Saturday, December 30, 2006

Blind Executioner

Judges Cave

is snuggled into West Rock atop a high hill in New Haven, CT. There’s a park, an historical marker and a fabulous view, painted foliage in autumn, Yale, New Haven and the Atlantic Ocean year around. Judges Cave is said to be the place where two of seventy-six judges who signed a death warrant for Charles I of England in 1649 hid when, at regular intervals, the long arm of the British Royal family sent King’s officers across the ocean to find and kill them. The judges were called Regicides, and the winding road from town to the top of West Rock is called Regicide Drive in their honor. We used to go up there to picnic, smoke, enjoy the view. I used to try to imagine a world in which Judges had to hide in caves.

On the day Sadaam Hussein was executed, George and Laura Bush were holed up in an armored car next to an underground shelter. There was a tornado watch, not even a warning, just a watch.

After 911, when GW spent the day in Air Force One instead of on the ground dealing with the enormity of the attack on our country, he wasn’t actually hiding in a cave.

But Sadaam Hussein was hiding in a hole in the sand when he was found in mid-December 2003, hiding from a deck of cards, and the long arm of Bush-style justice, which bombs people to free them. Iraqi officials gave Sadaam a red card, like the ones he gave to people he was about to execute, initially at the request of CIA officials who gave him a list of sixty plus people to off after we helped him accomplish the coup that brought him to power. When Hussein’s attorneys asked for a reprieve yesterday the US officials said it was out of their hands, Hussein had been turned over to Iraqis for execution.

The hundred and fifty people executed in Texas when Bush was Governor all asked for clemency. One (an admitted mass murderer) got it — because it had been proved he wasn’t in the state at the time of the murder in question. Except for that, Bush had full confidence in the system, plus executions are finalized by a Board of Pardon’s and Paroles in Texas, an appointed committee of eighteen people who rarely meet or review death penalty cases, yet are a firewall behind which our Governors hide so they don’t have to face the moral and political fallout of refusing clemency to innocent people, ones who have reformed, are mentally retarded or insane. They say, "It's out of my hands."

George Bush has no problem killing people. He didn’t when he was Governor of Texas and he doesn’t now. Never mind the United Nations, the European Union, the UK and most of the civilized world have outlawed executions because they are barbaric and do not deter crime — they guanantee it.

When trouble comes in the form of an horrific attack on America, or a natural disaster like Katrina, for instance, you’ll find George Bush holed up, or hovering near shelter, vacationing or fund raising, ready to disappear until it’s time to blame the victims. Global incompetence makes sure there are lots of them.

Sadaam Hussein was hanged on an American military base after being found guilty of executing most of an Iraqi village in the 80s after an attempt was made there on his life, a charge carefully selected to avoid implicating the United States. He deserved to die for crimes against humanity if anyone ever has, but as
Robert Fisk writes, was executed for the wrong reason. He killed a million Iranians, but we helped him. He killed his own people with chemical weapons, which we gave him. Those pieces of information weren’t part of the case against him because they would have implicated the United States, who happens to be occupying the country he used to rule. It wouldn’t have looked right.

He was executed on
Eid al Adha, a day holy in the Islamic world and observed by universal acts of mercy, clemency and forgiveness. Even Sadaam used to let people out of prison during this holiday — proving once again that ruthlessness and stupidity are lovers.

When I think of George Bush I often think of Judges Cave, the difference being — those judges in the 1600s wanted a bad king to be executed, and G.W. Bush is one, one still compiling a vast toll of the dead and maimed, a bad king I ( having no appetite for regicide or execution) would be content to simply

With his last breath Sadaam Hussein praised himself, then God.

©Susan Bright, 2006

Susan Bright is the author of nineteen books of poetry. She is the editor of Plain View Press which since 1975 has published one-hundred-and-fifty books. Her work as a poet, publisher, activist and educator has taken her all over the United States and abroad. Her most recent book, The Layers of Our Seeing, is a collection of poetry, photographs and essays about peace done in collaboration with photographer Alan Pogue and Middle Eastern journalist, Muna Hamzeh.

Eric Blumrich offers up a wild assessment of US/Sadaam memories. Thanks to Cindy Symington for sending this.

Here's the Truthout story. Send them a contribution if you can.


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The Year of Feedback

University of Wales

Here is the kind of story that we should be seeing in the geographic state of the United States.

It is in The Independent. Here is a little part of it, but it is worth a full read.

Review of the Year: Global Warming
By Steve Connor
The Independent UK
Friday 29 December 2006

Our worst fears are exceeded by reality.

It has been a hot year. The average temperature in Britain for 2006 was higher than at any time since records began in 1659. Globally, it looks set to be the sixth hottest year on record. The signs during the past 12 months have been all around us. Little winter snow in the Alpine ski resorts, continuing droughts in Africa, mountain glaciers melting faster than at any time in the past 5,000 years, disappearing Arctic sea ice, Greenland's ice sheet sliding into the sea. Oh, and a hosepipe ban in southern England.

You could be forgiven for thinking that you've heard it all before. You may think it's time to turn the page and read something else. But you'd be wrong. 2006 will be remembered by climatologists as the year in which the potential scale of global warming came into focus. And the problem can be summarised in one word: feedback.

