to weapons grade. The only point of the heavy-water plant is to produce weapons-grade plutonium.

Anything else the mullahs say is just another attempt by them to play the world for a fool.

George Bush is no fool. Nor does he have infinite patience. The president would clearly prefer to see freedom come to Iran and Lebanon by peaceful means. But, if all else fails, we have three nuclear-armed carrier battle groups in the region that are more than capable of resolving the problem.

Iran may face naval blockade in Arabian Sea
Sudhir Chadda
India Daily
March 15, 2005

Iran is facing possible US Naval blockade. According to popular Radio shows in America, there is a strong rumor that US is going to put Navy fire power around Iran and stop Iran from selling any oil through the sea routes using merchant navies.

In the middle of this Iranians kept their hard word on Bush up. The naval blockade is designed primarily to stop Iran from delivering oil to other countries especially China.

According to sources, US wants to make Iran come to an understanding that they will not be allowed to have nukes.

Another major issue has come into focus. Abu Musa and the Greater and Lesser Tunbs islands will always belong to Iran, an Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman said March 14. The Persian Gulf Cooperation Council (PGCC) released a statement that backs the United Arab Emirates'' claim to the islands and calls Iran's presence an "occupation."


Wednesday, March 23, 2005

The Equinox

We are a couple of days into spring,

but you can still get up in the morning

and see the sun rise at almost exactly due east.

And, you can still see the sun set almost exactly due west.

If you are siting a passive solar house,

the equinox is an important time.

On the equinox, everything is equal.

Everybody gets a 12 hour day.

We are just a few days away from a full moon.

You will know for sure when the moon comes up

as the sun goes down.

And of course, the sun is not going down

and the moon is not coming up.

Only Tom Delay believes otherwise.

I know of no better way to stay grounded

than to watch the moon and to know where it is.

For far too many people,

it is a mystery.

If you watch the sky each night at the same time,

you can get a snap shot of where everything is.

Watching the heavens is good for the soul.

It gives you perspective.

It gives you a sense of our place.

It gives you a sense of our home.

We live on a wonderful marble of water

with an atmosphere that most aliens would probably kill for.

Heck, who knows, maybe they will some day.

Speaking of Aliens, around this day, President Harry Truman's executive decree establishing sweeping loyalty investigations of federal employees went to effect in 1947.

Congress had already launched investigations of communist influence in Hollywood, and laws banning communists from teaching positions were being instituted in several states.

Truman indicated that he expected all federal workers to demonstrate "complete and unswerving loyalty" to the United States. Anything less, he declared, "constitutes a threat to our democratic processes."

The basic elements of Truman's order established the framework for a wide-ranging and powerful government apparatus to perform loyalty checks.

Loyalty boards were to be set up in every department and agency of the federal government. Using lists of "totalitarian, fascist, communist, or subversive" organizations provided by the attorney general, and relying on investigations by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, these boards were to review every employee.

If there existed "reasonable grounds" to doubt an employee's loyalty, he or she would be dismissed. A Loyalty Review Board was set up under the Civil Service Commission to deal with employees' appeals.

Truman's loyalty program resulted in the discovery of only a few employees whose loyalty could be "reasonably" doubted.

In the next few years, the Soviets developed an atomic bomb, China fell to the communists, and Senator Joseph McCarthy made the famous speech in which he declared that there were over 200 "known communists" in the Department of State.

Thus, we got the new pejorative word, McCarthyism.

McCarthy crashed and burned.

A few years after his loyalty squads, President Truman said this:

"The real dangers confronting us today have their origins in outmoded habits of thought, in the inertia of human nature, and in preoccupation of supposed national interests to the detriment of the common good." (New York City, October 24, 1949)

Things have been weird before.

And the sky cleared up nicely.

Lets hope another president gets wise.

For the Earthfamily.


Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Crossing Over

This morning,

the easterly light bounced off the dark cobblestone street,

as if it was mirror.

The stones are polished from the soles

of thousands and thousands of peregrinos.

I closed my wood shutters and made my way to the car.

I have not been in my car,

or even thought about driving since my arrival.