During the past year, scientific findings emerged that made even the most doom-laden predictions about climate change seem a little on the optimistic side. And at the heart of the issue is the idea of climate feedbacks - when the effects of global warming begin to feed into the causes of global warming. Feedbacks can either make things better, or they can make things worse. The trouble is, everywhere scientists looked in 2006, they encountered feedbacks that will make things worse - a lot worse.

Next year, the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will publish its fourth assessment on the scale of the future problems facing humanity. Its last assessment, published in 2001, had little to say on the subject of climate feedbacks, partly because, at that time, they were such an unknown quantity. This year, scientists came to learn a little more about them, and they didn't like what they learnt.

During the past two decades, the IPCC has tended to regard the Earth's climate as something that will change gradually and smoothly, as carbon dioxide and global temperatures continue their lock-step rise. But there is a growing consensus among many climate scientists that this may be giving a false sense of security.

They fear that feedback reactions may begin to kick in and suddenly tip the climate beyond a critical threshold from which it cannot easily recover.

Climate feedbacks could turn the Earth into a very different planet over a dramatically short period of time. It has happened in the past, scientists say, and it could easily happen in the future given the unprecedented scale of the environmental changes caused by man. more


A Vision of the Future

The single most momentous environmental image of 2006 was a holiday snap. Of sorts. It showed typical European package tourists on a nice sandy beach in Tenerife. Until a few minutes before the picture was taken, on August 3 on Tejita beach in Granadilla, it had been a day of utter normality for these tourists.

Then something very different erupted on to the scene.

From the sea came a boat. Out of it fell pitiful figures - exhausted, terrified, dehydrated, starving. They were African migrants who, out of desperation, had risked the long voyage from the African coast to the Canaries; for the Canaries are part of Europe, a place of hope and opportunity.

What did the tourists do?

They did the decent thing.

They rushed to the aid of fellow men and women. "

But will they offer such a welcome when the boat people are not just a boatload, but a whole country- or region-load? For that is coming. As climate change takes hold this century, agriculture may fail in some of the poorest and most densely populated parts of the world.

Sir Crispin Tickell, Britain's former Ambassador to the UN, who is one of the most far-sighted of environmental commentators, pointed out as long ago as 1990 that global warming is likely to create environmental refugees in the hundreds of millions. We have paid little attention to his warning.

But if you look at the picture taken on Tejita beach, you can see something even more dramatic than the fact that the ordinary European holidaymaker has a lifestyle most Africans can only dream of. You can see the future, starting to happen."

And then the future becomes now with this story.

Disappearing world: Global warming claims tropical island
For the first time, an inhabited island has disappeared beneath rising seas.
Geoffrey Lean
24 December 2006

Rising seas, caused by global warming, have for the first time washed an inhabited island off the face of the Earth. The obliteration of Lohachara island, in India's part of the Sundarbans where the Ganges and the Brahmaputra rivers empty into the Bay of Bengal, marks the moment when one of the most apocalyptic predictions of environmentalists and climate scientists has started coming true.

As the seas continue to swell, they will swallow whole island nations, from the Maldives to the Marshall Islands, inundate vast areas of countries from Bangladesh to Egypt, and submerge parts of scores of coastal cities.

Eight years ago, as exclusively reported in The Independent on Sunday, the first uninhabited islands - in the Pacific atoll nation of Kiribati - vanished beneath the waves. The people of low-lying islands in Vanuatu, also in the Pacific, have been evacuated as a precaution, but the land still juts above the sea. The disappearance of Lohachara, once home to 10,000 people, is unprecedented." more

Will we be as decent as the tourist on Tejida Beach?

Or will we build walls and armies to protect us?

If you thought Climate Change was not a problem for you,

just a problem for your children,

Think Again.

2006 was the Year of Feedback


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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Without our Boat

A friend and contributor to earthfamilyalpha recently read God's Last Offer by Ed Ayres, an editor at Worldwatch.

Here is part of a review from Daykeeper Journal:

What is "God’s last offer"?

It is to trade our closely guarded personal security for the larger security of the world we stand on:

"It is only through the acceptance of this offer—to defend our world instead of ourselves—that we have any real chance of saving ourselves and of regaining the sense of personal and family security we care about so deeply."

Mr. Ayres discusses the damage, to date, to our fragile web of life. He identifies four "megaphenomena," all of which work together, and each of which has very rapidly risen to dangerous levels.

They are the rise of carbon gas emissions, the rate of biological extinctions, unsustainable consumption, and the exploding human population.

His discussion is basic, lucid, and sprinkled with lively examples. He shows that as we move along our present course, an increase in any one of these parameters could take us over the edge at any time, and it would have a domino effect on the others.

The author shows how all of these phenomena are human-created, and he shows, as well, what humans can do to alleviate each of these conditions. On the one hand it is a doom and gloom book, not unwarranted in the face of our suicidal rush to destroy our nest.

But it is also a book full of hope, as he points out, in comprehensive and practical ways, how we can change our course.

Mr. Ayres talks at length about the two basic problems, ignorance and denial. He shows how a continual barrage of corporate misinformation sows confusion and doubt, and obscures those seeds of truth within us.


Gaylord Nelson, founder of Earth Day, says, "God’s Last Offer says it all, with eloquence and economy. By the time readers get near the end, they will understand that we are not just toying with nature, we are compromising the capacity of natural systems to preserve a livable world."

Meanwhile Earth in the Balance, the 1992 book by Al Gore has been republished.

"When Earth in the Balance first came out, it caused quite a stir - and for good reason. It convincingly makes the case that a crisis of epidemic proportions is nearly upon us and that if the world doesn't get its act together soon and agree to some kind of "Global Marshall Plan" to protect the environment, we're all up a polluted creek without a paddle. "

We are closer to being up that creek, not only without a paddle,

but without our boat, for indeed,

" a crisis of epidemic proportions is nearly upon us". Al Gore


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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Pax Americana



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Monday, December 25, 2006

The There There

Andrew Davidhazy

The following is the last part of a new book.

"It is our Natural Condition to be transcendent, for we are all transcendent beings.

And, it takes a lot of meta-programming to convince us that we are not.

Yet, I know that each of us are light emitting creatures with energy forms that are capable of the most wondrous acts of creation and purpose.

Through our understanding of the door of the eternal moment, and of the fields of light, we can find our true nature.

Through our alignment within the cosmos and the sky itself, we can find our true place.

Through our understanding of the power of our mind and our process of naming, we can judiciously apply our powers of judgment and discrimination.

As creatures of light, we realize ourselves capable only of seeing ourselves, as long as we hold onto a self that is limited and disintegrated.

Through the embracing of our true being, we can find our natural state and we then can believe a new dream, a new creation, and a new state of being.

For when we do, we arrive to a bright world of spirit, of the soul, and of the creation itself, where, with our own unique dream, we begin to work in this world of light from the center of our newly realized and connected heartmind.

We find in the fullness of this state, that the great mystery of time itself wraps it shimmering blanket into each moment and over each day.

We know that to try to pierce its shroud, is as foolish as writing on the wind.

But mostly, when we look deeper and deeper into ourselves.

We begin to see and to feel that there is no there, there.

We are a bundle of light and energy and thoughts and of memory.

We are a mystery within a miracle.

And we are truly one.

That is the there that is there."

Feliz Navidad from Wirikuta.


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Friday, December 22, 2006

Peace on Earth

War and Peace
Last night, the bartender at the hotel asked me why we were amassing ships in and around Iran. By his thinking, such a show of force was somehow out of the question, given the situation in Iraq.

I reminded him that Iran had the world's second largest gas reserves and is 2nd or third in oil reserves.

I also opined that most wars are about resources and economics.

The high minded talk, the demonization of the enemy, the excitation of fear, are all techniques to get the populace behind the war effort.

Here is Krishnamurti on Peace.

Question: How can I as an individual meet, overcome and resolve the growing tension and war-fever between India and Pakistan? This situation creates a mentality of revenge and mass retaliation. Appeals and arguments are completely inadequate. Inaction is a crime. How does one meet a problem like this?

Krishnamurti: Sir why do you call inaction a crime? There are only two ways of dealing with this, according to you, which is either to become a pacifist or to take a gun. That is the only way you respond, is it not? That is the only way most people know in which to answer a problem of this kind.

Surely, the whole thing is wrong, pacifism as well as carrying a gun, because they are mere reactions, and through reaction you will never solve any problem. You will solve the problem of war only when you yourself are the challenge, and not merely a reaction.

So, the man who carries a gun does not solve the problem, he only increases the problem; for each war produces another war, it is an historical fact.

That is why it is important to understand yourself, your conditioning, your upbringing, the way you are educated; because, the government, the whole system, is your own projection. The world is you, the world is not separate from you; the world with its problems is projected out of your responses, out of your reactions, so the solution does not lie in creating further reactions.

There can be a solution only when there is action which is not reaction, and that can come into being only when you understand the whole process of response to stimuli both from outside and inside, which means that you understand the structure of your own being from which society is created.

But all those methods are obviously mere postponement of peace.

Only when you are directly in touch with the problem, when you see that without peace today you cannot have peace tomorrow, when you have no reason for peace but actually see the truth that without peace life is not possible, creation is not possible, that without peace there can be no sense of happiness— only when you see the truth of that, will you have peace.

Then you will have peace without any organizations for peace.

Sir, for that you must be so vulnerable, you must demand peace with all your heart, you must find the truth of it for yourself, not through organizations, through propaganda, through clever arguments for peace and against war.

Peace is not the denial of war.

Peace is a state of being in which all conflicts and all problems have ceased; it is not a theory, not an ideal to be achieved after ten incarnations, ten years or ten days.

As long as the mind has not understood its own activity, it will create more misery; and the understanding of the mind is the beginning of peace.

Jiddu KrishnamurtiBombay, 5th Public Talk, March 12, 1950

Today is the first day of the waxing sun.

It is also the day with the most darkness.

We celebrate this return

With lights that spell out

Peace on Earth.

And so it should be.