It was covered with dust and bird poop.

Spending a short week in the mountains

without driving,

without cell phones,

without television,

without newspapers,

does something very special to you.

You walk and you talk with those that you run into

on the square, in the coffee shops, or in the super mini.

The last two nights, I visited with my German pals.

It's very instructive to talk with sensitive artistic Germans

who were born right after their country suffered humiliating defeat

because of the policies of the Nationalist Socialist Party,

and the rise of fascism that occured in Europe.

One of the Germans made a point that stuck in my head.

He said that certainly the United States and its massive war machine

will probably win a military victory in the mideast,

but it will come at the expense of an economic defeat.

Those words stuck in my mind as

I waited my turn to take the 2 mile tunnel

to make my way down the mountain.

I drove through villages with donkeys pulling wagons with hay,

and old men riding bicycles.

I crossed over to the developed world by mid day.

Here we are talking feeding tubes,

because its a great political issue.

We are crossing over from news

to news decoys.

Reminds me of the scene in Cool Hand Luke.

Shakin that branch boss, shakin that branch.

Meanwhile, I keep thinking about the lessons

That the Germans had to learn.

And the whole earthfamily with them.


Saturday, March 19, 2005

The Invisible Mind

As if,

To prove that it is all sacred.

The Huichole Mind hides.

At least it hides in Wirikuta.

It is as it is.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

The Huichole Mind

There is a mountain not far from here.

It is called Quemado.

For the Huichole,

It is the Center of the Universe.

It is where the Sun was born.

In the Huichole Mind,

there is no distinction between the

Sacred and the profane.

It is all Sacred.

One night as the full moon was rising,

the group I had brought to the mountain,

stumbled upon a young group of Huicholes,

who had walked across the desert to be there.

The Shaman sang to the rising moon in a clear, tearful voice.

His song rang through the air like a hawk cry.

I had my group go down the steep side of the mountain,

so we would not intefere with their initiation service.

But the Shaman knew we were there.

And he never missed a beat.

In the Huichole Mind,

this was the time that

los gueros vienen.

There is no separation between the Sacred and the profane.

The Huichole Shaman dress today just like their forefathers.

When the Europeans came to their beloved lands,

they ran to the mountains.

They would have nothing to do with this white man and his guns.

They have lived there ever since

Cortez and his men in armor discovered them.

In the Huichole Mind,

everything is Sacred.

The earth,

the sky,

the deer,

the corn,

the peyote.

To the Huicholes,

the last 500 years,

have been the time that

los gueros vienen.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Mountain High

I arrived last night to this village of 9000 feet.

It is still a little cool and the wind is in a hurry.

Nobody else is though.

The church bells control the air

when the burros and roosters do not.

There is always the sound of children

playing and laughing in the park.

The old men are sweeping,

the birds are chirping,

and the Huicholes are setting up their stands.

The village is preparing for Semana Santa.

There may be something new soon.

A not Oz.

Keep your eye out.

And I will be back.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

High Ground

At dinner tonight, my dinner partner asked me what was wrong?

"Nothing", I said.

"You look like something is wrong", she said.

"I am sad".

Not little sad, or me sad,

but big sad.

Why ?, she asked.

I told her that somewhere I had read

that the geographic State of Israel,

had given its military the authority to attack

the geographic State of Iran.

Here is the story in the Guardian.

Israel will attack Iran 'only as last resort'
Ewen MacAskill, diplomatic editor
Monday March 14, 2005
The Guardian

Israel will only take military action against Iran as "a very last resort" to prevent it acquiring nuclear weapons, Ephraim Sneh, a member of the Israeli parliamentary defence and foreign affairs committee, said yesterday.

He was speaking after a report in the Sunday Times claimed that the inner cabinet of the prime minister, Ariel Sharon, last month gave "initial authorisation" for a combined air and ground attack on Iran's Natanz nuclear facility.

Mr Sneh told Israel's Army Radio: "The Iranian threat is an existential threat to the state of Israel. Military action is the very last resort.