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war and peace courtesy of

Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Challenge

Thanks to the Energy Bulletin, here's a small part of a presentation on the Ten Principles of Peak Oil Planning, presented by Tim Moerman at the Atlantic Planners’ Institute Annual Conference.

"The modern planning profession came into being just over a hundred years ago, at almost exactly coincident with the dawn of the petroleum era. By extension, North American planning has lived its entire life so far with a certain set of background assumptions.

The key assumption is that energy is cheap and abundant and there’s more of it every year. And when you get right down to it, planning has been about dealing with the effect of this. Industrial cities, urban growth, urban sprawl, traffic congestion-these are all basically side effects of cheap energy.

When that cheap energy is gone, the assumptions and the principles of planning are going to be turned on their ear."

These are the principles that caught my attention.

Protect farmland at all costs. (And don’t waste it growing biodiesel.)

All new development should pass the $500-a-barrel test.

Globalization will give way to re-localization

Adaptation = 90% conservation + 10% new supplies.

Electricity-based systems are more resilient than combustion-based systems.

Be prepared for both gradual depletion and sudden shortages.

Paradigms change overnight. Be ready for it.

And here's a new documentary on peak oil called "What a Way to Go". It features interviews with Daniel Quinn, Richard Heinberg, and others. According to the filmmakers, What a Way to Go will look at the current global situation and ask the most important questions of all:

How did we get here?

Why do we keep destroying the planet?

What do we truly want?

Can we find a vision that will empower us to do what is necessary to survive, and even thrive, in the coming decades?

Finding that vision, with the right answers, with the most effective solutions, with the time and resources that we have available seems to be a very key question in my view.

That is why I am less and less patient with those who want to make fuel from corn, or out of french fries.

That is why I am less patient with solar advocates who advocate first generation technologies, when we need third generation efficiencies and costs now.

That is why I am less than patient with leaders who think that the challenge of this generation is "terror".

It is not.

The Challenge of this generation.

Will more likely be survival.

And believe it or not,

It will be good for us.


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future city courtesy of Steve Burke

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Culture of Intransigence


Yesterday, as I rushed around to try to finish my work, to shop,

to get ready to leave town,

in this almost balmy December weather,

I was taken for a moment by our cultural intransigence.

In Washington, the news is about a larger military,

and the talking head speculation about 2008 sounds more and more

like the idle chit chat you hear before a big football game.

Intransigence means that you refuse to moderate your opinion,

especially about an extreme position,

even when you are overwhelmed with evidence to the contrary.

The President is intransigent about his war,

even though now he believes we are not winning it.

The downtown real estate lawyer I chat with almost daily in the hotel bar

is intransigent in his views about global warming.

He recognizes that it "is an issue", but he cannot accept what it means.

The Left Wing progressives are just as intransigent about their issues,

not willing to acknowledge that climate change and resource depletion

will and must change the very roots of their presumptions.

The Right Wing Capitalists are even further out there.

They can't imagine a world where resources can't be mined or stolen,

and their waste products can't be dumped into the commons.

This lack of "imaging power" makes them the equivalent of

illegally blind.

Earlier in the week, I was visiting with a progressive politician

who had sat next to the Chairman of Shell for some event.

He asked the Chairman "why can't we move away from Petroleum now"?

The Chairman replied that technology can only move so fast,

that no matter how much money you throw at something,

that technology advances steadily, not in great bursts of energy

and inspiration.

Except I suppose, in a great time of Peril, or a great time of Advancement,

Or both.

Like when the last war with numerals ended with 2 nuclear devastations,

Or, like when the Americans went to the moon in 7 years.

Or, like in the case of Moore's law,

Or, in the case of the cell phone industry.

The Chairman of Shell simply "can't imagine" a world without petroleum.

As I go about my day today, I will join this "culture of intransigence".

I will shop, like I have for so many other Holiday Seasons.

I will visit all my favorite pals and artisans at the dillo,

And I will drive from place to place, knowing what I know,

refusing to change my extreme position.

And I'm not talking about Building Seven.

And I'm not talking about Flight 77

And I'm not talking about the Grassy Knoll.

I'm talking about our collective extreme position

which states that 7 Billion People can live divided

on an earth that has no real divisions.

I'm talking about our collective extreme position

that deifies weath and power,

and demonizes love and understanding.

I'm talking about our collective extreme position

that promotes big box pseudo competition,

that exists only through our continued collective cooperation.

I'm talking about our collective extreme position

that the seas are not rising, and the fish are not in peril,

that the ice caps are not melting,

that the permafrost is not thawing,

that the birds are not in retreat,

that this balmy holiday season,

is just an anomoly.

And that our new leadership,

is going to get it.

It's the Season....

for Intransigence.


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art courtesy of Alejandra Salaverria

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

It's the Season


Here is an enteresting piece from Friday the 13th, 2005.

I'm not sure why It caught my eye tonight.

Something to do with the season I suppose.

s I often do, I walked to lunch today.

I crossed the First Street bridge and came up on the new City Hall.

And the term Metanoia came to my mind.

I know what It means, or at least I thought I knew what it means.

It means a change of mind.

Some say it means a change of heart.