"We have to ensure that other steps, diplomatic steps, are carried out first. Here the United States plays a leading role and I hope it will fulfil it."

The Israeli vice-prime minister, Shimon Peres, when asked before yesterday's cabinet meeting if Israel planned a strike against Iran, replied: "I don't think so."

The Israeli foreign minister, Silvan Shalom, warned in London last month that time was running out and Iran could have a uranium enrichment capability - the key to building a nuclear weapon - within six months. The US and European assessments are that it will take Iran longer than this.

Iran insists its nuclear programme is purely for civilian purposes.

Now add that story to this story:

Cheney Warns of Iran As a Nuclear Threat

Vice President: 'We Don't Want a War'
By Jim VandeHei
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, January 21, 2005;

Vice President Cheney said yesterday that Iran is a top threat to world peace and Middle East stability, accusing Tehran of sponsoring terrorism against Americans and building a "fairly robust new nuclear program."

In an interview aired on MSNBC's "Imus in the Morning" show a few hours before President Bush's inaugural address, Cheney warned that Israel "might well decide to act first" militarily to eliminate Iran's nuclear capabilities if the United States and its allies fail to solve the standoff with Tehran diplomatically.

And you can see why I had that funny look tonight.

That big sad, not me sad look.

It's deja vu all over again.

Why do some geographic states get to have weapons of mass destruction

and others don't?

Is it their God given right?

And if it is, then it has a God required duty,

that it maintain the High Ground.

If a state chooses to keep the military high ground,

It must also maintain the moral high ground,

and the spiritual high ground.

For if it does not.

It invites calamity.

I am headed for my spiritual High Ground.

Maybe someday you will join us.

For now, be secure in knowing.

That it is there.

And that you are welcome.

I'll be on the road tomorrow.

with my family.


Monday, March 14, 2005

The Last Liberal

Tonight, I went to a fund raiser for a venerable publication.

There was Molly Ivins,

And Jim Hightower,

and all the rest of the progressives.

There were all of the past editors.

I watched

and they posed for a group picture with Al Franken.

It was a nice crowd.

And it's very nice to be with people of conscience

who care deeply about the course

that the geographic state of the United States has taken

since the neo cons took over.

I joked with Molly about her story that I love to tell

about Texas Politics back in the 70s.

Back then, there was only the Democratic Party in Texas.

"You know people used to say that

Texas aught to be a 2 party state,

and I would say, you know,

you're right, Texas should be a 2 party state.

But it never occured to me

that they would start a party

to the right of the Texas Democratic Party."

Truth is,

now all the office holders in Texas

are Republicans instead of Democrats.

Texas is still a one party state.

The party just changed its name.

Why, the Governor of Texas today is,

you guessed it.

A former Democrat.

Al Franken promoted his radio show on Air America.

Jim talked about how the 30% of the electorate

that won the election is not a mandate

And Molly recited some Bushisms:

"Too many good docs are getting out of the business. Too many OB-GYNs aren't able to practice their love with women all across this country." —George W. Bush, Poplar Bluff, Mo., Sept. 6, 2004 (Watch video clip)

"This notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous. And having said that, all options are on the table." —George W. Bush, Brussels, Belgium, Feb. 22, 2005

"I want to appreciate those of you who wear our nation's uniform for your sacrifice."—Jacksonville, Fla., Jan. 14, 2005

"Free societies are hopeful societies. And free societies will be allies against these hateful few who have no conscience, who kill at the whim of a hat."—Washington, D.C., Sept. 17, 2004 (Thanks to David Stanford.)

There was even a well known conservative type there.

He told me his bunch was so bad these days that...

Well never mind.

The music was good and the people are stellar.

And there was about as much energy

as you would find in a rest home in the Piney Woods.

Complete loss of power does that.

These people still believe.

And you got to love them for that.

They may see the signs.

But they don't see the storm.

If they do see it.

I didn't hear it.

We need new energy.

For the Earthfamily.

Not the same old same old.


Sunday, March 13, 2005

A Mind Cruise

redirect to new post.

Just for a moment,

I want you to come with me on a little mind cruise.