But the feeling of Metanoia is different than these words.

Metanoia is when you are walking down the street,

and you think about something you said to your partner.

And you know it was a total dumb ass thing to say.

Metanoia is when you are driving on that long trip,

And you remember something you said to your Dad

that was really mean and really selfish and you wish you never said it.

Metanoia is when you realize that you are not that f%c#i#g smart.

It's when you recognize that you have made real mistakes in your life.

Its when you, for whatever reason, finally take a look at yourself

and you see yourself as you are.

Its when you step back and

You see your little tricks.

You see your little habits.

You see your little behaviors.

You see your little strategies.

You see your little stories

that you have used to preserve your image of yourself.

And then, at that moment, like a house of cards,

it all falls down.

And you accept yourself for what you are.

And the interesting thing, is that what you are

is not what you have been.

Once you realize that you are not that perfect fake of a person,

You find that you are a perfectly decent person

after you get rid of the fake person,

after you ditch the pretensions of your presentation of yourself,

of that mask that you have hidden behind for all those years.

Religions have kidnapped the word for their own machinations,

to mean to be born again,

and there are consulting services that call themselves Metanoia.

There is even a Metanoia Institute of psychotherapy.

But, for me, it means to be brutally honest with yourself.

You pretty much have to hate yourself in order to find yourself.

Then you find that the self that you hate is not you anyway.

Well today, I didn't have that kind of Metanoia.

I had some kind of cultural Metanoia.

Maybe it was sparked by that weird, possibly ugly City Hall,

But I came to this horribly brutal revelation

that almost everything we believe in our culture and institutional matrix

is, let my try to be delicate, just all wrong.

The way we build our cities,

the way we transport ourselves,

the way we educate our young,

the way we work and force work on others,

the way we have organized ourselves,

the way we think in general with our silly subject object minds,

the way we are taught to behave,

the way we love.

It all came down as a big load of donkey dung.

And it wasn't just the homeless people on the sidewalk.

It was the ones in their SUV's

driving everywhere for nothing.

Later in the day, I corresponded with Jim Kunstler

who had written this.

Everywhere I look I see things that are not going to work in the years ahead, and see people making plans for conditions that will no longer exist. State DOT officials in Texas are planning to build a new statewide super-mega highway network just as the global oil peak forecloses a future of easy motoring.

Where I live, at the rural edge of New York's Capital District, suburban housing pods are springing up in every cow pasture in complete faith that supernaturally cheap mortgages and long commutes will continue to be the norm.

Municipalities everywhere are investing in multi-million dollar parking structures in the belief that we will be using cars in 2019 exactly the way we do now. Even the enviros are enraptured. I get letters every day from bio-diesel fans who plan to run the interstate highway system and Disney World on oil derived from algae farms.

The collective consciousness is amazingly resistant to the fact that things change.

And they are changing.

Metanoia or not.


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Monday, December 18, 2006

Earth's Xmas List

Don't you wonder what the Earth is asking Santa to bring her this year?

Here is my best shot at it.

Dear Santa,

I hope you are doing well. I am running a bit of a temperature. It seems that all of those good little children that you have visited over the years have grown up to be not all that good. Most of them seem to believe that their actions do not have consequences. They throw their crap in my air, into my water, and any place else they can think of.

Considering that so many of these little critters are reasonably well educated, its hard to figure how they can be so silly and downright clownish in their approach to living on me.

At any rate, here is this years list.

I want you to come up with a dry toilet. My waters are being poisoned by the excrement of these 7 billion pukeheads and they need to quit that shit.

I think we need to develop some kind of material that goes on like paint and then acts to convert photons to electrons on almost every surface that these little busy bodies build.

I want some kind of energy battery that is cheap and reliable. I don't care if it is a micro ceramic or nano based. I don't care which, just get your elves to work on it. It needs to recharge in seconds and it should last for a million cycles at least. That way they can use lots of sunshine and wind and burn less of that midnight lignite.

I want your boys to work on a really tiny computer with 4 or 5 USB connectors on it. It can be about the size of one of those MP3 players, but it needs to do everything, and with the connectors, keyboards and monitors will tend to stay put and these mini micros will become their main frames and their main communicator. Hopefully that will reduce some of the waste these guys are putting into my soft mantle.

Also, and this is a lot to ask, but since you have a lot of resources and a crack staff, I wish you would hide all the bullets while you are on your little sleigh ride this year. Chris Rock is right. Guns don't kill people, bullets do. While you are at it, you might hide the missiles and the land mines too. Oh, and don't give the American politicians children a dang thing until they sign the global land mine treaty, the global warming treaty, and a host of other treaties that they have ignored.

I know its not your job to bring peace on earth, but surely you know the guy who is supposed to, given that your cushy job is based on his birthday.

So, tell him for me that if he plans to bring this peace through all out war, or ultimate humanoid extinction through climate change, that's OK with me. The dolphins have been voting for this for a couple of hundred years already.

It just seems like we have a lot invested in these guys, and I hate to see it all go down. But, it's happened before, it can happen again, I guess.

I hope Ms. Claus is keeping your Cholesteral in shape.

Mine sucks.