It's a little bit like a joy ride,

and it may be a little fast,

But go with me on this.

I promise to get you home safe and sound,

in the comfort of your belief system.

First of all though, take off all your clothes.

You need to be naked.

Take off that stuffy shirt first.

Now, take off your shoes.

Now unzip, and lets see the bottom.

You can leave your hat on.

by Max Stamp Global
United Press International

Ministers of the G18 met today in emergency session to develop a unified approach and strategy to counter the wave of solar oil adopters that are decimating the economies of the developed nations and threaten to bring industrial civilization to a standstill.

"We must and will stop the illegal use of this solar oil", said Jorge Bushe IV, Chairman of the Council. "We are a nation and a world of law and order and the use of this illegal oil will be stopped."

Tens of millions of Solar Oil Demonstrators have been sleeping and lounging in every available square meter of land surface in New York, Paris, London, Washington, Rome, Berlin, and Tokyo. Many have taken to wearing only beach attire.

Vice Chairman Gerhard Steiner said, "This is a pandemic of epic proportions that will ruin the industrialized world if we do not put an end to the use of this solar oil and to the anti development behavior that ensues from its use."

Use of Solar Oil, which was introduced to the public just six months ago has skyrocketed. It is estimated there are over 100 million users today with tens of millions joining the ranks of these illegal users every week.

Because the Oil can be made with common everyday chemicals and the recipe has been released on the internet, it has been virtually impossible for the developed nations to curtail its use.

Whole industries are being effected either by sudden lack of demand or by workers walking off their jobs demanding better pay and health benefits. "No longer can the rich and powerful hold us down," explained one of the leaders of the growing movement. "We are no longer slaves to those who would use our labor, our imaginations, and our need to care for our families to enrich themselves at the expense of our health, and our right to a decent and prosperous life."

Those who have enslaved and abused their workers must now come to us and pay us fairly and equitably, said a young Russian demonstrator. All over the world, use of Solar Oil is spreading like no phenomenon ever known. "This is the revolution all humans have been waiting for", said Emiliano Zena, of Italy. "The genie is out of the bottle, and he will not go back until justice and equality prevail".

The crowds chanted, "We are not afraid, We are not afraid". Solar Oil, which was invented by French bio-nanochemist Jacque Solare, is applied to the skin of any human. When used in conjunction with the companion blue pill, the skin becomes capable of converting ambient energy from the sun or any heat source into bioenergy that can replace the need for food.

By sitting in the sun for just an hour, an average adult can receive all the energy it needs for a day. Such ability is not unknown in other species such a certain lizards. Some users have been known to reduce their caloric intake from carbon chains to less than 100 calories a day. Most users eat and drink just enough to keep their digestive tracts operating and healthy.

Since the Solar Oil can be made for pennies a day, its users realize that they are no longer dependent on their jobs for food. Many have even given up their houses, choosing to live in the public spaces of the cities.

Chairman Bushe warned all users. "We may not have enough jails yet, but when we get enough workers to build them, we will put all of these law breakers where they belong. "

Humberto Rey of Spain, a leader of the radical basque sun bathers, countered the Chairman's threat with a threat of his own. "With Solar Oil, humankind can finally be free of the bonds of its oppressors. It is Chairman Bushe who will ultimately find himself behind bars. And we feel confident that there will be ample room in an existing prison for him and his companions."

You give me reason to live.

You give me reason to live.

You give me reason to live.

And thanks to Steve Baer.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Scary Stuff

I accepted an award not long ago with the words

Fear is a scary thing.

And it is.

This is from the Power of Nightmares:

In the past, politicians promised to create a better world.

They had different ways of achieving this. But their power and authority came from the optimistic visions they offered to their people. Those dreams failed. And today, people have lost faith in ideologies.

Increasingly, politicians are seen simply as managers of public life. But now, they have discovered a new role that restores their power and authority. Instead of delivering dreams, politicians now promise to protect us from nightmares.

They say that they will rescue us from dreadful dangers that we cannot see and do not understand. And the greatest danger of all is international terrorism.

A powerful and sinister network, with sleeper cells in countries across the world. A threat that needs to be fought by a war on terror. But much of this threat is a fantasy, which has been exaggerated and distorted by politicians. It’s a dark illusion that has spread unquestioned through governments around the world, the security services, and the international media.

This BBC documentary shows how and why that fantasy was created, and who it benefits.

This is particulary relevant today, because just this week, ABC News broke a story about a secret FBI report that reveals that,

Well, there aren't any sleeper cells.

In Lackawanna or anyplace else.

Pretty Scary Stuff.

Remember to right click on the screen to watch it in Real Player.

If that doesn't scare you,

How about the Bolton appointment to the UN?

Isn't appointing John Bolton to the U.N.

a little like appointing Dracula to a blood bank?

Here is Jon Stewart.

This is in quicktime.

And here is Paul Krugman

explaining the Great Unraveling.

If you are new to earthfamilyalpha

here are some principles and other philosophical foundations.


Friday, March 11, 2005

Letting Go

When I get into the elevator at work,

I almost always move to the back

and look at myself in the mirrors in the doors.

The optics of the highly polished steel doors drop a few pounds off,

much like the mirrors in a funhouse on the Midway.

But today, instead of looking at the thin illusion of my form,

I noticed my hair.

Maybe it was the way the light fell down from the new LED lights,

Or the color balance of the lights themselves,

but there, in the mirror,

was a middle aged man

with very gray hair.

It was as if I had been teleported into another man's body.

And there in the elevator, on my way to run 6 miles,

I had to let go of the idea that I was not a grown up.

For, I most definitely am.

You know what I'm talking about.

don't you?

It's that moment when you look around

and you see that everyone in the room is younger than you.

It's that moment when those guys who used to look old,

Don't look that old anymore.

I've been having lots of those moments lately,

Where I realize that I must let go of things that I hold dear,

because they don't really exist anymore.

Like my thick brown hair,

and eyes that can pick an entree

in dim romantic candle light,

I let go of love, the possessive love of a child,

And embrace the love of understanding.

I let go of my hate

for those who vote wrong,

and dutifully repeat talk radio programming,

like a trained parrot that talks without knowing.

I let go of that silly sense of self,

that takes it all too personally.

I embrace a self of sanity

that rejects my sense of separation

over communion,

and this disease of nationalism

that engulfs every news show and talking head.

I let go of my love of hate,

and my hate of real love.

I let go of the violence in my own views

and free the confidence of my convictions.

I let go of the certainty of death,

and embrace the serendipity of life.

I even had dinner with a Republican tonight.

I let that go too.

I embrace the earth

and our family.

and this house

we call home.

And I'm going back

to the fun house mirrors.


Thursday, March 10, 2005

The Ministry of Truth

Buzzflash has a new interview with Robert Kane Pappas, director of the mass media-critiquing documentary, "Orwell Rolls in His Grave."

Pappas says,

In George Orwell's 1984, Winston Smith worked for the Ministry of Truth, in the department that rewrote past news items to make them conform to the present political realities. As his assignments came in, his daily creative endeavors concerned intuiting how the party might want this done. Winston says, "All that was needed was an unending series of victories over your own memory."

"There had been demonstrations to thank Big Brother for raising the chocolate ration to 20 grams a week. And only yesterday, he [Winston] reflected, it had been announced that the ration was to be reduced to 20 grams a week. Was it possible that they could swallow that, after only 24 hours? Yes, they swallowed it." And Winston asks himself, "Was he, then, alone in the possession of a memory?"

Does anyone remember that the geographic state of the United States invaded the sovereign nation of Iraq because the dictator had weapons of mass destruction?

You may remember that this dictator was trapped like a rat in a hole.

Here is an interesting development:

Ex-Marine Says Public Version of Saddam Capture Fiction
United Press International

A former U.S. Marine who participated in capturing ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein said the public version of his capture was fabricated.

Ex-Sgt. Nadim Abou Rabeh, of Lebanese descent, was quoted in the Saudi daily al-Medina Wednesday as saying Saddam was actually captured Friday, Dec. 12, 2003, and not the day after, as announced by the U.S. Army.