Yours truly,



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Friday, December 15, 2006

Santa's Ski

Here is a rather bleak prediction for Santa and the rest of his elves.

Abrupt ice retreat could produce ice-free arctic summers by 2040
nächste Meldung

The recent retreat of Arctic sea ice is likely to accelerate so rapidly that the Arctic Ocean could become nearly devoid of ice during summertime as early as 2040, according to new research published in the December 12 issue of Geophysical Research Letters.

The study, by a team of scientists from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), the University of Washington, and McGill University, analyzes the impact of greenhouse gas emissions on the Arctic. Scenarios run on supercomputers show that the extent of sea ice each September could be reduced so abruptly that, within about 20 years, it may begin retreating four times faster than at any time in the observed record.

"We have already witnessed major losses in sea ice, but our research suggests that the decrease over the next few decades could be far more dramatic than anything that has happened so far," says NCAR scientist Marika Holland, the study's lead author. "These changes are surprisingly rapid."

The research was funded by the National Science Foundation, NCAR's principal sponsor, as well as by NASA.Arctic sea ice has retreated in recent years, especially in the late summer, when ice thickness and area are at a minimum.


The model results indicate that, if greenhouse gases continue to build up in the atmosphere at the current rate, the Arctic's future ice cover will go through periods of relative stability followed by abrupt retreat.

For example, in one model simulation, the September ice shrinks from about 2.3 million to 770,000 square miles in a 10-year period. By 2040, only a small amount of perennial sea ice remains along the north coasts of Greenland and Canada, while most of the Arctic basin is ice-free in September. The winter ice also thins from about 12 feet thick to less than 3 feet.

Why expect abrupt change?

The research team points to several reasons for the abrupt loss of ice in a gradually warming world. Open water absorbs more sunlight than does ice, meaning that the growing regions of ice-free water will accelerate the warming trend.

In addition, global climate change is expected to influence ocean circulations and drive warmer ocean currents into the Arctic."As the ice retreats, the ocean transports more heat to the Arctic and the open water absorbs more sunlight, further accelerating the rate of warming and leading to the loss of more ice," Holland explains. "This is a positive feedback loop with dramatic implications for the entire Arctic region." more

This year is also turning out to be another hot one.

Recent preliminary estimates place 2006 as the fifth hottest on record.

"Scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies said that the Earth’s five warmest years since the late 1880s were, in decreasing order, 2005, 1998, 2002, 2003 and — if no unexpected fluctuations occur the rest of this month — 2006. "

Even the Russian winter is showing signs of warming.

And the rising oceans may rise even faster than earlier predictions.

All the while, talk in Washington and in the Media is over control.

And it's almost out.

Just ask Santa.


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Thursday, December 14, 2006

New Strategy

Something Completely Different

Bring our soldiers home.
Use the 2 billion dollars per week
it costs us to foster genocide in Iraq
and slaughter American National Guard
troops that are needed at home,
whose deaths leave huge holes in
their families' lives forever,
to pay Iraqis to rebuild their
homeland, lives, society,

Fill the market places,
town squares, courtyards, schools
and public meeting places
of Iraq with cash, household items,
bricks, boards, building supplies,
concrete, good food, water purification
tablets, generators --
do this until every person in the country
has what they need to build back
his or her own life.

Instead of death squads
and imbedded assassins, sneak
carpentry materials into neighborhoods
under cover of darkness, bags of toys,
books, flour, olive oil, chick peas, lentils,
tomatoes, potatoes, onions, dill, yogurt,
lower goats and cows from Apache helicopters,
clean clothing, shoes, telephones.

Do this in the name of Jesus, Allah,
Yewah, Buddha, Lord Shiva, Quan Yin,
The Virgin Mary.

Do it in the name of sanity.
Do it until Iraqi people have time
put their country back together.

This would save billions of dollars,
and lives, even the planet.
Neo-cons can't count forward.

It costs more to kill people
than to fix a house,
more to fill children's bodies with
shrapnel than secure school houses,
more to fill a young mind with hate
than science.

Bring our soldiers home.
Give the money it costs to keep
them in Iraq to the Iraqis
to fix their country.

Quit trying to rock and roll
with a square wheel.

©Susan Bright, 2006

Susan Bright is the author of nineteen books of poetry. She is the editor of Plain View Press which since 1975 has published one-hundred-and-fifty books. Her work as a poet, publisher, activist and educator has taken her all over the United States and abroad. Her most recent book, The Layers of Our Seeing, is a collection of poetry, photographs and essays about peace done in collaboration with photographer Alan Pogue and Middle Eastern journalist, Muna Hamzeh.

* Image from The Design Council, UK


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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Sea of Light

After four days of rain for us,

and well over a week of rain for those on the island,

we saw our first sunset last night.

Earlier though, we had spent time out on the reef.

The ocean that lays before us from our picture windows,

is still and rather tranquil.

But just about a mile out, the waves are breaking over the reef.

Our guide picked us up right from our dock,

so we didn't have to drive on the rain soaked, crater marked roads.

Like any great ocean reef,

the fish and the flora here are simply eye popping.