"I was among the 20-man unit, including eight of Arab descent, who searched for Saddam for three days in the area of Dour near Tikrit, and we found him in a modest home in a small village and not in a hole as announced," Abou Rabeh said.

"We captured him after fierce resistance during which a Marine of Sudanese origin was killed," he said.

He said Saddam himself fired at them with a gun from the window of a room on the second floor.
Then they shouted at him in Arabic:

"You have to surrender. ... There is no point in resisting."

"Later on, a military production team fabricated the film of Saddam's capture in a hole, which was in fact a deserted well," Abou Rabeh said.

Abou Rabeh was interviewed in Lebanon.

Meanwhile, the Italians want some answers about the loss of their intelligence officer who had just freed the Italian Journalist, Sgrena.

According to Prime Minister Berlasconi,

Calipari put the journalist in the back seat of the car, and with his colleague driving, they headed toward the airport where a plane was waiting to take them back to Italy.

With the inside light on, Calipari sat alongside Sgrena and made phone calls to superiors to report his success. One was to an Italian official who was standing next to an American colonel at the airport, the prime minister said Wednesday, addressing the Italian Senate.

Calipari "therefore warned the American military officials of their immediate arrival in the airport zone," Berlusconi said.

In a statement after the shooting, the Army's 3rd Infantry Division said the Italians' car was "traveling at high speeds" and refused to halt at a checkpoint despite attempts by U.S. soldiers to warn the driver to stop "by hand and arm signals, flashing white lights, and firing warning shots in front of the car."

Citing testimony by the driver, also an intelligence officer, Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini said Tuesday that the car was traveling at no more than 25 mph as the driver steered around cement blocks. Fini said the driver was applying the brakes when the car was hit by gunfire that lasted 10 to 15 seconds.

It is said that pictures of the car reveal hundreds of bullet holes.

You can read Sgrena's story here.

Oh yes, before we forget, Sgrena works for Il Manifesto.

They are, well, go on and say it.


I just received a news release from Winston Smith

Tomorrow, the chocolate allotment will be increased.


Wednesday, March 09, 2005


Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.
Henry David Thoreau

"I would much rather have regrets about not doing what people said, than regretting not doing what my heart led me to and wondering what life had been like if I'd just been myself."
Brittany Renée

On the whole, I'd rather be in Philadelphia
W C Fields

"I see my body as an instrument, rather than an ornament."
Alanis Morisette

The best teacher is the one who suggests rather than dogmatizes,and inspires his listener with the wish to teach himself.
William Arthur Ward

Humility is our connection with our own fundamental Being,
which has certain qualities:
Acceptance of what is, rather than complaints of 'poor me' or 'why me?
'Openness, rather than preoccupation with 'me'
Gratefulness, rather than resentment for what has happened to 'me'
Generosity, rather than possessiveness
Modesty, rather than the self-importance of 'me'
Forgiveness, rather than blame of others of ourselves
Trust, rather than insecurity and doubt.
Kabir Helminski in 'The Knowing Heart'

You more often recognize your inadequacies rather than your strengths.
James E. Faust

Rather fail with honor than succeed by fraud.

Choose to love rather than hate,
Choose to smile rather than frown,
Choose to build rather than destroy,
Choose to persevere rather than quit,
Choose to praise rather than gossip,
Choose to heal rather than wound,
Choose to give rather than grasp,
Choose to go rather than delay,
Choose to forgive rather than curse,
Choose to pray rather than despair.

Violence as a way of achieving racial justice is both impractical

and immoral.

It is impractical because it is a descending spiral

ending in destruction for all.

It is immoral because it seeks to humiliate the opponent

rather than win his understanding;

it seeks to annihilate

rather than to convert.

Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred

rather than love.

Martin Luther King

It is quality rather than quantity that matters.
Lucius Annaeus Seneca

It was a Texas hurricane that swept Dan Rather into the national spotlight. For those who watched him report from the Galveston Seawall that September of 1961, it helped forge a reputation for tenacity that would follow him for life.