The five foot nurse sharks and the manta rays, and the small sting rays,

are a natural part of the environment,

not something to fear.

The waving of the plants in the active and turbulent currents,

are simply mesmerizing.

The colors are bright and vivid.

But the bad news is this.

This reef, like almost all reefs in the world,

is in trouble.

You can see the distress and the unhealthiness.

As we moved from one part of the reef, across the channel opening,

the reef became even more distressed, beginning to look like a


The oceans are not only warming, they are becoming slightly more acidic

as they continue to absorb the carbon from our cars and power plants.

Losing these reefs will change where the waves break,

and the calm lake in our beach view

will become more like normal surf.

The sea walls are not designed for that.

Neither are they designed for a change of ocean level

as the oceans expand from thermal expansion and glacier melt.

Late last night,

we walked out onto our dock that stretches out into the tranquil sea,

and we saw our first stars.

Above us was a patch of sky with Orion's Belt directly overhead.

Then I stepped on the wood step that led down from the dock.

Suddenly, the steps below me lit with a universe of stars.

I stepped again.

Again it lit.

Over and Over.

As our eyes became more accustomed to the dark,

we saw that the entire sea was full of these light emitting critters.

As we walked back down the dock,

each step brought a constellation of light in the sea below us.

Like the stars in the sky,

we were surrounded by a Sea of Light.

We are always surrounded by this Sea.

Sometimes I forget it though.

Last night, We could not.


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Monday, December 11, 2006

Blue Hole

When we arrived in this Central American former colony,

it seemed odd that everyone spoke English.

But perhaps more odd, they spoke it better than most of us do.

The late day ride in the large single engine plane

from the main aiport to the little island airport

was short and enjoyable,

and over just as nightfall set in.

Manuel met us in his mini-van just as we had planned.

However, the inclimate weather was not in our plans.

We made our way to our beach hideaway bouncing and dodging

on a primitive road that more resembled a lunar landscape,

stopping only at the last small store to buy a few things.

We spent 5 minutes in the small quaint store, buying cereal and milk,

and a little cheese and some drinks.

Everything was five dollars.

In 35 minutes, we managed to cover the 3.5 miles to the house.

Francis, our housekeeper, was friendly and bright.

We asked Manuel to take us to dinner after a little time to freshen up.

We bumped and jostled for another 20 minutes to get back

to the edge of town.

We walked into the beach side resort restaurant,

to find a 60 year old in a red dress,

sitting next to a bright christmas tree.

She perched on her little stool and in her short gray hair,

she resembled some mildly endangered exotic species.

She stared intently at the pages before her,

And her fingers dutifully played the processed results

on the plastic keyboard of her lower line Casio.

No, I couldn't call it playing,

it was more like transcribing.

I think the song was Desperado.

For a moment,

it seemed like we had been sucked into the first act

of a Stephen King movie.

The streets were empty.

Our safety was totally in the hands of a cabby.

Our home and belongings were deep in the jungle.

The rain continued to pour.

And, the night seemed to just grow darker,

as did the lakes in the giant pot holes on the road.

That night we would sleep in our lovely beach house

with our bedroom door locked,

And our magic candles ablaze.

We had come to find the Blue Hole,

And we were almost there.


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Sunday, December 10, 2006

New McCarthyism


For the past four years and without our knowledge, our government has been assigning Americans who travel overseas a score rating our risk as terrorists or criminals. This rating stays in our record for 40 years. We are neither allowed to see it nor directly challenge it. The score is based on an analysis of such things as: Where we're from, how we paid for our ticket, our DMV records, our past one-way travel, our seating preference and what kind of meal we order.

Additionally, some phone companies are
sharing our phone records with the government without our knowledge and it is now lawful for companies to keep track of all our emails. The irony is that the Global Internet Freedom Act, introduced in Congress in 2005, cited Burma, Cuba, Laos, North Korea, China, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Vietnam, among others as authoritarian governments who monitor individual activity on the Internet, including surveillance of e-mail messages. Last week, ABC News revealed that the FBI can listen to everything we say on our cell phones, even when the phones are turned off.

Most frightening of all, however, is the fact that our government can
hold terrorism suspects for life without charge or due process. Israel holds Palestinian political prisoners in the same fashion. They call it Administrative Detention. The notion that anyone can wrongfully be detained as a terrorism suspect is very real. Look what happened to Brandon Mayfield! We are living through frightening times. The Patriot Act is slowly stripping away our civil rights. Early this year, Congress reauthorized the Act without fixing its most fundamental flaws. Soon thereafter, President Bush signed the flawed reauthorization bill into law.

Have we succeeded in our war on terrorism? Does anyone recall when was the last time Bush mentioned Bin Laden or where things stand in the search for him? I don't know the answers, but I'm reminded of what Benjamin Franklin said back in 1759: “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” Now 247 years later, we have given up essential liberty, but are we safer?

about the author


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art courtesy of Deborah Walker

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Losers Weepers

Losers Weepers

Today is a travel day.

This post from 18 months ago looks pretty enteresting right now.


I just googled impeach George Bush

and there were 268,000 hits.

This video says it well. (scroll down to Downing Street)

Tomorrow, Representative Conyers will hold his first hearings

on the Downing Street Memos.

but it will not be in the Capitol.

This is from

"On Thursday June 16, 2005, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the Wasserman Room at 430 S Capitol St. SE, Washington, D.C., Rep. John Conyers, Jr., Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, and other Congress Members will hold a hearing on the Downing Street Minutes and related evidence of efforts to cook the books on pre-war intelligence.

The hearings are being held at the Democratic National Committee because the Republicans controlling the House Judiciary Committee refused to permit the ranking Democratic Member to use a room on the Hill.

Later on the same day at 5:00 p.m. ET in Lafayette Square Park, in front of the White House, a large rally will support Congressman Conyers who plans to deliver to the White House a letter addressed to President Bush and signed by over 500,000 Americans and at least 94 Congress Members. The letter asks the President to respond to questions raised by the Downing Street Minutes."

And there is this piece in the NY Times

"George W. Bush is in no danger of being ranked among the nation's pre-eminent commanders in chief. Not only has he been unable thus far to win the war in Iraq, but on his watch significant sectors of the proud U.S. military have been rapidly deteriorating.

The Army reported on Friday that it had fallen short of its recruitment goals for a fourth consecutive month. The Marines managed to meet their recruitment target for May, but that was their first successful month this year. Scrambling to fill its ranks, the Army is signing up more high school dropouts and lower-scoring applicants.

With the war in Iraq going badly and allegations of abuse by military personnel widespread, young men and women are increasingly deciding that there's no upside to a career choice in which the most important skills might be ducking bullets and dodging roadside bombs.

The primary reason the U.S. went to an all-volunteer military in 1973 was to ensure that those who did not want to fight wouldn't have to. That option is now being overwhelmingly exercised, discretion being the clear choice over valor. Young people and their parents alike are turning their backs on the military in droves."

Now, get this straight.

This Country, this Republican Government (go to Rep. Jones)

will never impeach or punish a leader who lies.

It will not impeach an administration for its dissembling.

It will impeach a loser.

We hate losers.

We hate leaders who make us feel like losers.

We invaded Iraq to win.

Not lose.

Losers lose big.

No matter how they did last season.

Even the media will cover it,

They love to heap loss on losers.

They know what sells.


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art courtesy of Center of Contemporary Art

Friday, December 08, 2006

Food Chains

Here is another nail in our collective coffin:

Warmed-up oceans reduce key food link
AP Science Writer
Wed Dec 6,2006

WASHINGTON - In a "sneak peak" revealing a grim side effect of future warmer seas, new NASA satellite data find that the vital base of the ocean food web shrinks when the world's seas get hotter.

And that discovery has scientists worried about how much food marine life will have as global warming progresses.

The data show a significant link between warmer water — either from the El Nino weather phenomenon or global warming — and reduced production of phytoplankton of the world's oceans, according to a study in Thursday's journal Nature.

Phytoplankton are the microscopic plant life that zooplankton and other marine animals eat, essentially the grain crop of the world's oceans.

Study lead author Michael Behrenfeld, a biological oceanographer at Oregon State University, said Wednesday that the recent dramatic drop in phytoplankton production in much of the world's oceans is a "sneak peak of how ocean biology" will respond later in the century with global warming.

"Everything else up the food web is going to be impacted," said oceanographer Scott Doney of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute." more

Everything else up on the food chain?

That would be us.

Dr. Glen Barry has some thoughts on the food chain issue here.

Meanwhile, in a spectacle of ignorance, perhaps seen only in Nero's day, Senator Inhofe of Oklahoma held his last climate change bash in his last week as chair of the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee.

Perhaps some day the Senator will have his pants sued down to his ankles and he will be assigned to helping the victims of this so called "hoax" as he leaves the steps of the Oklahoma City bankruptcy court.

But why blame Inhofe you say?

He is not at the top of the Disinformation Food Chain,

He is just representing his donors.

Exxon spends millions to cast doubt on warming
The Independent
By Andrew Buncombe in Washington and Stephen Castle in Brussels
Published: 07 December 2006

The world's largest energy company is still spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund European organisations that seek to cast doubt on the scientific consensus on global warming and undermine support for legislation to curb emission of greenhouse gases.

Data collated by a Brussels-based watchdog reveals that ExxonMobil has put money into projects that criticise the Kyoto treaty and question the findings of scientific groups. Environmental campaigners say Texas-based Exxon is trying to influence opinion-makers in Brussels because Europe - rather than the US - is the driving force for action on climate change.
"ExxonMobil invests significant amounts in letting think-tanks, seemingly respectable sources, sow doubts about the need for EU governments to take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions," said Olivier Hoedeman, of the Corporate Europe Observatory.

"Covert funding for climate sceptics is deeply hypocritical because ExxonMobil spends major sums on advertising to present itself as an environmentally responsible company." more

Exxon, and their like, feed on our dollars as we fuel our vehicles.

The big difference though, is that in the fuel Food Chain,

we can choose to feed some other leviathon instead.

So, if I EVER STOP at an Exxon/Mobil again,

just shoot me.

No, on second thought,

just go on and raise your trophic level

and eat me.


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