"You saw the wind and rain around him. That was the first time a news person stayed on the coast," says Burlon Parsons, lifestyle editor for The Wharton Journal-Spectator, the local Texas newspaper of Rather's birthplace. "That's what I liked about him the most."

What I liked about Dan Rather is this exchange with Nixon in 1974 after
Rather elbowed an ABC reporter to ask a news conference question.

"Are you running for something?" Nixon asked.

"No, sir, Mr. President," Rather shot back.

"Are you?"

Dan Rather is also the reporter who told this country about

Global Warming.

More than 20 years ago.

And remember,

What Miss Knox actually said.

I know that I didn’t type them," says Knox.

"However, the information in those is correct.”

"A tough lesson in life that one has to learn is that not everybody wishes you well. "
Dan Rather

Enough said.


Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Elephant Hegemony

I am reading two books right now.

One is George Lakoff's book on framing,

called Don't Think of an Elephant,

and the other is Noam Chomsky's

Hegemony or Survival.

I haven't finished either one.

I've given two copies of the Lakoff book away already,

and the Chomsky book is well, its on the side of the bed.

But I love Chomsky whether I read him or not.

The Lakoff book deals with why the Right is doing so well right now.

They are just plain old smarter.

Face it.

When the Democrat Party allows the debate on Taxes to be

on Tax Relief.

It's all over except for the voting.

If the best you can do is say its for the wealthy,

you still lose.

And you sound like a loser.

This isn't Tax relief, its forcing our bills on our children.

The Republicans should know this stuff because they got burned early.

Here is Lakoff:

Richard Nixon found that out the hard way. While under pressure to resign during the Watergate scandal, Nixon addressed the nation on TV. He stood before the nation and said, "I am not a crook." And everybody thought about him as a crook.

This gives us a basic principle of framing, for when you are arguing against the other side: Do not use their language. Their language picks out a frame — and it won't be the frame you want.

Let me give you an example. On the day that George W. Bush arrived in the White House, the phrase “tax relief” started coming out of the White House. It still is: It was used a number of times in this year's State of the Union address, and is showing up more and more in preelection speeches four years later.

Think of the framing for relief. For there to be relief there must be an affliction, an afflicted party, and a reliever who removes the affliction and is therefore a hero. And if people try to stop the hero, those people are villains for trying to prevent relief.

Now the President is saving social security.

He has liberated Iraq

and he is bringing freedom and democracy to the Mideast.

In the meantime they are passing the meanest bankruptcy bill imaginable while everyone is looking the other way. It's called the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005.

And that brings me to Chomsky.

Chomsky told us 25 years ago in Manufacturing Consent that things would get this weird and now they are.

Now he says it going to get weirder.

The choice between hegemony and survival has rarely, if ever, been so starkly posed.

Let us try to unravel some of the many strands that enter into this complex tapestry, focusing attention on the world power that proclaims global hegemony. Its actions and guiding doctrines must be a primary concern for everyone on the planet, particularly, of course, for Americans.

Those who want to face their responsibilities with a genuine commitment to democracy and freedom -- even to decent survival -- should recognize the barriers that stand in the way. In violent states these are not concealed. In more democratic societies barriers are more subtle. While methods differ sharply from more brutal to more free societies, the goals are in many ways similar: to ensure that the "great beast," as Alexander Hamilton called the people, does not stray from its proper confines.

Controlling the general population has always been a dominant concern of power and privilege, particularly since the first modern democratic revolution in seventeenth-century England.

Almost three centuries later, Wilsonian idealism, as it is standardly termed, adopted a rather similar stance. Abroad, it is Washington's responsibility to ensure that government is in the hands of "the good, though but a few." At home, it is necessary to safeguard a system of elite decision-making and public ratification -- "polyarchy," in the terminology of political science -- not democracy.

You can see why the book is still on the side of the bed.

But if you put the two books together.

You get Elephant Hegemony.

Superior shaping,

elite decision making,

and public ratification.

And, as the song goes,

it just won't stop.

til you wise up.